Category: Peak Oil

Arise: two comments from theoildrum


One must also remember that as number of ills facing society increase, e.g. climate change, ocean desertification, fresh water decline, etc. the size of the black swan needed to start a catabolic cascade of collapse (the dreaded CCC) shrinks.

In a robust society, that black swan must be huge, an enormous earthquake, a world war, or a pandemic. We are teetering on the edge, awaiting that black swan. We are like a world of builders who built into the sky a fantastic web of skywalks and airy buildings using the earth beneath that building to form the thing itself. Over the years the stability of the edifice went from strength to fragility. At first, the foundation was sound. It was still a largely un-mined earth. But, as we dug and dug and dug away at the raw materials, we ... created this fragile spongiform supporting structure beneath our city ... Now all it will take is a black cygnet bumping up against one of its thin supports to bring it down.

I don’t know when it will come down, or if it will be fast or slow, but I do know that it will not fall up.


The black swan will come in one of two ways: as an accident or as a deliberate act. That it has not yet come implies that it is not yet desired. Yet it may be desired. And desired or not it will come.


Posted by Søren Renner on Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 11:37 AM in Peak Oil
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Hubbert, Yom Kippur, neocons and Iraq.

Joe Turner: Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?

Ed Higgins: Are you crazy?

Joe Turner: Am l?

Ed Higgins: Look, Turner ...

Joe Turner: Do we have plans?

Ed Higgins: No, absolutely not.  We have games, that’s all.  We play games ... what if?  How many men?  What would it take?  Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime?  That’s what we’re paid to do.

Joe Turner: Walk on ... go on.  So Atwood just took the games too seriously.  He was really going to do it, wasn’t he? 

Ed Higgins: A renegade operation.  Atwood knew 54/12 would never authorize it, not with the heat on the company.

Joe Turner: What if there hadn’t been any heat?  Suppose I hadn’t stumbled on their plan?  Say nobody had.

Ed Higgins: Different ballgame.  Fact is, there was nothing wrong with the plan.  No, the plan was all right.  The plan would’ve worked.

Joe Turner: Boy, what is it with you people?  You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?

Ed Higgins: No.  It’s simple economics.  Today it’s oil, right?  In 10 or 25 years food ... plutonium.  And maybe even sooner.  What do you think the people are going to want us to do then?

Joe Turner: Ask them

Ed Higgins: Now now. Then.  Ask them when they’re running out.  Ask them when there’s no heat and they’re cold.  Ask them when their engines stop.  Ask them when people who have never known hunger start going hungry.  Want to know something?  They won’t want us to ask them.  They’ll want us to get it for them.

Joe Turner: Boy, have you found a home.

This exchange between a renegade CIA employee, Joe Turner, and a senior agent named Ed Higgins is the denouement of the 1975 film, Three Days of the Condor.  Robert Redford played Turner - essentially an academic whose function was to analyse the content of novels in search of ideas and material of interest to his masters.  Cliff Robertson played Higgins, someone Turner is forced to trust until he learns that he can trust no one.

The film-script was based on James Grady’s 1974 novel, Six Days of the Condor.

Plainly, the background to Grady’s book was the oil crisis of the preceding year.  The crisis was triggered by the 20 days of fighting of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, which began on 6th October.  On the 16th, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which had been in open dispute over prices with its main Western consumers, took action to cut production and end the era of cheap oil.  The following day, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, with Egypt and Syria, announced a cessation of oil shipments to nations supporting Israel.

In point of fact, Western governments reacted to the crisis in a number of measured ways, the common purpose of which was to reduce dependence on OPEC.  There was never any outward sign of preparations for an American or Western invasion in support of Israel and secure oil.  The Israeli’s won in the air, on the battlefields and at sea, and achieved a stunning and complete but costly victory.  It was a victory for the industrial West, too.

The Arab appetite for war was over for the forseeable future.  The Camp David accords followed, at some considerable diplomatic distance.  To his personal cost, Anwar Sadat committed Egypt to peace with the Israelis.  On 6 October 1981, at Egypt’s annual parade marking the start of the war, Sadat was assassinated by Khalid Islambouli, a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (which, incidentally, merged with Al-Qaeda in 2001).


Posted by Guessedworker on Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 07:25 PM in Peak Oil
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Another nasty one for the peak oil know-alls

Or for the few of them who know anything about the origin of oil anyway

Mexico’s giant Cantarell oil field, in the Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan, was supposedly discovered in 1976 after a fisherman named Cantarell reported an oil seep in the Campeche Bay.  Last week, Mexico announced finding another giant oil field off Veracruz, the Noxal, estimated to hold more than 10 billion barrels of oil.

Exploration yielded surprising results. It turned out that Mexico’s richest oil field complex was created 65 million years ago, when the huge Chicxulub meteor impacted the Earth at the end of the Mesozoic Era. Scientists now believe that the Chicxulub meteor impact was the catastrophe the killed the dinosaurs, as well as the cause for creating the Cantrell oil field.


Posted by jonjayray on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 at 09:57 PM in Peak Oil
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From a comment thread at the oil drum

HKThom said:

... I have always tried to think in terms of positive actions for the near and medium term as the energy situation become acute. Sometime this is difficult, obviously, and when getting even a tiny idea of the incredible monetary inertia and masses of humanity and human nature at work in a place like Chongqing, as describe in this article, even those with the sunniest dispositions would need to sit down and catch their breath. Surely no amount of windmills or recyling or local farmer’s market or organic gardening or public transportation stands a chance. Indeed, no amount of oil, coal, or globalization can handle the crushing forces swamping places like Chongqing these days for any significant amount of time. It mocks the concept of sustainibility.

sr replied:

If our situation doesn’t call for radical political thinking, what situation would? Luckily, I have discovered ideas which are up to the task. Of course “local action”, “putting sustainable practices into one’s life”, and other such piety is useless—so useless, they named a special paradox for Jevon. What would possibly be NOT useless? What is the smallest useful ambition (SUA)?

I say that the SUA is: to think myself the citizen of a surviving State which exists, say, 100 years from now, and to act as such a citizen. And if I look for an example of a man - even a “chatterer and dilettante” - who thought of a state and had a state grow from his thought, I find that there has been such a man, and that that thought was what we cal[l] “nationalistic” - and “racialist”. The SUA pushes me toward nationalism and racialism: I don’t think liberal-democratic universalistic piety will work too well in the coming crisis. Now, it is not enough to be a racial nationalist in theory. One has to find a particular racial-nationalist idea. This is not difficult if one has a mirror handy.

Rogers Park National Front

Posted by Søren Renner on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at 02:04 PM in Peak Oil
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Yawning and pitching: a roll of the dice.

Canst thou ride Leviathan over Hubbert’s Peak?

No. If Leviathan be separate from thyself, tis clear that while thou mayst ride him up the hill, he must surely cast thee from off his back once he gains the peak and sees the declivity yawning before him; he will pitch thee and trample thee; but if thou be part and particle of the beast, like all the rest, then on the other side the great will burst into a host of squabblers, each to devour the rest as he imagines; that not all can win the contest is plain, but it is no less plain, that it could be that none shall win;  if one does win, yet he is but the lord of nothing.

Posted by Søren Renner on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at 03:30 PM in Peak Oil
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Roll out the barrel, and we’ll have a barrel of—What? We’re running out of barrels?



Posted by Søren Renner on Monday, March 6, 2006 at 04:39 PM in Peak Oil
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