Collapse is Inevitable

There has been considerable discussion lately as to whether or not total collapse of the world’t economies will happen in the relatively near future. I think that is the wrong question. Let me explain.

Ecological collapse of the world’s ecosystem is a lead pipe cinch. It is already well underway and instead of slowing down, it is gaining momentum fast. Here are just a few examples from recent news.

‘Peak soil’ threatens future global food security

“Under business as usual, the current soils that are in agricultural production will yield about 30 percent less than they would do otherwise by around 2050.”

Surging food consumption has led to more intensive production, overgrazing and deforestation, all of which can strip soil of vital nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms, reduce its ability to hold water and make it more vulnerable to erosion.

Such factors, exacerbated by climate change, can ultimately lead to desertification, which in parts of China is partly blamed for the yellow dust storms that can cause hazerdous pollution in Asia, sometimes even severe enough to cross the Pacific Ocean and reduce visibility in the western United States.

“If we keep treating our soil the way we do, we will have to convert about 70 percent of the earth’s surface into agriculture to meet demand for food by 2050 (from about 40 percent now), Crawford said.

Crawford also noted that moderately degraded soil could only store about half the amount of water of good soil, adding to pressure on limited water resources.

Cheap fat may ‘spell doom’ for Africa’s great apes

Scientists warned Thursday that a palm tree with an oily fruit might “spell doom” for Africa’s great apes, thanks to demand for palm oil, a cheap fat often used as a replacement for trans fats.

But that land is running out.

“Everything is flattened, often burned. There are scars of burning that is completely devoid of anything. It’s like a biodiversity disaster zone,” Wich said. “It’s quite hard to see.”

The island of Borneo, below, the only habitat of the Orangutan, is almost deforested. The land has been cleared to grow palm oil. Only the central mountainous area remains for them to dwell. And those central slopes are today being cleared to grow more palm oil.

Deforestation Borneo

The only great ape, other than humans of course, outside Africa will be extinct in less than 20 years. And soon after that all the other great apes in Africa will be gone also.

Or should I tell you about the Aral Sea:

Aral Sea

From Wiki: The shrinking of the Aral Sea has been called “one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters”. The region’s once-prosperous fishing industry has been essentially destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The Aral Sea region is also heavily polluted, with consequent serious public health problems. The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.

The rivers feeding the Aral Sea were dammed to grow cotton. Now the cotton fields are salting up and do not produce near as much cotton as the did in the early days of the irrigation project.

The exact same thing, of course, has happened to Lake Chad:

Lake Chad

The exact same thing is happening to the other African lakes though Lake Chad is by far the worse… so far.

The world, the entire world is being destroyed in the same manner as the forest of Borneo, Africa and the Amazon. The fertile soils of the world are washing away or being blown away. The rivers of the world are drying up. The Yellow River of China now reaches the sea only in the wet season. The Colorado River in the US and Mexico never reaches the sea anymore.

The water tables of China and India and other parts of Asia are dropping by meters per year. Many irrigation wells in India are dry and many Indian cities are totally without water. Water must be trucked in. In the US, the Ogallala aquifer that covers part of eight states in the Midwest is being depleted. Soon it will feed only half as many people.

And let’s talk about fish. This article written eleven years ago, says fish stocks have declined by 90% since 1950. And this article written just four years ago says they all could be gone in 40 years, (36 years from now). Is it not blatantly obvious what we are doing to the ocean? And it is not just the fish, bottom trawl nets are destroying the life that grows on the continental shelf ocean floor. And plastics in the ocean are killing turtles. They think it is jelly fish. And even the wandering albatross are being wiped out. They too are eating the plastic trash and regurgitating it into the gullet of their young. Their skeletal bodies cover Midway and other bird islands.


1200 miles from civilization, birds die from eating man-made plastic

And I could go on and on and on about how the world is being destroyed by humans. It is happening everywhere. The ocean fisheries are going away, rivers an lakes are drying up everywhere, forest are being destroyed, cut for timber and cleared for land to grow crops. And even the topsoil we depend on for our very existence is being depleted.

And of course, not the least of problems, is oil, the lifeblood of civilization, will soon peak and then decline… forever. But still people say: “Not to worry, we have technology. We will develop wind and solar power, battery powered cars, trucks and tractors, we will adapt… yes that’s the ticket, it will all happen so slowly we will adapt.”

To hell you say. What’s happening slowly is we are destroying the very earth we depend on for life. It is happening slowly and we are not adapting. We are making no attempt to adapt. We are only making it worse every day. Most will not even admit it is happening. And most of the few who do realize what is happening believe that humans will not suffer that much even if we do wipe out all other mega fauna on earth.

We will do nothing to adapt, slowly or otherwise. Of course we will build battery powered cars but that will only help mitigate the price of oil. We will do nothing to mitigate the destruction of the earth. And trying to adapt with wind and solar power will fall far short of what is needed. It will prove way too expensive and as the peak of oil production will catch us all off guard. A stock market crash followed by a deep recession will likely follow. Private industry will have little capital to convert anything and the man in the street will have even less. But even if they did, that would make little difference in the long run.

The earth, before the industrial revolution, could support, long term, perhaps one to two billion people. Today the earth is so degraded it can support perhaps half a billion, long term. But we are making it worse every day. Collapse is not something that may happen in the future. Collapse is something that is happening today.

Homo sapiens are deep, deep into overshoot. It was just something that naturally happened. It is nobody’s fault. It is just what happens to any species when, for some reason or another, happen upon times of plenty. And as Richard Dawkins put it:

If there is ever a time of plenty this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.

I cannot say when things will really start to fall apart, but they most definitely will. And I cannot say how long the decline in human population will take but I would guess a few decades. And I cannot say how many humans will be among the survivors, but I would guess less than half a billion. And I cannot even venture a guess as to what life will be like after it all settles out, so I won’t guess.

This post is basically an extension to the subject I covered in my essay:
Of Fossil Fuels and Human Destiny

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314 Responses to Collapse is Inevitable

  1. Keyser Soze says:

    Ron, you said: “I cannot say when things will really start to fall apart,…”

    My 2cts. The next time oil goes to $150.00 dollars.

    • Yes, that might be about right. Of course I meant when the economy will really start falling apart. Ecologically things are already falling apart.

      • Keyser Soze says:

        Ron, by the way, I know you heard this many times before, but, thank you!

    • SRSrocco says:


      Yes… the world is heading to HELL IN A HANDBASKET. I get a real kick from analysts who believe the real problems of society are due to SOCIALISTS & COMMUNISTS. They believe that if Capitalism was spread throughout the world… then everything would be fine.

      It’s not Peak Oil, Climate Change, Soil and Forest Destruction, Pollution or the collapse of the Ocean systems…. but those lousy Politicians who believe in socialism and communism.

      It looks like the “Official” methane readings from NASA’s CARVE project are no longer being released to the public…LOL. I gather the measurements are become quite shocking. I mean, when NASA’s CARVE project reported 150 kilometer long Methane plumes coming from the Arctic Ocean last year… we know trouble is ahead.

      Then we have the MASSIVE FIRES in Siberia and the ones in the U.S. West Coast. causing smoke to blanket much of North America.

      However… nothing to see here, let’s just move on to the next NON-CLIMATE CHANGE EVENT.

      Looks like there is a huge hole reported in Siberia. They are sending a team of scientists to find out what happened, but it seems as if it was a methane explosion due to a mixture of methane, water and salt heated up by the extremely warm temperatures this year in Siberia. They said it was like a huge champagne cork exploding:

      Here is the link to the video:

      Things get worse and worse….. then Collapse comes virtually overnight.


      • Brian Rose says:

        Trying to explain to others the underlying reasons for the 2008 GFC, and the ensuing slow global growth I find it is not lack of science education, but instead a blind focus on the social and political “causes” that gets in the way.

        I, as all of you, had been warning friends and family since 2006 that oil prices would keep rising slowly but surely due to oil supply constraints. I told people that at some juncture all discretionary demand would be curtailed, and after this point a rapid spike in prices would occur as the “essential” inelastic demand that keeps the global economic system running was eaten into. Sure enough, the summer of 2008 came along, and we came literally hours from a complete global meltdown.

        We then explain that $100 oil is the cause of the slow global growth. In fact, we PREDICTED it. The many people I’ve informed since 2006 fully acknowledged the connection between oil prices and economic growth because of these accurate predictions, BUT the moment the subject is turned away from oil all that “understanding” is null and void – in day to day dialogue slow job growth, faltering GDP growth, geopolitical conflicts, social unrest, the Eurozone crisis, ALL OF IT ends up being blamed on “this political policy did this, that politician did that”.

        I find people simply have a difficult time accepting that problems are caused by physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics (things we have no control over) instead of being caused by agents (politician, terrorists, lobbyists, Supreme Court, etc). While people and politics may influence what is unfolding they are merely a wave on the tide, a small effect relative to the fundamental driving factor.

        This is not a new problem. The inherent desire to anthropomorphize the quirky economic situation since 2008 is the same reason that Homo sapiens historically attributed weather, seasons, floods, plagues, disease, volcanic eruptions, bountiful harvests, and the rising Sun to gods (anthropomorhpic figures) instead of physical laws.

        Evolutionarily this was quite successful – a society is more cohesive if convinced that a flood occurred because of a causative agent that can be appeased; a society is more fragile if its people are told by leaders that “the flood was unpredictable, and we cannot control or influence when the next one will occur”. In terms of cultural memetics, societies that irrationally believed uncontrollable things could be controlled were less prone to civil unrest and societal breakdown.

        We can even see this today – were the plurality of people in the world to comprehend our “infinite growth, finite planet” predicament markets would collapse, monetary systems would unravel, and… well… we would be that memetically fragile society. As odd as it is, the only thing tying this ship together at this juncture is the self-destructive belief that our economic and environmental issues are caused anthropically as opposed to due to unalterable physical laws. The belief that “if only we changed these few simple policies or laws everything would return to normal” is the only thing keeping us afloat, but it’s also the very thing that will make the future that much more perilous.

        -Brian Rose

    • BC says:

      Keyser, Ron, et al.,

      It won’t require $150 oil, as $80-$100 will do quite nicely. The average 5- to 10-year price of oil above $40-$50 will not permit 5- to 10-year average growth of real GDP/final sales per capita. Real final sales per capita have not grown since 2007-08 with the tripling of the average price of oil and per capita global oil extraction flat to declining.

      As a result of Peak Oil (“Peak Everything”) and the Limits to Growth (LTG), at the 10-year trend rate of deceleration of world population since the 1970s, human population growth will peak in the next decade or so and be no higher than today by the late 2020s to early to mid-2030s.

      To see the direct and indirect effects of Peak Oil and LTG, all one need do is look at Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Congo, Chad, Thailand, Myanmar, parts of Mexico, Central America, Ukraine, Argentina, parts of China, Mediterranean Europe, and many more areas hereafter.

      The weakest, most vulnerable global oil, food, and trade linkages of “globalization”, i.e., Anglo-American imperial trade regime, around the world are breaking with predictable consequences. There are areas in the US that could eventually experience similar conditions, becoming domestic microcosms of the global conditions. The Central American refugee crisis at the US southern border is a precursor of coming events.

      Americans in the top 1-10% of the income and wealth distribution strata have been largely insulated from the worsening plight of the bottom 90% over the past 20-30 years; but this is about to change, and perhaps abruptly.

      • Keyser Soze says:

        BC, impressive post!

        Thanks for the information and a key point that is “Anglo-American imperial trade regime,… [colonies jumping ship].

        Can –or will– Obama be able to sail this ship before sinking? About 2-1/2 years?

        I am starting to believe that he might.

  2. Patrick says:

    We are on the Titanic, 15th April 1912, and it’s 0h10… or perhaps even later

    • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

      I’ve used the “Midnight on the Titanic” metaphor before, to-wit, the ship hit the iceberg at 11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14th, and at around midnight perhaps three people on the ship–about 0.1% of those on board–knew that the ship would sink, but that did not mean that the ship was not sinking. The ship’s pumps helped, but they could not come close to fully offsetting the flood of seawater coming into the ship. According to Walter Lord, the passengers on the first (partially full) lifeboat to leave the ship were ridiculed by some passengers were still on board.

      I suppose that the fact that the ship would sink is a classic example of a predicament versus a problem, i.e., there was no way to save the ship; the best that the captain could do was to try to save as many people as possible (problems have solutions, but one has to develop ways to cope with a predicament).

      And I suppose one could argue that alternative sources of energy are to our current fuel predicament as the Titanic’s pumps were to the incoming flood of seawater.

      To continue with the metaphor, what would be analogous to the Titanic actually sinking?

      I would argue that it would be the point in time that the rate of change in global population turns negative. Of course, I suppose that zero or negative population growth globally might be voluntary, but it seems unlikely.

      In any case, anyone have a range of guesses as to when the rate of change in global population goes negative?

      • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

        Some version of my usual ravings about CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) depletion.

        Based on the ELM and based on the Six Country Case History, if we have a declining ECI Ratio (Ratio of production to consumption) in a net oil exporting country, we tend to see an accelerating rate of depletion in remaining CNE.

        Following is the Six Country Case History graph. Post-1995 CNE were 7.3 Gb. In round numbers, the Six Countries’ net exports averaged about 1.0 Gb/year for 1996 to 1999 inclusive–as production increased by 2% from 1995 to 1999.

        Here are the exponential depletion rates in remaining post-1995 CNE by year for the Six Countries:

        1996: ln (6.3/7.3) = -15%/year
        1997: ln (5.3/6.3) = -17%/year
        1998: ln (4.3/5.3) = -21%/year
        1999: ln (3.3/4.3) = -26%/year

        In round numbers, they shipped about 1.0 Gb/year for each of the four years, and post-1995 CNE were 7.3 Gb, so remaining post-1995 CNE fell by about 1.0 Gb per year, 7.3, 6.3, 5.3, 4.3.

        So, looking at the top line production number, the fossil fuel fiesta was full speed ahead, production was UP from 1995 to 1999, but in only four years, they shipped 54% of post-1995 CNE, and here’s the kicker, the rate of depletion in remaining CNE was accelerating.

        In my opinion, we are seeing a similar post-2005 pattern today, i.e., an accelerating rate of depletion in remaining post-2005 Global and Available CNE.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Jeff,

        According to the UN’s low fertility scenario, which matches best with population data from 1950 to 2010 in my opinion, the peak will be 2049 and population decline begins in 2050, by 2100 it is below current levels (that’s the end of the scenario).


  3. Old farmer mac says:

    Unfortunately I must agree with every thing Ron has to say today.The world as a whole is fast headed to hell in a hand basket.

    And barring miracles there is not a damned thing we can do to prevent it.

    I am not saying technical solutions are not possible. BUT the technical solutions that ARE possible are – again barring miracles- politically impossible.If I were the all powerful dictator of the world I could easily come up with technical plans ( with plenty of help of course) that would stop the deterioration of the environment and put us on a sustainable path.Such plans would involve some very drastic changes in business as usual of course such as enforced one child per woman family planning just to start.

    The best we can hope for is to preserve some islands of regional ecological stability and even that might not be possible.

    But collapse probably will arrive at piecemeal at different times it different places.

    We MIGHT survive the next century in North America without very many people dieing from violence or starvation or exposure and we might even have reliable grid sourced electricity and so forth although at much reduced levels of consumption.

    On the other hand ecological collapse over most of the oceans and land masses might be enough to tip the North American ecology into general collapse too.

    Nobody can say for sure. We might descend into a chaotic state here in the USA although I personally do not expect that to happen. I would not be surprised however by rioting and looting that will be bad enough to tip the country into martial law and maybe even a police state.

    But life even in a police state such as Nazi Germany or the old Stalinist era USSR is not as bad as mad max collapse.

    In those countries at those times the only people apt to rob or murder you were wearing the official uniform.Most people survived.

    Or the inevitable hot resource wars that will soon be fought might spill over into this country. Nobody is going to invade the US or Canada for the easily foreseeable future but if things get bad enough somebody might just nuke us for spite.

    Or somebody may engineer and release a new contagious disease that will wipe us out.

    History ain’t over folks.

    Or as the Chinese put it , we are doomed to live in interesting times.

  4. Patrick says:

    Ron, what are you supposed to do when you have an 8 y.o. daughter? Just notice? or cry? or what? nobody ever mention children here…

    • Keyser Soze says:

      Patrick, consider Paraguay as a student exchange.

    • Patrick, I have grandchildren and I hurt for them. So I know how you feel. I cannot advise you as to what to do. But I can tell you what almost everyone else is doing. They don’t believe a damn word of it.

      Thinking about it for a minute, that might be the best thing to do. Worrying about something you cannot change does not help at all and may be dangerous to your health.

      • Patrick says:

        thank you Ron, you are right, but still, it hurts. I suppose it’s easier when your children are adults

        • BC says:

          Patrick, as I personally am doing with my teenage sons, I would kindly and respectively advise cultivating multi-generational values, including communitarianism, reciprocity, and mutual aid at the local/regional scale. It won’t be easy in our hyper-individualist, hyper-materialistic, hyper-competitive, winner-take-all economy and culture/society, but it might be incrementally easier for your generation and young child compared to Boomers and older Xers/Jonesers. I suspect that such values will prove to be a valuable asset to you and yours.

          Multi-generational households and sharing of housing, chores, child and elder care, transportation, utilities, etc., will likely become the norm in the next generation. But keep in mind that we human apes have only lived otherwise for as few as 50-60 years, whereas most of the human ape population today lives in multi-generational social arrangements, not unlike the way we have lived for 99% of our evolution on the planet.

          As real final sales per capita ceases growing and decelerates or contracts inexorably hereafter, those who adapt sooner to the communitarian, multi-generational social arrangement will reduce their cost of living per capita and thus maintain their household purchasing power and standard of living when those in the bottom 90%+ who do not adapt similarly will become increasingly compromised.

          We evolved to cooperate, share the bountiful AND lean times, and provide mutual aid for our individual self-interest in small, complementary tribal groups or extended social arrangements, not to compete as hyper-individualistic automatons in a Hobbesian “war of all against all”.

          • Old farmer mac says:

            ,,We evolved to cooperate, share the bountiful AND lean times, and provide mutual aid for our individual self-interest in small, complementary tribal groups or extended social arrangements, not to compete as hyper-individualistic automatons in a Hobbesian “war of all against all”.

            Hobbes foresaw the rise of the nation state and his writing on this subject remain highly relevant to this day.The state in his terms,”LEVIATHAN” exists as an all powerful institution that serves at least one essential function. It protects us for the most part from each other except when states themselves go to war.

            I believe large parts of the world will revert to a state of anarchy before too long but that this period will not last very long. Local strongmen will arise and impose some sort of rough government in fairly short order.It will be very rough government indeed in most cases but some level of order will prevail.Police states will be the norm rather than the exception.

            In more fortunate parts of the world however things may not get so bad.I think there is a high probability that there will be an economic collapse far deeper than the Great Depression in the thirties here in the US and that it will persist for many many years. But starvation and death from exposure and violence here in the US are not necessarily baked it on a large scale.

            I would not want to be living in Detroit or LA or any big city when the fecal matter hits the fan but most of the people living in these cities in America will probably survive on hand outs of food and water and elementary medical care.

            Some of them will no doubt go feral and a lot of people out in the country will probably be murdered for whatever they have or whatever the looters think they have.

            There is a real possibility rural folks such as yours truly will have to fort up and look after ourselves. The sheriff and his men are not going to be everywhere all the time.

            The middle part of that paragraph goes ” provide mutual aid for our individual self-interest in small, complementary tribal groups or extended social arrangements”.

            That is the key and if anybody is seriously planning ahead those words should be taken as seriously as a heart attack.

            My own family has scattered and is not interested in any of the issues we discuss here. They are clueless and furthermore they wish to remain that way.

            I am hoping to meet some energetic and physically capable long term thinkers in the near future who might like to get involved in actually doing something it terms of preparing for life over the next fifty years.

            There are plenty of old women and men like me out in the boonies that might be agreeable to a lease purchase arrangement of nice little farms that are potentially excellent doomsteads if forward thinking people go looking for them.

            I myself would be glad to rent a place to a young couple interested in learning the basics of farming and a few trades and maybe selling my place to them someday when I am too old to look after it any longer.

            There are many many improvements I will not make but that could be made with a lease purchase agreement- improvements that would mean a substantially higher quality of life to whoever lives here a half a century from now.Such improvements range from a substantial private lake that would provide fish for the table and personal private recreation to planting fruit and nut trees that will do well in hotter drier weather.Permanent irrigation ditches for gravity fed stream water. Standing timber managed for max yield of firewood and lumber decades down the road.Permanent fencing. Near permanent underground storage cellars.

            Getting these things done does not result in any short term economic return.

            Hence they have to be done as labors of love intended for long term utility and unfortunately for me there is no long term to contemplate.

            Old age has me by the back of the neck and the belt and is headed for the cemetery with me-but I probably have a good decade or maybe even two decades left with a little luck.

            Small scale farming is a lot of fun and excellent exercise if you are doing it as a matter of love rather than necessity. Seeing a good crop grow to maturity is one of the most satisfying experiences a person can ever have.

            Actually earning a living on a small farm is very tough to impossible but with some outside income living on a small farm can be among the very finest of lifestyles if one loves nature.

            In times to come cash income is going to be hard to come by. People with small farm aren’t going to need nearly so much cash in order to eat well and enjoy themselves.I can pursue half a dozen hobbies as part of my life style including metalworking, wood working, hunting ,fishing, gardening, wine making, and numerous others.

            In my case these hobbies pay their own way. I generally catch enough fish to make dinner and have a good time to boot without spending more than a couple of dollars or even less.I can make stuff in my shop such as a picnic table well under half what it costs to buy a comparable one.I am not skilled in making wine but some of my neighbors make excellent wine for as little as three or four dollars a gallon exclusive of the time involved.

            I swap a little work with another neighbor for honey of a quality that simply cannot be bought except occasionally as a matter of luck.

            Fifty gallons or more of big juicy wild blackberries sweet as sugar are going to rot around the edge of my fields in the next week or so. Not quite comparable domesticated berries are selling for three bucks a pound on special at local supermarkets.

            Bambi is is the habit of raiding my kitchen garden but I am in the habit of enjoying bambi cutlets so it all works out in the end.

            Life in the city just cannot compare.

            Instead of looking at cars going by while I eat my breakfast I watch the doves and squirrels and humming birds enjoy the breakfast I put out for them.

            Moving to a small farm might not ensure your future when the fecal matter hits the fan but doing so will increase the odds of a happy outcome for you.

            Just buying the place is not enough. You need to live on it and become part of the local community. There will be times when you need your neighbors and they are not going to be there for you unless they know you personally.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi OFM,

              I was wondering about your take on the soil problem mentioned in Ron’s post. Are there feasible solutions such as a change in farming practices which would mitigate the problem? I assume you are more familiar with this topic than I am and would have a better ability to distinguish realistic solutions (if they exist), from overly optimistic “research”.

    • D.B. Turton says:

      Please teach them about horticulture, permaculture, agriculture! And don’t forget to teach them about music, story-telling, co-operation. My own grandkidlettes already like to “garden”, but that is at least a start!

      • Keyser Soze says:


        The reason of ‘getting curious’ about Paraguay, even that your daughter still too young is very simple:

        1) External debt: #105

        2) 100% hydroelectricity. Paraguay is the worlds’ largest exporter of electricity—even when its electricity distribution is the worse in South America.

        3) Largest fresh water reservoir in the world.

        4) Tropical weather—plenty of food and animals

        5). More than half of its exports are food.

        6] One of the least urbanized nation in the world—which will come handy during the coming [oil] humanity crisis.

        • Watcher says:

          The bad news is if it’s known about, it will be overwhelmed.

          Besides which, in that array of qualities there is no mention of armed forces trained to mow down innocent and helpless refugees trying to get in. Without that, you have no hope.

          The better option is places with obvious and serious reasons to be unattractive. Defeat those quietly. Then you are one of the few survivors.

          • Keyser Soze says:

            Watcher, in a nuclear confrontation, where is this ‘unattractive’ location be?

            • Watcher says:

              I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic. Nuclear war isn’t that bad. You may recall this got Carl Sagan censured by some league of scientists or another. He claimed all atmospheric models indicated that Nuclear Winter would result from a total inventory exchange.

              The models did not show that at all. He made it up.

              For now, the inventories are much smaller than then.

              As has been noted before, the way to fight consumption suppression wars is not to bomb cities. That looks like the way to do it, but it is not. Needlessly dangerous. The way to do it is interdict supplies, and you can do that without nukes. Japan’s influx of tankers is obviously vulnerable. Has been since August 1941 when FDR cut them off. It’s why they bombed Pearl, to kill the US Pacific Fleet and prevent interdiction of tankers from Indonesia.

              Anyway, you interdict supplies and don’t kill them so that they consume more. Then Japan surrenders in a few weeks. Then you have them lay down their arms. Then you move in and kill them all when they can’t retaliate. That is how you reduce consumption.

              As for where to live nuclear exchange-wise. Upwind of targets, obviously. There is also the On The Beach thinking. I don’t know if the concept of Hadley Cells is still accepted, but there was not / is not(?) supposed to be very much air mixing north and southern hemispheres. Pretty much no targets in the south.

              That’s more obvious thinking again, so you’ll be among hordes with the same thoughts who will overwhelm the food supply. Maybe Canada, where people fear the cold, is the place to go. Defeat the cold and eat walrus.

              • Keyser Soze says:


                My theory goes like this:

                1st) Financial [currency and default] collapse [2014/2016] that will lead to…

                2nd) Energy Shortages, as nations desperately try to revitalize their economies. Then,…

                3rd) Political Collapse, as the politicians and bankers won’t be able to ‘kick the Can’ anymore. The only solution from this point on is to take by force, which as stated by the Secretary of State, will lead to confrontation, and eventfully conflict [WW-3].

                I am not talking climate here. I am talking nuclear war between China and Russia versus US.

                Watch Egypt and Iran versus US military base in the Middle East [Israel]. Here is the beginning of the end for humanity, as we know it.

                Anyway, in a perfect world, Canada would be a great place to run [2022 / 2025]. However, it’s too close to the US, so it will become, literally, a US colony out of desperation.

                So call me crazy but, I stick with my 1st suggestion: Paraguay! Wonder why?

                It’s away from the coast. It has plenty of water and food. And, it generates its energy from rivers instead of a renewable energy that is heavily dependent on a commodity that it is going extinct: oil

      • Keyser Soze says:

        Turton, I agree with everything you said.

    • I am in the minority in that I believe that collapse is inevitable, but that with sufficient planning and co-operation it is survivable by our kids.

      • Old farmer mac says:

        I am with Paul from NSW.

        I think the best hope of long term stability lies in countries such as the USA and Canada given that we still have enormous amounts of undeveloped land in relation to our populations and that we are geographically well situated in military terms as well as having truly substantial reserves of just about all the minerals that are truly essential to our economic survival.

        A small country with long borders in relation to it’s size and population and a tiny military establishment will be over run by more powerful neighbors and in a bad spot when it comes to obtaining essential materials that will have to be imported.

        The size and power of our federal government here in the US scares the hell out of me these days but when the fecal matter hits the fan I expect it to stand although its nasty side is going to emerge Jeckyll and Hyde fashion.Martial law on a regional basis is virtually baked in and with a little bad luck we may be living in a police state or military dictatorship in fifty years.

        But somebody with a way to make a living that who lives on a small farm can still live a pretty decent life under a police state if he keeps his mouth shut and his head down.Of course that farm should not be too big or too nice a place to live- else the farmer might wind up living in the chicken coop or on a prison farm far away and a local appartatchik in the house. I am sorry I cannot remember how to spell this work but it is Russian for ” minor bureaucrat”.

        At any rate my own opinion is that the odds of being able to live a more or less normal life are higher in the USA and Canada than just about anywhere else.

        Some other countries might be almost as good except for the risk of outside aggression and the lack of some truly essential industry. Australia if I am mistaken will not have any motor vehicle manufacturing industry left in a few more years.

        We are still going to be using trucks in fifty years barring the invention of magic carpets.

        • Yes, mac I absolutely agree.
          When I look at the economics of a very hostile environment I see food and logistics. If someone can manage to provide these they will have an income. The next thing I see is to be humble, keep your head down, mouth shut and defences up. With a lot of planning and preparation there is a chance. It will be a unique environment and time in history, the vast majority will not see it coming.
          My limited view on security

  5. Euan Mearns says:

    Ron, some great maps. Deforestation and poor water management worry me a lot more than other environmental crises. But where I stay life goes on. The major challenge is to find a safe flight corridor between Europe and the Far East – Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Israel and Palestine all off limits. Politically things are falling apart. My latest offerings. The first is a guest post by Roger Andrews that has been picked up by about 20 other blogs, his final chart runs risk of becoming iconic. The Energy and Man posts are the first two parts of my epic trilogy. I’ve heard that Ridley Scott is interested …..

    Renewable Energy Growth in Perspective
    Energy and Mankind part 1
    Energy and Mankind part 2

    • Ed Auden says:

      Is biomass really renewable or is it just soil mining contributing to other environmental problems, such as land degradation, water pollution and habitat destruction?

      Solar and wind require upfront energy to build, all of which comes from fossil fuels. They also use rare earth minerals; over 90% of which come from China. China is willing to contaminate the areas these are mined with radioactive by products. The real problem with solar and wind is they are intermittent with no affordable way to store energy in the quantity needed for stable supply. By affordable I mean at a cost which does not by itself collapse our economies.

  6. Fuser says:

    Great essay. On the advice of Ron and others on this site I have just completed reading Overshoot. Loved it. I thought I had everything pretty well in perspective before reading that book, but I am understanding much more now. Thanks! Any other recommendations are much appreciated.

    • I could recommend this one. It is a thin little book but every word is a shocker. The review is from Amazon. The bold is mine.

      Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail

      *Immoderate Greatness* explains how a civilization’s very magnitude conspires against it to cause downfall. Civilizations are hard-wired for self-destruction. They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to intrinsic, inescapable biophysical limits combined with an inexorable trend toward moral decay and practical failure. Because our own civilization is global, its collapse will also be global, as well as uniquely devastating owing to the immensity of its population, complexity, and consumption. To avoid the common fate of all past civilizations will require a radical change in our ethos—to wit, the deliberate renunciation of greatness—lest we precipitate a dark age in which the arts and adornments of civilization are partially or completely lost.

    • BC says:

      Fuser, you might find instructive Catton’s “Bottleneck” and David Hackett Fischer’s “The Great Wave”.

      If you have not done so, please see Al Bartlett’s lecture, a timeless classic that should be a part of every high school curriculum:

      Moreover, I would submit that one is not a fully informed adult without understanding “Limits to Growth”, including the global structural effects of Peak Oil:

      Finally, once one understands net energy, i.e., EROEI or EROI, the next highly useful concept to understand and internalize in the context of Peak Oil, LTG, overshoot, and bottleneck is exergy:

    • Tom F says:

      May I suggest you read Jay Hanson’s synopsis on the situation:

      Jay has been studying our collapse from every possible angle for over 20 years and everything he has learned is boiled down in that short paper. What you intend to do about it is up to you.

      • BC says:

        Yes, Tom, good suggestion. I’m sure you and I could list dozens of excellent sources, but at some point it becomes overkill or just plain overwhelming.

        Also, I’m not sure that democracy vs. capitalism as Jay proposes is practically possible. I suspect he means democratic-socialism or -technocracy, or something similar to what Hubbert proposed in the 1930s.

        An energy/exergy per capita credit system for a high-velocity, no-cost medium of exchange and perhaps to include a Basic Income Guarantee to replace fractional reserve debt-money and wage/salary income is a reasonable concept to consider given the conditions we face as a society and civilization; but the ruling rentier Power Elite top 0.01-0.1% would fight this to the bloody end.

        All wealth at its base is dependent upon the capacity of a system to grow or maintain at a socially acceptable level net exergetic flows per capita per unit per time at a given level of sustainable net energy per capita.

        One of the great challenges we face as a complex, high-tech society is the high fixed costs of maintaining the system perpetually, including the cost borne by the bottom 90-99% to allow the top 1-10% to receive 20-50% of all income and own 40-85% of all financial wealth. The costs to the bottom 90-99% to allow the top 1-10% to “have it all” is prohibitive to the bottom 90% “having enough”.

  7. Allan H says:

    This is all part of a natural cycle that occurs to most species. The species grows, eats way too much as it’s population booms, sends ripples of destruction out into the rest of the ecology, then population collapses as lack of food and the inevitable disease takes them down.

    Whether this is an extinction event or merely a depopulation event will depend on several factors
    1) how far climate change goes
    2) nuclear releases to the atmosphere and waters
    3) bugs – if the butterfly, moth, bee, and pollinating flies decrease far enough, flowering plant life will die off in that area, thus destroying the local ecosystem
    4) disease – new more virulent diseases or reduced immune systems due to poor diet or nuclear effects can reduce population very quickly. The natives of North and South America of the 1500’s and after are an example of dramatic population loss due to introduced virulent disease.
    5) evolution of species – either through natural or induced changes will make them either more fit for the new environment or less

    I certainly would not want to be around when large populations start to migrate due to habitat loss (desertification, climate change, ocean rise, past peak oil descent). The clash could be of epic proportions and will usually produce conditions that are unsustainable. Can you imagine all those wall street, office and entertainment workers trying to move into rural areas? Probably a 100:1 or more population ratio of indigenous to migrant. There goes the neighborhood.

    Well, I guess we were promised change.

    • Yorkshire Miner says:

      What do you mean you would not like to be around when large populations start to migrate. Perhaps you live in the US and missed the news. The Italian navy has rescued 3,000 north African migrant in the last two days. There was the usual sprinkling of dead in the boats. That is an immigration rate of 500,000 per year. This has just started and the clowns ruling the mad house her in Europe haven’t got a clue about exponential growth

  8. James says:

    I was thinking that if we stopped economic growth, superinsulated all of our spaces, limit reproduction to one child or less and eliminate 85% of car travel, we could buy ourselves twenty-five years, enough time for much of the population to die-off naturally. But then I realized that the positive feedback loops that Prof. Guy McPherson and Sam Carana keep up with, are already underway from CO2 released forty years ago. It doesn’t matter what we do now, we’re cooked. We’re going to heat up 10x faster than at any time in the last 65 million years. I guess we could shoot for medium-rare instead of well-done, but we’ll likely just huddle wherever we can find AC until the power goes off and the radioactive plumes begin to circle the globe.

    A was also thinking it might be a good idea if nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen started a school to train people to do nothing but decommission nuclear plants, have them ready for future deployment, but increasing population pressures will probably mean that few of the plants will be decommissioned and will be re-certified instead, until they blow.

    Humans aren’t a normal species by any means, they’ve evolved to become a malignant, metastatic cancer through the use of information and tools and have temporarily escaped to rampage through the ecosystem in pursuit of endless growth and ever-lasting life. They’ve had a lot of success, but cancers like us don’t usually get too far before killing their parent system. Humans just want what all cancers want, more.

    • I understand and agree with everything. However, the views of McPherson and Carana seem to be that we are destined for Near Term Extinction. I agree with a collapse, but not extinction.
      This may come across as an attack on them but it isn’t.

      • James says:

        Official U.S. reporting on atmospheric methane releases have been suspended and a giant blowhole opens up in Siberia. Well, those are just a couple of recent developments and aren’t good signs. So what’s the worst thing that can happen if the average continental surface temperature rises by 16F in a decade and the ecosystem enters its final cachexic state? Human extinction? Nah, probably not, but there will be an extinction of civilization with most of its attendant complexity and a massive loss of ecosystem complexity. Has anyone modeled the biological effect of most of the nuclear plants and fuel pools melting down? That can’t be good for reproductive success. I think extinction, if it occurs, will take several generations to happen which is really less than a blink of the eye in geologic time.

  9. Fred Magyar says:

    @ James,

    “Humans aren’t a normal species by any means, they’ve evolved to become a malignant, metastatic cancer through the use of information and tools and have temporarily escaped to rampage through the ecosystem in pursuit of endless growth and ever-lasting life. They’ve had a lot of success, but cancers like us don’t usually get too far before killing their parent system. Humans just want what all cancers want, more.”

    Not wanting to harp on you but this particular analogy is one that quite often get’s bandied about and it really rubs me the wrong way! OK, ok, I guess I can accept it as a metaphor for our current situation but it is one that is profoundly flawed and ignores some very basic biological science. To be clear, I agree with the basic points made by RON. I also think we are screwed!

    However, Humans are indeed quite normal as a biological species, albeit one that has demonstrated the capacity to profoundly change its environment. That in no way makes them unique or abnormal. For example, cyanobacteria profoundly altered the ecosystem and the atmosphere about 3.5 bya. One could say, much more profoundly than Humans are doing now. Plenty of other examples abound.

    If you put some yeast into a vat of fruit juice they will feed on the sugars and multiply exponentially until they use up all their resources and end up dieing off after their own wastes overwhelm them. Humans are just very clever apes that found oil and we are behaving in a similar manner. While we may wish that collectively we had the wisdom to do better than a unicellular organism, obviously that hasn’t yet been shown to be the case. But it makes us neither unusual nor biologically abnormal.

    As for cancers they don’t ‘WANT’ anything at all, they are not a self aware and conscious entity. Disclaimer, while I’m not an oncologist, I do have a background in biology and occasionally help one of the top liver surgeons in Brazil to digitally enhance images of metastatic tumors so I especially dislike this particular analogy.

    Granted, perhaps certain individual economists, bankers, CEOs, lawyers and religious leaders, disseminating their infinite growth meme might in some sense be analogous to the breakdown in normal regulatory mechanisms within the cell.

    The Development and Causes of Cancer
    The fundamental abnormality resulting in the development of cancer is the continual unregulated proliferation of cancer cells. Rather than responding appropriately to the signals that control normal cell behavior, cancer cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner, invading normal tissues and organs and eventually spreading throughout the body. The generalized loss of growth control exhibited by cancer cells is the net result of accumulated abnormalities in multiple cell regulatory systems and is reflected in several aspects of cell behavior that distinguish cancer cells from their normal counterparts.


    • James says:


      There’s more to biology than kayaking with the jellyfish. Cells responds to stimuli just as humans do and humans are a collection of trillions of cells that are basically unconscious of what they are and what they’re doing. The mechanisms of loss of control are different at the cellular and the ecosystem level but the result is very similar and the growth patterns and metastasis is astonishingly alike. I thought the closest metaphor for uncontrolled growth of civilization was fungal growth, but the evolutionary events that led to this malignancy are all related to a rapid change in DNA and phenotype, the kind that results in unlimited growth.

      Why would you like the analogy? Cancer is a destructive, disfiguring and often lethal malady. Look around you and tell me what you see? Healthy ecosystem from sea to sea or an ever spreading growth of civilization’s cells, arterioles and venules penetrating everywhere that nutrition can be had. Study the systemics, the requirements of complex adaptive systems, the cellular evolution and you will arrive at the same conclusion. I’m currently working on a paper that will go into much more detail and not leave a single gap in logic.

      An excision of London and pathology examination would certainly show a late stage malignancy with widespread metastasis. Perhaps you don’t like what I will soon reveal because it finally and completely eliminates all of that slow-release dopamine that keeps people running to church on Sundays and praying to their technological savants. Well, I’m mistaken, it won’t eliminate any of that.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        @ James

        “There’s more to biology than kayaking with the jellyfish.”

        You’re kidding, right?!

        “Look around you and tell me what you see? Healthy ecosystem from sea to sea or an ever spreading growth of civilization’s cells, arterioles and venules penetrating everywhere that nutrition can be had. Study the systemics, the requirements of complex adaptive systems, the cellular evolution and you will arrive at the same conclusion.”

        You don’t think I’ve looked around? I have studied systemics and the requirements of complex adaptive systems, including cellular evolution.

        My points were apparently poorly expressed, they were: 1) humans are not an abnormal species, any more than cyanobacteria were when they changed the atmosphere 3.5 bya, ask the anaerobic bacteria how they liked all that O2… 2) There is nothing abnormal from a biological perspective about a species exploding its population when it gets access to an unlimited food supply (in our case fossil fuels). It is generally followed by dieoff when the food supply runs out. 3) Cancer doesn’t ‘WANT’ anything.

        “Perhaps you don’t like what I will soon reveal because it finally and completely eliminates all of that slow-release dopamine that keeps people running to church on Sundays and praying to their technological savants.”

        You have obviuosly mistaken me for someone else!

        Other than these points I was basically agreeing with you!

        “I’m currently working on a paper that will go into much more detail and not leave a single gap in logic.”

        Love to read it!


        • Fred, let me put in my 2 cents worth. Humans are, of course, just animals. And like all other animals they are always trying to expand their population and territory.
          This is a very important point: Humans are in competition with other species for resources and territory. But suddenly, (suddenly in geological time), the human population exploded to the detriment of all other wild species.

          What happened to allow that?

          What happened that Homo sapiens evolved an adaptation that gave them a tremendous advantage over all other species. That advantage was their brainpower. With that brainpower they figured out how to use energy outside the body, first fire then… This advantage is so great that it has allowed the human population to explode. It has allowed them to take over territory formerly belonging to other species. So they started dying out or being killed for food by humans. And this process is still continuing, and will very likely continue until we have wiped them all out.

          So call it what you want but that is what is happening. Some call humans a “plague species”. But those are just words, an attempt to give a name to what is going on. Whatever you call it is merely a matter of semantics.

          Perhaps you could give our species a more accurate and descriptive name? But whatever you call our species the words “ordinary” or “just another species” should not be considered as accurate.

        • James says:

          @ Fred

          The best part of biology is “kayaking with the jellyfish” and I’m sure there are a few fish remaining too. I’m a little envious of you proximity to the ocean.

          Regarding the Great Oxidation Event, it occurred over a couple of billion years. What humans are doing is a replay of something molecules did long before the oxidation event. It is more powerful than the oxidation event and in our case, immensely faster. Perhaps, should some organism evolve post-humans, that has an analog mind, a mind capable of storing images and relationships and capable of reflecting upon them, they will core into the soils, collect our fossils and call our age the great radioactivity event or the great technological trauma. In any case we have been transformed and we have been decoupled from the population controlling forces that previously ensured our long-term survival. It may be time to stop concentrating on what is happening and turn towards survival strategies while others continue awaiting the return of their saviors at the behest of various channels of propaganda. One more appealing characteristic of the natural world is the paucity of insanity which seems to be a natural by-product of still incipient human cognition.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            @ James,

            The best part of biology is “kayaking with the jellyfish” and I’m sure there are a few fish remaining too. I’m a little envious of you proximity to the ocean.

            Not to rub it in but the ocean was as flat as glass today and crystal clear and yes, there were quite a few fish still around. Even some healthy looking corals. I took some pictures… I’m sure 99.999% of the general population boating out on the reefs today didn’t have the slightest inkling as to what is really happening.

            If you want to use the cancer analogy, neither did a good friend of mine, young guy, 49, looked healthy and strong as an ox. Gone in four months, stage 4 lung cancer, metastasized before he had a clue he was even sick, guy never had a chance.

            Just go out and enjoy it while you can!


        • Keyser Soze says:


          Love your post.

          And you expressed it very well.

    • Allan H says:

      “The fundamental abnormality resulting in the development of cancer is the continual unregulated proliferation of cancer cells. Rather than responding appropriately to the signals that control normal cell behavior, cancer cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner, invading normal tissues and organs and eventually spreading throughout the body. The generalized loss of growth control exhibited by cancer cells is the net result of accumulated abnormalities in multiple cell regulatory systems and is reflected in several aspects of cell behavior that distinguish cancer cells from their normal counterparts”

      Sounds a lot like the uncontrolled actions of humans on the planet. Most animals focus solely on their natural sustainable roles, humans seem to have other ideas outside of the normal natural system and have the ability to pursue these ideas, even if they are not good ones.

  10. Paulo says:

    No offense intended with this comment.

    My brother, who already lives in an awesome seaside home with property, is an unhappy guy. He is simply that way. He has been looking for many years for some mythical new home. For years it was Ecuador, then it was Costa Rica, then back again and so on and so forth. When he asked my opinion I always gave him this answer, “You are the wrong colour moving to the wrong continent. You will always be a gringo outsider no matter how long you live there. If times get really tough you will be one of the first to be fleeced….or worse. Before that happens you will simply be a gringo always paying more than the locals. You will never, ever…ever be a local. Best to find another way to live where you belong”.

    I stand by my comments. There aren’t enough guns or supports to survive where you don’t belong when times get really tough. If you are North American, you don’t belong in Paraguay except as a temporary tourist. You will not be welcomed when sugar turns to sh%!.

    I think people should make their preps to suit where they live and who they are. There are no easy answers or solutions. My humble opinion is that North America is an excellent place to be in a downturn or collapse. There is a lot going for every region, albeit anyone short-sided enough to live in Las Vegas or Phoenix should have their head examined. I certainly don’t belong in some big city and a city type liberal wouldn’t really fit in where I live. While we might be able to find/grow our own food and heat with wood, we will never have easy transportation solutions. Those are two extremes. I am sure there are many fine places to live in the US where there is a smallish city or town, near adequate food sources with transportation options. We still have the rule of law, even though it is often applied in discriminatory ways. It isn’t a military dictatorship, yet. There is still free speech.

    Personally, I don’t see the future so full of gloom for my family simply because we do live in a good place. Some would say we made sacrifices in order to live here, now. We live in a rural valley about an hours drive from a city of 35,000 folks. Nothing in between. I think, boy….one whole hour, how inconvenient. sarc off. I went through a cancer scare 3 years ago. My mom has Alzheimers. My in-laws are sick with declining options and enjoyment. My wife and I enjoy each and every day and give thanks for what we do have. Why waste even one day of our life fretting and being misreable about ‘collapse’. Most of you know we have made our preps from what I have posted here and elsewhere over the years. However, those preps have morphed into a satisfying and rewarding lifestyle. We actually enjoy it when the power is out for days because we are set up for it. If it didn’t come back on, we would make do some other way. But I’ll bet money our grid will still be intact 20 years from now. 50 years from now. (BC).

    By the way, I caught a fresh salmon this morning before I headed to a gun course (necessary to have so I can still purchase guns…I stupidly let my license lapse). We are having salmon tonight with grilled zuchini from the garden and some steamed rice as filler. There will be too much to eat. Cost per person….20 cents? Charles Hugh Smith writes a lot of Doom and Gloom and I don’t agree with many of his opinions, however, what I never miss are his ” What we’re having for dinner at our house’ articles. He has the right idea and a few of his recipes have been copied by moi.

    Take care and thanks for this fine site, Ron.


    • Keyser Soze says:

      Paulo, I think you, as well as Ron’s readers, will appreciate the link below:

      By Walter Haugen:

      My farming is also slightly dependent on fossil fuel energy, as I use 10 gallons of gasoline and my labor to grow 10,000 pounds of food per year. However, in my case I am 25-35 times more efficient than industrial agriculture, measured by input/output analysis.

      I am no fan of Greer, as I find him arrogant and wordy. However, he did hit on a winner with catabolic collapse. As for Diamond, he is the only one I have heard who understands the role of the 1st and 2nd derivative in plotting the inflection point where marginal returns change sign. Tainter alludes to this but doesn’t even use the term “inflection point” in his analysis. As for Kunstler, he has looked at the problem in depth and his “World Made by Hand” books look at the sociological effects – and are a good read too.

      • Dave Ranning says:

        I am no fan of Greer, as I find him arrogant and wordy.

        I thought I was the only one.
        He is a postmodernist, with little scientific literacy.

      • Paulo says:

        Thank you Keyser. I will pursue this and concur with your opinions. Much appreciated. Hang in there, boyos.


    • wimbi says:

      With you all the way, Paulo! Did the same, think the same way. Problem I see is that my grandkids here will be overwhelmed by frantic outsiders (I myself am way too old to have any personal worry about futures). What to do about that?

      Maybe things will get too bad too fast for them to get here. Maybe.

      PS. our Norway friend tells us it was 85F yesterday above the arctic circle-totally unheard of!

      By-by “permafrost”

      • Doug Leighton says:


        “PS. our Norway friend tells us it was 85F yesterday above the arctic circle-totally unheard of!”

        Not sure this is true (the 85F I mean). I’m in Bergen at moment and was in Oslo yesterday. It’s true, temperatures are running about 10 C above average for July, perhaps above arctic circle they did reach 85F. The By-By permafrost is certainly becoming true, negative feed-back loops and all!


        • SRSrocco says:


          I have seen reports of 85-90 degree temps in Siberia… which is off the charts. Hence, the hundreds of fires there blanketing 2,500 miles of coast line in the Arctic.

          These extreme high temps ate blamed on the collapse of the jet stteam… due to climate change.


          • Tommylei says:

            I moved to SoCal from Baltimore the summer of the Watts riots. I played football for the same college team as Jim Zorn. The San Gabriel Valley was the biggest smog trap in SoCal then. Smog as we knew it 50 years ago has diminished dramatically. I thought that the precursor to smog was ozone. The precursor to ozone was oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons reacting in the ‘atmosphere’. Scientists discussed the hole in the ozone layer in the southern hemisphere and the reason faulted was chlorofluorocarbons (aka freon). What I find particularly curious is now that we have removed the smog, we have more sun rays heating the earth, yet global temperatures have been in a cooling trend for at least 16 years at this point. Go figure. I shutter to think how warm the world would be now if we still had the smog problems of the past combined with the current problem of massive CO2 being given off by the hot air uber-liberals pushing their tax-and-spend climate rouse.

    • Keyser Soze says:

      Paulo, why that I said; consider Paraguay as a student exchange?

      a) Because she is young! She would be able to learn the language and its customs.

      b) Most Paraguayans are poor. They live with little. Can’t say the same about Americans.

      c) I could had said to stay/visit with the Amish, in America. However, can’t trust their neighbors

      d) Maybe you’re an wolf [strong/loner] doesn’t need to belong to a pack. But, is your wife an wolf? Women need interaction. Need people. Friends.

      • rollo says:

        Paraguay has been seen as a paradise (or at least a place for a new start) for at least 120 years. It doesn’t always quite work out that way

        • Keyser Soze says:


          The last 120 years = Industrial. Then financial.

          The next 120 years = Collapse. Then wars.

          “I don’t know (how WW-3 will be fought). But I can tell you what they’ll use in the fourth. They’ll use rocks!” – Albert Einstein

    • Inglorious says:

      I’d disagree that a ‘gringo’ can’t adapt to Latin America, it’s bloody hard but not impossible. Since 2005 I’ve spent about half of every year at least living in Cusco, Peru and lived here since 2010. The people in my neighbourhood and around now treat me like a local, I pay the same prices in the shops as everyone else and fight my corner as good as any local when prices aren’t right. My Spanish is as good as many of the locals as Spanish is the second language for a lot of them.

      Adaptation isn’t easy, in fact most people who try and migrate to Cusco end up giving in and moving to gated communities in Lima where they have all the creature comforts of a Western lifetstyle. Adaptation is possible, it just means giving up a lot of your expectations.

      Commenting on some earlier comments, I’d agree that living somewhere unattractive is the way to go (i.e Cusco or in my case as of next year an hour and a halfs drive from Cusco). In the future migration will be a serious issue and I see Latin American migration heading statewise in droves.

      • Dave Ranning says:

        South America is the bright spot on the planet, both politically and for biophysical robustness.
        This has not gone unnoticed by the global elite.

        • The problem I see with South America is that if you look at

          and scroll to the heat map for the world you see that South America will probably have serious migration. Due to the infrastructure I don’t know that it is going to cope very well. Though there are few places that will. Southern Chile, for example, would be ideal (I was born there), but it is does not have very good infrastructure outside the main urban areas.

          • Dave Ranning says:

            I was in Argentina last year, and even with the current economic crisis, it was impressive- abundant resources with a small, well educated population.
            But, the global elite are there also– we divided up one river between Ted Turner and the group I was fly fishing with.
            Turner and other elite’s are buying huge tracts of land.

          • Watcher says:

            As noted above, if a country does not have armed forces on the border trained to mow down helpless refugees trying to get in during a collapse, then that country has no hope.

            • I am not sure it is that simple. Some locations have built fences, others have land barriers, Australia has a large body of water.
              For example Chile. You are not going to migrate over the Andes (easily). The truth is if you look at the terrain, it is a pretty well protected spot.
              Coming from Mid Africa to Europe you can’t go through the Sahara, you have to go by the Canary Islands or through the middle east. That is not to say it is not happening I just cite it as an example.
              There has been a lot of press in Australia regarding boat people, but the reality is that the numbers are minuscule compared to other places (Europe). But as the world warms, there are 2 barriers to illegally migrating to Australia. The ocean, and the desert. At 3C rise anyone landing in Broome may wish they stayed at home.

  11. Keyser Soze says:

    Paul from New South Wales,

    Would you know how will Chile generate electricity?

  12. robert wilson says:

    Any guesses as to whether or not commercial quantities of oil and gas will be found near Florida or other Eastern States. There certainly wasn’t much onshore.

    • Ken Barrows says:

      I have no idea, but will its marginal cost to marginal revenue ratio be (much) better than the Bakken? If not, forget about it, unless drillers can find enough reckless lenders.

  13. Petro says:

    good essay!
    I read it and said to myself: now, this is the Ron of “Of Fossil Fuels and Human…”!
    -If i had to “peak a bone” with:
    “I cannot say when things will really start to fall apart, but they most definitely will. And I cannot say how long the decline in human population will take but I would guess a few decades. And I cannot say how many humans will be among the survivors, but I would guess less than half a billion. And I cannot even venture a guess as to what life will be like after it all settles out, so I won’t guess.”, I have to say that you are very optimistic!
    -Not counting at all the environmental destruction, but only CO2/ burn emissions, what we are seeing today is the effect of what we burnt 40 years ago…and we burnt in the last 30 years MORE than we burnt in the prior 250 years COMBINED!!!
    -Biochemically speaking (which – regarding life – is the only angle of view that matters!), the only “life forms” that have “a chance” are the simple mono-cellular or “archaic” oligo-cellular ones (details of “why?” far exceed the scope of this reply!)…ALL complex multi-cellular life forms (…let alone vertebrates…therefore apes…therefore us…) ARE SCREWED! LITERALLY!
    …and that scenario is plausible ONLY if we (McCain, Pelosi..and al.) do not think that we can win a war with RussiAandChina, for if/when the ICBMs start to fly- sorry viruses, even you are f*****!
    …oh, speaking of viruses, I almost forgot: let those suckers hope that the 450+ reactors around the globe have enough water to cool down, otherwise… well, you know.
    …”And I cannot even venture a guess as to what life will be like after it all settles out, so I won’t guess.”…YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GUESS! There wont be ANY!
    -As the great late Al Bartlett said: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”
    -We are in the upper handle of the hokey stick…all the people contributing their thoughts to this blog… and all their data… and details… and charts… and pics… and replies…and…and…
    -That is nice, but no offense to you ALL: I think (judging from what you all write here), even though theoretically speaking you all have a general idea, practically none of you has any clear PRACTICAL idea that we are WAY past the point of no return…Peak oil -I suspect- will be the least thing of our major problems…OUR very own existence WILL BE!
    …drink that wine, smoke that Cuban, take that vacation, cash that 401k………you will not need it later…
    -So in short, if I had to “peak a bone”, your article is way too optimistic!
    Again, very good article. Thanks!
    Be well,

    • Petro -How does a nuclear winter remove all viruses?

      • Petro says:

        Hi Paul,
        I am assuming that you honestly are asking for my answer here, so keeping in mind that the full and complete answer to your ? will need a blog in and of itself (if at all possible!), I am giving you the short and a somewhat more detailed versions of my answer.
        Short version:
        -compared to other organic and inorganic liaisons (i.e. stones, rocks, sand, methane, oil, etc), viruses are highly organised organic “entities” made of simple sugars, proteins and lipids.
        -However, they are NOT life forms! They become one ONLY when they reside INSIDE a true life form (i.e. host cells). So, what you refer to as “nuclear winter” may not destroy all viruses (although that is not the case!!!), but it Will however destroy the life forms inside which viruses must reside to become “alive” – therefore for all practical purposes it will reduce them (viruses) into nano-pebbles and nano-rocks. I hope that satisfies your inquiry. If so and if you have no more time and/or curiosity, stop reading here. If that is not the case, carry on…

        Long version (somewhat):
        -you are making the same mistake that >90% of well informed people who believe in climate change, peak oil (energy), etc. make. And that is:
        you are looking at this very simplistically in matters of principal, macro side of understanding; and very confusingly (in terms of too many unnecessary details) in matters of consecutive/successive, everyday side of understanding.
        Please, allow me to expand.
        >90% of people are like TOMMYLEI here: brain-washed, brain-rinsed, brain-dried (and repeat!), “…staying for days in line to get the new iPad (or you name the product)…”, “…our heroes are fighting abroad to defend and secure our freedoms at home…”, “…pelosi-is different from boehner;hillary-is different from-mccain;dems are different from reps…” type of crowd/herd. Trying to inform/convince/convert them is naive and futile at best! Unfortunately for us (and them as well, but they are so blissfully ignorant and so prickly arrogant to know it!!!), they or people supported by them (i.e. bush,hillary,mccain,pelosi-et-al) decide on all matters…so we are all f*****!

        >90% of the 10% of people left, who as I stated above are well informed and open minded, misunderstand the situation or get entangled in unnecessary and complex details, charts, graphs, postings (i.e: most of commentators here and similar sites) to the point in which they lose the whole comprehension of the situation/predicament we are in and therefore fail to draw the correct conclusions. Some of them believe that peak oil means that we are going to run out of oil (we never will!). They give/hope-in misguided alternatives as solutions because they get caught in inaccurate, unnecessary details which they do not understand: for example the fellow who is asking Ron here about bio-fuels; he clearly does not understand the concept of EROEI (among other things he/she does not understand!) which exposes/renders bio-fuels as the dumb scam they truly are! But furthermore, even the 10% of the 10% of people who better understand the situation (if you still can follow the thought at this point), over analyse it and lose the essential point. For example: there are well informed and knowledgeable people here who will try to explain that bio-fuels have an EROEI of <2/1 and to maintain our highly complex way of life and therefore progress our civilization we NEED and MUST have an EROEI of at least 10-15/1 as a balance of our energy equation. In simpler terms: we have TRILLIONS of barrels of oil left in the ground BUT we cannot recover them in an economically logical and sustainable manner (and that by the way, is the true meaning of peak oil – simplistically speaking!) recovering them means (among other technical things and challenges) an EROEI <10/1 therefore they become unrecoverable (again, very simplistically speaking) These people, although very well informed and bright, fail to comprehend that if one truly understands the principals of physics, chemistry and thermodynamics (among others), one needs not knowing complicated eroei charts of bio-fuels and wind turbines to truly know they are useless in terms of fueling our future ever expanding energy needs!
        -Simply: for a bio-fuel to become useful the sun has to shine – the plant has to grow – we have to biochemically and physically manipulate that plant to make the biofuel -all steps which consume energy and render the end product (the bio-fuel) VERY inefficient! If I truly comprehend the principals of thermodynamics, I stop right there, I do not need to ask RON to tell me if bio-fuels are useful or not – they aren't (again, in terms of civilization energy needs)! Making bio-fuels for everyday use is like digging the Plains with sticks and stone tools…we have tractors and combines now!

        -So in terms of: could the collapse be survivable by a few bunker-ed deep underground with long term food and water (if one calls that living!)…maybe(although I doubt it !). But in terms of us as a civilization, us humans as the highest organized organic bio-form available on this planet – this is it! This is the pinnacle of our civilization! It's all downhill from here!
        Although logically and scientifically plausible, a "nuclear winter" is a speculation. We do not know for sure if a "nucelar summer" or "winter" will follow. But it matters not! Even if Earth would have been the size of Jupiter, for those of us who TRULY (that's the key word: truly!) understand exponential functions is just a matter of time. Indeed! Is the greatest paradox: the unstoppable force (i.e.: exponential growth) meeting/hitting the immovable object (i.e.: finite space/resource -planet earth!)
        We try to analyse this from our highly organized "Grey Matter" ( aka: brain) and confuse HOPE with reality. Present endless charts, details, data and try to look smart and knowledgeable – even when we say "… my 2 cts…" we try to arrogantly "out-know" and overwhelm the other with our "brain power" and opinions and in the end we fail to understand the big picture, even though we think we do. And that is why you have numerous commentators here who believe in collapse and peak (you put the name here) and a very dark future, yet they ask idiotic questions like: "… what percentage of world energy needs will the wind powered turbines generate in 2050-2100?!" You have people here who discuss "ad nauseam" about the environmental and climate damage and be dumb enough to say that americacanada will be better than a small country and we will use trucks 50 years from now instead of donkeys and mules, etc, etc.. That is why you have people here who believe and present data about ecological catastrophe, yet are dumb enough to think/believe that herbs will exist in this "cataclysmic" future and herbal medicine will replace Cleveland/MAYO Clinics.
        -So you, dear Paul, can be in the camp of "…this can be survived by a few..our children…" but logic and data (for those who truly comprehend data) point towards that being more of a "hope" than reality. Is not "doom and gloom" – that implies subjectivity! It is on the other hand, correct reading of facts/data and knowledgeable projections for/of the future.
        -It matters not if it is the sink hole in Siberia or methane in the north pole…It does not matter if McPherson and arctic news said/predicted we will parish in 2030 or 2130. It is (at the point we are now) irrelevant if the climate changes are linear or non linear…it matters not at this point if we will have nucelar winter or summer or if viruses will be impacted by it…
        That is a very, very simplistic/naive and ill/uninformed way of seeing/comprehending the situation!
        -The point here is that we have irreversibly jeopardized…indeed utterly destroyed the highly interlinked support systems and substrates of life itself and THAT will make our whole system unsustainable! What we do from this point forth will only slightly impact timing NOT the outcome and because in terms of evolution and time (life, planet earth etc.) this will happen "suddenly" (i.e.: at best a few decades…and the "hokey stick" part of this begun only when we started using fossil fuels – especially oil!) NO SPECIES WILL HAVE THE TIME TO ADAPT (not even the highly mutating/highly adaptive unicellular organisms: i.e. bacteria), therefore it is very likely (even though very logical and scientifically plausible the following is in fact a speculation – a well informed one, but still…) that for all life forms the Dark Ages that followed the Fall of Rome will indeed look like the Sun in July at noon time inArizona compared to what's coming.

        Be well and enjoy…the next 20, 30, 50 years are going to be nothing like the previous 20!
        I am a parent, so I truly hope I am wrong…but then again, I do indeed know differently…Hey,could have been the Sun "dying" and turning into a giant red ball, or a big meteor many, many years from now…we just could not resist the temptation of doing/causing it ourselves much sooner, that's all!

    • Petro, yeah I know, I am just a wide eyed optimist. Just call me Pollyanna. 😉

  14. Robin Datta says:

    With the methane monster already on the prowl, all else pales into insignificance.

  15. travelin_rn says:

    As a person in the medical field, I forsee a future where existing diseases will decimate populations in the concentrated areas. Think of a future collapse where the common cold virus, MRSA, lack of high tech medical care; IV antibiotics, oxygen, no albuterol if you have asthma, no replacement pacemakers,or how about no insulin for the diabetic. I can tell that there will be a extremely high mortality rate for infants. Why? Because fossil fuel energy also industrialized modern medicine so the the natural skill sets of births, pain management, stopping an itch from a rash, and caring for the ill got specialized and society in general, forgot basic first aid skills. There is no need for a new disease to decimate the population. The old ones are in hibernation.

  16. Tim E. says:

    The only great ape, other than humans of course, outside Africa will be extinct in less than 20 years.

    Yet- Primates have 24 pairs of chromosomes, while humans have 23.

    Either some form of “Divine Intervention” occurred, or it was a *MIRACLE* that such a genetic error not only happened, but that it persisted and humans suddenly emerged.


    If evolutionary theories hold true, how did the leap from 24 to 23 chromosome pairs occur from ‘apes’ to humans? How is it possible for two chromosomes to merge into one, and for the resulting species to survive to breed?

    -A high school student from the UK

    Some very tough questions you’ve just asked! I will first start out by saying that scientists don’t know for sure why our ancestors split into two different species.

    We’ll go over some of the ways this might have happened later on. It is important to say up front that we don’t yet know exactly what happened. And that we may never know for sure.

    Imagine a “LEAP” from 24 pairs of chromosomes to 23. How indeed, did this occur? How did this mistake live and persist? OH! Natural Selection, or Divine Intervention? Error and chance, or planning and design?

    NOTE: I am NOT a “Christian”.

    • Tim E. says:

      And I disagree with this statement from Ron:

      Homo sapiens are deep, deep into overshoot. It was just something that naturally happened. It is nobody’s fault.

      Deep into overshoot – AGREED.

      Nobody’s Fault? – DISAGREE.

      I never reproduced by choice. Yet I, as a male, engaged in human heterosexual activity, including acts that would lead to the creation of another human. I practiced “birth control” and would have provided financial support for an abortion if first birth control preventive measures failed.

      I was born into this World as + one, and will leave this World as – one. I have no desire to create another human, or be a parental unit to a child.

      So is that choice a product of evolution, conscious decision, or other “stress” environmental factors?

      Much to my dismay, I have a former GF from the Slums of Racine who married another man, reproduced 3 and lost 1, and a sister who reproduced 3, lost 2, and adopted a Chinese female. Coming from a rust-belt post-industrial City (Racine) that depended upon machining and manufacturing, I am aghast at the desire of most females to reproduce. WHY? Especially when they grew up in the same low quality environment that I did. Single Moms are everywhere. Choose your color.

      And now I work – make a living, etc. manufacturing parts on a CNC for Industrial Civilization. I am a slave to those machines and must pace myself to their output.

      Perhaps Humans aren’t destroying the Planet – we are transforming the Planet for machines. In a World of Machines, there will be no animals, except those kept as pets.

      • Maybe I am not understanding your view. I do find it a little disconcerting when people separate ourselves from the evolutionary processes that formed us. There is a hint in your comments that women are responsible for the over population. While there are exceptions, let’s face it, men are obviously responsible for brutality and rape. Prisons are full of the proof.
        Women nurture, men compete for resources. That was the result of evolutionary processes. Perhaps you are right, maybe women are at fault for over populating, and men are at fault for the oppression of the poor and the rape of the environment.

        It is not a condemnation for mankind though. Mankind has evolved the ability to learn far beyond any other species, with bad and good results. A brilliant example is the Tibetans who used to be a feared warring tribe. Perhaps if mankind does survive this collapse, future generations could be somewhat wiser in their choices.

      • Tim, I allow such statements on this site because I occasionally make them myself. But I do not argue religion here. I thrashed that straw for way too many years and now realize that science cannot argue with faith because faith has no foundation in reason or logic. Faith is not belief because of reason and logic, it is belief despite reason and logic.

        And I am not surprised that you blame others for overshoot and all the other problems while denying any responsibility yourself. It is in our genes to behave in such a manner. This is just human nature, an evolutionary adaptation. And many evolutionist argue that faith in the supernatural is an adaption also.

      • Keyser Soze says:

        Tim E,

        The way I see the Crux of our demise are, mainly, in two area, and you touch one: Reproduction [demographics]. The other is cheap and abundant energy [oil].

        I develop this theory, and that I cannot prove, that goes like this:

        Reproduction/Sex = The most selfish thing that there is.
        As you point out with the word slams, poor women, because lack of jobs and money as well as contempt by all the illusion on TV that they cannot have, find refugee by having babies that can fill this void—time.

        Poor men, that don’t have money to attract women and buy sex, become hopeless. And you can clearly see that happening in India by all the rapes. And it will only gets worse with more hardship—collapse.

        Then, how did we get here?

        Cheap oil! If wasn’t for this resource, most likely, the population would not have made to 1 billion people.

        • Cheap oil! If wasn’t for this resource, most likely, the population would not have made to 1 billion people.

          Naw, if it wasn’t for cheap coal the population would most likely not have made it to 1 billion people.

          But things seem to be slowing down, or at least leveling off. It took 12 years to reach 6 billion in 1999 and another 12 years to reach 7 billion in 2011.

          • Keyser Soze says:


            Great little chart!

            Anyway, agree with coal [energy] because I heard that the best medical device created was the refrigerator—that needs energy.

            The reason I said oil, it was because it raised coal exploration, and all the other resources and biofuels, to a higher level than otherwise it would have been possible.

          • Watcher says:

            I’ve seen that chart mildly debunked.

            Some historians were taking issue with it. Their complaint was the first billion was reached in the late 1800s or 1900, not at 1800.

      • Allan H says:

        It is the nature of animal life to procreate and raise it’s young. Why are so many humans thinking they are smarter than a billion years of evolution, better than all the rest of the living world. Our major purpose is to procreate, that is the real progress of life not the building of machines or the attempted control of planetary occurrences.
        Hubris has brought us to this point and the ultimate hubris is to think we have a “solution” to the predicaments in which we find ourselves. First we game the system and then realize we are destroying it. Next we try and outthink our very nature so that we can again game the system by avoiding a natural result to horrific stupidity.

        We are all destined to die, it is coded into our cells. So why fear the future? Why take the lives of children away before they are born? Why choose to not engage in the wonders that life has to offer? To attempt to avoid the inevitable?
        If evolution produces a mistake that destroys a species or even a world, that is how things work. Some have noticed that our awakening and knowledge to this disaster has come late down the path to destruction. Apparently we are not smart enough to truly predict the results of actions, or not long lived enough to become wise. Our grand system of science is mostly evidence based, by the time enough evidence is gathered about our predicaments we are halfway down the slope and accelerating. Right now disaster appears inevitable.

        Not to worry though, DNA will probably survive and new life will evolve. The life scenario is probably being played out on billions of planets across the universe. So who knows, maybe intelligent beings actually survived and moved on past their stupid stage. Maybe some were actually smart enough to respect life, love their home and not journey down the dead end road.

        Don’t try to second guess a system so vast and experienced as nature. Live the life you were given and let nature take it’s course. It will anyway.

        • In general principal I agree you up to the point where I now have kids. I don’t know your family situation but for me there is no longer an option, parents must create the future as best as they can for their kids. I know it is a hormonal change within me, post having kids, but that doesn’t change my situation. I have a responsibility no longer to myself but to them.
          So I will do my best to understand the flow that nature is taking us and judge how to position my family. I have not been passive, and as a result I don’t buy into the Near Term Extinction meme going around and this is why;

          So personally I am of the view that I have 10-20 years to prepare. If I haven’t prepared, then eventually my kids will join the panicked crush of those who said “let nature take its course”. To me that is unacceptable.

          • Allan H says:

            Making personal preparations for whatever future you envision is still letting nature take it’s course. Personal and small scale actions have no effect on the general occurrence, they actually are part of nature taking it’s course. It is part of the scheme of nature to have variance within a species so certain individuals will have a higher probability of survival. So they may then produce young. Natural selection at work

            Will it be enough in this case, who knows?

            There is also the possibility that survival will be more of a random occurrence. Why one person survives a disaster and not the other is often just plain luck.

  17. aws. says:

    Tar Sands Threaten World’s Largest Boreal Forest

    by Rachael Petersen Rachael Petersen, Nigel Sizer and Peter Lee, World Resources Institute – July 15, 2014

    Canada’s boreal forest is one of Earth’s major ecological treasures.

    Yet the region’s forests are under threat from logging, hydrodams and mining. Satellite data reveals a major new threat to Canada’s boreal forests—tar sands development.

    According to data from Global Forest Watch, an online mapping platform that tracks deforestation in near-real time, industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000 (Map A). That’s an area more than six times the size of New York City. If the tar sands extraction boom continues, as many predict, we can expect forest loss to increase.

    Big jump in deforestation in 2010…

  18. Enno says:

    To all who hold strong doomerish views of the future, I challenge you to the following: State a doomerish prediction at a specific date in the future that you are sure will hold true, and be ready to change your mind if the prediction didn’t follow.

    Although I am not always optimistic of the future, any analysis that doesn’t consider most major negative AND positive trends, is in my opinion incomplete and will not give the results you expect. I claim that most beliefs about the future are not rational, as they ignore important factors, and are mostly the product of human emotions, which has caused a major fraction of humanity in the past to hold future views (especially negative) that never materialized. Don’t just ignore all the factors that have caused humanity to have an amazingly prosperous life nowadays. My 2 cents to this debate.

    • Keyser Soze says:


      No dates but, let me give you a metric that I noticed in Brazil:

      When the movie theaters became churches

    • Enno, no I will not give you a date. I thought I made that clear in my post.

      But what you leave out of your assessment of the doomers among us is revealing. Optimist concerning future of the future far outnumber the doomers, by perhaps a thousand to one. And the optimist have been so wrong so many times that it is uncountable. By optimist, in this particular case, I am talking about those who believe that nothing catastrophic can happen to the human race in the next couple of hundred years.

      We ignore positive trends? What trends are those? Is the extinction trend even slowing down? Are lakes and inland seas returning to their former state? Have rivers stopped drying up. Have the rain forest stopped being cleared? Is topsoil being restored instead of washing and blowing away? Are the ocean fisheries returning to normal? Have bottom trawlers stopped trawling? Has CO2 and methane in the atmosphere started to decline? Is plastic being removed from the ocean?

      Just what are those positive trends?

      As to those human emotions you spoke of. Surely you must realize that virtually all human emotions are on the other side, on the optimistic side. Who wants to believe that their children will live in a chaotic world where their day to day survival will be in danger? Who wants to believe that their most cherished dreams of the future will be squashed? Sometimes I just want to cry when I contemplate the future of my children and grandchildren.

      The emotions are all on the optimistic side. Good God man, isn’t that obvious.

      • Enno says:


        > Enno, no I will not give you a date. I thought I made that clear in my post.

        You made that clear, but just do know that that also will not allow you to be falsified, in case some of your beliefs turn out to be wrong.

        I don’t want to play down the issues that you mention. Each of those are very serious issues, and the solution is far from clear yet. I do think you can’t make the leap from all those issues (and many more) to seeing a total collapse. If you can’t name one positive trend, I think you ignore them. The basis of human prosperity, the increase in trade of ideas & products & services, and specialization that has happened has been very positive, and I still don’t see those reversing. I am amazed by the enormous diversity of products from all over the world you can get in your local supermarket, or order online.

        The increased population definitely should lead to questions about sustainability, but even the current high level of world population has also much greater capacity to service the rest of the world.

        Ask most people in the world whether they prefer to live in this age, or 500 years ago, or 10.000 years ago. If you don’t romanticize the brutal past, I think few people would disagree that this is the best period to live. Doesn’t that mean there are positive trends? Have you looked for them, and do you understand these? Has it only been fossil fuel?

        We DO should worry about all the issues you have mentioned, and you do a great job of creating awareness for these issues. That is a necessary first step. I am not as pessimistic as you that nothing can and will be done about some of them. I am sure some of the problems you mentioned will not even be solved, people will have to adjust to the new reality, how harsh it may be. People can also make a positive difference, which is probably the main point where we disagree.

        I lived many years in China, and have seen how the pollution got worse and worse. Still, I have relatives who have moved from the (rather) green countryside to the worst polluted cities, because they can still lead a better life there! They will even leave their kids behind them in the hometown for such opportunity. Also, the voice to do something about it has increased strongly. For sure, things will get worse first. They cope, because they see an amazing speed of improvement in their lives, with hundreds of millions coming out of poverty in just a few decades. Unprecedented. If you don’t call that positive, I am not sure what will.

        It is not my experience that most people are optimists, as I see many people worry about the issues you raised, and more. These issues ARE all worth of worrying about, and doing something about. Humanity should be (cautiously!) optimistic, as only that will lead to actions. In professional life, I have seen people do amazing things, with a can-do attitude. Give me the names of some highly pessimistic and successful individuals who are still being remembered.

        I know these words will not convince you. That’s also not my goal. I can only tell you that balanced views have helped me enormously in professional and personal life. It doesn’t mean I am ignoring any of the trends you mention. I do find them utmost important, and am thankful for all the information and insights here and elsewhere. Keep it coming.

        I am sure catastrophic events will happen in the coming hundred of years, as they have happened in the past. Perhaps even worse. Still, without any new information, I think total collapse is unlikely, and I for one would rather have lived more in the future if given the choice. If you belief otherwise, perhaps we can make a deal with switching brains & bodies with one of your grand children 🙂

        Seriously, if you find yourselves with dark thoughts for too long, get a break/go outside. At a minimum, it is not constructive and detrimental for health.

        My predictions : 1) no total collapse (let’s say >50% of human population dying in a quick way) in sight. 2) higher prosperity in the near future, e.g. 2050 compared with now (measured in GDP/person in real dollars by lack of any other good indicator). I am ready to be falsified.

        • BrainBug says:

          “If you can’t name one positive trend, I think you ignore them. The basis of human prosperity, the increase in trade of ideas & products & services, and specialization that has happened has been very positive, and I still don’t see those reversing. I am amazed by the enormous diversity of products from all over the world you can get in your local supermarket, or order online.”

          LOL Using more resources to create more products for more people = positive trend for the enviroment


          LOL again

        • Enno, I will give you a prediction that can be falsified. Things will get worse, not better. Topsoil will continue to erode. The CO2 and methane count in the atmosphere will continue to increase. Ocean fish stocks will not increase. Tropical rain forest will continue to decline. Deserts will continue to expand. International conflict will continue to get worse. Species will continue to go extinct. (And none will ever return from extinction.) The Colorado River will never again reach the sea. Water tables will continue to drop. More cities in India will depend on trucked in water. Irrigated acreage will continue to decline and food produced from irrigated acreage will continue to decline.

          And overall things will continue to get worse, not better.

          As to your trends that have gotten better: The basis of human prosperity, What the hell is that? Are you kidding? the increase in trade of ideas & products & services, Are you joking? and specialization that has happened has been very positive, and I still don’t see those reversing. Huh? I am amazed by the enormous diversity of products from all over the world you can get in your local supermarket, or order online. Yes, we have come to depend on such. And that is part of the problem, not a positive trend. When the energy required to deliver all that stuff starts to decline we will be in a world of hurt.

          The things you talk about are nebulous and general. Nothing specific. Name something specific, like water tables rising or topsoil being rebuilt or the rain forest being rebuilt, or animals no longer being driven into extinction. Tell me something I can sink my teeth into, not vague generalities like “The basis of human prosperity”. Can the basis of human prosperity be falsified? How do I know that this trend is increasing not decreasing? Based on all the environmental trends I would most definitely say that the basis for human prosperity is on the decline.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Ron,

            You expect all of things to get worse forever? If there is a peak in fossil fuels as I expect, then CO2 and methane levels will stop increasing. Lack of fuel will also make it more difficult for humans to destroy the oceans, population will begin to decline by 2050, even without collapse. Are there examples of things getting better?

            Yes, increased life span and elimination of diseases such as polio, civil rights legislation in the US, the clean air act in the US, there has been some environmental progress, there needs to be more. The argument that nothing positive can ever be accomplished is not convincing.

            In fact the population boom is a result of some of these positive trends, with the spread of birth control and women’s rights, the total fertility ratio (number of births per woman over her lifetime) has declined dramatically over the past 50 years, this trend is likely to continue and population will decline taking some of the pressure off of the biosphere.

            Does the Montreal Protocol seem like a positive achievement to you?

            Do you think other positive international agreements are impossible?

            Increasing real GDP per capita by 2050 does not seem nebulous to me.

            By comparison your various measures with no date could possibly interpreted that either they will get worse forever (which I doubt is what you intended) or they will get worse until they stop getting worse, which is pretty nebulous and not falsifiable.

            • The argument that nothing positive can ever be accomplished is not convincing.

              Dennis, I reread my comments and could not find that I ever said such a thing as that. I will say flat out that I never made such a statement that nothing positive can ever be accomplished. No, I never made such a statement!

              That is a straw man you built yourself, and a very easy one to slay.

              Please parse your words more carefully and stop accusing me of making statements that I never made. I would never say nothing can never get better.

              I will argued that nothing significant is happening right now. Things are getting worse, not better. And even if one or two things are getting better, the total weight of everything combined is getting significantly worse.

              Yes the banning of aerosols that deplete the ozone layer was a very positive move. I applaud that just as I applaud the banning of DDT. There are some things that the government can do if they wage a public campaign to get the public behind them. Tobacco is another example of a positive trend. But if everyone stopped smoking today it would have very little effect on saving the world.

              And yes Western Governments can reduce their CO2 releases to the atmosphere. And they might very well do that. But China, India and Russia are extremely unlikely to follow suit. It is extremely unlikely that global warming will even slow down.

              In fact the population boom is a result of some of these positive trends, with the spread of birth control and women’s rights, the total fertility ratio (number of births per woman over her lifetime) has declined dramatically over the past 50 years,

              Dramatically you say. It took 15 years to go from 3 billion people to 4 billion. It took 12 years to go from 4 billion to 5 billion. Another 12 years to get to 6 billion and another 12 years to get to 7 billion. That is not a very dramatic slow down if you ask me.

              Do you think other positive international agreements are impossible?

              Of course they are not impossible! Again, I never said nothing positive can happen. But international agreements are only good as long as everyone abides by them. And countries will only sign international agreements if it benefits their leaders in power. And what benefits their leaders is giving the population what they want. And just one thing they want is very cheap electricity. That is why China and India are building 4 new coal plants every week.

              If there is a peak in fossil fuels as I expect, then CO2 and methane levels will stop increasing.

              Oh for goodness sake, all fossil fuels will not peak at the same time. It will likely be many years before coal peaks. And declining oil consumption means an increase in coal production. That will exacerbate the problem, not help it.

              Lack of fuel will also make it more difficult for humans to destroy the oceans,

              Yes it will and people in Japan will begin to starve. And lack of fuel will also mean they will have less rice and other food staples. You see that as things getting better?

              population will begin to decline by 2050, even without collapse. Are there examples of things getting better?

              Of course the population will begin to decline by 2050. Less fish, less grain, less meat. The farmer suicide rate in India is already high, but it will get higher and higher as the water tables drop lower and lower. Severe malnutrition will cause the fertility rates to drop like a rock.

              No Dennis, these are definitely not examples of things getting better.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Yes Ron,

                I misinterpreted you when you said things are getting worse. I think when looked at from the perspective of GDP per capita things have gotten better. There are many negative environmental trends, the point of mentioning positive achievements is that good things can happen, there has been a lot of progress in healthcare, human productivity, and human rights. These are all things that I think matter a great deal.

                Can progress be made on the many environmental problems that you think are important? Here there can be disagreement. I really see no reason why progress cannot be made.

                There have been many times in the past when people have thought something was not possible, in some cases they were correct, but not always.

                You have faith that things will get worse, I am agnostic on the matter, I think we don’t know. You could be right, but I find views like Old Farmer Mac’s more realistic, things are likely to get very bad (let’s say 35% unemployment rate for a decade or more with likely police states in those countries strong enough to remain nation-states), but there is maybe a 50% chance that things will gradually improve from that low point.

                I may have Old Farmer Mac’s scenario all wrong.

                Out of curiosity, am I right that you don’t think things will get worse forever? Do you think things will level off (stop getting worse) in 50 years or 100 years?

                As Enno pointed out, by making no time prediction your viewpoint is not falsifiable.

                How do you measure better or worse? The social progress index is probably a better measure than GDP per capita, but it does correlate fairly well with GDP per capita. See


                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  One more thing fertility rates and total fertility ratios are different measures. In general countries with less development have higher total fertility ratios, economic collapse is likely to raise the total fertility ratio, though infant mortality and death rates may rise and cause population to fall.

        • CTG says:


          My post is far and apart in this blog but there is one that I would like to highlight. Our modern society is very much dependent on long supply chains and electricity. The big difference between 1950s and 2010s is that in 1950s we can live on even if the other side of the world has great economic problems or war. Now, courtesy of globalization, basically most of the things (including food) has to be trucked in. Collapse can be quick and brutal in a globalized economy. Click on

          Electricity is another thing that we are so entirely dependent on and there is no fallback. Everything from water/gasoline pumps in the city to ATMs and hospitals require continuous supply of electricity.

          The more advance stuff we use, the less chances of fallback. Anyone know Morse code or telegraph? I would agree the collapse will be less painful and less dramatic if we are in 1950s than in 2010s.

          What do you think?


          • CTG,
            Logistics is an interesting one. Many people are completely oblivious to how dependent we are on it.
            My thoughts;

            • RalphW says:

              Industrial civilisation is becoming ever less resilient. When I joined my current employer 12 years ago, we performed most of our business by phone or post. The internet was gaining ground, but our website was static and for basic information only. We are now going entirely cloud based. We are porting the last of our servers, and most of our desktop data is now being put out into the cloud. Our phones are voip. We are moving to print on demand from a factory 50 miles away.

              Without electricity and global internet we do not exist as an organisation.

              We had a power glytch in our city a couple of weeks ago. Lasted less than a second. Yet two hours later the local food store was still closed because nobody knew how to reboot the IT systems.

              We are indeed three meals away from anarchy.

              • Absolutely.
                Same with fuel, probably not such a problem in the US.
                We, in Australia, only hold 90 days supply of fuel and some of that is in the logistics chain. They have a hierarchy of who gets allocated fuel in the case of an emergency. Logistics and consumers don’t even get a mention. We have 4 refineries left, they will be offshore in a decade.
                If hostilities broke out in Asia and shipping was under threat 90 days is not a long time for 24 million people dependent on the stuff.

  19. Paulo says:

    Catabolic opinion here.

    Personally, I think the way many in NA and Europe live is absolutely nuts….myself included with this statement. The problem with these modern industrial marvels we simply take them for granted. I haven’t traveled too much because I worked away a lot in a past flying career and had to spend long periods away from my family. But from what I have done I have taken away this:

    When I worked in the north I lived with people who seemed to have dick all as opposed to us folks in the south. A modest home, good woodstove, lots of insulation, something to drive, food and friends seemed to be lots. You wern’t judged if you lived in a shitty trailer with an addition. You were okay if you lived in a crappy cabin. Why? Because what mattered was who you were, and that you were a northerner and worked. Winter nights people regualarly got together for pot lucks and socials of some kind or another. We drank a lot…an awful lot. We had fun. Travelling by crappy bus in Mexico I would look in at some of the crappy houses when the busses would pull into a village. The floors might have been packed earth or concrete, but they were imaculate. The clothing was washed and the whitest of whites. The kids played outside. People had smiles. Good beer. We were invited to communal meals and it was great despite the mysterious bones in the soup.

    It may be trite to say this, one of those truisms, but the more people have and the more gadgets people use, the fewer smiles you see.

    Personally, I think we will be better off with a harder lifestyle; catabolic collapse if you will. The adjustment will be hard and anything rapid would simply not be good. But this slow steady decline works for many. There will be migrations. I suppose more US folks will migrate north to where we live. My mom’s people moved to Canada in the 1700s to get out of New England….they were English. My Dad’s folks migrated from Germany before ww1 and landed up as struggling farmers in Minnesota. My folks met overseas in WW2, my mom an army nurse (Canadian) and my dad was in the 7th army. We migrated from the US back to Canada in the 60s to get away from the race riots and Viet Nam bullshit. At that time my Dad commented that one day the US would be a police state. I suspect many more will migrate as this unfolds. It is a brutal situation, really. It is hard to leave friends and family even when you are full of hope and are disenchanted. It is a hard decision and that was when it was easy to move elsewhere! Look at the border protests on the news these days. It looks pretty ugly. I can’t imagine what things might look like with changing climate forcing the issues.


  20. B says:

    America Has Saved the World From a Global Oil Crisis

    Instead of thinking of peak oil as a geology problem, perhaps it’s an economic and political problem. As Total CEO Christophe de Margerie put it, the best way to think of our oil market right now is peak production capacity, because of the political constraints that have kept global oil production from reaching its potential….

    Since 2008 — and today — demand for oil hasn’t exactly slowed. Growth from Asia, South America, and Africa has increased consumption of oil by 5.1 million barrels per day. Even if OPEC nations were to open all of its spare capacity to meet this surge in demand, it could only potentially make up 1.5 million-2 million barrels per day more than what it’s producing today. This inability for the world to meet growing oil demand would likely have seen prices continue to climb after the global financial crisis. It’s not too much of a stretch so see the world remaining in the 2008 economic recession if oil prices were that prohibitively expensive.

    Fortunately, this situation never came to pass because, along the way, oil and gas producers discovered how to economically tap tight oil formations across the U.S. Today, production of tight oil from mostly the Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Permain Basin shale formations have added a significant amount of production in the U.S.

    This boost from shale has not only offset the declines from other production methods, but has been the driving force behind overall production, as well.

    From April 2008 until the EIA’s most recent data, U.S. net production has surged by 3.2 million barrels per day, the fastest increase in crude production ever in that amount of time. Also not to be discounted is the 1.1 million barrels per day reduction in oil consumption since that time, thanks, in part, to reduced overall driving, and in large part to increased vehicle efficiency. Combined, that’s 4.3 million barrels of oil available to the global market, covering 82% of the world’s increase in oil demand during that time frame. By covering our own needs for oil during this time frame, it has opened up those supplies to be shipped to other parts of the world, and kept prices relatively stable and in the $100-$110 per barrel range for almost three years…

    Even though we are three years into the shale boom, we’re still realizing the impact it’s having here and abroad. According to the EIA, its most recent projection is that production will start to flatten again in 2015-2016, then start to decline by 2020. However, for the last three years, production has blown by the EIA reference case projections, and has more closely tracked its high resource case. If this trend were to continue, then we could see production increase in the U.S. well into the next decade, and grow production at least another 4 million barrels per day. If the amount of oil we have brought on in these past few years has saved us from a global crisis, imagine what future production will be able to do.

    • Keyser Soze says:


      No insult intended…

      Did you just discover Peak Oil Barrel?

      You said: “…because of the political constraints that have kept global oil production from reaching its potential….”

      Well, let me give you this political constrain:

      “If they don’t have a lot of additional oil to put on the market, it is hard to ask somebody to do something they may not be able to do.” — George Bush, 2008

      • B says:

        Those aren’t my words, I mostly post excerpts from articles found in newspapers, magazines, journals, and so on related to current activity in the oil and gas industry or peak oil. Your comments above should be directed to the author of the excerpted Motley Fool article I posted a link to.

        • Keyser Soze says:


          You said: “…the author of the excerpted Motley Fool article I posted a link to.”

          LOL! Can you blame Ron?

          My 2 cents: Get ‘Curious’ about Peak Oil.

          And this site is a great start! You’ll see.

        • Keyser Soze says:


          I just realized that I didn’t read you correctly. I taught that Ron had removed the link you posted.


    • Watcher says:

      Some of those barrels don’t hold oil.

    • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

      In regard to projecting trends, production from the North Slope of Alaska increased from 1.5 mbpd (C+C, EIA) in 1981 to 2.0 mbpd in 1988. At this rate of increase, following is where we would be in 1993 and then 2003 and 2013:

      1993: 2.5 mbpd
      2003: 3.8
      2013: 5.7

      Actual production in 2013 was 0.5 mbpd, a 5.5%/year rate of decline in net production (net after new wells were added). While the general consensus in the media these days is that oil wells no longer decline, back in the real world, and away from the Fantasy Island echo chamber, it’s when, not if, that the contribution from new wells can no longer offset the declines from existing wells, i.e., Peaks Happen.

    • Ken Barrows says:


      Google “Bakken Oil Statistics,” look at the table put out by the State of North Dakota, and then tell me the shale boom will persist forever.

      • Mike_M says:

        Well, sounds like you want this amazing shale revolution to end, my friend. It wont. According to ALL the oil patch sources in ND and MT they haven’t even reached the 10% level yet on the amount of drilling that is coming. In fact I just heard from one of my U of M associates who said USGS will be reporting higher estimations of energy from Bakken and adjacent fields in 2015 that will more than DOUBLE the estimates being used now. According to him (he’s a professor of petroleum engineering) – the energy firms working in the region are certain of sufficient reserves to increase production at the current rate for at least another 30-40 years in ND and more than 30+ years in MT, and this is just considering the technology we have now. His personal estimate on how long the entire play (which he constantly brings up as being the single most significant oil find in the last 50 years) will keep producing is well over 75 years.

        The next area of interest is just talking shape in east MT. I don’t have the exact numbers now, but friends in industry in Williston say it will be 50% of ND prod. when it really gets going in development in the next several years. Heck just the other day there was that article about how Bakken will keep on going and going until the year 2100 at the earliest.

        See what I mean for yourself “By 2100, Helms estimated that 100,000 barrels of oil would be produced per day”.

        • BrainBug says:


          100,000 barrels a day . WOW. I mean the US only uses over 19 million of ’em a day (Of course, TSHF will happen long before 2100, so this is academic).

          Not to mention all the noises about the US now having to supply EUROPE with crude to offset Russia

          I notice 2 huge INVEST IN OIL AND GAS ads on that link as well . LOL

          I wish I had a ticket to the DREAMWORLD some of you manage to inhabit

        • Anon says:

          Funny enough, no one who isn’t trying to draw investment money sees shale that way. Even the EIA, which gets downright delusional on net gains in NON shale by 2016 – something no post-peak area has EVER managed to do.

          The financing side of tracking – too many little, poorly audited companies with no other source of capital – leads to all kinds of BS being tossed out. This dynamic has been around in oil a lot longer than fracking has.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Mike_M,

          I read the article you linked to.

          Note that these estimates from your article amount to about 17 Gb of oil from North Dakota by 2100, the US uses about 5.5 Gb of crude each year, so that is enough to cover the crude inputs to refineries at 2013 levels for less than 4 years, not really a lot of oil in the grand scheme.

          The 100 kb/d that Helms mentions in 2100 is almost 10 times lower than present North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks output. I assumed 1 million b/d until 2025 and a linear decrease from 1 Mb/d in 2025 to 0.1 Mb/d in 2100 which amounts to about 16.7 Gb.

          • Mike_M says:

            I defer again to the USGS and the energy employees confirming that only 10% of the wells going to come have even been drilled by now in ND and MT. i know neighbors who are geologists and energy people at the Whiting HQ here in Denver, all their estimates are that the Bakken will be a major producer for minimum of 70 YEARS considering the technology now. 100 years isn’t to much out of line either, according to them (that’s why we say this is a multi generation play and our grandchildren’s children that haven’t even born yet will be working the Bakken, Eagleford, etc…) Let’s think about math: current Bakken output is 1 million barrel/day with the latest API estimate of resource oil and equivalent of 1.2 TRILLION barrels in all of the Bakken/three Forks structure. Yes we know that not all every thing is recoverable now but technology changes all of the time and more and more is becoming recoverable each year, even each month. We also know some of this is going to be in Canada, but with just considering MT/ND, my Whiting buddies 70 years estimate is completely rational and understandable. This is why they are reaching out to buy other Denver co. Kodiak because they see the fantastic potential and may be getting bought out in the future by one of the big int’l oil players because of how the shale oil revolution just isn’t going to stop for many decades.

            • Ken Barrows says:

              Mike M,

              Two words: marginal analysis.

              Shoot, it is taught in college economics, so why not use it in the real world?

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              As I said Mike, the article you gave amounts to about 16 Gb of oil, this is 6 Gb more than the most recent USGS mean estimate and their F5 estimate was about 13 Gb. This is the April 2013 USGS Bakken Three/Forks estimate for North Dakota, for North Dakota and Montana the F5 estimate is about 15 Gb.

              Note that F5 means that there is a 95% probability that the Technically recoverable resource (TRR) will be less than this.

              The amount of oil actually recovered depends on profitability and will be about 80% or less of the TRR (depending on well costs, oil prices, and other economic factors such as taxes, royalties, OPEX, and transport costs from wellhead to the refinery.

  21. B says:

    There are several good charts I recommend viewing in this article. Watcher, I imagine you will especially enjoy the ones detailing proppant usage. There’s mention of a single EOG well in the Bakken using 120 rail cars of sand as proppant.

    Unconventional play upside potential

    So how many well locations are still to be drilled in the sweet spots and when will we reach the “inflection point” for learning curves [in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian]? By studying our comprehensive data on well completions and production, combined with our detailed maps on geology iso-lines and prospectivity, we may conclude that such inflection point has already been reached by some operators in the core of the Bakken and could be reached by most operators in the core of the Eagle Ford play within 1-2 years (See Fig 2. [posted below])…

    After a temporary slow-down of the activity growth rate on US shale plays in early 2013, curves are now back to higher trends of 10% CAGR for D&C spending, again very much in-line with our estimates a year ago. This growth rate is now confirmed by operator guiding and budgets where we see pure-play shale companies are guiding fairly flat due to cash shortages, whereas more diversified E&Ps are relocating CAPEX from international to US shale giving a net effect of 10% spending growth on US shale.

    Spending on drilling, completion, and lease equipment in North American shale plays will thus reach 140 billion USD in 2014 and possibly continue to grow at the same rate in 2015, also driven by the increased activity in the gas plays. Only the Bakken seems to have reached a spending plateau; the sweet spots are drilled-up and infrastructure investments are leveling out. The same should go for Eagle Ford in 2015, whereas the Permian is still in its infancy in terms of unconventional development.

    We believe Permian Midland’s various tight oil plays could have recoverable reserves comparable to that of the Eagle Ford, which we now estimate at 20 billion barrels of oil, while Permian Delaware is rivaling the Bakken in terms of production potential and oil reserves at 15 billion barrels. This assumes still positive de-risking of the multi-stack potential within the thick Bone Spring group in the Delaware, the Spraberry layers in the Midland, and the Wolfcamp horizons across both sub-basins.

    Oil supply from the Permian basin, including conventional legacy production, is now approaching 1.5 MMbbld, the same production rate as we saw in the 1950s. The basin peaked in 1973 at 1.8 MMbbld, an event that brought fame to Hubbert’s theory of peak oil and enormous wealth to desert sheiks. Production from the Permian is set reach an all-time-high within two years, and still the basin will add another million barrels of oil per day before its second peak a decade from now. Thus, peak oil blogs will continue losing readers and Middle East budgets will continue the struggle to balance. That is, at least for a couple of years while new Permian sweet spots are found, thus extending the period of calm before the next inevitable storm in the global oil markets.

    • Watcher says:

      Went through it.

      Here’s the thing. Iraq’s bizarre projections are throttled back MOSTLY because they don’t have pipelines to get more and more and more oil to Basra’s terminal, and that terminal itself has its own limits. No one rational looks for more than 5-6 mbpd from them . . . . AND THEY HAVE PIPELINES. They aren’t using trucks and rail.

      Contrasted with . . . your heads up . . . :

      “Over the last two years, EOG has doubled the number of stages per well and also increased the average amount of sand per stage from 150,000 to 250,000 lbs. These monster completions mostly happen in the Parshall area (Mountrail), but for one single well—completed in December 2013 in the Antelope area of east McKenzie with 69 stages and a 14,000 ft lateral length—EOG applied 12 thousand metric tons of sand, or about 120 rail cars. This well tested 24h-IP at 1,830 bbl/d oil and 30d-IP at 1,200 bbld/d. It is not obvious that marginal returns are positive for the last stages of such monster wells. However, the results appear staggering: EOG is now the operator with the highest average initial production rates in the Bakken, and other operators are now following.”

      YOU ARE GOING TO RUN OUT OF RAIL LENGTH, RAIL CARS, AND TRUCKS. And you’re also going to run out of road length for trucks. My recall, vague, is that there was a Helms quote saying that total rail capacity getting out of the Bakken is 2 mbpd. Do they think they will build more rails across the US to get higher than 2 mbpd?

      Iraq is capped at 5ish mbpd and they are conventional and can use pipelines. You can’t run pipes to wells that die so fast. Trucks it will continue to be, until they are bumper to bumper and can’t move.

      • Wes453 says:

        As I mentioned below, rail capacity entering and exiting the Bakken has really been a concern of late. Things really got heated this spring when just about all of BNSF’s customers other than the oil concerns complained about generally inadequate service in the Upper Midwest. The Surface Transportation Board, which nominally regulates issues concerning rail service in the United States, opened an inquiry. BNSF testified with a presentation that can be viewed at this link. Although they don’t mention oil patch traffic by name here, presumably because their public relations department has really tried to downplay the role oil development has caused in the mess they have gotten into, the Bakken traffic is without a doubt a significant factor behind the deteriorated service metrics they present as well as the amount of money they are, and will be, spending on capacity upgrades.

        • Watcher says:

          Went thru the .pdf.

          Those are significant numbers. I’m getting more and more certain that the entire country’s GDP is being propped up by the effort to get oil out.

          The rail expansions are all concentrated in the “wrong place”. Meaning, it’s aimed at the Bakken, which will start to slow down fairly soon, about the time the track is installed. Then as the Bakken dies, that track is in the wrong place for other US applications.

    • Wes453 says:

      Thanks for posting this informative article. The mention of an EOG well requiring 120 rail cars of proppant is just about incomprehensible to me. I don’t believe the typical unit trains of frac sand BNSF runs in the Bakken even have that many cars, due to weight considerations, but even if they did, the train would be over a mile long. Think about that – a mile-long train just to supply sand to complete one well. Again, just about incomprehensible.

      Between the amount of supplies coming in and oil leaving, no wonder most of the main railroad lines in the Upper Midwest (in particular, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana) have often been congested messes for the last couple years. Due to being the dominant, with some likely to say monopolizing, railroad in the Bakken region, BNSF by far has been impacted the most. So no wonder also why they are spending billions of dollars this year, and likely for the next several years to come, in the region to construct additional track and make other upgrades to improve capacity.

      • Watcher says:

        Well, I do think some of this is unintentionally generated perspective from EOG. They built a monster well. And they got only 1200 bpd from it in month 1. There is suggestion that other operators will do this, which is why I say they will simply overwhelm the railways carrying proppant and oil. That’s another factor. Railways and truck roads occupied hauling proppant in can’t haul oil out.

        Assuming it’s oil. It’s very popular to quote Bakken API at 29. One wonders if that is the average API or a cherry picked well. Hard to see how one area of shale has API 6+ degrees lower than “typical” shale which is 33 to 39 and concentrated in the 39 end.

        • Watcher says:

          We have guys here who can track individual wells. Can we get a measurement of how long it took to complete that monster well in Dec 2013? The definitive parameter would be water and proppant accumulation on site to start the pumping.

          • Watcher says:

            Tiny proppant stuffings.

            Not all proppant is created equal. Ceramic spherical is the Cadillac of proppants, but it’s just too expensive. So, sand.

            Not just any sand will do. You search for sand that is spherical and strong. Departures from spherical obstruct flow. Also, and probably more important, the sand particles need to be consistent. If you mine sand and sieve it to get the right size and find you’re tossing 90% of the sand to get 10% big spheres, you can’t make a profit. So you gotta look for where you can find that stuff.

            There’s apparently none in Canada. “Northern White” comes from the US midwest (A HUGE reason the foreign shales have a big problem. There is that God given sand, located damn near equidistant from NoDak and Eagleford. Tell me that was an accident).

            Given the numbers for EOG’s monster, I gotta look into peak Northern White issues.

          • Wes453 says:

            Looks like the well is the HAWKEYE 2-2501H (ND File #22487, API #33-053-04006-00-00). According to the Frac Focus database, the frac job lasted three months and 19.4 million gallons of water were used (roughly 162 million pounds).

            • Wes453 says:

              The pad as of last August

              • Watcher says:

                Three months for 1 well. Finished in December.

                Hell maybe that well was why production was down 50K bpd in December. It tied up everything. haha

                What are all those tanks upper right? Hold the water, and then oil afterwards? Where did they store the proppant?

                Good find Wes.

                • Watcher says:

                  Oh, and guess what, I see nada for pipelines. Not a one. In fact, also, that straight road doesn’t look paved.

                  • Watcher says:

                    162 million pounds on 85K pound payload trucks is 1905 truck trips.

                  • Watcher says:

                    Yo, B, thanks for that article. We seem to have shook it like a puppy with a rag.

              • Enno says:

                Hi Wes,

                Unrelated question: I am working on creating a map of ND that should show the change in well quality over the last years, for publication. What I miss in the public NDIC data are 1) most helpful: in which formation the well is drilled and 2) the long/lat coordinates of each well (for increased accuracy as the coordinate system NDIC is using is messy).
                You have shown some nice data sources so far, so I was wondering whether you have an easy access to one or both of these data to enrich the well data I have. Alternatively the second one is also available through subscription, but I am not sure whether the first one is.

                • Wes453 says:

                  Hello Enno, I haven’t found a good free source for the first request, beyond the monthly report PDFs that show the field and formation immediately before individual well data (i.e. BANKS – BAKKEN, BARTA – MADISON, BEAVER CREEK – BIRDBEAR, and so on). I do know that a subscription to the NDIC data does show the formation each well is drilled into and also differentiates between Bakken and Three Forks.

                  I can be of more help with the second request. You can get the lat/long coordinates of all ND wells in spreadsheet format for free. Here are the steps:

                  1. Load the GIS map at
                  2. At the upper right, click on “Download Shape Files”
                  3. In the list of files that comes up, go down to “,” download, and unzip the folder
                  5. The “Wells.dbf” file can be loaded into Excel; this shows all the wells ever permitted in North Dakota and includes latitude and longitude in the NAD27 datum

                  Hopefully that helps you out. I really look forward to seeing your latest findings.

                  • Enno says:

                    Excellent find! Very helpful indeed. There is some additional data in it than in the public files. I already used the GIS viewer they have available, but did not realize such nice well data inside the shape files.
                    I did see the field data in the public files, but I was mainly interested in the Bakken & TF formations, as a geological analysis of those formations could provide some insights in the total area that could be of current interest to drillers. But the field data doesn’t make that distinction. I may do a subscription eventually to get that data, but will keep that extension for now as a possible future improvement.
                    I expect to be ready for a post on the results in 2-4 weeks.

              • Wes453 says:

                I don’t know how exactly the tanks and gathering systems on the pads operate, but would be interested in finding out.

                Here’s the best example of a well waiting to be frac’d I could find. Looks like most of the non-water materials are already on the pad.

                • Watcher says:

                  Container research. I count 72 in that photo.

                  Here’s are patent applications for proppant truck cargo containers:



                  Anyway 40 ft long X 9.5 ft tall X 8 ft wide. 3040 cubic feet.

                  Cubic foot of sand is about 100 lbs. Frac sand 120 lbs. So a container holds 304,000 lbs of sand. Blink. This says no:


                  And from this:

                  “I haul frac sand. This is primarily dry sand which may contain very slight moisture. The amount of sand transported is 48,000 lbs – 50,000 lbs (50,000 is absoulte max).

                  The dry bulk or pneumatic trailers are defined by cubic feet. I would like to know what the smallest trailer size (in cubic feet) for 50,000 lbs of dry sand.”

                  Those containers must not be for proppant? Maybe those are the drill length.

                  • toolpush says:


                    You will most likely find those rectangular containers are water tanks. They line them up side by side and manifold them.

                  • Watcher says:

                    Water 63 pounds / cubic foot. 3000 cubic feet per container. 189000 pounds per container of water.

                    2.5 times too much per the truck max.

                    Maybe they are moved in less than half full and water added afterwards?

                    189,000 X 72 containers = 13 million pounds of water.

              • Wes453 says:

                A well being drilled

                • Mike says:

                  Watcher, Push is correct, those are called frac tanks. They are moved onto a location empty and source water for frac’ing is pumped into those tanks from source waters wells or earthen reservoirs supplied by source water wells. The frac tanks are linked together by manifolds. The water is treated in the frac tanks and provides a precise means of gauging water to sand concentrations being blended together before going down hole at tremendous rates and pressure, all done on the fly.

                  Again, the weight of the water used in a frac job is totally irrelevant. The only time “pounds” is used to describe the size of a frac is in reference to the total amount of proppant pumped. Most 30 stage frac’s in stinkingshale wells use anywhere from 125,000-150,000 barrels of water. It is, of course, uneconomical to haul that much water to a location so every drilling pad will have its own water source well, or there will be a community source well nearby that can service multiple pads. Water is pumped to the location thru temporary, above ground lines, kinda like irrigation pipe.

                  • Watcher says:

                    That’s good data. The focus on pounds was about the truck max. If they are drilling a local well, no trucks for water.

                    8.3 pounds per gallon for water. So 13 million pounds is 1.57 million gallons.

                    No idea what typical water well flow rates max out at. If that photo is typical, then 1.57 million gallons X 150 wells/month = 236 million gallons out of NoDak aquifer per month.

                    Just did some reading. NoDak measures water in acre feet. An acre foot is 325K gallons.

                    This is annoying.

                    It says the water isn’t coming from wells. He says a reservoir from the Missouri River.

                    “The growing production of oil from the Bakken Shale Play in northwestern North Dakota (green hashed area above) has increased demands for freshwater in the state. The North Dakota State Water commission has estimated that approximately 2,000-7,000 acre/feet of water will be required annually to support oil extraction in North Dakota. The Missouri River, specifically Lake Sakakwea behind Garrison dam, is a potential source for this water. The USACE has designated 54,000 MAF of Sakakawea storage for municipal and industrial usage, ”

                    US Army Corps of Engineers. But bottom line here is this suggests the water is hauled. Maybe he knows nothing.

                    Then this:

                    “Similarly, at an estimated water requirement of 3 AF/well in the Bakken and 0.3 AF/well outside the Bakken, the controversial $20.91 /AF fee is a a trivial amount of money for each well.”

                    That’s barely 1 million gallons. Way low.

                    Uh oh.


                    “For water haulers, the limited number of water supply locations translates to long transportation distances and excessive amounts of time spent waiting in lines at water depots, resulting in high water acquisition (and wastewater disposal) costs for Bakken oil producers. Given the current demand for water resources and the high costs of transportation, the oil and gas industry is motivated to explore options for water reuse and/or recycling. ”

                    There’s a table there where “transportation” is broken out for water acquisition.

                    This smells like trucks are hauling water.

              • Mike says:

                As far as EOG is concerned, the bigger they are, the further and faster they fall. EOG likes wide open chokes on flowbacks to get the biggest bang for their publicity buck. Then the decline is like base jumping off a shear cliff. A “monster frac” to me is not based on pounds of proppant, or water use, but in pump rates in barrels per minute and the amount of horsepower required to pump it. 150 BPM in one single stage down a vertical well, now brother, that’s a frac…the ground shakes for 200 yards around the wellhead. No single stage in a horizontal lateral requires near that kind of rate.

                No single well, even with 30 stages, takes 3 months to frac unless there were problems with the stages, and subsequent drill out of plugs that separate the stages. Two weeks, max., on the biggest of the biggest shale wells. 19.6 millions gallons of water is not that big of a deal in a plus 30 stage frac…when a frac is described in pounds it is not pounds of water but pounds of proppant used. The sand concentrations (pounds of proppant per gallon of water) in these type of fracs is not that high, actually. Proppant is hauled to the location via bulk trucks immediately before frac’ing begins and blended with gelled water on the fly (as pumping occurs). I’ll check to see the typical amount of proppant per stage but it is not that much.

                The photo immediately above is of a producing location, the tanks in the upper right are oil and water stock tanks. This well has already been frac’d. You would not see pipelines above the ground; 99% of the oil off an individual location is trucked to a pipeline terminal.

                • Watcher says:

                  “Proppant is hauled to the location via bulk trucks immediately before frac’ing begins”

                  Thanks Mike, as I just crunched above, the numbers don’t work for those 72 containers to be proppant. The trucks just max out at 85K pounds as I understand it, and if you want 8.5 million pounds, you’re gonna need 100 truck trips.

                  • Mike says:

                    Sorry, the photo immediately above is indeed of a well being drilled to the right, on the left of the rig there appears to be a pumping operation of some sort going on with a crane set above a wellhead. The photo I was referencing was a producing location; there is nothing but permanent tanks set on that photo.

                    I do not believe that one Bakken well with 30 frac stages requires 8 million pounds of sand; I’ll check. I have witnessed some Gawd awful, enormous frac’s that made my teeth hurt from the noise when they were being pumped, but they were only 2 million pounds total. Again, the proppant will come to the location in big bulk trailer trucks on a as needed basis per stage.

                    Respectfully, multi-stage frac’ing is 50 years old. We use to frac vertical wells in stages, over long, vertically perforated intervals. The shale industry would like America to believe that it has re-invented the frac’ing wheel…it hasn’t, not by a long shot. Its tweaking frac fluids a little, and proppant type, but that’s about it, period. If the shale industry can convince America that is can keep improving “technology,” then America will keep believing, and investing. Frac’ing is not where the big strides are being made, if there are any big strides.

                    Torque and HP increases in top drives on drilling rigs reduces rig time per well, and the ability to drill longer laterals, that’s an improvement. Walking rigs 30 yards at a time on one drilling pad, that’s an improvement. Those are all cost savings efforts. There is new technology developing that tells these shale dudes where to frac in the lateral, that’s another. But is that kind of stuff going to get us to energy independence?



                  • Dennis Coyne says:


                    As usual great stuff, thanks.

                    Do you think the types of incremental improvements which tend to decrease average well costs will roughly balance the increased amounts of proppant and increased number of frac stages so that the average real well costs (adjusted for inflation) may end up staying roughly level over the short term (5 years or so)? If not, could you venture a rough guess as to what kind of increases in well costs might be reasonable (1% or 2% per year in real terms or 4% to 5% per year in nominal terms)?

                • Watcher says:

                  “No single well, even with 30 stages, takes 3 months to frac unless there were problems with the stages, and subsequent drill out of plugs that separate the stages. Two weeks, max., on the biggest of the biggest shale wells.”

                  The quoted dates are probably from spud to completion, which means all those truck trips bringing millions of pounds of water and proppant eat calendar. Once it’s all on site it probably does go quickly.

                  But it’s not all on site all that fast.

                  • Mike says:

                    Dennis, I don’t know. If you had asked me what might happen over the next 12 months I would probably have said that efforts in reducing well costs will more or less offset inflation. Beyond that, I am reluctant to say. When I need a bid on anything anymore in the oilfield I always make sure I am sitting down.

                    Things, they are a changing so rapidly now in the regulatory world and in the court of public opinion; take a look at this and you decide if incremental lift costs per barrel of oil is not going to go up and up over coming years effecting EUR:


                    Where are they going to put all this produced water waste if not back in the ground? Holy Schnikees.

                    I think people are making too big a deal about proppant. Some sand is better than other sand, but its still sand. Water is a much, much bigger threat to drilling and completion cost increases. The guar bean is grown just about no where else in the world but India, if that crop were to be devastated, or could not get to the US, the gelling of frac water to carry proppant would end post haste. That is just a tiny example of threats to the stinkingshale (I have decided henceforth those two words shall now be one) business. That feller Markey, or the EPA, there are two more potential threats to the future of LTO in America. Somebody’s toilet is going to run over in N. Dakota and Halliburton will get sued for an amount of money equal to the GNP of Bolivia. Those are all extenuating circumstances that are out of the immediate control of the oil industry.

                    My instincts tell me that we won’t hear as much BS as we have about declining drilling and completion costs in the future. Maybe when money gets harder to borrow and rigs start getting released the market will demand reduced day rates. Frac crews will get caught up and their rates may come down a little. But steel, cement, labor, insurance, fuel costs? Naw.

                    I wish I could be of more help.


                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hey Mike,

                    That’s fine, I figure that your guess is much better than mine. I do not doubt that lifting costs will rise, though each state makes their own regulations and I don’t think Texas, North Dakota or Alaska will be following the California regulations.

                    Your comments are always informative and the questions I ask don’t necessarily have answers.

                    It would just be a guess based on experience. Does 10% per year (nominal) seem too high (it does to me) for well cost increases? Does a 3% per year nominal increase in well costs seem too low (again that would be my guess)? If so, then we might guess that well costs might rise somewhere between 3 and 10% per year in nominal terms and 0 to 7% per year (assuming inflation is about 3% per year) in real terms with maybe a best guess in the 5 to 8 % range(nominal and 2 to 5% in constant dollars).

                    I appreciate your input.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Let me add that you answered my question for one year, so my comment above would apply to years 2 to 5, maybe a 1 to 2% increase in real costs for drilling and completion would be the ticket. This is one of those inputs to my model, currently I use your assumption for the next year, but extend it for 20 years or so.

                    It would probably make more sense for these costs to be rising by at least 1% per year as oil companies try to find ways to keep the EUR up while drilling worse prospects.

                • Mike says:

                  Watcher, a typical stinkingshale well in the EF uses 200,000 bbls. of fresh, usable quality water to drill the well with, to cement with and to frac with; washing the rig floor to flushing the toilets in the trailer houses. I suspect it is basically the same in N. Dakota, plus/minus a couple hundred. It is not hauled to the location, I can assure you; in Texas water costs 60 cents a barrel and 130 dollars an hour to haul in 150 bbl. trucks, sometimes 5-6 hours a round trip. If the water in N. Dakota is pumped out of the River, so be it. Shame on ’em. Its not hauled, however. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet and remember, at least in Texas, operators don’t want folks to know where and how much water its all taking. I think the references you cite may be flow back, or spent frac water going back the other way, to disposal systems.

                  Water is my pet pisser in LTO development. Maybe its not such a big deal in N. Dakota, but in Texas it is going to get the best of these shale dudes before its all over. Recycling and reusing flow back, spent frac water is not cheap and these guys are not looking for ways to increase well costs. They will use potable water here in Texas until its gone and some regulatory body tells them to stop. It won’t be long.

                  To put water use in LTO development in perspective in the arid southwest, 200,000 bbls. of water per stinkingshale well is 8.4 million gallons. Usable, potable, drinkable water. That is the same amount of water that 93,000 human beings use in one day. To put it another way, the water required to drill and frac one stinkingshale well would supply a township of 5000 people for 19-20 days. That’s one well, with a small o.

                  The shale industry is hanging on by a thread in lots of ways.


                  • Mike says:

                    Dennis Coyne, thank you for the compliment; I really just try to keep it real. I applaud you for seeking real out. Too many people that blog have preconceived notions of the oil industry, or conceived notions, that confuses them. People don’t like to be confused so generally I find they would simply rather read something on the internet and believe it is true, regardless of source. Seldom can you get people to be open minded about things once they have already made up their mind, eh?

                    After 50 years of operating I am too humbled by the oil business to believe for one millisecond I understand it all, or can make predictions. As you can see by my communications above with Watcher, about water, I think it is very tenuous situation the shale business finds itself in. Any number of things can cause costs to go way up, or go way down. 70 dollar oil would of course bring well costs way down.

                    2% per year increases in well costs going forward for the next few years seems very reasonable to me. Actually less than what I think but because you like to model the future, that is a rational way to look at the future of well costs. IMO. I am at the end of my career but when I was younger my rule of thumb in development of existing fields I operated was 5% per year, and discounted oil prices by 10%. I made lots of decisions based on that and it ended up being OK. Those were, shall we say, more stable times, however. Americans have always hated my guts for being in the oil business, not so much then, as they do now. It is a very precarious business we are in.

                    Two percent it is, but as Sargent Schultz use to say, I know… nothing, nothing.

                  • Watcher says:

                    “I think the references you cite may be flow back, or spent frac water going back the other way, to disposal systems. ”

                    Understood on all. Will dig further.

                    I’m digging in reference to clogged roads. More than anything else, simply that. What are the factors that can slow it all down. Clogged roads. Clogged parking lots. Clogged this and clogged that, or maybe not enough Northern White or not enough of that bean or not enough water or all sorts of intriguing little logistical realities that can unfold as powerfully as empty pores in the rock.

                  • Watcher says:

                    Yo Mike.

                    Hitting youtube. No question, a couple of trucking vids devoted to “production water” leaving the pad. I think this is more interesting to the guys because they go through all the safety this and that required.

                    But this one:

                    is also production water hauling, but scroll to 2:20 in. The guy is talking about how long an oil pad will last (40 yrs) and how that is job security for a water hauler, but at 2:25 he makes a statement — “a lot less stressful than hauling freshwater to the fracs.”

                  • Watcher says:

                    And bingo:


                    2:35 in, “and this is what they do with all this water we bring them, 1 million gallons or more”.

                  • Watcher says:

                    Oh man, stopped too soon. The vid later than that scroll point shows pumping from the truck to a big circular open top swimming pool shaped tank for freshwater.

                    Jesus. There are trucks hauling proppant in, hauling water in, hauling oil out, hauling NGLs (maybe) and hauling salt water out.

  22. Ronald Walter says:

    The inevitable collapse has occurred for bald eagles and golden eagles in California, but that is nothing to see, so move along.

  23. Sol Roth says:

    Doomers, not to worry…surely the god-given oil under the U.S. Atlantic continental shelf will save us!

    Next up…opening up ANWR for exploration and production!

    That’s not enough for NorthAm BAU?

    The resources of the Orinoco will be fully developed to beat the band…one way, or the other!

    /sarc off

    OK, the Atlantic will likely be a bust, as well ANWR…some oil, but not enough to justify the expenditures for development.

    However, the folks in Vz need to brush up on ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’…give that no more than 10 years from now…that is my prediction.

    • Watcher says:

      That story is mostly about some kinda magical sonic imaging that is going to offend fish ears.

      I didn’t see any evidence. Just suggestion.

    • Watcher says:

      Roger that on Venezuela. Lot of barrels down there need liberating.

  24. Old farmer mac says:

    About pipelines and the Bakken and a lack of ability to run them to wells because the wells die too fast:

    I used to be among other things in a rolling stone career a certified welder and heavy equipment operator and know a thing or two about small diameter pipe although nothing about pipelines as such.

    But back in the sixties we plumbed our orchards with one inch galvanized pipe and ran it right on top of the ground. It would flow thirty gallons a minute without problems for half a mile or more with only a seven and a half horsepower pump to push water along with pesticides in it of course. At the end of that half mile we had long high pressure hoses attached to hand guns and shot the mix to the top of tall apple trees in an atomized mist. I spent many a day as a youth squirting chemicals on the trees in this fashion. The pipe had valves and tees every three hundred feet and the half inch hoses were two hundred feet long.

    When the Panama Canal was built railroad track was laid by the mile and literally shoved to one side or another as needed to keep the trains close to the walls of the cut. No problems.

    I find it very hard to believe that a four inch pipeline could not be laid on the ground with minimal grading and extended from one well to the next for a reasonable sum of money to get the oil out to a point where the small lines could not be used to feed a bigger permanent line.I am pretty sure a small dozer can drag a thousand feet of assembled ( welded ) four inch pipe schedule eighty ( pretty heavy duty stuff) across a prairie and these wells are supposed to be less than a mile apart and have a hell of a lot more pipe under the ground than a miles worth.

    I am not talking about extending a line ten miles to reach a well. I am talking about extending a line from one well to the next from wells less than a mile apart.A small line could easily handle a bunch of wells if the most productive ones are producing only thirty or forty barrels an hour and the older wells are producing say ten barrels or less an hour.

    I can say from experience that I can personally weld schedule eighty pipe and throw two lengths on the ground and drive a D8 across the joint and mash it into the dirt and it will not break or leak.If the ground is soft the pipe sinks. If it is hard the dozer rides up and over. In between the pipe bends a little.

    Of course such a pipe would have to be either buried or elevated wherever it crosses a road but it is my impression that nearly all the roads near the wells are temporary roads built by the oil companies rather than public roads.

    If such a pipeline were to break a redundant low pressure switch on the pump could shut off the pressure in a matter of seconds. That might still result in up to a few hundred barrels of oil escaping though depending on the ground contour and if there is pressure generated in the pipe by dissolved natural gas still in solution .

    Of course this probably has to ten times as more to do with rigid bureaucratic specifications for pipelines that it does with actual safety and potential spills.

    • Watcher says:

      Legit point. The actual building of it may not be the long pole in the tent. Maybe permissions and EPA stuff for each one eats calendar during which the well is dying. Speculating.

      Trucks on roads don’t need that. We know they are *trying* to add pipelines, but that photo above is what it is. They’ve been drilling 5ish years now and no one has a magical pipeline answer yet, so probably never will.

  25. Euan Mearns says:

    Ron, I’ve been dealing with some Green stuff on my own blog (being ultra polite) and closing down browser windows came back to your blog to see this:

    Do you really, really believe that albatrosses that eat fish have managed to eat so much plastic by mistake, and stay alive so long that it fills their bodies from gullet to ass hole, including really angular sharp pieces of plastic, deemed to have passed through organic tubes a few mm wide, and it looks like there is an undigested printed circuit board in there as well, that presumably got eaten by mistake by the fish that the albatross ate.

    Do you really believe this? Or is it just possible that some Green crank went and placed all this plastic in the carcass of an already dead albatross in order to fool the public?

    If this is a joke that has already been sprung then please excuse my ignorance. But if its not then…?


    PS where is the debris from its normal diet?

    • Euan, are you serious? Do you think someone faked this. Go to the site. I provided the link:
      1200 miles from civilization, birds die from eating man-made plastic. Watch the 4 minute trailer to the 85 minute documentary:
      Midway (2013) 85 min – Documentary | Family – 6 September 2013 (Canada)

      Using spare narration and stunning imagery, Midway focuses on the plight of the Laysan Albatross plagued by the ingestion of our plastic trash. Both elegy and warning, the film explores the interconnectedness of species, with the albatross on Midway as a mirror of our humanity.

      Yes Euan, I believe the video. I have seen these things before. I have seen turtles, choked on plastic bags which they thought were jelly fish. Or I should say I have seen pictures and videos of such. Yes, I do believe the pictures. No, I absolutely do not believe it was faked. How in hell could they fake the videos? Why would they do such a thing.

      Where is the stuff of it’s normal diet. Well where is the flesh that was once on the bones? It has decayed or been eaten by maggots. The normal contents, if there were any minnows and such, has decayed just like the flesh from the bones. Really, did you expect to see flesh in the stomach but none on the bones?

      And quite frankly I am a little shocked that you think it was faked.

      • Old farmer mac says:

        I am just an inland country boy but I have seen an egret eat a baby turtle a good two inches across.Except for its long legs and long neck and oversized bill it was no larger than a chicken.

        I tried to copy a picture of an egret eating a frog but it won’t copy here for some reason.

        In a sec I will post a link to a cartoon very popular along the bayous.

        • Old farmer mac says:

          The link is iffy. Google ”never give up cartoons” and you will get the cartoon in various styles immediately.

          Here is a link to a video showing a wading bird eating a snake longer than the bird.Alive of course.

          I would not recommend showing this to a small child.

          Most birds seem to have bird brains when it comes to what they will eat.This is to be expected since evolution only installs such software as is necessary. Since nature never put anything into the water that looked like food but that wasn’t food a water bird will eyeball a bottle cap and gobble it down.

          A barnyard chicken on the other hand being a ground feeder encounters many things that are food that look like things that actually are not food-things such as bug that looks like a pebble or a bit of bark.

          Consequently evolution has provided a chicken ( and other ground feeding birds) with the hardware and software to distinguish a piece of bark from a nice crunchy beetle.

          The bird in the picture Ron posted simply was not programmed to distinguish the things it ate from its ordinary food. So it ate the plastic.

          I go fishing as often as I can and I catch a good many fish on things that are made out of plastic and steel and look only a little bit like a minnow or a frog or salamander or an insect in the water.Rubber worms are probably the most popular artificial bait of all.

          • Old farmer mac says:

            Some additional commentary needed.

            Juveniles are not able to regurgitate very well if at all. Adult birds can regurgitate stomach contents easily and so are not generally killed by the plastic ” bird lures” floating it the water just like fishing lures.

            When they feed their young the plastic is retained with each feeding by the chick until finally the chick or juvenile bird dies.Only one piece of plastic out of many feedings is enough to accumulate to the point of killing the chick or juvenile.

      • Jeju-islander says:

        Ron I am a little shocked that you are a little shocked that Eaun Mearns thinks the albatross photo was faked.

        Eaun Mearns is one of the most articulate denialists on this site. His mindset is clearly structured to disbelieve anything that goes against his rigid dogma. This is common to all conspiracy theorists.

        Here is another link with more photos of the albatrosses from the Smithsonian –

        • Old farmer mac says:

          It is hard for me to understand exactly what Euan believes these days but as I take it he believes that nukes are our only real hope of salvation. It would be very interesting to know how long HE thinks fossil fuels will be abundant enough and cheap enough to maintain business as usual.

          He is certainly to put it mildly not a believer in affordable renewable power. He has to the best of my knowledge not published his opinion on the probability of western countries permitting and building enough new nukes to offset the obvious inevitable eventual decline in oil and gas supplies.

          I know there is a lot of easily mineable coal left in the world but I do not believe it will remain affordable.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Ron, this comment is one I may regret! To get one of thing straight, I am equally appalled by the level of plastic littering in the environment, rivers, coastlines, play parks etc. Does this signal that “collapse” is imminent.

        I Googled around a bit, starting with JeJu-Islanders link:

        But they have a problem: they are eating plastic dumped in the ocean. This collection of photos, taken by artist Chris Jordan on Midway Atoll, a group of islands in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, show the decomposing carcasses of Laysan albatross chicks on the islands—and the plastic that will remain there far longer than their bones.

        My emphasis, we are looking at images and a video made by an artist. I’ve added another still from the video which I hope you will agree is not natural. I’m surprised Googling around (a little more) that most of the hits come back to this same video and these stills. But I did find this:

        Typically, Laysan Albatrosses have a larger volume of ingested plastic than any other seabird because their favored food, flying fish eggs, are attached to floating debris, and in our modern world most of this debris is plastics, where it used to be wood or pumice. Floating is one of the properties of plastics. The most recent research that we had available to us on the island regarding plastics and albatross chicks was published in 1995. According to this research by Auman, Ludwig, Geis, and Colburn: “ingested plastic probably does not cause a significant direct mortality in Laysan Albatross chicks, but likely causes physiological stress as a result of satiation and mechanical blockage. Resulting problems may include; starvation, suppressed appetite, reduced growth rate, lower fledgling masses, obstruction of the gut, and decreased fat deposition.”

        So I learned something, the albatross feeding pattern makes it prone to scooping up plastics. The image in this link certainly look more genuine, a large empty cavity where heart and lungs should be and some plastic where the stomach and gut should be.

        This source says that plastics are probably not a major cause of mortality in albatross chicks (based on work from 1995). Your source (America blog) says:

        That garbage is afflicting every single bird on Midway – there are 1.5 million albatrosses – and killing 1/3 of all the chicks born.

        I think that is based on the research of the artist. I’d have thought it not unusual for a seabird to have one third chick mortality?

        So where does the truth lie? Do albatrosses eat plastic – yes. Does this kill albatross chicks – probably yes. Does this kill one third of all chicks born – probably no. Are the photos you published genuine – probably no.

        I’m surprised your shocked at me questioning images that to my eyes still look very dubious.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Here’s the image from the NOAA scientist which I think is genuine. Ron I’m interested to know if you still think the images you posted are genuine?

          • I have absolutely no doubt that the picture I posted, and the other pictures as well as the video at the link I posted, are genuine. I am not incline to think that nature documentary makers fake their videos. Faking nature in a video would be very difficult.

            I am not incline to think that people who post pictures and make videos about the destruction of nature, by man, fake their work. The destruction is bad enough without having to fake things in an attempt to make it worse.

            • RalphW says:

              A lot of nature videos are not exactly faked, but the line between observing and interfering in the environment gets badly stretched. Even top line BBC documentaries mix scenes from natural environments with zoo based shots without comment. Entertainment too often comes at the expense of education.

        • Good for you Euan Mearns. I don’t know whether the pictures are real or not. I also wondered about them as well when I saw it, knowing how picky sea gulls can be. But that is not my point. All, things presented as fact should be open for question, without condemnation.
          Right or wrong, your right to voice an opinion.

      • Anonymous says:

        We unloaded thousands of railcars of plastic HDPE pellets, and birds eating spilled pellets was a terrible .. horrible problem, so much so that Phillips, Mobil, XOM, BASF, etc spent a fortune developing rail car unloading procedures and wildlife awareness, at the time there was not good way to stop pellets flying about when you taped the car / inserted suction probes . You could spend hours trying to separate them from the environment. Plastics are inert, they just starve since they are full. Fortunately most polyolefin’s turn to dust in a few years from the UV at lower latitudes.

    • Perk Earl says:

      I agree Euan. The first time I saw that photo yesterday I figured it was some kind of an ecological art statement, but didn’t figure it to have any accuracy in fact. I doubt a bird would swallow an entire plastic bottle cap or what appears to be a rasp or brush in the lower part of the picture. I’m sure plenty of sea life dies because of ingesting plastic, but this photo has the appearance of being doctored for shock effect.

      • Earl, you obviously know little about the gullet of sea birds. They can swallow fish half as big as they are. I have seen cormorants swallow fish many times the diameter of their neck. Their gullet just expands to meet the challenge. A pelican can do the same thing. I am sure an albatross could swallow anything many times the size of a bottle cap.

        Again, I am really shocked to think people would think this is faked. But I guess I should not be shocked at all, after all there are people that think the moon landing was faked.

        I hope I can find the entire 85 minute documentary.

        • Perk Earl says:

          I’m really surprised Ron that you would simply accept this photo as real without some kind of proof. I mean a bird surely has evolved a sense what is food and what is not, right. Plastic has no nutrition so why would a bird swallow it? I lived in Sausalito on the waterfront my entire childhood into adulthood. There were pelicans and other large sea birds, and often I would come across a carcass on shore (before every square inch got developed) and none ever had any plastic inside of it – not one piece of plastic. So suddenly birds have altered their evolution to be completely stupid? I could see if a fish is stupid enough to swallow plastic, and then the bird swallows the fish and that’s how it gets into the bird, but that would require some evidence. What do you got Ron?

          Remember to question everything Ron.

          • Perk Earl says:

            Ron – Before you go ballistic, and I know you can, I did a search and found numerous other photos of sea bird carcasses with plastic in them. Very unfortunate and I don’t understand what has changed since my childhood, except maybe there wasn’t as much plastic in the SF bay in my day as there are currently in other parts of the ocean?

            Anyway, the photo without any other supporting information did look to me and Euan as doctored, but upon further investigation probably is not as this is a big problem. Very unfortunate indeed, however I don’t think in the long haul it will make much difference as humankind will in one manner or another cause these animals extinction. That’s my opinion anyway.

            • Yeah, I get your point. Since the goddamn things are going to die anyway, why make such a big deal about it? And why worry about any of the other animals, they are all going to go extinct also?

              Hell, why care about any other life on earth, humans are the only ones that count? As you said, it makes no difference in the long haul when humans will be the only animal left standing anyway. We don’t need them goddamn birds, or bees, or wild animals running around everywhere. Good riddance, that’s what I say.


              • The Wet One says:

                But Ron, the justice of it is this, humans won’t be left standing. We’ll go extinct too. I suspect long before absolutely everything else goes extinct as well.

                It’s frustrating to be sure, but humanity’s light will no longer grace the universe, and the rest of life can proceed unencumbered by us and our pecadillos.

                It’s only a matter of time.

    • Dave Ranning says:

      I know you engineering types solve problem by moving dirt and building machines.
      When this becomes the problem, rather than the solution, I know the foundations of your existence is threatened, and you will scream in a fetal position as reality emerges from the fog.
      This is why global warming is such a threat to your paradigm.

      • Andy Hamilton says:

        If you haven’t yet worked out what Euan Mearns’s agenda is you have not being paying attention. I am not in the least bit shocked by his comments. I am surprised he hasn’t simply dismissed the various rubbish gyres as green propaganda.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Despite its size and density (4 particles per cubic meter), the patch is not visible from satellite photography, nor even necessarily to a casual boater or diver in the area, since it consists primarily of a small increase in suspended, often-microscopic particles in the upper water column.

          • Old farmer mac says:

            Satellite pics don’t have the resolution for this sort of thing. Small objects floating almost submerged just don’t show up.

            Any body who doubts what is there is free to google ” sargasso sea garbage pics” and can see as many photos shot at water level as he pleases in high definition.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Oh perfect! Nothing to see here, (pun intended), and it is just a SMALL (hahaha!) increase in suspended particles… just keep swimming right right on by, folks.

            Euan, do you know anything at all about how the marine food web actually works?

            “During the laboratory tests, a number of zooplankton taxa were exposed to 10-micrometre (µm) fluorescent polystyrene microspheres and the zooplankton labelled with ingested microspheres, which included copepods and polychaete larvae, were then offered to larger crustaceans. The tests showed that many species ingested plastic when feeding. The plastic microparticles were transferred via these planktonic organisms from one trophic level to a higher level.”

            Hint: the plastic accumulates in the higher levels and among other things plastic isn’t very good for you if your substituting it for basic nutrients.

            What I find amazing is that someone so obviously highly intelligent and educated can be so obtuse when it comes to connecting the dots about our reality. Euan, in case you are wondering, humans are also changing the planetary climate along with a bunch of other systems, ecosytems being among them . Take off your blinders!

            • Euan Mearns says:

              Fred, I like joining dots, but find it is most productive to do it in the correct order, in order to get the correct picture. You are now flying off in the direction of micro plastics which I suspect may be more important to global ecology (though I don’t know) than plastic bottle tops.

              I published part 3 of my trilogy on Energy and Mankind today:

              Energy and Mankind part 3

              In it I say:

              Fossil fuel production tends to have a small footprint but leaves a gigantic imprint on our atmosphere. Since we began to burn coal, CO2 has increased from 0.026%v to 0.04%v of the atmosphere with as yet totally unconstrained consequences. The Arctic sea ice canary is refusing to die. Whilst it seems inevitable that 7 billion souls must impact Earth’s climate and more critically a myriad of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, the impact on climate to date looks increasingly benign. As time passes the failure of OECD government policies to control global emissions and the failure of increased emissions to raise global temperatures will appear increasingly asinine.

              So I suspect this may piss everyone off. If you read all three parts, you’ll see that my main concern is human society not having sufficient access to affordable energy and the risks that poses to human societies. To be sure, there are a myriad of other risks, but what are they and how serious are they to what?

              • Keyser Soze says:


                Keeping it simple. People will manage chaos/collapse with these 3 basics items:
                Cooking Gas,
                And Public Transportation

                Can any of you?

                • Euan Mearns says:

                  Ah, the usual suspects, but I think in collapse you need guns and lots of em. The keyser loved em.

                  Recently I have been writing a lot more about Ukraine, Iraq and Libya than Midway. Israel – Palestine should also figure very high in folks minds.


                • Fred Magyar says:

                  @ Keyser,

                  “Can any of you?”

                  Quem não tem cão caça com gato?

                  For the benefit of those not fluent in the Brazilian language and familiar with that country’s culture this translates roughly to:

                  “He who does not have a dog hunts with a cat.”

                  I’m afraid there is a saying here in the US that applies.

                  “That dog (cat) don’t hunt”.

                  But perhaps I’m just extremely skeptical after spending 8 months in the city of São Paulo last year… what I saw convinced me that those three items are neither simple nor are there any guarantees that they will continue to be available for the general public in a collapse scenario.


                  • Keyser Soze says:


                    That’s why I suggested Paraguay, instead of Brazil. Brazil will become a bloodbath. Their record is very clear.

                    Quem não tem cão caça com gato?

                    That was great… and very Brazilian.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                “If you read all three parts, you’ll see that my main concern is human society not having sufficient access to affordable energy and the risks that poses to human societies.”

                On this point we are 100% in agreement and it may very well make many of the other points moot.

      • RalphW says:

        As an addendum, the BBC is reporting on a container ship load that fell off at sea off the SW corner of the UK.

        One of the containers contained nearly 5 million lego pieces. Although the article covers the scientific tracking of these pieces to map the ocean currents, I am appalled to think of how many of these essentially indestructible bits of plastic are now in the gullets of sea birds.

        After 17 years at sea they still look nearly like new.

  26. Doug Leighton says:



    “The trash vortex is an area the size of Texas in the North Pacific in which an estimated six kilos of plastic for every kilo of natural plankton, along with other slow degrading garbage, swirls slowly around like a clock, choked with dead fish, marine mammals, and birds who get snared. Some plastics in the gyre will not break down in the lifetimes of the grandchildren of the people who threw them away.”

    I’m sure you’re fully aware of this disgraceful mess but my wife suggested I to toss it into the discussion. In fact, a guy I used to work for (deceased) actually sailed through the Sargasso Sea Garbage Dump and he told me it was something he was never able to forget: Days and days worth of floating rubbish. He told me the experience convinced him there was no hope for mankind.

    You know, sometimes I actually feel sorry for you, with your entourage of “Armchair Experts” chiming in with often ill informed comments, but I suppose you’re used to it. I’m not sure (this) your latest post was as well received as most. Reality is a tough business!



    • Doug, no I never get used to it. And I often reply with comments that are less than cordial. But it really frustrates me when people really have no clue as to what is happening to the world. And when I try to explain it, they simply don’t believe it. And they try to explain, as best they can, that it is not really that bad at all, that in fact, things will really be okay.

      What it is Doug, is people have a “world view” that is set in their minds like cement. Nothing can alter that world view. There are many different world views but the vast majority have one thing in common. And that is that nothing really catastrophic can happen to the world as a whole. Somehow, everything will work out.

      But if every animal held a similar view, then we know they have all been proven wrong. If you were any other animal, or any other large animal, then you have seen your territory shrink to almost nothing and your population decimated. Something catastrophic has already happened to every species of mega-fauna on earth save one. So far…

      • Hiruit Nguyse says:

        I have admired your site for quite some time now. I almost never comment due to the reasons you mention…I am also a follower of JHK, Gail, Dmitri, and others. Do you have a way that I can contact you without going through the troll section of your posts?

        Alternatively, I have a U tube account open under my name above, and I could recieve a message through my Inbox, with a Gmail, so I could speak to you.

        I appreciate the work you provide on this site, and occasionally would like to speak to you outisde the constraints of this system, if that is possible.

        Thank You.


        • Watcher says:

          “without going through the troll section of your posts”

          haha, isn’t that what you just did?

      • Aspera says:

        So true on “world views.” Even when we understand that we all have them, we rarely can see how they affect our own thoughts.

        Excerpt from: Meadows, D., J. Randers, and D. Meadows. Tools for the Transition.

        “We have said many times . . . that the world faces not a preordained future, but a choice. The choice is between different mental models, which lead logically to different scenarios.

        One mental model says that this world for all practical purposes has no limits. Choosing that mental model will encourage extractive business as usual and take the human economy even further beyond the limits. The result will be collapse.

        Another mental model says that the limits are real and close, and that there is not enough time, and that people cannot be moderate or responsible or compassionate. At least not in time. That model is self-fulfilling. If the world’s people choose to believe it, they will be proven right. The result will be collapse.

        A third mental model says that the limits are real and close and in some cases below our current levels of throughput. But there is just enough time, with no time to waste. There is just enough energy, enough material, enough money, enough environmental resilience, and enough human virtue to bring about a planned reduction in the ecological footprint of humankind: a sustainability revolution to a much better world for the vast majority.

        That third scenario might very well be wrong. But the evidence we
        have seen, from world data to global computer models, suggests that it
        could conceivably be made right. There is no way of knowing for sure,
        other than to try it.”

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          I agree with the third choice above.

        • Dennis Coyne says:


          Should also have said, the best comment I have seen so far, thanks!

        • wimbi says:

          The third one- go for it, and DIY

          Around here, a few of us are trying, using Pat Murphy’s PLAN C as a guide. So far, I have got my house entirely off ff’s with solar electricity running everything.

          Not only is the third one fairly easy to do, it’s also fun, and ends up with a lot more community and support. Sorta like the small town I grew up during the depression.

          Thanks for that one, Aspera.

    • wimbi says:

      So here’s the plan.

      1) round up all those unemployed fisher folk and give them the appropriate equipment.
      2) send this fleet out to scoop up that plastic, which all here know is just solidified oil and burns real good.
      3) stuff this enormous, valuable catch into huge unemployed ore carriers, or some such, and tote it off to power plants
      4) using tech already being used in Europe to turn trash into clean electricity, turn the trash into clean electricity.
      5) enjoy, with a cleaner conscious.

      • Ilambiquated says:

        Step one would be to build plants to burn municipal trash. This would create demand for plastic waste. It has already happen in Scandinavia and Germany, and the EU hsa more or less banned dumping flammable materials in landfills by 2020, so it should spread.

  27. Keyser Soze says:

    Watcher, how did you find out about the spam?

    • I deleted the spam. And before I delete spam I have to first delete the replies to it or else it screws up the whole comments section.

  28. "greenish" says:

    Hi there.

    I’ve got great respect for Euan, but he may be ascribing to green cranks things that are really just aspects of the real world. Again.

    Certainly a photo like that could be faked…. but it’s pretty typical of what actually exists out there. One needn’t imagine armies of artists in zodiacs making collages out of bird bones & plastic all over pacific atolls. Of course, sometimes such a thing is already in a fish that a seabird eats, and it remains after the fish is digested. I’ve caught fish on large odd lures before; a lot of fish can swallow stuff pretty large, and a lot of seabirds can swallow fish unbelievably large.

    The fact is that we humans are doing a real number on the earth, and there can be a certain “shoot the messenger” tendency I’m familiar with to those who point it out.

    Good essay Ron.

    • "greenish" says:

      PS – I did a quick search for the trailer and found this in HD

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Hi Greenish, glad to see you are still around. I feel as though I may have albatross around my neck for a few weeks 😉 So I wish I hadn’t posted the initial comment! Didn’t mean to spend half of today reading about albatrosses. Already extinct in the Atlantic (a long, long time ago) and facing multiple threats in the Pacific, of which plastic is only one. The long line fishing seems particularly bad and gruesome. E

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Hi there Greenish! Good to see you here.

  29. The Wet One says:

    In light of all of this, I’m strongly inclined to say, “So what?”

    The world has been destroyed and remade many times prior to now. I understand we’re in our sixth mass extinction. That’s number six, not one.

    Been there, done that, life went on.

    Sure, we’re doing a better job of destroying this and that, but with any luck, we’ll go extinct relatively soon and that will be end of our days of havoc. If not, we’ll be decimated and our numbers will collapse down far from what they are today, which will give much of the earth time to recuperate and regenerate.

    It’s just the way of things, apparently.

    I think one can only really get upset about these matters if one is under the delusion that we are in control, or that something else is in control. There is no control. There are forces in play not wholly seen or understood and they are shaping the future. Humanity as a whole is one such force, but don’t be decieved into thinking that because individuals think, that which is called humanity thinks, or has a mind directing its actions. It doesn’t. It is a force of nature doing what it does upon the earth. It will not last forever.

    So it goes.

    • Old farmer mac says:

      Hi Wet One ,

      I hope you are just feeling cynical tonight and are not too serious.

      I am not sure about you but I have no doubt that I personally am programmed by a billion years of evolution to survive.

      In the last million years evolution has graced us with the ability to think.Giving up is not an option unless you don’t care about your own survival and that of your kin..

      I love little girls in all their Easter finery and little boys playing cowboy.

      The Koch brothers and Ronald McDonald and the throwaway packaging industry I do not love.I do not love Coca Cola or Pepsi or any business other than small scale farming although I do recognize that some businesses are essential.

      Your OWN PERSONAL health and very possibly your own survival are at stake here.You OUGHT to be upset.

      I know the grave worms will have their way with me unless I am embalmed and if embalmed then bacteria will get me just the same after a while.

      But I am not in a hurry to die.

      • The Wet One says:


        Not feeling cynical, just calling it how I see it. These things happen. They’ve happened before (it was a 10 km wide asteroid named Chixulub the last go around) and will probably happen again. It’s just the way things are.

        As for my evolved intelligence and desire to survive, sure these things exists in individuals. I’m not so sure that any kind of capacity to think as a unified whole exists in the human species. Given what I’ve observed, I rather doubt it. Individual humans pursue their own ends. The collective pursuits of individuals amount to humanity’s impact on the planet. However, precious few humans aim their individual pursuits at humanity’s impact on the planet. It’s an afterthought, if it’s a thought at all. And so the juggernaut of humanity continues to lumber around the globe causing upset where ever it touches and life goes on, or not as the case may be.

        As for my own survival, well, I think I’m advantageously situated given the possible future, but I could get hit by a bus or a falling helicopter on the way home (seriously, the most unlucky way to die. I’ve read of two people on the ground biting it this way in the last decade or so). I try not to sweat it too much. Death is coming for me. There’s no getting around that fact.

        I suppose my tune will change when I actually have children, but the fundamentals of what I said won’t change. I’ll just be more upset about the reality in play because I’ll have a stake in the future beyond my own death. The reality will remain the same though. It is what it is.

  30. Andy Hamilton says:

    Regarding the collapse meme – this piece on the financial crisis looming for the UK (you could substitute most any Western nation) is very well written. I like the mention that possibly a return to ultra low commodity prices might just help get them out of the hole (chuckle).

    • Old farmer mac says:

      When you get right down to the nitty gritty our financial situation is as bad here in the US.But at least we are better off in terms of natural resources.

      Unfortunately we have only one political faction here that is truly focused on setting our governmental financial obligations in order- the Tea Party.

      Although they are so wrong about so many things it is hard to think of anything they get right- they are dead right in this one respect.

      But tribalism- group loyalty – trumps everything else and so the rest of the political establishment here refuses to recognize the obvious truth about our financial situation.Had the establishment left or right or together been willing to do so the Tea Party would not even exist as an organization any bigger than a local social club.

      Now I can already hear the angry protests coming from both sides, especially the left. As I see it although the government must do many things it simply cannot do everything everybody wants done.The left generally refuses to recognize the limits to society’s ability to pay. We thus have a situation here it this country now whereby a lot of local governments are going to have to spend every dime coming in in the future just to pay pensions leaving nothing to pay all the other bills.

      Of course the right is just as bad in many other respects even more critical.

      We are (not quite) damned if we do and ( not quite) damned if we don’t given that we still have enormous reserves of natural resources here sufficient to maintain our society for quite some time if properly conserved and used wisely and frugally.

      A financial collapse will not result in very many Americans starving or dieing of exposure.

      Conserving those resources and using them wisely is one of the many critical things the political right gets wrong. Our failure to conserve our resources and use them wisely and frugally is the key reason why we have our military deployed overseas on a constant basis.

      This failure may well result in our getting entangled in hot resource wars that could metastasize into WWIII – which could easily kill nearly all of us.

      I guess I should have left out that parenthetical ” not quite”.

      • “Although they are so wrong about so many things it is hard to think of anything they get right- they are dead right in this one respect.”
        Love balanced views, so hard to find nowadays. Some good in the bad, some bad in the good.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi OFM,

        In this case I disagree with the tea party having this right, though I agree with both the left and right being wrong on many things.

        When there is inadequate aggregate demand the solution is very simple, the government can ramp up spending, preferably on useful stuff and this puts people back to work. Now the government can collect more taxes (even with no change in tax rates) because aggregate income increases and government spending on unemployment insurance and welfare decreases because more people can find work. The overall result is that deficits decrease. The time to worry about deficits is when the economy is booming, if that were the case the tea party would be right. At present they are dead wrong on trying to tackle deficits, that would be Herbert Hoover all over again.

        • Old farmer mac says:

          Hi Dennis,

          First of all although I did not say so I do not believe the Tea Party has a workable plan to solve our problems.

          I intended to put across only the one main point that nobody OTHER THAN the Tea Party is truly focused on doing anything about excessive spending.

          Now as fas as govt forcing demand up- and thereby getting the fires of the economy stoked up and hopefully burning hotter and faster- well that sort of thing works IN MY ESTIMATION about like having another drink to avoid sobering up or running up a personal credit card.

          In the end we cannot afford more and more and more consumption other than of personal services which do not consume much in the line of resources.

          The real problem as I see it with government spending is that there is unlimited pressure to spend more coming from countless people expecting the borrowed money to be spent ON THEM PERSONALLY.

          I for instance may be able to get lake paid for on my place by you the taxpayer.In this case you may get a minute benefit in terms of flood control but I get a personal lake worth maybe fifty or a hundred grand for twenty cents on the dollar or less.

          BUT if you are about to get a hundred grand to build a twinkles museum at taxpayers expense my portion of that hundred grand is going to be the same size as your portion of the bill for my lake. Totally trivial. But a penny here and a penny there adds up to real money when you are dealing in literally millions of pennies being passed out to millions of different parties on any given day.

          Putting a stop to the excess spending by a person who is getting little or nothing in return is like that person trying to swat a million misquitos each determined to bleed him for a single drop. It can’t be done.

          The government is run by people who keep their jobs by promising more – never less. The government will always promise more than it can reasonably hope to pay. The people who are best at lobbying and begging get the loot.I an not one of them although I am seriously considering joining them since I can’t lick them.

          The only thing stopping me is the twenty grand I would have to put up to get the balance of the cost of the lake plus the thought of the increase in taxes later and having to turn away careless littering people wanting to fish and drink on my premises.

          This program may be out of funds or shut down at the moment. I haven’t checked in a while.

          At the rate we are going a lot of people are already spending more on interest than on actual new purchases. A lot of governments are already staggering under the cost of interest payments. Hardly ANY government I am aware of has any real hope of paying off any significant amount of principle owed.

          We are in a debt spiral to financial hell and there is not going to be any happy ending to this story.

          • Hi Mac,
            I think one of the biggest problems is the dependency on food stamps. Just wondering what you think of this idea
            Probably completely unrealistic, but perhaps you could give me your opinion anyway?

            • Keyser Soze says:


              Don’t make it complicated. Just spend time with the Amish.

              • The Amish have been living their lifestyle for a long time. They know what they are doing, and they have the land. Any urbanites who are going to uproot and get a hobby farm would be in for a rude surprise. No skills, no mentors, no equipment. You have to start somewhere realistic. Commons have been used for centuries, and of course your backyard makes sense.

                • Keyser Soze says:

                  You said: “hobby farm would be in for a rude surprise.” And you’re probably right.

                  Then, you said: “backyard makes sense.” I question that. Asians are very good at farming. Look at that — within their communities — where you live

                  • Sorry, I think I missed something. I am not sure what you meant by questioning the feasibility of growing food in your backyard.

                  • Keyser Soze says:


                    Because you can’t grow food in most backyards. Keep in mind that I live in Washington, DC. but, born and raised in Brazil. Anyway, farming is hard work. Labor intensive.

                    But check this out:

                    Walter Haugen Says:
                    September 26th, 2013 at 6:13 pm

                    Check out Joseph Tainter’s “The Collapse of Complex Societies” or my book “The Laws of Physics Are On My Side.” Tainter introduces marginal returns as the basis of his argument and it is relevant to your own. If the marginal returns fall below 1:1, it doesn’t matter if you have a high throughput (American empire today) or a relatively low throughput (Rome circa 100 AD). It is still relative to your input/output.

                    Per my book, what we are doing now is replacing cultural behavior with massive doses of fossil fuel energy. Once we run short of cheap oil energy (either by price or supply) we have to constrict our energy use. If we don’t we get dieoff.

                    Your solar business is still dependent on cheap oil, whether in the embedded energy of the infrastructure or just getting the workers to the jobsite and factory. My farming is also slightly dependent on fossil fuel energy, as I use 10 gallons of gasoline and my labor to grow 10,000 pounds of food per year. However, in my case I am 25-35 times more efficient than industrial agriculture, measured by input/output analysis.

                    I am no fan of Greer, as I find him arrogant and wordy. However, he did hit on a winner with catabolic collapse. As for Diamond, he is the only one I have heard who understands the role of the 1st and 2nd derivative in plotting the inflection point where marginal returns change sign. Tainter alludes to this but doesn’t even use the term “inflection point” in his analysis. As for Kunstler, he has looked at the problem in depth and his “World Made by Hand” books look at the sociological effects – and are a good read too.


                  • Because you can’t grow food in most backyards.
                    Why not?
                    I am growing tomatoes indoors dead of winter (Australia). If you have sunlight you can grow food. I use water as a thermal mass to heat a sunroom. Even winter outdoors I can grow winter crops.
                    I don’t understand what you mean.

                  • Keyser Soze says:

                    That’s great Paul it’s working for you. However, most people can’t and don’t have sun-rooms. I sure don’t.

                    Anyway, in your case, the answer you have to give us is: I, Paul from Australia, grew enough food in the last ??? months to feed my family of ??? of my backyard and sun-room!

                    So, can you?

                  • At this point I don’t have to.
                    The mistake people make is in perceiving that to be an immediate all out collapse. It won’t be, it will be lumpy, uneven and geographically intense. Assuming you are in a sustainable location then food prices will go up, but food will still be available. Petrol will go up, everything will go up. But the issue is that it will still be available, baring outages and shortages, which need to be accommodated. At least for the next 20-30 years staple commodities will be available.
                    The issue is to supplement. Not everything that is edible is currently being used in the western diet, there are food sources available that have a much higher yield per area.
                    Azolla, mushrooms and crickets come to mind.

                  • Keyser Soze says:

                    Agree with your assessment. Would add shortages of everything.

                    I am an stronger believe in electricity, water, and subtropical weather. Lose electricity, and that location turns into Mad Max/chaos.

                    Check Ezrydermike post. Amazing stuff he, and his daughter are doing. I ‘ll make sure I will email that link to everybody that I know. I mean, everyone in my email list. By the way, I’ll comment there tomorrow.

                    Anyway, next decade we will be watching the collapse of the industrial age followed by the end of technology. So let’s enjoy blogging now. We’re going back to the 19th century… kicking and screaming.

  31. Allan H says:

    It is a sad note that beautiful, natural areas are being eaten up by various forms of development with the loss of species as a result. Land development generally means removing all the indigenous species and transforming the area into ranchland, farmland (mono-cultures) and physical structures. There may be parks or some areas put aside for special purposes (water sources) but in general developed land has no real place for the natural order of things. Total farmland and ranchland in the world cover the combined area of South America and Africa.

    Just to put development of land in perspective, I looked up some statistics about the USA. The US has about 2.3 billion acres of land. About 1 billion acres is delegated to farm and ranch land. Crop production covers 408 million acres, total arable land is 443 million acres. Parks and wildlife areas have about 297 million acres. Urban area covers 60 million acres and rural non-farm residential area of 97 million acres.
    “Miscellaneous other land” consists of 228 million acres with 131 million of that in Alaska. Miscellaneous other land can consist of barren lands, marshes, etc., basically land that is not of usable interest. 2 million acres is dedicated to transportation.

    So basically the majority sector of land is used by farms and ranches to raise food (or some fuel and industrial products). Most of the arable land is already being used to raise crops and about 3000 acres of productive farmland is lost to development every year.
    Just as a note, the federal government owns 650 million acres of land, about 30 percent of land area.

  32. Check this one out:
    Keeping Oil Production From Falling

    U.S. field production of crude oil, by source, 1860-2013, in millions of barrels per day. Source: Hamilton (2014).
    That downward trend was dramatically reversed over the last few years with the advent of horizontal drilling and fracturing to get oil out of tighter geologic formations, as seen in the green region in the graph above. If success with tight oil formations continues, we may yet see the historical peak production of many of the states above eventually exceeded, and indeed perhaps even for the United States as a whole.
    But it’s also worth noting that as we moved through the succession of colors in the graph above we have been turning to increasingly more expensive sources of oil. Today’s frackers would all be put out of business if we were to return to the oil prices of a decade ago.
    And even if prices remain high or go higher, eventually that green curve is going to turn around and start falling with the others.

    • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

      Link to original Econbrowser post:

      I added my usual 2¢ worth in the comments section.

      • Doug Leighton says:


        Clearly I’m missing something very important because I can’t understand why an understanding on your oil depletion model isn’t all anyone interested in Peak Oil needs to know to have an excellent grasp of the reality of the dilemma(s) facing us. Maybe most people just prefer to hear the sound of their own voices regardless of what is being said (explained) to them?


  33. The Wet One says:


    The DOOM brigade is out on force on this article. Then again, considering the article, I suppose that isn’t surprising.

    For my part, I don’t doubt that things are going to get rough, probably fly off the rails, and possibly go up in a dazzling ball of flames.

    I’m just not convinced that it will go down that way. Time shall tell. It always does. It will definitely be interesting, whatever happens, as nothing like this has ever happened before.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Hi The Wet One,
      It appears that things are already, as you write, going down that way.
      Maybe decline began with agriculture, or even earlier, with hunting/gathering technology, or earlier than that with some mutations from our pre-homo states, with our own self-domestications out of the wilds, and that where we are now is just part of that, or those, long ongoing process(es).
      What do you think?

      I think nuclear technology is da bomb.

      • The Wet One says:

        I wouldn’t say “decline” began with agriculture. I think that the civilization we constructed was never going to last no matter what we did. It’s happened to other civilizations before and it was only a matter of time before ours blew up. It’s just never been on this scale before. Rise and fall is simply the way of things. Remember those 5 prior mass extinctions? Same deal in effect. Note the fact that this appears to apply to stellar bodies as well. They persist for a time, then go out, some with a bang, some a whimper, others a drawn out sigh. It’s just the way of things. That’s all.

        To be honest, I have no idea what the truth of the matter is. That said, it is abundantly clear to me that that nothing lasts forever. That modern life as we know it in the West will come to an end is unsurprising and unremarkable in this regard. If it wasn’t peak oil, environmental degradation or something mentioned in this article, it would simply be something else. Whether that’s entropy at work or what I don’t know. I just know it was never going to last forever.

  34. Ezrydermike says:

    I wanted to find something that would help me deal with this spot post Ron, but I found this instead.

    I have a 22 yr old daughter and I am struggling with what to tell her.

    • Watcher says:

      Doesn’t matter what you tell her.

      Inevitable is a word with a meaning.

    • Old farmer mac says:

      It is 99.9 percent probable that there is nothing you can tell her at this point which will sink in and really get her attention.

      BUT you can tell her anyway. Reality is going to smack her upside the head with a brick within her working lifetime and if she is capable of thinking ( no offense intended of course but VERY few people can think in serious terms about the strange and unfamiliar) at that time she will remember what you told her and act sooner to preserve herself and children if any than she would otherwise.

      The right talk today might mean she does not bet her career on a move an industry dependent on cheap travel a few years down the road for instance- if she is prompted to remember the talk by paying a couple more bucks for gasoline.

      It might mean she moves farther north rather than farther south. It is already hot as the hinges of hell in the deep south in summertime .

      But as far as getting people – as opposed to individuals- to realize what is going to happen in general terms- it ain’t possible.

    • Keyser Soze says:


      You said: “… find something that would help me deal with this spot post”. Then, you go on “but I found this instead.”

      Help me here, because I am not getting it.

      • Ezrydermike says:

        the truthout article I linked to.

        • Keyser Soze says:


          Are you talking about us helping you in how to deal with the post from truthout? Because you read and, it shocked you.

          Or, is it to help you addressing this issue with your daughter? Or both?

          Anyway, where’s the mother?

          What did you think about the link I sent you?

          Bottom Line

          I don’t think you should be the one initiating this conversation with your daughter. It’s obvious that you’re not prepared. Using OFM approach is a mistake, and I am pretty sure of that. By the way, I never had children. I lived with 5 different women. Married 3 of them.

          Spend long time in couples and group therapy with my second wife.
          First wife was a psychologist. What I learn from her and, that I never forget is: “You learn about the other person by listen, not by talking. And by how you ask the question.”

          So my question to you is: I don’t understand what you meant when you wrote:
          “I wanted to find something that would help me deal with this spot post Ron, but I found this instead.”

          • Ezrydermike says:

            It’s hard for me to convey meaning in this blog format and my intermittent access to it.

            My initial response was to Ron’s original blog. I went to look at some of the web pages I have bookmarked and I stopped by at truthout first and the linked article was right there. Seemed a bit amazing as it is very similar to Ron’s post.

            I am not a newbie wrt to the topics brought up here and it isn’t shocking. Disturbing to say the least but not shocking.

            I am a single parent. My daughter’s mother is out of the picture with substance abuse issues. I have raised my daughter from day one essentially by myself.

            She is well grounded and a very good person. She understands and is knowledgeable about many resource topics including peak oil / resources. She has a good understanding of the shit storm we are experiencing.

            I meet with her and some of her close friends about once a month to discuss stuff. We call this our roundtable. This is a great group of kids. I am trying to help them.

            This kind of started with this list of things I told them might be useful to learn about.

            Gardening – food. Urban gardening. Permaculture

            Wild food recognition and harvesting

            Medicinal plants – recognition, harvesting and use

            Food preparation and storage. Canning, curing.

            Making beer, mead, wine, distilling

            Animal husbandry. Horseback riding, milking cows and goats. Field dressing and butchery.

            Gun use and repair. Hunting skills.

            Archery – hunting, arrow fletching


            First aid and basic medical skills.

            Insect and poisonous animal recognition, prevention and treatment

            Sewing, quilting, clothing repair, shoes

            Basic electrical especially dc power systems

            Basic electronics

            Basic plumbing – pipes, pumps and valves

            Basic metallurgy – welding, smithing

            Field weather recognition and seasonal variations.

            Geology and mineral recognition – copper, iron ore, shales, flints, quartz

            Paper making.

            Book binding

            Leather working

            The thing is some of the potential future outcomes are just so effing dark. My daughter has already decided that she isn’t going to have children because she sees that there are too many people and the world is too messed up. How f..d is that for a 22 yr old to say? Drag as she would be a great mother

            I have found that the further one goes down this path of pondering collapse the darker it gets. Some real questions. If it is all going to be some sort of Mad Max scenario and there is nothing to be done to avoid it, why do anything at all? Why not just live as large as possible for as long as possible? And on and on….

            So we try and talk about it as if there may be future outcomes that could be rewarding and pleasant to live in. We work on trying to do what we can do. We try to build community and networks. She gardens and grows a bit of food.

            She has completed 3 yrs of community college and has an AA in psychology. She has built up 2 yrs worth of transferable university credits and she is thinking hard about going to Humboldt State in northern CA. Both of think that maybe a better place to live than were we are now.

            She is working with Adam Navidi of Future Foods Farm and Green2Go restaurant.

            Sometimes I feel like I need to apologize to her.

            So I don’t know is this makes any sense. My original reply was a bit of a spur of the moment, but it is a subject that is near and dear to me.

            So sure I am interested in what others are telling the kids.


            • This is a work in progress but the first step, and the most critical is where you live
              Some places are going to become unsustainable, if she is forced to move with masses then it will be too late.
              When you think that CA has 2 years of water left, and in its history has had 200 year droughts I would be looking elsewhere. The eighth largest economy in the world will be forced to rely on desalination plants and that won’t fix the food production problem. Debt on debt in a world with increasing food prices. Could get ugly.
              It will take years to establish a stable home environment that is resilient against what is coming. No-one can afford to choose poorly.
              Just my 2c worth, hope it helps.
              I need to transfer from a blog to a wiki because there is just too much information to cover by myself.

  35. Jeju-islander says:

    My apologies to Euan Mearns for misspelling his first name earlier. The point of my comment was not specific to albatrosses. It was that people who hold a conspiratorial mindset will tend to judge any new topic that they have no evidence for in a similar conspiratorial way.

    To change the example just look at the website Zerohedge. It is repeatedly posting ‘alternative’ views of the shooting down of flight MH-17. In the comments section you can see many references to 9-11. For people that believe it was the U.S. Govt. that destroyed the twin towers it is a short step to believe a similar ‘evil’ motive here.

    The importance of this debate to collapse is that the ‘survivors’ are going to have to make sense of a truly catastrophic reality. And by ‘survivors’ I would probably include the entire population of the US and Canada. Billions of people will die but not in the richest corner of the world. A rational and open mindset is vital for coming to terms with what has happened, and trying to cope with the future.

    • Keyser Soze says:


      Let’s cut to chase:

      Lots people will ‘have’ to die to become sustainable: Yes
      Could we live with less, the whole world dirt poor: Yes, but it won’t happen

      Here’s a key scheme:
      Can the US, Russia, and China ally themselves against the world, instead at going at each other?

      If that becomes the case, would they allow India, Pakistan, Middle East, and most of Africa kill each other? Withe their help, of course.
      I would even go further and let India and Pakistan nuke each other.

      Wonder Why?

      Because the real problem to Russia, US, and China are not each other, but their local population.

      Noam Chomsky: “Once the people start talking, government is in trouble”

      So a war ‘over there,’ and ‘nuclear,’ would scare the local population much more so than collapse.

      However, not sure about the 500 millions Europeans and 500 million South Americans, which both are not sustainable either.

      Anyway, if the alliance of the 3 superpowers would work, so then, the US, and specially Russia, would
      look very good places to live.

      Here are my two pennies. You add your nickel.

    • Tom F says:


      Billions of people will die but not in the richest corner of the world.

      Why you think the wealthy are not going to be affected by this? You should go see the move Snowpiercer in theaters now. In a future world turned into an ice bowl by climate change the last of humanity is confined to a huge train. The common folk live in the back and subsist on protein bars. The elite 1% ride up front and dine on steak and champagne. Its a closed ecosystem and with a steady stream of babies the population needs to be culled periodically which they do by brutal combat with axes and guns. In the end the train crashes and everyone is killed including the one percenters. Its a good flick, go see it.

    • TechGuy says:

      “Billions of people will die but not in the richest corner of the world. ”
      Mostly likely the Richest will be the first to die off, except for those that escape to third world nations.

      As resources become constrained nations go to war. In the 21st century just about all of the industrialized nations have Nuclear weapons. Well before the Poor starting dying in mass, there will be a major war. Sooner or later someone is going to push someone too hard and the proxy wars will turn into direct war.

      At the moment to two worse of the lot is the US and China. The US is
      1. Destabilizing the Middle East for no apparent reason and can only be explained by insanity (Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc all destabilized by US foreign policy).
      2. Starting Proxy wars with Russia (Syria & Ukraine) and perhaps in China (Africa resource wars).
      3. Hiring Extremist and terrorist (AKA Al queda/ISIS) in its proxy/ME regime change and also to influence American Public to spend trillions in the ME to fight wars with no measurable outcome.

      China is:
      1. Bullying its Neighbors in Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines to grab energy resources.
      2. Running an economy that requires endless construction that nobody in China wants (or very few can afford).
      3. Dumping every known toxin into the environment in is effort to continue economic growth at all costs.

      The Only sanity of the three superpowers at this time is Russia, which has so far able to apply much constraint to avoid starting a major war. The US continues to politically pound on Russia as almost to antagonizing them into war. Sooner or later they will push back.

      The planet is likely doomed by the hidden global doomsday machine the world has built without realizing it: Nuclear power and the spent fuel pools. A loss of one large Spent fuel pool is enough to render the area the size of NY State uninhabitable for about a thousand years. There are hundreds of Spent fuel pools. The US alone has about 80,000 tons of spent fuel. All of the worlds nuclear bombs is probably under 1000 Tons (Most bombs have just a few dozen kilograms for fissile material)
      The Spent fuel pools need constant cooling 24x7x365. Failure to cool will result in the water beginning to boil in a day or two. After about 2 weeks the water level will drop to expose the fuel rods, which will catch fire and unleash hell on earth as they spread the nastiest radioactive material known into the atmosphere. Once a Spent fuel catches fire is impossible to stop as no man or machine can approach it (FYI: High radiation levels disable electronics). The contaminated area will spread to other reactors and spent fuels forcing evacuations, without the infrastructure and people to maintain the reactors and spent fuel pools in the contaminated zone, they too will fail causing a domino effect until no parts of the earth remain free of contamination. Unless something is done to address long term storage of spent fuel, I fear that all invertebrates will become extinct.

  36. toolpush says:

    Anybody notice the the spread between WTI and Brent is down to less than $3? $105 to $107.80.

    • Old farmer mac says:

      That is another pertinent little fact that will get very little or no mention in the cornucopian mainstream press.

  37. jay says:

    I am a silent reader of this site from India and I follow Ron Peterson from Oil drum days. Ron you are a sage. Pl continue to spread your wisdom.

    This following link tells that Russian exports are dwindling (In actuality that is what matters to the other countries )

  38. CaveBio says:

    One of the points I have made a couple of times on this blog is that for over a billion people on Earth, collapse has already occurred. Additionally, as more people attempt to move from poverty to “middle class”, others are forced into desperate levels of poverty. As people move from “middle class” to wealth, even more people are forced into desperate levels of poverty.

    So, although what Ron presents here is completely true, humans have an ability to do something that other species can’t–as resources are consumed, humans can sequester resources for certain populations, pushing others out. In that case one could make a plausible argument for the continued sequestration of resources for wealthy countries at the expense of poorer countries and thus a “controlled” collapse. Before people begin to argue my point here please understand I am not arguing that this is what will happen, I am arguing this is what has happened.

    Now, it is very possible that the continued unequal distribution of resources upon which we depend could abruptly end due to some stochastic event resulting in a fast unraveling of our complex global system. It is possible that ELM, or simply a collapse in oil production will bring us to our knees and we end up in a rapid collapse. Terrorism resulting from desperate poverty could so affect our psyche and politics that society begins to crack. I could go on, there are innumerable scenarios that can be postulated here.

    I will not even pretend to think that I can predict what will happen. But I do know that there are countervailing forces at work. I should note that we could greatly ameliorate a lot of the problems we face if we could but agree that we actually face problems. But even given the intractability of our current politics, there are significant changes occurring all around us. I won’t repeat them here as I am sure folks are tired of hearing about them, and or believe they are too trivial to matter.

    I will end by noting that I am not saying that I don’t think a quick collapse can happen–it absolutely can. I am saying that there are countervailing forces that reduce strain on resources and that humans have the ability to selectively distribute resources so that certain populations do not feel constrained. The West has hidden behind the mantra of capitalism to justify the current unequal resource distribution, choosing to believe that all populations could “grow” themselves out of poverty if they only chose to do so. Of course, because our growth has been dependent upon finite energy resources that significantly increase biospheric entropy, that belief has always been nonsense.


    • The West has hidden behind the mantra of capitalism to justify the current unequal resource distribution, choosing to believe that all populations could “grow” themselves out of poverty if they only chose to do so.

      Tom, do you really think the West is trying to hide anything? Do you really believe they are trying to justify the unequal resource distribution? I fail to see anyone trying to hide or justify anything.

      But more to the point, the unequal distribution of resources cannot be blamed on anyone. Everyone on earth is trying to live their lives in the best way they possibly can. That resources are distributed unequally is just a matter of fate. Some are born into rich countries while others are born into poor countries. Everyone grubs for life and tries to secure a good or better life for themselves and their children.

      Trying to point the crooked finger of blame to this or that group of people is to ignore the circumstances that got them there. We are all victims of circumstance, the results of our heredity an environment.

      No one is to blame for this goddamn mess the earth is in. Everyone is just following their nature.

      • robert wilson says:

        “But more to the point, the unequal distribution of resources cannot be blamed on anyone. Everyone on earth is trying to live their lives in the best way they possibly can. That resources are distributed unequally is just a matter of fate. Some are born into rich countries while others are born into poor countries. Everyone grubs for life and tries to secure a good or better life for themselves and their children.”
        — Boone Pickens is a prominent example. I may have an opportunity to visit his ranch in August with some old Amarillo friends. If so, may may have more to say later.

      • Cave Bio says:


        I stand by my comments as they are completely correct. What you say is also correct–the two are not mutually exclusive. Those of us fortunate enough to be born in the West won the birth stakes lottery, and we simply follow our nature by how we live. However, we are not blind to the suffering of others. That suffering can be and often is justified by the belief that any population/country could grow themselves to wealth with the correct work ethic and political structure.

        I am frankly surprised at your response to my post. All anyone has to do is listen to the rhetoric of economists and politicians (repeated over decades) and one will quite clearly hear that exact justification. Thus, to drive home the point, I was not pointing blame, I was stating a fact of our current political and economic mindset.


  39. If anyone is wondering why no new post yesterday or today, I have been waiting for the Texas RRC report on Texas oil and gas production. It is overdue. But I will have a new post a few hours after it comes out, hopefully tomorrow.


    • Thanks Dave, this is a great link. A full version of that interview can be found at:
      Hope in the Age of Collapse

      This whole thing started way back in 2009 with the publication of:
      The Dark Mountain Manifesto

      I haven’t read the whole later interview but it looks like these guys are backing off a little. They are now saying something to the effect: “Sure things are going to collapse but something can be salvaged from the ashes”.

      Anyway that’s my take. If anyone has a different interpretation please post it.

    • Doug Leighton says:


      Excellent dialogue, great link, thanks. I especially like (and agree with):

      “I don’t think we need hope. I think we need imagination. We need to imagine a future which can’t be planned for and can’t be controlled. I find that people who talk about hope are often really talking about control. They hope desperately that they can keep control of the way things are panning out. Keep the lights on, keep the emails flowing, keep the nice bits of civilisation and lose the nasty ones; keep control of their narrative, the world they understand. Giving up hope, to me, means giving up the illusion of control and accepting that the future is going to be improvised, messy, difficult.”


  40. Jeju-islander says:

    Another comment about ‘truth’ on the Internet.
    Being sceptical about the validity of what we see read seems sensible.
    Being open-minded means not come to a firm conclusion until you have some kind of supporting evidence.

    I happened to being looking at airline safety records in respect to the MH-17 crash. My interest is because I fly Asia-Europe and want to know the safer airlines.

    It seems a couple of airlines were caught lying in the last few days.
    Air India for one – ” The ministry of civil aviation’s claim that there was no Air India flight near the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 when it was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday appears misleading. ”

    Another was KLM
    To the BBC they stated “Dutch carrier KLM said that as a precautionary measure it already avoided flying over the concerned territory. ” Implying they had already changed the route before the accident. This was not true.
    From the KLM website the actual statement
    “KLM is monitoring the situation as it develops real time and has decided not to fly over Eastern Ukraine since it received word of the accident.”

    I do not conclude these two examples are a conspiracy. I just assume they are protecting their brand names.

    As for the safest airline, yet again Quantas wins. It avoided the trouble spots.
    Look for “Australia’s Qantas Airlines named safest air carrier in the world after going more than 60 years without a fatal crash”

    • RalphW says:

      I worked for a few years for the UK Civil Aviation Authority. As long as you stick to twin jets or larger, any first world and almost all developing world national airline are extremely safe, by any reasonable measure of safety. You are far more likely to slip in the shower and die of a head wound.

      This of course will not continue to be the case as we go through the transition. Soviet airlines were never perfect, but they held up well with Western airlines until their collapse. In the 1990s they went through their robber baron years and I would not have flown on most of those airlines.

      War zones are more of a political issue. All flying is a judgement call between cost and safety. Israel lambasts airlines for NOT flying to their airports, that is clearly politics. Flying over Ukraine was a cost saving against risk. I don’t think many people even in the airlines guessed that the rebels had high altitude SAM missiles operational.

  41. Ilambiquated says:

    Though I disagree that collapse is inevitable, I agree that ecology will start replacing economy as mankind’s biggest problem in the course of the 21st century.

    The truth is that we have basically figured out how to feed clothe and house mankind. The solution is now being implemented. In a generation hunger will be nearly gone.

    Wars are disappearing, but there is always the off chance we might slaughter each other off. I doubt it though.

    Resources are the problem. People around here are obsessed with oil, but it is only one solution and one shortage. That is what I like about the article. And I believe that major changes will be needed to deal with shortage. For example, Americans will have to abandon the suburbs, especially if there is a large wave of immigration (100 million middle class Chinese anyone?)

    Wild fish stocks are basically gone, and won’t recover. But aquaculture will replace a lot of it.

    If we want to survive, we will have to turn the world into a manmade garden. Wildlife will be gone, much agriculture will move indoors, massive water projects will be everywhere (like China now), the weather will be controlled, shared goods (like soil conditions or clean water) will be carefully monitored.

    Also on current trends almost everyone will be unemployed, which might make you wonder how the whole thing will work.

    The alternative really is collapse.

  42. Fred Magyar says:


    “If we want to survive, we will have to turn the world into a manmade garden. Wildlife will be gone, much agriculture will move indoors, massive water projects will be everywhere (like China now), the weather will be controlled, shared goods (like soil conditions or clean water) will be carefully monitored.”

    You are missing a lot of information. May I suggest you start with the basics.


  43. Theedrich Yeat says:

    “On July 1, 1916 General Sir Douglas Haig began the Battle of the Somme.  By the end of the first day, the British had lost nearly sixty thousand men including half of all of the officers assigned to the battle!  … By the end of the year, the British offensive was a complete failure.  The British lines had moved only six miles forward.  Four hundred and ten thousand Britons, 500,000 Germans and 190,000 Frenchmen were dead, and for nothing.

    “[The generals of both sides] were chosen because they were trusted to make the right decisions.  Those decisions were accepted.  Both the British and the German generals made the same decision:  their country’s young men were expendable.

    “We can only ask, but so much of the history of the twentieth century points in the direction of one answer, that we must wonder whether at some level Von Falkenhayn [the German general] and Haig [the British general] were moved by hidden forces in themselves and their societies to preside over a mammoth bloodletting, the slaughter of their own men.  We must also ask whether the ultimate objective of the attackers at Verdun and the Somme was to use wartime conditions to bring about what could not have been done under any other circumstance, the massacres themselves. … Is it not possible that some automatic, self-regulating mechanism in European society was blindly yet purposefully experimenting by means of war with alternative means of population reduction?  It has been observed that population control mechanisms often come into play when the number of animals in some species begins to get out of hand.  Could it have been that both the Allies and the were in the grip of historical forces that were acting behind them without their conscious knowledge?

    “Is it possible that one difference between the Nazi elite and the World War I elites that chose Haig and Von Falkenhayn for their respective posts was that the leading Nazis knew why they had really chosen the path of war?

    “The mass death that took place in the West during World War I was prelude to the carnage that took place in the Russian sphere as a result of revolution, civil war, demographic violence, and large-scale famine.  Exact figures are unavailable but an estimated two to three million died as a result of hard violence and six to eight million as a result of long-term privation.  … Nor ought we to neglect the Turkish massacre of about one million Armenians during World War I, perhaps the first full-fledged attempt by a modern state to practice disciplined, methodically organized genocide.”

    — Richard L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of History:  Mass Death and the American Future, (NY: Harper & Row, 1975), pp. 9ff.

    Rubenstein, a Jew and at the time of writing a professor of religion at Florida State University, went on to list many other examples of mass murder by government, of which the murder of European Jews was only one.  (He somehow neglects to mention Anglo-American carpet-bombing of urban civilian populations and the U.S. nuking of Japan.)  While there have been countless publications on the latter topic, The Cunning of History may be the only one to have postulated an overreaching “population control mechanism” which becomes operative when ecological limits are being reached.  Most holocaustiana depends for its emotive impact on readers of Judaeo-Christian background and morality.  Readers without such a background (e.g., Hindus or animists, let alone Muslims or Communists) are largely unmoved thereby.

    Long ago, scientist and inventor James Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis.  In its modern formulation, this says that the earth has myriad feedback loops which make it operate as a single living organism.  This concept fits in very well, of course, with the notion of population control by nature.  But there is an additional possibility as well.

    In today’s hyper-materialist society, most of those who regard themselves as “scientific” in outlook deny any reality of the deeper aspects of the human self.  In their view, human beings and all other life forms are simply complex machines.  (The current metaphor is “computers.”)  Many even view the whole subject of psychology (based ultimately on the German word, Seelenlehre, literally, “soul-lore,” “[body of] doctrine about the soul”) as of little value, a vapid subject for lesser intelligences to dabble in.  Even more despised is any mention of those deeper aspects of psychology (Tiefenpsychologie) which treat of the paranormal.  It is all nonsense, in the materialist world view.  Thus, reports of any seeming paranormal connection between close relatives (mother and daughter, identical twins, etc.) are dismissed out of hand.  Never mind even stranger things which seem to occur with distressing regularity in history.

    But if one does hold that there is something real about the soul or psyche or unconscious, one is driven to wonder where its limits might be.  In the view of the major eastern religions (sometimes classified as “wisdom” in contrast to the “prophecy” of the west), consciousness is merely the tip of a “mental” wave whose inframental body is the wave’s main part.  Below this is a yet larger wave which extends to relatives and close acquaintances.  Yet further depths encompass the species as a whole, then the planet and, finally, the All.  The difference of this All, or cosmic inframind, from commonplace experience is so great that Buddhism even refers to it as “nothingness.”  But it is the kind of “pregeometrical” utter void out of which arose the quantum event we now call the Big Bang.  (For details on role of life in all this, see Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of formative causation.)

    This is not the nicey-nice God of American Christianity.  It is not exactly the mathematical Calabi-Yau-like hyperspace that the materialists envision, either.  But neither is this nihility the “loving Father” depicted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling who directs evolution unswervingly upward to modern socialism, culminating in a divine emperor who condescendingly provides bread and circuses for the insatiable masses.  Under certain circumstances the inframental undergirding responds to human petitions (for which, see the history of religions).  But more often, it governs life with an iron dynamic which contravenes human wishes.

    Today homo sapiens is destroying the entire biosphere.  Anyone who has kept up with the news about mankind’s ignoring of the limits to growth is aware of this.  This is completely aside from global warming, which is a subject of political manipulation and is therefore unknowable at this point, despite the heated arguments about it.  Rather, desertification, deforestation, extermination of species, overfishing to exhaustion, poisoning of aquifers, and on and on, are killing the planet.  The planet.  Third World overpopulation is the main culprit, but the West’s political correctness and insistence on “growth” conceal this and promote the death process.

    So what is Gaia doing in response?  We note that very recently there has been an explosion of murderous Mohammedan hatred against the White West.  In the Maghreb there is even a warring group that calls itself “Western Education is a Sin,” or Boko Haram, in the local dialect.  Thanks to American dementia, Libya is now falling apart, and oil is not expected to rise to pre-regime-change levels for a long time, if ever.  The new Islamic State (in the Levant) is purging northern Mesopotamia outside of Kurdistan of all Christians as well as Shiites.  The remainder of Iraq is a question mark.  Afghanistan is also threatened with a return to chaos as soon as American troops leave.  If Iran develops nuclear weapons, those WMDs or their technology may be sold to the highest bidder to revive that nation’s economy.

    China is claiming sovereignty over large parts of the South and East China Seas in order to secure gas and oil sources for itself, while the U.S. is encouraging Japan to develop nuclear weapons to take the defense burden off of us.  The Central American faux-nations are sending their disease-infested minors en masse, along with their criminals, into this country, where the current money-printing emperor plans to enlist them as future Democrat voters for him and his party.  Meanwhile half of the U.S. populace is already on the government dole in one way or another.  In six years, the regnant DC regime has already committed too many crimes and blunders to mention.  Yet the infantile electorate is too hypnotized by official rhetoric or trapped in its own neuroses to notice or care.

    Then there is the issue of Putin.  This intensely skillful manipulator intends to resurrect the Stalinist empire.  Opposing him in Washington is a dunce who, however, does know how to tap dance and read prescribed scripts.  Outside of the U.S. and its vassals, he is considered a joke at best.  After Ukraine, how long will it be before Vlad occupies Azerbaijan and its oil fields?  That will seal completely the fate of western Europe.

    All of these things, and more, point to one thing:  Gaian population control — by the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Mankind has exceeded its limits, courtesy of the U.S. and its “good intentions.”  We are now on Peak Oil’s “bumpy plateau”;  as we start downslope, we can expect to see Rubenstein’s “population control mechanism” operate as never before.

    Gee whillikers!  No one here seems to understand that we have no oil problems whatsoever.  Not only has the U.S. saved the world from disaster in the nick of time by fracking and horizontalizing, but we have the most important and powerful miracle in the world:  a divine Money Printer in the White House.  So we can burrow to pre-Cambrian depths all over the world and find gobs of goo.  What’s the matter?  Doesn’t anyone realize that since there is an unlimited amount of money coming from His Nibs, there will also be an unlimited amount of oil?

    Yup, yup.  American will whisk Virginia off the tracks just in time before that oncoming train once again.  So smile and be happy.

    • Opposing him in Washington is a dunce who, however, does know how to tap dance and read prescribed scripts.

      Theedrich Yeat, the above line reveals that you are a racist bigot. Therefore anything else you say has to be taken in that light.

      • Keyser Soze says:


        That wasn’t my impression at all…. giving that English is my second language.

        Anyway, I Googled these words:

        dunce: A person who is slow at learning. Well, Obama is very smart. Show me another black leader that could accomplish such task.

        Then, Theedrich Yeat contradicts himself on “Tap-Dancing”

        Tap-Dancing: A diplomatic approach where one skilfully maneuvers to avoid direct answers. So that fits Obama. So, how could Obama been dunce?

        Prescribed Scripts: Love that.

        Overall, I thought Theedrich Yeat’s post was a great complement to this forum.

        But what do I know, right? I am here to learn.

        • ezrydermike says:

          well this part is revealing…

          “The Central American faux-nations are sending their disease-infested minors en masse, along with their criminals, into this country, where the current money-printing emperor plans to enlist them as future Democrat voters for him and his party. ”

          as bullshit

          • Yes I agree, the guy is obviously a racist bullshitter.

          • Keyser Soze says:


            This is definitely a racist comment.

            The irony of all, most South America migration to the US had to do with US being an Empire. Living this wonderful and unsustainable lifestyle, by spreading it on its movies and propaganda.

            In a perfect world, most of the indigenous South Americans would have never come to the US if it wasn’t for US policies of extracting South America resources and their land, without any regard for the locals.

            ezrydermike, what do you make of this:

            What’s the matter? Doesn’t anyone realize that since there is an unlimited amount of money coming from His Nibs, there will also be an unlimited amount of oil?

            Theedrich Yeat: What did you mean? By reading you post, you sure don’t believe that.

            • In a perfect world, most of the indigenous South Americans would have never come to the US if it wasn’t for US policies of extracting South America resources and their land, without any regard for the locals.

              That is a one sided argument that ignores the fact that the copper mines, the tin mines and the oil fields of South America are owned by South Americans and they sell their products to America, as well as to China, Japan and around the world, for their own profit.

              • Keyser Soze says:

                Now South Americans do sell to others than America. And soon, within their currencies. Wonder money printing is high now in the US? Wait until they get out of the Petro-dollar and the monopolistic Dollar Reserve Currency. Our lifestyle in the US will collapse.

                Also, not that I need to remind you: The first 9/11 was in Chile.

                • Keyser, people who talk about the dollar being monopolistic reserve currency, in my opinion, don’t really understand what a “reserve currency” really is. Only 61% of reserve currencies are US dollars, down from 71% in 1999. 25% of reserve currencies are in Euros.

                  Reserve Curreny

                  It is a nation’s choice what currency they choose to hold as their reserve currency. Many nations hold different currencies. Most nations hold some Euros.

                  The first 9/11 was in Chile.
                  I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

                  • Keyser Soze says:


                    These two explanations below should help:

                    In 1944 came Bretton Woods: Dollar as World’s Reserve Currency. It means: United States would use the convertible financial system to trade at a tremendous profit with developing nations, expanding its industry and acquiring raw materials. It would use this surplus to send dollars to Europe, which would then be used to rebuild their economies, and make the United States the market for their products. This would allow the other industrialized nations to purchase products from the Third World, which reinforced the American role as the guarantor of stability.


                    The international market gave the U.S. unprecedented freedom of action in pursuing its foreign affairs goals. A trade surplus made it easier to keep armies abroad and to invest outside the U.S., and because other nations could not sustain foreign deployments, the U.S. had the power to decide why, when and how to intervene in global crises. The dollar continued to function as a compass to guide the health of the world economy, and exporting to the U.S. became the primary economic goal of developing or redeveloping economies. This arrangement came to be referred to as the Pax Americana, in analogy to the Pax Britannica of the late 19th century and the Pax Romana of the first. (See Globalism)


                    Chile’s 9/11/1973: When Chile tried to nationalize their resources. They were killed.


                  • Keyser Soze says:


                    Just remember this Newsweek cover. The best Financial Warfare visualization.


                  • Chile’s 9/11/1973: When Chile tried to nationalize their resources. They were killed.

                    Keyser, I understand that you, as well as many others, wish to blame any insurrection anywhere in the world on the USA. We are not the omnipotent devil you believe us to be. The 1973 Chilean coup d’état was carried out by Chileans, not the USA. Though economic warfare was carried out by the Nixon government, that does not imply that Nixon ordered the coup d’état. We are today engaged in the same economic warfare with North Korea. And I would not call it economic warfare, we simply refuse to trade with them. It is the right of any sovereign nation not to trade with a despot.

                    Really! It is beyond belief that you would compare the actions of the Nixon government in 1973 with the actions of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

                  • Keyser Soze says:


                    9/11? Not sure where I made that comparison. I don’t think I did.

                    You said: “We (US) are not the omnipotent devil you believe us to be.”

                    Then, you said: “North Korea…. not to trade with a despot.”

                    “Soft despotism gives people the illusion that they are in control, when in fact they have very little influence over their government.” — Alexis de Tocqueville

                    Ron, does Tocqueville quote sound familiar?

                    America is not a devil because devils don’t exist. I would have to be an idiot, if I believe in devils. And I know you don’t. Anyway, North Korea doesn’t have oil!

                    Obvious that you don’t follow these Geopolitical issues that were critical for the US global empire ascend and survival—of course, nonsense labeled by the propaganda to Americans as free-market capitalism or spreading democracy abroad.

                    Obviously that you don’t follow global reserve currency manipulation. Then, how could you explain Russia, probably the richest resource nation in the world, and Asia, the most productive people in the world, going bankrupted in less than 10 years? While US banks, government, multinationals (stock market), military… and the list is long, with endless tax payer ‘counterfeited’ money since 2007?

                    This weekend, Ecuador is launching its new digital currency. When it works, watch out dollar. Saudi Arabia is creating a superfund (link here). That’s bad news to US treasury.

                    Bottom Line

                    In your “Collapse is Inevitable” the environment is the main issue, even that energy is front cover of your website. And you, and your followers, do an excellent job at it.

                    However, financial collapse will come first. Followed by commerce. Then, political collapse. Link below should help:


                    Most manufactures are in China. It means, profits will be moving through China.

                    There are no BRIC’s, there’s only China.

                    So, when the US defaults, how will the military get pay? They will have to take by force.

                    And below are the United States foreign regime changes


                  • 9/11? Not sure where I made that comparison. I don’t think I did.

                    Are you kidding me? All you had to do was look at the posts above you. You wrote:

                    Also, not that I need to remind you: The first 9/11 was in Chile.

                    Boy, do you ever have a short memory.

                  • Keyser Soze says:


                    I was not comparing it. I made that 9/11 observation on the context of South America migration and corporatization. And to bring attention, because no one knows about this side of US history.

                    South America, pretty much, had two forms of capitalism:

                    1) Penny capitalism: Farmers selling their goods

                    2) Local capitalism: Small business. Such as your hardware, butcher, and baker shop. These were the communities, church, school leaders, and so on.

                    These were small, harmless enterprises. They can adapt fast. They live with very little.

                    Then, came the US multinationals [ADM, New York bankers, GE, and so on]. And these were ‘are’ extremely damaging to the local population and their environment. The local population’s leaders knew it and they tried to fight by organizing cooperatives and unions. But they were killed or run out of sight.

                    Small business, some nations for that matter, can not compete/survive, because they are stacked against US neoclassical economics [Washington Consensus] that is: You produce and I print the money you must sell your goods for. Does Petrodollar ring a bell?

                    Now we have a disaster in our hands…. Especially when there’s no more petro.

                    Not that you don’t know that!

        • Keyser, if you do not see that comment as racist then it becomes obvious that English is your second language. He wasn’t speaking metaphorically, he was speaking, or writing, literally. Obama is no dunce and the fact that he is black has nothing to do with anything.

          But “tap dancing” is where you miss the point. It’s a racist colloquialism for something that black folks do really well.
          Bill Bojangles Robinson and Shirley Temple

          • Keyser Soze says:


            Does Theedrich Yeat, in some lines sound racist in his post? Yes, he does.

            Does it come as a surprise, or does it bother me? Not that much and here’s why:

            For the record: I was born in Brazil but, an American citizen. Live in DC. Being in the US since 1982. Spend about 90% of my time around blue-colors. The other 10% around white-colors–lawyers and bankers.

            Because US corporatocracy and government played a strong hand bringing down US middleclass standards while dumbing down the youth, their kids. Now both are unprepared to face what’s coming.
            The middleclass, because they believe it will be back to normal. Not understanding it’s all financial BS. That, there’s NO money. And their kids by believing their parents have money.

            And, as our economy turns to negative growth, even with all the money printing, who do you think the vast majorities ‘whites’ will blame?

            • And, as our economy turns to negative growth, even with all the money printing, who do you think the vast majorities ‘whites’ will blame?

              If you are implying that the “vast majority of whites” will blame blacks then you are dead wrong. Or if you are saying they will blame Latinos you are just as wrong. “Whites” come in all different flavors. Republican whites will blame the Democrats and most Democrats, black, Latino and white, will blame the Republicans. Or they, everyone that is, will blame big business, the government, or their favorite devil, whomever that may be.

              I hope you know my opinion here. It is nobody’s fault, it is just in our nature to overshoot during times of plenty. And it is also in our nature to blame someone else for our predicament.

              • Keyser Soze says:


                I think it’s gonna be more religious driven. The demagogues ‘Regain our Glory’ and ‘I have the Solutions’ will come from the churches.

                And you can, sort of, see it, on Theedrich Yeat writes.

                America will brake apart on these lines. Then, once a state stops paying federal tax…

                Things will become interesting…. And not in a good way.

                • I am not sure of this conclusion;
                  “I think it’s gonna be more religious driven. The demagogues ‘Regain our Glory’ and ‘I have the Solutions’ will come from the churches.”

                  Historically, the churches actually get the blame for plagues and droughts and such.

                  But I am coming from the view that Peak Oil’s economy collapse will coincide with an ecology crash. Consequently, it will undermine the current churches prosperity message, which was not what it was supposed to be about at all.

                  The result will be a lack of social cohesion. The last bastion of social responsibility will be gone.
                  “Love thy neighbour…”

  44. sue craker says:

    All is a worry & I have not read all. Yes Man is exploiting the planet. Yes I worry that in the end man will destroy Earth. We can do some things to help. But just as Charles Darwin saw….It’s the survival of the fittest/hierachy etc.
    I so hope there are greater plans that keeps Earth safe. But remember our very existence, THE SUN, is a star already part of its way through its course. There’s a lot of years left & I believe mankind & Earth will evolve & unfold as it should. You would be aware of DESIDERATA….Comforting words for all.
    I try to stay optimistic. Many years on, beyond our existence, we will come to appreciate what Earth provides and what we have. Hopefully Mankind will build on it so it does not reap the planet dry, & ultimately,EARTH WILL SURVIVE for all the years our Sun does. x Sue
    P.S On a different note, good luck with the move. A venture to embrace. Good luck with packing. You will no doubt sought out much. X

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