World GDP in current US dollars seems to have peaked; this is a problem

World GDP in current US dollars is in some sense the simplest world GDP calculation that a person might make. It is calculated by taking the GDP for each year for each country in the local currency (for example, yen) and converting these GDP amounts to US dollars using the then-current relativity between the local currency and the US dollar.

To get a world total, all a person needs to do is add together the GDP amounts for all of the individual countries. There is no inflation adjustment, so comparing GDP growth amounts calculated on this basis gives an indication regarding how the world economy is growing, inclusive of inflation. Calculation of GDP on this basis is also inclusive of changes in relativities to the US dollar.

What has been concerning for the last couple of years is that World GDP on this basis is no longer growing robustly. In fact, it may even have started shrinking, with 2014 being the peak year. Figure 1 shows world GDP on a current US dollar basis, in a chart produced by the World Bank.

Figure 1. World GDP in “Current US Dollars,” in chart from World Bank website.

Since the concept of GDP in current US dollars is not a topic that most of us are very familiar with, this post, in part, is an exploration of how GDP and inflation calculations on this basis fit in with other concepts we are more familiar with.

As I look at the data, it becomes clear that the reason for the downturn in Current US$ GDP is very much related to topics that I have been writing about. In particular, it is related to the fall in oil prices since mid-2014 and to the problems that oil producers have been having since that time, earning too little profit on the oil they sell. A similar problem is affecting natural gas and coal, as well as some other commodities. These low prices, and the deflation that they are causing, seem to be flowing through to cause low world GDP in current US dollars.

Figure 2. Average per capita wages computed by dividing total “Wages and Salaries” as reported by US BEA by total US population, and adjusting to 2016 price level using CPI-Urban. Average inflation adjusted oil price is based primarily on Brent oil historical oil price as reported by BP, also adjusted by CPI-urban to 2016 price level.

While energy products seem to be relatively small compared to world GDP, in fact, they play an outsized role. This is the case partly because the use of energy products makes GDP growth possible (energy provides heat and movement needed for industrial processes), and partly because an increase in the price of energy products indirectly causes an increase in the price of other goods and services. This growth in prices makes it possible to use debt to finance goods and services of all types.

A decrease in the price of energy products has both positive and negative impacts. The major favorable effect is that the lower prices allow the GDPs of oil importers, such as the United States, European Union, Japan, and China, to grow more rapidly. This is the effect that has predominated so far.

The negative impacts appear more slowly, so we have seen less of them so far. One such negative impact is the fact that these lower prices tend to produce deflation rather than inflation, making debt harder to repay. Another negative impact is that lower prices (slowly) push companies producing energy products toward bankruptcy, disrupting debt in a different way. A third negative impact is layoffs in affected industries. A fourth negative impact is lower tax revenue, particularly for oil exporting countries. This lower revenue tends to lead to cutbacks in governmental programs and to disruptions similar to those seen in Venezuela.

In this post, I try to connect what I am seeing in the new data (GDP in current US$) with issues I have been writing about in previous posts. It seems to me that there is no way that oil and other energy prices can be brought to an adequate price level because we are reaching an affordability limit with respect to energy products. Thus, world GDP in current dollars can be expected to stay low, and eventually decline to a lower level. Thus, we seem to be encountering peak GDP in current dollars.

Furthermore, in the years ahead the negative impacts of lower oil and other energy prices can be expected to start predominating over the positive impacts. This change can be expected to lead to debt-related financial problems, instability of governments of oil exporters, and falling energy consumption of all kinds.

Peak Per Capita Energy Consumption Is Part of the Problem, Too

One problem that makes our current situation much worse than it might otherwise be is the fact that world per capita energy consumption seems to have hit a maximum in 2013 (Figure 3).

World daily per capita energy consumption

Figure 3. World Daily Per Capita Energy Consumption, based on primary energy consumption from BP Statistical Review of World Energy and 2017 United Nations population estimates.

Surprisingly, this peak in consumption occurred before oil and other energy prices collapsed, starting in mid-2014. At these lower prices, a person would think that consumers could afford to buy more energy goods per person, not fewer.

Per capita energy consumption should be rising with lower prices, unless the reason for the fall in prices is an affordability problem. If the drop in prices reflects an affordability problem (wages of most workers are not high enough to buy the goods and services made with energy products, such as homes and cars), then we would expect the pattern we are seeing today–low oil and other energy prices, together with falling per capita consumption. If the reason for falling per capita energy consumption is an affordability problem, then there is little hope that prices will rise sufficiently to fix our current problem.

One consideration supporting the hypothesis that we are really facing an affordability problem is the fact that in recent years, energy prices have been too low for companies producing oil and other energy products. Since 2015, hundreds of oil, natural gas, and coal companies have gone bankrupt. Saudi Arabia has had to borrow large amounts of money to fund its budget, because at current prices, tax revenues are too low to fund it. In the United States, investors are cutting back on their support for oil investment, because of the continued financial losses of the companies and evidence that approaches for mitigating these losses are not really working.

Which Countries Are Suffering Falling GDP in Current US Dollars?

With lower oil prices, Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with falling GDP in Current US$.

Figure 4. Increase in GDP since 1990 for Saudi Arabia in current US dollars, based on World Bank Data.

Saudi Arabia pegs its currency to the dollar, so its lower GDP is not because its currency has fallen relative to the US dollar; instead, it reflects a situation in which fewer goods and services of all kinds are being produced, as measured in US dollars. GDP calculations do not consider debt, so Figure 4 indicates that even with all of Saudi Arabia’s borrowing to offset falling oil revenue, the quantity of goods and services it was able to produce fell in both 2015 and 2016.

Other oil-producing countries are clearly having problems as well, but data is often missing from the World Bank database for these countries. For example, Venezuela is clearly having problems with low oil prices, but GDP amounts for the country are missing for 2014, 2015, and 2016. (Somehow, world totals seem to include estimates of the total omitted amounts, however.)

Figure 5 shows similar ratios to Figure 4 for a number of other commodity producing countries.

Figure 5. GDP patterns, in US current dollars, for selected resource exporting countries, based on World Bank data.

A comparison of Figures 4 and 5 shows that the GDP patterns for these countries are similar to that of Saudi Arabia. Because resources (including oil) do not account for as large a share of GDP for these countries as for Saudi Arabia, the peak as a percentage of 1990 GDP isn’t quite as high as for Saudi Arabia. But the trend is still downward, with 2014 typically the peak year.

We can also look at similar information for the historically big consumers of oil, coal and natural gas, namely the United States, the European Union, and Japan.

Figure 6. Increase in GDP since 1990 for the United States, the European Union, and Japan, in current US dollars, based on World Bank data.

Here, we find the growth trend is much more subdued than for the countries shown in the previous two charts. I have purposely put the upper limit of the scale of this chart at 6 times the 1990 GDP level. This limit is similar to the upper limit on earlier charts, to emphasize how much more slowly these countries have been growing, compared to the countries shown in Figures 4 and 5.

In fact, for the European Union and Japan, GDP in current US$ is now lower than it has been in recent years. Figure 6 is telling us that the goods and services produced in these countries are now lower in US dollar value than they were a few years ago. Since part of the cost of goods and services is used to pay wages, this lower relativity indirectly implies that the wages of workers in the EU and Japan are falling, relative to the cost of buying goods and services priced in US dollars. Thus, even apart from taxes added by these countries, consumers in the EU and Japan have been falling behind in their ability to buy energy products priced in US dollars.

Figure 6 indicates that the United States has been doing relatively better than the European Union and Japan, in terms of the value of goods and services produced each year continuing to grow. If we look back at Figure 2, however, we see that even in the US, wage growth has lagged far behind oil price increases. Thus, the US was also likely headed toward an affordability problem relating to goods and services made with oil.

The Asian exporting nations have been doing relatively better in keeping their economies growing, despite the downward pressure on energy prices.

Figure 7. Increase in GDP since 1990 for selected rapidly growing Asian exporting countries in current US dollars, based on World Bank data.

The two most rapidly growing countries are China and Vietnam. There seems to be a recent slowing of their growth rates, but no actual downturn.

India, Pakistan, and the Philippines are growing less rapidly. They do not seem to be experiencing any downturn at all.

Considering the indications of Figure 4 through 7, it appears that only a relatively small share of countries have experienced rising GDP in current US dollars. Although we have not looked at all possible groupings, the countries that seem to be doing best in terms of rising current US$ GDP are countries that are exporters of manufactured goods, including the Asian countries shown. Countries that derive significant GDP from producing energy products and other commodities seem to be experiencing falling GDP in current US dollars.

To fix the problems shown here, we would need to get prices of oil and other energy products back up again. This would indirectly raise prices of many other products as well, including food, new vehicles, and new homes. With lagging wages in many countries, this would seem to be virtually impossible to accomplish.

The Wide Range of GDP Indications We See 

In this post, I am talking about GDP of various countries, converted to a US$ basis. This is not quite the same as the GDP that we normally read about. It is not until a person starts working with world data that a person appreciates how different the various GDP and inflation calculations are.

GDP in US dollars is very important because energy products, including oil, are generally priced in US$. This seems to be true, whether or not the currency used in the actual transaction is US$. See Appendix A for charts showing the close connection between these two items.

The type of GDP is generally reported is inflation-adjusted (also called “real”) GDP. The assumption is made that no one will care (very much) about inflation rates. In general, inflation-adjusted GDP figures are much more stable than those in Current US$. This can be seen by comparing world GDP in Figure 8 with that shown in Figure 1.

Figure 8. GDP in 2010 US dollars, for the world and for the United States, based on World Bank data.

Using inflation-adjusted world GDP data, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of crisis ahead. The last major problem was in the 2008-2009 period. Even the impact of this crisis appears to be fairly small. The 2008-2009 crisis shows up more distinctly in the Current US$ amounts plotted in Figure 1.

World GDP growth figures that are published by the World Bank and others combine country by country data using some type of weighting approach. Economists tend to use an approach called Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). This approach gives a great deal more weight to developing nations than the US dollar weighted approach used elsewhere in this post. For example, under the PPP approach, China seems to get a weighting of about 1.9 times its GDP in US$; India seems to get a weighting of about 3.8 times its GDP in US$. The United States gets a weight of 1.0 times its GDP in US$, and the weights for developed nations tend to be fairly close to 1.0 times their GDP in US$. The world GDP we see published regularly should be called “inflation-adjusted world GDP, calculated with PPP weights.”

The relationship among the three types of GDP can be seen in Figure 9. It is clear that GDP growth in Current US$ is far more variable than the inflation-adjusted growth rate (in 2010 US$). PPP inflation-adjusted GDP growth is consistently higher than GDP growth with US dollar weighting.

Figure 9. World GDP Growth in three alternative measures: Current dollars, Inflation-adjusted GDP is in 2010 US$ and adjusted to purchasing power parity (PPP).

It is also clear from Figure 9 that there is also a big “Whoops” in the most recent years. Economic growth is at a record low level, as calculated in Current US$.

World “Inflation” Indications

The typical way of calculating inflation is by looking at prices of a basket of goods in a particular currency, such as the yen, and seeing how the prices change over a period of time. To get an inflation rate for a group of countries (such as the G-20), inflation rates of various countries are weighted together using some set of weights. My guess is that these weights might be the PPP weights used in calculating world GDP.

In Figure 10, I calculate implied world inflation using a different approach. Since the World Bank publishes World GDP both in 2010 US$ and in Current US$, I calculate the implied world inflation rate by comparing these two sets of values. (Some people might call what I am calculating the implicit price deflator for GDP, rather than an inflation rate.) I use three-year averages to smooth out year-to-year variability in these amounts.

Figure 10. World inflation rate calculated by comparing reported World GDP in Current US$ to reported World GDP in 2010 US$. Both of these amounts are available at the World Bank website.

The implied world inflation rates using this approach are fairly different from published inflation rates. In part, this is because the calculations take into account changing relativities of currencies. There may be other factors as well, such as the inclusion of countries that would not normally be included in aggregations. Inflation rates tend to be high when demand for energy products is high, and low when demand for energy products is low.

Figure 10 shows that, on a world basis, there have been negative inflation rates three times since 1963–in approximately 1983-1984; in the late 1990s to early 2000s; and since about 2014. If we compare these dates to the oil price and energy consumption data on Figures 2 and 3, we see that these time periods are ones that are marked by falling per capita energy consumption and by low oil prices. In some sense, these are the time periods when the economy is/was trying to stall, for lack of adequate demand for oil.

The workaround used to “fix” the lack of demand in the late 1990s to early 2000s seems to have been an increased focus on globalization. China’s growth in particular was very important, because it added both a rapidly growing supply of cheap energy from coal and a great deal of demand for energy products. The addition of coal effectively lowered the average price of energy products so that they were again affordable by a large share of the world population. The availability of debt to pull the Chinese and other Asian economies forward was no doubt of importance as well.

The United States has been fairly protected from much of what has happened because its currency, the US Dollar, is the world’s reserve currency. If we look at the inflation rate of the United States using data of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the last time the United States had a substantial period of contracting prices was in the US Depression of the 1930s. It is quite possible that such a situation existed worldwide, but I do not have world data for that period.

Figure 11. US inflation rate (really “GDP Deflator”) obtained by comparing US GDP in 2009 US$ to GDP in Current US $, based on US Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

It was during the Depression of the 1930s that debt defaults became widespread. It was only through deficit spending, including the significant debt-based funding for World War II, that the problem of inadequate demand for goods and services was completely eliminated.

How Do We Solve Our World Deflation Crisis This Time 

There seem to be three ways of creating demand for goods and services.

[1] A growing supply of cheap-to-produce energy products is really the basic way of increasing demand through economic growth.

If there are cheap-to-produce energy products available, a growing supply of these energy products can be used to increasingly leverage human labor, through the use of more and better “tools” for the workers. When workers become increasingly more productive, their wages naturally rise. It is this growing productivity of human labor that generally produces the rising demand needed to maintain the economic growth cycle.

As growth in energy consumption slows and then declines (Figure 3), this productivity growth tends to disappear. This seems to be part of today’s problem.

[2] Increasing the amount of debt outstanding can work to make the energy extraction system work more effectively, by raising the price that consumers can afford to pay for high-priced goods.

This increasing ability to pay for high-priced goods seems to come in two ways:

(a) The debt itself can be used to pay for goods, making these goods more affordable on a month-to-month or year-to-year basis.

(b) Increased debt can lead to increased wages for wage earners, because some of the increased debt ultimately goes to create new jobs and to pay workers. Figure 12 shows the positive association that increasing debt seems to have with inflation-adjusted wages in the United States.

Figure 12. Growth in US Wages vs. Growth in Non-Financial Debt. Wages from US Bureau of Economics “Wages and Salaries.” Non-Financial Debt is discontinued series from St. Louis Federal Reserve. (Note chart does not show a value for 2016.) Both sets of numbers have been adjusted for growth in US population and for growth in CPI Urban.

Debt is, in effect, the promise of future goods and services made with energy products. These promises are often helpful in allowing an economy to expand. For example, businesses can issue bonds to provide funds to expand their operations. Selling shares of stock acts in a manner similar to adding debt, with repayment coming from future operations. In both cases, the payback can occur, if energy consumption is in fact growing, allowing the output of the business to expand as planned.

Once world leaders decide that debt levels are too high, or need to be controlled better, we are likely headed for trouble, because debt can be very helpful in “pulling the economy forward.” This is especially the case if productivity growth is low because per capita energy consumption is falling.

[3] Rebalancing of currency relativities to the US dollar.

Rebalancing currencies to different levels relative to the dollar seems to play a major role in determining the “inflation rate” calculated in Figure 10. Currency rebalancing also plays a major role in determining the shape of the GDP graph in current US$, as shown in Figure 1. In general, the higher the average relativity of other currencies to the US$, the higher the demand for goods and services of all kinds, and thus the higher the demand for energy products.

One problem in recent years is that, in some sense, the average relativity of other currencies to the US dollar has fallen too low. The fall in relativities took place when the US discontinued its use of Quantitative Easing in late 2014.

Figure 13. Monthly Brent oil prices with dates of US beginning and ending QE.

The price of oil and of other energy products dropped steeply at that time. In fact, in inflation-adjusted terms, oil prices had been falling even prior to the end of QE. (See Figure 2, above.) The shift in the currency relativities made oil and other energy products more expensive for citizens of the European Union, Japan, and most of the commodity producing countries shown in Figures 4 and 5.

The ultimate problem underlying this fall in average relativities to the US dollar is that there is now a disparity between the prices that consumers around the world can afford to pay for energy products, and the prices that businesses producing energy products really need. I have written about this problem in the past, for example in Why Energy-Economy Models Produce Overly Optimistic Indications.

At this point, none of the three approaches for solving the world’s deflation problem seem to be working:

[1] Increasing the supply of oil and other energy products is not working well, because diminishing returns has led to a situation where if prices are high enough for producers, they are too high for consumers to afford the finished goods made with the energy products.

[2] World leaders have decided that we have too much debt and, indeed, debt levels are very high. In fact, if energy prices continue to be low, a significant amount of debt currently outstanding will probably be defaulted on.

[3] Countries generally don’t want to raise the exchange rates of their currencies to the dollar, because lower exchange rates tend to encourage exports. If the United States raises its interest rates, either directly or by selling its QE bonds, the level of the US dollar can be expected to rise relative to other currencies. Thus, other currencies are likely to fall even lower than they are today, relative to the US dollar. This will tend to make the problem with low oil prices (and other energy prices) even worse than today.

Thus, there seems to be no way out of our current predicament.


The world economy is in a very precarious situation. Many of the world’s economies have found that, measured in current US$, the goods and services they are producing are less valuable than they were in 2013 and 2014. In particular, all of the oil exporting nations have this problem. Many other countries that are producing commodities have the same problem.

Governments around the world do not seem to understand the situation we are facing. In large part, this is happening because economists have built models based on their view of how the world works. Their models tend to leave out the important role energy plays. GDP growth and inflation estimates based on PPP calculations give a misleading view of how the economy is actually operating.

We seem to be sleepwalking into an even worse version of the Depression of the 1930s. Even if economists were able to figure out what is happening, it is not clear that there would be a good way out. Higher energy prices would aid energy producers, but would push energy importing nations into recession. We seem to be facing a predicament with no solution.


Growing Inflation-Adjusted GDP Comes From Growing Energy Consumption

We often hear that GDP no longer depends on energy consumption, but this simply is not true. Energy consumption is needed for practically every industrial process, because energy causes the physical transformations that are need (including heat, light, and movement). Even services that only require a lighted, air-conditioned office and the use of computers require energy consumption of some type.

An industrialized country can outsource manufacturing of many of its goods to other countries, but the need for energy products goes with this outsourcing. The transfer of manufacturing to lesser developed countries tends to stimulate building in these countries. As a result, on a world basis, the amount of energy consumed tends to remain close to unchanged.

Using data for 1965 through 2016, we find the following relationship between inflation-adjusted world GDP and world energy consumption:

Figure A1. World growth in energy consumption vs. world GDP growth. Energy consumption from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017. World GDP is GDP in US 2010$, as compiled by World Bank.

Another way of displaying the same data is as an X, Y graph. A very high long-term correlation can be observed on this basis.

Figure A2. X-Y graph of world energy consumption (from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017) versus world GDP in 2010 US$, from World Bank.

This high level of correlation can be seen for other groupings as well. For example, for the grouping Middle East and North Africa, there is a high level of correlation between energy consumption and GDP.

Figure A3. X-Y graph showing correlation between energy consumption and GDP in the Middle East and North Africa.

If a person calculates the implications of this fitted line, energy consumption for these oil-producing countries is actually growing faster than inflation-adjusted GDP for these countries. This type of trend is to be expected if oil-producing countries are in some sense becoming less efficient in producing oil. This could happen for a number of reasons. One is that the easiest to extract oil is extracted first, leaving the more expensive to extract oil to be extracted later. Another possible reason for this trend is rising human populations in oil producing countries. These people drive cars and live in air conditioned buildings, driving up energy consumption for these countries. Whatever the cause, this loss of efficiency in oil production can be expected to at least partially offset growing efficiencies elsewhere in the system.



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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2,988 Responses to World GDP in current US dollars seems to have peaked; this is a problem

  1. name says:

    Fast Eddy: “North Korea didn’t conduct nuclear test today, because MSM talks about it. And if MSM talks that renewables can work, then everything what they say isn’t true. Harvey was also fake.”

    • xabier says:

      Our problem is that all our sources of information and news are potentially corrupted -after the great WMD Lie, what can one trust? I remember thinking then ‘This is too big a lie to be false’. It wasn’t.

      It becomes a matter of weighing up probabilities and gut feeling.

      We can’t trust in the probity of our governments or the MSM, or any blogger really. Except Gail, who is transparently honest!

      The Korean narrative might be true, or completely fictitious.

      Great states tell great lies.

    • nope.avi says:

      People like you believe every single thing MSM tells you. You have no idea how to form opinions separate from what they tell you. Just to show how s t u pid your reasoning in, you equate Eddy’s rejection of the claim that climate change caused the hurricane’s damage to denying that it ever happened. It’s not that just that you’re s t u pid but that you’re so desperate to discredit anyone who disagrees what you have been told, that you have to create very crude strawmen. You’re making a fool out yourself.
      but you’re proud anyway.

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    And here we go again … more fakery from the MSM… exposed

    UK Flooding Events and Fake Science

    A group of 46 workers from 35 countries and 35 institutions led by Professor Guenter Bloeschl and supported by the ERC “FloodChange,” project no. 291152 (budget €2.2 million) published a paper in Science [1] claiming that there are changes to the pattern of European Floods 1960 to 2010, linked to man-made climey choonge.

    Putting their findings on the UK under the microscope I find that reality is close to the exact opposite of the claims made and published in Science.

    Either the 46 scientists associated with this work, the reviewers and editors at Science are wrong or my analysis of their findings is wrong.

    In the former case I will press for a full retraction of the paper from Science and for this retraction to be published by the BBC and FT at the very least, both of whom covered the story and who may have inadvertently misled the public and the financial markets.

    Worth reading the entire paper

  3. psile says:

    Here’s another unwanted, but not unexpected surprise, from the outfall from superstorm Harvey:

    Many Houston ultra-polluted Superfund sites are flooded, concerns about toxins spreading; EPA not on scene.

    Consider it a warm-up for when nuke sites eventually go down, as BAU draws to a close. Battered into oblivion by umpteen number of existential threats. Natural and man-made.

  4. Buster Douglas says:

    NK claims to have gone from fission to hydrogen – that’s a big deal if true. This situation just keeps getting ratcheted up. As Seinfeld said about the wake up call guy, “Not comfortable”.

  5. The Second Coming says:

    Currently, fossil fuels make up 86% of energy use and shockingly enough has been practically unchanged for over three decades, even after the trillions of dollars in investments in alternative sources (solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and even bio
    In order for green technologies to supply the necessary supply for global energy demand by 2035, an investment of $3 trillion a year would be required. Compare this with the current estimates of all energy investments in 2035 (including carbon forms) of being just $2 trillion dollars. Current oil demand is outstripping all renewable investments and supplies and will continue through 2050.

    Regardless of how you feel about a carbon-based economy, it turns out to be good for the trucking industry. The energy sector is one of the largest sectors providing demand for truckload services. Ranging from equipment to service the drilles, to the sand that helps fracking operations, oil demand has a huge impact on the number of industry-wide truckload miles. For every rig that is drilled in North America, results in an additional 1.1 million truckload miles.

    In places like North Dakota and Canada, the impact is even more profound. According to a study from the North Dakota State University (home of the Bison and one of the greatest dynasties in college football history), fracking contributed over $35B to the state’s economy, of which half went to trucking operations.

    There are strong reasons for thinking that the rate of increase in gross energy availability will slow further in coming decades. Recently a peer reviewed paper estimated the maximum rate at which humanity could exploit all ultimately recoverable fossil fuel resources. It found that depending on assumptions, the peak in all fossil fuels would be reached somewhere between 2025–2050 (a finding that aligns with several other studies see i.e Maggio and Cacciola 2012; Laherrere, 2015).

  6. Artleads says:

    Artleads • 13 hours ago
    “Many planners contend that impervious surface itself is the problem. The more of it there is, the less absorption takes place and the more runoff has to be managed. Reducing development, then, is one of the best ways to manage urban flooding. The problem is, urban development hasn’t slowed in the last half-century. ”

    Reducing flooding through preserving open space has nothing to do with reducing development. Almost any US city could double the size of its housing capacity through infill and add-on development, creating just as many jobs and generating just as much taxes. This approach could keep economically stressed homeowners in place too. It just requires a little thought, something clearly lacking in city leaders everywhere.

    •Edit•Reply•Share ›
    IrvinDawid Artleads • 3 hours ago
    Isn’t this the classic infill vs. sprawl debate? The problem is that to prevent the open space, the city’s natural buffers against flooding, requires regulations, “zoning” if you will, while NIMBYs create a barrier to greater infill. Much easier to develop on open space from a developer’s perspective, I would think.

    This is a debate that Harvey will contribute to. A silver lining to a catastrophe, perhaps.

    • Artleads says:

      Artleads IrvinDawid • 8 minutes ago
      What you say is very clear, and covers the basics of the issue.

      My point tends, however, to be more subtle than our prevailing system seems capable of grasping. It is not about infill vs sprawl, but about HOW you infill.

      There is now a perfect storm of crises: economic decline, energy scarcity, aging-population welfare, climate disruption, land loss, etc., and what I’m suggesting hopes to address them all. I focus on the character of the place, rather than on abstract, quantitative measures that are the norm for the planning world. I look at the qualitative, blending that with the practical. But the qualitative comes first.

      I’ve suggested to Michael Lewyn that density is best achieved through close attention to the architectural character of a place, and creating infill that is ancillary to that character. A typical single family home will have a backyard that is, in many cases, unused and not particularly valued. Coincidentally, and in conjunction with the above mentioned cluster of crises, there is now a thriving movement to build complete, well equipped “tiny houses” that could go in many of those backyards. ( I don’t believe I’ve heard of anyone making the connection between all these dots. With some special kind of zoning, a completely private mini-house with all the basic conveniences, and even a tiny yard–a miniaturized mainstream home, if you will–that provides income for an empty nester in the main house, taxes for the city, a magnet for public transit, a management opportunity for a large business or a CDC, etc. This concept can be applied over a neighborhood, an entire city, or even a region, creating very little, if any, visual impact to the scenery locals are used to.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      then there’s this quote:

      “Houston is the most flood-prone city in the United States,” said Rice University environmental engineering professor Phil Bedient, in an article by the Associated Press on the city’s “obsolete drainage grid.” “No one is even a close second — not even New Orleans, because at least they have pumps there.”

      Houston’s roads are part of that “drainage grid”.


      but hey, citizens can tear out their moldy walls and rebuild.

      or move.

    • xabier says:

      City planners and politicians think about one thing only: their pensions.

      They are never exactly the brightest buttons in the box, either.

      • Let me refine it a bit.

        City planners and politicians think about these things only: today’s and future churn on their crooked deals while in office (offered to them by the bigger fish), and also availability of their future pensions.

        You see, people are not created equal. There are politicians amazingly skillful to drink from all these diverse fountains of “ill gotten” wealth for decades. Surprisingly this might form in aggregate not insignificant wealth of treasure in the end, even promoting their person-hood and immediate family into lesser noble status in the system. However, there also quite inept specimen of politicians, who end up depending from say 3/4th on the prospect of future pension availability. Big difference.

        • xabier says:

          Very true, there is a distinction to be made, but they all love their pensions: governments change so frequently in Italy, for example, in order to share out the pension rights (which can be accumulated with each term in office!)and the property perks of being a minister (buy with a state subsidy, sell to other politicos….)

          I have first hand knowledge, as now my ‘radical Left’ family have finally got themselves voted in, after years in the political wilderness, they are milking the system like crazy.

          It’s quite disgusting: poor people pay for this.

    • interguru says:

      100 years ago, with minimal regulation, we got the neighborhood that we love, now with minimal regulation we get Houston. Difference? Automobiles!

  7. muchly2long says:

    Hitler’s hatred of the Je wish people knew no bounds. He probably suspected that he wasn’t going to win the war from late 1941 onwards, so he was determined he would make use of the time to destroy as many of the people he hated as possible. Even so, his mood changed from day to day. He believed that being fanatical was a virtue, that you should hold out to the last man, because you never knew what might turn up. He knew all these stories from history where the unexpected happened and victory occurred at the last minute.

    I don’t believe he wanted to destroy Europe or the world – he wanted to reshape them to suit his own ideology – which in our terms amounts to the same thing, as it entailed the destruction of so many humans.

    Remember also that Hitler was a drug addict – he was almost permanently high on speed – hence his continuing belief in victory against all the odds.

    Yes, once he realised the war was truly lost and the Russians were coming, in his embittered state he did blame his Germans for “letting him down” and ordered a scorched earth policy as a punishment. It was also, however, in keeping with his theory of “the survival of the fittest”. He believed that the Bolsheviks had shown themselves to be fitter, therefore the future belonged to them. I therefore disagree with the thesis presented. Hitler sincerely wished to achieve his aims. He achieved so much up to 1941 that he was drunk with success and hoped and expected to continue in the same vein.

    • Buster Douglas says:

      Throwing Hitler a bone, eh? Really he meant well but stuff happened? He was one of, if not the most manipulative-vindictive leader ever and Trump is cast in the same type of mold. We just need to hope Trump doesn’t go nuts and take us with him like Hitler did to his people. I mean really, attacking massive widespread Russia? Didn’t Napoleon try the same thing and fail miserably. Hitler had his henchmen burn the Reichstag and then claim his political opponents started the fire and then his own men and a huge mob of people went after that other party – one of the most amazing manipulative-vindictive acts ever to gain more power. Trump is also hooked on power like a heroin addict and won’t hesitate to do something similar. In fact, I think when the next election comes Trump will threaten a nuclear war if people don’t vote for him, then when called on it say he was kidding kind of, so people really aren’t sure and many out of fear (having been manipulated by the great snake oil salesman) actually vote for him again. Watch, he’ll do something on that order. I don’t think people fully realize the danger this country is in with him in power.

      • muchly2long says:

        “Throwing Hitler a bone, eh? Really he meant well but stuff happened?”

        Rubbish! You haven’t understood my points at all. He was quite straightforward in his megalomania and did not want to “fail”. He meant “well” only in his own terms – which in our terms were highly destructive, as I pointed out. I called him fanatical, a drug addict, his hatred knew no bounds – THAT is throwing him a bone?! Did you even watch the video? Do so, then read my points again. The subtlety of them is obviously lost on you. And bear in mind, that evil people generally do not consider themselves evil. Hitler was supremely evil, but in his warped ideology he was doing what HE thought was best for Germany and hence the world.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          There is no good or evil — only interests?

          • muchly2long says:

            What AH did was not in Germany’s interests, because it turned so many nations against them. If a man was interested in raping your wife, and did so, would you consider him evil? So interests are subjective, as is evil too. Evil IMO is excessive and unnecessary harm against humans, which under AH was on a mechanised and industrial scale. But let’s not forget Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and all the rest.

        • Tim Groves says:

          I don’t see any special relevance of the achievements or reputation or moral character or drug habits of Adolph Hitler to OFW issues. Have I missed something? .

          • muchly2long says:

            Follow the thread backwards and find the connections. Discussions about a subject go off at all sorts of useful tangents, as you well know, and you may just learn something. In any case, the beginning of the end of BAU is already leading to some weird politics, which is where Adolf (NEVER “Adolph”) Hitler comes in. Plus ça change, and all that. If the thread doesn’t interest you, don’t comment.

      • Jesse James says:

        Buster, you are boring. Get a brain!

      • greg machala says:

        Honestly I think Trump is sick of being president. The non-stop attacks are wearing on him. I mean every late night comedy, every news station is wall to wall anti-Trump rhetoric.

        • nope.avi says:

          I ‘ve yet to hear a funny Trump joke. It’s not like it’s hard, the guy is a soft target, it’s just that people who tend to be overly politically correct (women) can’t be funny to save their lives. When they try, we get things like that snl “actress” saying Trump’s son is going to grow up to be a school shooter because…………………………………….no, there’s no punch line.

          Comedy, like a lot of entertainment these days, has turned into a “everyone gets a trophy because “diversity and underrepresentation” festival of mediocrity.

      • xabier says:

        Trump is just a puppet, as Hillary Clinton would have been.

        Foreign policy in the US is run by the Establishment aka Deep State. They have decided to encircle and de-stabilise Russia, breaking up the Russian Federation. They are contemplating future conflict with China over global dominance.

        Elections, and presidents, can’t influence these policies at all.

        The situation is certainly very dangerous, but we can see some de-escalation in Syria for example, sadly after the country has been wrecked.

        • Yep, people just refuse to see the reality around them, Trump is basically a very lesser noble, who can’t even afford new jet, lolz, he is probably at least ~two layers-grades of wealth and power bellow Buffet’s level, who himself is certainly not (as claimed by msm) in the top 5 richest guys of the globe anyway, but again a mere water boy – junior partner for the actual owners of the central bank system etc.

    • alfredmelbourne says:

      Hitler was given large loans by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England. He was a bulldog who was supposed to go East and leave France and the others alone.

      After the war, the German central banker who negotiated these loans was spared by the Nurnberg Tribunal

      • muchly2long says:

        AH did go East: Poland. And then it was France and Germany who turned against him, because they didn’t want him dominating Europe, which would have weakened their own power.

        • muchly2long says:

          “And then it was France and Germany who turned against him”

          I meant of course: “And then it was France and BRITAIN who turned against him.”

      • Correct, actually those same guys were instrumental in setting up the forming stages of the current EU-Reich in the late 1940s – early 50s.

        If you look at the evidence and how time had flown, it’s crystal clear, US was selected as the host entity for the global power ~100+ yrs ago, UK maneuvered a lot during the interwar period to keep at least junior partnership and the decade+ after the WWII, but was also deliberately kicked to the wayside as they quickly lost remaining colonies, an effort somewhat nudged from the US side as well..

        Nowadays, they are looking for new arrangement how to pass the baton from the crumbling/ed US. We don’t have the access to these negotiations and “war rooms” but still can derive a lot from the actions of the major players. So far it seems as there is tacit agreement, lets have two or three quasi independent global spheres, which will attempt some sort of autarky model as we slide into the affordability/energy depletion tunnel. They know history, they know it’s better to at least perform an attempt of striking for having some dominion for a while, than nothing.. For plebeians that obviously means drop to 1/x living standard, oppression, elimination to large %% of pop as the subsidies for health care and social evaporate or refocus.

        Obviously, monkey wrenching events into the plan can always happen, but I doubt it at this stage. They are more likely to occur further on the down slope and particular crisis joke points, e.g. generals/colonels (taking sides with elite factions) taking over at junctions not exactly at the right pre-determined moment etc.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      This is why Hitler did what he did

      Given the current situation in the US … I would not be surprised if we were to see a replay of this in America… as masses realize that they have been lead around by the nose for a century or so… and turn on their masters.

      • an American fascist dictatorship is inevitable.

        The steps are already in place–the unthinking masses will willingly take those steps:

        1, You need an economy that is energy-bankrupt. The USA uses 18Mbd, and produces only 10Mbd

        2. Leaders make promises they cannot meet, deny it’s an energy problem

        3. The economy tanks because of above

        4. People think prosperity can be voted for

        5 They vote for someone who promises things will be OK if only he is given a free hand to get rid of those causing the problems

        6 It still doesnt work, so there’s inevitable civil disorder

        7 Leader initiates martial law to restore order, also threatens wars elsewhere.

        8 Suspends constitution ‘for duration of national emergency’

        9 Instals himself as dictator (temporarily of course)

        10. The nation wakes up to find itself in a dictatorship, or more likely a theofascist dictatorship

        Take those ten points, and prefix them the Germany in 1932. A Hit-ler told the electorate exactly what he intended to do if elected. He did just that. He was stopped not through a change in ideology, he was stopped because he ran out of fuel.
        The German people were and are fundamentally a civilised race, but with a fait accompli, they fell into line and cheered victories and the new order. The Generals were against what was happening, but they too fell into line. Those who didn’t were swiftly dispatched

        Dictators never have problems recruiting people to do their dirty work. It most certainly will happen again.

        Now take those 10 points and prefix them to USA in 2017

        As I’ve pointed out before, democracy is a child of prosperity. Poverty makes it an orphan

    • xabier says:

      There was a pill marketed in Britain in WW2, called ‘Blitzed’. I came across an ad in an old magazine.

      ‘War nerves getting you down? Take Blitzed!’

      • muchly2long says:

        A quick Google doesn’t find me anything, xabier. On the one hand it sounds like typically macabre English sarcasm, on the other hand I think even suggesting a product with such a name might have had you looked upon as a traitor in those days. It would be interesting if you could post an image, xabier.

    • interguru says:

      “expected to continue in the same vein’

      Is this a deliberate pun on his drug addiction?

  8. Nope.avi says:

    Up until very recently, I thought it was a matter of media coverage or my own perception that the 1980s to the early 1990s, there were a lot more murders than now.
    A cursory amount of research revealed that this was not a matter of skewed perceptions. There was a substantial increase in the number of serial killers, in addition to other violent crimes and that started shortly after the civil rights movement, that began in the 1950s, drew to a close. Even more interesting, was the revelation that the majority of high profile serial killers were baby boomers. I found myself wondering why that is–aside from statistics–and how it may connect with finite world topics discussed by Gail and others on this blog. Why was there a huge increase in dysfunctional people during the most prosperous time in human history? I was told that the increase was so substantial it inspired the slasher flick genre.

    Today, we still have people predisposed to becoming serial killers, but I am told that they are locked up because of we are willing to incarcerate people for minor offenses, that might lead to that kind of activity. Technology, I’m told has played a role in reducing the number of operating serial killers but I don’t completely buy this explanation. The best explanation I’ve come across, is that during periods of large social change, which last happened the 1960s , creates a lot inner conflict within susceptible individuals. There’s some truth to this, with the problem of Islamic terrorism , in the last article I read about it, being attributed to a conflict that certain individuals have between two cultures that they participate in. The big difference is that most terrorists don’t seem to be psychopaths, although some of them are, or would be for sure.

    We’re due for another massive social change, when BAU collapses and there will no doubt be violence due just to rage over the fact that BAU is no longer there but I doubt that there may be a huge uptick in serial killers who are mad about the end of happy motoring–only certain conditions seem to foster them.

    I bring this up because brought up a point that people don’t just “fight for resources” but also for very personal reasons and that just means that human behavior is more of a wild card than most readers of this blog, me included, are considering.

    For a long time I ignored politics, because I thought, people’s feelings don’t matter in the big scheme of things and I bought into the notion promoted by Thomas Friedman that the global economy would be the largest driving force in the world. Resistance would be insignificant and futile

    • Well, history has its strange twists, e.g. the blitz krieg plan for the Eastern front was mostly good as well as the previously successful precedent for crashing through France and the Low countries in days and weeks, especially the evidently internalized pre-understanding of scales in nature, basically in the East conquering ~3x the landmass demands ~9x the resources (as needed bigger army, equipment etc.) and they did not have that (could not have that ever), knowing about the not trivial industrial capacity of the enemy, over dependence on Romanian oil and so on. So, the only option was going for the jugular in swift attack on the capital city like a cat chopping of snake’s head.

      Now, the twist, historical temperature negative super spike ~1941-2, very cold two years of winters, plus the factor Japan strangely did not mount simultaneous attack – opted for their Asian theater, hence it was possible to relocate the best units stationed against JAP in Far East-Pacific towards Moscow, which was at the peak just holding Germans on the line ~15-40km in front of the capital. Both the Soviets and Germans agree, the first winter was close enough by a hair, the first surprise attack almost worked, but since then it was “only” an issue of dedication of dozens of millions dead and dozens thousands of tanks, airplanes, several years of ordeal, to repel the bogged invasion which was now doomed exactly because of that scale factor..

      So should it turned otherwise in the crucial weeks and days of late 1941 – early 1942, the above video would have never been made, it would be ridiculous non sense, since the monuments of the guy (psycho or not) would be splashed at least over 1/3 of the globe on every corner.. US and Reich cohabitation for decades to come..

      Why I’m saying that, well there are trends, things have to sort of happen long term, but there are also choke points, crossroads of the near mid term, affecting, derailing the outcome of one sub scenario..

    • xabier says:

      How all this manifests in the political sphere is THE big question.

      The two cultures thing is interesting: it’s a curious fact that a majority of ETA terrorists were actually only half-Basque – one wonders if the violent commitment was a way of resolving feelings of not quite belonging?

      Also, the phenomenon of very comfortable middle and upper-class families producing some of the worst terrorists and mass killers in the 1960’s and 70’s.

      We haven’t even begun to see the fruits of our era of crisis – just warming up, I’m afraid.

      • xabier says:

        As an example of delayed consequences of economic crisis, in Argentina the kids from families which were thrown down the social scale or left in even worse poverty grew up after a decade into some pretty nasty, drugged-up thugs, committing very nasty robberies, rapes and murders. They just had to reach the right age to express their hatred of society.

  9. adonis says:

    something strange is occurring in my neighbourhood i dont know whether it may be an effect of carbon emmissions but it is coming on in intervals or waves it made the news and i can attest it is a new environmental condition as i have heard it and felt it on numerous occasions it is almost biblical

    • Buster Douglas says:

      Thunder shook our house once and rattled the windows. I thought it was pretty amazing but the dog flipped out. I wouldn’t worry about thunder. Plenty of other stuff going on.

    • i1 says:

      Same thing in Florida last night (9/1). Loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard at 9:55 pm.

      • muchly2long says:

        I’ve never heard a single thunderclap at 9:55 pm in my whole life. Surely this is just another rancid attempt to destabilise Mrs Tverberg’s blog.

  10. psile says:

    The JIT system in full breakdown. This could go on for another month in the hub of U.S. oil production and refining. I’m sure that eventually things will be restored, just so that Texans, and Americans in general, can continue their manifest destiny, until the bitter end.

    Texas Gas Stations Start To Run Dry As Drivers Panic×512.jpg

    The lone commenters prescription for all of this is for folks to plug their non-existent Tesla’s into the non-existent solar array’s of their now non-existent houses. What a douche.bag.

    • greg machala says:

      liquid fuels are everything. Without them the economy stops. If there are in short supply too long, people begin to die. If they are cut off suddenly and completely people begin to panic. Solar and wind power do not fit directly into our energy infrastructure. They are add-ons. Can you picture wind turbines and solar panels rebuilding Houston?

      • This Gulf-Texas situation just highlights again very vividly the sheer over-consumption going on there inside NA, energy consumption levels per person/mi is not sustainable, must and will go down, gas guzzlers, sub urban waste land, ..

        This can no longer be tweaked nowadays as you rightly pointed out. But there are plethora of scenarios beyond that, e.g. after balkanization wave sweeping through the much of NA, we can’t discount having areas, where they actually scale down successfully, for a while. Be it under warlords protectorate of China or whatever. Electric hybrid bicycle 250W (you can haul groceries into hill) costs ~1.500, offroadish small displacement scooter ~4.500, and so on.. (just comparing it to contemporary normalcy-lunacy operating 30k+ carz on credit with ~5-50x higher consumption per single occupant passenger). Hacking railway into having inserted cargo wagons for such stuff hop on/off, for the last mile to home, essentially doable.

        The US/NA will most like remain too valuable in land and water resources, so after the quick decimation, someone will very likely take over at least part of it, it could go on on different setting in some specific places.

        This is very optimistic sub scenario for near-mid term (out of many), although not much applicable for many, as it involves very different world and much lower pop, very curtailed area of law and order vs. current national scale understanding etc.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          There can be NO BAU Lite.

          When the power goes off — it will go off everywhere in a very short period of time — it will not go on again – ever.

          And you get cascading failures from there including spare parts, fuel, the entire JIT supply chain

          It takes a special kind of Delusional to not comprehend this

          • You seemed to alter your position recently, claiming-acknowledging finally that synchronized (near-mid term) collapse is unlikely. So why to relapse into old dogmas..?

            There is a reason why certain countries are hell bend on domestic/ally import replacements not only for mil-gov application, but also energy, resource extraction, public transport, healthcare, agriculture etc.

            Is it going to help make temporary bridge to nowhere, possibly..
            Is it going to prop the current model, pop levels, consumption patterns as they are, nope.
            Is it bullet proof plan against all JIT complexities, nope, but enough for attempted autarky near-midterm, and that also counts in single human lifespan in relative cross examination.

      • Tim Groves says:

        For sheer sustainability, you can’t beat this.

        Self-driving, moves people and heavy loads, 0–4mph in 10 seconds, runs on organic fuel, and the emissions can be used as fertilizer.

      • psile says:

        I think we all know the answer to that one mate. Without FF’s we’re fracked. 😉

  11. Cliffhanger says:

    US National Academy of Sciences: Study: Doping Western Cultures With Oxytocin Will Cure Xenophobic Rejection of Refugees (Marsh 2017)

  12. Tim Groves says:

    From the “How Could I Have Been So Green” Department

    When Valerie Cappell and her family decided to build their dream home, they determined “to do the right thing” by making it as ecologically-friendly as possible.

    But the “Grand Designs-esq” adventure turned into a nightmare when she discovered the highly sustainable wool she had chosen to insulate the four-bed property was hosting a moth infestation of “biblical proportions”.

    Despite being reassured that treating the organic substance with pyrethrin would be sufficient to ward off insect invaders, she had to rip apart swathes of the wave-shaped house. Having consulted experts and sent portions of the infested wool for laboratory analysis, the biologist has now been told by Rentokil that her traumatic experience is shared by many others who opt for organic insulation.

    “It was soul-destroying and incredibly stressful when we couldn’t work out where all the moths were coming from,” she told The Telegraph. “I think our situation could be the tip of an iceberg – many more people must have installed this kind of insulation.”

    Ms Cappell and her family moved into the newly-built home in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 2012, but it was not until this year that they began noticing moths all over the house. She has since been advised by experts that, unless properly treated, sheep’s wool is considered ‘fillet steak’ for moths.

    “We’re not green activists but we wanted to do the right thing,” she said. “We went for an adventurous design, very airy with lots of space, and we wanted it to be as ecologically friendly as possible.”

    “Passive” housing is built to a rigorous design whereby homes are build to conserve as much energy as possible. Although not quite qualifying for this standard, Ms Cappell’s home requires very little artificial heating due to the “extraordinary” amount of insulation.

    However, the cost of the ruined wool, as well as removing and replacing it is likely to come to nearly £10,000, negating any savings gained from low energy bills. Because the material was bought in 2011, Ms Cappell says she is out of time to sue the supplier, which is no longer in business.

    “The whole thing seems very unfair, and a horror story for those who have installed it,” she said, pointing out there was no obvious body to whom she could report the problem.

    Pyrethrins are a class of synthetically made organic compounds and are more commonly used in temporary anti-insect solutions like moth sprays.

    • When infested, not easy to get rid off, in ideal conditions the larvae quasi hibernates for upto 4yrs.. So, people often declare premature victory, if they are not seen in the room for a while..

      The only somewhat “working” solution is to push-lure them out (males of the species) of areas with wardrobe by strategically setting up herbal scent and/or chemical soaps, also doing often cold flash exchanges of air in the room (fall-spring), putting wool stuff into individual sacks with good seal etc. And obviously setting up the pheromone traps for males all over.

      But again, all of that and more (cleaning-washing everything), still you are mostly dealing with the current generations, not much with the eggs and larvae of the nascent generations or incoming new specimen from your possibly infested neighbor or guest, which can fly in any day.

      Cleverness of nature hard to fight against..

  13. greg machala says:

    This is a pretty gloomy; kind of exposes all of the ongoing global crisis facing the US:

    • Fast Eddy says:

      6 months after the quake wrecked Haiti… I saw only one digger in my entire tour of the capital — it was idle on the side of the road. I did not see a single work crew trying to clean up the mess….

      I assume to this day the situation has not changed a great deal….

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      domestic crises too:

      “The New York and D.C. subway systems are crumbling.
      Puerto Rico is bankrupt.
      Some states, such as Illinois, cannot balance their budgets.
      The murder rates are soaring in Baltimore and Chicago.
      Congress this month will have to raise the debt ceiling by hundreds of billions and pass a budget with a deficit bloated by the cost of Harvey.”

      it’s worth repeating that declining EROI makes the fixes for these problems increasingly unaffordable.

      the cheap energy to build up the Houston area is no longer available to repair the area.

      remember the New Orleans diaspora:

      population before Katrina 450,000 and after Katrina 300,000.

  14. Cliffhanger says:

    China sees new world order with oil benchmark backed by gold

    • adonis says:

      thanks cliffhanger this story was very interesting

    • Buster Douglas says:

      Gold backed – that’s the ticket to avoiding oil sold in dollars. In a world of phony money generated by CB’s, the transition to oil trade via China could be much faster than many might think. Once gone it’s hard to see how the US could do anything to lure trade back to faith based USD’s.

  15. Fast Eddy says:

    “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”

    Remember that when you read the MSM

  16. Cliffhanger says:

    “Economic vulnerability to Peak Oil: study published in the journal Global Environmental Change (GEC) by the leading academic science publisher, Elsevier. GEC is the most influential geography and environmental studies journal in the world.

    • Cliffhanger says:

      They site Gail several times in this paper!

      • I don’t remember being cited as “Gail the Actuary” on “The Oil Drum” in academic papers before, but I haven’t paid much attention. This article is from 2013, and that is closer to the time when I was writing for The Oil Drum. I thought that they generally used “Gail Tverberg,” even in that case.

        • Cliffhanger says:

          In Ahmed’s new book and study he sites you several times and uses several of your charts and graphs. He just sites you as Gail Tverberg

        • Buster Douglas says:

          I remember Gail the Actuary used often on The Oil Drum.

        • Mark says:

          Could be worse 😉 —from the car talk staff.
          Statistician Marge Innovera
          Studio Repair Technician Sloan Cranky
          Summer Intern Gladys Overnow
          Summer Wardrobe Coordinator Bermuda Schwartz
          Sunscreen Provisioner Les Brown
          Suppliers of Insurance to
          Dewey, Cheetham and Howe C.F.I. Care

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      rising demand usually means rising prices.

      rising prices usually mean rising supply.

      so we might just see another burst of EOR – enhanced oil recovery.

      squeeze some extra millions of barrels out of conventional wells.

      OPEC, which now has reduced quotas, could do away with those quotas and go back to full production.

      shale oil doesn’t matter much.

      so the latest data that suggests peak oil could be in 2017 may be off by a few years.

      production could go higher than this year, after rising prices spur higher investment.

      a peak in the 2020’s is not unreasonable in this situation.

      a flat out guess of 2025 could be about right.

      and that is VERY SOON.

    • Harry Gibbs says:

      He doesn’t talk about Japan, which has certainly passed peak demand –

      “Domestic oil sales in Japan fell 1.2 percent to 2.79 million barrels per day (bpd) in July from a year earlier, marking the lowest volumes for the month in at least 32 years, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed on Thursday. Oil demand in the world’s third-biggest economy hit a record high around 2000 but has been declining gradually for more than a decade since then…”

      • I wish that the economists had used a different word than “demand.” For example, affordable supply might have given a better understanding of what is happening.

        • greg machala says:

          I agree, demand is the wrong word to use.

        • Tim Groves says:

          At least in the Japanese case, an aging and declining population is reducing the “demand” and “need” for car travel, simply as older people tend to stay home more and travel less. Also, in order to save on running costs (including fuel and vehicle tax), people are shifting toward more light vehicles or hybrids, which give better mileage. These vehicle trends are reducing gasoline and diesel use without people having to think much about the question of affordability. On the whole, they are not thinking, “I’d like to drive a sports car or a luxury saloon but since I can’t afford that I’ll settle for a mini-car”, but rather “I only use a car to go down to the shops, the local restaurant and the hairdressers, so I’ll drive the cheapest vehicle I can that provides a reasonable level of comfort.”

          Once a certain number of cars become light cars, then light cars seem normal and nobody feels they are making a sacrifice on the basis of affordability. Instead they feel, “why pay more than I need for luxury I don’t need.” In the present era of diminished expectations and graceful aging, most people are no longer trying to keep up with the Joneses, but are more likely to be trading down because they are rearranging their priorities and big, luxurious, high quality and expensive have lost their mystique.

          • ejhr2015 says:

            Patchy. The monied elite are not trading down. Only we plebs have to do that. 29,000 Mercs and 29,000 BMW’s sold don’t sound like a number outside the ranks of the wealthy. Restaurants here in Oz are struggling at the cheaper end, but doing well for the expensive end. Go figure.

          • All of their friends are doing the same as well, I expect.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Another factor in Japan is urbanization. Although the overall population is declining, more people are moving to big cities, where travel by public transport is more convenient and cheaper than by car. Cars also need parking spaces, and in cities where pace is at a premium the cost of parking or housing a vehicle can be as much as the cost of renting a home in the countryside.

          You can look at the situation in terms of affordability, and this makes sense in terms of whole system analysis because people will tend to buy only what they can afford to buy. However, if you are a producer or an importer or a supplying of a product such as gasoline, what you need to work out is how much of the product you need to keep producing, importing or supplying, and so it makes more sense to think in terms of “demand”, which is shorthand for “how much the punters want to buy for whatever reason”, rather than “affordable supply”, which is “how much they are capable of buying given their financial situation”.

          The difference may not be apparent at first glance, but it rests on the fact that in the developed world, for most people affordability is not the only constraint on purchasing as is the case with people living at or below subsistence level. Once you have disposable income and you are free to dispose of it how you wish, affordability competes with desirability, attraction, and other appeals to the imagination as an accelerator or brake on demand. The famous FE bucket list is an example. None of the items on such a list are necessities. They are things that are considered fun or interesting to do. Affordability, available time, and available enthusiasm put upper bounds on them, and within those limits, the bucket lister is free to choose between, or in effect, to create a demand for various items on the list.

          • Harry Gibbs says:

            That is an interesting distinction you make.

            I also read that Japan is shutting down all its old and expensive steam-turbine oil and gas power stations, and replacing them with cheaper coal ones.

          • Harry Gibbs says:

            Tim, do you have any insights into the aversion that many young people in Japan apparently have for s.ex and romance or into the ‘hikikomori’ who rarely if ever leave their rooms? Can these be understood as extreme collateral manifestations of this process by which Japan is in some senses attempting to ‘shrink to fit’ limits?

          • Thanks for your thoughts. You are right. It is more than affordability.

  17. Cliffhanger says:

    The Coming Bust of the U.S. Shale Oil & Gas Ponzi

  18. Cliffhanger says:

    Gas Hoarding in Texas continues .

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      is that a “bomb” attached to the back of a pickup truck?

      looks like an “explosive device” to me.

      I hope the owner isn’t a smoker.

      bigger in Texas!

      lots of rust, too.

    • greg machala says:

      That is somewhere in West Texas. I think that is an Alon gas station.

  19. Cliffhanger says:

    Just wait until we experience a 10% or 20% drop in oil supplies. In a few years or sooner we certainly will. When it hits the economic and social damage will be catastrophic. The end of Western Civilization, from China to Europe, to the US, will not occur when oil runs out. The economic and social chaos will occur when supplies are merely reduced sufficiently.

    • Buster Douglas says:

      Supply & Demand; if supply drops, price rises, but if the consumer cannot afford it at that new higher price, demand drops and price drops. But if demand can only drop so far due to inelastic usage (bare minimum demand), then price could remain high enough to drag the economy down with it. Then it would be back on the CB’s to dole out huge sums to the super wealthy to try and jolt the sucker back into coherence, but that ignores the average Joe trying to make ends meat. So I agree CH that the next big kahoona as far as testing the delicate world economy will be rising oil price from inadequate supply from years of too low a price to incentivize capex, coupled with fewer large finds of oil (due to diminishing returns i.e. declining size of oil deposits).

    • theblondbeast says:

      I worry about the all at once too – but I also think there is some merit to the argument that oil resource scarcity, like the scarcity of anything historically, has been distributed unevenly. So some regions and classes bear the full brunt while others suffer a reduced impact. Don’t get me wrong – to channel FE I’m sure some fuel rods will go fubar but that doesn’t make it any more likely that all of them will. It slim consolation but the population reduction of 2% a year would still reduce population to 5% of its current level in a few generations.

      My main argument for this being possible is that I think it’s what’s already happening – a protracted, ignored, poorly understood grinding downward.

      • xabier says:

        In Western Europe, the only population increases are to be found among mostly low-wage or unemployed migrants.

        Everyone else thinks twice before having even one child for affordability reasons.

        This is essentially supported – even among those who are in work – by government debt: making possible additional welfare payments, child payments, free education, healthcare, etc.

        Once that becomes difficult to meet, then birthrate in that sector will undoubtedly fall – if they have any sense or self-control.

  20. New one, worth reading, especially the overall point about the mental processes powering the inner “kicking the can” exercise by most humanoids..

    • Artleads says:

      “We’re going to spend tens of billions of dollars rebuilding Houston exactly like it is now, and then wait for the next one.”

      A tune for almost every occasion:

  21. Another confirmation, how my working concept of somewhat attempted autarky scenario – immediate post crash patching up marshal law situation is being worked on by systemic analysts, via Bardi quoting Heinberg:

    “The first strategy envisions convincing the managers and power holders of the world to invest in a no-regrets insurance plan. Some systems thinkers who understand our linked global crises are offering to come up with a back-pocket checklist for policy makers, for moments when financial or environmental crisis hits: how, under such circumstances, might the managerial elite be able to prevent, say, a stock market crash from triggering food, energy, and social crises as well? A set of back-up plans wouldn’t require detailed knowledge of when or how crisis will erupt. It wouldn’t even require much of a systemic understanding of global overshoot. It would simply require willingness on the part of societal power holders to agree that there are real or potential threats to global order, and to accept the offer of help. At the moment, those pursuing this strategy are working mostly covertly, for reasons that are not hard to discern.”

  22. Lastcall says:

    Maybe this has been posted?

    “In a landmark report experts say fundamentally reshapes our understanding of the googly warm-ups crisis, new data published this week by the Intergov. Pain.el on Climax Cringe has found that the phenomenon is caused primarily by the actions of 7 billion key individuals.” etc

    We’re actually looking at a situation where a select group of individuals—7,125,985,886 of them, to be exact—are singlehandedly responsible for googly warm-ups and are refusing to do anything about it,” author and activist Dan Cregmann told reporters, noting that these culprits have a horrible track record of following recommended environmental guidelines and disclosing their total energy consumption. “Many of these offenders have of course pledged goals for fighting climax cringe and going green in their daily operations, but statistics show these proclamations have been largely ineffective and halfhearted at best.”

    At press time, IP.CC officials confirmed that, since their report was released this morning, 153,007 more individuals had been added to the list of top contributors to googly warm-ups.

    Re-edit if u can!.

    • Greg Machala says:

      It is irrelevant. Resource scarcity will lead to financial collapse long before the “climb it” change will get us.

      • Harry Gibbs says:

        Although you could argue, that it, the great unmentionable, constitutes an additional pressure on the resource-constrained financial system, as do all manner of other chemical changes we are making to the environment – for example:

        “The Chinese government released a report on Thursday that said nearly one-fifth of its arable land was polluted, a finding certain to raise questions about the toxic results of China’s rapid industrialization, its lack of regulations over commercial interests and the consequences for the national food chain.

        “The report, issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources, said 16.1 percent of the country’s soil was polluted, including 19.4 percent of farmland…

        “The study found that 82.8 percent of the polluted land was contaminated by inorganic material. The most common pollutants were cadmium, nickel and arsenic, and the levels of these materials in the soil had risen sharply since land studies in 1986 and 1990…”

    • Greg Machala says:

      Two modes to society: complacency or panic. The JIT delivery scheme is quite evident now. But, try convincing folks of this two weeks ago and they would say your a loony.

      • theblondbeast says:

        Yeah, unfortunately that’s kind of how it goes. Animals of all kinds do really bad with moderate sustained effort and attention.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        The MSM is tasked with ensuring that we do not prematurely shift to the panic phase….

    • Fast Eddy says:

      MR DNA is not stupid… this is how he reacts when he feels threatened….

      When his food source is threatened as BAU ends… he will not just lie down and die… he will look for solutions …

      Bad news for the doomy preppers living in the verdant countryside….

      How many people live within a tank of gas of you? Half a tank? Walking distance?

      That’s how many people will be headed your way

  23. Lastcall says:

    Maybe this has been posted?

    “In a landmark report experts say fundamentally reshapes our understanding of the global warming crisis, new data published this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that the phenomenon is caused primarily by the actions of 7 billion key individuals.”

    We’re actually looking at a situation where a select group of individuals—7,125,985,886 of them, to be exact—are singlehandedly responsible for global warming and are refusing to do anything about it,” author and activist Dan Cregmann told reporters, noting that these culprits have a horrible track record of following recommended environmental guidelines and disclosing their total energy consumption. “Many of these offenders have of course pledged goals for fighting climate change and going green in their daily operations, but statistics show these proclamations have been largely ineffective and halfhearted at best.”

    At press time, IPCC officials confirmed that, since their report was released this morning, 153,007 more individuals had been added to the list of top contributors to global warming.

  24. Third World person says:

    one thing i do not understand why usa is export crude oil to India
    if oil production about to be collapse then why usa export its oil to other country when
    oil can be use by there own people for reference here the article

    • adonis says:

      this can only mean that they are all in on it in other words deals have been made between all the banksters and the puppet politicians to set up their new world order think of it this way nationalities mean nothing to these guys we are all just numbers to them

  25. grayfox says:

    A moment of silence for Martha the last passenger pigeon who died 103 years ago today.
    And a Bronx cheer for the great species eliminator.

    • Buster Douglas says:

      Extinct because in WWI both sides had a policy of shooting down passenger pigeons to stop messages getting to the enemy. So sometimes they shot down their own too and guess what; if you shoot some species enough times, they go extinct. 2nd e.g. the Dodo bird. Humans are the unrelenting Extinctinator.

    • Tim Groves says:

      In May 1850, a 20-year-old Potawatomi tribal leader named Simon Pokagon was camping at the headwaters of Michigan’s Manistee River during trapping season when a far-off gurgling sound startled him. It seemed as if “an army of horses laden with sleigh bells was advancing through the deep forests towards me,” he later wrote. “As I listened more intently, I concluded that instead of the tramping of horses it was distant thunder; and yet the morning was clear, calm, and beautiful.” The mysterious sound came “nearer and nearer,” until Pokagon deduced its source: “While I gazed in wonder and astonishment, I beheld moving toward me in an unbroken front millions of pigeons, the first I had seen that season.”

      These were passenger pigeons, Ectopistes migratorius, at the time the most abundant bird in North America and possibly the world. Throughout the 19th century, witnesses had described similar sightings of pigeon migrations: how they took hours to pass over a single spot, darkening the firmament and rendering normal conversation inaudible. Pokagon remembered how sometimes a traveling flock, arriving at a deep valley, would “pour its living mass” hundreds of feet into a downward plunge. “I have stood by the grandest waterfall of America,” he wrote, “yet never have my astonishment, wonder, and admiration been so stirred as when I have witnessed these birds drop from their course like meteors from heaven.”

      Pokagon recorded these memories in 1895, more than four decades after his Manistee River observation. By then he was in the final years of his life. Passenger pigeons, too, were in their final years. In 1871 their great communal nesting sites had covered 850 square miles of Wisconsin’s sandy oak barrens—136 million breeding adults, naturalist A.W. Schorger later estimated. After that the population plummeted until, by the mid-1890s, wild flock sizes numbered in the dozens rather than the hundreds of millions (or even billions). Then they disappeared altogether, except for three captive breeding flocks spread across the Midwest. About September 1, 1914, the last known passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was roughly 29 years old, with a palsy that made her tremble. Not once in her life had she laid a fertile egg.

    • A researcher put the last pigeon’s voice to musical notes.

      he did not bother to record it even though his papers say what he was doing would probably be the last sound the species will ever make.

      Such was the standard of the day.

  26. Fast Eddy says:

    There there now Duncan…..

    Tell us more about what you are personally doing to save the planet.

    Maybe Al Gore can load you onto his private jet and take you on his next tour to promote his new movie about saving the planet?

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    Chapter 3 Hidden Persuaders:

    Merchandisers were seeking ways to precondition the customer to buy their product by getting the product story ‘etched in their brain’

    Essentially they do this by appealing to us at our subconscious level — appealing to our base instincts…. and repeating the message.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Take for instance go—oble woo—-ormi—-ng…. the message is powerful — we are going to br…oil to de……ath if we do not stop what we are doing …

      Validate the theory by stamping this with the approval of paid off scien…tists and celebrities and politicians …

      NEVER mention that even if this was real that there is no solution. Because that would destroy the ad/PR campaign.

      Instead make up fake so..lutions — so..lar win..d …E…Vs.

      Create fea…r — offer hope.

      Deflect the masses from the real problem — the end of the age of oil – the end of the industrial revolution — the end of civ…ilization.

      Thankfully the masses have bought into this product. Otherwise we would be drowning a sea of despair.

      When one dissects this ad campaign one cannot help but admire the absolute brilliance of it.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Additional comments on this are being held by the censor….

  28. MG says:

    The lack of the workforce in the Slovak economy not solved by the labor force from Ukraine or Serbia, but companies acquire more robots

    • Tim Groves says:

      The robots are coming home to roost.

      ENGLISH robot (noun)
      From Czech robot, from robota (“drudgery, servitude”). Coined in the 1921 science-fiction play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Čapek after having been suggested to him by his brother Josef, and taken into English without change.

      CZECH robota (noun)
      From Proto-Slavic orbota (“hard work, slavery”) derived from orbъ (“slave”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European h₃erbʰ (“to change or evolve status”), the predecessor to *h₃órbʰos (“orphan”). Cognate with German Arbeit, Dutch arbeid, and Middle English arveth (“difficult; hard”).

      Which begs the question, is Matt Drudge a robot, or did he get his name by slaving away like an orphan all these years?

      • MG says:

        “The robots are coming home to roost.” – a nice observation…

      • xabier says:

        Until very recently, in England at least, orphans were effectively sold into slavery as ‘apprentices’ – in the worst trades on the whole. No choice at all as to what they did,a nd easy to exploit and ill-treat.

        In the 16th century, it was for a time legal to seize any wandering ‘working man’ or women and compel them to work for you. Not sure when that law expired. (I get a lot of ancient law books to restore, and they are eye-opening!)

        They could also be branded on the head.

        Ah, the pre-fossil-fuel world, wasn’t it Paradise? No wonder people put all their efforts into making money – the alternative was starvation or slavery.

        The BLM and SJW idiots might wish to look into white slavery, it could cure them of their neurotic self-pity.

        • Artleads says:

          I trained for and practiced oil painting restoration. Glad to learn of another restorer on this site. BTW, my “art” now uses paper/cardboard almost to exclusion.

        • And it was the natural order of things. If Peter Grimes, subject of England’s best opera, was not into homosexual tendencies his line would survived and the apprentice, just like one of the many, would have perished. Nobody cared whether the apprentice boys died – it was his unfulfilled desire to the boy which ruined him.

        • It was a paradise for the more advanced and more intelligent people. A real social darwinist paradise. Which led to the Industrial Revolution and conquest of the space.

    • Buster Douglas says:

      Before there were bridges in many places, there were ferries.

      I wonder if people are analogous to ferries and robots to bridges. In other words we are becoming obsolete, replaced by more efficient design. I saw a sci-fi movie in which this Asian woman was one of the last working humans because she was in high management, but she was in constant review and stressed out thinking she might be replaced at any time, then late in the movie she was replaced. Can’t remember the name of it.

  29. Cliffhanger says:

    People are panic buying gas like crazy in Texas. Saw a picture of one guy filling up plastic trash cans with gas.

  30. Duncan Idaho says:

    Removed my post dealing with science.
    Very telling on the fear factor on this site.
    Science is Satan!
    Very much diminishes the content of OFW,which is a pity, as one can extract some interesting insights.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      scientists invented the fossil fuel industry.

      we have IC because of science.

      hooray for science!

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Wonder what everyone is afraid of looking at?

        Kinda snowflake like, don’t you think?
        American Psychological Association’s Concise Dictionary of Psychology: “An unpleasant reality is ignored, and a realistic interpretation of potentially threatening events is replaced by a benign but inaccurate one.”

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          Denial is not a river in Egypt.

          let’s lose the denial and keep it real…

          #1. personal deth will affect every person in a significant way, and relatively soon.

          #2. gobble warbling will affect some persons significantly, but is trivial compared to #1.


        • Fast Eddy says:

          The purpose of the MSM is to tell you want to think.

          You will notice that the wiser individuals on FW never allow the MSM to tell us what to think.

          Sure – we will sift through the MSM for the few facts on offer — but we absolutely never buy into the overall narrative.

          Because that would make us fo—ols.

          You on the other hand swallow the narrative hook line and sinker.

          Btw – what are you doing on a personal level to save the planet? I am curious

        • Greg Machala says:

          I view science today like this: ” how much science can you afford. ” Everything is for sale. If you want a certain result you can find and pay someone to reach your desired result. No matter how absurd it is. For example, I want to fund a study that shows smoking cigarettes is healthy. Or, nuclear is safe. So on and so forth. So, I have come to the conclusion that even science cannot be trusted anymore. We are truly on our own. We must do our own research. Apply our own logic and uncommon sense to understand our world.

          • Fast Eddy says:


            This makes is very difficult to determine what is real …. Fox gives you one reality — CNN another….

            The only way to determine what is real is to understand that neither is real — but that there are some bits of information provided by each — that are real… piece them together — apply common sense and logic … and you have a slight chance of understanding an issue

            Because some of us understand the strategy of repetition …. that works against the controllers… because it is the only way that they can make fake = real…. so this is the weapon.

            Watch for repetition of a so called fact.

            Also look for motives for faking something … what might the agenda be? I someone making cash off of the fakery… is someone trying to deflect you from something that is inconvenient…. what might the alternative agenda be

    • Tim Groves says:

      You contributed a post dealing with science, Duncan?

      Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything.

      And it popped up and then disappeared? Are you sure?

      That is strange. Do you have any idea why?

      Even the views of Guy Mc Pherson have been allowed to stand on this thread.
      You can’t get much scarier than “we’ll all be dead by October”, can you?

      What could have motivated Gail to have removed your post?

    • I do not want this to become a “global warming” site. Please take your discussion elsewhere.

      Humans were very destructive of the environment as hunter gatherers; this even more true today. Thus it is extremely true that humans are having an impact on the climate today. This is associated with the world economy being a dissipative structure. The problem is that we cannot do anything about it!

      It is quite possible to produce a climate change model showing anything a researcher wants, depending on how a person interprets past records and cycles, and depending upon the assumptions a person makes about the future, including the amount of fossil fuels that can economically be extracted. The standard fossil fuel estimates are very high, but most scientists would not understand this.

      When a person couples this with the mistaken belief that we can do anything about climate change, such as through solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars, the story becomes truly absurd. Even the assumption that we can fix the apparent CO2 problem by other means (such as having fewer children, adopting a vegetarian diet, keeping out low-income immigrants from high-income countries, reforesting efforts, turning off air conditioning, not traveling by airplane, and making an effort to drive fewer miles) is suspect, because of feed-back loops that we have no control over. For example, if we spend less of our income on air conditioning, we will likely spend more of it on something else, and the net impact will be close to zero. Perhpas the most useful thing we could do is all become beggars, instead of working for a living. Then our impact on the world economy would be very low.

      It is fairly clear that a major purpose of the climate change discussion is to hide the very real problems we are facing with resource depletion. Once a person becomes fixated on the climate change story, then it becomes hard to see where we really are.

      • Greg Machala says:

        “It is fairly clear that a major purpose of the climate change discussion is to hide the very real problems we are facing with resource depletion. Once a person becomes fixated on the climate change story, then it becomes hard to see where we really are.” I agree. I too am sick of climate change distractions. I cannot believe as much as we preach to each other about psychology that even OFW’s are falling for this age old trick of diversion.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          “It is fairly clear that a major purpose of the climate change discussion is to hide the very real problems we are facing with resource depletion. Once a person becomes fixated on the climate change story, then it becomes hard to see where we really are.”


          Gail gets the last word.

      • theblondbeast says:

        So true – moralistic panic for some can be preferable to despair – which I think many people would feel when encountering this systemic issue. It takes a great deal of humility and maturity to admit that there are not only no easy solutions – but there appear to be no theoretically possible solutions to the finite world Energy/Economy/Resource nexus. And as a final aside, the grounds on which one can criticize others for their lifestyle is very shaky indeed.

        Sometimes it looks like the truths about life could be banalities – such as It appears that people use all the resources available to them – always have, always will. And it is hard not to because civilization by extension always exists in a state of using all the resource flows which are currently worthwhile in the present.

        • theblondbeast says:

          It would be like the people of Easter Island lamenting the destruction of their forests rather than the precipitous march toward starvation and death.

      • muchly2long says:

        “I do not want this to become a “global warming” site.”

        Well then you should get tough, Mrs Tverberg, like the Archdruid. No trolls or bingo cards, no profanities, etc. After each new blog post, add comment #1, outlining your attitude to AGW and out of courtesy maybe include two or three AGW sites that people should visit instead, if they want to talk about AGW. Then just delete any comment that mentions AGW. They’ll soon get the message.

        You could do the same with any comment containing an insult aimed at another commenter, e.g. “MORE’ON” or whatever. Just press the delete button. They’d soon get the message. Insults invite retaliation and escalation. I’ve watched the standards go down here. I believe you used to have a moderator, who probably took care of that, but seemingly he’s gone now. Clearly you can’t be onsite all the time, but half a dozen exemplary deletions when you are would start to clear things up.

        • It is only me as moderator, and there are limits to my time and patience. The total number of comments is so high that it becomes difficult for me to be a moderator for everything.

          I can try to stop some comments using the “settings,” but, as you can see, that does not work terribly well.

        • Tim Groves says:

          There are pluses and minuses in getting tough. Among the minuses, wherever you draw a borderline, you will have problems with people going up to the edge. And you’ll have to make decisions on borderline cases that posters are going to resent. Apart from that, it takes a lot of time and effort to monitor and judge, and if necessary to censor comments that break the rules.

          I don’t see an issue with people calling each other MORE-ON. It is almost never meant literally in the psychological sense of “intellectually challenged” (IQ 50-69). Usually, it translates to “In my opinion you are stu-pid based on the stu-pid comments you make” which can be further refined to “I disagree with you and disapprove of what you are saying.”

          I agree that insults invite retaliation and escalation and I am not in favor of using insults as a method of debating FW issues, but I don’t think it’s necessary to ban them. Also, retaliation and escalation can be useful if they lead to a general clarification and enlightenment on important issues. For instance, out of the Hegelian clash of thesis (you’re a more-on) and antithesis (no, you’re a more-on) can emerge the synthesis (we are both more-ons).

          Have the standards gone down here? The number of posters and the number of comments per thread has increased enormously, so admittedly the average quality of the comments may have dropped. But overall there are still more high quality comments now than there used to be when each thread only attracted dozens rather than thousands of comments.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            MOREon is not an insult — it is an observation.

            Take for instance your recent comment regarding the very few hurricanes that have occurred in recent years.

            Anyone who cannot understand your point and does not change their position because the facts dictate that they should ….. is obviously operating off of a very low IQ…. roughly Farenheit optimum room temperature… and is therefore designated a MOREon….

            Is that an insult?

            No more than saying someone who is 250kg is obese.

            It just is.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Succinct, erudite, lucid and eloquent; you’ve demonstrated unequivocally that your usage of “MOREon” is an observation. And I can see that you’ve always used it in that vein in response to people who consistently display MOREonic tendencies.

              Perhaps I’ve been making a serial cognitive error in giving certain people too much credit for intelligence that they don’t actually possess. I tend to think people who don’t “get” it even when it’s explained clearly and simply to them with strong supporting evidence are being insincere, that they actually do get it but don’t wish to admit it, because anyone with an IQ above room temperature could not fail to understand due to lack of intellectual ability and they can’t possibly be that handicapped. However, on reflection, I think I should take some advice from you and Forrest Gump’s mum.

              And now for something completely different.


            • Fast Eddy says:

              That is one of the best Rand quotes ever.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            And because ‘more’ is generally considered to be a good thing by most people…. then MO.RE on … might be considered a compliment

      • Fast Eddy says:


      • Sven Røgeberg says:

        Hello Gail, I wish you would elaborate the statement ” world economy being a dissipative structure”, perhaps in a new posting. For those of your readers who are not all that familiar with the terminology of thermodynamics.
        Or maybee I missed out on a older bloggpost?

  31. Cliffhanger says:

    If you want to see a total lunatic watch this guy!

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      I was very disappointed when he won the 2017 Sunshine Award and I lost out.

      but there’s always next year’s award!

      well, if The Collapse doesn’t happen by then.

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      That effin clown again….

    • adonis says:

      just another cheerleader for continuation of bau in the belief that driverless cars will be our future

    • MG says:

      The real question is how much costly human work is involved in the production, operation and maintenance of the given car type when we face the deterioration of the human populations and the costly human labor.

      • You also have to include maintenance of roads and bridges. These are subject to natural forces, such as floods and freezing and thawing, besides the wear and tear of traffic. The cost of road becomes a larger and larger share of the total cost.

        • MG says:

          Yes, that is why more travelling by air in the future is more probable than more cars on the roads.

          • xabier says:

            On foot for most: by air (or boat)for the rich.

            Not so bad: when you can’t get about, it’s time to go. Unless you posses some communicable knowledge or skill: a rule I intend to apply to myself.

            People don’t use their limbs enough anyway.

        • Greg Machala says:

          I agree. I think real maintenance costs over time trump original costs of construction due to diminishing returns. That is why toll roads never get paid off. Proponents of RE must believe that once these wind turbines and solar panels are built they will last thousands of years with zero maintenance costs. Otherwise there is no way RE could possibly work. The sheer scale in terms of numbers of solar panels and wind turbines is mind boggling.
          And the batteries fail at 7 years, the inverters at 5 years, the turbines at 20 and the panels at 30. Assuming it could even the done, replacing current electric capacity with RE would take decades and massive amounts of raw materials. And, the RE infrastructure would be failing before if could replace even a portion of current electric generation capacity.. It is an endless treadmill to nowhere.

    • xabier says:

      Clean, Good. Bright. Sunshiny. Future.

      I believe!!! 🙂

    • Greg Machala says:

      He looks like a salesman that came straight off a used car lot. I guess selling green energy BS is easier than selling cars these days.

  32. Fast Eddy says:

    Duncan — you just keep on sucking on that MSM tit…

    First off… how can anyone possibly know if this is a once in 1000 year event — are there records kept from 1000 years ago? This is bullshit — this is no different than any other major hurricane – with the exception that 1000 years ago there would have been no infrastructure in that area to destroy…. oh ya … maybe a few native hovels … but nothing major….

    Notice how the author pins the blame on goobllle wooooorming —- no evidence sweet f789 all …

    Just repeat the lie — and stewpid MOREons will believe it

    That strategy really does work – you are evidence of it

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Sure Duncan — a one day storm would leave evidence of itself a 1000 years later …. believe what you want to believe as long as it supports your notion that we are burning up the planet

      BTW – you still have not gotten back to me on what you are personally doing to save the planet

      Oh right — you are just regurgitating what the MSM tells you to say and think…. and doing nothing

      Just like Al and Elon and Leo — well done — you are an excellent stooge

      • Tim Groves says:

        Duncan, when you are not posting the latest weather updates or insulting the President of the United States, you are sniping and snarking about people who disagree with your views being intellectually inferior. An as an accompanying tactic, you have also told around a dozen people on this site that they really need to educate themselves.

        I much prefer to discuss facts and opinions regarding issues of general import rather than pointing out other people’s personal foibles. But when an individual repeats the same personal advice habitually to so many other individuals,I begin to suspect they are engaging in psychological projection.

        You are entitled to you own rhetorical styles, of course,and perhaps you aren’t projecting your own weaknesses onto others but you really are smarter, savvier and in so many ways better than the average OFW poster. Obviously, you think you are. But what are we to make of a person who so transparently projects such effortless superiority and distain for the people he communicates with?

        Even the God of Abraham and Moses, despite His need for the praise and adoration of his creatures, didn’t go around telling the pathetic little sinners He spoke to that they were miserable little worms or not the sharpest tool on the carpentry bench. And even Soleman in all his glory never challenged other people to a game of Mastermind to show off how much smarter he was than them.

        The reason they didn’t indulge in that sort of behavior is that real majesty and real wisdom have no need to build themselves up by putting others down. Nuff said.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The supreme irony …. Duncan uses the same strategies that the go ooby wor mers are using on him to convince him that it is real ….. he is repeating the accusations that we don’t get it….

          Unfortunately Duncan — we understand the strategy — it does not work on us —- we are immune to this …

          The thing is…

          When I see something repeated so often — that is an indication that it is not true.

        • muchly2long says:

          “Duncan, when you are not posting the latest weather updates or insulting the President of the United States, you are sniping and snarking about people who disagree with your views being intellectually inferior.

          I much prefer to discuss facts and opinions regarding issues of general import rather than pointing out other people’s personal foibles. But when an individual repeats the same personal advice habitually to so many other individuals,I begin to suspect they are engaging in psychological projection.”

          You described your pal and mentor Fast Eddy to a T, of course, with his constant repetition of “MORE-~ON” and such like.

      • Buster Douglas says:

        “FE, I hate to break it to you, but you are really a very ordinary human.
        You live by story and myth rather than observation, think heuristically rather than critically, and discount the past and future.
        It brought genetic fitness in the past, but is currently a liability.”

        Nailed him to the wall! Way to go DI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Duncan – are you even a little bit curious as to how and why I went from agreeing with you on this issue — shifting to the other team?

        When I see someone who I think usually gets a lot right — completely change their mind on an issue — that makes me question my own position if it has lined up with what that person previously believed.

        It would raise doubts in my mind — it would motivate me to look at the issue more deeply — to question my position …. re-evaluate facts …

        You do not appear at all curious.

        Given your complete disinterest and dismissal of facts and evidence that should result in at least a sliver of doubt in an intelligent person — I am left thinking that you are either a troll — or operating on a very low level intellectually — a third option is that you are up to your ears in the matrix.

      • The Second Coming says:

        Duncan, save yourself aggravation and don’t provide feedback.
        Gail has already dictated her position on this topic.
        Best to leave it alone. FE gets a thrill by heated exchanges.
        So more on.

    • Olsen says:

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      okay, just got back from the gas station.

      topped off my half full gas tank. almost $3 per gallon!

      gotta do a fair amount of driving this Labor Day weekend.

      interestingly enough, the average car has about a half a tank of gas in it.

      if most drivers top off their tanks tomorrow, then most stations will run out of gasoline.

      hey, I did my part.


  33. Cliffhanger says:

    On Reddit collapse sub someone left this hilarious comment.

    I just can’t talk about this collapse in anyway without sounding like some kind of conspiratorial loon. Because of this I’ve tried to keep my mind skeptical and my sources sharp. But that doesn’t help, it just makes me seem more focused on doomsaying and conspiratorial lunacy. So now I just do drugs and have fun with the ones I love and wait for the world to burn. Which is not healthy and is exactly what will ensure the collapse.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      You gotta do what you gotta do…. to hold it together

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “So now I just do drugs…”

      99% of the world’s opioid addicts are Americans.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Every junkie’s like a setting sun.

    • Tim Groves says:

      When the smack begins to flow
      Then I really don’t care anymore
      About all the Jim-Jims in this town
      And everybody putting everybody else down
      And all of the politicians makin’ crazy sounds
      All the dead bodies piled up in mounds, yeah

    • Tim Groves says:

      Las one!

      I came to this country without a passport
      Ever since then I’ve been hunted and sought
      My little white grains are nothin’ but waste
      Soft and deadly and bitter to taste

      I’m a world of power and all know it’s true
      Use me once and you’ll know it, too
      I can make a mere schoolboy forget his books
      I can make a world-famous beauty neglect her looks

      I can make a good man forsake his wife
      Send a greedy man to prison for the rest of his life
      I can make a man forsake his country and flag
      Make a girl sell her body for a five-dollar bag

      Some think my adventure’s a joy and a thrill
      But I’ll put a gun in your hand and make you kill
      In cellophane bags, I’ve found my way
      To heads of state and children at play

  34. Fast Eddy says:

    Love of Coastal Living Is Draining U.S. Disaster Funds\

    Welcome to Alabama’s Dauphin Island, where it floods all the time.

    About 400 miles east of Houston, off the coast of Alabama, Dauphin Island was spared the initial impact of Hurricane Harvey. Yet this tiny sliver of land near the mouth of Mobile Bay is just as important as the battered metropolis to the debate over American disaster policy. That’s because the 14-mile-long island, home to only about 1,300 people, floods again and again, hurricane or no hurricane. And again and again, those homes are repaired and rebuilt, largely at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.

    The homes on Dauphin Island are among the 5 million that are covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. Founded in 1968 to make sure homeowners in flood-prone areas could get affordable insurance, the program ends up paying most residential flood insurance claims in the U.S. Partly as a result, development along coasts and riverbanks and in flood plains has exploded over the past 50 years. So have claims for flood damages. The NFIP is now about $25 billion in debt.

    The storms are no worse than before —- it’s just that we are more in the way now…..

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      The storms are no worse than before —-

      Well maybe on the planet you live on—

      Harvey is a 1,000-year flood event unprecedented in scale

      I’ve always wondered– what color is the sky?

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        well, I’m sure there is no reliable flood data for that small part of the world for the past 1,000 years.

        but then again…

        a random one-thousandth section of the world’s land area will experience a “1,000-year flood event” every year on average.

        so this year is the Houston area.

        next year there will likely be another such event somewhere else, probably in a less densely populated area.

        • Buster Douglas says:

          There’s this little community and at the beginning of the month their water source, a small lake, begins growing algae. There isn’t much of it but each day it doubles in size and while it does the community argues whether it’s a potential problem or not. The arguing goes on all month and as it does each side becomes more adamant about the situation, with one side saying its a disaster in the making while the other side says its no problem. On the 29th day it’s half full of algae and there is still no agreement. On the 30th day the algae doubles in size and fills the lake ruining the water supply.

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            the moral of the story:

            exponential growth cannot continue forever.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Are we talking anthropogenic algae growth or natural algae growth? 🙂

            I’m not trying to to make light of the algae problem — it’s one that many communities have been confronted with for a number of different reasons. But in a way, the analogy is deceptive, because usually the causes of lake algae can be clearly identified, which means possible solutions can be sought and tested.

            With hurricane size and frequency, we have a very different situation. Every time a big one comes to land and causes damage, people working to agendas cite them as evidence for the idea that we are all going to fry because we’ve burned so much coal, oil and gas. Then, when North America goes a dozen years without a single large hurricane making landfall, as happened between Katrina and Harvey, the issue is swept under the carpet in order to minimize the embarrassment to the alarmists, who then move onto predicting the end of summer Arctic ice or the disappearance of Florida beneath the ocean.

            How many more decades are we going to have to keep listening to these deceitful and/or demented individuals screaming like Chicken Little that the sky is falling? Right up until the end of BAU I suppose—although it would be great entertainment if their leaders were rounded up and sent to a pleasant little island–nowhere too hot or too cold—and allowed to live out their dream there of fossil-fuel-free living, while the rest of us watched live-stream video of the great adventure on cable TV or YouTube. I’m sure there is a golden opportunity there for a pay-per-view channel.

            With hurricanes and other major storms, we don’t have a lot of data on their scale and frequency in Texas prior to about 200 years ago because nobody was keeping precise records, but we do know from the physical evidence left by flooding that big ones happen from time to time. We are still arguing over whether the frequency and scale of hurricanes is greater during warmer or colder periods. In warmer periods the seas tend to be warmer and have more energy to produce water vapor and drive convection which feeds storms, but in colder periods the temperature differential between tropical and polar areas is greater, which is conducive to more powerful winds and a stronger jet stream, hence the European record of significantly wetter and stormier weather during cold times such as the Little Ice Age than in warm times such as the Medieval and Modern Warm Periods.

            CC from warm and dry to cool and wet was the main driving force in turning a continent of plump and happy peasants and cathedral-building artisans into a hell on earth ravaged by all Four Horsemen. And since natural CC is cyclical, the same conditions are bound to happen again.

            I hope everyone will appreciate the irony when a world that has spent trillions of dollars preparing itself for warmer times ahead finds itself flat broke, short on fuel, and facing colder, less benevolent times, with the fortunate ones able to thaw out by taking a daily dip in a communal bath heated by a few spent nuclear fuel rods.

            • Jesse James says:

              Again, to those who are dim witted, Harvey was not a big one. It just stalled due to blocking high pressure areas, and thus dumped a lot of rain.

      • Greg Machala says:

        And if the area Harvey hit was not a populated area it would be a non-event. I would think we would agree that Harvey was an event created by Mother Nature. It was real and not imaginary. The damage is largely man made due to artificial structures and populations in natures way. Folks seem to have this misconception of “normal” as if things in SE Texas will return to “normal”. We are so spoiled that we forgot what normal is. Normal is a brutal, grinding existence in a very unpredictable and hostile world. No, SE Texas will not be returning to “normal” it will be returning to “artificial”.

        • Good points!

          It is very obvious to actuaries that there is no point in building in flood planes, in areas that are in the paths of hurricanes. Yet local governments want as much revenue and “growth” as possible. Governments encourage the situation.

          As people have noticed, there is very little private insurance that provides coverage in the case of hurricane. This is mostly because it is not possible to produce a salable product. If anyone tried to charge for the real expected cost of business interruption coverage for floods in Houston, for example, business owners would laugh, because the premiums were so high.

          Some limited flood insurance is sold by the federal government. This is sold at give-away rates, but most buyers still consider the rates too high. With these rates, there continues to be building where it makes no sense to build. The US government has been in good enough shape to provide bailouts in the past. The assumption is that these bailouts will continue forever. They really can’t however, and this may be part of the coming collapse.

          • A Real Black Person says:

            The current belief among younger folks, particularly liberals, is that the government can print money, and exchange that money for goods and services ad infinitum.

            They are not aware of material constraints.

          • Artleads says:

            I focus almost exclusively on land use and on keeping new construction on solid ground, and mainly of the “add-on” variety. Governments could get revenue from that too (as could the owners of that to be added on to), but they’d have to make small, innovative land use decisions that they have so far refused or been unable to consider. And, of course, it would constrain the McMansions-by-the sea aficionados. To whom my response would be, “tough.”

    • Olsen says:

    • ejhr2015 says:

      All true, BUT rebuilding is not done at taxpayers’ expense. Taxpayer money is just not there for such expenses. Right now the Fed banks are checking with banks in the affected areas to see if there is enough vault cash for handouts to the population. That money is free for distribution and the Fed can quite simply reimburse the banks, just as QE did during the GFC although it was a swap as well.

    • Affordable but definitely not “actuarially sound!” Politically motivated rates.

      • theblondbeast says:

        It’s also still true that disaster relief money is a version of a negative supply shock. Even if debt is leveraged to make these work this represents energy and investment in other things which could have been accomplished if the effort wasn’t squandered on rebuilding. Good article on why natural disasters are not good for the economy:

        In this case hurricane recovery is a huge sudden capital infrastructure spend in an environment where we already are deferring on capital maintenance across all sectors.

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