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23 juillet 2007 1 23 /07 /juillet /2007 06:47


 Chemin des Dames

 La Caverne du Dragon


 Le nom fut donné par

 les soldats allemands

 qui l'occupèrent 







The Caverne du Dragon lookout point





caverne du dragon      premier plan : ferme d'Hurtebise








site original complet belles cartes

Chemin des Dames: Showing the Ridges



Image:Aisne Front 1917.jpg




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22 juillet 2007 7 22 /07 /juillet /2007 15:01
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22 juillet 2007 7 22 /07 /juillet /2007 07:57






Science notes:

The Americas weren't farming laggards, after all

Les Amériques n'étaient pas des arriérées de l 'agriculture

Researchers discover that agriculture began in this hemisphere about the same time it did in the Mideast.

NIMBLY  = prestement , agilement


squash   = courge

wheat  blé  froment

Archaeologists writing agriculture's history are gaining new insight from ancient food remains. They are tracing the progress of crop domestication through genetic changes recorded in DNA samples.

This new perspective has already punctured the notion that agriculture was slow off the mark in the Americas.

As recently reported research in northern Peru illustrates, agriculture's roots run back some 10,000 years in the Americas, just as they do in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, studies of DNA from ancient and modern cultivated wheats ( blés)  and their wild relatives trace the domestication of this wonder plant over thousands of years.

They reveal how wheat's genetic nimbleness allowed breeders to adapt it to a variety of environments to the point where it now supplies 20 percent of humanity's food calories.

The impression that the Americas were agricultural laggards was an illusion created by insufficient data.

A review of research into agriculture's origins published in Science last month quotes paleobotanist Tom Dillehay of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., who points out that archaeologists "were misled

( fourvoyés, trompés ) by what was not preserved and what we could not see."

 Now they are finding fossil remains of ancient crops under old grindstones( meules ) , hut and hearth floors ( foyers, âtres ), and in other once-inhabited places.

Dr. Dillehay and colleagues described a wealth of such discoveries in the June 29 issue of Science, which also carried the overall research review.

The researchers conclude that their findings in Peru "provide evidence for early use of peanut and squash in the human diet and of cotton for industrial purposes and indicate that horticultural economies in parts of the Andes took root about 10,000 years ago."

The researchers add that the evidence of trade and social complexity they are finding show that this also developed "in the Americas nearly as early as it did in the Old World."

Botanists distinguish between cultivating wild plants and domesticating them.

You can cultivate wildflowers in your garden.

 But they won't be domesticated until breeders

( cultivateurs ) change their physical characteristics.

Ancient farmers cultivated wild wheat.

Then they began selecting plants for characteristics they valued.

Stronger stalks ( tiges )  made harvesting easier.

An ability to hold on to seeds so the wind did not disperse them made for higher yields.

Jorge Dubcovsky and Jan Dvorak at the University of California in Davis reviewed this long domestication of wheat as it is reflected in the DNA of wheat samples from various ages.

They pointed out earlier this month in Science that one central fact stands out: Wheat has what these botanists call a "dynamic genome" that makes it ideal for domestication.

It's all too easy to breed the original genetic diversity out of a wild plant to the point where it's hard for breeders to adapt their favorite crop variety to a changing environment.

A new insect pest or a shift from a wet to a dry climate can make a particular variety useless.


The DNA record shows that wheat has overcome such so-called genetic bottlenecks by easily reincorporating some of the genetic diversity of its wild ancestors by interbreeding.

It also can quickly rewrite its own genome.

The story of humanity's shift from hunter/gatherer to farmer is a tapestry of interwoven threads representing environmental, social, and botanical changes.

Scientists are beginning to trace the botanical thread in unprecedented detail.

(Your e-mail address will be protected by csmonitor.com's tough privacy policy.)

(Your e-mail address will be protected by csmonitor.com's tough privacy policy.)

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22 juillet 2007 7 22 /07 /juillet /2007 07:56
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21 juillet 2007 6 21 /07 /juillet /2007 15:08




July 16, 2007

Are these the last days of the Oil Age?


Oil ruled the 20th century; the shortage of oil will rule the 21st.

There is now no doubt about the rising trend in oil prices.

In 2003 a barrel of Brent crude sold for $29; in 2004 it rose to $38; in 2005 it rose to $54.50; in 2006 it rose to $65.

 Last Friday the price closed at $77.50.

Some dealers expect it to test the $80 level quite shortly.

Last Tuesday the lead story in The Financial Times was the latest report from the International Energy Agency. The FT quoted the IEA as saying:

Oil looks extremely tight in five years’ time,” and that there are

“prospects of even tighter natural gas markets at the turn of the decade”.

For an international agency, that is inflammatory language.

This steep rise in the oil price over a four-year period has been caused by demand rising at more than 2 per cent a year, while supplies had risen more slowly, by a healthy 4.1 per cent in 2004, but by only 1.25 per cent in 2005 and 0.5 per cent in 2006.

This has revived the “oil peak” debate among oil analysts.

Some analysts believe that the world will never again be able to pump as much oil as we are pumping at present.

Peter Warburton’s excellent weekly risk analysis has pointed out that 27 of the 51 oil-producing nations listed in BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy reported output declines in 2006.

One projection of world crude oil production actually forecasts a 10 per cent reduction in total world output between 2005 and 2015. That would be a revolution.

The oil peak debate can be left to the oil analysts.

 It is a complex issue, and there are some grounds for questioning the most pessimistic forecasts, including the likely development of the Canadian tar sands, and the success of American enhanced oil recovery techniques.

 Past forecasts of oil depletion have often proved wrong, and the present forecasts are uncertain.

 Nuclear power could increase energy supply, but a big nuclear programme has been left far too late in most countries.

The five-year view taken by the IEA is itself a central forecast. Some analysts think that the peak oil moment has already been reached; some still think that it will not come until 2020 –

which is itself only 12 years away. Market trends and the statistics both support the IEA’s view that consumption is accelerating and supplies falling faster than expected.

 Of course, if the “crunch” point is only five years’ away for oil, and closer for natural gas, it has, for practical purposes, already arrived.

Those of us who remember the 1970s and early 1980s know how damaging the oil shocks were.

They postponed the economic hopes of more than a decade, from 1974 to 1985.

The rise of the oil price led to global inflation; at one point, around 1980, it looked as though global inflation could tip over into global hyper-inflation.

In the democracies, governments lost elections;

 in the Soviet Union, their regime was rocked.

If governments found things very difficult, so did private individuals.

Unemployment rose and the trade unions became very militant.

Investors were caught in a trap of rising nominal values but falling real values.

In the property market, house prices rose, but the general price level rose even faster.

For the first ten years of the inflation, gold proved to be a hedge and a protection;

but this was followed by a period when the real purchasing power of gold was falling.

 Most people became poorer, except for those with access to oil money, but some became much poorer, much more quickly.

 Life became more of a gamble and societies became less stable.

All this happened at a time when the supply of oil was being artificially restricted by the Opec oil cartel.

 There was no absolute shortage of oil, though analysts already knew that the oil peak would happen eventually. Now the situation has moved from a political problem, open to political settlement, to an absolute geological shortage.

For the future, oil supply will be a zero-sum game.

Some nations will be “haves” but others will be “have nots”.

The shortage of oil and natural gas, relative to demand, had already changed the balance of world power.

 Historians may well conclude that the US decision to invade Iraq was primarily motivated by the desire to gain physical control of Iraq’s oil and to provide defence support to other Middle Eastern oil powers.

Political motivations are always mixed, but oil is an essential national interest of the United States.

 If the US is now deciding to withdraw from Iraq, the price will have to be paid in terms of loss of access to oil.

Russia, the leading producer of natural gas and one of the two leading oil producers, is the global winner.

President Putin has already used oil and gas as a diplomatic weapon.

 The relationship between the European Union and Russia will naturally be influenced by increasing European dependence on Russian oil and gas.

 Germany may well turn towards Russia, out of weakness.

The oil shocks of the 1970s had different effects on different European countries.

Britain had some North Sea oil and the prospect of more, as did Norway.

Germany and France had little or no oil of their own.

Differential shocks in the coming period of oil shortage will make it harder to maintain the euro-zone.

 Differential shocks are a threat to single-currency systems.

The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, its own economy, its pattern of society.

It does not greatly matter whether the oil supply has peaked already or is going to peak in five or 12 years’ time.

There is a huge adjustment to be made.

 There will be some benefits, including higher efficiencies and perhaps a better approach to global warming.

 But nothing will take us back towards the innocent expectation of indefinite expansion of the first months of the new millennium.


Patrick Docherty moves this argument on- but not to its logical conclusion. But he is definitely right that its the problem (perhaps better to use the word "cause")that needs addresing The population is certainly a cause and unfortunately energy consumption is also a cause of our current problem- not a symptom. But what fundamentally needs adressing is humanity's exceeding the carrying capacity of the earth.
Even if population was reduced but each individual was exceeding their environment's carrying capacity- there would still be a problem- albeit a less critical one


PHIL FOGGITT, Honiton, Devon, UK


"Canada's tar sands contain more oil than Saudi Arabia. They are currently uneconomic to exploit."

The trouble is that it will soon take more energy to get it out than you get out of it. So it is not economic in energy terms. It has an Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) of less than one. It doesn't matter what the oil in the ground is worth if it takes more energy to get it out than it holds.

The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales and its Graduate School of the Environment have recently presented to MPs an Alternative Energy Strategy for a Zero Carbon Britain within twenty years. This is a very well researched document and only uses current proven technology. Read it at www.zerocarbonbritain.com.


Ken Neal, Newbury, Berkshire


We keep talking about symptoms as if they are problems. Pointing out the energy crunch as a problem is distracting everyone from dealing with the real problem. The real problem is overpopulation. This is well known, but no one deals with it because it is politically difficult, it is much easier to talk about an energy problem or water problem. We should restrict ourselves to using the term "problem" to overpopulation - the overpopulation problem - and force ourselves to use the term "symptom" for the symptoms - the symptom of an energy shortage, the symptom of a water shortage, the symptom of a food shortage. The extra words to describe the symptom force the correct question - what is the problem? We need writers such as William Rees-Mogg and Al Gore to stop distracting our limited attention span from the problem of overpopulation with talk about oil and global warming and instead distinguish between the problem and the symptoms. After all you cannot solve a symptom only a problem.


Patrick Docherty, Sedgebrook,


Some posts talk about limiting offspring to 2, however if you look back 100 years many families living on farms had 10-12 kids. They did this to help out with running the farm. SO if we end up living in a post-oil world, won't most of us resort back to larger families for farming?


Shawn, Raleigh, USA / North Carolina


It is obvious that the world's population is too large to sustain present energy use, which in turn has disasterous results for the ability of mankind to feed itself, energy being needed for food production.
How long before major world leaders wake up and start thinking about measures to limit, and reduce, population growth? China was vilified in many quarters for it's one-child policy. China is now seeing clear benefits. The rest of the world must take action, challenging the "every sperm is sacred" mentality, because we cannot afford not to as the energy and food crunch approaches.


Brian Marshall, Lifford, Ireland


They keep harping about how the USA needs to protect our oil interests, but no one thinks, who needs the oil, the US industial machine. Well, that good, where is the US industrial machine, it's in China & India. Who do you think is going to get the oil? And on top of that, who's going to pay the bill to secure it, HMMMMM, let me see, the US taxpayer? NAWWWWWW! Think about it!


Edward Pabst, Marietta, Ohio


Only a couple of respondents have mentioned what is a key factor in this discussion:
We may well be able to find substitutes for oil and gas for purposes such as electricity generation (nuclear being the safest and least environmentally damaging), and to develop other means of propelling our vehicles (hydrogen being the most obvious to focus on).
However, there are no substitutes for oil, or other fossil fuels, which will yield the wealth of chemicals that they do. Our economy is now utterly dependent on the plastics, fertilisers, paints, fabrics etc. etc. which are derived from oil. It is imperative that supplies are conserved for this purpose, and not just burned away.
As for Global Warming, I have always been highly sceptical of the claims that combustion of fossil fuels is having such a catastrophic effect. Carbon dioxide emissions from this source are miniscule compared with those from respiration, and other, smellier, human and animal emissions.


Anthony Gavin Robinson, Doncaster, UK


And another point: Peak Oil and Climate Change, extremely difficult as they are, are not the real problem. The root cause of both and of so many other shortages facing mankind (water, minerals, food) is OVERPOPULATION.
This planet can probably support on a sustainable basis some 2 billion people, but there are 6 billion already about to grow to 9 billion! Of course we are running out of everything.
Just like some bacteria in a test tube, blindly multiplying until it consumes all resources and/or poisons itself by its own excrement.
Sadly, mankind as a whole is no more smart.
We are heading for exactly the same end: overshoot, which we have already entered, followed by die-off.
But of course the subject of fertility control is far too sensitive to base any kind of policy on.
Sensible species would no doubt enforce a world wide 'one child per women' policy, which would reduce our numbers to manageable levels in a matter of decades. But are we (sensible)?


Paul , Jacobstow, Cornwall, UK


Peak Oil is upon us as we speak. World wide production is just about stagnant whilst consumption wants to grow. That is why there is pressure on the oil price. But this is only the start.
By the time of the London Olympics there will be very little to celebrate. The world will in the grip of a depression on the scale of the 1930s, but without any prospect of an end. Geology does not change just because millions of people are without a job, lost their home, pensions collapsed and most cannot even afford the little food still being grown on the fields not taken up by bio-diesel crops.
This crisis will affect every single individual on the planet and if you, dear reader, do not know how it will affect you and your family or if you think its just a scare, then you really must read up on Peak Oil - Google it, look at Powerswitch.org.uk or many of the other site and learn. Those that do not change their lifestyle very soon will be the ones left behind starving.
You have been warned!


Paul Sousek, Jacobstow, Cornwall, UK


What we need to buy time is a vertiginous rise in oil prices. Oil price is elastic in the short-term, at least.

Rising prices will invaribly cull demand. Oil companies and their investors require high returns in order to re-invest in these new technologies of discovery and extraction.

Yes, history will show that the oil companies had their cake and ate it - so what!

High oil prices are required to maintain and expand (creaking) above ground capacity infrastrcture.

However, all of this says nothing of the irrational actions of the herd. Nothing will prevent mayhem when those prices do rise, when companies see margins eroded, lay-offs, liquidations unemployment, inflation falling tax revenues etc. etc.

The problem is a little bit more complicated than one would initally believe.


Liam, Noumea,


So should we be buying shares in BP, Shell, etc. or should we be buying gold? In other words, will the oil shock be a gentle one which we can adjust to gradually or are we all going to hit some major turbulence and social unrest? Opinions welcome!


Steve, Sutton,


Knowing all this today - someone please explain to me as if I was 10 years old -

How on earth do the EU (and the world as a whole) still produce personal cars using 1liter fuel per 10 km driving ?
, Instead of turning to a grandscale buss and MRT- planning programme ? - I dont get it.Where do I go wrong ?


paal myrtvedt, bergen, norway


Funny, but until a week ago I had basically ignored the peak oil crisis. However last Sunday I saw the documentary "A Crude Awakening:

The Oil Crash" The film opening my eyes.

 It portrayed a very strong case as to the scale of the problem, how oil has been the blood supply of the global economy, how close we now are to the crisis, just a few years, and the enormous challenge to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic consequences.

 Many here hope that alternative fuels will save us, such as nuclear, but I would say don't raise your hopes too high.

Unfortunately, worldwide uranium supplies are also low, meaning that nuclear power would be at best a short-term aid for a couple of decades.

The problem would still remain.

Alternative fuels need a lot more development to have any hope of replacing oil.

The biggest threat comes with food supply, as the consequences could be truly terrible for our large world population of over 6 billion.

 An interesting time, that could be very difficult.


Thomas FitzGerald, Cambridge, United Kingdom


New Scientist in the late 1980's predicted that oil would start to run out in the period from 2010 - 2050.

Oil and natural gas were always finite resources and it looks as though we are now reaching the time when supply can no longer meet demand. We have known this time was coming for decades, the only surprise is that we have done absolutely nothing about it.

Is this another example of the problems caused by un-restrained free market theory. The free market does not really deal with long term problems, where bonuses and share prices are based on short term performance.


Keith Calder, Ashford Middlesex, England


I regularly read, but rarely comment upon articles in TimesOnline, lest I be accused of being an American interloper. However, the almost universal agreement that we are "running out of" energy resources astounds me.

If memory serves, one of the basic rules of physics is that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but merely changed from one form to another.

When oil is burned, it is changed to other forms of matter; work is done and heat energy is produced. But if you place the oil on one side of the ledger sheet and the results of combustion on the other, they necessarily must equal. The trick is to recycle as much as can be.

Present technology, including "hybrid" automobiles, recycles some "energy," by using braking to generate electricity. Surely future scientists wil discover ways to recycle more, perhaps the heat of combustion or the friction of the tires to the road. I am confident that the sky is not falling and that Yankee ingenuity will prevail.


Jerry Sussman, Alexandria, Virginia


So, as oil prices rise, so will the price of food, clothing and other essential items. I can't imagine what it will be like to live in a densely populated city like London or Birmingham when essentials become so expensive (and scarce) that people begin to move out of the city looking for homes in rural areas just to be near the farms (food supplies). We need a forward thinking government to tackle this problem, not stone-age NuLabour.


Charles Ward, Colwyn Bay, State - UK


The crunch has always been between five and ten years in the future, so far as I can recall. Certainly since the late 70's when I first became old enough to be aware of it.

Most commentators I've seen seem agreed that the current price levels are the result of firstly a shortage of refining capacity (caused by the fact that prices have been too low for years) and secondly the increasing cost of extracting what reserves remain.

That oil will price itself out of the energy market is an inevitable fact of economics. That the switch to other sources will happen in a rapid, chaotic and shambolic way is an inevitable consequence of human nature.


Ian Kemmish, Biggleswade, UK


the EIA is doing its job hinting at trouble , when trouble is already at the gate !
ever heard of peak energy ??

go to Wiki and type " the olduvai theory " scary stuff


jeannick Guerin , Randwick , Australia


For past two decades, we have been waiting,reading and speaking.... like some pre-doomed happening. The "end of the oil age" , thereby causing serious energy crises . Equally so, the oil prices have risen and shot up by each barrel, like a NASDAQ blip chart.

 It seems, behind the truth lies some machinations and well orchestrated moves made by OPEC and all major oil producing companies.

 Isn't it right and ripe time, to earn more moohlas and fill up their kitties and coffers .
Recent researches done in the Amazonian basin and Venezuela shows that,.

though oil resources are depleting fast....but the green house effect and carbon cycle formation, to disintegrate hydro carbons, under the earth's layer is going at a rapid pace. Even the emission of green house gases and global warming factor, may add as a catalyst to aid carbon molecule formation. Let us not view the situation as grim and cataclysmic, like 'end of the world'. Nature builts up its own recycle, if we don't tinker with it.


Sanjeev Dheer, New Delhi, India


You wrote "The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, " Spot on!

That's what all the "energy" re Global Warming and Climate Change is really all about.

 We are being conditioned to accept a non-oil age and to use other forms of energy.


John Charlesworth, Sleaford , UK


Here's hoping that by the time oils reserves are exhausted some genious of a saviour will have invented the bicycle, wind-up clock and handheld drill.


Tim, London, England


Finally a mainstream media outlet has decided to shed light on this issue.

Individuals with forethought are already positioning themselves to benefit from a collapse of society as we know it. Some more pessimistic analysis can be found on the web projecting a 4 billion person die-off. Oil energy currently being the equivalent of 12 personal slaves for every human. Here's hoping you and your offspring are the lucky 1 of 3 who survives in an oil barren world.


William Auger, Edmonton, Canada


No more Oil,

Now thats progress!


Ibbo, Leeds, UK


As technology stands, we'll expend more energy getting oil from the tar sands than we'll extract, making it a nonsense to even touch them


whitey, Sydney,


Oil prices havent gone up ...the Dollar has gone down...
John Menorca


John Jupiow, Mahon,


"There will be no Whitewash" NIxon
"I did not have sex with that woman" Clinton
"Climate change is not proven, Oil is not reaching a peak" Bush


Elwin parsley, london , UK


To actually DO Something and make a good living in the process, go to: www.EnerconBiz.com


Paul Saxton, Sioux Falls, South Dakota USA


Thank you for bringing back the '70's. I keep telling people that, if they want to know what the future will be like, look to the '70's and multiply by 100!

But it is important to be able to have hope: not the delusional hope that some "silver bullet," like biofuels, nuclear energy, or fusion, will save us, but the realization that humans once lived without oil.

If the next 10-20 years are going to look like the '70's, we need to look to the 1800's to see what the next 50 years will be like. <a href="http://www.holmgren.com.au">David Holmgren</a> notes that complexity in systems is a result of energy. As energy declines, live will get simpler. Countries will disintegrate. Globalism will decline.

Look to Permaculture for a simpler, sustainable, satisfying way into the future. Not all 6.7 billion of us will make it, but those who practice Permaculture will have the best chance.


Jan Steinman, Salt Spring Island, BC


The fact that the IEA has come out and basically stood up in support of all of us, peak oil wackos, should make headlines on every channel and paper around the World. RAther then that, you really have to be looking and/or dig to read it. Problem is, that most who read the news about this haven't been given the education or the chance to fully understand what it means and will mean for them and their immediate neighborhood and loved ones.

There are so many things that can be done but only so much time to do it. When oil hits $300 per barrel( which it will, don't think it will not or cannot) and natural gas is at $30 per unit, perhaps then the World will start to conserve, get efficient and take action to change our relationship with the planet from one of taking advantage to one of cooperation again.


Paul Saxton, Sioux Falls, South Dakota USA


I'm sorry to say that I disagree with many of the posters here who are overlooking vital facts regarding the current oil situation. First and foremost, it is the result of governmental policy that vast amounts of oil is not being exploited for political reasons. Second, recent discoveries offshore Brazil has clearly indicated that oil is in constant and current formation. Oil deposits there are quite "new" in geologic terms. Apparently oil is not a finite natural resource but a "renewable" one, albeit very slow in its creation. So it is unlikely we will ever completely run out of oil. That being said, I am of the opinion that fuel cell technology will in the near future replace the use of petroleum as a fuel, which is its most wasteful application.


D. Smithson, Philadelpia, PA (USA)


There are definately going to have to be some drastic changes throughout the world. Firstly, we have to put a limit on how many children a family can have. It seems unreasonable, but 2 children per family would be acceptable. Our world is already overpopulated and this is creating a huge demand on the environment. Secondly, Industries and technology have done wonders, but they are also hurting the environment. Everyone has to have the latest new technology, which has to be manufactured, which in turn uses an extaordinary amount of oil, water and other non-renewable resources. The solution is to tax new items very high. Lastly, maybe we should go back to the days where only one parent per household works. This would limit the amount of income families have. Hence, this may limit the amount of new items they buy.


Duff, Regina ,


The main danger will be declining food production. Modern intensive, industrialized agriculture requires massive energy inputs in the form of oil products - for running the machines (& producing them), for pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, irrigation and transport.

With a rising population, and climate change producing more floods and droughts, finding enough to eat will become the number one problem.

The UK is particularly vulnerable: we are over-populated and cannot grow enough of the food we need.


Dave, Wrexham,


You wrote "The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, " Spot on!

That's what all the "energy" re Global Warming and Climate Change is really all abooput. We are being conditioned to accept a non-oil age and to use other forms of energy.


John Charlesworth, Sleaford, UK


Some folks think that the brit minister, Malthus, is belatedly correct.


M Clarke, Milton , Florida


See the 1957 speech by Admiral Hyman Rickover, US Navy, on fossil fuel usage, a history of energy in society, and oil reserves and depletion (demand likely to outdo supply between 2000 and 2050, he said back then).
Offers, in an avuncular style, that we should consider husbanding our resources for society's best use and for future generations, and also if we could all do with a few less "gadgets" around the house. Incredibly forward looking and wonderfully written. One of the best speeches on any topic I've ever read.


robmec, Detroit, Mich,


Yep! Looks like zero-oil might arrive just in time to save us from global warming, too. But "provide defence support to other Middle Eastern oil powers"? Isn't that still just a euphemism for "seize Iran's oil too?"


H. Grattan, Johannesburg, South Africa


Right now, the number one issue in the energy realm is education--getting mainstream consumers to understand that we have a very serious, looming problem is a prerequisite to getting them to take action that will benefit everyone.

I've been wrestling with this outreach issue for a couple of years on my own site (The Cost of Energy), which is why I'm so pleased to see articles this one from a major newspaper. Please keep up the good work!


Lou Grinzo, Rochester, NY, USA


Not coincidently, the large increases in oil
prices that the author cites occurred after
the invasion of Iraq, which in addition to
causing a decrease in that country's oil output, also gave a boost to speculators
who are contriving to bid the price up on
any and all rumors of unrest in the region.
If Cheney does convince Bush to attack Iran, then oil may go to $200 a barrel.
If that happens, it will be quite interesting to read how the neo cons try
and spin that into a good thing.


rkerg, oakland, USA/CA


It is about time there were some open debate about this subject as I like many others was oblivious to this matter until I recently read David Strahan's book: The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man. Time for us to push "global warming" onto the back-burner and focus on the here and now. It leaves one believing that the UK Government was either listening to the Oil Companies or has stuck it's head in a bucket of sand over this matter. If one reviews the past ten years of Government “in-activity” in authorising the construction of replacement Nuclear power generation capacity. Makes one wonder if instead of trying to micro manage every aspect of Government and social life they had focused upon the strategic issues one expects National Government to we might be in a better position now.


Alan Stirling, Gosport, Hants


Oil companies, together with their political lackies, have had decades to come to grips with the problem that we are now facing. The writing was on the wall when the 1970s squeeze happened and they have done next to nothing to come up with viable alternative energy sources. These people will do nothing until the last drop of oil on the planet is sucked out of the ground and the last cent is extracted from us suckers!

I can see a lot of donkeys and bicycles appearing in a showroom near you, in the very near future.


E J Murray, Kerry, Ireland


Thank you Rees Mogg. I always thought you were, like I am now, something of an old fogey, but this article really nails the problem. But it has taken its time to appear, the peak oil issue has been around for many years, and it is only now, just as the problem is coming at us like a tsunami, that the mainstream media and commentators are beginning to wake from their torpor. For well over ten years, Dr. Colin Campbell has been saying, because of his concerns about peak oil, , "Deal with reality, or reality will deal with you". Reality is almost ready to wash over us, and it is frightening how little we are prepared. And how much of the general public will read or understand this article? This problem, and its twin, global warming, threaten society's very survival. It will require from society an effort of the same magnitude and urgency with which we fought WW2 to deal with them, but we are leaving things desperately late. If there is a Churchill out there, we need you.


Dr. John Monro, Wellington, New Zealand


There is one serious omission from the article. It makes no mention of all the other uses of oil - plastics, chemicals, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals. All these products will be much more expensive and uncertain.

Look around yuor house or office. Which could you live without?


Paul , northwich, england


You wrote "The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, " Spot on!

That's what all the "energy" re Global Warming and Climate Change is really all abooput. We are being conditioned to accept a non-oil age and to use other forms of energy.


John Charlesworth, Sleaford , UK


You wrote "The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, " Spot on!

That's what all the "energy" re Global Warming and Climate Change is really all abooput. We are being conditioned to accept a non-oil age and to use other forms of energy.


John Charlesworth, Sleaford , UK


Pay all women in the world $30 a month UNTIL the birth of the third child. In a scarce world all will accept a lifelong bounty and stop at two and populations will stabilize.
If the Islamic world population increases another seven fold in the next 50 years as it has done in the past 50 , and rises from 1.2b to 8b then all of us are doomed.
European populations are collapsing and in Britain whites will fall from 60m today to 6m this century if women have 1.3 children as they have done over the past thirty years.


arun, london,


You wrote "The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, " Spot on!

That's what all the "energy" re Global Warming and Climate Change is really all abooput. We are being conditioned to accept a non-oil age and to use other forms of energy.


John Charlesworth, Sleaford, UK


Dont forget. North Sea UK hit peak oil in 1999 and North Sea Norway hit peak oil in 2001. The UK oil production is falling at around 9% a year and is down about 50% from its 1999 peak. From being a net exporter when prices were $10-20. We are now a growing importer and prices are heading north of $70...
Malcolm Wickes summed it up accidently last year while promoting more North Sea drilling when he said "we have nearly as much left as we've taken out".


mark yates, bracknell, berks


The market for base metals (such as copper, lead and nickel) is stressed, as demand threatens to outstrip supply in many of these items. This makes the possibility of building new infrastructure problematic. Since the US generally is not investing heavily in alternative energy infrastructure, there is no preparation for an oil crunch. When it really hits, the cost of materials will impact the amount of infrastructure that can be built. The best thing that local governments can do in the US is to find ways to reduce usage. A new culture would have to arise that sees a decline in economic activity (as traditionally viewed) as beneficial. Given that this goes against everything one is taught about being a successful American, the most likely scenario will be that the US will just fall into a steep decline. Our country wants to believe in miracles. We seemed to have lost our common sense.


Bill Goedecke, San Francisco, USA/CA


You wrote "The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, " Spot on!

That's what all the "energy" re Global Warming and Climate Change is really all abooput. We are being conditioned to accept a non-oil age and to use other forms of energy.


John Charlesworth, Sleaford , UK


Climate change while true is nothing compared to the far more iminent problems of peak oil. The government pushing climate change is a nice way of them saying "save energy for the sake of the environment and the polar bears (ps. save it cause we're running out - but we prefer not to mention this bit - but if you save energy for green reasons maybe we can avoid the worst parts of peak oil)"


mark yates, bracknell, berks


Does this mean I'll have to buy a smaller car ?


Steve, London,


George in Manila, we currently burn about 85 million barrels a day - that’s about 31 billion barrels a year - not 80 billion barrels a year.

However I am not going to repeat your simple calculation as it is meaningless. Peak Oil is not about running out of oil, it is about reaching the point of maximum production. That is when about half the recoverable oil has been produced. Many analysts believe this will be in the next few years, if it hasn't happened already.

Once the zenith has been reached, then global oil production will inexorably decline despite oil sands or enhanced oil recovery techniques. Peak Oil will be the defining event of our age and will change our lives dramatically, long before Global Warming does.


David, London,


It's difficult to make plastics, synthetics, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and fertiliser out of sunlight or nuclear power. The 'alternative energy sources' may just allow us to keep the lights on a bit longer, while people wake up to the fact that we will no longer be able to grow the food needed for 6 billion people and transport it to the cities where it's actually required. If I was you I'd be selling that overpriced London property fairly sharpish.


Pete Jones, Urumqi, China


So many predictions of Armageddon! What would be disastrous is if we didn't know we were approaching a decline in oil output - as happened in the 70's. With this forewarning things will still be bumpy but we can innovate around it. Previously uneconomical oil reserves are already becoming viable, and if the value of fresh water rises then existing desalination technology looks more attractive - and others will be created. The worst possible reaction is the "we're all doomed" mentality - put down your placards and get back to work.

Periods of great innovation occur when a society is under pressure. We are not witnessing the end of the world, but perhaps the start of a new era. How exhilarating!


Anthony Charlton, Swindon,

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La commune portait le nom de Luce, Lucia XIIe siècle du nom d'une villa romaine. Puis elle pris le nom de la paroisse au XIIIe siècle, Sainte-Maxime. La commune prend le nom de Belfort en 1225. Ensuite, il évolue en Villa Sti Maximi vallis Lucie et Apud Sanctum Maximum, en 1308, Castellania Bellifortis en 1334, Saint Maxime de Beaufort en 1738. [1]

Le contrôle du château est à l'origine de tensions entre Amédée VI de Savoie et les Comte de Genève et du Dauphiné. Le conflit prend fin avec le traité de Paris de 1355 où Beaufort et le Beaufortain reviennent au comte Amédée VI.

Le Beaufortain est érigée en baronnie en 1667





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