An Updated Version of the “Peak Oil” Story

The Peak Oil story got some things right. Back in 1998, Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrère wrote an article published in Scientific American called, “The End of Cheap Oil.” In it they said:

Our analysis of the discovery and production of oil fields around the world suggests that within the next decade, the supply of conventional oil will be unable to keep up with demand.

There is no single definition for conventional oil. According to one view, conventional oil is oil that can be extracted by conventional methods. Another holds it to be oil that can be extracted inexpensively. Other authors list specific types of oil that require specialized techniques, such as very heavy oil and oil from shale formations, that are considered unconventional.

Figure 1 shows the growth in unconventional oil supply for three parts of the world:

  1. Oil from shale formations in the US.
  2. Oil from the Oil Sands in Canada.
  3. Oil characterized as unconventional in China, in a recent academic paper of which I was a co-author. (Temporarily available for free here.)
Figure 1. Approximate unconventional oil production in the United States, Canada, and China. US amounts estimated from EIA data; Canadian amounts from CAPP.

Figure 1. Approximate unconventional oil production in the United States, Canada, and China. US amounts estimated from EIA data; Canadian amounts from CAPP. Oil prices are yearly average Brent oil prices in $2015, from BP 2016 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Oil prices in 1998, which is when the above quote was written, were very low, averaging $12.72 per barrel in money of the day–equivalent to $18.49 per barrel in 2015 dollars. From the view of the authors, even today’s oil prices in the low $40s per barrel would be quite high. Since the above chart shows only yearly average prices, it doesn’t really show how high prices rose in 2008, or how low they fell that same year. But even when oil prices fell very low in December 2008, they remained well above $18.49 per barrel.

Clearly, if oil prices briefly exceeded six times 1998 prices in 2008, and remained in the range of six times 1998 prices in the 2011 to 2013 period, companies had an incentive to use techniques that were much higher-cost than those used in the 1998 time-period. If we subtract from total crude oil production only the production of the three types of unconventional oil shown in Figure 1, we find that a bumpy plateau of conventional oil started in 2005. In fact, conventional oil production in 2005 is slightly higher than the later values.

Figure 2. World conventional crude oil production, if our definition of unconventional is defined as in Figure 1.

Figure 2. World conventional crude oil production, if our definition of unconventional is defined as in Figure 1.

I would argue that far more crude oil production was enabled by high oil prices than I subtracted out in Figure 2. For example, Daqing Oil Field in China is a conventional oil field, but greater extraction has been enabled in recent years by polymer flooding and other advanced (and thus, high-cost) techniques. In the academic paper referenced earlier, we found that the amount of unconventional oil extracted in China in 2014 would be increased by about 55%, if we broadened the definition of unconventional oil to include oil made available by polymer flooding in Daqing, plus some other types of Chinese oil extraction that became more feasible because of higher prices.

Clearly, this same kind of shift to more expensive extraction methods has occurred around the world. For example, Brazil has been attempting to extract oil from below the salt layer of the ocean using advanced techniques. According to this article, Brazil’s “pre-salt” oil production was expected to exceed 600,000 barrels per day by the end of 2014. This oil should count, in some sense, as unconventional oil.

Massive investments in the Kashagan Oil Field in Kazakhstan were enabled by high oil prices. Some initial production began, but was discontinued, in September 2013. Production is expected to resume in October 2016.

There are clearly many smaller fields where higher extraction was made possible by high oil prices that allowed oil companies to utilize more advanced techniques. Deepwater drilling also became more feasible because of higher prices. Another example is Russia, which is reported to have heavy oil extraction that would not be commercially feasible if oil prices were below $40 to $45 per barrel. If we were to add up all of the extra oil production in many areas of the world that was enabled by higher prices, the total amount would no doubt be substantial. Subtracting this higher estimate of unconventional oil in Figure 2 (instead of the three-country total) would likely result in more of a “peak” in conventional oil production, starting about 2005.

Thus, if we think of conventional oil production as that which is possible at low oil prices, the forecast by Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrère was pretty much correct. Production of conventional oil did seem to peak about 2005 or shortly thereafter. We simply don’t have the data to estimate how much we could have extracted, if oil prices had remained low. Furthermore, oil prices did rise substantially, relative to 1998 prices, making Campbell’s and Laherrère’s forecast of higher prices correct.

I suppose that we could even say that if conventional oil were all that we had in 2005 and subsequent years, supply would have fallen far short of demand, based on Figure 2. This last statement is somewhat debatable, however, because there would have been other feedbacks, as well. It is possible that if total supply were very short, oil prices would have spiked to an even higher level than they really did. The resulting recession would likely have brought prices down, and temporarily brought demand back in line with supply. If prices had stayed low, there might have been a second round of shortages, with an even greater supply problem. This, too, might have been resolved by another price spike, quickly followed by another recession that brought world demand back down to the level of supply.

Of course, conventional crude oil isn’t the only type of liquid fuel that we use. When we add all of the pieces together, including substitutes, what we find is that since 1998, broadly defined oil production (“liquids”) has been rising quite rapidly.

Figure 3. World Liquids by Type. Unconventional oil is from Exhibit 1. Conventional oil is total crude oil from EIA, and other amounts are estimated from EIA International Petroleum Monthly amounts through October 2015. (Other Liquids is referred to as Biofuels, since this is its primary component.)

Figure 3. World Liquids by Type. Unconventional oil is from Exhibit 1. Conventional oil is total crude oil from EIA, and other amounts are estimated from EIA International Petroleum Monthly amounts through October 2015. (EIA’s category “Other Liquids” is referred to as Biofuels in Figure 3, since this is its primary component. Other liquids also include coal and gas to liquids and other small categories.)

In fact, since 2005, Figure 4 shows that the single highest year of growth in oil production (broadly defined) was 2014, with 2.47 million barrels per day. (This is based on crude oil data from EIA Beta Report Table 11.b, plus values for other liquids from EIA’s International Energy Statistics. Annual amounts for 2015 were estimated based on data through October.)

Figure 4. Increase over prior year in total oil liquids production, based on EIA data. 2015 other liquids amounts estimated based on data through October 2015.

Figure 4. Increase over prior year in total oil liquids production, based on EIA data. 2015 other liquids amounts estimated based on data through October 2015.

Figure 4 shows that the increase in oil supply in 2015 is almost as high as in 2014. The 2005 to 2015 period shown indicates a lot of “ups and downs.” The only two high years in a row are 2014 and 2015. This would seem to be at least part of our “oil glut” problem.

Exactly by how much oil production needs to increase to stay even with demand depends upon price–the higher the price, the smaller the quantity that buyers can afford. At a price of $100 per barrel, a reasonable guess might be that about 1 million barrels per day in consumption might be added. If categories other than crude oil are increasing by an average of 440,000 barrels per day, per year (based on data underlying Figure 4), then crude oil production only needs to increase by 560,000 barrels per day to provide an adequate supply of fuel on a total liquids basis.

If production of crude oil is actually increasing by more than 2.0 million barrels per day  when only 560,000 barrels per day are needed at a price level of $100 per barrel, clearly something is badly out of balance. According to EIA data, the countries with the five largest increases in crude oil production in 2015 were (1) US  723,000 bpd, (2) Iraq 686,000 bpd, (3) Saudi Arabia 310,000 bpd, (4) Russia 146,000 bpd, and (5) UK 106,000 bpd. Thus, US and Iraq were the biggest contributors to the global glut in 2015.

What Is Going Wrong?

Not only did a lot of people hear the Peak Oil story, a great many responded at once. Governments added requirements for more efficient vehicles. This tended to lower the quantity of additional oil supply needed. At the same time, governments added mandates for the use of biofuels, also reducing the need for crude oil. Arguably, the US-led Iraq war, which began in 2003, was also about getting more crude oil.

Oil companies also rushed in and developed oil resources that might be profitable at a higher price. These new developments often take more than ten years to produce oil. Once companies have started the long path to development, they are unlikely to stop, no matter how low oil prices drop.

It is becoming apparent that if oil prices can be raised to a high enough level, a lot more oil is available. Figure 5 shows how I see this as happening. We start at the top of the triangle, where there is a relatively small quantity of inexpensive oil, and we gradually work toward the expensive oil at the bottom.

Figure 5. Resource triangle, with dotted line indicating uncertain financial cut-off.

Figure 5. Resource triangle, with dotted line indicating uncertain financial cut-off.

The amount of oil (or for that matter, any other resource) isn’t a fixed amount. If the price can be made to rise to a very high level, the quantity that can be extracted will also tend to rise–in fact, by a rather large amount. The “catch” is that wages for the vast majority of workers don’t rise at the same time. As a result, goods made with high-priced oil soon become too expensive for workers to afford, and the economy falls into recession. The result is prices that fall below the cost of production. Thus, the limit on oil supply is not the amount of oil in the ground; instead, it is how high oil prices can rise, without causing serious recession.

While wages don’t rise with spiking oil prices, increasing debt can be used to hide the problem, at least temporarily. For example, cars and homes become less affordable with higher oil prices, since oil is used in making them. If governments can lower interest rates, monthly payments for new homes and cars can be lowered sufficiently that new car and home sales don’t fall too far. Eventually, this cover-up reaches limits. This happens when interest rates start turning negative, as they now are in some parts of the world.

Thus, by ramping up buying power with low interest rates and more debt, governments were able to get oil prices to stay above $100 per barrel for long enough for producers to start adding production that might be profitable at that price. Unfortunately, the amount of additional oil demand isn’t really very high at that price. So, instead of running out of oil, we ran into the reverse problem–too much oil relative to the amount that the world economy can afford when oil prices are $100+ per barrel.

The attempt by governments to fix the oil shortage problem didn’t really work. Instead, it led to the opposite mismatch from the one we were expecting. We got an oversupply problem–a problem of finding enough space for all our extra supply (Figure 6). Unless we have infinite storage, this pattern clearly cannot continue forever.

Figure 6. Weekly ending stocks of crude oil and petroleum products through July 29. Chart by EIA.

Figure 6. Weekly ending stocks of crude oil and petroleum products through July 29. Chart by EIA.

Eventually, this oversupply problem is likely to result in “mother nature” cutting off oil production in whatever way it sees fit–oil prices dropping to close to zero, bankruptcies of oil companies, or collapses of oil exporters. With lower oil supply, we can expect recession.

Misunderstanding the Real Problem

In the early 2000s, the story that Peak Oilers came up with (or perhaps the way it was interpreted in the press) was that the world was “running out” of conventional oil, and that this would lead to all kinds of problems. Oil prices would rise very high, and oil depletion would take place over a long period, as shown in a symmetric Hubbert Curve. As a result, at least small quantities of additional energy products with high “Energy Returned on Energy Invested” (EROI) were needed to supplement the energy products that would be produced based on the slowly depleting Hubbert Curve. Our oil supply problems were viewed as a unique situation, calling for new and unique solutions.

In my view, this story came about through over-reliance on models that likely were accurate for some purposes, but not for the purpose that they later were being used. One of these over-extended models was the supply and demand curve of economists.

Figure 6. From Wikipedia: The price P of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand D). The diagram shows a positive shift in demand from D1 to D2, resulting in an increase in price (P) and quantity sold (Q) of the product.

Figure 7. From Wikipedia: The price P of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand D). The diagram shows a positive shift in demand from D1 to D2, resulting in an increase in price (P) and quantity sold (Q) of the product.

This model “works” when the goods being modeled are widgets, or some other type of goods that does not have a material impact on the economy as a whole. Substituting high-priced oil for low-priced oil tends to make the economies of oil importing countries contract. This effect indirectly reduces demand (and thus prices) for many products (not just oil), an impact not considered in the simplified Supply and Demand model shown in Figure 7. Also, the very long lead times of the oil industry are not reflected in Figure 7.

Two other models that were used beyond the limits for which they were originally designed were the Hubbert Curve and the 1972 Limits to Growth model. Both of these models are suitable for determining approximately when limits might be hit. Even though Peak Oilers have believed that these models can accurately determine the shape of the decline in oil supply and in other variables after reaching limits, there is no reason why this should be the case. I talk about this problem in my recent post, Overly Simple Energy-Economy Models Give Misleading Answers. Thus, for example, there is no reason to believe that 50% of oil will be extracted post-peak. This is only an artifact of an overly simple model. The actual down slope may be much steeper.

The Real Story of Resource Limits that We Are Reaching

Instead of the scenario envisioned by Peak Oilers, I think that it is likely that we will in the very near future hit a limit similar to the collapse scenarios that many early civilizations encountered when they hit resource limits. We don’t think about our situation as being similar to early economies, but we too are reaching a situation of decreasing resources per capita (especially energy resources). The resource we are most concerned about is oil, but there are other resources in short supply, including fresh water and some minerals.

Research by Joseph Tainter and by Peter Turchin indicates that some of the issues involved in previous resource-based collapses are the following:

Growing Complexity. Citizens who discovered they were reaching resource limits typically tried to work around this problem. For example, hunter-gatherers turned to agriculture when their population grew too large. Later, civilizations facing limits added irrigation to raise food output, or raised large armies so that they could attack neighboring countries. Making these changes required greater job specialization and more of a hierarchical system–two aspects of growing complexity.

This increased complexity used part of the resources that were in short supply, since people at the top of the hierarchy were paid more, and since building new capital goods (today’s example might be wind turbines and solar panels) takes resources that might be used elsewhere in the economy. Eventually, growing complexity reaches limits because costs rise faster than the benefits of growing complexity.

Growing Wage Disparity. With growing complexity, wage disparity became more of a problem.

Figure 7. People at the bottom of a hierarchy are most vulnerable.

Figure 8. People at the bottom of a hierarchy are most vulnerable.

I have described this problem as “Falling Return on Human Labor Invested.” Ultimately, this seems to be a major cause of collapse. Workers use machines and other tools, so this return on human labor has been leveraged by fossil fuels and other energy resources used by the system.

Spiking Resource Prices. Initially, when there is a shortage of food or fuel, prices are likely to spike. A major impediment to long-term high prices is the large number of people at the bottom of the hierarchy (Figure 8) who cannot afford high-priced goods. Thus, the belief that prices can permanently rise to high levels is probably false. Also, Revelation 18: 11-13 indicates that when ancient Babylon collapsed, the problem was a lack of demand and low prices. Merchants found no one to sell their cargos to; no one would even buy human slaves–an energy product.

Rising Debt. Debt was used to enable complexity and to hide the problems that people at the bottom of the resource triangle were having in purchasing goods. Ultimately, increased debt was not successful in solving the many problems the economies faced.

Ultimately, Failing Governments. Governments need resources for their purposes, whether hiring armies or making transfer payments to the elderly. The way governments get their share of resources is through the use of tax revenue. When people at the bottom of the hierarchy were cut out of receiving adequate resources (through low wages), the amounts they could afford to pay in taxes fell. Governments would sometimes collapse directly from lack of tax revenue; other times collapses occurred because governments could no longer afford large enough armies to defend their borders.

Ultimately, Falling Population. With low wages and governments requiring higher tax levels to fund their programs, people at the bottom of the hierarchy found it difficult to afford adequate nutrition. They became more susceptible to plagues. Loss of battles to neighboring countries could at times play a role as well.

Lessons We Should Be Learning

Even if we made it past peak conventional oil, there is likely a different, very real collapse ahead. This collapse will occur because the economy cannot really afford high-priced energy products. There are too many adverse feedbacks, including increasing wealth disparity and the likelihood of not enough revenue for governments.

We can’t count on long-term high prices. The idea that fossil-fuel prices will gradually rise, and because of this, we will be able to substitute high-priced renewables, seems very unlikely. In the United States, our infrastructure was mostly built on oil that cost less than $20 per barrel (in  2015 dollars). We know that with added debt and greater complexity, we were temporarily able to get oil to a high-price level, but now we are having a hard time getting the price level back up again. We really don’t know how high a price the economy can afford for oil for the long term. The top price may not be more than $50 per barrel; in fact, it may not be more than $20 per barrel.

We need to look for inexpensive replacements for both oil and electricity. Many substitutes are being made to produce electricity, since indirectly, electricity might act to replace some oil usage. There is considerable confusion as to how low these prices need to be. In my opinion, we can’t really raise electricity prices without pushing economies toward recession. Thus, we need to be comparing the cost of proposed replacements, including long distance transport costs and the cost of adjustments needed to match electric grid requirements, to wholesale electricity prices. In both the US and Europe (Figure 9), this is typically less than 5 cents per kWh. (In Figure 9, “Germany spot” is the wholesale electricity price in Germany–the single largest market.) At this price level, producers need to be profitable and to pay taxes to help support governments.

Figure 8. Residential Electricity Prices in Europe, together with Germany spot wholesale price, from

Figure 9. Residential Electricity Prices in Europe, together with Germany spot wholesale price, from

Replacements for oil need to be profitable and be able to pay taxes, at currently available price levels–low $40s per barrel, or less.

We need to be careful in aiming for high-tech solutions, because of the complexity they add to the system. High-tech solutions look wonderful, but they are very difficult to evaluate. How much do they really add in costs, when everything is included? How much do they add in debt? How much do they add (or subtract) in tax revenue? What are their indirect effects, such as the need for more education for workers?

We need to be alert to the possibility that solar PV and most wind energy may be energy sinks, rather than true energy sources. The two hallmarks of providing true net energy to society are (1) being able to provide energy cheaply, and (2) being able to provide tax revenue to support the government. When actually integrated into the electric grid, electricity generated by wind or by solar generally requires subsidies–the opposite of providing tax revenue. Total costs tend to be high because of many unforeseen issues, including improper siting, long-distance transport costs, and costs associated with mitigating intermittency.

Unless EROI studies are specially tailored (such as this one and this one), they are likely to overstate the benefit of intermittent renewables to the system. This problem is related to the issues discussed in my recent post, Overly Simple Energy-Economy Models Give Misleading Answers. My experience is that researchers tend to overlook the special studies that point out problems. Instead, they rely on the results of meta-analyses of estimates using very narrow boundaries, thus perpetuating the myth that solar PV and wind can somehow save our current economy.

Too much debt, and too low a return on debt, are likely to be part of the limit we will be reaching. Investment in complexity requires debt, because complexity requires capital goods such as wind turbines, solar panels, computers and the internet. The return on this additional debt is likely to drop lower and lower, as complex solutions are added that have less and less true value to society.

We need to remember that as far as the economy is concerned, it is total consumption of energy resources that is important, not just oil. Wages reflect the leveraging impact of all energy sources, not just oil. If energy consumption per capita is rising, more and better machines can help raise output per capita, making workers more productive. If energy consumption per capita is falling, the world economy is likely moving in the direction of contraction. In fact, we may be headed in the direction of early economies that eventually collapsed.

When we look at the data, we see that world energy consumption per capita appears to have peaked about 2013. In fact, the big drop in oil and other commodity prices began in 2014, not long after energy consumption per capita hit a peak.

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

Figure 10. World energy consumption per capita, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2105 data. Year 2015 estimate and notes by G. Tverberg.

The world seems to have hit peak coal, because of low coal prices. In fact, falling coal consumption seems to be the cause of falling world energy consumption per capita. Whether or not most people regard coal highly, coal is pretty much essential to the world economy. A recent decrease in coal consumption is what is pulling world energy consumption per capita down. We do not have any other cheap fuel to make up the shortfall, suggesting that our current downturn in energy consumption (shown in Figure 10) may be permanent.

Figure 9. World and China appear to be reaching peak coal.

Figure 11. World and China appear to be reaching peak coal.

We should not be surprised if the financial problems that the world is now encountering will eventually resolve badly. This seems to be how the Peak Oil story will finally play out. Without rising energy per capita, the world economy tends to shrink. Without economic growth, it becomes very difficult to repay debt with interest. Wealth disparity becomes more and more of a problem, and it becomes increasingly difficult for governments to collect enough revenue to support their needs. Our problems begin to look more and more like those of earlier economies that hit resource limits, and eventually collapsed.

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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1,968 Responses to An Updated Version of the “Peak Oil” Story

  1. Fast Eddy says:

    Soft Martial Law – Coming Soon!

    When this actually happens this will signal the beginning of the end….. it will indicate that the central banks are starting to lose control…. that they are anticipating growing unrest from the masses who have waiting long enough for the Green Shoots….

    • I could understand that if Germany had a bad unemployment problem. I don’t think they do, though. They wouldn’t be importing migrants if they did.

      • Artleads says:

        Is it that the Germans are more proactive about order than the western norm? Nipping the problems in the bud?

      • richard says:

        I seem to recall a problem similar to Ireland’s circa 2008 – ghost estates in Germany. So either knock down the houses, or import people, I suppose.

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    Some of the world’s largest energy companies are saddled with their highest debt levels ever as they struggle with low crude prices, raising worries about their ability to pay dividends and find new barrels.

    “Eventually something will give,” said Michael Hulme, manager of the $550 million Carmignac Commodities Fund, which holds stakes in Shell and Exxon. “These companies won’t be able to maintain the current dividends at $50 to $60 oil—it’s unsustainable.”

    Bailouts on the way? Probably will be done in secret…

    • As long as oil companies can continue to borrow, they will. It is only when the system seizes up completely that it will stop.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Is this what’s known as oiling the wheels of industry? This vital organ in the belly of the beast can’t be allowed to go under or it will take everything else down with it. But as you say, it will probably be done by sleight of hand in order to avoid any fuss.

  3. hawkeye says:

    From the Kunstler and Bostrom interview:

    KB: “…low interest rates, negative interest rates, money printing, borrow and spend, with all this stimulus the global economy is still slowing, the US economy with all this stimulus is only growing between 1 and 2%…the Keynesian experiment is not working.”

    “…and going back to the Austrian School thesis many years ago, Ludwig Von Mises once said, “If you don’t voluntarily abandon credit expansionist policies, you will see a catastrophe of the currency”… and I believe we are on the cusp of a global currency war…this is the pedal-to-the-metal absurdity of central banking…and at some point you blow up your currency…”

    “ I do think the Euro is in serious trouble… the Yen is even deeper – it might be the second in terms of cascading dominoes that are to fall..”

    “That’s why I’m bullish on the US dollar…It’s a big world that’s awash in liquidity…and the money coming into the US – I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet like what we’re going to see…Our markets are the only ones that can take the types of tens of trillions of dollars that could pour in here.”

    “If you’re a bank in Greece, Italy, France, and you’re looking for a place to hide, you’re not going to go to Russia, you’re not going to go to China – you’re certainly not going to go to Japan – so in the near to medium term the US dollar is going to be the trade…and of course the strong dollar has negative implications…”

    “Most people don’t see the crisis yet, most people aren’t prepared for the crisis…”

    JHK: “…That’s a reasonable view, though I would carry something a little further…we’re dealing with the non-linear behavior of extremely fragile complex systems and strange things can happen…How much of this notional wealth could go up in a vapor and not represent any real wealth, a kind of a mirage…you could see all kinds of blow-ups in financial instruments and markets that would render what supposedly is of value and see them evaporate into nothing.

    KB: “…anything can happen, and the unexpected will…The risk of contagion in the monetary system is extremely high… geopolitical risks are as high as ever right now…”

    JHK: “…The complexity of all these things would seem to cause tremendous social and political problems…Most citizens of advanced countries just don’t have a clue how banking finance works, and its already expressing itself in political disorder…

    KB: “…If the bond market was quoted in price instead of yield, we would all know it is in a bubble…something is going to break in time, it’s not sustainable, we know that…”

    “we just don’t know when…”

    • Thanks! The situation is definitely scary. I agree with JHK, “we’re dealing with the non-linear behavior of extremely fragile complex systems and strange things can happen…How much of this notional wealth could go up in a vapor and not represent any real wealth, a kind of a mirage…you could see all kinds of blow-ups in financial instruments and markets that would render what supposedly is of value and see them evaporate into nothing.”

    • Fast Eddy says:

      “ I do think the Euro is in serious trouble… the Yen is even deeper – it might be the second in terms of cascading dominoes that are to fall..”

      “That’s why I’m bullish on the US dollar”

      Um…. if Japan and/or Europe blow…. the US dollar will be toilet paper…

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Did Kunstler mention in the interview how many fat tattooed Negroes he ran down last month?

        Howard… I know you read this blog…. you get most of your ideas from here…. just like Heinberg….and the other pretenders…

        Perhaps you could just answer that one yourself?

  4. hawkeye says:

    From yesterday’s ZH:

    Fed Admits Another $4 Trillion In QE Will Be Needed To Offset An “Economic Shock”

    “…but that when the US economy slides into the next sharp recession, no less than $4 trillion in QE will be needed to stabilize the economy…”

    And when that $4 trillion doesn’t work?…maybe $8 trillion?… then 12? This is why collapse is inevitable – nothing is real to the Fed anymore, it’s all blue and green monopoly money to them, anything goes and nothing matters as Kunstler would say. Extend and pretend.

    Or as Orlov writes today, “This level of disconnect between the expected and the observed certainly hurts, but the pain can be avoided, for a time, through mass delusion.”

    The Great Keynesian Experiment of the last 50 years is in its final quarter.

    Reading between the lines, one begins to pick up a sense of desperation – even a whiff of fear – in the imperial halls of power.

    • Sungr says:

      The $4T is just a metric.

      You don’t think that SA would take a USFedGov check for U$D 4,000,000,000,000 to sell all their oil rights to the West?

    • For comparison purposes, total wages and salaries of American workers are about $8 trillion dollars annually. US Government transfer payments are about $2.8 trillion annually.

      What is a few trillion, here and there?

      • Tim Groves says:

        What is a few trillion, here and there?

        The accountants at the Pentagon would agree with that sentiment. They are unable to account for $6.5 trillion worth of year-end adjustments to Army general fund transactions and data.

    • richard says:

      As I’ve said before, this meaning of “stabilize” is straight out of the mouth of Humpty Dumpty.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Don Draper is on the job….. the catch phrase used to be Green Shoots….. now it is ‘Stabilize’

  5. richard says:

    “Really really high levels of radiation” in downtown Tokyo June 20 2016

    • This is a link I found on the high level of radiation in downtown Tokyo.

      Seems to be based on an Arne Gunderson analysis.

    • Sungr says:

      All of this is from one nuclear power plant accident.

      We have 450 more to go……. not counting military facilities.

    • Tim Groves says:

      In the interests of due diligence, I started looking around for info critical of Arnie Gundersen, and quickly found several alleged nuclear insiders who allege that Arnie isn’t who he alleges himself to be and that much of what he alleges is false. So, allegedly, he is not an unbiased source for nuclear info and he has a financial interest in scaremongering.

      But they would say that, wouldn’t they? On the other hand, Amy Goodman is always happy to invite him onto her show for a chat and CNN like him. Also Wikipedia gives his reputation a clean bill of health, which only arouses my suspicions. I make it a rule of thumb that the dissidents whose reputation that outfit try to trash a more likely to be genuine.

      A also found this one from a Westerner living in Tokyo, who seems uninvolved with the nuclear industry and is doubtless personally interested in whether the place is contaminated and, consequently, follows events in the media, where Arnie occasionally pops up. Of course, this could be another hit job on our fearless crusader. But it has the ring of credibility for me.

      The first time I saw Gundersen, I thought he looked like the kind of man I could trust. He looks like somebody’s kindly grandpa. He was doing a demonstration in his back yard with a blow torch about the effect of heat on the cladding of a nuclear reactor fuel rod. It was informative and educational, and not at all dishonest, as far as I could tell.

      I realized quickly that Gundersen was anti-nuclear power, but in the early videos that I saw, he was very cautious and said very few things that made me think he wasn’t being honest. It seemed to me that he was just interpreting the information coming out from Japan. I didn’t find his commentary particularly interesting, so I didn’t pay much more attention to him. I also missed his statement early on on “Russia Today” that the Fukushima incident was “Chernobyl on steroids”.

      Then, on March 31, Gundersen posted a video claiming that the spent fuel pool in Reactor 4 was dry and that the spent fuel rods were exposed to the air. He based this not on information released, but on his analysis of a low-quality video of the reactor building that he found on Ustream. This video started spreading on Facebook, and so Arnie Gundersen once again wandered into my field of view.

      Something felt wrong. He was more slippery than Michio Kaku– he wasn’t saying anything that I as a non-scientist could pinpoint as factually incorrect. As far as I could tell, he was just extrapolating a little more than I felt comfortable with.

      Over the days and weeks that followed, I found his videos being posted on Facebook and Twitter more and more, saying more and more scary things that just didn’t sound right. It was around this time that he started being interviewed as an expert by the mainstream media. So I did a little digging to see if this grandfatherly man who seemed so trustworthy was really what he appeared to be.

      What I discovered was that Gundersen’s company, Fairewinds Associates, is a for-profit company that hires him out to provide expert testimony and write research papers for anti-nuclear groups. He has a lot to gain then by making sure his appearances in the media make nuclear power sound dangerous.

      Gundersen is the “Chief Engineer” of Fairewinds Associates, and is often introduced as such on news programs. That title is meaningless since Gundersen is the only engineer at Fairewinds: the company consists of just him and his wife…….

      Also, this blogger’s take down of Michio Kaku is worth a read.

      • Sungr says:

        Now that you have cast aspersions that Gunderson is a cash-hungry flunky for whoever puts a dollar in his pocket, here is a little more-

        Gundersen is a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1971), with a B.S. cum laude and a GPA of 3.74 in nuclear engineering, holds a master’s degree in nuclear engineering, and gained an Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship (1972). Gundersen has more than 40 years of nuclear power engineering experience.[clarification needed][citation needed] Gundersen holds a nuclear safety patent, was a licensed reactor operator, and is a former nuclear industry senior vice president. During his nuclear power industry career, Gundersen also managed and coordinated projects at 70 nuclear power plants in the US. [1][2][10]

        From 1972 to 1976 Gundersen worked at the Northeast Utilities Service Corporation as a nuclear engineer; and from 1976 to 1979 at New York State Electric & Gas as an engineering supervisor.[1] From 1979 to 1990 Gundersen was employed at Nuclear Energy Services, a Danbury, Connecticut-based consulting firm.[1] Gundersen served as an expert witness in the investigation of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.[5] He co-authored the DOE Decommissioning Handbook, First Edition (1981–82).[1]

        In 1990 Gundersen was a senior vice president at Nuclear Energy Services when he discovered radioactive material in an accounting safe. Three weeks after notifying the company president of what he believed to be radiation safety violations, Gundersen was fired. According to the New York Times, for three years, Gundersen was “awakened by harassing phone calls in the middle of the night” and “became concerned about his family’s safety”. Gundersen believes he was blacklisted, harassed and fired for doing what he thought was right.[2]

        While also writing numerous nuclear expert reports from 1993 to 2008, Gundersen was employed at a number of Connecticut schools teaching mathematics and physics;[1][11] in 2007 he became Mathematics Professor at Community College of Vermont.[1]

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I am familiar with Gundersen…. he does tend towards hyperbole….

          • Tim Groves says:

            Oh no! Not the “h” word again.

            Arnie Gundersen is not above casting the occasional aspersion himself. For instance, he’s accused the poor long-suffering Japanese government of lying in order to safeguard the 2020 Olympics. It’s a wonder they haven’t taken away his visa.

            His using his expertise and authority to make serious claims and strong accusations, so it’s reasonable that his claims and his own record receive scrutiny. Goes on all the time in politics.

            • Christian says:

              Beyond the obvious fact that nukes could pose an existential threat to mankind (and other living beings), the subject is so politicized and at the same time invested with such a magic aura reg. “the most powerful energy” that it is very difficult to get into real details

              Tim, I understand you live in Japan and I suppose you speak and read japanese… I would be fairly glad if you could tell us how the Japanese look at this situation, as well as how they talk about PO (e.g., I wonder if there is any blog or such on the subject, etc)

            • Tim Groves says:

              Christian, in short, people in Japan are pretty much evenly divided on nuclear power, much like people elsewhere. The evacuation of whole communities for five years so far due to radioactive contamination has caused a lot of hardship and their plight has made them a bit of a political football. Also, the most vocal anti-nuclear advocates including the Greens and the Communists (the Japan Communist Party gets about 10% of the vote in national elections) have been against nuclear power from the outset, and they’ve lost no opportunity to say “we told you so!”

              The pro-business ruling LDP are basically in favor of re-starting most of the country’s fleet of roughly 50 nuclear power plants after reinforcing them to make them “even safer” (two have restarted so far), but there is a lot of local opposition, and there is some doubt over whether the government’s plans will be fully realized.

              That’s why the Japanese government this summer announced a program to build 20GW of new coal fired power stations. This is equivalent to half of the UK’s peak winter demand or the entire UK summer demand for electricity. So it is quite a substantial investment.

              I see very little actual fear of nuclear power of the sort that, for example, Arnie Gunderson is apt to preach. But there is a widespread visceral resistance to restarting the plants, and it would be politically impossible to build any new ones in the current climate. I know some people—mostly older men who work or have worked in industry—who are fine with existing nuclear and see it as the most appropriate way to generate electricity. After all, the infrastructure has already been paid for, so it’s cheap to run. And I know other people who say, we’ve been nuclear-free for the past five years, so obviously we can survive without it.

              One thing in nuclear’s favor. Up until the disaster at Fukushima, consumer electricity prices had remained stable in Japan for 30 years. SInce 2011, however, they have been raised by approx. 20%. The utilities say that prices can come down by about 10% if they are allowed to use the existing nuclear plants again, and that is attractive to a lot of people.

              One last point is that Japan was lucky that the Fukushima disaster was not a lot worse. Because the prevailing winds usually blow west to east, most of the contamination blew off across the Pacific. Had the wind blown to the south even for a day or two, it is quite probable that Tokyo would have become seriously contaminated and things would be looking very different. Japan can’t afford to have another Fukushima. Everyone agrees about that. But they are not in agreement about what constitutes a real “risk”.

            • Christian says:

              Thanks for such a detailed account, Tim.

              So, nothing on PO? It is not a subject to be addressed in japanese?

              Most related sites are in english, there is a very good one in spanish and a small one in french; it seems other languages are mute on PO

      • There is a certain amount of this problem, whether an organization is for profit or not for profit. Contributions are better, if a person’s story is believable, and it paints a clear picture one way or the other. Once a site or group gets started, the group pretty much have to go in the direction that they have been going. If things are really worrisome, readership and contributions will be up.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Now that is interesting….. thanks

  6. richard says:

    This should keep a few lights on overnight :
    “23 August 2016 – Indian CEA approves 1 GW hydropower project in Purulia

    The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) of India has conditionally approved the Turga hydropower project in the Purulia district of West Bengal. The environmental clearance is still pending.

    The 1,000 MW pumped-storage project worth Rs 4,500 crore (US$670m) was announced in 2012. Construction was initially expected to start in 2014 with commissioning in 2019. The new hydropower plant will be located near an existing 900 MW hydropower plant. State-run power utility West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL) has already got land for this project. Once complete, this will be the largest pumped storage station in the state.

    A 1,200 MW solar power project is also planned to feed the pumped-storage project. West Bengal plans to reach 4,500 MW of solar power capacity by 2022 (downscaled from 5,200 MW) and to roll out a new policy to boost solar investment. “

    • The big issue is cost, and the likely need for continued subsidies, to make something like this work.

      In general, energy projects should be sources of tax revenue. This is what is meant by “net energy positive.” They need to be generating energy cheaply enough, that they can be taxed, and still earn a profit. The cost of this energy needs to be cheap enough that users can make goods that can compete in the world market. When their wages rise, because of their increased productivity, their higher wages can be taxed as well. If the electricity is so high-priced that it can only power a few cell phones and LED lights, it is a temporary nice addition, but doesn’t keep the economy from collapsing. If it requires continued high subsidies, there is a problem as well.

      • richard says:

        Another issue is debt – in this case (renewable energy) debt is incurred today for benefits received years into the future. While we have some experience with hydro-electric schemes, we are still learning how to fully price other from of renewable energy.
        I think it’s the debt that is being subsidised, not the energy that is produced.

        • “I think it’s the debt that is being subsidised, not the energy that is produced.”

          If the cost of electricity from a coal power plant is $0.05 per KWh, and the price delivered to the end-user is $0.10, including the transmission costs, taxes, etc, then if you put solar panels on your roof and connect to the grid and benefit from net metering, you are in fact getting a $0.05 per KWh subsidy. You are being paid $0.10 for each KWh you push to the grid, while the coal power-plant company is only paid $0.05. This subsidy either comes out of the pockets of the transmission company, or from the government.

          A government subsidy on the debt for a large solar power plant reduces the cost per KWh for the power that plant produces, since the interest is lower or non-existent, so it is in effect a subsidy on the electricity itself.

        • There is a whole lot of subsidy going on, in ways that make it difficult to even figure out how much subsidy there is. One site claimed,

          At the federal level, the production or investment tax credit and double-declining accelerated depreciation can pay for two-thirds of a wind power project. Additional state incentives, such as guaranteed markets and exemption from property taxes, can pay for another 10%.

          We think of wind power as cheap in this country, but I am becoming increasingly concerned that this is the case only because of the high level of subsidies given in one way or another.

          Of course, the low interest rates that are available to all businesses, including oil, are another form of subsidy.

          • Tim Groves says:

            This is from last year, but it’s packed with the sort of facts and figures that actuaries love to read.


            • Fast Eddy says:

              This is priceless:

              Warren Buffet said:

              “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

              ‘Renewable’ energy is a joke.

              It would not exist without massive subsidies. And it will never stop needing massive subsidies.

              Along the same lines we have Tesla…. a total joke propped up by billions of dollars of government subsidies…

              My take on why the High Priests allow this nonsense is that in the bigger scheme of things… the misallocation of a few hundred billion dollars is inconsequential…. it is a small price to pay to keep the sheeple calm….

              Give us this day our daily hopium…. today we got an extra puff…. another planet that can support life has been discovered!

            • richard says:

              Some more figures from DUKES (UK Electricity) for 2015
              Wind+solar (~15%) 47.9TWh; coal 71.7TWh; gas 98.2TWh; nuclear 63.9TWh; thermal renewable (biomass?) 25.5TWh; Hydro inc PS 9TWh.
              Total to grid 322.5TWh
              The UK imports (net) about 20 TWh and loses some 30TWh
              Each source has its costs and its benefits. There will be as many views on the outcome as there are people, but it would be foolish to rely only on the cheapest or the cleanest for your electricity. The problems arise when people want only the benefits without bearing the costs.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Each source has its costs and its benefits. There will be as many views on the outcome as there are people, but it would be foolish to rely only on the cheapest or the cleanest for your electricity. The problems arise when people want only the benefits without bearing the costs.

              Good point. But with energy,I think we are going to have problems whatever we decide to do. There’s no perfect mix of sources in our current situation.

  7. common phenomenon says:

    I’ve been reading about fas~cism, and the books on it make the point that the First World War greatly increased the role of the State in the West. Fas-cists, along with Lenin, later developed the ideal of the “total state”. Mussolini implemented schemes such as building motorways and draining the Pontine marshes, while decrying the lack of direction in the democracies.

    We know Keynesian economics came to be touted in the 1930s, but my question is, how common were planned economies in the West, in the 1920s? Did Mussolini’s adoption of the idea give fas-scism a sheen of uniqueness in those days? Nowadays, neo-Keynesian-ism is everywhere, so I’m wondering about the history of the planned economy. In some cases, non-Western countries adopted state planning in an effort to catch up with the West – I’m thinking of Japan particularly, and Turkey under Attaturk.

    In case you’re wondering, I’m not pro-fas-cist at all. I’m just wondering how novel its adoption of the planned economy was in the 1920s (aside from the extreme example of the Soviet Union, of course).

    • most people don’t realise that while Keynes formulated his ideas in the 30s, the governments should spend their way out of depression, his idea didn’t work until they were kickstarted by one A Hit-ler in 1939.

      The post war economy worked so well, that it ran on till 1970, which was the period immediately after peak oil discovery and the beginning of the slide in the western industrial economic system

      • richard says:

        Ummm … that seems wrong. At a rough guess, Germany’s deficit spending began circa 1930 when the 1920’s treaty fell apart. It continued past the point when other nations were willing to finance the deficit, and the Treasurer-in chief got sacked.
        Just a guess.

        • Correct, it was much sooner than that.

          I guess Norman just wanted to put forward the idea “the allies” really started to put pedal to the metal around 1939ish as well, when the WWII and the road to win it (also have to print) was finally cleared, i.e. politically the appeasement idea let Adolf swallow all the CEE arena and thus avoid another big war of our time was bankrupt and plain to see. The delay in western response in late 1930s was evident by their war machine industrial deficit as fritz rolled over France and pushed back UK expedition forces to evacuation in days and weeks in the beginnings of the hot war.

          The two world wars in rapid succession pretty much finished the old imperial structures for UK and France (and few other smaller ones) in very very short order than otherwise could be perhaps assumed. We can debate if that was more political – cultural aspect, but perhaps the bottom line was US and USSR controlled those massive fossil fuels endowments so the history simply had to sped up on this condition as if the stored energy potential in itself “wanted to be suddenly released by ghosts of war”.

        • i think you misunderstood my meaning

          ww2 forced everybody else to start spending to buy wartoys, then when ww2 was over that spending on peacetoys continued into the 70s before the wheels began to come off

          hit-ler’s ‘economy’ was a ponzi scheme, but even he didn’t realise it.
          it was based on infinite expansion, sucking in the resources of europe to sustain his crazy ideas

          • Ponzi Schemes seem to work for a while.

          • “it was based on infinite expansion, sucking in the resources of europe to sustain his crazy ideas”

            Every system is based on infinite expansion. If they had succeeded against the Soviet Union, they would have had the oil, coal and other resources to grow for decades. Just not the manpower to keep fighting. Turns out racism is very limiting when you need a continuous supply of fresh bodies.

            • they wouldnt have needed the manpower

              hit-lers downfall was caused by the Japanese declaring war, and thus forcing Roosevelts hand, Germany then insanely declared war on the USA.

              If the USA hadnt come into the war, the UK would have gone down.

              After that, there would have been no aircraft carrier (the UK mainland) from which to attack Germany. The US majority would have locked themselves into isolation, thinking 3000 miles of ocean could never be breached.

              Thus German industry would have remained intact, and would have been able to develop the a -bomb by 45 and the means to deliver it to the US mainland, They had ICBMs by 44—after that it was just a matter of technical development. they were years ahead of anybody else in that field.

              With new york and washington and moscow nuked, it would have been game over. No need for armies, just the threat of more nukes. Germany would have been the only power to have them, and would have had no restraint in using them

            • smite says:

              Indeed first to nukes and competent delivery mechanisms dominates the planet.

              All hail and long live Pax Americana.

            • common phenomenon says:

              @NP, you can’t necessarily assume that Na’zi Germany would have had the A-bomb by 1945. A lot of its best scientists (J_e_w~i.s.h) had skedaddled to the US, taking their knowledge with them, which was lost to the N#azis because of their prej-udice. Without superior weaponry, the N’a’z’i’s would have succumbed to the usual fate of those who attack the Ru’ssian bear. Read Dmitry Orlov on the special Ru’ssi’an response to being invaded: gather your essentials, burn everything else, retreat, regroup. Demoralise the en-e-my by confronting him with masses of depopulated scorched earth.

            • Christian says:

              Hitlers downfall was rather caused by the red army; the US just went into Europe to prevent the Soviets taking all the continent (ever thought about how many Germans each superpower did killed?)

              Matt, I think you’re right in the end racism didn’t helped Hitler, who had to send 14 years old boys to the battleground. The Brits used a more inconspicuous racism, and I guess this helped them to rule such a big area

            • “Hitlers downfall was rather caused by the red army;”

              I think the Allies bombing the factories and refineries of the Axis was a big factor, plus cutting them off from materials from the rest of the world. The Soviets could not even defeat Finland on their own.

              Winter also gets an honorable mention, as anyone who tries to invade Russia finds out. The Balkans gets a shout out as well, for delaying Germany so they went to war with the Soviets a few months behind schedule.

            • Christian says:

              Ha ha ha, your face tells it all! Dont believe everything you see on tee vee, ha ha ha

            • Artleads says:

              “The Brits used a more inconspicuous racism, and I guess this helped them to rule such a big area”

              Tell me about it!!!

            • Christian says:

              Glad for you, Art

              Matt, you’re right on the Balkans, the winter and to some extent on the Finns. But this is not my point. You don’t think Stalin would have got the whole Germany (and Italy, and Belgium, and France, and possibly Spain but perhaps not the UK) in case the US had not stepped in? He had three things Hitler was lacking at this point: oil, soldiers and local support (there were many comunists in Italy and Spain, to begin with)

            • “You don’t think Stalin would have got the whole Germany (and Italy, and Belgium, and France, and possibly Spain but perhaps not the UK) in case the US had not stepped in?”

              It is why they had to have a land invasion, for sure. I suppose waiting at Berlin for the Red Army to meet them was part of the agreement, in the hopes of creating a lasting peace.

            • common phenomenon says:

              Thanks, Matthew, for your info about the railways. I’ll have to look for a good book about the early industrial revolution, to find out how things advanced and in what order.

      • Japan and China are additional examples of economies ramped up on debt.

      • common phenomenon says:

        I didn’t really phrase my question very well. How different would Fascist Italy have looked by, say,1928, from standard Western capitalist countries? This, I think, would hinge on how “free market” the West was, up till that time. Fascism claimed to be a Third Way, between capitalism and communism. Would the planned / directed Fascist economy of 1928 look much different from any other capitalist economy of the time? How common (or not) were planned economies then (the USSR apart) ?

        Since we are now all used to a pervasive state and manipulated economies, at this late date, Fascism may not look that original to us – it was just capitalism under a dictatorship, with uniforms and rallies. But – in its day – would the (supposedly) planned capitalist economy under Mussolini have made Fascism stand out as economically innovative?

        I suppose I’m also trying to imagine what would and wouldn’t have been state-directed in the 1920s, compared to say 1910. We all know that, prior to the First World War, the State had a much lighter presence in the West and other countries than now, when people even complain to the police about insults on Twitter. WW1 provided a big jolt in the direction of “more state”, to the extent that it became expected thereafter. Also, there was “massification” of democracy and of consumerism. The Europe of empires, prior to WW1, seems very distant and alien to me, but post 1917, with party states – well, political parties I do know and understand, of course. So it seems that much of modernity in our sense began post WW1. But how quickly did it develop and spread? Which areas were affected first? I suppose it’s a huge subject, and I would have to read a lot of books to find out. Development would have varied hugely between countries, of course. England was ahead of Ireland, and France was way ahead of Romania, and so on.

        • interesting comment on the subject.

          I think Italy is an excellent case in point, especially with what is happening in the US right now.

          Google and bring up some old Mussolini pictures/movies
          study his facial expressions—very very closely

          Now watch Trump—very very closely

          They are not just “similar” they are exactly the same

          Given the chance, that is where trump will take you.

        • Tim Groves says:

          would the (supposedly) planned capitalist economy under Mussolini have made Fascism stand out as economically innovative?

          At a guess, I’d say yes and no. At that time of Mussolini’s rise to power, Italy was backward, poor, disorganized and chaotic. It was also a country with imperialistic ambitions that had annexed Libya in 1912 and attempted to do the same unsuccessfully to Ethiopia in the 1890s. Mussolini began his political career as a “revolutionary socialist” somewhat to the left of Bernie Saunders, but after WW1 he abandoned such notions and adopted the aim of a strong state under a firm hand in partnership with the capitalists in the interests of peace, prosperity and keeping the workers in their place.

          Rational scientific organization of the means of production and distribution were all the rage as a prescription for bringing order to chaos and raising economic efficiency and living standards. It wasn’t a left-right issue but part of the conventional wisdom that was in the air in those days. In practice, it is difficult to adopt these policies without taking some liberties with democratic institutions. In Italy in the 1920s, a law was passed giving the party that got the most votes and automatic 2/3 majority in parliament. But “Say what you like about Il Duce,” as his foreign supporters liked to remind people, “at least he made the trains run on time.”

          The actual record of the Italian railways under his government was rather patchy. According to an article in the NYT:

          Mussolini nurtured this myth, knowing that a well-run train system impressed bourgeois opinion. His regime built magnificent central stations and upgraded the main lines on which businessmen, politicians and comfort-minded tourists sped between Milan and Rome. From 1926 to 1936, the State Railroad Corporation was a model agency. But that’s not the whole story.

          The railroad workers’ union was dissolved and nearly 50,000 employees were fired on political grounds. The toll for work accidents on heroic projects soared. As the direttissimi whizzed by on schedule, aged commuter locals filled with workers were shunted onto sidings.

          By the mid-30’s, the regime undermined the efficiency of the system. Before 1922, the railroads served a public-works function for demobilized war veterans, a practice the Fascist Government vowed to stop. But after Mussolini’s campaigns against Ethiopia, Spain and Italy, he too made the railroads a dumping ground for veterans. Because of the political meddling, the railway system’s operating record was badly tarnished even before Mussolini brought Italy into World War II.

          • Artleads says:


            Maybe you made a typo, since the dates you gave for Mussolini adventure in Ethiopia would be inconsistent with anything else you posted.

            Here’s something from Wikipedia, putting the conflict start date as 1935:


          • common phenomenon says:

            “Rational scientific organization of the means of production and distribution were all the rage as a prescription for bringing order to chaos and raising economic efficiency and living standards. It wasn’t a left-right issue but part of the conventional wisdom that was in the air in those days.”

            What I don’t know is whether the railways, for instance, were originally the result of private enterprise in the UK and the rest of Europe. I would imagine so, but then probably in some later developing countries the state would have provided them.

            • DJ says:

              In Sweden railroads were owned by the state until ~20 years ago. I believe the privatization has only been on paper.

            • common phenomenon says:

              Thanks, DJ. ;-0

            • “What I don’t know is whether the railways, for instance, were originally the result of private enterprise in the UK and the rest of Europe. ”

              Maybe the short rail links from a coal mine to a harbor, or the more lucrative routes connecting major cities. I suspect most railroads through wilderness were either owned or subsidized by government. In America, the railroads were subsidized from right after the American Civil War. The Trans-Siberian Railroad was a government project.

            • richard says:

              Railways in the UK were created as part of what might today be called a Public-Private Enterprise. See Isambard Kindom Brunel – and note the political connections. Major rail networks required an Act of Parliament to proceed, and wayleaves to ensure that the railway followed the most economical route.

  8. Fast Eddy says:

    “The U.S. has grown 9.9 percent in real terms since 2007; the comparable figure for the European Union over the same period, based on Eurostat data, is 2.8 percent.”

    The MSM has slipped up … we seldom get the ‘real’ numbers for growth…. all those trillions… the lowest interest rates in history….. and that’s all we have to show….

    • Tim Groves says:

      “You have to feel that what you have inherited, you actually do not own,” he said, seated on a wine cask. “You only have to run it properly, and to carry on to something else.”

      Old established family businesses like Mr. Fescobaldi’s require a next-generation family member to take them over, and they have to be trained from childhood to accept this role and be committed to it. It’s always nice to see one that’s survived the ups and downs of the last millennium, and with all the chaos Italy has been through in that time it’s little short of a miraculous achievement.

      • Fast Eddy says:


        But I suspect that the foundation for most of this old wealth is property and other relatively passive investments…. so long as you don’t sell the family jewels off to pay gambling debts… or take on risk to make another fortune…. it’s not too difficult to stay wealthy…

        I think I could do it!

        At the end of the day, running the family fortune pales in comparison to the difficulty of taking something from 0-100 … without family backing and a high-powered education …..

        • Vince the Prince says:

          Here’s an idea for you that you certainly can do Fast Eddie…especially since in your mind there is no good or evil….just interests…

          Take in this movie about weapon salesmen, “War Dogs” and make a fast buck
          I have a suggestion for your firms name “F.E.E.” for Fast Eddie Enterprises
          The movie will show you how not to be caught….
          Spoiler….pay the Albanian guy repacking the stash.
          Easy…even you can pull that off in Hong Kong LOL

          • Vince the Prince says:

            Boy, just by coincidence, this came out today

            “Since September 2001, the Pentagon has listed $40 billion worth of contracts for small arms intended for Afghanistan and Iraq, supplying 1.45 million guns to both countries while only accounting for 3 percent of them, says a new report by a British NG
            “The London-based nonprofit Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) pored over 14 years’ worth of contracts issued by the US Department of Defense, documenting the purchases of small arms – defined as anything under 30mm in caliber – ammunition and attachments, such as sniper scopes or tripods. They found a massive amount of weapons supplied by the US to the primary theaters of the “War on Terror,” and remarkably little accounting of whose hands they ended up in.

            “Our findings raise concerns about the DOD’s own transparency and accountability when it comes to issuing contracts,” Iain Overton, AOAV’s director of investigations, said when announcing the report’s publication Wednesday.

            Not only has the Pentagon’s contract database listed only 3 percent of the approximately 1.45 million small arms sent to Iraq and Afghanistan over the years, “we also know the US government has acknowledged they don’t know where many of these weapons now are,” Overton added.


            …..”Some 949,582 small arms were sent to Iraq, and another 503,328 to Afghanistan, amounting to 1,452,910 assault and sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns and other unspecified firearms. Yet the Department of Defense contract publications listed only 19,602 of these weapons, just over 1 percent of the total. When AOAV pressed for verification, the DOD provided itemized lists for 719,474 weapons provided through June 2016.

            The numbers “tell the story of two wars that did not go as pitched,” veteran military correspondent CJ Chivers wrote in the New York Times Magazine, commenting on AOAV’s findings.

            The retired Marine and author of The Gun also filled in a piece of the puzzle the researchers missed by not counting the grenade launchers and anti-tank weapons provided by the Pentagon.”

            Hey, after all the United States has no gun control laws and there is a God given right to bear arms and get flithy rich off the taxpayers credit card.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Ummmm…. no

            I prefer Tim’s idea

        • DJ says:

          Just protecting the fortune through wars “and stuff”. Every now and then kings used to confiscate land “and stuff” and buy favours.

          Also you have to, for 30 generations, get enough heirs to secure the family but not so many you dilute the fortune.

  9. Fast Eddy says:

    How to Stay Rich in Europe: Inherit Money for 700 Years

    The richest Florentine families in 1427 still are: New research shows Europe leads the world in inherited wealth.

    Lamberto Frescobaldi sets two wine glasses atop a wooden barrel in the spacious cellar of his company’s winery in an 1,000-year-old castle not far from Florence. Uncorking a bottle of Nipozzano, he takes a sip and nods. The red that his family supplied to Michelangelo and Pope Leo X still tastes pretty darn good.

    To Frescobaldi, 53, directing the family business is something of a trust. It’s a way to preserve a dynasty that began with wool traders in about the year 1000 and made its money financing the English crown almost 200 years later.

    “You have to feel that what you have inherited, you actually do not own,” he said, seated on a wine cask. “You only have to run it properly, and to carry on to something else.”

    Maintaining inherited wealth has worked for generations of Frescobaldis over 700 years, and it has let the descendants of Jakob Fugger in Germany continue to run the social-housing complex the Emperor’s banker founded almost half a millennium ago. It’s less of a blessing for Europe as a whole, where family fortunes are more prevalent than in the U.S. or Asia. Their relatively high level is a sign of the continent’s low social mobility, keeping education, income and social connections from evolving over generations.


    “You only have to run it properly, and to carry on to something else.”

    I am still bitter with my parents for being poor…. how does one get born into a gig like that!!!

  10. Tim Groves says:

    South Koreans are likely to have fewer weddings and babies this year than ever before!

    This article says it’s” part of a demographic shift that risks hobbling the nation’s economy”, but unfortunately they don’t quote the actual birth rates, which is one of the world’s lowest at 1.3 and has been consistently below replacement value for the past 30 years. However:

    The number of marriages and births recorded during the first five months of 2016 hit the lowest levels for the same period in any year since the nation’s statistics office started compiling monthly data in 2000.

    The figures underscore the challenge facing the government, which over the past decade has poured 80 trillion won ($72 billion) into efforts to reverse the falling birthrate. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said this month that the country faces a crisis that threatens to limit long-term economic growth.

    Many young South Koreans say they cannot afford to get married or have children. They cite housing costs as one of the biggest obstacles. Record-low interest rates meant to spur economic growth have fueled a property boom that has priced many of them out of the market. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate among those 15 to 29 years old is 9.2 percent—more than double the national average…..

    Reversing the demographic tide is becoming more urgent. The country will pass two unwelcome milestones next year: Its workforce will begin shrinking and people aged 65 and older will outnumber those 14 and below. Without successful government action, the economy’s potential growth rate will fall to 2 percent between 2026 and 2030, from about 2.7 percent now, the Hyundai Research Institute estimates.

    The demographic decline is already entrenched: The number of women in their 20s and 30s is expected to fall to about 5.5 million by 2030, down from 7.3 million in 2010, according to the government’s statistics office.

    • Sounds like China and Japan. Maybe this part of the world is already badly overcrowded. That, plus energy limits, are already hitting the economies.

  11. Fast Eddy says:

    Is Elon Musk behind this? This is the Tesla model no?

    It looked like the future: a wide, elevated Chinese bus that would speed atop tracks straddling the road while multiple lanes of traffic flowed below. And the future looked surprisingly near. In early August, a prototype of the Transit Elevated Bus — or TEB — was tested in northern China.

    Just as international excitement began to build, however, the TEB story went off the rails. According to China’s state media organs, previously big boosters of the project, the TEB was little more than a publicity stunt — one of the dozens of peer-to-peer lending scams that have duped retail Chinese investors in recent years by promising unreal annual returns.

    The bus bust has thus become a symbol of a different — and far more damaging — kind of Chinese ingenuity. The TEB’s promoters promised investors 12 percent returns on their money, despite the fact that the prototype bus seemed likely to tip over, couldn’t clear most urban bridges and wasn’t tall enough to accommodate most vehicles underneath it.


  12. Vince the Prince says:

    “Rationing, regulating the apportionment of items in short supply in order to achieve their equitable distribution. Rationing is usually undertaken by a government only in response to a severe emergency such as war. It is generally cumbersome and unpopular.

    Techniques used in rationing include restricting the uses of an item—for example, restricting the use of petrol; limiting the quantity of goods available to any consumer; curtailing the hours when an item may be sold; setting a maximum amount a person can spend for an item; and employing a point system, which assigns a point value to a number of articles and permits customers to “spend” a certain number of total points. The mechanics of rationing involve coupon books, stamps, or certificates; all three were used during World War II. – Microsoft Encarta

    Rationing began in the United Kingdom at the outset of 1940 – four months after the war started, and America followed suit a year later. After the war ended, rebuilding began, but, for some items at least, rationing continued until long after war’s end – even up until 1953.

    Over the rationing period, the availability of many items fluctuated. German aircraft destroyed merchant ships as well as naval – stopping the importation of consumer goods. Those that didn’t already were encouraged to grow and preserve at least some of their own food. A lot of the burden was placed on women, as able-bodied men were drafted.

    Before the outbreak of war Britain imported around 55 million tons of food per year from other countries, such as the U.S.A. and Canada. But it wasn’t just food that was brought in from abroad; many other things were imported too. Things such as tea, sugar, fruit, oil (used for petrol), wood and rubber. All of which had to be shipped across the Atlantic in large cargo vessels. Inevitably once war broke out Germany did everything in its power to cut off these much needed supplies, by hunting down and destroying the convoys that carried them with their battleships and U-boats. – The Battle of the Atlantic”

    Interesting article by
    Read the article

    Interesting website of “The Permaculture Research Institute”
    Check it out.

    • Vince the Prince says:

      My prediction the PTB will utilize science to enforce rationing! When it can be a tool to control the sheeple, the PTB will have an about face and embrace the Global Warming directive of steep cutbacks when the Seneca cliff begins.
      It all falls into place.

      • CTG says:

        Rationing does not work. The supply chain is too long and we need FF for the 2 people to support the 98 people are not into producing food. Any disruption to this will cause immediate (I mean just days) problems to the entire society. This is because of the ratio 2:98.

        In the 1920, 1940, 1970s, the ratio is not that high because we are not that efficient in producing food. It is probably 20:80. So, we need a lot more people to work on food production eventhough we have less month to feed.

        Just imagine if it is 0:100 where it is all done by machines. What “if” the machine breaks down? No one knows how to farm as it is all done by machines and robot. We will all die off within days. In fact, there is not much difference between 0:100 and 2:98.

        Well, people may say that the FF is directed to the producers. I am still very surprised that people will say that. It is obvious that this person does not put on a thinking cap. Who is going to enforce? Do you think the police is to good as to have a convoy of fuel trucks to farm? They will be hijacked half-way though. It is human nature to be greedy.

        Secondly – farm is not just fuel. It is the entire supply chain and CREDIT (this is the one Gail always stress on). Fertilizers require feedstock which is obtained by natural gas. Natural gas can be obtained is someone extracts it from the ground. To extract it from the ground, you need to have all the machines, skill and manpower to do it. In order for the machine to work, you need to have fuel and spare parts or even consumables (drilling bits). To do that you need computerized controls who will control the drilling bit so that it does not puncture too much and the whole area exploded. In order to have computers, you need to have semiconductors and to have semiconductors, you need to have the raw materials like Indium.

        How about the trucks that delivers the food? The combined harvesters? I am not going to start to talk the parts that goes into the truck, farm equipment, the tyres (anyone making tyres in USA anymore?).

        OK. How about the parts and the consumables that goes into the machine that makes the machines that makes the tyres that goes into the truck?

        Just because of one screw that is not available to put into into the bottleneck machine that makes tyres for trucks in China, the entire supply for the large tyres that is being supplied to the whole world is down. In a BAU world, that is not a problem as you have other suppliers. In in a BAU lite world or a world with rationing, it is totally not possible at all.

        Let us start with credit. Without credit, no trade will happen, so, who will supply the specialized computers that goes into the drilling machine that is used at the drilling site to drill for natural gas that will supply to the fertilizer plants that produces fertilizer and has to be transported to the farm by trucks or carriers to be used at the farm ? Without credit, the capacitor supplier might not have the money to buy the raw materials for the capacitors and once it runs out, they have source for others. With the lean JIT (just in time supply chain), stocks does not last for more than a few days and in order to maximize profits, the manufacturer does not keep cash but uses credit. So, no credit, no capacitors, no motherboards, no tyres, no drilling bits, no trucks, no fertilizers, no food.

        Am I too far fetched? I have seen that before in the last 20 years where my factory was nearly shutdown 4 times due to some “mistake” in not ordering parts in advanced and the supplier to us that they need 3 weeks to make that parts before they don’t keep stock and their supplier does not keep stock either. We were lucky as we were just hours away from a total factory shutdown.

        So, do tell me in the event of a rationing, who should get the fuel?

        • Good points!

        • CTG says:

          sorry for the messed up words and make it difficult to read…. It is not easy to do it on a tablet…

        • smite says:

          “So, do tell me in the event of a rationing, who should get the fuel?”

          The owners of course.

          I think it is about time to let go of the notion us “mindless consumerists” are indispensable. Does not the barrel bombs over Syria and the dire straits in Venezuela prove this? At least to me it is a chilling message of how much a human life is “worth” to the owners.

          Two of these for the bread, and five “hot” spares would probably be enough to feed most of the big dogs and their cronies out there:

          A few of these for the fries.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            There will not be any bread. Because you need BAU to make bread — you need farms and fertilizer and petrol and overns on and on and on …

            Come on people… CTG has written a PHD thesis explaining why this cannot happen.

            The siren song of DelusiSTAN is very strong…. it is so tempting to puff that pipe….

            • smite says:

              We were discussing a hypothetical situation of rationing. Just because we discuss different ideas and scenarios does not mean we have to believe they will come true?

              Furthermore you are aware that BAU is a continuously changing paradigm? BAU of today isn’t what it will be tomorrow?

              The ongoing replacement of human automatons for more effective and efficient machinery is only speeding up, or do you perhaps object to that hard fact? Now if you choose to follow this to it’s logical conclusion, what conclusions do you draw? And please refrain from spewing the ordinary and quite boring DelusiSTAN, collapse, eating rats and the other usual suspects if you decide to reply.

              Furthermore, I’m not easily impressed by any academic credentials and certainly don’t fall victim to the fallacy of authority.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              What does not change re: BAU is that it is fundamentally based on having a continuous supply of cheap to produce energy.

              If that energy is not available then you do not have what is known as BAU — what you have is a nightmare scenario — and if anyone survives that you have what you are free to call the New BAU — and it would involve a very primitive existence for humans.

              Perhaps ultimately the new BAU would be hunting and gathering … but only if we got over our fascination with technology and did not cut down every last remaining tree.

              The logical conclusion would be that machines can eventually completely replace humans…

              machines would program computers… machines would perform every single task on the planet… from engineering from concept a power plant or a mine … to finding and fixing a broken wire inside a component that has caused a factory to shut the assembly line.

              Let’s go closer to home … can you imagine a machine taking a call about a broken water pipe under your sink … heading to your house… having the dexterity to get up the stairs — under the sink — working out exactly what the problem is … again having the dexterity to remove the pipe and replace it?

              There are some things that machines will never be able to do….

              Even in Star Trek – which you seem to be a big fan of (and the Jetsons?) – the humans were still the key players….

              VGER was not god after all….

        • DJ says:

          “How about the parts and the consumables that goes into the machine that makes the machines that makes the tyres that goes into the truck?”

          Well … that is what 3D printers are for …

          • smite says:

            I have this idea; let’s 3D print houses for the “workers” that previously were used making houses.

            I can not see any problems on the horizon for the generic, mindless, useless consumerist. *whistles*. Nope, none at all..

            • Surely you jest. These printers make high priced plastic items. Houses would end up being plastic junk, priced at astronomical levels. It would take people to put together the little plastic pieces–can’t imaging how they would, for example, provide load-bearing walls.

            • Cement with rebar, not plastic houses. People may still need to stop the print to install plumbing and electrical. No word yet on what happens when the plumbing needs work.

            • Ert says:


              Fully agree – 3D printing puts complexity to a new level – even more abstract, even more dependencies and limited range of materials. Its may be o.k. for some very high-tech uses like aerospace parts, military or providing spare parts for long to service (30 y ++) items with a low deployed volume count, etc.

              Basically as more costly the items and the less volume (quantity) they have – as more is 3D printing attractive – this especially if high startup / one-time costs for molds and the like can be avoided.

            • “I have this idea; let’s 3D print houses for the “workers” that previously were used making houses.”

              The Chinese are already doing this, with cement – 10 houses in 24 hours:

              If we get a Jetsons future, the solution is, just give everyone a button to push – some useless task they must perform in order to be given the chits to buy stuff.

            • If we lower our housing standards, there is probably a lot that could be done, with very little.

            • DJ says:

              “just give everyone a button to push – some useless task they must perform”

              Is not voting for the red team or the blue team every four year enough of hard work? Or does that qualify as “useless task”?

            • The common person – but particularly young men between 18 and 35 – need to be kept occupied 40 to 60 hours per week, preferably with at least some of that being hard manual labor, to ensure peace and stability.

              If you just give people money for doing nothing, they get bored and do destructive things. Panem et circenses failed because the Romans did not understand this.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Or lie on the sofa watching endless reality tv and sports programmes…. eating crisps frozen pizza and sucking on lollies infused with Abilify (which pacifies them)

            • smite says:

              I posted that video clip of the Chinese concrete 3D printer first! Couldn’t you see it?

              Yeah, it is basically what we have today. I’ll bet TPTB are scratching their heads on how to deal with the Zerglings. War isn’t quite a tractable plan when the infrastructure could be wiped out using a few EMP nukes in space and then everybody would go directly back to the stone age, including themselves.

              Apparently the current project is to trash the welfare state by intensifying the low-intensity ethnic conflicts and mass immigration of illiterates. That should concentrate the worldwide intelligentia and production capacity into the homeland of Pax Americana. Smart.

            • “I posted that video clip of the Chinese concrete 3D printer first! Couldn’t you see it?”

              No, it was not in the e-mail feed when your post first appeared, but then it was on the site after I posted my comment.

            • DJ says:

              Ok, back to mowing each others lawns then?

            • smite says:

              Video games should keep them “working” and grinding for that “epic” gear.

          • CTG says:

            3D printers are just “for fun”. You can’t really make serious parts from 3D printers. high tensile screws? vanadium steel? 3D printers are good for prototyping and model making. If it is plastic or polymer-based products that your life does not depend on, then it is OK but I would not take a bus where the axle is printed using a 3D printer. If if there is a printer that does high quality parts, the materials required for each component (especially wind turbines) are exotic (alloys) that are only easily obtainable in BAU conditions.

            • smite says:

              Simple raw materias and complex software.

              Complexity is continuously moved from the physical into the realm of ideas and software.

              Sintered Inconel + a laser 3D printer = rocket engines!


            • “Simple raw materias”
              “Sintered Inconel”

              The supply chain for getting the nickel, iron and chromium, refining them, and mixing them in the the exact perfect ratio in usable form, is probably not so simple.

              I think the solution, if there is one, would be to replace the complex computer controlled things with simpler devices made with less exotic materials, or determine if the thing needs to be replaced at all – for example, off-shore wind farm, just let it rot, since it generates less energy than it consumes.

            • DJ says:


            • smite says:

              As I said, instead of a complex subtractive machine fleet with multi-axis milling machines and tooling an additive sinter 3D printer using metal powder simplifies and speeds up design, test, re-spin and finally commissioning.

              There is nothing fundamentally to argue about here.

              5-axis CNC used for complex parts (turbines, etc):

              or a _much_ simpler process (but more complex software) using DMLM and sintered metal:

          • smite says:

            It 3D “prints” concrete. O_O

        • psile says:

          “For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”

    • I presume the graph reflects the impact of changing oil prices on the US’s need for additional debt to pay for oil. Of course, if additional debt is what keeps the economy going, that could be a problem.

  13. dolph - I'm not a psychologist, but I do have training says:

    Let me tell you what people care about. It’s not because I’m cynical or fatalistic (though I am). I am merely observing human beings, that’s all. People care about:
    -the myths of nomads and goat herders who 2000 years ago said they were getting revelations from God
    -finding a hot chick to bang, or finding a hot man to get banged
    -if they have kids, believing that their kids are God’s gift to the universe
    -the rear ends and sex lives of their favorite celebrities
    -the latest music videos, movies, and the score of the millionth iteration of the sports game
    -getting more money or going into more debt so they can buy things they don’t need, to impress the Joneses who they hate
    -believing the politicians who tell them all of their troubles are the fault of the opposing party or the foreigners
    -believing their bosses and economists who tell them everything is alright, just keep your head down and keep working and you will get a raise next year which will make you rich

    That’s what people care about. Where does peak oil, climate change, the fragility of industrial civilization and the financial system, ecological collapse, the breakdown of global geopolitics…where do these rank? Zero. They don’t even rank at all. It’s not that people give them a passing thought every now and then…people give them literally zero thought.

    Why am I saying this? I’m saying this because you guys are getting increasingly separated from human beings, and it’s impacting the way you are thinking about collapse. As such, you are getting the collapse story wrong.

    Study human beings! First and foremost, study human beings. After you’ve done that, then move on to geology, or energy, or the climate or other things in the natural world. But none of this means anything unless you understand humans and the way they operate.

    • Jarvis says:

      Dolphin I certainly agree with your observations on the human condition and I personally take comfort in the fact that everyone is ignorant on what awaits them. I have a bankster neighbor who manages a $10 billion fund who is utterly clueless and I take great comfort in that. A long emergency type collapse suits me just fine but that is the ultimate in best case scenario. Lending money is my business and I can tell you this integrated banking system is great for international business but it is getting very shaky and if there is a credit seize up that lasts for more than a couple of days the dominos will fall quickly and I don’t think anyone can put it together again. I’m trying out my doomstead for 6 months and I’m half way through, I’m quite content, doing lots of business that will default at some point but there is nothing I or anybody can do so I plan to make and spend until it ends. Wish I knew how to post pictures and I send you some of my garden- that’s my secret to sanity.

      • Thanks for your on-the-ground views.

        Posting pictures is easy if the picture is already up on the internet. Then all you have to do is post a hyperlink to the picture in a separate line of your comment. You can get the hyperlink by right-clicking on the image and choosing “copy hyperlink.”

        If the picture or image is not up on the Internet–for example, it is a PNG chart that you made, are a photo you took, then you somehow need to get it up on the internet. You can use a photo sharing service or start a blog of your own. You don’t have to write posts or tell anyone about this blog. You can just used a WordPress or Blogspot account to put up images that you link back to.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I’ve studied human beings — and my observations line up with yours — I have concluded 99.99999% of all humans are living in DelusiSTAN.

      On the other hand…. there are an extremely small number people holding RealitySTAN passports ….. difficult to pin it down but in real life I cannot recall ever meeting someone who held one…. when I prod I am inevitably disappointed….

      The only place I have encountered this rare animal is on Finite World…. I would estimate there are between 10 and 20 grazing here….

      As you can see – it is a very elite community.

      Are you suggesting this community should try to ‘unsee’ what has been seen — and apply for DelusiSTAN passports?

      I would have thought that separation from the Idiocracy was to be encouraged….

      Or maybe you are implying that we are turning into robots? There is a theme of cold calculation running through the comments these days….

      • Tim Groves says:

        Where does peak oil, climate change, the fragility of industrial civilization and the financial system, ecological collapse, the breakdown of global geopolitics…where do these rank? Zero. They don’t even rank at all. It’s not that people give them a passing thought every now and then…people give them literally zero thought.

        Dolph, of the thousands of people I’ve interacted with over the decades, those subjects just don’t have any appeal for 95~99% of them. I have noticed that much. I see that as a problem. Different strokes for different folks. And after all, if they were interested, they would study, and if they were smart enough, they’d come to the conclusion that there’s nothing we can do to fix any of those problems.

        The idea that we can somehow wake up the heard of sheeple to alert them to the danger so that they can ward off catastrophe is another piece of fiction we’ve been taught to recite to ourselves. The world doesn’t work like that. People don’t work like that unless they are led by totalitarians. And in any case the fundamental problems you’ve listed above defy a solution.

        Now, what’s really eating you?

        Why am I saying this? I’m saying this because you guys are getting increasingly separated from human beings, and it’s impacting the way you are thinking about collapse. As such, you are getting the collapse story wrong.

        I don’t really follow your logic here. How could our increasing separation from human beings make any difference to our versions of the collapse story? Are you saying that if we got closer to “ordinary people”, we would discover that collapse was going to be a much more gradual affair that we’ve been assuming up to now?

        Are you suggesting this community should try to ‘unsee’ what has been seen — and apply for DelusiSTAN passports?

        That seems to be the gist. Remember, DelusiSTAN is a huge empire comprising many provinces each filled with myriad cultures, customs, rituals and warring tribes that infest its cities, jungles, deserts and savannas, who must be controlled and corralled with yokes and fences, carrots and sticks, tricks and treats, bread and circuses. While RealitSTAN is a much more pleasant land resplendent with sunlit uplands and high mountain peaks with panoramic views, where the denizens are free spirits who respect different viewpoints but reject the wisdom of the many, and only the facts are held sacred.

      • smite says:

        We’re living in RealitySTAN, but we go on our life’s pretending it’s DelusiSTAN. It makes many things easier.

        I recall a 5-year old kid in the early spring of 1979 who figured out that there’s something not quite right about motor vehicle transportation after curiously asking his father from where this smelly liquid he was pouring into the car originated from, what it was used for and how much of it there is (left). The answers were quite baffling.

        While the little kid were pondering about the consequences of his new knowledge, a rabbit jumped into a hole in the small grove besides the gas station.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          A 6 year old would be more able to understand and accept an explanation of the situation – than an investment banker…

          Because a 6 year old does not understand the implications

    • psile says:

      Why am I saying this? I’m saying this because you guys are getting increasingly separated from human beings, and it’s impacting the way you are thinking about collapse. As such, you are getting the collapse story wrong.

      “Is that the administrations position, or yours?”

      “There isn’t a position on this any more than there’s a position on the temperature at which water boils”

      • smite says:

        “There isn’t a position on this any more than there’s a position on the temperature at which water boils”

        The boiling point of water is determined by the steam pressure. For example, water boils at about 71C on Mt. Everest, which is incidentally not hot enough to properly kill off some germs.

        So the debate isn’t much about if water boils or not, but at which pressure BAU will let go of the steam and evaporate into a puff of dust in the wind.

    • Artleads says:

      “Over the past few years, the Michigan state government has moved to bring Detroit’s vacant parcels back under control, passing laws to crack down on squatters, scrappers (as the people who strip houses for building materials are called), and urban farmers alike.

      Whether Detroit has the means or the inclination to enforce those laws is an open question. In the course of her research, Herbert interviewed a Detroit police commander who told her that even with more resources, he’d be disinclined to target squatters.
      ‘I certainly wouldn’t use them to go in there and encumber people to tear down urban farms and gardens on a technical violation of ownership,’ he said.”

      A very stupid state government,and a very smart police commander.

  14. Fast Eddy says:

    Scam or no scam it is all moot.

    Civilization runs on fossil fuels — and growth is tied 1:1 to them.

    We must continue to burn more every year otherwise we stop growing and we collapse.

    Or we need to discover an alternative energy source that can replace fossil fuels and that is cheap to produce.

    Wake me up when that happens — until then — I’d rather watch paint dry than debate climate change.

    • greg machala says:

      Growth is over. We are at the point where we have to burn more energy every year just to stay even. The next step is to burn more energy and contract economically every year. I think we are almost there.

    • Sure, financial collapse MAY come sooner than catastrophic climate change

      but when someone parades their resistance to consensus science by comparing themselves to Newton then a little debate might be needed to oppose this particular branch of delusional thinking.

      • Tim Groves says:

        when someone parades their resistance to consensus science by comparing themselves to Newton then a little debate might be needed to oppose this particular branch of delusional thinking.

        That’s not much of an argument, is it? Considering that “consensus science” is an oxymoron. Consensus merely means general agreement. Science is a method of inquiry into nature. Its conclusions are decided based on evidence, not by consensus. If anything, science makes progress by questioning consensus, not by worshiping it.

        Surely Newton was a delusional thinker according to your consensus-worshipping way of thinking?

        Newton was a practicing alchemist. His writings suggest that one of the main goals of his alchemy may have been the discovery of The Philosopher’s Stone (a material believed to turn base metals into gold), and perhaps to a lesser extent, the discovery of the highly coveted Elixir of Life. Newton reportedly believed that a Diana’s Tree, an alchemical demonstration producing a dendritic “growth” of silver from solution, was evidence that metals “possessed a sort of life.”

        From the mid to late 17th century there were two major sciences that dominated London’s scene. Alchemy was practiced both openly and in secrecy for many years and by a wide variety of people, although it was primarily viewed as a science of gentlemen. By contrast, a new, emerging science called “chymsitry” began to make an impact and a push to replace alchemy. The biggest divide between the two, alchemy and chemistry, was that: “The genuine alchemist was absolutely firm in his belief that the emotional and spiritual state of the individual experimenter was involved intimately with the success or failure of the experiment. And it is this concept, more than any other, which distinguishes alchemy from the orthodox chemistry that superseded it. ( Michael White, Isaac Newton: The Last Sorceror, (April 1999)

        Due to the threat of punishment and the potential scrutiny he feared from his peers who adhered to the consensus that alchemy was sorcery within the scientific community , Newton may have deliberately left his work on alchemical subjects unpublished.

        Newton predicted that Christ’s Millennium would begin in the year 2000 in his book Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John.

        And in a marginal note in a letter (the nearest thing to a blog comment in those days) he wrote in 1704, Newton predicted the world would end in 2060 AD.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Depends on what you mean by “moot”.
      a. Subject to debate; arguable or unsettled: “It is a moot point whether Napoleon Bonaparte was born a subject of the King of France” (Norman Davies).
      b. Of no practical importance; irrelevant: “[He] was appearing as a goodwill gesture, since the competition was moot for him; he had long ago qualified for inclusion in the games” (Mark Levine).

      Of course, you mean b. and I concur. I also think the question of whether it’s a scam or not is a moot one, but in any case scams are ubiquitous. They help make the world go round. Whether its delusional to accept the meme or to reject it is another moot question.

      I’m in full agreement with your other points. We can’t go on an “energy diet”. The end of growth leads not to sustainable BAU-Lite but inevitably to collapse. A cheap-to-produce energy source would let the party run a bit longer, but even with a copious supply of energy that’s too cheap to meter, in our finite world we are bound to run up against lots of other constraints a bit further down the road.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        b. in that it is irrelevant because even if it is not a scam …. there is nothing that can be done to stop it …. without collapsing BAU.

        So even if someone could prove to me that burning carbon will lead in the near term to catastrophe — my position would be to support the burning of more carbon.

        Anyone who suggests we need to stop burning carbon — or at least reduce — probably is unaware of the implications.

        Or they believe that if only our stupid leaders would take action and transition over to ‘renewable’ energy …. the problem would be solved….

        Real or not — it is difficult to get very excited about the AGW issue — when we are staring down the barrel of a gun that is most definitely loaded… and there is a finger on the trigger….

        • Ert says:


          “Anyone who suggests we need to stop burning carbon — or at least reduce — probably is unaware of the implications.”

          I agree 100% because you added that here:

          “Or they believe that if only our stupid leaders would take action and transition over to ‘renewable’ energy …. the problem would be solved….”

          But most people don’t understand each of them, neither their combination.

          Talks with a lot of (not stupid) people, some of them which are even involved into future research issues (energy, technology, society and the like)… I think lots of (the smart, not necessary intelligent, people) people grasp that whats coming is not good, there are to much open issues regarding the RE “solution” which will probably never manifest… but saying that out loud in a corporate environment which is committed to growth is a big “no-no”.

          But what Do I care… most of these people haven’t even figured out basic nutrition at eat at the corporate canteen, which serves mostly dangerous crap. And the more crappy it is.. the longer the lines of people waiting to get their share of it.

        • Tim Groves says:

          So, I think we have a 100% consensus (of both of us) that AGW is a diversion from the main issues of import at FW.

          Incidentally, the correlation between oil consumption, energy consumption and real GDP growth is much closer than the one between human CO2 emissions and global temperature. 🙂

          • I can’t follow everything, so AGW is not one of the subjects I follow. I know that in general, modeling is very difficult to do well. It is likely to miss important effects, like what changes in coal extraction might do. I expect it does not do a very good job at looking at the effect of continued deforestation either. And of course, models seem to assume that we will have a great deal more fossil fuels in the future, than we really will. So my faith in the output of AGW models is not very high.

            Clearly the climate is changing. Back when we were hunter-gatherers, the climate changed several times. We simply moved to more hospitable areas. We have too much population and too little skills to do that now. Our economy is tied to maintaining what we have, where it is. This becomes increasingly impossible, for many reasons. One of them is the economy; another is climate.

          • Crates says:

            Regards, friends of OFW, the only corner of the planet land where he reigns the reason and the brilliancy!!
            In Ron Patterson’s blog, there is a commentator that “Javier” calls himself where it defends the skepticism opposite to the official version of the Climate change. In Peak Oil Barrell it is attacked and insulted without pity. The believers environmentalists AGW are an intransigent sect. Javier is the author of a Spanish blog who treats on the beak of the oil, the debt and the climate change. He is a great admirer of Gail, and of fact, declares that it tries not to read it too much to avoid an excess of influence in his analyses. He is a scientific molecular biologist, and though he is not a climatologist, applies the scientific method in his studies. His conclusion is: the climatologists it is not doing good science and the models are incorrect.
            I recommend the reading of his article published in Peak Oil Barrell: ” The problem of the human population”.
            Here his blog ” Game Over? “, in Spanish:

            • Stefeun says:

              Thanks for the link to Javier’s article (which was already linked here when published).

              Very interesting insights about variability of the carrying capacity.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Crates, thanks very much for the introduction to Javier.
              I appreciate it!

          • Crates says:

            Gail, I wrote a comment in this place many hours ago, and I would like that it was published. Probably is it in the tray?

          • Tango Oscar says:

            AGW is somewhat of a side topic until you get people that come out and start denying it or failing to see the bigger picture and then it becomes an issue. Every single part of our system is failing, not just the economic side or energy supply sector. How someone can deny the biosphere is failing when there are garbage chains that stretch from California to Japan is beyond me.

            You can ignore that the CO2 is rising and pretend everything is peachy only up until a certain point. Core data clearly shows that oceans were dozens of feet higher and temperatures were also several degrees higher when CO2 was last at this level. In fact, humans have never existed on the planet with CO2 this high up until now. Now the CO2 is rising at least 100 times faster than the previous changes and somehow you don’t think that will end badly or that humans might be the cause? Why did the CO2 not start skyrocketing until humans began using fossil fuels? The answer is right in front of your face.

    • CTG says:

      “Or we need to discover an alternative energy source that can replace fossil fuels and that is cheap to produce.”

      I have commented here before in previous articles that we are [not] [Oops meant “now”] in the downward slope of the Hubbert’s curve and deflation has started in 2008 and it is only getting more and more serious. It is actually accelerating. We are using credit to mask over the downhill slope of the Hubbert’s Peak.

      Let us say tomorrow FE found that in his backyard in NZ, he has a extremely huge reserve of oil, just stick a straw in and pure high grade oil comes out and nearly drowned him. The size is 10 times Ghawar and the cost of extraction is just USD1/barrel.

      Question – will it help us now? Not really. In a deflationary world, it makes things worse. What will happen to Saudi Arabia? The producers of of shale oil? How about the financial knock-on effects from the bust of these companies and countries? Will the companies default? Will we start to buy gas-guzzlers? We will take long holidays on supersonic jets that burns “too cheap to charge” jet fuels?

      If anyone can recall, I did mention that if Japan found a fantastic way to produce really “too cheap to meter” electricity. They can sell Lexus at half price. This is extremely deflationary to everyone in the world. Will the super cheap Sony DVD players or LED TVs flatten the Chinese cheap stuff? What will happen to the producers in China? Very very deflationary.

      In short, if FE finds a lot of oil in his backyard, he better keep quiet otherwise, BAU will end quickly.

      Conversely, if FE finds the oil in 1996 when it is on the upward slope of Hubbert’s Peak, it will be a boom. in 1996, credit is not used to paper over the deflation. It is still booming. With super cheap oil and electricity, everyone has the means to buy half-priced Lexus and will travel to exotic places for holidays. This “too cheap to meter” energy will be the “replacement energy” that Hubbert envisioned when he come out with this concept. Of course at that point of time in 1960s, he was thinking about nuclear energy.

      To me, there is no point talking about renewables or any fanciful energy sources. Even finding a Ghawar now, in a deflationary environment will kill BAU almost immediately. We are already boxed in. 2007 is the turning point. Debt is used after 2007 and not many people can afford Lexuses anymore even if they are being sold 50% off. It will not have an impact in the future anymore.

      • CTG says:

        Sorry typo –

        I have commented here before in previous articles that we are NOT in the downward slope of t

        should read

        I have commented here before in previous articles that we are NOW in the downward slope of t

        • It is amazing the typos that go through spell check. Also, the strange words that are substituted for the ones you intended, when you type something wrong. I tried to make an edit to show what you meant.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Agreed – we are past the point of no return …. the system is ruined beyond repair….

      • Stefeun says:

        Interesting point, CTG,
        It’s true, as Gail has shown in previous articles, that with growing inequalities, a minority is drowned in money, and therefore doesn’t mind buying Lexuses at double price, while the majority finds it ever more difficult to purchase even basic stuff, and couldn’t buy Lexuses, even at half price.
        So, as you say, there’s no point in producing cheaper at this stage of the cycle, that F. Roddier calls “pre-crisis stagflation”

        See 2 posts on English version of his blog:

        • Thanks for the English translations of Roddier’s blog. I presume you were the one who translated these articles.

          I see that Roddier explains the physics connection to the cycles of Turchin and Nefedov in post 90, translated at this link second post down).

          • Stefeun says:

            I translated one only, which was used to settle the EN version of the blog; my English is not good enough to correctly acheive such a task. The other article was probably translated by F. Roddier himself, with help from his wife and his daughter.
            Unfortunately we haven’t found any native English speaking person to help us for the translation of the older articles. Maybe in September we’ll try to revive this project, it really deserves it.

          • Stefeun says:

            Just a short excerpt:
            The analogy with fluids suggests that one can observe the analog of a delayed condensation. It is indeed an abrupt phase transition and these require the presence of condensation nuclei. As a fluid can stay for a while in a supercooled state, an economy can remain in state of debt, as long as the creditors do not request their due. Only when they realize they will not be paid, chain bankruptcies occur forming a cascade of events typical of self-organizing systems.

            We are actually living in a (very) complex auto-adaptative system.
            The “cascade of events” is akin to an avalanche, ie a small disturbance that releases energy contained in “pockets of potential”, which themselves trigger more pockets, etc.
            Those analogies may not be 100% accurate, but so far I find they stick particularly well to the economic reality.

            Another conclusion is that it’s stupid, or at least inefficient, to apply same stimulus recipees in different phases of the cycle. What has worked during expansion, won’t work during stagflation/deflation phase (as CTG explained).

        • Crates says:

          thank you for the information of F. Roddier. It did not know it and it looks like a serious and interesting work.
          In the article 75 of his blog, it refers to the idea of implementing the second currency to solve the problem of the debt and to avoid an abrupt collapse. In a comment that it realizes, he says:

          “Du point de vue thermodynamique, l’équivalent d’un effondrement est une transition de phase abrupte, par exemple la fonte ou la sublimation d’un solide, c’est-à-dire le passage brutal d’un état ordonné (cristallin) à un état plus ou moins désordonné (liquide ou vapeur). Les monnaies secondaires permettent d’éviter les transitions abruptes en la remplaçant par des transitions continues comme on les observe aux points critiques. Elles permettent en particulier de résoudre le problème de la dette. Celle-ci joue le rôle de l’entropie apportée sous forme de chaleur latente de transition. Aux points critiques, la chaleur latente de transition est nulle”.

          I do not see the way in which the second currency could help us to solve the problem of the debt. But my knowledge of economy is limited.
          Thanks again.

          • I am in agreement with you that the second currency of the type Roddier describes would not be helpful. It basically depends on a very high tech computerized approach, even to function. If anything would lost quickly, the second currency would be lost. A paper currency would be a little better, but of limited assistance. It is debt that is needed for the system to work.

          • Stefeun says:

            I’m not 100% sure, and I didn’t fully understand the theory,
            but I assume he thinks that a parallel and local currency could mitigate the shock of collapse, by allowing to maintain a local subsistence economy.

            Even though going local (towards self-sufficiency at small scale) seems to be the best way to avoid the nasty effects of the coming collapse (let aside the hungry hordes, radiations and other threats), I’m not at all convinced it could work in practice, because -this time- the gap is really huge, BAU is infiltered everywhere, if you look closely enough.

            But this was only one of F. Roddier’s ideas. He’s a great physicist and, if you read the French, I highly recommend you to read all the articles of his blog, mostly about dissipative structures, self-organization, and the universality of these principles. Very very eye-opening.

      • CTG says:

        We cannot have BAU lite as we have way too many people working in “non-survival” related fields (e.g. developing apps, software, designing houses, rockets, etc) and we need the “survival” field related workers (i.e. farming, fishing, etc) to feed them. Without the help of BAU, this cannot happen.

        Oil refineries are very large and complex operations. It has hundreds of miles of pipes and many of them are large pipes. They need a certain level of input (e.g. 20k barrels/day) before they can even crack crude oil to make them into products that we can use – gasoline, aviation fuel, lubrication, tar, naphtha, and other products that can be the feed stock for plastic, medicine, etc. Therefore, if it is only 10k/day that is available, the refinery just does not work. It cannot function and they cannot replace the pipes that are 2-feet in diameter to 1-foot diameter. It is just not possible and the refinery will just be abandoned.

        Ditto for the Trans-Alaskan pipeline. If the flowrate goes too low, it will just be abandoned.

        Therefore, there can never be a situation where it is BAU Lite. In order to make things cheap and fast, economies of scale works wonders when we are on the upslope of Hubbert Peak. When it is on the downward slope, it will just stop on its track. Plants that can product 2 tons of sausages per day cannot produce any sausages at all if they are asked to do 300kg per day (low input due to BAU LITE). Their machines, pipes, steamers, cookers, grinders, mixers just does not work at that kind of volume. You cannot use a 2-ton grinder to grind 300kgs of meat.

        This is the same for all manufacturing plants. I know because I worked in them for more than 20 years. By the way, just because we cannot find a replacement part (be it a printed circuit board), the machine is totally useless. It is just a paperweight. That is all and no one can repair it. Can we repair it? No. How easy for anyone to read the EEPROM that contains proprietary codes that only the bankrupt manufacturer’s engineer (just being laid off) understand ?

        • I agree with what you are saying. The high-tech stuff that we are now building needs just the right replacement part–not just any replacement part. If the right replacement parts are not available, a wind turbine may have to be permanently taken out of service, for example. I read about bankruptcy of suppliers as being a reason for not being able to get replacement parts.

          • smite says:

            Some 15 years of machine building experience tells me otherwise. Supply chain problems is the least of concerns. The parts you order are usually manufactured at demand at any generic and competent enough machine and assembly shop. Furthermore, just because a specific company goes out of business does not render the capability to manufacture a missing part intractable. If you want it bad enough and got the right “incentives”, then I’m sure a suitable part would end up in your wind turbine fairly quickly.

            • I am not as convinced. We are talking about high-tech machines, with parts made from all kinds of modern materials. They operate within very small tolerances. It is not possible to go down to the local machine shop and say, “Make me a part similar to this old one.”

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Mr Smith might have trouble with this post BAU


            • Fast Eddy says:

              Have a look at this ….

              That is not half the story — it’s barely the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

              So let’s imagine we have factories near the wind turbines that can supply all the spare parts — we clearly do not — but let’s just imagine….

              Do the spare parts just magically come off an assembly line?

              Of course not — you need the raw materials – the metals – the composites and so on….

              The metals of course need to mined – refined and delivered to the factories.

              What do need to mine ore? Machinery – explosives ….petrol …ah right petrol… there will be no petrol post BAU ….

              Mines are complex operations – they need spare parts.

              Refineries are also very complex — they need huge amounts of energy to operate

              Ships need diesel — they also break and need spare parts.

              So we overcome all this how do we transport the raw materials to the factories? Not on trains… because trains need diesel and spare parts for when they break down.

              Trucks also need diesel and spare parts and transmission oil and so on….

              I could continue ….if you gave me a few weeks I could come up with some far more comprehensive … however it would be a limp noodle compared to Korowicz’ masterpiece…

              Now he could have said – everything will be fine – we will have no problem operating wind generators post BAU because I can imagine that will be possible…

              But he actually didn’t do that — what he did was explain why such things will not exist post BAU… because they only exist so long as BAU exists… they are products of BAU.


            • Tim Groves says:

              But wind power will save us, surely? Hang on….

              Studies of UK and Denmark wind farms suggest their actual economic lives appear to be 12-15 years due to wear and tear. One of the unanticipated problems that arose with larger turbines is premature cracking failure of the main axial bearing(s). These failures arise from two very difficult engineering conditions. First is uneven loading. Wind speeds increase with altitude so the three blades, which span great distances, are never evenly loaded. The bearing(s) wobble under the tremendous forces generated. Second, braking when wind speed exceeds 25mph suddenly loads reverse torque on the axial side where previously unloaded (and wobbling) individual bearings are in natural misalignment to their trace. If things go ‘well’, cracking can be caught before catastrophic failure. It is expensive to repair. The blades must be detached so the turbine can be dismounted and sent back to the factory.

              Getting a 75-meter long blade or a 20-ton turbine down off the top of a 125-meter high concrete column miles offshore in the absence of full BAU and putting them back after repair is going to be an adventure to say the least. But the UK is going to be relying on offshore wind for a sizable portion of its electricity in years to come.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              We built the pyramids!!! We can lift the propellers!!!!

              Or maybe we can ask the ETs to return and help us – again 🙂

            • smite says:

              The “post” BAU scenarios isn’t really relevant. Even the most sophisticated models tend to break down as we will hit hard limits on growth.

              Any hard limit in a nonlinear system will inadvertently create high-frequency ripples and reflections inside the system.

              After the transients subside – well, your guess is as good as mine.


          • meliorismnow says:

            Although I haven’t worked on any, I’d guess that wind turbines are relatively simple. A competitor could replace all the electronics & gearbox/transmission with theirs in the case of a small amount of turbines needing repair with little to no engineering. Or, in the case of a large install, either buy the designs (and possibly machines and workers) from bankrupt entity or even do black box testing and design and build replacement parts from scratch. Both approaches are common in the avionics world I work in, which seems far more complex with much more unique designs.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              And how would you get the electricity generated to where it was needed?

            • it’s that certainty that we must have rotary motion at all costs.

              Faraday demonstrated all the fundamentals of electricity, but until the likes of Edison came along with the means to put it to work, it was literally use less.

              Take a look at a lightbulb
              a real close look
              smash it and examine the fineness of its manufacture—even the part you can’t see, like the vacuum inside the bulb, the web like filaments inside the vacuum. (I’m talking old type bulbs here–but no matter.) It’s a miniature work of art—and made in billions.

              And this is supposed to continue post BAU.
              As you say Eddy, generated electricity has got to not only reach the point of use, but make all the things we take for granted at point of use too.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I think people underestimate how quickly things will break down and be rendered completely useless….

              From appliances to the grid…

              The power grid is a very complex system — one single part breaks and that it is game over.

              Even if power were to continue to be generated – say from a hydro plant — I very much doubt it would be distributed for more than a week….. these systems rely on thousands of km of cables and towers and stations along the way…. it gets even more complex as the power arrives at where it is used….

              I can imagine things break or need replacing every single day.

              There are nearly 20,000 employees keeping this beast alive These are complex operations….

              Some people just seem to think they can just continue to operate with minimal human involvement… and no spare parts….

            • CTG says:

              Unlike in the 1950s where you have transistor radio where every transistor, capacitor, resistor are large and easily replaced, what we have today is integrated circuits and the capacitors are so tiny. Many of the integrated circuits are commonly available but some of them are called PLDs (programmable logic devices). They have a lot of programs and codes inside. These are intellectual properties and it is not easily available. There may be only 1 or 2 programmers in the company who wrote them and there may be others who just “understand where the codes are located in the company database” and have little idea how it works. So, if these programmers left (unemployed or pass away), it takes a lot of effort to learn how the coding works. Normally these codes are not changed and thus, everyone in the company takes for granted that it is available in the database, which it should be until the company bankrupts. So, in this instance, how would other companies come in and do a replacement circuit board? If they want, they need to change the entire system and that is not possible as it is a great task, might as well just buy a competitor’s unit.

              What you mention on the machining and fabrication are low-tech parts that anyone with a lathe can do but do remember that many of our appliances, gadgets, equipment are very high tech, anything more complex than a vacuum cleaner and toaster has electronic parts and they all contain integrated circuits. Just like the washing machine where it has so many different types of washes. They are all controlled by circuits and you need to buy from the manufacturer any damaged parts. No one else can do it.

              Here is the link to the materials required for wind turbines. Note that this document was released in 2001, more than 15 years ago and it will be more advanced and complex now.

              In a BAU condition like now, you can find those parts easily. Tungsten carbide parts, vanadium-doped steel, molybdenum alloys, neodymium magnets, etc. How does get all these parts post BAU?

              This is an image of a computer motherboard


              The small squares the capacitors and usually they are the ones which will spoil first and many of the motherboards are thrown away because of ONE bad capacitor. You can replace the capacitor but you need the exact type and capacitance. You need to have the proper equipment to solder/desolder the part. You need to have the skills to ensure that it does not short the other parts. Before all these can happen, you need to know which is the spoil capacitor and for that you may need to have an oscilloscope and other troubleshooting devices. These are the kinds of boards that go into the PVs, wind turbines, modern cars, washing machines and all types of equipment.

              It used to be the transmission systems of the car is purely mechanical even for automatic transmissions. That is how a torque converter works to let you have automatic transmission. However, due to advances in electronics, they are now electronically controlled. There are microprocessors and electronics inside to ensure higher efficiency and more comfort. To troubleshoot, plug in the diagnostic system (mostly proprietary and you need to buy the expensive diagnostic machine from the manufacturer) and the computer will list down all the problems. No diagnostic machine, no repairs possible.

              Capacitors are used in all electronic equipment and it is made in large factories like this in China



              Who will take care of the parts of the “machines that makes the capacitors”?
              Multiply that with all the parts on the circuit board – resistors, integrated circuits ?

              This is the DUV scanner that is used in the semiconductor industry.


              It costs about USD10m per machine and the stage (where the semiconductor wafer sits and being patterned) is moves at an accuracy of 5nm (1 billionth of a meter) and has an elaborate lens system that needs to be kept at 20C plus/minus 2C at ALL times (whether it is being used or not). This is the simplified diagram of the lens system.


              There are thousands of sizes, capacitance and values. Many factories can even custom made for you the values (capacitance and sizes) if your order is large. How do you get all these when the supply chain is down. Just a simple blown capacitor will cause the whole printed circuit board to be useless. So, it will be the supply chain that will break down

              Don’t even start talking about getting the exotic materials required – carbon fibre, resin-impregnated fibre, vanadium, rare earth like indium, neodymium, etc, helium, hydrogen, pure oxygen, tungsten, just to name a few materials.

              By the way, I have a degree in microelectronics and physics and have been involved in manufacturing for a long time. I have manage manufacturing plants and know very well that just one supplier cannot deliver one critical part, our whole production has to be idled until that part arrive.

            • Very good points! Thanks!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Thanks for the excellent explanation….

              I have first hand experience of this— Lorentz solar pump — after two months it stopped functioning — after much investigation it was determined the mother board was busted.

              The electricians had not the slightest clue how to repair it — we had to order a new one from Auckland — which would have been made in Germany or perhaps China….

              That puts a bit of perspective on this ….. there are of course tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of things that can go wrong with a wind turbine and the grid that will go wrong….

              Let’s use our time machine and visit the post BAU future:


            • smite says:

              Yep, modern semiconductor manufacturing facilities are pretty amazing facilities. If we lose (all) those fabs we are in dire straits pretty fast. The same can be said about the refineries, steel mills, chemical plants and mines.

              Some facilities aren’t very well suited for mothballing or intermittent operation. Most mines would require bilge pumps to be run at all times, which necessitates a supply of relatively stable electricity.

            • CTG says:

              Flow chart for making capacitors, one of the smallest and “so called” easiest to manufacture.


            • Fast Eddy says:

              “Although I haven’t worked on any, I’d guess that wind turbines are relatively simple”

              That is really… really….. funny!

              I’ve not worked on a spent fuel pond …. but I guess that they are relatively simple.

              I’ve never built an A380 — but I guess they are relatively simple.

              I have not made one of these…


              But I guess they are relatively simple to make.

              How a toothbrush is made:

            • CTG says:

              Another type – chip capacitor:


              Note the raw material – ceramic powder is also another process that requires complicate processing. Some goes for the previous image (plastic film and metalizing film). It goes through a vacuum deposition process. This step requires ultra high vacuum that needs special pumps like turbo pumps. Turbo pumps runs up to 80,000 rpm (rounds per minute) and it itself is an engineering marvel.

              To read more about this small pump that cost USD80,000, you can go to and let me know how anyone can manufacture this pump that is required to make the chip capacitor so that you can replace it in your printed circuit board of your car/wind turbine/PV/whatever…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              DelusiSTAN Motto : Anything is Possible – Just Do It!

        • It seems for many of your examples, the facility can be shut down and run once a week, or every second day, to maintain sufficient flow for that day. Or one-third of the facilities can be shut down. Mostly, it sounds like you are talking about overcapacity, the only difference is the overcapacity is due to shrinking demand rather than too much new supply.

          • smite says:

            I agree with you, mothballing production capability isn’t something new. Borrowing to build more capacity is basically for free, so why not.

            Witness Helicopter Money 2.0 morphing into the shape of “mega-factories” that will produce wealthy consumerist gadget cars and battery packs.

          • CTG says:

            If you have worked in a manufacturing facility, you will know that some machines cannot be powered down. If they are powered down, it is very difficult to power up and many parts may break. The parts are cooled down and it a sudden surge of current goes through it, it may break.

            Some facilities like steel mills or those with furnace cannot be shutdown as it takes too much energy to heat up the furnaces again.

            Any plants with liquids will have similar problems (like in a refinery), they need to clear up the entire system and fresh one pumped in. Some of the products cannot be sitting in the tanks for too long as it may deteriorate or corrode the parts. So, it has to be flushed. Flushing may take days and the start up process may filled with broken equipment and they need parts to be on standby. Since there are thousands of parts, which one will break, no one knows.

            Modern manufacturing facilities are designed to maximum profitability, thus, they are designed for “full steam ahead”. You cannot run one third capacity or shutdown partially. Example – the power supply to the machines may be looped in such a way that it is either all three machines are turned on or turned off. Why ? During design, the management wants to cut costs and instead of three expensive switches, they just use one as they think that the machines will always be running. So, there is no way one can switch off two and use one. At some cases, there are 10 small machines during one step but one large one with a large output doing the entire factory’s output (i.e. this is usually the bottleneck tool and likely to be a giant oven or furnace), so, you still need to turn on that machine in order to product that part.

            • Very good points!

            • CTG says:

              Sorry but to clarify the last paragraph. Bottleneck tools are tools that are expensive and they are usually equipment that determine the total output of the entire factory. It is usually one with large capacity like an oven or furnace. You may have 10-20 machines doing the process steps that and that product feeds into this large oven. So, like it or not, even if you are producing a small batch or a large batch, you still need to turn on that large oven.

              Same goes for the transport system (moving the products around the factory), the computer systems, the automation system, safety system (fire and health), they cannot be turned on partially. It has either to be “on” or “off”. There is no “in-between”.

              We are victim of our “drive for efficiency”. We make it complex so that we can derive efficiency gains through economies of scale. Most modern factories are NOT designed for running half capacity, the overhead is way too high (automation, computer systems) and it will be very efficient when running full capacity but you can just save 5-10% when running half capacity.

            • “Modern manufacturing facilities are designed to maximum profitability, thus, they are designed for “full steam ahead”. You cannot run one third capacity or shutdown partially. ”

              What you are saying makes sense, in such a case it would be one third of the factories or refineries that are shut down, rather than running 3 factories at 66% capacity. This seems to indicate that the staircase down is the best possible scenario, since the system lacks the granularity to step down at a steady pace.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              CTG – keep dropping these splendid fact bombs….

            • Stefeun says:


            • smite says:

              Most factories are designed for spare capacity. Of course the factory operators have the possibility to throttle up and down utilization depending on product, seasonal and market variations. To assume it’s either full steam ahead or a massive factory equipment failure reeks of insta-doomerism.

              “The average economy-wide capacity utilization rate in the US since 1967 was about 81.6%, according to the Federal Reserve measure. The figure for Europe is not much different, for Japan being only slightly higher.”


            • CTG says:

              “Most factories are designed for spare capacity. Of course the factory operators have the possibility to throttle up and down utilization depending on product, seasonal and market variations. To assume it’s either full steam ahead or a massive factory equipment failure reeks of insta-doomerism.”

              They can throttle down and reduce utilization but the savings is not linear and when they start up, it can cost a lot of money and time. It may also cause quality issue. It applies to all manufacturing facilities. Shutting down half does not mean that it will save you 50% of the cost and some of the older machines may never be able to start up again. Think of a light bulb. It lasts longer if it is kept turned on all the time. If it is switched on/off, it cools down and heats up again and the cycle will diminish the lifespan.

            • CTG says:

              “What you are saying makes sense, in such a case it would be one third of the factories or refineries that are shut down, rather than running 3 factories at 66% capacity. This seems to indicate that the staircase down is the best possible scenario, since the system lacks the granularity to step down at a steady pace.”

              The factories are too far apart geographically to happen. There are only 2-3 factories making toothbrushes in USA (As far as I can remember from my checks online). The refineries are far apart,


              How are you going to ship the products to other places? It will be hijacked halfway
              Some refineries are using light sweet crude and some heavy sour crude. They capacities may be different and how they operate is also different.

              Lastly – which operations are going to be shutdown and which ones running. Who will determine that ? government? Government will be the worst decision maker.

            • “How are you going to ship the products to other places? It will be hijacked halfway”

              That’s what death squads are for. No persistent martial law – too energy and resource intensive. Instead, when there is a problem, the death squad comes and solves it.

              “which operations are going to be shutdown and which ones running. Who will determine that ?”

              Probably best to leave that up to the oil companies. Probably need to merge them up into a monopoly. In the west, we are trending more towards fascism than communism, so I expect the government to run for the corporations, not the other way around.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Is this the BAU Lite scenario again?

              We really need a comprehensive article to point to explaining why this is impossible….

              In the meantime – let’s randomly lob some fact and logic bombs into crowds of women and children in DelusiSTAN — just for amusement…..

              BAU is collapsing because we have run out of cheap to extract oil

              How can we possibly extract and refine oil when BAU has collapsed?

              BAU must grow or it collapses.

            • “Is this the BAU Lite scenario again?”

              Not a a long term state of being; rather, the goal would be to extend the collapse from three months to, say, three years, to buy time to deal with things like dry casking the ‘cold’ spent fuel and winding down the reactors, redistributing population to the countryside, etc.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              3 weeks of the scale of de-growth you are suggesting — would collapse the global economy.

              Global trade would completely freeze up — the shops would empty – riots would kick off — and the financial system would implode.

              This is a fairly simple concept — how is it you cannot get it?

            • You have it backwards. The goal is, when the financial system collapses, try to hold things together for 3 years. I don’t see how spending money on real estate and nuclear projects would kill BAU, though – seems like as good of ways to waste resources as any.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              When the financial system collapses you will be dead as soon as the food in your house runs out — sooner if someone takes it…

              Surely you understand how trade works? Nothing moves without credit…

              You are greatly underestimating the situation.

            • smite says:

              “How are you going to ship the products to other places? It will be hijacked halfway”

              You are well aware that any serious military opponent capable of stealing your merchandise would require a competent supply chain.




            • smite says:

              Sigh, those self-entitled experts on what BAU and BAU Lite means. What do we even know about our current predicament that makes us so certain of a fast collapse? Not even people seem indispensable to keep it up anymore.

              I sincerely doubt any single person can predict this since it is computers that run this economy nowadays. Try to out “smart” against one of the supercomputers that runs millions, perhaps billions of Monte Carlo simulations of all possible scenarios and outcomes. Yeah, good luck with that.

     (this is 6 years ago)

              “Other researchers at the ETH — all working within its Competence Center for Coping with Crises in Complex Socio-Economic Systems (CCSS) — are mining huge amounts of financial data to detect dangerous bubbles in stock and housing markets, potential bankruptcy cascades in networks of companies, or similar vulnerabilities in other complex networks such as communication networks or the Internet.”

              Cutting down on the insta-doomerism and global warming threads would indeed improve the comments section here.

            • Computers can only do what they are programmed to do. The standard problem is garbage in, garbage out. Or perhaps good data in, poor manipulations, garbage out. I wouldn’t trust computer simulations without knowing a whole lot about the assumptions going into the model. There are a huge number of wrong models out there (or perhaps just “overly simple”).

            • smite says:

              “Computers can only do what they are programmed to do”

              It is a common misconception of computers. For example cognitive algorithms model the process with data. Thus the input data is used to define how the process works.

              For sure, “garbage in – garbage out”. To make a machine create a correct representation of the underlying process require sound and relevant data.

              The same holds true for humans, if we hold computers to a scrutiny, the same should certainly apply for us. We should not fall victim to human chauvinism.


          • CTG says:

            Replied but long post with links. Now in moderation even though reply does not have “cussing phrases” or banned words or contents… just lots of interesting links and photos

        • perfectly correct

          every 100 of our occupations, and non-occupations, and retirees, and kids etc etc, are wholly dependent on 2 people somewhere, back down the line producing food cheaply enough so that they can enjoy the pretence of working hard for a living.

          of course 2 people cannot produce enough food for 100 people, so they must have help.

          that help is hydrocarbon energy input.

          unfortunately we are all locked into the certainty of job importance, not realising how fragile it is. Food just sort of appears (as does money). Anybody who has watched Red Dwarf will understand—it just pops out of a hatch, whatever they want. (don’t think they ate at all in Star Trek)—money does the same—ATM machines.
          Has anyone else grasped the similarities?

          When hydrocarbon input is no longer there, moneypassing wages will no longer be there, and neither will our automated food sources (via those 2 guys I mentioned earlier.) and the job support they gave us. Money has no value unless it is backed up by indigenous energy.

          Therefore those of us in non jobs (98 out of 100) will have to find employment related to food production and supply, almost certainly working for those 2 guys who actually DO know how to produce food.
          You don’t need me to spell out the alternative.

          • hawkeye says:

            “…of course 2 people cannot produce enough food for 100 people, so they must have help.

            That help is hydrocarbon energy input.”

            Another good post, you’re on a roll today, keep’em comin’.


          • Ert says:


            “don’t think they ate at all in Star Trek”

            They had their replicator – a sort of high-tech “latch”, where the food was kind of “transported” to existence from a template stored inside the computer / replicator. It was prominently featured quite often when Picard ordered his “Tea, Earl-Gray, Hot”.

            But if you refer to the original series (TOS) then they had there “colored cubes on a plate” to eat – which where featured very sparsely indeed.

            And yea… food noways is a mess – if compared to 30 years ago.. there is much to much variety available of much to much the same thing with the difference that its worse today than that 30 years ago.

            A huge selection of junk + “fresh” stuff imported from all over the world – where maybe 80% in the process will be dumped as garbage along the delivery and / or sales chain. This, since up to the time the store closes all shelf’s are full, all breads are available, all, all, all…. and the next day much of the stuff is replaced by new and fresher stuff.

            An energy waste deluxe… which has all to be payed by the customer. Therefore I have concentrated more and more on the (healthy) basics… in season, bulk, unprocessed, whole food and the like.

            • i wasn’t an avid star trekkie—i mustve missed that bit. Red Dwarf stories were more mind twisting.

              i disagree that food today is a mess, hygeine standards in general being what they are.
              Yes you get nasty mess ups, but not nearly what they used to be.

              When we kept a village store many years ago—looking back I’m amazed we didn’t kill off everybody—but that was normality back then. Health and safety now would have closed us down instantly.

              If you go back 100 years, maybe less, when there were no food standards, food was often lethal, albeit in a slow debilitating way usually.

              Though I do agree that what we now have to eat might be dubious in its growth processes…hard to say on that really.

              As individuals we can make choices to eat this or not that, but collectively that’s difficult. A hard up mom with 3 small kids has little choice but to feed them on what’s cheapest and available—not always as good as we might want it to be.
              But if you read up on Victorian food health, I think you’ll find she’s better off than they were, and wayyyyy better nourished than a 17th/18th c poor family

            • “A hard up mom with 3 small kids has little choice but to feed them on what’s cheapest and available—not always as good as we might want it to be.”

              I think it is more a matter of what is convenient, not what is cheapest. Here’s a pretty interesting bunch of photos:

              I suspect the Polish family is getting a better value for their money than the Mexicans drinking all that Coke. That Bhutanese family is likely growing a lot of their own food, no way it is only 3.2 pounds for all that.

              In general, you can see around 100 British pounds per week buys a decent variety of food almost anywhere in the world to feed 4 to 6 people, for the people that choose raw vegetables instead of sugary goodies.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              People tend to gravitate towards processed options …. rather than healthy choices that can be had for cheap….

              The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food


            • Fast Eddy says:

              That’s nothing… in DelusiSTAN you just flip through the pages of any recipe book…. when you see a dish you’d like you just say ‘I’ll have one of these’ — and in seconds out comes your private waitress with the meal…


            • that’s just one—i would expect the other 69

            • Ert says:


              I agree with you that standards and hygiene has improved – in case of grains (ergot) and fungus quite a “lot lot”.

              My issue was more meant towards the energy-footprint of unnecessary selection (of basically the same stuff in different packaging, sizes and brands) and availability of fresh foods from around the world – all the time.

            • oh i agree with you 100% on that Ert

            • Ert says:


              Keep the food, I take the waitress 😉 – as I never eat burgers… tried 20 years ago one… gross… even then.. nowadays that whole concept and the contents of a burger are totally unacceptable for me…

  15. Fast Eddy says:

    I bring sad news this morning…. one of the great guiding lights of RealitySTAN… the author of The Perfect Storm….. has been captured by a fanatical faction of DelusiSTANIs who refer to themselves as The Guardians…

    He has been indoctrinated and made to listen to Kumbaya on a loop to drown out all logic and fact….

    And now — he is forever lost to us…..

    This was monitored out DelusiSTAN this morning ….

    The “lower level” situation is one where the decline in EROEI is arrested by renewables. So EROEI does not collapse to zero – but neither does it regain the historically much higher levels enjoyed when fossil fuels really were both abundandant and energy-cheap.

    The implication is that the economy continues, but at levels of prosperity well below those enjoyed, unsustainably, in the “golden age” of cheap oil.

    His methods are…. unsound……. Tim has gone insane…. clearly insane….

    • Tim Groves says:

      Indeed he may have. But I wouldn’t trust those DelusiSTANI radio announcements. Battered and bruised, I eventually escaped their clutches after being subjected to four days of non-stop “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” played back to back with “Imagine” at full blast in mono through a People’s Republic of DelusiSTAN loudspeaker system.

      I was shaken but with most of my marbles still intact.

      My calculations, made on the back of a cigarette packet, indicate that adding large amounts of “renewables” such as wind and solar to the mix keeps BAU looking savable over the short term by stimulating consumer demand, but it actually results a steeper, nastier and earlier crash of the entire system.

      According to my computer model, after the collapse, those without electricity will be out in force with torches and pitchforks lobbing bricks onto the roofs of anyone with a working solar system and hanging greenies and politicians from the blades of rusting wind turbines.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Along the lines of building massive ghost towns in China…. so why not…. if it also keeps the sheeple calm believing there is a solution to pollution and the inevitable end of oil …. all the better!!

        You gotta wonder if installing panels on your roof makes you a target for bad guys…. if I were a bad guy … I’d be looking for lights at night … and like a mosquito I would be headed that way…. I’d also be looking for smoke from chimney’s …. veggie gardens… farm animals … dogs … cats…. any sign of life…. that me and my villains could make our own….

        Oh and what’s a bad guy without concubines… I’d also be on the look out for the pretties.

        • Tim Groves says:

          In NZ, you might also have to worry about the Maoris. Didn’t Jared Diamond have a chapter in Guns, Gems and Steel about them being cannibals back in the days of The Piano? They say old habits die hard.

          In Japan, I expect it will be back to the days of Shogun, and they will keep me alive only as long as I can prove myself useful to the local Daimyo, either as a protocol “droid” or by teaching his daughters how to speak proper English and use a knife and fork.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            My tribe massively outnumbers the Maoris — particularly on the south island….

            And……. I’ve got some blankets vacuum sealed in plastic bags that I have infected with small pox and I will present as gifts to these fellows…..

  16. Yoshua says:

    There is something wrong. If energy is the economy and we have all this energy… then why is the economy not on fire ?×700.jpg

    Is this liquid fuel to expensive to produce ? Is the economy to weak to pay the cost of production ?

    Would a new Fed induced QE program kick start the economy ? Would it lead to demand for oil and rising oil prices ?

    Should the Fed start a new QE program ? Or should the Fed and the ECB just do the minimal by buying government and corporate bonds to avoid the economy from collapsing and enjoy an oil glut while the world around them is burning down ?

    • “There is something wrong. If energy is the economy and we have all this energy… then why is the economy not on fire ?”

      Define “on fire”. The economy has been growing as the total amount of energy grows. Do you mean in your specific country? Has energy consumption in your country grown? Also, note that the economy as a whole growing does not mean you get more.

      “Is this liquid fuel to expensive to produce ? Is the economy to weak to pay the cost of production ?”

      I think it is a matter of not becoming sufficiently efficient at the same rate as the increased cost. For the world to adapt from $20 oil to $100 oil, things would need to use 80 percent less oil to do the same work.

      “Would a new Fed induced QE program kick start the economy ?”
      Unless the US Government used the money borrowed at zero or negative interest to employ lots of people, I don’t see any further benefit to lowering interest rates even more.

      ” Would it lead to demand for oil and rising oil prices ?”

      If your interest rates on your existing debt were lowered from 4 percent to 2 percent, would you consume more oil products, or goods and services in general? I think only if your credit limit was also doubled would you be able to make use of the lower rates.

    • I think low prices and all of the excess inventory are problems, regardless of whether supply and demand are in balance theoretically (something that this hard to determine). I am not sure which post this article came from. This is a recent article of Art Berman’s:

      According to this article,
      “Despite repeated assurances from IEA and EIA that demand growth is strong, it is not strong enough to draw down outsized global inventories.” I think this is the issue.

      • Yoshua says:

        According to Art the oil producers seems to need that magic $60 per barrel while the economy seems to needs that magic $40 per barrel and as soon as the oil price reaches the magic $50 for Wall Street new money is invested in production which causes the oil production and the inventories to raise and the price to fall back to the magic $40 per barrel.

        It somehow seems to keep the economy going. As long as the economy has access to an oil glut at an oil price at $40 per barrel the economy is kept alive. The oil companies are getting more and more indebted by producing oil at a loss, but perhaps it is much better to extend new loans to U.S oil companies than to export billions of dollars for oil imports.

        • It is only when companies can’t keep borrowing that the whole system will stop. If money can come from anywhere–government, banks, bonds, etc. they will keep on, even if the price is $20 per barrel. They can’t imagine that the whole system could stop.

    • Christian says:

      I like your chart

      “Is this liquid fuel to expensive to produce ? Is the economy to weak to pay the cost of production ?”

      Both sentences have the same meaning, and the answer is yes: those 10 extra mbd are mainly located in USA and Canada, so…

  17. MG says:

    Here is a .pdf file, where I see that the division into “mobile energy source” and “stationary energy source” was also used by one Slovak expert in the area of nuclear energy in 2006.

    “• mobile energy source moving together with consumer (liquid fuel,…)
    • stationary energy source (water energy, geothermal,….)”

    Strategy of energy sources exploitation
    Prepared by Peter Líška

    Besides the abovementioned division, he also uses the division based on the types of energy sources:
    “- energy source that could be easy transported to consumers (natural gas, electricity,….),
    – energy source that could be transported to consumers with difficulties (coal, biomass,…)
    – energy source, which cannot be transported to consumers (nuclear energy, geothermal and water energy,…)”

    It is also worth mentioning the division based on the consumers requirements on energy

    “• high-potential energy
    – extra high – industry,….
    – middle high – traffic,…..

    • low-potential energy
    – heating of buildings,..”

    It is clear, that he is the advocate of the nuclear energy, however, his views about the usability of other energy sources are quite realistic:

    “What is the message for Slovakia?

    • production of electricity by natural gas is not long-term solution, it is blind alley
    • increasing of electricity production from nuclear energy is the right way
    • it is necessary to increase of biomass burning for heating, but do not use biomass for electricity production – only in cogeneration of heat and electricity, if it is possible
    • investigate the exploitation of bio-fuels for mobile consumers”

    He also confirms that “mobile energy source” is the biggest problem:

    “Results of energy sources and consumers analysis

    • the most difficult task is energy supply to the mobile consumers, which must carry its own energy source (traffic- cars, airplanes,…)
    • the most simple task could be supplying of heating systems by low potential energy”

    • Fast Eddy says:

      • the most simple task could be supplying of heating systems by low potential energy”

      Tim’s Hot Box will fix that one 🙂

    • To a significant extent, changes in oil consumption were made back in the 1970s when we first discovered that we had a problem, especially with oil. We took a turn toward more efficient uses of energy about that time too.

      The paper talks about saving natural gas and oil for mobile uses. In a lot of the world, oil is already being saved for mobile purposes. Natural gas is harder to use; it would require changes to infrastructure to be used for mobile uses, but it is being done in some parts of the world (Iran, India, for example). I am not sure whether changing makes sense now. It would take a lot of infrastructure changes to start using natural gas.

      The author of the paper is clearly very pro-nuclear. Nuclear has problems as well. For example, it depends on keeping grid electricity operating. If the electric grid has problems, nuclear has problem.

      I see our big problems as (1) maintaining the electric grid, (2) keeping energy and electricity companies solvent, and (3) paying workers, if banks have problems. It is not at all clear to me that “running out of fuel” is an issue. One of the problems with nuclear is that it takes a very long time, and a very large amount of debt, to try to implement. Unless a country is very wealthy, it is probably a difficult choice to implement.

  18. hawkeye says:

    TG wrote:

    “And you might convince me to become as concerned about AGW as you are.”

    I’m not concerned about AGW. I’m concerned about people who deny science and its methodology.

    Here’s what I wrote recently on this site:

    “AGW is already baked in the cake.”

    “ Peak oil, financial collapse, climate turmoil…are all merely symptoms.”

    And this:

    “When the facts, data, and research change the overwhelming scientific consensus on AGW, I’ll change my thoughts on AGW. But if the trends remain the same, what will you do?

    I think OFW readers merit an apology from TG for his childish outburst several days ago. Thin skin and fragile egos do not further the discussion on a “contrarian” blogsite such as this one.

    If he would toughen up a bit and remain calm when challenged, then we might be able to engage in some rather enjoyable and productive conversation. He certainly appears to have some experience and intelligence.

    Oh, and another issue:

    Not sure why TG uses the red herring of religious belief in trying to undermine climate scientist Peter Wadhams, e.g. “… He’s open to the possibility that the spirit lives on after death…”

    Alfred Russell Wallace who independently did most of Darwin’s work, and nearly published before Darwin, attended seances regularly and enjoyed spooky table rappings.

    Joseph Priestly, one of the world’s greatest experimental chemists, was deeply involved in unorthodox religion, and even though he discovered oxygen, he continued to believe in the discredited Phlogiston Theory.

    And Sir Issac Newton, generally considered to be the greatest scientific mind in human history, kept a small furnace in his room at Oxford so he could continue his life work on alchemy, trying to turn base metals into gold. He was a religious crackpot, believed in the occult, and thought the dimensions of the temple in Jerusalem were more important than the laws of gravity. He thought the Pope was the anti-christ…(ok, he may have been onto something there).

    And for a contemporary example of religious idiocy, recall the story described by Francis Collins in his book, where he is hiking in the woods, comes across a frozen waterfall shaped by three pillars of ice, collapses to his knees and accepts Jesus Christ as his only Lord and Savior.

    Who is Francis Collins? He’s the brilliant American geneticist noted for his leadership of the Human Genome Project and is currently director of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

    And these are only a few examples.

    This raises the question: Should we sarcastically discredit and undermine brilliant scientists because of their religious beliefs?

    Of course not, for all the obvious logical errors and common sense reasons. Good science doesn’t depend on what color socks you wear.

    On the other hand, if someone on the bus tells you they are hearing voices in their head, and god demands they sacrifice their only child, well, do you move closer to that person or farther away?


    • common phenomenon says:

      “if someone on the bus tells you they are hearing voices in their head, and god demands they sacrifice their only child, well, do you move closer to that person or farther away?”

      Reminds me of the joke going round after the trial of the Yorkshire Ripper.

      “If you speak to God, it’s called praying. If God speaks to you, it’s called paranoid schizophrenia”. 🙂

    • common phenomenon says:

      “I think OFW readers merit an apology from TG for his childish outburst several days ago.”

      I’d rather have a crisp fifteen pound note, if you don’t mind, Tim. 😉

      But really, “childish”, “thin skin and fragile egos”. 🙁 Gail will add those to the censored list now.

      • Tim Groves says:

        I still have a ten-bob note laying around somewhere. For all I know it may be worth more than 15 pounds these days. I also used to collect old pennies as a youngster in the years prior to decimalization. The oldest one I had was from 1837, the first year of Victoria’s reign. There were still a few in general circulation during the 1960s. I passed them on to one of the nephews who was interested in them, otherwise I’d let you have them as a Christmas present. 🙂

        • common phenomenon says:

          A ten bob note! Time was, I could buy 40 “lucky bags” with that. I do regret all the rubbish I’ve eaten during my life, though. Just imagine, all those sla~ves producing sugar. We could have put them to much better use. Nowadays we should accuse the sugar-producing countries of food ter~rorism against the West and demand reparations. Give them a simple choice: “Pay up or get nu~ked!”

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Apologize – what’s that?

      • Tim Groves says:

        If the concern troll can’t stand the heat around here, he’s welcome to nip into a safe space of his choice. The web is bustling with AGW Doom sites

    • Tim Groves says:

      I’m not concerned about AGW. I’m concerned about people who deny science and its methodology.

      That’s rich, coming from a fanboy of Prof. Wadhams, of whom NASA climate chief Gavin Smith said on twitter just the other day: “Wadhams says what other scientists will not” – mostly because they prefer to have physics behind their ideas.”

    • Tim Groves says:

      I’m not concerned about AGW. I’m concerned about people who deny science and its methodology.

      “Not concerned about AGW”, just eager to tell the rest of us about imminent “Catastrophic Climate Change” and quoting with approval a rant by Paul Chefurka on how “self-reinforcing feedbacks” “could lead in fairly short order to runaway global warming” and “imminent ecological catastrophe”.

    • Tim Groves says:

      This raises the question: Should we sarcastically discredit and undermine brilliant scientists because of their religious beliefs?

      Of course we shouldn’t, and I don’t. The above observation is a total mischaracterization of my comments.

      First, Wadhams wasn’t expressing any religious believes, he takes a “scientific” attitude to the paranormal including to the possibility of survival after death and communication between the living and those in the spirt world. It is a grave mistake of miscomprehension to believe that Wadhams is expressing religious beliefs.

      Second, I don’t discredit Wadhams for his scientific pursuit of the paranormal. I merely observe that if he was a C-AGW skeptic, the alarmisas such as John “97%” Cook and the Guardian’s Environment Section would be ridiculing him and trying to hound him out of his job on the basis of his interests in the paranormal. That’s the kind of people they are. Intellectual thugs. They’ve derailed many careers on pretexts flimsier than this. Hawkeye could be an intellectual thug too IF you he the intellect. He’s got the necessary attributes of thuggishness and contempt for truth, facts and decency.

      Third, Wadhams is hardly a “brilliant” scientist, not even in his own estimation. He’s publishing a book. The Guardian is promoting it. Their readership is a good market for it. Hence three scary articles in as many weeks.

    • Tim Groves says:

      The establishment in all fields loves to push consensus in order to maintain the status quo, but consensus is a purely political, not a scientific concept. All progress in science depends on innovation and creativity, which by its very nature flies in the face of consensus. Both Newton and Priestley had little time for “consensus” science and were content to let nature rather than a committee of authorities be the final arbiter.

      Also, neither man was known for doom-mongering. Newton, wearing his Biblical scholar hat, specifically warned against this (Wadhams and his fanboys should take special note of the bits in bold):
      The 2300 years do not end before the year 2132 nor after 2370. The time times & half time do not end before 2060. …. It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner. This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fancifull men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, & by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail. Christ comes as a thief in the night, & it is not for us to know the times & seasons which God hath put into his own breast.

      Max Planck, a very religious scientist, said the following:
      New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized, but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher who struggles with his problems in lonely thought and unites all his thought on one single point which is his whole world for the moment.

      A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Last one from me on this issue:
      What other climate scientists said in 2014 about Prof. Wadhams

      @icey_mark: Wadhams uses photos and anecdote to imply state of sea ice across the Arctic.

      @icey_mark: Wadhams: uses UK submarine data to look at thickness but very very data poor. Not credible plots

      @ClimateOfGavin: Wadhams still using graphs with ridiculous projections with no basis in physics.

      @ClimateOfGavin: Wadhams clearly states that there is no physics behind his extrapolations.

      @Ed_Hawkins: Good to see Wadhams extreme views challenged by other climate scientists. Disappointed he didn’t agree to bet on 2015 sea-ice!

      @ClimateOfGavin: In case there was any ambiguity, statements by Wadhams on arctic sea ice/CH4 trends are *not* widely agreed with by scientists

      @nathanaelmelia: Entertaining break with Wadhams. Back to science now

      @jamesannan: Hasn’t Wadhams already predicted 4 of the last 0 ice-free summers?

      • Leaving aside your various ad hominem attacks, conspiracy theories and prima facie rejection of the consensus view, there seems to be one actual piece of science that you have brought forward – your belief that the surface temperature record is unreliable and “made up” compared to the infallible satellite data. Well, the converse is actually the case…

        ” The absence of upward trends in the recent satellite record has been used by some as “proof” that global warming is not occurring and that the instrumental record of surface temperatures cannot provide a reliable measure of climate change. Such hyperbole is centered on arguments concerning issues of sampling and data reliability of the surface record, implying that the only credible estimates of recent temperature trends are attainable through the global coverage of the MSUs. Results from this study challenge this view and show that, in reality, a number of factors contribute to the differences between the two records of temperature, including problems with the MSU record that cast doubt on the reliability of the satellite trends.”

        • Tim Groves says:

          You’ve got quite a nerve! Your characterization of my views is in itself an ad hominem attack. The other guy started the discussion with me and I answered his initial question respectfully but refused to answer any of my questions and simply labelled me a denier. Then he said he was concerned when people denied science. Basically that’s all he was interested in.

          I seldom indulge in hyperbole. In this case, I’ve been restrained, reasonable, measured and conservative in my views. I suggest that you are just peeved because I don’t share your climate alarmism. If I was alarmist, I could be as hyperbolic and obnoxious as I pleased and I expect you would lap it up.

          I stand by my assertion that the surface record is unreliable.

          Re the MSU (satellite) temps vs. the instrumental (surface) ones, the latter are not global. There are many extensive regions where data is not recorded, including huge areas of Africa, South America, Siberia, Antarctica and the oceans, so plainly the present surface observations cannot provide a reliable estimate of average global temperature. Moreover, past surface records have been systematically adjusted over time, which naturally means that, regardless of whether the adjustments were performed for sound reasons, they no longer constitute measurement data.

          If it turns out that the MSU record is unreliable as well, that would just mean that we would have no reliably accurate record of recent global temperature averages whatsoever. It wouldn’t somehow render the official surface temps reliable.

          • Tango Oscar says:

            It’s all fine and dandy to ignore surface temperatures or claim that the data has been toyed with and is therefore unreliable; I can buy that even if it does sort of smell like tinfoil hat play. That said, records that are disturbing are being broken all over the place including things like 30, 40, or even 50 Farenheit above average in places like Greenland, Alaska, and Antarctica. So even if the previous data has been massaged to be off here or there by a couple of degrees, what is happening is still very alarming. If you’re not alarmed you’re intentionally choosing to ignore data that conflicts with your own personal views, confirmation bias or cognitive dissonance. And there’s more disturbing things happening such as the northern hemisphere jet stream jumping across the equator into the south pole stream or what appears to be the beginning of the ocean conveyor belts slowing down or possibly behaving in an erratic manner.

            Furthermore the CO2 rate of change is absolutely out of control. It’s at least 100 times faster than previous changes in the Earth’s history. You can try and deny that or claim that core data is wrong but it’s happening and it’s catastrophically bad; it also points to the likely culprit of humans being the cause, what with almost all other species heading for extinction except us. The CO2 has risen 70 PPM just since I’ve been alive (1980). Even though sea level rise and temperature haven’t come up alarmingly yet, they’re certainly going to. To say otherwise is to deny science and flat out ignore the Earth’s historical changes.

            • “To say otherwise is to deny science and flat out ignore the Earth’s historical changes.”

              That sounds more like a religion, if questioning a piece of data is denying science altogether.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Ignoring the Earth’s historical data and the current rate of CO2 rise is akin to sticking your head in the sand. Call it a religion if you must.

            • Talking endlessly about AGW sounds a lot like a religion as well. It gets rather tiring.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              It’s all in where your interest lies Gail. I didn’t say death to all unbelievers, I’m just interested in intelligent debate. I also didn’t say it was going to cause our extinction before the system collapses. Just because I view AGW and abrupt climate change as very credible threats doesn’t mean that I think cutting back energy use is a good idea. I normally enjoy discussing a wide variety of topics including many that people find taboo. The only reason people are giving Tim so much flack is because he’s clearly a denier in the face of undeniable evidence.

              See, the wonderful thing about showing that climate change is going to eventually cause our extinction is just a couple of graphs and numbers. You don’t need all of these theories and predictions from people looking for attention. Just show someone historical charts of the global population, the use of energy (refined fossil fuels), and the meteoric rise in CO2. When someone with an open mind does that, it becomes abundantly clear who caused the rise in CO2. And the core data also very clearly shows what happened the last time CO2 was this high. Something extremely bad is coming Earth’s way in the form of rising seas and temperatures, it’s just that nobody knows when. Sort of like the economy collapsing or governments breaking down; it’s a sure bet, just can’t predict the exact moment. The way things are going right now, I would honestly place my money on both happening at the same time. Too bad I won’t be around to collect! 😉

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am with Gail on this ….

              If AGW is going to boil the planet… then it is going to boil the planet.

              There is absolutely nothing we can do to stop it.

              I don’t mind the debate so much (I just skip onwards…) — what I take issue with is that the AGW crowd seems to believe in ‘if only we….’

              It is always implied in their argument

              I was thinking about how I used to urge anyone who was as denier saying ‘ok you don’t believe — but surely you don’t like breathing this smog’

              That was during my time when my mind was captured by DelusiSTAN…. I was physically living in Hong Kong (and reading the International Herald Tribune believing it was the giving me brilliant global insights i.e. reality) — and the air pollution there is nasty…

              If only someone at the time would have said – hey Fast — we hear you — we don’t like the smog — but what is your solution — shall we shutter the factories in China?

              That would have shut me up on the spot

              If someone can explain what we can do about it – if it is happening — that might be interesting …. because the solutions generally involve solar,wind and EV’s….. those debates don’t last very long on FW….

              If anything … the discussions of AGW encourage me to burn more carbon ….

              Mrs Fast has did her ACL on the ski hill last month but as soon as that is sorted out I will book some really long flights…. we were supposed to go to Iceland in September which is a short haul to Auckland then two glorious long hauls then another short haul…. think of all the carbon — the Beast loves to eat carbon … hopefully he can wait till spring for his meal….

              In the meantime perhaps I will hire a giant caravan and drag it around the island with my 3000kg 4 bah 4 truck…. guts glory and all that good stuff!

              Feed the Beast! Feed the Beast! Feed the Beast!

              Shop drive turn up the AC fly — the Beast loves it all.

              If the Beast does not get his carbon he will die.

              We do not want the Beast to die – because then we die too.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              I agree with just about everything you stated Eddy. What’s coming is unstoppable so there’s no reason in debating solutions, similar to the energy problem. I assure you I’m not an “if we only” type of proponent of AGW or anything else for that matter. We are in the midst of the 6th great extinction and it’s also unstoppable.

              My beef here is with people who outright deny climate change is happening or that it’s even possible. Likewise I also enjoy debating proponents of free market capitalism when I inform them it’s a mathematically impossible concept. Ditto for green technology freaks thinking it’s going to save us all. I can’t freaking stand Elon Musk. I want to get a dartboard with his face on it and just throw darts at it for hours. Perhaps I have anger issues.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              If my life were on the line and I was forced to give a yes or no …. I’d go with the yes we are impacting the climate/environment fairly severely. In fact the environmental impacts such as the ,mercury we are dumping into the oceans from burning coal is more of a concern as it makes me wary of eating too much sea food…. I am crazy enough without a build of mercury impacting my thought processes….

              Are we imminently going to meet our demise because of it (as in the next 5-10 yrs)…. again if my life was on the line… I’d go with a no.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              My main experience with mercury was it preventing us from eating larger sized halibut due to the buildup; this was in Kodiak, Alaska.

              I think that economic collapse is much more likely to occur in the near future and cause our almost immediate extinction. The global “just in time” parts system will grind to a halt in a couple of days and with it would go the grid. And then we all get to play Night of the Living Dead for a few weeks.

              The visual evidence I’m seeing right now for system collapse being imminent is the desperation of the U.S. government with the presidential election. I’ve never seen so much blatantly corrupt things occur in public view outside of banana republics. Makes me think things are getting serious or going terribly wrong due to the sloppiness of it all.

            • Tim Groves says:

              It’s all fine and dandy to ignore surface temperatures or claim that the data has been toyed with and is therefore unreliable; I can buy that even if it does sort of smell like tinfoil hat play.

              Let me say this, right at the start. I did not ignore surface temperatures. I pointed to them clearly and noted that the data had been adjusted and therefore is no longer measurement data. I hope this point is clear. It’s exactly the same principle as when the government adjusts economic data such as for the consumer price index or the unemployment level. It is no longer measurement data and it should not be accepted uncritically by outsiders.

              When an auditor checks a company’s accounts, they do not assume bad faith. Instead they just assure the figures are right. So, why then when skeptics try to audit climate figures do the climate academics and government scientists producing those figures immediately assume they are acting in bad faith?

              It’s because these people don’t have a culture of having their work checked by outsiders.
              The simple fact is that academics cannot stomach having outsiders look over their figures. And this is usually a symptom of an extremely poor quality regime.

              Richard Lindzen commented regarding the “Climategate” emails on what the Climate Research Unit documents reveal: “They are unambiguously dealing with things that are unethical and in many cases illegal…” “[S]cientists manipulating raw temperature data….“ “The willingness to destroy data rather than release it. The avoidance of Freedom of Information requests….“

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Tim if the average temperature of say Greenland for example is 30 degrees but you’re arguing that it might be 28, does it really matter when the temperature is 70 degrees? I mean, you’re trying to assert that the current high temperature data is unreliable because the previous data has been massaged by a couple of degrees? You can’t be serious.

            • Tim Groves says:

              If you’re not alarmed you’re intentionally choosing to ignore data that conflicts with your own personal views, confirmation bias or cognitive dissonance.

              You’ve just put out a long list of frankly very alarming sounding statements about temperatures in Greenland, Alaska, the Antarctic, and the jet stream jumping the equator the ocean conveyer belts slowing down, etc., and the CO2 rate absolutely out of control.

              Anyone who believes ALL these claims and the implications that alarmists have predicted, projected or imagined will follow from them would quite naturally be alarmed, panicking or even terrified and it would be understandable if they went on Xanax. I don’t recommend anyone going on Xanax for that reason, however. Better to become more skeptical about alarmist claims generally. There are no limits to the number of claims that can be made, or made up. People with agendas spin them off as easily as the old Irish could spin yarns. For the sake of your long-term peace of mind, never believe an alarmist claim unless you can verify that is is true. To be able to verify requires spending a lot of time studying the matter at hand, NOT JUST reading alarmist claims.

              There are two places on earth that have extensive ice sheets or caps. These places are Antarctica and Greenland. The average winter temperature at the South Pole is about -49°C. The mean annual temperature of the interior is −57 °C (−70.6 °F). The coast is warmer, though the summer temperature is below 0 °C (32 °F) most of the time.

              You Antarctica has been frozen for the past 30 million years or more. It stayed frozen throughout that time although the world was on the average several degrees C warmer than it is now, before the Arctic first froze over less than 3 million years ago. The claim that it is going to melt significantly over the next century due to a warming world is, I think, unwarranted.

              Most of Antarctica is far too cold to melt due to summer sunshine. Clouds from further north bring snow, which falls and stays frozen. This adds to the load on the more than a mile high ice cap, which together with a little geothermal heat at the base, helps push the edges of the cap towards the sea. Glaciers flow. Periodically bits of the coastal ice break off and form icebergs and in some places ice cold water trickles down into the ocean. The size of the Antarctic ice cap is limited by the size of the continent more than anything else. It would take a much warmer world to change that. NASA controversially reported last year that Antarctica has been GAINING ice, while it reported that Greenland is loosing ice.

              Greenland is smaller and warmer, and global warming affects Greenland more. So if it continues, Greenland is going to melt faster. That’s the place to watch.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Do you need me to provide reputable links to all of the things I mentioned or do you want to Google them yourself? Talking about how it’s impossible for the ice caps to melt does not refute that it was 86 degrees in Deadhorse Alaska this summer. All you did was wave your hand in the air and attempt to change the subject. Discrediting all of the evidence going on because you believe the ice caps won’t melt is a logical fallacy.

            • Tim Groves says:

              The only reason people are giving Tim so much flack is because he’s clearly a denier in the face of undeniable evidence.

              We can run this either way. The ONLY reason I’ve been giving some people so much flack is because they are clearly alarmists pushing dodgy ideas as if they were facts.

              The reasons I don’t give them even more flack are:

              (1) I don’t want to completely clog this thread with CAGW stuff because that subject is at best incidental to what Finite World should be about.

              (2) None of the people pushing AGW here are interested in the facts of the matter in any case, and none of so debating them is pointless. At best, we talk pass each other, and at worst we just call each other names, such as “denier”, which you’ve just done above.

              When this subject came up, I gave my view and Hawkeye asked for me to clarify my views. On receiving that, he immediately got out his Saul Alinsky playbook and began acting obnoxious and calling me names. He never answered a single one of my questions.

              You’ve been more polite, but you are still coming at me with the “denier” and “tinfoil hat” routine. As Colin Powell said to Harry Belafonte when the latter accused him of being “an Uncle Tom”, that’s not very helpful. Why do you do that? If you have the facts on your side, you only need to state them and to respectfully answer any questions about them. Do that gently and politely and you might persuade people.

              You are precisely half my age. When I was your age I hadn’t heard of catastrophic AGW. As the 1980s moved on, it was presented in the media as more and more likely, and from around 1985 to 1997 I thought C-AGW was inevitable if we didn’t stop burning fossil fuels. In 1997, observing the Kyoto process first hand and doing my own research, I changed my mind. In the past 19 years I’ve been studying constantly, and I have not yet found any reason to change back. I admit that for a decade, the charlatans had me bamboozled.

              Very little of what you or the other climate alarmists have said on this thread about what must inevitably happen in the future struck me as having any grounding in science. I could take virtually every point you make and explain where and why they are inaccurate. I wouldn’t need to quote a single authority or provide a single google link in order to do that. But what would be the point? Judging by the reception what I’ve explained so far has fallen on death ears. It would be a waste of typing to go any further. So I say to you, as I said to Hawkeye, let’s wait another ten years and see what happens. No point in crying over milk that hasn’t even been spilt yet.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              There is no room for debate when it comes to AGW… even attempting a contrarian position will result in vitriol….

            • Tango Oscar says:

              The words charlatan and bamboozled are no better than tinfoil hat or denier. Clearly everyone has their beliefs planted somewhere and thinks everyone outside of that circle is a dope. I tend to get irritated when I see an intelligent person who takes your position. It is what it is.

              The truth is no one knows exactly what or when anything is going to happen. We could be hit by a meteorite tomorrow and all die. The overwhelming proof, to me and most other observers that something catastrophic coming is by observing the CO2 rate of rise take off right around the time fossil fuels started being used. Does this prove 100% that humans caused the rise in CO2? No, but they are definitely correlated and the argument has already been made quite successfully for causation. In the end it doesn’t matter if humans caused it or not. It’s rising at an extremely alarmingly rate regardless of who or what caused it.

              Likewise you could choose to say all of the core measuring science is unreliably bad but then I’m going to ask where you draw the line. Do you think carbon dating is real? Do you believe in gravity? I don’t recall people getting a vote on such things.

              Do you think the temperature data is fabricated and tens of thousands of people are in on some type of scheme for control then? Dozens, possibly hundreds, of countries around the world are in agreement about what is happening but you think they’re all in on it or that they’re just foolish? It seems like an awfully overwhelming amount of people, organizations, and countries that would have to be in cahoots to do this.

            • “The words charlatan and bamboozled are no better than tinfoil hat or denier. ”

              The difference is, he is not calling you a charlatan, rather he is saying you have been the victim of a charlatan. I suppose if you are sensitive enough, being called a victim could be considered ad hom.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Tim if the average temperature of say Greenland for example is 30 degrees but you’re arguing that it might be 28, does it really matter when the temperature is 70 degrees? I mean, you’re trying to assert that the current high temperature data is unreliable because the previous data has been massaged by a couple of degrees? You can’t be serious.

              With all due respect, that argument is a straw man that includes a non sequitur — a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement. I didn’t attempt to link my two assertions and you shouldn’t imply that I did.

              Also, you are not quoting my exact words but subtly distorting them in the course of paraphrasing them. I believe I used the word “adjustment”, not “massage” and I didn’t refer to the size of the adjustment. Then you added, “you can’t be serious”, which indicates you are accusing of agreeing with the straw man caricature that you authored. Not very intellectually honest, is it? For future reference, if you are going to accuse a person of saying something, please quote their exact words. Thanks in advance.

              Do you know what the average temperature is in Greenland? Can you put a figure on it?

              Here’s Wikipedia’s take: Climatically, Greenland is divided into two very separate regions: the coastal region, much of which is ice free, and the inland ice sheet. The Greenland Ice Sheet covers about 80% of Greenland, extending to the coast in places, and has an average elevation of 2,100 m (6,900 ft) and a maximum elevation of 3,200 m (10,500 ft). Much of the ice sheet remains below freezing all year, and it has the coldest climate of any part of the Arctic….
              The interior ice sheet escapes much of the influence of heat transfer from the ocean or from cyclones, and its high elevation also acts to give it a colder climate since temperatures tend to decrease with elevation. The result is winter temperatures that are lower than anywhere else in the Arctic, with average January temperatures of −45 °C to −30 °C (−49 °F to −22 °F), depending on location and on which data set is viewed. Minimum temperatures in winter over the higher parts of the ice sheet can drop below −60 °C (−76 °F; CIA, 1978). …
              The interior ice sheet remains snow-covered throughout the summer, though significant portions do experience some snow melt (Serreze and Barry, 2005). This snow cover, combined with the ice sheet’s elevation, help to keep temperatures here lower, with July averages between −12 °C and 0 °C (10 °F and 32 °F). Along the coast, temperatures are kept from varying too much by the moderating influence of the nearby water or melting sea ice. In the interior, temperatures are kept from rising much above freezing because of the snow-covered surface but can drop to −30 °C (−22 °F) even in July. Temperatures above 20 °C are rare but do sometimes occur in the far south and south-west coastal areas.

              In short, 80% of Greenland is at an average elevation of 2,100 m and is BELOW FREEZING ALL YEAR and the temperature can drop to can −30 °C EVEN IN JULY.

              Some Greenland ice melts every summer, and some snow falls on Greenland at most times of the year. Some years it loses more than it gains, other years it gains more than it loses.

              Now, about that high temperature measurement for Greenland, it was given for the station at Nuuk. However, there are two recording stations at Nuuk, and the other station recorded a considerably lower temperature. No serious meteorologist would declare a record just based on one, when the other was so much different.

              In any event, the reported record high of 75F (23.9C) is not even a record. According to DMI, the highest temperature recorded at Nuuk was 24.2C, back in July 1908. ..Using the official DMI data, April 2016 was indeed the warmest April on record at Nuuk, at a boiling hot 0.6C. However, this was only 0.2C warmer than the next warmest April, set in 1953. Also at Nuuk, April 2015 and 2014 were two of the coldest on record, and the Aprils in the 1930s and ’40s were just as warm as in recent years.

              Given the above facts, I personally am not alarmed about the prospects of the Greenland ice cap melting catastrophically.

            • Tim Groves says:

              … even attempting a contrarian position will result in vitriol….

              Like this?


    • doomphd says:

      In my opinion, good science is fact based and leaves no room for miracles or devine intervention. I think the only reason why some good science is conducted by those who harbor beliefs in the supernatural (regardless of flavor) is the human mind can be amazingly compartmentalized, aka a “silo effect” that I’ve read here in the comments. However, there are certain types of experimental science that can be compromised by those who allow their spiritual side to intervene.

      That said, I have to admit that some aspects of quantum theory verge upon the magical.

      • Sungr says:

        ” reason why some good science is conducted by those who harbor beliefs in the supernatural (regardless of flavor) is the human mind can be amazingly compartmentalized, aka a “silo effect” that I’ve read here in the comments.”

        Yup. You nailed it. Compartmentalization allows one to hold extreme religious beliefs and still function rationally in the real world.

        At least in theory……..

        • We need the hope of some positive outcome, even if it doesn’t seem to be available on this earth.

          • smite says:

            Why? Need to feed the delusions with “hope”?

            Going back to nothingness seem adequate for me.
            Life on earth is mostly good (still). Nothingness is hard to beat though.

            • We have been using debt to give us illusions of what is possible here on earth. Why not continue the illusions, even beyond our stay on earth? They are hard to disprove.

  19. is Merkel admitting to something finite worldsters have known for years?

    Unless of course she comes in here under a different nick—now I wonder who she is?

    • Ert says:

      Yes, very strange and discussed in a lot of alternative forums…

      Even in the local newspaper of my mother this had a lot of space… came in every major media and TV channel in Germany…. indeed strange… or worse…

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Throw another stick of fear on the fire…. fear can be your friend… if you are in control of it….

      I wonder if we will get some major terrorist incidents in Europe and the US — and kinda of like a orchestra…. multiple minor incidents culminating in a crescendo of violence….

      And the herd cries out for Martial Law Lite…

      Stay tuned to CNN….

      • Ert says:

        This would be my best guess…. sheeple are so easy to panic and manipulate.

        For example: >4000 dead, 300.000 heavy injuries and 700.000 light injuries per year in Germany alone – and all by fossil fuel driven machines on roads…

        And what does sheeple are scared about? Some “multiple minor incidents”…. people can’t keep thinks in perspective…

    • Sort of worrisome.

  20. Pingback: An Updated Version of the “Peak Oil&rdquo...

  21. dolph says:

    There is no bubble in stocks, bonds, real estate, or any other asset out there. They are all behaving exactly as they should…going to infinity in a system based upon infinite growth.

    They will not go down again. At some point in the future, nobody knows when, the system will undergo a reset.

  22. MG says:

    Why do we need more and more an abundant cheap concentrated mobile energy source?

    Because of the depletion: the depleted parts of the world need to by supplied from more and more distant places and more and more raw materials, products and services needs to be exchanged, which is the rising complexity itself.

    That is why the globalization, as the last solution in the finite world was applied. And that is why the cheap oil finally hit its limits and peaked.

    • Artleads says:

      So what do you mean by depleted parts of the world? Without western imperialism, most places in the world would be what we call primitive, and living off the land. But imperialism present a story as though it was simply inevitable, and for their good, to confiscate their land and define them as depleted. From everything I hear and read, Native Americans would have been delighted not to have had their lands stolen and most of their people extinguished. But was this bad? Would saying it was bad or good mean that those conditions are static, removed from time? I don’t see them as static and removed from the present (or the future). You forever strive to erect a more perfect union. I suspect, then, that we strive to evolve. So I say, in my confusion, that it is good to strive to evolve to where we treat others the way we wish to be treated, and bad not to do so. And I recognize that I don’t know the answer definitively, or know whether there is a definitive answer. I only know what I’ll do.

      • as i keep banging on

        conflict is invariably about resource acquisition—nature gives us no choice about doing it, unpleasant as the consequences may be.

        as Cecil Rhodes said, we have the wealth of Africa for the taking, and the slave labour there to do it for us

        • Artleads says:

          Social Darwinism. Sorry. I don’t subscribe to it. I try to think for myself.

          • thinking for yourself is irrelevant

            resource acquisition involves conflict.
            When a nation’s resources become depleted, or threaten to, leaders must restore/maintain resource levels by whatever means is available.
            Japan invaded China in the 30s to boost their resource base—mainly minerals. But they needed oil from the USA to continue.
            Roosevelt shut the oil off. The Japanese had limited fuel in store, so they had a choice of pulling back, or attacking the USA and UK in the Pacific.
            Their code of honour would not allow retreat.

            The American empire was built on conflict with the First Nations. White settlers took their land by force and the spread of disease.

            only the degree of conflict is up for debate, not conflict itself. You can apply it anywhere.

            • hawkeye says:

              Good post.

              “only the degree of conflict is up for debate, not conflict itself.”

              T’was ever thus.


            • Artleads says:

              “thinking for yourself is irrelevant”

              I doubt that you know what you’re saying.

            • in ”thinking for yourself” i meant in the context of replying to this thread

              nothing more.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I like this – a lot

            • Artleads says:

              “White settlers took their land by force and the spread of disease.”

              And then they sweep it under the table as though it didn’t happen. History is revised. People who aspire to clear thinking ought to note how that cover up influenced public behavior and public thought.

      • bandits101 says:

        “Strive to evolve”, really that’s not right. Strive to educate, change or even adapt would be more realistic. Intuitively you are correct though, the vast majority of native populations would have been better served not to have been introduced to civilisation. There is no clear path for us though. The containment of terrible excesses including violence, is reliant on law and enforcement. Religion for humans may play a small part but it too, is toothless without some sort of enforcement, whether it be (perceived) to be in this world or the next.

        I suppose that we can think that humans (like all living things) are driven forward or to act by rewards…..and it can be extremely varied, from access to mates to access to sunlight, nutrients, power or even resources. The evolutionary road cannot be determined or manipulated…..what will be will be. Although in this universe, life or species extinction can arrive unannounced, humans have been the architects of death and extinction for untold lifeforms. We may very well be determining our own evolutionary end, along with much other life.

        • Artleads says:

          “’Strive to evolve”\’, really that’s not right. Strive to educate, change or even adapt would be more realistic.

          Good point. It could read like a recommendation to sit in the lotus position repeating: ‘I must evolve, I must evolve…’ But I did qualify evolving by saying, learning to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. So, if ‘education’ (which is now lamentable), ‘change’ and ‘adapt’ get us there as a species, that would be great. 🙂

          As to enforcement, I can only weigh in on what thoughts continually cross my mind. An ‘evolved’ America must be the enforcer, or at least keeper of order. Although an uber liberal in so many ways, I’ve never felt the slightest impulse to promote the reduction of funding to the US military. But to say that the funds could be more advantageously applied than at present is putting it mild.

          “I suppose that we can think that humans (like all living things) are driven forward or to act by rewards…..and it can be extremely varied, from access to mates to access to sunlight, nutrients, power or even resources. ”

          My simple-minded take on this is that all living beings want to keep living. I don’t think it’s just saying that if we continue as we’re doing we will die. Buried down under the layers, most of us may already know this. What I think is even more important are those ‘rewards,’ like those neurotransmitter lighting up in concert with life-affirming behavior. So maybe you’re right; we need to focus on rewards of all kinds.

          Important points you make.

  23. hawkeye says:

    Vince the Prince wrote:

    “…take the time to read the whole article before drawing false conclusions.”

    Well said, my friend. So what is the topic that this “whole article” strongly supports?

    Catastrophic Climate Change

    The writer, Paul Chefurka, states clearly and confidently that:

    self-reinforcing feedbacks,

    “could lead in fairly short order to runaway global warming” and,

    “imminent ecological catastrophe”.

    Climate scientist Peter Wadhams couldn’t agree more.

    So let’s take Vince’s good advice to us all and read the article:

    “This essay outlines some of the broad strokes of my developing critique of the human situation on the planet today.
    First let’s review some of the important physical evidence.
    Since 1800 we have emitted about 1.4 trillion tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuel use and cement making. We’re currently emitting 35 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, and that amount has increased by ~850 million tonnes each year for the last decade. Emissions have grown by an average of 2% a year for the last 30 years, and 2.8% a year over the last decade.
    The added CO2 is warming the atmosphere, but it’s warming more at the poles than at the equator. That means the thermal gradient between the equator and the North Pole is decreasing. That gradient is what keeps the polar jet stream organized, and stabilizes the climate in the Northern Hemisphere. The reduction of the gradient is disrupting the jet stream, which in turn is triggering weather disturbances that are interfering with NH agriculture, from the American Midwest though Europe to Russia and Asia.
    Polar warming is already melting the permafrost and warming the polar sea beds, thereby triggering the release of large volumes of the potent greenhouse gas methane. 

    This has the potential of initiating positive feedback loops that could lead in fairly short order to runaway global warming.
    The added CO2 is also acidifying the oceans, making it harder for tiny marine organisms to form shells. In addition to the acidification threatening the bottom of the oceanic food chain, we have already stripped off the top of the food chain. 90% of the apex predators in the ocean are gone, fished out and eaten by humans over the last 100 years. The ocean is now largely a garbage-filled desert, favored by ever-increasing numbers of jellyfish.
    Despite the clear and growing mountain of scientific evidence of an imminent ecological catastrophe, humanity in general (as represented by our national governments) has done nothing significant to respond. This is clear from the fact that rather than slowing down, the trend of ecological destruction is still accelerating.
    In fact, we can’t slow down our energy use, since over 90% of the energy we consume goes either to immediate use (for transportation, etc.) or to maintain the infrastructure we’ve already built in the past. If we were to reduce our net energy consumption, things would begin to fall apart in very short order.
    For the last 50 years activists have expected that the combination of education and technological development would allow us to displace fossil fuel use by electricity from hydro, wind and solar. However, that has not happened. Instead, the renewable energy we produce is being used in addition to fossil fuels, not instead of them. Of course, because of the atmospheric dwell time of CO2, even if we did manage to entirely stop using all fossil fuels today, we’d still be left with a dangerous amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and no way to get it out.
    From the evidence in the ice core records, natural processes take about 1000 years to remove 1 ppm of CO2 from the air.

    So it would take the planet 120,000 years to remove the CO2 we’ve added over the last 200 years. And we’re adding another 2,500 years to that planetary bill every single year.”

    Next let’s look at………”

    And this is where Vince begins to quote from – for his OFW post – where Paul Chefurka accurately describes the mindset of the climate change denialist.

    Thank you Vince, for directing us to this well written article.


    • common phenomenon says:

      [smug]Well, that puts Tim in his place![/smug] 🙂

      • Tim Groves says:

        Yes, I feel really humbled now. 🙂
        Should I recant my Denialism like Galileo (while whispering to myself that “it isn’t alarming all the same!”) and avoid excommunication, or should I remain silent like Sir Thomas More and face the chop? Yes, it’s quite a dilemma.

        • common phenomenon says:

          No dilemma – I’ll fetch the chopper. 🙂 Serves you right for owning a Stingray toy, two years before I did. Kulak! 🙁

    • Tim Groves says:

      Hawkeye, are you and Vince going to form a tag team for this one?

      Great, I look forward to learning much over the coming weeks and months from you. And you might even convince me to become as concerned about the dangers of AGW as you are.

      I’ve already given you my view on Prof Wadhams. He’s a lovely man, slightly eccentric, knows a lot about Arctic ice, but has a record of drawing inferences that the data doesn’t warrant and of making predictions that don’t come to pass, and open to the possibility that the spirit lives on after death and that the dead sometimes communicate with the living through some as yet unknown psychic method. All in all, it would be fair to say there’s as much of seance as science in his thinking.

      As for Paul Chefurka, I have not studied his ideas, but I will do so, beginning with this article, and I’ll let you know what I think is good and not so good about them. Also I may ask you some more questions, although I note that you have not shown much aptitude for answering questions up to now.


      • Stefeun says:

        Paul Chefurka’s writings are interesting, you’ll find lots of good stuff.
        His site:

        A recent interview (I only listened to the 2 min teaser..):

        Unfortunately I somewhat lost him when he became “Bohdi” Paul Chefurka. A way to cope with the situation, that I was just unable to understand (but nevermind, I’ve got my own one ;-)).

        • Stefeun says:

          Another short article about him, about population:

          “Paul takes a close look at the maximum size of a truly sustainable human population. His conclusion is 10 million.
          If we are to find some greater meaning or deeper future for intelligence in the universe, we may be forced to look beyond ourselves and adopt a cosmic, rather than a human, perspective.”

          (can’t help but take it with a pinch of salt; the diagnosis is rather good, but the conclusions are doubtful. My opinion only).

        • Ert says:

          Thanks very much!

          Here is the direct link for the (embedded) full interview:

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And for all you doomsday coupon clippers :

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Click to enlarge….

          • Stefeun says:

            Yes FE,
            “It” happened on July 17th, 2012, if we are to trust the second comment here:
            (Look at the prices)

            And since you pointed this topic, let’s take it a bit further. On FB, he also says:
            “When my thermodynamic understanding of collective human behavior finally crystallized a year ago, when I at last understood why there is no exit door for the experiment of global civilization, I shifted my meaning-creation activities deeper inside. I pursued non-dualism through Zen and then Advaita until I popped out the other side. Now my need for meaning has been greatly simplified. I love my partner to the depths of my being; I share with my friends; I witness the collapse without desiring to mitigate it in the slightest; I chop wood and I carry water. It is enough.

            Well, I’m doing more or less the same, and -think I- agree with the non-dualism principle, but I don’t need any Zen or Advaita for that. So what did I miss?
            I think, so far, that the difference is that he kept on searching for a meaning and a purpose in all that, and in this scope had to consider that humans have a superior consciousness (a soul? Doesn’t it contradict non-dualism, as well as his monkey-ego Vs higher-ego he refers to in the first link?),
            while I’m thinking that consciousness is no more than an evolutionary skill, and the only purpose of all we can see, inert and living, is to dissipate energy (2nd law) faster and faster (3rd law of TDs). We humans are just mere dissipative structures among others.

            • Froggman says:

              It’s just a fundamentally different way of thinking about the relationship between awareness and reality. It’s certainly not for everyone.

              Our perception (formed through memory, sensory input, and mind) is that the external world exists first and gives rise to awareness. In Advaita this is reversed and it is posited that universal awareness exists first and creates what we call external reality, of which our minds are a part. There may be many minds and many “egos” but there are no separate souls- just the one universal awareness experiencing the universe through all living things.

              I know this draws frowns from the atheist/naturalist-materialist crowd here, but I assure you that this worldview isn’t at all inconsistent with the scientific approaches discussed here as they relate to cause and effect in the physical world. I may study Advaita but it in no way invalidates my ability to think logically about the dynamics of collapse.

              What happens is the only thing that can happen- it all is the way it has to be. Advaita is just about our approach to awareness and our inner experience as human beings.

            • Stefeun says:

              Thanks Froggman,
              I understand that we have to tell stories to ourseves to comprehend the reality,
              but I’ve really hard time to imagine there would be a pre-existing awareness.

              After all, as you say, it doesn’t interfere or alter our possibilities in any way, so why not? It’s simply another way to look at things.
              Not for me, though, even if, on my side, I’m not able to explain where the original energy comes from and why it has to be dissipated, either. But since we have no possibility to find out, why worry? I think the most important is to have a plausible narrative that allows each of us to enjoy our daily lives (and not obey to the dogmas from a supposed white-bearded elder sitting on a cloud, especially if dictated by some fanatics on Earth).