Why political correctness fails – Why what we know ‘for sure’ is wrong (Ex Religion)

Most of us are familiar with the Politically Correct (PC) World View. William Deresiewicz describes the view, which he calls the “religion of success,” as follows:

There is a right way to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause. Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern.

There are other beliefs that go with this religion of success:

  • Wind and solar will save us.
  • Electric cars will make transportation possible indefinitely.
  • Our world leaders are all powerful.
  • Science has all of the answers.

To me, this story is pretty much equivalent to the article, “Earth Is Flat and Infinite, According to Paid Experts,” by Chris Hume in Funny Times. While the story is popular, it is just plain silly.

In this post, I explain why many popular understandings are just plain wrong. I cover several controversial topics, including environmentalism, peer-reviewed literature, and climate change models. This post pretty much excludes religion. It was added for people who find it hard to believe that a scientific article could also touch upon religion. If you want the complete discussion, as the post was originally written, please see this post

Myth 1: If there is a problem with the lack of any resource, including oil, it will manifest itself with high prices.

As we reach limits of oil or any finite resource, the problem we encounter is an allocation problem. 

What happens if economy stops growing

Figure 1. Two views of future economic growth. Created by author.

As long as the quantity of resources we can extract from the ground keeps rising faster than population, there is no problem with limits. The tiny wedge that each person might get from these growing resources represents more of that resource, on average. Citizens can reasonably expect that future pension promises will be paid from the growing resources. They can also expect that, in the future, the shares of stock and the bonds that they own can be redeemed for actual goods and services.

If the quantity of resources starts to shrink, the problem we have is almost a “musical chairs” type of problem.

Figure 2. Circle of chairs arranged for game of musical chairs. Source

In each round of a musical chairs game, one chair is removed from the circle. The players in the game must walk around the outside of the circle. When the music stops, all of the players scramble for the remaining chairs. Someone gets left out.

The players in today’s economic system include

  • High paid (or elite) workers
  • Low paid (or non-elite) workers
  • Businesses
  • Governments
  • Owners of assets (such as stocks, bonds, land, buildings) who want to sell them and exchange them for today’s goods and services

If there is a shortage of a resource, the standard belief is that prices will rise and either more of the resource will be found, or substitution will take place. Substitution only works in some cases: it is hard to think of a substitute for fresh water. It is often possible to substitute one energy product for another. Overall, however, there is no substitute for energy. If we want to heat a substance to produce a chemical reaction, we need energy. If we want to move an object from place to place, we need energy. If we want to desalinate water to produce more fresh water, this also takes energy.

The world economy is a self-organized networked system. The networked system includes businesses, governments, and workers, plus many types of energy, including human energy. Workers play a double role because they are also consumers. The way goods and services are allocated is determined by “market forces.” In fact, the way these market forces act is determined by the laws of physics. These market forces determine which of the players will get squeezed out if there is not enough to go around.

Non-elite workers play a pivotal role in this system because their number is so large. These people are the chief customers for goods, such as homes, food, clothing, and transportation services. They also play a major role in paying taxes, and in receiving government services.

History says that if there are not enough resources to go around, we can expect increasing wage and wealth disparity. This happens because increased use of technology and more specialization are workarounds for many kinds of problems. As an economy increasingly relies on technology, the owners and managers of the technology start receiving higher wages, leaving less for the workers without special skills. The owners and managers also tend to receive income from other sources, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, and rents.

When there are not enough resources to go around, the temptation is to use technology to replace workers, because this reduces costs. Of course, a robot does not need to buy food or a car. Such an approach tends to push commodity prices down, rather than up. This happens because fewer workers are employed; in total they can afford fewer goods. A similar downward push on commodity prices occurs if wages of non-elite workers stagnate or fall.

If wages of non-elite workers are lower, governments find themselves in increasing difficulty because they cannot collect enough taxes for all of the services that they are asked to provide. History shows that governments often collapse in such situations. Major defaults on debt are another likely outcome (Figure 3). Pension holders are another category of recipients who are likely to be “left out” when the game of musical chairs stops.

Figure 3 – Created by Author.

The laws of physics strongly suggest that if we are reaching limits of this type, the economy will collapse. We know that this happened to many early economies. More recently, we have witnessed partial collapses, such as the Depression of the 1930s. The Depression occurred when the price of food dropped because mechanization eliminated a significant share of human hand-labor. While this change reduced the price of food, it also had an adverse impact on the buying-power of those whose jobs were eliminated.

The collapse of the Soviet Union is another example of a partial collapse. This collapse occurred as a follow-on to the low oil prices of the 1980s. The Soviet Union was an oil exporter that was affected by low oil prices. It could continue to produce for a while, but eventually (1991) financial problems caught up with it, and the central government collapsed.

Figure 4. Oil consumption, production, and inflation-adjusted price, all from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015.

Low prices are often a sign of lack of affordability. Today’s oil, coal, and natural gas prices tend to be too low for today’s producers. Low energy prices are deceptive because their initial impact on the economy seems to be favorable. The catch is that after a time, the shortfall in funds for reinvestment catches up, and production collapses. The resulting collapse of the economy may look like a financial collapse or a governmental collapse.

Oil prices have been low since late 2014. We do not know how long low prices can continue before collapse. The length of time since oil prices have collapsed is now three years; we should be concerned.

Myth 2. (Related to Myth 1) If we wait long enough, renewables will become affordable.

The fact that wage disparity grows as we approach limits means that prices can’t be expected to rise as we approach limits. Instead, prices tend to fall as an increasing number of would-be buyers are frozen out of the market. If in fact energy prices could rise much higher, there would be huge amounts of oil, coal and gas that could be extracted.

Figure 5. IEA Figure 1.4 from its World Energy Outlook 2015, showing how much oil can be produced at various price levels, according to IEA models.

There seems to be a maximum affordable price for any commodity. This maximum affordable price depends to a significant extent on the wages of non-elite workers. If the wages of non-elite workers fall (for example, because of mechanization or globalization), the maximum affordable price may even fall.

Myth 3. (Related to Myths 1 and 2) A glut of oil indicates that oil limits are far away. 

A glut of oil means that too many people around the world are being “frozen out” of buying goods and services that depend on oil, because of low wages or a lack of job. It is a physics problem, related to ice being formed when the temperature is too cold. We know that this kind of thing regularly happens in collapses and partial collapses. During the Depression of the 1930s, food was being destroyed for lack of buyers. It is not an indication that limits are far away; it is an indication that limits are close at hand. The system can no longer balance itself correctly.

Myth 4: Wind and solar can save us.

The amount of energy (other than direct food intake) that humans require is vastly higher than most people suppose. Other animals and plants can live on the food that they eat or the energy that they produce using sunlight and water. Humans deviated from this simple pattern long ago–over 1 million years ago.

Unfortunately, our bodies are now adapted to the use of supplemental energy in addition to food. The use of fire allowed humans to develop differently than other primates. Using fire to cook some of our food helped in many ways. It freed up time that would otherwise be spent chewing, providing time that could be used for tool making and other crafts. It allowed teeth, jaws and digestive systems to be smaller. The reduced energy needed for maintaining the digestive system allowed the brain to become bigger. It allowed humans to live in parts of the world where they are not physically adapted to living.

In fact, back at the time of hunter-gatherers, humans already seemed to need three times as much energy total as a correspondingly sized primate, if we count burned biomass in addition to direct food energy.

Figure 6 – Created by author.

“Watts per Capita” is a measure of the rate at which energy is consumed. Even back in hunter-gatherer days, humans behaved differently than similar-sized primates would be expected to behave. Without considering supplemental energy, an animal-like human is like an always-on 100-watt bulb. With the use of supplemental energy from burned biomass and other sources, even in hunter-gatherer times, the energy used was equivalent to that of an always-on 300-watt bulb.

How does the amount of energy produced by today’s wind turbines and solar panels compare to the energy used by hunter-gatherers? Let’s compare today’s wind and solar output to the 200 watts of supplemental energy needed to maintain our human existence back in hunter-gatherer times (difference between 300 watts per capita and 100 watts per capita). This assumes that if we were to go back to hunting and gathering, we could somehow collect food for everyone, to cover the first 100 watts per capita. All we would need to do is provide enough supplemental energy for cooking, heating, and other very basic needs, so we would not have to deforest the land.

Conveniently, BP gives the production of wind and solar in “terawatt hours.” If we take today’s world population of 7.5 billion, and multiply it by 24 hours a day, 365.25 days per year, and 200 watts, we come to needed energy of 13,149 terawatt hours per year. In 2016, the output of wind was 959.5 terawatt hours; the output of solar was 333.1 terawatt hours, or a total of 1,293 terawatt hours. Comparing the actual provided energy (1,293 tWh) to the required energy of 13,149 tWh, today’s wind and solar would provide only 9.8% of the supplemental energy needed to maintain a hunter-gatherer level of existence for today’s population. 

Of course, this is without considering how we would continue to create wind and solar electricity as hunter-gatherers, and how we would distribute such electricity. Needless to say, we would be nowhere near reproducing an agricultural level of existence for any large number of people, using only wind and solar. Even adding water power, the amount comes to only 40.4% of the added energy required for existence as hunter gatherers for today’s population.

Many people believe that wind and solar are ramping up rapidly. Starting from a base of zero, the annual percentage increases do appear to be large. But relative to the end point required to maintain any reasonable level of population, we are very far away. A recent lecture by Energy Professor Vaclav Smil is titled, “The Energy Revolution? More Like a Crawl.”

Myth 5. Evaluation methods such as “Energy Returned on Energy Invested” (EROI) and “Life Cycle Analyses (LCA)” indicate that wind and solar should be acceptable solutions. 

These approaches are concerned about how the energy used in creating a given device compares to the output of the device. The problem with these analyses is that, while we can measure “energy out” fairly well, we have a hard time determining total “energy in.” A large share of energy use comes from indirect sources, such as roads that are shared by many different users.

A particular problem occurs with intermittent resources, such as wind and solar. The EROI analyses available for wind and solar are based on analyses of these devices as stand-alone units (perhaps powering a desalination plant, on an intermittent basis). On this basis, they appear to be reasonably good choices as transition devices away from fossil fuels.

EROI analyses don’t handle the situation well when there is a need to add expensive infrastructure to compensate for the intermittency of wind and solar. This situation tends to happen when electricity is added to the grid in more than small quantities. One workaround for intermittency is adding batteries; another is overbuilding the intermittent devices, and using only the portion of intermittent electricity that comes at the time of day and time of year when it is needed. Another approach involves paying fossil fuel providers for maintaining extra capacity (needed both for rapid ramping and for the times of year when intermittent resources are inadequate).

Any of these workarounds is expensive and becomes more expensive, the larger the percentage of intermittent electricity that is added. Euan Mearns recently estimated that for a particular offshore wind farm, the cost would be six times as high, if battery backup sufficient to even out wind fluctuations in a single month were added. If the goal were to even out longer term fluctuations, the cost would no doubt be higher. It is difficult to model what workarounds would be needed for a truly 100% renewable system. The cost would no doubt be astronomical.

When an analysis such as EROI is prepared, there is a tendency to leave out any cost that varies with the application, because such a cost is difficult to estimate. My background is in actuarial work. In such a setting, the emphasis is always on completeness because after the fact, it will become very clear if the analyst left out any important insurance-related cost. In EROI and similar analyses, there is much less of a tieback to the real world, so an omission may never be noticed. In theory, EROIs are for multiple purposes, including ones where intermittency is not a problem. The EROI modeler is not expected to consider all cases.

Another way of viewing the issue is as a “quality” issue. EROI theory generally treats all types of energy as equivalent (including coal, oil, natural gas, intermittent electricity, and grid-quality electricity). From this perspective, there is no need to correct for differences in types of energy output. Thus, it makes perfect sense to publish EROI and LCA analyses that seem to indicate that wind and solar are great solutions, without any explanation regarding the likely high real-world cost associated with using them on the electric grid.

Myth 6. Peer reviewed articles give correct findings.

The real story is that peer reviewed articles need to be reviewed carefully by those who use them. There is a very significant chance that errors may have crept in. This can happen because of misinterpretation of prior peer reviewed articles, or because prior peer reviewed articles were based on “thinking of the day,” which was not quite correct, given what has been learned since the article was written. Or, as indicated by the example in Myth 5, the results of peer reviewed articles may be confusing to those who read them, in part because they are not written for any particular audience.

The way university research is divided up, researchers usually have a high level of specialized knowledge about one particular subject area. The real world situation with the world economy, as I mentioned in my discussion of Myth 1, is that the economy is a self-organized networked system. Everything affects everything else. The researcher, with his narrow background, doesn’t understand these interconnections. For example, energy researchers don’t generally understand economic feedback loops, so they tend to leave them out. Peer reviewers, who are looking for errors within the paper itself, are likely to miss important feedback loops as well.

To make matters worse, the publication process tends to favor results that suggest that there is no energy problem ahead. This bias can come through the peer review process. One author explained to me that he left out a certain point from a paper because he expected that some of his peer reviewers would come from the Green Community; he didn’t want to say anything that might offend such a reviewer.

This bias can also come directly from the publisher of academic books and articles. The publisher is in the business of selling books and journal articles; it does not want to upset potential buyers of its products. One publisher made it clear to me that its organization did not want any mention of problems that seem to be without a solution. The reader should be left with the impression that while there may be issues ahead, solutions are likely to be found.

In my opinion, any published research needs to be looked at very carefully. It is very difficult for an author to move much beyond the general level of understanding of his audience and of likely reviewers. There are financial incentives for authors to produce PC reports, and for publishers to publish them. In many cases, articles from blogs may be better resources than academic articles because blog authors are under less pressure to write PC reports.

Myth 7. Climate models give a good estimate of what we can expect in the future.

There is no doubt that climate is changing. But is all of the hysteria about climate change really the correct story?

Our economy, and in fact the Earth and all of its ecosystems, are self-organized networked systems. We are reaching limits in many areas at once, including energy, fresh water, the number of fish that can be extracted each year from oceans, and metal ore extraction. Physical limits are likely to lead to financial problems, as indicated in Figure 3. The climate change modelers have chosen to leave all of these issues out of their models, instead assuming that the economy can continue to grow as usual until 2100. Leaving out these other issues clearly can be expected to overstate the impact of climate change.

The International Energy Agency is very influential with respect to which energy issues are considered. Between 1998 and 2000, it did a major flip-flop in the importance of energy limits. The IEA’s 1998 World Energy Outlook devotes many pages to discussing the possibility of inadequate oil supplies in the future. In fact, near the beginning, the report says,

Our analysis of the current evidence suggests that world oil production from conventional sources could peak during the period 2010 to 2020.

The same report also mentions Climate Change considerations, but devotes many fewer pages to these concerns. The Kyoto Conference had taken place in 1997, and the topic was becoming more widely discussed.

In 1999, the IEA did not publish World Energy Outlook. When the IEA published the World Energy Outlook for 2000, the report suddenly focused only on Climate Change, with no mention of Peak Oil. The USGS World Petroleum Assessment 2000 had recently been published. It could be used to justify at least somewhat higher future oil production.

I will be the first to admit that the “Peak Oil” story is not really right. It is a halfway story, based on a partial understanding of the role physics plays in energy limits. Oil supply does not “run out.” Peak Oilers also did not understand that physics governs how markets work–whether prices rise or fall, or oscillate. If there is not enough to go around, some of the would-be buyers will be frozen out. But Climate Change, as our sole problem, or even as our major problem, is not the right story, either. It is another halfway story.

One point that both Peak Oilers and the IEA missed is that the world economy doesn’t really have the ability to cut back on the use of fossil fuels significantly, without the world economy collapsing. Thus, the IEA’s recommendations regarding moving away from fossil fuels cannot work. (Shifting energy use among countries is fairly easy, however, making individual country CO2 reductions appear more beneficial than they really are.) The IEA would be better off talking about non-fuel changes that might reduce CO2, such as eating vegetarian food, eliminating flooded rice paddies, and having smaller families. Of course, these are not really issues that the International Energy Association is concerned about.

The unfortunate truth is that on any difficult, interdisciplinary subject, we really don’t have a way of making a leap from lack of knowledge of a subject, to full knowledge of a subject, without a number of separate, partially wrong, steps. The IPCC climate studies and EROI analyses both fall in this category, as do Peak Oil reports.

The progress I have made on figuring out the energy limits story would not have been possible without the work of many other people, including those doing work on studying Peak Oil and those studying EROI. I have also received a lot of “tips” from readers of OurFiniteWorld.com regarding additional topics I should investigate. Even with all of this help, I am sure that my version of the truth is not quite right. We all keep learning as we go along.

There may indeed be details of this particular climate model that are not correct, although this is out of my area of expertise. For example, the historical temperatures used by researchers seem to need a lot of adjustment to be usable. Some people argue that the historical record has been adjusted to make the historical record fit the particular model used.

There is also the issue of truing up the indications to where we are now. I mentioned the problem earlier of EROI indications not having any real world tie; climate model indications are not quite as bad, but they also seem not to be well tied to what is actually happening.

Myth 8. Our leaders are all knowing and all powerful.

We are fighting a battle against the laws of physics. Expecting our leaders to win in the battle against the laws of physics is expecting a huge amount. Some of the actions of our leaders seem extraordinarily stupid. For example, if falling interest rates have postponed peak oil, then proposing to raise interest rates, when we have not fixed the underlying oil depletion problem, seems very ill-advised.

It is the Laws of Physics that govern the world economy. The Laws of Physics affect the world economy in many ways. The economy is a dissipative structure. Energy inputs allow the economy to remain in an “out of equilibrium state” (that is, in a growing state), for a very long period.

Eventually the ability of any economy to grow must come to an end. The problem is that it requires increasing amounts of energy to fight the growing “entropy” (higher energy cost of extraction, need for growing debt, and rising pollution levels) of the system. The economy must come to an end, just as the lives of individual plants and animals (which are also dissipative structures) must come to an end.

Conclusion

We are facing a battle against the laws of physics which we are unlikely to win. Our leaders would like us to think that it can be won quite easily, but it cannot be.  Climate change is presented as our only and most important problem, but this is not really the case. Our problem is that the financial system and energy systems are tightly connected. We are likely to have serious financial problems as we hit limits of many kinds, at more or less the same time.

Our leaders are not really as powerful as we would like. Even our scientific findings practically never come in perfect form. Our knowledge generally comes in a series of steps, which includes revisions to early ideas. At this time, it doesn’t look as though we have figured out a way to work around our rising need for energy and the problem with rising entropy.

 

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,605 Responses to Why political correctness fails – Why what we know ‘for sure’ is wrong (Ex Religion)

  1. Third World person says:

    do the people of ofw believe that industrial civilization basically
    unofficial caste system for ex the 1 percent basically are brahmins of ic
    we 99 percent are dalit who run ic

    • theblondbeast says:

      I like JMG’s version of the modern caste system based on where people get their money: The Investment class, the salary class, the wage class and the wellfare class. While some levels obviously get more, every one of these classes gets something from civilization and is therefore invested in BAU. I would argue that recently, the wage earning class has experienced the most downward mobility as the investment class bribes the welfare class and promotes social narratives that make the salaried class feel good.

      So no, I don’t buy the 1% vs all argument whatsoever.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        although…

        for example, music stars and sports stars often swiftly rise out of poverty to become multi-millionaires.

        then there are lottery winners.

        IC can be a very strange place.

        BAU tonight, baby!

    • Ed says:

      It is evolution in action.

    • Jesse James says:

      Excellent point 3rd. Regardless how civilized we think we are….we retain a caste system.

      • An awfully lot of animals have “pecking orders.” We need to have one as well.

        • xabier says:

          In fact, humans can be quite happy with pecking orders, just so long as they seem to be fair enough.

          ‘Revolutionary’ groups often seek to establish new pecking orders, governed by ideology -if one reads accounts of Russia after the 1917 Revolution, it’s worth noting how soon the revolutionaries got themselves at the head of the list for everything,and were well-fed and clothed while others half-starved.

          This was noticed by many visitors in the 1920’s, and made them disenchanted with the idea of revolution,

          In many tribal groups, the ‘fairness’ means that if you are fortunate as a male to live long enough, you will get to enjoy the pretty young wives and best slices of roast pig in your turn -this is why tribal warriors tend not to kill their elders. Due to death in childbirth, this does not apply to women.

          One of the problems with the advanced economies now is that many are starting to see that they will not ‘get their turn’ in enjoying the good things in life.

  2. jupiviv says:

    Good article Gail. I don’t agree on a few points – mostly religion, global warming and your almost Lovecraftian fatalism, but I believe I am on the same page with you about the bigger picture you’ve identified here. Which, if I read you correctly, is that religion as conventionally defined is just one of many universal human delusion. I immediately add as a prolepsis that you obviously do not consider all forms of religion as conventionally defined as delusions, but I still agree with the basic premise.

    The overarching, underpinning delusion of our age is infinite progress (=growth and prosperity) for some/most/all. And since a bad tree does not bear good fruit, that delusion produces many more delusions – all mutually exclusive and aggressive – so that it may exist, and have a reason for existing. The fallacies inherent in all political, economic and social theories come back to an unjustified belief in the magic of progress (whether through revolution or conservation). Magic is essentially nothing more than a causeless cause, and humanity found a far more exciting and pleasurable form of magic than divinity the moment someone decided to separate the incredible progress of our age from its not so incredible causes. Doing so brought them fame, but it damned their progeny.

    We are already in the age of schism, and the reason we are in it is because we cannot afford to have a more or less single meaning for ‘progress’ anymore. It is becoming increasingly clear to people that progress cannot accommodate everyone in exactly the same way. The political turmoils around the world are caused by the need of people to find good reasons for being accommodated by progress in the way they expect to be. The reason why such good reasons are not forthcoming from any quarter is that, even now, hardly anybody wants to acknowledge the real causes of progress. They still insist on the existence of uncaused causes (positive and negative) like innovation, compassion, climate change conspiracies, anti-climate change conspiracies, Bilderberg satanists, EVs, ICVs …

    Of course, even those disabused of the delusion of progress are deluded in various ways. Like FE and Tim Groves here with their curious anti-GW diatribes, the only coherent points in which seems to be – respectively – changing one’s mind=proof, hypocrisy/conceit=proof and empirical uncertainty=proof. I suppose its because ‘the collapse of IC’ is an inherently hermetic subject. There is no telling when or how it will happen with any palpable confidence. And human beings do so need that to find joy or at least purpose in their lives. Perhaps all the anti-GW stuff is just that, a need to feel happy about breaking out of a far smaller and more tangible matrix than something as nebulous as BAU while ridiculing/feeling pity for those who are caught up in it (even if they, like the subject, recognise the much larger matrix themselves!) Actually that mentality also explains the pro-GW+EV+solar panels worldview – an attempt to interpret the larger matrix of the limits to growth and human rationality as a much smaller and thus more palpable one of corporate/anti-green/male greed. We are all building the tower of Babel, but none of us know why. Therefore, we invent our reasons and goals and motivations as the stone blocks pile up.

    • People cannot understand why everyone isn’t seeing progress. Right now, it seems to be those who own shares of stock are the main ones “coming out ahead.” Of course, this is looking more and more like a bubble. At the same time, we have an awfully lot of people hoping for a new type of salvation in a way that cannot possibility happen. Strange world!

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘Of course, even those disabused of the delusion of progress are deluded in various ways. Like FE and Tim Groves here with their curious anti-GW diatribes’

      Fact and logic diatribes… you forgot those two words.

      Now f789 off back to your world of MSM-fed delusion DelusiSTANI.

      Surely Bloomberg must be running yet another kkklimate scare story alongside yet another solar EV is going to save the world story…. so why don’t you head over there and get your daily dose of indoctrination https://www.bloomberg.com/

      I’ve had enough of MORE ons like you …. I will gut you and put your head on a spike as a message to other DelusiSTANIS who come in here with their moro nic views on the kkklimate accompanied by insults for those who have seen through the very obvious hoax.

      Oh look – it’s cloudy today — yesterday it was sunny — this KKLimate change shiiiit is so confusing … I wonder what tomorrow will bring — even the weather man is unable to make accurate predictions most of the time … f789 the weather man

      • Kurt says:

        Nicely done, nicely done.

      • jupiviv says:

        Like I said, the issue of GW is a way for you to feel more grounded in ‘reality’, because collapse is by its very nature elusive to prediction or precise analysis. In fact, according to your own reasoning, you should shut up about collapse because you haven’t died in a gruesome way from whatever dystopian future you predict is just around the corner.

        Also according to your reasoning, any person who believes that both collapse and GW are happening is more logical than you are. After all, you exile anyone who has a *less* bleak outlook on the future than yourself to ‘Delusistan’.

        Or, you could start using actual logic for a change and abandon this ridiculous Manichaean perspective. You say you want to enjoy BAU as long as it lasts, but judging by your frequent, rambling comments here you’re failing to do so!

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Did I mention that up until 3 months ago I believed the Ggg Wwww narrative?

          I just assumed it was true — and did not even bother to look into it — because it did not matter — because we MUST burn fossil fuels — or we will collapse.

          Given that is an absolute truth — then pray tell why the MSM keeps trotting this dog sh it in front of me every day?

          Anyway…. then Tim started to post some very interesting facts and logic about this issue.

          And unlike the many stuuupid donkeys on this site who ignore facts and logic — I got to thinking … what Tim says makes sense…..

          Gail has also weighed in on this issue — and she put forth an extremely logical explanation as to why we are being fed this load of dog sh it.

          And I started to smell smoke … and when I smell smoke — I go looking for fire…

          When I bothered to dig into this issue — I found a roaring inferno …. of lies.

          And that’s when I changed my mind on this issue

          Of course when it comes to MORE ons…. they do not change their minds – they are incapable of this …..

          A MORE on is what you get when you breed a human with a parrot — you get a ‘thing’ that is capable of following the MSM …. but then the parrot genes kick in and they just repeat what the MSM has told them…

          They operate on IQs of a warm summer day (Celcius).

          • jupiviv says:

            Yes I did note the changing one’s mind = truth ‘argument’ in my original comment. Needless to say it is a fallacy. I mean, according to this logic, everything you said or believed in 3 months ago is completely illogical, so why should anyone value what you say or believe in now? What is stopping you from changing your mind again and labelling anyone who agrees with you now as morons etc.?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Because once you open the window and let the sunlight and breeze in … there is no going back.

              There is no way to ‘unknow’ once you know.

              It would be like going back to believing that renewable energy and EVs were our saviours.

              Of course if you allow the MSM to tell you what you know…. then you know nothing to begin with … so I can see where you are coming from….

              You know what I’ sayin?

    • Jesse James says:

      A lot of superior talk, as if you alone are endowed with such wisdom. In summary, things are getting worse, and will continue. Mankind will react with confusion, whether with new religious interpretation, or new cultural interpretation, to account for things falling apart. There will be lots of confusion, leading to the end of BAU.
      So you have locked onto GW as one of your belief systems. Pick your pet theory. As FE as pointed out, it will not make one difference. BTW, have you stopped using Fossil Fuels yet? I mean you….personally. If not, then shut up about GW.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Fast Eddy Challenge Two:

        Anyone who wants to claim that the hoax about Ggglobal Waaaarming is not a hoax…. must first provide details of how he/she has stopped using all fossil fuels….

        Otherwise … if they do moan and wail and continue to Burn Baby Burn… they are admitted baby killers… monsters…. demons….

        Hedonists who are throwing gasoline onto a fire onto which their offspring will soon be fried alive.

        Mass murderers. Without consciences… flying and driving and buying and Living Large…. without a care for those who will be roasted on the fire that they stoked with their gluttony.

        Shame Shame Shame!!!

          • Niko says:

            I think most people are hypocrites when it comes to CC. A reduction of our western lifestyle to 10% would be required and yes that would crash the economy. I don’t think it will cause an apocalypse but I don’t think it will happen anyway. To call CC a hoax is be unaware that the CC science has been around much longer than MSM. The seas are getting more acidic due to CO2 but who cares we will have eaten everything in it before it is a problem.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Oh – so the MSM was invented in 2006?

              Because that is when G W was invented… right after conventional oil peaked… and that’s when Al Gore was summonsed from his giant energy sucking house … and loaded into a private jet … to make his Tale of Horror ….

            • Jesse James says:

              Yes, the earth is a huge sink for all of our trash and pollution. We are definitely not good stewards. I agree with you that pollution issues are real. As a species, I am not so sure we are up to taking care of this earth.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Humans should be reclassified and not be referred to as a species… instead we should be considered a form of cancer …. a disease… or perhaps a toxin

  3. Timothy O'Leary says:

    Concerning your comparison of the amount of energy produced by solar panels and wind turbines to the energy used by hunter gatherers: you multiplication of 7.5 billion people x 24 hours x 365.25 days x 200 Wh resulted in 13 Terawatt hours (13 x10e12) – however it shoud be 13 Petawatt hours (13 x 10e15) when I can trust my calculator.
    Watt is the unit of power, it is a rate. Joule or Wh is the unit of the amount of energy. It is confused very often.
    As usual very good and informative article. Indeed difficult times ahead and pretty soon as it seems.

  4. Ed says:

    This ones for FE, the war against coal is over.
    https://www.rt.com/usa/406156-pruitt-clean-power-plan-scrapped/
    burn baby burn

      • J. H. Wyoming says:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/10/09/pruitt-tells-coal-miners-he-will-repeal-power-plan-rule-tuesday-the-war-on-coal-is-over/

        Here’s another article on it:

        “With this news, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt will go down in infamy for launching one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health, our climate, and the safety of every community in the United States,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, in a statement. “He’s proposing to throw out a plan that would prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks every year.”

        This is just another sign of peak oil, as people vote for someone willing to toss out environmental concerns for a fatter pay check for coal miners and the corporations that hire them. Earlier in Trump’s term if you remember they tossed out a regulation, thus once again allowing the filling of rivers/streams with overburden from mountaintop excavation.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The economy requires that we burn record amounts of fossil fuels every year … otherwise it will collapse… because TINA to fossil fuels….

          You have a choice:

          Pollution and a some cancer deaths … along with enough to eat and a comfortable home with electricity and a car

          OR

          Pristine rivers and crystal clear blue skies … that you get to enjoy while you starve to death..

          Now if you think there is another choice feel free to explain it….

          • theblondbeast says:

            I’m preparing for a career as a warlord. I anticipate stiff competition.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Attention Doomy Preppers.

              Instead of wasting your time in the garden growing pumpkins…. I highly recommend that you instead invest your cash into some hard core military training. If you have kids definitely enroll them now.

              Then instead of being enslaved post BAU to produce food for violent hard men…. you can be the violent hard man …and enslave the permy doomers! You even get to have your way with the wives and dotters!!!

              Queue Mr Cognitive Dissonance…. Queue intense anger — lash out at Fast Eddy for suggesting such horrifying things…. how dare he – he knows nothing … yes yes calm calm Fast Eddy knows nothing….

              On the bright side…. the radiation poisoning will not spare the hard men …. when they enslave you and you bring them a sack of carrots — you can do it with a smile on your face…. because the carrots will poison them.

              Don’t you just love stories with happy endings?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        It was inevitable that King Coal would make a come-back….. it’s the major ingredient in the manufacture of solar panels…..

        • We are dealing with a situation where there are no good solutions. Nothing really works for the better. The dream we hope for gets farther and farther away.

        • Yeah… but… technically speaking… you would only need a few megafactories around the world continuously spewing out the panels forever and ever with every replacement cycle so you only need enough energy to power those few factories spewing out the panels.

          Even if you powered the factories with coal or gas plants it wouldn’t be that big a deal… would it? Since everything else would be powered by the addition of more and more renewables. The real problem is still oil or the sudden lack of.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      TINA.

  5. J. H. Wyoming says:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/09/white-house-says-pence-trip-colts-game-long-planned-but-leaving-wasnt/745607001/

    White House claims Pence did not plan to leave game but did because of the kneeling during the national anthem. Baloney! Pence doesn’t go to games – this was a set up from the beginning. But essentially I guess the walk out is intended to let people of color know it’s ok for police to gun them down during random, no reason given, pull overs.

    • Rendar says:

      This kind of public display brings to my mind a recent article discussing something called the “Common Knowledge Game”:

      http://www.epsilontheory.com/sheep-logic/

      “Common knowledge is information, public or private, that everyone believes is shared by everyone else. It’s the crowd of tribesmen looking around and seeing that the entire crowd heard the Missionary that unlocks the private information in their heads and turns it into common knowledge.

      The important thing is not that everyone hears the Missionary’s words. The important thing is that everyone believes that everyone else heard the Missionary’s words, because that’s how you update your estimation of everyone else’s estimations. The power source of the Common Knowledge Game is the crowd seeing the crowd, and the dynamic structure of the Common Knowledge Game is the dynamic structure of the flock…

      Understanding the Common Knowledge Game has been the secret of successful shepherds since time immemorial, in business, politics, religion… any aspect of our lives as social animals. The only difference today is that technological innovation provides a media toolkit for modern shepherds that the shepherds of the Old Stories could only dream of.

      This is why sitcom laugh tracks exist. This is why performances, whether it’s an NFL game or Dancing with the Stars, are filmed in front of a live audience. This is why the Chinese government still bans any internet pictures of the Tiananmen Square protests, with their massive crowds, more than 20 years after they occurred. This is what John Maynard Keynes called the Newspaper Beauty Contest, which he believed (and demonstrated) was the secret to successful investing through the 1930s. This is how Dick Clark built a massive fortune with American Bandstand. He didn’t tell Middle America what music to like; he got a crowd of attractive young people to announce what music they liked (“it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, I give it a 94, Dick!”), and Middle America took its cues from that. Not only is that all you need to motivate sheep, it’s far more effective than any efforts at direct influence.

      This is why executions used to be held in public and why inaugurations still are. This is why Donald Trump cared so much about the size of his inauguration crowd. This is why he’s always talking about the viewership and ratings of his televised appearances. Trump gets it. He understands what makes the Common Knowledge Game work. It’s not what the crowd believes. It’s what the crowd believes that the crowd believes. The power of a crowd seeing a crowd is one of the most awesome forces in human society. It topples governments. It launches Crusades. It builds cathedrals. And it darn sure moves markets…”

      • J. H. Wyoming says:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/10/09/this-is-about-systemic-oppression-eric-reid-becomes-the-voice-of-49ers-protest-with-criticism-of-pence/?utm_term=.fe9016560acc

        Oh, and Pence and wife (mother as he calls her) just happened to be a colts vs. 49ers game aka the first player to take a knee during the anthem, Kaepernick. Reid of the 49ers had something to say to Pence who claimed the knees are being taken to protest the military, the flag and the nation. Reid said that isn’t why and pointed out Pence is part of a systemic oppression going on for decades.

        For those that remember, Bush jr. admin. had bumper stickers printed in the millions and handed out for free nationwide that stated, ‘Support the Troops’. What it did was make it so if you were against the 2nd war in Iraq you were against the troops. So people couldn’t be against the war but have nothing against troops – they made sure of that at every turn. A cheap ploy that worked perfectly as propaganda often does. Now once again taking a knee isn’t about the random shooting of people of color that are pulled over by the police, its being attached to the military, the flag etc., which makes it either you hate America and stop taking a knee or you love America, stand and put that hand over your heart. They are making it one or the other. Does anyone get that? Sometimes I wonder if people stop and think stuff like this through.

      • Artleads says:

        Good one, Rendar.

        “It’s not what the crowd believes. It’s what the crowd believes that the crowd believes.”

        I don’t believe anything entirely till I check in with the crowd. 🙂

        “The power of a crowd seeing a crowd is one of the most awesome forces in human society. It topples governments. It launches Crusades. It builds cathedrals. And it darn sure moves markets…”

        Yes, I think it’s more what the crowd believes or is made to believe than genetic structure which matters.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Rule of thumb…. if you understand what Rendar has posted… then the goal should be to observe what the crowd believes… and assume it is an illusion…a lie

          What the crowd believes and what the MSM publishes…. correlates virtually 1:1.

          The crowd believes in:

          WMD
          Renewable Energy
          Putin is the Devil
          America is the new Saudi Arabia
          Fracking is Profitable
          God
          EVs
          Elon Musk
          G W arming
          etc….

          • Artleads says:

            The crowd doesn’t care about or comprehend any of these things. Not the crowds I see at the mall, anyway. Except belief in God. Maybe it’s because I live in the union’s poorest (or second to poorest) state.

      • Mark says:

        Thanks Rendar

  6. J. H. Wyoming says:

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/354594-epa-chief-id-do-away-with-wind-solar-tax-credits

    Oh my, now the Trump team via the EPA are telegraphing they will be getting rid of renewables tax credits.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      That is the best news I have heard this year!

      First of all there is no such thing as renewable energy — so there should have been no subsidies in the first place.

      No doubt what is happening here is that the El dders and their minions understand that too much ‘renewable’ energy brings the entire system down ….

      So they are putting on the brakes….

      The coal subsidy is another indication that they realize that if they push their renewable lie too far…. we end up with no electricity whatsoever because coal producers go out of business.

      They also understand that ggg wwww is a hoax… because they invented it …. so they would have ZERO concerns about burning more coal…. their only concern is making it to tomorrow without BAU collapsing.

  7. Rob Bell says:

    Losers are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, study finds
    http://www.psypost.org/2017/09/losers-likely-believe-conspiracy-theories-study-finds-49694

    • Fast Eddy says:

      There is a problem with this …. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories…. these are for light-weights… they also wear tin foil hats….

      What I know is that the MSM lies … always…. from WMD to G W to renewable energy to Syria Ukraine Libya to EVs …. the list is endless….. because that is why the MSM exists…. it is a tool for control – NOTHING MORE.

      It has nothing to do with informing you — it should not be called the News … it should be called the Lies.

      Hey John — did you read the Lies today — not yet Bob …. well the Lies are saying the Saddam has WMD… and that we need to kill him and blow the shi t out of the country….. well John … if the Lies say it’s true … then it is definitely a lie. I am with you on that Bob…. and it’s why I read the Lies daily … it helps me to look for the truth…..by ruling out the lies….

      I can pick apart just about any story on the MSM and demonstrate the strategies they are using to turn a circle into a square.

      It is not what I believe in – it is what I do not believe in.

      And if it’s repeated in the MSM intensively over time — I guarantee it is a lie. It is not a conspiracy theory — it is a lie.

      There is a difference.

      • Niko says:

        Having read many of your comments… do you realize… that ellipsis have a specific purpose and meaning… they do not take the place of periods… nor do they add gravitas to your speaking – IN FACT… they indicate when superfluous words have been left out of the end of a sentence.

        Your overuse of ellipses… degrades your points… and tends to make you look mentally challenged.

    • Kurt says:

      I think he just called FE a loser.

    • Jesse James says:

      The article is simply about the losers of elections believing the election was fraudulent, regardless of party and regardless which election. It sounds like an over generalization to me. However it is notable that this election fraud thing now seems to have become common with each election.

    • Rendar says:

      The award for “Most Nonsensical Ramblings Following a Mass Shooting” goes to Eric Paddock:

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Like Like Like …. particularly the Facebook part…

        I am ENTERTAINED (by this guy) … I feel myself wanting MORE…. maybe he could have his own talk show on late night tee vee…. very very amusing … very entertaining.

        Steve doesn’t sound like the kinda guy who’d gun down people …. sounds like he was LIVING LARGE — having fun…. why go on a shooting spree? Unless it was an attempt to lash out at the sickness of society…? But then this is a guy who was fully engaged in the sickness of the world….

        And if he wanted to lash out at the sickness….

        I’d have thought a Justin Bieber concert would have been a much more appropriate platform.

      • Mark says:

        The poor dude should have told the MSM to f off. That’s why it’s entertaining. They got him when he was vulnerable and it makes for great tv. Here’s a recent example, but in a different context.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Just thinking about that interview…..

          Now that guy seems to be reasonably intelligent …. ‘normal’….. are these the sorts of things one says when one’s brother has supposedly just wasted 5 dozen people?

          Does one say anything other than I am shocked — and saddened …. horrified… deeply sorry for the families of all those people?

          And end it there. No more interviews. No more discussion. Nothing more to say.

          Or does one get in front of national news and say things like — we are rich people – 100k is not that much money —- my brother was a good guy – a smart guy and so on….

          Me thinks something is not right with this interview….

  8. J. H. Wyoming says:

    http://peakoil.com/business/no-more-free-lunch-is-the-big-change-under-way-in-the-oil-market

    ‘No More Free Lunch Is the Big Change Under Way in the Oil Market’

    “For years, investors have played Popeye to the energy industry’s Wimpy, the cartoon character famous for his “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” motto. In return for the promise of future profits, they’ve funded loss-making energy producers and explorers through a generous mix of loans, bonds and equity.

    That may be changing, according to a chorus of analysts ranging from Morgan Stanley to Sanford C Bernstein & Co. LLC. Following Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s pledge last month to buy back up to $2.5 billion worth of shares, they’re now discussing a new phase in the oil market, with producers far more keen to reward investors and more disciplined when it comes to funding their own expansion.”

    It’s one thing to expect certain price of oil outcomes but another if they actually pan out. Lots of conflicting dynamics going on here.

  9. Rob Bell says:

    Buy an electric car, they said. It’s better for the environment, they said.

    • In this example, it is very clear that oil is being burned to get electricity.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        It takes a special kind of MORE on to convince himself that an EV is green…..

        • The purpose of electric cars is to move tailpipe emissions out of cities. That is why they have been so popular in China. To make them beneficial, you need to use the batteries heavily and more electricity making to places where hydroelectric or nuclear is used.

    • Rendar says:

      Priceless!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • xabier says:

          Anaerobic bio-digesters are the great thing in Britain at the moment, with a big expansion programme being advocated, to be fed by maize.

          Just read an article in a magazine for the landowners pointing out that:

          1/ It is one of the most environmentally destructive crops – above all very damaging to the soil, and, 2/ That the maize has to be fertilized with artificial fertilizers produced from fossil fuels.

          But, it’s the fashion and government is fully behind it.

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