A Video Game Analogy to Our Energy Predicament

The way the world economy is manipulated by world leaders is a little like a giant video game. The object of the game is to keep the world economy growing, without too many adverse consequences to particular members of the world economy. We represent this need for growth of the world economy as being similar to making a jet airplane fly at ever-higher altitudes.

Figure 1. Author’s view of the situation we are facing. World leaders look at their video screens and adjust their controllers to try to make the world economy fly at ever-higher levels.

World leaders look at their video game screens for indications regarding where the world economy is now. They also want to see whether there are specific parts of the economy that are doing badly.

The game controllers that the world leaders have are somewhat limited in the functions they can perform. Typical adjustments they can make include the following:

  • Add or remove government programs aimed at providing jobs for would-be workers
  • Add or remove government sponsored pension plans and payments to those without jobs
  • Add or remove laws regulating efficiencies of new vehicles
  • Change who or what is taxed, and the overall level of taxation
  • Through the above mechanisms, change government debt levels
  • Change interest rates

There are numerous problems with this approach. For one thing, the video game screen doesn’t give a very complete picture of what is happening. For another, the aspects of the economy that can be controlled are rather limited. Furthermore, the situation is very complex–there seem to be several “sides” of the economy that need to “win” at the same time, for the economy to continue to grow: (a) oil importers and oil exporters, (b) businesses and their would-be customers, (c) governments and their would-be taxpayers, and (d) asset holders and the would-be buyers of these assets, such as families needing new homes.

An even bigger problem is a physics problem that is hidden from the view of those operating the control mechanism. Jet airplanes in the real world cannot rise beyond a certain altitude (varying depending upon the plane), because the atmosphere becomes “too thin.” There is a parallel problem in the economic world. The atmosphere that allows an economy to grow is provided by a combination of (a) an increasing supply of cheap-to-produce energy, and (b) increased technology to put this growing energy supply to use. This atmosphere can become too thin for several reasons, including the higher cost of energy production, rising population, and growing wage disparity.

We know that in the real world, a jet airplane cannot rise ever-higher. Instead, at some point, the airplane hits what has been called its “coffin corner.”

Figure 2. Diagram of Coffin Corner by Aleks Udris of Boldmethod. On the chart, Vs is the velocity; MMO is the Maximum Mach Number.

According to Aleks Udris, “The region is deadly. Get too slow, and you’ll stall the jet at high altitude. Get too fast, and you’ll exceed your critical mach number. The air over your wings will go supersonic, you’ll pitch down, the aircraft will accelerate, and your wings will fall off. Also bad.”

What Happens As Coffin Corner Limits Are Reached in the Economic World?

What do world leaders do, as the world economy hits limits? One temptation is for the world leaders in Figure 1 to take their foot off the throttle that is operated by low interest rates and more debt, because they don’t seem to be providing very much benefit anymore. The leaders fear that if more debt is added at low interest rates, it risks creating “asset bubbles” that are easily disturbed if any little bump to the economy occurs. If a big bubble pops, there is a significant risk that the economy could fall down to a much lower level. This is like stalling the jet at high altitude.

World leaders can also use approaches that create situations more like “making the wings come off” the economy. These approaches involve favoring one group over another. For example, a government can give big tax breaks to businesses, but raise taxes on individual citizens. Businesses will ultimately be harmed by this approach, because they depend on individual citizens for their sales. The result is like tearing the wings off the airplane.

Another approach that would tear the wings off the economy involves actions by a different group of world leaders than those shown in Figure 1, namely the leaders from OPEC and Russia. These leaders have different video game screens and different game controllers. They can manipulate the world economy by reducing the supply of oil they provide. With this approach, they hope to increase the price of oil, and thus obtain a larger share of the world’s goods and services through higher tax revenue.

Raising the oil price would benefit oil exporters, but would make goods and services more expensive for oil importing countries. Ultimately, this approach would lead to recession in oil importing nations. The result would likely be worse than the 2008-2009 recession–another way to make the wings come off the economy.

Let’s look in a little more detail at what is happening, and what goes wrong:

[1] Energy plays a huge role in this game, because a growing supply of cheap-to-produce energy allows greater worker productivity.

It takes energy of various types to make the economy grow, because energy is needed whenever we move something, or heat something, or use electricity to operate something. We use energy products to leverage our human labor. For example, we use a truck to deliver a package, rather than walking and carrying the item in our hands. If fresh water is in short supply, we use energy to operate a desalination plant, and thus produce the fresh water we need.

It is generally workers who produce goods and services. If energy supply is inexpensive and readily available, it is easy for governments or businesses to create “tools” to make these workers more productive. These tools include such things as roads, vehicles, machines of all types, and even computers. If the quantity and capability of these tools are increasing, the labor of these workers is increasingly leveraged by the availability of these tools. This is what allows economic growth.

[2] The extent of world economic growth seems to depend primarily on how quickly total energy consumption is growing

If we look at historical economic growth, we see that the rate of growth of energy consumption seems to play a major role.

Figure 3. World GDP growth compared to world energy consumption growth for selected time periods since 1820. World real GDP trends for 1975 to present are based on USDA real GDP data in 2010$ for 1975 and subsequent. (Estimated by author for 2015.) GDP estimates for prior to 1975 are based on Maddison project updates as of 2013. Growth in the use of energy products is based on a combination of data from Appendix A data from Vaclav Smil’s Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects together with BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 for 1965 and subsequent.

The highest rates of world economic growth took place in the 1950-1965 period, and in the 1965-1975 period. These were both periods of very high growth in energy consumption. As we will see below, these were both periods when the price of oil was less than $20 per barrel, for almost the entire period.

If we look at economic growth over shorter periods, we also see a strong correlation between world economic growth and growth in energy consumption:

Figure 4. 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.

[3] On Figure 4 (above), the widening gap between GDP growth and energy consumption since 2013 could either represent (a) Much greater efficiency in using energy or (b) A problem in measuring true economic growth.

We can see true efficiency improvements in the 1975-1985 and the 1985-1995 periods shown on Figure 3. These were the periods when the world was truly trying to “get away from oil,” after a spike of high prices in the 1970s. Governments around the world were encouraging new smaller cars; electricity generation was being changed from oil to nuclear; home heating was being changed from oil to natural gas or electricity. The new furnaces installed were much more efficient than the old ones. Thus, during this period, efficiency/technology improvements were aiding economic growth to a greater extent than usual.

Now, in the period since 2013, much of the “low hanging fruit” has already been picked. We may still be finding some technology gains, but it seems likely that at least part of the problem is an “economic growth counting problem.” GDP looks like it is growing, but it is really very hollow economic growth. Governments invest in projects of essentially no value, and their investment is counted as GDP. For example, they invest in unneeded roads, in apartments that citizens cannot really afford, in educational institutions that do not produce graduates with wages that are sufficiently high to pay for education’s high cost, and in high-priced medical cures that are unaffordable by 99% of the population. Are these things truly contributions to GDP?

We also find businesses that look like they are growing, but in fact are taking on increasing amounts of debt as they sell off assets. This is not a sustainable model! We encounter energy companies that claim to be doing “sort of” alright, but their profits are so low that they need to cut back on new investment, and they need to borrow in order to have funds to pay dividends to shareholders. There is something seriously wrong with this growth!

[4] The economic “atmosphere” becomes thinner and thinner, when oil prices rise above an inflation-adjusted price of $20 per barrel.

Back in the time period prior to 1973, oil prices were generally below $20 per barrel, in inflation adjusted terms. Since then, prices have tended to be above this level.

Figure 5. Historical oil prices are Brent oil prices in 2016$ from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017; $20 per barrel is the maximum price level where oil is truly affordable; and $300 per barrel is the maximum price per barrel that the International Energy Agency seems to believe is possible for the world economy.

When oil (and other energy prices) were very low, companies could add tools to make workers more effective with little expenditure. As a result, the United States saw wages growing much more rapidly than inflation prior to 1968 (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis of IRS data, published in Forbes.

Once prices of oil started rising, prices of tools (broadly defined) rose. Governments and companies needed more debt to buy these tools. It became more of a burden to add capital goods of all kinds. Governments tried to raise GDP by adding debt, but to a significant extent they ended up with higher debt to GDP ratios rather than the rapid growth they were looking for (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Worldwide average inflation-adjusted annual growth rates in debt and GDP, for selected time periods. See post on debt for explanation of methodology.

The changes in the economy that allowed continued growth (more debt and more technology) tended to push the economy toward more wage disparity, in part because more technology required more training for some of the workers, but not for others. This allowed wages of the workers with special training to rise.

Furthermore, the need to repay debt with interest tended to funnel wealth toward the financial sector, and toward those within the economy who could afford to hold financial assets. These changes left less of the output of the economy for non-elite workers.

Economists never really understood what was happening. They had never thought through the important role that energy plays in the economy. Cheap energy is needed to create jobs. It is jobs, and the wages that those jobs pay, that tend to suffer when oil prices are too high (Figure 8). Thus, high-priced oil has a double impact on the economy:

  1. It makes goods of many kinds more expensive.
  2. It reduces job availability and wages.

Figure 8. Average wages in 2012$ compared to Brent oil price, also in 2012$. Average wages are total wages based on BEA data adjusted by the CPI-Urban, divided by total population. Thus, they reflect changes in the proportion of population employed as well as wage levels.

Logic would suggest that the economy cannot really operate on high-priced oil. Lower wages and higher prices do not peacefully coexist! We should expect high oil prices to be very unstable. Even if prices can reach a high level in response to a specific shortage or stimulus, we cannot expect these high prices to be maintained for a sustained period, without added stimulus. Unstable high prices are not likely to give rise to more oil production; they cannot be depended upon.

Economists have never understood this situation. Instead, they have made pronouncements that at some point in the future, they expect that oil would become scarce. Because of this scarcity, oil prices would rise. In their view, when oil prices rise, high-priced substitutes would suddenly become the best option available; somehow, the economy would become able to operate using these high-priced substitutes. (If energy products were not needed for labor productivity, this view might make some sense. In the real world, it does not.)

It never occurred to organizations such as the International Energy Association (IEA) that high oil prices might be a problem for the economy. The IEA has shown exhibits suggesting that oil prices could theoretically rise to $300 per barrel. Of course, at such an elevated price, there would be an almost unlimited amount of oil available to extract (Exhibit 9).

Figure 9. IEA Figure 1.4 from its World Energy Outlook 2015, showing how much oil can be produced at various price levels.

[5] The real enemies of continued economic growth are (a) diminishing returns with respect to oil and other energy production, (b) continued population growth, and (c) increasing wage and wealth disparity. 

We seem to be playing a video game where the players don’t understand who the real enemies are.

Diminishing returns with respect to oil and other energy production have to do with the cost of energy extraction rising ever-higher, as more resources are extracted. There are a lot of resources that we can “see,” but that we cannot economically extract, unless prices rise to very high levels.

Figure 9. My version of the resource triangle for oil. Note that oil shale is not the same as tight oil, found in shale formations. Oil shale is kerogen that must be processed at very high temperatures in order to produce oil. This is rarely done, because of the high processing cost. Tight oil is not on this chart. Tight oil probably would be above “onshore heavy oil; oil sands.” It still would disappear, if oil prices permanently fell to $20 per barrel or less.

Continued population growth is a problem because it is really “energy per capita” that matters. Each individual needs food, transportation, and housing. All of these things take energy. Many years ago, when most of the workers were farmers, it was necessary to create ever-smaller farms, as population rose. This clearly would lead to lower food production per farmer, unless some sort of technological breakthrough was taking place at the same time. Today, we have a parallel issue.

Increasing wage disparity tends to be associated with the rising use of technology. When most labor is hand labor, workers truly do “pay each other’s wages.” All wages can be fairly equal. With increased technology, some workers have specialized training; others do not. Some workers are supervisors; others are laborers. Unless the overall output of the economy is rising very rapidly, non-elite workers find themselves increasingly unable to afford the output of the economy. It is this falling “demand” (really affordability) that tends to pull an economy downward.

[6] High oil prices can be temporarily tolerated by an economy, if interest rates are lowered to make this arrangement work.

Clearly, lower interest rates make capital goods of all kinds more affordable to both businesses and individual workers. If we look back at the period since 1981, we see a long period of falling interest rates, acting to stimulate the economy.

When oil prices exceeded $20 per barrel, the economy did not collapse immediately. In “normal” times, lowering interest rates was sufficient stimulus to keep the economy growing (Figure 4).

Figure 10. Ten-year treasuries through Nov. 17, 2017. Chart produced by FRED.

When there is a very big drop in oil prices (as in 2008, related to falling debt levels), then Quantitative Easing (QE) has been helpful (Figure 11). The US began its program of QE in late 2008, when oil prices were near their low point. There were three phases of the US’s QE. The US discontinued the third phase in late 2014, just as oil prices started to slide again.

Figure 11. Monthly Brent oil prices with dates of US beginning and ending QE.

[7] It is quite possible for a disconnect to occur between (a) the cost of oil extraction, and (b) the selling price of oil.

Oil that costs more than $20 per barrel is never very affordable by the economy. It really needs continual stimulus to keep prices at an elevated level. Once debt growth falls too low, the balance between the supply and demand for oil is settled in the direction of the amount of goods and services made with oil that non-elite workers can afford. Prices fall below the cost of production. This seems to be what has happened since 2014.

[8] In fact, since 2014, the selling prices of oil, natural gas, and coal have all fallen below the cost of extraction.

Figure 12. Price per ton of oil equivalent, based on comparative prices for oil, natural gas, and coal given in BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Not inflation adjusted.

It is popular to think that the reason why oil prices are too low is because of overproduction by the United States or Saudi Arabia. When a person stops to realize that essentially the same situation arises for all three fossil fuels, a person begins to understand that there likely is an affordability issue underlying the low prices for all three fuels. The affordability issue, of course, arises because energy supply is not rising quickly enough because (at over $20 per barrel), it is too expensive to be truly affordable. The “atmosphere is too thin” at today’s high cost of energy extraction.

9. Coal production seems to have “peaked” because at today’s low prices, few mines find the extraction of coal profitable.

It is popular in “Peak Oil” circles to believe as the economists do: oil and other energy prices can rise endlessly, because of growing “demand.” Economists have never stopped to think that at any given price, there is an affordability issue for customers. If prices drop too low, there is a profitability issue for those operating extraction facilities.

If we look at the situation with coal, we see a situation where peak production seems to have been reached because of low prices. China has closed down mines because falling prices have made mines that were previously profitable, unprofitable (Figure 13). Coal is the lowest-cost fuel; if it cannot be mined profitably, the world economy has a problem.

Figure 13. China’s energy production, based on data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

In fact, it appears as though we have reached peak coal on a worldwide basis, as a result of low prices (Figure 14). It is hard to see any major production area that can grow substantially in the future, without much higher prices.

Figure 14. World coal production, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy Data. (For 1965-1980, consumption is substituted for production, because only consumption is given, and imports/exports are likely small.

[10] The world economy needs to be able to keep repaying debt with interest. If world economic growth slows too much, this will not be possible. 

We may already be reaching a “too slow growth limit.” Below this growth limit, it becomes impossible to repay debt with interest, especially if interest rates rise. We may already be reaching this point, based on the lack of growth in energy consumption per capita shown in Figure 15. (Also, as noted in Item [3], it seems quite possible that recent GDP growth indications are overstated.)

Figure 15. Average energy prices (averaging oil, coal, and natural gas) versus the total quantity of energy products consumed per capita, based on BP energy consumption data and UN population data. (Prices have not been inflation adjusted.)

Figure 15 suggests that affordability and price go together. When the world economy is growing rapidly, energy prices tend to rise (as does energy consumption). When energy consumption per capita falls, it is a sign that the world economy is not doing well.

One of the things that confuses matters is the very different economic growth results for different parts of the world. If oil prices are low, this improves economic growth prospects from the point of oil importers, such as the United States and China. This is what our video game players are looking at, not the results for the world as a whole. It is oil exporters, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, who are having problems.

If we look at world news, Venezuela may collapse because of low oil prices. Saudi Arabia has found it necessary to take on debt, and has undergone regime change, at least partly related to low oil prices. Norway is proposing that its oil and gas fund no longer invest in oil and gas companies, because it expects that there is a significant chance the oil price will not rise high enough to bring companies back to adequate profitability.

[11] The whole “game” has been confused by a lot of not-quite-correct pronouncements from academic circles.

A lot of well-meaning people have tried to solve our energy problems, but haven’t gotten the story right.

Economists have gotten the story pretty much 100% wrong. Energy is very important for the economy. Furthermore, energy prices don’t rise endlessly.

Peak Oilers have confused matters by talking about oil, coal and natural gas being determined by the amount of technically recoverable resources in the ground. This might be true if energy prices could rise endlessly, but clearly they cannot. By following the wrong views of economists, Peak Oilers have led world leaders to believe that far more resources are available to be extracted than really is the case.

People who call themselves Biophysical Economists haven’t really gotten the story correct either. The Biophysical Economists realized that there was a need for a measure for diminishing returns. They put together a measure which they called Energy Returned on Energy Invested. The measure, unfortunately, only “sort of” works. It gives a lot of wrong answers. It does not suggest that oil prices above $20 per barrel are a problem. It also does not suggest that substitutes for oil that are priced above $20 per barrel are a problem. It tends to give a lot of “false positives” when it comes to the question of whether renewables can be substituted for fossil fuels. It seems to suggest that a particular ratio is important, when it is really the total quantity of an energy product available at a very low price that is important.

I should not pick on the Biophysical Economists. There are many others with academic credentials who produce metrics that really aren’t very helpful. Energy payback time is not a very helpful metric, especially from the point of view of deciding whether or not to use a particular device. It is not the energy that the economy must pay back; it is the full cost of manufacturing the device that needs to be recovered, including human labor costs and taxes. In some applications, the cost of mitigating intermittency may also need to be considered.

Even the standard Levelized Cost of Energy calculations can give misleading indications, if they are used on intermittent renewables without taking into account the cost of mitigating the intermittency.


Conclusion

With all of these issues, it is not surprising that world leaders have difficulty playing the energy and economy game. In fact, it is hard to see any winning strategy.

One of the issues that makes the game impossible to win is the fact that all sides must win. A solution that cuts out the oil exporters is a problem for an economy dependent on oil. Any solution that cuts out the workers is a problem, partly because businesses need workers as consumers, and partly because governments need workers as taxpayers.

The reason I have not included any discussion of renewables is because at this point in time, we do not have any renewables that are sufficiently inexpensive and sufficiently scalable to represent a solution.

 

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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2,300 Responses to A Video Game Analogy to Our Energy Predicament

  1. jupiviv says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-11/56-million-americans-were-hired-october-most-over-16-years

    Synopsis: the barriers to Re-Greatification (copyright Kunstler) lie in the individual rather than the environment, viz. incompetence, socialism and the liberal establishment (as opposed to Putin, evil corporations and Nazis). Thank you for listening, and this is everyone’s favourite edgy, red-pill and bipartisan alt media outlet zerohedge.com signing off.

  2. happy christmas to all doomsters

  3. JT Roberts says:

    And a knew work around the affordability issues.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/OilCoin-Worlds-First-Compliant-Cryptocurrency.html

    A nice little speculative bubble here and market losses will appear covered. The crypto geniuses have stumbled on to a useful endeavor.

    • The amount of reserves depends on price. If the price drops, todays reserves cannot be extracted economically, as Venezuela has figured out.

      I also am unclear regarding how the currency will be tied back to oil reserves. Do you have the option of obtaining payment in crude oil, or what?

    • JesseJames says:

      “The aim of the OilCoin is to hopiumize barrels of oil, where each token will represent the value of one hopeful barrel, and provide users with a meaningful safe haven from cryptocurrency volatility, the team launching the digital currency said. Hopeful barrels are backed up by the full faith and credit of ….”
      Geez, this is as speculative as paper gold…even better, since oil reserves can be claimed and securitized even though they might not be recoverable, at any price.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        What if…. we had a derrivatives market for cheap oil … for every barrel of cheap oil we have say 1000 paper barrels of cheap oil … same formula as we have with physical gold and paper gold.

        Our problems would be solved!!!!

        I’ve been trying to contact the Fed but I cannot get past the admin staff and speak to someone who would be in a position to act on this advice…. This is so FRUSTRATING! The ship is about to sink and I have a very simple solution that could be implemented in minutes….

    • wratfink says:

      Interesting concept.

      Apparently, the oilcoin will be based on the Ethereum blockchain and each oilcoin will be backed by one barrel of oil. The oil will be held physically in reserve to back up each oilcoin, according to their White Paper.

      https://oilcoin.io/

      Sooo…no rehypothecation or any of that type of stuff, I’m sure…hahahahaha. If Bart Chilton is on the management board, I would be careful about that investment. Wasn’t he a regulator in name only when he headed up the CFTC?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        So this is going to replace the petro dollar….. I hope these guys have a very big army…..

      • Tim Groves says:

        I am holding onto my tulip bulbs in the fond hopium that they will one day once again approach their 1637 peak value.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          rats!

          I planted all of my ancestors bulbs this year.

          I was weak and I gave in.

          and I just knew I should have bought Bitcoins at $2.

          kicking self… kicking self…

        • psile says:

          Futures trading in BTC, meaning shorting, starts in just a few days.

  4. dolph says:

    I’m not impressed by chess playing programs, or computers in general. They are calculating machines designed to do a particular thing. They are not biological, and do not have the properties as such. And they require enormous amounts of energy to function, energy which we must extract from the earth, and which depletes faster the more machines we add to the equation.

    I think of chess programs as the best way humans have figured out how to play chess, as opposed to computers beating humans, or any such nonsense. Computers have no existence outside of what we give them. We are the gods of computers, so to say.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      I’ve heard that computers are good for getting on the internet.

    • The Second Coming says:

      Deep Blue was a chess-playing computer developed by IBM. It is known for being the first computer chess-playing system to win both a chess game and a chess match against a reigning world champion under regular time controls.

      Deep Blue won its first game against a world champion on 10 February 1996, when it defeated Garry Kasparov in game one of a six-game match. However, Kasparov won three and drew two of the following five games, defeating Deep Blue by a score of 4–2. Deep Blue was then heavily upgraded, and played Kasparov again in May 1997.[1] Deep Blue won game six, therefore winning the six-game rematch 3½–2½ and becoming the first computer system to defeat a reigning world champion in a match under standard chess tournament time controls.[2] Kasparov accused IBM of cheating and demanded a rematch. IBM refused and retired Deep Blue.[3]

      I’m impressed…. I’ve replayed Kasparov games and talk about mind blowing…
      The Deep Blue match

      He was at his peak of talent playing against IBMs computer

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Did Deep Blue program itself?

        Can Deep Blue bake a cake?

        Can Deep Blue use that program to learn Latin?

        Can Deep Blue drive a car?

        Ah ha…..

        Deep Blue is very good at doing what we tell it to do — provided we are VERY specific in terms of instructions.

        It is not as if you can just shout at Deep Blue — play chess! drive this car! bake this cake! learn Latin!

        Deep Blue is not even as intelligent as a dog — you can teach a dog to play fetch — try that with Deep Blue….

        Deep Blue is just a more sophisticated hammer. It is no smarter than a hammer.

        Bother have ZERO IQs.

        • The Second Coming says:

          Brother, don’t comment on something you have no idea on the subject matter.

        • theblondbeast says:

          The best book on AI, IMHO, is Understanding Computers and Cognition by Fernando Flores. I don’t think AI is even theoretically possible – and believe proponents don’t understand what intelligence is. Something a computer can never do, for instance, is “promise” as in intend or mean anything beyond controlled parameters. There will never be self driving cars, only self-crashing cars – for which the manufacturer is responsible.

          • dje says:

            The thing about self driving cars is that the way they are going about it is all wrong. If you really wanted to implement a system of self driving cars, you would build new signs and things that were designed for easy machine recognition, as well as integrating sensors in crucial areas of roads, etc. Instead they are trying to make computers adapt to the organic visual processing system that allows humans to drive on the current roads with the current markings.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            And even if it were possible — why do people think that would be a good thing?

            There are already not enough jobs for people…..

            I often fantasize about some f789ing techno MORE on…. trying to engage me in a conversation on AI…. I listen intently …. then out of the blue I launch a very hard right hand to their jaw…. then walk away….

            I have other similar fantasies that involve Tesla and ‘renewable’ energy discussions….

            • I am afraid I agree with Fast Eddy on this one.

              Last evening, we were driving down the Interstate, and in the middle of the lanes we saw a mattress for a bed for two people, plus a boxspring to go with the mattress, sitting across a couple of lanes, plus lots and lots of cars. (We were fortunately off in the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane, away from the disturbance.) I wondered what a self-driving car would have done.

          • Drivers often signal their intentions to others–you go first, for example. A computer cannot do this.

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    They are at the gate…. can you hear them?

    Scarlet fever cases surge in Hong Kong as doctors urge good personal hygiene

    Warning goes out that bacterial infection mostly affecting children under 10 could lead to death without timely treatment

    Nearly 2,000 cases were ­reported in the city in the first 11 months of the year, up nearly 60 per cent from the 1,244 recorded for the same period in 2016, ­according to the Department of Health.
    Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that mostly affects children under 10 years old.

    The increase in cases could be the result of a bacterial mutation as well as an unusually strong flu season weakening children’s immunity, doctors say.

    Scarlet fever claimed many thousands of lives in the 19th ­century and made a comeback in Hong Kong in 2011. That year, the number of cases soared to 1,526 from just 128 in 2010. Countries from the mainland to Britain have recorded similar trends, although what is causing the worldwide ­resurgence in the ­centuries-old disease remains unknown.

    While scarlet fever is curable with antibiotics such as penicillin, no vaccine is yet available. The consequences of late treatment are grave, Chan noted, especially when children are also afflicted with the flu or chickenpox.

    The bacteria can be transmitted through either respiratory droplets, such as those produced by coughing and sneezing, or direct contact with respiratory secretions.

    More http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2123865/scarlet-fever-cases-surge-hong-kong-doctors-urge

    How amusing — GGG wwwww is also mentioned as a possible reason for this uptick…. WTF….

  6. Sungr says:

    On the matter of whether military spending is stimulative to an industrial economy. WW2 is regarded as a case of America being pulled out of the Great Depression by stimulative war spending.

    Britain fought right alongside the US but their economy was not stimulated- in fact Britain lost most of it’s colonies after the war.

    US entering WW2-

    *US went from Great Depression the 30s to full mobilization against the axis in the early 40s
    * industrial plant was largely rebuilt in the 20s and was in good shape going into 40s
    * had massive high quality domestic oil & coal & steel reserves
    * had an industrial workforce nearly ready to go
    * was safe from invasion by sea.
    *Aerial bombing was not a threat to US homeland. The best 4-engine bombers could not effectively attack the US over ocean spaces.

    After WW2-

    *world manufacturing plant was largely destroyed
    *US manufacturing plant much larger than before the war
    *US war dead only 250,000 while Germay had 4.4 Million dead, Russia 20 Million
    *mainland US was untouched by the war
    *fears of return to low demand GD spending patterns
    *post war boosts to US domestic economy re GI Bill, Housing, Education
    *US Economy- Up Up Away
    *Lots and lots of manufacturing orders from around the world to US plants

    But UK WW2 war spending did NOT stimulate the UK economy

    Britain 1947: Poverty, queues, rationing – and resilience

    Britain was a nation in desperate need of cheering up – getting out the bunting, having a knees-up – in 1947, the year that the smiling, 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth married her Prince Charming.

    The country was beset by the gloom of winning a war heroically and then having to settle for a peacetime that was drab, impoverished and anything but glorious.

    The fighting spirit that had kept the country battling on from 1939 to 1945 was all but gone two years later, drained away for most people via a lack of everything: food, adequate housing, money and prospects.

    The only things in abundance were rationing coupons – for meat, butter, lard, margarine, sugar, tea, cheese, soap, clothing, petrol, sweets… the list was endless.

    After years of war, continued rationing was a terrible blow. Even when you did get your hands on a prized morsel, it was rarely a delicacy worth eating.

    In her diary, another housewife summed up her miserable dinner: two sausages which tasted like wet bread with sage added, mashed potato made from powder, half a tomato, one cube of cheese, and one slice of bread and butter.

    The bag of coal she bought for 4s 10d was full of slate and stone. “But at least we’re not being bombed,” she added, finding a cheery note among the bad news.

    All this misery came after the hardest winter in living memory, with 20ft-high snowdrifts in the countryside, and villages and towns cut off.

    Then there had been power cuts and short-time working for millions as electricity stations closed for lack of coal. The government adopted emergency powers over a country that felt itself not at peace but under siege.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-495096/Britain-1947-Poverty-queues-rationing–resilience.html

    So Britain was crushed by WW1 and WW2 and did not make any kind of comeback until the North Sea Oil discoveries and the concentration of global financial operations in London in the 80s.

    • xabier says:

      Yes, pretty miserable until the late 1950’s, but having been industrialised, urbanised slaves since the early 19th century, most British didn’t realise what a bad time they were having.

      For instance, smog was a fact of life, etc – I have never read any protests about industrial pollution in 19th c diaries and autobiographies.

      The 1960’s were fun for many, though, and it was possible for a secretary, for instance, to leave work one day and find employment the next – something which cannot be dreamed of today.

      Anyway, the 1970’s will soon return under a Corbyn government, only worse, because there will be no escape route such as the North Sea provided .

    • At least part of the story is that the US had massive stores of fossil fuels that more debt (and higher prices) could release. Also, with the addition of electricity and automobiles, more women could work outside the home. The additional debt allowed jobs for some women, as well.

      I know when I was reading about World War I, part of the story was that Europe’s fields were being bombed, while the US’s fields were not. Europe thus made a big market for US agricultural products during World War I. Once the war was over, and European farmers began planting again, there was too much food in total; prices dropped. I expect that there was some of this same effect again in World War II.

      I also expect that during both wars, the bombing of factories in Europe had a very different impact in the US compared to Europe. When factories were bombed in Europe, they lost the ability to produce as much goods. The loss of these factories opened up great opportunities for US factories, selling to Europeans (to the extent that they could afford the goods). If the US could allow the process to happen, by extending debt to the Europeans, the Europeans could prosper later. This was especially the case after North Sea oil.

      There was a huge debt bubble beginning right after World War II, to try to prevent going back into the depression again. The fact that this debt could be used to produce cheap-to-produce oil was extremely helpful. It meant that productivity could grow. It meant that it was possible to give people nice little “tract” homes, and they would be able to pay for the homes after the fact. This debt could also be used in Europe, as mentioned in the last paragraph.

      I should mention, too, that the availability of cheap oil made coal more useful. Without a good supply of cheap oil, it was not possible to transport coal economically, except by water. This is an article by Ugo Bardi, written in 2010, about the role of coal in World War I. This is a couple paragraph excerpt:

      In the early times of the coal age, the cost of transportation set a limit to coal diffusion. Only those mines which were near waterways could produce coal and only those areas which were accessible by waterways could use coal. That condition held in most of Northern Europe and it was there that the use of coal grew most rapidly, fueling what we call the industrial revolution. More coal extracted meant more industries, and more industries meant more coal extracted. More coal meant also more steel, and more steel meant larger and more efficient armies. Coal was the origin and the fuel of the British Empire, but Britain’s production was so large that there was coal available for export. With British coal, and later German coal, the industrial revolution spred all over Europe, even to countries which had no coal mines. With imported coal, waterways were the necessary and sufficient condition for having industries. But most of Southern Europe and North Africa were cut off from the coal revolution: too dry or too mountainous for waterways.

      The southernmost limit of waterways in Europe in 19th century was Tuscany, where the River Arno connected the main city, Florence, to the port city of Livorno. Already in the 18th century, the Arno River had been artificially transformed into a waterway. With this vital line, Tuscany could import coal in large amounts from England and start her own industrial revolution. It was a small revolution compared to that of the Northern European countries, but manpower in Tuscany was cheap, and it attracted capital from the rest of Europe. Just as today manufacturing is exported in the poorest areas of the world, by mid 19th century, Tuscany had become a manufacturing center–with industries mostly created and managed by Northern European businessmen.

      • xabier says:

        One of Ugo’s very best articles, with no solar fantasies attached.

        • I was impressed by Ugo’s article back in 2010. He has written a number of good articles.

          • Toby Thaler says:

            Will you be reviewing his new book?

            • Not that I know of. Most people don’t read book reviews, and I am not very good at writing them. I really liked “Extracted” (except the mandatory happy ending). The Seneca Effect is published by Springer. It sells for $69.99 (or $61.46 discounted). There won’t be many people who buy it, regardless of what I write. Extracted sold for $24.95, discounted to $18.44. That is more in the right price range. Extracted is a lot more pages, as well, I expect. (Springer books are limited to 100 in this series.)

            • I looked up some more information about Ugo Bari’s new book, “The Seneca Effect: Why Growth is Slow but Collapse is Rapid.” It is part of Springer’s “Frontiers Collection,” which is different from the Springer collection that Charlie Hall has been associated with. Charlie Hall’s collection (called something else) were limited to 100 pages. Charlie Hall is of course a “Peak Oiler,” so the Seneca Effect is not on his front burner. He believes in Hubbert curves instead. Bardi’s book is 210 pages. According to the book blurb,

              The essence of this book can be found in a line written by the ancient Roman Stoic Philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca: “Fortune is of sluggish growth, but ruin is rapid”. This sentence summarizes the features of the phenomenon that we call “collapse,” which is typically sudden and often unexpected, like the proverbial “house of cards.” But why are such collapses so common, and what generates them? Several books have been published on the subject, including the well known “Collapse” by Jared Diamond (2005), “The collapse of complex societies” by Joseph Tainter (1998) and “The Tipping Point,” by Malcom Gladwell (2000). Why The Seneca Effect? This book is an ambitious attempt to pull these various strands together by describing collapse from a multi-disciplinary viewpoint. The reader will discover how collapse is a collective phenomenon that occurs in what we call today “complex systems,” with a special emphasis on system dynamics and the concept of “feedback.” From this foundation, Bardi applies the theory to real-world systems, from the mechanics of fracture and the collapse of large structures to financial collapses, famines and population collapses, the fall of entire civilzations, and the most dreadful collapse we can imagine: that of the planetary ecosystem generated by overexploitation and climate change. The final objective of the book is to describe a conclusion that the ancient stoic philosophers had already discovered long ago, but that modern system science has rediscovered today. If you want to avoid collapse you need to embrace change, not fight it. Neither a book about doom and gloom nor a cornucopianist’s dream, The Seneca Effect goes to the heart of the challenges that we are facing today, helping us to manage our future rather than be managed by it.

              The book is considered a Physics book, in the Science and Math section of Amazon. The book was published August 24, 2017, but at this point does not have a single review on Amazon. I would deduce from that that the book is not a best seller.

              I should look at the book, just to see what it has to say. But at this time of year, my time is limited. So maybe after January 1.

    • Sungr

      That clarifies the uk position exactly

      at the start of the industrial revolution, the uk was sitting on more fuel reserves than saudi

      but by ww1 and 2, we had burned most of it, hence our bankruptcy until n. sea oil gave us a temporary financial shot in the arm. War spending only stimulated borrowing, not real growth

      The USA took over as energy leader, but that lasted only while the USA had cheap surplus oil. (roughly until 1970), now that too has all gone, which is why the USA standard of living has been static since then, and why the usa is fighting oilwars

      The USA now is at the point the UK was after ww2, having to stimulate its economy by borrowing against a non existent future

      • Van Kent says:

        Had to look through UK and US coal production numbers after that comment.

        Interesting. Very interesting.

        Coal production had its first peak in 1910 in the US, and it peaked year 1920 in the UK. By the start of the Great Depression coal production had already fallen by -30% in the US. Incidently the Great Depression took a -30% toll on the GDP..

        Why does everything about that, sound so eerily familiar?

        A peak production in the primary energy resource.
        The biggest industrial giant in the world keeps the world economy rolling. For a while.
        Finally, 9 years after the peak production moment.. reality sets in, and a Great Depression starts.
        After the Great Depression, the GDP has fallen by the same amount, as the fall of production of the primary energy resource..
        Later, other available energy resources take the place of the primary energy resource

        Hmm..

        (Though this time around, after the collapse of international trade and finance, all energy resources will be almost impossible to get. A Seneca Cliff to – 0% And we don’t have a new primary energy resource)

        • and each volume producer hits it maximum in turn, each in denial of course

          ….now it’s saudi’s turn,—they too are denying it, yet offer shares in their oil business for the first time, while insisting that they can ”diversify away from oil” during the next decade.

          This time there’s no major producer waiting to take up the slack.

          That is where the terror of our future lies

        • Do you have links regarding those numbers? I hadn’t tried to find amounts by country back that far.

          • Van Kent says:

            Here are some numbers

            UK coal
            http://www.habitat21.co.uk/coal7.html

            US coal

            Norms comment got me thinking that we have misunderstood the Great Depression severely.

            Both what caused it. How debt was used to keep on dancing, without actual energy to do so any more. The lag in the energy peak and the downturn, was quite a long time, when thinking about it. Could it be as long or longer this time? And what ended the Great Depression, actually. Or Ugo Bardis text about trucks for coal transport, instead of waterways.

            All in all. The thermodynamic structure of the economy, could have been proved from the Great Depression data. But it wasn’t. Instead Bernanke, who was said to be an expert in the Great Depression, became FED chair with a completely wrong set of theories..

            • Thanks! I need to write something up on this. I found some similar information on Wikipedia re UK coal. People don’t understand the depression.

            • depressions can only be got out of by:-

              A)—- extracting more raw cheap energy, then burning it to make more and more goods which keeps people employed in factories earning money as those goods are sold, thus keeping the circulation of the ”economy” going. On this basis debt is OK, because it is supported by future energy extraction and use.
              When I got married, and working in the motor industry, my 30 year mortgage was ok because the industry itself fed me with payrises in real terms, while my mortgage debt faded into insignificance. Those payrises came from (ultimately) constant supplies of CHEAP oil coal and gas.

              This is why war ends depressions if there’s a constant supply of cheap fuel. Because nations can keep building wartoys if there is sufficient materiel to do so. (specifically fossil fuels)
              If for example, the USA had run out of cheap oil in the 30s, WW2 would have been won by the Germans and the Japanese. (who would eventually have fought each other over the mid east oil—round about now, just as we are doing.)

              As it was WW2 kicked off the debt economy bigtime, and governments saw to it that the debt frenzy kept going. There was no other way to guarantee full employment because it is not possible to manufacture anything of consequence without using heat.
              (my rule of explosive force into rotary motion again)

              Nobody wanted a return to the post WW1 depression.

              This went on until 1970, when the USA ceased to be a swing producer, and oil began to lose its cheapness. With declining cheap oil, the other method of ending depressions kicked in:-

              ////….. B)—infinite debt, based on the belief that infinite money can be subsituted for infinite energy. Exactly who in government believes this is hard to say. It is patently nonsense, yet the vast majority of the electorate don’t know that, and so vote for the liars who say debt can go on forever, and that energy input to back it up is irrelevant.

              Stuff can be magicked out of thin air, bought and sold to keep our cornucopia filled with everything we could possibly want, if only we keep passing borrowed money hand to hand fast enough, and inflate the perceived value of that money to cover the actual state of energy deficit. (bitcoin anyone?)

              But energy deficit is the ultimate economy-killer. Without energy no economy can be remain inflated beyond the level of the fuels available to it. Debt is allowing us to pretend that it can, it suits the majority to take that pretence and build reality with it.

              This is the reason I titled my book: The End of More

              because it was obvious where even Nobel economics prizewinners were taking us. So far they haven’t offered me one. Maybe the Nobel committee can’t stand reality either.

            • I would add:

              Debt is helpful because it makes the use of energy products more affordable. The cost of a new factory or mine can be spread over the purchase’s lifetime. A new machine to enhance productivity can also be spread over the lifetime of the machine. Even consumer goods can be purchased and the cost spread over many years. Governments can overspend their income, and promise to pay back over a future period. Much of the debt indirectly leads to more funds for wages for workers, stimulating the economy.

              But once debt is involved, it is easy to deceive ourselves regarding whether the investment can really be repaid. As you say, with an abundant supply of cheap energy the debt can be repaid. Not so much, otherwise.

            • Van Kent says:

              And…

              The 2018 Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel goes tooo..

              Norman Pagett

              For his groundbreaking contributions to the new field of Thermodynamic Economics

              Hmm..

              Nothing bad, like a complete meltdown of all of the major global markets the following week, could come out of that.. right..

      • xabier says:

        And the British have now become very dependent on natural gas for heating and cooking, which comes from very, very far away. And their governments persist in being very, very rude to Russia…..

        • JesseJames says:

          ” With gas supplies crippled amid a freezing winter by the shutdown of a major pipeline, the UK has apparently turned to a Russian project targeted by US sanctions, with reports indicating that a deal was struck for a shipment of gas by the end of December.

          Some 170,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carried by the Christophe de Margerie ice-class tanker, the first vessel of the Novatek-operated Yamal project in the Arctic, has been bought by a British energy company. It is now heading to the Isle of Grain terminal in the UK”
          https://www.rt.com/uk/413034-russian-gas-sanctions-uk-shutdown/

          • The title to this is, “The gas that came in from the cold: Britain turns to sanctioned Russian energy to avoid big freeze.” Given a choice between freezing and US sanctions, we know what will win.

            • JesseJames says:

              I suspect the price is a pass througnh this time….but next time will rise in proportion to sanctions and NATO actions.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            If I was Putin … after all the bullsh it from the UK/US over the past few years…. I am making these MOFs sweat a little … beg a lot…. then tossing a huge premium on the sale price….

            Up yours Liz…

  7. Baby Doomer says:

    Someone on reddit sent me this message

    “Dennis Meadows built the limits to growth models to collapse because he wanted it to happen. I can build a computer program anyway I want as well”

    • DJ says:

      Ask him to point out the bug in the code or the wrong assumption in the model.

      If the model are correct and the code implements the model then the result must be correct.

      They even assumed double that, half this and unlimited other to make sure they hadnt just selected values just out of range.

    • psile says:

      Along with hundreds of other iterations tested in the W3 computer model, Meadows et al ran a double resource run, which assumed we literally had access to another Earth. Yet due to the corrosive effect of exponential growth, this would only buy us another 20 years, according to the results.

      • Greg Machala says:

        It is interesting to note the doubling of resources changes the shape of the collapse curve from a more symmetrical bell to a more steep “Seneca” cliff collapse. I think that is where we are ultimately headed because everything will be thrown at the infinite growth model until it just collapses.

  8. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    send Americans back to the moon…

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-tells-nasa-send-americans-moon-213556279.html

    so we can prepare to send Americans to Mars!

    aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhgggggggggggggg…

    BAU tonight, baby!

  9. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    record high polar bear population…

    but it seems that ONE is dying…

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/dying-polar-bear-roams-iceless-184753367.html

    what will happen to the other 24,999?

    • The Second Coming says:

      Sorry Dave it ain’t so
      It is difficult to estimate a global population of polar bears as much of the range has been poorly studied; however, biologists use a working estimate of about 20–25,000 or 22–31,000 polar bears worldwide.
      Its just a quesstimation …
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_bear
      Because of expected habitat loss caused by climate change, the polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, and at least three of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations are currently in decline.[8] However, at least two of the nineteen subpopulations are currently increasing, while another six are considered stable.[9] For decades, large-scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species, but populations rebounded after controls and quotas began to take effect.[10] For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of circumpolar peoples, and polar bears remain important in their cultures. Historically, the polar bear has also been known as the white bear.
      Still, we humans really aren’t to give these bears any real help.

    • Tim Groves says:

      They will die. They will all die. It’s the fate of all mammals, even those adopted as poster children by the WWF.

      To paraphrase Tolstoy’s last words: How do polar bears die? To read the responses of some of our posters to the latest dying bear linked to CC story, one can only suppose that they are under the impression that in a pristine world untainted by human evil, these noble creatures would die in their dens at a ripe old age surrounded by their loved ones, or else in a bear hospice where they would receive basic nursing care in order to ease the burden of their dying bodies. Obviously these gentle and naive souls are unfamiliar with the realities of life on the tundra. They have also failed to realize that starvation is one of nature’s ways of dealing with creatures that are so successful that they begin to overpopulate their environment.

      Proper scientist and polar bear researcher Susan Crockford provides much food for thought on this subject.

      https://polarbearscience.com/2017/12/09/one-starving-bear-is-not-evidence-of-climate-change-despite-gruesome-photos/

      • Harry Gibbs says:

        I thought this was interesting though:

        “A boatload of tourists in the far eastern Russian Arctic thought they were seeing clumps of ice on the shore, before the jaw-dropping realisation that some 200 polar bears were roaming on the mountain slope.

        “”It was a completely unique situation,” said Alexander Gruzdev, director of the Wrangel Island nature reserve where the encounter in September happened. “We were all gobsmacked, to be honest.”

        https://phys.org/news/2017-11-polar-crowd-russian-island-arctic.html

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Oh come on — that’s fake news! That’s a zoo!!!!

          Or maybe that’s all staged by Rosneft….. they lured those bears out of starvation with fish and seal meat… fattened them up for a few weeks — then took those photos….

          Fight PR fire with PR fire!

          Right Pintada? Do you not also see the hand of Don Draper in all of this — Big Oil has loads of money — how much might his fakery cost? Peanuts to the Russian oil boys…. they would spend more on their mistresses in a day at the shops….

    • Pintada says:

      http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card

      Polar bears will not survive AGW, and neither will humanity. That does not mean – or even imply – that there are fewer people on the planet. To say it does so is either a weak rhetorical trick, or a sign of stup(*ty.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Let’s calm down … no need for these hysterics… the polar bears will be fine

        Cckcccliiiimate countdown: Half a trillion tonnes of ccccarbon left to burn
        To avoid dangerous cccccliiimate chhhhange of 2C, the world can only burn another half a trillion tonnes of caaaarbon, clkimate chaaange experts warn

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/apr/29/fossil-fuels-trillion-tonnes-burned

        The EXPERTS have spoken! Thus spake the EXPERTS

        • The Second Coming says:

          The polar bear population is booming….upwards past 25,000…..maybe more….
          Hard to tell….humans will be threaten by their ever increasing numbers…
          This is an outrage humanconsumptionians can not tolerate and stop. As the top predators
          In the food chain it is our solemn place and destiny to bear down on them.
          It matters not we alter the composition of the atmosphere, landmass, or seas….
          After the winner takes all, the losers ….bite the dust

          We are something…any fabrication works for me

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Can we get some sad PR photos of fish?

            We seldom see images like that …. because we don’t want people to get alarmed by the fact that we have are killing off entire species of fish….

            Nope. Truth not allowed.

            Focus on the starving polar bear – that ties in nicely with the other fake story …. the one about gg wwww.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Cheer up! It might never happen.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The KLIMATE EXPERTS say we have half a trillion tonnes of carbon to burn before the danger starts…

          The polar bears will be just fine.

          • The Second Coming says:

            Sure, Eddie, after AOL you are the Expert of Experts.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The ggwww grooopies are fond of quoting their bible… The Guardian .. on all matters ggg www (and green)…

              So shall we?

              The world has already burned half the fossil fuels necessary to bring about a catastrophic 2C rise in average global temmmmperature, scientists revealed today.

              The experts say about half a trillion tonnes of carbon have been consumed since the industrial revolution.

              To prevent a 2C rise, they say, the total burnt must be kept to below a trillion tonnes. On current rates, that figure will be reached in 40 years.

              Myles Allen, a climate expert at Oxford University who led the new study, said: “Mother Nature doesn’t care about dates. To avoid dangerous kkklimate change we will have to limit the total amount of carbon we inject into the atmosphere, not just the emission rate in any given year.”

              Writing in today’s Nature, Allen and colleagues say a trillion tonnes of carbon burnt would be likely to produce a wwwarming of between 1.6C and 2.6C, with a “most likely” 2C rise.

              A separate study, also published today in Nature, led by Malte Meinshausen at the Potsdam Institute, use a similar approach and sets a different carbon budget. They say the world can only emit 190bn tonnes of carbon between now and 2050 if it aims for a 2C rise. Emissions over 310bn tonnes in that time lead to a 50% chance of going over 2C.

              https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/apr/29/fossil-fuels-trillion-tonnes-burned

            • There is absolutely nothing we can do about it, so who cares?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The gggggggwww grooopies are fond of quoting their bible… The Guardian .. on all matters ggg www (and greeen)…

              So shall we?

              The world has already burned half the fosssssil fuels necessary to bring about a catastrophic 2C rise in average glooooooobal temmmmperature, scientists revealed today.

              The experts say about half a trillion tonnes of carrrbon have been consumed since the industrial revolution.

              To prevent a 2C rise, they say, the total burnt must be kept to below a trillion tonnes. On current rates, that figure will be reached in 40 years.

              Myles Allen, a kkkkkkklimate expert at Oxford University who led the new study, said: “Mother Nature doesn’t care about dates. To avoid dangerous kkklimate change we will have to limit the total amount of ccccarbon we inject into the atmosphere, not just the emiiission rate in any given year.”

              Writing in today’s Nature, Allen and colleagues say a trillion tonnes of cccarbon burnt would be likely to produce a wwwaaaarming of between 1.6C and 2.6C, with a “most likely” 2C rise.

              A separate study, also published today in Nature, led by Malte Meinshausen at the Potsdam Institute, use a similar approach and sets a different carbon budget. They say the world can only emit 190bn tonnes of ccccarbon between now and 2050 if it aims for a 2C rise. Emissions over 310bn tonnes in that time lead to a 50% chance of going over 2C.

              https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/apr/29/fossil-fuels-trillion-tonnes-burned

            • Fast Eddy says:

              And one more for good measure – because I feel so happy… so thrilled …. with WINNING… that I MUST rub it in!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              What’s that? Encore?

              You want more?

              I give you more!

            • The Second Coming says:

              Touchie, touchie…seemed to hit a expert nerve.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Did I mention that I am … the world champion?

              I have changed my mind. I need two jets.

            • The Second Coming says:

              World “champion”? No, you didn’t mention of “what”. If I post “of what”, it certainly would not past my “moderation”, which seems is ongoing here.
              Glad you have such a high opinion of yourself, being a world champion of all “experts” is by far a title in which you deserve all what you get,

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Fast Eddy World Champion…. nice ring to it … no?

              Want an autograph?

    • zenny says:

      Polar bears are doing well ….The one my cat is sleeping on may be dead tho.
      We even have jails for them

    • I can see a couple of slants to this:

      (1) China definitely does not want thousands of North Koreans flocking to its cities, especially Beijing and Shanghai. It cannot provide services for the migrant farmers there now.

      (2) China needs jobs for its people, and demand for its products. Building refugee camps is a perfectly legitimate way of putting Chinese people to work and increasing demand. It will also increase GDP.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        That said …. this could dramatically increase the demand for free PBOC sponsored apartments…. and that would drive GDP to new heights.

        Open the Gates! Open the Gates!!

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