US 2015 Oil Production and Future Oil Prices

Oil production can be confusing because there are various “pieces” that may or may not be included. In this analysis, I look at oil production of the United States broadly (including crude oil, natural gas plant liquids, and biofuels), because this is the way oil consumption is defined. I also provide some thoughts regarding the direction of future world oil prices.

Figure 1. US Liquid Fuels production by month based on EIA March 2016 Monthly Energy Review Reports.

Figure 1. US Liquid Fuels production by month based on EIA March 2016 Monthly Energy Review Reports.

US oil production clearly flattened out in 2015. If we look at changes relative to the same month, one-year prior, we see that as of December 2014, growth was very high, increasing by 18.0% relative to the prior year.

Figure 2. US Liquids Growth Over 12 Months Prior based on EIA's March 2016 Monthly Energy Review.

Figure 2. US Liquids Growth Over 12 Months Prior based on EIA’s March 2016 Monthly Energy Review.

By December 2015, growth over the prior year finally turned slightly negative, with production for the month down 0.2% relative to one year prior. It should be noted that in the above charts, amounts are on an “energy produced” or “British Thermal Units” (Btu) basis. Using this approach, ethanol and natural gas liquids get less credit than they would using a barrels-per-day approach. This reflects the fact that these products are less energy-dense.

Figure 3 shows the trend in month-by-month production.

Figure 3. US total liquids production since January 2013, based on EIA's March 2016 Monthly Energy Review.

Figure 3. US total liquids production since January 2013, based on EIA’s March 2016 Monthly Energy Review.

The high month for production was April 2015, and production has been down since then. The production of natural gas liquids and biofuels has tended to continue to rise, partially offsetting the fall in crude oil production. Production amounts for recent months include estimates, and actual amounts may differ from these estimates. As a result, updated EIA data may eventually show a somewhat different pattern.

Taking a longer view of US liquids production, this is what we see for the three categories separately:

Figure 4. US Liquid Fuel Production since 1949, based on EIA's March 2016 Monthly Energy Review.

Figure 4. US Liquid Fuel Production since 1949, based on EIA’s March 2016 Monthly Energy Review.

Growth in US liquid fuel production slowed in 2015. The increase in liquid fuels production in 2015 amounted to 1.96 quadrillion Btus (“quads”), or about 59% as much as the increase in production in 2014 of 3.34 quads. On a barrels-per-day (bpd) basis, this would equate to roughly a 1.0 million bpd increase in 2015, compared to a 1.68 million bpd increase in 2014.

The data in Figure 4 indicates that with all categories included, 2015 liquids exceeded the 1970 peak by 16%. Considering crude oil alone, 2015 production amounted to 98% of the 1970 peak.

Figure 5 shows an approximate breakdown of crude oil production since 1945 on a bpd basis. The big spike in production is from tight oil, which is another name for oil from shale.

Figure 5. Oil crude oil production separated into tight oil (from shale), oil from Alaska, and all other, based on EIA oil production data by state.

Figure 5. Oil crude oil production separated into tight oil (from shale), oil from Alaska, and all other, based on EIA oil production data by state.

Here again, US crude oil production in 2015 appears to amount to 98% of the 1970 crude oil peak. Thus, on a crude oil basis alone, we have not yet hit the 1970 peak.

Prospects for an Oil Price Rise

Most recent analyses of oil prices have focused on the amount of mismatch between supply and demand, and the need to craft a temporary agreement to reduce oil production. The thing that is missing in this discussion is an analysis of buying power of consumers. Is the problem a temporary problem, or a permanent one?

In order for oil product demand to keep rising, the buying power of consumers needs to keep rising. In other words, some combination of consumer wages and debt levels of consumers needs to keep rising. (Rising debt is helpful because, with more debt, it is often possible to buy goods that would not otherwise be affordable.)

We know that in many countries, wages for lower-level workers have stagnated for a number of reasons, including competition with wages in lower-wage countries, computerization, and the use of automation (Figure 6). Thus, we know that low wages for a large share of consumers may be a problem.

Figure 6. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis IRS data, published in Forbes.

Figure 6. Chart comparing US income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis IRS data, published in Forbes.

Figure 7 shows that world debt has been falling since June 30, 2014. This is precisely the time when world oil prices started falling.

Figure 6. Total non-financial world debt based on Bank for International Settlements data and average Brent oil price for the quarter, based on EIA data.

Figure 7. Total non-financial world debt based on Bank for International Settlements data and average Brent oil price for the quarter, based on EIA data.

One reason for the fall in world debt, measured in US dollars, is the fact that the US dollar started rising relative to other currencies about this time. Oil is priced in dollars; if the US dollar rises relative to other currencies, it makes oil less affordable to those whose currencies have lower values. The big rise in the level of the dollar came when the US discontinued quantitative easing in 2014. World debt, as measured in US dollars, began to fall as the US dollar rose.

Figure 7. World Oil Supply (production including biofuels, natural gas liquids) and Brent monthly average spot prices, based on EIA data.

Figure 8. World Oil Supply (production including biofuels, natural gas liquids) and Brent monthly average spot prices, based on EIA data.

As long as the US dollar is high relative to other currencies, oil products remain less affordable, and demand tends to stay low.

Dollar Indix vs Crude Oil Price Logan Mohtashami

Figure 9. Index of US dollar, relative to other currencies, compared to crude oil price.

Another issue that struck me in looking at world debt data is the way the growth in debt is distributed (Figure 10). Debt growth for households has been much lower than for businesses and governments.

Figure 8. World non-financial debt divided among debt of households, businesses, and governments, based on Bank for International Settlements data.

Figure 10. World non-financial debt divided among debt of households, businesses, and governments, based on Bank for International Settlements data.

Since March 31, 2008, non-financial debt of households has been close to flat. In fact, between June 30, 2014 and September 30, 2015,  it shrank by 6.3%. In contrast, non-financial debt of both businesses and governments has risen since March 31, 2008. Government debt has shrunk by 5.6% since June 30, 2014–almost as large a percentage drop as for household debt.

The issue that we need to be aware of is that consumers are the foundation of the economy. If their wages are not rising rapidly, and if their buying power (considering both debt and wages) is not rising by very much, they are not going to be buying very many new houses and cars–the big products that require oil consumption. Businesses may think that they can continue to grow without taking the consumer along, but very soon this growth proves to be a myth. Governments cannot grow without rising wages either, because the majority of their tax revenue comes from individuals, rather than corporations.

Today, there is a great deal of faith that oil prices will rise, if someone, somewhere, will reduce oil production. In fact, in order to bring oil demand back up to a level that commands a price over $100 per barrel, we need consumers who can afford to buy a growing quantity of goods made with oil products. To do this, we need to fix three related problems:

  • Low wages of many consumers
  • World debt that is no longer rising (especially for consumers)
  • A high dollar relative to other currencies

These problems are likely to be difficult to fix, so we should expect low oil prices, more or less indefinitely. Lack of oil supply may bring a temporary spike in oil prices, but it cannot fix a permanent problem with consumer spending around the world.

 

 

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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1,015 Responses to US 2015 Oil Production and Future Oil Prices

  1. Yoshua says:

    ECB Policy Is Working, ‘but We Must Be Patient,’ Draghi Tells German Paper

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/ecb-policy-is-working-but-we-must-be-patient-draghi-tells-german-paper-1461777192

    What happened to fractional reserve banking ? The ECB has already printed close to 1 trillion euros in one year and placed negative penalty interest rates on banks for parking the money at the ECB… but nothing happens.

    After the ECB managed to suppress the government bond yields close to zero in European nations close to the brink of default, the ECB has decided to give corporate bond yields a massage.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      So all Draghi has to offer for all those added euros is, “Must be patient”? Like waiting for something to happen while listening to the wind rustling leaves or the sound of crickets.

      • Yoshua says:

        Well… the European economy has gone on pension… what else to do than listening to crickets ?

  2. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/7119831/Experts-claim-the-universe-is-littered-with-dead-alien-civilisations.html

    Here’s some pasted material from the article:

    ALIEN life was once plentiful across the universe but we will never make contact with any because they’ve all died out – a new theory suggests.

    They reach the conclusion that, over the 13-billion-year lifespan of the universe, it’s likely that any other civilisations out there have already gone extinct.

    One of the paper’s authors, Adam Frank, said: “Our results imply that our evolution has not been unique and has probably happened many times before.

    In particular I thought the following was apropos for this website:

    “The other cases are likely to include many energy-intensive civilizations dealing with their feedback onto their planets as their civilizations grow.”

    Yes, feedbacks – that’s what we’re dealing with like global warming, resource depletion, over population, toxifying waterways and oceans, species extinction, etc.

    • Ed says:

      Not very smart aliens. I can think of several solutions to this problem. That millions of intelligent species have never found even one of these is unlikely.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        Agreed, but what I read into their analysis is they are infusing our own current predicament with a doomer perspective and then projecting it to the rest of the universe like this is just a process and just like here, the others must have reached this same point of aimless, endless growth until collapse then extinction via some manner against a backdrop of finite resources. It’s sort of funny because of course like you point out, a few planets would get it right, come up with net energy producing fusion early enough to continue growing at least until hitting some other limit. But obviously extinction would not occur universe wide. Now, can we make contact with one of them?

    • Stefeun says:

      Stilgar,
      Our lethal problem is that we’re unable to evacuate the entropy we have generated by burning (at least: dissipating) energy that was in excess with respect to basic metabolism of the system.

      Could very well have happened before somewhere else in the Universe (which one?), and happen again in the future. But we’ll never know for sure about it, so, who cares?

  3. Yoshua says:

    Clashes between Fascists and Communists are taking place in Europe. All we need now is an economic collapse…

    https://youtu.be/NdDykfeGQnw

    • Ed says:

      I object to the laziness of news reporting that tars and feathers all groups outside the elite sanctioned norm with emotionally hot labels that end any thoughtful understanding or discussion.

      • xabier says:

        Ed

        My favourite term of abuse for the non-mainstream in Europe – much used by Brussels – is ‘populist.’ How shocking: the people expressing an opinion……

        • Stefeun says:

          Yes Xabier,
          It’s one of those spinned-words aiming to have the sheeple admit that we’d better let the technocrats pull us out if this mess (where they actually put us!).
          Part of the un-democratization process, which is already well advanced; or is it already acheived? (cf. Syriza)

          • Fast Eddy says:

            That said… most people are pretty stupid and ignorant…. they allow themselves to be mesmerized by the MSM….

            I’d estimate that well under 1% of the people on the planet have anything worthwhile to say….

            • Stefeun says:

              Homo Sapiens spends the first 3 years of his life in learning how to speak,
              and then all the rest to learn how to shut it up.

  4. Yoshua says:

    The Age of Petroleum

    The first period – led to industrialization and globalization.
    The second period – led to two industrialized global wars.
    The third period – led to a divided world with freedom on one side and gulags on the other.
    The forth period – led to unity and globalization.
    The fifth period – globalization started to collapse when we started to run out of cheap oil.
    The seventh period – will lead to a nuclear holocaust ?

    • Ed says:

      There are only three nations that can blowup the world, China, Russia, U.S.. I have a fair amount of hope that M.A.D. will stop them from doing so.

      As to the small nuclear powers France, India, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea I expect the three majors jointly will severely punish and stop them if they start throwing nuclear weapons.

      • greg machala says:

        I think the nuclear deployment capacity of China, Russia and the USA is lead by psychopathic individuals who don’t want to see those weapons go to waste. When all the cards are played the nuclear one will the the last one do be played. Just like a crazed mad man who kills his family then himself.

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    Nothing Is Real: “It’s All Being Played To Keep People Believing The System Is Working”

    We exist, beyond any shadow of any doubt, in an environment of absolute fakery where nothing is real… from the prices of assets to what’s occurring here with regard to the big Wall Street banks, the Federal Reserve, interest rates and everything in between.

    …All of this is being played in a way to keep people believing, once again, that the system is working and will continue to work.

    Let’s just look at the stock market… there’s no possible way at this time that these multiples can be justified with regard to what’s occurring here with the price action of the overall market… meanwhile, the market continues to rise.

    Nothing is real. I can’t stress this enough… and we’re going to continue to see more fakery… and manipulation and twisting of this entire system… We now exist in an environment where the financial system as a whole has been flipped upside down just to make it function… and that’s very scary.

    We’ve never seen anything like this in the history of the world… The Federal Reserve has never been in a situation like this… we are completely in uncharted territory where the world’s central banks have gone negative interest rates… it’s all an illusion to keep the stock market booming.

    Every single asset now… I don’t care what asset… you want to look at currency, debt, housing, metals, the stock market… pick an asset… there’s no price discovery mechanism behind it whatsoever… it’s all fake… it’s all being distorted.

    The system is built upon on one premise and that is confidence that it will work… if that confidence is rattled the whole thing will implode… our policy makers are well aware of this… there is collusion between central banks and their respective governments… and it will not stop until it implodes… and what I mean by implode is, correct to fair value.

    It’s created a population boom… a population boom has risen in tandem with the debt. It’s incredible.

    So, when the debt bubble bursts we’re going to get a correction in population. It’s a mathematical certainty.

    Millions upon millions of people are going to die on a world-wide scale when the debt bubble bursts. And I’m saying when not if…

    When resources become more and more scarce we’re going to see countries at war with each other. People will be scrambling… in a worst case scenario… doing everything that they can to survive… to provide for their family and for themselves.

    There’s no way out of it.

    I’m going to tell you what I think is going on.

    I don’t think domestic insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies, they play out multiple scenarios. They simulate multiple scenarios.

    I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating.

    The collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses.

    I’m not talking about a recession. I’m talking about a collapse, when people are desperate, when they can’t get food or clothing, when they have no way of going from place to place, when they can’t protect themselves.

    There aren’t enough police officers on the face of the earth to adequately handle a situation like that.

    I suspect, that just in case our fiscal situation collapses, our monetary situation collapses, and following it the civil society collapses – that is the rule of law – that they want to be prepared.

    There is no other explanation for this.

    • DJ says:

      You almost sound like we get turkey for christmas

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Not at all.

        Ayn Rand — ‘We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.’

    • MM says:

      Fast Eddy, this is a post I was also wondering about in the last days.
      Check this out :
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-27/china-trades-enough-cotton-in-one-day-to-make-jeans-for-everyone
      I mean who in ther world can buy more cotton than the world has or nedds for what purpose? It is a complete joke! The money printers have so much money, they can bet every market in any direction (up) wor no real value. You also see it in the oil futures market that soared in advance of the latest oil price rise.
      It simply does not make any sense. If the Central banks decide that a price should go up, they bet on it with a future and buy the same future just when it’s due. That costs a lot of money, but the price movement shows one single thing: confidence is positive on a strong market. So everybody continues to bet against the debt.This can not fall down, except when the energy to repay the debt disappears. And even then, the debt is only hoit air, created by the central banks. No one will default on it. There is an indefinite up trend. As long as you bet against the central banks to issue even more hot air, you will win.

  6. Ann Coulter = nutjob…………………………..

  7. denial says:

    You say that oil can’t go up….but what if the almighty dollar goes down and I mean way down or loses almost all of its value…then oil will cost much more…..the FED is trying hard to look like the best horse in the Glue factory….as nicole foss says….but I don’t know how much longer they can keep it up….

    • Once the US dollar comes unglued from its place at the top of the pecking order, oil will have no value at all. We need a working system for oil to have value. Once we have too many pieces missing–for example, bank accounts that no longer provide money, there will be no one who can afford to buy gasoline, even if the gasoline station has it. It is hard to barter for gasoline. The system will stop working.

      • Gail, do you think the ideas of “depeging” from current global reserve currency are impossible at this stage? China, Russia and Iran are clearly preparing for that day. Once the oil is not exclusively traded (beyond % threshold) in USD, it’s over.. That’s why postponing the game by a day, year, decade is in vogue, hence this TTIP US-EU alliance, it’s basically pursued for two reasons, can kicking the transition and about circling the wagons if it proceeds anyway and likely in disorderly fashion.

        Mind you, we have had global empires before (UK, France, Holland, Spain, ..), it wasn’t smooth transition, but it didn’t last for ever, eventually the world kept spinning around.

  8. theedrich says:

    Don Steward and the NYT claim we have options.  Sorry, friends, but we don’t.  We are at the end of the road.  The facts are these:  any fool can make money;  it takes a smart one to save it.

    But the U.S., instead, is squandering our seed grain as if there were no tomorrow.  We are importing countless millions (Ann Coulter estimates 60 million so far) of ThirdWorlders with the pretext of “charity” or some such heartwarming blather, but actually because our politicoes are getting massive bribes from various sources under the table in one form or another.

    If we stopped, then reduced, the vast hordes of useless eaters and leeches, the problem would cease to exist.  But that will not happen because our socio-political system is one of profound corruption masked by many layers of hypocrisy.

    So the Demonic Party’s traditional “solution” (already hinted at by the banshee) will be the option used to eliminate the dilemma:  war.

    • Artleads says:

      So you’re saying that immigrants are leaches on America?

      • Ed says:

        In a society designed for high energy use and desiring high affluence there must be high capital investment. In both physical plant, infrastructure and human capital. If an immigrant comes with a Ph.D. in physics and ten million dollars of capital that they are willing to give to the common good then fine. If an immigrate comes with zero education, zero knowledge of basic hygiene, zero shared cultural norms, zero capital then yes they draw more out of society than they put in.

      • Immigration steals the smart and motivated people, leaving their country of origin worse off. As long as their country of origin is unable to stabilize, they keep increasing population and creating more immigrants.

        • Veggie says:

          MK
          That’s quite a video. It really puts the population issue into context.
          Tipping points are being crossed on so many levels.

  9. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith’s weekend letter. An explanation for why manufacturing is no longer a road to wealth, and efforts to restore it by political means in the US are futile:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/27/business/economy/the-mirage-of-a-return-to-manufacturing-greatness.html

    Don Stewart

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Looking back now, funny as it seems, I was aspiring, along with many others, to make it in the world of hand crafted Windsor Chairs…..that is sort of manufacturing…competition is fierce and many enter and exit quickly. Now with the web, I bet it is almost impossible…site like Alibaba connect a client to a 3rd world craftsman, who will produce the desired chair at a fraction of the asking price of a domestic artisan
      Here is a website of Drew Langser’s Country Workshops
      http://countryworkshops.org

      One still in business!

      • employment is the name we give to producing something that someone else wants/needs, which they have neither the time, inclination or skill to make/do themselves.
        The tokens exchanged for such work enable the maker to buy things which he has neither the time, inclination or skill to do or make for himself for himself.
        Only in this way can the butcher, baker and candlestick maker keep themselves in balanced business. Pre industrial revolution, no other production methods existed, hence the smallest villages supported an number of small shops dedicated to particular trades/needs. Transport and energy input didnt come into the equation. Balance found itself over time.
        Unfortunately an “artisan loaf” or a steak from a hand reared animal, or a crafted candlestick from a metalworking artist cost far more than those from a walmart or wherever, because distanced-sourced goods carry that hidden hydrocarbon input in their making. Also the foriegn artisan costs less to feed and house.

        We indulge in handcrafted goods because they give us pleasure, and—more importantly—we can afford to do so.

        My local exclusively “hand reared” butcher has just gone out of business. His ideals cost too much . He had four competing supermarkets within 1/4 mile, and sky high rents for his prime position. His business was fundamentally unbalanced. As finances get tighter, customers are driven to the cheapest option, no matter how good the product is.
        That is inevitable whatever you produce.

        We still have an Italian baker who is a genius with pizzas and bread, and folks buy everything he makes on a daily basis…. we hope he survives.

  10. Fast Eddy says:

    Former McDonalds CEO Warns Minimum Wage “Will Wipe Out 1000s Of Jobs”
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-29/former-mcdonalds-ceo-warns-minimum-wage-will-wipe-out-1000s-jobs

    Here we see why higher wages solve nothing – in fact they exacerbate the problem – in an effort to survive companies will adapt – whatever it takes.

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Future Garden farmers….producing some real healthy food. All right!

    • Rodster says:

      McDonald’s is not real food.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Attention Preppers – dumpster dive mcdonalds and fill sacks with tossed ‘food’ then store it in your garage… rats and bugs will not eat it — and it will never deteriorate because it is made of inorganic material…

        The poor prepper’s freeze dried meal….

        • xabier says:

          Only too true!

          On the subject of animals refusing to eat the rubbish our system produces, and another piece in the jigsaw of permanent and progressive deterioration:

          A friend who has a small-holding (from whom I buy lamb), recently told me that her pigs are now flatly refusing to eat the feed she has been buying for years. Supposedly top-quality -she is conscientious – it gets 0 in the consumer ultimate consumer test, a row of hungry pigs.

          She mentioned this to the vet, and she confirmed that she’d heard this from other pig-keepers.

          Another reason to grow if you can as much of your own food as possible and eat nothing produced by the mass-food industry….

        • Vince the Prince says:

          I’m stocking up on Twinkies!

          37-year-old Twinkie, world’s oldest, still a sweet treat at Blue Hill school

          http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/21/news/hancock/38-year-old-twinkie-worlds-oldest-still-a-sweet-treat-at-blue-hill-school/

          A nearly 40-year-old Twinkie sits in a wood-and-glass case in an office at GSA, where it has been a school fixture since 1976, when chemistry teacher Roger Bennatti placed it on top of his chalkboard for an experiment to observe decay (or lack thereof) in preserved foods. The Twinkie sat there for nearly 30 years, until Bennatti retired in 2004.

          When the teacher left, he passed the torch … er, Twinkie, to Libby Rosemeier, who had been a student in Bennatti’s class the day the experiment began and had gone on to become a teacher at GSA. Now she’s the dean of students and caretaker of Bennatti’s Twinkie.

          Bennatti’s retirement sparked interest in his ancient cake. The Twinkie’s tale first was reported in the Bangor Daily News, but it wasn’t long before it was featured on BBC, NPR, the New York Times, USA Today and countless other media channels. The oldest Twinkie in the world had become the most famous.

          Bennatti’s Twinkie, now 37 years old, looks pretty good for its age. Its once-yellow color has faded, partially because of years spent sitting in the open, collecting chalkdust. Once spongy and soft, it now looks delicate and flaky. Bennatti used a term from geology to explain the snack’s current state: “It’s exfoliating,” he said. “It’s losing its outer layer.”

          Though there’s no official record kept of aged snack cakes, Rosemeier said she’s pretty sure the Bennatti Twinkie is the oldest in the world.

          • Someone here previously said bread does not go bad. I said it will. I should add that is not totally correct; if you let the bread dry out so it is rock hard and devoid of moisture, it will not mould or be eaten by flies or anything. I am fairly sure that if dry enough, a home baked loaf of bread with no preservatives – other than a bit of salt normally used in bread – could last as long as the twinkie.

            A Slice of white toast standing up would probably work, since it would not have trapped moisture in the center to feed mould.

            The natives on the plains made pemmican, which is supposedly edible several years after it is made.

          • xabier says:

            I take it all back: eat as much industrialised food as possible, immerse yourself in preservatives and enter the new Dark Age as well preserved as an Egyptian Pharoah!

    • The article suggests that the company will substitute more machines for humans–place your order at a machine. I can believe this.

    • Ed says:

      How about tele-presence for the few jobs Mikey D can not robotize. Staffed by folks from low cost countries.

  11. denial says:

    what if the dollar collapses and is not the reserve currency? It seems most assumptions in this article are based on a strong dollar…and that is not a given

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Great article and good work in the right direction, thanks Don!

      • Vince the Prince says:

        A video with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5nIcfh2UqV8

        His methods produce excellent results and treating the animals and land kindly.

        http://www.polyfacefarms.com/principles/

        Polyface Guiding Principles

        TRANSPARENCY: Anyone is welcome to visit the farm anytime. No trade secrets, no locked doors, every corner is camera-accessible.

        GRASS-BASED: Pastured livestock and poultry, moved frequently to new “salad bars,” offer landscape healing and nutritional superiority.

        INDIVIDUALITY: Plants and animals should be provided a habitat that allows them to express their physiological distinctiveness. Respecting and honoring the pigness of the pig is a foundation for societal health.

        COMMUNITY: We do not ship food. We should all seek food closer to home, in our foodshed, our own bioregion. This means enjoying seasonality and reacquainting ourselves with our home kitchens.

        NATURE’S TEMPLATE: Mimicking natural patterns on a commercial domestic scale insures moral and ethical boundaries to human cleverness. Cows are herbivores, not omnivores; that is why we’ve never fed them dead cows like the United States Department of Agriculture encouraged (the alleged cause of mad cows).

        EARTHWORMS: We’re really in the earthworm enhancement business. Stimulating soil biota is our first priority. Soil health creates healthy food.

  12. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    I just made a post at Ugo Bardi’s site. The comment has not been moderated as yet. Here it is. I think it is just as applicable to what we are dealing with on this blog as the subjects that Ugo is dealing with….Don Stewart

    I suggest taking a look at how B.W. Hill’s Etp model predictions changed when he adjusted the model parameters for new information:
    http://peakoil.com/consumption/oils-magic-number-becomes-50-a-barrel-for-promise-of-recovery/comment-page-1#comment-262842

    The first piece of information was the model showing that, in 2012, the oil industry itself was consuming half the energy it produced. The model showed that the remaining half was split between 71 percent usable to do work and 29 percent waste heat. Then Hill got good data indicating that the split should be 62 percent usable and 38 percent waste heat. That difference was enough to move the model into a prediction that the industry would overproduce oil which it would not be able to sell at a profitable price.

    ————–
    http://peakoil.com/consumption/oils-magic-number-becomes-50-a-barrel-for-promise-of-recovery/comment-page-1#comment-262842
    “Now you claim prices will never recover and the world is collapsed by 2019.”

    Yes! It was a calculation, backed by strong empirical evidence, that the average waste heat produced from the combustion of a hydrocarbon by the end user was actually 38% as opposed to the theoretical minimum of 29%. Previous calculations had used the 29% value. We put up this page 8 months after arriving at that conclusion:

    http://www.thehillsgroup.org/depletion2_022.htm

    That additional 11% extra waste heat places the beginning of the oil price decline phase before the 2030 average “dead state”, rather than after as we had previously assumed.

    http://www.thehillsgroup.org/

    ————

    A factor in the US is, I think, the amount of ‘waste heat’ we are producing. A casual look at how we do medical care and drugs and education and welfare and the military and the financialization of the economy are strangling us as surely as the underlying deterioration in the energy world.

    Don Stewart
    PS for Gail’s blog. There was a recent report on Zero Hedge about a consultation in Japan with Paul Krugman. Krugman apparently advised them to open the spending spigots. This Keynesian advice may or may not have been good in 1933, but the combination of oil depletion and the ‘waste heat’ being generated argue that there are good reasons why the Keynesian medicine won’t work now.
    PPS for Gail’s blog. The sensitivity of the model to something like the percentage of waste heat is indicative, I think, of the strengths and weaknesses of a mathematical model. The strength is that if one has been able to formulate good explanatory equations, then the model will be able to forecast events which are not at all obvious. The weakness is that if one has formulated less than excellent explanatory equations, then the model may persuade one to place a huge bet on the wrong outcome. At this point, I think Hill’s model is looking pretty prescient.

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Saw this comment by shortonoil
      Shortonoil is focused on the entropic decay of the petroleum production system. Gail is focused on money. Money is an artificial construct that can be created, or destroyed at will; energy can’t be. The world will never run out of money, as long as Central Banks own a printing press. The world is rapidly running out of energy! When it does the printing presses will slow to a crawl; just before someone hauls them away for their parts.
      http://peakoil.com/geology/brazil-offshore-subsalt-holds-176-billion-barrels-of-oil-gas

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Weimar Germany never ran out of money either….

        • Vince the Prince says:

          They ran out of energy….remember in a book concerning the economic repariations imposed on Germany and their inability to pay back the demands inflicted by the Treaty of Versailles…the French used force as a means
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Ruhr

          The entire conflict was further exacerbated by a German default on coal deliveries in early January 1923, which was the thirty-fourth coal default in the previous thirty-six months.[6] The French Premier Raymond Poincaré was deeply reluctant to order the Ruhr occupation and took this step only after the British had rejected his proposals for non-military sanctions against Germany
          …France had the iron ore and Germany had the coal. Each state wanted free access to the resource it was short of, as together these resources had far more value than separately. (Eventually this problem was resolved in the post-World War II European Coal and Steel community.)

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I think the original point was that the central banks will just print to infinity therefore the end game would not be a financial collapse.

            I disagree.

            The problem is that we are running out of cheap energy — as did Germany — and the financial system will collapse because of it.

            As we can see – energy is currently plentiful — the problem is that the economy is collapsing … corporations will collapse … and that will collapse the financial system… I am quite certain right until the very end the central banks will print … they will keep the stock markets roaring….

            While Rome burns in the background…

      • ” The world is rapidly running out of energy! ”

        We are twenty five years away from peak coal, but moving away from it already. Lots of unexploited energy there. We aren’t running out of energy; demand is simply failing to grow.

        • Vince the Prince says:

          Coal????? Coal can’t propel the economy forward. Do yourself and us a favor…go to the above link and search “shortonoil” and read all the posted comments…you’ll get a more complete picture of our predicament… Hint …the Laws of Physics Rule!

          • “Coal can’t propel the economy forward”

            First, you should maybe define where “forward” is.

            Oil is primarily a transport fuel. We can use coal to power electrified rail transport instead. We could use coal + wind to power ships for transport.

            If “forward” just means “consume more energy and make the GDP number bigger”, I’m sure we could do it with coal. China uses a lot more coal than oil. 500 million metric tonnes of oil versus over 3 billion metric tonnes of coal per year.

            • Vince the Prince says:

              Matthew just believe what you want to ….. Bye

            • Vince the Prince says:

              The divergence between Chinese coal consumption, and GDP is very similar to what is being witnessed between world energy production, and its GDP. It is the result of central banks trying to “print” energy. The smooth gain in the GDP curve in comparison to the variability in coal consumption is a strong indication that the the GDP is an artificial construct.
              Even though China has been expanding its low grade coal consumption enormously over the last few decades it is interesting that neither the EIA, or Wood Mackenzie has even considered that China’s decline in consumption could be related to depletion. Since the EROI of lignite is fairly low to begin with, approaching its dead state at this stage, shouldn’t really be much of a surprise.
              China has mainly relied on coal to power its high speed industrialization. About 70% of China’s energy demand has been supplied by coal. Even though Chinese reserves are considered the second largest in the world this has little to do with the amount that is extractable. The extractable portion is constrained by its energy content, and not its tonnage. The energy content of most of China’s reserves is very, very low.

              Comment by shortonoil….from
              http://peakoil.com/enviroment/is-coal-really-peaking-in-china

            • Either the Chinese are insanely incompetent, or the EROEI on all that coal is still pretty good.

              A 400 square mile coal-to-oil conversion facility sounds pretty nuts; I think electric street cars and trains would be a far better solution than losing half the energy in coal to make it into gasoline or diesel, then burning that at ~25% efficiency.

              I think the limits are now more on the financial, employment, environment, social and political sides than on the energy in coal side of the problem.

              How can lignite be so low EROEI? The Dutch built their industry partially on peat, lower quality than lignite.

        • Stefeun says:

          And it’s getting exponentially harder to deal with diminishing returns and wastes.

  13. Vince the Prince says:

    Exxon doesn’t look like an oil company anymore, RayJay analyst says
    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/29/exxon-q1-earnings.html
    “This doesn’t look very much like an oil company anymore,” Molchanov told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “Seventy-four percent of their earnings came from the chemical segment, which is by far the highest level ever. In upstream … they actually lost money.”
    its announcement, S&P said that it expects Exxon’s “credit measures, including free operating cash flow (FOCF) to debt and discretionary cash flow (DCF) to debt, will remain below [its] expectations for the ‘AAA’ rating through 2018.” The ratings agency added that its outlook on Exxon is stable.

    Everything is stable, until everything falls apart.

    • Don Stewart says:

      Vince the Prince
      I tried to post something like this before, but it never made it. I will try to reconstruct, but don’t guarantee word for word.

      The video you reference is a blend of things which change with things which don’t change. So the world gets hotter, but humans don’t adapt their behavior. Things get worse, but population keeps on growing. And so forth and so on. Using a clever selection of things which change and things which don’t change, one can prove almost anything.

      I like the scenarios and numbers in Eric Toensmeier’s new book The Carbon Farming Solution. But before we understand what Eric means by ‘solution’, we have to examine the problems in a systemic way. Among the problems:
      *We are running out of carbon to mine from forests and agricultural soil. Consequently, the world will get hotter, yields will drop, normal droughts will cause more damage, increased temperatures will cause more damage, biodiversity will suffer.
      *We are running out of atmosphere and ocean to put waste CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.
      *We may well be running out of fossil fuels to burn…not from lack of raw materials, but from economic issues
      *The ponzi scheme holding up the economy right now looks very frail
      *The movement of people from country to city makes ‘feeding the billions’ more challenging…regardless of what happens to primary agricultural productivity
      *We appear to be at the end of the ‘synthetic fertilizer, toxic pesticides, toxic herbicides’ cycle.
      *We have a lack of meaningful work

      As it turns out, a whole suite of food and fiber production practices, under the umbrella of Carbon Farming, offer ways to solve or postpone many of these problems. Carbon Farming cannot, as Toensmeier affirms early in the book, solve the problems of emissions forever…IF BAU survives and humanity manages to burn the remaining 5 to 10 trillion tons of carbon still in the Earth in fossil fuels. At the present time, the oceans contain 77 percent, fossil fuels still in the ground 15 percent, soils 6 percent, and the atmosphere 1.5 percent of the carbon. To solve the carbon problem we need to take carbon from the atmosphere and put it back into the ground from which it came. While it is not exactly clear how much carbon we can sequester in the soil, the amount is large. But it’s not enough if humanity succeeds in burning most of the remaining fossil fuels.

      Consequently, the ‘Carbon Farming Solution’ buys us time to get our act together on the myriad issues which are not strictly about food and fiber production. Such a Carbon Farming initiative is a massive change of direction. Humans have been taking carbon out of the soil with agriculture and the clearing of forests for 10,000 years. Professor Rattan Lal at Ohio State has estimated that Carbon Farming can sequester between 400 million tons and 1.2 billion tons of carbon for a period of 50 to 100 years…50 parts per million of carbon dioxide. One of the keys to understanding why scientists come up with the wide range is the price of carbon. Most studies will assume that humans will put a price on carbon…both for emissions and what the citizenry will pay farmers for sequestration. If the price is 20 dollars, you get low figures. If it is 100 dollars, you get much higher figures.

      Do we know how to do carbon farming? The answer is a qualified ‘Yes’. Even industrial agriculture in the US is not as destructive as it once was. But it doesn’t do much to move the needle on carbon in the soil. The stars of the ‘carbon in the soil’ story are various forms of tree agriculture (for example, rows of trees with rows of interplanted crops), multistrata food forests, and tropical homegardens. Tropical homegardens can sometimes sequester more carbon than rain forests. In the temperate zone, we do not as yet have systems which are quite as productive as the tropical systems. We can do a lot, even as Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates backyard garden in Holyoke, Mass demonstrates. And there are small scale research efforts such as Badgersett exploring nuts and The Land Institute exploring temperate perennial crops.

      Toensmeier points out that he has never heard of a carbon farming technique which was devised for the purpose of sequestering carbon. They were devised because they stopped erosion, were drought resistant, increased yields, solved salinity problems, and the like. But we now recognize that, just as oil is the master resource for an industrial economy, carbon is what makes the economy of the soil go around. Put more carbon back into the soil, and everything works better. And once you get the carbon back, don’t resort to the destructive practices of the last 10,000 years.

      Looked at broadly, humanity needs to stop destroying forests, eat rational diets for a small planet which also confer disease resistance, and intensify production on the best land so that more land can be given over to natural areas. Carbon farming plays a key role in all those areas.

      So…if we do Carbon Farming, what about that other gorilla in the room…the 5 to 10 trillion tons of fossil fuels? The emissions from burning fossil fuels have to drop drastically. My favorite causes, in no particular order:
      *George Mobus and compatriots are successful in getting people to think in terms of systems. Everyone becomes enlightened.
      *We run out of economically recoverable oil.
      *The ponzi which has sustained BAU fails
      *The Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s engineering proposals are implemented
      *People move back to the countryside and food and fiber production become respectable careers
      *Jesus returns, goes up on a mountain, preaches a second sermon, and everyone gets religion

      Doing carbon farming does not necessarily involve a huge expenditure of fossil fuels. It is very nice to have an excavator around when you need to move some heavy soil around, but the reclamation of the Loess Plateau in China has involved an awful lot of hand labor, as documented by John Liu. There are many instances in Africa and Central America which have accomplished a lot with very little.

      When I look at these facts, I see a tremendous amount of meaningful work which needs to be done. I will let others believe nothing can be done.

      Don Stewart

      • Don Stewart says:

        Bingo! I think I figured out the bad word….Don Stewart

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Dear Don,
        Thank you for taking the time for the extensive update on the topic. There are possibilities as you point out…question is ….are they probable? Here is the status a fellow Jack Dale posted
        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. Now the planet is poised to reach the 1,000 ppm level in only 100 years if emissions trajectories remain at their present level.”
        All was well and natural cycles did their part of keeping CO2 levels between 180 and 300 ppm for over 800,000 years. During that time human beings evolved and domesticated plants suitable to that environment. During that time natural cycles like the Milankovitch cycles, would trigger warming releasing CO2 resulting in a positive feedback. There was a stable system in equilibrium.
        Then in the mid 18th century we increased anthropogenic carbon emissions from 3 million tonnes per annum to almost 10 billion tonnes per annum. We were the trigger that added CO2. That increased CO2 levels by about 40% to over 400 ppm, a level not seen for for 3 – 5 million years. That messed up the equilibrium and system is now unstable
        In 2010 humans emitted 33,615,000,000 tonnes of CO2.

        Hard for me to look way back when I was a much younger lad listening to David Jackie, author of Forest Gardening, and Adam Turtle and yes Albert Bates at “The Farm” sometime in the mid 90’s.

        I’m not here to wish or debate…rather just point out the tide has receded from the shore.
        I do wish the youngsters out there opportunities to determine their own outcome.

        Again, thank you for keeping our comment section interesting and positive.

        • Don Stewart says:

          Dear Vince the Prince
          Eric Toensmeier says in his book that moving RIGHT NOW on the carbon farming initiative is key. As the soil warms, it begins to off-gas the carbon, making everything worse. In short, we have to very quickly take carbon out of the air and put it into the soil. We have a narrow window in which action is possible. After that, we are subject to forces we can no longer control.

          If you look at my other post on the ‘waste heat’ in our economy and how that can affect the trajectory, and combine the terrible waste with the problems caused by the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases….anyone can be understood if they become despondent.

          But, at three quarters of a century, I can think of no better tonic than meaningful work. And doing something about the carbon problem in one’s own garden TOMORROW is about as concrete an assignment as I can think of. As for the ‘waste heat’ in the economy, I think just starving it by not spending any money on it is the best measure to take.

          My wife and I make every effort to be around young people. Unfortunately, I have retired from the farm I worked at….so I don’t get to work alongside the amazing 20 year olds anymore. But if you are an older person, I suggest putting yourself in a position where you work with young people.

          Don Stewart

          • bandits101 says:

            Don all well and good but NOTHING in isolation could work. Not a single initiative is enough. While you have the PTB fighting you every step to maintain BAU, every plan is doomed. The very first step must be population control. Then bans on environmental destructive activities, even if the bans lead to hardship, deprivation and even death. The suffering would have been much less sixty years ago, if proper draconian measures were enforced but absolutely no chance now, the problem has grown too large.

            No harm in not giving up though, obviously all worthwhile initiatives are somewhat better than none.

          • Artleads says:

            “I think just starving it by not spending any money on it is the best measure to take.”

            Interesting to see this point. Ever since childhood (where I never handled money anyhow) I’ve been extraordinarily uninterested in money. I use my energies figuring out how to avoid money, On the few occasions where I was well paid, I couldn’t rest until I had squandered the funds. It’s nice to see that this proclivity has wider programmatic use. But as I saw Dimitry Orlov say (something you might have shared) , he advocates selecting some industrial products to support, while getting rid of things like the 99 brands of toothpaste that are not at all useful. So, in part, I’m thinking how to support manufacture of useful things–knives, tape, bandages, bullclips, *critical* medicines, cardboard… I’m on the fence, spending very little, but glad to see useful products still hanging around that I can buy.

            • nanu nanu says:

              The four money gestalts

              saver
              spender
              im too good/spiritual to be concerned with money
              i use money for projects

      • Stefeun says:

        Very good post, Don, Thanks.

        Admitting that Carbon Farming can lead “us” somewhere, ie the already triggered feedback loops and inertia in climate change won’t be a game stopper, no more than spent fuel rods, etc…, my first thought was: how does that scale up?

        In the book Toensmeier seems to have addressed the issue:
        “- Perennial staple and industrial crops including those that can provide us with starches, sugar, oils, fiber, energy, and more
        – Improved grazing and livestock practices
        – Measurements of a project’s impact on carbon reduction and sequestration
        – Details on how to scale up existing carbon farming enterprises
        – Effective financing models for communities and the private sector
        – An overview of international policy barriers to expanding carbon farming”
        https://www.chelseagreen.com/permaculture-subject/the-carbon-farming-solution
        But of course I don’t know about the quality of his “answers”. I however suspect they’re not exhaustive, since for example I don’t see the word “corporations”. The author seems to focus on the advantages and bright side of his “solution” (“provide with energy, and more”: !!!) and be relatively light on brakes, obstacles and various threats and dead-ends that could put the implementation of the project at stake.

        (A little quote, aside. Don’t remember where it’s from: “In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice ; in practice, there is”)

        My feeling is that nothing significant in scale can be acheived before SHTF, except getting as ready as possible in preparing to go ahead when time comes. That will concern only a small (tiny?) part of arable land, as most of it is industrially worked and therefore cannot switch overnight.
        So, before SHTF: no way, and after SHTF: big questionmark, as the surfaces/quantities surely won’t be sufficient and also will be endangered by hungry people and other threats.

        Yet, this looks like the best way to go, the only one providing a little chance to survive the hard times to come, for those interested (or viscerally/religiously/..? inclined to think they must do anything to survive).

        • Don Stewart says:

          Stefeun
          Some farmer (maybe Gene Logsdon?) said that IF governments put the right incentives in place, then farmers will produce a lot more carbon in the soil than anyone expects them to. He says ‘farmers always overproduce’. Look at the ethanol production in the US. Now I am not arguing that ethanol is good thing, merely that farmers spun on dime once the incentives were there.

          In the world of oil, look at the astonishing boom in shale oil and gas when the price got high enough. We still have a big fracklog just waiting to be produced. I don’t think most people expected the scale and speed of the boom.

          One of the sessions in the ‘Neural Summit’ features a talk on recent research demonstrating how resilient humans are in the face of stress. I haven’t heard the talk, but I would bet that a precondition is that people can perceive a ‘way out’ of their predicament.

          Some American Football coach formulated the rule ‘run to daylight’. If public policy can create some daylight, then we might be astonished at how the herd runs toward it.

          Don Stewart

          • Stefeun says:

            I agree, Don,
            But do you seriously think that any government will half-make anything that could question Big Ag’s interests?

            As for sudden reversal in the opinion, yes it happens, but you have to account with 2 parameters (at least):
            – the ground-work must have been made before, ie a majority of the people are informed and convinced (at the very least: not against) this is the way to go,
            – the hysteresis, which means that existing structures remain in place beyond the tipping point, before things actually start to change course. Once started, it can go very fast, but it often takes longer than expected, to reach that point (rem. Interguru’s lemmas).

            • Don Stewart says:

              Stefeun
              I do not think that a majority of relatively rich urban dwellers will be able to psychologically make the transition which is required by a fast collapse. My guess is that lower income people, whether in the third world or the first world, who are more used to scrambling for their daily bread will do better.

              My psychological commitment is to the survivors…not necessarily my relatively rich neighbors. And when I try to become part of a group of 150, I focus on those with tough psychologies and physical skills. Whether we want to or not, I think that survivors in a fast collapse will be forced to practice triage.

              Don Stewart

            • Artleads says:

              hysteresis: a nice new word to add to my vocabulary. 🙂

              I lean slightly towards Don’s “optimism,” because I believe it’s not our DNA, but our cultural belief system that has us stuck. I believe that if we know our lives depend on changing that belief system we change it come rain or high water, and quickly. Since we here, as well as our parents before us, have only experienced industrial civilization (a relatively recent phenomenon) it’s to be expected that very few can see it as something abnormal (and deadly).

              Apart from the adaptability among the poor and non western that Don anticipates, I think there’s a mushy middle that is hard to categorize as too poor or too rich to adapt. This large population are mostly stuck in a cultural system that they see as normal. That “sense of normalcy” is what I think we must consider. Changing the sense of normALCY CAN BE DONE, AND IS PRIMARILY THE TASK OF THE CULTURAL WORKER. (Oops–caplock error!) Broadly speaking, it’s the job of the artist. One problem, however, is in how the artist has been coopted into the system itself. Cultural movements have a similar potential to change values.

              Just one example of what I mean: When I was a kid, people I knew who were cultivated and had confidence in their values, might be seen using a thing we called “chew stick” in place of toothbrushes to clean their teeth. Chew stick is a vine with a bitter taste. Chewing the end of the vine produced a sort of brush that foamed…apparently very serviceable for the job of dental hygiene. Without very major cultural reorientation, chew stick could become normal to use. What is preventing such value shifts is cultural, status-conferring conditioning. Capitalist advertising, for instance…

              While changing norms can help, I doubt it it has the primacy to compare to capitalism for setting values. But if capitalism is collapsing on its own, I don’t see how changing as many norms as possible during the transition wouldn’t serve as a cushion against, and even as an agent of, that transition.

            • Stefeun says:

              Agreed Artleads,
              About the status and role of the artists in society.

              As you say, quite a bit of them have been co-opted by the system, but I think it’s a matter of opportunity (one must eat). Generally speaking, an artist can exist out of nowhere, and create his own narrative (new normalcy?) from elements that aren’t seen by other members of the community.
              They are necessary to good health of the society, I think, but I don’t know until what point the society should support them, especially if their main goal is to question paradigms that society has no intentions to change.
              They come and raise in due time, anyway, even (or partcularly) in hard times, and that’s when they likely make most sense.
              (just a gut feeling, I’m a technician)

            • bandits101 says:

              Artleads, how many and when for that matter, do you expect we need to “believe our lives depend on changing” to affect change enough to make a difference? It’s okay to be an optimist but I’m pretty sure you are behaving that way with absolutely no foundation.
              I know my life depends on changing and I can…….but I won’t/don’t, how do you deal with that. To quote words from a famous song, I doubt “I’m not the only one” that thinks that way.

            • Artleads says:

              Bandits101

              “Artleads, how many and when for that matter, do you expect we need to “believe our lives depend on changing” to affect change enough to make a difference? It’s okay to be an optimist but I’m pretty sure you are behaving that way with absolutely no foundation.”

              I don’t know what foundation would seem reasonable to you. But let’s try this: I turn 80 next year, and so have a great deal of life experience to draw from.

              I’m talking above of optimism in a limited and narrow range–optimism that cultural behavior can change rapidly given the right impetus. (Don explained this already, better than I can or have patience for). It’s similar to optimism that one will live to see another day, despite the fact that one could fail to do so.

              But so as not to be misleading, I admit to being optimistic more broadly. Maybe some of that is due to, a) having lived in a simpler age, and b) having grown up in the third world off the grid. There WAS industrial civilization, but it was a much softer version than now, with lots of margin space to cushion it.

              When I was born, the population was not much over a quarter of what it is today. The change has been unprecedented in speed and scope. Since the time my children were born, human population has doubled and wildlife population halved. Don’t tell me the world can’t change quickly.

              The large population added to the vast depletion of resources since my childhood makes life’s challenges extreme. But without the severity of these challenges, the flawed paradigm behind western civilization, especially since the Renaissance, would have little chance to be reexamined or changed. So, IMO, it HAD to get this bad for it to be remotely possible to change. As the “environment” degraded, positive developments have simultaneously grown as well. I see no reason why the horror of our situation can’t impel the use of our assets to stave off the worst. Extreme destruction faces extreme opportunity. Life seems to work in this binary way.

            • Artleads says:

              “(Artists) are necessary to good health of the society, I think, but I don’t know until what point the society should support them, especially if their main goal is to question paradigms that society has no intentions to change.”

              You’re right. The society that is invested in the status quo that the artist opposes owes the artist nothing. That’s why the artist who is serious must create out of nothing. Buying expensive art materials from art stores is, to me, a sign of lunacy. Art made from discard is the only process that seems valid to me.

          • Stefeun says:

            Yes Don,

            The question then becomes: who pays for this “daylight”?
            More debt, issued by banks, and that will be used to decrease the volume of the business? I don’t think so…

  14. Don Stewart says:

    Vince the Prince
    Have tried twice to reply to your latest. I must be using a naughty word.
    Don Stewart

  15. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    I found this tidbit from shortonoil to be interesting. I was aware of the pension fund angle, but hadn’t put together the derivatives sold by the banks who sold the debts to the pension companies.

    Don Stewart
    ‘The Ponzi scheme goes on. Pension funds are now the big buyers of distressed energy bonds and equities. The banks are attempting to unload their distressed assets to clean up their balance sheets. The pension funds buy them, and buy a derivative from the bank that sold them! The pension fund is covered if they collapse, and the banks get to move them off their ledgers sheets to an SPV. Out of site, out of mind? And of course, if all goes south the banks have the FED to print them up some emergency funds.
    Now — what could possibly go wrong?’

    • Stefeun says:

      “The pension fund is covered if they collapse”
      Should we understand they’re preparing to?

      • richard says:

        When a derivative provides insurance to the energy investment, the bank gets to decide whether or not an “event” has occurred. One of those things that works until it doesn’t.
        The you need insurance on the insurance …

        • Stefeun says:

          Thanks Richard,
          When the “event” we’re talking about happens, I think there won’t be any doubt that some very big event occured.
          Then we’ll know for sure that this risk-spreading system doesn’t work.
          Like most other financial & monetary tricks, it may work for minor/isolated incidents, but certainly not systemic ones. Who takes the role of lender in last resort? The ghost debt?

          • xabier says:

            Loss of all or part of bank deposits in a bail-in operation will have political and psychological effects too profound to calculate in secure, complacent North-West Europe.

            It will invalidate all political promises and all the pretence of ‘Recovery ‘ of the last 8 years (or four decades.)

            I would hazard a guess that the risk is greatest in the peripheries, – the South – before such an expedient is tried in the European Core. That would make sense politically.

            • Stefeun says:

              Guinea PIIGS?

            • xabier says:

              Stefeun

              Oink!

              However much a pig struggles against Fate, it goes on the block and finds a knife in its neck.

              I would be very nervous living in a region commonly spoken of as ‘peripheral’ by those in the Centre…….

              In Northern Europe, the citizens will be squeezed like lemons, slowly, ending up in the same situation, but probably spared a traumatic universal bail-in event. Or so I hope.

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Shortonoil wrote
        The shale industry has had well over $1 trillion invested into it to create an industry with $360 billion in gross sales. Simply put, those investors are never going to see their money again. Many of those investors were pension funds that got conned into putting their money into the Miracle of Shale. When those funds have to start cutting redemptions by 10 to 15% you have contagion!
        http://peakoil.com/geology/an-oil-theologist-is-needed-to-interpret-the-given-resources-and-reserves-in-world-energy-outlook-2015

    • That sounds like a pretty good racket.

      The plan, if this approach down’t work, is to push the losses over to the bondholders of the bank and the depositors of the bank. They likely will get shares of the failing bank as substitutes for some percentage of their current bond holdings or deposits, as a way of bailing out the banks. Thus, it is the bank bondholders and the depositors who lose, in the scenario that seems to be planned.

      Individual deposits are supposedly insured up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, but there is little actual funding to back this insurance up. If it is to hold, the government would need to bail out the FDIC. (The pension insurance program has the same problem.)

  16. Vince the Prince says:

    This video is for Don Stewart’ Fast Eddy and others that can battle it out on if or not their our solutions to our predicament

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WGcE3ZWBjfo

    When will the top of the J curve be reached and collapse would be a better question, as far as I’m concerned.

    Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows…..

    • Yoshua says:

      I have been on a meat, butter and cream diet for some years now… well… I eat vegetables as well since we need vitamin C (that is the only soil corrosion I confess to) … anyway… I have never felt better or stronger in my life, it’s almost as drinking oil, or injecting it into the blood stream. The point I’m trying to make is… well… I don’t know what the point is… but I’m drinking a nice bottle of Georgian vine with my entre cote right now.

      Sunshine…

      • Veggie says:

        Saturated fats are not as bad as once thought.
        But to really know if you are better off. You need data.
        How is your cholesterol level ? and Artery Calcium score ?

        • Yoshua says:

          I haven’t taken any medical tests, but the heart uses saturated fats as its primary energy source. I believe that it is important to use only non-homogenized dairy products though.

          Anyway… I’m switching over to a lactovegetarian diet and basically just replacing meat with cheese (and perhaps some beans, peas and lintels) as a protein source, but I will stay on saturated fats as my energy source. I do of course consume some carbs (sugar) as well, but not high levels.

          Meat is murder 🙂

          • Meat is murder

            —————

            At the headquarters of Denali National Park, there is an exhibit on caribou. They do not have an easy life. Four fifths of the calves never make it to adulthood, mostly falling to predators who rip them apart and eat them alive. The survivors are plagued by swarms of biting flies and parasites that burrow tunnels in their haunches before they are weakened by age or disease, and ripped apart by a predator.

            This contrasts with responsibly raised farm animals, who have room, board, and medical care, live much longer than their cousins in the wild. They certainly die more humanely than being eaten alive, in fact they die more humanely than most of us do hooked up to machines.

            I grew up in the country and saw how wild animals lived. I suspect that most animal rights people’s experience with animals is limited to dog, cats, and zoos.

            While on a bus at Denali, we saw a fox walk by with a bloody squirrel dripping from his jaws This was a revelation to my wife who was raised in a genteel suburb. From the oohs and ahs it caused it seemed to be a revelation to most of the passengers.

            While I certainly back humane treatment of captive animals,. I think at the further end, animal rights people, isolated from nature, are projecting their human selves on animals.

            • DJ says:

              You have a point, but there’s also a middle ground where animals are herded, or all non-human predators is extinct or close to. The animals still has to endure mosquitos, but death will be quick

            • Yoshua says:

              Yes you are right. We have been domesticized and brought up in this golden age of petroleum. We have lost the killer instinct to civilization. Not many of us would survive in the wilderness.

            • DJ says:

              What wilderness?

            • xabier says:

              Indeed. My little brother, who is a very kind soul, has gone the whole Vegan/ PETA route: he believes it is a moral crime to shear a sheep. But he dresses in clothes which are a product of profoundly polluting and destructive technologies……

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I know of similar people. It’s not so much the ignorance or outright hypocrisy that I find offensive rather it is the denial – and even intense anger — that you face when you explain how their actions are illogical… inconsistent.

              I know people who eat meat only once/week because they are doing their part to save the world — yet if you suggested they take the bus instead of a private car to work — they’d think you were nuts… and heaven forbid you suggest they avoid ‘the mall’ for a month and buy nothing….

              The human brain is capable of some amazing feats!

          • xabier says:

            Butter and olive oil are Civilisation.

            Margarine is industrial pseudo-civilisation.

            Soylent Green is: delicious, if it’s all you can get…….

      • xabier says:

        I believe archaeological evidence suggests that the Vikings ate very considerable quantities of meat -this struck the fussy Byzantines when the crusaders reached them in the 11th century (‘ boastful people who eat enormous pieces of coarsely-cut meat from huge cauldrons’ 🙂 ), and the English used to claim that they never knew how to drink until the Scandinavians taught them.

        No one can claim they weren’t a vigorous race of people, to say the least.

        But they did get a lot of exercise too. And, of course, the meat came from animals that had actually seen the light of day, unlike the poor creatures raised in the US by corporations……

        • InAlaska says:

          The best diet comes from those foods with which humankind evolved: meat, eggs, fruit, and green vegetables. Forget about grains, sugars and processed goo from Kraft.

          • xabier says:

            Indeed, but let’s not exclude grain consumption in the form of good ale. Every now and then.

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          “But they did get a lot of exercise too.”

          Your body will burn whatever edible food you toss in it, if it needs it because you’re doing lots of exercise. But if you’re doing very little exercise, be very careful what you eat and make sure to get regular blood testing and a physical examination. The best test to determine the health of your cardiovascular system is the running in place test. What happens to your heart when you really push it?

          Along those lines here’s a weird one, a personal testament to the value of exercise. In the past couple of years I had these persistent dark marks under my eyes. Couldn’t get rid of them no matter what. Then we just travelled to Italy and did lots of walking. I mean like an average of 6 miles a day. Some days as much as 9 and lots of stairs. Try walking to the top of the Tower then immediately to the top of the Duomo in Florence! Later that night in the hotel mirror I noticed the dark marks were completely gone. From now on I’m making sure I get a lot of vigorous exercise.

          As a sideline note on the trip, BAU is alive and well at least for tourism in Italy. Lots of people in Rome, Florence and Venice! When we were in Venice at St. Mark’s Square it was full of people, then suddenly it started raining and all those people went to the outside part which is covered. I preferred to stand in the rain vs. milling around with all those people, but my wife insisted that she needed to be out of the rain. I didn’t want to lose her in the crowd so went along with it, but it was like sardines in a can. I cannot stand that point where a crowd is so clogged you constantly have to make adjustments to move. But surprisingly the Correr museum was scant of people and we moved around looking at great sculpture and paintings with ease.

          But I also heard some woman talking about the water level in Venice. That it was near an all time high and the high tides for Venice had not yet occurred. Saw water pumps being used just outside of a restaurant. So it doesn’t look like they will be able to handle a whole lot of sea level rise, partly because the whole place is slowly sinking. Anyway, trip of a lifetime and now we’re home it’s about recovering. I mean you don’t get the kind of sleep you need in those hotels. They don’t even have screens on the windows, so getting fresh air has the potential of that buzzing sound around your ears at night (which happened). Here we are in 2016, we’re paying over $300 a night for a hotel with no screens on the windows! All I want is some fresh air while I try to catch up on some sleep.

  17. richard says:

    Maybe Doha marked a watershed in the direction of oil politics:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-28/peak-oil-demand-collapse-old-oil-order
    “But what happens if confidence in the eventual resurgence of demand begins to wither? Then the incentives to cooperate begin to evaporate, too, and it’s every producer for itself in a mad scramble to protect market share. This new reality — a world in which “peak oil demand,” rather than “peak oil,” will shape the consciousness of major players — is what the Doha catastrophe foreshadowed.”
    “This is no theoretical construct. It’s reality itself. Net consumption of oil in the advanced industrialized nations has already dropped from 50 million barrels per day in 2005 to 45 million barrels in 2014. Further declines are in store as strict fuel efficiency standards for the production of new vehicles and other climate-related measures take effect, the price of solar and wind power continues to fall, and other alternative energy sources come on line. While the demand for oil does continue to rise in the developing world, even there it’s not climbing at rates previously taken for granted. With such countries also beginning to impose tougher constraints on carbon emissions, global consumption is expected to reach a peak and begin an inexorable decline. According to experts Thijs Van de Graaf and Aviel Verbruggen, overall world peak demand could be reached as early as 2020.”
    “For a country that more than any other has rested its claim to wealth and power on the production and sale of petroleum, this is a revolutionary statement. If Saudi Arabia says it is ready to begin a move away from reliance on petroleum, we are indeed entering a new world in which, among other things, the titans of oil production will no longer hold sway over our lives as they have in the past.”

    • The catch is that we need demand high enough to bring the price high enough to cover the cost of production. Many exporters are very dependent on high prices to keep their countries operating, if not to extract the oil. Low prices no longer work very well.

  18. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/energy

    WTI 46.10 & Brent 48.18 a barrel. Looks like my prediction of oil in the range of $60-80 a barrel in the latter half of 2016 made back just before thanksgiving 2015 is right on track.

    • MG says:

      Dear Stilgar Wilcox,

      are you sure? The consumer prices and the prices of the industry are falling, how can they afford higher priced oil?

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/slovakia/harmonised-consumer-prices/forecast
      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/slovakia/producer-prices

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        MG, my assertion on a price of $60-80 a barrel in the 2nd half of 2016, with price already moving in that direction, is based on what makes sense as a balanced price. On the one hand producers won’t get as much as they want, but consumers won’t get a low price indefinitely. For there to be an oil industry, the price must rise and consumers will have to bear the increase. However, that does not mean the consumer can afford an oil price north of somewhere around $80 a barrel.

        This also does not in any way reject the ideas of peak oil, of declining net energy and its negative effect on consumers affordability, but for this time period it seems likely the price of oil will need to balance out in the $60-80 a barrel range. A year or two from now that balance price may need to decline.

        • We are at interesting crossroad, should the price relapse again into $20-30 range? Or it is time now for mismanagement and depletion effects to fully kick in, e.g. Mexico and Venezuela are already crashing in terms of oil output. On the other hand natgas substitution is evidently a factor to stay for a while, e.g. Russians keep on keeping, lolz, exporting more natgas into Europe. And to complicate matters a bit, what if we get proper market seizure about 20-40-60% in next few months from lack of demand (recessions-depression due course), are the oil prices then going to relapse, stagnate or increase? It’s a madhouse, and some gamblers in the dens of hedges are now already positioned “for the future outcome” to get their pound of the flesh aka 20-30x return on their “investment” and retire at age of 42 into some sunny climate paradise..

        • Creedon says:

          I think that many of us in the peak oil community have been wrong about some things. This is not about thermodynamics in the short run at least. This is very simple. The investment community produced shale oil. Production went up. Shale oil is peaking and the price of oil is beginning to rebound. Who knows how high the oil price will go as shale goes off line over the next five years. I’m beginning to think that we are going to see 2008 and 2009 all over again and that we will be able to see it coming from miles away.

        • Creedon says:

          Stilgar, what do you believe the maximum oil price is. What exactly do you base your projection of 60 to 80 dollars a barrel in the latter half of 2016 on.

          • Stilgar Wilcox says:

            Creedon, good question, and I’m not basing this prediction on a math, a graph or sourced link. It’s more of a wet finger to the wind type call, based on the idea of what goes up must come down and vice versa. If it was well over a hundred then plummeted to a low of 29 then it seems reasonable to assert there is room in between to rise up to the range of $60-80 a barrel.

            Time will tell soon enough if this is accurate, but from recent rises in the price it seems to at least have the potential of being a good call. Over the long term price will continue to get squeezed between the floor price the producer needs and the consumer can afford. As such we probably are near or at the peak of world oil production.

    • We will see how long prices stay up.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        or continue to go up as it historically has each year leading to the 4th of July when people fill all those recreational vehicles. I haven’t yet seen the consumer fail in going out on a financial limb to satisfy family holiday expectations. Of course that’s fuel, but usually is a reflection of oil price.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        HIGH PRICED OIL DESTROYS GROWTH
        According to the OECD Economics Department and the International Monetary Fund Research Department, a sustained $10 per barrel increase in oil prices from $25 to $35 would result in the OECD as a whole losing 0.4% of GDP in the first and second years of higher prices. http://www.iea.org/textbase/npsum/high_oil04sum.pdf

        HOW HIGH OIL PRICES WILL PERMANENTLY CAP ECONOMIC GROWTH
        For most of the last century, cheap oil powered global economic growth. But in the last decade, the price of oil production has quadrupled, and that shift will permanently shackle the growth potential of the world’s economies. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-09-23/how-high-oil-prices-will-permanently-cap-economic-growth

        If they go up … they won’t stay there for long….

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          “If they go up … they won’t stay there for long….”

          It will be interesting to revisit oil price in the latter half of 2016 to find out how high it goes and if it can sustain that price for long. It will be a good test of many of the tenets discussed here.

          As a sideline, one of the interesting people we met while on our vacation to Italy was a man standing in the UK Customs line. (We stayed there one night before flying home to CA). He lives in the UK but just got back from visiting relatives in Nigeria. He said things are really bad there because nothing was saved from all those years of high oil prices. Now oil price is low the country is having a lot of difficulty.

  19. Vince the Prince says:

    Supply chains are the greatest blessing and the greatest curse for civilization. They are an escape from the prison of geogra­phy, creating economic opportunities where none existed, bringing ideas, technologies, and business practices to places that lack the advantages of good climate and soil or other propitious variables. As the Princeton economist and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton lu­cidly captures in The Great Escape, billions of people have joined the global marketplace by building connectivity despite “bad” geog­raphy and institutions. It is no longer foreordained that tropical countries will suffer unproductive agriculture and labor, nor that landlocked countries must underperform: Singapore and Malaysia are thriving modern economies near the equator, while Rwanda, Botswana, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia are landlocked countries en­joying unprecedented growth and development. A country cannot change where it is, but connectivity offers an alternative to the des­tiny of geography…
    https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/connecting-world-through-infrastructure
    Despite the World Bank’s legacy of financing postwar reconstruction, in the 1960s it shifted its aid focus away from infrastructure, leaving basic irrigation, transportation, and electrification systems underdeveloped. China has stepped in as a new and symbiotic partner. China is therefore not “buying the world” per se but building it in exchange for natural resources…

    Africa will graduate from supplier to market only if it fur­ther builds out road networks China has begun, trains more youth in infrastructure management from ports to railways, and spends resource revenues on sustainable development. Supply chains, then, are where Western demands for good governance and Asia’s de­mand for resources come together. Chinese connectivity makes Western political goals possible…
    Controlling the supply chain is immeasurably more useful than controlling any traditional battle­field.

    The strategic goal of a supply chain world is not domination, which brings obligation, but leverage, which generates value. Geo­politics now operates on both chessboard and web. On the chess­board, the United States extends its security umbrella to Europeans, Arabs, and Asians in the hopes that they will peacefully integrate regionally and avoid wars with Russia, Iran, or China, respectively. On the web, the United States needs industrial, financial, and commercial connectedness to other key global nodes to build its economic strength at home. If the United States can recognize the primacy of supply chain geopolitics, it would be less likely to under­take costly military interventions that can do more harm than good…

  20. Veggie says:

    Quote:
    “On Tuesday, Venezuela shortened its workweek to just two days as the country suffers through a deepening power crisis.
    Venezuela sources about 60 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric dams, but a stubbornly persistent drought has caused water levels to drop dangerously low, curtailing electricity generation. The Venezuelan government, in an effort to deal with a shrinking power supply, first declared in early April that Fridays would not be working days. But the four-day workweek has quickly been shortened to just two days as power shortages have become acute. For the next two weeks, government offices will only be operational on Mondays and Tuesdays. Even with those measures, the country is experiencing rolling blackouts, particularly in smaller towns. ”

    Source:
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Venezuelas-Electricity-Blackout-Could-Cut-Off-Oil-Production.html

    • I am amazed they don’t run generators, with their $0.01 per litre gasoline. Or maybe they ran out of money for subsidizing gas, and it will be $5 per litre soon.

    • It is sort of ironic that BP lists Venezuela as having the largest oil reserves in the world.

      • venezuela is the picture of the future for all of us.

        Sure–there will be variations of degree, different reactions, but essentially the people who are charged with leadership there are now running round like headless chickens because the “system” they were promised would work (ie oil prosperity for all for ever) now is clearly not working.

        And it will happen to us, in the so called “industrialised west”, because we promised ourselves oil prosperity forever. The USA promised itself that—yet there now 6m million people on food aid. That is not infinite prosperity

        It will also happen in say–Saudi. They have promised their people prosperity forever, yet the “prince” they’ve put in charge of oil production is now beginning to use the word “if” (we have no oil by 2020)—aa terrifying word.

        Venezuela or Saudi—their oil economies are proving unsustainable and likely to fail altogether in the next few years

  21. bandits101 says:

    Just another money making scheme. You know I would bet that preventing the activities that causes the runaway gulfweed growth, would be far more beneficial than looking to profit from human polluting activities. Of course that wouldn’t do, no money in that but creative accounting, outright lies and subterfuge can generate profit if enough gullible investors can be convinced.

    Above there is a video submitted by “Name”, it shows the culmination of one man’s 45 years of research and development. The end result…….a more efficient method of generating electricity. Jevon would be so proud.

  22. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    I do not profess to be an expert on seaweed plastic. But here is some information from 2015. I don’t vouch for it, but the idea must not be crazy if a different group won the Lexus prize for something similar. Please note that it sequesters carbon and gives off oxygen, which has to be a net gain for the ocean, which is suffering acidification as the carbon builds up.

    Don Stewart
    http://news.algaeworld.org/2015/06/impact-2015-plastic-made-from-seaweed/

    It stores carbon dioxide and gives out oxygen, encouraging marine biodiversity.

    The end-products take 12 weeks to biodegrade in soil – compared with four to 10 centuries for normal plastics – and just five hours in the sea.

    By substituting oil with seaweed, Algopack also helps to clear up the unprecedented volumes of gulfweed swamping the coastal areas of the West Indies and Guyana.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘The company is currently running a fundraising campaign for its expansion which will require more than €5 million’

      Hmmm… so this will replace oil in plastic… it will also result in cheaper plastic…. it is apparently a proved technology since it will commence ‘industrial production next year’

      And yet they are asking for 5 million Euros.

      I hate to say it … but the common sense in me (a product of being born in RealityStan) interprets this as follows:

      – this is total and utter nonsense because if someone could make plastic at a lower cost there would be investors lined up around the block (including the likes of DOW) to get in on the game

      – whomever is behind this is looking for muppets to give him 5 million Euro so that he can live large while he pretends to do cutting edge research into plastic from seaweed.

      It seems he understands that if he were to go after serious money he’d run up against hard core capitalist pigs who run venture capital firms — and they would ask him for his patent number and comprehensive research that demonstrate this idea works.

      So what he is doing — and I commend him on this — is he is instead approaching the citizens of DelusiStan to fund his joy ride… as we can see from Don’s comments — there is a very receptive audience in DelusiStan…. they will be believe absolutely anything — they are particularly receptive to any idea that has the world ‘green’ in it….

      The axiom fools and money and being parted… comes to mind when I read through that utter utter pile of nonsense.

      Seriously – a web site dedicated to algae? Surely with time so short people would have better things to do with their time…. I see they have a VIP membership….. very cool!

      • Don Stewart says:

        Fast Eddy
        I don’t usually even read what you say, much less respond to it. But….apparently, anything that looks like actual science, such as chemistry or physics, comes from Delusistan in your twisted world.

        Don Stewart

        • doomphd says:

          Actually Don, I read through the OFW comments and treat your many posts like the foam chips used as packing material.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I can imagine I would be stoned if I tried to enter DelusiStan… so ignoring me is kind.

          I am still wondering why venture capitalists aren’t lined up to fund this fabulous ‘scientific’ breakthrough that would allow us to manufacture plastics at a fraction of the price of oil-based plastic…

          I guess nobody wants to make a lot of easy money.

          Let me guess – the powerful oil interests are preventing this from happening….

          Or maybe they understand that this is total bullshit.

      • Stefeun says:

        FE,
        5m buys a couple of machines only, therefore is not relevant. Wether the seaweed project works or not, time will tell.

        Don’t worry the sharks are already lining up for big money:
        “The analysts forecast the Global Green Chemicals Market to grow at a CAGR of 8.16 percent over the period 2013-2018 a market opportunity that will grow from $2.8 billion in 2014 to $98.5 billion by 2020.”
        From http://bioplastics.conferenceseries.com/call-for-abstracts.php
        (100b, not 5m)

        • MM says:

          Well, my city has public compost places and I once sent them an inquiry about biodegradable plastic as it would be very convenient to bring the bio waste in a degradable plastic bag. I was told that they do not want that because they made tests and found out the the plastics did not decompose well. They also could not do better research on it because the additional chemicals that the companies add to the “bioplastic” are highly confidential as they constitute the marketable asstes. These things are also not available from patents. So they asked me not to use bioplastics. Anyway, this is some 2 years ago, maybe someone really found a solution but I doubt it. In the end the green bubble is just another bubble capitalism is about in the end.

          • Stefeun says:

            Exact MM,

            As long as this business relies on the secrecy of some ingredient (ie won’t be developed if ever disclosed), it’s but an extension of standard BAU, which relies on sacrosanct private property rights.
            Then authorizing sales for such a product means to give the control to the company that owns the patent, not to the public, even if bioplastics is of public interest. But what if the secret ingredient reveals more dangerous than the company says?

  23. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Here is the latest on the Plastics initiative from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation:
    https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/the-new-plastics-economy-rethinking-the-future-of-plastics?utm_source=All+Subscribers&utm_campaign=0968821e03-Mailout_075&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f507e40a10-0968821e03-87379961

    You can download certain graphics and statistics now. When the full report is published in a couple of weeks, you can either purchase a print version or, most likely, download a PDF for free.

    Don Stewart

  24. Don Stewart says:

    Bandits 101
    You have obviously never understood the phrase ‘carbon farming’. In a nutshell, plants take carbon out of the air and, properly gardened or farmed, can put some of that carbon into the soil where it will remain for a very long time. Bad gardening and farming take carbon which is in the soil and releases it into the atmosphere. Bad farming is what humans have mostly done now for 10,000 years.

    You need to read Eric Toensmeier’s The Carbon Farming Solution. Eric and his wife own the other half of the duplex behind which Jonathan Bates was giving a tour of their greenhouse.

    Don Stewart

    • bandits101 says:

      You know Don I’ve flown quite a few times my job requires it. When you purchase a ticket there is a box you can tick for a few extra bucks to “offset” the carbon emissions. Is that what you are talking about. I don’t tick that box because I know it’s BS.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Carbon farming is about putting carbon back into the soil. What airlines are selling is something I cannot vouch for.

        The results of carbon farming can be measured with a soil test.

        Don Stewart

        • Veggie says:

          But isn’t carbon farming impossible if the population is greater than…say 2 billion ?
          It simply can’t rejuvenate the earth fast enough to feed the 7.3 billion we have without massive infusions of extra carbon in the form of petroleum derivatives.
          Any effort in carbon farming (CF) would have a micro effect on the macro problem.
          It simply can’t make enough difference in the time frame required.
          Secondly, there is no push to move in that direction. The profit motive for BAU farming is too entrenched.
          What would be the motive for the majority of farmers to swing to CF?
          Does it work? yes. Will it be adopted enough o make a difference? Unlikely

          • “It simply can’t rejuvenate the earth fast enough to feed the 7.3 billion we have without massive infusions of extra carbon in the form of petroleum derivatives.”

            If you never apply any solution until it solves the problem for every single human on Earth, you will never apply any solutions.

            “Secondly, there is no push to move in that direction. The profit motive for BAU farming is too entrenched.”

            Some of these methods result in increased yields and decreased input costs. Conventional petro-industrial farming is running into rapidly diminishing returns, and ever-shrinking profit margins.

            “What would be the motive for the majority of farmers to swing to CF?”

            To make more money. To lose less money from drought losses.

            “Will it be adopted enough to make a difference? Unlikely”

            If you mean will carbon farming get us back under 300 ppm carbon dioxide, I doubt it.

            • bandits101 says:

              The only thing that will get us under 300 ppm (it’s over 400 now) is that in several thousand years, after this shit we started, has run its course. We will/must be long gone for that to eventuate.

              When the penny drops and understanding dawns on PTB and as a consequence, the people/sheeple, watch the blaming take hold. No minority or authority figure will be safe and maybe the cut of your suit, will be enough to get you smitten. In due course it won’t matter really, it’s just more conjecture, every end of the world scenario opinion is as good as another.

  25. Stefeun says:

    GRAIN
    https://www.grain.org/

    Last week they published their Activity Report for 2015:
    https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5414-grain-2015-activity-report

    Lots of links along, and at the end, of the report.
    People can suffer, Big Corp don’t care.

  26. Yoshua says:

    I just came from the dentist. Now I look brand new for the coming slave market. I hope the investment pays off and that someone actually picks me up. The path to rise to a house slave will go through the whiplashes in the fields and competition will be fierce. Am I holding my hopes too high ? Well… maybe… but we must keep the dream alive.

  27. Name says:

  28. Don Stewart says:

    Artleads
    See this newsletter from Ellen Macarthur Foundation on ‘plastic from seaweed’, the design of which won a Lexus award.
    http://circulatenews.org/2016/04/circulate-on-fridays-seaweed-plastic-robot-deliveries-circular-economy-from-nasa/

    Don Stewart

    • Don Stewart says:

      Artleads
      Also, Ellen has put out a major proposal for redesigning the entire plastics stream. Using only renewable virgin feedstocks (such as seaweed) and recycling a very high percentage, with very little waste making its way to the ocean. You can find that report easily with a search, if you are interested.
      Don Stewart

      • Veggie says:

        So… we are now raping the ocean of Krill in order to make human heath supplements.
        The same Krill that feeds the ocean life at the bottom (or foundation) of the food chain.
        And now we may gather the Seaweed to make plastic for our disposable products.
        Hardly any whales left, Sharks on the protected list, many fish species on the brink of extinction,…what else can we pull from the ocean??
        Something just doesn’t seem right with that plan.

        • Veggie says:

          Typo…Health supplements 🙂

        • Vince the Prince says:

          The plan……MAXIMIZE…..as fast as we can….than go ever FASTER…right Fast Eddy?
          Until the wheels fall off

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D0AAUpBzKnw

          • Fast Eddy says:

            YES!!!! By Jeez… you’ve got it!

            We not only need to run fast — we must run FASTER — otherwise we collapse and die.

            There are limits to how fast we can run of course…. Limits to Faster … Limits to Growth….

            We are very close to reaching these limits.

            • psile says:

              They are going batshit crazy now with the printing press, desperation is never having to take your foot off the accelerator no matter how close the wall gets. Look at how much they are trying to gun every asset class now. commodities, real estate, education durable goods, even as the world eCONomy tanks. The pigmen have sensed the supernova event looming over the horizon (i.e. the real China Syndrome) and are scared witless!

              Keep printing you halfwits!!

        • A Real Black Person says:

          I wonder if an engineer has ever solved any problem. What most engineers seem to do is come up with a temporary solution that delay the inevitable…in other words … “kick the can down the road”. The difference between politicians and engineers is that engineers have an easier time of getting away with false solutions.

          • Greg Machala says:

            As we use fossil fuels we are using a resource that the ecosystem itself does not really use. However, when we use seaweed we are using a resource that the ecosystem uses.
            With fossil fuels the main impact on the ecosystem is pollution. With seaweed to plastics there are two major impacts: depriving the ecosystem of a useful resource and adding pollution. Like robbing Peter to pay Paul. To me the best solution is to literally recycle plastic bottles. By that I mean going to the store and refilling them instead of disposing of them. Of course there is that little thing about loosing jobs that make plastic packaging. Ooops. We are stuck in the mud. Perhaps we can call it the Fast Eddy Paradox!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I’ve had some neo-Luddites tell me they are celebrating the collapse in iphone sales…

              These are ‘Luddites’ who have iphones… their only beef is with those who upgrade their phones on every iteration …. I believe that to maintain your ‘green creds’ it is acceptable to buy a new one every second year only. In the meantime you can take unlimited long haul flights… and somehow rationalize that to remain in the club….

              Anyway enough on ‘The Crazy’….

              This gave me a slight opening and I attempted to drive an oil tanker through the crevice asking them … so you think it’s great that Apple sold 10m less phones…. what about all the people who depend on this company for jobs… also what does this say about the broader economy since overall sales of all smart phones are flat…. what if consumers no longer have the means to grow consumption … does that not lead to more job losses… and less consumption … and more job losses….

              It was then that Mr Cognitive Dissonance arrived on the scene …. and he plugged the crevice with a glob of quick-hardening cement…..

            • “With fossil fuels the main impact on the ecosystem is pollution. With seaweed to plastics there are two major impacts: depriving the ecosystem of a useful resource and adding pollution. Like robbing Peter to pay Paul.” — I agree.

              I think the best solution is not to drink bottled drinks. We need to drink locally produced water instead, or perhaps locally produced wine or beer. Those usually are not sold in plastic bottles.

            • ” By that I mean going to the store and refilling them instead of disposing of them.”

              Most cheap plastic bottles are made out of a somewhat soluble plastic. If you keep refilling them, you will end up with endocrine disruptors in your drink, and then cancer in your body.

              Currently, I think stainless steel canteens is the way to go. Safer and lighter than glass bottles, easy to sterilize, and not carcinogenic or mutagenic like plastics.

              Go back to the old days of filling things up on tap. Or use glass for local businesses, and just have a hefty deposit. If the people don’t return them, some un- or under-employed person can harvest them for cash.

            • I can’t believe that drinking beverages from the bottles in the first place is really good for you. How do the endocrine disruptors know to stay inside, until the bottle is refilled?

            • richard says:

              Water in plastic bottles is one of the worst ideas ever. First, it takes a shedload of investment to produce clean water and to deliver it to where it is needed while keeping it clean. Next, the water tends to leach plasticizer out of the plastic, so the water quality is degraded. Finally, to maximise the bug count, just leave an opened, partially consumed plastic bottle of water in a warm place for a day or two.
              BTW, the ancient egyptians had this figured out millenia ago – a copper container works best, as the metal tends to kill the bugs.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          It’s the same process that got us to where we are…. always looking at ways to lead more comfortable lives… raping and pillaging as necessary….

          There is no stopping the human beast.

    • A circular economy can’t use renewable resources faster than they renew. In fact, it is not clear that it can use much renewable resources at all, because the ecological system has need of them.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Gail
        If you exclude humans from your definition of ‘the ecological system’, then obviously anything humans use subtracts from the ecological system. However, if you include humans as part of the ecological system, then your tautology falls by the wayside. Humans can, for example, design systems which sequester carbon more rapidly than unaided ‘nature minus humans’.

        Everything is scale dependent. For example, if humans use the ‘seaweed to plastic’ path to produce more plastic bottles for water (which is mostly just a scam), then obviously things will go badly. If humans use the ‘seaweed to plastic’ path to produce greenhouse covers, then there is more photosynthesis in a given plot of land than unaided nature could manage and also produce annual crops (I’ll leave perennials out. Perennial agriculture is part of Ellen’s plan, but that is separate from the plastic.)

        The proof will always be in the pudding. Neither your flat denials that anything at all is possible, nor Ellen’s graphs of flows showing very little virgin but tons of recycled, really mean anything concrete. It all comes down to what can be made to work. Ellen has picked up some supporters who are putting up money. It will be interesting to see what happens.

        Don Stewart

        • bandits101 says:

          Don this is one of your most disappointing posts. To actually suggest that making plastic from the natural environment to feed humans is a good thing, is naive and probably dishonest to boot. If it actually caused a reduction in human numbers, then the environment and planet could benefit ever so slightly.

          That is of course if the reduced number of humans in turn, reduce their environmental insults. It’s not always the case though, as we all know fewer wealthier humans, do a great deal more damage than a much larger number of poor.

          You will need to produce very, very convincing numbers that show that harvesting seaweed, can sequester carbon in any form, that is greater than the production phase and the end product, which aids humans and their livestock to thrive and reproduce.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            You need to look at the comment from the perspective of a citizen of DelusiStan…. the laws of physics do not apply in that country….

            In fact no laws apply to that country … if you can imagine it then it is possible… anything is possible…

            To obtain a DelusiStan passport one must demonstrate that one has jettisoned all logic — one must have a pony tail and a full wardrobe of tie-dyed loose fitting clothing — one must be know the words of koombaya — and one must be be able to demonstrate a sense of rhythm when dancing about a campfire.

            Special consideration made to anyone who is able to competently play a harp.

            Some of us will never… no matter how hard we try … be given citizenship in DelusiStan… in fact we’d be hard pressed to obtain a tourist visa….

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘The proof will always be in the pudding. Neither your flat denials that anything at all is possible, nor Ellen’s graphs of flows showing very little virgin but tons of recycled, really mean anything concrete. It all comes down to what can be made to work. Ellen has picked up some supporters who are putting up money. It will be interesting to see what happens.’

              As I was saying…..

            • bandits101 says:

              Yeah it’s heartbreaking to realise this nonsensical thinking has paralysed real action for more than sixty years. The dreamers and liars took control and have never handed it back. Denial instead of acceptance. We denied we were responsible for flora and fauna extinctions, burning FF’s was bad, over population was real and catastrophic, global warming is a thing, deliberate and pervasive environmental destruction was/is happening, the ozone layer has/is being destroyed and of course much more.

              Now there is nothing left to do and nothing that can be done. We have a front row seat to watch some very unpleasant events unfold.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I don’t believe that there was ever any other path.

              We are no different than the oft-mentioned yeast cells in the dish full of sugar….

              Or the Rat Island rats … who .. when the ship full of grain washed up … gorged on the grain … had wild sex parties… then died off when the ship was emptied.

              If one of the rats might have said – he fellas… we really need to think this through and consider another path … he’d have been laughed at and ignored….

              If anyone disagrees with that — then take the Fast Eddy Challenge:

              If I were to offer you:

              – 10 five million dollar houses in any locations around the world of your choice
              – a yacht and private jet all expenses paid for your lifetime
              – 20 million dollars after tax cash per year – inflation adjusted for your lifetime

              Would you say no?

              Do you know of anyone who would say no?

              If you can find someone living large like this — try approaching them and telling them that they really should consider another path….

              Better still — do you have neighbour who is living large — perhaps he has a nice boat… 3 cars… tee vees in all rooms … takes a winter vacation … dines out at least once a week….

              Tell him he needs to pursue another path…

              Just like the rat… you’ll be laughed at … and ignored…

              We are doing exactly what our DNA expects of us…. Mr DNA does not like austerity….

            • bandits101 says:

              Yes it’s easy to think that way, it’s a way to cope by saying “it’s not my fault”, “it’s not our fault” but there was always a way. What was lacking was will. Once the human population required globalisation to continue to expand then it was game over. There was no will though, the liars and deniers had taken control.

            • Stefeun says:

              Bandits, FE,
              My opinion is somewhere in-between your opposite ones:

              I think there definitely is a path, as suggested by the 2nd Law, but we sould have been able to follow it more slowly. Some -from individuals to civilizations- have tried and even succeeded, but unfortunately were wiped off as soon as a bigger energy-burner came along.
              The 2nd Law tells that systems tend to return to equilibrium (= thermal death) ; the 3rd Law (MEP) says they tend to do it as fast as possible…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              That’s the way it has to be — the organism that does not hold back wins … it works that way in business… in pro sports… in survival…. you either put the pedal to the metal or get the hell out of the way because someone else is charging up from behind….

              It even applies to being a party animal … recall Charlie Sheen’s infamous quote about “Winning”

            • Fast Eddy says:

              As a confirmed nihilist … of course it is nobody’s fault.

              Feel free to explain how we could have done things differently … be sure to think this through carefully.. there are some dangerous wolves cruising these forests looking for weakness…

            • bandits101 says:

              What do you want, Utopia? Are you a perfectionist? If sixty years ago there was revelation that we could extinct ourselves faster by damming as many rivers as possible, by killing every whale, by pulling up the breeding grounds of fisheries, by dynamiting all coral reefs, by dumping all radioactive waste into the ocean, by clear cutting as much forest as possible, by not enacting clear air acts and other environmental protective measures and I could go on infinitum.

              Over the years (in the Western or developed world) there have been countless protests against all the detrimental environmental activities. Hearts were in the right place but the root cause of over population was overlooked, ignored or suppressed. We knew the problem and so we could have addressed
              it. Political and religious will was lacking. Don’t forget human existence is but a short flash of brightness in long evolving planet. Our window of opportunity was just as fleeting. Maybe if oil hadn’t been discovered, maybe this, maybe that in both positive and negative aspects.

              Many accept now that there is no solution. Why do you derive so much pleasure from extolling that there never was. It helps nothing and no one, it’s just self aggrandising.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I don’t derive anything from this other than the intellectual satisfaction of understanding that the situation we are in now — was always going to be.

              And because I understand this … I do not experience the stress or regrets that others seem to feel because of the situation … I sleep extremely well…

              quid est quod factum est … can someone chisel that into my tombstone?

            • Stefeun says:

              Bandits, you say:
              “Why do you derive so much pleasure from extolling that there never was. It helps nothing and no one, it’s just self aggrandising.”

              Au contraire! I think it helps a lot because it removes a big part of the responsibility/culpability we may have had in the story, and which is generally exploited by the elites to maintain a pressure on the masses and tell them/us how they/we should behave.
              IMHO it’s very useful to know that the road has always been planned and there was no way-out or possible redemption, whatever our individual or collective actions are, or would have been.

              Now, it doesn’t mean we were totally powerless: the road is designed according to the 2nd Law, but still we could have tried to adjust our speed, slowed down and limited entropy production. We should have started that around 500 years ago, when we realized that Earth was round, therefore limited. Instead we chose to burn as much as possible in order to get the biggest share of this finished cake.

              Was any other alternative viable and realistic? That’s debatable, but the question is at its right place ; and it’s an open question, not Eve’s apple dogma.
              It’s always been a matter of speed, not of path.
              Unfortunately, today is too late, change is no longer possible.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Good points Stefeun…

              If we had ‘stopped’ then we simply would have collapsed 60 years ago… and if that had happened that would have meant I would not be writing this post… because I would never have been born

              If everyone stopped consuming today – the world would end tomorrow.

              The day that is fast approaching has been baked into the cake from the beginning.

              The only regret I have is that I would have liked it to arrive let’s say 25 years later… the last milestone in life is obtaining a senior citizen’s discount card — I’ll not reach that… although I have recently qualified as an ‘old-timer’ and am just waiting on a flight to attend a tournament in said capacity.

              Vivat usque in finem!!!!

            • “If we had ‘stopped’ then we simply would have collapsed 60 years ago… and if that had happened that would have meant I would not be writing this post… because I would never have been born”

              If the system collapsed 60 years ago, there would be little to no fertilizers and *cides, and very little dependence on fossil fuel to produce food – at least, outside the western world. Plus, there would be very little nuclear waste.

              I think there would have been a lot less die-off, and the world in a much better shape as well.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Agree however I think if we had collapsed 60 years ago what would have happened is we would have cut every tree down and we’d ultimately have still ended up extincting ourselves…

              Remember – 150M people were on the cusp of deforesting Europe in the 1800’s… billions of people fed without the green revolution would have been a total disaster

            • I’m with eddy—we have evolved to do what we do.
              Eat and fornicate basically—though I’m trying to cut down!!!!!

              When the first knuckledragger figured out a way to control fire–to him (or her) it just made it easier to get food (hardening wooden spears say), and a made a safer, warmer place to bed down with the missis of a night time. With a fire to frighten away predators, you were unlikely to get bitten by anything bigger than yourself, and it gave your kids a better chance of survival.
              Once fire delivered the means to access metal, our line of evolution was effectively over.
              No one was content with enough. We still aren’t.

              Our sophisticated civilisation is just an expansion on that fundamental concept, though we might dress it up differently. We still want all of the above, and as much as we can get hold of, legally, or in many cases illegally

              Right now, in UK, a guy has retired as head of a chain of stores, and bought a £100 m yacht, and took a total of 560m in dividends out of the business
              http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/25/bhs-philip-green-family-millions-administration-arcadia
              surprise surprise– theres a £400 m hole in the company pension fund, leaving 11000 workers high and dry. The old greed factor can’t be switched off.

              It’s in all of us. In 1970, the USA went from being a net oil producer to importer—no one said “hey guys, this is the end of the line”—instead It was BAU—and to maintain BAU there’s been oilwars ever since. Nobody will admit it’s all over.

            • Stefeun says:

              “With a fire to frighten away predators, you were unlikely to get bitten by anything bigger than yourself, and it gave your kids a better chance of survival.
              Once fire delivered the means to access metal, our line of evolution was effectively over.”

              Right Norman,
              We’re but mere by-products of combustion.

          • Don Stewart says:

            Bandits 101
            Take a look at the plastic involved in this video:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hfFx5z_R2Q

            Besides the plastic bowl that he fills with his harvest, the greenhouse is covered with plastic and the water tanks are made of plastic. The combination of the greenhouse cover and the thermal mass of the water enable the nighttime temperatures to be 30 degrees warmer than the outside. So he can grow greens right through the Massachusetts winter.

            Now if your attitude is that any human is an affront to Mother Nature, then I suppose you would rather see him starve. I don’t have anything to say to you if that is your position.

            If you want to talk about low carbon ways to get fresh greens to Holyoke in January, then we have something to discuss.

            Don Stewart

            • bandits101 says:

              You abused Gail for suggesting you had circular thinking and you said the method sequested carbon. Now if you produce a certain amount of carbon but sequester some of it, what is your big claim? Humans cause the emissions of billions of tons of CO2 annually, the vast majority is sequestered. Only a minescule amount is added to the unnatural environment but it is enough. There is absolutely no human activity that sequesters carbon, or by your intimation reduces the amount of carbon overall.
              Less humans emit less carbon and lower down the scale of human activity (socioeconomic scale) the less they emit. Problem is the lower socioeconomic group numbers are exploding and negating any benefit.

          • Artleads says:

            “It’s not always the case though, as we all know fewer wealthier humans, do a great deal more damage than a much larger number of poor.”

            This is a very good point. It makes sense to separate the issues before ascribing cause and effect to them. Population numbers is one thing. The ability to make plastic from seaweed is another. Scale and locality are other issues.

            So, thinking out loud. Appreciate your indulgence…

            Top down industrial capitalist globalized society (BAU) as opposed to small self-organizing groups is the very large gorilla issue that is often ignored. The former is running on fumes, given the depletion of resources to keep it going. If we can agree about this, then it would make sense to conduct discussion from that perspective.

            – We are all caught up in BAU.
            – BAU is a totalitarian belief system. Nobody can see that the Emperor has no clothes.
            – As long as we can go along with this delusion, we can be very comfortable (providing we are well placed within the global order).
            – BAU does not benefit by providing alternatives to itself.
            – BAU is not clearly defined. Is it the economic system? Is it technology? Can the two be separated or can’t they?

            The discussion of “renewables” and “recyclables” get mired in confusion. These are neither possible nor desirable as means to perpetuate BAU. That is not to say that they can’t do some good in some yet-to-be-clarified circumstances. For instance, making plastic from seaweed might be better discussed if there was clarity with how it related to BAU. A small village that had abundant seaweed might (just for argument) be able to make plastic for its own needs or to trade. But that is not the point. IMO, it’s premature (and generally inappropriate) to assume that there is a technical solution to anything. It’s this kind of belief that has us up a creek without a paddle. But why not propose them as a means of sharing information, FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH?

            • bandits101 says:

              Well said Art, puts things in perspective…..better than I could ever do. I get caught up in despondency, I know that and it can be debilitating at times.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              “It’s not always the case though, as we all know fewer wealthier humans, do a great deal more damage than a much larger number of poor.”

              And the most disastrous outcome in terms of the environment would be for there to be very little polarization of wealth with everyone living the lifestyle of a lower middle class westerner.

              That would result in a much accelerated pillaging of resources and epic amounts of pollution and environmental damage.

            • Stefeun says:

              Artleads,
              There has been attempts to put population in equations, see eg:

              I = PAT is the lettering of a formula put forward to describe the impact of human activity on the environment.

              I = P × A × T
              In words:

              “Human Impact on the environment equals the product of Population, Affluence, and Technology. This shows how the population, affluence and technology produce an impact”

              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_%3D_PAT

              For what it’s worth…
              OTOH, I Fully agree that the Best we can do, at this stage more than ever, is to share information.

            • I find it ironic that back when we were hunter-gatherers, with population a fraction of what it is today, we were causing the extinction of top-level predators and burning down forests. If the impact is infinity way back when, what difference do increases in these factors really make? It seems like it is just another way to make busywork for researchers.

            • Stefeun says:

              Right Gail,
              Something clearly is missing in this formula.

              Perhaps something related to key-species, without which an ecosystem becomes totally different.
              But maybe today, as all key-species, except humans (so far), have been wiped off, and the destruction is going on full speed, these peculiarities are somewhat erased, and the formula gains in accuracy, due to statistical aggregation of big numbers (iow: we’re getting closer to a sort of ‘average’ as hypothetized by the formula). Due to overshoot, it would ironically become ‘more true’.

      • Stefeun says:

        Does a circular economy consist in connecting its exhaust pipe directly on the inlet?

        If I were to do something like that, I think I’d first try to modify the engine and make it cleaner. That would also give an idea of what the real consequences of such a paradigm change are, if ever realistic.

        • Don Stewart says:

          Stefeun
          I don’t know whether to take you seriously. So I will take a stab. Assume that petroleum and its products are going to become scarce. Assume that plastic is polluting the oceans. (Ellen’s Foundation projects that in a couple of decades there might be more plastic in the ocean than fish.) Then three problems are in urgent need of solutions:
          *Make plastic out of carbon compounds which do not come from fossil fuels
          *Stop throwing plastic in the trash heap or the ocean.
          *Use as little virgin carbon material as practical, and recycle as much as practical.

          And that is what the Macarthur Foundation’s project is about.

          Don Stewart

          • Stefeun says:

            Don,
            I mean you just can’t decrete that from now on, our economy, which is designed as a straight line (extract-transform-use-waste), will have to become “circular”.

            I say that in such case everything has to be reviewed and redesigned from scratch, in order to dramatically increase the lifetime of our objects, and let as little waste as possible (unless eventually drowning in it, which is our first problem today).

            I also am very doubtful wether such a big change could be implemented, because it would reduce the size of the economy, which knows only how to grow, or die. Not to mention its brittleness, due to our many overshoots…

            • xabier says:

              Moreover, as purchasing power remorselessly declines, and people hold on to old stuff for as long as possible and become more parsimonious, the only way to get them to consume is to produce ever-more trashy and short-lived goods, and short-change them on content – this is clearly observable today.

              Deterioration in quality I have noticed in obvious every-day things:

              Cotton ear-buds, cotton-wool balls – much smaller, less in pack.

              Camping gaz cans: same size, much less content (down 15-20%).

              Safety matches: wood so thin it often snaps, and smaller heads: down to the bare minimum that is viable.

              Dry dog biscuits: same package, 20% less content, 25% more expensive (I hope this indicates the ingredients are still OK!)

              Let’s not even mention clothing…..

              We will certainly not see any improvements as the old system staggers to its end, only what has so felicitiously been described as ‘crappification’, until at last one won’t be able to acquire even that.

            • Stefeun says:

              Xabier,
              You’re right, Crappification has certainly been one of the main trends/effects/criteria of the Big Fart process that’s been lasting for 200 years now.
              It certainly won’t reverse now that we’e reaching/pulverizing the limits and desperately need the system to run ever faster ; not even slow down ; we’re gonna drown under crappy stuff.

            • Don Stewart says:

              Stefeun
              If you take a look at the Macarthur Foundation’s publications, you will see that they aspire to a very deep and broad re-ordering of the way materials move through supply chains. Will they be able to provide the spark that sets off a revolution? I don’t know…that’s for sure. They have attracted quite a bit of corporate and governmental support…a lot of it in Europe. I wish them well.

              One of the things success probably requires is stronger anti-pollution laws. Let’s suppose, for example, that a group of governments and businesses which can see how recyclable bioplastics can actually work in terms of a supply chain. Then what they are probably going to have to do is collaborate to make it legally impossible to manufacture one-time-through plastics made from oil. The guy in France pursuing the algae feedstock method didn’t claim he could do it cheaper that the current system. He did claim he could do it almost as cheap…without all the pollution. So what he needs to do is get the governments to essentially prohibit the manufacture of plastics which can pollute the oceans. The price of everyone’s container goes up by .0005 or some number. But don’t kid yourself, a difference of .0005 in a bottle cap can drive the choice of bottle caps. So the nascent industry would have to eliminate the choice.

              SOME people can make money under a new system. Very frequently, it turns into a struggle between the entrenched interests who can make the most money by continuing to do what they do, and the people who see new opportunities. For example, right now it must be quite galling for IBM and Microsoft to have falling profits just as Facebook and Amazon’s Cloud Services are doing very well.

              There will also be a lot of technical details that will make or break the proposal. For example, I have a friend who lost quite a bit of money on the ‘biodiesel from algae’ boomlet a couple of years ago. It turned out that industrializing what could be accomplished in a laboratory was not easy at all.

              The recycling issue is another question. The French guy gives some very short recycling times. I think it was 5 days in the ocean and about a month on land. So within a very short period of time the carbon is back in the water (assuming seaweed as a feedstock) or has been incorporated into the land. Now we would like to see the carbon sequestered in the land, not in the ocean because of concerns about acidification. But the more carbon in the soils, the better. As I have spoken about Carbon Farming, it is all about restoring carbon to fields and forests. So farmers and gardeners would bury or distribute the used plastic in their fields and forests and have a substitute for compost? That sounds too good to be true…sort of like slow manure.

              The downside of the rapid recycling is that a greenhouse made with the bioplastic wouldn’t last very long. Probably chemistry would be used to control the speed of decomposition. So, again, regulations might require very rapidly decomposing plastic for water bottles, but allow long lived plastic for greenhouses.

              These are the sorts of nitty-gritty details that have to be worked through in order to get some consensus and forward motion. (And, doubtless, the agreement will have to be put in such language that approval by US Republicans is NOT required.)

              Don Stewart

        • Artleads says:

          “Environmental Impacts Edit
          Increased population increases humans’ environmental impact in many ways, which include but are not limited to:

          Increased land use – Results in habitat loss for other species.
          Increased resource use – Results in changes in land cover
          Increased pollution – Can cause sickness and damages ecosystems.”

          True. Under BAU! We need to separate the issues.

    • Artleads says:

      Thanks. I’m interested in cities too. Breaking them up into small (150 strong) segments seems doable, while having extraordinary quantities of infrastructure to use in different ways (including abandoning it). Lots there to be creative about. I’m sure cities will change when SHTF for good.

  29. Marty Sereno says:

    [sorry, too early click] the recent increase in slope in car miles visible here (plotted along with retail gas sales receipts, which have plummeted because of lower gas prices): https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?chart_type=line&height=600&s%5B1%5D%5Bid%5D=M12MTVUSM227NFWA&s%5B1%5D%5Brange%5D=max&s%5B1%5D%5Bscale%5D=Left&s%5B2%5D%5Bid%5D=RSGASS&s%5B2%5D%5Brange%5D=max&s%5B2%5D%5Bscale%5D=Right . So clearly, actual usage of finished gasoline is on a tear (1.5x historical slope before the 2008 event). At some point, this increased usage should run into depletion.

    • Thanks for the charts.

      What is interesting is that total oil products consumption is not rising much at all. There was a small bump up in June, July, and August of 2015, but the general trend is fairly close to flat. January 2016 oil products consumption is below both January 2014 and 2015.

      Total US consumption of oil products, monthly thousand barrels per day

      I think what is happening is that commercial use of oil products is falling, at the same time as gasoline usage is rising. The big increase in gasoline usage was in summer driving in June, July, and August 2015. We will have to see whether that pattern reoccurs this summer.

      By the way, the big seasonal increases prior to 1982 represented the use of oil products for home heating (and perhaps for electricity, if electricity usage was also used for home heating). This usage steeply dropped off in the early 1980s, and has dropped off further since then, because other alternatives (heating with electricity, for example) are cheaper. Electricity is now made with natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind and a small amount of solar, but not much oil.

  30. Marty Sereno says:

    I didn’t read all 787 comments, so perhaps somebody mentioned it, but it is striking to look at

  31. Christopher says:

    Venezuela can’t afford printing more bills:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-27/venezuela-faces-its-strangest-shortage-yet-as-inflation-explodes

    Will this slow or hasten the collapse process?

    • Venezuela is collapsing right now. They need a new alternative to money–perhaps markets where people can bring goods to trade, and receive other goods in return. Any balance left over can be recorded in any way that is convenient–clay tablets were used in ancient times.

      Their oil output is likely to fall. At the same time their demand for oil products can be expected to fall. The likely combination is likely to be less oil from Venezuela on the world market. For 2014, BP shows production of 2,719,000 barrels per day and consumption of 824,000 barrels per day, indicating net exports of 1,895,000 barrels per day.

      EIA does not seem to have good production numbers for Venezuela. It shows pretty much a plugged number of 2,684,000 (or 2,685,000) barrels per day for every single month from January 2011 to the latest month shown, which is October 2015. No one really believes the oil production numbers that Venezuela puts out (because they are likely high), but these numbers (as reported by OPEC) indicate that Venezuelan production dropped about 28,000 barrels a day from 2014 to 2015. Production in the first quarter of 2016 is reported to be down by 121,000 barrels per day, relative to the 2015 average.

      Most of Venezuela’s oil exports seem to go to the United States. The EIA shows net imports from Venezuela of

      4,021,000 barrels per day in 2011,
      3,300,000 bpd in 2012
      2,754,000 bpd in 2013
      2,070,000 bpd in 2014 and
      1,998,000 bpd in 2015.

      We know that they are also exporting some oil to China, because of the loans China has given them. Something clearly is wrong somewhere. EIA seems to think that we imported more oil from Venezuela than they produced back in 2011 – 2013, if I am reading the numbers correctly.

      • That’s an unusually interesting angle on the story thanks.
        Perhaps China has dropped oil imports from Venezuela and re-balanced its suppliers network in that sense already. That would be a telling sign on many fronts, geopolitical and economic as well. Please keep focus on that.

        • This is an article from April 2015 I found on the subject of Venezuela’a oil production. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-pdvsa-production-idUSKBN0NB1NF20150420 At least part of the problem is what to do with Venezuela’s heavy oil production and reserves. Its reserves are the largest are the world, because of its large heavy oil reserves. I suspect that heavy oil is not going into EIA’s production numbers. (I am not sure it is going anywhere in EIA’s numbers.) Excerpts from the article:

          OPEC member Venezuela is currently exporting between 2.4-2.5 million barrels per day from national crude production of around 2.85 million, the head of state oil company PDVSA said.

          Early production in the Orinoco Belt has reached 50,000 barrels-per-day, PDVSA officials said, and overall output from that region was expected to end 2015 at 1.483 million bpd compared to 1.350 million bpd currently. [I find this statement confusing.]

          PDVSA officials stressed the importance of Venezuela’s Asian export markets, saying they were currently sending roughly 550,000 bpd to China and between 360,000-400,000 bpd to India.

          Those numbers still don’t really add up. If US Net imports from Venezuela were around 2 million barrels per day in 2014 and 2015, how can they be sending 910,000 to 950,000 to Asian markets? They are also using some oil themselves–824,000 barrels per day, according to BP for 2014. Total crude oil production (using what are supposedly overstated numbers) is only 2.85 million barrels per day.

          • Using:
            http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=mcrimusve2&f=a

            It says USA averaged 733 thousand barrels per day from Venezuela in 2014, and 779 kbpd in 2015.

            This page:
            http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.cfm?iso=VEN

            Says Venezuela has 2.69 million barrels per day of production in 2014, refines 1.3 million barrels per day domestically, has a total refining capacity worldwide of 2.6 million barrels per day, so half the refining they own is in other countries – largely the USA.

            “The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that Venezuela produced 2.69 million barrels per day (b/d) of petroleum and other liquids in 2014. Crude oil and condensates represented 2.5 million b/d of the total, with natural gas liquids and refinery processing gains accounting for the remaining production”

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Alberta is right up there in terms of total deposits… (tar sands) … they are on their way to bankruptcy as well….

      • Make sure you check the toggles at the top to make sure you are seeing the same information – barrels per month, or barrels per day monthly.

        As I understand it, Venezuela has rather heavy oil, and there are few refineries that handle it. Most of it seems to go to Louisiana to be processed, then some of the finished product goes back to Venezuela.

        Using this for imports:
        http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRIMUSVE2&f=M

        And this for exports:
        http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTEXVE2&f=M

        It looks like around ~800,000 barrels per day coming in to USA from Venezuela, and ~100,000 barrels per day in finished products going back, in 2011 through 2013.

        If they have really been producing around 2.4 million barrels per day, it looks like 2/3 of production is going to China.

        • You are right–I did make a mistake. Net imports from Venezuela (which should be the same as imports minus exports) are found at this link. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_neti_a_ep00_IMN_mbblpd_a.htm

          These amounts show a slight downward trend, as we might expect. (000 barrels per day)

          2010: 968
          2011: 919
          2012: 875
          2013: 725
          2014: 713
          2015: 749

          Total production according to Venezuela is 2.85 million barrels per day, 2.72 million barrels per day according to BP and 2.68 million barrels per day according to the EIA.

          Suppose we start with 2.7 million barrels of oil a day.

          US – 749,000
          Self Use – 834,000
          This leaves 1.1 million barrels of oil left. They claim to export 550,000 bpd to China and between 360,000-400,000 bpd to India. The 950,000 barrels of exports to these countries accounts for nearly the full amount.

          • “The amounts show a slight downward trend, as we might expect.”

            That’s a bit of an understatement. A ~25 percent decline in ~5 years is pretty extreme; unless they are just selling more elsewhere to make up less used in America, that must be a serious hit to their current accounts.

      • The link you provided here:
        http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=mttntusvv2&f=a

        is for US Net Imports from Non-OPEC countries; probably not the chart you meant to use. That’s where the 4.1 million barrels per day in 2011, 3.3 million in 2012, etc comes from.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        If the world is willing to stand by and watch Venezuela completely collapse i.e. no aid is sent — and the economy completely grinds to a halt with no electricity or petrol available…. this will make for an interesting petri dish to observe what our future looks like…

        They don’t have any spent fuel ponds so we don’t get to find out what happens when those are left unattended — maybe it would be better if they did — because then the rest of the world would be forced into supporting them….

  32. Kanghi says:

    As the FE says, the beast is bleeding and dying from many wounds. It is so also in a human body, as someone knowing something about CQC it is the small bleeding wounds, that are leading to drop in blood pressure as the body is trying to focus on survival of the main organs. So is the economy starting to flee from the fringe countries and counties withing countries and hoping to save the body, but it is the not helping as the knifer is still there hitting you again and again.
    As we focus here on the economic side, the physical side of the global ecosystem is also taking hits…

    https://robertscribbler.com/2016/04/27/climate-change-drives-half-a-billion-people-to-suffer-hunger-water-shortages-as-droughts-and-heatwaves-wreck-crops-across-the-globe/

  33. Fast Eddy says:

    Japan has fallen back into year-on-year deflation for the first time since 2013 just ahead of a crucial Bank of Japan meeting that markets reckon has a 50:50 chance of unleashing further monetary easing. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/95509c6c-0ce0-11e6-b41f-0beb7e589515.html#axzz475QlkkoH

    The BOJ has bought up most of the bond market and is the biggest player in the stock market…

    They continue to pump absurd amounts of cash out …

    https://marketrealist.imgix.net/uploads/2015/03/Japanese-monetary-base-has-been-increasing-2015-03-03.jpg

    Yet… they sink into the mud….

    I guess we’ll get trillions more Yen as a response…. how this holds together is beyond me….

  34. Pintada says:

    Dear Finite Worlders;

    You may need a laugh.

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/fortune-ray-kurzweil-heres-why-solar-will-dominate-energy-within-12-years?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2d6540b7fa-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6de721fb33-2d6540b7fa-282067778

    From the article:
    “… highlighting the fact that Kurzweil’s prediction is only partially grounded in the real world.”

    Sincerely,
    Pintada

    • Thanks! I think in some cases it is even worse that the author says. He shows that the trend in per capita wages and in median household income is not good. I expect that part of the problem is that the percentage of the population that is working is still low, and that household formation is depressed. If you could adjust for the extra adults now living with relatives, the result would be worse than shown.

  35. Pingback: The Rise of Authoritarianism – News-Views Digest | Citizens for Sustainability

  36. Don Stewart says:

    Stefeun
    Regarding the neural PDF and webinars. I just happened to look at Dmitry Orlov’s sire and he is still serializing 150 Strong. Just for the sake of argument, suppose that the ability to balance objective information and feelings really is important. Now, additionally, assume that things get really bad, socially and economically. Then, most likely, the world will collapse into production and social units of about 150 people. Depending on how bad the social situation is, then logic may say that killing everyone outside the group is the right thing to do…or it may say that trading with them, carefully, is the right thing to do. But within the group, there will be a much more intimate knowledge of how the other 149 people think and how they work and the balancing act will be much more nuanced.

    Today, we have the luxury of pretty much trusting that people we do not know and will never see will correctly label something they sell us which travels through a complex supply chain and lands on the shelf at the nearby store. We can’t assume that that will be true in a future which is starved for transport fuels.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Don,
      Today we’re relying on a social structure that has already started to seriously crumble.
      That will have to change soon, and IMO the next configuration will very much resemble what you describe, more or less the Dunbar’s tribe.

  37. Yoshua says:

    Soros Says China’s Economy Looks Like the U.S. Before the Crisis

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-20/soros-says-china-s-debt-fueled-economy-resembles-u-s-in-2007-08

    Soros is probably the sharpest mummy out there, but I guess it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that China is running out of ideas. China hasn’t had a technological breakthrough, they are not exporting anything that the world is crazy about, they have just returned to lend money to over-indebted companies, to build new cities and to fill them with peasants.

    I guess China can continue on this path until they run out of peasants, or fresh water, or air, or the foreign reserves.

    IMF signaled that governments should start spending to help global economic growth to recover. China seems to have been listening… and Europe is printing 1 trillion euros every year… Japan is printing…

    • Rodster says:

      Supposedly from what I keep reading is that this is all part of China’s plan to initiate a reset by causing an economic meltdown and introduce a gold backed Yuan.

      China’s problem actually runs deeper as they have polluted their country and ruined their fresh water supply.

  38. Kanghi says:

    You guys are just too grim and pessimistic in your views. Surely humanity can solve ANY problem trough technology, as we now can apparently use the power of photosyntesis to produce unlimited energy. (sarc)

  39. Stefeun says:

    A good analysis of the situation (maybe already linked here..?).
    We know we’re screwed and don’t have a clue about any possible ‘solution’, but we know the biggest part of it would be to deeply question the structures of private property. Good luck with that.

    http://www.degrowth.de/en/2016/04/exit-from-the-megamachine/

  40. Fast Eddy says:

    Stockman opens up the Beast while it is still alive … and takes a look inside…

    Gary Cooper famously told a Congressional committee investigating communist infiltration of Hollywood in the 1950s that “from what I have heard about it, it isn’t on the level.”

    I was put in mind of that observation this morning. First, I heard Jim Cramer saying that the bottom is in for Caterpillar and then I read that Goldman Sachs had upgraded its rating on CAT and Joy Global on the grounds that,

    “…… the signs of a China recovery now appear to be broadening.”

    By the lights of Wall Street and its media megaphones, therefore, global demand for commodities and oil is purportedly rebounding and a reflationary cycle of growth is again underway. Apparently, its time to buy the dip again because the world economy has gotten back into its growth groove.

    No it hasn’t. What we have here is a Gary Cooper rebound. That is, another unsustainable upward blip of the fundamentally false global credit bubble. But the latter is no more on the level than was Joseph Stalin’s new Soviet paradise.

    This time, of course, capitalism is being supplanted by printing-press happy central bankers rather than tonnage toting commissars reinforced by firing squads. But the end game is much the same. To wit, when the state tries to over-ride the laws of the market and sound money, the experiment will eventually end in tears.

    We can’t be too far away. The BOJ has gotten so desperate, for example, that it is apparently fixing to double down on its leap into negative interest rates on central bank deposits by extending NIRP to its commercial bank funding facility. That is, its going to pay commercial banks to make loans to private sector firms and households which are already buried in debt. At more than 450% of GDP, in fact, Japan’s total credit outstanding towers well above the rest of the world.

    No matter. The madcap money printers at the BOJ have already bought up every Japanese government bond that can be pried loose and own nearly 50% of Japanese issued ETFs. And now comes word that the BOJ has bought so much stock through ETFs and directly that it has become a top holder of most of the stocks in the Nikkei 225.

    Needless to say, the Japanese bond and stock markets are not even slightly on the level. They are incendiary artifacts of a central bank that has gone berserk and getting more desperate by the day.

    Yet the BOJ is hardly an aberration. The affliction is nearly universal as Draghi demonstrated last week and as the Fed will reaffirm this week when it effectively perpetuates ZIRP into its 89th month.

    More http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/another-gary-cooper-rebound-it-isnt-on-the-level/

    • Elementary, Watson, while FED supposedly paused (but we are not privy to their backdoor deals), ECB-BOE-BOJ-PBOC all are visibly printing, buying bonds and equities.. That’s why markets go up or don’t fall as much, the spigot is open and bursting everywhere. And since there is still a lot to buy, it will take several years before all the assets are monetized. We are all Japanese now.. The gigantic ship can’t be turned back. While it’s a complete madhouse, we are not at the end of road by a long shot.

    • When there are no profitable investments to be made in Japan, there is a real problem. I think that this is the real issue.

  41. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Here is some interesting stuff about energy and GDP. The written article is at Peak Oil:

    http://peakoil.com/publicpolicy/limits-to-growth-or-opportunities-for-prosperity

    You will notice a sentence saying that ‘some authors claim that exergy is a better measure of energy than other measures’. If you click on that statement, you arrive at:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544214010214

    ‘Energy intensity measures, defined as the ratio of energy use to gross domestic product of a country, are widely used to study the productivity of energy use in an economy. Unlike conventional primary and/or final energy intensities, useful work intensity (useful work/gross domestic product) addresses the problem of aggregating in a single measure the different energy forms used, and allows for a clear distinction between thermodynamic efficiencies and structural changes in the demand for energy end-uses. Here, our aim is twofold: (1) Disclose the factors that control the useful work intensities across the EU-15 countries over the deindustrialization process, performing a decomposition of the useful work intensities from 1960 to 2009. (2) Describe a methodology for the automatization of useful work accounting, based on a general mapping of energy end-uses from IEA (International Energy Agency) energy balances. We show that, in contrast to the other conventional energy intensity measures, useful work intensity depends only on the intensity of high temperature heat uses and the relative size of residential energy needs. Aggregate thermodynamic efficiencies slightly increased as a consequence of technological improvements, but were negatively affected by deindustrialization, as a consequence of a transition to less efficient and productive energy uses.’

    This is not a new subject for discussion. For example, see this link:

    http://peakoil.com/production/the-peak-oil-crisis-when

    Check the comments by shortonoil (BW Hill) for a discussion of the exergy of conventional crude oil and light tight oil.

    I would like to see the full article, rather than the summary quoted above. Nevertheless, it is hard for me to square the summary with the statement in the article at Peak Oil:
    ‘If this were the case, there would be implications for the extent to which energy-GDP decoupling can occur through energy efficiency alone, suggesting that decarbonisation should be a high priority, as well as a potential shift in focus from efficiency to sufficiency.’

    It seems to me that BW Hill has made the case that the exergy from light tight oil is much less than it would seem just by counting barrels. Why that would make the author of the article more optimistic is a mystery to me.

    I would instead say that any grounds for optimism will have to be found in the REASONS WHY the oil was burned: building capital, producing necessities, impressing the neighbors, military overreach, etc. Doing some stupid even more efficiently is NOT an advance in civilization.

    I would also note one of the concluding sentences from the research:
    ‘Aggregate thermodynamic efficiencies slightly increased as a consequence of technological improvements, but were negatively affected by deindustrialization, as a consequence of a transition to less efficient and productive energy uses.’
    This seems to be a slam at deindustrialization. Again, I don’t see how that could lead a European to be optimistic about these results.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Don,
      Thanks once more.

      What strikes me is the “ONLY” in: “Useful work intensity depends only on high temperature heat and residential uses.”

      I’d really like to know more about how they reached such a conclusion (but I won’t purchase the report…)

    • Stefeun says:

      Don,
      The PO article doesn’t seem to fulfill its promises.
      The most interesting thing I found in it was the new version of LtG-BAU chart:

      http://i2.wp.com/blogs.sussex.ac.uk/sussexenergygroup/files/2016/04/models-of-doom.jpg?resize=768%2C548

      • Don Stewart says:

        Stefeun
        Yes, it seems to me that the author of the article reprinted by Peak Oil has missed the point. As for your focus on the ONLY. I agree. It calls to mind a point that Charles Hugh Smith has been making recently: Only scarcity has economic value. So we have to ask, ‘What is now scarce and likely to be scarce in the future?’

        For example, ‘women’s work’ has traditionally had little economic value…so little value we don’t even count it in GDP: giving birth, raising children, changing diapers, keeping the house clean, cooking meals, laughing at husband’s lame jokes, etc. It’s not because that work is worthless in a more basic sense, or that it is easy to do. It’s just that Mother Nature keeps making little girls who grow up to be mothers and they seem to have an inexplicable desire to do this ‘worthless’ work.

        If we compare the basic value of women’t work now with women’s work 3 hundred years ago, I can’t see much change. So when we are talking about exponential growth in GDP per person, we are clearly talking about something else. And what the study seems to point to is high heat processes plus residential. But I would argue that the residential is COUNTED as GDP, but is best thought of as tertiary. Only the fact that a high value, high heat process happened generates the money to allow a modern house to be built. Politicians are deluding themselves if they think that an economy can be based on housing construction.

        I don’t know how the Republican primaries finally turned out last evening, but I heard that Trump was carrying Pennsylvania with a huge margin. It was also true that Sanders carried all of New York State except New York City and Suburbs, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. Sanders carried probably 90 percent of the geography. In both cases, you have a population which used to be supported by the high heat processes, which is now left adrift in a ‘services’ economy which doesn’t pay very well at all. The parts of the services economy which is still functioning at all is located in a few metropolitan areas.

        I have to figure out how to get my hands on that academic study.

        Don Stewart

        • Stefeun says:

          Don,
          I think you should NOT spend any money (nor time) to get your hands on that study.

          As the title of the PO article says, it’s about “prosperity”, i.e. they’re trying to see if/how they could make money with some green idea, and without questioning our current dig-and-waste system.

          What leads me to this conclusion is that the study is about European Union only, while comparing GDP and TOE makes sense on a global level ONLY.
          It’s quite easy to look clean, when all of the pollutions and depletions remain in China, where the hi-tech converters are produced.
          Moreover, we can blame them afterwards, for not being as clean as we are, energy-wise.

          • Don Stewart says:

            Stefeun
            The title of the academic study is:
            ‘Decomposition of useful work intensity: The EU (European Union)-15 countries from 1960 to 2009’
            The title of the article in Peak Oil which refers to the academic study, among many other things, has quite a different title. I agree with you that the author whose article is reprinted in Peak Oil has probably not understood what he has read.

            I would like to look at the article before concluding anything about the geography question. The academic article shows how one can take IEA statistics and compute exergy. Since the IEA statistics are available for an aggregate of European countries, and since we know that those European countries have been de-industrializing, the authors MAY have some compelling evidence.

            I’m interested.

            Don Stewart

            • Don Stewart says:

              Bingo!
              Do a Google Search and you will find that one of the authors has put it online for free.
              Don Stewart

            • Stefeun says:

              Don,
              Think I’ve got it too:
              https://fenix.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/downloadFile/1970943312268340/Serrenho%20et%20al%20(2014)%20Decomposition%20of%20useful%20work%20intensity.pdf

              Gonna have a closer look at it, to check my malicious gossip.

            • Don Stewart says:

              Stefeun
              After quick reading, I think they answered a very narrow question: what are the simplest variables which explain variation in exergy use across the EU countries?

              And the answer is the existence, or not, of an iron and steel and cement industry, and the amount of consumption by households.

              Perhaps a brick in some larger edifice of explanations, but not earthshaking.

              Their statistics on transportation is interesting to someone from the US who doesn’t know a lot about Europe, and relevant to BW Hill’s calculations about transportation fuels. Whatever else has happened, transportation consumption of exergy has grown very considerably since 1960. I assume that growth was mostly from fossil fuels. If transportation quality fossil fuels are in decline, then there are likely to be consequences.

              (Also relevant to Bejan’s claim that movement across the landscape is foundational….your least favorite physicist 🙂 )

              Don Stewart

          • Fast Eddy says:

            You never know —- it might just contain the holy grail!

            And there are plenty of people in search of that on this site.

            But you are right – it does not exist.

      • The people who created the model make no claims that the model will in fact, represent happen at the time of collapse. It only is a tool for looking at the length of the period leading up to the collapse.

        I would agree. The model is flat out wrong, regarding what happens at the time of collapse. It omits debt and many other things.

  42. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Those of you who are curious about the new discoveries in neuroscience may like to check out. Search for:
    Neuroscience Training Summit May 10–19, 2016

    It came up second on my Google Search. Click on it.

    Click on the free PDF and you will get a summary, along with references and additional material, about some of the major discoveries which are reshaping neuroscience.

    Understanding how all this stuff works is, perhaps, particularly importunity as we enter a period of great stress.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Thank you Don,
      I didn’t find the pdf you’re talking about.

      Maybe from this link, http://www.soundstrue.com/store/neuroscience-summit/free-access, I didn’t try very hard… Probably because they’re talking of “groundbreaking discoveries” and “the ways to apply this wisdom in your life”, but don’t put a word on what it’s about…

      By the way, I found the Society for Neuroscience (https://www.sfn.org) and its sub-sites, esp. Brainfacts (http://www.brainfacts.org), that look promising, as they seem to ask good questions. I’ll investigate a little bit, an let you know if ever I find some interesting stuff there.
      Thanks for that, Don.

      • Don Stewart says:

        The free PDF, which is fairly short, describes the outline of what you may hear the speakers talk about.

        Also, the main audience will be therapists. So expect a few ‘miraculous cures’.

        Don Stewart

      • Don Stewart says:

        Stefeun
        All you happy Frenchmen drinking wine at family gatherings in the back yard under the trees in the south of France are excused.

        Read Michael Snyder’s article on what is wrong, neurally, with the people of the United States.
        http://peakoil.com/generalideas/will-the-united-states-collapse-due-to-an-internal-societal-meltdown

        If you look at the PDF, you will see some diagnostics about what may account for the problems and what we as a society and as individuals might be able to do about it.

        Don Stewart

        • Stefeun says:

          Don,
          This partial list doesn’t convince me (but you know, Frenchies are never happy..).

          My take is that Snyder is only sorry that American people (all together in same bag, btw) have replaced religious beliefs and behaviours with abusive use of drugs, by lack of alternative ideology. As if a comeback to bigotry could represent any kind of solution (see as memo: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/the-most-important-thing).

          As for the ‘neural analysis’, he talks about depression and growing loneliness, but not a word about paranoia, over-stress, cognitive dissonance, or any other usual symptom, at individual or collective level.
          Nothing about what has led to the bad figures on this sad list, neither about what the likely consequences might be (thinking here of the incredible amount of guns and rifles you have in the US…).
          You’ll soon be punished because you no longer listen to the preach! (French caricature, sorry!)

          • Don Stewart says:

            Stefeun
            If I can lure you into reading the PDF, some of your questions will be answered. For example, there are new developments concerning the decades old issue of right brain and left brain. That theory fell apart pretty quickly because of neural discoveries.

            But now we know that being able to integrate the ‘feeling’ brain and the ‘logical’ brain is important. The ‘feeling’ brain lets us get along with other people, which is essential not only for physical survival but also mental stability. The ‘logical’ brain keeps us in tune with reality. It’s not just a question of ‘balance’, where half the time you are touchy-feely and half the time you are like that guy on Star Trek. It is being able to put together a story which both satisfies your need for connection and also is congruent with the real world.

            Studies in the US have shown people to be very logical but very poorly connected on the feeling side. Thus, you get the social dysfunction that this country is currently experiencing. Whether the disconnect is the result of neoliberal economics or the corporate state or failure to go to church is up for debate. Most all of the people who will be talking should be familiar with the experiments which have demonstrated that people who are reminded of ‘religion’ become more anti-social. People who are reminded of ‘God’ become more social. So the inner life makes a difference in behavior. I don’t know (or care very much) what Snyder thinks about that subject. I was just using him as a convenient source for the statistics…and I don’t expect him to give a ‘balanced’ perspective.

            Don Stewart

            • Stefeun says:

              Thanks Don,
              Now it sounds more realistic.

              The dialogue between our 2 brains, the limbic and the rational, seems to me a far much better starting point than most of the inadequate metrics we tended to use so far. We already discussed this not so long ago in a thread here (maybe Nate Hagens was cited).

  43. Deflation, saturation, productivity reaching insane levels. Here as an example European family sized dairy farm (not the biggest one anyways), and look there are now people, the capital intensive machinery eliminated most of the part time and lowtech jobs, it can be all done with small family, and occasionally visiting dealers service down in the town. This model has been absolutely perfected since 1950/60s, the only problem is that abundant capital step by step increased productive at almost every farm, including the most remote mountain village, milch now costs bellow 25 euro cents per liter..sanctions against Russia helped drawn the price as well, lolz

  44. Fast Eddy says:

    Hot damn — we’ve got ourselves an anthem for the end of the world…. sing along with … ‘Whatever it Takes’

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A05NFoAbo2Q

    We love you BAU…. we’re sorry for messing up …. please don’t leave us!!!!

  45. Fast Eddy says:

    See Chris – you really should run — you have your first vote!

    I’m happy to offer my services as your PR manager… all I ask is that you pass along some of the puff that you guys smoke up there .. I want the exclusive distribution rights for Realitystan.

    I’ll start working on some slogans… off the top of my head ….

    ‘If you can imagine it – it can happen – if you just want it badly enough’

    Then we go with a series depicting:

    > You reshaping a circle into a square
    > You picking oranges off of an apple tree
    > You going on vacation to Rome and the Romans doing what you do
    > You demonstrating to school children that 1+1 = 7….
    > You wandering through your orchard pointing out how you have trees that produce solar panels, and batteries, and windmills and EV’s
    > You run and leap into the air and fly from London to New York without even flapping your arms and shout ‘who needs airplanes!’
    > You have your own cooking show in which you churn out tasty recipes that render spent nuclear fuel inert and wholesome

    I have so many ideas!!!

    The sky is the limit when science and math and reality are not imposing any limits…. anything is possible… absolutely anything!

  46. Fast Eddy says:

    The Beast let’s out a slight groan as he shifts his weight and feels a twitch in his innards…. and he wonders… is it just a bout of flatulence… or the onset of bowel cancer….

    Apple in January said that revenue in its fiscal second quarter would be from $50 billion to $53 billion, compared with $58 billion a year earlier, the first quarterly decline since 2003. The average of 33 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg is for sales of $52 billion. They also project that the company will sell a little more than 50 million handsets, compared with 61.2 million in the period a year ago.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-25/apple-results-to-show-how-far-iphone-sales-have-fallen

    • Rodster says:

      Those numbers by themselves are great and any company would love to boast those figures. The problem is we operate under infinite growth so those numbers look worrisome to say the least. The trend for Apple has been down for the last 2 years but the iSheep would not listen. Apple’s bread and butter is the iPhone and it has faced price pressures from competitors who are going after the same business.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        If you make 100 billion dollars one year … and 80 billion the next…. you are in trouble as a listed company….

        Grow or die….

        • InAlaska says:

          Not quite, Eddy boy. Remember, Apple nearly went out of business between 1985 when Steve Jobs left it to his return 8 years later. Sales had slumped and the company was on the rocks. Now, 20 years later its the largest corporation on Earth. Your business ignorance is almost as large as your penchant for Hollywood apocalypse world endings.

          • Rodster says:

            You do know who saved Apple from the scrap heap? It was Bill Gates and Microsoft who saved Apple by investing in the company and loaning Apple money. IIRC it was in the neighborhood of half a billion dollars. I remember that well when Bill Gates was introduced by Steve Jobs and the Apple fanboys booed Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had to step in and hush the crowd and urged them to show respect.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Yes I was aware of that…

              What I find amusing is how Apple Groupies demonize Microsoft and idolize Apple.

              I have never understood that. They are really not that much different at the end of the day – they are both massive corporations that will do anything to increase their profits…

              I guess Apple makes people feel ‘cool’ …’hip’… Greenies tend to have a love affair with their Apple devices…

              I’ve always preferred to go with the device that does the job for the least amount of cash… my phone is a $200 windows android phone… I got over trying to be cool somewhere around grade 9….

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Of course if you are able to reverse the trend back to growth then you don’t have a problem… but if you are unable to accomplish that… you eventually end up bought out, privatized, dramatically downsized or no longer in existence.

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