How Researchers Could Miss the Real Energy Story

I have been telling a fairly different energy story from most energy researchers. How could I possibly be correct? What have other researchers been missing?

The “standard” approach is to start from the amount of resources that we have of a particular type, for example, oil in the ground, and see how far these resources will go. Growing development of technology seems to allow increasing amounts of these resources to be extracted. Thus, limits seem to be farther and farther in the distance, especially if a person starts out with an optimistic bias. It is easy to get this optimistic bias, with all research funds going in the direction of, “What can we do to solve our energy problems?”

Approaches for forecasting future supply problems that start from the amount of resources in the ground suffer from the problem that it is hard to draw a sharp line regarding when we will run into difficulties. It is clear that at some point, there will be a problem–EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Investment) will be too low–but exactly when is hard to pinpoint. If a person starts from an optimistic viewpoint, it is easy to assume that as long as Energy Output is greater than Energy Input for a given process, that process must be helpful for solving our energy problem.

In fact, in my opinion, the story is very different. The very thing that should be saving us–technology–has side effects that bring the whole system down. 

The only way we can keep adding technology is by adding more capital goods, more specialization, and more advanced education for selected members of society. The problem, as we should know from research regarding historical economies that have collapsed, is that more complexity ultimately leads to collapse because it leads to huge wage disparity. (See TainterTurchin and Nefedov.) Ultimately, the people at the bottom of the hierarchy cannot afford the output of the economy. Added debt at lower interest rates can only partially offset this problem. Governments cannot collect enough taxes from the large number of people at the bottom of the hierarchy, even though the top 1% may flourish. The economy tends to collapse because of the side effects of greater complexity.

Our economy is a networked system, so it should not be surprising that there is more than one way for the system to reach its end.

Slide 5

Figure 1

I have described the problem that really brings down the economy as “too low return on human labor,” at least for those at the bottom of the hierarchy. The wages of the non-elite are too low to provide an adequate standard of living. In a sense, this is a situation of too low EROEI: too low return on human energy. Most energy researchers have been looking at a very different kind of EROEI: a calculation based on the investment of fossil fuel energy. The two kinds of EROEI are related, but not very closely. Many economies have collapsed, without ever using fossil fuel energy,

While what I call “fossil fuel EROEI” was a reasonable starting place for an analysis of our energy problems back in the 1970s, the calculation now gets more emphasis than it truly deserves. The limit we are reaching is a different one: falling return on human labor EROEI, at least for those who are not among the elite. Increasing wage disparity is becoming a severe problem now; it is the reason we have very divisive candidates running for political office, and many people in favor of reduced globalization.

Overly Simple Models Give Misleading Answers

People who don’t work with models very much can easily assume that a model is telling them more than it really is. I discussed this issue in my recent article Overly Simple Energy-Economy Models Give Misleading Answers. It is quite possible to make a model that works some of the time, but not always. A researcher who is unaware of this problem is likely to overuse the model. As the saying goes, “If a person’s only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail.”

If a system has multiple parts to it, as is the case with the system that controls energy extraction and energy prices, it is likely that a fairly complex model is needed to make a model that really represents the situation. The earliest models were in a sense one dimensional, when they needed to be multi-dimensional. With these additional dimensions, the model would include such characteristics as the fact that demand is controlled by a financial system, and the fact that the level of demand (and thus prices) depends on the ability of even the lowest-paid workers to afford the output of the system.

The model could also include what is essentially a physics problem–if there is not enough energy to go around, the usual solution is “more technology” or “more complexity.” What more technology and more complexity add is more concentrations of energy in various ways: in capital goods such as machinery and vehicles, in larger businesses to own these devices, in high-paid management officials, and in workers with specialized training.

These concentrations of energy are what lead to wealth disparity–some people “own” businesses and capital goods, and some people (but not others) receive advanced education or other specialized training. All of these things allow a relatively small number of privileged people to receive a greater share of the output of the economy. This leaves less for the rest.

As the result of this wage disparity, the economy ends up with too many people either dropping out of the work force, or earning low wages. It is lack of the ability of these people to afford the output of the economy that brings the economy down. Demand is closely related to affordability of goods made using fossil fuels, such as homes and cars. Many people miss the connection between demand and affordability.

Of course, if we didn’t have this falling demand problem (or low price problem) caused by increased concentrations of wealth leaving too large a share of the population too poor, we would eventually get to something similar to the problem that many have been concerned about: fossil fuel EROEI would eventually fall too low.

Hubbert Tells Part of the Story

When talking about resource limits, the thing that tends to confuse most people is the large quantity of energy resources that seems to be available. We can get some of these resources out with today’s technology. Logic would seem to suggest that with improved technology, we should be able to keep moving on to increasingly difficult-to-extract fossil fuel resources. We should also be able to create increasing quantities of substitutes.

M. King Hubbert gave an answer that only went partway in telling the extent of our problems. Basically, he said that once we had extracted 50% of a particular resource, the quantity we could extract would tend to decline in a more or less symmetric curve.

Figure 2. M. King Hubbert symmetric curve from Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels.

Figure 2. M. King Hubbert’s indicated symmetric curve of resource extraction from Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, published in 1956.

Hubbert described the situation of a single well or field, when there were other wells or fields taking the place of the wells and fields depleting. In this situation, demand (and thus price) stays pretty much the same. If investment in the well remains the same, production will tend to follow a symmetric curve.

We are clearly reaching a different limit at this time. We have a two-way tug:

  1. Low demand. We have wages that show increasing disparity. Wealthy people tend to spend their incomes on goods that are not very energy-intensive, such as education and financial services, while less wealthy people tend to spend a larger share of their incomes on energy-intensive products such as food, basic transportation, and basic housing. Thus, this shift in wage patterns tends to reduce energy demand, and thus energy prices.
  2. Government attempts to fix low demand. Low demand leads to low economic growth, so governments and central banks are doing everything that they can to raise demand. Their approaches include ultra-low interest rates and deficit spending. The hope is that even if citizens don’t have sufficient wages to buy expensive goods such as cars and homes, the additional debt at low interest rates will make these goods, more affordable and thus spur demand.

We can keep increasing oil and other fossil fuel extraction, as long as our current system continues to “work.” In particular, prices need to be high enough for those extracting oil to make a reasonable profit, to cover reinvestment needs. The profit has to be high enough, too, so that the companies can pay taxes to their governments, so that governments can continue programs that mostly benefit the 99% of the citizens who don’t have high incomes. This is a major way that the net energy that is generated by fossil fuels gets back to benefit the government and the many poorer citizens who benefit from government programs.

Misinterpretation of Hubbert by Peak Oilers and The Powers That Be

Neither Peak Oilers nor The Powers That Be (TPTB) figured out the real story. The Peak Oilers were “tripped up” by the overly simple model problem I described above. They assumed that 50% of remaining fossil fuels could be extracted after peak, regardless of whatever other circumstances might hold. Economists provided one part of this overly simple model: they postulated that if there were a shortage of some product, prices would rise. This view is true when there is not too much wage disparity, but it is not true in general.

The combination of these overly simple assumptions leads to the belief that we can continue to pump quite a lot of fossil fuels, even after the decline begins. These remaining fossil fuels together with renewables can lead to some sort of civilization at a lower level after collapse. High prices will point the way to economizing.

TPTB were even more confused. They listened only to economists, with their overly simple model about future prices, and paid no attention to Hubbert and his message that extraction would become more difficult after 50% of a given resource was extracted. Instead, they assumed that the recent pattern of adding new extraction at ever-higher cost would continue indefinitely, as a result of improved technology. Prices would probably rise moderately, as well.

Figure 3. Figure from Jeremy Grantham article published on The Oil Drum in 2011.

Figure 3. Figure from Jeremy Grantham article published on The Oil Drum in 2011.

Figure 4. US crude oil production, separated into tight oil (from shale formations), oil from Alaska, and other oil, based on EIA data.

Figure 4. US crude oil production, separated into tight oil (from shale formations), oil from Alaska, and other oil, based on EIA data.

If there is an increasing wage disparity problem, the whole idea of ever-rising prices because of more technology doesn’t really work. At some point, there is an affordability problem, leading to low prices rather than high prices. Ever more debt at lower interest rates cannot cover up a problem of stagnating wages for the masses.

What Does Falling Fossil Fuel EROEI Tell Us?

Quite a few commenters on like to use “falling EROEI” as a synonym for “reaching diminishing returns.” EROEI (really “fossil fuel EROEI”) as developed by Energy Researcher Charles Hall, is calculated by dividing “Energy Produced” by “Fossil Fuel Energy Used to Deliver that Energy.” The easiest-to-extract oil or coal or natural gas tends to be extracted first, and the later-to-be-produced fuel tends to have lower EROEI. Thus, lower EROEI is a handy numerical way of quantifying diminishing returns with respect to the production of energy using fossil fuel inputs.

The Paradox of Falling Energy Consumption Relative to GDP, Despite Falling EROEIs

We quickly get to a paradox: if falling EROEI is raising the cost of extraction for all fossil fuels, are we using an increasing share of the output of the economy for energy production? The answer for historical periods has been, “No.” Energy Researcher Carey King has reported on this in an academic paper.

Figure 5. Figure by Carey King from "Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics Part 3: Macroeconomic Historical and Future Perspectives," published in Energies in Nov. 2015.

Figure 5. Figure by Carey King from “Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics Part 3: Macroeconomic Historical and Future Perspectives,” published in Energies in Nov. 2015.

In fact, recent United Nations’ research seems to indicate that this pattern of falling energy consumption as a percentage of GDP continues to hold through 2013 for the world as a whole:

Figure 6 shows that the bottom two sectors, namely “Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing,” and “Mining and utilities” continue to fall to lower levels as a percentage of the world economy, through the last year shown, 2013.

The way that these falling percentages seem to take place is through rebalancing of energy supply toward countries with a lower-cost energy mix. See the Appendix for more information on how this seems to occur.

Aude Illig and Ian Schindler, who are specialists in mathematics and economics working at the Toulouse School of Economics, have been examining how oil prices can be expected to behave, both before and after the share of the world’s resources  devoted to energy extraction hits the low point (nadir) and begins rising again, if Figures 5 and 6 were extended forward. They explain their findings in a working paper called Oil Extraction and Price Dynamics. It shows that prior to the nadir, oil prices can be expected to generally rise, with some temporary spikes. Once we are past the nadir, the dynamics are the opposite. Prices tend to fall, exacerbating the decline.

Does US Drilling for Oil Add to US Industrial Energy Consumption? 

One of the commenters on recently asked what impact the rise and fall of US oil production would have on US energy consumption. In his view, if extraction of oil from shale has low EROEI, surely US industrial consumption of oil or of total energy must rise and fall in response to the greater production. When we looked, any impact seemed to be too small to measure (Figure 7).

Figure 3. Comparison of US oil extraction with industrial consumption of total energy and of oil by itself, based on EIA data (monthly amounts).

Figure 7. Comparison of US oil extraction with industrial consumption of total energy and of oil by itself, based on EIA data (monthly amounts, converted to average daily amounts).

Transportation energy is not included in industrial energy, so we looked at diesel energy consumption, to see whether it had changed materially in response to all of the drilling activity. Again, it was hard to discern any impact (Figure 8).

Comparison of US oil produced with diesel plus residual fuel oil consumed, based on EIA data. Monthly data, converted to daily averages. (Residual fuel oil combined with diesel, because of law changes on types of fuel ships can use.)

Figure 8. Comparison of US oil produced with diesel plus residual fuel oil consumed, based on EIA data. Monthly data, converted to daily averages. (Residual fuel oil combined with diesel, because of law change on types of fuel ships can use.)

Thinking about the situation, the energy consumed is quite possibly not consumed in the US. For example, a great deal of steel pipeline will be used. This pipeline could be made with coal and imported from China. The timing could vary as well, if the pipeline and the machines drilling the wells were made some time in advance. Some natural gas or oil is no doubt burned when wells are drilled, but, in the whole scheme of things, the amount isn’t large enough to cause even a tiny hump in the data.

If we think about the situation, it is not really the “energy consumed” (and thus EROEI) that affects “demand.” Instead, it is the selling price of the oil that affects demand for energy products. This selling price of oil is shared many ways. This selling price includes not only the direct cost of energy used in extraction, but many other costs, as well: wages, leases, dividends, royalties and taxes of various sorts. In many cases, the royalties and taxes go to provide benefits for the non-elite–in other words, the 99%. The selling price acts as stimulus for the entire world economy, not just the part related to EROEI.

If the price of oil drops, what tends to be cut first is taxes–the money that goes to help the non-elite 99% of the economy. Besides taxes, wages and pension benefits tend to be cut very early, in an attempt to keep the company operating. These comprise a large share of costs, so are easy to cut. Strange as it may seem, oil extraction may not be cut back, even in bankruptcy. Creditors want as much value to be retained as possible after bankruptcy.

So What Does EROEI Tell Us?

EROEI as a way of allocating limited fossil fuel energy supplies. One way of thinking about EROEI is that it can be used to show the optimal way of stretching a given supply of fossil fuels; all a person needs to do is select new approaches for producing energy products with the highest EROEI values, to be able to leverage available fossil fuels as much as possible.

The EROEI calculation seems to be oriented in the direction of allocating scarce resources. Energy is counted using its Btu value. Thus, oil is viewed as having the same “value” as coal (based on its Btu content), and intermittent electricity is viewed as having the same value as electricity that is suitable for distribution to customers. Since the focus is on fossil fuels “running out,” some researchers leave out hydroelectric power from EROEI calculations; it does not represent the use of fossil fuel energy. Human labor is generally left out, as are taxes, interest payments, lease payments, and many other components of costs.

“Boundaries” on what energy inputs are to be included vary considerably from researcher to researcher, making comparisons among analyses difficult. For example, is energy used in the irrigation of biofuel crops included in calculations? Reports prepared by researchers from certain universities tend to give higher EROEIs than those from other universities. There is sometimes a suspicion that the funding source for a particular university biases the results of its EROEI calculations. This situation is not too different from the independence problems experienced in other types of academic studies.

Back door to estimating costs. EROEI can also be considered as a backdoor approach for estimating the approximate cost of extraction. Researchers working in a university are unlikely to be able to obtain information on the true total cost of extraction. On the other hand, if they can develop a new metric, they have the possibility of building a tool that they can keep updating with company information. There seems to have been early hope that the new metric would be more objective than other available cost information.

Doesn’t behave like the cost metric we are used to. There often is an economic reason to make a highly valued liquid fuel from less valuable coal or natural gas, but the calculation does not take this into account. This is one reason that the EROEIs for ethanol tend to be very low; ethanol production tends to use quite a bit of electricity from coal or natural gas to produce somewhat higher-valued ethanol.

Another catch in trying to use EROEI for comparison purposes is that EROEIs for capital goods (such as wind and solar) behave differently from EROEIs of fuels that are burned. With capital goods, society first “digs an EROEI hole,” and over time, must dig itself out. (I expect that this is one of the reasons for our debt problem.) Energy Researcher Graham Palmer has developed “Dynamic EROEI” to deal with this problem.

Figure 7. Graham Palmer's chart of Dynamic Energy Returned on Energy Invested from "Energy in Australia."

Figure 9. My explanation of Graham Palmer’s chart of Dynamic Energy Returned on Energy Invested from “Energy in Australia.”

Wind and solar have a second problem, besides the use of capital goods problem, and that is an intermittency problem that is difficult for the grid to correct, especially when more than a small amount is added to the grid. In Figure 9, Graham Palmer has added batteries, and replaced them three times during the 30-year lifetime of the solar panels, to correct the intermittency problem. I would argue that other costs should also be included–the cost of building and operating an inverter and replacement inverter(s), for example, plus any type of installation costs.

Interest costs are not typically included in EROEI calculations, but it would seem like they should be, whenever the delivery of energy is substantially delayed, as it is when some type of capital good is used to capture energy from the sun.

Alternatively, instead of adding battery costs, it would theoretically be possible to revise the calculation to include the energy cost of adjusting the electric grid to handle the intermittency. All of these issues have to do with selecting proper “boundaries” for the calculation.

Intermittent Renewables Seem to Give Funding to the 1% and Raise Costs for the 99%, Unlike Fossil Fuels

Something that we don’t often think about is that individual types of energy production can be evaluated from the point of view of the extent to which they provide funding for the 99%, versus funding for the elite 1%. EROEI, of course, cannot consider this at all.

Fossil fuels would seem to favor the 99% because the fossil fuel industry has traditionally has been heavy payers of taxes. These taxes go to help the vast majority. It is rare to find reports showing taxes paid by fossil fuel producers, however. Instead, reports tend to show subsidies, which are offsets to the high tax payments. These offsets are frequently payments for such purposes as helping low income people pay their winter heating bills. While these payments are called “subsidies,” in a true sense they are often ways of helping the 99%.

Wind and solar tend to be financed in the US with tax credits. These tax credits help concentrate wealth among the already wealthy. In Europe, the high cost of intermittent renewables tends to be paid by individual households. This leads to a situation where businesses, and the owners and operators of these businesses, benefit at the expense of those who are financially less well off.

The debt level with wind and solar (and all of their related paraphernalia that often gets left out of EROEI calculations) also tends to be high. Interest on this debt transfers money from the 99% to the 1%. The grid likely will need upgrading to handle intermittent renewables. This cost, too, will be borne by the 99% through higher electricity rates or higher taxes.

What Should the Role of EROEI Be?

EROEI is now well established as a tool to try to see how much energy is being consumed in making an energy product. I think that many people have expectations for EROEI beyond what it really can do. For example, I don’t think that EROEI calculations can predict when the economy will collapse, because the mechanics for reaching collapse come from a different direction–namely, increasing wage disparity and low commodity prices.

EROEI doesn’t consider whether a high-valued product is being used to produce a low-valued product, or vice versa. The solution here is to look at the actual cost involved in producing the energy product, as a supplement to EROEI calculations. This is important if our real energy problem is high cost and lack of affordability, rather than “running out” of fossil fuels.

EROEI calculations also are not designed to look at the required growth in debt, and the required transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1%. Clearly, it would be helpful to add some new tools to the tool set, to look at these problems.

As a check on whether EROEI calculations are really producing reasonable results, any energy product that is producing net energy should be able to support the government with taxes, rather than being dependent on subsidies. If an energy product is dependent upon continued subsidies, this should be considered as likely evidence that it is, in fact, a net energy sink.

EROEI studies do have a continued role, but they need to be used with care.

How Did I Get Involved in this Whole Discussion?

I have been what a person might call a “financial detective” for a long time. I started working for CNA Insurance Group as an actuarial trainee in 1970. This was about the time that inflation started to affect insurance companies. After I had been at CNA only a short time, I was the one who figured out how inflation would affect reserves set by claims adjustors. When my predictions proved to be correct, my supervisors were very surprised; they had never considered the possibility that there would be an impact.

I soon moved on to a smaller insurance company, where I reported directly to the president of the company. The position was supposed to report to a lower level in the organization, but the president was shocked at what I had been able to figure out about the company from its financial statements, and decided he wanted me to report to him instead. As a result, I had an opportunity to see the impact of the 1973-1974 oil price spike on an insurance company, from a front-row seat. I also got a chance to see what impact rapidly changing interest rates had on an insurance company. I later went back to CNA, and observed the problems they were also having.

I later moved into consulting. I was always the “go-to” person for trying to figure out answers to questions that had never come up before. If someone needed a model for something really weird, they would come to me. I would often develop material for expert witness assignments. When new companies were set up, I would set up models of how they might be expected to behave under various scenarios. I worked a lot with “long tail” business, where claims were reported and paid long after the time an injury occurred.

I didn’t get involved with oil limits until 2005, and began writing articles about it in 2006. I was near the age where I could take early retirement, so I left in 2007, with the plan to look into the subject further. Editors at The Oil Drum saw some of my articles, and invited me to write articles for them, under the pen name Gail the Actuary. Not too much later, they asked me to be an editor. I soon found myself corresponding with authors, fixing mistakes in articles, and becoming acquainted with many people in the energy field.

One of the articles I wrote fairly early was Peak Oil and the Financial Markets: A Forecast for 2008. In it, I forecast the 2008 financial crash. Prof. Charles Hall (of EROEI fame) saw the post, and invited me to come to Syracuse, New York, and give a presentation at the next Biophysical Economics Conference. I soon met many other researchers, either through the Biophysical Economics community, or through my work at The Oil Drum. I was invited to give many talks, including one in Barcelona, Spain, in 2010, which ultimately led to the publishing of my article Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis in the journal Energy. All of this further led to my becoming more involved with the research and journal end of the oil limits story. I now get quite a few invitations related to the research end of my work.

One of the things that led to conflict between the Peak Oil community and me was that I wasn’t really telling the “Peak Oil” story. I was telling something different. By late 2010, the conflict was sufficiently great that I started writing my articles on, and let re-publish the ones they chose to. I continued to be an editor at, however, until its close in 2013.

My general approach has been to learn as much as I can, in as many ways as possible. When various groups would want to sponsor conference phone calls, I would always participate, regardless of whether the group was a renewable group or one from the oil industry. I tend to interact with the commenters on my site, and get quite a few ideas from them. I don’t accept donations on my site, but I do accept invitations to give talks when people offer to at least pay my expenses. I also have had quite a few opportunities to visit installations of various types–geothermal as well as oil and gas. My only official affiliation is that I am Director of Energy Economics for the Space Solar Power Institute–an unpaid position.

All of this puts me in an odd position. The research community seems to accept me as one of their own. But Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute can’t understand why my view differs so much from the view that the Post Carbon Institute is trying to sponsor. He refers to me as an “energy writer” and says, “Her critiques of renewables appear to be based almost entirely on literature from fossil fuel and utility companies; she doesn’t seem to cite much data from solar and wind engineers.” I do talk to everyone. But I certainly don’t get my views from literature from fossil fuel and utility companies. I expect that having someone give a different view than PCI’s preferred view is threatening, especially if it is having an adverse impact on donations.

Appendix: How Rebalancing of Energy Supply Occurs

How does rebalancing of energy supplies occur? The answer seems to be, “Expansion of economies that use a fuel mix that is disproportionately weighted toward cheaper fuels, and contraction of economies that use more expensive fuels.”

This following slide shows a simple grouping of fuels I made based on my perception of which fuels are more or less expensive.

Appendix, Figure 1. Slide showing groupings of low, medium, and high priced fuels.

Appendix, Figure 1. Slide showing groupings of low, medium, and high priced fuels.

Growth in energy consumption seems to take place almost entirely in parts of the world that use a disproportionate amount of low-priced fuel. These countries also tend to have low wages, to go with the low fuel costs.

Figure 8. Note that the scales of the last three slides are all the same. Also note that the last of the four groupings is World Minus US Minus EU. It its thus the remainder of the world grouping.

Appendix, Figure 2. Note that the scales of the last three slides are all the same. Also note that the last of the four groupings is World Minus US Minus EU. It its thus the remainder of the world grouping.

What happens is that the world’s energy mix rebalances away from the countries that use a large share of high-cost fuels in their energy mix.

Figure 9.

Appendix, Figure 3.

In the end, the low-cost fuels (coal and hydroelectric) hold their own, as a share of total production; countries using a disproportionate share of high-cost fuels tend to lose out in the world marketplace.

Figure 10

Appendix, Figure 4

Once the world “runs out” of cheap fuels to keep adding to the energy mix (or finds the cheap fuels too polluting), the situation changes. The world economy cannot maintain its shift in mix toward products that have a better return relative to their cost simply by rebalancing toward countries with a lower-cost fuel mix.

Instead, the price of energy products must fall below the cost of production, to maintain this pattern. We seem to be seeing such a drop in prices below the cost of production, starting in 2014. Proving that this is the reason for the price drop might be difficult, but it certainly is a strong suspicion.

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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1,836 Responses to How Researchers Could Miss the Real Energy Story

  1. smite says:

    Elon Musk moves closer towards lights-out manufacturing for the Tesla Model 3.

    In an August earnings call, the CEO said he wanted to build Tesla factories that look like an “alien dreadnought,” and to perfect “the machine that makes the machine.”

    Yes ladies and gentlemen, only the Capital will be able to drive a Tesla. The plebs you might ask, well, there will be rain.

  2. “Can Synthetic Inertia from Wind Power Stabilize Grids?
    ” … During a December 2015 transformer failure that took more than 1,600-MW of power generation offline, synthetic inertia kicked in 126 MW of extra power to arrest the resulting frequency drop. Quebec’s AC frequency bottomed out at 59.1 hertz – well below its 60-hertz standard – but Aubut and his colleagues estimate that it would have dropped a further 0.1-0.2-hz without the synthetic inertia. And they estimate that this was roughly the same contribution that conventional power plants would have provided.

    “If we had had only synchronous generation instead of wind with the same event and operating conditions, we’d have had about the same deviation,” says Aubut.

    “The trouble, says Aubut, is what happens after the frequency drop. In all but the strongest wind conditions providing synthetic inertia will slow a wind turbine’s rotor. Re-accelerating to optimal speed thereafter absorbs some of the wind power that the turbine can export to the grid. Data from ENERCON shows power reductions of up to 60 percent in some turbines.

    “This energy recovery phase delays the grid’s frequency recovery. After Québec’s December 2015 transformer event, for example, the system frequency flat-lined for several seconds at 59.4 Hz before additional power reserves could push it back to 60. Under different conditions, says Aubut, that post-inertia recovery could have actually caused a “double-dip” in system frequency, increasing the risk of triggering protective relays at substations and causing blackouts.”

    To my knowledge, no AC power grid has yet been run on IRE (intermittent renewable energy”.

    • Thanks, very true!
      Euan posted similar stuff on his web..

      We need baseload system for reliable electric grid (and leverage from it for public and delivery transport, information networks, ..) and that’s generally nuclear and coal. Additionally for some specially endowed (lucky outlier) countries it could be also geothermal (Iceland) and ocean-tidal (Scotland) based, perhaps some ~stable 365/24 output hydro theoretically also but not sure about this exists these days..

    • Looking at the article, this looks like another version of complexity, and how “changes to the changed system, applied retroactively” (my view of the situation), might help a little bit. Cost/benefit is not at all clear. Certainly not included in EROI studies.

  3. MG says:

    No electricity is free:

    “For Teslas ordered after January 1, 2017, 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) will be included annually so that all owners can continue to enjoy free Supercharging during travel. Beyond that, there will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car.”

    “Just as you would charge your cell phone, we believe the best way to charge your car is either at home or at work, during the hours you’re not using it.”

    • Lyn says:

      I guess Bernie Madoff must be jealous of Elon. Investors give Elon money without even expecting any return. At least it is for a good cause.

  4. Lyn says:

    Alright folks, enjoy your Election Day as if it was the last one to ever witness….

  5. Yoshua says:

    When the commodity prices collapsed by half, the emerging markets currencies collapsed by half as well.

    If the dollar now would collapse by half against emerging markets currencies, then the oil price would rise to $100 per barrel in dollar terms.

    Would that collapse the industrial world?

    • Yoshua says:

      Or is the dollar a commodity currency that shows the actual price/value of commodities? The dollar can’t be manipulated against commodities? But commodity prices can still be manipulated?

      • Yoshua says:

        It must of course be possible to print a lot of dollars to inflate the oil price, which will then inflate all commodity prices.

  6. Fast Eddy says:

    China Says It’s Going to Use More Coal, With Capacity Set to Grow 19%


    • Lyn says:

      MOARRRR…..we need MOAAAAR…

      • Jeremy says:

        They are only adhering to the Paris accord quidelines agreed with President Obama to curb Greenhouse gas emissions. I suppose they will make it up with others cuts elsewhere (sarcasm).

    • Greg Machala says:

      “China Says It’s Going to Use More Coal, With Capacity Set to Grow 19%” Gee I was hoping for 20%

    • Similarly for Germany, Gail recently disputed that looking at prefab stats, not knowing it is for the moment hidden in electricity imports from their CEE region protectorates, where coal and or nukes for export rule. Although at some point even the return of domestic German coal will be seen as the proverbial naked truth of the “Energiewende idiocy”, they are slowly yet steadily approving coal burners..

      • Germany has been a net exporter of electricity. I am not sure how much it is importing, from where. I suppose it depends on time of year and time of day. They probably need quite a bit in winter. Their exports include a lot of spikes, because of wind and solar dumped on the grid.

    • Given their other priorities, and flattening/falling demographics, it may be the case they are about to launch crazy fast build up phase of somewhat cleaner coal infrastructure (the very last one push), and in 5-10-15yrs phase out large portion of their dirtiest legacy polluters that way. Plus take into account their nuclear reactor build up, and brake neck speed of fast rail networks (thousands of km) of the latest generation (their oldest 2000s imported learning tech know how toys Pendolino trains are regional snails now as they have got successive two domestic new generations ~360km/h).

  7. Stefeun says:

    ** Surfusion **

    It’s the French word for “Supercooling“, which I find is a good metaphor for the Overshoot situation in which we find ourselves (a physics alternative to Wile E. Coyote over the cliff, if you will).

    It describes a liquid (eg pure water in a bottle) that can be cooled down under the freezing point, but still remains liquid. Then a shock on the bottle is sufficient to trigger the freezing process. Note that it’s not instantaneous, but still goes very fast (F. Roddier says “abrupt, very abrupt”).

    An example in this 1m30s video:
    (thousands of other ones on U-toob)

    The above comes from an interview given in March 2015 by Fançois Roddier (in French), in which he says that we’re reaching a critical point, and therefore will have to face the collapse of our civilization, likely akin to an abrupt phase transition:

    Then it may take some time to unfreeze… (F.Roddier talks about “depression phase” of undetermined length, G.Mobus risks talking about 10.000 generations…)

    • Crates says:

      This idea is really interesting!
      The blow of the bottle on the table could be the equivalent of the black swan that triggers the chain reaction (cascading collapses) and that leads to a state of “freezing”.
      Clearly we are in the super-cooling state. When will the coup come? … that is the only question that remains to be resolved.
      The truth is that we observe almost instantaneous collapse patterns everywhere and although we study them from the point of view of the intensity of the energy flow of the system and the accumulated entropy, they can also be observed from the point of view of the dynamics of The phase state changes.
      Both views are related.

      • Stefeun says:

        Yes Crates,
        In another blogpost (in English!) F.Roddier compares the Seneca Cliff to an abrupt condensation phase. See:

        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.
        (bolt mine)

        • Crates says:

          Stefeun, I already knew the work of Rodier and the link that you put, thanks to you. Remember we exchanged a few comments about that when I started participating in OFW.
          Although later re-reading Gail’s old articles, I saw that she was already talking about him.
          Actually I wanted to say that the video allows us to see the process of Rodier’s idea in practice and that’s why it’s very interesting. I expressed wrong. Thanks for linking it.
          By the way, who is G. Mobus?

        • Thanks! That is a good point!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I was out in the Golden Bay area last weekend and I saw literally hundreds of black swans along a few km stretch of the coast…

        Surely this is a signal that the end is nigh?

    • I was just looking at G. Mobus’s last series of posts. (This is a link to his blog.)

      Geroge Mobus illustration of how economy works

      This is his illustration of how the economy works.

      I think that his illustration is of another “overly simple” model. Reciprocal promises are what holds the system together; these cannot be omitted. Debt is an example of a reciprocal promise. Wages are possible because of reciprocal promises.

      It is good to see other people’s views, even if they are not quite right. It makes a person think about what is missing.

  8. adonis says:

    thanks fast eddie for your efforts its just unbelievable just how deep we humans have dug a hole for ourselves will anyone survive at all whats coming ? anyhow to change the subject just saw this article about saudi aramco halting oil supplies to egypt indefiniteley could this be a whiff of ‘Twilight in the Desert’ for saudi arabian oil

    • thanks for that bloomberg link

      it’s another link in my ongoing ”denial” story.

      The Egyptian ‘economy’ such as it is, is geared to cheap energy, as are all the other middle east basket case countries.
      So when they are hit with the true cost of fuel, they are going to blame their leaders, and riot again.
      What other option do they have? To them it’s a political system failure, not an energy system failure.
      Egypt has a population of 85 m, and a growth rate of 2.3%, which means it doubles in 35 years or so.

      Except that it can’t, so by definition something (unpleasant) is going to stop it.

      So why does it matter to us? Because Egypt is yet another of the nations surrounding our prime oil reservoir (Saudi/Iraq/Iran)
      As energy supplies go into crisis, those nations must inevitably crash as they fight over what’s left.
      Egypt is a global pivot point, desperate to get hold of oil to keep themselves alive, as is every other country in that region.
      They cannot sell it to infidels in the west at ultra low prices, because they need high prices to support their gold plated lifestyles, so that will bring down the industrial infrastructure for everybody.
      Without world industry, oil itself has no value at all.
      They are convinced that the value of their fantasy towers will remain after the oil has gone.
      Such are the tall tales told by economists to Arab princes.
      Then the political shenanigans of or Arab friends will inevitably bring about their own demise, as they find out they were sold lies.

      And while we’re on that subject, nobody has pointed out that same oil reality to Trump or Clinton.
      That the USA is entering an era of energy system failure, while the screaming mobs demand political solutions (same applies to the EU but on a less vociferous scale so far), who are prepared to accept the word of the most outrageous shyster and con artist, because like all of his kind, he tells the people what they want to hear.

      When Trump or Clinton fail to deliver, and the economy continues its slide, the same reaction will kick off, riot and insurrection—just like the Middle east.

      Apart from that—happy election day

      • Ed says:

        This is why I love OFW cutting right to the facts.
        “When Trump or Clinton fail to deliver, and the economy continues its slide, the same reaction will kick off, riot and insurrection—just like the Middle east.”

      • There are more up to date stories related to it, possible warming up Egypt-Iranian relationship, including some energy deal, early talks about NPPs construction and Russia wants to get a mil base there, not mentioning they are already supplying the new Pharaoh with kaboom stuff and intel for some time. Now, who is going to pay for it, or what can Egypt offer at all in exchange?

        So, it could be a very convenient mil base area for Russia-Iran-China interests (against US installations inside Qatar and Saudi, possibly vectoring ClubMed NATO area too), next tourism (i.e. not spending/wasting money on “western” beaches). Well, but is it worth the energy and money? In terms of energy not that much in itself, but as the above overall strategic play with ultimate goal securing Syrian natgas route for Iran, denying it for Gulfies, lowering energy carriers USD based payment in the global system, it suddenly start to make sense. Also in terms of pouring money into such black hole like Egypt, the Chinese still can offload some US paper..

        Obviously, this is no long term solution for Egypt, just interim games of bigger players, perhaps for years, perhaps for few more decades, who knows..

      • “True cost of energy” can have many meanings. In a country where the direct cost of oil extraction is cheap, oil price subsidies are a way of rebating the taxes that would be collected on that oil. I have a hard time getting as excited about it as oil importing countries generally do.

  9. Crates says:

    Definitely with this image I have understood that the “intelligence” was an evolutionary dead end.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Crates, you might like this video, although sadly it’s a work of fiction.

      • Crates says:

        Thanks Tim!
        It really is unfortunate that the video is a fiction.
        When one sees this kind of thing and begins to tie up and understand the use we have given to intelligence, it is inevitable to conclude that this could not have a Disney ending

        • Tim Groves says:

          20 years ago, the Asian Black Bear was close extinct in my part of Japan. But in the intervening years, due to protection efforts and the declining rural human population, their range and their numbers are on the increase again and they are becoming a bloody nuisance. Still, unlike the Boar and Deer, which are cold-heartedly trapped and shot as pests, Bears are usually left alone, even if they do damage the persimmon and chestnut trees in the autumn. As long as a bear doesn’t attack humans, even troublesome bears are generally relocated to deeper mountains rather than killed. Sadly, it’s too late now for the indigenous Japanese Wolf — the last one was shot at the end of the 19th century — and for the Japanese River Otter — which was driven to extinction first by hunting and later mostly due to poisoning by agricultural chemicals and other pollution during the postwar decades. The last one was seen alive in 1979.

          • Crates says:

            In Spain, Iberian wolf is expanding because of the decline of the rural world and conservation efforts. The damages that they cause to the cattle at the moment are repaired by the government.
            My childhood hero was a naturalist and conservationist named Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente. He did everything to make the Spanish aware of the importance of conserving species and the natural world. Unfortunately he died in 1980 in a plane crash in Alaska.
            Now everything is climate change and we have forgotten the forests, the animals, etc. etc.
            I take the opportunity to make a small homage from the pages of OFW.



            • Tim Groves says:

              Thanks Crates. I remember Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente. I saw a documentary about him on British TV long ago. A wonderful and inspirational man! And I remember when Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, etc., were dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and of the natural environment, before they were subverted and co-opted by globalist forces, a process that got into full swing around the time of the Rio Conference in the early 1990s.

  10. Just some thoughts says:

    Make that 7.43 billion. Humans are so precious that concepts like sustainability are only immorally applied to us. It is a sin to even count humans. “I am a man not a number!”

    The world’s human population is growing rapidly and is expected to hit eight billion in the next 10 years, according to the latest figures.

    The impact this has on the world is huge. Currently scientists are deciding whether to approve the term Anthropocene, a new era in Earth’s history in which humans rather than natural forces are the primary drivers of planetary change…

    The global increase is driven by present-day population growth in the Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa regions.

    Africa in particular is to be home to a population boom this century. By 2100, it will be home to 4.4 billion people – four times its current population…,1000×1000,075,f.jpg

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Unfortunately… we need it to go even higher… otherwise….

        • Volvo740 says:

          We’re doing really well on that metric. Just wait until the arctic is ice free during a 2 wk period in the summer.. That’s kick it up another notch.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          It will continue to rise for upwards of a decade after all fossil fuel emissions have ceased. We’re also likely to break 410 this year and maybe even reach 412-415 by April.

          • Van Kent says:

            Interesting to predict the weather..

            A warmer Arctic makes jet streams wobbly. This might mean that Northern Europe has bitterly cold winters with insane amounts of snow. Or..

            Because the jet streams are wobbly, there might be hardly any winter and snow at all in Northern Europe.

            Huzzaa ! for predicting the weather with wobbly jet streams

            • Tango Oscar says:

              That’s exactly what that polar vortex is that comes down from the north into Canada and the northern U.S. The arctic pushes it down, bringing with it ungodly cold temperatures. And I predicted what the atmospheric CO2 was going to be for April of 2017, not what the weather will be during that month. The CO2 is a completely separate thing than weather.

            • Van Kent says:

              Also the Gulf Stream seems in trouble.. needs a pacemaker perhaps

              When the melting Greenland ice permanently weakens the Gulf Stream, then bye-bye Miami FL and welcome Atlantic superstorms, some reeaaally bad weather for Norman, and goodbye to agriculture in Northern Europe (cr-ap, hmmm.. perhaps it’s time to sell the farm, and buy some shipping containers filled with booze and move to Eddys TEOTWP)

            • In a finite world, nothing stays the same; everything keeps cycling from state to state. Humans like to put together forecasts with straight line predictions from the past, but in a finite world, these don’t make any sense. The fact that human population has grown greatly does affect things, but natural systems have feed back loops built into them. They will likely affect human population at some point, and even before that the profitability of investments made in areas where climate is changing in ways that make the owners of the investments unhappy.

      • Tim Groves says:

        And very fortunately, atmospheric CO2 has little effect on temperature, otherwise our goose and our climate would be well and truly cooked.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          Here we go again Tim with you making baseless assumptions. Did I specifically say that CO2 has a direct impact on temperature? No, I didn’t. But since you love denying climate change so passionately, let’s talk about it some more. Because you obviously have nothing better to do.

          Weather CO2 in the atmosphere has a direct effect on temperature or not doesn’t matter. You can argue all day long about weather humans caused it or not too if it makes you happy. Doesn’t matter. It’s still sky-rocketing. And you know what else doesn’t matter? Weather you choose to ignore the core data that indicates oceans were 100 feet higher and temperatures 6C warmer the last time CO2 was this high. You can pretend it’s not going to happen all you like but it doesn’t change historical or current data. The data doesn’t lie.

          Almost all of the heating that’s occurred thus far is in the Ocean. There was never a “pause” in global warming, it was all going into the water. I can link research papers if you care to comb through 500 pages of data. I think you don’t really care to connect the dots though and you’d be more interested in ad hominem attacks or straw men.

          Perhaps you’d care to explain the giant blobs of water that are several degrees above average surrounding the North Pole and Alaska? I guess that’s just some sort of natural cycle or anomaly, huh? It’s totally not alarming that there’s 10C above average water just sitting around the giant glaciers at the pole. Totally normal, nothing to see here. You sound like a campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Here we go again Tango Oscar, old son, with you making baseless assumptions. Did I specifically say that you said CO2 has a direct impact on temperature? No, I didn’t. But since you love asserting climate change so passionately, we can talk about it as much as you like. Because, apart from waiting for the end of BAU, walking the dog, trying to read the complete works of Balzac, and earning my daily bread, I do indeed have nothing better to do.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              I didn’t so passionately assert climate change, I posted one graph on CO2 rise and you made baseless assumptions about my thought patterns. You’re attempting to debate your own inserted beliefs about others rather than sticking to one single topic.

            • Stefeun says:

              When you’re finished with Balzac (or even before), go ahead with Zola. Lots of similarities, but with some coal added in the social mix(ture).

            • Tim Groves says:

              Tango, you posted one graph. And I posted a one sentence comment about the significance of that graph. I made no comments about your thought patterns. Then you chose to come down on me like a ton of bricks in your best SJW voice.

              Very well, what was your reason for posting that one graph? What is its significance in your opinion? Was it an attempt to inject something into the debate or make a statement about anything, or do you just like the color scheme?

          • Tim Groves says:

            Weather CO2 in the atmosphere has a direct effect on temperature or not doesn’t matter.

            Freudian slip?

            • Tango Oscar says:

              So you merely pretend to not know what the correlation is then?

            • Tim Groves says:

              The correlation between global temperature and atmospheric CO2? They are not precisely correlated, but overall, looking at the proxy data from ice cords and sediments, some observers judge that atmospheric CO2 tends to very roughly follow global temperature with a delay of between 500 and 1,000 years. That is, that they tend to go up and down together with temperature leading and CO2 following. This indicates that temperature drives CO2 and not the other way around. There is no evidence whatsoever that CO2 changes drive temperature changes. Also, there are have been many periods when temperature has gone down while CO2 continued to rise. This happens after the peak of every interglacial. It happened after the peak of the present interglacial too.

              For instance:


            • Ert says:


              Yes, that CO2 follows temperature with a long delay that is also the one aspect that keeps me irritated on the whole story….

          • Tim Groves says:

            Doesn’t matter. It’s still sky-rocketing. And you know what else doesn’t matter? Weather you choose to ignore the core data that indicates oceans were 100 feet higher and temperatures 6C warmer the last time CO2 was this high. You can pretend it’s not going to happen all you like but it doesn’t change historical or current data. The data doesn’t lie.

            Data may not lie, but it can be totally misinterpreted. Are you sure there is any correlation between temperature and CO2? If so, can you explain what that correlation is? And we’ve all heard the mantra that correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation? Are you sure there are any causation factors at work linking the level of atmospheric CO2 and the earth’s average temperature? If so, can you explain what those factors are?

            My understanding is that the “greenhouse” absorption of outgoing IR by current level of atmospheric CO2 is probably contributing no more than about 1 degree C to the earth’s surface and lower atmospheric temperature. It’s heat retaining powers has been vastly overstated.

            You may have noticed that at the beginning of each interglacial when the ice sheets start melting furiously and sea level begins rising by 1 meter per century or more, century after century, the CO2 level is low — around 180ppm. And yet the world warms. Moreover, you may have noticed that at the peak of each interglacial, when temperatures are usually higher than they are at present — the previous Eemian interglacial peaked at about 5 degrees C warmer than the present level — the CO2 level is high — around 280 to 300ppm. And yet this high level of CO2 does nothing to prevent the interglacial ending and the temperature dropping and the glaciers and ice sheets growing and the sea level falling until the world goes back into a full glacial with ice sheets covering Canada an Northern Europe.

            When taking note of these changes, It may have even crossed your mind that there is something else besides the CO2 level that drives the earth’s temperature up and down over the the approx. 100,000 year glacial-interglacial cycle. But then again, it may not.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Almost all of the heating that’s occurred thus far is in the Ocean. There was never a “pause” in global warming, it was all going into the water. I can link research papers if you care to comb through 500 pages of data. I think you don’t really care to connect the dots though and you’d be more interested in ad hominem attacks or straw men.

              Well it would, wouldn’t it? Almost all the heat energy in the climate system resides in the ocean. Here’s a graphic comparison.


              If enough energy was transferred from the ocean directly to the atmosphere to create 4 degrees of atmospheric warming, how much would that change the average temperature of the ocean?

              Would you believe – 0.001 Degrees C of ocean temp change?

              Most of the solar energy absorbed by the earth is absorbed by the oceans. The oceans are also transferring vast amounts of energy in the form of heat to the atmosphere all the time. But the rate is variable. It varies according to the temperature of the upper levels of the ocean and according to changes in ocean currents. El Nino and La Nina are two of the better known names for ways in which the oceans change their output.

              Just as the temperature of the air in my bathroom is dependent mainly on the temperature of the water in the bath (and not the other way around), so the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere is dependent mainly on the temperature of the oceans (and not the other way around).

              We’ve all got Google access and can pull up as many pages of data in support of our views as we care to. I wouldn’t presume to advise you to read anything, partly out of respect for your independence of mind, but also because I think you don’t really care to connect the dots and you are more interested in ad hominem attacks or straw men.

            • excellent bath analogy—doubters might just get that

            • Tim Groves says:

              If enough energy was transferred from the ocean directly to the atmosphere to create 4 degrees of atmospheric warming, how much would that change the average temperature of the ocean?

              Would you believe – 0.001 Degrees C of ocean temp change?

              Well, actually you’d be wrong to believe that. 4 degrees of atmospheric warming would require 0.004C of ocean temp change. My bad!

              But the point stands that almost all the heat in the climate system resides in the oceans, and this is why the oceans play such a decisive role in driving the the climate/weather system.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Lots of bad assumptions on your part yet again Tim. Not that I should be surprised. I never said CO2 rise causes temperature rise, you’re assuming that so you can argue with me about it. Not interested in your get nowhere, straw man debate tactics.

              There is a direct correlation between rising CO2 and ocean/air temperatures. That does NOT mean it causes it, merely that they’re rising together. You’re the one who assumes I believe that, probably so you can argue with me about it for 3 hours.

              There is a big, big, big difference between natural heating/cooling/carbon dioxide cycles taking thousands of years and the one that is happening right now which is taking a few decades. Change is happening many orders of magnitude faster and it just so happens to coincide with when the industrial revolution occurred. Gee, I wonder why that is? Must be a natural cycle.

            • Tim Groves says:

              There is a direct correlation between rising CO2 and ocean/air temperatures.

              Over what timescale are you asserting this? Please show us the data.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          Go to this webpage, click on the Earth link in the bottom left. You can pull up Ocean, SSTA (sea surface temperature anomaly) in real time and zoom in while observing data. There are all kinds of other neat things you can do with that program. I used it to track Hurricane Mathew in real time, looking at the wind/precipitation data as it hammered the east coast of the U.S.

          All around the North Pole and Alaska you can observe sea surface temperatures between 2-12 C above average. Alaska had a devastating pink salmon run this year where they’re about to declare it a state disaster, either because the salmon don’t exist or they’ve moved. The snow has been disappearing in places like Anchorage too while other areas like Deadhorse were beating heat records this last summer at 86 F. It would appear as if the higher latitudes are receiving a disproportionate amount of heat so far and consequently any predictions of ice melt timeframes are likely to be conservative.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Astounding and fascinating. I love reading about the little gizmos and extreme weather phenomena. Any sort of complex system is really interesting to me.

          • Tim Groves says:

            All around the North Pole and Alaska you can observe sea surface temperatures between 2-12 C above average. Alaska had a devastating pink salmon run this year where they’re about to declare it a state disaster, either because the salmon don’t exist or they’ve moved. The snow has been disappearing in places like Anchorage too while other areas like Deadhorse were beating heat records this last summer at 86 F.

            With all due respect, this is JUST weather and you are cherry picking it. I can find dozens of references to places where there is record snow or record cold this year. It’s just weather and it is normal for some places to have abnormal weather. It happens every year due to the fact that the climate/weather system is a chaotic non-linear system fed by variable energy inputs. As I said above, the oceans supply a tremendous amount of heat energy to the atmosphere but the ocean currents vary considerably from month to month, year to year, decade to decade, and also over longer time scales. We do not live on a gigantic mechanism in which the seasons and their weather patterns repeat with as much regularity as the characters that pop out of medieval central European town square clock towers every hour on the hour.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              So you didn’t take a look at the map then. Sigh.

            • Tim Groves says:

              No need to sigh. Why should I bother to look, since it’s just weather?

              There is record snow cover in Siberia and close to record snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere for this time of year right now. If I had your high level of intellectual integrity, I might try to assert that this was a sign of global cooling. But being aware of the difference between climate and weather, I’m content to view it as just one more example of extreme weather. There’s no need to post links to it, invite people to read them, or claim it proves anything more than that the northern hemisphere is experiencing an unusual snowy autumn this year.

            • Practically no moisture in the US state of Georgia, however. It seems to depend on where the weather patterns for the year.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Rome-based energy producer Eni could still make a profit, maintain spending and pay a dividend with crude at $50 a barrel, Descalzi said. Oil at $50 “is OK,” he said. “Looking at our break-even price, that is enough.”

      Kopits says 120+ is breakeven….

      Rather difficult to imagine Eni could cut enough to bring that number down to 50…. perhaps if they just cut all expenses and had the cleaning ladies operate the existing wells…

      Expect more lies from the CEOs of oil companies….

      I wonder what it is like going to work each day knowing that there is no more oil to be found that can be extracted at a economically feasible price. To be reminded that civilization is now running on it’s last tank of petrol….

      • Puppet Master says:

        Wow, FE… you really went to town in the comments section for that SRSrocco REPORT on the End of the U.S. Major Oil Industry Era… – opened up a huge can of RealitySTAN whoop ass on the posters over there…

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Steve is quite upset with me…

          At least he allows my facts to be published… unlike Wolf…..

          He says he will no longer respond to my facts though…. if I were him I would remove me from the conversation because his business model is taking a hit….

          • SRSrocco says:

            Fast Eddy,

            Ah….. I see you are quite busy making the rounds on the blogs Taking the “Higher Road” by bringing down the “supposed” less worthy analysts. Good for you. Glad you have found your calling.

            By the way, Fast Eddy or Thomas Malthus, you haven’t upset me, hardly. However, my decision not to respond to your dozens of comments is a EROI choice, not one because I don’t enjoy the debate. But feel free to continue spending hours of your valuable time leaving all the comments you like.

            Its great for my traffic and followers response.


            • Fast Eddy says:

              Steve – the Exxon article was outstanding. My issue is with the post BAU outlook — as in there is not outlook….

              Extinction awaits.

              Flogging gold and gold storage and whatever other ‘survival strategies’ you have behind The Door…. is selling snake oil.

              As for your reluctance to go head on with me here, there or anywhere…. that is totally understandable….

              I would find it extremely difficult to argue that we can grow food in industrially farmed soil — and that we can manage spent fuel ponds without BAU.

              But keep up the good work with the articles — I didn’t get a chance to read the latest one because I’ve been out in the paddock all morning cutting grass and getting things ready so I can leave on my bucket list trip to Switzerland on the weekend.

  11. Yoshua says:

    We where just cut of from bao, just to remind us that bao doesn’t need us. It was pitch black and quiet. It is freezing cold out side. I don’t even have candles.

  12. Fast Eddy says:

    This is good.

    When you send ships to the bottom of the earth to fish … you know there is a problem

  13. CS-Cart says:

    Thank you for your excellent article, it really helped me.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Thank you Tim! Thank you so much for this!

      I am literally weeping tears… of joy…. I am laughing so hard my entrails are at risk of coming out my back end….

      Now if I was wealthy green groupie…. and I felt that I was a precious individual… (as many very wealthy people feel…) and I had one of these in my garage… and I saw this article…. I might be second-guessing my decision to buy one of these death traps…

      And if I was thinking of buying a Tesla…. I’d definitely be heading over to the BMW dealer instead…

      This is a message from the gods telling Elon not to attempt the Mars mission ….

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Elon’s PR bill must be MASSIVE — I wonder how much he is paying the MSM not to publish this story…. it is almost nowhere to be found on a google news search.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Last year, Elon got the Miles Mathis treatment. In Miles’s opinion, Musk’s a front for intelligence (aka the Military Industrial Complex), as are/were Gates, Jobs, Bezos, Zuckerberg and numerous other “tech” CEOs. That’s not hard to believe. These people all smell like fakes. But I fid really impressive are the depths of Miles’s research and the heights his speculation reaches.

        Elon Musk is supposed to be worth 13.6 billion. He is supposed to be the CEO of Tesla Motors. He is supposed to be the founder of SpaceX. He is supposed to be the founder of Solar City. He is supposed to be the inventor of Hyperloop. I for one don’t believe any of it. Elon Musk looks to me like a person totally manufactured by Intelligence as the fake human front for all these fake projects. In this way he is exactly like Mark Zuckerberg, another person I have outed as a probable manufactured entity. When I wrote that paper on Zuckerberg, he was also alleged to be worth 13.6 billion. Coincidence? Nope……

  14. Fast Eddy says:

    The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe could have been far worse, it turns out, and experts say neither the nuclear industry nor its regulators are doing enough to prevent a calamitous nuclear fuel fire in America

    Japan’s chief cabinet secretary called it “the devil’s scenario.” Two weeks after the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing three nuclear reactors to melt down and release radioactive plumes, officials were bracing for even worse. They feared that spent fuel stored in the reactor halls would catch fire and send radioactive smoke across a much wider swath of eastern Japan, including Tokyo.

    Assuming a 50-100% Cs137 release during a spent fuel fire, [8] the consequence of the Cs-137 exceed those of the Chernobyl accident 8-17 times (2MCi release from Chernobyl). Based on the wedge model, the contaminated land areas can be estimated. [9] For example, for a scenario of a 50% Cs-137 release from a 400 t SNF pool, about 95,000 km² (as far as 1,350 km) would be contaminated above 15 Ci/km² (as compared to 10,000 km² contaminated area above 15 Ci/km² at Chernobyl).

    A typical 1 GWe PWR core contains about 80 t fuels. Each year about one third of the core fuel is discharged into the pool. A pool with 15 year storage capacity will hold about 400 t spent fuel. To estimate the Cs-137 inventory in the pool, for example, we assume the Cs137 inventory at shutdown is about 0.1 MCi/tU with a burn-up of 50,000 MWt-day/tU, thus the pool with 400 t of ten year old SNF would hold about 33 MCi Cs-137. [7]

    Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.

    The problem is if the spent fuel gets too close, they will produce a fission reaction and explode with a force much larger than any fission bomb given the total amount of fuel on the site. All the fuel in all the reactors and all the storage pools at this site (1760 tons of Uranium per slide #4) would be consumed in such a mega-explosion. In comparison, Fat Man and Little Boy weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki contained less than a hundred pounds each of fissile material – See more at:

    Once the fuel is uncovered, it could become hot enough to cause the metal cladding encasing the uranium fuel to rupture and catch fire, which in turn could further heat up the fuel until it suffers damage. Such an event could release large amounts of radioactive substances, such as cesium-137, into the environment. This would start in more recently discharged spent fuel, which is hotter than fuel that has been in the pool for a longer time. A typical spent fuel pool in the United States holds several hundred tons of fuel, so if a fire were to propagate from the hotter to the colder fuel a radioactive release could be very large.

    According to Dr. Kevin Crowley of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, “successful terrorist attacks on spent fuel pools, though difficult, are possible. If an attack leads to a propagating zirconium cladding fire, it could result in the release of large amounts of radioactive material.”[12] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission after the September 11, 2001 attacks required American nuclear plants “to protect with high assurance” against specific threats involving certain numbers and capabilities of assailants. Plants were also required to “enhance the number of security officers” and to improve “access controls to the facilities”.

    The committee judges that successful terrorist attacks on spent fuel pools, though difficult, are possible. If an attack leads to a propagating zirconium cladding fire, it could result in the release of large amounts of radioactive material. The committee concluded that attacks by knowledgeable terrorists with access to appropriate technical means are possible. The committee identified several terrorist attack scenarios that it believed could partially or completely drain a spent fuel pool and lead to zirconium cladding fires. Details are provided in the committee’s classified report.
    I cannot discuss the details here.

    If any of the spent fuel rods in the pools do indeed catch fire, nuclear experts say, the high heat would loft the radiation in clouds that would spread the radioactivity.

    “It’s worse than a meltdown,” said David A. Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists who worked as an instructor on the kinds of General Electric reactors used in Japan. “The reactor is inside thick walls, and the spent fuel of Reactors 1 and 3 is out in the open.”

    If you don’t cool the spent fuel, the temperature will rise and there may be a swift chain reaction that leads to spontaneous combustion–an explosion and fire of the spent fuel assemblies. Such a scenario would emit radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

    Pick your poison. Fresh fuel is hotter and more radioactive, but is only one fuel assembly. A pool of spent fuel will have dozens of assemblies. One report from Sankei News said that there are over 700 fuel assemblies stored in one pool at Fukushima. If they all caught fire, radioactive particles—including those lasting for as long as a decade—would be released into the air and eventually contaminate the land or, worse, be inhaled by people. “To me, the spent fuel is scarier. All those spent fuel assemblies are still extremely radioactive,” Dalnoki-Veress says.
    It has been known for more than two decades that, in case of a loss of water in the pool, convective air cooling would be relatively ineffective in such a “dense-packed” pool. Spent fuel recently discharged from a reactor could heat up relatively rapidly to temperatures at which the zircaloy fuel cladding could catch fire and the fuel’s volatile fission product, including 30-year half-life Cs, would be released. The fire could well spread to older spent fuel. The long-term land-contamination consequences of such an event could be significantly worse than those from Chernobyl.

    Today there are 103 active nuclear power reactors in the U.S. They generate 2,000 metric tons of spent nuclear waste per year and to date have accumulated 71,862 tons of spent fuel, according to industry data.[vi] Of that total, 54,696 tons are stored in cooling pools and only 17,166 tons in the relatively safer dry cask storage.

    • Lyn says:

      Nice collection of links.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        It took a lot of work to determine what would happen if spent fuel ponds were unplugged…

        The assumption (hubris) is that ponds can never be unplugged… at least not for long…. the only way to get the answer was to dig up research related to a terrorist attack.

  15. adonis says:

    hey fast eddie could you provide factual details of how the spent fuel ponds would take us out if bau disappeared im sorry if you have to repeat yourself again but ive been unable to find your past explanations in the archives many thanks if you could do this once again

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I will post everything with links in a moment — this will get held by the censors so will have to wait till Gail releases it

  16. Ed says:

    It a reach to connect this to peak oil but I like the song.
    “The sky’s going to open, people gonna pray and crawl…”

  17. Ed says:

    For one bright shining moment we created shareholder value.
    and then hell rained down.

  18. Ed says:

    We can in theory have a steady state society in terms of number of people. It simply requires society to enforce a two child policy. I say theory because the wheels are falling off long before any sanity is added to governance. It also requires a credit based money system rather than a debt based system. Both could be done. Maybe if some survive.

    • Ed says:

      Gail as Tina Turner, Fast Eddy as Mad Max?

    • Ed says:

      You’re one of the living

      • Fast Eddy says:

        It is possible — provided we are willing to live like this

        Unfortunately there are those nasty spent fuel ponds that make even this level of survival … impossible

        • doomphd says:

          Too bad, they look happy, contented.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Difficult to say…. that image is of a tribe in Irian Jaya….

            I did a 10 day trek into that heart of darkness …. I saw a lot of very stunted growth with many adults under 5ft tall … I saw malnourished children… I saw miserable living conditions … I did not see any smiles on the faces of kids when we entered the villages – particularly the more remote ones that have virtually no BAU plug in … not even a plastic bottle.

            My sense was that life was a daily battle to survive… I did not have the impression that the people were happy.

            If I were capable of staying alive in such conditions post BAU…. i.e. if I had the skills…. I’d wish I had perished when BAU ended.

  19. Craig Moodie says:

    i guess “collapse fatigue”is making me a tad cynical.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I am amazed that the E’ld.ers have been able to keep the hamster running as long as they have…. truly amazed!

      But it does not detract from the discussion — the dissecting of the dying beast while it is alive…

      And of course who’s in a rush? I’d be happy for this to go on for another 20 years…

  20. Fast Eddy says:

    Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we’re wrong about that? “Wrongologist” Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.

    I love being proved wrong… I love being convinced to change my mind…. it is the only path to truth…

    To think …. I used to think Monsanto was evil…. that solar panels and EVs were the way forward… that organic farming was an island of security….

    • Don says:

      In my college years back during the early 1970’s, I was sure that hydroponics was the direction of our food security future. With precise nutrient solutions flowing to crops grown under the protection of heated greenhouses using “too cheap to meter” nuclear electrical energy, it was easy to imagine raising fresh tomatoes in Wisconsin in January.

      That idea gave way along with my jet pack and flying car visions for the future, if maybe not in my future. It’s not going to happen.

  21. MG says:

    Has Trade Been Driving Global Economic Growth?

    “Advancing globalisation seems to have been paralleled by the global economic growth becoming progressively slower and unstable.”–p-3995.html

    • I haven’t read the paper, but the abstract suggests that the authors don’t have a clue what has been happening.

      The real story: International trade gave us access to a lot of cheap coal. The willingness of the Chinese and others to borrow was what unlocked the ability to use this coal, for the benefit of the whole world. Now, the world market as a whole is no longer growing rapidly, in part because wages are not rising rapidly worldwide. (Competition with low wage countries, automation) Coal, when it is shipped to its destination is becoming more expensive, because of depletion. The whole system can’t keep expanding. We have found all of the cheap energy and easy to develop resources world-wide, and we have run out of places to go.

  22. Fast Eddy says:

    The Truth Will Not Set You Free

    “We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.” This quote has been attributed to both the Talmud and Anaïs Nin (although an actual citation for neither quote can be found). This quote summarizes the idea that truth, the truth that one perceives, is subjective and can be wrong.

    We have long been taught that the truth will set us free, and that seeking the truth is a worthy goal. What if there is no absolute truth? What if there are just degrees of truth (or lies) that we tell ourselves? What if, as some insightful, anonymous person once purported, “People tell themselves stories, and then pour their lives into the stories they tell”?

    Meaning is created in life. Neutral events are made subjective by interpreting them through the lens of perception. “Truth” is merely a product of perceptions; perceptions are colored by experience, which is then filtered through the current state of mind and altered even further. By the time the neutral event is processed in this manner, it is little more truth than fiction. Yet personal truth is accepted wholeheartedly.

    In an excellent discussion on being wrong, Kathryn Schulz states, “The miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is. It’s that you can see the world as it isn’t.” (You can watch her talk on TED here). The point of her talk is that we are often not only wrong, but completely unaware of it. She grasps the idea that reality is filtered through perceptions and biases; and that it comes out the other side distorted but believed to be truth.


    • Ed says:

      Truth and meaning are two very different things.

      There are truths in math and physics. 2+2=4 is a truth. The charge of an electron is a truth.

      When we deal with our personal values or the values of society there is only preference, fashion, habit, no truth. Human suffering is good or bad? Madeleine Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová) said the death by starvation of 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it”. I say it was a crime against humanity and the perpetrators should be tried and if found guilty hung.

      • Don says:

        I know an accountant who can make 2+2= whatever you need it to be.

        • I learned the word “uncaluate” early on. The basic idea was to choose the end point you wanted, and then work backward to the desired beginning data and assumptions to produce than end point. If the data was quite variable, and assumptions could be chosen at will, a person could get pretty much any result they chose to. Some of this was a reasonable way of doing things; some perhaps not so much.

        • Joebanana says:

          I don’t post much here and am not trying to change anyones mind, but to be up front, I am a practicing and sorry excuse for a Catholic, but please, using arguments about celibacy as the reason for child abuse or Hitchons and what have you as some sort of refutation of the religion is rather silly. It has about as much weight as climate change arguments based on a thermometer that was not calibrated right.

          Catholicism may well be bullsh$t but many of its thinkers have given more than a little though to human suffering. One of my favourite lines I ever read is from Henri de LuBac “Everybody has his filter, which he takes about with him, through which, from the indefinite mass of facts, he gathers in those suited to confirm his prejudices. And the same fact again, passing through different filters, is revealed in different aspects, so as to confirm the most diverse opinions. It has always been so, it always will be so in this world.”

          Rare, very rare are those who check their filter.”

          • common phenomenon says:

            Ca:tholicism and communism both profess great ideals and have given birth to huge and hugely powerful institutions, but both have caused massive suffering in practice. There is hardly a month goes by without another scandal, of the usual sort, involving Ca:tholic pri-ests. Any other such hugely cor-rupt establishment would have been closed down long ago, and rightly so, with such a record.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Funny how god is all powerful… but he needs money…

              I know that in the Philippines… people are so hooked on the religion drug … that they give to the church while their kids go hungry…

              The priests of course are well-known to hob-knob with the elites and have a penchant for fancy golf courses…

              If I had a rocket launcher…. there would be many people and institutions in my sites… but top of the list would have to be the Catholic Church….. Gee-Had the Catholic Church. Gee-Had the Pope.

            • Joebanana says:

              Again, such a silly point to make other than to masturbate a prejudice and strange to see it here, as if we would not be in the pickle we are in accept for those darn Catholics or communists. Catholicism is an institution made up of people, and the last time I checked, people generally screw things up. For all the serious talk here about life, the talk about the spiritual life is about a mile wide and an inch deep.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Atheists have little interest in discussing spiritual issues…. and I suspect that most commentators on FW are atheists…

          • common phenomenon says:

            “Again, such a silly point to make other than to masturbate a prejudice and strange to see it here, as if we would not be in the pickle we are in accept for those darn Catholics or com~munists. C~atholicism is an institution made up of people, and the last time I checked, people generally screw things up.”

            No, it is not a silly point to make. C~orrupt institutions, including the C~atholic C~hurch and com~munism, translate their faults into vast amounts of human suffering. Just read the papers. It isn’t generally Quakers, Pro~testants, Hindus or Buddhists who are appearing in these sorts of scandals, month after month, but C~atholics. So you are in denial. There’s nothing wrong with spirituality, and most of the lay C~atholics I know are as decent as anybody, but there is something badly wrong with the institution. Yet still they defend it: “Oh, Catholicism has done so much good in the world!” Just what the communists say about their creed. The theory is fine, but unless you root out the rotten practices at the heart of the institution, then such words are just a smokescreen. So just continue to ignore the justified criticism, and keep your blinkers on. 🙁

            “For all the serious talk here about life, the talk about the spiritual life is about a mile wide and an inch deep.”

            Have a look at some of my earlier cosmological comments, that smite so cynically batted away. Surely there has to be something behind life, but to have humans defending the vilest crimes of their institutions as, “Oh well, they’re just headed by people, and all people do that sort of thing anyway” is far from good enough and hardly spiritual. You’d make a good politician. 🙁

            • I think that there are scandals of this type, whenever there are concentrations of men around small children. For example, the Seventh Day Adventists, with all of their schools where children were sent to live away from their parents, had a problem with this kind of thing. The problem also exists to some extent in other organizations, like Boy Scouts.

              Insurance organizations have demanded a change in practices, in such a way that adults in general are not allowed to interact alone with children. Sunday School classes for children must have two teachers, for example. If children need to go to the lavatory, another child is sent with them, because a child can better deflect advances of another child, then of an adults. These changes seem to be resulting in changes for a lot of organizations. For one thing, it becomes harder to have church and charity programs, if you need two times as many volunteers as in the past.

            • Joebanana says:

              I’ve defended no crimes and am under no illusion that there are some very bad people in high positions, including the Church. You have little idea of what you are talking about.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘The only hard data that has been made public by any denomination comes from John Jay College’s study of Catholic priests, which was authorized and is being paid for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops following the public outcry over the 2002 scandals’

              I stopped reading at that point.

              Actually – I am about as interested in discussing religion on FW as you would likely be about discussing the existence of the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

              Did I mention how disappointed I was (and remain) when the last of my baby tooth fell out?

              What have I done to offend Santa – he never leaves anything for me on Christmas Day. All I usually get is a new shirt – and that’s from my wife.

              I am beginning to question my faith.

              Maybe if I pray to Santa will he drop a private jet in my paddock next month?

              That said — if any religion can guarantee me that their god will make good on the offer of a jet (with free fuel, pilots and very fine flight attendants) — in return for my prayers and my willingness to be a loyal groupie — I will dump Santa — and Join Now!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              My lengthy diatribe against Catholics and religion and general …. has been interfered with by god… and now I am awaiting the thunderbolt…. then the eternity in the fires of hell…

              Let me sneak this in before I go….


        • Tim Groves says:

          Alex Cockburn on the Late Hitch:

          I used to warn my friends at New Left Review and Verso in the early 90s who were happy to make money off Hitchens’ books on Mother Teresa and the like that they should watch out, but they didn’t and then kept asking ten years later, What happened?

          Anyway, between the two of them, my sympathies were always with Mother Teresa. If you were sitting in rags in a gutter in Bombay, who would be more likely to give you a bowl of soup? You’d get one from Mother Teresa. Hitchens was always tight with beggars, just like the snotty Fabians who used to deprecate charity.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I have no idea why it is that I know who Chris Hitchens is… I have always thought him to be an utter jack ass. I was not aware that he had taken a US passport….

            That says it all don’t it.

            I hear the type of cancer he had results in a most painful death.


            • Tim Groves says:

              Too much smoking and drinking, acid reflux, and a surfeit of bile, more likely.

              Either that or God, Henry Kissinger or Bill Clinton taking revenge for the mean things Hitch said and wrote about them. As least, I wouldn’t put it past any of them

              Alexander Cockburn and Christopher Hitchens were two young left-wingers who began their journalistic careers in the UK and then moved to the US in the seventies. By the eighties they were both regular columnists with the Nation. Hitchens was a talented and entertaining writer for readers who liked polemical attacks on the people they hated. He wrote harsh and generally well-received putdowns of Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton in the 1990s, before leaving the Nation and joining the neocons at Slate just in time to cheerlead for George W. Bush’s War on Terror. “Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they will lose. A pity that we let them pick the time and place of the challenge, but we can and we will make up for that.”

              He was a journalistic cabaret act and a shameless self promoter, and because for many years he was able to come up with just what the readers and the media people craved, he did well financially in his final decade. But the booze took its toll. He would often turn up for a talk or a TV interview drunk and slurring, and he was very seldom sober. But his increasingly erratic behavior only endeared him more to the producers and audiences, who essentially enabled him along his self-destructive path.

              Cockburn, if I remember correctly, moved to rural northern California and remained a traditional leftwing critic of power who also had some sympathies with the red-state working class. He supported Ralph Nader for President in 200 and 2004 while Hitchens rooted for Bush. As a note of interest for doomers, Cockburn several times pushed the abiotic oil theory, insisting there was plenty more available than the oil companies were letting on about. He died in July 2012 just seven months after Hitchens and also of cancer. But in contrast to Hitchens, who made a drama of his illness writing about himself month after month in Vanity Fair, Cockburn kept his illness to himself, and the first most readers heard about it was when his death was announced.

              How would Hitchens and Cockburn have voted this year? I suspect they’d have as much trouble making up their minds as most of us. They despised the Clintons but would probably have recoiled viscerally at the thought of Trump as President. Perhaps either result would have prompted them to emigrate.

        • smite says:

          “Anyway, between the two of them, my sympathies were always with Mother Teresa.”

          It isn’t Hitch’ job to sort out the problems we have created for ourselves. Before critiquing Hitchens, I would advice anyone to first go ahead and dedicate your life to helping the poor.

          I’d accept if Mother Teresa fired back at Hitch’, but oh no, she was too busy gorging in on the suffering she made a living out of.

          It is not the first time I have watched people (women mostly) [at a hospital] showing their perverse side of human suffering and death. It is of course well veiled behind a mask of what is socially acceptable. But oh no, they can’t hide it from me, they cant.

          But it is easy to spot the difference with the doctor on call rushes to the scene and understands it’s a dire situation and a matter of human suffering. Anyway, I feel sorry for anyone becoming a doc.

          “I hear the type of cancer he had results in a most painful death.

          You have not the slightest clue of what drugs are available at the palliative care. Unbelievable potent stuff. Hitch’ smiled all the way as he kicked the bucket.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Madeleine Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová) said the death by starvation of 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it”.

        I used to think as you do on that…. that she was a monster.

        But I now actually agree with her. Because I suppose what she meant — but could not state — was that the Iraq War was about maintaining BAU…. exactly how that was determined I am not certain but suffice to say that the Eld.ers do not blow up entire countries just for the fun of it.

        When BAU goes we all go — so if 500k children starved keeping BAU alive — then all I can say is better them than me and everyone else. We will all get to starve soon enough

        I’ve said it before — if the high priests concluded that throwing millions of children into a furnace could somehow keep BAU rolling along for a few more months — they’d do it…. and I’d be all for it.

        Those kids are dead anyway

        • Tim Groves says:

          Maddie regrets saying that. It’s been a blot on her reputation. But if we look at the picture, the world, at least since it got crowded enough to embrace agriculture, has always had a surplus of people from the perspective of the economic system. And since the 19th century when we discovered how to kill germs and how to produce food industrially, things have only gotten worse. We can certainly feed the world if we devote our collective efforts to doing so, but there are always millions of people on the margins, hungry, starving, abandoned, destitute, and wasting away.

          Surprisingly, even after losing 500,000 kids,and even after the US invasion and occupation, the Iraqi population continued to rise, albeit at a slower clip than it otherwise might have done. The same thing in North Korea. They had terrible famines in the 1990s, and the young people who were children at that time are permanently stunted like the peasants of the medieval period. But North Korea’s population has continued to rise year after year notwithstanding. I think it maybe something to do with having no lights on at night.

          To find a country that suffered a steep drop in population not due to affluenza, we have to look at Cambodia under Pol Pot. Even in Russia in the 1990s, the decline in population was minimal—a drop of less than 7 million or about 5% before the rise resumed. It’s statistics like that that prove BAU is still roaring on.

  23. MG says:

    Can anybode explain me, why countries on the Arab Peninsula, namely

    Saudi Arabia

    United Arab Emirates





    which have the largest revenues from oil (also as percentage of GDP) in the world have also exceptionally skewed population pyramids (according to the given links) towards the population of men in their age groups of 20-40 year olds. What caused such a disproportionately high portion of men over the women? That is really striking… Where are those missing women? Did they exist/do they exist? Have they escaped? Something is not o.k. there…

    Has that anything in common with the position of women in those countries?

    Or are there any genetic causes?

    Endogamy behind 70% of fetal abnormalities in Saudi Arabia

    • My guess: They import a lot of workers from elsewhere. The rich people of the Arab peninsula couldn’t stoop to doing tasks like driving a taxi, or pouring concrete. They probably don’t have the training for extracting the oil either. There are a lot of welfare payments/subsidies to the Arabs.

      • MG says:

        It is interesting that they count migrant workers into their population. There are also high numbers of migrant women workers there:

        Anyway, without the foreign workforce, these countries (with endogamy or falling population growth like Saudi Arabia) are doomed. This is another reason, besides the worse natural conditions, why they can not stop pumping oil or need to find another revenues for their budgets to prevent collapse. These countries are in very, very tough situation.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Importing a lot of workers has a lot to do with it in places like Qatar and Bahrain.

      Also, cultures that value women less highly than men MAY have higher female death rates, through infanticide, honor killing, abandonment, working women literally to death, etc. Pregnancy/childbirth is another big killer in less developed nations.

      On the other hand, Kazakhstan has only 92 men to every 100 women. That one needs some explaining. Perhaps a lot of their menfolk have gone off to work in the Persian Gulf region.

      • MG says:

        Also the pyramid of Iran is skewed towards higher number of women, namely around the age group of 30.

  24. Craig Moodie says:

    Although I agree with most of what is posted on OFW, I can’t help thinking are we not all perhaps a little guilty of participating in çonfirmation bias?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Personally I have been evolving my positions over the past 4+ years with confirmation and normalcy biases in mind….

      I have changed my positions radically since I landed on this site so no – I don’t think these biases are an issue…

      I have run my biases over with a bus, train and steam roller hundreds of times…. and I believe that I am very much nearer the truth than ever….

    • xabier says:

      Alas, what is there to confirm? Not one of us can have the faintest idea what will happen next. We can only continually adjust partial assessments of probabilities and trends……

      I’ve noted that people who have not an inkling of finite world issues are constantly observing – -unprompted, how hopeless things are, all the news is bad, it can only get worse, etc. Or maybe this is just Englishness…..

      I always keep on a cheerful note with customers, as I don’t want them lose heart or decide to spend all their money on an End of the World bucket list: they must spend it with me!

    • MG says:

      A confirmation bias? That is what I do not find here. The prove of it is the fact the this site does not turn to politics when a soon doom for everybody vision does not come true.

      • Joebanana says:

        Confirmation bias is pretty low here I think. Good point MG, there is little concern about who wins that election simply because we know it is a contest for Captain of the Titanic. I’d love nothing more than to hang on to that hope that my kids will not suffer and maybe die right in front of me. I’d love sone good news but like Eddy I can’t sit there and hear what I hear and not evolve my positions.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          FW is like Kryptonite to normalcy bias/cognititive dissonace/confirmation bias…..

          This is where people land who are tired of the above conditions — who are seeking truth….

          The moment any sort of bias seeps in there are plenty of sentinels ready to bring scrutiny to bear…. the sentinels watch the sentinels for biases…. through this process the dirty water is filtered — then filtered again — and filtered again … and again … until pure thought is all that remains….

          No topic is taboo — no theory … no matter how deviant it may appear — is off limits — so long as it is backed up with factual support ….

          Heaven help those who piss in the water.

        • contest for Captain of the Titanic.

          That is a good description of our election.

  25. Lyn says:

    “WTTC’s latest annual research, in conjunction with our partner Oxford Economics, shows Travel & Tourism’s contribution to world GDP grew for the sixth consecutive year in 2015, rising to a total of 9.8% of world GDP (US$7.2 trillion). The sector now supports 284 million people in employment – that’s 1 in 11 jobs on the planet.

    The sector is set to face macroeconomic conditions and other challenges in 2016, but nevertheless expected to perform at a solid growth rate and outperform global economic growth once again. Travel & Tourism forecasts over the next ten years also look extremely favourable with predicted growth rates of 4% annually.”

    I do not think these 284 million people would approve of downsizing. Interesting forecast by the way.

    • Thanks1 I am sure a lot of folks think this way. It certainly is a popular industry–every island in the world wants to get a large share of its money from tourism–think Cuba. When everything else stops, it stops.

  26. Yoshua says:

    The net energy in a barrel determines the goods and services that can be produced. The usd value is an expression of the goods and services that can be produced. As the net energy in a barrel declines so does the usd value per barrel also decline.

    • Yorchichan says:

      If that is the case, then in the early days of oil when the net energy was so much larger than it is today, why was oil so very cheap?

      • Yoshua says:

        I don’t know. Was it cheap compared to GDP?

        Another strange thing came to mind. If oil represents 33 percent ot the economy and the net energy is declining and the oil price also declines… If there is a oil price deflation… Then there must also be a price deflation on the economy side on goods and services.

        Or can they go in opposite directions? The oil price collapsed by half, but the oil part of GDP didn’t. All commodity prices collapsed, but the economy did not.

        How far can they stretch apart before something breaks?

        Perhaps the first idea wasn’t perfect.

        And then oil costs 1.7 trillion usd a year and represents 25 trillion usd world GDP?

      • starrynighter says:

        Bearing in mind actual prices at those times are higher after inflation adjustment…


        1/ “Regular” Economics 101 supply and demand was a reasonable model back then because supply was viewed as unlimited for practical purposes.

        2/ Net energy provides an upper bound – the price could be anything less than that.

        3/ Politics! European and US control of cheap oil producing governments to fix prices.

        • Yoshua says:

          Yes, things are actually very complicated on the economy side, especially since it can be manipulated in so many ways.

          Perhaps the commodity bubble was a form of manipulation in the years of high prices to give the economy side an advantage when the prices collapsed.

          Or perhaps its peak oil dynamics that they can’t control?

    • EROEI was intended to be something like a reciprocal of price. 100:1 would be very very cheap; 99:1 would be almost as cheap. The energy used in production only skims a tiny amount off the top, in either case. Your net energy is huge in either case. You need practically no investment, to produce a very large amount of oil (or whatever).

      If the EROEI is 100 to 1, you need only an investment of 1 to get 100 back. If the EROEI is 10 to 1, you need an investment of 10 to get 100 back. (or 1 to get 10 back).

      If energy is the majority of your costs, and investment the yields either a 100 to 1 or a 10 to 1 return, you likely have a very profitable investment. This allows you to pay lots of taxes to governments. (This is the way they get their cut of net energy.) They represent very, very good investments.

      But EROI doesn’t count a huge number of other things (human labor, taxes, interest payments, dividends, etc) and the relative amounts of these vary greatly from energy product to energy product. EROEI also doesn’t take into account whether you are taking a high-valued energy product (say oil) to produce a very low valued energy product (say intermittent wind electricity). So the calculation can be terribly misleading. In general, EROEI calculations for intermittent renewables make them look like a lot more worthwhile investments than they really are.

      In general, net energy calculations seem to me to be a waste of time, because there are so many misleading assumptions made in the calculation. Also, we are not running our of energy, we are encountering too much entropy (increased debt, high prices, pollution, increased concentration of wealth among those in charge, distorted prices because if intermittent electricity). You need different calculations all together to look at entropy issues.

      • Yoshua says:

        I constantly hear that the oil producers never look at EROEI, that they just look at the ROI, Return On Investment. It actually starts to make sense that they do so, although they actually do concentrate on high EROEI projects when the ROI is low.

        What the economy then actually do with the refined oil products matters of course as well. It can of course be wasted on projects that have a negative EROEI, or a negative ROI.

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    I have been watching Steven Kopits excellent presentation in which he basically demonstrates that BAU is about to end…

    The Q&A is truly fascinating — nobody questioned his findings … so I assume they agree with his numbers…

    It’s as if these fools are staring death in the face — and instead of wanting to discuss the implications — they throw a few puffs of candy floss at Kopits…

    And they no doubt happily shuffle out of the room afterwards — without a care in the world …

    It is one thing to disagree or to believe there are solutions — but another to agree yet show absolutely new concern….

    It’s as if they were playing a game of make-believe —- when the game ends they return to another reality … their reality being an address in DelusiTAN

    • Ert says:

      Thats one of my favorites from nearly 3 years ago!

      Kopits nailed it down: “But importantly, we’re going to peak out production not because we’re “running out of oil,” but because the marginal consumer is not willing to pay for the marginal barrel. We seem to be pretty much at that level today”

      And he predicted that for 2016 – and not later then 2020! And then he way layed of – guess he didn’t predict that one 😉

    • Yorchichan says:

      It’s as if they were playing a game of make-believe —- when the game ends they return to another reality … their reality being an address in DelusiTAN

      What else are they supposed to do? We all play that same game no matter how sure we are of collapse. Knowledge of an exact date of collapse would be a game changer if that date was sufficiently near, but otherwise all anyone can do is get on with their lives.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I would expect them to keep dancing while the music plays — we all are….

        But to just walk out of the room seemingly oblivious to the fact that they have just been given a death sentence….

        I find that strange.

        My first reaction to being given the death sentence was a feeling of bewilderment — that this cannot be happening …. then I immediately start to find out if there was a way out ….

        In fact the reason I found FW was that I was researching what a no-growth economy looked like…. I was no familiar with the term steady state…. but an article from FW came up in my search….

        If my epiphany would have happened during the Kopits presentation I most certainly would have asked him if he knew of any way that the situation could be mitigated…. I would have asked about alternative energy options …. I would have asked if it would be possible to maintain BAU Lite…. all the things that someone who was not aware of FW might have asked…

        Perhaps they don’t understand what Kopits is telling them?

        Or Mr Cognitive Dissonance has rushed to the barricade to brutally hammer the demons?

        I think the latter is far more likely….

        I passed the exxon research to a friend — he read it — and his response was — we just need the price of oil to go a little higher…. he understands that if the price is too high growth ends…

        But the paper says that oil MUST be over $120 — I resent that snippet along with a few other references to the need for 120+ oil…. including the FW article…

        Yet he still thinks that all will be resolved by a slightly higher oil price.

        Defense mechanisms are extremely powerful phenomenon…..

        • Joebanana says:

          I got together with a good friend of mine the other day too and tried to tell him as best I could that we can’t keep planning for retirement like he expects and he just could not accept it. He thinks I read too much.

        • Yorchichan says:

          Maybe they went home and started desperately searching the web to get to the truth of the matter? It’s what I did on first coming across the term “peak oil”. I didn’t then pass through any of the Kubler Ross stages; for me it was ignorance followed by acceptance. (Admittedly, I didn’t fully appreciate the likely extent of the calamity or shortness of the timscale.) The next day my newly enlightened (by me) programming colleagues appeared not to give a damn.

          To me, as to you, it is strange that people can be provided with information that the progress narrative they have been sold their entire lives is false and civilization will come crashing down in short order and yet they remain unperturbed.

          These days, although I have a captive audience every day (nothing wrong with taxi driving Gail!), I never initiate a collapse discussion; I feel it’s not my place to impart knowledge of impending catastrophe to those who might prefer to remain ignorant. Sometimes it’s VERY difficult to keep my mouth shut.

          This comment on James’ MegaCancer site contains a link to a funny cartoon that is vaguely appropriate to continuing to play the game.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            In that case all paths in the search for truth lead to FW…. so we’d have some of those people at the presentation in our audience …. 🙂

    • Volvo740 says:

      Kopis is still a high price optimist compared to other views on this site I think. Am I correct?

      • I haven’t looked at Kopits work recently, but he has always been looking for high prices before.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          From my reading of him … he has demonstrated that oil producers need 120+ prices to break even…. but he does not suggest that these prices are sustainable.

          After watching that presentation I was left with the impression that he believes break even is impossible — he goes into great detail to explain that oil producers are slashing capex specifically because they must try to bring down break even as much as possible.

          He also elaborates on how high oil prices destroy demand and growth.

  28. MG says:

    Not so much moving jobs to cheaper countries, but robots are to blame:

    The main thieves who took those lost US factory jobs? Robots

    • MG says:

      If machines and robots enable us to achieve more distant energy and resources e.g. underground and higher quality and durability, but, at the same time, the population goes down as it is not compatible with the machines and robots that consume larger and larger share of the produced energy and resources, then the actual limit seems to be enough servicsmen of those machines. Simply said: the robots consume the populations of their creators, i.e. humans.

      Without the machines and robots, the system has already collapsed, as they help us achieve more and more demanding goals.

      But when there is not enough servicemen, the growth of the “population” of robots stops, too. And thiss loop feeds back into less resources.

      This is the actual energy-technology loop: when we move towards more costly resources and energy, we need more sophisticated machines. When the achieved layer of resources and energy is consumed, the system either collapses or new machines help.

      Finally, the problem is the lack of the human resources able to service more and more complex machines. Our problem in the presence of abundant harder to get energy resources moves from natural resource scarcity towards human resource scarcity.

      (The lack of highly qualified workforce in the more and more machines and robots based economy of Slovakia leads me to this conclusion.)

      What do you think?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I think that anytime I see the word robot — or Mars — or solar panel – or windmill … my eyes glaze over … I feel the need to breathe into a paper bag and count to 10… I feel the need to stay away from weapons.

      • MM says:

        I recommend listening to the latest kunstlercast with Dimitry Orlov where he talks about the technosphere and how it will eat the biosphere and the humans in the end. He says: “the technosphere need humans as machines do not have any pursuit to do with other machines”. They need humans to give a meaning to themselves.

        • MG says:

          The machines can not exist independently. They are extremely fragile, unlike humans: their self-repair abilities are practically zero due to the materials they are made from and they require quality energy, whily humans have very good self-repair capabilities embedded in their cells and they can still exist on low quality energy like the food, the sun and the fire heat.

          The idea that we should somehow return to old technologies (like building thatched huts etc.) makes no sense, if our problem is not energy in general, but only cheap energy: we can still build houses from high-tech materials. The problem is, who will use them and service them, if there is lack of suitable high-tech workforce and the poor have no income to afford such new houses and services connected with their operation and maintenance?

          If somebody is skilled enough to build a thatched hut, then he or she must be quite skillful. Many doomsdayers believe that self-help will save us, but the problem is exactly lack of self-help, as the large parts of the populations are simply totally dependent on machines and few people with exceptional skills.

          We have increasing numbers of people who have no survival skills. Their main problem is often the lack of the physical strength. And they are not able to fix formerly simple things which have become too complex (like cars – today, you need specialist services and spare parts).

          • smite says:

            “The machines can not exist independently. They are extremely fragile”

            Oh come on, we send machines to the outer reaches of the solar system.

            “whily humans have very good self-repair capabilities embedded in their cells and they can still exist on low quality energy like the food, the sun and the fire heat.”

            On the contrary, the human organism is extremely fragile. We need extremely highly specialized and slow-growing high-quality calories to survive. Even then, due to the poor choices, we end up with various diseases caused by a bad diet.

            “but the problem is exactly lack of self-help, as the large parts of the populations are simply totally dependent on machines and few people with exceptional skills.”

            Yes. And it will only worsen the more technology progresses.

            • MG says:

              Yes, we send machines to the outer reaches of the solar system, to the depths of the Earth etc. Machines are our “artificial limbs” powered by the external energy. They are usually the limbs of hard steel that consume concentrated and stored energy, not the living organisms that can live using the dispersed and intermittent energy of the sun.

            • smite says:

              A machine can last ‘forever’ compared to a human. Usually an “expiration date” has to explicitly be designed in for a machine to wear out and break down. A well maintained and properly designed electric motor, for example, can last centuries.

              Can you last that long? 😉

            • Can the electricity supply for the electric motor last that long? I don’t think so. So we are back at the same result.

            • smite says:

              “Can the electricity supply for the electric motor last that long? I don’t think so. So we are back at the same result.”

              It depends. The voyager spacecraft(s) have been in space since 1977. It’s got electric motors, semiconductors, advanced instruments, etc. Almost 40 years in space and it is still operational, running on electricity.

              “Voyager 1’s extended mission is expected to continue until around 2025”

              That makes it almost 50 years in space. And you and the other (insta)doomerists seriously think BAU goes down with the financial system. Nonsense.


              Pretty far from home:

            • erm—-zero gravity helps

              you also fail to take into account other external forces which will wreck any functioning system.

              one of the biggest problems in third world countries trying to install electric systems for the first time is theft of copper wire—and that’s just for starters.

            • CTG says:

              A machine can last ‘forever’ compared to a human. Usually an “expiration date” has to explicitly be designed in for a machine to wear out and break down. A well maintained and properly designed electric motor, for example, can last centuries.

              Confirm no engineering background. rubbish talk….

            • smite says:

              Here’s a close to 100 year old 2.4kV 350hp electric motor running:

              Here’s a lightbulb that has been burning for 115 years:

              And the list goes on and on….. Lovely isn’t it… Mmm, technology that can last for centuries. Love it!!

            • CTG says:

              Smite – one light bulb and one motor. that is all that can sustain our lifestyle? That is the reason why I don’t want to debate with you. It is pointless. I think we should just leave you aside and not to debate on this.

            • smite says:

              “Smite – one light bulb and one motor. that is all that can sustain our lifestyle? That is the reason why I don’t want to debate with you. It is pointless. I think we should just leave you aside and not to debate on this.”

              Not really, why not simply admit that you lost the argument in every case, from the optimal (99.9% meat/egg/milk free) human diet to the longevity of well designed, engineered and maintained machinery.

              However I do agree that humans are in a dire situation, but that doesn’t have to mean we should start bending the truth for it to fit into the (insta)collapse/doom narrative.

      • smite says:

        I pretty much agree 100%.

        Although, I am quite sure most machines are much more energy efficient than a human, unless we are talking about a first-generation steam engine or a hit and miss engine. Thus more work is produced per energy unit with a machine than from a human.

        Also, wasn’t there some youtube clip that outlined how much energy was needed to produce and maintain one person from birth to grave in the industrialized nations. It was a staggering amount. For the same energy input, I presume it is quite possible to create and operate a hefty production line.

        Then we have the owners. What do you think they’ll invest money in for them to continue to enjoy the spoils of most high-tech goods? Humans or machines?

        For me the answer is obvious: We are going the way of the horse and hit and miss engine.

        • CTG says:

          Although, I am quite sure most machines are much more energy efficient than a human, unless we are talking about a first-generation steam engine or a hit and miss engine. Thus more work is produced per energy unit with a machine than from a human.

          Confirm no science background. Rubbish talk. Living organism are very efficient in converting food to energy.

      • common phenomenon says:

        “the robots consume the populations of their creators, i.e. humans.”

        You came here to talk science fiction? Do your friends know you have such beliefs? Give me 17 good reasons why you shouldn’t be sent straight to a lunatic asylum!

        We’ve had robots for decades. Look at this 1980 film of the robots building the Fiat cars:

        • smite says:

          CNC machines have been around since the 50’s.

          “You came here to talk science fiction? Do your friends know you have such beliefs? Give me 17 good reasons why you shouldn’t be sent straight to a lunatic asylum!”

          [met-uh-fawr, -fer]

          a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.”.
          Compare mixed metaphor, simile (def 1).
          something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

        • MG says:

          The people who repair robots can not repair human environments, i.e. we have dying out villages or towns, as those, who would otherwise repair homes, work only when they are well paid.

          The work of servicemen is less and less affordable, that is why your car mady by robots is cheap and less prone to faults, as it was in the past. But when your car has a serious fault requiring a lot of human work, then it is cheaper for you to buy a new one made by robots.

          The servicemen for highly sophisticated machines give their energy to machines. The human populations as such spend increasing amounts of their energy on keeping the sophisticated human environments working.

          We spend more energy on preserving our human environments than on increasing our population. This phenomenon is clearly reflected in the declinging pensions and populations.

          Pensions and children are one and the same thing: both of them represent energy for the people who are geting older and become weaker. With the declining pensions, you can not afford the servicemen. Without children, you have nobody to become the servicemen.

          It is our human environments that are disappearing, which in turn causes the population decline. (Besides the accumulation of the mutations in the populations and the costly energy.)

          The thing that many call “the rising individualism” is in fact that the individual homes and jobs consume more and more energy, so the people do not interact with each other as it was when their jobs were less dependent on machines. The people are forced to interact more and more with machines to get paid and buy the external energy.

          It is easier and cheaper for you to buy a chainsaw (made in the robotized factory) and cut the wood yourself than to find and pay somebody else to do it for you, as his abilities are more valuable and scarce than the machines produced cheaply in huge quantities.

        • MG says:

          And the Italian car production is a good example of peak and decline that goes hand in hand with the population decline:

          Italian motor vehicle production (year and number of units):
          1989 2,220,774
          2014 697,864
          2015 1,014,223


  29. adonis says:

    frogmann the rest of the world will go insane when the collapse arrives

    • Volvo740 says:

      Just like there should be a popular uprising against your local grocery store… CO2 emitters!

    • Pintada says:

      • Pintada says:

        This movie – I watched it this morning – is perhaps the worst denialist propaganda I have seen. It is the worst, because most people inclined to care about the natural world will believe it. If we are to believe it, AGW is not even a real problem that needs any action beyond some minor modification of the Paris Accord, and it certainly does not require any rethinking of our economic model. They could have saved an hour and a half, hundreds of tons of CO2 emissions, and millions of dollars and simply said, “Move along, nothing to see here.”

        In reality, I hope Gail is right, and that we are taken out completely, and very soon. If Gail is wrong, and BAU continues for more than three or four years humanity will be responsible for the extinction of every large animal (and most small ones) on the planet. Humanity is over, but I would like my last thought to be that some nice rodent species, for example coneys, will be left. Or, if the collapse comes soon enough and is steep enough, a few human hunter/gatherers will do OK for a few more thousand years. (but maybe that last idea is just wishful thinking).

        • Froggman says:

          I’m so grateful for this site, and for comments like yours. When I sometimes feel like the only person on the planet who has these thoughts, I know I can come here and find others sharing the same alien ideas.

          Perhaps we are the sane ones after all, and it’s the rest of the world that is mad…

          • Artleads says:

            And it’s nice that someone can understand my frustration at County planning processes (if you call it planning), where the “good” people are intent on pointing out some tiny error in article this point that. The best among these people recently posted the DiCaprio video, urging us all to look at it…

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Perhaps seeing reality is a form of madness – as perceived by those who do not see it?

            Case in point…

            Attended a gathering this afternoon… having a few drinks with 3 other fellas … US elections and other pointless drivel being discussed… I have nothing to contribute beyond my usual Clown vs Criminal comments…

            Then oil came up for some reason …. don’t even recall the context … and I decided to chime in with … so … did you know that Exxon has just about stopped looking for oil? Yep – I just read a lengthy analysis that indicates that what is left to find cannot be done so profitably without the price of oil over $120 — that they think oil at that price crashes the economy so they have stopped looking…

            Yep Granny has lost her income and is digging into her bank account …

            Consternation…. silence…

            Then – so what are the options — what about alternative energy….

            Well I says…. that’s a problem because you can’t run the world on electricity and anyways when the sun don’t shine you don’t run anything…

            But surely ‘they’ will work that out — so that we can store the energy?

            And I says …. right … but they need to do that before Exxon empties the bank account…


            How about those All Blacks… lost to the Irish in Chicago!

            Now do they think I am mad – or sane? Depends….

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I am organizing a new movement that supports global warming in all forms — whether it involves the burning of the filthiest coal… oil … gas… wood… basically anything that can be used to create rotary motion and economic growth

          I am 100% behind the solar panel industry — because it means we get to use double the energy – once to build and operate the panels — twice to operate the separate coal fired generation system… it is without a doubt the best way to burn a lot of energy — to create rotary motion and economic growth

          I am planning to picket any meeting where discussions take place — I am going to write endless letters to politicians insisting that we burn more coal oil and gas.

          Burn More Coal! Burn More Coal! Burn More Coal!

          Now how do I emulate Leonardo and get the coal industry behind me providing me with the private jet to deliver me to the global warming summits so that I can make my voice heard?

        • Dear Pintada,

          What you just write is an echo of my thoughts exactly.
          I don’t often comment here as I’m not up with all the technical stuff (graphs/charts etc) but when I read what you just wrote I felt the need to comment.
          Your comments are always resonate with me & I thank you for them & the other like minded folk her on OFW, Froggman, Psile, Artleads & FE to name but a few & of course Gail for providing such a fantastic forum to read & discuss.


        • Yorchichan says:


          In what way is a living planet better than a dead planet anyway? Think of all the suffering that will be ended forever if we manage to wipe out all of life.

          • smite says:

            Indeed. It’s crazy with all the human/life/organism chauvinism combined with (insta)doomerism. Talk about being so self entitled, demeaning and demanding that it’s either the debauchery of BAU, and/or death and oblivion.


        • MM says:

          I bet birds have a large chance to take over. They survived the dinosaurs and can have a bird view of the area where they live. They can detect ruins of our industry from above signs on the ground that you will not see in 1000 years as hunter gatherer on the ground. They can then look for a place where the risk of contaminated food and water is low.

          • Froggman says:

            Oh that would make my daughter happy- she loves birds! And they really are fascinating animals.

            If you look at all the most recent literature, it’s been updated to reflect the scientific consensus that birds ARE dinosaurs. In fact, articles about what we used to just call “dinosaurs” now include clarification that they are talking about “non-avian” dinosaurs so they aren’t confused with birds. Check out the first 2 paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry for “birds”, which directly calls them the last surviving group of dinosaurs.

            So in a sense, the reign of the dinosaurs never really ended. They walked the earth for 200 million years or so, and then took to the skies. All said, they’ve dominated the earth for about 250 million years. Mammals are just silly trend, a passing phase in comparison to the dinosaurs. It really would only make sense that the earth is just being handed back over to them once again…

        • smite says:

          I’m always baffled at what’s so great and fantastic about life it has to prevail at any cost. Has the human chauvinism now transcended into organism chauvinism?

          If this sucker goes down badly (I never rule out that possibility) we simply failed at our only shot within geological time of reaching the stars as intelligent/cognitive/creative machines.

          The earth (and possibly bacteria) will reset itself and once again the process towards greater complexity starts.

          George Carlin on “Saving the Planet”.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          To be fair Obama, the Pope, DiCaprio and others all doubted that the Paris accord’s measures would be enough to change anything in the video. In my opinion it paints way too rosy of a picture.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            If any person was able to be in a position of power that allowed them to meaningfully impact the pace of global warming — I would make myself available to put a bullet between that person’s eyes.

            For the good of continuance of BAU

            • Tango Oscar says:

              That’s the thing. We as humans talk about “doing something” in terms of climate change but there’s really nothing we can do. Nobody is going to voluntarily accept a lower standard of living.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              A lower standard of living implies The End of More….. we all know where that leads…. as to a deflationary death spiral…. and The End of Everything

            • smite says:

              “A lower standard of living implies The End of More….. we all know where that leads…. as to a deflationary death spiral…. and The End of Everything”

              More likely the end of ‘democracy’ and frivolous consumption. The ‘democracies’ will be transformed into a feudal/technocrat high-tech society.

              There will be techno-utopia for those still onboard the exponential bandwagon, blight and austerity for the rest.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          Also look at the perspective of who this movie is aimed for, what culture/society are they coming from, what views/knowledge do they have? The average American, whom I assume is the primary target audience here, is a simpleton. The majority of Americans don’t even believe climate change is a thing nor are they capable of understanding it. Furthermore they could never, in a million years, connect their abusive consumption of finite resources with harm to the planet or other peoples.

          So this “idiot’s guide” introduction video is a way to take a famous person who already captivates a large audience and it introduces them to the idea that we’re all going to die. In a way I wouldn’t be surprised either if this was the introductory stages of some mass media propaganda inserted into a crisis since National Geographic had a hand in it. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

          • DJ says:

            Did we see the same movie?

            Leonardo went to see Elon and the pope, and a few less important people. Then he spoke to UN.

            UN and Elon agrees to save the world through carbon taxes and solar and windmills.

            Ironically, the world has been saved without anyone giving up anything so it was pointless a pointless exercise involving the ignorant masses in this.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Sure the movie is delusional and on some level pointless but that’s subjective. It was aimed at plebes, which is the main audience who might take something away from this. Most of the people in the video clearly showed nonverbal communication that hints at the massive level of inadequacy with the Paris accord deals.

              Again, no Pope has ever done or said anything like this. Did you expect the first Pope to ever open his mouth about science and climate change to impact the world? He probably thinks he’s doing some level of good.

              What do you think would happen if someone like Obama was truthful about the situation. “Let me be clear, we’re all going to be dead in the next couple of decades because there’s no possible way we’re reversing runaway CO2.” And then everyone would freak out, the economy would collapse instantly, and then we’d all starve. What do you want them to do? Just because it’s not useful to you and it paints a lie doesn’t mean it isn’t useful to someone. This entire reality is lies, what did you expect? The truth, LMFAO!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Yep – this is just another shot of hopium so that the patient doesn’t need to feel the pain of ripping the heart, brains and spinal cord out of BAU…

            • Tango Oscar says:

              It very well could be. When I saw National Geographic on it I knew there was likely an ulterior motive. They need their Disney Ending in order to keep people hopeful.

        • Tim Groves says:

          All other considerations being equal, emotions about things we feel to be rooted in the present are stronger than those we feel rooted in the past, and those we feel rooted in the recent past are stronger than those we feel rooted in the distant past.

          This is why Attila the Hun gets of a lot more lightly than Pol Pot, for instance.

          Many people get uptight or upset about the various cruelties and destruction people are responsible creating for in the present, but very few of us get uptight or upset about the cruelties that the dinosaurs perpetrated on the world and on each other, and they can contemplate the massive extinction event of 69 million years ago with nonchalance and barely a whiff of sadness and certainly without anger or hatred.

          Why the selective outrage? I feel it as much as anyone. And yet at the same time I think it’s illogical to care more about the now than the then.

      • dolph says:

        Will these hollywood actors give up their own wealth for climate change?
        Fat chance.

        These wealthy liberals make me sick to my stomach. And you people still wonder why people are voting Trump.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        And the answer is … to buy a $100,000+ car made by Elon Musk …. powered by a 500kg toxic energy intensive battery…

        And the masses will believe it.

        It’s really quite funny to watch humans go about their daily lives…. they silly buggers for the most part…. but they can also be quite vicious monsters under certain conditions….

        Check out Leo coming off he private jet

        He looks so serious in this shot… must be thinking about how he can save the planet

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Elon Musk – Private Jet – N628TS

      It would seem that the leaders of the Global Warming Leadership Committee all make extensive use of private jets.

      But then…. the people attending protests generally arrive in cars… I bet they don’t even car pool.

      Silly buggers them humans….

  30. Yoshua says:

    The world conventional crude oil production has been on a plateau since 2005 and so has also the world average water cut. The water cut reached a plateau of 50 percent and will be there until just before the world conventional oil depletion rate reaches 90 percent and then it starts to spike upwards exponentially.

    I guess that is the point when the conventional oil production falls of a cliff ?

    Or perhaps that is the moment when the net energy in each barrel starts to tank and the economy contracts and the oil price collapses ? Perhaps that is what took place in 2014 ?

  31. Ed says:
    14 Robots in class at Google.

  32. Tim Groves says:

    A Tesla has crashed into a tree in Indiana, bursting into flames and killing the driver and passenger.
    It seems these electric vehicles burn even better than the one’s that run on gasoline.

    • Ed says:

      Tragically it was not self driving. Instead, some drunk and irrational monkey (reference to our common evolutionary background, I have no idea what ethnic group the drive was) was at the wheel.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        On Joshua Brown’s tombstone:

        Here Lies an Idiot who Paid the Price for Believing the Bullshit of Elon Musk.

        I wonder what the law suit is going to look like…. alas Musk will get the taxpayers to pay for it no doubt

      • A Real Black Person says:

        Aren’t the newer Telsas on the road semi-self driving? Why didn’t the semi-self driving feature computer-correct the driver’s bad driving? You’d think there’d be an high-priority objective programmed into its driving software that that says :PROTECT THE BATTERY FROM HIGH SPEED COLLISIONS AT ALL COSTS.

        Any word on the speed at which the collision that sparked the fire occurred?

    • Lyn says:

      There is a reason Elon still holds on to his 67 Series 1 E-Type Jag.

      • A Real Black Person says:

        Elon, like all scammers, stick to certain rules about what they do. One of which, is
        “Never get high on your own supply.”

        This makes me think he doesn’t buy his own b.s. regarding electric cars.

  33. adonis says:

    That is a brilliant article Fast Eddie

  34. adonis says:

    they just do not understand it because the world has been brainwashed by all the conventional mainstream thinking even i have its so easy to slip back into delusional thinking because it feels so good to falsely believe that there is a way out of our predicament.The Truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

  35. Fast Eddy says:

    I pick up alerts from the Mish site — not sure why I bother because 99% of the articles are rubbish…. Note to self – turn off those alerts…

    But anyway … I thought I would interrupt to endless discussions of Paris vs Kim …. with a dose of ice cold water… so I posted Yorchichan’s excellent Exxon article…. just to see what would happen….

    I introduced it by suggesting it did not matter who would win the election …. nobody could fix this problem…

    One would think this article would be quite troubling …. that it might grab the attention of even the stupidest of donkeys….

    It is after all describing a defining moment in the history of the world…. if the facts of the article are correct then there can be no misunderstanding …. we are on the precipice of calamity…

    But nope….. they just continue …. like cows grazing on grass….

    Actually … if a pack of wolves was approaching a herd of cows…. I don’t imagine the cows would just complacently continue to munch grass…..

    • Yorchichan says:

      Think you meant Yoshua. Credit where credit’s due.

    • Kurt says:

      Stupid is as stupid does. It’s all good until the turkeys disappear.

    • Jarvis says:

      Wow! Talk about your cognitive dissonance. Must be a requirement for that site.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        To reiterate… it is a bloody good thing that democracy is not involved in making the important decisions… cattle… donkeys… imbeciles… clowns… fools…. the lot

    • Yoshua says:

      OK. You win, I lose. There’s definitely something wrong with us doomer’s on FW. 🙂

    • Tango Oscar says:

      Over the last 3 years XOM’s Income Statement looks awful. Gross profits, operating income, and net income are substantially down. The Cash Flow looks hideous as well with lots of money going out via dividends. The dividends appear to be increasing and they paid out over $12 Billion dollars worth of dividends in 2015 alone. Cash flow is heavily negative and likely indicates bleeding of money somewhere. The Balance Sheet doesn’t show too much. Cash is trending downwards and slightly declining assets.

      It looks like they have room to consume themselves quite a bit more and shed off lots of dead weight here but if the price continues to stay sub-$50 they’re ultimately headed for bailouts or bankruptcy. Financial sheet guys though won’t be able to sniff too much wrong though unless they comprehend oil depletion and resource scarcity issues. As long as the dividends remain they’ll only get the hint that something’s wrong within the industry perhaps but not necessarily Exxon.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I recall some years ago reading something about the oil industry … in a nutshell the theory was ‘if you do not at least replace your reserves — then as a company you are dead meat’

        I suppose that can be overlooked if the company is willing to borrow billions to pay hefty dividends….

        • Tango Oscar says:

          It’s all sleight of hand accounting gimmicks and shifting around of assets for now. This game can continue for awhile in this low rate environment. Plus there’s helicopter money waiting in the background. And even then there are guaranteed bailouts.

          I give them 2 quarters before cutting dividends. 2 more quarters after that they are on the verge of bankruptcy. If the price stays sub $50/barrel for the next year we should be at the bailout point, perhaps Q1 of 2018. A large bailout could buy them another year or so.

          It is likely the price of oil is going to drastically spike up and down, trying to find a stable level as producers begin going bankrupt. They’re not going to recover as the economy won’t allow it but 2 years of BAU is better than nothing. I’ll take it if that’s what we get. And that’s of course assuming that nothing else goes wrong, which won’t happen.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            We do seem to be getting down to the nitty gritty…..

            When oil companies are borrowing billions to pay dividends Houston … we have a problem…

            Maybe the CBs will just continue to loan them more billions so they can stay alive — well not loan… give them billions….. whatever it takes….. the oil producers absolutely must keep the product flowing.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              They know there time is up so they figure one of 2 things is going to happen. Either they’re going bankrupt or the price is going to recover and they keep their head above water. They appear to be going all in on choice number 2, otherwise they’d simply remove the dividend entirely and start addressing their sustainability.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Wow — as in Oh my God (OMG) wow…. as opposed to Wow — that is so cool!

      Great find.

      What do they call that room in the hospital where they put terminally ill patients who about to take their last gasps? There must be a name for it…

      Exxon is about to be wheeled into that room …. I suspect other big oil companies are even closer to death…. the room is about to get very busy….

      BAU is on

      Try to post that on Wolf Street the next time they run an energy story…

      Wolf’s position on high oil prices is that they are a good thing because they encourage oil companies to seek out new oil reserves….

      He’ll either:

      1. ignore you
      2. call you an idiot
      3. delete the post
      4. or the facts of the article will result in him having breakdown as they collide with his delusional state of mind.

      • Stefeun says:

        Palliative care (as opposed to curative, where you can hope to get healed).
        May I argue that our whole economy has been -officially- put on palliative care since the early 1980’s? (Reagan claiming “we’re gonna turn the bull loose”, etc..)

        • Reagan encouraged the use of more debt and more hierarchical behavior–thus more complexity, to try to deal with our energy and other problems. We didn’t really have the additional energy products to fix the problems in the traditional way, so Reagan tried the “standard” workaround–more complexity, in the hope that it would lead to more output, at the same time that manufacturing began to be moved to cheaper locations. Businesses tended to prosper more than individuals.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘I would imagine by 2020, the U.S. will be a much different place. Regrettably, most Americans are not prepared.’

      An outstanding article…. he might want to remove that last line though…. it is superfluous.

    • Yorchichan says:

      Perhaps someone with more knowledge of matters financial can explain to me why Exxon continue to pay large dividends and buy back shares if they are in financial difficulties. Why not reduce dividends to zero and let shareholders take a hit? Why buy back shares that may soon be worthless? Isn’t this exactly the opposite route that Saudi Aramco have chosen to take with their share issues?

      • DJ says:

        Maybe they are doing what is best for their shareholders? If there is no oil to be found it would be irresponsible wasting money looking for it.

        • Yorchichan says:

          Cynic that I am, it never crossed my mind that a company might act in the best interests of its shareholders. I guess members of the board and their families would themselves be major shareholders. As you say, if there is no point spending the money on exploration and nowhere else profitable to invest it, may as well let the shareholders benefit.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Globally, more than $9 trillion of government securities yield below zero, according to Bloomberg Barclays index data. In such an environment where investors are scrounging for yields, the big four oil companies offer mouth-watering ones. Exxon has a dividend yield of 3.4 percent, Chevron has a yield of 4.19 percent, BP has a yield of 6.68 percent, and Royal Dutch Shell has a dividend yield of 6.4 percent.

        This has led the investors to continue holding the stocks of these companies even during such a massive oil rout.

        If the investors bail and trigger a sell off of these stocks, it would dampen the sentiment towards their stock, and the companies would find it difficult to raise new debt. Hence, taking some debt to continue paying dividends is the smart strategy—and possibly the only strategy—to follow.

        • Yorchichan says:

          Thanks FE, I can buy that explanation. Even if the companies won’t be doing any more exploration, new debt could be needed for diversification.

      • Tango Oscar says:

        Cutting dividends is a big no-no. It tells the industry, competitors, workers, and shareholders that there’s a big red flag in the background. In order to keep investment flowing in it’s often best for companies to simply pretend nothing is wrong and hope the price goes back up. They really don’t have much choice. It’s really telling though that they’ve cut capex and exploration in many cases in order to buy back their own shares. Shows they’re preparing to cannibalize themselves in order to slim down because they simply can’t invest in new oil at $50/barrel.

    • Thanks! This is basically a verification of the problem that Steve Kopits talked about, back in early 2014. See my post

  36. Thomas Simon says:

    What is cost of 40 quadrillion BTU (“quads”) of energy? Because according to the DOE that is how much energy is wasted each year due to inadequate weatherization and poor energy management in both commercial and residential buildings, just in the USA. Gail, how can this not be a factor in your analysis?

    • First, send me a link to what you are talking about. 40 quads, out of the total 97 quads that the US consumes each year, is an absolutely absurd amount to lose to “inadequate weatherization and poor energy management.” This is a chart I have shown previously regarding US energy consumption by month, divided up among transportation, industrial use, and “residential + commercial.” Commericial will include energy use of stores and offices, and residential will include energy use of homes. The two amounts are roughly equal, and follow a similar pattern (big hump for heating in winter, small hump for cooling in summer), so you can mentally figure out what is happening.

      The chart only shows energy used directly in the United States; it does not include the huge amount of energy indirectly imported from other countries in the form of finished goods from China, India, and many other countries. The easiest way of cutting the energy consumption is to send jobs to other countries. Then US citizens are too poor to own cars and homes. Young people live with their families longer, “saving” on energy use. Industrial use falls. World energy consumption rises, because of the jobs shipped overseas, but US energy consumption falls. Another way of reducing energy use is by having a major recession. This particularly affects industrial energy use in the 2008-2009 period. There seems to be a longer lasting impact on transportation energy. Homes and offices are not particularly affected, except that energy use is no longer growing with rising population. Thus, there is a small trend downward on a per capita basis.

      Better insulation and more efficient furnaces/air conditioning would mostly affect the size of the summer and winter spikes. People already have a financial incentive to economize. When an old furnace or air conditioner wears out, new ones tend to be more efficient. I suppose with huge financial incentives, people could be encouraged to replace their air conditioners and furnaces earlier–but these are expensive devices. The embedded energy in them is high as well. Throwing out perfectly usable equipment has a cost as well. Adding insulation and reducing air leaks is another approach, but people and businesses already have an incentive to save. I suppose a rule could be made that refrigerated cases in stores need to have doors on them, to make them more energy efficient. This would lead to a need to replace some perfectly good refrigeration units.

      A lot of energy loss is “baked into the cake” by the laws of physics. I think that is mostly what you are referring to. For example, when we make electricity, the “energy” contained in the electricity (in terms of heating power) is less than the energy of the fuel used to make the electricity. In fact, the EIA and IEA “grosses up” electricity generation by renewables, so that the 97 quads really represents “how much fossil fuel energy would need to be burned to produce an equivalent amount of electricity using fossil fuels.” The usual way this is done is by dividing by 0.38. So they are assuming a 38% efficiency in making electricity from fossil fuels.

      Many people point to the internal combustion engine as a particularly wasteful way of using oil. The level of this efficiency depends on the type of engine. This 2014 article about the Prius talks about Toyota gasoline engine achieves 38% thermal efficiency. This Wikipedia article talks about modern gasoline engines having a maximum thermal efficiency of about 25% to 30%. Clearly, cars with higher “miles per gallon” ratings will have better efficiency. Car makers know this, and have been working to improve the MPG. If you want better MPG, all you need to do is sell your existing car, and buy one with higher MPG. Trucking companies stand to make money by using as little fuel as possible, so they keep making changes to improve fuel usage as well.

      In general, stationary uses of oil, as in a factory, have mostly moved to electricity, because electricity is a more cost effective approach. This is partly because electricity comes from cheaper fuels–we practically never burn oil to make electricity, because oil is a very expensive fuel. We burn coal or natural gas, because they are much cheaper.

      There has been an attempt to make electric cars, but these use more materials, so they are more energy intensive on the front end. They are also less affordable for those buying them, without big rebates. They tend to have very high depreciation costs, unless covered by government subsidies. Somebody–government, leasing company, or owner–must “eat” these costs. It is hard to see how they can scale up, without a huge true reduction in costs, so that they do not require such large subsidies. We need a $10,000 electric car that goes farther than a golf cart and lasts 20 years.

      • Gail, why are you still using that red herring of electric car, or “carz” in general ?!
        I’ve shown you on several practical examples the comparative fraction of energy usage per traveled distance and person in public transport. It already does exist (incl. shipping/delivery), in every form local to regional and even larger scale, e.g. simplifying: from very local trams/trolleybuses -> sub 100mi per hour trains -> above 100mi per hour long distance trains..

        You have frequented the PO related media at least from the mid 2000s, right? So, you must also remember all these discussions back then about how the existing network within the US, the tram, trolley and rail system has been sabotaged by the carz and oil lobby for the individualist ego and frivolous energy burning trip, especially after the WWII.

        Is it too late now for “curating” this problem is for another question.
        Most likely yes, it’s already too late for large parts of the US/NA..

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The economy must grow. Cars contribute to economic growth. Therefore cars were going to happen no matter what.

          What you need to understand is that when we try to impose artificial controls on the economy we get all sorts of bizarre outcomes…. kind of like a priest trying to shut down his primordial urges… remaining celibate…. the urges do not go away … and they frequently emerge in criminal type behaviour …. one can only imagine what goes through the mind of a priest who does not release the steam…. (release the steam hahaha I LIKE IT!)

          Take for instance communist Russia — this was in effect an attempt to violate the laws of growth… it was unnatural — the only way to do it was to use the heavy hand — throw people into gulags if they resisted…. obviously it did not end well.

          What you are suggesting would be about as effective as telling people not to try to live large… trying to explain to them that this is bad…. good luck with that…

          And if you were let’s say a dictator and you dictated this is the way things would be — that would be signing your death warrant.

          The urges are primordial — and they are unstoppable.

          Trying to fight them is futile at best — very dangerous at worst

    • This site is mostly the US/NA experience oriented readership, they for sure know they bloated their living arrangements especially after the WWII, and not corrected their ways much even after the 1970s warning shot, so they feel very entrapped in arrangement of suburbias / big box stores / gasguzzlers / gutted public infrastructure, and rightly so..

      Different social, regional adaptation, like pendlers/commuters doing thousands km per year in fast trains powered via nuclear/hydro baseload grid, and the “last mile” finishing on bike or local tram/trolleybus inside livable city is an unreal foreign scifi novel to them. Despite dozens of million of people have been living like that elsewhere for decades..

      The truth is that most likely such wasteful path dependencies are already past meaningful corrective action, there is no will, no talent, no time and little energy available now to optimize flows of all these wasted quads in one coherent quick sweep motion. The only realistic scenario is some form of “planned abandonment” and triage/write off ala Kunstler/Greer, and rather focusing efforts on smaller and better in enclaves, where it could be salvaged for at least few more generations.

      Unfortunately, in reality that spells for the majority of US/NA free fall into South American/African poverty levels and bitter fight who is allowed to join and on what conditions that attempted restoration of normalcy on smaller footprint.

      • xabier says:

        Well, the US has the ‘Africans’ and it has the Latinos, they should all be fine with that future ….

      • name says:

        Efficiency is only good when it leads to higher worldwide energy consumption rate, because that’s why we have world economy – to increase energy flows, not to build cars, or computers. I think that at this stage of depletion and system complexity, it is now impossible to increase world energy consumption rate no matter what.

  37. Fast Eddy says:

    Heated concrete driveways…. this has to be a symptom of something really really bad….

    • Ed says:

      I have wanted my driveway heated for a long time. 400 feet up hill (both ways). I have the land area I can use direct solar thermal to pre-heat the sub-surface of the driveway. (srac on/) Except for the embodied energy in the system and installation and energy used by the pumps it is energy neural. (/sarc off)

      Gerald O’Niel proposed towns in large buildings where the roof could be rolled off to the side on sunny days for my area of the US Northeast. Powered of course from the solar power satellites.

      I have also considered a clear glass roof over my driveway to deal with thee snow. But maybe the best will be the robot yard keeper to shovel by hand.

      • The University of Illinois-Chicago built its campus with overhead heated walkways (made of concrete) when it first opened in 1965. After someone turned them on for the first time, they figured out that the expansion of the concrete was more than they allowed for. Also, the water from the upper layer drips all over people on the lower layer. After the water falls on the lower level, it makes ice in the shaded area. So generally a very poor idea, not to mention the cost, once energy costs went above those in 1965.
        University of Illinois Chicago elevated walkways

  38. smite says:

    McKinsey Report on where machines can replace humans and where they cannot.

    “Last year, we showed that currently demonstrated technologies could automate 45 percent of the activities people are paid to perform and that about 60 percent of all occupations could see 30 percent or more of their constituent activities automated, again with technologies available today.”

    Yes folks, it’s coming your way. Unless of course you build such machines. Happy times! 🙂

  39. Fast Eddy says:

    Cathay Pacific … now Singapore Air…

    Singapore Airlines Ltd. said it will be vigilant on costs as it warned yet again that the weak operating outlook is likely to persist amid excess capacity and aggressive pricing by competitors.

    The prospects for most major economies remain “tepid,” while passenger airline business continued to be impacted by geopolitical uncertainty and weak global economic conditions, Singapore Air said in a statement Thursday. The premium carrier reported its first quarterly slump in two years, saying passenger and cargo yields — a key measure of profitability in the industry — continue to be under stress.

    I am not buying the crap that the middle eastern carriers are eating their lunches — these two airlines rank at the top year after year… so it is not as if their product is not top notch..

    Also these ME carriers do not have direct flights to many of the destinations that business people fly to in Europe — they all hub through the ME …

    There is no way in hell if I had to fly to London or Zurich I am going to take a stopover in Dubai — when I can fly direct

    The front of the planes – where the money is made — are less full….

    This all coincides with layoffs at banks… less activity in Asia (Goldman is laying off 30% of its investment banking division because there is not enough activity to keep them busy)

    And that is a symptom of a global economy going nowhere — that cannot be papered over.

  40. adonis says:

    and there u go volvo740 more proof of where the ‘new energy economy’ is taking us too , pledges by 3 great men that the world looks up to that they will be dropping their emissions this is humanities’ future,’efficiency improvements’ which ultimately will lead us to more technological efficiency improvements. and what does jeavon’s paradox tell us = efficiency improvements lead to an ever more rising energy consumption. collapse averted

    • Volvo740 says:

      BTW, I just made that shit up. Of course at least Bill and Warren are 100X – 1000X what any of us do. James I dunno, but he just flew to Norway. Bad boy.

      • Ert says:

        Thats why I can’t take this whole bull**** serious. It’s the same with the new Leonardo DeCaprio Movie… Guy McPherson things the same in the latest NBL Show.

        The biggest CO2 footprint is still that:

        Only in comparison: Before industrialization the current German territory had 20 million peasants – now 80 million and counting (lots of high-skilled immigrants e.g. from Africa and the middle east region). The government sponsors kids – more money when you have less – with the usual outcome….

        • Yorchichan says:

          I disagreed with Guy about many things, but the stick he took for flying around the world to give his presentations was unjustified. If he hadn’t used the energy somebody else would have. He was dead right about that.

          • Ert says:


            At least Guy keeps a low-carbon footprint when he stays and visits places around the world and make his trips worthwhile. Look at DiCaprico how he acts concerned, how polished everything is, what an effort they put into making the documentary…. how much carbon they have burned transporting equipment and the staff? Absurd!

            • Yorchichan says:

              I have no problem with anyone burning all the carbon they want. There is nothing any individual can do to reduce overall fossil fuel consumption. As long as someone, somewhere can make a profit from extracing, selling and using fossil fuels then it’s gonna happen. It’s what humans do. I wish I could afford to personally increase my carbon footprint by jetting myself and my family around the world. (I’d love to be able to take my children to see the bright lights of Japan before they go dark forever, for example.)

              I do object to the hypocrisy of those who would ask others to reduce consumption whilst living a life of luxury themselves. Maybe DiCaprio falls into this category; I don’t know. I also object to those total waste of time and energy non-binding climate agreements that no-one takes a blind bit of notice of anyway and are so clearly nothing but publicity stunts to keep the libtards happy.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Try to not view it as Leonardo being a hypocrite. There are 2 other unique perspectives here both of which are valid. The first is that the man acts legitimately concerned with the things he discovers and it is a process to him; clearly he doesn’t have the knowledge of all the inner-workings of climate change so he chooses to investigate them for himself. Yes, that means getting in a plane or helicopter and flying out to some glaciers in the middle of the Arctic. But he is learning as he goes and experiencing climate change first hand. Don’t say you wouldn’t be tempted to do the same thing as him if you were in his shoes.

              Second, he has more influence by bringing climate change awareness and debate to the forefront because of his fame. A movie star with millions of followers is the only person who could have a flick come out on National Geographic about climate change and have 5 million views it a few days later on Youtube. Even if it’s too late to reverse the CO2 in the atmosphere as NASA claims it doesn’t hurt anyone to learn about the health of our planet’s biosphere. People shouldn’t be ashamed of learning or ridiculed over it, even if we judge them to be wasting their time. Yes, on some level his actions are hypocritical but so are ours. We all do damage.

        • xabier says:

          And those German peasants spent the whole summer – apart from the harvests – in going to the forests to cut and drag home smaller branches of wood to keep warm and cook in the winter.

          Where my family live in Northern Spain, the population of the main city is 4x the historical -mostly peasant – population of the whole province, up to the age of antibiotics and fossil fuels.

          It’s worth considering how far and how quickly populations would in fact crash without effective antibiotics, let alone fuel for heating, etc.

          • Yorchichan says:

            I met an unusually collapse-aware doctor a couple of weeks ago who reckoned within five years we would be out of working antibiotics. If you are both correct then we will not have long to wait for peak human population even without our energy problems.

            • Ert says:

              Antibiotics is a big problem. My father had an operation recently… and they put him in a room with someone that had some kind of germs/bacteria that are not good…

              Thats the problem in Germany – no one test the patents for MRSA and the like – everything is mixed until its gets wrong. Doctors and personal have either to less scheduled time to wash, for example, their hands correctly or don’t care.

              A third (>30%) of all pork farms in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are MRSA infested! And raw meat touches everything in your kitchen when you take it out…. if your cut yourself while handling raw meat you play lottery. But even days after the bacteria from the meat can be found everywhere in your house – even if you wipe the kitchen with chlorine.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            ‘And those German peasants spent the whole summer – apart from the harvests – in going to the forests to cut and drag home smaller branches of wood to keep warm and cook in the winter.’

            Another reason to forgo doomsday prepping and enjoy the final days of BAU…..

            Even if I somehow did survive for a few more years post BAU — I will wish myself dead.

            One must keep in mind that there will be a lot of people … and very few will have anything to harvest…. although that will not stop them from harvesting your harvest…..

            • Joebanana says:

              I know I’m probably a weirdo, but I actually like this kind of work. Hauling wood, blocking it and splitting it is something I enjoy. It is particularly fun with some beer and friends. I have to disagree with you that a life of hard work like that is a drudgery. It makes for communities to grow stronger because you can’t do it alone. If it were not for the radiation, I’m convinced once the first die off was over those left where I live could make a go of it.
              It would not be Little House on the Prairie but it would not be all terrible either.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Joe – might I suggest that it won’t be so enjoyable when the electricity goes out and the petrol stations close – and the grocery stores close — and Wally’s World is no longer open for biz..

              What you are doing — I will assume – is what I have been doing — working a garden with the full support of BAU.

              I put my clothes in a machine to wash them – I cut wood with a chain saw — I cut the grass with a mower — I don’t cook on a fire — I don’t worry if a crop fails — I pump water with a mechanical pump — I have a nice big 4 wheel drive truck — I can grab a cold beer out of the fridge when I am done…

              Try turning off the electricity and using no petrol for a week….. that will give you an idea of what the real deal will look like…

              But then remember – all the starving people will be at the farm gate when the real real deal kicks in … and a lot of them won’t be asking … and the police will not help you

            • Ert says:

              “Another reason to forgo doomsday prepping and enjoy the final days of BAU….. “

              Don’t tell that to much people, otherwise everyone tries to drop out of work / the system and also enjoy it. Who then would mix my martinis? 😉

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Not to worry — they won’t believe it …. no matter how obvious it gets…

            • Tim Groves says:

              We need a strict policy for dealing with people who harvest other people’s harvests. In the old days we would have transported them to the Antipodes, but since that option will no longer be available, it’s either galley slavery or working the mines. I’m working on the assumption that there’s always going to be something to mine and that there will be some kind of local hierarchy that doesn’t tax your harvest at such a high rate that you starve anyway.

              Sound post-BAU practice will be to leave the peasants with enough to prevent them from dying but not anywhere near enough to allow them to live comfortably or get ideas above their station.

  41. Volvo740 says:

    Breaking news: “Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and James Hansen all agree to drop their personal CO2 footprints to the global average level.”

    CO2 emissions totaled between 35 and 40 billion tons in 2015, according to several agencies

    6 tons of CO2 per person, per year. That’s it. And James said we need this to go to 0, and then negative in the next 10 years.

    As a comparison, I included 5000 miles of driving, 12000 miles of flying plus natural gas and power to my home for 1 year:

    YOUR EMISSIONS See Results In MT
    Vehicle 4,279 lbs CO2e
    Public Transit 0 lbs CO2e
    Air Travel 3,518 lbs CO2e
    Home Energy 14,232 lbs CO2e
    Your carbon footprint is 22,029 lbs of CO2e

    I guess it comes as no surprise that I’m 3X over the global average as I live in the US. Food and other activities weren’t even in this…

    • Artleads says:

      Climate scientist Kevin Anderson (better track record than the above mentioned gents) believes it’s the top emitters that need to cut back, and not small fry like “the average person.” Besides, the big three are wrong in believing that it’s individual adjustments in energy use that makes a difference. They’re talking crap.


      Wakeup call for Desalinization (what the !@#$ were they thinking?)

      • DJ says:

        I the average Swede uses 4.2x too much of everything, most of it not discretionary, what do the rich have to do with this?

      • Not only are costs high, but environmental damage severe. The report found that large scale catching of storm water run off might be the cheapest way of getting more water. Next was savings on watering of residential lawns.

        I kept wondering how much of water use is for farming, and would savings on lawns etc. be enough to protect farming. I am guessing that farming in the very dry areas of California will ultimately have to be discontinued.

        • Artleads says:

          John Wesley Powell had a lot to say about this. Just to save reading, I copied this snippet from under “Views and Ideas”

          “Powell’ s expeditions led to his belief that the arid West was not suitable for agricultural development, except for about 2% of the lands that were near water sources. His Report on the Lands of the Arid Regions of the United States proposed irrigation systems and state boundaries based on watershed areas to avoid disagreements between states.[22] For the remaining lands, he proposed conservation and low-density, open grazing.[19]”

          • Powell seems to have been writing in the late 1800s. Perhaps we should be looking at what he said. Even the irrigation that they had planned then might not work now. Also, a person wants to avoid the kind of irrigation that adds salt to the soil over a long period. Overflow of river doesn’t have this problem, but quite a bit of other irrigation does. This needs to be considered as well.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          What will have to be discontinued ASAP if the system continues is factory farming of animals. Cows are the single biggest waste and abuse item we have. 1 pound of beef uses something like 20 times the water and fossil fuels to produce as 1 pound of corn or oats. We use like 50 times the agricultural space here in the U.S. on feed for cows when we could just be growing feed for people. Furthermore the U.N. put out a paper 10 years ago stating that the agriculture of cows puts more CO2 into the atmosphere than the entire transportation sector. So obviously factory farming of cows is about to come to an end, one way or another.

          • DJ says:

            Funny how meat can be relatively cheap despite using so much resources.

          • Yorchichan says:

            Don’t cows merely recycle CO2? The grass they eat absorbs CO2 when it grows and this CO2 gets returned to the atmosphere when the cows breathe.

            • DJ says:

              Cows have four bellies the food passes through. The third stomach splits delusium into co2. Which is bad because we really need all delusium we can get.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              That’s one minor aspect of the situation but grasses/corn/soy grown for cows will hardly offset the damage being done. Think about all of the fossil fuels used in growing the cow’s food and other processes. You’ve got pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, irrigation, tractors, transport, processing, storage, and more. Fossil fuels are utilized every step of the way. Then the cows themselves are releasing methane as a byproduct, which also heats the atmosphere.

              This entire process is made worse by organic or “natural” processes like cows eating grass as opposed to GMO corn which fattens then up twice as fast. Keeping the cows alive twice as long naturally raises costs substantially. And since these things are marketed as “healthy” and “good for the planet” they hardly such.

            • I think the idea is that they are good for the person, not eating the antibiotics and pesticides. Good for the plant, not so much.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              I agree 100%. I must’ve been thinking organic fruits/vegetables are marketed as better for the environment than their conventional counterparts. That point is also highly debatable as the full costs aren’t really taken into account.

          • DJ says:

            If 50x was true we would be very happy after the fossil fuel is gone if everyone would have been 100% meat eaters before.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Leonardo DiCaprio’s newest flick Before the Flood with National Geographic stated that the amount of land used for cow feed is 50 times that of what’s used for fruits/vegetables in the United States. You can take up your beef with them if you don’t like that statistic.

    • Lyn says:

      If we were all to reduce our CO2 footprint there would not be any growth anymore, the system would collapse. To keep this system running we need to consume more than ever. We either start downsizing now and collapse in the near future or push it to the limit and collapse later.

    • Tim Groves says:

      I’m fond of James Hansen. I don’t share his fossilfuelaphobia. But unlike the misanthropic deep greens, he genuinely wants to preserve BAU-lite for his grandchildren, and he’s fully aware that renewables can’t save the day. That7s why he’s gung-ho for nuclear.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        And he invented the Muppets right?

        • Jeremy says:

          Unfortunately, Dr Hansen appears to be spot on regarding the science of climate and AGW.
          As far as the solutions, he did stress in his excellent book, “Storms of My Grandchildren”, humans MUST reduce their population.
          End of solutions….we are wired 24/7, 12 months to do woopie and if you abstaine from adding to our numbers, there are plenty to make up and moar.
          Also, without fossil fuels we are talking about mass die off anyway…
          I suppose we are all for delaying that event😉
          Anyway, Republicans here in the USA will assure we continue to pump, baby, pump,
          Dig, baby, dig and Burn, baby, burn

          At this summer’s Republican National Convention, the party faithful approved their official platform for the next four years. It reads like a denier’s Christmas wish list, with nearly every point receiving the full-throated support of the party nominee, Donald Trump: Build the Keystone XL pipeline, cancel the Clean Power Plan, neuter the EPA and ban it from regulating carbon dioxide, outlaw a carbon tax, stop all fracking regulations. The broader the consensus outside Washington that climate change is real and man-made, the more elaborate Republicans get in refuting its existence. To hear Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tell it, climate change is a global conspiracy cooked up by liberals who want to institute “massive government control of the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”
          From the recent “RollingStone” article.
          God Bless America.😇

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Donald Trump: Build the Keystone XL pipeline, cancel the Clean Power Plan

            What’s the clean power plan? More solar panels?

            Why Germany’s nuclear phaseout is leading to more coal burning

            Between 2011 and 2015 Germany will open 10.7 GW of new coal fired power stations. This is more new coal coal capacity than was constructed in the entire two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The expected annual electricity production of these power stations will far exceed that of existing solar panels and will be approximately the same as that of Germany’s existing solar panels and wind turbines combined. Solar panels and wind turbines however have expected life spans of no more than 25 years. Coal power plants typically last 50 years or longer.

            At best you could call the recent developments in Germany’s electricity sector contradictory.


            • Ert says:

              “At best you could call the recent developments in Germany’s electricity sector contradictory.”

              No, nuclear in its current form (PWR, LWR) is no option. Importing Russian BN-800 breeders an absolute no-go. LFTR and DWR reactors are decades away…. if ever. PV and Wind is a joke… thats the reason the subsidies are scaled down and noting new is build – except off-shore wind, which still gets hefty subsidies – but is absolutely stupid. But behind that is big money…

              Germany has lots of dirty brown coal – so whats the way to go? Coal…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              A sane person would have reached that conclusion before the landscapes were covered in solar panels….

            • That is a 2015 article. Germany’s coal consumption is not really up.

              Germany's coal production and consumption

          • Jeremy says:

            But Fast Eddy your position is as illogical in itself…it meets the same end😆..
            Now, please, I’m not defending these well intentioned “solutions” these high profile projects mentioned.
            Remember these are based on a paradigm that in itself is an antithesis to life itself on the planet.
            Just as the life you are living too will lead to the same end.
            Of course, each one of us resists “going back to the garden”…in the fullest sense.
            I suppose there may be some truth to partaking of the fruits from the tree of knowledge.
            We awake only seeing part of the truth and exist in a fragmented world of our own making.💰

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am unable to recall the position that I expressed as it is not associated with your reply

              Do you mind to copy and paste?

          • Jeremy says:

            Well, as you claimed, one has to be “crazy” to see “reality”.
            If that is so, who are you to judge?
            The crazy person residing in a crazy system, believing they are normal/rational, or the one seeing they are crazy because they are able to see the irrationality and tolerate it?

  42. Lyn says:

    The Postwar Boom Isn’t Coming Back Anytime Soon

    Someone please help these guys figure it all out….

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘Levinson holds a doctorate in economics, but he has a journalist’s appreciation for the power of on-the-ground observation. (He’s written for Time, Newsweek, the Economist,, the Wall Street Journal, and others.)’

      All those qualifications and still … unable to see what is right in front of his face.

      Just thinking … has anyone every been able to explain the situation to someone — and get them to understand it?

      I am not quite sure — but I think my older brother now mostly recognizes the problem … although he continues to mention tech solutions …

      The only other person I know who knows… is a friend who was most of the way there by himself and was corresponding with me …. I gave him a little bit of a shove helping him to understand that renewables would not save the day …. that was last year and the last response from him on this was ‘I get it’

      He retired in his mid 40’s in 2010 and has been on a very substantial bucket list… that is the best plan – the only plan that makes any sense

      • Lyn says:

        The people I have been talking to generally accept the notion that it is going downhill but they all are convinced that we can somehow muddle through. If people lost that kind of confidence from one day to another, it would all be over. Thus the show must go on and we have some more time on our hands to mock those who are in charge of keeping the hamster wheels spinning by providing just enough hopium. We are living in exciting times.

    • it is an unfortunate reality we have to live with, that the majority of people of any intellectual level equate engines (the big noisy things that move stuff and make a lot of noise invented 150 years ago) with smartphones and the internet (small shiny things that do nothing other than move electrons around)

      That is your difference and your problem.

      And it would seem that nothing is going to shake the certainty that “productivity” from one is exactly the same as “productivity” from the other, and that watching a screen all day represents ”productive work”.

      The postwar boom was a freewheeling impetus of the energy-burn that drove WW2.
      Had there been infinite oil in the USA, (and no effect of global warming) then the boom would have gone on indefinetly.
      As it happened it ended in 1970.
      Why? because that was the point at which the USA went from oil surplus to oil deficit, and the only way to prolong the illusion was to exponentially increase debt for everyone. So now we are in debt to a non existent future.
      But the disconnect with reality goes on.
      Almost no one can accept that we built what we have on virtually free energy supplies, and that now we are trying to maintain (and theoretically increase) it on vanishing energy supplies.

      This is why you have the certainty that prosperity can be voted into office (hence Trumpomania) with wild promises of 6% growth. And his followers believe him. What choice is there? They face an unpleasant (and very real) alternative. They are also certain that their problems are caused by “other people”.
      Eliminate those other people and solve your problems.

      You cannot separate politics from this problem.

      And when growth diminishes, as it must, those same lunatics are going to get very annoyed about it, and start “demanding” prosperity.
      If Hillary gets in, and doesn’t deliver (she won’t be able to anyway) by the 2020s or even before, you will have civil disorder on a mass scale brought about by deprivation. The seeds of that are being sown by current politics right now

      • Lyn says:

        Your comment is spot-on.

      • smite says:

        “Had there been infinite oil in the USA, (and no effect of global warming) then the boom would have gone on indefinetly.”

        Not so sure about that, ultimately there would be a cost associated with the infrastructure, extracting and refining the oil, this would limit growth anyway by the mechanisms Gail and others have discussed.

        What we actually need is on par with negative interest rates. A source of energy that constantly gets cheaper as we consume it.

        • obviously—my comment about “infinite oil”was purely rhetorical

          • smite says:

            I cited your comment.

            “(…) then the boom would have gone on indefinitely”

            Your premise might be rhetorical but I disagree with your conclusion.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              You really need to write a book detailing all these wonderful ideas smite….

              Working Title: How to Choose a Really Sexy Robot Wife and Prosper

          • Tango Oscar says:

            Well yeah. There are other hard limits like the health of the biosphere, peak mining, and population overshoot that still are about to bring the system down. And the “solving” of any of our problems now a day simply exacerbates other problems.

            • i’ve been banging that particular drum–or drums– for years now—suddenly mainstream folks are beginning to get it.

              we’re being hit by overpopulation, energy depletion and climate change (you can hang all the other problems on any one of those).

              whichever of those hits hard first, will be exacerbated by the other two

            • Tango Oscar says:

              And it really doesn’t matter. They’ll all lead to the same thing. Mass starvation, riots, famine, climate refugees, and war. It’s already happening. In my opinion climate change is now irreversible even with depopulation so I think humanity is in for a likely extinction scenario regardless. Also I sincerely doubt China, Russia, India, and the U.S. go quietly into the night without firing off some nuclear weapons.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              How about this for an end game…

              At the strike of midnight GMT we get the Mother of All Fireworks displays….

              The high priests add some coloured gunpowder to their thousands of ICBM nuclear missiles…. and launch them all in a giant crescendo of bombs and brilliance (add some sparkly things too no?) …. thereby wiping out all life on the planet….

              Now if this happens before the count down stops I would argue that technically my prediction for the End of the World by the end of 2016 would be considered correct.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              I do like the twirly and sparkly things. Make it so.

    • Quote from the article:

      Levinson finishes on an elegiac note by quoting Paul Samuelson, the great American economist, who wrote: “The third quarter of the Twentieth Century was a golden age of economic progress. It surpassed any reasoned expectations. And we are not likely to see its equivalent soon again.”

      The big enabler was lots of debt, right after WWII, to rebuild and allow returning soldiers to have jobs. With this debt, they could buy houses and cars, and start families with several children. At the low energy prices of the era, mothers could stay at home with the large-size families popular in the era. Energy consumption greatly increased; population greatly increased; and it looked like adding more debt could always be the solution.

  43. Lyn says:

    The reliance on nuclear power for the sake of electricity generation was a decision made by megalomaniacal politicians (who in some cases could not get their hands fast enough on nuclear weapons). Fun fact: not a single nuclear power plant has ever been or will ever be insured by a private company due to uncalculable losses associated with a nuclear accident. Instead, politicians all over the world found “solutions” to deal with that fact (see Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act for instance) in order to get private companies operate nuclear plants. By the year 2010 France had spent around 188 billion euros on its nuclear facilities and there is no break-even point in sight. Therefore governments all over the world will overextend the lifetime of nuclear plants until the very end. At least then we do not have to worry about nuclear waste disposal anymore.

    • Volvo740 says:

      Well… Sweden, France and Japan share one thing. No domestic energy sources to speak of. So I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they all expanded nuclear back when it wasn’t so expensive to do it.

    • Tim Groves says:

      In today’s Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese equivalent of the Guardian (although to be fair, the Guardian is without peers in the social justice warrior department) has as its top story the coming into effect of the Paris Agreement to limit CO2 emissions. In the article, the paper lambasts the government for its decision to build at least 40 new coal-fired power stations. Fossil fuel use must be reduced to “zero”, the Asahi insists. Elsewhere, the paper says that nuclear power is dangerous and should be phased out. Where is the electricity to run the country supposed to come from. Apparently, the Asahi believes that with more conservation and improvements in energy efficiency, Japan Inc, will be able to chug along quite nicely on solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectricity, with a dash of geothermal thrown in. This kind of attitude is what passes for energy policy in the mainstream media.

      Fortunately there are adults still in charge of most of the actual levers of power here. I wouldn’t be surprised f they let the lights go out nationwide for a week or two just to give the population a taste of what post-BAU would be like. By that time, the silent majority would be begging the utilities to turn on those 40-odd nuclear reactors and fire up the coal power stations and damn the consequences.

      • Lyn says:

        ” I wouldn’t be surprised if they let the lights go out nationwide for a week or two just to give the population a taste of what post-BAU would be like.”

        If that happened it would be more likely to see them never go on again. Also, as Armory Lovins has noted: “An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an un-wise place for 54 reactors”. Nuclear power is clearly the biggest scourge of humanity. To trade 50-70 years of nuclear power off against humanity’s future on planet earth seems to me like a bad deal.

        • but when a population has been oil or candle lit since always, and starts screaming for electric light like everybody else—what politician who wants to keep his job is going to say to the people—sorry folks you have to stay in the dark

          Japan held itself as a medieval society till the 1860s, then the American fleet turned up and told them to modernise

          which they duly did—40 years later they defeated Russia in a naval battle, then went on to attack the USA.—-because they had sufficient energy to do so. (having stolen it from China mainly)
          Now their energy is running out, along with their lights. There’s nowhere left to get their energy from

          I t might just be that Japanese ”modern society” will last from 1860 to 2060—if they are lucky. That might be pushing it.
          With no nuclear and no means to buy oil, their lights will go out very quickly—2030 maybe?

          And of course the rest of the industrialised world faces the same problem over the same timescale—USA oil found in 1859, it will effectively all be gone by 2030ish—same end result. Saudi oil found in the 30s—that will be gone in a 100 year period at most.

          But lets be happy—it’s almost Christmas!!

          • Tim Groves says:

            which they duly did—40 years later they defeated Russia in a naval battle, then went on to attack the USA.—-because they had sufficient energy to do so. (having stolen it from China mainly)

            Norman, it could be argued that in 1941 the Japanese went on to attack the USA because they didn’t have sufficient energy—at least not in the form of oil— due to sanctions and a blockade. Among other things, they were aiming to to take control of the oil fields in the Dutch East Indies, just as the Germans were aiming to take control the Middle East.

            • I agree,
              that was why they attacked the USA—they were given an ultimatum to cease war in China or have their supplies of oil and steel cut off by the USA

              Being Japanese that would have meant losing face, so they had no choice but to attack the USA and the East Indies, even though they knew they had no chance of winning.
              they lost the war through lack of energy.

              The Germans ran into the same problem, their leaders refused the recognise the critical significance of cheap readily available energy supplies. They convinced themselves that it was the fighting ability of their soldiers, when it was the fuel in their tanks that was more important.
              WW2 was essentially an oil grab war.
              I’ve covered that in my book, The End of More, because it was a critical point in world energy-history, and refers directly to our problems today. There is a refusal by our political leaders to accept that we are repeating history by fighting over oil yet again. One might say that oil conflict hasn’t really ceased since it started to power our industrial infrastructure.
              The original concept of the EU was a confederation of coal and steel producers back in the 50s, to prevent fighting over those resources.

              the difference this time is that it is the final war, because there’s no more oil to be fought over once the stuff we have now has gone.

            • smite says:

              “Being Japanese that would have meant losing face, so they had no choice but to attack the USA and the East Indies, even though they knew they had no chance of winning.”

              Or perhaps it simply was delusional imperialistic ambitions. They sincerely thought they’d stand a chance against the industrial (and energy) might of the US. What a blunder of epic proportions.

              The following quote was from the designer and principal engineer (Jiro Horikoshi) behind the Mitsubishi Zero fighter aircraft.

              “When we awoke on the morning of December 8, 1941, we found ourselves — without any foreknowledge — to be embroiled in war… Since then, the majority of us who had truly understood the awesome industrial strength of the United States never really believed that Japan would win this war. We were convinced that surely our government had in mind some diplomatic measures which would bring the conflict to a halt before the situation became catastrophic for Japan. But now, bereft of any strong government move to seek a diplomatic way out, we are being driven to doom. Japan is being destroyed. I cannot do [anything] other but to blame the military hierarchy and the blind politicians in power for dragging Japan into this hellish cauldron of defeat.”


            • which is more or less what i said,

              that the japanese concept of honour and ”face” could not allow a backdown under US threats—so they were left with no other course of action but attack. That was all they knew.
              Japanese government was run by the military, so the code of honour in that respect was inflexible, the Samurai if you like, irrespective of the odds against them.
              this was reflected right down to the private soldier

              Even after the atomic attack, the military still were against surrender, the emperor overruled them

            • smite says:

              “which is more or less what i said”

              No, you clearly think that their code of conduct (bushido) was the cause of not backing down from the US policy.

              My position is simpler. I think they made a really stupid mistake in trying to call the US “bluff”, and they paid the ultimate price. Such immense was their grandeur.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          If only the fuel ponds would only extinct the humans….. alas when the booze runs out and the party ends…. we lock the doors and burn the entire house to the ground….

          Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
          Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
          Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
          Oh Lord, kumbaya

          • Tango Oscar says:

            My plan is to toss several cannabis plants into the ground again this spring. As soon as something goes wrong I’m going to play some Metallica really loudly, set the plants on fire and then just sort of lie down on top them all peaceful like.

        • Tim Groves says:

          If that happened it would be more likely to see them never go on again. Also, as Armory Lovins has noted: “An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an un-wise place for 54 reactors”. Nuclear power is clearly the biggest scourge of humanity. To trade 50-70 years of nuclear power off against humanity’s future on planet earth seems to me like a bad deal.

          Lyn, according to Wikipedia, “Mainland China has 35 nuclear power reactors in operation, 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give a doubling of nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020-21, then up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.”

          Japan is downwind of China. Any major reactor accident in China will likely contaminate Japan far more than Fukushima did, since Fukushima—fortunately—was on the east coast so over 90% of the radioactivity went into the Pacific. So a non-nuclear Japan is not really any safer than a gung-ho nuclear Japan. Also, the 50 nuclear power plants and their spent fuel ponds are all still there today, even if most of the plants aren’t being used to generate electricity. A powerful enough earthquake might still cause a nuclear disaster if the nuclear alarmists are to be believed. In the meantime, what isn’t being generated by those nukes is being generated instead by burning coal, oil and natural gas, adding to the world’s CO2 emissions and taking us closer to the day when we reach Thermageddon if the CAGW alarmists are to be believed.

          People declare all sorts of things “the biggest scourge of humanity”: fascism, communism, machoism, feminism, religion, atheism, nuclear power, coal power, AIDS, vaccines, Hillary, Donald, money, lack of money, or the fact we have big brains that aren’t wired up as well as they should be.

          Be that as it may, most of the 127 million people who currently live in Japan would not be able to survive without modern energy systems and international trade. During the Edo period before the black ships arrived, the population of the country (minus Hokkaido) was about 30 million, held steady by infanticide, abandoning old women in the wilderness and daily executions of criminals. Japan could feed 30 million back then by making maximum use of available land and recycling human waste. There’s a lot less arable land in Japan today because much of the best stuff has been paved or built over. Feeding even 30 million after BAU looks incredibly optimistic, even if we started out with 127 million sources of human waste for fertilizer.

          Anyway, my bet would be, if globalism tanks, and the gas, oil and coal imports stop arriving as reliably as they have for the past 70 years, any country in possession of legacy nuclear power plants is going to consider turning them back on if they find that feasible. And humanity’s future on the planet is not going to be very high up their list of priorities.

          It could well be that humanity has no other options than collapsing down to hunter gatherer humanoid mutant status. But we certainly won’t go quietly into the dark night. We’ll keep trying until the last possible moment to get Mr. Fusion and molten salt fission reactors and zero point energy and space-based solar up and running, or we’ll burn every last lump of coal we can get our hands on, regardless of whether its futile or not. And some of us (not me, mind you) are planning to be among the 1% who survive past the bottle neck by investing in fall out shelters or even colonies on Mars until the radioactivity on Earth dies down. Others are going to try to survive by turning into wild beasts. That’s what humans do. We struggle to survive by any means.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Soil that is farmed using petro-chemical inputs — will support no crop once the outputs are stopped – without years of intensive rejuvenation involving organic inputs.

            Organic inputs will be hard to come by considering nothing can be grown – and most if not all animals are killed and eaten.

            Less than 1% of all farmland globally is farmed organically.

            Japan doesn’t make the Top 10:

   (note – most organic land in Australia is rubbish and supports sheep only)


          • Lyn says:

            Tim, I agree with you on most points. We are living in unprecedented times and are going to face unprecedented consequences. I first came into contact with the concept of “Peak Oil” around fifteen years ago. It did not take long for me to grasp that the lifestyle we are all accustomed to would come to an end rather sooner than later. Ever since I realised that downsizing a highly complex system would be no option and the nuclear legacy of ours would make earth not a nice place to live on I could progress and finally reach stage five of the Kübler-Ross model.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I have developed my own model… it’s the same as Kübler-Ross except that it has one more stage…

              My 6th stage is the one where you get so sick and tired of hearing about Tesla and Solar this and Windmill that and robots and self driving cars that even though you know you die….

              you actually hope that BAU ends as soon as possible so that Elon Musk and Don Draper and their hundreds of millions of cult following imbeciles eat boiled rat meat heated over plastic bag fueled fires….

              Stage 6: schadenfreude

          • Tim Groves says:

            I think you both make a lot of sense.

            One thing we veteran “doomers” have going for us is that we won’t be surprised when the beast gives up the ghost. We are a bit lie Eeyore in the Pooh stories, always expecting the worst. We’re psychologically prepared for collapse

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Another bright shining example of why democracy is ok for working out which pot holes to fix… if there should be a third category of washrooms for those who are unsure if they are male or female, if a stop light is required or a round-about….

        The key decisions require more thoughtful people…. people who are not swayed by Don Draper…. people who carefully weight each decision always with the understanding that the master resource must continue to flow….

        Meanwhile the world is distracted by the Clown vs the Criminal debates and election

        Everything is as it should be

    • What do you mean by “At least then we do not have to worry about nuclear waste disposal anymore”?

      I suppose if we are all dead, nuclear waste disposal doesn’t matter. Is that what you meant?

      • Obviously, Lyn seemed to skip few past weeks, when evidence has been provided, that there is mature enough knowledge-technology, to re-burn most of the existing stock pile of nuclear waste, plus using the uranium ore more to full potential (U235 vs U238) in the first place. In summary hundreds to low thousands of years remaining to burn conservatively. It’s called breeder reactors, MOX fuel etc. Obviously, certain percentage of nuclear waste will not be cost effective to reprocess (while it’s doable now), hence the valid necessity of already existing and enlarging long term deposits, but that’s tiny fraction out of the net energy provided.

        The only question we are dealing here is what’s gonna the “world of tomorrow” look like organizational wise, perhaps more like an ant colony, than today’s head less frivolous consumer freak show..

      • Fast Eddy says:

        That was what I assumed Lyn was implying….. if so I concur.

      • Lyn says:

        Yes, that was my point.

  44. adonis says:

    dear finiteworlders here is more proof that the oil is still pumping even though the oil companies have gone bankrupt = in other words even if the price of oil drops lower leading to more bankrupt energy companies they will keep on producing no matter what

    • Volvo740 says:

      As Steve from Virginia says: Producing less oil doesn’t make anyone richer.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I expect that the central banks will do whatever it takes to keep the oil flowing… just as they will do whatever it takes to keep the financial system from collapsing….

      They are already loaning hundreds of billions to corporations allowing them to buy back shares and prevent their collapse…

      Anything goes — when the alternative is death.

      They would feed babies to wolves if they thought that would delay the end…

      Actually – they have already done that — the CIA was behind the sarin gas attack on women and children a couple of years ago … and I’d bet my life that they were behind the take-down of the airliner over Ukraine.

    • I have heard versions of this story before. The buyers need to keep the company operating, and the staff still working, so they pump as much as they can. If there are cutbacks, it is in wage levels and pensions of workers.

  45. dolph says:

    Energy can decline dramatically and the system can continue. Humans have escaped reality and entered a virtual world.
    You just need:
    -basic foodstuffs
    -electricity and sewage

    Granted, not all places will provide these, so look to those locales to collapse first.

    As long as you provide these, people will believe they are flying nuclear powered spaceships across the galaxy and having kinky sex with young women. Even if the reality is completely opposite.

    What concerns me is propaganda and perception. That’s what interests me.

    • I think you are missing some important ones.

      –Water that is either potable, or can be made potable with materials that people have at hand (heat from burning something or electricity, pans, stoves).

      –Way to fight infection transmission, from all of these people so close to each other

      –Contraceptives, and way to encourage people to use them. Education, so that people can understand basic directions given to them.

      –Oil, because we have no way of repairing electricity transmission and electricity generation without oil (plus vehicles, parts, materials to repair roads, helicopters)

      –Way to maintain fertility of soil. Unless human and animal outputs go back into the soil, the soil is constantly losing fertility. This normally requires transportation, or use of food grown practically on site.

      –Huge projects, to transform heating to electricity. Also, huge projects to increase electricity generation and distribution to allow heating to be electric. Similar for home cooking, and hot water heating. Somehow, all of the new devices will need to be made using materials from around the world. Huge project to transform transportation, particularly of goods, to electricity. Likely need for more materials and energy products than we are using now, to enable this transformation.

      –Way to maintain needed infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, water and sewer and oil pipelines, oil refineries, electric power plants, using materials from around the world.

      — Way to pay for all of the needed things, because there will still need to be a way to motivate all of the needed activities, and a way for either governments or citizens to pay for them.

    • xabier says:

      In the classic Sufi story of the Elephant in the Dark Room, people did indeed only perceive what their limited senses and assumptions told them was in the room.

      But the elephant was still there, and very real, able to step on and kill anyone of them whenever it pleased…….

      So it is with our propaganda-immersed societies in the industrial world.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Like I was saying…. FW is stands alone in terms of insights …. actually it just stands alone in all respects

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