The world’s weird self-organizing economy

Why is it so difficult to make accurate long-term economic forecasts for the world economy? There are many separate countries involved, each with a self-organizing economy made up of businesses, consumers, governments, and laws. These individual economies together create a single world economy, which again is self-organizing.

Self-organizing economies don’t work in a convenient linear pattern–in other words, in a way that makes it possible to make valid straight line predictions from the past. Instead, they work in ways that don’t match up well with standard projection techniques.

How do we forecast what lies ahead? Today, some economists believe that the economy of the United States is in danger of overheating. Others believe that Italy and the United Kingdom are facing dire problems, and that these problems could adversely affect the world economy. The world economy should be our highest concern because each country is dependent on a combination of imported and exported goods. The forecasting question becomes, “How will divergent economic results affect the world’s economy?”

I am not an economist; I am a retired actuary. I have spent years making forecasts within the insurance industry. These forecasts were financial in nature, so I have had hands-on experience with how various parts of the financial system work. I was one of the people who correctly forecast the Great Recession. I also wrote the frequently cited academic article, Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis, which points out the connection between the Great Recession and oil limits.

Today’s indications seem to suggest that an even more major recession than the Great Recession may strike in the not too distant future. Why should this be the case? Am I imagining problems where none exist?

The next ten sections provide an introduction to how the world’s self-organizing economy seems to operate.

[1] The economy is one of many self-organized systems that grow. All are governed by the laws of physics. All use energy in their operation.

There are many other self-organizing systems that grow. One such system is the sun. Some forecasts indicate that it will keep expanding in size and brightness for about the next five billion years. Eventually, it is expected to collapse under its own weight.

Hurricanes are a type of self-organizing system that grows. Hurricanes grow over warm ocean waters. If they travel over land for a short time, they can sometimes shrink back a bit and grow again once they have an adequate source of heat-energy from warm water. Eventually, they collapse.

Plants and animals also represent self-organizing systems that grow. Some plants grow throughout their lifetimes; others stabilize in size after reaching maturity. Animals continue to require food (a form of energy) even after they stabilize at their mature size.

We can’t use the typical patterns of these other growing self-organized systems to conclude much about the future path of the world’s economic growth because individual patterns are quite different. However, we notice that cutting off the energy supply used by any of these systems (for example, moving a hurricane permanently over land or starving a human) will lead to the demise of that system.

We also know that lack of food is not the only reason why humans die. Based on this observation, it is a reasonable conclusion that having enough energy available is not a sufficient condition to guarantee that the world economy will continue to operate as in the past. For example, a blocked shipping channel, such as at the Strait of Hormuz, could pose a significant problem for the world economy. This would be analogous to a blocked artery in a human.

[2] The use of energy products is hidden deeply within the economy. As a result, many people overlook their significance. They are also difficult for researchers to measure. 

It is easy to see that gasoline provides the energy supply needed for our cars, and that electricity provides the power needed to clean our clothes. What is missing? The answer seems to be, “Everything that makes humans different from wild animals is something that was made possible by the use of supplemental energy in addition to the energy from food.”

All goods and services require the use of energy. While some of this energy use is easy to see, other portions are well hidden. Energy used in manufacturing and transport is most visible; energy used in services tends to be hidden.

Governments are major users of energy, both for their own programs and for directing energy use to others. Retirees get the benefit of goods and services made with energy products through pension checks issued by governments; researchers get the benefit of goods and services made with energy products through research grants they receive. Wars require energy.

Medical treatments are possible because of the availability of medicines and equipment made with energy products. Schools and books, as well as free time to study in schools (rather than working in the field), are possible because of energy consumption. Jobs of all kinds require the use of energy.

One thing we don’t often consider is that if energy supplies are growing sufficiently, they permit an expanding population. In fact, expanding population seems to be the single largest use of growth in energy consumption (Figure 1). Growing energy consumption also seems to be associated with prosperity.

Figure 1. World energy consumption growth for ten-year periods (ended at dates shown) divided between population growth (based on Angus Maddison estimates) and total energy consumption growth, based on the author’s review of BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011 data and estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects by Vaclav Smil.

[3] Prices of energy services need to be low relative to overall costs of the economy. Falling energy costs relative to overall GDP tend to encourage economic growth.

Most economists expect energy prices to represent a large share of GDP costs, if energy is truly important. The statement above says the opposite. There are at least two reasons why low energy prices, and energy prices that are truly falling when inflation and productivity changes are considered, are helpful.

First, tools (broadly defined) used to leverage the labor of human workers often require considerable energy to manufacture and operate. Examples of such tools include computers, machines used in manufacturing, vehicles, and roads for these vehicles to drive on. The lower the cost to purchase and operate these tools, relative to the benefit of the tools, the more likely employers are to purchase them. If energy costs tend to fall over time, it becomes progressively easier to add more tools to leverage the labor of employees. Thus, employees become increasingly productive over time, raising the economy’s output of goods and services. For a similar reason, rising energy costs, if not offset by efficiency gains, present a barrier to economic growth.

Second, if the cost of energy production is low, it is easy to tax energy producers and thereby capture some of the benefit of their energy for the rest of the economy. If there is truly a “net energy” benefit to the economy, this is one way it gets transferred to the rest of the economy.

[4] There is indeed an energy problem, but it is not quite the same one that Peak Oilers have been concerned about.

The energy problem that Peak Oilers write about is the possibility that as easy-to-extract oil supplies deplete, oil production will reach a peak in production and begin to decline. Once decline sets in, they expect that oil prices will rise, partly because of the higher cost of production and partly because of scarcity. With these higher prices, they expect that producers will be able to extract at least a portion of the remaining oil resources. They also expect that higher prices will allow portions of the remaining natural gas and coal resources to be extracted. With higher prices, expanded use of renewable energy is expected to become feasible. All of these energy sources are expected to keep the economy operating at some level.

There are several problems with this story. First, it tends to encourage people to look for high oil prices as a sign of an oil shortage. This is not the correct indication to look for. Prior to 1970, oil prices averaged less than $20 per barrel. Comparing pre-1970 prices to today’s oil prices, current prices are already very high, at $75 per barrel. The idea that oil prices can keep rising indefinitely assumes that there is no affordability limit. Furthermore, a loss of energy consumption can be expected to reduce demand (because of its impact on jobs, productivity, and wages) at the same time that it reduces supply. If both supply and demand are affected, we don’t know which way prices will move.

Second, my analysis suggests that part of the story is that total energy consumption is very important, including oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and various forms of electricity. All of the attention given to oil has drawn attention away from the economy’s need for a range of energy types to keep devices of all types operating. Deciding to reduce coal usage because of pollution issues, or deciding to shut down nuclear because it is aging, has an equally adverse impact on the economy as reducing oil supply, unless the shortfall can be made up with other energy products of precisely the type needed by current devices.

Third, my analysis suggests that energy consumption per capita needs to rise for the economy to function in the way that we expect it to function. If world energy consumption per capita is too flat, we can expect to see many of the symptoms that the world has been experiencing recently: more radical leaders, less cooperation among leaders, slowing economic growth and increasing debt problems. In fact, wars are possible, as are collapses of governments (as with the Soviet Union central government in 1991). The current situation seems to be more parallel to the 1920 to 1940 flat period than it does to the 1980 to 2000 flat period.

Finally, with low energy prices rather than high quite possibly being much of the problem, there is a significant chance that oil and other production will decline because producers do not make enough profit for reinvestment and because oil exporting countries cannot collect enough taxes to fund the many subsidies that citizens expect. This makes for a steeper energy decline than forecast by Peak Oilers; it also reduces the possibility that high-priced renewables will be helpful.

[5] Part of the world’s energy problem is a distribution problem; the world becomes divided into haves and have-nots in many ways. It is this distribution problem that tends to push the world economy toward collapse. 

There are many parts to this distribution problem. One is the distribution of goods and services (created using energy) by country. Over time, this tends to change, especially as commodity prices change. Oil exporters are favored when oil prices are high; oil importers are favored when oil prices are low. The relative values of currencies can change quickly, as commodity prices change.

Another part of this distribution problem is growing wage and wealth disparity, as more technology is added. If there is too much wage disparity, low-paid workers often cannot afford adequate food, homes, and transportation for their families. Their lack of demand for goods made with energy products (because of their low wages) tends to work through the system as low commodity prices. This happens because (a) there are so many of these workers and (b) these workers tend to purchase a disproportionate share of goods and services that are highly energy-dependent.

[6] Debt-like promises play a major role in making the economy operate.

Taking out a loan allows an individual or business to purchase goods without saving for the purchase in advance. To some extent, taking out a loan moves up the timing of purchases. At times, it even permits purchases that otherwise would not be possible. For example, if a young person tries to decide between (a) working at a low wage until he has saved up enough to afford to go to college and (b) taking out a loan and going to school now, so his wages would be higher in future years, his optimal choice will often be scenario (b). The time would likely never come when the low-paid individual could save up enough wages to afford to go to college. If the young person strongly desires high wages, his optimal strategy would be to take the loan and hope that his future wages will be high enough to repay it.

If the goal of the economy is to produce an ever-increasing amount of goods and services, growing debt can very much help this growth. This happens because with more debt, more individuals and businesses can afford* to buy the goods and services that they want now. In a sense, debt acts like a promise of the future energy needed to make future goods and services with which the loan can be repaid. Thus, adding debt acts a somewhat like adding energy to the economy.

Because of the way debt works, the economy behaves much like a bicycle, with growing debt pulling the system forward. If the economy is growing too slowly, the tendency is to add more debt. This solution works if a rapidly growing supply of cheap-to-produce energy is available; the additional debt can be used to create a growing supply of affordable goods and services. If energy costs are high, the goods and services produced tend to be unaffordable.

Figure 2. The author’s view of the analogy of a speeding upright bicycle and a speeding economy.

A bicycle needs to operate at a fast enough speed (about 7.5 feet per second), or it will fall over. Similarly, the world economy needs to grow fast enough, or it will not be able to meet its obligations, including repayment of debt with interest. If the economy grows too slowly, debt defaults are likely to grow, pulling the economy down.

[7] It looks like it should be possible to work around energy problems with improved technology, but experience suggests that this approach represents only a temporary “fix.”

There are two issues that make improved technology less of a solution than it appears to be. The first is diminishing returns. For example, if a business faces a choice between (a) paying a worker to perform a process and (b) adding a machine to that can perform the same process, the business will tend to make the changes that seem to provide the largest cost savings first. At some point, as more technology is added, capital costs can be expected to become excessive relative to the human labor that might be saved. The issue of the diminishing returns to added complexity (which includes growing technology) was pointed out by Joseph Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies.

The second reason why added technology tends to be only a temporary solution is because it tends to lead to wage disparity. Wage disparity has a tendency to grow because of the greater specialization and larger organizations needed to coordinate the ever-larger projects. The reduced purchasing power of those at the bottom of the hierarchy can eventually bring an economy down because it can lead to commodity prices that are below the level needed to maintain the extraction of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are required to maintain today’s economy.

[8] Renewable energy has been vastly oversold as a solution. What is needed is an ever-increasing quantity of inexpensive energy in forms that match the energy needs of current devices. 

The wind and solar story is far different from the story presented in the press. Essentially, wind and solar are extensions of today’s fossil fuel system. The evidence that they are truly beneficial to the economy is shaky at best. We know that if energy sources are truly transferring significant “net energy” to the system, they generally can afford to pay high taxes. The fact that wind and solar require subsidies raises questions regarding whether standard calculations are providing accurate guidance. The press rarely mentions the high tax revenue that high oil prices make possible, worldwide. Tax revenues largely support many oil exporting countries.

Furthermore, the share of the world’s energy supply that wind and solar provide is very low: 1.9% and 0.7%, respectively. They are shown in the almost invisible blue and orange lines at the very top of Figure 3. Fossil fuels contributed 85% of total energy supply in 2017.

Figure 3. World energy consumption divided between fossil fuels and non-fossil fuel energy sources, based on data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018.

[9] The world economy becomes very fragile as energy limits approach.

Energy limits seem to be affordable energy limits. Oil prices need to be high enough for exporting countries to obtain adequate tax revenue. In addition, oil producers need prices that are high enough so that they can make the necessary reinvestment, as fields deplete. At the same time, energy prices need to be low enough for consumers to afford goods and services made with energy products.

Much of developed world’s infrastructure was built when oil prices were less than $20 per barrel, in inflation-adjusted terms. A rising price of oil will lead to a higher cost of replacing roads and pipelines. If these were built using $20 per barrel oil, even a current price of $40 per barrel would represent a significant cost increase. The world has experienced high oil prices for sufficiently long that we have collectively forgotten how low oil prices were between 1900 and 1970.

Most people know that the earth holds a huge quantity of energy resources. The problem is extracting these resources in a way that is both affordable to consumers and sufficiently high-priced for producers. Falling long-term interest rates between 1981 and 2002 allowed the world economy to tolerate somewhat higher oil and other energy prices than it otherwise could because these falling interest rates permitted ever-lower monthly payments for a given loan amount. For example, if interest rates on a $300,000 mortgage would fall from 5% to 4% on a 25-year mortgage, monthly payments would decrease from $1,753 to $1,584. The lower interest rates would allow more people to buy homes with a given size of mortgage. Indirectly, the lower mortgage rates would permit additional new homes to be built and would allow more inflation in home prices. These benefits would at least partially offset the adverse impact of high energy prices.

Since the natural decline in long term interest rates stopped in 2002, the world economy has become increasingly fragile; the Great Recession took place in 2007-2009, when oil prices spiked and long-term interest rates were already low by historical standards. It was only when United States’ program of quantitative easing (QE) was put in place that long-term interest rates could fall to even lower levels, helping the economy hide the problem of high energy prices a little longer.

The artificially low interest rates made possible by QE have problems of their own. They tend to inflate asset prices, including both real estate prices and stock market prices. Thus, they tend to create bubbles, which are prone to collapse if interest rates rise. Artificially low interest rates also tend to encourage investment in schemes with very low profit potential. Artificially low interest rates also encourage cross-border investments to try to take advantage of interest rate differences. If interest rate relativities change, the money that quickly would enter a county can almost as quickly leave the country, causing major fluctuations in currency relativities.

Regulators do not understand the role that physics plays in making the economy operate as it does. They assume that they, alone, have the power to make the economy behave as does. They do not understand how important falling interest rates are in creating growing demand for goods and services. The economy, since 1981, has spent most of its time with falling interest rates; the most recent part of this decline in long-term interest rates has been made possible by QE. These falling interest rates have played a major role in disguising the world’s long-term problem of rising energy costs. These rising energy costs are taking place primarily because the cheapest-to-extract resources were produced first; the resources that are left are have higher costs associated with them, for a variety of reasons, such as being farther away from the user, deeper, or needing more advanced extraction techniques. These issues have not been sufficiently offset by improved technology to keep extraction costs low.

US regulators now want to raise interest rates by raising short term interest rates and by selling QE securities. They don’t understand that they are playing with fire. They feel that they will have more power if they can raise interest rates now, they will have the flexibility to lower them later if the economy should later slow excessively. They don’t understand how much of the world’s economy may really be a bubble, created by the decline in interest rates since 1981.

[10] The adverse economic outcome we should be concerned about is collapse, as encountered by prior civilizations when their economies hit limits. 

The stories in the press have been so focused on oil “running out” and finding alternatives to oil that few have stopped to ask whether this is really the correct story. Instead of creating a new story, it might have been better to look more closely at history. Based on the historical record, collapse seems to have be associated with situations where populations have outgrown their resource bases. In other words, collapse can be considered an energy consumption per capita problem. The oil problem (and other fuel problem) we are facing today can be viewed as an energy consumption per capita problem, as well.

We know from research that has been done by Peter Turchin, Joseph Tainter, and others how collapse has played out in the past. The situation is different this time, however, because the world economy is very interconnected. Oil consumption depends on electricity consumption, and vice versa. Our financial system is also extraordinarily important. For these reasons, a collapse may occur more quickly than in the past.

Differences Between My View and the Standard View

One of the big differences between the way I see the economy and the standard view of the economy is the answer to the question of “Who is in charge?” The standard view is that politicians and economists are in charge. They have all of the answers. The dire collapse outcomes that afflicted early civilizations could not possibly affect us. We are too smart. We know how to adjust interest rates correctly. We can even make QE available to lower long-term interest rates. We can also add more technology and other complexity than has ever been added in the past.

The answer I see to the question, “Who is in charge?” is, “The laws of physics are in charge.” Politicians play a fairly minor role in directing the fate of economies. If there is not enough energy available of the type needed (inexpensive and matching the current infrastructure), the economy may very well collapse. It is nature and the laws of physics that call most of the shots.

Another big difference between my view and the standard view is the observation that a decrease in oil supply (or total energy supply) affects both the supply and demand of energy. Because both supply and demand are affected, we don’t know which direction oil and other energy prices will move. They may move erratically, as interest rates are adjusted by regulators. A more complex model is needed.

Climate change becomes less of an issue in my view of the future, for several reasons. First, humans don’t really have very much control over the direction of the economy, so talking about anthropogenic climate change doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The laws of physics that allowed human population to rise are also allowing climate change to happen. Second, we seem to be limited in our ability to use renewables to fix the situation. Furthermore, the possibility of collapse in the near future makes the various scenarios that hypothesize the use of large amounts of fossil fuels over many years in the future seem very unrealistic. Perhaps efforts to fix climate change should be focused in new directions, such as planting trees.

Help from Others

The subject matter of this post requires the knowledge of information from a wide range of academic areas. I could not have figured out all of this information on my own. I have been fortunate to have been able to learn from of a wide range of experts. Quite a number of academic groups have seen may articles, and invited me to speak at their conferences. In particular, I have had a long-term involvement with the BioPhysical Economics organization and have spoken at many of their conferences. I have learned much from Dr. Charles Hall, although at times I don’t 100% agree with him.

I have also learned from the many commenters on OurFiniteWorld.com. They form a self-organizing system of people from a wide range of backgrounds. Earlier, my involvement at TheOilDrum.com as “Gail the Actuary” allowed me to get acquainted with a range of researchers, looking at different aspect of the energy problem.

In future posts, I intend to expand further on the ideas presented in this post.

*Here I am using the term afford loosely. What borrowers can actually afford is the current required monthly payments.

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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825 Responses to The world’s weird self-organizing economy

  1. The media are spreading misleading information about the US energy independence.

    The US still imports around 8 mb/d of crude oil

    11/7/2018
    US crude oil imports and exports update April 2018 data
    http://crudeoilpeak.info/us-crude-oil-imports-and-exports-update-april-2018-data

    • Greg Machala says:

      When doesn’t the media spread misleading information? That is their job. They are the ministry of truth.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        The Ministry of Truth … contrary to popular belief… is a good thing… where would we be without them spreading delusions 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Maria says:

    Hi Gail,
    I have been reading your blog for quite some time and really appreciate your insights. I think that your work would gain from contextualization within the larger trends of (de)materialization and (de)centralization, which could help those readers who live in fear to take a more spiritual approach. There is already a strategy in place by the world’s leaders to deal with the limits you describe (namely as regards transitioning the oil-based debt system to a data-based one, based on centralized private rather than public debt, via the blockchain and IoT). It is called social entrepreneurship or “changemaking” and culminates in transhumanism. The question of how to “rise up” out of this historical moment is an anthropological one, and once again divided along the lines of materialism and idealism. This question will be resolved in school, the place created by the state to form materializing selves, which is why that space is currently so politicized. I have written extensively about this on my blog, though in French only, in case it is of interest to you.
    Many thanks for your contributions and very best,
    Maria

    • The big issue I see is that our electricity and oil problems are nearly the same problem. In fact, electricity is at more risk, especially in areas that have been adding a lot of wind and solar, because they tend to drive the electricity production needed to keep the operation out of business. California has been, and is now, experiencing power outages. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-dwp-power-out-20180709-story.html

      This articles claims the reason is

      But officials said that in many neighborhoods, its aging infrastructure could not handle the surging demand for electricity as Angelenos ran their air conditioning day and night.

      Wind and solar add greatly to the demand put on the aging infrastructure. Fixing the aging infrastructure (using oil and other energy products) is part of the real cost of wind and solar.

      The crazy pricing scheme has shut down some natural gas generation in California.

      http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-nrg-plants-20180309-story.html

      NRG subsidiary to close three power plants in Southern California

      In another sign of the state’s power glut, three Southern California gas-fired power plants owned by a subsidiary of energy firm NRG Energy Inc. will close over the next few months.

      Also California approves closure of last nuclear power plant

      Texas is also on the edge. It is another big state for wind and solar. Stories earlier this year said, “Texas’ power grid operator won’t rule out rolling blackouts as tight supply meets high summer temps.”

      The article explains,

      The closure of three coal-fired power plants early this year has cut into supply. Combined, the Big Brown, Sandow and Monticello plants had power generating capacity of 4,200 megawatts.

      This article says, “Monticello Goes Under, More Coal and Nuclear Imperiled in Texas

      The lower power price environment it talks about is the crazy pricing scheme that give negative rates to other electricity producers when wind and solar are producing more than needed.

      So the moral of the story is don’t count on dematerialization anywhere near where wind and solar are being added to the grid. Run, don’t walk, to a location where you can get fossil fuel electricity. Perhaps this will last a little while. The data-based economy very much depends on fossil fuels.

  3. Tim says:

    It seems the laws of physics don’t apply anymore, when everything is rigged by dark pools of money, and men behind the curtains.

    • The men behind the curtains can’t abolish the laws of physics, but they can bend and twist things so they can skim off profit for themselves until the system they are bending breaks from their foolishness.

      • Tim says:

        Yes, I agree. They are only delaying the inevitable crash, which makes things very difficult for us to understand and predict. Everything I’ve been taught is upside down.

        • Gregory Machala says:

          I agree, all of what we thought we knew about finance and the economy is no longer applicable. There are no leading indicators of what is to come. Oil shortages may well cause oil price to plunge for all we know. The rule-book is out the window.

      • Tim Groves says:

        The men behind the curtains can’t abolish the laws of physics

        They can abolish (or ignore) the laws of physics if they want—all they need to do is declare a “con-sense-us” of physicists no longer regard conventional laws of gravity, dynamics, thermodynamics, etc., to be invalid, and Bob’s yer uncle! But they can’t abolish the consequences of abolishing the laws of physics.

        In any case, it’s the women behind the men behind the curtains that I worry most about; especially the ones who have abolished the laws of gender. Who do they think is going to be wearing the trousers after BAU goes bust?

    • Dark pools of money represent promises of future energy supply, available at a price the economy can afford, and matching the needs of the infrastructure.

      People have been able to make false promises for a long time. This is just a new form. Derivatives are another form of promise that won’t be able to be paid. So are Social Security payments.

  4. While you make a lot of interesting points, I think solar energy has finally become cheap enough that it can really take off and help us out, except in the US of course where Trump decided to kneecap it, costing the US tens of thousands of jobs to help a coal industry that has been automating instead of hiring workers anyway.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      How was your trip… from DelusiSTAN?

      • Well, apparently it has better Internet connections than you have so I’ve been better able to keep up with the news.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          You see…. this is your problem…

          You allow the MSM to tell you what to think…. which means you are on the same intellectual level as a parrot….

          There are those who understand the purpose of the MSM is not to inform….. because we have caught them out constantly in their lies….

          And we seek a deeper level of understanding of the issues….

          Now I could try to help you to escape from your world of Delusion … but that is VERY difficult to do … from my experience facts and logic do not work on DelusiSTANIS….

          You need to work that out for yourself…..

          I know you are going to exit from FW smugly believing the likes of FE and others on this site are fools….. but perhaps some day you will wake up … and have an epiphany …. and realize how you have embarrassed yourself.

          That’s ok though – we don’t need you to send us boxes of chocolates ….

          Just come back under a new username…. with a new attitude ….we won’t have a clue

          • The articles I read pointing out the problems with Trump’s attacks on the solar energy industry are from the NY Times, the Washington Post, Time, and CNN “Money.” I just happen to access them on line.

            And there is no way I’m taking lessons in “attitude” from you. Read your first response to what I posted if you want to know why.

            • Landbeyond says:

              You are wise not to descend to FE’s level. He’s right, but unbearable.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I have a massive smile on my face right now… I am taking that as HUGE compliment!!!!

              When your horse is a winner …. keep on riding….

            • JesseJames says:

              It is both amusing and sad when a fellow reads articles from the “NY Times, the Washington Post, Time, and CNN “Money.” and thinks he has the true story on a topic….especially one of the green or PC fables propagated by the controlled media.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The smugness of such people…. is rather amusing …. I am sure Pauliver is the life of dinner parties stocked full of liberals who hang on his every regurgitation … not a f789ing original thought between the lot of them.

              Pauliver … can you do us a favour…. if you change your username to The Parrot….. we will humour you….

            • Rodster says:

              JesseJames makes a good point, those media sources are controlled propoganda at it’s finest. I stopped reading and viewing MSM disinformation a long time ago.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I wonder what goes through Paulivers mind when he reads your comment…

              Tell us Pauliver… first impression…..

            • Greg Machala says:

              Ditto. NYT, WP, CNN Time etc…are just plain garbage.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              That’s the All Star line-up of disinformation sources!

              Whenever I encounter someone who works off the premise that information sources such as these are credible…. I know I am in the presence of a …. MORE on.

              I am surrounded by MORE ons….

              CNN… wow.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              You what they say about arguing with fools….

              So let’s just leave it at this — you are f789ing re ta r ded…. but you don’t realize it.

              That makes you a very dangerous person.

            • The more you depend upon insults the more confident I feel in dismissing your opinions.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am left wondering how you found Finite World…

              You are not curious … as evidenced by your regurgitation of MSM edicts ….

              You are not intelligent …. because you refuse to acknowledge facts and logic… and you are unable to understand that the MSM is a propaganda machine

              You obviously do not belong here.

              Who sent you? Was it Don? Or Jan? Peter? Which of these DelusiSTANIS is your handler?

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              Paul, please stay around…

              it’s not every day we get your type here…

              you are a valuable resource…

              you give us the typical-man-in-the-street who bows down to the modern myth of progress…

              we need daily reminders of that myopic perspective…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              He can try to convince us that we are all wrong … snicker….

          • Theophilus says:

            FE I appreciate your sharp criticism of people who disagree with you. This isn’t a site for people who can’t back up their claims. But, I also often travel to DelusiStan. It’s beautiful this time of year. So, let me ask you a question. The price of solar power continues to decline. Battery technology continues to improve. In other words the cost of electric power generation and storage continue to get cheaper. At what point does solar power become a cheap enough technology to have a significant impact on the problem of declining fossil fuel resources. If solar power produced electrical energy at one tenth the cost of a coal plant would that make a difference? If solar power produced 90 percent of the world’s energy needs would that make a difference? It is one thing to say that solar power in its current state of development is inadequate to address the world’s resource problems. I agree. But, because solar power is a developing technology that has been rapidly improving in cost and efficiency, how can anyone completely disregard solar’s future?

            I assume you will now insult me for asking this question. I’m happy to read your insults but please give a specific answer to my question. Have pity on my delusional thoughts. We can’t all be a super genius.

            • psile says:

              The cost in dollars and cents may be declining, but the toll on the environment cascades from production of all this “green tech”. This is at 1.2% of world electricity consumption (which is only 18% of total energy), and you imagine a world where it supplies 90%! Maybe in a world of 70 million people. Truly, you are a denizen of Delusistan.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Which raises the question:

              If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?

              https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/23/if-solar-and-wind-are-so-cheap-why-are-they-making-electricity-more-expensive/#67d05a621dc6

            • “At what point solar …”

              Most likely never, we are swimming in ~200yrs incrementally maturing system which has been base loading on fossil fuel burners of various kind. Yes, solar works beautifully at specific places in specific settings and for people with specific needs (energy demand/habits) and endowed with special bank accounts..

              Hence it’s by definition not universally deploy-able tool, unless there is massively front loaded capacity for seasonal over production and storage installed, and why on Earth would you do that? Do you regularly shop for 300-600% premium on your groceries or utilities bills? I guess not..

            • Or the scenario we debated in the “Jancovici thread” is applied, i.e. globally people in sync to be corralled into forced degrowth ~1/10-1/20th of today’s consumption, rural living, few metro hubs, connected with rail, local commuting by electric assist bikes/trikes sipping few Wh instead of kWh/MWh etc.. Certainly doable, but not with this version of humanoids we have got ~8B loitering around.. So again, dead end.

            • Solar has already started interfering with its backup generation. It is driving backup generation out of business in both California and Texas. California has already been having problems with outages.
              http://www.latimes.com/newsletters/la-me-ln-essential-california-20180710-story.html

              According to this story,

              But in many neighborhoods, the DWP said, its aging infrastructure could not handle the surging demand for electricity as Angelenos ran their air conditioning day and night.

              Wind and solar put many more demands on the aging infrastructure. They should cover their share of the cost, but clearly the low amounts do not reflect this problem. They also drive backup generation out of business–Nuclear and natural gas in California, and Nuclear and Coal in Texas. Both states are expected to have rolling blackouts this summer. Without renewables, it is doubtful that they would have this problem, but I doubt any newspaper would explain the situation this way.

              On March 19, 2018, ABC News said Rolling Blackouts Hit California Again

              Still, natural gas supplies are low, water supplies are down, and heat waves are expected to drive up the demand for power. Californians are bracing for power shortages and rolling blackouts into the summer as the peak demand for power is expected to exceed supplies from May through September.

              Today’s rolling blackouts came as Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham warned that summer blackouts would not be the end of the California’s power problems.

              Speaking before the Chamber of Commerce’s National Energy Summit in Washington D.C., Abraham said California’s energy crisis could affect the nation and last for decades to come.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              F&&&&&****(((((KKKKKKK!!!!

              Batteries are NOT improving. Prices have dropped due to massive subsidies and dumping by China.

              Did you not see my post the other day about how that ‘massive’ mega expensive Tesla battery — can power a SINGLE aluminum smelter — for 8 minutes?

              Think about that…. think about how massive the cost would be to convert to solar.

              Or read this

              Renewable energy ‘simply won’t work’: Top Google engineers

              Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.

              Both men are Stanford PhDs, Ross Koningstein having trained in aerospace engineering and David Fork in applied physics. These aren’t guys who fiddle about with websites or data analytics or “technology” of that sort: they are real engineers who understand difficult maths and physics, and top-bracket even among that distinguished company.

              Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear.

              All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.

              In reality, well before any such stage was reached, energy would become horrifyingly expensive – which means that everything would become horrifyingly expensive (even the present well-under-one-per-cent renewables level in the UK has pushed up utility bills very considerably).

              http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/21/renewable_energy_simply_wont_work_google_renewables_engineers/

          • Tim Groves says:

            Who’s a pretty boy?
            Paul’s a pretty boy!
            Who loves his propaganda?
            Paul loves his propaganda!

            The NY Times, the Washington Post, Time, and CNN:

            What do they all have in common?
            Fake NEWS! Fake NEWS! Fake NEWS! and Fake NEWS!
            Biased VIEWS! Biased VIEWS! Biased VIEWS! and Biased VIEWS!

            Which is the odd one out?
            CNN obviously.
            It’s the only one you can’t use to line the bottom of the birdcage.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              CNN is by far the best fake news…..

              This looks like it is a Saturday Night Live Comedy sketch .. but NO…. it is CNN….. the worldwide leader in fake news

              Pauliver… any comment?

            • Actually, you are the first person who ever called me a pretty boy. The only time American women have reliably hit on me has been after smacking around their ex-boyfriend. But I’m too old for that shit now. LOL

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Wan ker

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “While you make a lot of interesting points, I think solar energy has finally become cheap enough that it can really take off and help us out…”

      did you miss the part of the article about how solar (and wind) are subsidized?

      what did Trump do: take away the subsidies?

      when the solar industry becomes totally unsubsidized and becomes profitable to the extent where the industry is paying lots of taxes, then get back to us with how impressively cheap their output is…

      please…

      • He probably meant that after several decades of heavy subsidies both in production as well as feed in tariffs the industrial capacity largely increased and perhaps can stand on its own should all the subsidies end. Which is sort of true but still besides the point because currently ordinary peoplez would list their priority list somehow like:

        – my iphone
        – my belly
        – my car
        – my house
        – my cat
        – my friends
        – my family



        – producing own energy/food (but not shrinking intake volume)



        – producing own energy/food (living more frugally)

      • The oil industry has also benefited from government subsidizes, and the fossil fuel industry doesn’t pony up enough money to cover the costs of the environmental damage it does; I’m not even talking about global warming there, just things like oil spills and polluted water. As for Trump’s actions, I’m referring in part to articles like this: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/business/energy-environment/solar-industry-tariffs.html

        • The fossil fuel industry enables humans to live on earth, in the quantity that are currently here. In that sense, it is behind all the problems we have.

          If we would all take our clothes off, move outside our homes, and eat only raw food that we would gather with our hands, we would remove our dependence from fossil fuels. We would be able to live in harmony with other plants and animals, without upsetting the balance. Unfortunately, I don’t think that there would be many takers for this fix to our problems.

          • Greg Machala says:

            “If we would all take our clothes off, move outside our homes, and eat only raw food that we would gather with our hands,” – that is laugh out loud funny! No, there would be very few takers on that deal! But, that is the only REAL renewable way to live. But, nobody wants the sacrifice. The thinking always involves some techo-utopia where we never sacrifice a thing. Beware of snak-oil terms like: cutting-edge, high-tech, renewable, cheap, easy, pollution-free, reliable, fossil-fuel-free, robust, long-life.

          • I didn’t suggest that we do any of those things. I just think we should move forwards instead of backwards. China already gains a slightly higher percentage of its energy from renewables than we do are and their government plans on putting $300 million more into clean energy, because they are choking on fossil fuels emissions. They aren’t doing it because they want to live like Hobbits, they are doing it because they want have good things and clean air and water at the same time. China has also pulled ahead of us on quantum computing, Japan has been ahead of us on robotic for years, and the EU and UK have promising research for fusion power. Why? Because their governments put their money where their mouth is, the same way the US pulled ahead in the space race. Fossil fuels is a stage in our economic development, but it doesn’t have to be the final stage.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              actually, it is the final prosperous stage…

              the next stage, after FF, will be worldwide poverty…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and National Energy Administration announced May 31 that installation of new solar-power farms will be halted for the rest of 2018 with future projects needing approval from the government.

              https://www.thestreet.com/investing/stocks/how-new-chinese-policies-affected-solar-power-stocks-14610434

              Where have we seen this before?

              Germany Runs Up Against the Limits of Renewables

              Even as Germany adds lots of wind and solar power to the electric grid, the country’s carbon emissions are rising. Will the rest of the world learn from its lesson? After years of declines, Germany’s carbon emissions rose slightly in 2015, largely because the country produces much more electricity than it needs. That’s happening because even if there are times when renewables can supply nearly all of the electricity on the grid, the variability of those sources forces Germany to keep other power plants running. And in Germany, which is phasing out its nuclear plants, those other plants primarily burn dirty coal. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601514/germany-runs-up-against-the-limits-of-renewables/

              This could be a learning moment for you …. will it be? Or are you going to throw more Idi ocracy at us?

            • Paul, I don’t want you to insult you in any personal manner, but are you for real, isn’t it just some impostor joke by FE/TM or such, because I’ve not seen comment of this calibre for long long time??

              – The scale is so insane that what ever they claim in solar China is and remains COAL

              – Fusion power doesn’t exist, the only advance in nuclear domain on industrial scale are breeders/mox fuel NPPs, one located in France and closed down not on technical grounds but as favor of lefties coalition with cretineous hippie elements, the second one actual several of them is the functioning Russian breeder/mox fuel program. There might be some interesting r&d in labs around the world but it doesn’t exist on industrial scale, do you understand me?

              – Prior to somewhat peculiar infusion of printed up mountain of money for Musk and his tribe of former NASA staffers the US was so decimated as importing Russian rocket engines and space walk suits and riding chair in Russian rockets (up to this point); the bulk of orbital lift cargo capacity is serviced by France(EU) and Russia, SpaceX is perhaps getting there but still a junior. If you are critical and brave enough re-balance your senses of what actually likely happened in the “space race” of the late 1960s, not on TV/studio sets..

            • I am more puzzled than I am insulted, since you didn’t actually contradict anything I said. I said China gets a higher % of energy from clean sources, not all of it, I didn’t say fusion power exists, I said they are doing research into it, and it was with government money that we pulled ahead in the space race in the first place; if we are falling behind, well, at least we have our tax cuts, then, right? I feel like you are rehashing arguments you’ve had with other people.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            And make only grunting noises

        • Paul, I’m afraid you have not looked around the world enough.

          Your wave of life is directly product of many previous generations of people actively doing its share of stealing, murdering, scheming, displacing, enslaving, polluting, burning, .. to get into premier position of amassed control of energy resources. That’s why the US, which still is a host nation of the global order can waste resources per capita in such frivolous magnitude. To smaller or larger extent this is true to all humans anywhere..

          Buffoon Donaldo, changed so far a few hairs on this gargantuan beast so to speak, it’s irrelevant.

          Please call us back when anything like the above is going to be reported in “feel good” msm outlets such as NYT, CNN, BBC, ..

          • Those sound like reasons we should have invested in renewable energy sooner, not reasons why we never should.

            • Tim Groves says:

              The problem you have, Paul, as I see it, is that allegorically you equate removing government subsidies from unprofitable, destructive or futile activities with “kneecapping” of said activities.

              Would that be kneecapping as in taking a sledgehammer to a person’s knees and shattering them, or putting a gun to a person’s knee’s and pulling the trigger?

              Or would that be kneecapping as in refusing to keep paying a person a allowance when you considered that said person was using said allowance for non-productive, frivolous and ultimately destructive purposes?

              As a community, as a society, as a civilization, we need to use our resources wisely and productively or it’s bye bye to community, society and civilization and hello to “continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

              We’ve reached the twilight of abundance and the nightmare at the end of BAU coming to a solar farm near you, and probably sooner than you think. Subsidizing ineffective technological “solutions”, refusing to acknowledge reality, and engaging in virtue signaling are only likely to bring the day of reckoning forward.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Ooooh… we have not had someone so profoundly Delusional on FW in such a long time.

              We’ll be dragging you around by your nose and kicking and spitting on you before long…. and I guarantee you will throw in the towel….

              That’s what always happens….

              Ok boys…. dinner is served!!!

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              I miss Keith…

              but not as much, now that Paul is here…

              some advise for Paul:

              ignore Eddy and stay around…

              we need your green perspective…

        • JesseJames says:

          Can’t wait to see the pollution of both mining the resources and improper disposal for 1 billion lithium batteries.

          • Greg Machala says:

            Yes, JesseJames! I agree. Every 9 years millions of residential solar backup batteries will be discarded. They only last 9 years! Then that 500lb battery pack goes in the landfill. Oh, but but but they are recycled. Yeah recycled with heat from fossil fuels!!!!! More waste more pollution. Yeah that’s the answer to all our problems.

            • Allow for wearing my techno_fetish hat for a moment, the numbers are little bit better on batteries, they should last ~15-20yrs if used properly, obviously derated by some lower %% for capacity at the end. Unless you perhaps meant the classic older heavy Pb stuff.. while even the first gen lithiums of crappy consumer electronics I bought in very early 2000s work fine, and nowadays we are like gen 6-7th revision of it much better..

              The devil lays elsewhere, namely in the power electronics, only hand full of serious companies still around, most of them left the home scale sized consumer market segment for good. What remained is very pricey quality, hard to make interoperable with other components by other vendors to have full scale robust system. If something presents a weak spot nowadays it’s not a battery per se but this power electronics, ~10-15yrs lifespan out of it if you are very wise and lucky..

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I got a quote for solar back in my delusional state… the guy said do not believe the crap from other outfits about 15-20 years…. the best I have seen is 12 … expect 8 or so… and I have been selling this gear for decades….

            • I understand your point, but in this particular case he likely did not sell aerospace grade derived lithium batteries for decades, there were none available.. And as I said I’m more skeptical on the power electronics side of the gear available, because these “quality” western companies don’t last very much (e.g. migrated towards grid operator level customer base), and or funnily exit the wind or vice versa the solar market with their product portfolio just to complicate end user situation etc. There are few ~quality Chinese power electronics brands if you look closely, and ~8-10yrs longevity would be stretching it beyond reasonable.., while the ordinary stuff is even much worse, say <<5yrs..

              Note: again, the above will be independently verified to you perhaps by only ~5% of the dealers/installers out there, majority know very little about their own trade, and are after regular sales, no point in selecting extra durability for customers..

          • I could say the same about anything from computers and car batteries to that huge floating island of plastic out in the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, from time to time I read articles about scientists working on the problems of modern waste disposal.

            • Tim Groves says:

              That’s you happy then. You sound a bit like my maiden aunt, who from time to time reads the Bible and takes a lot of comfort from that, despite all the sins she believes she commits on a daily basis.

              My own take is that as long as you are assured someone else has got the problem in hand, you and my aunt feel justified in continuing to sin in your various ways, when the only defensible ethical stance you would be justified in embracing would be to sin no more.

              In your case, the sin is in contributing to the ever-growing pile of trash you object to humanity collectively producing—including by adding to it through the construction of yet more junk in the form of solar panels or whatever.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              And then you go to the mall … buy more ‘stuff’ and toss it in the landfill when it breaks or you get bored with it.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Goats eat everything …

            I am going to try feeding a goat a lithium battery and see what comes out the arse end.

            Stay tuned.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          FYI https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/04/16/which-megacorps-pay-megataxes/#1e4ed62f5586 Answer: Big Oil

          BTW – DPs…. I am sure you are reading the rubbish from pauliver the MORE on… and thinking … what a f789ing id iot he is …. I bet you are secretly cheering for FE and his crew of mad dogs hoping we turn this joker into a bleeding ball of shredded meat….

          But step back a moment …. you are the same as him… only you drink different kool aid… (paul drink every flavour it seems)

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Oh gaaaawwwwd .. did I see a link to the NYT to support an argument?????

            Seriously????? Pauliver … can you get us some CNN too…. that would really solidify you position

    • Read my comments about the situation in wind and solar in California and Texas driving out backup power. What cost do you assign to that problem? If wind and solar cause your grid to go down quickly, how beneficial is that? How much would you pay for non-beneficial electricity?

      • Thanks for that overview. Eventually, it might not come this very summer but sooner or later it is inevitable, the Cali and Texas situation is seriously destabilized by the premature pull out of base load generation sources.. (and the counter trends of adding volatile windosolars). In Europe as I told you some time ago, several neighboring countries to Germany installed blocking apparatus on the networks, so there could be a sudden blackout situation confined (forced) to DE’s grid as well, unexpectedly.., however the policy of premature closure of coal capacity has been slightly altered in Germany lately, and they are big on natgas fallback as well, so they are aware of it at least somewhat..

      • Those are technical difficulties that can be solved, not reasons to give up completely. I’m not going to trade in my car because the “check engine” light comes on.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Yes, please tell us more about how you have a car and lots of other cool stuff that you don’t wanna give up and at the same time you’re concerned about the mess we’re making of the planet.

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            I now own my 7th car…

            and my 5th computer…

            how about you, Paul?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I have two cars and a truck…. I have so far burned over two tonnes of coal this winter…. can I play?

            • 2t per heating season?
              I’m ashamed burning much less of that nicely precooked carbon, but I’m cheap and lazy.. so perhaps it’s the difference of m3 and temp comfort level..

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Only half way into winter… I am hoping to burn at least 4 tonnes when all is said and done … if I could get through 5 that would be spectacular….

          • Actually, I don’t have a car. I realize that in America most cities are designed around the assumption of car ownership, so not everyone has the options I do, but my job is only a 45 minute walk away from my apartment. I do need to lose some weight, so bonus.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And we could set up a colony on Mars except for the fact that there are no resources such as food and water and air there…. and the cosmic radiation would fry us…

          But I am not giving up … there are just technical problems…. I am confident we can overcome them

          Do I qualify for the id io t club?

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            you can actually be the club’s president…

            but do we have to pay dues?

        • That guy is evidently a prankster, comparing heavily destabilized base load grid (Cali, Texas, Australia recent examples) to mere “check engine” technical difficulties to overcome is even beyond the notorious and famous “..it’s only a fleshwound..” … lolz…

    • Greg Machala says:

      ” I think solar energy has finally become cheap enough that it can really take off” – By “take off” your implying we burn tons of coal and millions of barrels of oil to produce solar panels. Your also implying we produce millions of tons of pollutants from refining metals and materials to produce all these panels. Then you say this act will “help us out”. How will burning all this fuel help? How will adding more pollution help? We already on the precipice of significant fossil fuel shortages. This will only hasten global fuel shortages.

      • Greg Machala says:

        Paul, you seem to have the notion that once these panels and batteries are built that they will last forever. That all we have to do is build them and we can throw a master switch to turn off the flow of fossil fuels and turn on the flow of green energy. Surely you must know that anything and everything humans build begins to decay immediately. Infrastructure needs constant maintenance, repair and replacement (which takes heat from fossil fuels).

        Solar panels and wind turbines are part of the fossil fuel ecosytem. You cannot have solar panels and batteries and wind turbines without the heat energy from burning fossil fuels. Having solar panels without fossil fuels is like having a toilet without a drain. It is just a big mess.

      • But once you have a solar powered factory making the solar panels, your point is moot.

        • There is no chance in the world of a solar powered factory making solar panels, I am afraid. Certainly not in the next 50 years.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Actually, the point wouldn’t be “moot” until we have biodegradable solar panels that grow on trees and can be composted at the end of their working life.

          Even a solar-powered solar panel factory would be a huge burden on the environment if it needed to be supplied with components and parts fabricated from materials processed in other factories from raw materials dug out of the earth or reprocessed from junk and then transported to where they were needed using other machinery that also needed to be powered.

          And even if all the power to do all the fabricating and moving was provided by solar cells, the sheer amount of material and of land involved in the energy harvesting process would be a significant burden on the natural environment that most eco-friendly types claim to be concerned about.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Let me throw a fact out there… I will get a good idea of what your IQ is based on how you interpret this :

          The state’s energy grid is at a “crisis point” as power prices soared to more than 100 times the usual rate last week.

          Several major electricity power stations went down on Thursday night, unprepared for a spike in demand caused by a cold snap along Australia’s east coast.

          It forced one of Australia’s largest aluminium smelters to shut down its potlines for an hour at a time to help keep the state’s lights on.

          On three separate occasions Tomago, the state’s largest single energy user, was forced to halt production as spot prices soared to a staggering $14,000 per megawatt hour.

          CEO Matt Howell tells Ray Hadley the price hike would be like a motorist paying over $400 a litre for petrol and would have seen his business lose $5 million an hour.

          “What we need is constant energy supply. The question is, when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, where does that energy come from?”

          Mr Howell has hit back at suggestions New South Wales should go down the same track as South Australia and buy a giant Tesla battery.

          “The largest battery in the world… would power this smelter for all of eight minutes. It’s clearly a nonsense.”

          https://www.2gb.com/energy-grid-at-crisis-point-as-power-prices-surge-160-times-the-usual-rate/

          The pressure is on … let’s see what your tiny brain can come up with…..

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    Thanks!

  6. Apneaman says:

    Gail, climate change cannot be “fixed” at this point and you need to be willfully ignorant to pretend otherwise. Yes it’s the laws of physics – inertia is a bitch. Inertia = fixed/baked in no matter what the humans do.

    • I think that is pretty much the truth. But it doesn’t make a good front-page story for the news media. Taking coal off line probably reduces global dimming, and perhaps makes things worse.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Apneaman, climate change never has been “fixable” at any time. While it is certainly possible for us to change climate,there are no one-to-one relationships between what we may do and how climate will respond. It is not and never has been within our collective ability to control climate, which is a point alarmists are willfully ignorant of.

      Also, the two biggest factors in changing the climate down here are variations in solar activity and in the dynamics of the earth’s orbit, and both of these are totally outside of our control. But you are probably willfully ignorant of this because your authorities want to keep the plebs terrified of the harmless magic life-enhancing pixy gas that comes out of the civilization-enabling hydrocarbon burning reactions that are just about all that’s keeping us from becoming extras in a real-life Mad Max movie.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      What’s to fix? It looks fine to me… although I am sure there are those who did not appreciate that record cold last winter

  7. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    “Another big difference between my view and the standard view is the observation that a decrease in oil supply (or total energy supply) affects both the supply and demand of energy. Because both supply and demand are affected, we don’t know which direction oil and other energy prices will move.”

    excellent… though this idea has been presented before, perhaps this clear summary will help some persons who haven’t yet grasped that the direction of prices is unpredictable…

    and the oil market today?

    WTI down to $70.70…

    almost into the 60s…

    • I guess at these very special times of cat & dog love affair, when Russia is de facto affiliated OPEC member, and or the EU even joins their euroasian plans to pay Iran for energy in non USD transfers, among other strange things happening in the upper echelons of power, it’s absolutely pointless trying to predict energy prices on any “economic” theory what so ever. The most probable outcome from near/mid term is that as long as the system (“global cartel”) keeps control, they will manage to have pricing and supply as well as demand inside some sort of boundary snake, only fluctuating +/- ~20%.. Obviously, some outlier cases exploding and being pushed aside, e.g. Venezuela, Yemen, ..

      It could be this era was indeed brief and is just ending now, opening the doors was real instability, who knows.. , but we have underestimated these guys several times already..

    • At the same time US crude oil in storage dropped to the lowest level it has been since the buildup began. The amount in storage is below the level it was in January, 2018, when it started refilling. The price is down to $69.47 today, too.

  8. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    “We also know that lack of food is not the only reason why humans die. Based on this observation, it is a reasonable conclusion that having enough energy available is not a sufficient condition to guarantee that the world economy will continue to operate as in the past.”

    this is an idea that brings in the “weird”…

    it’s quite possible that the world economy could collapse at a time when it is producing a record high of oil products…

    isn’t it now 102 million barrels per day?

    and yet, that guarantees nothing…

    • Right! People have been so focused on a single, wrong view of the situation we face that they have never thought through what is needed to make the economy operate.

      By the way, the EIA’s estimate of US crude oil production seems to be stuck on 10,900,000 barrels per day for five weeks straight. I don’t know if there is a reason for this. I would expect that the production estimate would need to move up above this level next by next week, or the implication would be that US oil production is really being squeezed by infrastructure problems.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      did the lads riot tonight or were they too de-energized?

      anyway…

      I am sort of a small time gambler…

      I leaned on Croatian players and won!

      not much money…

      but fun…

      call this BAU tonight, baby!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        So disappointing.. no riots…. everyone is busy thinking about their brave soccer team…

        Brave…. I guess that’s what you resort to when you haven’t won a major championship since Qweeen Lizzie was in grade school

        • Third World person says:

          maybe people in uk do not have energy to riots ?

          because people are in depression

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Fallen into a state of despair… compounded by another WC failure

          • JesseJames says:

            Just returned from the UK. Areas that were chock full of wealth producing industry are now completely devoid of jobs and industry. The people do not smile much in public, or speak to you. Very depressing. Meanwhile the death by a thousand cuts continues. They presently hire adults to be street crossing guards for children at schools. These jobs are being eliminated. Everyone wants to work for the NHS…the only “secure”employer. Pubs are closing down at a rate of one per week. I saw shuttered storefronts. Quick loan schemes and tattoo parlors abound. “Quick quid”, a loan operation, is one of the most frequent advertisers on tv.
            The commoners are forced into tiny cars, as riding the buses are prohibitively expensive, since they are allowing all pensioners to ride free. Therefore pensioners are the only ones riding them.
            I heard a tale of where the NHS misdiagnosed a child with meningitis as “having gas and a mild fever” (when it was severely high). The child is now permanently partially paralyzed and requires full time care.
            English families struggle to make ends meet, while immigrants are given EVERYTHiNG free.
            Spoke to farmers. They only try to run rare breeds in an effort to make a pound. Lamb meat is imported from New Zealand while lamb grown in England is exported somewhere else.

            Meanwhile, the Lake District in Cumbria is fabulous.

            • Rodster says:

              As Kunstler noted in his recent blog that according to him, the global collapse started in 2005. I say the real collapse started in 2008 with Lehman Bros and AIG. What we are seeing today is a global collapse at the periphery or as the saying goes you go broke little by little then all at once.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              All would have been better… had they won the world cup

      • Yep, the sacred secret of any gambling (incl. fin markets prior total CB control age) is that you are mostly betting not against a bookie but swarms of other gamblers out there, should they be for some reason momentarily out of their senses (like believing in UK soccer team) it’s an opportunity not to miss. In the very same vein Brexit and Donaldo events moved a lot of “wealth” from one bigger faction of these people to another (minority).

    • Third World person says:

      Australian is throwing drink on reporter as per article

      so is Australia in uk ?

  9. Fast Eddy says:

    Croatia/Population
    4.171 million (2016)

    London/Population
    8.136 million

    England/Population
    53.01 million

    France/Population
    66.9 million (2016)

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