The Physics of Energy and the Economy

I approach the subject of the physics of energy and the economy with some trepidation. An economy seems to be a dissipative system, but what does this really mean? There are not many people who understand dissipative systems, and very few who understand how an economy operates. The combination leads to an awfully lot of false beliefs about the energy needs of an economy.

The primary issue at hand is that, as a dissipative system, every economy has its own energy needs, just as every forest has its own energy needs (in terms of sunlight) and every plant and animal has its own energy needs, in one form or another. A hurricane is another dissipative system. It needs the energy it gets from warm ocean water. If it moves across land, it will soon weaken and die.

There is a fairly narrow range of acceptable energy levels–an animal without enough food weakens and is more likely to be eaten by a predator or to succumb to a disease. A plant without enough sunlight is likely to weaken and die.

In fact, the effects of not having enough energy flows may spread more widely than the individual plant or animal that weakens and dies. If the reason a plant dies is because the plant is part of a forest that over time has grown so dense that the plants in the understory cannot get enough light, then there may be a bigger problem. The dying plant material may accumulate to the point of encouraging forest fires. Such a forest fire may burn a fairly wide area of the forest. Thus, the indirect result may be to put to an end a portion of the forest ecosystem itself.

How should we expect an economy to behave over time? The pattern of energy dissipated over the life cycle of a dissipative system will vary, depending on the particular system. In the examples I gave, the pattern seems to somewhat follow what Ugo Bardi calls a Seneca Cliff.

Figure 1. Seneca Cliff by Ugo Bardi

The Seneca Cliff pattern is so-named because long ago, Lucius Seneca wrote:

It would be some consolation for the feebleness of our selves and our works if all things should perish as slowly as they come into being; but as it is, increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid.

The Standard Wrong Belief about the Physics of Energy and the Economy

There is a standard wrong belief about the physics of energy and the economy; it is the belief we can somehow train the economy to get along without much energy.

In this wrong view, the only physics that is truly relevant is the thermodynamics of oil fields and other types of energy deposits. All of these fields deplete if exploited over time. Furthermore, we know that there are a finite number of these fields. Thus, based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the amount of free energy we will have available in the future will tend to be less than today. This tendency will especially be true after the date when “peak oil” production is reached.

According to this wrong view of energy and the economy, all we need to do is design an economy that uses less energy. We can supposedly do this by increasing efficiency, and by changing the nature of the economy to use a greater proportion of services. If we also add renewables (even if they are expensive) the economy should be able to get along fine with very much less energy.

These wrong views are amazingly widespread. They seem to underlie the widespread hope that the world can reduce its fossil fuel use by 80% between now and 2050 without badly disturbing the economy. The book 2052: A Forecast for the Next 40 Years by Jorgen Randers seems to reflect these views. Even the “Stabilized World Model” presented in the 1972 book The Limits to Growth by Meadow et al. seems to be based on naive assumptions about how much reduction in energy consumption is possible without causing the economy to collapse.

The Economy as a Dissipative System

If an economy is a dissipative system, it needs sufficient energy flows. Otherwise, it will collapse in a way that is analogous to animals succumbing to a disease or forests succumbing to forest fires.

The primary source of energy flows to the economy seems to come through the leveraging of human labor with supplemental energy products of various types, such as animal labor, fossil fuels, and electricity. For example, a man with a machine (which is made using energy products and operates using energy products) can make more widgets than a man without a machine. A woman operating a computer in a lighted room can make more calculations than a woman who inscribes numbers with a stick on a clay tablet and adds them up in her head, working outside as weather permits.

As long as the quantity of supplemental energy supplies keeps rising rapidly enough, human labor can become increasingly productive. This increased productivity can feed through to higher wages. Because of these growing wages, tax payments can be higher. Consumers can also have ever more funds available to buy goods and services from businesses. Thus, an economy can continue to grow.

Besides inadequate supplemental energy, the other downside risk to continued economic growth is the possibility that diminishing returns will start making the economy less efficient. These are some examples of how this can happen:

  • Deeper wells or desalination are needed for water because aquifers deplete and population grows.
  • More productivity is needed from each acre of arable land because of growing population (and thus, falling arable land per person).
  • Larger mines are required as ores of high mineral concentration are exhausted and we are forced to exploit less productive mines.
  • More pollution control devices or higher-cost workarounds (such as “renewables”) are needed as pollution increases.
  • Fossil fuels from cheap-to-extract locations are exhausted, so extraction must come from more difficult-to-extract locations.

In theory, even these diminishing returns issues can be overcome, if the leveraging of human labor with supplemental energy is growing quickly enough.

Theoretically, technology might also increase economic growth. The catch with technology is that it is very closely related to energy consumption. Without energy consumption, it is not possible to have metals. Most of today’s technology depends (directly or indirectly) on the use of metals. If technology makes a particular type of product cheaper to make, there is also a good chance that more products of that type will be sold. Thus, in the end, growth in technology tends to allow more energy to be consumed.

Why Economic Collapses Occur

Collapses of economies seem to come from a variety of causes. One of these is inadequate wages of low-ranking workers (those who are not highly educated or of managerial rank). This tends to happen because if there are not enough energy flows to go around, it tends to be the wages of the “bottom-ranking” employees that get squeezed. In some cases, not enough jobs are available; in others, wages are too low. This could be thought of as inadequate return on human labor–a different kind of low Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) than is currently analyzed in most of today’s academic studies.

Another area vulnerable to inadequate energy flows is the price level of commodities. If energy flows are inadequate, prices of commodities will tend to fall below the cost of producing these commodities. This can lead to a cutoff of commodity production. If this happens, debt related to commodity production will also tend to default. Defaulting debt can be a huge problem, because of the adverse impact on financial institutions.

Another way that inadequate energy flows can manifest themselves is through the falling profitability of companies, such as the falling revenue that banks are now experiencing. Still another way that inadequate energy flows can manifest themselves is through falling tax revenue. Governments of commodity exporters are particularly vulnerable when commodity prices are low. Ultimately, these inadequate energy flows can lead to bankrupt companies and collapsing governments.

The closest situation that the US has experienced to collapse is the Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 would represent a slight case of inadequate energy flows–one that could be corrected by a large dose of Quantitative Easing (QE)(leading to the lower cost of borrowing), plus debt stimulus by China. These helped bring oil prices back up again, after they fell in mid-2008.

Figure 2. World Oil Supply (production including biofuels, natural gas liquids) and Brent monthly average spot prices, based on EIA data.

Clearly, we are now again beginning to experience the effects of inadequate energy flows. This is worrying, because many economies have collapsed in the past when this situation occurred.

How Energy Flows of an Economy are Regulated

In an economy, the financial system is the regulator of the energy flows of the system. If the price of a product is low, it dictates that a small share of energy flows will be directed toward that product. If it is high, it indicates that a larger share of energy flows will be directed toward that product. Wages follow a similar pattern, with low wages indicating low flows of energy, and high wages indicating higher flows of energy. Energy flows in fact “pay for” all aspects of the system, including more advanced technology and the changes to the system (more education, less time in the workforce) that make advanced technology possible.

One confusing aspect to today’s economy is the use of a “pay you later” approach to paying for energy flows. If the energy flows are inadequate using what we would think of as the natural flows of the system, debt is often used to increase energy flows. Debt has the effect of directing future energy flows in a particular direction, such as paying for a factory, a house, or a car. These flows will be available when the product is already part of the system, and thus are easier to accommodate in the system.

The use of increasing debt allows total “demand” for products of many kinds to be higher, because it directs both future flows and current flows of energy toward a product. Since factories, houses and cars are made using commodities, the use of an increasing amount of debt tends to raise commodity prices. With higher commodity prices, more of the resources of the economy are directed toward producing energy products. This allows for increasing energy consumption. This increased energy consumption tends to help flows of energy to many areas of the economy at the same time: wages, taxes, business profitability, and funds for interest and dividend payments.

The need for debt greatly increases when an economy begins using fossil fuels, because the use of fossil fuels allows a step-up in lifestyle. There is no way that this step-up in lifestyle can be paid for in advance, because the benefits of the new system are so much better than what was available without fossil fuels. For example, a farmer raising crops using only a hoe for a tool will never be able to save up sufficient funds (energy flows) needed to pay for a tractor. While it may seem bizarre that banks loan money into existence, this approach is in fact essential, if adequate energy flows are to be available to compensate for the better lifestyle that the use of fossil fuels makes possible.

Debt needs are low when the cost (really energy cost) of producing energy products is low. Much more debt is needed when the cost of energy extraction is high. The reason more debt is needed is because fossil fuels and other types of energy products tend to leverage human labor, making human labor more productive, as mentioned previously. In order to maintain this leveraging, an adequate quantity of energy products (measured in British Thermal Units or Barrels of Oil Equivalent or some similar unit) is needed.

As the required price for energy-products rises, it takes ever-more debt to finance a similar amount of energy product, plus the higher cost of homes, cars, factories, and roads using the higher-cost energy. In fact, with higher energy costs, capital goods of all kinds will tend to be more expensive. This is a major reason why the ratio of debt to GDP tends to rise as the cost of producing energy products rises. At this point, in the United States it takes approximately $3 of additional debt to increase GDP by $1 (author’s calculation).

Figure 3. Inflation adjusted Brent oil prices (in $2014, primarily from BP Statistical Review of World Energy) shown beside two measures of debt for the US economy. One measure of debt is all-inclusive; the other excludes Financial Business debt. Both are based on data from FRED-Federal Reserve of St. Louis.

Clearly one of the risk factors to an economy using fossil fuels is that debt levels will become unacceptably high. A second risk is that debt will stop rising fast enough to keep commodity prices at an acceptably high level. The recent slowdown in the growth of debt (Figure 3) no doubt contributes to current low commodity prices.

A third risk to the system is that the rate of economic growth will slow over time because even with the large amount of debt added to the system, the leveraging of human labor with supplemental energy will not be sufficient to maintain economic growth in the face of diminishing returns. In fact, it is clearly evident that US economic growth has trended downward over time (Figure 4).

Figure 4. US annual growth rates (using “real” or inflation adjusted data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis).

A fourth risk is that the whole system will become unsustainable. When new debt is issued, there is no real matching with future energy flow. For example, will the wages of those taking on debt to pay for college be sufficiently high that the debtors can afford to have families and buy homes? If not, their lack of adequate income will be one of the factors that make it difficult for the prices of commodities to stay high enough to encourage extraction.

One of the issues in today’s economy is that promises of future energy flows extend far beyond what is formally called debt. These promises include shareholder dividends and payments under government programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Reneging on promises such as these is likely to be unpopular with citizens. Stock prices are likely to drop, and private pensions will become unpayable. Governments may be overthrown by disappointed citizens.

Examples of Past Collapses of Economies

Example of the Partial Collapse of the Former Soviet Union

One recent example of a partial collapse was that of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) in December 1991. I call this a partial collapse, because it “only” involved the collapse of the central government that held together the various republics. The governments of the individual republics remained in place, and many of the services they provided, such as public transportation, continued. The amount of manufacturing performed by the FSU dropped precipitously, as did oil extraction. Prior to the collapse, the FSU had serious financial problems. Shortly before its collapse, the world’s leading industrial nations agreed to lend the Soviet Union $1 billion and defer repayment on $3.6 billion more in debt.

A major issue that underlay this collapse was a fall in oil prices to the $30 per barrel range in the 1986 to 2004 period. The Soviet Union was a major oil exporter. The low price had an adverse impact on the economy, a situation similar to that of today.

Figure 5. Oil production and price of the Former Soviet Union, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015.

Russia continued to pump oil even after the price dropped in 1986. In fact, it raised oil production, to compensate for the low price (energy flow it received per barrel). This is similar to the situation today, and what we would expect if oil exporters are very dependent on these energy flows, no matter how small. Oil production didn’t fall below the 1986 level until 1989, most likely from inadequate funds for reinvestment. Oil production rose again, once prices rose.

Figure 6 shows that the FSU’s consumption of energy products started falling precipitously in 1991, the year of the collapse–very much a Seneca Cliff type of decline.

Figure 6. Former Soviet Union energy consumption by source, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy Data 2015.

In fact, consumption of all fuels, even nuclear and hydroelectric, fell simultaneously. This is what we would expect if the FSU’s problems were caused by the low prices it was receiving as an oil exporter. With low oil prices, there could be few good-paying jobs. Lack of good-paying jobs–in other words, inadequate return on human labor–is what cuts demand for energy products of all kinds.

A drop in population took place as well, but it didn’t begin until 1996. The decrease in population continued until 2007. Between 1995 and 2007, population dropped by a total of 1.6%, or a little over 0.1% per year. Before the partial collapse, population was rising about 0.9% per year, so the collapse seems to have reduced the population growth rate by about 1.0% per year. Part of the drop in population was caused by excessive alcohol consumption by some men who had lost their jobs (their sources of energy flows) after the fall of the central government.

When commodity prices fall below the cost of oil production, it is as if the economy is cold because of low energy flows. Prof. Francois Roddier describes the point at which collapse sets in as the point of self-organized criticality. According to Roddier (personal correspondence):

Beyond the critical point, wealth condenses into two phases that can be compared to a gas phase and a liquid phase. A small number of rich people form the equivalent of a gas phase, whereas a large number of poor people form what corresponds to a liquid phase. Like gas molecules, rich people monopolize most of the energy and have the freedom to move. Embedded in their liquid phase, poor people have lost access to both energy and freedom. Between the two, the so-called middle class collapses.

I would wonder whether the ones who die would be equivalent to the solid state. They can no longer move at all.

Analysis of Earlier Collapses

A number of studies have been performed analyzing earlier collapses. Turchin and Nefedov in Secular Cycles analyze eight pre-fossil fuel collapses in detail. Figure 7 shows my interpretation of the pattern they found.

Figure 7. Shape of typical Secular Cycle, based on work of Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov in Secular Cycles.

Again, the pattern is that of a Seneca Cliff. Some of the issues leading to collapse include the following:

  1. Rising population relative to farmland. Either farmland was divided up into smaller plots, so each farmer produced less, or new workers received “service” type jobs, at much reduced wages. The result was falling earnings of many non-elite workers.
  2. Spiking food and energy prices. Prices were high at times due to lack of supply, but held down by low wages of workers.
  3. Rising need for government to solve problems (for example, fight war to get more land; install irrigation system so get more food from existing land). Led to a need for increased taxes, which impoverished workers could not afford.
  4. Increased number of nobles and high-level administrators. Result was increased disparity of wages.
  5. Increased debt, as more people could not afford necessities.

Eventually, the workers who were weakened by low wages and high taxes tended to succumb to epidemics. Some died in wars. Again, we have a situation of low energy flows, and the lower wage workers not getting enough of these flows. Many died–in some cases as many as 95%. These situations were much more extreme than those of the FSU. On the favorable side, the fact that there were few occupations back in pre-industrial days meant that those who did survive could sometimes resettle with other nearby communities and continue to practice their occupations.

Joseph Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies talks about the need for increasing complexity, as diminishing returns set in. This would seem to correspond to the need for increased government services and an increased role for businesses. Also included in increased complexity would be increased hierarchical structure. All of these changes would leave a smaller share of the energy flows for the low-ranking workers–a problem mentioned previously.

Dr. Tainter also makes the point that to maintain complexity, “Sustainability may require greater consumption of resources, not less.”

A Few Insights as to the Nature of the Physics Problem

The Second Law of Thermodynamics seems to work in a single direction. It talks about the natural tendency of any “closed” system to degenerate into a more disordered system. With this view, the implication is that the universe will ultimately end in a heat-death, in which everything is at the same temperature.

Dissipative systems work in the other direction; they create order where no order previously existed. Economies get ever-more complex, as businesses grow larger and more hierarchical in form, governments provide more services, and the number of different jobs filled by members of the economy proliferate. How do we explain this additional order?

According to Ulanowicz, the traditional focus of thermodynamics has been on states, rather than on the process of getting from one state to another. What is needed is a theory that is more focused on processes, rather than states. He writes,

.  .  . the prevailing view of the second law is an oversimplified version of its true nature. Simply put, entropy is not entirely about disorder. Away from equilibrium, there is an obverse and largely unappreciated side to the second law that, in certain circumstances, mandates the creation of order.

We are observing the mandated creation of order. For example, the human body takes chemical energy and transforms it to mechanical energy. There is a dualism to the entropy system that many have not stopped to appreciate. Instead of a trend toward heat death always being the overarching goal, systems have a two-way nature to them. Dissipative systems are able to grow until they reach a point called self-organized criticality or the “critical point”; then they shrink from inadequate energy flows.

In forests, this point of self-organized criticality comes when the growth of the tall trees starts blocking out the light to the shorter plants. As mentioned earlier, at that point the forest starts becoming more susceptible to forest fires. Ulanowicz shows that for ecosystems with more than 12 elements, there is quite a narrow “window of viability.”

Figure 8. Illustration of close clustering of ecosystems with more than 12 elements, indicating the narrow “window of viability” of such ecosystems. From Ulanowicz

If we look at world per capita energy consumption, it seems to indicate a very narrow “window of viability” as well.

Figure 9. World energy consumption per capita, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2105 data. Year 2015 estimate and notes by G. Tverberg.

When we look at what happened in the world economy alongside the history of world energy consumption, we can see a pattern. Back prior to 1973, when oil was less than $30 per barrel, oil consumption and the economy grew rapidly. A lot of infrastructure (interstate highways, electric transmission lines, and pipelines) was added in this timeframe. The 1973-1974 price shock and related recession briefly brought energy consumption down.

It wasn’t until the restructuring of the economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s that energy consumption really came down. There were many changes made: cars became smaller and more fuel efficient; electricity production was changed from oil to other approaches, often nuclear; regulation of utilities was changed toward greater competition, thus discouraging building infrastructure unless it was absolutely essential.

The drop in energy consumption after 1991 reflects the fall of the Former Soviet Union. The huge ramp-up in energy consumption after 2001 represents the effect of adding China (with all of its jobs and coal consumption) to the World Trade Organization. With this change, energy needs became permanently higher, if China was to have enough jobs for its people. Each small dip seems to represent a recession. Recently energy consumption seems to be down again. If we consider low consumption along with low commodity prices, it makes for a worrying situation. Are we approaching a major recession, or worse?

If we think of the world economy relative to its critical point, the world economy has been near this point since 1981, but various things have pulled us out.

One thing that has helped the economy is the extremely high interest rate (18%) implemented in 1981. This high interest rate pushed down fossil fuel usage at that time. It also gave interest rates a very long way to fall. Falling interest rates have a very favorable impact on the economy. They encourage greater lending and tend to raise the selling prices of stocks. The economy has received a favorable boost from falling interest rates for almost the entire period between 1981 and the present.

Other factors were important as well. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 bought the rest of the world a little time (and saved oil extraction for later); the addition of China to the World Trade Organization in 2001 added a great deal of cheap coal to the energy mix, helping to bring down energy costs. These low energy costs, plus all of the debt China was able to add, allowed energy consumption and the world economy to grow again–temporarily pulling the world away from the critical point.

In 2008, oil prices dropped very low. It was only with QE that interest rates could be brought very low, and commodity prices bounced back up to adequate levels. Now we are again faced with low prices. It looks as if we are again at the critical point, and thus the edge of collapse.

Once a dissipative structure is past its critical point, Roddier says that what is likely to bring it down is an avalanche of bifurcations. In the case of an economy, these might be debt defaults.

In a dissipative structure, both communication and stored information are important. Stored information, which is very close to technology, becomes very important when food is hard to find or energy is high cost to extract. When energy is low-cost to extract, practically anyone can find and make use of energy, so technology is less important.

Communication in an economy is done in various ways, including through the use of money and debt. Few people understand the extent to which debt can give false signals about future availability of energy flows. Thus, it is possible for an economy to build up to a very large size, with few realizing that this approach to building an economy is very similar to a Ponzi Scheme. It can continue only as long as energy costs are extremely low, or debt is being rapidly added.

In theory, EROEI calculations (comparing energy produced by a device or energy product to fossil fuel energy consumed increasing this product) should communicate the “value” of a particular energy product. Unfortunately, this calculation is based the common misunderstanding of the nature of the physics problem that I mentioned at the beginning of the article. (This is also true for similar analyses, such as Lifecycle Analyses.) These calculations would communicate valuable information, if our problem were “running out” of fossil fuels, and if the way to mitigate this problem were to use fossil fuels as sparingly as possible. If our problem is rising debt levels, EROEI and similar calculations do nothing to show us how to mitigate the problem.

If the economy collapses, it will collapse down to a lower sustainable level. Much of the world’s infrastructure was built when oil could be extracted for $20 per barrel. That time is long gone. So, it looks like the world will need to collapse back to a level before fossil fuels–perhaps much before fossil fuels.

If it is any consolation, Prof. Roddier says that once new economies begin to form again, the survivors after collapse will tend to be more co-operative. In fact, he offers this graphic.

Figure 10. F. Roddier view of what happens on the two sides of the critical point. From upcoming translation of his book, “The Thermodynamics of Evolution.”

We know that if there are survivors, new economies will be likely. We don’t know precisely what they will be like, except that they will be limited to using resources that are available at that time.

Some References to Francois Roddier’s Work (in French)

THERMODYNAMIQUE DE L’ÉVOLUTION “UN ESSAI DE THERMO-BIO-SOCIOLOGIE” -The Thermodynamics of Evolution – Book, soon to be translated to English. Will at some point be available from the same site in English.

Roddier writes:

This is a talk I gave at the CNAM (Paris) on December 2, 2013. The title is:Thermodynamique et économie ; des sciences exactes aux sciences humaines

In this talk, I show that Per Bak’s neural network model can be used to describe an economic system as a neural network of agents exchanging money. The paper gives a brief explanation on how economies collapse.

The other talk is one I gave in Paris on March 12, 2015, for Jancovici’s Shift Project. The title is:

La thermodynamique des transitions économiques

A video of this talk is available on the web at the following address:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-qap1cQhGA

In this talk, I describe economy in terms of Gibbs-Duhem potentials (akin to chemical potentials). Money flows measure entropy flows (with opposite sign). The cost of energy plays the role of an inverse temperature. I show that economic cycles are similar to those of a steam engine. They self organize around a critical point.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,942 Responses to The Physics of Energy and the Economy

  1. Stefeun says:

    An interesting article by Graham Barnes of Feasta (Feb.26, 1016):

    “Privatising Air?
    We seem to have entered an era of ‘reductio ad absurdum’ capitalism. Many of life’s fundamentals such as land, water and energy have been or are being enclosed and privatised. As capitalism runs out of convenient colonies to parasitise, it has begun to work on societies within its traditional hosts in the developed world through austerity. In parallel the realm of privatisation extends into areas previously considered as public goods available as of right. Is there any ‘natural’ limit to this process? Could air be privatised?”

    read more at: http://www.feasta.org/2016/02/26/privatising-air/
    also reposted by RE on the Doomstead diner.

    • Artleads says:

      I copied the article to the “Land Use” thread of NBL.

    • richard says:

      Just a note from personal experience: in these processes where a public good is privatised, the risk tends to remain with the public sector. That means when things go wrong, people fall ill, or risk to life and limb, the perpetrator will claim inexperience, or that there was no way of foreseeing (eg by asking just about anybody) that things might go wrong. Hence if you have the political capital to wrest public into private, you also have the ability to avoid the consequences. Excepting people dying, that is. Even then, the chances of the right people spending some time in jail are slim.

      • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        Exactly!

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    A History Behind Syrian Civil War

    Another good documentary….

    Takeaways… there is not right and wrong … only interests..

    Bahrain has exactly the same situation — yet the Elders support the regime…. Egypt has exactly the same situation yet the Elders support the regime etc etc etc… for whatever reasons… some dictators stay… some must go….

    Also — should the opposition take over … they’d do exactly the same things that the current regime does… as they did when they were in power prior to papa Assad….

  3. Artleads says:

    Report from V, the guerrilla economist

    • Don says:

      He made some good points, but I lost interest when he suggested that post collapse would begin to rectify itself after 60 – 90 days or so. He doesn’t go into how a recovery will be possible. “We should all prepare”, but avoids go into the details. He expects cities like NY to go up in flames, but says it’s rediculous to store much food or amno. It seems that “V” only has a wallet size copy of the big picture.

      • Artleads says:

        I think you’re right. 🙂

      • “I lost interest when he suggested that post collapse would begin to rectify itself after 60 – 90 days or so.”

        A glass half full perspective even when the glass gets emptied. There are a lot of questions even with that scenario, like what technology is still viable including motorized transport? How many people emerge on the other side of 60-90 days? 2-3 months is a long time for there to be a collapse. Anybody with sufficient food and water will perish. What is it that gets rectified? Tilling the soil?

        Let’s take for example a person that has compiled enough food, water etc. to last until an attempt at rectification takes place. Let’s say that person A hasn’t worked a day in their life that included hard manual labor, is 60 pounds overweight, takes five different forms of medication and is over 50. What are the chances that person can adapt to a life of hard labor working the fields for a commune to get 1500 calories a day. After being use to 4000 calories a day and having to work so hard without medication, will that person tap out and be kicked out of the commune or completely rehabilitate their body into a physically fit hard working machine? Doubtful at best.

        The only people available for rectification will be fit, fairly young or at least young in physical ability, not on a lot of life saving medications and capable of living on mostly locally grown greens rather than pizzas and soda. The weeding out process of people that cannot fit into a post collapse commune will be a process that will probably last 6-12 months. Many will try in vain to make the transition only to quickly or more slowly fall apart, or be rejected as a lost cause. Anyone contemplating making it through the bottleneck will need to keep this in mind.

        There is another consideration as well. Entertainment and other stimuli that keep the masses rumbling along will be mostly gone. The phones won’t buzz, the TV’s won’t broadcast, the DVD’s will only work if one of the last working generators is working and it will probably get used for night lighting instead of TV. People will go through withdrawals for many reasons including a dramatically reduced level of entertainment. Things will go silent except the task master delegating hard labor.

    • Fast Eddy…this says it all..1.7 Million Syrian Refugees To Lose Their Main Source of Food Aid….budgets too stretched to fund all crises, namely Ebola…. And we think we have worries and concerns!

  4. Rice Farmer says:

    Reading this post reminded me of a paper I read on the “Earth-space battery.” I wonder if you have read it.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/112/31/9511.abstract

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    Vale posts record loss, to sell core assets

    Brazil’s mining giant Vale (NYSE:VALE) reported Thursday its deepest quarterly net loss ever, becoming at the same time the first of the three largest iron ore producers to put some of its core assets up for sale.

    The Rio de Janeiro-based company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $8.57 billion, its fifth drop in the past six quarters, driven by a dramatic and sustained rout of its main profit driver, iron ore.

    Over the full year, the company slid to a net loss of $12.13 billion from a net profit of $657 million in the previous 12 months.

    http://www.mining.com/vale-posts-record-loss-to-sell-core-assets/

    Something…. is going to give…..

  6. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-27/caption-contest-yellen-g20-edition

    Ok, this is kind of hilarious. At the link, there is a photo of the G20 officials that met to decide to do nothing I guess because there are no more radical fiscal follies to attempt that they can conjure up. So the name of the article is ‘caption contest yellen g20 edition’

    So look at the photo and you’ll notice Yellen with a 1,000 yard dazed look. I’ll name it, ‘Trepidation’

  7. http://www.nola.com/health/index.ssf/2016/02/9_us_pregnant_women_infected_w.html

    9 U.S. pregnant women infected with Zika being tracked by CDC

    Wow, that was fast! From South America into 9 pregnant women in the US. just since that most recent, original rash of Zika articles. If any of the offspring suffer from microencephly then that’s when it hits the news big. If more than 1 gets it, look out! People will start to get paranoid and panicky.

    The news of this virus has remained under the radar, but I can guarantee TPTB are expecting a much stronger public reaction sometime, anytime. It’s not going to cause collapse, but it adds to the increasing complications that arise from higher levels of complexity. But this time that added complication was home-colossus tweaking the DNA of a 210 million year evolved insect with a syringe. It was intended to stop reproduction and because they would never reproduce, we would never have played God because those human changed mosquito genetics would never have multiplied, just died out. But a little stupid thing happened and instead they did spring forth rising up from the larvae to stand up on the water, then fly off as a much improved set of genes to transmit Zika Virus.

    On the surface it seems we inadvertently reduced the mosquitos immune response to Zika. So now this little flying syringe with a blood bag is spreading Zika virus on a massive scale. Also transmissible from saliva and sex. Welcome to 2016.

  8. Fast Eddy says:

    Some interesting facts re: rolling toxic waste dumps…. or EV’s and solar panels…..

    Imagine if we were to convert all passenger cars to electric…..

    Don’t look so smug: Your Tesla might be worse for the environment than a gas car

    Most alarming, EVs that depend on coal for their electricity are actually 17 percent to 27 percent worse than diesel or gas engines. That is especially bad for the United States, because we derive close to 45 percent of our electricity from coal.

    With cars that supposedly generate “zero tailpipe emissions,” how are these pollution numbers even possible? The simple answer is that as well as being messy to produce; battery production requires a tremendous amount of electricity. The initial production of the vehicle and the batteries together make up something like 40 percent of the total carbon footprint of an EV – nearly double that of an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle.

    Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/hold-smugness-tesla-might-just-worse-environment-know/#ixzz41OhzK567

    Alkaline batteries – contain potassium hydroxide, and mercury

    Zinc-Carbon batteries (ordinary D cell flash-light battery) Contain varying amounts of mercury and potassium hydroxide and Lead

    Silver Oxide batteries- contain potassium hydroxide concentration, silver oxide and mercury

    Mercuric Oxide batteries –contain mercury, mercuric oxide, potassium hydroxide and/or sodium hydroxide

    Silver Oxide batteries- contain potassium hydroxide concentration, silver oxide and mercury

    Mercuric Oxide batteries –contain mercury, mercuric oxide, potassium hydroxide and/or sodium hydroxide

    Lithium batteries – contain lithium. Lithium reacts with air or water to produce fire and/or an explosion

    Nickel-Cadmium batteries – contain large amounts of cadmium and cadmium salts. They also contain large amounts of potassium hydroxide and/or sodium hydroxide nickel, cobalt and lithium salts. Ni-Cad cells represent a solid waste problem because cadmium is a highly toxic heavy metal.

    http://www.rpc.com.au/information/developing-countries/battery-disposal.html

    How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2014/11/141111-solar-panel-manufacturing-sustainability-ranking/

    Solar Panels: Tomorrow’s Toxic Waste?
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/03/are-your-solar-panels-toxic

    • Rodster says:

      Hmm, kinda reminds me of the R22 vs R134a coolant issues where R134a was worse for the environment than R22.

      http://kaojaigreen.com/r134a-refrigerant-is-it-really-environmentally-friendly

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      And of course, supply of these materials “runs short,” so prices rise after a time, besides polluting the landscape.

  9. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-27/markets-risk-tepid-uninspiring-g20-proves-investor-hopes-were-pure-fantasy

    I was able to copy & paste the link, but nothing from the article for some reason. Anyway, the gist of it was the G20 issued a generic statement with no specific action to be taken regarding the sluggish, deflationary global economy. Guess they’re out of CB strategy.

    • xabier says:

      Dear Stilgar (and Everyone)

      Of course they are out of strategies. They never really had one except:

      Get Rich As Quick As Possible.

      Keep What I Have.

      Keep ‘the Scum’ At Bay.

      Find Something With Yield.

      I know these people, I was educated with them (but NOT one of them.) I still socialise with some of them (who are -one to one – OK, decent, people, until you touch on…..money!)

      I get to hear their pathetic little anxieties when they get drunk. and spill the beans to an old friend.

      They are people of NO vision, NO sensibility, NO imagination, and little knowledge outside their narrow sphere (I wish I knew how to do italics in this, so apologies for capitals.)

      And, boy, do they love MONEY. An insatiable desire for it.

      All they are thinking in their little meeting rooms is this:

      ‘Shit! Is my pension OK? Are my investments OK? Am I going to continue to be special? Will there be a revolution? (One asked me this ‘Hey, Xabier, you’re a historian, do you think revolution is likely? Is this like….Rome or France? Whats the time-scale? ‘ This was one of the intellectuals among them……)

      It’s as simple as that.

      Really.

      People here speculate about ‘The Elders.’

      They are nothing, mortal men and women like us, who are profoundly limited in their vision and emotions. Spiritual cripples. Money does indeed do terrible things to the soul.

      The message is this:

      The ‘Centre’ is more empty than you can imagine. They do not care for us.

      But we knew that didn’t we?

      We live with the consequences of centuries of error, as well as the stupidity of our contemporaries.

      Let’s dig our gardens, make art, love, live.

      We will die like them, but we will be better.

      They can’t touch our souls, even if they have lost their own.

      • Brendon Crook – Australia
        Brendon Crook says:

        Thank you for this Xabier.
        I’ve never seen the attraction of money beyond the immediate needs. I’d far rather live a life listening to birds & watching sunrises than chasing after illusions of grandeur. I’ve been in positions to earn way better money than what I get but I don’t see the point of it all especially when the whole thing is tied to the apron strings of a death culture.
        It’s bad enough having to live in the shit of industrial civilization without wallowing in its sick depravity……………………….

        • Rodster says:

          “I’ve never seen the attraction of money beyond the immediate needs.”

          Neither have I. You don’t get to keep it or can’t use it when you die that’s unless you are Whitney Houston. 🙂

          For many of the so-called RICH, it’s all about power and control which appears to be the case for George Soros.

      • Xavier, that was refreshing, sensible and clean expression of what it is really all about.
        Remember after the steep meltdown of the Stock market circa 2008, heard that vested folks still expected 20% return annually. Even Bill McKibben stated his push to divest of fossil fuels by Universities and dedicated activists in his organization had a strong resistence to doing such because of YIELD. The best is about Bernie Madoff and folks begging him to take their savings to invest, after repeated warnings that his returns were impossible and too good to be true. People believe what appears best and I find myself doing the same regarding the above. Yet there is no security, but the mind/brain reminds it for our Psyche to function. Should be amusing when the great unraveling happens. In a way, I hope I’m not around to see it. I tend to agree with Fast Eddy on that point.
        Yes, gardening helps, but there is always a dark shadow in the background.

      • Good rant, xabier.

        “Get Rich As Quick As Possible.
        Keep What I Have.
        Keep ‘the Scum’ At Bay.
        Find Something With Yield.”

        It’s a greed game for sure.

        “They can’t touch our souls, even if they have lost their own.”

        I like that.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:
  10. Yoshua says:

    I read that the EROI on shale gas is on average 1:85 and that is the shale gas revolution that will transform the future and not the shale oil which has an EROI of 1:5 on average.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      What we need is people who can afford to buy the output of the system. The prices are way too low for pretty much all commodities now, including oil from shale, gas from shale, and LNG being shipped around the world. Coal is encountering a lot of bankruptcies as well.

      I presume the EROI numbers you are giving are written in the reverse order of the standard way–normally they end with one, not start with one.

  11. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Someone asked me about insects as human food. I said I would have little to say. However, I have been reading The Carbon Farming Solution, and ran across some interesting information.

    ‘Mopane worms…are wild harvested and sun-dried for later consumption. Their nutritional value is astounding; they are 48 to 61 percent protein, 16 to 20 percent fat, and high in iron. Over 9 billion mopane worms are consumed annually.’

    There have been efforts to domesticate the worms, but ‘intensive monoculture leaves the worms vulnerable to viruses’.

    Just a few general comments from me:
    *Baby birds cannot survive on seeds from bird feeders. Baby birds must be fed an astounding number of caterpillars by their parents. Baby worms are growing extremely rapidly, because they are quite vulnerable to predation, and only a minority of them survive in the wild. In a rain forest, snakes are a prime predator. The high protein in caterpillars makes them ideal for rapidly growing baby birds.
    *High protein foods are problematic for adult humans. We don’t need to grow rapidly, but if we consume a lot of protein, we may very well grow tumors. A little bit of protein goes a long way for an adult human.
    *The most efficient use of photosynthesis is by green leaves. Everything else is at a higher trophic level, and generally drops in efficiency by an order of magnitude. If a gorilla eats a green leaf, that is still pretty efficient. But green leaves contain a lot of fiber, which is good for our microbes, but does not give us calories that we can use. Consequently, gorillas need to eat around 20 pounds of green leaves every day.
    *The opposite of efficient is our current industrial food system.
    *Human digestive tracts have evolved to be different from those of gorillas. We have lost a considerable amount of the length of the gorilla tract. Thus, we need ‘processed’ green leaves. We can process the green leaves by cooking them, by eating cows which eat green leaves, by eating fruiting plants (apples instead of the leaves of apple trees), and a variety of other ways of processing. In general, moving downward in the processing chain gives us more of what we need.
    *Eating worms instead of birds which eat worms is thus considerably more efficient. Rather than raise mopane worms to feed chickens which we then eat, it is more efficient to eat the worms directly.
    *Masonobu Fukuoka, the Japanese farmer who developed a highly efficient form of agriculture, was assigned by the Japanese government in WWII to study insects as a source of food for the protein deficient civilian population.
    *The way to promote birds in your yard is to grow plants which host caterpillars. (Many exotics do not host useful caterpillars for your native birds.)
    *In a very tough place, humans may also expand our direct eating of caterpillars. I believe that Japanese soldiers stranded on islands by the retreat of the Imperial forces ate quite a bit of insects.

    Don Stewart

  12. Do what I SAY, not as I DO…
    Hank Paulson: China needs to let ‘failing companies fail
    rmer U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who oversaw bank bailouts during the global financial crisis, has different advice for China: Let companies fail.

    “They can show right now they’re very serious about dealing with inefficient state-owned enterprises as they take capacity out of the steel industry, coal industry and others by letting some failing companies fail,” Paulson, who was Treasury secretary from 2006-2009, told CNBC’s Squawk Box on the sidelines of an Institute of International Finance event organized in conjunction with the G20 meeting in Shanghai.

    As Treasury secretary, Paulson oversaw a $700 billion government-funded bailout of U.S. financial institutions that were seen as “too big to fail” in the global financial crisis.

    Paulson, who is also a former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, added that China needed to move faster to promote competition

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/25/hank-paulson-china-needs-to-let-failing-companies-fail.html

    Seems Fast Eddy’s “Elders” are looking to buy discarded assets pennies on the dollar.

    Wonder how to times Hank stuttered when he told that to the Chinese and how he stopped grinning?

    • project wis.dom
      kesar0 says:

      Actually, he’s right. In 2008 US had reserve currency, IMF, World Bank and USD denominated oil backed by military bases all over the world.

      And what China has? Finally they were invited to first financial league with 11% of SDRs and Asian Bank of Development. With their exposure to global debt scheme they are in big trouble right now.

      The problem is how big deflation wave this implosion will trigger globally. Every central banker fears the game of devaluation. At G-20 meeting all these smart guys were warning about this threat.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-24/lew-says-don-t-expect-crisis-response-from-group-of-20-meeting

      • If they let them fail…cival unrest…

        • project wis.dom
          kesar0 says:

          No one is talking falling here. Just 30% devaluation, massive bankruptcies and deleveraging. Civil unrest will follow, but they handled Tienanmen, they will handle this as well. West needs China and their production capacity. To keep BAU working we need global supply chains and China demand. Without it we have 5-7 years at best, I guess.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      All kinds of companies need to fail, but everyone will hide the problem as long as possible.

  13. project wis.dom
    kesar0 says:

    “The question is, can the economy work in reverse? Can it contract?”

    It can and it will. It is happening in front of our eyes.

    • that’s my point—employment requires constantly increasing consumption of cheap fuel to make ‘stuff’. We give ourselves further employment in the buying selling shifting of it in a kind of endless economic circle.. (a purpose to our lives if you like)
      This enables us to move money from hand to hand so that we can call it ‘infinite economic growth’, when in fact we are creating infinite and unredeemable debt, on ourselves and on future generations
      there is no economic growth now, just economic circulation.—we ‘re just confused about which is which that’s all.

    • no ‘forward moving’ economy can work in reverse
      reversing means returning to what we had before—and ‘before’ means pre-oil.
      and that means a life that existed pre-1800 or thereabouts if we’re lucky

      • project wis.dom
        kesar0 says:

        Agree, this is the way I see it. The question remains how much time we have.

        • John Doyle – Seeker of truth in a world of falsehoods
          ejhr2015 says:

          It might work if we do a reset every so often. A debt jubilee would set off a reset back to a lower level in asset values and then growth could start again. It doesn’t mean it could be repeted endlessly though

          • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
            Gail Tverberg says:

            The not-so-minor detail is that the debt reset would wipe out banks, insurance companies and pension plans. The other issue of importance is that in order for it make economic sense to produce commodities, their prices need to be “kept up” at a high enough level to make commercial production feasible. The way a high price is maintained is through a combination of rising wages and rising debt levels. Neither of these is currently working, and the debt jubilee would seem to make the situation worse.

            We have been having a major problem with wages falling too low, in part from competition with globalization (and low wages elsewhere) and in part from competition from mechanization. Human labor (as labor) is no longer with much, when fossil fuels can statute for human labor.

            With wages not keeping up, the only option is increased debt. But has stopped working as well–debt levels have gotten too high. Also, with low wages, people cannot afford more debt.

            Once we do a debt jubilee, it seems like it will be much harder to add debt in the future. For one thing, banks will be gone.

            Commodity prices will stay in the basement, leading to the end of all commercial production of commodities. That leaves us in a pretty bad place: no food, soon no water from our current sources, no electricity, no oil and gas, etc.

          • project wis.dom
            kesar0 says:

            Here I disagree. We can’t go to lower level of integration without hurting supply chains globally. We are interdependant. If you brrak one link in food production more and more regions will be falling down with revolts, wars and revolutions. We can keep the system until the critical links are maintained. Like Middle East. If we start regionalization we are toast. Yhere is no way back. Domino effect.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Can contraction lead to a functioning economy? I don’t think so. If nothing else, economies of scale are terribly important. Once there is shrinkage, businesses become much less profitable. Repaying debt with interest becomes a big problem. It is hard to raise capital for a new business, because it will have to function in a steadily declining situation.

    • that bloomberg piece follows all the usual platitudes of—‘we’ll be ok as long as we can keep our wheels’.
      which is ridiculous
      battery powered cars cannot function outside a hydrocarbon fuelled environment.
      in order to keep our wheels, we will need a purpose for which to use them—bloomberg misses that bit.
      wheels move us from place to place, they do not actually add to what we have already, or sustain what we will need in our imminent future.
      Only the battery is substituted, the rest of any vehicle is still metal and plastic and other metals, running on a road.
      As to planes and truck—not worth commenting on

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I am not holding my breath.

  14. richard says:

    Just another snowflake? Or will February’s inflation data tell a tale?
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-26/rate-hike-odds-surge-highest-january
    “Rate-hike odds have surged back to their highest since January, and with December rate hike odds jumping back over 50% following the Japan NIRP crash, imply there is now a greater than half probability of another rate hike in 2016.”

  15. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    I can’t resist posting this.
    http://growyourowngroceries.org/why-go-barefoot/
    I have previously remarked about Marjory Wildcraft using a shovel barefoot. Here she talks with an expert about making 3 point sandals out of junk. So…
    barefoot on your farm and around your house
    homemade sandals when you need to dress up to go to town

    Sounds good to me!
    Don Stewart

    • Most of the world’s people walk barefoot and don’t wipe with toilet paper. Don, just saying us folks that do will have some adjusting to do. Any suggestions yet for those
      roasted insects?

      • Don Stewart says:

        Vince the Prince
        I am going to pass on the roasted insects advice.

        There was a Korean movie a few years ago, Treeless Mountain. Some kids living in a slummy neighborhood. The single mother barely keeping things together. She abandons them. They live on the street. They catch grasshoppers and roast them and sell them to commuters getting off the train, in order to make a little money. Winter comes and the grasshoppers disappear.

        I’ve forgotten the details, but somehow they end up with their grandmother, working on the farm.
        Don Stewart

    • hkeithhenson
      hkeithhenson says:

      You really don’t want to go barefoot.

      Hookworm.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookworm_infection

      On the other hand, a _small_ number of hookworms will keep asthma from bothering you.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminthic_therapy

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasper_Lawrence

      I know Jasper slightly. Created the Wikipedia page about him.

      • My Buddy, Cliff, was an advocate of walking barefort and built up callus on his bottom feet. Was know on the links as the Barefoot Golfer….even did it in the New England winters…so, it can be done…..and will be after the end of BAU.

        • hkeithhenson
          hkeithhenson says:

          Hookworm was a problem in the south or any place where the ground doesn’t freeze. I don’t know exactly how far north you had to go to get away from them, but hookworm was not a problem in the US except in the southern tier of states. If there is an end of BAU, we should see a lot of the old medical problems coming back. With enough global warming, it could go much further north.

          • You mean MOAR BAD news! Just nature’s way of thinning out the herd…nothing personal,
            Just to say it already is back and is present
            Hookworms affect your lungs and small intestine. Humans contract hookworms through roundworm eggs and larvae found in dirt contaminated by feces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hookworm infections occur in an estimated 576 to 740 million people worldwide (CDC, 2010
            The complete story here
            http://www.healthline.com/health/hookworm

            Yep, there will be a host of others to infect humanity in modern cities/urban centers.

        • xabier says:

          Vince

          When Henri Prince of Navarre – a small mountain kingdom – was born in the mid-16th century, the throne was in danger -all previous heirs had died. is survival was essential.

          So his grandfather, the king, took matters in hand; he had his daughter sing a folk song during labour, and when the baby came, took it up and brushed his lips with a garlic clove and the local wine. All meant to bring luck.

          In childhood he was sent out to run around the hills rather like a goat, bare-foot and dressed like a peasant, getting a fine tan, eating goat’s cheese and -of course – drinking that wine.

          Today, anyone treating a baby and child thus would end up vilified in the media and in prison for ‘child abuse’, for an extended term……. Frankly, I can’t think of a better childhood.

          • xabier says:

            And he made a great king.

            • Xavier, Fine tale and to take to heart. In today’s germ free environment children have not had their immune system built up to resist illness, such as, asthma. A study of city children zhown weaker resistence than children raised on the farm in rural places with contact of the outdoors, animals and yes “dirt”. That should make Don Stewart pleased
              http://www.treehugger.com/health/farm-kids-are-healthy-kids-according-study-allergies-and-asthma.html
              C BY 2.0 Ian Lamont
              New research confirms the ‘hygiene hypothesis.’ Farm kids are less likely to develop allergies and asthma than the average child.

              Kids need to get grubby on a regular basis. Not only does it mean they’re playing hard while getting exercise and fresh air outside, but it also boosts their immune systems and ultimately makes them healthier.

              For years, the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ has been the leading explanation for why so many kids develop allergies and asthma. This hypothesis suggests that kids are being raised in such sterile environments, without sufficient access to dirt and germs, that their immune systems are not trained to recognize which irritants are harmful and harmless.

              New research, published last week in Science, supports this hypothesis and develops it further. A group of Belgian researchers from Ghent University found an actual link between farm dust and protection against asthma and allergies. Children who grow up on dairy farms are much less likely than the average child to develop asthma.

            • Don Stewart says:

              Vince the Prince
              Evidence has been steadily accumulating.
              Thanks…Don Stewart

              PS Bikle and Montgomery have a good explanation for laymen of how our immune capability develops.

  16. Fast Eddy says:

    Central banks are running out of bullets….

    Global finance chiefs split over how best to revive the world economy, risking disappointment for investors seeking a coordinated campaign.

    Differences were laid bare on Friday as central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20 developed and emerging markets gathered for talks in Shanghai.

    Calls for increased government spending to lift demand, which have emanated from the U.S. and China, ran into opposition from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who said using debt to fund growth just leads to “zombifying” economies. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney voiced skepticism over negative interest rates, which have now been adopted in continental Europe and Japan, and the head of the International Monetary Fund also warned about diminishing effectiveness of monetary policies.

    More http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-26/laid-bare-in-shanghai-g-20-tensions-over-how-to-spur-growth

    • Yo, Fast Eddy is on a Marathon roll out of bad new. Join in the chorus
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rY0WxgSXdEE

    • Looks like a conundrum from which there are no more relief valves to turn, as pressure builds…

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Yes, and situation is not getting better.

      • Creedon says:

        Creedon

        February 27, 2016 at 6:08 am

        http://creditbubblebulletin.blogspot.com/ This web site is a very good one to follow for understanding what is happening with credit. They are saying that the credit system is maxing out on all kinds of levels. When they print new money they are simply adding to a credit system that is beginning to freeze up. They make credit cheap because the want to make money and keep the system going but it is beginning to freeze up. Imagine if all the debt that the big banks hold becomes worthless. It seems that the debt only becomes worthless when the corporate and sovereign entities are totally bankrupt. Greece’s 10 year notes are at 10 percent; they are totally broke. Oil companies and consumers are totally broke. Auto buyers are starting to default on their loans. Oil companies are beginning to hit the point where they can no longer borrow money and must default. The defaults in the system seem to be like a last step. The bosses at the top issuing all this largess are still doing what they do. The debt system is peaking out.

        • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          Thanks! There is certainly a lot of material for the credit bubble bulletin.

  17. Fast Eddy says:

    Get Back To Work Mr.Draghi – Deflation “Monster” Spreads Across Europe

    Today’s current inflation data dump from across the European nations appears to confirm forward inflation expectations trend (plumbing new record lows). With a considerably bigger than expected decline in prices , pushing Germany, Spain, and France back into deflation, pressure is mounting on Mr.Draghi. As one EU economist exclaimed, “the data send a clear message to the ECB and the only question that remains now is how bold action would be.” Save us Mario from spending less on the things we need…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-26/get-back-work-mrdraghi-deflation-monster-spreads-across-europe

    All that printing … and still …. deflation ….

  18. Fast Eddy says:

    Economic Recovery? 13 Of The Biggest Retailers In America Are Closing Down Stores

    #1 Sears lost 580 million dollars in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, and they are scheduled to close at least 50 more “unprofitable stores” by the end of this year.

    #2 It is being reported that Sports Authority will file for bankruptcy in March. Some news reports have indicated that around 200 stores may close, but at this point it is not known how many of their 450 stores will be able to stay open.

    #3 For decades, Kohl’s has been growing aggressively, but now it plans to shutter 18 stores in 2016.

    #4 Target has just finished closing 13 stores in the United States.

    #5 Best Buy closed 30 stores last year, and it says that more store closings are likely in the months to come.

    #6 Office Depot plans to close a total of 400 stores by the end of 2016.

    The next seven examples come from one of my previous articles…

    #7 Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.

    #8 K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.

    #9 J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.

    #10 Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.

    #11 The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.

    #12 Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.

    #13 Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/economic-recovery-13-of-the-biggest-retailers-in-america-are-closing-down-stores

    • taken together, that frightening list of store closures should be seen for what it is, the closing vice of deprivation.
      It reinforces the truth, that I’ve tried to hammer home on numerous occasions, that we, (the developed industrial nations that is) live in an energy based economy. Trouble is, most still cling to the fallacy that we live in a money based economy.
      In terms of basic living, there is a baseline below which human beings cannot go. In order to survive, we need food, shelter and clothing.
      Think of that as a start point, which is where we were when we began to develop our capitalist society 10k years ago.
      You might think of “capital” in terms of Trump’s billions, but come down a bit from that. Capital is effectively the excess beyond that which we actually need in order to exist. We are the only species to have accumulated tangible, negotiable capital. Think about that.
      Thus, you enjoy owning a 4 bedroom house, aircon/heating. transport on demand and probably waste a lot of the food you buy.
      (those are just examples–no brickbats please) Even stuff you don’t own–roads, hospitals etc, are still “capital” available to you for your use.
      Since hydrocarbon energy became cheaply available, that is what we have done—accumulated capital. Some far more than others of course, but that’s just a matter of scale. Differences in luck and intelligence account for the variations.
      Before we had fossil fuels, the privilege of capital excess rested with a very select few. The rest (you and me that is) lived in hovels close to his castle walls.

      The capital that we now all enjoy has come into existence within the “wedge” of financial freedom that has existed between the cost of extracting energy from the ground, and what we HAD to buy to give ourselves the very basics of life—(the food, shelter and clothing)
      Put simply, everyone began to live high on the hog when oil returned an EROEI of 100:1, from the 1920s/30s/40s/50s. The basis of all industrial economies required fuel to be burned to provide jobs. As long as fuel kept pumping, jobs continued to be created. Didn’t matter whether you were working in an A&P store, or at GM–the formula held good.
      The “excess” of energy in the system provided the wages with which everybody could buy and buy and buy.
      Excess consumption was the secret to infinite prosperity.
      That is what our politicians call GDP by the way—it is of course nothing of the sort. It’s just cash-passing. We bought stuff because we could. And we were told that spending money is what creates jobs. Oops moment there.

      It was no coincidence that the massive expansion of many of these businesses coincided exactly with that era of cheap energy availability. They were satisfying our insatiable demand for capital excess.

      As our economies “expanded”, we found that we could have “more” of everything (which is why I called my book The End of More btw), and to satisfy our demand, retail stores and all round commercial complexity (the transport and processing systems) arrived on the scene and grew to satisfy our needs in every conceivable way. We like buying new clothes that do more than keep the rain out, and eating food from any part of the world to be in our stores whenever we go there. We like the freedom of living in the middle of nowhere, secure in the knowledge that we are safe in doing so, and having multiple sets of wheels at our disposal, and being able to fly to a sunny beach when we feel like it.

      Those businesses that grew to meet demand are contracting because that demand is contracting. More and more people find that they have less and less available to buy excess of anything. This is the contraction that is to be our future as hydrocarbon energy availability drains away, and we are left with only muscle power and wishful thinking.

      Or Maybe Bill Gates knows where that Bolivian hopium mine is–and is keeping it to himself.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      What does this do for employment? All of these workers are not going to find jobs at Amazon.

      • that’s my point—employment requires constantly increasing consumption of cheap fuel to make ‘stuff’. We give ourselves further employment in the buying selling shifting of it in a kind of endless economic circle.. (a purpose to our lives if you like)
        This enables us to move money from hand to hand so that we can call it ‘infinite economic growth’, when in fact we are creating infinite and unredeemable debt, on ourselves and on future generations
        there is no economic growth now, just economic circulation.—we ‘re just confused about which is which that’s all.

      • apologies—i somehow managed to duplicate this comment

      • Rodster says:

        There’s a rumor that Amazon plans to hire thousands of workers around the US as couriers to deliver their goods with same day service. Which should lower it’s shipping costs which I read is something like $11 billion per year. Supposedly the pay is tiered if you are an employee with Amazon or you are a subcontractor. Pay is estimated to be $15/25 per hour.

        For all the flak Amazon gets, they are just a natural progression/evolution of the brick and mortar Big Box store chains. I remember there once was a time when you had actual “hardware, stationary, pharmacy and mom and pop shoe stores.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Maybe an Uber model…. where desperate out of work people agree to compete and deliver for peanuts (I don’t imagine anyone will be making $25 per hour…)

          Check this out:

        • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          I have a hard time believing that their same-day delivery will be cheaper.

          Besides mom and pop stores, there used to department stores that would deliver your boxes so you didn’t have to struggle on the bus or street car with the boxes.

      • Even Amazon will soon be a tiny fraction of what it was. The next generation of direct from china websites are online. These are getting more sophisticated not yet at amazon level but they take paypal and at half price shipped…
        http://www.banggood.com

    • A big part of it is people keep buying more online. Every year since the advent of the internet more goods have been purchased online. Amazon is chewing up walk in retail sales in almost all categories. You could probably spend hours trying to find something they don’t carry, and with prime it gets delivered in 2 days with no shipping charge. If you don’t like the item, just go to their website – go to your account – find that item and request to send it back. They then issue all the information to UPS for the pick up and you just have to put the box with no tag on it outside. It’s so much more simple than going to a physical store and the selection of sizes far outstrips any store in a mall. You can scroll through dozens of choices for each product at Amazon, but in person the selection is very slim. Not only that but they are working out the bugs for drone delivery. Hard to compete against all that and it’s cheaper.

      The problem is that it’s greater efficiency is killing walk in retail and the jobs that go with it. Amazon can do it better with fewer employees but the country as a whole suffers. It’s another evolution in shopping.

      – First there were small specialty walk in stores in towns.
      – Then came big box stores that killed off much of small specialty and killed the small town shopping experience.
      – Now there is online stores like Amazon with numerous mega warehouses.

      Each change is more efficient, supports fewer employees and concentrates profits into fewer hands.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has lost more than $6 billion in after-hours trading on Thursday, as Amazon’s stock dropped in response to the company’s fourth quarter earnings report.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2016/01/28/jeff-bezos-loses-6-billion-as-amazon-shares-drop-after-hours/#27b5189f7fdb

        Seems Amazon is not reaping the rewards of a switch from bricks and mortar to online….

        Look at global trade numbers — the consumer is withering….

        Look at the employment numbers … the real employment numbers….

        Look at:

        http://altruix.cc/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Real-Median-Household-Income-in-the-United-States-FRED-St.png

        • Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers
          You might find your Prime membership morally indefensible after reading these stories about worker mistreatment
          http://www.salon.com/2014/02/23/worse_than_wal_mart_amazons_sick_brutality_and_secret_history_of_ruthlessly_intimidating_workers/

          No Free Lunch…low prices mean brutal work conditions
          Amazon’s system of employee monitoring is the most oppressive I have ever come across and combines state-of-the-art surveillance technology with the system of “functional foreman,” introduced by Taylor in the workshops of the Pennsylvania machine-tool industry in the 1890s. In a fine piece of investigative reporting for the London Financial Times, economics correspondent Sarah O’Connor describes how, at Amazon’s center at Rugeley, England, Amazon tags its employees with personal sat-nav (satellite navigation) computers that tell them the route they must travel to shelve consignments of goods, but also set target times for their warehouse journeys and then measure whether targets are met.

          All this information is available to management in real time, and if an employee is behind schedule she will receive a text message pointing this out and telling her to reach her targets or suffer the consequences. At Amazon’s depot in Allentown, Pennsylvania (of which more later), Kate Salasky worked shifts of up to eleven hours a day, mostly spent walking the length and breadth of the warehouse. In March 2011 she received a warning message from her manager, saying that she had been found unproductive during several minutes of her shift, and she was eventually fired. This employee tagging is now in operation at Amazon centers worldwide.

          That is like UPS

      • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        And the efficiency acts in the direction of collapsing the overall economy. We need to have workers making enough money from the system to act as consumers. Killing the hen that lays the golden eggs!

        • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          I am sorry that comments are now over for this post. The problem is that I have not been able to get a new post up for 20 days. I have been somewhat slowed down by a broken wrist, and then surgery on the broken wrist, plus lots of pain killers.

          I will try to get up a new post shortly.

          I would have made this comment as a “new” comment, except I think WordPress would lock me out too.

    • doomphd – Honolulu – I really hold a doctor of philosophy (phd) in geological sciences and study pretty doomy topics like giant landslides, volcanic eruptions and megatsunamis.
      doomphd says:

      FE, I think these data could give us some idea of the speed of collapse and an estimate of the date, assuming we are now functioning as “retail world”. But, it requires some data digging. Here’s what I think we need.

      1) Total number of retail stores and average number of employees per store for a given company from above list.
      2) Compute percentage of stores closed per region, say all of USA, NE, SW, West Coast, East Coast. Could lead to an interesting regional analysis.
      3) What is retail company profits (excess of income over operating costs + P&I on sunk capital, lease rent, insurance, etc.) critical threshold, i.e., 25, 50, 75% of sales income? If known, then what percentage loss of profits does closing say, 175 stores represent?

      Gail knows how to do this stuff far better than us. I’m just suggesting there may be more here than just qualitative information on losses over gains.

  19. project wis.dom
    kesar0 says:

    “In a way, I think the economists have made what the philosophers would call a profound ontological error. They have assumed that the economy is understandable and they have therefore assumed that if they can understand it they can control it.”

    William White, chairman of the Economic and Development Review Committee at the OECD and former chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
    http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/william-white-oecd/debt-worse-2007

    It’s really scary when you read things like this. These guys with Ivy-league diplomas and PhDs still don’t get how economy works.

    • project wis.dom
      kesar0 says:

      Another excerpt:

      So we had this problem in ’87 and the answer was easy money; then we had this problem in 1990-1991 and, again, the answer was easy money. The response to the Southeast Asian crisis was don’t raise rates even though all sorts of other indicators said you should. Then it was easy money again in 2001 and, of course, in 2007…every time the headwinds of debt have been getting higher and higher and the monetary easing required to overcome that has had to get greater and greater and the logic of that takes you to the point where you say, well, in the end monetary easing is not going to work at all and…that’s where I am today… Unfortunately, we are still, as far as I can tell, both the BIS and myself are still talking to a brick wall…

    • dolph911 says:

      The economy isn’t hard to figure out.

      Big banks give huge loans to industrial corporations and governments. The rest of us pay back these loans every time we buy something or pay taxes.

      That’s it. That’s the entirety of the global economy. The question is, can the economy work in reverse? Can it contract?

      We here know that it can’t, that’s why we are doomers.

      • richard says:

        Wrong question. Is there only one guy behind the curtain or two? Everything else is known, except maybe for the timing. For everything else, tails?, you lose, heads, they win. It’s been like that since history began.

      • project wis.dom
        kesar0 says:

        “The economy isn’t hard to figure out.”

        Maybe it wasn’t hard for you. It was hard for me. I studied 25 years economics in order to realise that it is not true science. It must be hard enough that the elite of intellectuals, graduating most prestige educational institutions on this planet is believing in sectarian ideology.

        • richard says:

          The thing that makes the economy hard to understand is the way these things are taught. There are thousands of years of monetary history, lurching from one monumental mistake to another. It could easily be fixed, but there is no profit in that.
          Even Confucius can mislead. “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” – what about access to markets, cheap capital, and technology? (H/T Schweitzer)

          • even Keynes made the classic mistake of thinking that Roosevelt’s “new deal” would end the recession of the 1930s—it brought thousands back into work, that’s true, but Adolf Hitler ended the great depression by forcing nations (in particular his own) to dig metals and hydrocarbons out of the ground, turn them into munitions, then destroy them as fast as possible.
            I’m amazed that so few “economists” have figured that out. War is the ultimate consumer society, which is why the armaments factories have to still turn out as much as possible in order to keep workers happy and politicians in jobs.
            In the UK here, we have the ultimate in wacky economics. Corbyn is against nuclear subs, but he has a rebellious workforce on his hands if he cancels them
            His solution??
            Build nuclear submarines without missiles.!!!
            The fact that the have only one purpose is irrelevant, employment must be maintained, no matter how pointless.

            • John Doyle – Seeker of truth in a world of falsehoods
              ejhr2015 says:

              What do you think China is up to with its empty cities? The same. And it will keep doing it until it runs out of real resources.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I would have thought that was obvious…. building ghost cities keeps people employed and GDP increasing.

              It also results in a massive credit crisis — because building things that are not needed means no ROI means the owners of these projects can’t pay back their loans…..

  20. Increased CO2 is harmful to our food crops which evolved and were domesticated in an atmosphere that never exceeded 300 ppm in the past 800,000 years.
    Increased CO2 in open environments leads to
    1) Increased predation by pests
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.0800568105
    2) Compromised nutritional value in food crops
    doi:10.1038/nature13179

  21. richard says:

    In more “normal” times, the yield on CCC rated bonds is circa 9%. If you throw in credit card debt at ~20%, a big chunk of the economy bleeds money to the banks. It’s non-trivial, and the bond space is far bigger than the equity space, especially so since deregulation. So, rates matter, and while high rates might seem at first sight to be good news for Finance, it’s all about the risk of default, and that comes later.
    http://wolfstreet.com/2016/02/12/how-financial-chaos-begins/
    “The average yield of CCC or lower-rated junk bonds hit the 20% mark a week ago. The last time yields had jumped to that level was on September 20, 2008, in the panic after the Lehman bankruptcy, as we pointed out. Today, that average yield is nearly 22%!”

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Insurance companies and pension plans hold a lot of debt as their “assets.” There are some rules on what kind of debt insurance companies can hold. I don’t know about pension funds.These holders of debt could be affected by defaults. Also, if they need to sell a distressed bond, they won’t get much money for it.

      • richard says:

        That debt is really only part, a large part of course, of a much bigger machine. For example, the Japanese government recently encouraged their pension fund to buy equities instead of Japanese government bonds. If bonds pay no interest and equities do, then depending on your obligatons, it may make sense to own more equity, if the risks are identical. In the end, somebody has to pay for pensions today.
        Those payments can’t be made by Central Banks. Ultimately, the payments have to come from the growth of those SME’s faced with interest rates in excess of 10% while established companies buy back their own equity with low interest debt.
        The machine is falling apart, and fixing it will be painful.

        • richard says:

          Maybe a broader view of the US debt will clarify my meaning:
          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-28/about-1-trillion-distressed-junk-bonds-ubs-responds-wall-streets-shock
          “Simply put, 25 – 30% distressed within a broader USD denominated, speculative grade universe of nearly $3tn.”
          From there it is not too difficult to see an ecomomy where the _average_ interest paid on debt is above 10%. What that means in the longer term with central banks pushing for negative interest rates, remains to me seen.

          • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
            Gail Tverberg says:

            There is a lot of distressed debt out there!

        • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          Regarding,

          In the end, somebody has to pay for pensions today.

          Maybe today, but it is hard to see how pensions can hold up. There are only so many resources to share. If pensioners are not really contributing to the process of producing those resources, it will be hard to continue paying the pensions.

  22. Copied a section from Kunstler’s latest post. What caught my eye was his comment, “Something’s got to give…” That’s the same way at times Gail has put it. Seems like there is some consensus building in the peak oil blogosphere that we’re not far away from some kind of financial dislocation.

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/between-the-loathsome-and-the-unspeakable/

    “Rumblings out of the banking system ought to inform us that trust in mutual obligations is dwindling to the same zero-peg (and under) as world-wide interest rates. Something’s got to give and something will give (perhaps starting with something that has the initials “DB”) and then a whole lot of other things will give — beating a path swiftly to disrupting the normal complex operations of daily life that put food in your microwave and gasoline in the convenience store pumps.”

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Right. I agree with Kunstler.

  23. Van Kent says:

    The Fast Eddy challange; what to do about thousands upon thousands upon thousands of hungry masses of peoples that move about and like locusts, feeding and destroying everything..

    I´ve been wondering about the hide or camouflage strategies (Ebola-signs, Radiation signs, Burning your crops etc.), and I haven´t seen this strategy; “Became a Warlord yourself” yet, so I thought I´d outline how it is done.

    First show a couple of farmers in near vicinity what all of you guys need, water, weed removal, compososting toilets-biogas plants (fertilizers), guard dogs and caltrops. Show them, don´t tell them, show them.

    Then outline a law. The survival of the majority is more important than survival of the minority. And this is done by protecting and developing the primary food production.

    To implement the law, appoint Liutenants. Don´t give the Liutenants any resources. Just tell them they have taxing rights. They have the right to tax one tenth of all resources in their territory, one Liutenant in the north, one in the south, east, west etc. Have the Liutenants build a militia of their own, with the resources they tax. Also doing the basic food production improvements promised initially.

    When masses of peoples move to “your” lands, give them the law of the land. Everybody is required to work, survival of the majority is more important than survival of the minority and this is done by improving food production capabilities as much as possible for everybody.

    Tax 50% of the taxes gathered by your Liutenants. Build a moving “cavalry” with those resources. Something that can move fast. Drill the core of your troops to exhaustion. Always remain the only leader for your elite troops. Don´t ever let somebody else lead them. Add bowling ball cannons, land mines, explosives etc. to your all terrain vehicles etc. to become a force that it will be thought twice before challanged. If your Liutenants can´t do their job, exile them. Exile everybody who breaks the laws of the land.

    When thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people wander in to “your” land, tell them the laws of the land and assimilate everybody who follow the laws and exile everybody else, By force if necessary. Do not shoot people if not first shot upon, because it breaks the primary law set by you, just exile them from your lands.

    Expand “your” lands as fast as possible. Appoint new Liutenants, exile everybody who breaks the laws of the land. Build up the Liutenants militias and most important your elite shock and awe elite troops.

    When a bigger army is met, make a treaty what the boundaries are, and how you will help each other out when a new threat is coming your way.

    Just been wondering why we don´t plan to become warlords ourselves, if we can clearly see the masses to be too large, that hiding is not an real option?

    • xabier says:

      Van Kent

      At the end of the Roman Empire, at least one bishop/abbot went around buying up the slaves resulting from all the wars, who he then gave a choice: join one of my monasteries and submit to the Rule, or go out on a mission to convert heathens and found other monasteries.

  24. Van Kent says:

    The Fast Eddy challange; what to do about thousands upon thousands upon thousands of hungry masses of peoples that move about and like locusts, feeding and destroying everything..

    I´ve been wondering about the hide or camouflage strategies (Ebola-signs, Radiation signs, Burning your crops etc.), and I haven´t seen this strategy; “Became a Warlord yourself” yet, so I thought I´d outline how it is done.

    First show a couple of farmers in near vicinity what all of you guys need, water, weed removal, compososting toilets-biogas plants (fertilizers), guard dogs and caltrops. Show them, don´t tell them, show them.

    Then outline a law. The survival of the majority is more important than survival of the minority. And this is done by protecting and developing the primary food production.

    To implement the law, appoint Liutenants. Don´t give the Liutenants any resources. Just tell them they have taxing rights. They have the right to tax one tenth of all resources in their territory, one Liutenant in the north, one in the south, east, west etc. Have the Liutenants build a militia of their own, with the resources they tax. Also doing the basic food production improvements promised initially.

    When masses of peoples move to “your” lands, give them the law of the land. Everybody is required to work, survival of the majority is more important than survival of the minority and this is done by improving food production capabilities as much as possible for everybody.

    Tax 50% of the taxes gathered by your Liutenants. Build a moving “cavalry” with those resources. Something that can move fast. Drill the core of your troops to exhaustion. Always remain the only leader for your elite troops. Don´t ever let somebody else lead them. Add bowling ball cannons, land mines, explosives etc. to your all terrain vehicles etc. to become a force that it will be thought twice before challanged. If your Liutenants can´t do their job, exile them. Exile everybody who breaks the laws of the land.

    When thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people wander in to “your” land, tell them the laws of the land and assimilate everybody who follow the laws and exile everybody else, By force if necessary. Do not kill, because it breaks the primary law set by you, just exile them from your lands.

    Expand “your” lands as fast as possible. Appoint new Liutenants, exile everybody who breaks the laws of the land. Build up the Liutenants militias and most important your elite shock and awe elite troops.

    When a bigger army is met, make a treaty what the boundaries are, and how you will help each other out when a new threat is coming your way.

    Just been wondering why we don´t plan to become warlords ourselves, if we can clearly see the masses to be too large, that hiding is not an real option?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      The problem is – you encounter the same problems that farmers have always encountered…

      You are trying to defend something that cannot be defended — open fields of food….

      Also — farmers are no generally vicious pricks…. nor do most have any military training…

      You will be trying to defend the indefensible against desperate — violent — and no doubt trained killers….. there are loads of ex military types in America…

      Sure you can try to co-opt them but they would have problems defending a farm — and they’d no doubt enslave you….

      Finally – how many bullets and guns do you have? You would need literally thousands if you intend to go to war with the hordes….

      • Van Kent says:

        Eddy, by having a law of the land and taxing rights, then you take everything you need from the land that you control.

        The point is creating a law and a lawful authority (you), then you can recruit the crazy military types as your Liutenants (and give them lawful taxing rights).

        First you have one farm. Then 10. Then 10km2, then 20km2 if you are successfull, then your law is stronger then other laws, and finally you have 100km2, 200km2 as a “bufferzone”.

        Becoming a warlord, or having a law of the land is not something done overnight, it´s slowly built up. Guns are of no importance, others have them. The key is the law. And taxing rights to uphold that law.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          ‘The point is creating a law and a lawful authority (you), then you can recruit the crazy military types as your Liutenants (and give them lawful taxing rights).’

          You think that men like this are going to be happy with taxing rights?

          Oh and btw such leaders are not necessarily crazy …. they just understand that that might is right — and they will take everything… not just tax money — because they will understand that you a) have nothing to offer them that they cannot take and b) they have the guns and you have nothing

          They will not take orders from permaculture expert — they will enslave the farmer.

      • “You are trying to defend something that cannot be defended — open fields of food….”

        Why? Why not guard bridges, mountain passes, fjords, the choke points around the farms, rather than trying to guard the entire perimeter, or each individual farm?

        Besides, the idea of cavalry is rapid response; as long as they have some means of signalling, the cavalry can quickly encircle any intruders in an open field.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Um…. I suppose because you will be too busy … working in the field?

          Probably because your farm cannot produce enough food to feed dozens of armed guards + your family?

          Could it be because nobody on your farm has military training and some of the people coming for your food will be nasty bastards who have experience of killing and perhaps even military training.

          Or maybe the problem lies in the fact that there will be too many people — and you don’t have enough bullets to kill them all when they overrun the farm?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dIBL4tYQPI

          And finally — some of the people at the gate will be family members, friends, neighbours…. many will definitely be women and children…. are you going to pull the trigger?

          I don’t know a lot about military tactics — but it is quite obvious — trying to defend a farm — an open space — from hundreds if not thousands of people who are desperate to get your carrots — who will have weapons…..

          Well common sense says…. that is possible only in Delusistan….

  25. The Goat says:

    The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch
    By Francisco Toro – February 20, 2014 1040 79292

    San Cristobal ayer
    Facebook
    Twitter
    FEBRUARY 20TH, 2014

    Dear International Editor:

    Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.

    What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

    Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.

    People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street.

    And that’s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitants has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook “block” campaign.

    What we saw were not “street clashes”, what we saw is a state-hatched offensive to suppress and terrorize its opponents.

    Here at Caracas Chronicles we’re doing what it can to document the crisis, but there’s only so much one tiny, zero-budget blog can do.

    After the major crackdown on the streets of large (and small) Venezuelan cities last night, I expected some kind of response in the major international news outlets this morning. I understand that with an even bigger and more photogenic freakout ongoing in an even more strategically important country, we weren’t going to be front-page-above-the-fold, but I’m staggered this morning to wake up, scan the press and find…

    Nothing.

    As of 11 a.m. this morning, the New York Times World Section has…nothing.

    NYTimes
    NYTimes – nothing
    .
    .
    .

    The Guardian’s World News has some limp why-are-you-protesting? piece that made some sense before last night’s tropical pogrom, but none after it.

    Guardian
    The Guardian: Fluff
    So…basically nothing.
    .
    .
    .

    The BBC is still leading its Latin America section on a Leopoldo story, as though last night had been just business as usual.

    BBC Americas
    BBC – Would you guess a sort of pogrom took place in Venezuela from looking at that?
    .
    .
    .

    CNN is also out chasing the thing that was the story in the old Venezuela:

    1964465_10152219869700325_463488673_n
    CNN: Your breaking news is broken.
    .
    .
    .

    Al Jazeera English never got the memo:

    1939203_10152219838200325_311951454_o
    AJE: NPI
    .
    .
    .

    Even places that love to hate the Venezuelan government are asleep at the wheel:

    Fox News
    Et tu, Ailes?
    .
    .
    .

    The level of disengagement on display is deeply shocking.

    Venezuela’s domestic media blackout is joined by a parallel international blackout, one born not of censorship but of disinterest and inertia. It’s hard to express the sense of helplessness you get looking through these pages and finding nothing. Venezuela burns; nobody cares.

    Let me put this clearly. Y’all need to step it up. The time to discard what you thought you knew about the way things work in Venezuela is now.

    Quico

    (Damnit, there’s just no way to stay retired in these circumstances…)

    Related
    Venezuela: The Game Changed Last Night
    February 20, 2014
    In “Politics”
    The war on journalists gets worse
    April 4, 2014
    In “Human Rights”
    The Mugabization of the Chavista State
    March 5, 2004
    Similar post

  26. Fast Eddy says:

    Japan’s inflation falls back to zero in January
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/business/view/japans-inflation-falls-back-to-zero-in-january

    I am picturing this:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/–sJoJuWYhDY/UmXT7Q9FXRI/AAAAAAAAB0w/eUqvZZL8lds/s1600/nastar_centerfuge_.jpg

    The revolutions are increasing ….. and increasing … and increasing….. the man inside is spewing his breakfast….. but it continues to spin faster… his eyeballs pop out of his head…

    http://www.wamplerfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Marty_Feldman_3.jpg

    Faster and faster it goes…. it’s spinning so fast that it’s glowing dull orange….

    The centrifuge comes off it’s axis and flies into the parking lot outside the building… (get the hell out of the way someone shouts)

    Someone opens the door and there’s just blood and guts everywhere….

    • Stefeun says:

      The increasing inefficiency of the QE programs makes me think of the economy as an old sick person in terminal phase: you can feed her as much as you want, she won’t recover because the brakes in her metabolism are now so big that she cannot assimilate more than strictly necessary to run the machine at low speed.

      The injections of vitamins used to have some temporary boost effect, but now they’re evacuated directly. Same as money injections have no effect on real economy, and directly go inflate financial bubbles.

      If this analogy has some truth in it, it means that injecting money directly into the real economy (sort of helicopter money) wouldn’t work either, at least no longer than an injection of adrenalin straight into the heart.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I have been reading that LNG prices are falling rapidly. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/02/25/energy-price-war-spreads-to-gas-as-us-shale-storms-global-market/

      According to the article, the price of LNG has dropped from $17 to $6. This will tend to add to deflation in the future.

      The article is about new US LNG exports:

      The US has exported its first shipment of natural gas in a historic move that shifts the balance of power in the global energy market and kicks off a struggle with Russia for market share.

      For the US, the start of LNG exports is a bitter-sweet victory. The first cargoes come just as the market crumbles. The price of LNG in Europe has dropped from $12 to $5.35 over the past three years.

      Once US LNG hits the market, will prices drop even lower?

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    World trade records biggest reversal since crisis

    Weaker demand from emerging markets made 2015 the worst year for world trade since the aftermath of the global financial crisis, highlighting rising fears about the health of the global economy.

    The value of goods that crossed international borders last year fell 13.8 per cent in dollar terms — the first contraction since 2009 — according to the Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis’s World Trade Monitor. Much of the slump was due to a slowdown in China and other emerging economies.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/9e2533d6-dbd8-11e5-9ba8-3abc1e7247e4.html#axzz41CyGs2gQ

    Elmer Fudd would say ‘this bwutal… vewy vewy … brewtal’

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      That is a huge drop!

  28. The last time atmospheric CO2 was at 400 parts per million was during the ancient Pliocene Era, three to five million years ago, and humans didn’t exist.
    – Global average temperatures were 3 to 4 degrees C warmer than today (5.4 to 7.2 degrees F).
    – Polar temperatures were as much as 10 degrees C warmer than today (18 degrees F).
    – The Arctic was ice free.
    – Sea level was between five and 40 meters higher (16 to 130 feet) than today.
    – Coral reefs suffered mass die-offs.
    “The extreme speed at which carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing is unprecedented. An increase of 10 parts per million might have needed 1,000 years or more to come to pass during ancient climate change events.

    Be careful what you wish for …..

    • Fast Eddy says:

      So how do you propose we stop this man-induced climate change?

      • Fast Eddy, it will work out on its own manner. My own feeling, theory is too strong a word, humans are just a bridge to the next step in direction of life here on Earth. No doubt we humans have provided the ingredients for the fodder in the stage of evolution.
        We have been extremely successful in creating new matter for combinations to form new complexity…. Maybe life will make use of that nuclear waste after all.
        Do I feel humans are critical, special or will be missed? Not at all…we are just here….
        I hope we did serve some “purpose” in the scheme of the universe unfolding.
        Than again, perhaps not.
        Keep on plugging, you and I are very fortunate to be alive at this pivotal time, come what may. Hey, just turned 58…do I have any reason to complain about what will happen?

      • hkeithhenson
        hkeithhenson says:

        “So how do you propose we stop this man-induced climate change?”

        Thousands of power satellites. Latest business case spreadsheet analysis makes a case for two cent per kWh power, enough that the power can be used to make $60/bbl synthetic oil and $2/gallon synthetic gasoline.

        Of course there will be people who insist that their BMW only drinks “natural” gasoline, like they drink Perrier water. They can buy it in six packs.

        • Keith, what 401k mutual fund do you recommend for all these….I want to get on the ground floor!

          • hkeithhenson
            hkeithhenson says:

            “what 401k mutual fund”

            Assuming you are serious . . . Reaction Engines stock is not public, but I think British Aerospace bought a lot of their stock recently so you could invest there. For the synthetic oil plants, Sasol gained most of their experience when South Africa had to make transport fuels from coal when they were isolated back during apartheid. They built a $1 B plant in Qatar that makes 34,000 bbl of diesel fuel a day from natural gas. But Shell probably has more experience with really large gas to liquid plants.

            I really don’t know. Spent most of my time on the raw physics and economics and have not given a lot of thought to which companies will make out. Airbus wants to build the airframes for Skylon, bad enough they have offered to put in some of their own money. Rolls Royce might build the engines. Perhaps someone will set up a fund, otherwise you are just going to have to keep up with things as they develop.

            • Thanks Keith, I’ll keep up with things as they progress, just like the mini nuclear power plants. I’m all in and writing the FED to fund it 100%.

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              “writing the FED to fund it 100%”

              Even if you are not joking, that won’t help. The US government can’t do it at all, at least not with the current distribution of authority. NASA can’t work on power satellites because they are an energy project, and DoE can’t because they are a space project. Peter Sage talks about this in a TEDx talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_m6tlF901g The section where he discusses this is about 4 minutes into the talk. (Sage is one heck of a good speaker, but lacks the technical background to run a power satellite business.)

              The US would have to set up something new, like the TVA was set up in the 1930s. I don’t consider this likely. The most likely (I think) is that power from space will be developed elsewhere, perhaps Japan or China with the UK or the EU providing the transport.

            • Yes, of course, China…..after they finish building their aviation industry, maybe you and I will live to see the first blast off from Peking. Japan? Nope, EU?, nope there will be none around soon.

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              “first blast off from Peking”

              Sorry, the geometry/orbital mechanics/economics just won’t allow it. For rockets you need to be smack on the equator. Rocket planes like the Skylon will let you go a few hundred km north or south because they can fly to the equator on the way up and turn east at little or no cost. What gets you is the payload reduction from the fuel you need to change the orbital plane.

              How quickly Skylon flies may depend on how serious governments take global warming. I will be talking to the REL engineers a week from today. Will ask them how fast Skylon could be flying if the project had government backing like the Manhattan project.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Yes… of course….

      • “So how do you propose we stop this man-induced climate change?”

        Between the fertilizers, oil, corexit and all, the Gulf of Mexico has a lot of dead zone. I think that is the perfect place for an experimental Save the World project to stimulate massive plankton blooms by seeding the ocean with iron fillings, sulfur, calcium carbonate, whatever it takes.

    • doomphd – Honolulu – I really hold a doctor of philosophy (phd) in geological sciences and study pretty doomy topics like giant landslides, volcanic eruptions and megatsunamis.
      doomphd says:

      Actually, hominids which looked a lot like early humans, bipedal, a bit smaller, did exist in the Pliocene Era. Somehow they managed to eek out a living in Africa, or we all wouldn’t be here discussing climate change.

      The threat is not against humans per se, it is against their civilizations, which support their vast population.

      • bandits101
        bandits101 says:

        Hominins …actually the AVERAGE temp was 2-3 deg warmer and primate distribution declined. What is coming down the pike has never, not ever been experienced by humans or hominids. Continents were situated up to 250 Km different from today. It’s really hard to relate life epochs past to what will be experienced in the near future.

  29. Fast Eddy says:

    From the comments section of this article (where seldom does one find a comment of interest):

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-25/we-are-heading-anarchy-official-says-eu-will-completely-break-down-10-days

    ‘Stop trying to oust Assad. Quit bombing Syria. Send them all home. Problem solved.’

    It does get rather irritating to listen to people moan about the refugee crisis in Europe considering it is NATO that caused the crisis….

    Does anyone think there would be refugees pouring across the borders if the west had not destroyed Iraq, Libya and now Syria?

    Can we get some violin music for all those Europeans who are howling about the dirty brown men peeing in the public swimming pools….

    • Rodster says:

      “It does get rather irritating to listen to people moan about the refugee crisis in Europe considering it is NATO that caused the crisis….

      Does anyone think there would be refugees pouring across the borders if the west had not destroyed Iraq, Libya and now Syria?”

      You’d be surprised how MANY believe Global Warming is the cause of the refugee crisis.

    • “Does anyone think there would be refugees pouring across the borders if the west had not destroyed Iraq, Libya and now Syria?”

      Sure, just less. There are ten times as many Arabs in the MENA area now as in 1945. They just got hit with a major drought from ~2006 to ~ 2011, causing massive loss of farmland and livestock. Oil revenues have severely collapsed, reducing ability for the government to provide subsidized oil products, food, water and handouts. The EU does not, as far as I can tell, have a unified border services, so controlling immigration would still have been left to Greece, who still would be broke and unable to stem the flow on their own.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Of course refugees have always arrived in Europe for different reasons… but the mass exodus from the MENA we are seeing is as a result of us blowing their countries to pieces….

    • Nemisis2 says:

      The West? – You mean the USA; get it right.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      EU will completely break down in 10 days from refugee crisis? That seems a little extreme–but I can understand why Norway wouldn’t want to volunteer to take a large number in.

  30. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-25/biggest-wave-yet-of-u-s-oil-defaults-looms-as-bust-intensifies

    Biggest Wave Yet of U.S. Oil Defaults Looms as Bust Intensifies

    In less than a month, the U.S. oil bust could claim two of its biggest victims yet.

    Energy XXI Ltd. and SandRidge Energy Inc., oil and gas drillers with a combined $7.6 billion of debt, didn’t pay interest on their bonds last week. They have until the middle of next month to either pay the interest, work out a deal with their creditors or face a default that could tip them into bankruptcy.

    If the two companies fail in March, it would be the biggest cluster of oil and gas defaults in a month since energy prices plunged in early 2015.

    “We’re just beginning to see how bad 2016 is going to be,” said Becky Roof, managing director for turnaround and restructuring with consulting firm AlixPartners.

    The U.S. shale boom was fueled by junk debt. Companies spent more on drilling than they earned selling oil and gas, plugging the difference with other peoples’ money. Drillers piled up a staggering $237 billion of borrowings at the end of September, according to data compiled on the 61 companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence index of North American independent oil and gas producers. U.S. crude production soared to its highest in more than three decades.

    Scroll down at the link until you get to the debt wall bar graph – WOW!!! 2016 debts coming due is hardly anything compared to subsequent years, especially 2020. Mind blowing debt!

    • Fast Eddy says:

      The crescendo is building…..

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      There is a lot of the debt out there. Also quite a bit non oil and gas is distressed too.

  31. hkeithhenson
    hkeithhenson says:

    While looking for something recently I found a book I didn’t know about that has a few mentions about the early days of the space colony meme. It’s _Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight._ I bought a copy. Leafing through it today I found something that’s related to recent comments on composting neighbors.

    ‘Eric Hannah, O’Neill’s assistant, was doing the same thing, spending much of his time speaking at universities, museums, and community groups, filling the auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and fielding questions from Rotarians in Indiana. Hannah still recalls one of the questions he got from a high school science teacher about life in a space colony: “What would you do with the dead bodies?” Hannah didn’t tell the guy that Keith Henson, the resident agricultural expert, had already suggested that they would make good compost.’

    [page 23]

    At the end of the first chapter there is a couple of paragraphs from an article I wrote, “Memes, L5 and the Religion of the Space Colonies” that was in the L5 News September 1985

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    By the mid-1980s, as preparations got under way to merge the energetic, activist L5 with the more sedate National Space Institute established in 1974 by Wernher von Braun, Keith Henson penned his own lament to l5 and the O’Neillian vision:

    “[L5] has, sadly, been much less successful in accomplishing goals implicit in the meme, or even–if we are honest–in making noticeable progress in that direction. In 1975, the founders were expecting a program (such as SPS) to start by the early 80s. Space colonies would follow naturally from large scale economic activities, and we hoped to disband in space by the Society’s 20th anniversary. Here, in the tenth anniversary year, some issues of this magazine go by without a mention of space colonies or projects that might lead to them, and we are about to merge with NSI . . .

    “Memes as replicating structures can die out or become completely inactive. Most memes lose their intense hold on people with the passage of time, especially when the promise of the meme is at great variance with reality. So it is with the space colony meme. The gradual displacement of human habitation with a general pro-space theme in the Society and the pending merger with NSI and loss of a clear goal are byproducts of this divergence.”

    It is as fine an epitaph for O’Neill’s vision of space colonies as any. In 1987 the l5 Society officially merged with the National Space Institute, and the combined groups took the name National Space Society, which continues to this day.

    ^^^^^^^^
    [Page 31]

    The whole meme article is reproduced here and in the preceding post.

    http://cfpm.org/~majordom/memetics/2000/16178.html

    • bandits101
      bandits101 says:

      “Most memes lose their intense hold on people with the passage of time, especially when the promise of the meme is at great variance with reality. So it is with the space colony meme.”……reminds me of the space solar BS.

      • hkeithhenson
        hkeithhenson says:

        “reminds me of the space solar BS”

        Power satellites were the original economic reason for space colonies. Could be that they never come about and no other energy source to replace fossil fuels comes along either. Then we could get Fast Eddy’s world, i.e., a big population contraction through starvation, epidemics and wars. It’s happened before, all you need to do is read Diamond’s book.

        Peter Glaser’s concept didn’t make economic sense because of high lift cost. O’Neill tried to make it work by mining the moon for materials and using a large human population in space to build power satellites. Like Moses he didn’t live see the promised land.

        Has technology now advanced far enough? It’s not hard to figure out that the lift cost needs to come down by a factor of about 100 for power satellites to make economic sense. SpaceX will get the cost down by a factor of ten, but that won’t do it. Reaction Engines Skylon and beamed energy propulsion above LEO looks like it will. Even counting $10 B for Skylon development, the total cost to reach profitability comes in short of $40 B (if the I have the financial model correct).

        If one person wants to check the spreadsheet assumptions and formula, I can send them the .xls file. If more than one wants to look at it, I can put it up as a Google doc spreadsheet. It may be that I have made major errors and it is BS.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The SBSP concept also has a number of problems:

          The large cost of launching a satellite into space

          Inaccessibility: Maintenance of an earth-based solar panel is relatively simple, but construction and maintenance on a solar panel in space would typically be done telerobotically. In addition to cost, astronauts working in GEO orbit are exposed to unacceptably high radiation dangers and risk and cost about one thousand times more than the same task done telerobotically.

          The space environment is hostile; panels suffer about 8 times the degradation they would on Earth.[36]

          Space debris is a major hazard to large objects in space, and all large structures such as SBSP systems have been mentioned as potential sources of orbital debris.[37]

          The broadcast frequency of the microwave downlink (if used) would require isolating the SBSP systems away from other satellites. GEO space is already well used and it is considered unlikely the ITU would allow an SPS to be launched.[38]

          The large size and corresponding cost of the receiving station on the ground.

          The possibility of energy losses during several phases of conversion from “photon to electron to photon back to electron,” as Elon Musk has stated.[39]

          • hkeithhenson
            hkeithhenson says:

            “The SBSP concept also has a number of problems:”

            You solve the problems, or you don’t build them. Simple as that.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The SBSP concept also has a number of problems:

              The large cost of launching a satellite into space

              Inaccessibility: Maintenance of an earth-based solar panel is relatively simple, but construction and maintenance on a solar panel in space would typically be done telerobotically. In addition to cost, astronauts working in GEO orbit are exposed to unacceptably high radiation dangers and risk and cost about one thousand times more than the same task done telerobotically.

              The space environment is hostile; panels suffer about 8 times the degradation they would on Earth.[36]

              Space debris is a major hazard to large objects in space, and all large structures such as SBSP systems have been mentioned as potential sources of orbital debris.[37]

              The broadcast frequency of the microwave downlink (if used) would require isolating the SBSP systems away from other satellites. GEO space is already well used and it is considered unlikely the ITU would allow an SPS to be launched.[38]

              The large size and corresponding cost of the receiving station on the ground.

              The possibility of energy losses during several phases of conversion from “photon to electron to photon back to electron,” as Elon Musk has stated.[39]

              I’d like to own a machine that would allow me to go back in time — or forward in time — then return to present day.

    • Didn’t notice the previous posting of this article. Can be deleted.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I can’t imagine there are many companies hiring people with these oil and gas credentials either. Look for a job at a local McDonald’s?

  32. Fast Eddy says:

    NatGas Tumbles To 16-Year Lows

    More “unequivocally good” news. On the heels of a smaller than expected drawdown in natural gas inventories (-117 vs -135bcf), Nattie futures have tumbled to their lowest intraday level since 1999…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-25/natgas-tumbles-17-year-lows

    Expect more layoffs….

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Somehow, you need buyers who can afford all of these high-priced fuels.

  33. Fast Eddy says:

    Another blow to the beast…..

    Halliburton Cuts 5,000 Jobs, 8% Of Workforce
    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/halliburton-to-cut-5000-more-jobs-20160225-01056

  34. I was happy and surprised to see your excellent comment on a former post published at Peak Oil News: http://peakoil.com/consumption/the-only-eroei-that-matters-is-energy-return-on-human-labor-invested

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Thanks! I had seen it published on Facebook, but I didn’t realize it was on Peak Oil News too.

  35. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    An article on carbon farming. With an aerial picture of Las Canadas in Mexico.

    Bottom Line:
    *We can’t just take carbon out of the air and put it in the soil and biomass, and expect to meet carbon targets, because the oceans will give up carbon to restore balance between ocean and air.
    *Carbon in soil is essential to sustainable agriculture. Gabe Brown in ND makes it work.
    *Whatever else we do, getting carbon back into the soil is essential.

    Not mentioned is the water vapor issue. Water vapor is a warming factor. Less carbon in the soil means more water vapor in the air…and vice versa.

    Don Stewart

  36. Van Kent says:

    Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.. Paul doesn´t understand energy or economics, but he knows his environmental stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NlgKiM3i-o

    Summary: Arctic Blue Ocean Event, methane and phytoplankton die off will make the coming decades and centuries.. interesting..

    Eddy, it´s hard for me to believe in your Elders, because I don´t see it as a much of a plan, to own the house all by yourself, by having it blown to smithereens first..

    • Tom says:

      Paul seems to be getting a little frustrated. He should just relax. He’s wasting his time releasing these videos. Significant reductions in emissions would lead to a violent revolution. It would also collapse the global economy and cause the deaths of billions. Not going to happen voluntarily that’s for sure.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I am unclear as to your point.

      Are you saying that the Elders should be able to stop climate change?

      If so then that would mean we have to stop burning fossil fuels — right?

      But if we stop burning fossil fuels without an alternative cheap. clean energy source — then the world collapses and billions if not everyone dies.

      The Elders are just men — no different than say the Roman Senate — no different than the various emperors who have run the world in the past….

      They are not gods.

      They cannot turn a circle into a square… they cannot make 1+1 = 8.9….

      And they most certainly cannot do anything about the end of cheap to extract oil. They do not have a magic wand that can be waived and presto — here is infinite cheap energy!

      They are ruled by the laws of physics.

      They are however not idly standing by — as we have seen they have been busy for many years now doing ‘whatever it takes’ to delay the inevitable crash of BAU.

      Without out their policies we would have started eating boiled rat decades ago….

      • Yoshua says:

        How much of the oil produced today belongs to the category “cheap to extract oil” ? If the expensive oil determents how much the economy should contract to find equilibrium… then… where are we today ? Is there a tipping point at 75/25 or is the tipping point at 50/50 when the economy collapses ?

      • Nemisis2 says:

        “The Elders are just men — no different than say the Roman Senate — no different than the various emperors who have run the world in the past….

        They are not gods.”

        That’s right – it’s the shape-shifting Reptilians you really have to watch out for!

  37. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Fast Eddy continues to insist that I answer the question ‘What do I do when the ravenous and hungry hordes show up?’

    I won’t answer the question as he poses it, but I will work around the edges a little. As usual, I will marshall several bits of evidence.

    First up is Gene Logsdon’s article today:
    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-02-25/organic-farming-news-almost-too-good
    Gene has returned from a farming conference full of good cheer. I know that feeling. I attend two major farming and gardening conferences each year and always return refreshed and optimistic. So my first piece of advice is to become part of the solution to a real problem. If you remember Andy Griffith selling VitaChex in A Face in the Crowd, you are familiar with the opposite of being part of a solution.

    My second exhibit is the article I mentioned yesterday:
    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-02-24/why-we-consume-neural-design-and-sustainability
    We need to be constantly discovering new things and learning. Now compare the learning opportunities afforded by searching in a rain forest for your food and shopping in a grocery store. Somehow, we have been seduced to follow a path of least resistance, rather than the path which offers the most neuro-rewards.

    My third exhibit is a statement by Dan Ariely, the Behavioral Economics professor at Duke:
    ‘Work needs to be meaningful.’
    I suggest that you compare the work Marjory Wildcraft describes in her video of the visit to the Tarahumara. She helps harvest some beans in a field which the Indians had planted with seeds they had saved over many generations. The beans are packed onto a burro, which is led back to the house, where a child expertly unloads the beans. The beans will be stored, probably in homemade containers, and cooked over a wood fire (albeit probably in store-bought pots). Then they will eat the beans, which provide the calories to start the whole process over again. Compare to the ‘work’ that Andy Griffith does in promoting Vita-Chex.

    My fourth exhibit is the new book The Carbon Farming Solution, by Eric Toensmeier. A key to survival is clean air, clean water, clean food, and meaningful work. I’ll elaborate on this book quite a bit.

    From the Foreword:
    ‘the very valuable and vast information that the author has collected…. progress made in pushing the agriculture and food systems agenda in the climate discussions… attention is now being paid… Is it enough? Not yet, but with this book being available to both practitioners and policy constituencies, the excuse of lack of evidence to get started has been removed.

    The main driver for a transformation toward carbon farming will come from the demand side, both for a climate change reversal and for quality and nutritious food.

    Key to the transformation process is an enabling policy environment…. The future of agriculture and food systems is certainly not a world of corn, soybeans, and palm oil.

    Knowing that today we produce enough food to feed 14 billion people…feed 9.5 billion people’

    And from the Introduction:
    ‘Millions of people around the world use sustainable agricultural practices, but people in Western nations are largely unfamiliar with them… these ‘carbon farming’ practices could play a critical role in preventing catastrophic climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere and safely storing it in soils and perennial vegetation.’

    Then follows an overview of the developments at Las Canadas, near Vera Cruz, Mexico. Briefly, a man named Ricardo Romero took over this degraded land, which sits in a fragmenting rain forest. The fragmentation is largely the result cutting down the forest to use the land for bad grazing practices. The co-op formed a financially successful dairy. Then, in 2006, David Holmgren visited. As a result, the co-op turned toward more self-reliance and away from the ‘nutrient export’ model implied by the commercial dairy. Today, Las Canadas is a showplace for responsible agriculture using many familiar annual plants. Crop yields are as good as or better than conventional farming.

    Then, Toensmeier lays out the main purpose of his book:
    ‘It is perennial crops, however, that offer the highest potential of any food production system,
    particularly when they are grown in diverse multilayered systems.
    these systems can be challenging to establish and manage,
    and many people are not interested in changing their diet to new and unfamiliar perennial crops’

    And that last paragraph, I believe, presents anyone with a worthy challenge on many fronts. A ‘diverse multilayered system’ means that more human labor is required to harvest. The neat GMO rows which are all the same size and all mature on the same day and which can be harvested by remote control are a thing of the past. We have to have real people reacting to what they see in front of them…which is what Marjory was doing among the Tarahumara and what Ariely describes as essential for human flourishing. Likewise, designing the system and installing it and nursing it to maturity all require really intelligent human action. Finally, adapting one’s diet to a hundred different crops rather than the 4 crops which dominate the diet in the West is a psychological challenge…not so much a physical challenge.

    My fifth exhibit is the discussion of Agroforestry:
    ‘Generally speaking, agroforestry systems sequester less carbon than natural forest, but long-term agroforestry systems can sequester equal or higher amounts of carbon than adjacent natural forests. This is likely due to the high proportion of nitrogen-fixing trees, the presence of livestock manure, and the active participation of human managers.’

    I call to your remembrance Toby Hemenway’s exultation by the demonstration at the Singing Frogs Farm in California that the intensively cropped farm could host more wild birds than adjacent natural areas. Humans CAN use their big brains and get good results.

    My sixth exhibit is the mention that Multilayered horticulture has more potential, per acre, than modifying destructive industrial agricultural practices, but maintaining the same crops. For example, if you convert your yard to an intensively managed multilayered horticultural paradise, while your neighborhood farmer stops tilling but continues to grow annual crops, you will sequester a lot more carbon per acre in your yard. There is enough yard acreage in the US to make this a really important topic. In short, we both need the professional farmers to move in the direction of less destruction and ultimately multilayered, very diverse systems, while the yards of rich people need to move really rapidly.

    I want to add that many of the problems which people think are ‘normal’ in trying to grow crops are a result of bad architecture. We have compacted soils which prevent root development, we have carbon depleted soils which prevent water retention, we plow which destroys the soil food web and encourages disease and pests, and so forth. Carbon farming, by its nature, addresses most of these issues. Once you have successfully made the transition, things get easier.

    But there is a lot of work to be done to get to where we need to go. Take a cue from Gene Logsdon and become part of the solution. Maybe you won’t have to slaughter hungry people at your door.

    Don Stewart

    • Veggie says:

      Hi Don,

      Good write up.
      I run into a bit of a snag wrapping my head around one issue.
      Currently we need massive mechanical farming and automation to feed the 6+ billion people on the planet. Carbon farming can only work in small to medium farms feeding much smaller populations, not the 2000+ acre farms currently handled by massive combines and fertilizer sprayers.
      In order to make the leap from massive mechanized farms to those of the carbon type, I suspect we will need a die-off in the magnitude of -3 billion people.
      This is where I have trouble reconciling what the world will be like during the die off.
      Desperate and ugly I assume. But it all depends how rapidly things happen.
      After that….smaller farms should work.
      By the way, I recall reading somewhere that if a rapid collapse were to occur, much of the edible wildlife would be hunted and wiped out for food within 1 year.

      food for thought,
      Veggie

      • Nope—we are all going to be peasants, happy and friendly, dancing round the maypole of a spring morning, saying howdy neighbour,

        Oh—while we’re starving to death—almost forgot that part.

        • Van Kent says:

          I believe it was Caesar who wrote that he could always find volunteers for a quick and certain death. But asking for volunteers for long strenuous labour, not so easy.

          I believe Veggie is right, after most people get themselves killed, during the first chaotic months, another stage/phase starts.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          What – we won’t be singing koombaya and rejoicing over the downfall of the bankers?

          No way!

      • Don Stewart says:

        Veggie
        My guess as to how it will work out. The millions of people who are carbon farming already will continue to do what they do, even as the ‘first world’ slaughters itself. The world will repopulated from these millions…provided the first world doesn’t eradicate all life.

        In the first world, some people will survive because they are using methods which, while today dependent on a fossil fueled economy, are fundamentally about photosynthesis. If a farm can produce food, but fossil fuels disappear and the farm cannot transport the food into town and sell it, then the farm can still survive. But the people in town cannot. If the farm has been ‘regeneratively’ farmed so that soils are deep and carbon rich, then the farm may do very well.

        Since I live in the first world, it is to my advantage to do everything I can to support a transition. I also need the meaningful work…just as Ariely says. Cynicism is just a recipe for depression and death. Women and whiskey don’t actually work.

        Don Stewart

        • Veggie says:

          Don Stewart,

          Yep you could be right.
          After the first “wave” passes there may be a much slower world left to move on.
          One book comes to mind…
          “A World made by Hand” by James Kunstler.
          A novel about life after the “big change”. Life without electricity.

          Veggie

          • Don Stewart says:

            Veggie
            I liked all of Kunstler’s Post Apocalyptic novels, and eagerly await the next one in a few months.

            I thought he got a lot of things right….Don Stewart

        • Fast Eddy says:

          ‘But the people in town cannot’

          Sure they can — they just get in their cars along with their guns and ammo — and take the short drive down to the organic farms (chemical dependent farms will have non crops so they will just drive past those)…..

          Then they show up at the gate and say hey Don — we are hungry — can you help us out?

          And Don says sorry that you and your children are starving — but we barely have enough for ourselves…. and there are just so many of you (as he looks at the crowd that is now numbering in the hundreds)….

          What happens next?

          Does the hungry horde say ‘thanks for your time Don – we understand that you can’t help — you enjoy your Little House on the Prairie — we’ll just try our luck down the road hunting rats’

          Or does the hungry horde do something like this

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dIBL4tYQPI

          Vote Now!

          a) or b)

      • DJ says:

        Big game will probably be extinct. Not small game, rabbits breed like rabbits and many birds lay 20 eggs. Incidently boar breed like 100+ kg rats, so if some survive they will recover.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      So more of the same….. I am not interested in more epic tales of how to grow pumpkins….

      Because what is the point in growing pumpkins — if I have not figured out a way to keep the hordes from eating them?

      What I want are some strategies for dealing with friends, family, neighbours and violent men who will come for my pumpkins.

      It’s a good question Don. In fact it is the the most important question for anyone who has adopted the farming.

      There is no way that you are going to be left alone to grow your pumpkins. Absolutely no possible way.

      What will you do?

  38. Veggie says:

    Van

    Firstly one has to wonder if “after the collapse” will be a friendly place where one can grow vegetables and a few animals without being overthrown by local warlords.
    Assuming that one can be left alone to run a small farm holding, the second issue is size.
    Even small farming is pretty labor intensive and scaling up means more people to feed and trust.

    Water:
    Every farm will be different. Average annual rainfall and winter temps are the big factors. With adequate rainfall, catchment storage can help offset any rapid surface drainage or a soil’s inability to hold water.
    If you are fully off grid, then (as mentioned by others) solar and wind are your best friends. At $1 per watt, solar panels are now cheap enough that one could buy extra and stash them away. Redundancy is key. Never buy just one of anything 🙂
    Depending on the pumping elevation, a small 1/2HP , 8GPM shallow well jet pump running of an inverter (buy two inverters) can move water all day for you (on a sunny day).
    These pumps are not expensive ($300) so you could keep two spares and be good for many years.

    As for weeds, I suppose that too depends on the size of the plot.
    Keep the plots small and manageable (this also lends well to crop rotation) then the manual weeding (cultivation) can be done in shifts or small chunks.
    If the collapse is not total in nature, consider a small tractor (10 to 18HP) that can drag a cultivator between the planted rows, that would save you a few hundred hours per year of manual labor.

    As stated earlier, every micro farm is different with its own advantages and challenges. If you are lucky enough to know the challenges in advance (in your case water) you have time to plan.
    By the way, there does not have to be a total “collapse” to move in this direction.
    There is a big movement underway with young farmers to manage micro and small farms (2 to 20 acres),European style. Self sufficiency removes a lot of anxiety about the future.

    Carry on,
    Veggie

    PS: It would be so nice if Gail could add a forum section to her site where topics could be organized and discussed in a more orderly fashion. There is a lot of good info presented after each of Gail’s papers but that info is scattered around the web site at the end of each of her presentations.

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I would need to think about how I would do that. Not sure.

      • Ed – I am interested in energy issues.
        Ed says:

        Talk with RE at Doomstead Diner he is an IT/software wizard.

        • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          You are right–he is pretty knowledgable about such things.

  39. worldofhanumanotg
    worldofhanumanotg says:

    Nice to see the “work of the committee to save the world” in nice graphs and easily understandable descriptions. Evidently, something must happen from now on, either another Lift Athlon attempt (unlikely as doomed to early failure) or some profound systemic reset:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-24/citi-we-have-problem

  40. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), a group best known for filing lawsuits seeking climate scientists’ personal emails, has secretly received funding from Arch Coal, one of the largest coal producers in the United States. The funding is revealed in documents recently filed as part of the Arch Coal bankruptcy proceedings which list the coal company’s creditors – See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/20
    “The volume and frequency of the requests from EELI are designed to antagonize leading climate scientists, wasting their time in drawn out and frustrating lawsuits. They frankly have better things to do, and that’s obviously the point of E&E Legal’s campaign” Brendan DeMelle of DeSmogBlog, which tracks and reports on climate change denial groups told CMD by email
    Chris Horner, E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow, is the group’s lead on its work seeking scientists emails. In 2014, Horner received $110,000 from a group closely tied to E&E Legal, the Free Market Law Clinic, according to the most recently available tax filings for that organization. David Schnare, General Counsel at E&E Legal, is also the Director at the Free Market Law Clinic.
    The bankruptcy filings for Alpha Natural Resources, revealed by The Intercept, showed direct support from that coal company to Chris Horner personally, as well as to the Free Market Law Clinic.

    And we wonder why there is a so called “debate” regarding global warming?

    • Gail Tverberg – My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      There is the minor detail that we are dead without coal–and probably with it too.

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