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Saturday, March 21, 2009


Five years ago, when I first got involved with peak oil, electric and hybrid trucks weren't even a concept. A little over a year ago, when I first posted on the subject they still seemed fairly exotic. Now, in 2009, an amazing amount of progress has taken place, and the technology for both EV and HEV (hybrid EV) trucks is rapidly filtering into the mainstream. It's becoming increasingly clear that peak oil will have little impact on tasks such as local trucking, garbage collection, and grid maintenance. Peak oil is simply occurring too slow compared to the rate of truck innovation and dissemination.

Eaton is a manufacturer of hybrid drivetrains for medium and heavy-duty trucks. Just a couple of days ago, President Obama spoke at the preview of a PHEV utility truck made by Eaton, EPRI and Ford:
The plug-in hybrid truck is the first of five “boom and bucket” trucks based on a Ford F-550 chassis that will be provided by Eaton, EPRI and Ford to public and private utility fleets in the United States for use and evaluation. In addition to fuel and emissions savings while the truck is on the road, additional energy savings are available by utilizing the electric side of the system to power the ancillary systems and tools when the truck is stopped at a work site.Source

ATCO, an Alberta electric utility, is also introducing an HEV utility bucket truck Source. American Electric Power, a mid- and southern US electric utility has 4 International Durastar hybrid bucket trucks with Eaton drivetrains, and 18 more on order Source. A Michigan beer distributor recently purchased 15 medium-duty International DuraStar hybrid tractors made by Navistar with an Eaton drivetrain Source. Kraft is adopting the Durastar hybrid for transport of frozen foods Source. Honda is testing a Class 8 hybrid diesel truck made by Peterbilt (Paccar) and Eaton Source.

The heavy-duty electric trucks being used in the Port of Los Angeles, which I described 6 months ago are now in full production. The assembly line is finished, and Balqon will first be producing 20 units for the Port of LA Source. Note that Balqon's Nautilus E30 Class 8 heavy-duty EV truck, and their Mule M-150 7-ton medium duty EV truck, are both equipped for fast-charging Source. Balqon is using AeroVironment's PosiCharge fast charge system for the Port of LA trucks Source.

The Smith Newton 7.5 to 14 tonne all-electric commercial truck from Smith Electric Vehicles, which has been in use in Europe for 3 years, will soon be rolled out in North America Source. Smith's UK customers include: Babcock Airports, Continental Landscapes, TK Maxx, BSkyB, DHL, TNT Express, Openreach, Sainsburys, Royal Mail, CEVA Logistics, Scottish & Southern Energy, Crown Records Management, Translinc, yoyo and Balfour Beatty Source.

UK manufacturer Modec offers trucks in a number of styles, with a range up to 100 miles, maximum speed of 50mph, and payload of 2 tonnes. They have sold 150 vehicles since production started in 2007. Customers so far include: Tesco, UPS, FedEx, M&S, Network Rail, Speedy Hire, Stadsdeel Amsterdam Oud Zuid, CenterParcs, Hildon Water, Stadstoezicht Amsterdam, CESPA (Madrid), Deret Group (France), and UK Local Authorities (Modec vans) Source.

Ford has announced a tie-up with Smith Electric Vehicles to market a fully electric version of its Transit Connect panel van in 2010. Ford will provide the chassis, brand and marketing, and Smith will integrate the EV technology Source.

Electric Vehicles International is a new player, which apparently has a significant marketing presence in Mexico. It is now offering the customizable eviLightTruck in 3 configurations -- Class 3, Class 4 and Class 5-6 -- for the US market Source.

In May of 2008, UPS ordered 200 HEV trucks with drivetrains made by Eaton (the largest HEV order in the industry to date), and 300 CNG trucks Source. In October, they ordered 7 hydraulic hybrids, and in November, they announced an order of 12 EV trucks produced by Modec, for deployment in the UK and Germany in early 2009 Source.

UPS currently has the largest alternative fuel fleet in the parcel industry, with more than 1,500 compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, hydrogen fuel cell, electric and hybrid electric vehicles Source.


Ryder is offering the RydeGreen medium-duty hybrid truck based on Navistar and Eaton technology. "According to International®, the truck has the potential to provide up to 30 to 40 percent improved fuel efficiency in standard in-city pick up and delivery applications."Source


In early March 2009, Kenworth (a Paccar subsidiary) received a large hybrid truck order from Coca-Cola Enterprises:
The Kirkland company, a division of Bellevue-based Paccar Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR), said Coca-Cola Enterprises ordered 150 T370 diesel-electric tractors and 35 T370 hybrid trucks. Kenworth officials didn’t disclose the value of the order but the fuel-efficient trucks are reported to cost around $100,000 each.

Last year, Coca-Cola Enterprises of Atlanta (NYSE: CCE) ordered 120 hybrid delivery trucks from Kenworth. Officials at the distribution company said those hybrid trucks resulted in a 30 percent improvement in both fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions, compared with standard delivery trucks.Source
Another good source on this topic is the PESWiki for electric trucks. The Wiki gives an extensive list of firms, large and small, producing electric trucks.
by JD


At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 7:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The future looks bright! Don't see it any other way.

At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 9:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love that. No, these companies' bosses are not sitting at their desks staring at the latest catastrophic figures on global warming, tearing their hair, ordering 15 electric trucks and then thinking: Duh! Here I wanted to change the way we live real fast … no, wait, it's too late already!!
They're sitting there looking at two figures: What does it cost me? What do I gain? Works, doesn't it?

At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 11:42:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The future looks bright for decreasing dependence on oil. Only a misinformed idiot would think peak-oil is going to be our downfall.


Im still a doomer. Climate destabilisation will make peak oil look like a picnic. The electricity for those electric trucks will most likely come from coal, as nations in general are too slow (can provide references if you really want) in building nuclear technologies. Clean coal seems to be all just industry-hype, and anyone who says "yeah well global warming/climate change has always happened" is just misinformed. Peak oil is the least of everyones worries


At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 1:46:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 16 month old son's favorite word right now is "truck". Looks like daddy needs to teach him to say "electric" to put in front of it.


At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 3:33:00 PM PDT, Blogger AngryToaster said...

Then Uglow, why even bother at all. Why don't we just burn through everything and wait to die. Why try to improve anything at all, unless of course you are wrong. We all know the end result of living is death, but timing is everything.

At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 4:42:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No no, this can't be! Don't you understand? We're doomed! That's right, I said DOOMED!! With a capital D! And nothing you say can change that, not even electric trucks powered by thorium nuclear power plants!

At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 7:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because, like you, I am an *optimistic* doomer. The end result of living is death (and I believe that this gives our lives meaning) - however youre confusing (y)our death with the larger picture of clearly avoidable mass extinction on a planetary scale (oh yeah and btw humans aren't the only species on the planet). If you took time to think about what I'm getting at instead of hurredly writing a slightly confrontational 'doomer hater' response to something which is rather obvious, at no point did I say it was inevitable. Rather I agree with JD that our reliance on energy is surplus to what we need and can be cut back. This article is about electric trucks, not conservation , although it is a step forward.

I like this site, it has interesting points and is way better than the weirdos at latoc/oil drum etc . But I find some of you irrationally fixated with hating doomers instead of staying focused on the bigger picture.

At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 8:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Im still a doomer. Climate destabilisation will make peak oil look like a picnic."

Oh no! Tell me you didn't drink that Kool-aid. First it was global warming, then it was climate change, now it's climate destabilization. Actually, I guess first it was global cooling, back in the 70's. Hahahaha!! As we begin to slip into a longer term cooling trend due to decreased solar output and the multidecadal oscillation, I'll be interested as to what you guys call it next. Climate variation/non-variation???

Does anyone else on here read


At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 8:47:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a lifelong greenie-weenie, big-lib. But on peak oil and global warming, I think we are seeing spooks.
The Earth has been a lot warmer in previous epochs, even during man's brief time here.
When Vikings came to New Foundland they found a land without winter frost on the grass! They left establishments on sunny Greenland! Then, the Greenlanders were wiped out by advancing cold. That was about 1000 years ago.
Indeed, if you want to worry, I would suggest an Ice Age is a lot less pleasant than global warming.
The Earth has been prone to Ice Ages for the last several hundred thousand years. This might be a real concern.
If CO2 does impact climate, we might be wise to pump a bit more into the atmosphere, just to make sure.
Recent, more -accurate measurements seem to suggest very little global warming. The earth's water is not warming, for example.
However, ice cores suggest that Ice Ages can come on quickly, as in years. The oddity is that perhaps we should be studying how to heat things up, perhaps by putting a lot of heat-absorping dust into the air, or covering ice fields with black soot.
Right now, global warming is a cause celebre, and skeptics are hooted off the stage. I think you will see a thaw in the mindset soon enough, especially as a few more years go by, and you just don't see real warming. A truth one year can become a shibboleth the next.

At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 9:12:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone who thinks like you JD.


At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 10:19:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Global warming will raise the average wind speed.
Sounds pretty good for electric trucks to me.

And you misunderstood the difference between mocking and hating.


At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 3:55:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DoctorJJ: "it was global warming, then it was climate change, now it's climate destabilization"

theyre all interlinked you moron, the fact it the names are becoming more accurate doesn't mean anything other than your inability to come up with a decent argument

benny: true and I really hope youre right. Seriously, I'm optimistic and aren't praying for the end of the world. I was under the impression though the previously warmer epoch argument was flawed as it wasn't so much the temperature the earth was reaching but the rate of change (ie dTemp/dTime) that was the cause of destabilisation. When building a house of cards you need changes to be slow, not quick. Additionally, I *know* there are scientists against the idea of climate destabilisation (so doctorjj don't even bother pasting your links to them) but I thought that a very large group of informed scientists thought the our climate is in trouble?

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 5:58:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but I thought that a very large group of informed scientists thought the our climate is in trouble?"

(Sorry for the total thread hijack, JD, but I can't let things like this go unchallenged.)

I think what you meant to say here was that "a very large group of environmental activists with social agendas thought..." Only a handful of them are actual scientists.

As for the different terms being interlinked, and becoming more accurate. Come on, man. Seriously? More accurate? Destabilization is a more accurate term than warming? Well, I guess it is, more accurate in the sense that warming is incorrect, since the earth isn't warming anymore and is, in fact, cooling. Still though, the term destablization is WAYYY more vague. What is warming? We all know that. It's a measurable quantity. Destabilization? WTH is that? How can that be measured? Besides, that's not how it all played out, historically. Starting in the 70's it was global cooling. Then in the 80's and early 90's all you heard about was global warming. Then suddenly when the actual science (other than Mann's total bullshit "hockey stick"), actually started to come to light, we began to see that the actual warming was very minimal and well within normal variation. We have also seen, over the last 2 years, global cooling. The ice caps are NOT melting and the sea isn't rising, despite what you have been told by the propaganda. Was 2007 a record low of arctic ice? Yes, as far as our records show. Did that trend reverse in 2008 and looks to in 2009 as well? Yes. This is completely and utterly against what we have been told about global warming. Algore said it was uncontrolled, runaway warming. That is NOT happening.

You say I have a weak argument, but then bring up scientific consensus (which, again, it's FAR from being a consensus) as your main argument for why AGW theory is correct. Scientific consensus? Really? That's all you got? I guess the sun still revolves around a flat earth in your world. LMAO!!!


At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 6:11:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...


The problem is that just when you're leaving a belief cult about how things are just going terrible because there is a small percentage probability that they would (a giant non sequitur), you're entering another one.

The thing is, no one knows what's going to happen in the global climate. Science isn't "settled", indeed many studies keep popping in, some say relieving things, others say dire things, but all in all in a very probabilistic and uncertain theme. I'd say that the alarmism involved here is just a conscient way to overcompensate the normal psychological behaviour of the "masses", that won't worry about what's going to happen 100 years in the future, and won't sacrifice their energy with problems that will happen in 100 years' time that aren't even determined with rigorous certainty.

So there's overcompensation on that, and some scientists just go over the top. Which is bad on itself (we tend to see scientists as non-biased).

In this week alone, a major GW scientist, Phil Jones (a major headache to the "deniers") has published a report on urban heat effect on chinese termometers, claiming that it is circa 1ºC/century. This is major, because one of his previous global studies indicated 0.05ºC urban heat effect (and this was used by IPCC). This means that the CO2 effect was much minor than previously thought. (you won't hear about this in RealClimate though).

Anyways, even accepting IPCC's conclusion, in no way that is supposed to mean a "nightmare" scenario. One could actually imagine a scenario where BAU would continue in 10-15 years more, while major R&D in alternative energies, carbon capture, etc., etc., would end up in 2020-2030 be able to put down CO2 production quite strong.

It would stop being a problem.

There are also other ways to "cool" down the planet, geo-engineering, while CO2 gets to be absorved by nature.

But this isn't the current discussion. And while politicians are fighting to place this theme into a major concern and a major political theme, the population just doesn't see it as a big problem. And I happen to agree with them.

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 8:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

FWIW (and, in all honesty, that's probably very little), I find climate change a far scarier problem than peak oil, with the potential to wreak far greater havoc, and requiring greater effort to deal with.

There's undoubtedly a certain tendency to shout down critics, and a degree of unhelpful alarmism surrounding the topic, but there's an undeniable campaign of misinformation being practiced among certain groups of skeptics. There is a working scientific consensus that global temperatures have risen: Doran and Zimmerman (2009) put it at about 97% of active climatologists. Trotting out a few skeptics doesn't imply lack of consensus, it implies only lack of unanimity.

There's also quite a bit of goalpost-moving and sleight-of-hand among some skeptics. The Heartland Institute's much-publicized list of 500 "denier" scientists is probably the most famous example: after being criticized by many of the people on their list for misconstruing or outright misrepresenting their work, they stopped claiming that the list disproved a consensus surrounding the existence of anthropogenic global warming, but that it disproved a consensus that anthropogenic global warming was a "crisis." There's also a bit of trickery involved in the question of arctic shrinkage: yes, sea ice area increased during 2008, after a bad year in 2007, but the total volume remains abnormally low. Climatologists are concerned with the latter, but skeptics frequently cite the former without clarification. Other popular anti-GW claims, like "antarctic cooling" (mentioned by Michael Crichton, in particular) have had real trouble finding a properly scientifically-trained sponsor.

Now, there may be a case that the skeptical voice has been silenced through intimidation, as some have argued, but this is all a bit of a distraction: either you find the scientific work convincing or you don't. I do not claim to be an expert, merely an interested layperson, but I find the current science, as it has been presented, reasonably compelling.

I do, however, agree with Barba Rija that nothing, ultimately, is certain, and there are ways to address the problem (assuming it is a significant one) through sequestration and/or geoengineering. I don't see doom and despair-mongering as a useful response to climate change any more than I see it as a useful response to peak oil.

BTW, Barba, is Jones's new paper available online anywhere? This is the first I've heard of it, and it sounds like it could be a real game-changer.

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 10:07:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: Electric Trucks.

This is the keystone argument which demolishes the dieoff theory.

10 calories of oil for every calory of food.

Electric trucks to take produce to rail depots. Then other electric loading trucks to take the containers onto ships. Ship the food to another port. etc etc.

If the food is going overland it's rail with no ocean component. I fail to see how we can possibly end up with empty shelves at groceries and the demise of wal mart etc.

Another dieoff myth is that the cities will become deathtraps.
Well guess again doomers: with electric trucks it will be even MORE efficient to service cities than it is now.

Also: since there is an order of magnitude less trucks than there are cars for personal transportation, there is correspondingly an order of magnitude less difficulty in
a. Building a national fleet of electric trucks
b. trashing the "the grid will go down from all the electric cars" straw man.

Also: given that there is way less resistance to the "limited" range idea from truck buyers than there is from car buyers, I think it's not only likely, but that it's a CERTAINTY that we will see electric trucks coming to a city near you.

Personally, though, I'm waiting for an electric pizza delivery vehicle.


At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 11:44:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Doc JJ, calm down. Your talk points aren't that good. You sound as sure of yourself as the alarmists that you denounce. I'd say the jury is still out there.

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 12:11:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi JD,

I've been lurking for a fair while but I've never posted due to all the good arguments being made by others :-)

However, I've now decided to start my own blog and by chance the first few posts are climate change related.

Please accept my apologies if you consider that linking to my blog from here is inappropriate.


At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 12:29:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey people please ignore Eyore/uglow the troll. Big electric trucks are way more fascinating than the brainwashed. Can you imagine a place like a port full of quiet whirring giant trucks moving around freight? Or a construction site without the big growling diesels?

Also, my son has a little electric rechargeable remote control truck and I would love to know if there is some sort of cheap small solar panel that can be set up to to recharge it ,ie, that will power a regular-sized electric outlet. Then we would just plug the battery/charger into that.

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 2:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger AngryToaster said...

Someone who thinks like you JD.

Good read, but I couldn't disagree more about nuclear declining 50% in the next 15 years. I can't believe the doomer reply that 'nuclear is a fossil fuel', WHAT??

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 4:08:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the believers of climate change are wrong (and then subsequent rapid action isn't taken) - its no way near as bad as if the sceptics are wrong! All I can say is that there seems to be a lot of misinformed people on both sides of the climate debate. Even if it turns out to happen, here's betting the sceptics will just say it was going to happen anyway.

A non doomer comment, more of a question: what could you make the tyres for the trucks out of if oil was completely no more?

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 6:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger The Mad Scientist said...

My point was to show that even if the most horrible projections of supply side come good we will still be ok with just a little effort. Hence I went with 50% reductions in nuclear and Natural gas.

At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 6:44:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Doc JJ, calm down. Your talk points aren't that good."

You say that as if I'm all jacked up about something. I am calm. I've been calm all along. As for my points, well, let's see.
First I said that the climate doomers, and by that I primarily meant the IPCC, are mostly "environmental activists with social agendas". Well, look at the members. That's what they are. They aren't scientists and the ones that are aren't in the field of climatology.

Next I criticized his term of destabilization which was quite self-explanatory with the initial post.

Then I mentioned that the world is currently cooling. And while that is quite questionable, there is certainly a lot of data to support that the warming trend has, at least temporarily, ended.,2933,333328,00.html

I can go on and on about the recent cooling.

Next was Mann's BS hockey stick. I think that has been debunked enough already. If you aren't aware of how horrible his data and statistics are, well, you need to do some more reading on global climate.

Then on to the ice caps not melting away and ocean levels not rising.

Next up, sea ice levels.

And finally, I attacked the use of "consensus" as proof that a theory is correct. I don't think I need delve into that one any further either.

So, again, I'm perfectly calm. I will also be the first to admit that the science isn't settled. However, I tend to not believe people who have a know agenda and spread it by using flawed, biased, incomplete data to make complex models of processes they don't understand. Just take a second to look through the hype and agendas to read the science. I'll leave you with this as far as this supposed "consensus" is concerned.


At Monday, March 23, 2009 at 6:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Hi, and welcome to POD. There are many options for post-oil rubber. All hydrocarbons are essentially interchangeable for feedstock purposes, so rubber and other plastics can be (and are) made from NG and gassified coal. There are extremely large amounts of feedstock still available in the remaining conventional oil, heavy oil, tar sands, NG and coal deposits, so lack of cheap hydrocarbon for mission-critical tires is not going to be a problem for a very long time.
In the long run, there are a variety of options: improved recycling, more extensive use of rail, natural rubber, bioplastics etc.

At Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 12:05:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Looking a little closer at the rubber issue, it seems that natural rubber currently plays a much greater role than I expected. Stats from the Malaysian government show that natural rubber accounted for 41% of world rubber production in 2007. Apparently about 70% of natural rubber is used for tires today, and "As for commercial vehicle tires, the amount of natural rubber increases with the size of the vehicle. For example, large earth mover tires are made of 100 percent natural rubber."Source. Sumitomo has already commercialized a tire made of 97% non-fossil fuel resources, and is working on 100% Source.

Between the large amounts of fossil feedstocks still available, and the large volume of natural rubber being produced even today, tires appear to be a non-issue. There is more than enough natural rubber to handle mission-critical tires, even in the post fossil fuel era.

At Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 3:01:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Sean, the Jones et al paper is here

Abstract concludes:

...Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1°C decade−1 over the period 1951–2004, with true climatic warming accounting for 0.81°C over this period.

Notice the sleight of hand, there? I'm fed up with this bs, but at least the data is all here to see. 0.1ºC per decade is to be compared directly to 0.81 for the more distracted. Of course that in 53 years, it's more like 0.53ºC.

0.81+0.53=1.34ºC. 0.53ºC is 40%.

Yeah, I'd call it "game changer", too ;).

Doc JJ,

First, ad hom won't get you anywhere, so your attacks on the IPCC, even if true, aren't impressive nor relevant (at first hand).

Also, I'd hardly say that the last two years cooling is an argument. It's been ten or eleven years now that we've had a flat temp, but mostly because of 98 el nino and ´07/'08 la nina. I do like the trend :), but to call victory on such a small trend is misleading.

About the HS, I agree with you, but it is not really relevant to the theory in question. It's very relevant for the marketing of it, but that's it. In no way undermines the projections of the IPCC.

About the ice caps not melting, again misleading. While you can say that the southern ice cap had record ice, the problem as everyone in the field is worried about is the northern ice cap. The overall trend is undeniable. Your Daily Tech link is a perfect example on how statistics can lie so well (wasn't that the case against the HS after all??)

About the consensus. I don't agree with you. I think that most science findings, when not pinned down to the more rigorous benchmarks, are always subject to "consensus". It seems as a political thing, but that's just because science is a human endeavour. And because of the inherent inductive nature of it, we have to rely on uncomfortable things as "scientific consensus".

People that say that science doesn't operate this way, are not being serious. In the end, facts trump any "consensus", but until then, that's the only thing we've got.

At Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 3:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...


Your rationale makes as much sense as Pascal's wager. It smells of the worst hucksterism there is.

In that sense, if any one would come up with a "problem" that would have the consequence to "end it all", then all the resources should just go at it, independently of the probability of it being true.

That's the mentality behind many peak oil Pol Potters, who think that the human kind must be somehow "culled" to paradoxically "save it".

No. I won't be spoken in that tone of voice. If you talk to me like that, be prepared to be ridiculed.

At Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 10:33:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barba Rija: the problem as everyone in the field is worried about is the northern ice cap.

Sad to say it, but almost everything about the environment, global warming, etc, seems to be pure alarmism. That's the polite way of saying "neo-apocalyptic doomerism given a veneer of respectability by Science".

In the case of Greenland melting, the issue is not whether or not it will melt, but whether we will care a damn: if the Earth gets hot enough for Greenland to melt at rates the current Global Warming doomers are saying ("decades not impossible", sayeth Hansen), we are going to be up to our armpits in vastly bigger problems.

I'd assess that the reason why no one is concerned about Antartica's icecap draining into the ocean is because it has 10x the amount of ice: doomerism directed that way will tar the entire Climate Doom exercise.

At Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:39:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"First, ad hom won't get you anywhere, so your attacks on the IPCC, even if true, aren't impressive nor relevant (at first hand)."

I guess I don't think it's a typical ad hominem attack for pointing out that the majority of those people are not scientists and have underlying agendas. It's not like I lost an argument and said, "oh yeah, well you're ugly". It is relevant when it reveals the reasons behind their slant and spin.

Say someone portraying themselves as a medical expert told you that you had high blood pressure and sold you some medicine. Then you went to your regular doctor and he told you that in fact your blood pressure was fine and you didn't need any medicine. Would it matter if you found out that the first person wasn't really a doctor and was actually was a salesman for that particular medicine? So basically they weren't who they portrayed themselves to be, i.e. they weren't experts in that field, and they had an underlying agenda, i.e. they wanted to sell you something and make money. Of course that would matter!!!

As for the IPCC, I don't know any of them personally. They are probably, for the most part, nice, likable people. But just realize who they really are and what agendas they have any time you see their projections, recommendations or findings.


At Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 7:08:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey all, I've been reading here for quite a while now and felt like making a post about the whole "climate change" thing. I'm still on the fence as to whether or not it's really man caused or not, but I do believe we need to do something about the polution we pump out, even if just for the medical problems it causes.

The increase in polution has lead to so many health issues, such as asthma and cancer. Every single person who lives in New Jersey for a while ends up with some black lung from the poor air quality. Even if the efforts to stop "climate change" don't really matter, at least we'll cut down on pollution and help better the quality of our air and water, for humanity's sake and for the ecosystem.

At Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 8:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

To tie this all into the global warming debate:

It seems to me that all the stuff being discussed the past few posts, e.g. fast charging, electric trucks, etc., offers one the sense that it may be possible to hit two nasty birds with one stone. Electrification, done on a "clean energy" backbone, can lead to drastically reduced admissions. Ultimately, while I'm concerned about climate change, I tend to believe that humans, brilliant little creatures they are, will meet all of the challenges as they've met previous challenges: with style and aplomb.

Looking at all of this as holistically as possible, I conclude that we are on the verge of a serious change in the way that a lot of things are done. This is not simply due to electrification, but also due to seeing how quickly major companies are gearing up to engage in fiscally responsible "sustainable" behavior. While some of it is clearly greenwashing, a lot more of it is a change in the paradigm. Damn organizations like EDF all you want for "selling out," but it's partially thanks to them that FedEx is driving hybrids around. Big players see the writing on the wall, in my opinion, and I think a lot of changes will come from the corporate level, as disgusting as that is to many in the green camp.

I, for one, welcome our new electric overlords.

At Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 4:53:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Doctor JJ, considering that the climate wasn't a major concern in the 70s, it is no surprise to find engineers and all sorts of other type of specialities inside the IPCC.

I really think you don't have the high ground here. What you can say, and have me as an echo of that thought, is that if this is the case, then their criticism towards the skeptics because they aren't "climatologists" is dulely unfounded and rebutted. I also take that point of view. I consider scicence not to be a sum of specialized territories, but an endeavour of human inquiry.

It is not surprising though. It's a human endeavour, at the end, and science is awash with territorial cat fights.

Also, I don't think you are clear when you call on their "agendas". Which are those? Do you take the conspiracy theory that the IPCC is a bulk of folks that want to control mankind through "socialism"?

If not, and I believe you're not, then what are you talking about?

At Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 4:58:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slightly more On Topic.

I've noticed on TOD (haven't been there for a good while) that Gail is still banging on the notion that the financial crisis is due to peak oil.

It's solipsism at its worst. I hereby sentence TOD to be a religion clubhouse. A church, to be precise.

At Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 5:51:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Gail is completely out to lunch.

Here's some of her typical fodder:

My personal view is that whatever PV panels are produced now are likely never to be replaced. The PV panels are therefore something to help the current generation in its transition, but are probably not a long-term solution. We really need to be thinking about long-term solutions as well.Link

The *Editor* of the Oil Drum thinks solar panels are a dead end because we won't be able to manufacture them in a few years. LOL. They really should advertise their nutty beliefs in larger print for the general reader.

At Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7:04:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I've noticed that about Gail too. For a while she seemed semi-sane but lately I think she's lost it. Typical of her's - and other's - complete lack of economic understanding is this:

"The situation with natural gas isn't too much different from that with oil. Conventional natural gas is the inexpensive natural gas. It has been declining in supply. Unconventional natural gas is generally quite a bit more expensive. At today's prices, it doesn't make much sense to drill new unconventional wells, because the costs exceed the likely price that will be available."

Um - hello? The reason the price crashed is because: 1) the economy crashed, thus reducing demand for NG, and 2) the unconventional plays she mentioned have opened up a huge new supply and increased production. Supply goes up, demand goes down = price crashes. If demand goes up again so will the price and those unconventional fields will once again be economical. That said, even some of the unconventional fields are profitable at current prices (particularly the Haynesville shale, which practically the best thing since sliced bread).

The problem with these TOD doomers and others like them is they think whatever current bad thing that's going on will go on forever. E.g. when the price of oil was going way up last spring they thought it was headed for $300. Nope, sorry, didn't last. Now that the economy is in a rut they think that, too, will last forever, thus depriving us of the more-expensive energy supplies we need. Nope sorry, that won't last forever either.

At Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 7:28:00 AM PDT, Blogger The Mad Scientist said...

My views exactly Oil finder.
Gail seemed rational at one she is going nuts.
On her latest post I asked her why she was equating cheap oil with cheap energy since oil was not 100% of energy. I also asked her that we had an unlimited supply of energy via solar at 2.5X current electricity costs so why would a 150% increase in energy costs (if solar costs never came down) destroy us...
Did not get a response from her.

At Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 8:16:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gail needs to get some sun and take her fish oil. I have stopped reading anything she writes because I can predict what she's going to say. As other posters have said, TOD has become one of those wierd churches you see at the side of the interstate in the Texas panhandle.

What I don't understand is why some of the handful of heretics like Engineer Poet don't defect.
EP wrote an excellent piece about how we can mitigate and successfully based on tech. In fact it was his writings that pulled me out of my peak oil funk, specifically about electric cars and I think I found greencarcongress and energydaily because of him.

What it comes down to is this: there *isn't* going to be billions of people dying because of peak oil (unless we use nukes). This thread alone puts the lie to the dieoff myths.

Large Electric trucks with a hundred mile range along with Electric buses will keep civilization going at least at a European or Japanese standard of personal transportation and logistical infrastructure even if we (temporarily) can't afford to drive while the production capacity for electric cars catches up with demand.

In fact, this is one of those times in history when anyone who understands the new paradigm can make a shitload of money investing in the right stuff ahead of time.

Even old stodgy geezers like warren buffet are on-message.
I trust warren buffet to be right about electric vehicles a lot better than I trust someone like "Gail the Actuary".


At Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 11:10:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the main arguments against electric vehicles is "where is the electricity going to come from" combined with "the eroei of renewables is negative".

In fact, the eroei of even the most expensive renewable (solar pv) is 10-30, which is better than the oil sands a multi hundred billion dollar industry.

The problem for an economy is spiking prices not high prices.

High priced solar electricity means a one time hit for the economy and an adaptation to higher price plateaus via greater efficiency (which we could easily do) thus unless we are retarded (i.e. do nothing and remain welded to oil only consumption instead of bulking up on renewables) peak oil will be (at worst) a recession.

I personally think we might start to see fleet users of electric trucks start to build large windmills besides the fleet depots with which to charge the trucks.

Project better places battery swap idea is also custom made for allowing large trucks to cruise the interstate.

Even if a truck had to change it's battery 3 times a day at battery swap stations along the interstate, that's ALL that would need to happen to allow existing electric truck technology to maintain our current interstate based transportation network without even having to build an enhanced rail network.

I can imagine this: "project better truck" combined with high megawatt wind turbines lining the interstates and life going on EXACTLY as it has, complete with suburbs etc.

Jim Kunstler, kiss the pink.


At Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 9:08:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic (but not much)...
I had the opportunity to talk to a roughneck today. It occurred to me to ask him how the drilling rig and oil pumps on an oil well were powered.
His answer? ELECTRICITY for tge drills.
Electric motors have superior torque than mechanical.
For the pumps it's GRAVITY.

So the EREOI argument of using barrels of oil to get barrels of oil is bunk. Oil is NOT USED to drill for and extract oil.

Fricken hilarious. Yet another plank of dieoff theory collapses.


At Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 9:43:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone seen the photos of the Tesla model S?
What a sweet looking ride.
Now... just to rustle me up sixty grand...


At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 6:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like it's time for this blog to change its name to 'Peak Oil AND Climate Change Debunked'. Not to mention top soil depletion, ocean acidification, increasing social inequality, overfishing, water scarcity, etc. These are all symptoms that we 'brilliant little creatures' will solve with 'style and aplomb'. Of course. Naturally.

No need to address the underlying cause, no need to even think about it for one second. Hey, we don't have to change anything, because we're not responsible for anything. The solutions will come by themselves, and we'll just get wealthier and wealthier and wealthier. Pretty soon all of humanity will live in its own MTV Crib. This is inevitable.

We'll just sit and wait for the recession to fade away and then we'll just grow and grow and grow and grow and grow...

At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Neven, stop the troll act. No one is remotely saying that peak oil isn't a problem, and I can't see but one person claiming that climate change isn't a probable problem.

What we are saying is that it's not worthy to lose your sleep about it. Concern, yes, make some choices in your life keeping those issues in mind, but without stress.

I take that PO, for instance, got so doomerish that is completely insane, not that it isn't a problem we will eventually have to deal with (and we are already). Die off scenarios are so out of touch with reality, that one might wonder, why even wake up next day? Ironically, these people stay panicked like hell thinking that the world is about to end... for decades! LATOC is almost ten years old now. Kunstler is claiming the end-of-suburbia for more than ten years now. Simmons is claiming peak oil for twenty years now!

But I don't fear for those people, they get a life and pay by fearmongering the hell of others. It's the other people, less informed and aware of caveats, that blindfully accept their end-of-world-doctrines, that I'm worried about.

What to think of some teenagers, who get to listen to this crap cults while they approach their 20's, and endure this brainwash and end-of-the-world mentality for more than 10 years straight? What to think other than to say that they've probably wasted the best part of their lives for they thought they had no future?

It's almost criminal, if you think about it.

Anyways, there are bigger issues in mind. Like poverty, disease, bad education. I'm actually more worried by those.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 2:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger AngryToaster said...

Well, it looks like it's time for this blog to change its name to 'Peak Oil AND Climate Change Debunked'. Not to mention top soil depletion, ocean acidification, increasing social inequality, overfishing, water scarcity, etc. These are all symptoms that we 'brilliant little creatures' will solve with 'style and aplomb'. Of course. Naturally.

LOL oh great the typical doomer argument. If peak oil is possibly mitigated there are a million other things that will take its place to kill us! THE HORROR!!!!

I can't imagine going through life hating my own species so much and wishing for its extinction daily. You must be sooo fun to be around!! Let's hope you are truly the typical doomer & decided not to pass on your genes.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 3:02:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oil is NOT USED to drill for and extract oil."

You heard it here first! Thanks, JD.


At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 3:35:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Actually, DB is correct for the most part. The 1997 economic census provides a detailed breakdown of fuel use in the category NAICS 211111 (Crude and Natural Gas Extraction). Natural gas accounts for roughly 90% of the fuel input for that industry. The largest component (71.5%) is on-site NG used as fuel. All the detail are provided here. And yes, you heard it here first.

BTW, Harold, your empty sarcasm adds no value whatsoever. Try bringing some figures to the table next time.

In other news, it turns out that two articles from POD are the top hits on Google for the search term: oil eroei. Check it out. LOL

At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 6:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

Congratulations JD. POD also made it on to a list of the top 50 energy blogs.

It’s number 41, right after the Oil Drum. Obviously they are not ranked by quality.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 10:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Not to mention top soil depletion, ocean acidification, increasing social inequality, overfishing, water scarcity, etc.

Hold on a second.

First off, let's address one issue: social inequality. What, exactly, do you mean by "social inequality?" Income disparities? Fewer opportunities for minorities? A gap in opportunities in developed versus developing nations?

Let's assume, for a second, that you're referring to the GINI coefficient trend in developed nations. If that's the case, yes, you are right. But what time frame are we talking about, and which country are we talking about? Or are we talking about the gap between developed and developing nations. Again, the time frame matters a great deal here. Are there fewer opportunities for a Chinese person today, relative to a Brit? Perhaps. But has that gap narrowed in the past few decades? It's undeniably true for most Chinese that China under the Deng-influenced Hu regime is worlds better than the Maoist era.

But what of the talk of increasing poverty in the US? Well, that is an issue. Again, however, we need to talk about time frames. Comparing the US in the 1950s to the US of today shows that we have made significant improvements in poverty rates over the past half century. Don't believe me? Look at the stats.

In 1959, OVER 50% of blacks lived under the poverty threshold. Today, just over 20% do. Still a tragedy, but consider that for a second. That's a significant achievement in any society.

In 1959, over 22% of all Americans lived under the poverty threshold. Today, just a bit more than 12% do. Poverty has been just about halved in America in half a century.

Worldwide, poverty remains a serious issue, but serious headway has been made in making people less poor in many places. Not all news regarding income has been bad news in the past half century-- in fact, most has been good.

Ultimately, I find it hard to believe that we live in a more socially unequal society today than our parents or grandparents did. Considering that my grandmother couldn't go to certain hotels because there were "no k-kes allowed," and my mother got to see blacks get hosed just so they could go to college, and my uncle attended UCLA in an era when Black Panthers were shot by police on campus, it's hard for me to believe that things are worse today.

I live in an era where my best friends are all different ethnicities (really), and I have yet to be told I'm not allowed to enter an establishment based on my ethnicity. I was raised in a family that resigned itself to never seeing anyone but a WASP (Kennedy notwithstanding) elected to the presidency. I got to vote for, and see the inauguration of, a non-white president.

Social inequality is increasing? Sorry, but I don't buy it. Not based on the history and data of just the past 50 years. If you go back 100, your argument is even weaker. No way.

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 6:08:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"BTW, Harold, your empty sarcasm adds no value whatsoever. Try bringing some figures to the table next time."

I thought that idiotic comment "oil is NOT USED to drill for and extract oil," spoke for itself.

Makes you wonder if anyone at POD has ever even seen an oil rig.

What kind of "figures" do you want to disprove that howler?


At Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 9:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

What kind of "figures" do you want to disprove that howler?

As I showed above, 90% of the fuel consumed by the Crude and Natural Gas Extraction industry in 1997 was NG. And that doesn't even include the large energy input in the form of purchased electricity. Thus oil and diesel constitute a very small fraction of the energy consumption of the Crude and NG Extraction industry. Those facts come straight from govt statistics.

So although DB's statement is technically incorrect, it's a lot truer than the position you're representing. Also, as he pointed out, drilling equipment is powered electrically. Thus it isn't dependent on oil in any essential way, and can be shifted to other fuel sources or the grid with relative ease.

Apparently they've already switched to the grid on the North Slope:

And drill rigs in the North Slope fields now use electrical power from the North Slope electrical grid, rather than using their own diesel power. That has significantly reduced diesel exhaust emissions on the slope.

“The North Slope is almost exclusively high line power,” Eggemeyer said.


No big deal... you know?

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 9:17:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Neven said...

"So the EREOI argument of using barrels of oil to get barrels of oil is bunk. Oil is NOT USED to drill for and extract oil."

And how is the oil transported, DB?

To respond to the accusation of being a doomer, I'd like to quote Jeff Vail:

"Every now and then I get the sense that some people see me as a “doomer.” That I’m perceived as a bit of a pessimist about the future. I don’t know why. In the face of issues like peak oil, global warming, catabolic collapse, I don’t see any need for our quality of life to decrease. I do see a need for our quantity and mode of consumption to decrease—and I think some people are confusing the two. Many people are labeled “doomer” simply because they reject the general idea that technology will be able to save us from all our problems and guarantee the maintenance (even perpetual increase) of our consumer-driven society. I think that this demonstrates a failure to grasp two critical concepts—that extreme consumption does not equate to quality of life, and that technological complexification is not, in itself, of any value."

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 3:04:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Also, as he pointed out, drilling equipment is powered electrically."

How is that working out on off-shore rigs?


At Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 4:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

"And how is the oil transported, DB?"

Depends on what leg of the journey you're talking about, I suppose. In some cases, through pipelines. In others, by tanker. What I suspect you're trying to get at is that certain sections of the transportation process involve the use of petroleum as fuel. In which case, I would merely point out that the post to which we're currently replying points out a number of emerging alternatives to traditional ICE transportation.

And as for Vail's quote, I think you're tilting at windmills. One of the most frequently cited tenets of this blog is that conservation (or, in Vail's words, "quantity and mode of consumption") is the most practical way out of the problems posed by peak oil. But what a lot of peakists/doomers typically fail to grasp is that while they imagine themselves perfectly happy in a Kunstlerian, neo-agrarian "world made by hand," there are others among us who not only need various elements of modern technology to maintain our quality of life, but to maintain our life, period. Specifically, in my case, without modern medicine, I'd be dead within a month or two.

I think its fairly clear that the brunt of our collective disdain is not towards those people who think that peak oil is real and will require changes, but those people (and there are an extremely vocal group) who insist that it will result in a massive die-off. Any prediction that involves up to 5/6ths of the population of the planet being killed can only be classified as "doomer." These are the people who earn my wrath. If you're not among them, well, you'll have to forgive me, but you've neither said nor implied anything other than that you think we're all wrong, so it's a bit hard to get a grasp on what it is that you do believe.

Yes, there's room, and a need, for improvement, greater efficiency, and lower consumption. I know a number of us regular posters walk the walk just as well as any contributor to the typical doomer feedlots. If you're criticizing JD and company for assuming that business-as-usual is a viable strategy for the future, you're barking up the wrong tree.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 3:52:00 AM PDT, Blogger Soylent said...

"And how is the oil transported, DB?"

Why does it matter? You've already done the hard part of getting it out of the ground, transportation and refining is a constant fraction. If it consumes 2% of oil today it will consume 2% of oil in 2047.

Most oil transport is by pipeline(electricity) or oil tanker(fuel oil, technically no issues with using a nuclear reactor). Local distribution is handled by trucks.

At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 1:30:00 AM PDT, Anonymous paul said...

"Also, as he pointed out, drilling equipment is powered electrically."

"How is that working out on off-shore rigs?"

I'm sure that if it came to it a small nuclear reactor could power a rig.

At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 6:01:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm sure that if it came to it a small nuclear reactor could power a rig."

I'll bet it would! Wonder what the EROEI would be?


At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 7:28:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Wonder what the EROEI would be?

Who cares? Trading uranium for oil would be an energy conversion -- trading a plentiful solid fuel for a rare liquid fuel -- so EROEI would have little significance.

Anyway, worries about how to power oil transport or offshore oil rigs are about as stupid as it gets. They can be powered with the oil they are carrying/producing. If there's anybody that's going to have oil in the post-peak period, it's going to be the oil producers and vendors.

Harold: Your moron-grade trolling has zero content/value. Try to bring it up a level. :-)

At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 7:32:00 AM PDT, Anonymous mdf said...

paul: I'm sure that if it came to it a small nuclear reactor could power a rig.

If it came to it -- and make no mistake, it eventually will -- we will leave the oil in the ground and use the nuclear energy directly.

Harold: Wonder what the EROEI would be?

Harold, have you ever wondered about the EROEI of your own existence?

At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 9:46:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole EROEI argument as used on other peak oil sites is this:

It's harder and harder to get the remaining oil (costs more energy to do it). Thus the EROEI of oil extraction is declining.

They then go on and say at some point it will cost more than one barrel of oil to get out a barrel of oil.

The problem with this, as I have pointed out, is that they are NOT USING barrels of oil to get out barrels of oil.

They are using electricity.

While some of the hardcore doomers could try to dissassemble this argument by saying "yeah but... the generators are powered by diesel or nat gas", that's the same bullshit argument that the oil sands will collapse when nat gas peaks.

Guess again. They are using nat gas to make electricity.

Sorry guys, there are PLENTY of ways electricity can be made.

The guy who said "how will they power deep sea rigs by electricity" has no imagination.

But then again, that's the whole problem with the doomer contingent, they swallow dieoff theory lock stock and smoking barrel.


At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 9:50:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If it came to it -- and make no mistake, it eventually will -- we will leave the oil in the ground and use the nuclear energy directly."

Yes we will. Electric transport is much, much more efficient than diesel or gasoline powered transport. We just have all the sunk costs in existing infrastructure to overcome.

But I'll quibble a little:
I think that we'll always try to get some oil out of the remaining reserves even if we have to subsidize the EROEI by using say, renewable electricity.

The reason is jet travel.


At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 11:40:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Harold: Your moron-grade trolling has zero content/value. Try to bring it up a level. :-)"

The real moronica started here "So the EREOI argument of using barrels of oil to get barrels of oil is bunk. Oil is NOT USED to drill for and extract oil."

This is so far out it doesn't even qualify for moronic, but it does raise an interesting point. JD and The Debunkers use the EROEI argument to bash doomers when it suits their purposes, and call it bunk when it contradicts most of what they stand for.

The next outburst of moronica: "I'm sure that if it came to it a small nuclear reactor could power a rig."

Nuclear powered oil rigs - where do you start with that - the security, safety, ROI, EROEI?

Wish I could make up stuff like that.


At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 1:51:00 PM PDT, Blogger AngryToaster said...

Harold, have you ever wondered about the EROEI of your own existence?

LMAO! That is one of the funniest things I have read on here.

At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 2:57:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're a clown.

EROEI runs in both directions.
Only doomers think it runs down.

Get the hell back to Latoc where you belong.


At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 4:46:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"EROEI runs in both directions.
Only doomers think it runs down."

Either you don't understand what EROEI means at all, or you're just willfully disingenuous when it comes to comparing EROEI calculations.

This blog is full of discussion where "debunkers" use their own estimations of EROEI to bash/discredit "doomer" EROEI estimations. JD obviously has much to say on the subject of "doomer" activities (like gardening) with what he estimates as a low EROEI. The real hypocrisy comes in when EROEI estimations on activities JD and the technophiles advocate are challenged as too low. When an EROEI estimation does not flatter a technological solution (nuclear oil rigs) the reflexive "debunker" position is to dismiss EROEI calculations as irrelevant.

Someone interested in honest debate would not insist on the hypocrisy of using EROEI as a club to bash your opponents when it fits your agenda and then dismissing EROEI as irrelevant when it's convenient.


At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 7:38:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

Okay Harold. Enlighten us about the "true" EROEI figures for coal, NG, oil, nuclear, wind, hydro, and solar. Thanks.


At Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:13:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for telling me what to think.
No waitamminit no that's the whole doomer thing isn't it?

EROEI is roundly trounced because the way it's being used on doomer sites is retarded.

FYI it's static or increasing for renewables and evenwhere it's static it's high enough to keep things running even to the extent of subsidizing decreasing EREOI oil.

In addition, since high EREOI renewable resources have their reserves refilled every time the sun shines or wind blows the RETURN on energy is compounded. i.e. useful energy flows not only make more useful energy flows but also subsidize the embedded energy requured to make more.

5 windmills give birth to one new one every year andthis compounds.

But since you are a dumbass doomer you think it only works in reverse: eating the oil seedcorn in a catabolic collapse.

To end I'll simply reiterate: you are a doomer clown. Go buy some MREs and get back to your pumpkin patch and you whining and gnashing of teeth. Us problem solvers have work to do.


At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 5:03:00 AM PDT, Anonymous mdf said...

DB: The reason is jet travel.

There is no question that short of some miracle technology, liquid fuels will be around more or less forever.

But recall that aircraft and similar uses are fairly small bites from the total energy pie. Oil is what, 1/3rd of the total, and aircraft is about 10% of that. It's entirely feasible to simply synthesize that fuel, converting wind, solar, nuclear (whatever) energy into transportable (liquid) forms.

At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 5:39:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Easy on Harold, DB. There's no need to be so harsh.

At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:28:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But since you are a dumbass doomer you think it only works in reverse: eating the oil seedcorn in a catabolic collapse."

Amazing. Can you not read and parse what I wrote, or are you just programmed to repeat the same lame dogma whenever you run out of ideas?

I'm not disputing anyone's specific EROEI calculation, or insisting that EROEI always shrinks, or grows for that matter. I'm just pointing how selective you "debunkers" are when using EROEI as a metric. If you disapprove of a certain activity, then you use some calculation to show how low it's EROEI is, as JD did with gardening. If you approve of an activity - like off-shore rigs powered by nuclear reactors - then you insist that EROEI doesn't matter. "Who cares?" as JD puts it. "It's a conversion," as if all activities weren't a manifestation of basic physics. Some ideological consistency would help your case a little.

DB's pugnacious tone is par for this course - when you don't have something meaningful to say, or someone has destroyed your latest techno-strawman, then trot out some juvenile insults and cliches so that the other sycophants might witness your indignation.


At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 1:44:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You think I was rough on him?

OK Then: My apologies for being rough on you Harold.

That said: any doomers come on here will have to get used to the same kind of treatment non-doomers get on traditional peak oil sites even if I personally was resorting to ad homs a little.


At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 3:32:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm almost tempted to retract my apology for name calling.

re: selectivity.
On the contrary, the fact seems to have escaped you that what you are saying we do is exactly what the doomers do. i.e. say the EROEI is too low.

Perhaps you have failed to grasp the possibility that JD was mocking all of you when he said that the EROEI of gardening was low. That's exactly the same kind of argument you people use to say nothing will work and we're all doomed.

The only argument you have is that the EROEI of doom is increasing.



At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 3:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

As a person who is consistent about EROEI, what is your position on activities with EROEI<1? That we should never do them?

At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 4:12:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

forgot to sign

"Harold, As a person who is consistent about EROEI, what is your position on activities with EROEI<1? That we should never do them?"

If the input and output equations maintain ceteris paribus and the laws of thermodynamics are respected, then absolutely not.

If you wish to dispute with the dismal science of economics or contrived equations of accounting please reconsider as the rules of finance and accounting are contrived whereas the laws of geology and physics are derived.


At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 4:26:00 PM PDT, Anonymous paul said...

Maybe I can use this as an exercise to try to clear up my own understanding of EROEI.

Certainly we need at least some source of high EROEI energy (primary energy) otherwise civilization would collapse. The claim is that hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, coal etc can fulfill this purpose.

The objection is that not all activities can be directly powered by these sources, eg cars, aircraft. So we have a category of energy carriers (batteries). These of course have EROEI < 1, but we can still use them for purposes such as cars even though they are useless for base load power.

The point of nuclear powered oil rigs (if they are ever really practical) is that we are considering oil as a form of battery to power aircraft where no other (known) fuel form will work. We are not going to burn the oil in power plants so the EROEI is not relevant provided we have enough nuclear power to extract sufficient oil.

The point of debunker techno-fixes is that whenever a doomer says we can't do "this" without oil, the debunker can point out another way of doing that activity given enough primary energy.

Gardening having low EROEI means that it is not very helpful for maintaining civilization as some back to the land types are promoting. We can't power civilization with gardens. Better to build high EROEI wind power and stick to industrial agriculture.

At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 5:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

If the input and output equations maintain ceteris paribus and the laws of thermodynamics are respected, then absolutely not.

So I take it your position is: we should never engage in activities which yield less energy than they consume. Correct?

How do you feel about oil refining, then? The process of oil refining results in a loss of about 10% of the input energy, and thus has an EROEI of about .9, which is <1.

Hence, your position is that we should stop refining oil because it has EROEI<1. Correct?

At Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 10:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Just out of curiosity, what does it mean to "maintain ceteris paribus"? How does one maintain "all else being equal?" I'm not quite sure I get the gist of what's being argued there.

What's funny here:

If you wish to dispute with the dismal science of economics or contrived equations of accounting please reconsider as the rules of finance and accounting are contrived whereas the laws of geology and physics are derived.

is the use of words. Harold suggests that "equations of accounting" are contrived. In other words, that they are artificial, perhaps How so? They are no more or less artificial than the "laws of physics," which are merely mathematical representations of physical phenomena. While it is true that there are no "accounting laws" other than those created by man, they are essentially just balancing equations, like doing chemistry. One debit or credit, kind of like one mole on this side or the other.

What I think Harold means to suggest is that physics is SUPERIOR to economics. Yes, in its parsimony, physics is indeed superior to economics. But economics, like physics, is just a phenomenon. All economic equations seek to do is simplify complex phenomenon and give them mathematical form.

Unfortunately, a lot of "doomers" and lay people have decided that economics is some sort of voodoo juju that's been foisted upon the unwitting masses-- it's not. In many ways, simple economics, such as supply and demand, are analogous to Newtonian physics. Elegant and parsimonious, one can say a great deal about behavior of the related phenomena using the relatively simple tools offered by either one.

However, it is in the realm of the individual, and the atom, where the studies begin to become difficult to understand. Particle physics, as many who have done physics coursework, is far more difficult to understand, and the tools for prediction grow more wily and inaccurate. Similarly, individual behavior is generally harder to predict with economic tools.

At the grand level, the cosmic/international level, both are hobbled by uncertainty. Both still have yet to fully grasp the mysteries before them.

Now, will physics probably always be many steps ahead of economics for predictive skill? Probably. But that doesn't mean that economics is "contrived" whereas physics is "derived." In reality, it's all just mathematical simplifications of complex events.

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 12:59:00 AM PDT, Anonymous paul said...

"If you wish to dispute with the dismal science of economics or contrived equations of accounting please reconsider as the rules of finance and accounting are contrived whereas the laws of geology and physics are derived."

To take an extreme example.

Suppose I need 1 unit of oil to power my jet.

I have an (amazingly inefficient) oil rig that can produce 1 unit of energy for every 10 provided. I also have (amazingly inefficient) nuclear power that can produce 2 units of energy for every 1 provided.

Therefore I build 20 units of nuclear. The first 10 units powers itself and produces enough surplus to power the second 10 that extracts the oil and I can now fly my jet.

Provided at least one energy source with high EROEI you can do anything you want if you build enough of it. The real question is what it costs to build all that power, which is why economics is important.

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 2:39:00 AM PDT, Anonymous paul said...

Thinking about it there is an error in my calculations. I've overestimated the nuclear required, but that hardly changes the point.

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 5:34:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What I think Harold means to suggest is that physics is SUPERIOR to economics."

No. With his contrived vs derived formulation, the "other" Harold is saying you can use economics to obfuscate and cheat; you can't fool Mother Nature/physics. Money is an abstraction - matter and energy are not. Humans can print fiat currency; they can't print matter or energy.

And again, JD, EROEI is just one metric among many, and it is certainly shouldn't be the ultimate arbiter of human activities.


the orginal

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 8:17:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Energy Return On Energy Invested. OK.

Pardon me for not spending days reading on TOD all about this stuff, but it seems to me that, based on 2 things, Paul has a point. Point being, if you already have plenty of an energy source that provides electricity, then you use that electricity to power a process that yields suitable transportation fuel. The two premises are:

1.) Peak oil is not a problem with peak energy, it's a problem with oil supply curve not keeping up with oil demand curve. Oil will not simply evaporate suddenly. Instead we will reach a peak production capacity (which in my opinion has NOT happened yet), followed by a slow decline. The so called "Long Emergency". In other words, your supply of liquid transportation fuels starts to slowly drop below the demand for it.

2.) Since peak oil is a problem with supply of liquid transportation fuel, EROEI calculations that aren't taking into account the option of taking a plentiful supply of non-trasportation energy, and converting it into liquid transportation fuel, don't make a lot of sense.

In other words, it we used nothing but pure oil to power rigs that are pulling up oil, then your EROEI stuff makes sense. But if we can use coal fired, wind powered, solar powered, nuclear powered, natural gas powered electrictiy to run rigs that pull up oil, then we are in effect *trading* one kind of energy we have for energy in a form that we need.

Here's the thing I don't get about these arguments: we can make diesel out of *coal* if we have to, we've known how to do that a long time and we've been working on improvments to the process. Heck, we know how to make oil out of *garbage*. Diesel powers long-haul trucks, AND it powers freight trains that are far more fuel efficient than long haul trucks but only currently carry about 40% of freight. We have a *lot* of natural gas in the US right now, thanks to technology that unlocked gas in the various shales. It's just that in this recession, the demand just isn't there. But we also know how to run cars on CNG.

Conservation is a *huge* source of easily attained adjustment of the oil demand and supply curves, and it's practically untapped. The easiest way to cut back on oil is to get Joe Bob out of his F150 and get him into something that gets decent milage.

Given that oil is not going to suddenly dissapear, we're going to have time to adjust demand to supply, we have many ways to do this plus we know of so many ways to get transportation fuel if we *must*, I don't get the doomer scenarios. I just don't.

Dr. Steel

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 8:24:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Always at the bottom of every person that reads too much of TOD, LATOC, Kunstler, etc., you will find the notion that economics is flawed, that in fact all those queer equations are just a way for the big fishes to eat the little ones, a narrative of eternal growth and submission to a malignant doctrine.

Then, they go about reinventing economics. And they start with a little equation of their own, Energy = Money (1). And because they have "shown" that energy is facing a downhill, so is money, due to (1). With a lot of historical irony, this is not that different from the marxist equation that Work = Money, reinvented for the 21st century.

The EROEI nonsense comes afterwards, because not all of the energy is used, now is it? Many of it is simply lost in the procedure of getting more of it. So, we'll have to add another "problem", the lowering of EROEI.

Of course, when you get down to it, if you focus on this problem with something regarding a "brain", you will end up figuring out that most activities, products or goods aren't exactly priced at the cost of energy. Most of them are completely disconnected with price altogether. Take Religion, for instance. Where's the energy usage of religion? Take Porn. Take Dance. Take Music.

And if you think harder, what's the EROEI of it all? It's one. We use all the energy we retrieve, eventually. The point of this figure is only "useful" in the energy industry. But because comparison is so hard, and there are a lot of other things to take into consideration than solely energy, economics don't care much at EROEI.

It ends up being little more than a code word for "EROEI, yeah we're doomed".

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 8:27:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, a lot of "doomers" and lay people have decided that economics is some sort of voodoo juju that's been foisted upon the unwitting masses-- it's not."

It's noteworthy that Bush 43 once described the economic policies of Ronald Reagan "voodoo economics." And it's one of the more truest statements a Bush ever made.

Alan Greenspan recently admitted he didn't really understand the economic theories he had trusted for decades.

If the brightest, most influential minds in economics truly cannot understand the implications of a practice with the potential to collapse the economy, then hell yes, voodoo is a fitting description.


At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 9:36:00 AM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

"Money is an abstraction - matter and energy are not."

If you truly understood physics, in particular particle physics and quantum theory, you wouldn't say such a thing. Maybe you should try reading some of Niels Bohr's work or the more recent work of Chris Isham and Jeremy Butterfield. Have you ever heard of a mathematical set or a topos?


At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 10:55:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Harold 1 or 2 or whomever,

Economics isn't about money per se. It's about the market and the trading of goods and services. Currency is only one part of the market, and quite frankly, is not the most important issue.

10 apples traded for a sheep are 10 apples and a sheep no matter what you want to claim. Money is just an attempt to introduce fungibility into the equation. The core issues of supply and demand remain true, however, whether or not you have money in the equation.

You and Harold Deux are offering fallacies in regard to the nature of economics, and forget that economics is, at its core, a study of matter and energy as it applies to human enterprise.

Oh, and if you want to talk about "abstractions" in physics, go to a lecture on quantum mechanics. Plenty of those to go around.

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 11:19:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ok then, develop a net positive economic model for using 10 nuclear power plants to power one jet.


the original

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 11:27:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peak Silly,

"some sort of cheap small solar panel that can be set up to to recharge it ,ie, that will power a regular-sized electric outlet."

Um, powering up the AC/DC converter that charges the truck batteries with a DC solar panel would - um well - dumb.

The truck has either 9VDC or 12VDC batteries. Figure out which and shop for a 6" X 6" or 12" X 12" solar panel and connect it directly to the batteries. Black wire to black wire, and red wire to red wire. You may need a small resistor inline with the red wire to step the voltage down...


At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 2:24:00 PM PDT, Anonymous porkpielegs said...

Ari said:
Unfortunately, a lot of "doomers" and lay people have decided that economics is some sort of voodoo juju that's been foisted upon the unwitting masses-- it's not. In many ways, simple economics, such as supply and demand, are analogous to Newtonian physics

No way. The trouble is economics, by definition and evidence, is a chaotic system consisting of a very large number of variables - some of which are unknown. I argue the opposite: economics *is* voodoo juju as it is a linear, cohesive envelope applied to a chaotic system, much like weather forcasting to the climate system which is similar. Most of the time it can appear correct (weather forcasters get it right most of the time) but if it was as easy as Newtonian physics you would never get anomalies (Micheal Fish saying everything is ok) ;)

At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 3:56:00 PM PDT, Anonymous paul said...

"Ok then, develop a net positive economic model for using 10 nuclear power plants to power one jet."

This is getting stupid, but never mind.

Firstly they would be small naval reactors not gigawatt plants and you would not really need as many as 10.

Build them small enough that they can be mass produced and standardized so economies of scale kick in. Dramatically reducing up front costs.

Aircraft carriers can go 20 years without refueling, so running costs are low as well.

Just for fun here is an example of the kind of nuclear power I have in mind:

(Russian nuclear icebreaker)

At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 5:56:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you truly understood physics, in particular particle physics and quantum theory, you wouldn't say such a thing."

Please. Nobody truly understands particle physics, so its a moot point. But we all understand basic physics and the laws of thermodynamics. Matter is tangible stuff, a gallon of gasoline, or a therm of gas, or a ton of coal, contains a fixed amount of energy regardless of how much fiat currency it took to buy it on a given day.


At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 12:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

Back to the original topic (sort of):

“China Vies to Be World’s Leader in Electric Cars

TIANJIN, China — Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that.

The goal, which radiates from the very top of the Chinese government, suggests that Detroit’s Big Three, already struggling to stay alive, will face even stiffer foreign competition on the next field of automotive technology than they do today.

“China is well positioned to lead in this,” said David Tulauskas, director of China government policy at General Motors.

To some extent, China is making a virtue of a liability. It is behind the United States, Japan and other countries when it comes to making gas-powered vehicles, but by skipping the current technology, China hopes to get a jump on the next.

Japan is the market leader in hybrids today, which run on both electricity and gasoline, with cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. The United States has been a laggard in alternative vehicles. G.M.’s plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt is scheduled to go on sale next year, and will be assembled in Michigan using rechargeable batteries imported from LG in South Korea.

China’s intention, in addition to creating a world-leading industry that will produce jobs and exports, is to reduce urban pollution and decrease its dependence on oil, which comes from the Mideast and travels over sea routes controlled by the United States Navy.”

At Monday, April 6, 2009 at 9:36:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Shiner said...

The claim is not that oil is used to get oil. The claim is (clearly) that if it takes a barrel worth of ENERGY (any kind) to get a barrel of oil the well is a sink. 40,000 sinks worldwide prove this theory beyond a shadow of a doubt. You guys a silly. This is obvious.

Also this depression that is beginning is fully rooted in peak oil, at least for the USA. In the late 1970's the USA became an oil importing nation. We have borrowed for 30 years to pay for that imported oil. Its time to pay the piper. All of the regulations on the banks were lifted in order to keep the house of cards afloat a little longer. I can think of no other reason for the elite of the USA to shoot themselves in the feet with crazy lending practises.

At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 3:09:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The claim is not that oil is used to get oil. The claim is (clearly) that if it takes a barrel worth of ENERGY (any kind) to get a barrel of oil the well is a sink. 40,000 sinks worldwide prove this theory beyond a shadow of a doubt. You guys a silly. This is obvious."

No it's not. The claim is that if it takes a barrel of oil energy equivalent to get a barrel of oil out that it's not worth doing.
This is FALSE.

If we have energy derived from other non-finite sources we simply build as much infrastructure as we need to provide as much energy as we need. Then if we decide we want to dig oil out of the ground, or truffles or whatever else then we DO IT.

The whole doomer thing is that since we use a barrel of oil equivalent to get a real barrel of oil out it's a big problem for civilization and that somehow the overall EROEI of civilization is declining and this will cause DOOM-ON-A-CRUTCH.
What a bunch of pigeon crap.

If we have one SINGLE high EROEI renewable source we can use it to build more until at some point in the future we will have FAR MORE energy than we have now. Compound interest will see to it.

Interesting that the bankers are funding windfarms isn't it?

Don't think you can kiss your credit card payments goodbye just yet Shiner.


At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 4:52:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The whole doomer thing is that since we use a barrel of oil equivalent to get a real barrel of oil out it's a big problem for civilization..."

It's a problem alright, but not the "whole doomer thing." A big part of the "doomer thing" is the fact that the US economy, already in horrible shape, depends upon imports for 2/3 of its oil just ot maintain status quo. That would be bad enough, but on top of that the US runs perpetual trade deficits to buy that imported oil and it is forced to police the Persian Gulf in perpetuity to insure the safety of the largest know reserves of oil.

At Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 2:11:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A big part of the "doomer thing" is the fact that the US economy, already in horrible shape, depends upon imports for 2/3 of its oil just ot maintain status quo. That would be bad enough, but on top of that the US runs perpetual trade deficits to buy that imported oil and it is forced to police the Persian Gulf in perpetuity to insure the safety of the largest know reserves of oil."

The US imports around 6 million barrels from the Persian Gulf.
It uses around 13 million barrels a day to fuel it's fleet of 13mph vehicles when there exist vehicles that get 40mph. The Persian Gulf oil could be eliminated by driving smaller cars. The rest could be eliminated by driving smaller DIESEL cars. It could be reduced yet further by using plug in hybrids when they become available.

I'm not impressed by arguments about "force" being applied to what are personal choices.



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