How the Peak Oil story could be “close,” but not quite right

A few years ago, especially in the 2005-2008 period, many people were concerned that the oil supply would run out. They were concerned about high oil prices and a possible need for rationing. The story was often called “Peak Oil.” Peak Oil theorists have also branched out into providing calculations that might be used to determine which substitutes for fossil fuels seem to have the most promise. What is right about the Peak Oil story, and what is misleading or wrong? Let’s look at a few of the pieces.

[1] What Is the Role of Energy in the Economy?

The real story is that the operation of the economy depends on the supply of  affordable energy. Without this energy supply, we could not make goods and services of any kind. The world’s GDP would be zero. Everything we have, from the food on our dinner table, to the pixels on our computer, to the roads we drive on is only possible because the economy “dissipates” energy. Even our jobs depend on energy dissipation. Some of this energy is human energy. The vast majority of it is the energy of fossil fuels and of other supplements to human energy.

Peak Oilers generally have gotten this story right, but they often miss the “affordable” part of the story. Economists have been in denial of this story. A big part of the problem is that it would be problematic to admit that the economy is tied to fossil fuels and to other energy sources whose supply seems to be limited. It would be impossible to talk about growth forever, if economic growth were directly tied to the consumption of limited energy resources.

[2] What Happens When Oil and Other Energy Supplies Become Increasingly Difficult to Extract?

Fossil fuel producers tend to extract the fuels that are easiest to extract first. Over time, even with technology changes, this tends to lead to higher extraction costs for the remaining fuels. Peak Oilers have been quick to notice this relationship.

The question that then arises is, “Can these higher extraction costs be passed on to the consumer as higher prices?” Peak Oil theorists, as well as many others, have tended to say, “Of course, the higher cost of oil extraction will lead to higher oil prices. Energy is essential to the economy.” In fact, we did see very high oil prices in the 1974-1981 period, in the 2004-2008 period, and in the 2011-2013 period.

Unfortunately, it is not true that higher extraction costs always can be passed on to consumers as higher prices. Many energy costs are very well “buried” in finished goods, such as food, cars, air conditioners, and trucks. After a point, energy prices “top out” at what is affordable for citizens, considering current wage levels and interest rate levels. This level of the affordable energy price will vary over time, with lower interest rates and higher debt amounts generally allowing higher energy prices. Greater wage disparity will tend to reduce the affordable price level, because fewer workers can afford these finished goods.

The underlying problem is that, from the consumer’s perspective, high oil prices look like inefficiency on the part of the oil company. Normally, being inefficient leads to costs that can’t be passed along to the consumer. We should not be surprised if, at some point, it is no longer possible to pass these higher costs on as higher prices.

If higher extraction costs cannot be passed on to consumers, this is a terrible situation for energy producers. After not too many years, this situation tends to lead to peak energy output because producers and their governments tend to go bankrupt. This seems to be the situation we are reaching for oil, coal and natural gas. This is a much worse situation than the high price situation because the high price situation tends to lead to more supply; low prices tend to collapse the production system.

The underlying problem is that low prices, even if they are satisfactory to the consumer, tend to be too low for the companies producing energy products. Peak Oilers miss the fact that a two-way tug of war is taking place. Low prices look like a great outcome from the perspective of consumers, but they are a disaster from the perspective of producers.

[3] How Important Is Hubbert’s Curve for Determining the Shape of Future Oil (or Coal or Natural Gas) Extraction?

Figure 1. M. King Hubbert symmetric curve from Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels. Total quantity of resources that will ultimately be extracted is Q.

Most Peak Oilers seem to believe that if we see Hubbert shaped curves in individual fields, we should expect to see a similar shaped curve for total oil supply or for the supply of other fossil fuels. They think that production patterns to date plus outstanding reserves can give realistic views of the future extraction patterns. Frequently, Peak Oilers will assume that once production of oil, coal or natural gas starts to fall, we will still have about 50% of the beginning amount left. Thus, we can plan on a fairly long, slow decline in fossil fuel production.

However, many Peak Oilers will agree that if the energy used to extract energy is subtracted, the result will be more of a Seneca Cliff (Figure 2). Seneca is known for saying, “Increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid.”

Figure 2. Seneca Cliff by Ugo Bardi.

Peak Oilers also tend to limit the amount of resources that they consider extractible, to exclude those that are particularly high in cost.

Even with these adjustments, it seems to me that the situation is likely to be even worse than most Peak Oil analyses suggest because of the interconnected nature of the economy and the fact that world population continues to grow. The economy cannot get along with a sharp reduction in energy consumption per capita. Some governments may collapse; many debtors may default; some banks may be forced to close. The situation may resemble the “societal collapse” situation experienced by many early economies.

One concern I have is that the Hubbert model, once it became the standard model for what energy supply might be available in the future, could easily be distorted. With enough assumptions about ever-rising energy prices and ever-improving technology, it became possible to claim that any fossil fuel resource in the ground could be extracted at some point in the future. Such outrageous assumptions can be used to claim that our biggest future problem will be climate change. After hearing enough climate change forecasts, people tend to forget about our immediate energy problems, since current problems are mostly hidden from consumers by low energy prices.

[4] Is Running Out of Oil Our Biggest Energy Problem?

The story told by Peak Oilers is based on the assumption that oil is our big problem and that we have plenty of other fuels. Oil is indeed our highest cost fuel and is very energy dense. Nevertheless, I think this is an incorrect assessment of our situation; the real issue is keeping the average cost of energy consumption low enough so that goods and services made from energy products will be affordable by consumers. Even factory workers need to be able to buy goods made by the economy.

Figure 2. Historical oil, natural gas, and oil production, based on Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

The way the cost of energy consumption can be kept low is mostly a “mix” issue. If the mix of energy products is heavily weighted toward low cost energy-related products, such as coal and labor from low wage countries, then the overall cost of energy can be kept low. This is a major reason why the economies of China and India have been able to grow rapidly in recent years.

If underlying costs of production are rising, mix changes cannot be expected to keep the problem hidden indefinitely. A recession is a likely outcome if the average price of energy, even with the mix changes, isn’t kept low enough for consumers. Energy producers, on the other hand, depend on energy prices that are high enough that they can make adequate reinvestment. If they cannot make adequate reinvestment, the whole system will tend to collapse.

A collapse based on prices that are too low for producers will not occur immediately, however. The problem can be hidden for a while by a variety of techniques, including additional debt for producers and lower interest rates for consumers. We seem to be in the period during which the problems of producers can be temporarily hidden. Once this grace period has passed, the economy is in danger of collapsing, with oil not necessarily singled out first.

Following collapse, large amounts oil, coal and natural gas are likely to be left in the ground. Some of it may even cease to be available before the 50% point of the Hubbert curve is reached. Electricity may very well collapse at the same time as fossil fuels.

[5] How Should We Measure Whether an Energy-Producing Device Is Actually Providing a Worthwhile Service to the Economy?

The answer that some energy researchers have come up with is, “We need to compare energy output with energy input” in a calculation called Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI). This approach looks like a simple ratio of (Energy Output)/(Energy Input), but “the devil is in the details.”

As I looked through the workings of the Limits to Growth model, it occurred to me that the EROI calculation needs to line up with how the economy really operates. If this is the case, we really need a very rapid return of the energy output, relative to the energy input. Also, in the aggregate, the energy output needs to scale up very rapidly. Furthermore, the energy output needs to match the types of energy needed for the devices the economy is currently using. If the output is different (such as electricity instead of fossil fuels), the EROI calculation needs to be adjusted to reflect the expected energy cost and time delay associated with a changeover in devices to match the new type of energy output.

In a footnote, I have attached a list of what I see as requirements that seem to be needed for EROI calculations, based on the LTG model, as well as other considerations.1

Of course, in a setting of many researchers working on a subject and many peer reviewed papers, a concept such as EROI is gradually modified and enhanced by different researchers. For example, EROI is turned around to become the Energy Payback Period. This is used to show prospective buyers of a device how helpful a particular device supposedly is. Researchers who are trying to “push” a type of energy product will find ways to perform the EROI calculation that are as helpful as possible to their cause.

The problem, though, is that if more stringent EROI requirements are put into effect, wind and solar can be expected to do much less well in EROI calculations. They very likely drop below the threshold of being useful to the economy as energy producers. This is especially the case if they are added to the economy in great numbers to try to significantly replace fossil fuels.

Regardless of their value as energy producers, there might still be a reason for building wind and solar. Building them probably does help the economy in the same sense that building unneeded roads and apartment buildings does. In theory, all of these things might someday be somewhat useful. They are helpful now in that they add jobs. Also, the building of wind and solar devices adds “demand,” which helps keep the price of coal in China high enough to encourage additional extraction. But in terms of truly keeping the world economy operating over the long haul, or in terms of scaling up to the quantity of energy supply that is really needed to operate the economy, wind and solar do very little.

[6] How Should Net Energy Be Defined?

Net Energy is defined by EROI researchers as (Energy Output) minus (Energy Input). Unfortunately, as far as I can see, this calculation provides virtually no valid information. Instead, it promotes the belief that the benefit of a device can be defined in terms of (Energy Output) minus (Energy Input). In practice, it is very difficult to measure more than a small fraction of the Energy Inputs needed to produce an Energy Output, while Energy Output does tend to be easily measurable. This imbalance leads to a situation where the calculation of (Energy Output) minus (Energy Input) provides a gross overestimate of how helpful an energy device really is.

If we are dealing with a fish or some other animal, the amount of energy that the animal can expend on gathering food is not very high because it needs to use the vast majority of its energy for other purposes, such as respiration, reproduction, and digestion. In general, a fish can only use about 10% of its energy from food for gathering food. Limits to Growth modeling seems to suggest a similar maximum energy-gathering usage percentage of 10%. In this case, this percentage would apply to the resources needed for capturing, processing, and distributing energy to the world economy.

Perhaps there is a need for a substitute for Net Energy, calculated compared to the budgeted maximum expenditure for the function of “Energy gathering, processing and distribution.” For example, the term Surplus Energy might be used instead, calculated as (10% x Energy Output) minus (Energy Input), where Energy Inputs are subject to suitably wide boundaries. If an energy product has a very favorable evaluation on this basis, it will be inexpensive to produce, making it affordable to buyers. At the same time, the cost of production will be low, leaving plenty of funds with which to pay taxes.

Alternately, Surplus Energy might be calculated in terms of the tax revenue that governments are able to collect, relative to the new energy type. Tax revenue based on fossil fuel production and/or consumption is very signification today. Oil exporting nations often rely primarily on oil-based tax revenue to support their programs. Many countries tax gasoline consumption highly. Another type of fossil fuel tax is a carbon tax. Any replacement for fossil fuels will need to replace the loss of tax revenue associated with fossil fuels, because taxation is the way Surplus Energy is captured for the good of the economy as a whole.

When we consider the tax aspect, we find that any replacement for fossil fuels has three conflicting demands on its pricing:

(a) Prices to the consumer must be low enough to prevent recession.

(b) Prices must be high enough that the producer of the replacement energy supply can earn adequate after-tax revenue to support its operations.

(c) The mark-up between the cost of production and the sales price must be high enough that governments can take a very significant share of gross receipts as tax revenue.

The only way that it is possible to meet these three demands simultaneously is if the unsubsidized cost of energy production is extremely low. Wind and solar clearly come nowhere near being able to meet this very low price threshold; they still rely on subsidies. One of the biggest subsidies is being allowed to “go first” when their energy supply is available. The greater the share of intermittent wind and solar that is added to the electric grid, the more disruptive this subsidy becomes.

Afterword: Is this a criticism of Peak Oil energy researchers?

No. I know many of these researchers quite well. They are hard working individuals who have tried to figure out what is happening in the energy arena with very little funding. Some of them are aware of the collapse issue, but it is not something that they can discuss in the journals they usually write in. The 1972 The Limits to Growth modeling that I mentioned in my last post was ridiculed by a large number of people. It was not possible to believe that the world economy could collapse, certainly not in the near term.

Early researchers were not aware that the physics of energy extraction extends to the economy as a whole, rather than ending at the wellhead. Because of this, they tended to overlook the importance of affordability. Affordability is important because there is a pricing conflict between the low prices needed by buyers of energy products and the high prices needed by producers. This conflict becomes especially apparent as the world approaches energy limits; this conflict was not easily seen in the data reviewed by Hubbert. Once Hubbert missed the affordability issue, his followers tended to go follow the same path.

Researchers needed to start from somewhere. The start that Peak Oil researchers made was as reasonable as any. They were convinced that there was an energy problem, and they wanted to convince others of the problem. But this was difficult to do. When they would develop an approach that they thought would make the energy problem clear to everyone, other researchers would modify it. They would take whatever aspect of the research seemed to be helpful to them and would tweak it to support whatever view they wanted to encourage–often with precisely the opposite intent to what the original researchers had expected.

Thus, the approaches that Peak Oil researchers thought would show that there was a likely energy shortage ahead ended up being used to “prove” that we have an almost unlimited amount of fossil fuel energy available. It seems as though the world has such a strong need for happily-ever-after endings that self-organization pushes research in the direction of showing outcomes people want to see, even if they are untrue.


[1] The following is from an e-mail I sent to some energy researchers concerned about EROI calculations:

A concern I have is that EROI really needs to match up with the concept of Fraction of Capital to Obtaining Non-Renewable Resources (FCONRR) in the Limits to Growth model. If a person looks at how the 2003 World3 model functions, the person can figure out several things:

1. FCONRR is what I would call a calendar year “in and out” function. Forecasting EROI using a model year approach gives artificially favorable indications. FCONRR calculations line up fairly well with many fossil fuel EROI calculations, but not with the usual model approach used for capital devices used to generate electricity.

2. I would describe FCONRR as corresponding to “Point of Use (POU) EROI,” not Wellhead EROI.

3. If a newly built device causes a previously built capital device to be closed down before the end of its useful lifetime (for example, solar output leads to distorted electricity prices, which in turn leads to unprofitable nuclear), this has an adverse impact on FCONRR. Thus, intermittent renewables need to be evaluated on a very broad basis.

4. In the model, FCONRR starts at 5% and gradually increases to 10%. This is equivalent to overall average calendar year POU EROI starting at 20:1 and falling to 10:1. The model shows the world economy growing nicely, when total FCONRR is 5%. It gradually slows, as FCONRR increases to 10%. Once overall FCONRR exceeds 10%, the model shows the world economy contracting.

5. I was struck by the fact that FCONRR equaling 10% corresponds to the ratio that Charlie Hall describes as the share of energy that a fish can afford to use to gather its food. Once a fish starts using more than 10% of its energy for gathering food, it is all downhill from there. The fish cannot live very long, without enough energy to support the rest of it functions. Similarly, an economy cannot last very long, without enough energy to support its other functions.

6. In the model, necessary resources out depend on the population. The higher the population, the more resources out are needed. It is falling resources per capita that causes the system to collapse. This is why FCONRR needs to stay strictly below 10% and energy consumption must be ramped up rapidly. This would suggest that average POU EROI needs to stay strictly above 10:1, to keep the system away from collapse.

7. If there are not enough resources out in total, for a given calendar year, this becomes a huge problem. The way this works out in practice is that if a device uses a lot of upfront capital, these devices can sort of work out OK, if (a) only a few are built each year, (b) they have very high EROI, and (c) they last a long time. Thus, hydro and dams can work. But devices with an EROI close to 10:1 cannot work, especially if they need to be scaled up quickly and need a lot of supporting infrastructure.

8. Clearly, using the FCONRR approach, eliminating a high EROI fuel is as detrimental to the system as adding a low EROI device with a lot of upfront capital spending required. It is the overall output compared to population that is important. The quantity of output is even more important than the EROI ratio.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,605 Responses to How the Peak Oil story could be “close,” but not quite right

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Auto sales in China continued to fall in the first month of this year after the first full-year slump in sales last year following more than two decades of growth.

    “Wholesale passenger vehicle sales fell by 17.7% YoY to 2.02 million units last month to make seven straight months of monthly declines for the world’s largest auto market. The decline follows a 15.8% fall in sales during the month of December and an overall 4.1% decline for the whole year.”

    • Interesting! I can see that the travel industry is headed for worse times, as the higher cost of oil in 2018 works its way through the system. Also, as I mentioned yesterday, there is an accounting change relating to the many airline leases that adversely affects many airlines that takes place in 2019. This further raises needs prices for airlines.

  2. Lastcall says:

    Also for animals…plenty of evidence to show we are building our road (5G information highway) to perdition!

    ‘The present time is characterized by great technological advances that bring together electromagnetic pollution. Power lines and mobile transmission antennas are sources of this pollution but in different frequencies. Recently, it has been shown that electromagnetic noise, in the frequency range of 50 kHz to 5 MHz, can affect the magnetic compass orientation of migratory birds, becoming totally disoriented [95]. The results of Burda et al. [9] show a similar result for extremely low frequencies in mammals. A general conclusion from both studies is that alternating magnetic field pollution in higher and lower frequencies can affect the magnetic sensibility of animals, and animal preservation policies must be aware of this.

    • This is a 2015 article, pointing out the possibility of a problem. It doesn’t go as far as mentioning 5G, probably because 5G wasn’t really thought about at that time.

      I don’t know that there is any way of stopping the movement toward 5G apart from general collapse of the economy. We have way too many ways of overusing our resources.

      • Lastcall says:

        More recently we have;

        “These ELF frequencies are the Schumann resonances, and are identical to the brain wave frequencies of every animal. It also contains VLF frequencies. These are generated by lightning, vary seasonally, and regulate our annual biorhythms. We pollute this circuit at our peril.
        The strength of the atmospheric electrical current is between 1 and 10 picoamperes (trillionths of an ampere) per square meter. Dr. Robert Becker found that 1 picoampere is all the current that is necessary to stimulate healing in frogs. (R.O. Becker and G. Selden, The Body Electric, New York: Morrow 1985, p. 142; R.O. Becker and A.A. Marino, Electromagnetism and Life, Albany: State University of New York Press 1982, pp. 49-51). It is these tiny currents that keep us alive and healthy.”

        Further on;
        “What does this have to do with SpaceX and OneWeb? Or, to rephrase the question, if a single half-watt radio station broadcasting from the earth has a measurable effect on the magnetosphere, what effect will 20,000 satellites, some located directly in the ionosphere and some directly in the magnetosphere, each blasting out up to five million watts—what effect will that have on life below?

        The answer has to do with the fact that the satellite signals—like all wireless signals today—will be pulsed at ELF and VLF frequencies. That is how the data will be sent. Like an AM radio, the ionosphere and magnetosphere will demodulate, or extract, the ELF and VLF components, and then amplify them tremendously.”

        And because science is in the service of business, it is business that will decide out fate.
        For a long time I have been wondering whether it will be a collapse of the financial system or a collapse of our natural system that will be the deciding factor.

        Now I believe a financial system collapse (well underway in the periphery, including for those within the G20 countries whom are outside the upper 20% and normally below the decision making radar…deplorables, brexit, yellow vests etc) will merely end our way of life.

        It will be the ecological collapse (again well underway but similarly mostly under the radar except for the headline acts; polar bears, Panda, Silverbacks, whales, rhino’s et al) that end any way of life.

        Jellyfish for dinner anyone?

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            thanks for that… I like to read new chapters of our story…

            “It is these tiny currents that keep us alive and healthy.”

            so perhaps we will be healthier with stronger currents?

            it seems to me that these kinds of new doomer science stories often don’t amount to much of anything…

            this one could be the big one… or not…

            • Tim Groves says:

              Imagine what they would have said if the Elephant Man had used a smartphone?


            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              hey, Merrick, call me (maybe)…

            • Lastcall says:

              ‘Insects are most numerous & successful creatures on Earth. Their species richness or diversity surpasses any other group of organisms. Throughout the insect evolution, several factors have combined to make insects the most successful of all species on this planet.’

              It could very well be that its more of the same-same, but when we see such a success story being turned on its head it does beg the question; where to from here?

              I guess we all have different trigger events; I believe technology is a false and universal G*d to a new urban elite,. In much the same way the elites ignored the deplorables/brexiteers/yellow vests’, because they didn’t show up on their twitter feeds, the last to know about the collapse of ‘natural energy flows’ of the real world will be those latte sipping chattering classes. texting each other while clutching their empty recycled bamboo bags that they brought home from their holiday to Bali.

              Me, I and more a short black type of guy.

      • Xabier says:

        Sophisticated technologies, deployed without any forethought on the part of their developers and sponsors, are nothing more than a crude and destructive intervention in a delicately balanced complex system.

        Arrogance and hubris have their price, and always have.

        Earlier technological changes – pre-historic or associated with civilisations – generally resulted in the sever disruption/ destruction of established human ways of life: generally, however, as many befitted as suffered, and only localised environmental damage was caused (although it could be quite extensive – deforestation and soil erosion, etc).

        Now we can wreak fatal havoc in the whole planetary life system on which we depend, seeking to maintain a financial system and civilisational structure which is doomed in the short-term.

  3. Lastcall says:

    Interesting how insects are promoted as a future protein source; looks like that resource may be disappearing as well.

    The limits to growth graph that probably represents this best is the line depicting services per capita.This blog discusses mined energy available made available per capita and its declining performance. Meanwhile services per capita from the insect world appear to be in rapid retreat.

    My personal belief is that we have overlain the subtle geo-magnetic and cosmic radiation signals that guided natural processes on this planet with a fog of telecommunication and satellite wi-fi etc that dis-orientates, and in the case of 5G, will likely fry, our insect support systems. Apparently a smart-phone, if it was on the moon surface, would be brighter than any natural microwave signal from space other than the sun.

    Anyway, my point is that food is a pretty basic need, and even with some new magical energy source (fusion) I doubt the enormous loss of insect energy inputs can be compensated for.

    Was it Einstein that said that 4 years after the bees are gone, so too will we?

    • Regarding insects as a food source, I had not thought about the connection with falling insect populations already.

      Somehow, most people have not figured our that renewable and sustainable are not synonyms. We are already overusing our renewable resources. We don’t really have the option of using more, no matter how helpful doing so may seem to be.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        We have 7.6+ billion people in a collapsing ecosystem.

      • Xabier says:

        Unfortunately, the technologies and ways of life being marketed as ‘sustainable’ and ‘renewable’ (‘Clean ,Green, Good’, etc) are in fact not such.

        Even worse, in schools kids are being indoctrinated to believe that this will be a viable -and pleasant – future.

        All those little ‘Greta Thurnbergs’ are going to be be very traumatised by reality as it hits them, like those educated under the Soviet system when it collapsed on them, or when adult experience showed them how corrupt it all was.

      • SuperTramp says:

        Gail, a number of years ago I listen to a radio segment on NPR public radio her in the States, that featured insects as the future food source for the continuing growing people population!
        About Marcel Dicke’s TED Talk

        Entomologist Marcel Dicke wants us to reconsider our relationship with insects, promoting bugs as a tasty — and ecologically sound — alternative to meat in an increasingly hungry world.

        About Marcel Dicke

        Marcel Dicke is a professor at the University of Wageningen in The Netherlands. He investigates the ecology of insect-plant interactions, and researches the viability of insects as food
        Years ago, meal worms were a tasty treat for our Oscar Chiclid tropical fish.
        Raised them in wheat flakes with moisten bread. Easy to grow….
        Of course, in other parts of the world they are a staple item on the plate.P.S. I, myself, never tried it….but again, I was never starving….

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “Anyway, my point is that food is a pretty basic need…”

      of course…

      if I ever hear that cacao trees are endangered, then I’ll know that things are getting very serious…

  4. SuperTramp says:

    When I lived in North Carolina, the good old boys, shrugged and said if there was a Collapse, all they would do is grab their gun a go out in the woods to kill a deer….see…preeping at it’s hunting and gathering Level….there is always something…
    ‘Zombie’ deer disease is in 24 states and thousands of infected deer are eaten each year, expert warns
    Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has afflicted free-ranging deer, elk and/or moose in 24 states and two Canadian provinces as of January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

    “We are in an unknown territory situation,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told USA TODAY on Friday.

    Last week, Osterholm testified before his state lawmakers warning about possible human impacts.

    “It is probable that human cases of chronic wasting disease associated with consumption with contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead,” he said. “It’s possible the number of human cases will be substantial, and will not be isolated events.

    • I saw the story earlier about the rising incidence of CWD in deer. This is frightening. There are epidemics of many kinds. We won’t necessarily know in advance what they are.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Chronic wasting disease is an appropriate description of human life under modern consumerism. We (the common “we”) waste perfectly good stuff by trashing it when we get bored with it, we waste inordinate amounts of time and energy in trivial pursuits and frivolous antics, and we create poor quality goods by wasting perfectly good resources, all on an impressive and unprecedented scale.

  5. SuperTramp says:

    Abrupt Collapse…now, that’s what I’m talking about!

    LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of passengers throughout Europe have been stranded by the abrupt collapse of the British regional airline Flybmi
    British Midland Regional Limited, which operates as Flybmi, said it’s filing for administration — a British version of bankruptcy — because of higher fuel costs and uncertainty caused by Britain’s upcoming departure from the European Union.

    “Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and a lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe,” the airline said on its website late Saturday.

    The airline thanked workers for their dedication and said “it is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement.”

    The airline operated 17 jets on routes to 25 European cities. It employed 376 people in Britain, Germany, Sweden and Belgium and says it carried 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights last year–finance.html

    Here today…on a razors edge.

    • I think that there have been some other airline bankruptcies recently as well.

      Air Germania Feb. 5, 2019

      The airline with 37 aircraft had flown mainly Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern holiday routes for German sun-seekers on package trips, and said it transported over four million passengers a year.

      One reason: “steep kerosene price increases over the summer of last year with a simultaneous fall of the euro against the US dollar”

      There also seems to be a change in rules that hurts airlines. The International Financial Reporting Standards (IRFS) is requiring companies to bring most leases onto their balance sheets in 2019.

      This new standard – IFRS 16 – will enable analysts to see a company’s own assessment of its off-balance sheet lease liabilities. The new standard covers commercial aircraft so some airlines will be in trouble as the new prescribed methodology will require many to re-negotiate covenants with their bank. As the airlines will now be required to increase the liabilities and assets they report it will have a significant impact on their financial standing, bringing mostly negative consequences. For the airlines that have traditionally kept their leased aircraft classified as a finance and operating lease this change means the assets will be more visible on their balance sheets so they will appear to be more indebted. In addition to this structural change in the accounting of the balance sheets there will also be changes in accounting over the life of the lease contract which ultimately will mean more costs to the airline when these changes go into effect. Even into the future, managing these now on-balance assets will prove costlier over the life of the lease.

      I suppose this accounting change was to protect riders, but driving them to bankruptcy isn’t entirely helpful.

  6. MG says:

    The human species, trying to survive, applied various techniques: fristly, it was gathering food, theny hunting, later agriculture. The last stage of its existence is dominated by mining: we mine for energy in order to keep running all the previous stages: gathering food, hunting and agriculture.

    • doomphd says:

      actually, the last stage could be fusion synthesis of needed food and commodities, using the very high energy gain of fusion nuclear power, which seems like such a waste of energy today, but today’s energy is fossil fuel produced. of course, we need to demo a continuous fusion reaction that is contained. still waiting for that. meanwhile, we have dirty fission.

      • Country Joe says:

        When I was getting my Post Hole Digger degree, they taught me that 6 CO2 + 6 H2O – in the presences of Sunlight – = C6 H12 O6 + 6O2. There was no mention that the energy in the bonds of the new sugar molecule was fusion produced solar energy. There was no mention that the heat coming out of the wood in the fire place was fusion energy from the Sun that the tree had stored in the bonds of the wood molecules. There was no mention that all our fossil energy is fusion energy that was stored photosynthetically millions of years ago.

        It was 30 or 40 years later that I dawned on me what “in the presence of Sunlight” meant. All the focus in school was on the H and the C and the O with no concept of the energy involved. Earth is solar-fusion powered.
        We’ve got some fission and some geotherm but life on Earth is Sunshine.

        So with Sunshine powering photosynthesis, we currently have all our food produced by fusion energy.
        We have a wonderful fusion reactor setting out there, safely 93,000,000 miles away that has been quite reliable for the past 3-4 billion years.

        Earth has had this small blip of stored fusion that caused an unfortunate biological imbalance, but nature always corrects. Earth will go back to life on current Solar Income. As long as we have liquid water on Earth, some kind of life will carry on.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “The last stage of its existence is dominated by mining: we mine for energy…”

      and lots of other resources… and all of this mining will gradually and continually get more expensive due to diminishing returns…

      Peak Oil is just one special case of diminishing returns… obviously, FF diminishing returns are the most important and are leading to the end of prosperity…

      though this might be the penultimate stage…

      the last stage might be human quasi-civilization with zero FF…

      • Tim Groves says:

        The last stage will doubtless be very smug and superior pure energy beings who regard even Mr. Spock’s logic and Engineer Scot’s ability to fix warp drive engines as the primitive antics of upstart carbon-based lifeforms.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          or the last stage will be just the remaining Preppers…

          I don’t really think so…

          but perhaps they do…

    • Very Far Frank says:

      Duncan- interesting the cartoons making their way around socialist circles. Kill your political opponents right? Problem is, socialists tend to assume the government will do this for them, when governments are the very bodies that are most prone to collapse.

      • Xabier says:

        The Left are prone to be obsessed with the romance of violence, the glamour of rebellious (brain-washed) youth, etc – I see it all the time on my sister’s Twitter.

        They are all, of course, people who have never lived through a real revolution and seen the downside of violent societal change emerge.

        There is a good reason that revolutionary Utopian movements often end in labour and death camps, torture and a culture of lies.

        The funniest ones are the wealthy (in global terms) ‘Resisters’. And the Champagne Revolutionaries.

        ‘The road to Hell is paved……..’

      • aaaa says:

        You’re in delusionstan if you think conservatives don’t want the same for members of the left that they dislike.

        • Xabier says:

          Maybe they do, it’s human nature: but on the Left it’s actually built into their theories of social and economic advance, and highly romanticised….. Dumb kids just suck it up, with half-formed brains and ignorant of history.

          • jupiviv says:

            If you’re going by history then capitalism caused both world wars, plus the two biggest communist revolutions. Capital is ultimately resources on the ground which are plundered against the wishes of whoever lives near or on them.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Nobody—with the possible exception of Milton Freedman—said capitalism was perfect. But for a lot of people—and you’d be surprised how many—the prospect of owning some of the shiny toys capitalism provides outweighs the security of lifetime employment laboring for the monastery, the lord of the manor, the people’s republic, or some other collective.

            • jupiviv says:

              “the prospect of owning some of the shiny toys capitalism provides outweighs the security of lifetime employment laboring for the monastery, the lord of the manor, the people’s republic, or some other collective.”

              And here I thought cheap energy, labour and resources luckily found at home or plundered abroad were responsible for BAU.

              Guarantees of a certain standard of living are precisely why a relatively small fraction of humanity has been OK with “capitalism” aka state-corporate industrialism. Those guarantees were not secured by worshipping the individual.

            • JesseJames says:

              “capitalism caused both world wars, plus the two biggest communist revolutions.”
              What a shallow statement.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Even with cheap energy, labour and resources luckily found at home or plundered abroad, without the magic of capitalism and its entrepreneurial spirit which birthed the free market, free enterprise, double entry book-keeping, innovative technological and financial development, 57 flavors of ice cream and 57 channels and nothing on, we might as well all be stuck with the the security of lifetime employment laboring for the monastery, the lord of the manor, the people’s republic, or some other collective.

            • jupiviv says:

              Well the biggest extant people’s republic is a big part of the reason why a lot of us roundeyes still enjoy BAU. It turns out the “magic” of capitalism means its actual causes and functioning, which capitalists wish to ignore.

    • MG says:

      Socialism killed capitalism also in Venezuela: They thought that they can create capital by printing money. No, because they need imported energy from outside to continue oil production and their existence. That is the essence of capitalism: bringing energy where there is a lack of energy in an attempt to kick-start the energy production.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Actually, capitalism is the difference between user value and exchange value, and the capitalist exploiting that difference, through profit.
        But we are traveling into territory that is beyond the neural capabilities of our readers.

        But a smile is always good–

        • Chrome Mags says:

          True enough DI, and one major component is cost of labor. US companies are allowed to pay people what amounts to slave wages to increase profit for shareholders and top execs. Those massive bonuses come from cheap labor. American workers have lost ground as labor unions have decreased and the political landscape is pro-employer, not pro-employee. Most people working overtime just get the same old wages, but they should upon passing 40 hours a week get 1.5 times & past 50 hours get 2 x’s wages. People in Europe get a mandatory 4 weeks paid vacation when they START a job. I worked in Scotland and after 3 months they said you have a week paid vacation – so I took a trip with a girlfriend up into the highlands. Aye, the heather! And the Glenlivet, Grouse, Glenmaranche and Drambuie!! Came back to work with a smile on my face. In the US you just keep working.

          What’s the difference between the US & Europe? Several decades ago workers protested for better pay, more vacation time, maternity leave (yes, people have children), but in the US people just keep taking it on the chin. I’m not even sure why. The labor union movement was strong in the time of FDR but since then the Republicans have done everything they can to take away workers rights and their followers just jump in line like that’s the American way and even feel patriotic about taking it for the boss and the shareholders. Ok. it’s your lives.

          The fact is my wife and I came to the conclusion the best way forward was to have our own businesses. Much less taxes paid, and I mean huge reductions. Also, own your home so you can use the mortgage to reduce taxes but also build equity. Renting is another form of slavery. Someone I knew that worked at a bank ran the numbers on me as to how much we were paying for rent over time and I gasped – run the numbers, it’s huge, so if you’re gaining equity that’s another way of working for yourself. Now I need to go get some work done.

          • Can either of these strategies really work? Right now, it looks to me as if the European model is going down more quickly than the US model. I could be wrong; both may collapse at the same time.

            The laws of physics seem to determine what wage distributions “work,” and for how long. More even distribution seems to lead to happier, healthier citizens, but tends to use up resources more quickly. It may also discourage innovation. Too even distribution discourages people doing any work at all. We have examples of communist systems collapsing; Cuba is not doing well, even now. Ultimately, the laws of physics will try to squeeze out any who are not contributing sufficiently to the system.

            • Artleads says:

              It’s now fairly easy to see why equality doesn’t work. Took me awhile. Maybe a machine can function without some parts? And how do you define it when some parts of a machine drive while others are driven?

            • MG says:

              On the other hand, the problem of the US is the big distances, that is why its countryside is and will be depopulating fast. These big distances make also public transport uneconomical.

              Although Europe does not have much oil, it still has got huge amounts of conventional gas on the Northern shores of Russia. We will see how economical will be the shale oil extraction of Bazhenov. The pipes and infrastructure are there like in Texas.

              The big distances are a big energy problem.

            • the USA is a nation stitched together with iron and fossil fuels

              remove the fossil fuels and the iron stitches come apart.

              Europe will follow the same route. Relying on Russian gas is ultimately self defeating, because eventually Russia will turn the taps off—either because they need it for themselves, or to gain political/military advantage (Probably both).

              Europe can’t keep itself warm and functioning without Russian gas, so will revert to the warring states it used to be

            • In the US, cement is important as well. I would imagine it is used in roads and commercial/industrial buildings in Europe as well. Without cement and iron, the world would be in tough shape. I expect wind and solar installations would go to zero.

            • Artleads says:

              Sand is now scarce, so cement won’t be around too long.

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              Cement is incredibly energy intensive.
              A disaster in the past, a nightmare currently.

            • Our roads are either made of cement of asphalt. Take your pick.

          • Xabier says:

            US workers are certainly exploited, the vacation allowance is derisory: in Europe and Britain,industrialisation eroded traditional days off and festivals -usually seasonal and religious – and it was a long hard fight to claw some free time back.

            Ironically, those who lived under the heel of the Catholic church did better in that respect as the old religious festivals were maintained by the priests who wanted to maintain their control on life.

            Today, in Spain, people have a way of stretching out weekend vacations to Thursday-Tuesday (the so-called ‘bridge’) and there is a lot of absenteeism in the public sector among the category of unsackable ‘functionaries’.

    • Third World person says:

      haha duncan you think people will lynched billonaires

      when billionaires own media companies, governments
      well you of touch

  7. Chrome Mags says:

    Remember when the airline industry was going really big with the A380? Well, it would seem that era has now passed us by a those contracts dry up.

    “And there goes the A380, too. You would think that the European aerospace industry wouldn’t repeat the mistake they made with the Concorde, would they? But they managed not only to repeat it, but too make it bigger. At the time of the Concorde, everyone said that the future was with supersonic passenger planes. At the time of the A380, everyone said that the future was with large wide-body planes. Now, I wonder what else they could concoct if someone doesn’t stop them, and I can easily think of them doing something even worse. Fortunately, with the EU in the sad state it is, maybe they won’t have that chance. In any case, a just punishment for those who think they can predict the future by extrapolating the past.”

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      In South America was flying on small jets, and turbo props.
      Time to cut the waste.

    • We have tried faster and faster planes (Concord), and had to cut back. Now we have tried bigger and bigger (A380), and figured out the limit on this as well.

      I expect limits hold on ships as well. I know that in the state of Georgia, there is a plan for deepening the port in Savanna.
      $973 million deepening of Savannah harbor nearing halfway point March 8, 2018

      A dredging ship on the Savannah River emptied another load of sand and mud capable of filling roughly 170 dump trucks last week as officials overseeing the $973 million deepening of the shipping channel to the Port of Savannah declared the project had nearly reached its halfway point.

      Almost 2 and a half years have passed since dredging began along the 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch linking the nation’s fourth-busiest container port to the Atlantic Ocean. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, which was hired to deepen the first half from the ocean into the Savannah River past Tybee Island, is scheduled to finish its job in March.

      The Army Corps of Engineers, the agency overseeing the project, says if there are no delays, the Savannah harbor deepening could be finished in January 2022.

      Like other East Coast seaports, Savannah is racing to dig deep and make room for larger cargo ships now arriving through the expanded Panama Canal. Until the dredging is completed, those big ships have to carry lighter loads and navigate the river at higher tides.

      Is all of this expenditure of fuel really going to be worthwhile, if the world economy is soon to begin shrinking back?

      • Chrome Mags says:

        “Is all of this expenditure of fuel really going to be worthwhile, if the world economy is soon to begin shrinking back?”

        Probably not. One thing that will be interesting is looking out enough years to have descended down the other side of the bell curve, will be the interstate highway system crisscrossing the US. They’re going to seem like a lot of wasted space once they aren’t used that much. .

      • Artleads says:

        Thanks. Bigger and faster doesn’t seem to be working well these days. And I don’t see any radical change as helping much either. That includes changes away from the businesses that currently exist. Changes of any kind that are erroneously though to make a difference by the mere fact of changing them. In other words, the idea that radical change is needed by default might be a problem all by itself. .

    • Well, the story is a bit different in reality, simply the advance in efficiency of engines “unexpectedly” leapfrogged the former top concept of ~1000 passenger airplanes, hence nowadays smaller jets (Boeing and Airbus) with only two engines can dominate the sky.

      Additional factor was move towards low cost operators, which are often using small cheaper airports, you need nimble aircraft for that. So these booked in past ~decade and half the largest orders for smaller two engine jets, likewise this entire “biz concept” of so many new smaller jets was propped up in the times of cheap credit to these travel companies and overall frivolous consumption debauching on debt..

  8. Third World person says:

    another week of bau is gone

    this call for celebrating with peak 80s peak song

    • Xabier says:

      You are right TWP: an awful lot of oil went into making that video, and into us watching it so many years later- every day all the switches and buttons work is one to celebrate….

  9. “What Happened When I Bought a House With Solar Panels
    “Third-party ownership and decades-long contracts can create real headaches.”

    I’m typing this on a tablet, powered by a deep-cycle battery which was charged largely by a solar panel — I spent hundreds of dollars on that system (just the battery was $100, & replaced the previous one, which degraded with age) — recently, I had to replace the inverter (about $40) — I get maybe a few $/year worth of grid power out of this system.
    Back in January, 2015, Technology Review ran an article about how the island of Kauai, HI, was making a big push to run their power grid from IRE (intermittent renewable energy — mainly, in that case, solar panels & batteries) — it didn’t get much press coverage when that project was shelved — nor, does the fact that no AC power grid gets nearly half its energy from IRE.

  10. Duncan Idaho says:

    1933 — US: Repeal of the 18th amendment, ending American prohibition.

    • SuperTramp says:

      Because he believed this action was not sufficient to prevent runs on banks and the resulting drain of gold from the system, on April 5, 1933, one month after taking office, Roosevelt used the powers granted to the president by the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to make gold ownership illegal. He issued Executive Order 6102, which made gold ownership—both in coins and in bars—illegal for all Americans and punishable by up to ten years in prison. Anyone caught with gold would also have to pay a fine of twice the amount of gold that was not turned over to the Federal Reserve in exchange for paper money

      All Americans were required to turn in their gold on or before May 1, 1933 to the Federal Reserve in return for $20.67 of paper money per troy ounce. Americans who did not turn in their gold were subject to arrest on criminal charges and faced up to 10 years in federal prison. An exception was made for dentists, who could own up to 100 ounces. Proclamation 6102 also prohibited the use of gold in contracts. This was upheld by the Supreme Court on March 1935, in what were called the Gold Clause Cases

  11. Chrome Mags says:

    Space solar has been theorized for years but now China has plans for one:

    “Chinese scientists have revealed plans to build and launch in orbit a space solar station that could capture the Sun’s rays 24/7, Chinese media report.The space solar station, planned to orbit the Earth at 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles) could provide “an inexhaustible source of clean energy for humans,” according to Pang Zhihao, a researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology Corporation. Such solar power technology could supply reliable energy 99 percent of the time and have six times the intensity of the solar farms that work on the earth, the scientist says. China will start by launching small solar stations between 2021 and 2025, while a possible next step would be a Megawatt-level station planned to be built in 2030. The energy from the space solar station would be converted into a microwave or laser beam that would be sent to the earth.”

    • Jason C says:

      How much does it cost to build and launch a solar farm say 50 foot by 50 foot. This will give you the same power as 6×50 or 300 square foot farm on earth. How long does it take to make up the cost difference? None of these stories report the important data.

    • djerek says:

      SimCity 2000 had this kind of power plant. Sometimes the beam would stop aligning with the receiver and just start carving a path of fiery destruction across the landscape.

      I suspect in real life you’d see that as well if this ever comes to fruition.

    • Slow Paul says:

      Might as well build space solar instead of ghost cities.

      • It provides a reason/excuse for quite a few university courses and research as well.

        • SuperTramp says:

          Years ago acquired a stack of past issues of Popular Science and the like magazines during the “energy crisis” era and was astonished by the brain power employed regarding solar (both passive and ecotech) that was beyond by pay grade. Many very technical and advanced engineering with complex equations. Obviously, most were not acted upon.
          Just look at issues of the past from Mother Earth News to realize that vision was not brought mainstream. Even today, here in South Florida very few solar hot water heaters are installed, while in China millions! Building codes and requirements would see to it they should be the standard…inertia and vested interested see to it they are not.
          Like I wrote…”Why bother?’

          • Solar hot water does make sense, especially in very warm areas like South Florida. I thought perhaps they were being used there. Solar thermal heat has become popular for heating swimming pools, but that is not quite the same.

            • Artleads says:

              If you accordion water pipes (tubes) on top of the roof in the Tropics, that’ll heat the water. What other ways are there?

  12. Norman Pagett says:

    listen to this BBC radio programme if you can

    • Starts off: Insects are dying off, according to entomologists. Are capitalists to blame for this, or can they be reformed.

      I see one of the speakers is Erik Fairbairn – founder of electric car charging company, Pod Point.

      I think I know where this discussion is headed.

  13. Volvo740 says:

    Here is some more information which I believe tracks the average price of a car.

    Car Cost: $18,525
    Change From Previous Year: +$626
    Car Cost in 2016 Dollars: $27,982

    • SuperTramp says:

      I recently read a comment regarding transportation and retirement…no doubt it’s a big piece of the expense. One of the largest expense is depreciation of a new car and insurance. Here in South Florida it’s very costly to have full coverage, double of the price I paid I. North Carolina. Accident lawyers advertise 24/7.
      So, if one chooses a used older model (already depreciated) with no collision/comp…one has higher repair, maintenance costs. Here in Florida a car is a necessity, some areas mass transit is convenient. When I lived in Boston, I did not need a car.
      Using a scooter, bike is dangerous on the road, now a days, with smart phones that distract drivers.
      Read where retirees are using grocery delivery service and Uber to get around.
      This might work if BAU holds together for the foreseeable future….doubtful…but TPB have surprised me so far!
      Oh, on the morning GMA show, segment on food inflation…looks like the MSM can’t hide it any longer. So hold on to your wallet…appears it’s in the pipe.

      • I have read that some retirees are sharing apartments with other retirees, to save expenses. I suppose they could share a vehicle as well. In fact, three or four could go together on a vehicle.

        • Xabier says:

          This was very common in Britain before the Welfare State: old ladies – sisters, cousins, etc – short of cash would end up living together (husbands died earlier) but not always very happily. Another solution – but not as cheap – was lodging houses, which meant they didn’t have to cook and clean.

          • And, of course, living with children, especially daughters.

            We took in my husband’s maiden aunt for two years before she died when she was in her mid-eighties. This was more difficult than I had imagined before we agreed to do it, in part because the way we did things tended to be disrupted a lot. Having two women in the kitchen doesn’t necessarily work well. There were very frequent trips to the emergency room and the doctor. Also many hospital stays. I hadn’t expected it, but I was the sole beneficiary of her will, as well as the executor of her estate.

        • Zanbar Miller says:

          I like company if I am having a moment I just go to my room…The thing is If you cant share with friends….play niece Unless you trust the government

    • Chrome Mags says:

      $27,982 minus $18,525 = $9457 as a % of $18,525 = 51% divided by 20 years (1996-2016) = 2.55% avg. annual price increase. I was curious to use that price increase over the 20 year period to determine the annual inflation rate for that big ticket product to compare that to the US published inflation rate. I couldn’t find an average for the past 20 years but 2.55% is close what we usually hear, however it is interesting how even 2.55% can make a big difference over a 20 year period, as the same car ends up costing 51% more. It’s easy to say money is not worth as much because of inflation, but you still have to find a way to come up with all that money. It’s fine if you have a job that provided raises in line with inflation but if it didn’t then it’s a tough pill to swallow.

      • Yorchichan says:

        27982 = 18525*(y^20)
        20 ln y = ln (27982/18525)
        y = e ^ (ln (27982/18525) / 20)
        y = 1.021.

        Percentage increase per year is 2.1%. (assuming constant inflation)

        A 2.55% avg annual price increase would give a final price after 20 years of
        18525*(1.0255^20) = 30652 ($)


    Reverse Sticker Shock? No Inflation for New Vehicles for 22 Years, Says Consumer Price Index, as Taurus Prices Soared 55%

    A new 2019 Ford Taurus, with a sticker price “starting at” $27,800, is a better car in myriad ways than a new 1996 Taurus was at the time, with a sticker price “starting at” $17,995: quality, equipment, performance, comfort, safety, etc. In other words, the model has gotten a lot better over the 22 years, and the price has surged by 55%. So far so good. And this is typical for all models that have existed this long.

    But today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when it released its Consumer Price Index (CPI), explained that prices of new vehicles, per its CPI for new vehicles, showed 0% inflation in January compared to January a year ago, and that in fact, confusingly, prices have been essentially flat over the past 22 years.

    This is a big piece of the hidden inflation we have. If a person wants basic transportation, there is no way to purchase a model similar to the 22 year old model, made today for the same price.

    • Jason says:

      Government retiree wages are adjusted based on CPI. Good luck on that retirement if you live 20 more years.

    • Repeating again, the world outside US is full of ~$9k econoboxes (seating 5adults) with decent economy and protection, ask your gov-industrial cronies why it’s not like that in the US..

      To claim ~$30k car must be the base entry level option is just frivolous joke..

      • zenny says:

        Yea I can get a good car that will last 15 years for 13 K Canadian bucks it comes with eight tires and wheels ALL IN….Taxes and fees…I often stop in for for free hot drinks and snacks

  15. Renewable Storage Myth Busted: Elon Musk’s Great Battery Conjob Exposed

    (This was a orginally a Facebook post, which was copied over on several websites.)

    This conjob was first sold in South Australia, as with their experiment of a 50% Renewable Energy Target descending into a costly farce, and to cover-up the fact they needed spend several hundred million on emergency diesel generators to keep the lights on just before the state election, with Hollywood fanfare SA announced they were installing ‘’the world’s largest battery’’ to save the day.

    Let’s look at the evidence from 24th Jan …

    As wind power collapsed into the afternoon, wholesale electricity prices in South Australia surged to $14,500 Mwh. (Wholesale electricity prices had averaged around around $40 Mwh before all these ‘cheap’ renewables flooded into the grid).

    At around 4.30pm ‘’the world’s biggest battery’’ started to dribble in 30MW to the grid. The 30MW was less than 1% of South Australia’s total demand, and less than 0.1% of the National grid’s demand.

    The world’s biggest battery continued to dribble out around 30MW until 7.30pm, then it ran flat, rendering it completely useless as peak demand hit at 7.30pm.

    Meanwhile the emergency diesel generators (chewing through a reported 80,000 litres of diesel an hour) were doing the real work in SA, pumping out over 400MW at a time on demand – and they continued to so as demand peaked at 7.30pm, when the world’s largest battery had given up the ghost.

    So at peak demand, in the renewables paradise of South Australia, 97% of their electricity was coming from fossil fuels.

    • Gregory Machala says:

      It would take a lot more battery capacity to fill the energy deficit on that day. Looks like on that day the batteries provided 100MWh total and the diesel generator 2000MWh total. For batteries alone to fill that gap, the addition of 19 more batteries would be needed. Or, at $150 million dollars a piece, an additional $2.85 billion dollars.investment. Looking at it another way, historical wholesale electricity prices were averaging $40MWh then $2.85 billion would buy about 71,250,000MWh of power or 71,250GWh of power. South Australia’s yearly consumption is about 12,000GWh. So putting that into perspective $2.85 billion would buy 6 years of electricity at historical wholesale electric prices. In addition, if the battery doesn’t even last 6 years before it looses capacity, the impact is even more severe. The batteries alone would increase wholesale electric costs by 6 fold at least. And if the batteries last 5 years before they need replacing? Wow.

      • But batteries and wind and solar are “green.”

      • Batteries certainly don’t last only 5yrs..
        As of now, laying in the corner are still functional electronic contraptions with ~15yrs old early gen lithium. Similarly, if “you care” properly, even the silly lead acid batt in fossil car last 10+yrs if you park in tempered garage and not abuse it.

        You are correct that such grid network as in South Australia needs TWh storage, and that means serious mass production, as I wrote few pages back in more detail, at least two global industrial groups are targeting mass production of (semi) solid state batteries before 2025 (it exist today already), not needing rare elements, easier manuf process since it’s no longer liquid electrode based, etc. In summary more life cycles and better price.. Is it coming too late, don’t know..

        Basically, from home(stead) perspective you need enough stored to bridge non/low insulation period and or no wind days in the cold season. Depending on location that’s several days to few weeks, hence few dozen kWh sized storage. Grid operators obviously have to take into account way more considerations, it might not materialize on needed scale ever, lets wait and see..

        • jupiviv says:

          Most promising solid state batteries are lithium based. Alternatives would not have good conductivity. Plus, expensive and prone to break due to no moving parts.

          • Yorchichan says:

            Prone to break due to no moving parts? Usually the opposite is true. Could you explain, please.

            • jupiviv says:

              Without moving parts electrodes need high pressure to interact with the electrolytes, rendering mobile usage impractical.

  16. The IEA has an article up by one of its analysts for its World Energy Outlook that comes to the conclusion that adding solar at the rapid rate needed, even if the cost per panel continues to fall, will still not work because of all the grid disruption it causes.

    Is Exponential Growth of Solar PV the obvious conclusion? by Brent Wanner

    The article defines a new metric, called VALCOE (value-adjusted levelised costs of electricity) . This metric takes into account the increased problems with demand matching as solar PV scales up. Using this metric, the author shows that, in India, scaling up PV never becomes economic over the forecast period.

    He gives a conclusion that seems to say, “Don’t lean too heavy on solar PV. There is not much to support its continued rapid growth:”

    The future of solar PV, like so many parts of the energy system, will continue to depend largely on decisions made by governments. With pressing global and local environmental concerns, governments should look to ratchet up ambitions related to all low carbon options, including solar PV and wind power, but also nuclear, carbon capture utilisation and storage, hydro, bioenergy and renewables for heat and transport. Without this boost, the annual market for solar PV may stagnate or decline, an unfortunate fate that has happened to many other promising technologies.

    • Sven Røgeberg says:

      Thanks! This article is very interesting. I see it is framed as just a «commantary», and that you can`t find a link to a report or study. Why not? The differences using the new metric are not just marginal, it changes the whole picture radically.
      Would also be interesting to know more about what he includes in the three added categories in the new metric:
      «VALCOE builds on the foundation of LCOE that incorporates all cost elements, but also adds three categories of value in power systems: energy, flexibility and capacity.»
      You summarize it in your comment using the word «grid disruption», but is that really covering the «energy» categorie?

      • Why would the IEA put this article up on their website?

        • Sven Røgeberg says:

          I don`t in any way doubt the usefulness of the new metric. I was wondering why the information about the new method is made public just in a commentary, and not in a whole report? Perhaps the explaination is that the use of the new metric is pretty new, and has been run just on a few countries, like India? Would in any case be interesting to see if the «energy» component included overlaps with what you have explained in your critic of standard EROI calculations.

          • The big thing this article talks about is the fact that ramping up wind and solar takes a huge amount of investment as you go along. This has to be supported by additional government funding. The system does not become self-supporting until its growth slows to a stop. This essentially is one of the criticisms I have of EROEI calculations. It has to do with whether it is a “model” calculation, of what it theoretically would look like (not too different from what those with drilling with shale use to justify their endless money-losing investments), or if the energy from these devices can actually add energy to the economy on a year by year basis.

            There is also the issue of the increased disruption to the grid, and the fact that the rest of the system must be maintained, pretty much 24/7/365, because wind and solar cannot be counted on. This becomes a bigger and bigger share of the cost over time.

            Wind and solar are not a replacement for what we have. They are sort of like an inefficient third leg or arm. They have a need for ongoing support from the rest of the system.

    • Xabier says:

      If these technologies were more than promising, would they -at this stage in their development which is advanced – need backing up from governments?

  17. Duncan Idaho says:

    65.83 USD +3.86 (6.23%)

    • I wonder how many days this will last. Amount of crude in storage keeps increasing.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Time will tell—
        The future looks dismal——

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          yes, because diminishing returns (on almost everything, not just oil) will continue to decrease the prosperity of the average person…

          oil (with its diminishing returns being far more significant than any other diminishing returns) will become less affordable over the next decades…

          though oil could have periods where it is temporarily more affordable…

          like now, compared to October 2018 when Brent hit its high for the year at $86… !!!!!!!

          wow, did I just type $86 by mistake?

          oh, no, I see that I am correct…

          so anyway, $66 seems lower to me than $86… 😉

      • Artleads says:

        I shared (loaned) my personal old car with a neighbor who is in hard straights. She’s taking longer than I expected to get some solution of her own. (I don’t want us to be so dependent on my wife’s middle aged car.) But there is nobody to help my neighbor figure things out. Going with market prices seems out of her reach, and no thought has been given to nurturing local people who can gerry rig old cars so they run reliably even if they look like junk. In my community, the movers and shakers refuse to think of the economic realities, and just want to play and make money. I’m sort of sorry I loaned out my car. The loanee is not seeing the existential bind she’s in, and how much she needs to get down to practicalities. (She’s using my car and other resources to help a druggie adoptee, who should be shown the door and left to drift.) What seems to be screwing us seems to be stew PDT.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Most of us have done something like this and sort of regretted it afterwards. For some recipients, the journey between accepting a loan (of any kind) and considering it not necessary to repay is but a step.

          My advice would be to chalk this one down to experience, not get upset with the neighbor, let the car go if necessary, and think harder before helping people out in this way in future.

          Just an idle thought: could you find a serviceable old banger that someone else would be willing to give away or let go very cheaply, obtain ownership of that, and then present it to your neighbor in exchange for getting your own car back?

          • Artleads says:

            Thanks, Tim. Most helpful advice. You must have a sixth sense. I have another neighbor. Something to do with a stem cell implant to help her embryo long ago–and talk about an ungrateful embryo grown tall!!!!!–makes her extremely sickly. She has an old banger of a Suburu with a knock in the energy and a sickly countenance. I deliver her mail from the mailbox. She wants $1200 for the car, which no one in their right mind will pay. It sits there. She should pretty much give it away, as getting it a diagnostic test would in itself cost that much.

          • Xabier says:

            My attempt to help a neighbour ended up in feud with death threats: now, apart from small courtesies, my attitude is ‘Help yourself, and good luck to you, but good wishes are all you’ll have from me’. Strong boundaries make good neighbours…..

  18. SuperTramp says:

    I have a friend from Trinidad….he has relatives there that confirm something is being prepared for an intervention..
    Cuba says U.S. moving special forces, preparing Venezuelan intervention
    HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba said on Thursday the United States was moving special forces closer to Venezuela as part of a covert plan to intervene in the chaotic South American country using the pretext of a humanitarian crisis
    Between February 6 and 10 military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport of Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base, in the Dominican Republic and to other strategically located Caribbean islands, probably without knowledge of the governments of those nations,” the declaration said
    The Economic Hitmen are at it again…Monroe Doctrine still is enforced.
    God Bless America😉

  19. kevin moore says:

    So we now have competing delusions. U.S. energy sector to produce abundant FF for hundreds of years vs the Green New Deal which will make FF obsolete in 10 years. It’s the battle of the nitwits. Meanwhile the periphery crumbles. My plan is to find a like-minded doomer female to party-away our remaining time in a Caribbean or South Pacific location. Found the Island. Now must find the woman. Is there an apocalypse dating site?

    • Lastcall says:

      Ha if you build it they will come…yeah rite!
      To be perfectly se*ist, it would appear to me that females have a bias toward happy ever after.
      I have given up telling my partner that 10 yr strategic planning at her work is pointless. Nearly at stage of selling up and moving on; time is short, and so are peoples memories!
      Good luck.

  20. Lastcall says:

    It would appear to me that forgoing consumption now in the form of saving for retirement has passed its used by date. Its great for the gubbermint and other competitors for the worlds resources but I fear that you are kidding yourself if you think your saved ‘vouchers for resources’ will retain their potency.
    I used to question people on how, at 3% growth for 20 years, the earth could double its bonanza for future participants…but there are a lot of conversations I use to try and have…. and whether an expanding worldwide middle class was possible. I ended up in the kitchen at parties!

    • I figured out back when interest rates were at their peak that, in theory, I could be incredibly rich at retirement. But then it was obvious that the world economy could not really grow its output that fast. So there has been a very long time that pension assumptions have bothered me. At some point, common sense has to take over.

  21. Mark says:

    Stumbled on this channel, fits with the recent comments about ‘guiding stories’

    • I like this video. Dave Korowicz writes on topics that overlap with things I write about. I have met him in person at one conference we were both involved with.

      David is right. The only thing we are willing to be undone by is something of our own doing growing beyond our control. Of course, there are many obstacles to this really happening.

      No one dares talk about problems that show our real vulnerabilities. Dave talks about peak oil, but I think it is the many issues associated with this as well.

    • Xabier says:

      Korowicz is, quietly, brilliant.

    • It sounds to me as if there is too much investment money floating around if they are thinking of this project.

      It seems like any “clean energy” derived from this plan would be incredibly expensive and incredibly resource intensive. Whatever energy Japan can actually use needs to be really, really cheap to be beneficial to its economy. So it is an immediate fail for this reason.

      As far as I know, hydrogen doesn’t work well as an energy carrier. For one thing, it tends to escape because of its small molecule size. We also don’t have coal plus carbon capture and storage down. Also, if we get the CO2 underground, we can’t be certain it will stay there. The whole idea seems like a waste of money.

      Of course, if all those who put the plan together want is an excuse for more debt, maybe this would work, until the time when the debt needed to be paid back with interest.

      • Artleads says:

        I never considered that carbon deposited underground would naturally escape. I’d like to know for sure. But some suggest that all sorts of major digging and excavations release a great deal of carbon naturally stored in the ground. Also, I’ve read that there is super absorbent vegetation that could be grown, used to absorb carbon then buried. That chain of events could produce many jobs. It’s also ridiculous to release coal emissions into the sky.

        • This is carbon dioxide stored underground. It takes up hugely more volume than the carbon within the carbon dioxide. When I first got involved with energy issues, I went to a seminar of some sort at Georgia Tech. There were several scientists there who talked about how absurd the whole idea is. The only place where you hear about the CO2 being used is to help force oil out. If oil companies will pay to buy (a tiny amount) of CO2 to force oil out of the ground, then there is an economic case for making the CO2. But, after the CO2 is forced into oil wells to push the oil out, the CO2 added likely comes back out over time, anyhow.

          Without the benefit of a nearby buyer for this CO2, this vast quantity of CO2 gas must be pumped underground, with the hope that it will not come out. Adding CO2 makes the water supply it touches very acidic (carbonic acid). Carbonic acid is terribly corrosive. If the CO2 gas escapes, it suffocates the local population, because it stays close to the ground. There would be huge liability issues, among other things. How many people would want this in their back yard?

          • Artleads says:

            Thanks. Lots of things I didn’t know. If there is truth that releasing carbon emissions next to absorbing plants works to sequester the carbon into the plant material, then what happens if you bury that carbon-saturated plant material very deep and leave it alone? You wouldn’t use it to do anything industrial if the outcome is so unclear. You’d leave it buried till there was greater certainty about whether or how to use it industrially. The jobs would be horticultural jobs to eternally grow the sequestering plants and place over and remove them from the perforated extent of tubing conveying the emissions. The emissions would be released very gradually over a great extent of conduit.

  22. Baby Doomer says:

    “So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘arch priestess of the sightless,’ ‘wonder woman,’ and a ‘modern miracle.’ But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics—that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world—that is a different matter! It is laudable to give aid to the handicapped. Superficial charities make smooth the way of the prosperous; but to advocate that all human beings should have leisure and comfort, the decencies and refinements of life, is a Utopian dream, and one who seriously contemplates its realization indeed must be deaf, dumb, and blind.”

    ― Helen Keller

    • Whether we like it or not, the laws of physics rule. The laws of physics do not allow equal distribution to the fortunate and the unfortunate. The laws of physics determine which dissipative structures will succeed and which will fail. The handicapped likely represent a random change that the laws of physics does not want repeated in the next generation. It tends to be selected against the handicapped. Religion gives us a way of moderating the way the laws of physics work, but it is only an economy that is extremely rich in energy that can afford to expend the resources needed to provide support to such individuals long-term. We are now losing the ability to help the handicapped as much as in the past.

      • you want a handicapped person to have an electric buggy, but long term it’s unsustainable

      • Sngr says:

        “Religion gives us a way of moderating the way the laws of physics work”


        That could use some serious explanation.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Replicators have captured their minds.
          Memes and meme stets use them for their own replication.
          They are hopelessly unaware.

        • Sungr, as I think about it, maybe you are right. The case is pretty weak that religions can do much to moderate the impact of the laws of physics.

          One possible moderation of demand growth would be if religious people can moderate their desire to use debt to buy the fanciest house they can possibly afford to impress their neighbors. This moderation of demand could perhaps keeps aggregate debt levels from rising as quickly as they would otherwise. In theory, this might slightly slow dissipation of energy, but I expect that there are feed back loops I haven’t considered.

          Religious people can give at least a little of their wealth to the poor. But it is possible that this is just working in the direction of the laws of physics. Rich people don’t really need to spend all of their money. If they give some of it to the poor, it enables the poor to spend more on basic commodities, thereby using up energy supplies more quickly.

          Religions tend to indicate that we should cooperate with our neighbors, rather than just competing. I am not sure that this is different from what physics provides for all other plants and animals. There are organisms in a symbiotic relationship in our gut, for example. Religions may simply (or mostly) be a way of encouraging what physics requires.

          Religions can make some people less worried about the future. At least some studies suggest that they tend to have longer life expectancies. But longer life expectancies go with dissipating more energy.

          • Mark says:

            What do mean, walking on water, feeding thousands, raising the dead? A true rouge to the laws of physics. 😉

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Secular Societies Fare Better Than Religious Societies

          “And thus, the age-old hypothesis that religion is a necessary requirement for a sound, safe, and healthy society can and should be put safely to sleep in the musty bed of other such flagrant fallacies.”

          • This, of course, is in a high energy world.

            At one point, pretty much all societies were religious in some way. Or culture provided a set of guiding myths that served the same basic function as religion. It is growing energy consumption that allows societies to move away from religions.

            Perhaps the original article has more information that would give information about what societies the authors considered religious or not.

      • Tim Groves says:

        The laws of physics merely set the overarching parameters within which the game is played. There is no specific law that says being handicapped is out of bounds or offside. It is simply that being handicapped makes it tougher to play the game.

        On the other hand, we all have our handicaps, and we are all just temporarily abled, inexorably approaching the day when we will proclaim, “Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be…..!”

        Religion may moderate the way we decide to play the game, but it doesn’t have the power to change the laws of physics. Even a faith healer who successfully cures the sick and the lame must operate inside those laws. Your faith can cure you, but only if a lack of faith is what was ailing you.

  23. MG says:

    How a Slovakian neo-Nazi got elected

    “Banská Bystrica is a tranquil kind of place, with a genteel Mitteleuropa charm: the centre has pavement cafes, neat rows of burgher houses and a number of handsome baroque churches. At eight minutes to every hour, a clock in the central square plays a dainty jewellery-box jingle. And now, it had the dubious distinction of being the first place in modern Europe to have elected a person widely regarded as a neo-fascist to a major office.”

    “Banská Bystrica, the largest region by area, is right in the middle, a three-hour train ride from the capital. The city of Banská Bystrica itself is something of an intellectual hub, with four theatres and a well-regarded university, but the surrounding region is regarded as a hinterland of dessicated industrial plants and unprofitable agricultural concerns.”

    • Xabier says:

      Whoever wrote that piece really needs to acquaint themselves with Spain: real died-in-the-wool fascists have held office both locally and nationally there, and it has nothing to do with economic stresses.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Please– it is quite a bit more complicated than that.
        Franco was a nightmare for just about everyone, unless you were a right fascist.
        The Civil War was the turning point of the 20th Century– it went badly when the Nazi’a and the Bolsheviks sided against Spain, with no help from the “ally’s”.
        But I grant you, it is very complicated afterward.

        • Tim Groves says:

          when the Nazi’a and the Bolsheviks sided against Spain

          That’s a novel way of describing the Spanish Civil War. The view I usually hear is that the Ns and the Bs (not to mention Hemingway and Orwell) sided WITH different factions in the conflict AGAINST other factions. But they all did it all FOR Spain, just as Livia did it ALL for Rome!

        • Xabier says:

          I meant – obviously I thought – post-war Spain, and the fact that Spanish national-Catholic fascism retained it’s potency all through the years of prosperity, it wasn’t simply dropped by the wayside as Spain grew in wealth. They kept the Faith……

          The very open, public revival today, in the form of parties seeking election such as Vox and Ciudadanos, and the PP in response moving further Right to counter and absorb them, is fascinating, but is of course also due to the stress post-2008, to massive low-quality immigration, and, above all, to rising violent crime on the part of young immigrants: this is perfect electoral hunting ground for the fascists.

          Perfectly safe places until quite recently are now fairly dangerous, and the fascist is the only one who will offer a ‘cure’, not the EU, not the Left. There is quite open talk, online and in private, about lynching immigrants these days…..

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        • Xabier says:

          Anarchists: stealing pigs from hard-working peasants to fatten themselves, pa! 🙂

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            Your simple propaganda is humorous—–

            • Xabier says:

              ? Duncan, that actually happened in the Civil War: why should town trash waving childish flags be justified in taking – at the point of a gun – what the peasant has worked hard to create?

              Small-holders, though, take note: that is what happens when society dissolves.

      • MG says:

        Spain, with its depleted land, was an ideal place for the fascist regime.

        In the article about this man in Slovakia, I especially like the description “a hinterland of dessicated industrial plants and unprofitable agricultural concerns”. I know the given region quite well and I often travelled through it in the past, just trying to understand what is going on by experiencing this decay present in the countryside. In this municipality, he recorded 86 % votes during his success in the past:

  24. Harry McGibbs says:

    “U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December as receipts fell across the board, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic activity at the end of 2018.”

    • I wonder if the Government shutdown had any impact on these numbers. The shutdown started December 22, 2018.

      • Harry Gibbs says:

        It certainly can’t have helped. There were 380,000 furloughed government workers and it seems reasonable to assume that they will have tended to spend less over that period, given their situation. That’s still a pretty tiny fraction of the total population though.

        But perhaps along with the cratering stock market it helped create an overall atmosphere of unease that crimped spending.

        Also the fact that Americans are sitting on a record amount of household debt; nearly a third of them may have more credit-card debt than they do emergency savings; and 7 million of them are 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments must also have been played a role – the poor American consumer starting to feel a bit maxed out!

        • aaaa says:

          How on earth are so many federal employees living paycheck to paycheck? Supervisory workers were interviewed about it. They’re averaging what, 60,000 dollars?

          • Dan says:

            $60k is a decent wage but it is not a heck of a lot when all said and done.
            I make approximately that amount, deduct income tax, payroll taxes (SS, Medicare), health insurance (my employer pays all of mine and half for my son while I pick up the other half), and savings for retirement (I set aside 15%) my take home is right at $3100 / month.
            With that $3100 I pay a mortgage, car insurance, phone, electric, water, trash, food, gas, car maintenance, house maintenance, medical co-pays, 100% dental, school expenses / childcare, etc…

            I am pretty frugal, when I say pretty frugal I mean I am a penny pincher and manage to set aside about $5-7.5k a year in cash savings. No debt other than my mortgage. Last year my son broke his arm and that was $6500, i.e. a whole year’s savings after insurance. I paid it, but now the roof needs replacing.

            I can’t remember who the politician was that was out blathering about the shutdown and saying that he couldn’t understand how people could just live paycheck to paycheck and I thought to myself how nice it would be to throat punch that guy. I can certainly understand how someone can be in that situation if they make less than 60k which most people do.

            Thank goodness we don’t have inflation / sarc.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years…”

      sure, since the Great Recession of 2008/2009…

      the Global Recession that has now started in Q1 of 2019 will be reported to us in about Q4…

  25. el mar says:

    I saw this on “”, published ba “James”, the owner oft this very interesting blog:


    el mar

    • Sven Røgeberg says:

      Nice to see the english version, not just the french!

    • Mark says:

      Thanks for posting. Page 170 cuts to it.

      • From PDF page 170 (the document itself has no numbering):

        The real problem is not the total stock of energy that mankind can use but its flow rate, that is the amount of energy that is available per unit time.

        The current problems of mankind comes from the use of fossil fuels, especially oil. If the total amount of oil that mankind can use is limited, its flow rate is potentially unlimited. We can drill as many oil wells as we want and that is what we indeed do. The third law of thermodynamics tells us that dissipative structures evolve to maximize their dissipation of energy. Biology confirms that this is what living species do. They evolve so as to deplete their resources as fast as possible. This is indeed what mankind does, notaby regarding oil.

        The problems of mankind can only worsen with nuclear energy. Life is indeed a form of combustion. The more fuel is available, the faster the fire expands. If man succeeds in using nuclear fusion, it will burn itself out. We have seen that, whenever a source of energy is available, with an unlimited flow rate, competition prevails over cooperation, short term goals prevail over long-term ones. It’s an explosion, a demographic or exosomatic one. The life of mankind is reduced to that of a flash in the pan.

        • SomeoneInAsia says:

          I frankly wonder how far we can go in attributing everything to the workings of the ‘laws’ of science. Everything to them, and nothing to human values and volition. It seems to me that not only do the intelligentsia of the West seek to thoroughly disenchant all of Nature, they even seek to deny to humanity all notions of choice and free will. Fine, so all morality is bunk, since there’s no such thing as choice; we’re just ‘dissipative structures’ that seek to maximize our dissipation of energy. As the late British biologist and sinologist Joseph Needham once lamented, “If we’ve thrown religion out of the window, are we now also going to kick ethics downstairs?”

          Ah, well, guess the collapse is coming anyway, so I might as well ignore such things and BAU on in peace like the ‘dissipative structure’ I am while I still can… No use and no point getting worked up over such things…

          • Maybe the Presbyterians have the story right, after all. They are the ones who believe in predestination.


            God is in charge of life – of your life, my life, all of life – and God’s love is larger than we can imagine or apply human reason to. . . How it all works is a mystery that we can never fully make sense of with our human reason. It’s like looking at the broad vast universe with the cheap telescope you bought at Radio Shack: you know there’s a lot more there, but this is all you can see with your eyes. Theology is the cheap telescope, and your unreliable eyes; God is the vast expanse you’re trying to see.


            But is God in charge of everything? Did God determine that I would buy Goat’s Milk from Walmart yesterday (fun digression: Walmart is the only store around that carries it; it’s delicious).

            The answer is no. God doesn’t dabble in those sorts of details. God doesn’t control us like a puppeteer. In fact, God’s saving love does the opposite thing for us. God’s salvation enables us truly to have freedom, to be free.

          • Morality is not bunk at least for the few concerned and inclined..
            However, the bottom line persist that the most active* people within the dissipative structure simply acquire and use (-waste) most of the material possession available, that’s all..

            Not sure if you met him here few months ago, there was a frequent key poster, which in almost every other comment lamented about the fact, although he made it in life, it was not enough because he did not get into the upper jet-set club, lolz. It was partly a joke, but it was also partly a genuine statement of pain..

            *in general sense i.e. including not very nice acts vs other people and or other creatures

      • Tim Groves says:

        This observation is very astute. Nuclear fusion might not be such a wonderful solution to our energy problems after all. Not that this would stop us from developing it if we can find a way to make it work.

        Freedom of choice seems to be another of those comfortable illusions. You open the chocolate box. Now, are you going to have an Extra strong Mint, a Caramel, a Coffee Cream or a Raspberry Truffle? And when you dip your hand in to take your chocolate of choice, who made the decision and how as it done? If you meditate on it long enough, you may discover that the decision “made itself” and then you took ownership of it, pretending it was all your own work.

    • II wonder if this is something Roddier put together, hoping to have the document published in English. It seems to be quite hidden away on his website. (There is no reference on the front of his blog.) The document does not seem to be in final form since it lacks page numbering. I would not put a reference up linking to it in a post without permission from Roddier.

    • adonis says:

      many thanks el mar i have just begun reading it it looks like a read worth reading.

  26. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Texas, the epicenter of the shale boom, is gushing with oil.

    “Production in the Lone Star State soared by 22% to 1.54 billion barrels in 2018, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.

    “That shatters the previous Texas record of 1.28 billion barrels set in 1973.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Quality matters, not quantity.

      “That was the message from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest Oil Market Report. The world has plenty of oil, but perhaps not the right type of oil.

      “A series of events have caused the market for light oil to diverge from that of medium and heavier blends. This trend has been underway for some time, but the deviation has magnified recently, and could cause havoc as 2019 wears on.

      “The backdrop is the surge in U.S. shale production. The multi-year boom in light sweet oil from Texas and North Dakota, among other places, has added huge volumes of light oil to global supply.”

      • Chrome Mags says:

        Maybe there needs to be better coordination between suppliers of unconventional heavy tar sands type crude and light tight oil to refine the full spectrum of oil by products needed. Possibly this is why there’s so much interest in Venezuela’s unconventional heavy crude.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          One can get gasoline from Permian Shale, but not much diesel.
          Unfortunately, the world runs on diesel.
          But agree, the greed heads are salivating on Venezuela heavy oil.
          They just need to get rid of 80% of the population that does not want to be a US client state.

      • Craig Moodie says:

        No mention of profitability.

        • The issue is prices that refineries will pay for the oil. The higher the price, the better the profitability for those doing the oil extraction. Since diesel is in more demand, heavier oils are getting higher prices. This should help Canadian bitumen. The Oil Price article mentions that both the Iranian and Venezuelan sanctions are removing heavy oil from the market. Also, the cutbacks by OPEC will likely take more heavy oil off the market.

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            I recently read that the Venezuelan heavy oil is actually a bit easier and cheaper to refine than Canadian heavy oil… (I think it was one of the oil guys posting on peakoilbarreldotcom)…

            if so, then yes, the US is likely considering how they can “capture” the market for this Venezuelan oil to make up for what is lacking in the Light Tight Oil that is booming in production now…

            combined with LTO, the Venezuelan oil may be very valuable (I suppose I’ve changed my mind there)…

  27. jupiviv says:

    The best thing we can do for the moment is to throw ourselves at the feet of the statue of some god.
    Of which statue? Any statue? Do you then believe there are gods?
    What proof have you?
    The proof that they have taken a grudge against me. Is that not enough?

    – Aristophanes, ‘The Knights’

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      I recall learning at school that Demosthenes – a noted orator – used to stuff his mouth with pebbles to fine-tune his articulation. No idea why that stayed with me, lol.

  28. Harry McGibbs says:

    “After the briefest and weakest of economic recoveries, Italy has succumbed to its third recession in a decade… Ahead of European Parliament elections in May, Italy’s populist government is becoming more radical. This is unlikely to revive investor confidence in the country. The government is openly attacking Banca d’Italia independence. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has called for the central bank’s leadership to be removed for failing to prevent Italy’s banking crisis. This week, he threatened to seize control of the country’s gold reserves and sell them to fund further government spending…

    “With public debt at around 130% of GDP, the economy must grow if investors are to be persuaded that the country’s finances are sustainable. This is crucial for the Italian government now that its gross borrowing needs are close to a staggering $275bn a year. “Stuck within the euro straitjacket, the Italian government lacks the macroeconomic tools for stimulating the economy

    “All of this is of the utmost concern for the global economy. The Italian economy is around 10 times the size of Greece’s and it has a government debt in excess of $2.5tn. In addition, it has a populist government whose economic policies are at odds with those of its European partners. That will make it all the more difficult for the Italian government to obtain a bail-out package if investor appetite for its debt evaporates.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “France is one of the most present countries in Italy, controlling over 1,900 businesses and 250,000 employees, while Italy administers only a little over a thousand companies in France.

      “After the latest events between Paris and Rome, Air France decided to reconsider its role in the Alitalia’s rescue plan… Now the future of the Italian company is every day less clear, just like the one Italy is going towards if it keeps defying its European allies.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Ford today warned that leaving the EU without a deal would be ‘catastrophic’ – amid claims the car giant is preparing to move production out of the UK.

        “The company has added its voice to those sounding the alarm about the prospects of Britain crashing out next month. The chances of a no-deal outcome appear to be rising with talks in Westminster and Brussels still mired in deadlock.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The German economy stalled in the final quarter of last year, narrowly escaping recession, as the fallout from global trade disputes and Brexit threatened to derail a decade-long expansion in Europe’s economic powerhouse…

        “With growth unchanged in the fourth quarter, the economy escaped recession — defined as two or more consecutive quarters of contraction — after it shrank by 0.2 percent in the third quarter. Germany’s economy grew at its weakest rate in five years in 2018.”

        • We need to add South Africa to our list of countries in terrible shape. The headline at the WSJ reads, Power Struggle: Electricity Outages Hit South Africa Months Before Election The state-owned power utility has become the president’s biggest political headache ahead of the May vote

          Africa’s most-developed economy this week is experiencing its worst blackouts in years, with households, businesses and key infrastructure left without electricity for up to nine hours a day. The power cuts have hobbled the country’s mining sector, paralyzed traffic behind disabled stop lights and forced people to cook dinner outside on paraffin stoves—less than three months ahead of national elections that will determine whether President Cyril Ramaphosa, who ousted his scandal-battered predecessor last year, can win a full term.

          At the center of the shortages is South Africa’s state-owned power utility Eskom, which supplies some 90% of the country’s electricity, but has been rattled by years of mismanagement and alleged corruption involving senior management. On Wednesday, the company warned that it was technically insolvent and would go bankrupt by April unless it gets a multibillion-rand government bailout.

          Saddled with some 420 billion rand (around $30 billion) in debt—much of it government guaranteed—Eskom has become Mr. Ramaphosa’s biggest political headache. The company’s failure to generate sufficient electricity is eroding already anemic economic growth, while another bailout would add to the government’s rising debt load.

          Moody’s Investors Service, the last of the big three ratings firms that considers South Africa’s bonds investment grade, warned this week that pumping more public money into the utility without a credible turnaround plan could trigger a downgrade to “junk.”

          Fixing the problem would raise electricity rates a lot. The article says “15% for each of the next three years” which is equivalent to 52%. At this high cost, industry could not be competitive production elsewhere. The goods made would be far too high in cost relative to wages. Sounds like a country headed for collapse.

      • It is easier to get along when energy consumption per capita is rising and the economy is growing nicely.

    • Of course, Italy’s currency cannot separately fall, relative to the dollar. This causes a different problem than the falling currency problem.

  29. Harry McGibbs says:

    “After Finance Minister Berat Albayrak called recent food price increases “food terrorism”, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the government would sell staples like tomatoes and peppers at reduced prices.”

  30. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Thousands took to the streets in 50 Argentine cities and towns Wednesday (Feb 13) demanding that the government declare a “food emergency” and put an end to suffocating price increases.

    “”We are losing work, food, education, housing … it’s desperation that is emerging among our people,” said Osvaldo Ulacio, 60, as he marched in the capital Buenos Aires.”–food-emergency–declaration-11241560

  31. Lastcall says:

    Snap; Mueller Inquisition! Perfect.
    Find that outsider and scapegoat him till he caves!

  32. Baby Doomer says:

    Will Central Bank Policies Set off Another Global Financial Crisis?

  33. Baby Doomer says:

    “Sorrows are our best educator. A man can see further through a tear than a telescope.”

    -Bruce Lee

  34. Duncan Idaho says:

    1633 — Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for trial before Inquisition for professing belief that earth revolves around the Sun.

    • it only took 400 years for the catholic church to admit he was right about the sun/earth thing

      so there’s still hope for the creationists

    • Tim Groves says:

      He was going up against the 97% consensus at the time that the Pope was infallible.

      • SuperTramp says:

        And then the Scientific body of evidence provide enough of a case to dethrone the Pope and his political clout

        • Perhaps we need a different religion than Catholicism, more in tune with the views of today. I believe that all religions are self-organized to meet the needs of a particular time and place. God can, indeed, be behind this self-organization process, even if it doesn’t seem right to us. These religions are temporary, and generally act like dissipative structures.

          I see homosexuality as something that needed to be discouraged for practical reasons, when energy supply per capita was low. Treating homosexuality as a sin that would send a person to hell likely was a practical way of keeping down homosexual acts back in the day when would-be priests were sent to the Catholic Church by their families, because they could not find other suitable employment for them (as farmers or apprentices in other fields). There was not a “selection” issue toward homosexuals, back at that time. It was more an issue of excess boys in families where only one could inherit the family farm or other business. There needed to be work for these young men.

          Now we are facing a situation where young men make a decision to enter the priesthood based on how it fits in with their needs. If they clearly want to marry a woman, they will likely apply in a different church (typically Episcopal) or they will enter a different profession. There is also much less social stigma against homosexuality. Furthermore, some other denominations (such as ELCA Lutheran) have dropped way back in their belief in hell. The belief in hell seems to have been picked up from other religions around the world. Mentions in the Bible are limited to a few in the synoptic gospels (which seem to be partly derived from the same source); purgatory is never mentioned. Ancient Jewish tradition seemed to put the dead in a neutral place under the surface of the earth – sheol. Translation problem can make this seem like hell, but it certainly did not start out this way.

          Quite a few church denominations now ordain gay clergy. Examples include United Church of Christ, ELCA Lutheran, US Episcopal Church, and many international denominations (Church of England, Church of Norway, etc.). The denomination I belong to is ELCA Lutheran.

          We are now looking at the situation from a situation of abundant per capita energy supply. Our religious needs now need to swiftly change to something different–a future based on falling energy supply, with quite possibly no solutions. We no need some sort of a religion of hope, if our financial system is at the edge of running out of the hope it used to provide. There are many religions other than Catholicism. And Catholicism itself could change.

          • the broad sweep of major religions has been to tell us suffer the bad bits of this life in return for paradise in the next

            this allows priests to justify stuff, which looked at through experience and rationality, comes across as nonsense,

            but if the vast majority are irrational, then the majority view holds; of virgin birth, eternal life, heaven, hell and all the rest. When everybody is singing from your hymn book, then all is well and makes perfect sense

            But if a member of the congregation suddenly starts worshipping the sun, then he becomes a heretic—his faith becomes anathema to everyone else

            • MG says:

              Worshipping the Sun does not save us from the depletion. Such belief is simply obsolete. Moreover, it is not the objects that matter, but the eternal energy. The energy of the Sun is finite.

            • ermmmmmm

              i was merely using the sun as another focus of worship

            • MG says:

              Ok, I understand. Then the result of implosion is rather a desintegration, i.e. like into several even smaller churches than is needed for the survival of the cult.

            • this is just “as I see it”—so potentially wrong

              After the ‘implosion’ happens. whenever it comes, nations will disintegrate into smaller regions, because large nations can only hold together by virtue of the energy they have available to control distances and peoples.

              religion is that standard fallback in times of extreme stress—our future will be no different

              Then the “my god is better than your god” thing kicks in, so churches will split as well—particularly among the nuttier ones in the USA

              They will endorse warring factions with the certainties of eternal life for the ‘right god’, reverting to the medieval certainties of “how can we lose when god is on our side?”
              If you do lose then you’ve haven’t prayed hard enough.

              I’m pitching this 1/200 years into the future—the other side of the Seneca curve if you like. I doubt if religions will ever die out, they seem to have been with us for millennia.

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              “Religion is poison”
              He got somethings right

            • Tim Groves says:

              All medicines are poisons, although not all poisons are medicines.

              The Catholic Church taught (and probably still does teach) that chastity is a virtue that moderates the desire for sexual pleasure according to the principles of faith and right reason. That doesn’t make much sense to most people in the 21st century but I bet it would have sounded like wisdom to your grandparents’ grandparents.

              In an case, the Church probably wanted its priests celibate for another important practical reason. With no offspring, they were considered less likely to be appropriating church property and funds for their own and their family’s use and also less likely to practice nepotism—although even celibates can have nephews.

              Celibacy could be considered a more civilized way of achieving an allegiance to the organization than the alternative—in practice across the Old World from Europe to China from time immemorial—that of castration. One winces just to think of it!

            • taking the point about my gg–parents and sexual pleasure, I think they would have been too exhausted to take on board the ‘pleasure’ part (that takes leisure and time), just get the sex bit over as quickly as possible—hence 21 kids and 9 kids respectively.

              No contraception because the church banned it. Priests teach hypocrisy better than anything else

              Which is why most of the ‘sex scandals’ that used to feature in the popular press years ago were always about the moneyed (ie leisured) classes

              now everybody’s at it, so you have to be pretty famous for it to get noticed these days

              Though it wasn’t till later in life that if figured out why I was sent to sunday school regularly

  35. Chrome Mags says:

    Here’s a little apropos humor in regards to the wealth divide.

    Papua New Guinea International Summit: “A luxury fleet of 300 vehicles was imported so visiting leaders could be driven around in style in a country mired in poverty. But a police commander said on Tuesday that 284 vehicles are missing. The cars include Landcruisers, Fords, Mazdas and Pajeros, Superintendent Dennis Corcoran said.”

    Someone didn’t think that one through.

  36. Hubbs says:

    As I posited in a post several weeks ago, the debt crisis may be best addressed by doing NOTHING from here on out. Lowering interest rates encourages more speculative none productive borrowing, punishes savers, etc. Raising interest rates too high chokes off investment and servicing the huge debt. In this new slow growth/no growth or even reverse growth, traditional 3-5% interest rates may be too high, and 2% may be about “optimum.” Hopefully the deflationary and inflationary forces may miraculously offset each other somewhat?

    It is kind of like the oil conundrum in which oil prices are too high for consumers, but too low for oil producers. Best bet therefore may try to hold around $70 a barrel as long as we can-if we can. Kind of like trying to make the air in your scuba tank last as long as you can hoping you may find a way out of the cave before it runs out. It is certainly not a pleasant feeling when it becomes harder to draw air from your regulator when your Oceanics Air Integrated dive computer tank registers only a few PSI remaining and at best, you will not have enough left to degas/decompress the Nitrogen even if you do find your way to the surface.

    • Artleads says:

      Delicate balance. Ironically, though, “doing nothing”, to work, requires insanely rigorous governance, whether it’s “dissipation” or “entropy” that’s the thing you need to keep in check through fanatical planning and order.

  37. MG says:

    On the Cause Of the Rarity of Cancer in Egypt

    “During the year 1931 I presented to the Academy of Medicine in Paris several papers on the rarity of cancer in Egypt, which came to the following conclusions:

    (1) Cancer for Egypt is about one-tenth that of Europe and America.

    (2) In Egypt, cancer is less frequent in country fellahin than in the Egyptians who live in the towns and who have adopted Europeanized dietary habits.

    (3) The degree of malignancy of Egyptian cancers is less than that of European cancers. They develop less quickly, and have less of a tendency to invade neighboring tissues.

    (4) The type of cancer which is the most frequent in all the countries rich in cancer is cancer of the digestive, tract, which represents 40 to 50 percent of all cancers. In the case of Egyptians, this type of cancer is remarkably rare; in the country fellahin, practically nonexistent.”

    “What are the causes of the rarity of cancer in Egypt? After having eliminated racial and climatic factors for reasons which can be found in my preceding papers, I said to myself that it must be looked for in an element contained in the food. It is this which led me to do research on the food of the fellah, and I found that that which characterizes the diet of the fellah is its richness in salts of magnesium. The fellah consumes in his food, in the water which he drinks, and in the crude salt which he uses from 2.5 to 3 grams of magnesium per day, against 4 to 5 grams of potash.”

    • I wonder the reason is that the people of Egypt eat much less meat in their diet. They are relatively poor, compared to Europe and the US.

      Most Egyptian peasants cannot afford a large meal. Their diet includes vegetables, lentils, and beans. Meat, which is more costly, is eaten on special occasions. Most middle-class families eat a similar diet, but add more expensive ingredients when they can afford to. All social classes, however, enjoy quick bites at Egyptian cafes or street vendors. Traditional teahouses will serve tea in tall glasses (rather than teacups) and cafes normally offer strong, sweet Turkish coffee. Street vendors sell a variety of inexpensive foods, including ful (fava beans) and koushari (a macaroni, rice, and lentil dish) as a lunchtime favorite. Vendors also sell a variety of asiir (fresh-squeezed juices) made from fruits like banana, guava, mango, pomegranate, strawberry, from sugar cane, and even hibiscus flowers.

      I just heard a presentation for actuaries this morning on how cutting meat back to close to zero, and getting rid of a lot of sugar/white flour/corn syrup foods in the diet, would cut back on a huge number of today’s illnesses, including cancer.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Very interesting, MG. I’ve been catapulting the propaganda for magnesium for several years now. Magnesium is involved in over 600 biochemical reactions in the body—or so its evangelists tell me. And most people are deficient in this vital nutrient. Apparently because our ancestors spent aeons living and evolving in the oceans, where magnesium is superabundant, our bodies are designed to flush the stuff out, while on the other hand they hang onto calcium. The story also goes that we can get plenty of magnesium from the old fashioned hunter gatherer diet and also from the traditional farming diet, but due to industrialized farming, soils have become depleted and so we don’t ingest as much as we need from the average modern diet.

      I’m sure Bezos is taking magnesium, not to mention a few other supplements. How else can we explain how he’s grown into a terminator dude?

    • Tim Groves says:

      Incidentally, this Egyptian study would seem to indicate that the caution over eating wheat gluten per se is unwarranted. They eat plenty of baladi bread on the banks of the Nile. More likely, the industrial world’s and particularly the USA’s food problems come from relying to much on “synthetic” food which is over-processed, nutritionally poor, contains too many additives with E numbers and unpronounceable and unspellable names, and is garnished with Roundup and MSG.

      • MG says:

        I am wondering, how much has changed the content of minerals regarding the food grown in Egypt since the transport of minerals in Nile is hindered by the dams.

        Moreover, today, Egypt needs to import a lot of food.

        “There was a time when Egypt was the breadbasket of the civilized world. The Roman Empire was long sustained by Egyptian wheat. Today, Egypt imports about half of its wheat, corn and other staples, and spends about $15 billion a year in food subsidies.”

  38. Yoshua says:

    The Fed’s normalisation of its balance sheet is done.

    After ending the rate hikes now comes the end of the balance sheet reduction.

  39. Duncan Idaho says:

    Soros again, the wingpawn’s nightmare?
    The EU looks like the Soviet Union in 1991 – on the verge of collapse

    • The problem is too little energy consumption per capita leading to too much wage disparity. Citizens become unhappy with political parties.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Doubtless you are correct about this, Gail. And of course, this lack of energy consumption is the elephant in the room that nobody dare mention. Instead, reducing energy consumption per capita is widely touted as a desirable goal, without any mention of the links between adequate energy consumption and other desirable goals such as economic prosperity, stability and security.

      • Artleads says:

        I’ve heard the following recommended before…and never getting traction: Given that consumption tends to grow vertically–the same groups that consume a lot now, consume more–why not pay more attention to consuming laterally? New, marginalized people consume more, spread out (perhaps less destructively) over vast areas.

        • Artleads says:

          And the poor need so very little to galvanize them into productive effort that there might be enough consumption means to spread globally. Spread globally, you reduce migration and other related friction that jams up the system. The poor of the world don’t really need or deeply desire to be equal to the rich; they need a decent living situation, or, say, a small improvement over the squalor they occupy now. That improvement can simply be a matter of better design or planning, based on a slightly better material situation.

        • A Real Black Person says:

          I don’t think redistribution is going to change the consumption patterns of industrial civilization unless a Communist Cuba or a Communist North Korea model of redistribution is applied. A Communist Cuba or a Communist North Korea model of redistribution would lead to collapse.

          “The poor of the world don’t really need or deeply desire to be equal to the rich; they need a decent living situation, or, say, a small improvement over the squalor they occupy now. That improvement can simply be a matter of better design or planning, based on a slightly better material situation.”
          If were that easy and cheap, it would have been done. It’s not simple, it’s expensive and complicated especially since so few people in developed countries are willing to become significantly poorer so people in places like Kenya can have indoor plumbing in a poorly built shantytown.

          • Artleads says:

            “If were that easy and cheap, it would have been done. ”

            That’s where I have trouble following. I posted a Lowes shed a few months ago. I bought the same model for around $500 and saw it assembled. On a cold day it was warm inside, and could hold a 6 foot bed. I think you can see better than I the chain of problems with trying to distribute these through a centralized system, but there ought to be some way in which a $500 shed for millions of people wouldn’t bring down IC.

    • DJ says:

      He makes it sound like the breakup of soviet was bad?

      Maybe for the party elite.

  40. Sven Røgeberg says:
    Ugo Bardi has visited Norway. He seems to get along with Jørgen Randers. The reason for this Gail has told us about.
    Have you read his study about how it is possible to use fossil resources to build a renewable energy infrastructur?;

    • I think I saw this back when it came out in 2016. Thanks for reminding me of it.

      The fundamental problem with this approach is the misses several important points:

      (1a) Prices for fossil fuels must remain high enough in order to extract these fuels. For these prices to remain high enough, there must be enough net energy getting back as wages to non-elite workers around the world so that they can afford to buy finished goods and services with these products.

      (1b) We are already failing at (1a).

      (2) All of the new devices must be financed by debt. Somehow, these new devices must pay back quickly enough to repay the debt with interest.

      (3) The rest of the economy must go on as well. Roads need paving; transmission lines need to be repaired. These things can’t be done with electricity.

      (4) The laws of physics are in charge; we are not. The laws of physics are what determine prices and how much governments can collect as taxes. If we cannot raise prices of fossil fuels high enough today, and debt levels are already too high, doing this transition is clearly a no-go.

    • Looking at Ugo’s blog post, I think that saying that the UK’s climate is similar to Norway’s is absurd. Norway has a huge amount of hydroelectric; UK as very little. It is Norway’s hydroelectric that puts it in a better place than other countries. Why not compare Norway and Iceland?

  41. Baby Doomer says:

    The EU looks like the Soviet Union in 1991 – on the verge of collapse -Soros

  42. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Economic recovery efforts since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis have mainly depended on unconventional monetary policies. As fears rise of yet another international financial crisis, there are growing concerns about the increased possibility of large-scale military conflict.

    “More worryingly, in the current political landscape, prolonged economic crisis, combined with rising economic inequality, chauvinistic ethno-populism as well as aggressive jingoist rhetoric, including threats, could easily spin out of control and ‘morph’ into military conflict, and worse, world war.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “…in another sign of the caution being displayed, the proportion of professionals who are ‘overweight’ in cash (where a fund manager believes a particular security or asset class will perform better than others) is at its highest level since January 2009 – a period in which the financial crisis was raging and global markets were gripped by fear.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The key fear among regulators and the IMF is a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by a decline in home values and a spike in defaults on loans to homebuyers with tarnished “subprime” credit…

        “A similar frenzy is happening now with junk loans. The end product is a type of bonds known as “collateralized loan obligations,” or CLOs. New York-based Blackstone is the biggest manager of CLOs, overseeing about $28 billion of the investment vehicles, according to Creditflux, a publication that tracks the industry.”

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said, “Like households, companies repaired their balance sheets following the crisis but unlike households, corporates then went back to the well,” he said in a speech in London Tuesday. “Relative to earnings, aggregate corporate debt in the U.S. and U.K. is nearing pre-crisis peaks, and the distribution is worsening. In the U.K., the share of highly levered companies is above pre-crisis levels.””

        • What could possibly go wrong?

        • Chrome Mags says:

          “The key fear among regulators and the IMF is a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis…”

          Yeah, no kidding and for all the rest of us too. The trouble with a repeat at this point is it will probably mean a major step down for the world economy from which it will never fully recover because the fancy fiscal footwork to attempt a recovery won’t be available on the scale it was before. That will be a world with a permanently reduced appearance and economic activity. It’s coming but let’s hope not anytime soon.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            “A few years back, a man high up in the CIA named Ray Cline was asked if the CIA, by its surveillance of protest organizations in the United States, was violating the free speech provision of the First Amendment. He smiled & said: ‘It’s only an amendment.'”

            — Howard Zinn

    • No kidding!

  43. Harry McGibbs says:

    Another to add to our growing list of nations with housing slumps:

    “When the world’s tallest building opened here [Dubai] in 2010, a one-bedroom apartment with a view of the Persian Gulf sold for about $800,000. Four years later that apartment would fetch $1 million. Today, the same apartment at the Burj Khalifa goes for less than $550,000, according to brokers.”

    • I saw that article. I kept wondering, “Is Saudi Arabia doing any better? How about UAE?”

      • Harry Gibbs says:

        Good question. I looked up the situation in Saudi and theirs was one of the very worst performing real estate markets in the world last year:

        “Saudi Arabia’s real estate market has been named the world’s worst performer in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the year-earlier period.

        “According to Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index Q3 2018, average property prices in the Gulf kingdom fell by 3.7 percent over the past year.

        “Saudi Arabia was placed 57th out of 57 markets covered by the real estate consultancy and also saw declines of 2.9 percent and 2.1 percent over the past six and three months respectively.”

        So, what do they do? Crank up the government spending:

        “Big spending, mega projects ‘to spark Saudi real estate growth’

        “The year 2019 is expected to witness ongoing activity on the back of the kingdom’s largest-ever expansionary budget – SR1 trillion ($266 billion) in spending – and commitment to driving economic growth…”

    • milan says:

      Upon returning from a sales trip to Dubai our sales manager replied to a question of mine about life there? What’s it like etc etc. Is it really the paradise as its portrayed to be? Dave replied, that place wouldn’t couldn’t exist without air conditioning period! That desert heat is simply unbearable without air conditioning. Everything is air conditioned there.
      Now add to that the many comments here about energy etc especially if one remembers CTG talking about the insanity of high rises and how is anyone going to live and survive on lets say the 30 floor is frightening if not laughable paying millions for what a hole in a wall but admittedly an amazing view. I will never forget – imagine lugging groceries up 30 flights of stairs because of no elevator?
      You got to be seriously insane to pay good and serious money for living in such places.

      • my thoughts exactly

        they take financial advice from the Emperor’s tailor, and build vanity towers “as a hedge against the time when we don’t have oil”

        my head starts to hurt whenever I think about it.

        When their system starts to fall apart, they will fight each other for what’s left until there’s nothing left.

        Then they will revert to being goat herders and camel traders again

        still—it was good while it lasted

  44. TIm Groves says:

    Doug Casey in a chat last November expressed fears over the collapse of Western Civilization, because all of the values that made the West what it is are now held in disrepute by the public at large, mostly due to the universities being totally overrun by very unpleasant Marxists filling their students’ heads with agitprop.

    • The problem with hard money aficionados like Mr. Casey is that they overplay the case, they are ideologues on their very own turf as well. Namely, there was probably never ever in history of mankind a lasting system of hard money, the coinage was always debased and fraudulently manipulated by the authorities/owners of the fin system, the hist records available are clear. Granted, there were some brief moments (fraction of human life anyway) when it sort of worked, but this was exclusively feature of favorable local conditions coming to front, like your competing neighboring state having bad harvest, loosing war with a third party etc., so you could get ahead for a moment with quasi stable money. Nevertheless, even these brief times of “happiness” eventually lapsed into your regular scheduling aka debasement.

  45. A Real Black Person says:

    I didn’t read through all the comments here so I apoplogize if this is something that was discussed earlier.

    There’s more news that supports Gail’s theory that industrial civilization is in the same position that industrial civilization was in the late 1920s.

    There’s news circulating that farmers are now doing poorly…but the blame is being squarely placed on tariffs You’d think the MSM would be covering this story in more depth, more but a lot of people seem uninterested in where their food comes from…aside from it being organic (less efficient to produce)….and want to frame the farmer’s problems as those of policy only.

  46. A Real Black Person says:

    How are they measuring the decline of insect populations?
    It’s only natural to assume insect populations are decling in areas subject to industrial farming but outside of that…are insects really struggling?

    This is research being brought to us by the scientific community who brought us
    the news that the world is undergoing catastrophic climate change right now.

    • I think the catch is that anyplace that is suitable for farming is being farmed. Places that are suitable for fishing are being fished. Places that are suitable for logging are being logged. We have appropriated far too much of the renewable resources of the world for ourselves already, and this is affecting the insect population, the fish population, the land animal population, and many others. This is the result of the high human population as much as anything. Technology is also a factor.

      • Rodster says:

        “Technology is also a factor.”

        Neonicotinoids “Monsanto” used in industrial farming appears to be a big culprit wrt to insect dieoff. And when you lose one group it affects other parts of their food chain. Then you have habitat destruction which adds to the problem.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          Rodster; So true however;

          Trump administration reverses ban on bee-harming pesticides in wildlife refuges

          “Previously, the US had prohibited the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, on wildlife refuges, in conjunction with genetically modified organism (GMO) crops, engineered to resist insect pests. Neonics are a class of insecticides tied by research to declining populations of wild bees and other pollinating insects around the world. Rather than continuing to impose a blanket ban on GMO crops and neonics on refuges, Fish and Wildlife Service deputy director Greg Sheehan said in a memo that decisions about their use would be made on a case-by-case basis.”

          • Artleads says:

            Is the bigger problem urban and suburban development that removes so much vegetation and topsoil?

    • I’m very suspicious about these wireless networks in this regard as well..

  47. Baby Doomer says:

    BP CEO Bob Dudley warns oil market uncertainty could lead to a ‘real crunch’

    “I think what is important is when prices are too high or too low, it leads to all kinds of unintended consequences,” he added.

    • Oil prices today are too low for the vast majority of producers (as well as their governments, getting tax revenue from oil sales). Oil prices seem to still be too high for consumers. It is hard to fix a problem in two different directions simultaneously.

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