Our Shared Predicament

Back in the day, I used to post a lot about peak oil, global warming, our pyramid scheme financial system and some other related things, but I stopped for a quite a while as most seemed to be not interested or at a loss for what to do. Well, most of what I was saying back then were trends happening or expected to happen and, as they say, time will tell. So I decided to sit back and let things happen for a while and see if what happened adheres to my expectations.

It seems that for, the most part, time is telling. Continue reading


We Eat Oil – Eating Fossil Fuels

This is a repost of an article from Mike Ruppert’s “From The Wilderness” website. Dale Allen Pfeiffer shows how oil and other fossil fuel energy inputs have made our food supply totally dependent on their energy. This has major implications for when world oil production begins its inevitable decline. It’s somewhat scary, but in reaction you should start learning to grow at least some of your own food if you have the room to do it.
From the Wilderness

Eating Fossil Fuels

by Dale Allen Pfeiffer

© Copyright 2004, From The Wilderness Publications, www.copvcia.com. All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.

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The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

This article by the author of Gun, Germs and Steel and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed shows us that most of our basic assumptions about our experiment of civilization are sorely mistaken. I especially am impressed by how hunter-gatherer peoples had such better health than we do today.

Jared Diamond: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race
By Jared Diamond
University of California at Los Angeles Medical SchoolDiscover Magazine, May 1987

Pages 64-66: To science we owe dramatic changes in our smug self-image. Astronomy taught us that our earth isn’t the center of the universe but merely one of billions of heavenly bodies. From biology we learned that we weren’t specially created by God but evolved along with millions of other species. Now archaeology is demolishing another sacred belief: that human history over the past million years has been a long tale of progress. In particular, recent discoveries suggest that the adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered. With agriculture came the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism, that curse our existence. Continue reading


Unsustainable, but economists ignore it…

In a post on her blog, Gail Tverber places our quandary in plain view for all to see. When analyzed like this, it’s hard to see how anyone can deny the crappy hand we’ve been dealt by the banks and their corporations. At this point, there’s very little any of us can do except stock up on popcorn and enjoy the show.

Repost from Our Finite World:

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The Big Lie about Energy

From Zerohedge, Jim Quinn gives a realistic view of our energy future.

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

Energy Independence: The Big Lie


 PRICE OF A BARREL OF OIL 1978 – $14.00

“We are the generation that will win the war on the energy problem and in that process, rebuild the unity and confidence of America.” – President Jimmy Carter, 1979

“We have it in our power to act right here, right now. I propose $6 billion in tax cuts and research and developments to encourage innovation, renewable energy, fuel-efficient cars, and energy-efficient homes.” – President Bill Clinton, 1998

“I think that in ten years, we can reduce our dependence so that we no longer have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. I think that’s about a realistic time frame…That’s why I’ve focused on putting resources into solar, wind, biodiesel, geothermal. These have been priorities of mine since I got to the Senate, and it is absolutely critical that we develop a high fuel efficient car that’s built not in Japan and not in South Korea, but built here in the United States of America.” – President Barack Obama, 2008

“We don’t have to wait on OPEC anymore. We don’t have to let them hold us hostage. America’s got the energy. Let’s have American energy independence.”- Rick Perry, CNN Debate, October 18

“We must become independent from foreign sources of oil. This will mean a combination of efforts related to conservation and efficiency measures, developing alternative sources of energy like biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification, and finding more domestic sources of oil such as in ANWR or the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).”Mitt Romney  


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Arithmetic, Population and Energy

This is a presentation by Dr. Albert Bartlett concerning the impossibility of our society’s quest for infinite growth in a finite environment. Dr. Bartlett got his B.S. in Physics from Colgate, worked at Los Alamos research lab during WWII(the Manhattan Project), then got his M.S. and PhD from Harvard. He’s a smart dude. He spent his career teaching at University of Colorado, Boulder and is now Professor Emeritus in Physics there. He’s been doing this talk for decades, and I don’t know that there’s been any effect. I’ve posted it here before to yawns, but there are some new people here and I thought I’d bore them too.
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Clueless Growth

Dear Mr. Growth,

How many times do you have to be told and shown that your piddling little “ratables” actually cost the township more than they bring in? I’ve posted 3 or 4 studies that show towns with more “ratables” don’t get tax relief.  You use the example of Freehold as some shining example of how “ratables” keep taxes down… well, in 2007 the muni rate went up almost 5% and in 2008 it went up almost 10%. So how is it working out for them?

I constantly wonder about your exclusive focus on revenue, revenue, revenue without ever considering that these “ratables” cost the township money too.

I found out that ratables cost the township money by reading this ->


Maybe you should read it too and you’ll see how blinded by growth you really are. You never met a project you didn’t like, and you seemingly fail to realize you’re turning Howell into Edison, depriving your grandchildren of the natural beauty you moved here for.

So really George. When are you and your kind going to get it? Growth creates problems which you think the only solution is more growth. What was that definition of insanity again?


$4 a gallon

Today the Energy Department released its Weekly Petroleum Status Report. While it showed a build in crude stockpiles, gasoline stockpiles continued lower at a time when they’re supposed to be building to get ready for “Summer Driving Season”. As a result, wholesale gasoline (RBOB) increased over 5 cents a gallon to $3.41 per. At the usual markup of 40-60 cents over wholesale around here, we could see gas prices ranging around $3.90 in a few weeks.

We’re in for a repeat of 2008, when gas prices got near $4 last. Energy costs are a “tax” in a real way. They suck money from other segments of the economy, and render it crippled. As oil and gas prices increase, we’ll see another recession by the end of the year as the economy can’t handle the increased energy costs. Already companies are talking about raising prices to cover energy and transportation costs, and that too will bleed more money from your wallet or pocketbook.

As predicted several places, the economy will continue bumping its head on high oil prices due to stagnant (and soon falling) oil production and growing world-wide demand.

Rinse and Repeat.

Current wholesale gas prices here: RBOB Gasoline


The cheap energy is going fast

As I’ve tried to point out many times here, since we’re apparently passed the peak of world oil production, the easy to reach, cheap to extract oil is getting scarce and the new finds contain less oil and are harder and more expensive to extract. The rosy projections of the IEA and the DOE/USGS have been proved false over the last five or six years, and the pessimistic projections of the "peak oil nuts" crowd have turned out to be right. The upshot to all this is that oil, energy and almost everything else is going to get increasingly expensive as time goes on, and take a bigger and bigger cut from your budget.

This article Oil`s slice of world GDP nears shock levels: SocGen – Reuters – quotes the chief oil analyst at Societe Generale on the situation.

Rising prices next year will push oil’s percentage of world gross domestic product up to similar levels as during the oil shocks of the 1970s, Societe Generale said on Tuesday.

Analysts at the French bank sounded a "yellow alert" in a report that hiked their forecast for oil prices by almost 10% next year, arguing stronger-than-expected demand and cheap money would raise the cost of oil.

SocGen’s chief oil analyst, Michael Wittner, said one of the biggest risks to the bank’s average price prediction of around USD 93 a barrel in 2011 is how consuming economies respond.

"The oil burden is starting to creep up," Wittner said.

"Next year, the index (oil’s percentage of global GDP) is forecast to return to the levels of late 2007/early 2008; the oil burden also returns to the lower levels of the zones seen during the twin oil price shocks of the 1970s."

The oil price shocks of the 1970s spiked inflation and pushed the U.S. economy into recession in 1973 (after the OPEC nations cut oil supplies in response to U.S. support for Israel) and in 1979 after the Iranian Revolution.

"While not clear cut, the message is that we are approaching the point where oil prices could possibly start to weigh on fragile and recovering OECD economies," Wittner said.

"This ‘yellow alert’ zone appears to be USD 90 and above — which is where we forecast oil prices are heading."

How high is too high?

On Tuesday, US crude futures settled at USD 84.11, down USD 1.62 on the day, but around USD 7 above where they traded at the same time last year. Crude rose USD 2.68 in November, extending its most recent rise for the third straight month.

Brent crude, the benchmark for Europe and much of Africa and Asia, traded just below USD 86 a barrel on Tuesday.

In the report, Wittner said prices were likely to keep rising, eventually reaching USD 100 a barrel and above in 2012.

"This is based on healthy demand growth, led by developing countries, bumping up against maturing and increasingly expensive supply," Wittner said.

"The forecast is based on declining spare production capacity within OPEC. Our projections indicate that spare capacity should fall from 4.9 million bpd in 2011, to 2.9 million bpd in 2012, to the 2.0-2.6 million bpd range in 2013-2015."

Global oil demand in 2011 is expected to average 88.51 million bpd, according to the International Energy Agency.

Based on SocGen’s predictions, spare production capacity will total just 3-4 % of daily output by 2013-2015, leaving little scope for dealing with prolonged supply outages.

SocGen forecast oil prices would average around $115 a barrel by 2015 — not far below the all-time peak of almost USD 150 hit in 2008.

Others have argued oil prices above USD 75 a barrel would encourage greater production and use of alternative energy, possibly preventing prices rising too high.

I think you might remember me saying something quite similar to the underlined quote a couple of times here. I just wish Howell would stop development for a few years to see how this all shakes out, but we’ve got to keep the pedal to the metal, the cliff is getting closer.