Why We Should Be Concerned About Low Oil Prices

Most people assume that oil prices, and for that matter other energy prices, will rise as we reach limits. This isn’t really the way the system works; oil prices can be expected to fall too low, as we reach limits. Thus, we should not be surprised if the OPEC/Russia agreement to limit oil extraction falls apart, and oil prices fall further. This is the way the “end” is reached, not through high prices.

I recently tried to explain how the energy-economy system works, including the strange way prices fall, rather than rise, as we reach limits, at a recent workshop in Brussels called “New Narratives of Energy and Sustainability.” The talk was part of an “Inspirational Workshop Series” sponsored by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Figure 1. Empty Schuman room of the Berlaymont European Commission building, shortly after we arrived. Photo shows Mario Giampietro and Vaclav Smil, who were the other speakers at the Inspirational Workshop. Attendees started arriving a few minutes later.

My talk was titled, “Elephants in the Room Regarding Energy and the Economy.” (PDF) In this post, I show my slides and give a bit of commentary.

Slide 2

The question, of course, is how this growth comes to an end.

Slide 3

I have been aided in my approach by the internet and by the insights of many commenters to my blog posts.

Slide 4

We all recognize that our way of visualizing distances must change, when we are dealing with a finite world.

Slide 5

I should note that not all economists have missed the fact that the pricing situation changes, as limits are reached. Aude Illig and Ian Schindler have recently published a paper that concludes, “We find that price feedback cycles which lead to increased production during the growth phase of oil extraction go into reverse in the contraction phase of oil extraction, speeding decline.”

Slide 6

The comments shown in red on Slide 6 reflect a variety of discussions over the last several years. Oil prices in the $50 per barrel range are way too low for producers. They may be high enough to get “oil out of the ground,” but they are not high enough to encourage necessary reinvestment, and they are not high enough to provide the tax revenue that oil exporters depend on.

Slide 7

Most people don’t stop to think about the symmetric nature of the problem. They also don’t realize that the adverse impacts of low oil prices don’t necessarily appear immediately. They can temporarily be hidden by more debt.

Slide 8

There would be no problem if wages were to rise as oil prices rise. Or if there were an easily substitutable source of cheap energy. The problem becomes an affordability problem.

Slide 9

The economists’ choice of the word “demand” is confusing. A person cannot simply demand to buy a car, or demand to go on a vacation trip. The person needs some way to pay for these things.

Slide 10

If researchers don’t examine the situation closely, they miss the nuances.

Slide 11


Slide 12

Many people think that the increasing use of tools can save us, because of the possibility of increased productivity.

Slide 13

Using more tools leads to the need for an increasing amount of debt.

Slide 14

Read this chart from left to right. If we combine increasing quantities of resources, workers, and tools, the output is a growing quantity of goods and services.

Slide 15

Read this chart from right to left. How do we divide up the goods and services produced, among those who produced the products? If we can only use previously produced goods to pay workers and other contributors to the system, we will never have enough. But with the benefit of debt, we can promise some participants “future goods and services,” and thus have enough goods and services to pay everyone.

Slide 16

If we decrease the amount of debt, we have a big problem. Instead of the debt adding to the amount of goods and services produced, the shrinkage acts to decrease the amount of goods and services available for distribution as pay. This is why moving from deficit spending to a balanced budget, or a budget that reduces debt, is so painful.

Slide 17

When I say (resources/population), I mean resources per capita. Falling resources per capita makes it harder to earn an adequate living. Think of farmers trying to subsist on ever-smaller farms. It would become increasingly difficult for them to earn a living, unless there were to be a big improvement in technology.

Or think of a miner who is extracting ore that is gradually dropping from 5% metal, to 2% metal, to 1% metal content, and so on, because the best quality ore is extracted first. The miner needs to work an increasing number of hours to produce the ore needed for 100 kilograms of the metal. The economy is becoming in some sense “worse off,” because the worker is becoming “inefficient” through no fault of his own. The resources needed to provide benefits simply are less available, due to diminishing returns. This problem is sometimes reported as “falling productivity per worker.”

Falling productivity per worker tends to lower wages. And lower wages put downward pressure on commodity prices, because of affordability problems.

Slide 18

The problems that prior civilizations reached before collapse sound in many ways like the problems we are seeing today. We are seeing increased specialization, and falling relative wages of non-elite workers.

Slide 19

We seem to have already gone through a long period of stagflation since the 1970s. The symptoms we are seeing today look as if we are approaching a steep downslope. If we are approaching a crisis stage, it may be much shorter than the 20 to 50 years observed historically. Earlier civilizations (from which these timeframes were observed), did not have electricity or the extensive international trade system we have today.

Slide 20

The period since 1998 seems especially flat for wages for US wage earners, in inflation-adjusted terms. This is the period since energy prices started rising, and since globalization started playing a greater role.

Slide 21

This is a list I made, showing that what looks to be beneficial–adding tools and technology–eventually leads to our downfall. The big problem that occurs is that non-elite workers become too poor to afford the output of the economy. Adding robots to replace workers looks efficient, but leaves many unemployed. Unemployment is even worse than low pay.

Slide 22

We can think of the economy as being a self-organized network of businesses, consumers, and governments. New products are gradually added, and ones that are no longer needed are eliminated. Government regulations change in response to changing business conditions. Debt is especially important for economic growth, because it makes goods affordable for customers, and it enables the use of “tools.” Prices are created almost magically by this networked system, through the interaction between supply and demand (reflecting affordability, among other things).

Slide 23

It is only in recent years that physicists have become increasingly aware of the fact that many types of structures form in the presence of flows of energy. We have known for a long time that plants and animals can grow when conditions are right. The networked economy illustrated on Slide 22 is one of the types of things that can grow and flourish in the presence of energy flows.

Slide 24

This is my view of how an economy, as a dissipative structure, works. “Tools and technology” are at the center. If a person doesn’t think too much about the issues involved, it is easy to assume that tools and technology will allow the economy to grow forever.

There is a potential for problems, both with respect to inputs and waste outputs. Early modelers missed many of these “issues.” M. King Hubbert created a model in which the quantity of energy supply and technology are the only issues of importance. He thus missed the impact of the Waste Output problems at the right. The Waste Outputs lead to falling prices as limited supply nears, and thus lead to a much steeper drop in production than Hubbert’s symmetric model would suggest.

Slide 25

Peak oilers recognized one important point: our use of oil products would at some point have to come to an end. But they did not understand how complex the situation is. Low prices, rather than high, would be the problem. We would see gluts rather than shortages, as we approach limits. Much of the oil that seems to be technologically extractable will really be left in the ground, because of low prices and other problems.

Slide 26

Here, I am getting back to the topic I was originally asked to talk about. What else, besides low energy prices and too much debt, are likely to be problems as we reach limits?

Slide 27

The easy way of modeling the use of wind turbines and solar turbines is to assume that the electricity produced by these devices is equivalent to electricity produced by fossil fuels, or by hydroelectric. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Slide 28

Trying to integrate solar panels into an electric grid adds a whole new level of complexity to the electrical system. I have only illustrated some of the issues that arise in Slide 28.

The fact that the price system doesn’t work for any fuel is a major impediment to adding more than a very small percentage of intermittent renewables to the electric grid. Intermittent renewables can only be used on the electric grid if they have a 24/7/365 backup supply that can be ramped up and down as needed. Unfortunately, the pricing system does not provide nearly high enough rates for this service. We are now seeing how this works out in practice. South Australia lost its last two coal-fired electricity power plants due to inadequate wholesale electricity prices when it added wind and solar. Now it is experiencing problems with both high electricity prices and too-frequent outages.

Another problem is that new [long distance] transmission makes buying from neighbors optimal, over at the left of Slide 28. This is a new version of the tragedy of the commons. Once long distance lines are available, and a neighbor has a fairly inexpensive supply of electricity, the temptation is to simply buy the neighbor’s electricity, rather than build local electricity generating capacity. The greater demand, without additional supply, then raises electricity prices for all, including the neighbor who originally had the less expensive electricity generation.

Slide 29

It is easy to assume that EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) or some other popular metric tells us something useful about the cost of integrating intermittent renewables into the electric grid, but this really isn’t the case.

Slide 30

We are now beginning to see what happens in “real life,” as intermittent renewables are added. For example, we can now see the problems South Australia is having with high electricity prices and too many outages as well as the high electricity prices in Germany and Denmark (Slide 29).

Slide 31

Wind and solar are not very helpful as stand-alone devices. Yet this is the way they are modeled. Some researchers have included installation costs, but this still misses the many problems that these devices cause for the electrical system, especially as the share of electricity production by these devices rises.

Slide 33

A networked system works differently than a system that is “user controlled.” It builds itself, and it can collapse, if conditions aren’t right. I have shown the economy as hollow, because there is no way of going backward.

Slide 34

Many people miss the point that the economy must keep growing. In fact, I pointed this out in Slide 2 and gave an additional reason why it must keep growing on Slide 16. As the economy grows, we tend to need more energy. Growing efficiency can only slightly offset this. Thus, as a practical matter, energy per capita needs to stay at least level for an economy to grow.

Slide 35

If energy prices rise, this will tend to squeeze out discretionary spending on other goods and services. If we cannot obtain energy products sufficiently cheaply, the system of economic growth will stop.

Slide 36

The fact that energy prices can, and do, fall below the cost of production is something that has been missed by many modelers. Prices can go down, even when the cost of production plus taxes needed by governments rises!

Slide 37

Wind and solar are part of the category at the top called “renewables.” This category also includes energy from wood and from geothermal. Many people do not realize how small this category is. Hydroelectric is also considered a renewable, but it is not growing in supply in the United States or Europe.

Slide 38

It takes energy to have an intergovernmental organization, such as the European Union. In fact, it takes energy to operate any kind of government. When there is not enough surplus energy to go around, citizens decide that the benefits of belonging to such organizations are less than the costs involved. That is the reason for the Brexit vote, and the reason the question is coming up elsewhere.

Slide 39

The amount of taxes oil-producing countries can collect depends on how high the price of oil is. If the price isn’t high enough, oil-exporting countries generally have to cut back their budgets. Even Saudi Arabia is having difficulty with low oil prices. It has needed to borrow in order to maintain its programs.

Slide 40

Oil prices have been too low for producers since at least mid-2014. It is possible to hide a problem with low prices with increasing debt for a few years, but not indefinitely. The longer the low-price scenario continues, the more likely a collapse in production is. Also, the tendency of international organizations of government to collapse (Slide 38) takes a few years to manifest itself, as does the tendency for civil unrest within oil exporters (Slide 39).

Slide 41

Slide 42

It is easy to miss the point that modeling a piece of the system doesn’t necessarily tell a person very much about the system as a whole.

Slide 43

Once an incorrect understanding of our energy problem becomes firmly entrenched, it becomes very difficult for leaders to understand the real problem.

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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2,716 Responses to Why We Should Be Concerned About Low Oil Prices

  1. Pingback: Perché non riusciamo a fare la Transizione: stagnazione o collasso economico? (conclusione) – Appello per la Resilienza

  2. Perhaps it’s time to agree on an OFW creed. We can have fun amending it until most of us regulars agree on it (with Gail’s oversight). Then perhaps interesting schisms will arise. Some of us can be defenders of the truth and others heretic morons.

    Here’s a draft:

    Article 1 – Peak oil, in the sense of an absolute limit to cheap oil has been reached

    Article 2 – Peak oil is one of many limits which have manifestations which threaten the continuation of BAU [see appendix A for a list of other limits including diminishing returns on complexity etc.

    Article 3 – BAU is dependent on a functioning financial sector. This sector is about to fail catastrophically

    Article 4 – The effects of financial collapse (see Korowizc) will see the complete and irreversible ceasing of the vital infrastructure that keep the majority of the world fed, watered and healthy

    That’s a bare bones draft for everyone to add/subtract/amend

    • Article 5 – There is no ‘hail mary pass’ in the works – solar, thorium, veganism, permaculture….

      • Lastcall says:

        Good bones!
        Now we need a ‘how to live now like there’s not many tomorrows’ manifesto.

        Explore a few boundaries and step over them! Shake off that conditioning that goes way back, stop tolerating ignorance masquerading as an oversized ego, and don’t waste too much time worrying about how or when it ends; rather worry about what you will be doing when it does end.
        I still remember where I was when Lady Di’s death (no surprise really?) was announced; I don’t want to be caught out like that again!

        I’m in the process of buying a boat (smallish 25 ft yacht); it will be well stocked for a week of party-cruising!

        • Guy McPherson has some good thoughts along these lines (many of which are discussed on this blog)

          His prescription is:

          Remain calm: Nothing is under control.
          Pursue excellence, however defined.
          Pursue love, whatever that means to you.
          Dismantle industrial civilization.
          Be kind, beginning with yourself.

          • of course the ‘BAU at all costs’ brigade on this blog will disagree with his advice to dismantle industrial civilisation but that’s an argument that will never be settled….

            I myself agree with him. I’ve enjoyed enough comforts already to think that extending my lifespan is worth giving this omnicide we call civilisation any merits

            • psile says:

              The dismantling will take place without any help.

            • DJ says:

              The dismantling will be fought as long as possible and then happen.

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              The dismantling has been and is being fought by CBs since 2008…and psile is right…no need to do anything, the catastrophic failure of the financial system will take care of dismantling everthing (actually it will take care of not just IC, but the whole biosphere when you take into account those pesky spent fuel ponds which will be in fullt meltdown across the world)

          • xabier says:

            And, to ad to Guy’s list:

            Don’t abandon a well-paid job to go and live in a hut in the middle of Nowhere, to await the end of history, as far from making you happy you will probably end up deeply depressed. ….

            • DJ says:

              And if you have a well-paid job that makes you depressed – quit, because it won’t give you financial security or independence.

            • Buzz Lightyear says:


              Precisely. And the living in a hut thing surrounded by nature sounds like a much better way to spend whatever time is left than in a cubicle surrounded by drones in other cubicles

          • Buzz Lightyear says:

            Do you propose we dismantle industrial civilisation post BAU or while it’s still around?

            I’m a little confused by that one I have to admit

      • DJ says:

        So if I agree about 1,2,4,5 but have not decided on second half of 3 I should shut up?

        • psile says:

          So you think that this time it’s different too?

          • DJ says:

            How do you mean? When was the last time the financial markets failed catastrophically?

            • psile says:

              What? Less than a decade ago with the GFC, it almost did us in then. Everyone thought that joy ride of easy money would never end too. The next “incident” will make that look like a sideshow bagatelle.

              Please do not reply stupidly.

            • DJ says:

              If the financial system fails catastrophically, then THAT is the different time.

        • Buzz Lightyear says:

          Futuresyssy is trying to control who gets to talk here

          Which shows what kind of person s/he is

    • Bergen Johnson says:

      The trouble with article 3 is timeline is unknown. Might take a lot longer than anyone expects as people seem to have endless faith in the USD.

    • Buzz Lightyear says:

      Sounds like a cult

      Where do I sign up?

    • Buzz Lightyear says:

      Too many predictions in your draft

      I don’t “believe” in predictions

      Could you draw up a list of scenarios instead. That would be far more scientific

      Sorry for the extra work

    • I generally agree with you, although I might add to the list and describe things somewhat differently.

      I generally stay away from the term “peak oil,” because the term has been used by others to mean something fairly different from what I am talking about. It certainly does not mean the beginning of oil supply declining in a Hubbert Curve, for example. Oil is a problem, but coal is at least equally a problem. We really need total energy supply per capita to be staying level or rising. This nuance gets lost in most discussions.

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        Although Gail, the fact that we peaked on conventional oil circa 2005 at 75M barrels a day (or thereabouts), must be one of the major factors of what is happening to the global economy since then…not only was conventional growing up to that point, but only a fraction of that daily production was used to get the 75M barrels out….now not only has this production not grown in 12 years, but a much bigger chunk of the 75M barrels has to be used to get the conventional oil out, which is past peak and therefore harder to extract, but also to extract unconventional oil such as shale and tar-sands…the result is the surplus energy available to our economies has greatly diminished…

        It would have been bad enough if we would have topped out at 75M barrels in conventional but with the same EROEI, but on top of it the EROEI on conventional is down as it’s harder to get to the second half AND also many of those barrels have to be allocated to unconventional extraction, making those barrels unavailable to the rest of the general economy…the result is millions getting thrown off the Industrial Civilization bandwagon…

  3. dolph says:

    You have to remember, it’s not a question of what you or I think something is worth. It’s a question of what the central banks, and their favored clients – the private banks and those that they are willing to lend to, think something is worth.

    If an old piece of art can auction off for a hundred million dollars, then surely a house still has room to go from 300, 400 thousand to 500, 600 thousand or a million, or pick whatever number you like.

    I know, it doesn’t make sense. But nothing is making sense anymore, so in order to understand things, you have to take your mind in a different direction. The bubbles are no longer popping, we now have the everything bubble, which will only burst at the final endpoint of the system itself – which may take decades.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      If I TT you cash can you sign off on a few prescriptions for me?

    • Lastcall says:

      I actually think that as the size of the ‘everything bubble’ grows, it is actually shrinking geographically. People, towns, cities, nations and entire continents are now outside the bubble and gurgling away down the drain of history.
      Those truly inside the bubble are ignorant of their privileged position. thats why recent bom-bings come as such a shock to many as they have no understanding of how their privilege depends on others’ poverty.
      We see the core squeezing harder and harder on the outsiders extracting all that they can, all the while ignorant that the game is up. Real estate is crumbling in more ways than one outside the core, but the dark art of statistical magic-kery covers this over. The ponzi marches on at only full speed or it marches not at all.

      • DJ says:

        Bombings shock? Just stand in group and make heart signs with the hands and it will quickly go away.

        The “Stockholm truck drive” was more or less forgotten in four days, Manchester will to. In Paris siht happens all the time its not possible to remember the incidents.

        • Bergen Johnson says:

          It’s always the same – Terrorist incident occurs – People are shocked – The police ransack the perpurtrators home, his friends and family – A huge pile of wreaths followed by some people that have good reason to be emotional but also others pretending to be moved by the loss of life and injuries – Wreath pile gets removed.

          Other than a bunch of well intentioned speeches and lots of police activity, nothing really changes. Complacency rules the day once again so people can go back to their lives and then in some dark room another terrorists begins to plot an attack.

          • Buzz Lightyear says:

            Also the police activity is a huge waste of tax payer money. Scotland Yard police chief said it’s all security theatre for the plebs with the added bonus that it gets them used to martial law with armed police and checkpoints everywhere

            The truth is that any idiot could set off an IED in airport foyer, a hospital, a shopping mall, etc etc because security has always been very lax in these heavily populated ideal targets for terror activities and yet over the years it has hardly ever happened. It makes you wonder why not if there are so many sleeper cells as claimed.

            The other thing is that the perps are always known by the police who their activity but are not stopped before commiting the act. Shouldn’t all suspects be rounded up and deported instead of waiting for them to do exactly what they were planning to do for months if not years?

            • I expect that the police have a list of people who might commit crimes that is at least 100 to 1000 times too large, relative to the serious crimes you are talking about. Do we just attempt to deport all of these people, even though the vast majority would never be a problem, or a very big problem? Some will be fathers and husbands.

              Also, the police list will be focused on certain kinds of crimes, and not others. Malicious cyberattacks are likely to be a major problem in years ahead, now that we are making everything “internet connected.” We now have our electrical distribution system internet controlled, in many areas. I understand that at least a few cars have internet connections that can act to control the cars (primarily where customers have added insurance monitoring systems, or advanced self-driving systems, or even local in-car wi-fi systems). Deporting criminals does nothing to stop this kind of activity.

    • psile says:

      This is what everyone without foresight, or memory (not even recent memory in this case, the GFC was only in 2008) always says about bubbles and manias:

      “This time it’s different.”
      It’s the new, new economy
      This is a permanent plateau
      …blah, blah, blah, blah blah.

      Usually uttered at or near tops…

    • DJ says:

      I wasn’t here in -08, I was even more delusional then, but I suspect if someone wrote “they will just lower interest rates, negative if necessary, print money, buy bonds and ETFs” you would have said that was ridiculous.

    • Bergen Johnson says:

      “The bubbles are no longer popping, we now have the everything bubble, which will only burst at the final endpoint of the system itself – which may take decades.”

      That’s a very good point, dolph, the bubbles are no longer popping. I think the mortgage meltdown came so close to dissolving the world economy there is no willingness to allow progressions to cycle but instead they insist on doing whatever financial tricks are needed to keep it all going, even if it’s barely above zero GDP. But that does push all the bubbles in as you put it an everything bubble. So when it does finally pop, everything does. That’s a whole lot scarier than a simple recession that cycles eventually back into a growing economy. In this case the final pop would be deafening, but as you remark, who knows when it will occur.

      I for one am really sick and tired of the grinding sound of BAU no matter what mentality, but it’s all we have now so better enjoy it while we can. After that it’s freeze dried food, brushing teeth in the dark, listening to every sound, jumpy that it might be someone trying to get into your last and only food cache, to the point in which the rustling of a dry leaf initiates a bead of sweat to form on your temple followed by so much silence you can hear your quickened heart beat. You force your dry tongue off the roof of your mouth only to realize there is nothing left to quench your thirst other than some lukewarm water with that plastic taste from being stored too long. You chew on some dry pasta and delve into a memory of eating at a bistro while on vacation in Venice. Now your reality has gone from BAU to collapse to delusional fantasies. The end is near.

    • xabier says:

      High-end art auction prices are in some ways often fake: it’s all very opaque, but the works of art are tokens in a complex game, part of the global game.

      The auction houses will lend money to the buyers in order to reach a price that maintains the illusion that the market is rising and functioning properly.

      Dealers will use borrowed money (secured against their stock) to buy in works of art to maintain market values, and so on.

      The value of certain artists cannot be allowed to fall, or fall very far, as it would be game over.

      Despite all of this, it is clear from the latest top auctions that demand is fading somewhat from the peak in, I believe, 2014.

      • Buzz Lightyear says:

        I can’t think of anything more useless post BAU than a work of art

        I can still remember walking round sothebys as if it was yesterday… it was a jeff koons expo and I was thinking yeah it’s fun for now but really… people are going to invest in this stuff… a chrome plated bunny rabbit?

        Reminds me of toy collectors… grown men showing off basements stuffed wall to wall with the latest plastic figurines from their favorite shows… some of them still boxed because you know… they’ll be worth so much later on to collectors

        We are a strange species…that’s for sure

        Our priorities are all messed up

  4. Sorry, I don’t have a new post finished yet. There may be a period when comments are cut off.

  5. Lastcall says:

    So if you are going to give your kids some money, when and how much?

    I have been handing out smaller amounts with the instructions ‘spend it on doing something fun, not on normal day to day…make a memory’. Not grandchildren time yet, and I don’t encourage such!
    It would be a shame to have any worthless credits hanging around once the circus flames out!

    Hope everyone is making the most of this time. My partner and I are pushing a few boundaries that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

    These days it feels to me like we are on a plane trip where the Pilot pulls back on the gas, the plane starts to descend and the plane goes quiet. All that energy has been burnt to get us up and keep us up and now he descent begins. Best we empty the bar and make good the next few months/quarters/years/…decade?.. of time. It is truly amazing what we have access to right here, right now if you are part of the select few.

    • Perhaps you have to look for opportunities to give your kids money–doing things together (which you pay for), helping them out when expenses come up that they can’t pay for, not being concerned that you get “paid back” when an expense comes up. It is not necessarily easy giving kids money, if they can earn it themselves–hurts their egos. You may decide to spread some of your money other ways–to charities, and as more generous tips to those who provide services to you, for example.

      • Lastcall says:

        The amounts are not life-changing and never will be, but they do give them a break from the day to day every now and again. One bought computer parts, another one got some car-modifications and the other some …clothes..of course!

        Our charities are few. I am planting my land in as many different species (especially food sp.) as can possibly live in our local climate; its my way of seeding the future and it would seem its needed as the seed storage facility in Norway(?) sounds like its failing. Lots of neighbours walk their kids/dogs/horses/friends through to enjoy it. Autumn colours down here in NZ at the moment. Most of the surrounding farms are virtually tree-less, but I guess I am lucky as i earn my money elsewhere.

        Otherwise we support a few local (all local, never distant) welfare groups, and choose to do business with farmers markets, local trades people etc. I don’t spend on new other than clothes; my cars are 25 and 28 yrs old and running fine. My tractors are over 50 yrs old and they are awesome.

    • merrifield says:

      Lastcall, I feel very similarly. Until I started thinking about/researching these issues, I assumed my life would proceed as I envisioned it as a young person: probably have children and then grandchildren. The children part happened (and is the best decision I ever made, having spent the first ten years of married life thinking we probably wouldn’t have any) and seeing them as independent, kind, highly-functioning adults is a constant joy. But here I am realizing my children will not reach middle age and that I probably won’t have grandchildren (and probably wouldn’t want them to be brought into this anyway) and it’s definitely affected how I feel about money and what I do with it. I, too, don’t want to be left with stacks of worthless metals or see any stocks/accounts evaporate overnight. My spouse and I always planned to “die broke” in the sense that we would plan to give away whatever we had before we died. Our kids could use whatever we could give them much sooner than waiting for it when we died—meaning that paying for all their undergrad and graduate work was a given, in addition to helping them get a house, if that’s something they might eventually want. But seeing this ominous future, I feel even more strongly that whatever I have stashed away is going to be useless at some point, so that has freed me up even more to give it away (and not just to my kids–I have many causes I help fund as much as I’m able). Both daughters are hard working and have made pretty good money decisions so far, so I don’t worry that giving them a little extra would “spoil” them in any sense of the word. And because they both also give time and money to good causes, I know I”ll get an added bang for my buck, so to speak.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I walk the tight rope of not pissing everything away and finding out that BAU ends up continuing for much longer than expected…. it would be nice if Bernanke would ring me up and say ‘FE – the end game will take place no later than the end of 2018…. that would really be useful in terms of budgeting.

        Currently I am working off of the John Key Formula…. the fact that he quite working to spend time with his family … when he is still relatively young… leads me to believe the end cannot be too far out…

        Surely he knows he will get really bored if he pulled the plug too early

        • Key’s ‘time with the family’ is nonsense.

          His kids are in their early twenties… are they going to be spending time with their parents?


          He was really saying… “things are about the blow and i don’t want to be seen as responsible/ deal with the chaos”

          • Fast Eddy says:


            He’s probably on a round the world end of days tour right now… or perhaps he’s splayed out on his sofa after another heavy round of drinking and coke snorting with high class hookers from the local strip club….

            Give er Johnny!

          • Kids in their twenties are often without partners. They are struggling with lots of problems, including student loans and low-paid jobs. They need the support of their parents much more than they did in the past.

  6. dolph says:

    Housing prices won’t go down. They will continue rising, or at least stabilized, for probably another 20 years. This is true because people need a place to live, and will pay anything.
    This is also true for the bond market, since the bond market in a sense prices everything else, and has central bank support.
    The stock market is a different story. There is certainly a mania, and central banks do support it, but they may pull out just at the last second to avoid the hyperinflation tipping point, and force investors and pensioners to take the losses.

    You heard it from me : the stock market will be the first to go. Real estate and bond markets will take some time.

    • JT Roberts says:

      Are the ghosts of 2005-2006 live and well? Housing will only go up right? Housing prices are directly related to mortgage interest rates. If interest rates can continue falling prices will go up. If the Fed raises rates the price will go down. The last time the market crashed both housing and WS fell. Something different this time?

      Actually this time is worse. Now we have Fannie May and Freddy Mac back stopping commercial paper on residential real estate investment trusts.

      Too bad what you think is pure speculation without facts.

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      …another 20 years…

      dolph I have a theory…I think you’re from an alternate universe to us, where everything is the opposite to us….in your world physical limits don’t exist, conventional oil is not stuck at 75M barrels per day for the last 12 years, it has actually grown to 100M barrels per day (and no need for that junk called shale and tar-sands) consumers across the world are not tapped out, millennials have tons of high-paying jobs available to them and they are starting families by the millions and also of course….buying houses….thus the system can chug along forever…somehow the dolph from our universe and yours got switched, so our dolph, who fully understands physical limits, is in the alternate universe (he must actually be quite happy about that)…reminds of “The Bizzaro Jerry” episode from Seinfeld:

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        I forgot to add there’s also a lady in that universe named Ailgay Verbergtay who has a blog called Our Infinite World with the tagline Exploring how abiotic oil helps the economy 🙂

        • xabier says:

          Abiotic oil is nothing.

          I’m working on living by lying down, placing a slice of chorizo on my stomach, and inhaling the nutritional fumes.

          It has a lot of potential I think!

          Unfortunately, I still need a more conventional intake at the end of the day – but I can feel my Transition capacity growing. Really, I can. 🙂

          • Buzz Lightyear says:

            You mean you’re not a breatharian?

            Shame on you

            Inedia (Latin for “fasting”) or breatharianism /brɛθˈɛəriənɪzəm/ is the belief that it is possible for a person to live without consuming food. Breatharians claim that food, and in some cases water, are not necessary for survival, and that humans can be sustained solely by prana, the vital life force in Hinduism.
            Inedia – Wikipedia

    • So why did housing prices in the US drop so much in the late 2000’s? Doesn’t the ability to get a mortgage have something to do with housing “demand”?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Dolph …. you indicate you are a doctor…. medical doctor? witch doctor? chiropractor? you played doctor when you were a kid?

        If you are a real medical doctor… remind me to avoid you if I get a sliver…. you might remove kidneys….

        • Does any one remember that touching moment on this blog when dolph admitted the fragility of everything – how it could all disappear tomorrow.. it was an epiphany! (one that we had been trying to ram down his throat for months)

          Then he continued the next day on his ‘perception’ and ‘confidence’ is everything speel.


          • Fast Eddy says:

            Doctors are notorious for self-medicating… Dolph — you need to get back on whatever you were taking that day…. it worked!

      • Greg Machala says:

        Yes, unless the Fed starts directly buying homes.

  7. CTG says:

    FE – you get to live another day


    You cannot natural law and order (free market). The blowback will be unbelievable.

    Read up on The Great 1988 Yellowstone fire. By preventing small fires (recessions), the final big fire was devastating and the very hot temperature caused Yellowstone to recover very slowly. It does seem that humans never learn from mistakes.

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      There is no papering over this…sooner or later the dam of physical laws will break and that will be the end of it….in the meantime GO TEAM PPT!!!!

      CBs back-stop everything…buy cars, trucks, everything produced…just so that we can get another day, month, year!!!!!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Imagine if the Fed would have had a plunge protection team in 1929….. we could have avoided the Great Depression!!! (sarc….)

        But we have come to our senses… we know how to guarantee prosperity forever… we have ourselves what is known as a Perpetual Economic Motion Machine (sarc…)

        This Machine will allow the poorest wretch in Somalia to Live Large (sarc…)

        To hell with BAU Lite… this is BAU Large…. Pave every inch of this MOFO!!!

        • ITEOTWAWKI says:

          Hahaha FE love this song….brings me back to the 80s and 90s when I would go see my beloved Expos at the Olympic Stadium…every time the ‘spos would win, they would play this song in the stadium 🙂

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Andre Dawson…

            Damn Pirates!

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              Number 10, The Hawk, one of my all-time favourite Expos, along with Gary Carter, Tim Raines, Tim Wallach and of course are very own Canuck Larry Walker!!!!!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Larry Walker —- when he lost best Canuck athlete of the year to gilles villeneuve — commented ‘I lost to a machine’


            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              Haha did not know that…too bad Walker is such a nice guy and Villeneuve a total a-hole…

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              “Walker had the off-season to get over it. He didn’t. He says he usually doesn’t care about individual honors, but this was different. “It’s the one award that would have meant more to me than anything else,” he says. After a pause, he adds: “I’m from Canada and I like to think I represent my country well. So it’s frustrating – I got beat by a machine.””

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              “Beat by a machine”

              Damn Industrial Civilization 😉

    • Fast Eddy says:

      They will not stop because they cannot stop….

      2008 will look like a tiny spark… compared to what is inevitable…


  8. Fast Eddy says:

    “It’s fear.”

    During the first two weeks in May, according to preliminary data from Toronto Real Estate Board, home listings surged 47% from the same period last year even as sales plunged 16%. The average selling price dropped 3.3% from April – and this, after a 33% year-over-year spike in home prices in March and a 25% surge in April. Something is happening to Toronto’s blistering house price bubble.

    Canada’s largest alternative mortgage lender, Home Capital Group, which focuses on new immigrants and subprime borrowers turned down by the banks, is melting down after a run on its deposits that crushed its funding sources. The industry is worried about contagion.

    At the same time, the provincial government of Ontario announced a slew of drastic measures, including a 15% tax on purchases by non-resident foreign investors to tamp down on the housing market insanity that left many locals unable to buy even a modest home.

    It comes after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz warned in April that home prices are in “an unsustainable zone,” that the market “has divorced itself from any fundamentals that we can identify,” that there was “no fundamental story that we could tell to justify that kind of inflation rate in housing prices,” and that “It’s time we remind folks that prices of houses can go down as well as up. People need to ask themselves very carefully, ‘Why am I buying this house?”’

    A few days ago, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Canada’s six largest banks on concerns over their exposure to the housing bubble and household indebtedness that ranks among the highest in the world.

    Now even the relentlessly optimistic industry begins to fret:

    “We are seeing people who paid those crazy prices over the last few months walking away from their deposits,” Carissa Turnbull, a Royal LePage broker in the Toronto suburb of Oakville, told Bloomberg. She said they didn’t get a single visitor to an open house over the weekend. “They don’t want to close anymore.”

    “Definitely a perception change occurred from Home Capital,” Shubha Dasgupta, owner of Toronto-based mortgage brokerage Capital Lending Centre, told Bloomberg.

    “In less than one week we went from having 40 or 50 people coming to an open house to now, when you are lucky to get five people,” Case Feenstra, an agent at Royal LePage Real Estate Services Loretta Phinney in Mississauga, Ontario, told Bloomberg. “Everyone went into hibernation.”

    “I’ve had situations where buyers are trying to find another buyer to take over their deal,” Toronto real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder told Bloomberg. Some clients want out of transactions, he said. “They are nervous whether they bought right at the top and prices may come down.” Home Capital had “a bigger impact on the market” than Ontario’s announcement of the new rules, he said.

    “Home Capital is affecting things because people who can’t get mortgages from the banks rely on them and other b-lenders,” Lorand Sebestyen, an agent with iPro Realty in Toronto, told Bloomberg. “If you can’t get the mortgage then you obviously can’t buy anything and it’s going to affect the market, especially for the higher-priced properties.”

    “It’s fear,” said Joanne Evans, owner of Century 21 Millennium, about the impact of Home Capital on housing. “It’s another contributing factor to the fear of ‘what’s going to happen?”’

    More http://wolfstreet.com/2017/05/24/toronto-house-price-bubble-pops/

  9. Bergen Johnson says:


    Time to raise the debt limit again? They hated Obama for raising it so that should mean in the absence of hypocrisy the R’s do not raise the limit because that would make them no different in that respect than Obama. Ouch!

  10. Fast Eddy says:

    Tiffany Slides After Jeweler Reports Surprise Sales Decline

    The shares declined as much as 9.7 percent to $84.15 in New York, the biggest intraday drop since January 2015. Tiffany had climbed 20 percent this year through Tuesday’s close. Signet Jewelers Ltd., the owner of the Kay, Zales and Jared chains, , fell as much as 9.1 percent.

    Valentine’s Day typically brings a surge of shopping to the jeweler, but it wasn’t enough to salvage results in the latest quarter. Same-store sales — a key measure — fell 2 percent in the period. Analysts had projected a gain of 1.7 percent on average, according to Consensus Metrix.


    The retail bloodbath continues… and people are not turning to Amazon for high end jewelry …

  11. Duncan Idaho says:

    The Electric Car’s Same Old Problem

    No one was ever more forthright about this matter than Sergio Marchionne, the refreshingly honest chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Talking about his company’s all-electric Fiat 500e in 2014, he said , “I hope you don’t buy it because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000.”

    • Bergen Johnson says:

      Isn’t that ironic. The CO2 equivalent is close to 500e which is the same model number for the all electric Fiat. Someone at Fiat has a sense of humor or they’re trying to send a message that the equivalent number should be held in ck. by buying more electric Fiat’s.

  12. Duncan Idaho says:

    Storage is the ‘Holy Grail’ of the Energy Transition – or is it?
    (many of the points Gail makes)


  13. Yoshua says:

    I took a loan today just to buy some vine for my own pleasure… and all they asked me for was my bank account number to transfer the money to.

    Things are just getting better ? I don’t even know why I’m working, what’s the point of doing work when they just give you the money ?

    • Joebanana says:

      I ask myself that all the time. I sure as hell am blowing what I do have though.

  14. JT Roberts says:

    Can a country print itself out of debt? Can oil pump itself to prosperity? It seems the two are quite similar.

    If money creation eventually leads to valuations that make it irrelevant as happened in Austria. Might we be witnessing the same demise of the oil industry? There is only one thing to do when you only have one thing that can be done. Print more. Drill more.

    The “glut” will persist as the supply system declines. Profit margins will turn negative just as interest rates effectively have. Debt is good debt is profitable. The more I owe the more I own the richer I am.

    What is your credit rating? You don’t know? Who are you if you don’t know?

    In an upside down twisted world without a horizon the ocean looks like the sky. Will you trust your instruments? Do you have any?


    • Bergen Johnson says:

      Would be interesting if the ‘Main Stages in a Bubble’ graph included estimated years.

  15. Third World person says:

    jerry is talking about city of rome having garbage crisis what happened when whole country have garbage crisis meet lebanon

    • Bergen Johnson says:

      “…jerry is talking about city of rome having garbage crisis…”

      I’m not sure where the garbage is in Rome, Italy, because when my wife were there only last Spring (and we covered the whole city) there weren’t any piles of garbage – not one. Maybe they have piled up since then? What we did see were lots of African’s on the streets. Mostly guys in their late teens early twenties that were very lean. My very strong suggestion is do not take the stairs down to the river that runs through Rome. We had an encounter there and only because I handled it right were we ok, but I would never go back down there. After we got back home in CA I read about a young tourist that got mugged, robbed and drowned in that river. The embankment is vertical concrete about 10 feet high from the surface of the water. No way to get back up so if someone falls in they eventually tire out and drown. There are no police down those stairs. There should be a big warning sign at the top of the stairs that reads, “Do not go down these stairs if you value your life and possessions!”

      • Bergen Johnson says:

        One more note: There is no railing, so nothing to stop someone from falling in. They should permanently close off access to those stairs leading down, and I mean down as in into the bowels of hell, especially at night. Our encounter happened near dusk.

  16. Duncan Idaho says:

    The US Lags Behind in Meteorology. Under Trump, It May Get Worse


  17. jerry says:

    with all of those quotes by FE previously has anyone ever had suspicions about European monarchies? Certainly I have but have never studied it closely though now perhaps it would be prudent. just consider these astounding quotes which point to where it all started anyway the boot of the mediterrean?

    “Yeah, even researchers like Daniel Estulin admit the likes of Rockefeller are way down the totem pole. He mentions House of Braganza as being one of the richest.

    These are the people that have all the natural minerals in the world, are they not? Idiots on YouTube saying the Rothschilds have $400 trillion, idiots! Printing money is not the real power; controlling resources is!

    I wonder what level you have to get to before you are told who your masters are? Does David Cameron bow to Queen Guelph?

    Does Adolofo Nicholas take orders from these criminals? I would think he must? There has got to be a council dictating from ABOVE the Jesuits, who then coordinate the whole agenda.”




    KEY POINT: M.A.F.I.A. stands for Mazzini, Autorizza, Furti, Incendi, Avvelenamenti. Italian names that end in “i” are often from north of Rome (i.e. Venice, Genoa, Milan and Turin). The original Mafia is truly one of the world’s first organized terrorist organizations. Even NATO named their premier terror operation Operation Gladio, which is headquartered in Rome. Now frequently referred to as the “North Atlantic Terrorist Organization”, this warmongering institution is the most feared military machine the world has ever known. And, it’s completely controlled by the Black Nobility via the Committee of 300 and several other secret societies and clandestine organizations.[1] http://themillenniumreport.com/2017/05/who-is-really-ruling-the-world/


    While professing Christianity, the oligarchical families, for the greater part, actually despise it in secret. Masonry provides their religious fulfillment. And without faith, they have no belief in reward or punishment and a world to come. They live for the here and now.

    Many of these oligarchies are in the drug and arms trade through well-distanced intermediaries (like so many of the large banks).




    • Fast Eddy says:

      If you read the Pr-otoco…ls… there is a lengthy explanation of how the powers of the various monarchies needed to be crushed…. in order to take control from them….

      Another interesting takeaway from the Prots… is the emphasis on never drawing attention to the eld.ers…. remain hidden in the shadows…

      Because if you come out from the shadows…. you become a target….. and if things go badly e.g. the economy weakens….

      The goy…im will come at you with pitch forks…. and that is dangerous

      The El.ders LOVE democracy!

      It is the perfect system — the goy elect one government e.g. Bush — things go badly — the goy get pissed off…. they rant and roar …. at Bush

      Then they vote — for hope and change… and they get Obama …. who starts even more wars…

      Unhappy with the economy under Obama? No problem…. vote for Make America Great Again…

      The goy haven’t a clue that it is the eld.ers pulling the strings…. they don’t even know they exist…. for them POTUS is the most powerful man on earth …. because that is what the MSM tells them…

      Like I said…. democracy is AWESOME! If you look at it from the perspective of the Eld…ers

    • JMS says:

      “Estulin … mentions House of Braganza as being one of the richest.”
      This is ridiculous and enough to undermine Estulin’s credibility. The assets of House of Bragança were nationalized in 1930’s, and the currently pretender to the crown of Portugal is a private citizen, not particularly wealthy, living off the rents of some apartments he inherited.

  18. jerry says:

    just look at the city of Rome which apparently is being overrun with garbage, little to no pickup and tens of thousands of Boars? lol

    • psile says:

      More examples of the future. Coming to a city near you….

    • Wild boars are creating havoc all over the Europe, the reason is simple, apart from loosing big predators, which goes for past centuries, the problem lays rather more in the recent demographics and economy trends. It used to be there were many hobby hunters and rangers around. Not so much today, the old guys perished without younger generation replenishing them, as they are more into cell phone screens, “watching sports” etc.. Also as the middle class shrunk, the hunters have less money and time for the activity. Some countries are considering larger subsidies for these hunters to tame the boar population..

      • Bergen Johnson says:

        Maybe wild boars replace people after the supposedly coming collapse.

      • Buzz Lightyear says:

        We have had wolves and bears reseeded in the mountains here by ecologists who don’t understand that times have changed

        There is not enough food for the reseeded animals which are also protected species by law so they decend into the villages and farms in search of anything they can find

        They slaughter whole herds of sheep etc and the farmers are compensated

        What they have done is create an entirely artificial ecological situation when there was absolutely no need to do so except to satisfy romantic ideals

        Occasionaly the hunters are given a pass to cull the wild boar since the wolves don’t really mess with them because they are vicious

        The wild dog packs are increasing too and while there are still some wild horses to chase down and chew on they’ll continue to do well

        Of course, if / when the SHTF then you can add a few thousand hungry human predators to the mix. It doesn’t matter that the prey run off and hide – humans with their tenacity and hunting tracking trapping skills will make quick work of extinguishing what’s left – they’ll be clearing the forests at a rapid pace too

        • grayfox says:


          Your friendly neighborhood bobcat checking out the scene. Predators do not wipe out whole herds of farm animals – generally just kill to eat. Mankind is the one who often kills for a trophy to put on the wall. Predators are beneficial in keeping a balance – unless you like mice, rats, etc. over-running your ecosystem.

          • here in uk George Monbiot wants wolves re introduced to the Scottish highlands

            thatll be a lot of fun

          • Buzz Lightyear says:

            Once predators and prey have been wiped out from a region – by humans – to reintroduce them does not magically bring back the balance that existed before humans wiped them out

            What you essentially are doing is creating an entertaining open theme park that humans try to manage with difficulty – it’s an artificial construct and falls apart without human intervention i.e. culling and conservation

            Look at the way that once protected elephants in africa are now openly hunted again because local farmers were losing all their crops. It’s simply the most efficient way to keep numbers from exploding. Elephants will destroy habitats if left to multiply. We are not the only animal that affects our environment.


            “No one likes killing elephants, but we have a responsibility to maintain biodiversity,” said Kruger’s Dr Whyte, an elephant specialist who has worked in the park for the past 36 years.

            And predators such as foxes and wolves will kill all the chickens or sheep respectively even if they only take one for their consumption – it’s just what they do

            Cats on the other hand even ones that hunt in groups don’t do this – they don’t waste energy 😉

            • grayfox says:

              “And predators such as foxes and wolves will kill all the chickens or sheep respectively even if they only take one for their consumption – it’s just what they do.”

              Ha ha ha! Myths die hard. The evil wolf and little red riding hood!

            • Buzz Lightyear says:


              Surplus killing, also known as excessive killing and henhouse syndrome,[1][2] is a common behavior exhibited by predators, in which they kill more prey than they can immediately eat and then cache or abandon the remainder. The term was invented by Dutch biologist Hans Kruuk after studying spotted hyenas in Africa[3] and red foxes in England.[4] Other than humans, surplus killing has been observed among zooplankton, damselfly naiads, predaceous mites, martens, weasels, honey badgers, wolves, orcas, red foxes, leopards, lions, spotted hyenas, spiders, brown[5] and black and polar bears, coyotes, lynx, mink, raccoons, dogs, and house cats.[6]



              Do you want me to continue?

            • grayfox says:

              Ha ha ha! Did you even read your own linked article? The sheep were so afraid they piled up on one another and suffocated. So, you are blaming the wolf for the stupidity of the sheep? Ha ha!

              “J.C. Siddoway of Terreton says almost all of the sheep died from asphyxiation. About 10 died of bite wounds and one was partially consumed.”

              This is what you get when you introduce a non-native (sheep) into the wolves domain. The domesticated sheep has completely lost its ability to defend itself and is unable to stay alive without constant care and supervision (ask any shepherd). For the sheep’s deficiency you blame the native wolf…too funny.

              Go back to reading your children’s tales!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              My neighbour was telling me that some pig dogs (used to hunt pigs) got among his sheep some years ago…. they love killing so they just raced around killing as many sheep as possible…. a couple of dozen were maimed or killed before he arrived on the scene…

              He hollered to the dogs — they raced over excitedly expecting a pat on the head…. they both got bullets in the head.

            • grayfox says:

              Buzz, please continue. I’ve read your links ( the ones that work) I’m still waiting for you to show how foxes and wolves “kill all the chickens and sheep respectively even if they only take one for their consumption”.

          • Ecosystems are set up in a way that predators do not kill all of the prey of the kind they need to continue to live (except when new predators, like humans, are introduced to an ecosystem). There are built-in controls, such as territoriality, to keep the population of individual predators down, so that the overall system can prosper. With the benefit of fossil fuels and other energy supplies, we have been able to overcome most of our territorial instincts–at least until we start seeing too few jobs to go around, and greater territoriality to prevent “dumping” of products made at artificially low cost levels.

            • no ‘job’ can exist in any meaningful sense without consuming energy

              it follows then, that as our population has continued to grow exponentially, so our energy use has had to grow in lockstep with it, so that the majority of us can be in gainful employment. We are forced to look for more and more and more,…..endlessly.

              Surplus energy creates jobs

              depleting energy takes jobs away.

              Our modern industrial infrastructure really is that simple—economists and politicians just dress it up with weird theories.

              The Saudis invest 100bn in US infrastructure–but that creates jobs only so long as the energy input is flowing–oil to drive machines, pour concrete and so on
              But Saudi oil is infinite—what is there to worry about?

            • grayfox says:

              Amen to that, sister Gail! Well said.

            • houtskool says:

              We’re just apes with quantitative brain damage.

        • Having all humans operate as hunter gatherers now would no doubt work equally poorly, today. Not enough to go around!

    • Some of the problems a country runs into when tax levels are not high enough, and concentration of people (and thus garbage–entropy) is too high.

      If energy were a lot lower in cost, jobs would be more plentiful, taxes would be higher, and it would be possible to collect garbage adequately.

      This is an example of the kind of problems we run into as we reach energy limits. Too much garbage and illnesses start rising as well.

      • one of my main ”future warnings” has always been about waste removal of every kind.

        we’ve got used to ‘flush and forget’ few bother to figure out the cost of that, or how fragile the network is that makes it happen

      • JT Roberts says:

        Rome has been through this before. The world maybe waking up to the fact that the past was greater then the present and greater yet to the future. Where are our moon landings, concord jets, Blackbird planes? Where are the shinning industrial cities? They’ve been replaced by warehouse stores and production plants.

        The Roman’s must have at one point looked around at the decay and wondered how it got there. Not much different then today’s collage graduate. Do you think the Romans were protesting to secure their safe places? In a sense they were by picking through the ruins for stone to take home. Just as today’s youth are living from the legacy of a productive time.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Rome’s garbage problem…. will end very soon.

  19. Duncan Idaho says:

    Are humans smarter than yeast?

    ‘My worst nightmares are coming true’: last major primeval forest in Europe on ‘brink of collapse’

    • jeremy890 says:

      Just another canary in the coal mine
      And here is another….BURN MOAR COAL…(Sarcasm)

      A new study has found a steady growth of moss in Antarctica over the last 50 years as temperatures increased as a result of climate change. The study, published yesterday in the journal Current Biology, shows that Antarctica will be much greener in the future, said lead author Matt Amesbury, a researcher at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.
      The continued retreat of glaciers will make the Antarctic Peninsula, which has been warming at a faster rate than the rest of the continent, a much greener place in the future, Amesbury said.
      “It’s a clear sign that the biological response to climate warming is pervasive around the globe,” he said. “The Antarctic Peninsula is often thought of as a very remote and possibly even untouched region, but this clearly shows that the effects of climate change are felt here.”


      And there are folks here need a good reason….Duh!

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        Again Jeremy, and without getting pissed off, what would you have us collectively do about all this (without crashing BAU)???

        • Joebanana says:

          As ITEOTWAWKI asks, what is the solution? Don’t you see how pointless it is to post this stuff without a solution?

          • DJ says:

            But … everyone, especially FE, posts charts and news daily about how screwed the economy is (without offering solutions).

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am posting solutions …

              Each one of these posts indicates that we are closer to ending the human race.

              Unfortunately the solution is not soon enough for this poor fellow


            • Fast Eddy says:

              BTW – I went on a tour of a bull fighting ring in Madrid… it was off season so I didn’t get to see the criminal act….

              The lady was proudly announcing how many killers had been killed while torturing the bulls…

              I asked her how many bulls had been murdered in that right over the same period.

              She was rather offended.

              Then I walked out.

              Stoopid bi.tch.

            • Buzz Lightyear says:

              Fast Eddy,

              Do you eat beef or pork?

              Or maybe some succulent chicken?

              It’s a fair question because even if the millions of animals that are slaughtered for human consumption are not directly torutured someone else is hired to do the killing and prepping of that food… otherwise most people wouldn’t want it

              I’ve been mostly vegetarian for the past twenty years for health reasons but have wondered what would happen if everyone did this

              Most of our food and water production goes toward feeding farm animals… which are then slaughtered and transported for our consumption

              None of it is necessary for our survival but people will say that any changes wil collapse the economy. More people than ever want red meat as part of their diet and that is why humanity is doomed. We simply don’t care about the facts and soldier on blindly doing all the wrong things.

              We are not hunter gatherers now on the american plains. We are something else and should have changed our ways by now – adapted to new conditions – but we continue to act like cavemen

            • I’m afraid we are still hunter gatherers—we just wear (supposedly) better clothes at the moment.

              Gathering meant acquiring various forms of diffuse energy
              Hunting acquired concentrated energy

              We evolved to subsist on either, but diffuse energy—just like solar panels, restricts your personal energy output.

              Hence grazers tend to be placid animals (unless directly threatened.)
              While hunters are dangerous to be near. (they eat you)
              Most species tend to be one or the other.

              So concentrated energy was/is the means by which we can expand our numbers and do more stuff—which is why we use oil coal and gas now. So naturally we took concentrated energy, even though it was more difficult to get—it either runs away fast, or tries to kill and eat you instead. (to acquire your concentrated energy)
              If we came to live in a solar panel powered environment, we won’t be able to do stuff—we will effectively become diffuse-energy grazers—just like cows.
              We will not have enough surplus energy to be aggressive in the way we are now. (semi permanent warfare)

              It is also well known, that if vegan parents feed a newborn baby on a vegan diet, it fails to thrive in the way a baby on a mixed diet does.
              So whether we agree with it or not–we need that hunter gatherer diet.

              The fact that it is ultimately destructive is another matter entirely—lions and tigers don’t barbecue their venison steaks. That is the ultimate problem I think

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am mostly vegetarian…

              But when I eat meat I would prefer that the animals were not treated as depicted in those videos…

              There is no excuse for that …. other than I suppose that those committing these atrocities … are humans…

              We tend to enjoy committing atrocities.

            • Buzz Lightyear says:

              When was the last time you went out and speared a buffalo for your consumption or sank your teeth into the nearest living flesh?

              You know we’ve been farming animals and crops for a long time and yet you make the diffuse claim that we are still hunter gatherers

              I get the analogy with energy consumption but it’s a bit of a stretch – no a ridiculous stretch – to compare that to hunting and gathering food on the american plains

              You also made the jump to the extreme of vegan diet to fit your narrative

              A diet rich in dairy products and eggs or soya is brimming with complex proteins which are essential for health without ever having to consume animal flesh so I really don’t see the point you are trying to force

              But you do need complex proteins – you can’t thrive on vegetable protein alone apart from quality soya and this is where a lot of vegans have problems. They can easily remedy this through supplementation or learning about complex proteins

              “We will not have enough surplus energy to be aggressive in the way we are now. (semi permanent warfare)”

              Fantastic! Progress.

            • i havent speared a buffalo for weeks now


              is it absolutely necessary to go into details about ‘the nearest living flesh’ part?

              But on a more serious note
              Not sure if your response was to me or DJ—but I stand by the analogies I made—we eat cereals, they fall out of a box into a bowl only because a ‘gatherer’, back down the line has ‘gathered’ on our behalf.
              We eat meat because someone else works in an abbattoir and does the messy part on our behalf
              We are still hunter gatherers–we just use cash instead of spears. We have evolved to utilise animal and vegetable protein as necessary
              In 10k years the human brain has not had time to evolve into anything different.
              We seek out the best sources of energy to suit our needs and means.

              Inuit could not exist on a vegan/vegetarian diet, the energy intake would be too diffuse, same with extreme sports athletes.

              My vegan comment was not extreme. People do feed babies on a vegan diet, and they do not thrive well—to me this is a clear indication that our bodies need our mixed diet, at least in developmental years.
              a favourite snack of my kids as babies was bone marrow on toast—they instinctively went for it every time, before they could talk.

              Needless to say—they are all Nobel prizewinners—but I don’t usually mention that.

            • DJ says:

              It doesn’t take much to win a peace prize.

            • merrifield says:

              Norman, I don’t know if you’re including vegetarian in with vegan, but spouse was raised vegetarian from birth–has PhD and JD from top ten law school. Daughter vegetarian from birth–Ivy League school. Failure to thrive?

            • did specifically say vegan

              but in any event, there is no universality or commonality in human development, none of us can use individual examples to prove points and theories either way

            • Buzz Lightyear says:

              My original comment was about reducing meat consumption but somehow that gets twisted into something else

              Norman… you make innacurate statements which are easily disproved

              Which makes me question your ability to make statements on anything

              “Inuit could not exist on a vegan/vegetarian diet, the energy intake would be too diffuse, same with extreme sports athletes.”

              What a load of…



              puny vegan…


            • Fast Eddy says:

              If you ram enough steroid into your body… you could eat straw … and still be a beast

              The dark side: The secret world of sports doping

              Al Jazeera investigation raises questions about whether sports heroes are linked to performance-enhancing drugs.


            • Joebanana says:

              Not that Norman needs any defence but I think you are misinterpreting what he is saying. That big muscle guy for example, someone else is doing all the work for him to get the calories he needs to look like that. He would be on a specialized diet.

              In a state of pure nature the farther you move from the equator the more you have to consume animals as there is less photosynthesis taking place to have enough to eat year round from plants. Hence, Inuit eat meat only.

              Was there even such a thing as a vegetarian before the industrial revolution. People around here say vegetarian is an old Indian word for “bad hunter”.;-)

              When Norm gets through with you you will be eating meat…I take it there are crows where you live? Whats in humble pie?

            • Joebanana says:

              Good point. I stand corrected good sir!

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              Haha Joebanana well put…BTW I would never even dare go up against Norman..he is in another stratosphere when talking about the historical relationship between energy and humans over the many millennia we have been around 🙂

            • Buzz Lightyear says:


              You might get scurvy, like a pirate. Cooked meat contains very little vitamin C, notes Donald Beitz, a nutritional biochemist at Iowa State University. Without the vitamin, scurvy would bring on rashes and gum disease, not to mention very bad breath. Moreover, meat lacks fiber, so you’d probably be constipated. All in all, you wouldn’t be healthy or comfortable.

              That said, some groups of people have survived—even thrived—on an animal-only diet. Research suggests that traditionally the Inuit ate any number of meats, including seal, whale, caribou and fish. But they rarely, if ever, ate plant fiber. The key to their success, says Harriet Kuhnlein, the founding director of the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment at McGill University in Montreal, was eating every part of the animal, “and you have to eat some of it raw.” Raw meat contains vitamin C (which is lost when cooked), and the skin, hooves and bones contain fiber. For greens, Kuhnlein adds, traditional Inuit “ate the stomach contents of caribou and deer.”

              Historically, they were quite healthy, she says; they almost never suffered from heart disease. Today, the meat-heavy diet lives on in the form of the controversial Atkins Nutritional Approach. Formulated by cardiologist Robert Atkins in the early 1970s, the diet prescribes that adherents dramatically cut their carbohydrate intake.

              The American Heart Association issued a statement in 2001 condemning the diet for cutting necessary sources of nutrients, stating that devotees were “at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal [kidney], bone and liver abnormalities.”

              Have at it… no one stopping you

              I’ll stick with my balanced mostly vegetarian diet

            • Buzz Lightyear says:

              FE yes that’s all true but not the point I was making

              Natural bodybuilding is a bodybuilding movement with various competitions that take place for bodybuilders who abstain from performance-enhancing drugs. This categorically excludes the use of substances like anabolic steroids, insulin, diuretics and human growth hormone.
              Natural bodybuilding – Wikipedia

            • DJ says:

              Caucasians does well on inuit diet also.

              Sailors didn’t start developing scurvy until they stopped living on salted fish and switched to bread.

            • DJ says:

              I would trust natural bodybuilding less than natural track and field. With basically one competition per year and no unannounced tests you have to only be clean on competition day, or just gamble they test someone else (or noone).

            • DJ says:

              I wouldnt worry about complete protein, beans and anything, or peas by itself.

              I would worry more about B12, K2, omega-3 and yet unknown nutrients.

              Also selenium and calcium can be problematic if you eat vegan without enough variety.

              If I couldn’t force myself to eat shrimps or fish I would at least eat eggs for health.

            • Buzz Lightyear says:

              Vegetarianism has its roots in the civilizations of ancient India and ancient Greece. Vegetarianism is the theory and practice of voluntary non-consumption of the flesh of any animal (including sea animals), with or without also eschewing other animal derivatives (such as dairy products or eggs).
              History of vegetarianism – Wikipedia

            • Buzz Lightyear says:




              I was wrong about complete proteins

              I too bought into the media hype

              The truth is actually much better than I thought

              We need to be careful with media narratives and fact check everything rigorously before making statements off the top of our heads as if they are facts

        • DJ says:

          Kill all humans

        • jeremy890 says:

          Oh that is easy to answer …eliminate the “I” and one can start with the question…
          But no, to much attachment to the self to overcome the hindrance of seeing.
          Yes, we are attached…

          Sometimes one has to die to the self to see.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        You make these posts suggesting that what is happening is a negative thing.

        If man is causing global warming then it is a good thing.

        Because it means prosperity — it means we get to live on.

        Don’t you want to live Jeremy?

        Every time you read about how we have forced temperatures a degree higher you should feel warm and fuzzy inside.

        It should be a good feeling — you should not feel frustrated and unhappy.

        Burning More Coal is GOOD.

        As for solutions — I am with you there — why do we need solutions when there is no problem?

        The problems will arise when we Stop Burning Coal. Very big problems…. without solutions

        So please Jeremy — please continue to post stories about AGW — please remind us of how we are still alive and will likely continue to be for some time

        • I was just reading Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life – Eric Schneider and Dorion Sagan – University of Chicago Press – 2005. It says,

          “Life has a similar natural purpose. Only instead of quickly destroying a pressure gradient and then disappearing, it tends to reduce, over billions of years, the huge solar gradient between hot sun and cold space, growing in complexity as it does so. The growth of complex, intelligent life can be directly traced to the effectiveness of life as a cycling material adept at reducing gradients. The original and basic function of life, as of other complex systems that we examine in this book, is to reduce an ambient gradient.”

          At first reading, this paragraph seems to say, “The purpose of life on earth is to produce climate change–in the direction of a making earth’s climate colder.” Thinking about the situation, perhaps the authors mean, “The purpose of life on earth is to push earth and its biosphere to the end of its existence as a dissipative structure, so that it becomes a cold piece of land in space.” Thus, there will necessarily be a warming stage before the cooling stage. It seems to me to be a very strange purpose for life.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Kill all humans asap … the forest survives….

    • “Foresters think the forest exists to serve them, and not the other way round,” said Wesołowski. “It’s a classic monopoly – they extract money from land belonging to the Polish people and keep most of it for themselves, destroying the land in the process.”

      Of course, wood keeps people warm now. Trees have a long-term function, but that is harder to evaluate.

  20. Third World person says:

    i think muslim sunni nato will be use by usa to invade iran so they take last cheap oil in middle east

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Iran can actually shoot back, something ‘Merika has never experienced for quite a while.
      I would not want to see what Iranian (Russian) missile technology could really do.

      • jerry says:

        I work with an expat Iranian and he laughs at any thought of attacking his homeland. He says to me you can’t begin to imagine how and what they do to prepare, its constant training and training and more training..

        • xabier says:

          Invaded by the Arabs in the 7th century the ethnic Iranians only really got their own hands on the reins again in the 20th – until then their rulers were basically Turks, and it was the Turkic nomads who saved Iran from being conquered by the Ottomans in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are full of hatred and contempt for Arabs. An Arab-Iranian war sponsored by the US would be something to see…..

          • Buzz Lightyear says:

            Have you read the 2009 paper Which Path to Persia by the Brookings Institution?


            The trouble with tehran: U.s. Policy options toward iran
            Part i Dissuading tehran: The Diplomatic options
            chapter 1: an offer iran shouldn’t refuse: Persuasion
            chapter 2: tempting tehran: The engagement option
            Part ii Disarming tehran: The Military options
            chapter 3: Going all the Way: invasion
            chapter 4: The osiraq option: airstrikes
            chapter 5: Leave it to Bibi: allowing or encouraging an israeli Military strike
            Part iii toppling tehran: regime change
            chapter 6: The Velvet revolution: supporting a Popular Uprising
            chapter 7: inspiring an insurgency: supporting iranian Minority and opposition Groups
            chapter 8: The coup: supporting a Military Move against the regime
            Part iV Deterring tehran: containment
            chapter 9: accepting the Unacceptable: containment
            conclusion crafting an integrated iran Policy: connecting the options

          • xabier says:

            The only state currently truly engaged in war against Islamic ‘extremists’ (actually orthodox muslims, rather than lax, tolerant ones) is the Assad government.

            Without outside interference, from the West and the Saudis, and with Iranian and Russian aid, they could have crushed the rebellion soon after it broke out.

            • Buzz Lightyear says:

              It’s all very sordid isn’t it

              Do you mean rebellion or proxy army invasion?

            • Joebanana says:

              You are spot on. I should not be letting it bother me but it drives me nuts how the Assad government, along with Iran and the Russians are seen as the bad guys. Total BS.

              My only disagreement is that it is Sunni Wahhabism orthodoxy.

        • Jesse James says:

          Agreed, invading and destroying Serbia, or Libya was one thing, when they had no one to back them up. But the US will never defeat Iran. Perhaps destroy much of it, but never defeat it. Gadhaffi was stupid enough to give up much of his aircraft defenses to the US.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Plus, a the Saudi Oil Fields would be in flames, the Strait shut down, and the World Economy would be in shambles.
      Would you want that?

  21. Fast Eddy says:

    And just like that… hope was gone.

    Having soared to post-crisis highs in the months after President Trump’s election, Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing Survey has crashed (by the second biggest drop ever) in May…


    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…

  22. Third World person says:
    • Only on the one island–Mindanao.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        But a major Island.

      • psile says:

        Mindanao is where most filipino muslims live and contains the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which is a region of the Philippines that is composed of the country’s predominantly muslim provinces, and is the only local administration with its own government.

        • Thanks for the additional information. I know that China has problems in its Muslim area as well. One of the graduate students I met in China was from that area (Xinjiang).

  23. JT Roberts says:

    Looks like shale has been played out. There has been a dramatic increase in decline rates likely indicating the best plays are spent.


    • Greg Machala says:

      The Permian shale plays are reaching the point where all the new drilling that is done will simply go to to replace declines in other parts of the play. Production increases from Permian shale will stop and inevitably go into terminal decline very likely well before 2020. It would be nice if you could poke a hole in the ground and extract oil @ 200,000 barrels per day for 100s of years. Shale drops off like a rock even after a few months of production. A retirement party for oil production.

      • JT Roberts says:

        And alternative shale plays are even worse. Permian was the best of the worst.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Gruesome… I need to seize the days more firmly…. there are few remaining.

  24. Buzz Lightyear says:

    Take a deep breath. You can all relax now…


    The Knights of Malta has reaffirmed its allegiance to the pope while acknowledging damage was done by a clash with the Vatican that stemmed from an aid project distributing condoms in the developing world.

    Matthew Festing was effectively fired as grand master of the Catholic order by Pope Francis as a result of the dispute. Festing had sacked another high-ranked official, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, over the aid project.

    Festing then challenged the right of the Vatican to hold an inquiry into the removal of Von Boeselager, who insisted he had shut down the programmes as soon as he could after finding out they were distributing condoms.

    The pope responded by removing Festing, and Von Boeselager, the order’s grand chancellor, was reinstated. “The order reaffirms its loyalty to the Holy Father,” Von Boeselager told a news conference on Thursday.

    “Let me reassure our members and everybody that the government of the order is and will remain at the service of the holy father. Our devotion to the teachings of the church is irrevocable and beyond question.”

    Festing, backed by conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke, had stood up to the pope, saying the pontiff, who pushed for Von Boeselager’s reinstatement, could not intervene in the internal affairs of the Knights, a Rome-based institution that has sovereign status and is run like a small country.

    Festing lost his battle with the Vatican, which said the condom issue was just an excuse by Festing and Burke to wield more power.

    Dominique Prince de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, the order’s health minister, said the crisis had led to a drop in donations, including a fall of about €30,000 in a recent fundraising campaign in France.

    He said leaders of the order – which counts some 13,000 members, 80,000 volunteers and about 25,000 paid employees, mostly medical staff – would have to work hard to regain lost trust.

    Von Boeselager said: “What the order has experienced was a government crisis brought about by an act illegal under the constitution. We are grateful for the holy father to have provided guidance that led to a swift solution,” Von Boeselager said on Thursday.

    The future role of Burke, the institution’s “patron” or chaplain, who has openly challenged the pope on a host of doctrinal issues, was not clear.

    The pope is due to name his own delegate to help run the order until a new grand master can be elected in several months. Von Boeselager said the delegate would be the only interlocutor with the Vatican, effectively sidelining Burke.

    Von Boeselager would not comment on Burke except to say that Festing had been “ill advised” in his attempt to take on the pope.

    The all-male top leaders of the Knights of Malta are not clerics but take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the pope.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I’ll be in Malta as part of my End of The World Tour late June

      Neil Young is backing me up….

      • Buzz Lightyear says:

        That day when you are not able to get on a plane is going to be very strange for you

        Or the day the ATM says no available funds

        Or you flip a switch and nothing happens

        Or you go to the store and it’s empty

        And everyone around you is panicking

        Their smartphones not working

        And Nature breathes a sigh of relief

        • Fast Eddy says:

          It will be strange indeed….

          But I have a Plan B…..

          I will immediately ring room service — and I will order up a case of the best champagne — another case of the best wine — and a few bottles of good single malt…

          Then I will go through the menu and have 10 of everything…. along with some coolers and a lot of ice.

          Then I will kick back and turn on the Tee Vee — and watch the world burn….

          I will also be tuned into FW — and say my goodbyes and all that…. I’ll make a few calls to friends and family … I can imagine those being some very sad moments….

          And when the power goes off…. I and Madame Fast will continue to drink the booze… and eat the food…. and then when it is all gone …. we’ll open the window (or kick it in)…. hold hands…. close our eyes … and fall forward….

          I must be sure to get a high floor room at the hotel in Malta…. just in case.

      • Joebanana says:

        Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I have the guts to travel anymore. I’d be too paranoid of the system shutting down while I’m away.

        • Does it really matter where you are when the system shuts down?

          When my grandfather was 93, he visited Norway by himself. Some of my relatives said, “He might die over there.” (He didn’t.) If he was in good enough health to travel, why not? He had a chance to see relatives whom he had not seen in years.

          • Joebanana says:

            When the end comes, I want to be with my family is all.

          • Rural says:

            I expect that we will continue to see different timing for different regions, and not by days, but by decades. The system has already shut down in some regions, the best example being Syria, Venezuela certainly looks like it is shutting down at the moment.

            If one accepts that civilisation will shut down the world-over, in a short time, then location doesn’t matter. However, if one rejects that notion, location could buy decades of time to prepare after what is happening becomes clear.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Joe – I used to fret about that … but that was when I believed NZ represented safety in a post BAU world….

          When I realized that view was pure nonsense…. I not longer had anxiety over travelling and being stuck outside the country when BAU went down.

          Dead is dead no matter where it happens to be — that said I do generally try to travel with Madame Fast…. we’ll jump from the hotel window together if we get caught out (she does not know that of course….)

          Also — when BAU ends — I would expect there would be a period of warning — something similar to the Lehman crisis…. that would give me enough time to get on a plane and head home…

          Time is short — survival is impossible — if seeing the world appeals to you — just do it.

          The sun has come out — it’s mountain biking time!

          • Joebanana says:

            Thanks for the reply and thank you for your honesty. It’s the kids, my wife…my parents. I just can’t let go of the need to protect them from all of this.

          • Buzz Lightyear says:

            we’ll jump from the hotel window together if we get caught out (she does not know that of course….)


  25. el mar says:

    The Reset (Cathal does not really believe in it)

    “The reader’s first instinct will be to protect himself and his family which is well, though unlike ‘interesting times’ of earlier epochs there is now an extinction risk. So going it alone won’t necessarily work, either you find a way to cooperate or you will most likely die together.”



    el mar

  26. Duncan Idaho says:

    Key takeaways for policy makers

    The results of Graham Palmer’s work now need to be confirmed by other studies, and his proposed framework for incorporating EROI into electrical storage refined. In particular, further simulations based on different regional grids and assumptions would be needed to capture the benefits of geographic diversity. Palmer’s findings however already raise three essential points that need to be taken into account by policy makers when designing energy transition strategies:

    1. A shift from an electrical system based mostly on energy stocks (with built-in energy storage function) to one based mostly on natural flows (with the construction of storage devices required to ensure large-scale availability) will probably be constrained by the energetic demands of the VRE-storage subsystem. Or in other words, high penetration of VRE will require the large-scale deployment of storage solutions, but there might be biophysical limits to how much storage can be deployed if the energy system is to remain viable.
    2. Lithium-ion batteries, which are the fastest growing form of electrical storage today and are increasingly being touted as capable of supporting the energy transition to renewables, could probably only usefully contribute a short-term role to buffering VRE. The energetic productivity/EROI of an energy system reliant on lithium-ion batteries (and other similar electro-chemical storage devices) would indeed rapidly fall below the minimum useful EROI for society. The energetic requirements of pumped hydro storage, on the other hand, are sufficiently low to enable a greater displacement of conventional generation capacity and penetration of VRE, but wide scale deployment is dependent upon regional topography and water availability.
    3. Storage technologies that would enable a full displacement of conventional generation capacity and 100% penetration of VRE at the current system reliability level are, as of today, unavailable. New storage solutions may emerge as a result of current and future research activities, but in order to assess their potential it will be necessary evaluate their energetic performances within the VRE-storage subsystem, all along the energy transition pathway. Only if these performances are markedly superior to existing technologies will storage potentially constitute the ‘holy grail’ of the energy transition that many expect.

    • I am not sure exactly what you are referring to. I know that Graham Palmer has a chart in his book that would suggest that the EROI of solar is close to 1.00, if it is buffered with batteries.


      In fact, the situation would seem to be a lot worse than this, because it is necessary to greatly overbuild in summer, and store needed electricity for winter. This is not a dynamic that would be examined in his model. The amount of battery power needed for such a scenario would be absurd, and the cost would be totally unaffordable.

      I agree we would need markedly better battery technology. Part of the problem with batteries is the loss of electricity in storage. I am doubtful that this has even been included in analyses.

  27. Jarle B says:

    Meanwhile in Norway: At their annual conference The Green Party decided they want to remove our oil industry within the next 15 years.

    • Slow Paul says:

      The Green party in Norway used to be okay (focused on sustainability, ecology, reducing consumption), but since they got in to parliament it’s has been a lot about that Green Capitalism, “renewables”, electric vehicles and now they are even pushing Hyperloop. Elon Musk approves.

      • Jarle B says:

        The other day I was on my way sending them an email asking what exactly are we supposed to live from if not oil, but then I remembered it’s futile – when you’ve entered the Church of Musk common sense is no longer part of the equation.

    • psile says:

      It’s like they WANT to die. Well I suppose they will anyway, when the bottom falls out of the bag, which I’m sure won’t take 15 years before it does. But why would you wish it upon yourselves early? Shows how utterly clueless people are about what really sustains them in the matrix.

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        People have no clue that all 7.5B of us are here because of oil…we have oil running through our veins…they don’t question themselves about the why, for the longest time, world population was “stuck” at 1B people, and all of a sudden, magically, we start adding 1B people every few years…the lack of introspection of our species is astounding…

        • The issue is not really oil. It is fossil fuels in general. I would argue that coal has played a bigger role than oil. People who have believed “peak oil” theory have gotten their heads focused too heavily on oil. Getting rid of coal, when what we need is rising total energy consumption, becomes a huge problem.

          • Yep, coal enabled the first formative stages of industrial revolution, which kick started chemistry, electrification and all the other sciences and industries. For example. should we have had some crazy religious taboos in early mid 19th century prohibiting the use of oil to burn at all, we could have easily developed quasi similar society on natgas, coal, uranium, .. dominated energy mix anyway..

            It would be perhaps a bit less ambitious and wasteful, there would couple of billions less of us but nevertheless on the same general trajectory of overshoot as well.

          • ITEOTWAWKI says:

            Yes Gail, after I finished posting it, I thought to myself I should have put FFs instead of oil 🙂

            I had a feeling you would correct me lolll

  28. Harry Gibbs says:

    “Noble Group Ltd.’s crisis deepened after S&P Global Ratings flagged a risk of default for the commodity trader within a year, triggering a rout in the company’s shares before they were suspended in Singapore ahead of a company statement. The 2020 bonds fell to a record low…”


    • Apparently, other companies are following the same strategy as Noble Group. This article is called “Crashing Noble Group Rips Hole in Australia, Inc.”


      The article says:

      Australia Inc has the same business model, leveraging volatile commodity income into long term borrowing for house price inflation and selling off assets like crazy to fund the bad habit. It is poignant that S&P has downgraded both within 24 hours.

      It is always perilous to compare the fate of a firm with a nation. Solvency questions are different given the latter has the power to tax and, indeed, print money out of thin air. One does not go bankrupt as a nation in the same way that does a business.

      But the difference is one of degree rather than kind. The business ceases to exist as it is broken up and sold off as parts, living on as a component of something larger and more solvent. The nation may not cease to exist but it likewise faces some very hard choices about what assets it sells and to whom as it spends time in the sovereign equivalent of chapter 11 bankruptcy. Like, for instance, who ends up owning the nation’s banks (and, therefore, it).

      The obvious advantage that the nation has over the firm is that it can also force external creditors to take losses, usually by devaluing the currency in which they are being paid. But for the folks who are living under that currency, who are effectively the shareholders in Noble Group, the loss of value can still be catastrophic as the currency falls a long, long way.

  29. Fast Eddy says:

    The mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of all Ponzi Schemes… x infinite insanity

    Cryptocurrencies Show Just How Nuts Things Have Gotten

    • psile says:

      Seems every second person I know on Facebook is promoting some crypto currency scam, err, scheme. Got mania written all over it….

    • JT Roberts says:

      It makes sense to a gambler. But would you want to be married to one?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I’ve got a business partner in Shanghai who is urging me to get on board… he’s up about 5x on his bitcoin …. I suggested he might want to take some of those gains off the table…. spend it on blow, babes and booze… then waste the rest…

        Of course it will go up forever (this time is different)… so he’ll remain babeless.. blowless.. and boozeless….. sitting in front of a screen watching it go higher… or not

  30. Fast Eddy says:

    Motherf789er….. if this does not bring bile to your mouth….

    Biggest Subprime Auto Lender Skipped Income Verification On 92% Of Auto Loans

    Santander is the largest subprime auto lender in the country with more than $15 billion in outstanding loans to underqualified buyers. Not surprisingly, the company also dominates the subprime auto ABS space accounting for a disproportionate share of YTD issuance. We noted that Santander’s first deal of 2015 (SDART 2015-1) carried an average FICO of 595, an average APR of 16.20%, and an average term of 70 months…

    And if that isn’t enough evidence to convince you that today’s auto sales are nothing more than another subprime, debt-fueled bubble then perhaps you should also take note of today’s Bloomberg article that highlights the fact that Santander USA apparently only took the time to verify income on roughly 8% of the loans they subsequently dumped into ABS facilities and sold off pension and insurance companies.



    • Buzz Lightyear says:

      Doesn’t surprise me when I see all the extremely flashy cars everyone round here is buying and driving and upgrading every few years

  31. Fast Eddy says:

    Let’s get warmed up ….

    USA! USA! USA!

    So …

    We’ve got the guy who leaked the deal on HRC and the Democratic Party corruption — shot dead — in a supposed robbery — in which nothing was stolen….

    After Podesta said – we need to send a message out to whoever leaked this stuff….

    The MSM is ignoring this — or calling it fake news…..


    Maybe Trump is not so bad afterall 🙂

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Wouldn’t this be wonderful… one can hope


      • psile says:

        Ooh la la…

      • Buzz Lightyear says:

        Hope for the Rope!

        T shirts available

      • thestarl says:

        How depressing after four months obvious Trump a total fraud but probably better than the alternative.

      • Joebanana says:

        She should be be hanged in Libya and buried in an unmarked grave for her crimes.

        • bandits101 says:

          You claim the “Elders” control everything, from Presindents’ that “kiss the ring” to world monetary policy, to terrorist attacks, to election results, to disaster response, to assassinations, to war and then you want to hang a person controlled by your all powerful “Elders”.

          Conspiracy Nuts would have to be THE most delusional, they live in a world opinions, faith and belief. Facts and proof are secondary, innuendo reins supreme. You cannot or are unwilling to see the big picture. You are unable to step out from you individual personal view of circumstance and events. The future cannot be controlled and pre ordained by a select few.

          Each event leads to many and unpredictable events that would also need to be controlled, the conspirators themselves being a part of unfolding circumstance. Conspiracy Nuts cannot see that of course, they contort events to comply with their point of view. If facts, truth and proof get in the way, they are manipulated to complete the simplistic, circular, compartmentalised small world in which they reside.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            It’s actually not that difficult to control the macro…

            If you own the printing press… and you control interest rates… you don’t have to wield the stick very often….

            For instance… if a country gets out of line … you can crash their bond market and make them Somalia..

            If a corporate pisses you off you can mess with their bonds and drive them into bankruptcy…

            Ya once in awhile someone does not get the message… e.g. Saddam… so you have to send in the hang man. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTbdnNgqfs8

            But for the most part so long as the players understand the game…. they know not to break the rules…

            Let’s touch base with Woodrow Wilson on this:

            “Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”

            Of course another way to keep potential usurpers sweet is to pay them…. give the generals cushy retirement jobs with big salaries when they retire… allow the politicians to insider trade legally…. make sure the bankers command wonderfully high salaries and bonuses…

            And don’t stop there — the lower level minions like you and me get taken care of under their system.

            Why would I revolt? I like this system. I am on the Team! Sheeeit…. I could be living like a Somalian … but I am not … because I Play Ball….

            It really is very simple — the Eld-ers have a system —- it is called BAU. BAU is made possible by the financial system — which they control — the MSM — which they control — and the reserve currency – which they control.

            This was all laid out in 1903… the Pro-tocols is the master plan … it was leaked soon after it was published….

            Funny — I will put the plan in front of your face in a moment — it will outline exactly what has happened since (no doubt it has been updated on a regular basis since — yet the fundamental plan has not changed)…

            And guess what?

            You will reject it.

            It’s as if I were to put a written formula onto FW explaining how 1+1=2…

            And you would say — no way …

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Oh darn…. the censors have thwarted me….

            • bandits101 says:

              All concocted to suit your view and agenda…..always, always after the event. No proof just cherry picked data. Like oh that camera angle shows a plane crashing into a building…..but if we look at this blurry angle it MIGHT be a missile so we’ll use that or, Joe said such and such, then someting happens among millions of events which coincides with a speech or whatever and its latched onto.

              The consistent theme with conspiracy Nuts is they are geniuses at predicting the past. No chance in hell of predicting any future event but they are absolutely fantastic at gluing together fragments, to create a whole they can use to justify their frivolous claims. Some even use other people’s blogs to spruik their beliefs.

              You will never see, “The US is going to fake some manned lunar landings, or The US is going to fake planes crashing into the Twin Towers, blow them up with pre-planted explosives and kill thousands of people”. No of course not. The conspiracy Nuts have to wait until a juicy event occurs, then they get to work, massaging, manipulating, altering, lying and concocting a scenario that MSN addicted, gullible people fall for. No one is ever caught or jailed, the conspiracies just sit there until the next one arrives.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The Proto cols were written before any of this happened …. to me it looks like the plan has worked out pretty much as intended…


              Of course Ford later recanted…. no doubt it was suggested that his views could be harmful to his business interests….

              The Pro-toco ls are not a conspiracy theory — they are real.

              ‘Take control of the media and use it in propaganda for our plans’ Try googling who owns the major media in the US.

              ‘Control the education system to spread deception and destroy intellect’ Look around you….

              ‘Create entertaining distractions ‘ Look around you…

              ‘Corrupt minds with filth and perversion’ Turn on the teevee…

              ‘Make long-term interest-bearing loans to governments’ Care to dispute this?

              ‘Take possession of all wealth’ The owners of the Fed which controls the reserve currency are ____????


              Pity you are so blind to the facts and evidence.

              But then the eld.ers are brilliant …. they are able to convince 99.9999999% of all people — that they don’t exist

              Humans…. no brighter than rats being run around a maze for a piece of cheese…..

              Doesn’t G oy-im mean cattle? How appropriate

    • Greg Machala says:

      Yes, the Seth Rich murder has been very suspicious for a long time now. It reeks of conspiracy by higher ups in the DNC including Podesta, Clinton and Huma Abedin. I doubt anyone will be punished for it. And if anyone is punished it will be a fall guy.

    • Jesse James says:

      The US proposing a US Mideast NATO
      IMO the US brokering/backing a Mideast NATO idea is the US empire’s admission of failure. Ten yrs ago the “mighty” US would never have asked for help in world hegemony. Now, with trillions of fake printed money wasted on wars in Afganistan/Irag/Syria, and nothing to show for it but failure, we try to talk the mostly Sunni mideast nations into taking up the “baton”. That will be a joke.
      I look for events that are “tells”. This one tells you everything you need to know. The US is spent. It needs help. It can’t afford the wars anymore. It still has aircraft carriers and planes, but the navy is shrinking and there is nothing Trump or the MIC can do about it. The airforce is shrinking. Planes aren’t flightworthy. New fancy planes cost billions. The F-35 has a high tech helmet that costs $5M each!
      We seem to be a peak complexity in the military. Perhaps military robots will be the new “high complex” future of war. Given how much maintenance costs are for high tech aircraft and weaponry, I don’t see robot warfare as solving the cost dilemma.
      The US is capable or waging one last major war IMO. Then it is done.
      Let’s hope DC leadership can avoid this last war. It could get ugly.

    • merrifield says:

      Fox News has retracted this very debunked story.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        At some point Julian Assange will surely have something to say about this.

        As it stands… it looks rather damning:

        Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who was murdered last year, was in contact with WikiLeaks, multiple sources have claimed.

        Rich was shot on July 10, 2016, in Washington D.C. in what was reported to be a robbery. However, the DNC staffer’s wallet, phone, keys, watch and a $2,000 necklace weren’t taken. Rich remained conscious during the attack but died in the hospital two hours later.

        An anonymous federal investigator told Fox News he reviewed an FBI forensic report which showed that Rich had been in contact with WikiLeaks director and investigative journalist Gavin MacFadyen.

        “I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” the investigator said, adding the emails are in the FBI’s possession.

        The investigator said 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments from January 2015 to May 2016 were sent from Rich to MacFadyen before May 21. These figures are the exact same ones as those published on WikiLeaks’ DNC email database. MacFadyen died of lung cancer in October 2016. WikiLeaks published more than 19,000 emails from the DNC emails on July 22, leaking the rest later.


  32. Bergen Johnson says:


    ‘Oil prices fall as White House proposes U.S. oil reserve sales’

    “The White House budget plan would sell off half of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile from 2018 to 2027 to raise $16.5 billion from October 2018, documents released on Monday showed.”

    Sell the emergency oil in a non-emergency/glut?

    • The Gulfies and Russia withdrew ~ 1.6Mppd of production, while the US is still increasing output, plus this possibility of releasing US emergency stockpile soonish. Not sure as to whether this is ~30% or 70% of the reasoning behind it, but from the start the Arab-Russian plan has been constantly attacked from western media as simply unworkable scheme near-mid–long term. Well, months go by fast, and the parties still stick to the agreement somewhat reliably and even actively adjust and accommodate for returning production like Libya etc.

      So, I’d say it’s mostly US-host geopolitics to kick the other’s ankles as long they can.., there must come a point when even free money can’t lift shale, then lot of things would snap. But is this a question for today, next year or next 2 decades (as top consumer demography cycle ends – canceling demand), I don’t know..

    • Just what we need to get prices back up!

  33. Fast Eddy says:

    Noble Group `Fighting for Its Life’ as S&P Sees Default Risk

    Noble Group Ltd.’s crisis deepened after S&P Global Ratings flagged a risk of default for the commodity trader within a year, triggering a rout in the company’s shares before they were suspended in Singapore ahead of a company statement. The 2020 bonds fell to a record low.

    “Noble is fighting for its life now,” said Owen Gallimore, head of credit strategy at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., who’s been covering Noble Group since 2008 and has been underweight on the bonds since 2015. “We’re not sure how long it can sustain without a white knight.”

    Noble Group declined to comment on S&P’s assessment in response to a request from Bloomberg News.


  34. Fast Eddy says:

    The Kingdom of DelusiSTAN… it sounds a lot better than it is…

    Let’s take a look….


  35. Duncan Idaho says:

    “Today the frontiers are gone, and the evidence is mounting that technology cannot hold the law of diminishing returns at bay much longer. Resources being stressed today are often being stressed globally; they will not be replenished from outside the ‘system’.”

    • xabier says:

      That fits the Tainter thesis of collapse: the modern impossibility of refreshment from outside the boundaries of the failing civilisation, because we have gone for global resource extraction, pollution and civilisation networks. Rising to a frenetic peak with the industrialisation of Asia.

      • Greg Machala says:

        Save us Elon!

        • Greg Machala says:

          Caution sarcasm! There is no limit to human ingenuity. We need solar satellites and we need to cover the planet surface with solar panels and wind turbines. Then we can reverse combustion and make synthetic coal, oil and gas from C02 and water. We will have so much energy from solar panels and wind turbines that we will be able to crack the energy of the atom and make our own resources. Synthetic cows, pigs chickens. WooHoo. Turn sand into water and water into gas. Marvelous.

          • psile says:

            We will then cause the singularity, transcend our mortal selves and become as gods. Hell, we might even outlast the universe itself!

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