Have We Already Passed World Peak Oil and World Peak Coal?

Most people expect that our signal of an impending reduction in world oil or coal production will be high prices. Looking at historical data (for example, this post and this post), this is precisely the opposite of the correct price signal. Oil and coal supplies decline because prices fall too low for producers. These producers make voluntary cutbacks because the prices they receive fall below their cost of production. There often are supply gluts at the same time.

This strange situation arises because prices must be high enough for the producers at the same time that goods and services made by oil (and other energy products) are inexpensive enough for consumers to afford. There is a two way battle taking place:

(1) Prices producers require tend to rise over time, because of depletion. The easiest to extract portion of any resource (such as oil, coal, copper, or lithium) tends to be removed first. What is left tends to be deeper, lower quality, or otherwise more difficult to extract cheaply.

(2) Prices consumers can afford for discretionary goods (such as cell phones and automobiles) tend to fall for a combination of reasons:

  • Wages of many workers fall because of competition from lower cost labor in other countries.
  • Some jobs are eliminated through the use of computers or robots.
  • Young people are increasingly being required to pay for higher education (beyond that which is provided free), leaving many with loans to repay, reducing their discretionary income.
  • Changes to US healthcare law (mostly starting January 1, 2014) lead to required health insurance premiums. While some citizens find cost savings in this approach, healthy young people often experience cutbacks in discretionary income as a result.
  • Rents and home prices keep rising faster than incomes.

When the discretionary income of the many non-elite workers of the world falls, they buy fewer finished goods and services. Finished goods and services are manufactured using commodities of many kinds, including oil, coal, copper, iron ore, and fresh water. When discretionary demand falls, commodity prices tend to fall. This is the problem we are encountering now. It tends to cause the prices of many commodities to fall below the cost of production. Eventually, producers decide to quit because production is no longer profitable. This is the issue that leads to peak oil, coal or copper.

Figure 1. Illustration showing why falling affordability creates a conflict between supply and demand.

If the Affordability Price Clash Mostly Affects Non-Elite Workers, Does It Matter?

When I talk about non-elite workers, I am talking about workers who are in the bottom 90% of the wage distribution. Elite workers will always have enough income for the necessities of life. There are so many non-elite workers in the world that they, indeed, do make a difference.

Also, the forces that adversely affect non-elite workers tend to have several effects:

  1. They tend to send a larger share of wages to elite workers, as the economy becomes more complex and more specialized.
  2. They tend to send more unearned income to elite workers, through capital appreciation, because elite workers can afford to buy shares of stock and expensive homes.
  3. The wealthy spend their income differently from non-elite workers. Non-elite workers tend to spend the bulk of their discretionary income on devices made using commodities, such as cell phones and automobiles. The wealthy are likely to spend their discretionary income in less energy intensive ways, such as investing in shares of stock and buying services such as private college education for their children.

History shows that economies tend to collapse when wage and wealth disparity becomes too great. Collapse can take various forms, including revolutions by the disgruntled underclass, increased susceptibility to epidemics, or the financial collapse of governments. Wars become more likely, as one country tries to aid its citizens at the expense of citizens of other countries.

The world today seems to be approaching a crisis point with respect to wage and wealth disparity. Young people in particular are adversely affected. Figure 2 shows a chart indicating that wage disparity seems to be back to the level it was at the time of the Great Depression of the 1930s. This was also a time of low commodity prices and gluts of food and oil.

Figure 2. U. S. Income Shares of Top 1% and Top 0.1%, Wikipedia exhibit by Piketty and Saez.

Gluts tend to occur because commodity prices rise to a level where devices made with these commodities (such as cell phones and automobiles) become too expensive for non-elite workers to afford. Elite workers can still afford the devices, but there are not enough elite workers to make up for the shortfall in non-elite buyers of these devices, so industrial output per capita tends to fall.

Figure 3 shows the important role that the wages of non-elite workers play in generating adequate demand. If their wages are high enough, they can buy enough goods and services made with commodities to keep commodity prices high. With sufficiently high commodity prices, production can continue.

Figure 3: Chart showing the important role that the wages of non-elite workers play in maintaining energy demand. With adequate demand, prices can remain high enough for production to continue.

Why the Peak in World Oil Production Likely Occurred in 2018 

If we look at recent oil data, we see a pattern of growing gluts in supply, as indicated by the red bars in Figure 4. Even in the most recent week, the week ending February 15, 2019, after all of the cuts begun by OPEC and other oil exporters, US crude oil stocks continue to build. This is not the impact a person would expect, if the production cuts are truly effective!

Figure 4. Brent average quarterly oil price (in January 2019$), with an indication of quarters when world crude oil inventories are building. Oil prices are Brent spot oil prices, adjusted using the CPI-Urban to January 2019 prices levels. World inventory build quarters are based on indications shown in US Short Term Energy Outlook reports of various publication dates.

This is precisely the kind of signal we would expect, if products made with oil (and using oil in their operation) are becoming increasingly unaffordable for the non-elite workers of the world. Note that these bars are becoming more frequent and are occurring at lower prices. This is the expected outcome of a clash between the falling discretionary income of non-elite workers and the rising costs of oil producers.

When prices fall too low, producers cut back production. OPEC reports its view of the effect of recent production cutbacks in Figure 5.

Figure 5. OPEC and world oil supply, in chart from OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report for February 2019.

Given the nearly worldwide problem of falling affordability of goods by non-elite workers, we should not be surprised if the peaks in oil production in October and November 2018 ultimately prove to be the maximum production ever recorded. In fact, it seems quite likely that the year 2018 will prove to be the year with the highest-ever oil production.

The cutback in production will appear to be voluntary. Once cutbacks start, they will tend to feed upon themselves. Unless oil prices really spike following the cutbacks (say, to $90 per barrel), exporting countries will find themselves worse off after the cutbacks, for a combination of reasons:

    • The cutback in production will reduce the number of workers directly and indirectly employed by the oil industry. Their reduced spending will lead to a need for expanded government programs.
    • Housing prices will fall in oil exporting countries. This is likely to ultimately lead to debt defaults.
    • Tax revenue that governments of oil exporters can collect on the smaller amount of oil will be lower, even though the needs of the economy will be greater.

Ultimately, it seems likely that at least some governments of oil exporting countries will be overthrown, depressing oil production further. If the breakeven price for most OPEC members, including necessary tax revenue, was over $100 per barrel in 2014, it is hard to see how exporters can get along with much less today.

World Coal Production: Following a Similar Pattern to Oil?

One thing that most people don’t realize is that coal prices follow a very similar pattern to those of oil.

Figure 6. Sample world coal prices, based on information from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

In Figure 6, coal prices experience a major peak in 2008, followed by a lower peak in the 2011 period, which peters out by 2013. Prices recently are much lower than in the 2008 period, or in the 2011 to 2013 period. This pattern is very similar to the recent pattern in oil prices.

The similarity in the patterns of coal prices and oil prices makes perfect sense if prices of both oil and coal are based primarily on affordability, and this affordability depends heavily on the wages of non-elite workers. When countries, such as China, ramp up their debt, more non-elite workers can be hired at higher wages. These workers can make more computers, automobiles, steel ingots, and many other goods. They can also afford to buy more output of the world economy. This ramped up demand tends to raise the prices of both coal and oil.

For many commodities, China’s demand represents close to half of the world demand. China has become the world’s number one manufacturer of goods. China needs growing energy consumption to maintain its growth of manufactured goods because it takes energy to operate machines, even computers. It even takes energy to keep the lights on.

Unfortunately, with the recent lower prices for coal and oil, China is experiencing lower production of both coal and oil (Figure 7). Without growing energy supplies, China cannot meet the world’s growing need for manufactured goods.

Figure 7. China energy production by fuel, based on 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy data.

The reason why China has recently reduced production of both coal and oil is the usual one: the rising cost of production conflicts with the low prices available in the marketplace, making production unprofitable for a growing share of producers.

How about China’s total energy consumption? Do imports make up for China’s lack of local production?

Figure 8. China energy production by fuel, with a line added to indicated it total energy consumption, including imports. Based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 data.

Not really. China is the world’s largest importer of coal, oil and natural gas. It is also the number one user of wind and solar (included in the tiny orange “Other Renewables” portion of the chart). Even with these huge additions to China’s energy production, its annual growth in the quantity of energy it consumes (including imports) has plummeted (Figure 9).

Figure 9. China annual growth in total energy consumption. Based on 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy data.

China reports that its real GDP growth rate is still very high (over 6%, net of inflation), but many observers are skeptical of this claim. Certainly, going forward, its coal and oil production cannot continue to decline, or the economy will encounter huge problems. The amount of goods China will be able to manufacture will fall, as will the number of new homes it can build. Without continued growth, China is likely to run into debt default problems. China is such a large country that its problems can be expected to adversely affect the world economy as a whole.

Figure 10 shows that China produces nearly half of the world’s total coal. If China’s coal production declines, world production is also likely to decline.

Figure 10. World coal production, divided into China and Non-China, based on 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy data.

The only way to prop up coal production, for either China or the rest of the world, is higher prices, indirectly coming from higher demand from non-elite workers. Businesses can perhaps use rising debt to hire these non-elite workers but, if there is not a sufficient supply of buyers who can afford the additional goods and services made by these workers, the final outcome will be debt defaults.

The Fundamental Problem Is a Physics Problem

The fundamental problem is that the economy grows for the same reason that hurricanes, ecosystems, stars, and plants and animals grow. They are dissipative structures that grow in the presence of energy flows. In the case of hurricanes, the energy comes from the heat in the warm ocean. In the case of the economy, the energy flows are of many different types, including (among others), human energy, energy of draft animals, solar energy, fossil fuels, and wind energy.

One key characteristic of dissipative structures is that they are not permanent. Permanent growth in a finite system is not possible. The laws of physics sets up the system in such a way that dissipative structures grow and eventually collapse. Over time, new dissipative structures form, each varying in a random way from previous dissipative structures. Those best adapted to the ever-changing circumstances tend to last the longest. This is the way that the evolution of economies takes place, just as the evolution of plants and animals takes place.

One characteristic of economies is that physics determines how much energy is needed to manufacture and transport a particular product. It also determines how much the mix of buyers can afford to pay for finished products using this energy. Thus, physics determines the potential profitability of a particular manufacturing process, with lower energy costs tending to make production more profitable. As energy costs rise because of diminishing returns, the system eventually reaches a point where it must collapse. The cost of production rises so high, relative to wages, that many non-elite workers cannot afford the finished goods and services made by the system.

The laws of physics also determine what wage distributions must look like, given the availability of energy and other resources. In general, if there are not enough resources to go around, some members of the economy tend to get “frozen out” by low wages. In addition, in a low-energy per capita situation, the energy that is available tends to rise to the top, to the high-earners of the economy, somewhat like heating water transforms it to its gas phase (steam), which rises to the top. With this structure, even with a severe energy shortfall, some members of the economy can be survivors.

With today’s worldwide economy, the survivors might be some humans and businesses within the world economy. The system would need to start over, building up smaller economies from pieces that managed to stay intact, but the system, as a whole, would not die out, unless the energy shortfall were to be severe.

Modeling the World Economy

One issue with academic research today is that it tends to be divided into many academic “silos.” Researchers tend to know more and more about their own field, but less and less about other fields that might be peripherally related. For example, economists tend not to keep up with the physics of self-organizing networked systems. Geophysicists understand the physics that governs the extraction of fuels, but they have no insight into the fact that the laws of physics might also affect prices and wage distributions.

Without understanding the forces that are causing the results that are being observed, it is very easy to create a model that is more misleading than helpful. For example, a simple model of the earth is the one each of us can see as we look around us.

Figure 11. Source: Edrawsoft.com

The model shown in Figure 11 is a flat map. This is a perfectly good representation of what the earth looks like, if a person is not concerned about what happens at a distance. Of course, to extend the map out, a person really needs to convert the model into a globe. A globe is a very different model.

Economic researchers tend to have some of the same modeling issues as illustrated by the flat map model. Economists favor fitting curves to past data to forecast the future patterns. Curve fitting tends not to be good for determining turning points. When dealing with energy and other resources, we are really interested in when a turning point will happen, forcing production of energy products and resources of many kinds downward.

Another model favored by economists is the standard two-dimensional supply and demand model (Figure 12). This model ignores the special role that energy products play because of the operation of the laws of physics. Energy products, as they work through the networked economy, affect both the supply and demand of finished goods and services, making the two dimensional model shown inappropriate.

Figure 12. This standard model does not consider the special role energy plays in the economy under the laws of physics, so is not appropriate for energy products.

With neither curve fitting nor the standard supply and demand model sounding an alarm with respect to energy prices not being able to rise forever, economists have tended to overlook this issue.

Figure 13. Economic models tend to give a false sense of security because they forecast that the future will be a continuation of the past.

Of course, policymakers are happy to hear happily-ever-after endings. Few policymakers question the reasonableness of the models. They do not consider the possibility that the falling discretionary income of non-elite workers around the world might choke off demand for goods made with energy products.

Even geophysicists who have looked at the problem tend to get the story only half right. They understand underground physics, but they tend not to understand that prices cannot rise indefinitely. This is a different, related issue, also associated with the physics of the situation.

“Climate Change Is Our Biggest Problem” Is a Corollary to Bad Modeling

If a person truly believes that energy prices can and will rise forever, then it is an easy corollary to assume that all fossil fuels that we can identify within the earth’s crust will eventually become extractable. There are no limits except for the limits imposed by climate change.

Of course, if we are really hitting price limits here and now, the situation is likely to be very different. These price limits will cause a very near-term decline in energy supply, which we essentially have no control over. Financial systems are likely to collapse; international trade will be scaled way back; world population is likely to fall. CO2 levels will, in time, adjust to this radically changed world.

I showed earlier (in How the Peak Oil story could be “close,” but not quite right) that the models used to “prove” that wind and solar can be helpful to the system greatly overstate their benefit to the system. As a result, we don’t really have evidence that wind and solar are even helpful to the system.

Consequently, we really have two false models working together to give an illusion that we have a huge problem which is fixable, if we just exert enough effort. Physics puts a cap on our efforts, however. The physics of the system makes the system collapse before policymakers can hope to even make a small fix.

Figure 14. Two false models work together to give the illusion that climate change is the greatest problem that humans have and that we can fix the problem with fixes to the fuel system.

The unfortunate problem is that policymakers are not really in charge: the laws of physics are in charge. Energy and other resources are no longer inexpensive enough to extract to allow the system to work. The proposed solutions (wind and solar) are not cheap enough to save the system either. We can temporarily hide the problem with more debt (indirect promises of future energy) at lower interest rates, but this does not fix the system.

Conclusion

Many of the problems the world economy is facing today seem to be the result of reaching the limits of energy extraction. Very few researchers understand how a self-organized networked economy really operates. As a result, the symptoms of economic health and economic illness have been confused. It looks quite possible that we have reached both Peak Oil and Peak Coal, approximately simultaneously. This is a frightening situation, because it could be an indication of collapse in the next few years. This would likely be much worse than the Depression of the 1930s.

Of course, even with these observations, we do not know precisely what lies ahead. Somehow, multicellular animals have lived on this earth for a very long time. Amazing coincidences have happened and may continue to happen, allowing economies to flourish. We humans do not have as much control over the current situation as we would like to think that we have. Fortunately, we cannot rule out the possibility of more amazing coincidences, perhaps even caused by a literal Higher Power behind the energy flows. Thus, the result may be different from what our models seem to suggest.

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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1,593 Responses to Have We Already Passed World Peak Oil and World Peak Coal?

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The global economy’s sharp loss of speed through 2018 has left the pace of expansion the weakest since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to Bloomberg Economics.

    “Its new GDP tracker puts world growth at 2.1 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter annualised basis, down from about 4 per cent in the middle of last year. While there’s a chance that the economy may find a foothold and arrest the slowdown, “the risk is that downward momentum will be self-sustaining,” say economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik…

    “In their report, Hanson and Orlik admitted the pace of the slowdown has been a surprise.

    “”The cyclical upswing that took hold of the global economy in mid-2017 was never going to last. Even so, the extent of the slowdown since late last year has surprised many economists, including us.””

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/global-economy-hits-weakest-spell-since-the-financial-crisis-20190312-p513fd.html

  2. SuperTramp says:

    Yep, let’s focus on the important budget items!
    (Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s “I LOVE YOU!” tweet to farmers is facing another challenge: Budget cuts that will slash subsidies for crop insurance and small growers.

    Trump’s 2020 budget, released Monday, calls for a 15 percent funding drop for the Department of Agriculture, citing “overly generous” subsidies. The president is seeking one of the largest-ever cuts to domestic discretionary spending in a $4.7 trillion fiscal 2020 budget proposal that also boosts defense spending and adds $8.6 billion for building a border wall.

    The plan would trim the USDA budget by $3.6 billion to $20.8 billion, lowering subsidies for crop insurance premiums to 48 percent from 62 percent, and limiting subsidies for growers who make less than $500,000 annually.

    In December, the president tweeted, “Farmers, I LOVE YOU!” On Monday, the National Farmers Union criticized the White House budget proposal, saying, “It’s time the president’s policy proposals and rhetoric acknowledge the financial pain in farm country.”

    The budget blueprint, which forecasts annual deficits extending beyond the next decade and rising national debt, represents a wish list for the president’s priorities that is certain to be ignored by Congress. “The Trump budget has no chance of garnering the necessary bipartisan support to become law,” said Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

    Farmers comprise the bedrock of the rural base of voters that sent Trump to the White House. That constituency found itself caught in the cross-hairs of Trump’s trade war with Beijing after China slapped retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-grown crops, including soybeans.

    As Ed Abbey once wrote….small farmers are one group the Washington Bigwigs are fearful of…
    That’s why their subsidies are being cut….not the corporate agrimonsters…
    Froom above…”limiting subsidies for growers who make less than $500,000 annually.”

  3. Duncan Idaho says:

    Lake in bottom of Death Valley:

    https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/01/03/46/17054118/3/1024×1024.jpg

    Who would of thought?

  4. Most of the people who post in this blog tend to be older. I was born around the time Saigon fell to the Viet Minh , making me one of the younger ones.

    The younger ones don’t care.

    http://greyenlightenment.com/the-new-30-something/

    All they care is making money quick, fast, consequences be damned. They don’t care about social justice, inequality, a lot of horrors, etc.

    That is the reality. They will inherit the earth.

    • Assuming there is much to inherit.

    • Yoshua says:

      And the meek shall inherit nothing.

      • In fact, pretty much no one will inherit anything.

      • Tim Groves says:

        I’m rather meek but I’ve inherited quite a lot over the years without even trying.

        We are all familiar with people who try to take from others what is not rightfully theirs to take. Less well known, however, is that there are a lot of people, especially among the oldsters, who have amassed things of considerable value to them and they want to pass them on to somebody—not necessarily a relative—who will appreciate and value these things.

      • The meek shall inherit the Earth ……….if that’s alright with you?

  5. Xabier says:

    Today we will do everything possible to save someone with pneumonia, however frail: in the past, it was known as ‘The old man’s friend’ because it swiftly ended the sufferings of weak old age….

    • Yoshua says:

      Life is precious!

      • Country Joe says:

        Yep. Every day they can keep you alive in the hospital is tens of thousands of dollars.
        Lots of money to be made from pain. Pain = Precious Profit in the U.S.

        • There have been some articles recently about old medicines ( old enough to be out of patent) having other uses as well, such as fighting cancer. But no one has a financial interest in proving their worth, because there is no money to be made in the process.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          “Yep. Every day they can keep you alive in the hospital is tens of thousands of dollars.”

          I knew a relative that took another relative to a hospital after cancer had metasticised throughout the body including the brain. I tried everything I could think of saying to stop this person from taking that other person to the hospital, but was unable to, and I didn’t have the authority to stop it. The suffering relative became paralyzed from the waist down just trying to transport the person to the hospital. Then came a week of intense chemo and all the rest of it, then finally the doctors had to administer morphine in a deadly dose just to end the misery of the person, with this other relative fighting them tooth and nail not to, claiming there was still a chance. Cost: $96,500. for One Week of procedures and that was in 2005. Would be much more now.

          I saw another situation at a hospital in which this elderly man was literally begging to be put out of his misery. His elderly wife said, “Just calm down. Everything that can be done is being done.”

          I think there needs to be a mandated 3rd party at hospitals to intervene and bring some financial and emotional sanity to those situations.

          • Xabier says:

            My great-aunt begged the physician to kill her in her last days; poor man he could only decline to do so……

            • MG says:

              My mother tells me from time to time that I should throw her into a hole and burry her.

              Our present is a hell sometimes. The promises of the future are even bleaker…

          • Slow Paul says:

            The hospitals are filled with cases like these. People (or just as often: their relatives) do not want to come to terms with their mortality.

            • It seems like the situation is more than individuals not wanting to come to terms with their own mortality. Doctors rarely discourage additional treatment, because they stand to make money off it. If one insurance company provides coverage for this ridiculous treatment, others feel compelled to do so as well. I would expect that Obamacare policies include it.

              A spouse or other relative may demand care when there is little point to it, to feel like they have done everything they could. In the case of my mother in law, she very much did not want to be left alone. She demanded brain surgery for her husband when he was 90, so that he might have a chance of surviving and being with her. He did survive, but mentally he was very confused.

            • Sheila chambers says:

              I’m glad I won’t have any relatives when I’m at the end, I already told my doctor that I do NOT want to be “kept alive”, I want MORPHINE at the end & NO @#$@%*!! feeding tube, NO &*%#!! IV”s, NO %$#&*! breathing tube, just enough MORPHINE to depress my respiration so I just relax & go to “sleep” forever.
              There are some things that are WORSE THAN DEATH & I have seen many of those HORRORS & read about many others!
              If we were a rational species, we wouldn’t have to BEG to be released from our torture & those dam RELIGIOUS NITWITS would have no say in MY end of life treatments.

            • MG says:

              The relatives feel that they do something, when in fact others do, i.e. the personnel. In fact, the relatives often do not understand that it is more important to be with somebody who is approaching the death than to provide him or her the latest “medical miracles”.

              The attitude towards the death is distorted also among those who think that they are religious: they are in fact affraid of death, they somehow want to return their dying relative to a stage that was, according to them, the real him or her, which is, of course, ridiculous.

              They, simply, can not accept that the identity of the living organism is changing during its life and returning it back is an energy consuming process that can even shorten the life of the given person. Thus, in the end, what they can not accept, is the energy decline of the human species, that the human species as energy units are disappearing.

    • Sheila chambers says:

      “Today we will do everything possible to save someone with pneumonia, however frail: in the past, it was known as ‘The old man’s friend’ because it swiftly ended the sufferings of weak old age….”
      My grandmother died of neumonia but only after she broke her femoral head, I would rather die of an overdose of MORPHINE!
      Perhaps as things go down, more old folks will get “accidental” overdoes of morphine like my great grandmother might have gotten because of her christian “science” religion, she refused medical treatment for her heart failure for months, by then, it was too late to help her.
      I also expect there to be pockets of survivors who are already self sufficient & who will hardly miss the “advanced” world as they continue to graze their yaks/ sheep/ cattle/goats, grow their own food & produce their own clothing & just about everything else they need.
      The worlds poorest are also the worlds TOUGHEST!

      • Well said Sheila – I too am near enough to passing on that I know what I want and it’s the same as you. I had morphine not long ago to treat the pain of a gall stone and it was amazing. I will have no resusitation or life-extending medical devices. I prefer for nature to take its course – as pain free as possible.

        And in the vastness of the universe, if there is indeed an intelligent being looking after this planet, then so be it and I place my exisitence at His feet. Otherwise it’s off to the crematorium pronto.

  6. Yoshua says:

    Venezuela is entering day 5 without electricity. The weak, old and sick are hopefully dying off…and soon in mass…to make room for the the once with a fighting chance to make it through the bottle neck.

    The world (western) is imposing sanctions and isolating Venezuela to kill her off gently…just as life is ment to do.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      ““Venezuela has truly collapsed already,” Guaidó said in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “The world (western) is imposing sanctions and isolating Venezuela…”

      it very well may be that the USA is undermining VZ and causing some of the suffering…

      for the long term prospect of controlling the VZ oil resources…

      in the long run, having outside oil experts help VZ to maximize their oil production would be good for its citizens (help could be China or Russia… doesn’t have to be USA, though logistically the USA is nearby and has much Light Tight Oil and would want to be a major buyer of the VZ heavy oil)…

      in the short run, a plane flight by Maduro to Cuba would probably be the easiest/simplest way to keep things peaceful in VZ and to begin a process of reversing the ongoing collapse…

  7. Second specimen of Boeing’s new model 737max8 just crashed within less than a year..
    China which bought ~25% of them all immediately grounded this fleet. Perhaps this could be another little ankle kicking side play in the ongoing trade war saga.

    Interestingly, Boeing’s stock price is now [-10%] on the premarket, so let’s wait for the plunge protecting team to wake up and lift it up, will it be a measured multi day ‘natural phenomenon’ effort or will they panic into one day wonder lift-athlon instead?

    • The WSJ now reports “Indonesia follows China in Grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 Jets After Fatal Crash.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/indonesia-follows-china-in-grounding-boeing-737-max-8-jets-after-fatal-crash-11552303187

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        That is almost as bad as the F35 fiasco–

        • Lastcall says:

          Are the Pilots just decoration now….

          • The wsj article has a graph of the up and down motion made the airplane made before crashing. It looked like the pilot was trying to overcome the bizarre movements some automatic system was making. I don’t have access to the article right now, but it talks about an automatic system that Boeing says the pilots can disconnect. I had the impression the pilots hadn’t been told that they could disconnect the system if it malfunctioned.

            • Hubbs says:

              The most important thing to know about an autopilot is how to disable it, then to learn when not to engage it in the first place. A urologist in Bowling Green KY years ago took his family up in his Piper twin, and had set the autopilot on the wrong coordinates on the slaved HSI autopilot, and just after takeoff, the autopilot took over and veered the plane close to a reported 180 turn, stalled it out and crashed theoretically before the good doctor could disable it, if indeed he even knew what was causing the malfunction. When you are low and slow, you don’t have much time.

              Then there was an orthopod in my old town Elizabeth City, NC , who had a sailing boat and set his Loran or maybe it was GPS coordinates to the buoy on very shallow water rather than around it, and tore the hull and his vessel sank.
              So we have covered sea and air. What about land?
              Hasn’t Tesla uncovered its version of navigation screw ups?

              What was that about complexity again?

  8. Harry McGibbs says:

    Wall Street’s oldest ever bull run turns 10:

    “Extraordinary efforts by the U.S. Federal Reserve to foster an economic recovery from the financial crisis through asset purchases and rock-bottom interest rates have provided essential support for the market during its bull run.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/usa-stocks-bull/rpt-wall-streets-oldest-ever-bull-market-turns-10-years-old-idUKL1N20V1RJ

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Zero per cent interest rates and trillions of dollars of cash injections were supposed to be a temporary fix, a massive jolt to the heart of capitalism to revive the global economy. The problem is that no-one has figured out how to remove the medicine, how to unwind the stimulus without causing a major downturn and economic chaos.”

      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-11/global-economy-blew-up-interest-rates-reserve-bank/10887958

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Sunday the U.S. central bank does “not feel any hurry” to change the level of interest rates again as it watches how a slowing global economy affects local conditions in the United States. Rates are currently “appropriate,” Powell said…

        https://www.euronews.com/2019/03/11/powell-fed-not-in-any-hurry-to-change-rates-amid-global-risks

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “The US economy has seen the biggest one-month surge in recession risk in three decades as consumers start to buckle under higher credit costs, top economists have warned. The probability of a contraction in the US has jumped to 73pc from 24pc in December, a model by UBS has revealed. The sudden surge was driven by a collapse in spending on durable goods such as cars, furniture and kitchen appliances, the “strongest recession predictive power”, it said.”

          https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/03/09/us-economy-faces-real-risk-recession/

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          “An intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, & it is only the fool who becomes anything.”

      • They didn’t figure out what an important role cheap-to-produce energy plays. More debt at lower interest rates can only help disguise the situation so long.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        “The problem is that no-one has figured out how to remove the medicine, how to unwind the stimulus without causing a major downturn and economic chaos.”

        so then it’s not a “problem”… problems have solutions…

        it’s a dilemma…

        dilemma
        noun [ C ] US ​ /dɪˈlem·ə, dɑɪ-/
        a situation in which a choice has to be made between possibilities that will all have results you do not want

        bingo!

    • Harry, your contributions to relevant news items are most appreciated and I follow them carefully. You might use this site that I found recently as an aid to your reading:
      http://ricefarmer.blogspot.com/

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        Peter, thank you. As someone who has been haunting the doomosphere for far too long, I am familiar with the ricefarmer.

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “German industrial production dropped in January, missing forecasts, and exports were flat, a sign that Europe’s largest economy continues to flounder. The Federal Statistical Office, Destatis, said Monday that total industrial output–comprised of output in manufacturing, energy and construction–declined 0.8% from the month before. The outcome misses economists’ forecast of a 0.4% gain.”

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-industrial-output-drops-in-january-2019-03-11

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The management board of Deutsche Bank has agreed to hold talks with rival Commerzbank on the feasibility of a merger, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Saturday…

      “Proponents of a merger say that a tie-up would give a combined entity — which would have an equity market value of more than 24 billion euros ($27 billion) based on Friday’s closing share prices — a 20 percent share of the German retail banking market.

      “That would allow it to potentially charge higher prices in a country where banking services have been free or low cost…

      “German officials have been worried about Deutsche since 2016 when the bank was negotiating a hefty fine with the U.S. Department of Justice for its role in the mortgage crisis…. In the U.S., Congress is also investigating money laundering allegations and the bank’s connections to the U.S. president, who owes the bank at least $130 million dollars.

      “Deutsche Bank has more than 20 million personal and business customers and Commerzbank around 18 million.”

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-deutsche-bank-commerzbank-m-a/deutsche-commerzbank-tentatively-talk-about-merger-after-months-of-speculation-source-idUKKBN1QQ0B0

      • Yes, banks can try to charge higher rates to customers, but that doesn’t necessarily help the overall system. Customers will have less money to spend on the output of the economy.

    • That is a good-sized miss.

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Downing Street has described the Brexit talks in Brussels as “deadlocked” after negotiations over the weekend failed to find a breakthrough on the Irish backstop.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/11/brexit-talks-deadlocked-says-downing-street

  11. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China’s automobile sales fell 13.8 percent in February from the same month a year earlier, the country’s biggest auto industry association said on Monday, marking the eighth consecutive month of decline in the world’s largest auto market.

    “The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said sales fell to 1.48 million vehicles. That followed declines of 16 percent in January and 13 percent in December.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-china-autos/china-auto-sales-fall-14-percent-in-february-mark-eighth-month-of-decline-idUKKBN1QS0LS

  12. financialization , unfortunately, will save the situation by concentrating everything to the top.

  13. Lastcall says:

    I still defer to Einstein; when the bees are gone, we have four years…..well they are going going…almost gone…along with a quite a few other critical species…plankton anyone…. Fusion/Tesla/fracking/easing/printing/invading/pontificating…blah blah blah…and the music played on. Get a dog, buy a boat, read a book, share a joke.
    This is early collapse Thelma and the brakes aren’t working Louise.

  14. MG says:

    We do not need the renweable energy sources, but the clean ones, says the Slovak nuclear energy expert Peter Liska.

    https://finweb.hnonline.sk/zahranicna-ekonomika/1904403-brexit-ovplyvni-vnimanie-jadra

    Moreover, he mentions that we can buy the nuclear fuel for several years ahead and have a storage of it while the natural gas stored supplies can last for a month. He predicts that Brexit will change the attitude towards the nuclear energy.

    • SuperTramp says:

      Nice article MG….surprised on how much Slovakia will depend on nuclear power for electricity once all plants are online, about 80%! What about nuc waste storage?
      Is that an ongoing issue like it is in the United States? Does Slovakia have one…maybe deep inside a mine shaft complex on Tatar Mountains?
      Also. As Gail pointed out, a modern ecomony does not operate on electricity, and one needs to realize all energy sources are vital to a functional modern economy.
      Does Slovakia depend mostly on the Russia state for oil, natual gas?

      • MG says:

        The nuclear waste from Slovakia is mostly exported back to Russia for reprocessing, some is stored in the temporary storage facilities. Slovakia consumes mostly Russian fossil fuels, but imports from other countries are also possible or currently being built.

        For me is mainly interesting his statement about the importance of the clean energy. The renewables are not automatically clean. The predictions of the Limits to Growth regarding then pollution were about a point where the pollution peaks. But this seems to me not correct as the pollution is not something that can be stopped, e.g. leaking industrial landfills, radiation etc. We can stop the production of the pollution, but not its spreading.

        • SuperTramp says:

          Remember an article the author stated basically all energy is “dirty”.
          MG, read this interview that was posted here regarding that subject

          https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2019/03/the-real-new-deal/

          While we’re on the issue of the Green New Deal, here’s an article by Dr. D. with an intro by Dr. D., one he sent me in the mail that contained the actual article, and that I think shouldn’t go to waste. I hope he agrees.

          Waste being the key term here, because he arrives at the same conclusion I’ve often remarked upon: that our societies and economies exist to maximize waste production. Make them more efficient and they collapse.

          Ergo: no Green New Deal is any use if you don’t radically change the economic models. Let’s see AOC et al address that, and then we can talk. It’s not as if a shift towards wind and solar will decrease the economic need for waste production (though it may change the waste composition), and thus efficiency is merely a double-edged sword at the very best.

          The full interview is worth the read!

          • Renewables certainly generate debt. If we are looking for an excuse for more debt, renewables are excellent in this role. More energy, not so much.

      • Yes, as MG said, in terms of spent fuel, most likely there will be some off main site temporary storage (post Fukushima required), after some short time of cooling it will be transferred in these so-called casks/cocoons cylindrical gas filled cases and dispatched on train to Russia for further controlled cooling period and later sent for reprocessing into brand new fuel pellets.

        To my knowledge the only other ‘western’ country doing this with spent fuel might be Finland at the moment, since they have got early generation of VVER/PWR as well as new on in construction, using the same pellets provided to them by Rosatom/Tvel. But since the situation is that US can’t manufacture reliably nuclear fuel for other systems but others can, it’s possible some other countries might choose the reprocessing/recycling route as well instead of long term storage, but have not heard to be a big thing yet, just theoretical possibility.

        The other countries such as Sweden, France, Switzerland are building long term spent fuel depositories, a task which is performed kind of wastefully in some cases as it is done as one way non recoverable activity, they shutdown the individual shafts by large concrete blocks or tons of gravel etc. But some of these repositories are more like drive in-out, so that allows for future use of the energy. The US is so far behind in this industry it will likely continue the long term depository route only.

        ps I guess it’s not “Tatar” but rather “Tatra” mountains, as the former suggests some sort of Turkish-Turkmen element, which is a story of few thousands km more to the South-East from Slovakia..

  15. I want to post something completely off-topic here:
    Daniel Barenboim plays Beethoven Sonata No. 8 Op. 13 (Pathetique)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrcOcKYQX3c
    Reading some of the above (about Venezuela, etc.) makes me feel like, why not see & hear some of the above, while you still can?
    (In the time-progress bar at the bottom of the YouTube display, there are little yellow bars, which represent ad breaks — to stop them from interrupting the video, click beyond each one, & then behind it, so that it disappears; then, click at the start.)

    • Lastcall says:

      Not just the music, but the advice on avoiding the adverts, this was a great post!

    • Sheila chambers says:

      “Little yellow bars”? I didn’t see them in my Firefox browser & even when they are there in other videos, it just continues on over & beyond them without any commercial break.
      I use Firefox as my browser. It’s a good browser with lots of extensions & add-ons.

    • Tim Groves says:

      This is why I come here; for the doom, the culture, and the tech advice.

  16. Chrome Mags says:

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Supertanker-Rates-Soar-As-US-Oil-Exports-Hit-All-Time-High.html

    “U.S. crude oil exports hit an all-time high of 3.607 million bpd in the week to February 15, and held close to that record level, at 3.359 million bpd, in the week ending February 22, according to the latest weekly crude exports data by the EIA.

    According to vessel traffic data cited by Platts, so far this year a total of 48 supertankers have been booked for loading and departing from the U.S. Gulf Coast, which is five times higher than the number of VLCCs booked in the first two months of 2018.”

    Should some portion of what is being exported be conserved for future usage?

    • No. Once the system collapses, I don’t think we will be able to use even what we have stored.

      • I’m not sure why you tend to be locked in into specific set of scenarios for universal instant collapse only. Even Dr. Tim at Surplus is now discussing varied approach to the potential crises at hand, high (EM) vs low (West) ECOE/EROEI countries-regions comparison..

        • It seems likely that the collapse won’t be at the same speed everywhere. But I expect where it does hit, oil and electricity will be hit close to simultaneously. And I expect that countries that escape collapse generally won’t escape for more than a few years. There may be some subset of survivors of collapse in different countries around the world who carry on for a while. They may even reproduce and grow, from a much smaller base.

    • Also, the countries that have “free space” for taking more oil to refine are outside of the US. It has to go to where it can be processed.

  17. SuperTramp says:

    Help, help, Batman, Gotham City needs to be saved!

    As tax-fleeced businesses and individuals flee en masse, and city public spending surges into the stratosphere, financial analysts say Gotham is perilously near total fiscal disaster.

    Long-term debt is now more than $81,100 per household, and Mayor de Blasio is ramping up to spend as much as $3 billion more in the new budget than the current $89.2 billion.

    “The city is running a deficit and could be in a real difficult spot if we had a recession, or a further flight of individuals because of tax reform,” said Milton Ezrati, chief economist of Vested.

    “New York is already in a difficult financial spot, but it would be in an impossible situation if we had any kind of setback.

    De Blasio has detailed $750 million in savings for the preliminary fiscal 2020 budget, but that won’t be enough to stave off a bloodbath if New York’s economy is hit by financial shocks — including a recession, which some see on the horizon — analysts warn. Gov. Cuomo’s preliminary budget has $600 million in city cuts in the coming year.

    But city spending, up some 32 percent since de Blasio took office — triple the rate of inflation — may need to be cut deeper, these analysts add. The city’s long-term pension obligations have escalated, as well, as its workforce has soared by more than 33,000 in the last five years.

    New York City could go bankrupt, absolutely,” said Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research
    https://nypost.com/2019/03/09/new-york-city-is-edging-toward-financial-disaster-experts-warn/amp/

    That’s where we are headed skid row
    OK…let’s laugh a little with Ronnie Reagan and friends …way back when we happy go lucky

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tQw0vZwn9C4#searching

    Ah, those were the days!

    • I expect that a whole lot of places could go bankrupt, if they honestly looked at their pensions obligations.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Yep—
        But Gail, you need a larger box—-

        • SuperTramp says:

          But at this point in the “game” would it really matter? If she was heard and listened to it would only hasten the end of BAU and panic would strike. I have a feeling, these issues are, in fact, well known by PTB and being “managed” as best as possible. Whatever it takes to keep the wheels rollings. We have no choice. As Gail has pointed out, we think we are in charge, but it is otherwise….
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_7U5JVk_y7U

          And the Owners will come to realize the self organizing network systems owns them, which follows the laws of Physics and Chemistry….easy, peezy.

  18. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.sciencealert.com/chinese-researchers-design-an-artificial-sun-that-mimics-nuclear-fusion

    For some reason I can’t copy/paste in this article, but the storyline is China claims they will complete construction on a fusion reactor producing an ion temperature of 50 million centigrade, and it is the ions that generates energy in the device. Completion and operation of this HL-2M Tokamak will represent the 1st of 3 steps in achieving commercially producible fusion.

    I’m not saying it’s going to happen, because Fusion energy feeding the grid has been a dream always 20-50 years away, but what if China was the first to develop a fusion reactor with enough of a positive energy output to make it viable for electrical transmission? Wouldn’t that be like when Russia put Sputnik up into orbit before anyone else? I wonder how the US would spin that in the news and if China would share that technology breakthrough with the rest of the world or keep it a secret? Whether it works as planned or not, this will be fun to follow the news on.

    • There are several teams working on some form of ‘fusion’ in the world nowadays.
      One approach is the donuts shape – Tokamak, another one (also under construction) could be focusing multitude of laser beams getting ~100M centigrade to melt hydrogen atoms.. and then converting the product plasma heat wave into another loop as in conventional steam turbine etc.

      But the bottom message remains, it’s not actually that much acutely needed at the moment, while other stuff is proven and ready at industrial scale (not experimental) today, like gen3+ NPPs, incl. recycling and or reviving of the spent full into so-called closed cycle etc. There is ~250 000 tons of spent nuclear fuel available, at the moment one ~small processing factory can recycle upto ~400t per year, so it’s doable. That’s ~750-2000yrs vs the estimates of last ~100yrs of fresh uranium said to be left to extract.

      As you mentioned the Chinese they are working on a multitude of approaches, apart from existing gen3+ NPPs, they are on the experiment front playing for example with the pebble type of reactor gen4, where the refueling intervals are very long, and safety – less equipment needed is provided thanks to tiny spheres of fuel bubbling within the ~orange sized pebble ball, which travels inside a loop of the reactor and gives away heat, it’s quite clever. And it’s running already, smaller scale unit not full industrial sized yet though..

      • Chrome Mags says:

        Interesting information, W. Should be interesting to see which design proves best. No doubt the multitude of efforts are indicative of the incentive to not only pursue a positive energy production commercially viable reactor, but also likely in a concerted approach to avert (if possible) the backside of the Seneca cliff from diminishing FF returns.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          sure, if fusion produced cheap abundant electricity, that would be somewhat beneficial to IC…

          but almost every human endeavor is being effected by diminishing returns…

          resource extraction, topsoil, fishing, debt, complexity…

          fusion might allow the human population to go 10+ billion, but by then diminishing returns will be pushing most of the world into poverty, and thus the human suffering will be so much more with the added population…

          I think a better idea is to stop all fusion research, saving lots of money NOW…

          just admit that it was tried and failed…

          just give up…

        • JesseJames says:

          The ITER tokamak fusion reactor project in France will cost $30B, consume half of an entire river for cooling, generate 500MW of fusion power, but will not generate a single kW of electrical power during its life. One thing on fusion is that Tritium is scarce, thus could be a major problem for fusion.

          • doomphd says:

            they’re doing it wrong, but can’t admit to their flawed approach. wagons circled.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Oh, don&t worry about tritium, Jesse. They have tanks overflowing with the stuff at Fukushima.

            ● The contaminated-water treatment system
            Sixty-two radionuclides are targeted for removal from the contaminated water and are checked for in the resulting water. The process of contaminated water treatment starts by separating out cesium and strontium using SARRY (developed by Toshiba and others) and Kurion (developed by Kurion Inc. of the U.S.) treatment systems. After that, salts are removed using desalination equipment. Part of the water treated that far is recycled for use in cooling the reactors again, and the rest proceeds through the Multi-nuclide Removal Facility, ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System, developed by Toshiba), where radionuclides other than tritium are separated out. After treatment by ALPS, the water is stored in tanks (Fig. 1).
            As of March 2018, about 1.05 million m3 of ALPS-treated water was being stored, with an annual rate of increase of about 50,000 to 80,000m3. The ALPS-treated water has a tritium concentration equaling about one million becquerels/liter (Bq/l), with the total amount of tritium estimated as equivalent to about one quadrillion Bq.

      • Volvo740 says:

        What we do know is that should a fusion reactor become possible it won’t be cheap. So no profit = no deployment IMO. It’s a large physics experiment thing, with a side effect of offering a narrative of hope. On the hope front we’re clearly already in the midst of a mass extinction, so it won’t matter.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          “What we do know is that should a fusion reactor become possible it won’t be cheap.”

          Sure, won’t be cheap to develop or build, but could conceivably produce enough net energy over X # of years to be sufficiently profitable to justify initial costs. Now, whether it could ever do that is another question. You’re right though, all these designs and tests at this point are simply scientific experiments. The one that is a huge money pit is the ITER in France. Absolutely massive, costing billions upon billions, will still take many more years to get up and running and even if it did what they think it could potentially do, it’s never been intended to put energy into the grid. It really is a just a massive scientific test facility.

          What seems odd about that is whenever something new is tested the law of unintended consequences always occurs. I can just see it now; “We realize now that’s its built and initial tests have been conducted, that a build of blah-blah occurs in a location we’re unable to access that will upon repeated testing cause permanent damage, so we’ve shut it down in hopes of figuring out what to do.”

          • Yes, it took almost 50yrs to prove that PWR (VVER) reactors are most safe and benign option known to humans at this point. One reason for it is the large scale deployment, another one are the deliberately chosen design criteria in itself, which purposely did not go after the highest efficiency possible, the pressures to work with and radiation levels are relatively low.

            Additional important one is the ideological driven premature closure in some countries – hence tons of info was thus suddenly revealed on the aging of the components so far during the decommissioning process, in turn this enabled for new updates and modifications, and also made the contemporary gen3+ designs more decommissioning ready in the future. Apart from taking notes from notable design and operator errors on other types of reactors like Chernobyl and Fukushima.

            It’s marvelous fact that 1960-70s technology has been proven to work for 40-50+ yrs in so many diverse countries, so today’s (latest) generation of VVER (PWR) in terms of reactors and primary loop are good for 60(90+)yrs, hence the extra expenses for passive safeties as for example the very expensive containment structure are distributed through the long life cycle.

            Now comes ‘the problem’, only Russia and China, perhaps SKorea are (able) mass-producing it at the moment, France went bust on their effort of continued super efficiency climb with their upgraded 1.65GW project, which took 10-15+ yrs to completion and ~$11B, while the more sane approach of 1.1-1.2GW Russian-Chinese stuff is done in 5-7yrs, Mind you the Chinese design is derivative of the French PWR, they had a joint project to mass produce smaller reactors, which is now retained to China, UK and others were interested at some point, but not sure about current progress. But now China ordered also more of the VVERs.

            That’s why Bill Gates and his team take on modern breeder reactor type was selected to be build in China, since Western countries have very unpredictable political environment, it won’t be possible at all or it took ~20yrs. And he’s decades behind on this anyway.. as grid connected breeders are already there.

          • When there is a big upfront cost, the economy needs a big payback in energy.

            The reason why fossil fuels worked so well if because of the fairly immediate payback. Tying up a lot of assets in a way that only slowly reproduces the investment leads to a big share of the output of the system going to those financing the system, rather than the people as a whole (usually through higher tax revenue, plus higher inflation-adjusted after tax revenue). It is not helpful.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Fusion is kinda like the speed of light (on Earth)–
          Always 20 years away, viewed from 1950 or 2019.

        • doomphd says:

          you’re assuming a containment fusion process. I agree that those would not be cheap, assuming they would even work. velocity impact fusion (VIF) does not need to be as expensive, as there is no need to contain the fusion reaction in a magnetic bottle. VIF also does not need to be a big physics experiment.

    • Sheila chambers says:

      It must be your browser because I had no problem copying & pasting a segment of that article.
      ” Chinese Officials Say Their “Artificial Sun” Will Be Completed This Year
      KRISTIN HOUSER, FUTURISM
      10 MAR 2019

      In November, Chinese researchers announced that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor — an “artificial sun” designed to mimic the nuclear fusion process the real Sun uses to generate energy — had hit a milestone by achieving an electron temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius.”

      I use Firefox as my browser.

    • I think that it is too late to make any difference. It takes a very long time to get a new type of energy to scale up. Furthermore, it needs to be cheap.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “it needs to be cheap”

        It is amazing how hard it is to get this idea across.

        • You may indeed pull infinite energy out of the sky—it’s not an energy problem

          it’s what you use the energy for that’s the problem.
          You might in theory have free transport forever.
          But to what purpose?

          note the ”ever increasing rates” bit—-it doesn’t work at a flat rate, or a decreasing rate.

          When that happens the system falls apart very quickly.

          An infinite increase is also impossible—so you takes your choice folks

          unless you can produce ‘stuff’ to buy and sell at ever increasing rates in order to underpin the value of money—then unlimited energy has no economic point. It comes off the ends of wires and goes —nowhere.

          So your free transport goes—–nowhere. Because there’s no ‘purpose’ in your journey. Driving round in circles does not increase your material wealth or well being.

          • doomphd says:

            I think the writers for the classic sci-fi movie “Forbidden Planet” were touching on this subject of infinite energy. The advanced Krull that once inhabited the planet had mysteriously gone extinct, leaving their cool gear behind. Their access to nearly infinite energy had not helped them to survive, and ultimately did them in. In the movie, they had tapped the deep interior heat energy of the planet.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              It wasn’t the energy that did in the Krell. “. . . the Krell forgot one thing, however: “Monsters from the Id”. Their own base subconscious desires, given free rein and unlimited power by the machine, brought about their quick extinction.”

              I don’t know if there is something to learn or not. It is, after all, just a movie.

              Though I must say, one of the best SF movies ever made.

            • doomphd says:

              you’re right Keith. they had to throw some Freudian psychology in there, i guess. my favorite parts were any scene with Anne Francis in it.

          • Good point!

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “it’s what you use the energy for that’s the problem.”

            What would people do with vast amounts of very low-cost energy? Making fresh water out of salt water and pumping it inland is one thing. Sorting out recycled materials (trash) is another. It depends on having the energy and making rational choices about what to do with it. Neither of these is a sure thing.

            • Even with the fresh water out of salt water, there is likely a need to add magnesium and perhaps other minerals, such as calcium, to it to make it suitable to drink. This adds to the cost of the system needs. https://www.timesofisrael.com/deficiencies-in-desalinated-water-could-lead-to-increase-in-heart-attack-deaths/

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “suitable to drink”

              The cost of adding minerals to reverse osmosis water is near nill. Besides, most water would be used for irrigation. The main point being that really inexpensive energy has effects far beyond household electric bills.

              Actually, the main point is as Gail states. We are in an unsustainable energy mess. Current and predicted technology will not get us out of the mess, only technology that is not yet being seriously considered or technology that has not been invented yet will do the trick.

              Will this happen?

              I don’t know.

            • The cost may seem minimal, but it adds a layer of complexity to the situation. I don’t think Israel is yet doing this, even though there is clear evidence that heart problems occur without treatment.

            • Hard to maintain with shrinking energy supplies.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              True. But water (and sewage) would be about the last things to be turned off.

            • I don’t think we know that. Check out how Venezuela is doing in this regard, and let me know what you find out.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              Good points. When the whole grid goes down, the first and last are the same.

              Lots to be said for gravity fed water and sewer systems.

              I wonder if the mess there will go as far as cannibalism?

            • i think you missed my point HK

              we exist in our current situation by making and then selling ‘stuff; to each other.

              Yes–most of it is crap—but that’s not the point.

              we need wages, and wages must have value in energy terms, not money terms (money has no value without energy to underpin it. )
              You can only do without wages in a totally agricultural/hunter-gatherer economic (barter) system.
              Which is why aboriginal peoples didn’t have wages.

              Our commercial setup. when you stand back and look at it, consists of millions of products, all of which depend on fossil fuels in one way or another.

              Those products must be produced at an ever faster rate, year on year, to sustain our human condition.
              Electricity, in isolation, can have no bearing on that unless we provide the materials to give electricity (and ourselves) a purpose.

              desalinating water will not provide all our other necessities.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “all of which depend on fossil fuels”

              That’s mostly the case now. But there is no reason from physics that it has to be.

              “will not provide all our other necessities”

              There is no reason electric power could not provide synthetic oil. and gas. It certainly will recharge the electric cars.

            • Timing and cost become issues. We use an awfully lot of oil. If prices stay too low to extract oil, can the oil made with electricity be made sufficiently cheaply to work around the low price problem? And how soon?

            • djerek says:

              “You can only do without wages in a totally agricultural/hunter-gatherer economic (barter) system.”

              All of the actual research I’ve read has shown that barter has never been a major tool for economic exchange. In tribal groups, usually there is a combination of communal use of some amount of resources (holiday feasts, etc usually fronted by the more economically successful people to keep the group functioning well and to secure hierarchy), informal credit (e.g. I’ll slaughter a pig in March and give you half if I get half of the one you slaughter in October), or labor exchange (e.g. I’ll help build your new house in exchange for 2 goats and a chicken).

            • I didnt indicate any level of barter

              obviously it would be according to necessity

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “Timing and cost become issues”

              3 cent per kWh power is what you get if the launch cost is $100/kg to LEO. That makes $70/bbl synthetic oil drifting down to $50/bbl as more off-peak power is used.

              If there were a crash effort, the first power from space would take 7-8 years. Within a few years after that the installation rate could be up to 1.5 TW/year meaning that all the energy humans use could come from space in around 20 years or a bit more.

              Not likely to happen in the West, but the Chinese have a longer outlook and a more technically inclined leadership. The only thing they lack at present is reusable rockets or space planes.

        • Artleads says:

          Would we call gravity energy? If you let go of a heavy object, it falls to the ground at great speed. If something moves at great speed is that due to energy of some sort? If gravity is energy, it is free. Athletes depend on gravity for movement of all kinds. Gravity is used in manipulating heavy equipment in industry. River flows move forests of logs. But all that is to say nothing of outer space, where objects move at incomprehensible speed.

          • djerek says:

            That is called potential energy, and it only exists because some other form of energy goes into opposing gravity to convert some other kind of energy into potential energy. Gravity then converts this to kinetic energy when impediments are removed. Pretty basic Physics 101 stuff.

            • Artleads says:

              “…some other form of energy goes into opposing gravity to convert some other kind of energy into potential energy. ” Now I see why I paid no attention in science class.

            • Evaporation of water and condensation of the water vapor in clouds as rain is the standard way water moves uphill. Nature does it for us! This is the miracle of water power.

  19. Yoshua says:

    The blackout in Venezuela continues for a 4th day. The infrastructure in Venezuela is decaying after year of neglect as the nation goes down the net energy cliff and the other side of peak oil with all the economic and political problems that follow the decline.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/venezuela-enters-fourth-day-of-blackout-as-maduro-blames-us-for-power-outage-idUSKBN1QR0M8

    • We can see what may be ahead for other countries running into limits. Electricity is one of the first things to go because the transmission lines are easy to neglect. This isn’t what most people expect.

      California’s problems are another example.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Some deeper analysis needs to be applied here.
        Electricity is again available in Caracas. Some parts of the country are still off the grid. Marco Rubio got egg on his face.

        https://twitter.com/GEDV86/status/1104511307259281409
        https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/03/venezuela-three-total-blackouts-in-three-days-government-presumes-us-cyberattack.html

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          further deeper analysis shows that the above story is dated March 10th and says it’s now day 4…

          “Angry residents of the Caracas neighborhood of Chacao on Sunday set up barricades along a main avenue and on side streets to protest the continued blackout.”

          that would be Sunday March 10th…

          perhaps there are errors in this reporting…

          but it clearly says “Caracas” and “Sunday”…

          I think it’s time for Maduro to get on a plane to Cuba…

          that might be the most peaceful solution to this crisis…

          VZ… we are seeing what Collapse looks like…

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            Maduro was to be on a plane to Cuba several years ago.
            He is still the elected leader—-
            Shall we wait and see?
            lol!

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              I’m suggesting that a plane ride to Cuba for him would probably be in the best interests of the citizens of VZ…

              otherwise, sure, he is staying to rule over his collapsing country…

              yes, let’s wait and see how this plays out…

              or, here’s an idea…

              why don’t you fly there and let us know how good things are there?

            • Here is a reporter who actually went to Venezuela recently – here is his diary:
              http://thesaker.is/reporters-diary-from-venezuela/

              Very revealing!

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              February 8th is a relatively long time ago when consideration is given to how fast things are changing there…

              for the worse, if the reports of the past few days are reliable…

              5th day/night of widespread electricity outages…

              that’s a lot like what has been bantered about here for years…

              on this kind of topic, most commentators here have used the word Collapse…

    • Chrome Mags says:

      For baby boomers that have experienced enough decades to remember how things use to be, i.e. less aggressive, happier, less stressed over money, more friendly, it’s easy to see that even with just the downward slope that has occurred since the height of cheap net energy, I estimate at ~1970, that increasing tension around the world will just continue to escalate until I suppose people begin eliminating the competition for remaining food sources in wars or locally. Venezuela, if it continues to descend into mayhem will provide a case study into the behavior we can expect to see.

      • Sheila chambers says:

        I’m older than you young “whippersnappers”, those babyboomers that came after WW2, I remember riding to school on my bike, walks at night in my neighborhood & I was a girl, looking for animals in vacant lots, skin diving off Malibu, Topanga, Santa Monica, Hermosa beach, riding my trail bike on the dirt road of Mulhulland drive above the San Fernado valley, I still remember fruit stands along Ventura blv & those BurmaShave signs along the edge of the roads, when it still had a few orange groves left & the many large orange groves near Riverside California, I still remember the Rogue river dam black with Lampreys climbing up it & salmon leaping up the fish ladder, when the rivers still had frogs that went “wonk” as they leaped into the water, when the rocks had thick moss on them, when there were still many butterflies, beetles, mayflies etc all that is GONE now.
        I remember that I could still exist on the minimum wage, pay the rent AND eat.

        Things are so very different than what I saw when I was young so very long ago.
        Now the vacant lots are gone, houses don’t have yards any more, their all jammed together, you don’t dare go swimming in the places I once did or you can’t get to them any longer, fenced off, beaches that were once free now charge a fee to park, the roads once well paved & champhered are now poorly maintained & flat so cornering is slower & the ride rougher, the traffic that once flowed free is mostly gridlocked & slow but the air is cleaner now that OUR JOBS were moved to China.
        I never used to see homeless people, now I see them all the time, the streets are dirtier, the jobs fewer & lower paying with fewer if any benifits, collage that was once free, is now too expensive for most collage ready young people, life is much worse for most working class people but the rich are making out like the bandits they often are.

        The “good ol’ days” were not so “good” but they were far less crowded & dirty, the yards larger, the roads were cleaner & still fun to travel on, the air smelled alive in Oregon at least & you didn’t have to pay a high fee to access an over crowded beach or a park in Cali & we didn’t have whole areas full of the homeless like now & San Francisco didn’t have poop piles on it’s sidewalks.
        It’s all downhill from here on right into the cess pit. In some areas of the world, people actually “live” above a virtual cess pit – YUCK, & their poor little children hunt for “food” in trash heaps & for plastic & metals to sell for money to buy actual food.
        The future isn’t what we thought it would be is it.

        • Rodster says:

          “The future isn’t what we thought it would be is it.”

          There’s a pic on the internet that basically describes that. It says “we are currently out of stock on the lifestyle you ordered”.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Good post, Sheila! Your observations provide some useful counterbalance to Duncan’s upbeat appraisal of California as a successful and upwardly mobile Blue State being dragged down by having to subsidize the backward Red State hinterlands to the east.

          IMHO, the California Dream has always been sold as a more hyped-up version of the American Dream to attract immigrants who can support the ongoing ponzi. The place may have been a paradise or a garden of eden before the Spanish took over, but nature was always going to be diminishing resource once the owners started parcelling it out and selling it off for development.

          It’s over 20 years since Mike Davis published Ecology of Fear, one of the best reads on the subject, laying out Southern California’s and more specifically LA’s dirty linen for all to see.

          From Todd Purdum’s review in the NYT:

          In a series of loosely connected, longish essays, Davis chronicles Southern California’s fall from Edenic grace through rapacious overdevelopment and the ceaseless marketing of myths, like its “climatic exceptionalism,” that were no more than that to begin with. His restless curiosity covers everything from the region’s little-noticed experience with tornadoes (he says Los Angeles is the American metropolis that has suffered most from tornado damage in its urban core) to the inevitable clash with mountain lions, coyotes and other fauna caused by the city’s steady encroachment into rural canyons. (Los Angeles has “the longest wild edge” of any major nontropical city, he writes.)

          But what really animates the book is the author’s sense of outrage at the social inequities ever present in the fallen paradise. He boils at the city fathers’ failure to set aside adequate public parkland for the growing metropolis as private owners gobbled up beachfront, canyon and ranch, and he notes that by 1928, “barely half an inch of publicly owned beach frontage was left for each citizen of Los Angeles County,” a reality that any proletarian beachcomber knows too well today.

          Davis is never more persuasive than in a chapter called “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn.” With dead-eyed precision, he distills the bitter irony wrought by years of deliberate fire suppression in the canyons above the Pacific: Multimillion-dollar movie-star homes are protected, but so is dead brush, which becomes thicker and makes the inevitable periodic conflagrations even worse. He juxtaposes this account with a chronicle of the city’s apparent inability to prevent fires in the fleabag hotels that are the housing of last resort for impoverished immigrants downtown.

          https://www2.alibris-static.com/ecology-of-fear-los-angeles-and-the-imagination-of-disaster/isbn/9780375706073_l.jpg

        • Great examples of USA today, Sheila thanks – although I guess the rural areas are better? I spent time in Texas in the 1990s and it was marvelous – all that space and happy, welcoming people.

          But what you say about your environment is no different to us in UK. The West is dying slowly and we all know why. Social media merely underlines the depths to which our younger generations have descended. They are obsessed with celebrity worship (the worst of role models), TV to some extent and continually being plugged into their media sites. It will end badly, no doubt, but I guess I will be long gone before the final crisis hits.

        • Ed says:

          Thank you Sheila, in my home town used to have to stop for the cows to cross the road on the way into town. The stream behind the house had frogs and fish now it just has garbage.

      • Agree entirely, Chrome, as a boomer myself (actually the last of the silent generation born 1944) I lament the loss of the civilised behaviour you describe. 1971 was the date that USA finally came off the gold standard and the fiat dollar became backed by nothing other than the credit of America and its military.

        It was not long before the petrodollar emerged during the fuel crisis of 1973 and we have been going down ever since – all the stats and graphs confirm this.. In fact this was the debt default of the USA but was covered up during the 1970s decade via fiat dollar printing (debt issuance) – right up the present time.

        I have used Venezuela as a case study and agree with you that watching events unfold here might gives us clues of what is to come?

        • Xabier says:

          What we can be sure of is that the response to every national collapse will be conditioned by cultural factors, which will govern the behaviour of both politicians and the citizenry: it goes far beyond mere economics.

          For instance, I was interested to see in a recent exhibition that the murder of the Jews was explicitly foreshadowed in the images on the emergency bank-notes printed in Germany after WW1 : there were many had images of hanged ‘financiers’ with very Jewish features…..

          A complicating factor in Britain -and much of the West – will be the presence of so many communities recently imported from alien cultures – which can be seen at the moment with the powerful Somali, and other, drug gangs infesting London. And growing racial and religious tensions, together with explicit hatred of ‘white people’.

          The Somalis are particularly savage people, (even The Guardian admits this!!) and will behave very differently to, say, a decent family from a small village in Yorkshire when a crisis comes.

          It’s a tired commonplace to say we are ‘all savages under the skin’, this is certainly not true. There is a reason why the West Indians became notorious for violent street crime in 1970’s London, and not other ethnic groups, and now the ghastly Somalis, and so on.

          This is why I am thinking of possibly bailing out of the UK to live in a mono-cultural valley in the Pyrenees. At least I understand what causes violence there, and the temperament of the people: but who knows, maybe the tentacles of drug-addiction will undermine life there, too? The main city, Bilbao, is going down-hill already with immigrant gangs, often targeting the elderly.

          Drug addiction among the young and violent crime are a common feature of collapsing economies these days: in contrast to the dignified protests of the British workers in the 1930’s, who would never have dreamt of stealing from anyone, let alone torturing them as the Somalis do to their own people.

          • I entirely agree with you Xabier and share your sentiments. I spent 10 happy years in Cape Town in the 2000s and found the educated and sober people wonderful, welcoming, happy and generous souls – black, white and coloured. You are so right about drugs and this IMHO is what is firing much of the agression and violence. IMO the only answer is to legalise it all. After all we do have a precedent: prohibition in USA and look what social breakdown and crime that spawned.

            Further, alcholic addiction is an insidious drug which, in excess, causes immense distress to addicts and families alike and it’s legal!. Interesting that the Muslims mainly don’t indulge. I put a lot of our society’s troubles at the foot of distorted imported (mainly) culture (FMG et al), relative poverty, welfare dependency and drugs misuse.

            Like you, I miss the civilisation we found in UK in the 1930s – 1950s but unfortunately we can’t return to the past. As you say, what we can do is move and I would love to return to Cape Town but my UK pension is frozen there and their inflation is ferocious, even my private pensions don’t offer enough growth; and we all know how interest rates have killed OAPs incomes.

            I share your disappointments, perhaps we can find a sanctury if we look deep enough?

    • Someone sent me this link:

      https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/03/venezuela-three-total-blackouts-in-three-days-government-presumes-us-cyberattack.html

      Venezuela – Three Total Blackouts In Three Days – Government Presumes U.S. Cyberattack

      March 9, 2019
      by Moon of Alabama
      Venezuela currently experiences multiple total outages of its electricity network. *It is quite possible or even likely that the U.S. is causing these incidents. But it is not certain.*

      Shit happens and so do long blackouts:

      The Northeast blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage throughout parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario on August 14, 2003, beginning just after 4:10 p.m. EDT.
      Some power was restored by 11 p.m. Most did not get their power back until two days later. In other areas, it took nearly a week or two for power to be restored. […] The outage, which was much more widespread than the Northeast Blackout of 1965, affected an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states.

      The blackout’s primary cause was a software bug in the alarm system at the control room of FirstEnergy, an Akron, Ohio–based company, causing operators to remain unaware of the need to re-distribute load after overloaded transmission lines drooped into foliage. What should have been a manageable local blackout cascaded into collapse of the entire electric grid.

      When the northeast blackout happened no one blamed President Bush or socialism for the outage.

      Bringing an electricity grid back into full and balanced operation is quite difficult because power generation and consumption must always be balanced. Restoration can only be done gradually. It is a complicate process and takes time.

      The Guri Dam hydro electric power station produces up to 10,235 megawatt. It provides 70-80% of all electricity used in Venezuela.

      I made this chart of showing BP’s data regarding Venezuela’s electricity production.

      https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/venezuela-electricity-production.png

      The big problem with depending so heavily on hydroelectric (and one dam, no less, if we believe this article) is that weather fluctuates from year to year. Also, if a country’s population is growing, it needs a growing supply of electricity as well, to provide electricity for schools, homes, factories, and other businesses. The fact that Venezuela’s electricity supply has not been growing is one of the big pieces of its problems, in my opinion.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “The blackout in Venezuela continues for a 4th day.”

      in 2018, we would have called this the Fast Eddie Challenge…

      perhaps Maduro will flee to Cuba soon…

      this might be the best way to have a peaceful resolution to the political battle in VZ, where some 50 countries now recognize Guaido as the legitimate leader…

      otherwise, in VZ we are now seeing what Collapse looks like…

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Shall we check in a month?
        Maduro will still be there.
        Beware of Gringos bringing gifts.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          I’m fairly sure that you will be correct…

          but he will be there ruling over a collapsing country…

          after all, he won the last election!

          so what if he’s sending his citizens into dire poverty…

          he’s the true elected leader!

          • Lastcall says:

            I do believe a large part of the problem is not only the leadership of VZ, but the decisions (meddling anyone?) made by a rather large militarised country to its north. The UN report compared the treatment of VZ by the US/UK regimes to a medieval siege.
            Being the banker in a game of monopoly does increase the odds huh?

            • a says:

              That neighbor to the north could do with some innovative foreign policy in the region. Using a megaton bomb to kill a fly is a policy past its pull date.

            • Tim Groves says:

              One would hope that the big neighbor to the north would not be meddling with another country’s electrical grid. But regardless, the optics don’t look good. Rubio, Bolton and Pompeo are speaking aggressively and and carrying big sticks. The timing of this is suspicious and people are bound to point fingers.

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              No worries–
              “The situation in Venezuela, which at first seemed to portend the utter victory of fascist forces in Latin America, seems now to promise the possibility of a counter-fascist wave that could even be global, because the hegemon has allowed the mask of kindness to slip to such an extent that the depraved monster within seems to have become more visible to many. Globally there seems to be the possibility of a wave of enlightened horror and newfound courage. There is a surprising glimmer of hope for humanity.”

              we shall see—–

  20. CTG says:

    We are way past the stage of “beyond repair”. If there was a miraculous cheap and almost infinite energy found in the last 1960s, then what we have today will be very different. Since we have used debt to mask off the effects of expensive energy (it is only after 1970s that debts exploded). Companies use debts to expand and explore for oil, etc. Essentially we are here today because of debts. Without debts, there will be no shale oil, there will be no deep water drilling, there will be no renewables. If the powers to be did not come out with debts as a solution, a majority of us would not even be here because the known easy to get oil has been exhausted in the 1970s.

    All the talk about how our monetary system (and how ignorant they are) come into view when things started to crack. Every recession since 1970s cracked the entire system a little. More and more people dropped off the grid (so to speak metaphorically) and were unaccounted. They either move to the countryside or just died off when they don’t have enough money to meet their daily needs. We don’t have this issue 150 years ago. There is enough land and resources to spread around. There is also enough skills and enough perseverance (and strength) for them to move to the countryside. Now, don’t expect anyone in the city to do really hard and back-breaking work in the countryside. They are also not too interconnected to the world.

    With each passing recession, the fatal flaws of “cheap energy running low” becomes more and more severe. There will always be some people who could see things earlier (has the foresight or able to think deeply or differently) and these people are labelled as “chicken little stating the sky is falling”.
    Exponential function always starts off small and took a long time before it gets big and another short period of time before it gets big
    https://files.mtstatic.com/site_4425/12050/0?Expires=1552217289&Signature=aRf3dNzFtwoV3mmHPQS1KXEZON6xKNjVXVVnVBIJxu3vg7vJTd9vDStj-pJfNvATbqvj3YfVte5y66S7-HTZz4ovtMaNwPkccH7Ampf986qTRyNLiCNUZDtrlkXPNFghgqSExnFp9WyLOawWrLssG7J1hXmihAD4Hxkx25n9utg_&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJ5Y6AV4GI7A555NA

    Substitute the X-Axis and begin with 1980 at -5 and increase 5 years. At zero (“0”), it is year 2005. As you can see, the stress gets ever larger even for an small increase in time. It will eventually one day explode.

    • The link gives me “access denied.”

    • Nope.avi says:

      “. Essentially we are here today because of debts. Without debts, there will be no shale oil, there will be no deep water drilling, there will be no renewables. If the powers to be did not come out with debts as a solution, a majority of us would not even be here ”
      Without debt,
      there would be less income disparity because there would be less well paying jobs in finance, mining, and energy. Not to mention education and healthcare.Uni formally falling wages would have lead to collapse decades ago,

      Because of the extensive use of debt, with no consequences most people have no idea of how the economic system should work and to a larger extent have no idea what is going on outside of human world, the socially constructed world of religion, laws, and social media .Reporting on the on physical real world in the media is becoming more and more scarce. It is very hard finding any news on the real economy or science.
      I don’t think this is just me. It is one of those subtle changes that no one has noticed.

      • I definitely agree regarding debt. Debt and other forms of promises pull the economy forward. Without them, we would be nowhere.

        I think all of the systems are self-organized by energy flows, including all of the religions of the world and even things like the social media.

        Often, science doesn’t really understand what limits to put on models it makes. It assumes everlasting economic growth. It doesn’t understand that we have multiple simultaneous limits. People assume that scientific statements are right, but that may or may not be true.

        • Sven Røgeberg says:

          «I think all of the systems are self-organized by energy flows, including all of the religions of the world and even things like the social media.»
          It`s interesting to reflect upon this: Is it possible to se the youth culture and the student protests in the 60s as the culmination of the era of cheap and abundunant fossil fuels? The 6Os and the 70s marked a cultural shift from forms for communitarian duties towards individual rights and self-realization – as one of the slogans in the italian uprising in 1968 sounded: «vogliama tutto e subito» (we want everything and immediately)

          • I like that slogan

            everyone wants more without realising where more has to come from

          • Now young people have to struggle with the expectations that have built up since 1968. It used to be that young people could afford a nice apartment and car quite soon. Now, the norm is to be struggling with student debt. Quite a few young people end up moving back in with mom and dad.

            • You are so right Gail. This is the main purpose of my book – to educate my children (in my absence) and Part 2 describes how a major change in attitudes and aspirations has to take place. I have completed the Introduction but I am waiting to see how the Emergent Economy develops before writing up all my reasearch – if I live long enough!

              The days of instant gratification are coming to an end and the young people’s reliance on social media will have to be refocused away from celebrity worship into seeking knowledge on how to survive in straighened circumstances, more akin to the 19th century.

              This is where the http://harrogateagenda.org.uk/ comes in because IMHO we will need a system of direct democracy if we are negoitate and compromise over limited resources. Our current ‘competition’ modus will need to be replaced with one of cooperation as was the case in early agricultural based societies.

            • Direct democracy takes a lot of resources. So do all of our international organizations and international trade.

              Going to a system of local resource use involves a huge cutback in the output that can really be achieved per acre of arable land.

        • I’m not sure that I would call the economic academics ‘scientific’. My studies of economics indicate that it is far from scientific in its model-making at least. More like Al Capone and his business models – designed to extract maximum profit from any source regardless and disregard the resultant polution/waste. It is not called the ‘dismal science’ for nothing!

          • Unfortunately, it is not just economic academics. Even those in the “hard sciences” do not understand that they models can be more misleading than helpful, if they are based on how the economy operates under “Business as Usual,” when the reality is that many limits are reached at once.

            • Agreed. I feel that science in general has seriously misled us in our endeavours to build a sustainable future. Much has been achieved and I have benefitted from it all but it is far from complete as you say.

      • You speak the truth. Debts, that is Credit is essential for a growing economy for without it we wouldn’t grow at all, it’s the financial oil that lubricates the economic growth engine.

        The problem is that excessive debt issuance causes a negative reaction on growth because debt is a claim on ‘future’ surplus energy and if this cannot be reconciled with the amount of surplus energy available in future then the debt must decline. Paper assets would be defaulted upon and money will disappear (just as it appeared out of thin air) and deflation/depression will prevail until a balance is once again achieved.
        https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

        Dr Tim Morgan’s book is well worth reading and supllements Gail’s propositions:
        https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-After-Growth-global-economy-ebook/dp/B00F3D8M2C

    • You are definitely right about people missing the real story about what is happening. It just isn’t obvious enough to people. And it is so easy to put together a model “proving” something totally absurd.

  21. SuperTramp says:

    Only poor people pay taxes…not I. New York
    New York state goes to extraordinary lengths to catch wealthy residents who try to flee its burdensome taxes, leaving a gaping hole in the state’s treasury.
    The aggressive approach by state tax collectors comes as the Empire State faces a $2.3 billion budget deficit that even Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called “as serious as a heart attack.”
    Cuomo, a vocal critic of President Trump, blamed congressional Republicans for passing tax reforms that reduced the state and local tax deduction Americans can take on their annual income tax forms — meaning residents of high-tax blue states like New York have been feeling the pinch, sparking their exodus.
    “This is the flip side. Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich,” Cuomo said last month. “We did. Now, God forbid, the rich leave.”
    “Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. We did. Now, God forbid, the rich leave.”
    But New York state auditors are doing their best to ensure that those fleeing the state’s high taxes will face difficulties, including being subjected to an audit — likely to be followed by a massive tax bill.
    New York conducted 3,000 “nonresidency” audits between 2010 and 2017, recouping around $1 billion from the practice, CNBC reported.
    Between 2015 and 2017, the auditors on average collected $144,270 per audit, with more than half of those who were audited losing their cases.

    This will be the norm as the wheels fall off the cart….
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/new-york-goes-after-residents-fleeing-overtaxed-blue-state-for-low-tax-states-with-intrusive-audits.amp

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Eventually, Blue States will tire of supporting our Red State monetary dependent right wingers.
      Eventually it will be time for them to produce.
      California gives 20% of its revenue to support our lazy and mentally challenged Red State friends.
      Plus, producing 25% of the food of the country, and all those toys to keep our wingers occupied, is getting tiresome.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Industrialized food production in California and elsewhere is purely logistics and capitalistic greed. The big agricultural combines, the food processing and food retailing companies want things that way.

        California couldn’t produce that much food without access to lots and lots of Red State water, lots and lots of nasty chemicals, and lots and lots of minimum wage and undocumented foreign labor.

        Also, we should note that farmers need eaters just as much as eaters need farmers. It’s a collaboration.

        Also, your comments about the people of the Red States are racist, ableist, misanthropic and redstatophobic. If I was them, I’d get myself an allotment, grow my own, use local organic farmers markets, avoid krap, and give Wallmart and Monsanto the proverbial finger.

        It’s Kalifornia Frankenfood that produces monsters like this one:

        http://www.informationliberation.com/files/Dylan-Matthews-e1466090901142.jpg

        Vox Writer: ‘I Eat Takeout Or Soylent For ~99 Percent of My Meals’

        http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=59902

      • California is a huge energy importer. Not only can it not produce enough electricity for itself, but it also must import natural gas and oil. The EIA produces estimate by state.

        For 2016, it shows California’s oil production as 1064.7 trillion Btu, while its consumption is 3476.3 trillion Btu. Thus, it must import 69% of its oil supply.

        For 2016, similar data shows that California imported 90% of its natural gas supplies.

        No wonder California acts like the poor countries in Europe. They are desperately short of energy supplies. So it relies on high tech industries, and needs to import a tremendous amount of the goods it uses, because it is very short of energy supplies. It all must import natural gas to produce electricity, or try to import electricity some other state has produced.

        The oil it does produce is largely the heavy oil from the Kern River area of California. It is the most depressing place I have ever visited. This is a photo I took.

        https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/kern-river-photo.jpg

        • jupiviv says:

          “For 2016, it shows California’s oil production as 1064.7 trillion Btu, while its consumption is 3476.3 trillion Btu. Thus, it must import 69% of its oil supply.”

          69%… very appropriate statistic for California!

    • Xabier says:

      As Rome declined, it didn’t try to help its citizens through a difficult time, – laughable concept – it simply ground them in to the dirt with impossible taxes – including making sons stay in the trades of their fathers when they tried to escape to something else in order to avoid the tax burden.

      Tax collectors and spies multiplied, like hyenas around a stricken beast.

      Same for the Mughals in their decline (very brutal treatment of peasants) Imperial China, the lot……..

      One of the most basic laws of civilisation to be derived from the study of history.

      • .. escape the imperial reach first and avoid the rush (for a while) ..

        • Xabier says:

          The problem is, the tax-collectors have a great incentive to turn up and find you.

          Nomadism would be one solution. Banditry would be the most common option.

          • SuperTramp says:

            Bagaudae
            In the later Roman Empire, bagaudae (also spelled bacaudae) were groups of peasant insurgents who arose during the Crisis of the Third Century, and persisted until the very end of the western Empire, particularly in the less-Romanised areas of Gallia and Hispania, where they were “exposed to the depredations of the late Roman state, and the great landowners and clerics who were its servants”.[1]

            The invasions, military anarchy and disorders of the third century provided a chaotic and ongoing degradation of the regional power structure within a declining Empire into which the bagaudae achieved some temporary and scattered successes, under the leadership of members of the underclass as well as former members of local ruling elites

  22. Chrome Mags says:

    https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/

    ‘The real Energy Return of Crude Oil: smaller than you would have imagined’

    This is a really good article on EROI. Gail, there are graphs you may be interested in here. How accurate this article is I have no idea, however from one graph it doesn’t look like we’re very far from a big drop down the Seneca cliff.

  23. Ugo Bardi posted a link to this article,
    Solar Energy May Have Caused California’s Wildfires
    with the comment

    “What else do we need to conclude that renewables are not only useless, but positively dangerous for humankind?”

    Some excerpts from the article:

    But what if the blame belongs not with climate change, but with climate change policies that the utilities and their benefactors in government favor? There’s some evidence for this that insurance companies and displaced California residents might be interested in learning more about. As taxpayers and utility ratepayers, they are all spending part of their workday financing solar energy schemes that may have led to high-pressure conditions affecting electrical equipment, which in turn sparked the fires. How’s that?

    The transformer exploded around 7 p.m. at the end of a sunny day. Around that time, because of the solar energy mandates implemented under former Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, California’s power grid must ramp up in the evening with conventional energy when the sun goes down. This cannot be done incrementally and gradually. Instead, California’s power grid experiences what is known as a “duck curve” as solar energy drops off and conventional energy ramps up.

    So, the key questions are: “Did solar power cause the Thomas Wildfire?” Did it cause other wildfires?

    I think that perhaps there are even more issues to blame than this. California is excessively dependent on imported hydroelectric power from Washington State. Its heavy dependence results in the need for this long distance transmission over wide areas. Electricity really needs to be generated where it is used. Otherwise, problems with long distance transmission are likely, especially when it goes through an arid area. Also, who is to guarantee that California that someone else won’t start bidding Washington’s hydroelectric away? California will be in tough shape if it loses Washington’s hydro, along with its other problems (closing down its last nuclear power plant).

    https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/california-electricity-production-and-consumption-through-2017.png

    • Few days ago even the ‘official’ German TV channel DW, published a story about how renewables are affecting base load era industries, they presented a case of industrial smelter or such which is not getting electricity regularly because of the mess and must frequently shut down.. apart from studio anchor, funnily enough they also run as expert opinion some ~pubescent who claimed it will all just sort itself out.. lolz..

    • Baby Doomer says:

      Wattsupwiththat?

      Posting from the biggest climate denier site..

      You are a disgrace a Gail…And the fact that you have to censor my comments shows you a total fucking loon and joke..

      • This is where Ugo posted the article from. He links to the original article. I could not understand why he did not link to the original.

        I was trying to show what Ugo posted.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Humorous fiction, by mentally challenged capitalists.

          • Humorous climate models, by “scientists” who think that they can ignore that they can ignore important variables in a networked economy. If they modeled the overall energy economy system correctly, they would see that the carbon inputs tend to collapse very early, as does human population. The model might (or might not) still show that the world turns hot for a while. But the catch is that we would be dead first, so it would be of little concern to us. Our financial system would have long since collapsed; governments would have collapsed; our need for nuclear power plants and all of the other things that currently would be disrupted by rising seas would be long gone.

            They would also figure out that there is essentially nothing we can do about the issue, especially from a fuel point of view. At this late date it is not even clear we can do anything from an engineering point of view.

            In ancient times, people put together myths. Todays model-makers are the myth makers of today. They do it in a creative way, by putting together absurd models. The devil is in the details. The vast majority of people are so enthralled by the output that they could never understand that it has the methodology is essentially nonsensical. If all of the variables were “independent,” omitting important variable would work. It doesn’t in the way they model the system.

      • Nope.avi says:

        The reason why your comments are censored is because they go off topic and you spam the comments section with links to numerous articles regarding stuff everyone knows about, memes , and partisan political stuff.

        Your activity on this blog leads me to believe that you HAVE NO LIFE. No hobbies, or social life to speak of. You may have a job but otherwise lead a meaningless and unhappy existence that makes you angry. We are probably the only form of human contact you probably have. You don’t want to sever that by calling Gail names.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      https://thinkprogress.org/trump-renewable-energy-budget-cuts-3382dc457f20/

      Trump’s proposal will slash the budget for DOE’s Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EERE) from $2.3 billion to $700 million — a roughly 70 percent cut — Bloomberg reported this week, citing a department official familiar with the plan. The full budget request is expected to be released Monday.

      Maybe that will reduce California’s chances of fires?

      • The issue is perhaps, “Keep the cost from going up.”

        My comments about Washington state hydroelectric, and California’s interest in this renewable source, are part of California’s cost issues as well. However this is handled, hopefully the people in California will find themselves paying for the system that they have created, together with all of its side effect. Otherwise, they will find themselves without electricity in a big chunk of the state.

        As long as we pursue more and more exotic solutions to our problems, we are asking for trouble. We cannot foresee the indirect problems that these more complex “solutions” will provide.

    • Great observations Gail, thank you.

      I have always thought that centralised electricity generation was a mistake. Although Tesla had some good ideas about transmission methods.

      I have not been able to visualise a decentralised system which might be self sustaining; have you any ideas? Perhaps an article about this might help consideration of systems to be implemented after the crisis?

      Just a thought.

      • Decentralized system would be possible with enough e-storage capacity, now we are on the path of mass produced < $100 per kWh long lasting batteries (dry electrode – cheap manuf process, no cobalt/rare metals, ..etc) well before ~2025. But there is the issue, can we realistically offload this entire cost of say at least ~10-30kWh large enough storage bridging the intermittency issue (+added generation: PV, wind, biomass, geothermal, ..) per family for the entire nation? I think it could be possible on the condition of large scale commitment and also overall shift in consumer/energy patterns.

        In summary, centralized electricity is fine and recommended for 'antsy' vertically integrated societies (Asia, Russia, ..). While decentralized system seems to be more convening for the Western enclaves of the world.

    • Sheila chambers says:

      Looking at your graph, it looks as though Cali’s consumption is greater than it’s supply, so what is filling in that large 50 TW gap?
      Cali is mostly a desert so it can’t dam any more rivers to supply more electricity, it can’t build more reactors because of lack of enough cooling water & it can’t source those reactors close to the ocean because of earthquake faults & the dangers from tsunamis. Cali is also very overpopulated so no matter what they do, they will have to in time, abandon most of the state, where will all those excess Californians move to?
      Not here, we will build a WALL at the border & blow up all the connecting bridges & roads from Cali. ;^ )

      • California imports a lot of electricity long-distance, especially from the state of Washington, where there is a lot of hydroelectric power. This hydroelectric power is very cheap. But the transmission lines must run through desert areas of California, and this is where the fires start.

        The old model was that each area supplied its own electricity, with fuel that came from nearby, or was imported by train. Long distance transmission was only for occasional emergencies. When some states came up short in this way (California and New York are examples), they started importing electricity from long distance.Then there was a need to build new interstate transmission lines (like interstate highways), to allow this to happen. The original system was built like a system of small country roads; what was really needed was planned interstate transmission.

        But the interstate transmission approach doesn’t really work very well in practice. One problem is that here is a significant cost (and electricity loss) to long distance transmission. Also, no one has a strong motivation to build plants in their own back yard, if they can simply import electricity from somewhere else. And building new transmission lines now, across people’s property, is very unpopular. Often the wires need to be hidden underground, at huge cost. And, as we have seen in California, fires can start under certain circumstances–it may be that sudden spurts in demand required by solar panels tend to touch off fires. Or it may just be wind. But if the generation had been local, there would never have been the problem.

    • Artleads says:

      “What else do we need to conclude that renewables are not only useless, but positively dangerous for humankind?”Based on what I’ve been learning on FW, I’ve been saying this for a couple months: The renewable myth IS POSITIVELY HARMFUL FOR THE SYSTEM WE LIVE BY.

  24. Don Stewart at Surplus reposted article on EROI of oil and gas, which Ugo Bardi found in this paper: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41247-018-0048-1

    So, the relatively worsening EROI performance of Exxon, BP, Shell could be the reasoning behind that Norwegian SWF to drop them from this fund..

    Obviously, Saudi and Kuwait data are not under such full scrutiny, so their better position could be just a mirage anyway, but still the others are the ‘official’ laggards at the moment..

    • Well, the Springer article is relatively recent, the Norwegians had been evaluating this divesting event for prior year+ so they likely have got their own inner team dealing with EROIs..

    • SuperTramp says:

      Happy to hear old Don Stewart is still at it…glad he found a new nest to brood.
      I have an awful feeling all our intellectual exchanges really don’t materially alter any aspect of the outcome we are facing. I do find it entertaining the vast perceptions of reality encountered across the blog spectrum.
      One thing is certain…it’s always about the MONEY!

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XcGh1Dex4Yo

      • Slow Paul says:

        It is basically all about the money, yes. Even the scientific/research industrial complex which many believe are our modern saviors. Both tragic and great comedy. It’s a chase to get your articles published in the most acclaimed journals, obviously there is a great risk for all sorts of bias’ in this publishing process, not to mention conditioning of college students who learn “the scientific method” and how to write scientific papers “the right way”.

    • Sven Røgeberg says:

      The norwegian government has only decided to sell a part of it´s shares in oil -and gascompanies, ie.only upstream companies involved in exploration and production. BP, Exon Mobil and others, which also have other activities in their portofolio, will not be dropped from the SWF. The last year the norwegian government received two conflicting advices from experts: from the centralbank they were told to sell all their shares in oil- and gas companies. From a commisioned report they were told to do the opposite and to keep all their shares. It is also an interesting political background for the decision. The decision to drop a smaller part of the shares in the companies (70/321) was announced the same day as the minor partner in the government, the party «Venstre» (pro EV and «green» energy) opened its annual meeting. The party is in danger of falling out of the national assembly because of bad polls. The party leader could therefor in her opening speech triumphantly declare that the decision taken by the government was a great victory for the party.

      • Thanks for the update.
        Now, it would be nice to have the notes for the discussion and vote at the Norwegian central bank board. If the UBI-MMTer economists are to be correct for a while (lolz), the market is going to sink mid-term longish term in secular fashion, so even defensive plays such as utilities and energy will get clubbed to near death experience.. But as we know gov people will try to intervene, but they likely can’t support both banks-financials and utilities-energy for ever, so one of these two will not be systematically supported anymore sooner than the other one, say in ~5-10yrs horizon. Anyway, at the moment much safer bet is short the industrial linked to bad demography clientele, e.g. HDavidson was a good prediction and few others..

      • Xabier says:

        Thank you for the political details, Sven.

  25. el mar says:

    Attention! FE is sitting in front of the screen, ready to jump in.

    :

  26. Sven Røgeberg says:

    «A simple but important study by Luciano Celi shows what is the real energy return that oil companies manage to attain. Much smaller than you would have believed, it is today well below 10. Which means that renewable energies already produce a larger EROI than oil and gas. No more excuses for not switching to renewables as fast as possible!And we have to do it fast because, as Celi shows, we are on the edge of the Net Energy Cliff of fossil fuels.»
    https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/?m=1
    You find a link to their paper:
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41247-018-0048-1
    Curious, strange, meaningsless model?

    • Xabier says:

      Ugo’s line is more or less that of the old Peak-Oilers: once ‘renewables’ are cheaper for the consumer than fossil-fuels, or have a higher EROI, then they are economically viable.

      Far too simplistic. ‘Cheaper’ for the consumer might still be far too high for diminishing purchasing power, and the functioning of the whole economy, etc.

      Prieto’s comments on all the hidden costs of maintaining and replacing solar systems are well worth looking at over at Energy Skeptic at the moment.

      Optimistic EROI calculations seem to ignore that aspect, as well as the wider economic considerations addressed by Gail .

      • I guess more important is the original article then what UGO tries to extrapolate from it, hence my double posting about it..
        In certain way the relative EROIs can tell us something about the various players and their positioning out there. For example there are peculiar cases of countries doing both oil and natgas in relatively high volume such as Algeria, Russia and few others, and their situation per given type of fossil energy carrier evolves dis-similarly into the future.

        • Xabier says:

          Quite agree, worldof. But Ugo Bardi just clutches at straws these days and doesn’t tolerate dissent very well.

    • The big issue is that no producer can withstand a drop in oil price. An oil company and its government share the price that the company receives for its oil, either as tax revenue or as money to operate the company and make new investment. If the price drops, some part of the system has to go without–either the government’s taxes or the oil company’s profits. Neither works well.

      If EROI is falling, then a rising oil price is needed. This rising price is needed so that both the company and its government can have adequate funding. But we can’t tell from a single point in time analysis what the change in EROI is.

  27. SuperTramp says:

    Another one bites the DUST….
    Charlotte Russe is closing all stores, and liquidation sales start Thursday.

    According to court documents, store liquidation sales “shall commence no later than March 7” and end “no later than April 30,” USA Today reports. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last month hoping to find a buyer to save the business. USA Today reports Charlotte Russe is in talks to sell and are optimistic about the future of the brand.

    The company said in a statement to USA Today: “We are partnering with the buyer and remain in talks to sell the (intellectual property), are optimistic about the future of the brand, and remain in ongoing negotiations with a buyer who has expressed interest in a continued brick and mortar presence to continue to serve our loyal customers in the future.”

    The company has more than 500 stores in the U.S. with more than 8,700 employees.

    Sure, I’m interested in the “brand”…..just ordered 2 pairs of running sneakers on a website named Shoebacca….free shipping and 60% off retail….we live interesting times….Oh, they came in days and fit just fine….I need an extra wide and hard to find in a brick and motor store!😘

  28. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    US natural gas production is up about 50% in the past 10 years:

    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9010us2a.htm

    today’s price is $2.87 per 1,000 cf…

    6,000 cf is just about the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil…

    6,000 cf today is about $17

    WTI oil is about $56 per barrel…

    natural gas is a very cheap and abundant fossil fuel…

    production is estimated to continue to increase for many years…

    will this be enough to counter Peak Oil and Peak Coal and keep quasi-BAU running for many more years?

    • Yes, it could be enough for quasi-BAU or bumpy plateau extension towards at least ~2035. Given the demographic trends, change of consumer habits, and some global as well as internal triage it is a %possibility to soldier on the natgas crutches.

      However, we have to add to this uncertain mix also these rising populist attitudes inside the West/IC, which could be placated in the end ONLY by some sort of phase in of UBI-MMT. Some countries, and systemic factions could fight such development longer than others which would trigger hard uprisings, social reset. So, for instance something like Sanders administration at peculiar place in time, helped for example by ongoing severe recession or GFCv2, would be to a large degree ‘unopposed’ by the legislature and judiciary, army perhaps keeping the worst spooks at bay, hence the new admin could mess with the levers of the system. And this would likely at this point make the wobbly system even more unstable, Gorbi-ing it to the ground fast.

      Also, there is very high probability the deeper US establishment is not mentally capable of facing the humiliation of even partial suspended collapse, so they will launch the doomsday button first. At end of cold war each side had something like ~1000+ MIRVs only in the submarine part of the triad, nowadays it’s a bit less, but enough to end the world as we know it in ~15-30min anyway..

      We are living in interesting times.

      • Xa says:

        We are clearly entering the phase when welfare systems – however named , ‘Green New Deal; ‘Real Socialism’, ‘Social Justice’, ‘Solidarity’ etc – will fundamentally be about buying off the increasingly unemployed and impoverished masses, and averting unrest.

        Maybe this can indeed be done somehow, combined with a shift to natural gas dependency in the short term; but, as you say, further destabilising in the medium.

        The ‘Age of Desperate Expedients’?

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8LAUQwv77Q

          Prof. Blyth (Brown Uni) an political economist called this trend since ~2015*, he sort of predicted France/Italy slump and revolt, Trump, rise of protectionism – sanctions volatility, hinting rise of Sanders-ite UBI-MMTers etc.. , and much more, not sure where is the upper time limit on it (obviously he is not finite world-er), he believes low inflation low growth long cycle of fiscal spending regime is incoming, i.e. several decades more..

          Refers to 1940s economist who called correctly the future of two post war political economic cycles incl. the 1980s reset into deregulation and industrial outsourcing..


          there is even earlier material of him than this 2016 video

    • rm3 says:

      Storage capacity is limited so what can’t be pumped into the gas pipeline at time of extraction is flared. This also happens where extracting oil where nat. gas is a byproduct and there is not equipment or pipeline to handle the gas, it is simply burned off. Hardly an efficient use of resources, and certainly not conservative in any way.
      See Porter Ranch storage well gas leaks 2015
      SoCalGas requested customers to “conserve” and reduce nat. gas use until they could cap the leaks. Sadly CA has become much more reliant on nat. gas to fuel power plants to back up the growing capacity of intermittent wind and solar mandated by Sacramento. The days of black outs will return to the once golden state.

    • jupiviv says:

      All or most of the added production since the 2000s has been from shale and tight oil and gas.

      http://www.nature.com/news/natural-gas-the-fracking-fallacy-1.16430

      “To provide rigorous and transparent forecasts of shale-gas production, a team of a dozen geoscientists, petroleum engineers and economists at the University of Texas at Austin has spent more than three years on a systematic set of studies of the major shale plays. The research was funded by a US$1.5-million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York City, and has been appearing gradually in academic journals1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and conference presentations. That work is the “most authoritative” in this area so far, says Weijermars.

      If natural-gas prices were to follow the scenario that the EIA used in its 2014 annual report, the Texas team forecasts that production from the big four plays would peak in 2020, and decline from then on. By 2030, these plays would be producing only about half as much as in the EIA’s reference case. Even the agency’s most conservative scenarios seem to be higher than the Texas team’s forecasts. “Obviously they do not agree very well with the EIA results,” says Patzek.

      The main difference between the Texas and EIA forecasts may come down to how fine-grained each assessment is. The EIA breaks up each shale play by county, calculating an average well productivity for that area. But counties often cover more than 1,000 square kilometres, large enough to hold thousands of horizontal fracked wells. The Texas team, by contrast, splits each play into blocks of one square mile (2.6 square kilometres) — a resolution at least 20 times finer than the EIA’s.

      Resolution matters because each play has sweet spots that yield a lot of gas, and large areas where wells are less productive. Companies try to target the sweet spots first, so wells drilled in the future may be less productive than current ones. The EIA’s model so far has assumed that future wells will be at least as productive as past wells in the same county. But this approach, Patzek argues, “leads to results that are way too optimistic”.

      The high resolution of the Texas studies allows their model to distinguish the sweet spots from the marginal areas. As a result, says study co-leader Scott Tinker, a geoscientist at the University of Texas at Austin, “we’ve been able to say, better than in the past, what a future well would look like”.

      The Texas and EIA studies also differ in how they estimate the total number of wells that could be economically drilled in each play. The EIA does not explicitly state that number, but its analysis seems to require more wells than the Texas assessment, which excludes areas where drilling would be difficult, such as under lakes or major cities. These features of the model were chosen to “mimic reality”, Tinker says, and were based on team members’ long experience in the petroleum industry.”

      • I don’t believe we will see a steady shale production decline out to 2030. I’d expect the companies producing the shale would go out of business well before then. I’d expect the ponzi style financing model to push these companies into bankruptcy once it became clear that their production was rapidly declining. The funding made available to the companies would disappear very quickly. If shale production peaks in 2020, then most of these shale companies will be bankrupt by 2022-2025. Investors in the shale play can go bust with the comforting knowledge that their money extended BAU for as long as possible.

  29. Duncan Idaho says:

    Interesting — but not surprising–
    Right-wing individuals are more tolerant of the spreading of misinformation by politicians

    People on both ends of the political spectrum disapprove of lying. But new research suggests that Republicans and right-wing authoritarians view the spreading of misinformation by politicians as less morally objectionable than their left-wing counterparts.

    The study has been published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

    https://www.psypost.org/2019/03/right-wing-individuals-are-more-tolerant-of-the-spreading-of-misinformation-by-politicians-53277

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      yes, absolutely unsurprising…

      the left-wing party was defeated in the 2016 POTUS election…

      there has been much discussion since about the role of disinformation in that election…

      the right-wing individuals in this “new research” are living post-election where they see that they have defeated the left-wing candidate, and thus they are more favorable about the disinformation of 2016…

      it is highly likely that, if Hellery had won, then left-wing individuals now would be more tolerant of the spreading of disinformation…

    • Tim Groves says:

      Since we don’t see many politicians, journalists or news readers hanging from trees or lamp posts in the US these days, we should conclude that the entire population is remarkably tolerant of the spreading of misinformation. I suppose the fact that most of the population is zonked on sedative drugs and high fructose corn syrup helps maintain this harmonious situation.

    • Each political party has its own version of disinformation. It is well known that college professors tend to follow the “liberal” view of stories. Also, they tend to believe the nonsensical models that their fellow professors put together.

      Thus, the result of the study depends heavily on what is deemed to be disinformation. What we read and hear is so full of disinformation that it is hard for most people to make sense of what is true and what is false. Neither side talks about the likelihood of collapse being ahead, for example. They put together models as if BAU can continue forever.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Agree, both models (actually same models) are delusional.
        Its just the “Right” is more comfortable and at ease with misinformation– it is part of their mindset.

        • The left tends to believe “scientific” models, even though they assume independence from very important variables that should not be excluded. Climate change models are a prime example, but another model is how long Social Security funding will be sufficient. Actuarial funding models for pensions are mistake. The list goes on and on.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            Agree–
            Its just the Right is comfortable with misinformation– (they have to, or their political reality would collapse).
            The left (actually in the US the Left is center/right) also needs to embrace misinformation- just not on the level of our friends on the Right.

            • Tim Groves says:

              The leftists and rightists are mirror images of each other. The smarter and more honest ones on each side would agree that their side needs to embrace misinformation- just not on the level of their friends on the other side.

              But enough of this banter on our side’s moral superiority, Duncan. As a declared atheist/anti-theist, you have your work cut out justifying any kind of ethical or idealistic stance whatsoever.

              Tell us what’s morally good and explain why it’s good, and why people should be good, and I’ll give you a cookie!

  30. SuperTramp says:

    Happy Days Are Here Again….
    New York (CNN Business) Move over, Saudi Arabia. America is about to steal the kingdom’s energy exporting crown.
    The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products, like gasoline, according to energy research firm Rystad Energy.
    That milestone, driven by the transformative shale boom, would make the United States the world’s leading exporter of oil and liquids. That has never happened since Saudi Arabia began selling oil overseas in the 1950s, Rystad said in a report Thursday.
    Am I missing something?
    The Permian Basin of West Texas has become the epicenter of the shale boom. Technological advances have made it possible for companies to profitably drill at lower and lower prices.
    ExxonMobil (XOM), which was slow to the shale game, said this week that its soaring production in the Permian Basin can generate an average return of more than 10% — even at just $35 a barrel. Exxon now plans to produce more than 1 million barrels per day from the Permian by 2024 — up nearly 80%.
    “Increasingly profitable shale production and a robust global appetite for light oil and gasoline is poised to bring the US to a position of oil dominance in the next few years,” said Nysveen

    If Uncle Sam can kick this can another decade, I’ll be the happiest two legged critter on the Planet!
    Stranger things have happened… Like these
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vJRD-1c69oI

    Yada, yada….sure….and the Fed will raise interest rates….

    • One big “if” in this story is whether the prices will be high enough for the exported oil to be profitable. The majors think that they can “pull off” something that little companies could not. Yet they tend to have higher overhead expense, making it more difficult to make a profit at a given price. This remains to be seen.

      Another big if has to do with how the increases by the majors will be offset by the declines by the non-majors. I have noticed that US drilling rig counts have recently been in decline. In particular, Texas land drilliing rigs reached a peak of 533 in the week of January 4, 2019, and have been declining every week since then to a total of 499 as of March 8, 2019. In total, US land drilling rigs reached a peak of 1059 the week of December 28, 2018, and have fallen to 1005 as of March 8, 2019. Thus, something over 60% of the decrease in land rig counts comes from Texas.

      If we look at the Permian Basin separately, rigs reached a plateau of 493 rigs in November 2018, with the last date on this plateau being November 30, 2019. Its rig counts have declined to 465, as of March 8, 2019. So its rig counts have declined by 5.7%. Unless we see a turnaround in rig counts, I expect that the production estimates will be too high.

      New Mexico is down from a high of 112 to 105 currently. New Mexico also has part of the Permian.

      Oklahoma shows a big drop in drilling rigs, from 148 on November 19, 2018 to 116 as of March 8, 2019. I am not sure what fields this is related to.

  31. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n06rXDrSQEg

    Euro Economy Falling Fast! ECB Begins MASSIVE Money Printing! From yesterday, 3/7/2019

    Video is just explaining how the ECB (European central bank) is printing, QE to get the economy moving faster.

    What we can see are central banks around the world are on a razors edge watching all the important metrics in anticipation of doing what’s needed to head off slow economic activity. No longer is there a willingness to see where things are headed, or to let market forces naturally flush out weak investors, weak companies, over leveraged people, no, they are in the business ever since 08 to make sure things are moving fast enough to maintain altitude so to speak.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “No longer is there a willingness to see where things are headed…”

      and yet there have been many stories lately about countries with stalling or even falling economies (thank you Sir Harry McGibbs)…

      not only is the world facing diminishing returns in resource extraction, but there are other facets of diminishing returns…

      debt creation has been reported to be less effective year after year…

      thus instead of just the new-normal QE, which has probably been ongoing since 2009 and also probably in a more stealth manner lately, now we hear about “MASSIVE” QE…

      the EU is losing altitude…

      it seems the ECB has hit the panic button…

  32. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/north-korea-earthquake-nuclear-missile-kim-jong-un-trump-a8813426.html

    The article is blocking copy/paste, but the gist of it is a 2.1 on the Richter scale was monitored in a location in NK where they are digging a mine to continue with development of nuclear weapons. Trump says in spite of NK moving ahead in this regard he is still optimistic regarding negotiations. Huh?

  33. Dennis L. says:

    FE would be pleased.
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-08/global-warming-hoax-and-scam-pushed-greedy-government-scientists-greenpeace-co

    In SE MN we have multiple feet of snow on the ground, more than a foot of snow on the roofs, and February had the most snow on record in the Twin Cities. Snow budgets must be “uuuge.”

    Dennis L.

    • SuperTramp says:

      Dennis, a few years ago I went back to Red Wing, Winona and Decorah Ia., checking the area over. Lots of Colleges and Universities, cultural activities, ect. Actually, looked over a property outside of Winona of 10ac., Certified organic, small owner built home 700sq feet. All for under $100,000! Now, it was April and COLD and frozen ice all in the Mississippi River. Like the place and the Seed Savers Exchange is located there. Unfortunately, most of the agriculture is industrial corporate large scale.
      There was a CSA in the area that was in dire need of donations to keep it as a going concern…a blight wiped out their crops because of a very wet spell.
      After I left, I read another snowstorm hit the area! Now I know why the region stays “pristine” and scenic…the climate! I talked myself out of this dream and the place ended up selling for $90,000. The lady who owned it was getting on in years and suppose did what she wanted with it.
      Believe it or not, peasants from Southeast Asians are adapting and setting up their own thriving market farming gardens!
      So, if you can handle the winters, you are living in one of the best places in my book!

      • Dennis L. says:

        There is a HAFA farm close to St. Paul on highway 52 which I pass several times per week. it appears to be growing in size, there are multiple plots of sub substantial size and the small amount of mechanical equipment I see is very old which means cheap to maintain and most likely burns gasoline. They work hard, the plots are neat.
        As I like to say, if it has been done, it can be done, but, it is hard work and most likely families need to stay together.
        HAFA is the Hmong American Farmer’s Association, they have a website which is well done and interesting.

        Dennis L.

    • It is possible to “prove” almost anything with an appropriately chosen model and a lack of understanding of how the system really works.

      Models provide today’s myths, but because they look “scientific,” many people fall for them.

  34. I wonder how well Tesla will do in trying to break all of the store leases that it now has outstanding. The WSJ has an article up called, Landlords to Tesla: You’re Still on the Hook for Your Store Leases
    Landlords could seek a court injunction to prevent electric car maker from closing stores before the lease expiration

    The company [Tesla] has total lease obligations of $1.6 billion, with $1.1 billion due between this year and 2023, according to its securities filings. The payments include leases for stores, galleries and other uses including real estate abroad. . . .

    Retail tenants generally can’t break their leases without penalty unless certain conditions are met, like a retailer files for bankruptcy protection or the shopping center suffers from persistent vacancies that allows a tenant to leave before the lease expires. Mall tenant leases typically run five to 10 years.

    “The bottom line is, this is a business of contracts,” said Don Wood, CEO at Federal Realty Investment Trust, who indicated that landlords will enforce their contracts and expect Tesla to honor its obligations. Federal Realty owns two shopping centers with Tesla leases.

    • Rodster says:

      Tesla could decide bankruptcy is their only choice to get out of those Mall leases. I don’t see those Mall owners letting Tesla off easy because Mall vacancy rates are way up and some Malls are in a huge world of hurt and some have even closed their doors.

      • Tesla’s cash on hand is at least theoretically able to pay the $1.1 billion in lease expenses due between now and 2023, however.

        • Again, for the n-th time, TSLA is so far ahead against legacy car manufs, i.e. their biz case is uber robust for the ‘perceived’ future, that should come serious financial threat, they will get infusion from the other digital oligarchs within 24hrs..

  35. raul says:

    “I saw ‘Thriller’ for the first time at Michael’s house, in his screening room, with his brothers Tito, Jackie, and Randy. When Michael said, ‘I’m not like other boys’ in the video, Jackie and Randy started laughing. Jackie put his mouth to my ear and repeated the line: ‘He’s not like other boys.’ Michael said, ‘Shut up, Jackie, that’s not nice.’”

    –Larry Stessel, Epic Records marketing executive

    (both quotes from “I Want My MTV!”, page 184, 185)

    ———–
    I remember seeing a TV interview with John Landis, “Thriller” director, around that time, in which he explained that he had had Jackson say that line, because “some say he’s not as other men – and he’s not!” Big smile from Landis. So when Jacko married the Presley girl, I remembered that and thought “What?!”

    My thought is that so many people guessed this and more. Come the big downturn and the end of BAU, how many people will likewise realise that they knew it all long – that our present way of life is doomed, and it was there at the back of their mind but they were just too busy to think about it?

    • aaaa says:

      John copter-of-death Landis?

      • raul says:

        “But Landis’s career was about to take a huge dive because of the tragedy of the Twilight Zone movie. Under Landis’s direction, three performers died when a stunt went wrong. Vic Morrow’s head was chopped off by a helicopter blade. Two children died. This happened just before shooting Thriller, but Landis still had his game, given Thriller and the highly successful Trading Places, which helped launch Eddie Murphy’s career. But in 1984, while Thriller was on heavy MTV rotation and Trading Places was making buckets of box-office money, a highly publicized trial made Landis look like a reckless, uncaring asshole. He took no responsibility for his role in the deaths, which were the result of bad communication on the set. Karma kicked in and he never made a significant movie again.”

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Please– Thriller and Jackson were really the shallow end of the pool.
      He occasionally turned up when I was in Hollywood, but really a minor player culturally.
      It is how reduced of a culture that we have become to even take him half way seriously.

      • Tim Groves says:

        The BBC is no longer playing Michael’s records, so we must be grateful for small mercies.
        They are treating him like the next Jimmy Savile!

        • raul says:

          I must admit I did like “Earth Song”, but really just because it was a rip-off of “Knights in White Satin”. I do remember when pop singer Jarvis spoiled Jacko’s performance of his Earth Song, and Jacko told the press he felt “sickened, saddened, shocked, cheated, upset and angry”. My colleagues at work had a good laugh about that sentence – probably the gayest sentence ever uttered!

          • Tim Groves says:

            Please forgive me for being pedantic, but it’s “Nights” jousting between the sheets not “Knights” jousting on horseback.

            It’s an amazing and beautiful song that always takes me way way back to the age when a “tranny” was a portable radio.

            https://youtu.be/9muzyOd4Lh8

            • raul says:

              I did realise shortly afterwards that it was “knights”. I don’t regard you as pedantic on this occasion, so I’m still allowing you your supper. 😉

              “Tranny” – well, lots of pop stars wore and still wear fancy clothes, so it’s not something I get uptight about.

        • raul says:

          The interesting thing about the recent documentary is that one of Jackson’s victims did not admit to being abused until years later, after his sister told him of a terrible clairvoyant dream she had had about the abuse. Yet nobody who has watched the program will likely ever mention the dream – these things get censored out of our attention because our society doesn’t believe in them.

          Years ago I watched a TV program in which the participants had to guess the price of a house in order to win it. One fellow told his friends on camera about a dream he’d had that morning, in which the price was £132,500 (or thereabouts – some quite precise figure). He decided that his dream was wrong and it was probably worth £136,000. His dream turned out to be correct, but he had given his preferred figure! The stunned and crushed look on his face was a picture, but this still did not cause anybody in the program to discuss the issue of clairvoyant dreams. The precise figure would no doubt have been ignored and censored out as “coincidence”.

  36. Yoshua says:

    China’s refined oil consumption increased by 6 percent in 2018.

    “BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — China’s consumption of refined oil saw stable growth in 2018, data showed.

    Around 325 million tonnes of refined oil was consumed in the country last year, up 6 percent from the previous year, according to the data given by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

    The growth was slightly faster than the 5.9-percent rise recorded in 2017, the NDRC data showed.

    Gasoline consumption climbed 7.8 percent in the past year, compared with 10.2 percent in 2017, while diesel consumption gained 4.1 percent, up from 2 percent in 2017.

    Refined oil output stood at 368 million tonnes last year, up 6.3 percent from the previous year.

    The country’s crude oil output fell 1.1 percent last year to 189 million tonnes, while the amount of crude oil processed rose 4.6 percent to 588 million tonnes, according to the NDRC data.”

    • Thanks! Diesel is primarily the fuel of businesses, while gasoline is primarily the fuel of consumers driving private passenger cars.

      The 7.8% rise in gasoline consumption while diesel consumption only rose by 4.1% would seem to indicate that consumers are doing much better than businesses.

      The fact that crude oil processed rose 4.6% while crude output fell 1.1% would indicate that they are importing more crude oil. Also, either they have added refinery capacity or they are using what capacity they more intensively.

      The recent slowdown doesn’t seem to be affecting 2018 numbers very much.

  37. SuperTramp says:

    Boy, was this 6 year old lucky to be alive is FULL THROTTLE BAU….

    A new case report from the Centers for Disease Control released Thursday starkly highlights the costs of not vaccinating children. It details an unvaccinated 6-year-old boy’s encounter with tetanus—and the hugely expensive, two-month-long effort it took to save his life.

    According to the authors, the 6-year-old boy from Oregon had gotten a forehead scrape while playing outside on a farm sometime in 2017. The wound was cleaned and sutured at home, but six days later the boy began experiencing lockjaw and muscle spasms. He then started arching his back and neck involuntarily and eventually could barely breathe, prompting his family to call for help.

    Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for the unnamed child in this report, since his family had chosen to not vaccinate him for any condition.

    Tetanus is caused by the namesake bacteria Clostridium tetani. More accurately, it’s what happens when the soil-loving C. tetani gets into your body—usually through an open cut—and spews out an extremely potent toxin.

    All told, he ended up spending 57 days in the hospital, with a bill of $811,929, and that’s excluding the air transport and rehab care. For context, that’s about 72 times the average cost of a hospital stay for a kid, according to research cited by the authors. And it’s monumentally more expensive than the childhood diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTaP), which can cost around $30 per dose without insurance (the adult boosters are around $60).

    The story ends mostly happily for the boy. A month later, he was completely back to normal, running and using his bike again. But it seems no lessons were learned on his family’s part. Despite the brutal ordeal and pleading by the doctors, they again chose not to vaccinate him for tetanus or any other diseases.
    Now ain’t that something! Put the bill on the credit card like everything else we do!

    Wait till BAU strikes out….I agree Gail when you wrote nearly 100% will perish afterwards, judging by the reactions of folks now.
    https://gizmodo.com/it-took-two-months-and-nearly-a-million-dollars-to-save-1833137421/amp

    • Chrome Mags says:

      Just a reminder: Adults need to get a Tetanus booster shot every 10 years to stay protected. This vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria.

      • ssincoski says:

        Thanks for the reminder. Would not want to get hit by Tetanus. As we will soon be scavenging about for scrap metal and what not, this would be a good time to get that booster. Might be last available.

      • SuperTramp says:

        True…for those who want me info…
        Everything you thought you knew about tetanus is wrong
        What’s rust got to do with it? Very little
        https://www.popsci.com/tetanus-infection
        If the bacteria enters your body and you aren’t up-to-date on your vaccinations, the tiny invaders begin to multiply rapidly. This incubation period, which lasts between three and 21 days, according to the CDC, is symptom free. But as the bacteria begin to die inside you, they form a neurotoxin, that attacks the nervous system. Specifically, it inhibits the chemical GABA, which regulates muscle contractions. The result is a body-wide state of tension, from lockjaw in your face to uncontrollable arching spasms in your back to permanently-curled toes.
        Today, three shots and a booster every 10 years is basically 100 percent effective at preventing tetanus, whether it’s contracted from a seemingly-clean kitchen knife, a diaper change, or a rusted-up nail. The best part? It’s not too late to get yours. Make sure your booster shots are up to date!
        Perhaps a battery of shots are in order….too many to list…Gail is correct, water will be the problem. Actually, Remember reading the English started their tea drinking because it gave them a reason to boil water and kill the germs! Anyhoot, we can’t envision what mutated bugs will come along to wipe us out!🗣️

        • Tim Groves says:

          Remember, 10 years after the end of BAU, your immunity will be lower and there will be no more booster shots. So if you want to outlive the hordes and not be crushed under with the weak and infirm, stock up on tea and vitamin C.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Tetanus can also be viewed as a form of vitamin C deficiency from a certain point of view. People who ingest several grams of vitamin C daily are unlikely to develop tetanus even if infected. Also people who develop tetanus are likely to recover if given intravenous vitamin C injections.

      Indeed, people who ingest several grams of vitamin C daily are saving themselves from a whole spectrum of health problems, and people who don’t ingest several grams of vitamin C daily are playing Russian Roulette with their health.

      There are good vaccines and bad vaccines and downright ugly vaccines. I don’t want to go into the gory details here, but the ugly ones are really ugly. And the medical mafia’s totalitarian mantra that we should all just take our damned vaccines is truly despicable trying to scare and guilt-trip people into compliance. I don’t necessarily endorse not getting a tetanus jab, but it should be an individual personal choice. Only people who hate our freedoms could possibly disagree with that.

      • Xabier says:

        As so often observable, things which would do no harm if nutrition and exercise are good, will likely kill you if you are malnourished, a couch-potato and depressed/stressed.

        It makes perfect sense for the human population to be culled in such circumstances: the least successful go first, leaving more for the remainder. It is no tragedy.

        The terrible death toll of the Back Death in the 14th century followed years of poor harvests and declining general health: life was better in many ways for those who followed.

        I’ve cut myself by accident many times – very calloused hands these days – and also used to have small open wounds associated with eczema on my hands, and the only one that went bad in a life-threatening way was when I was very sedentary and miserable in a city.

        And a simple change of diet cured the eczema when all ‘treatments’ failed: funny the ‘physicians’ didn’t think of that – would have been their first consideration in Ancient Greece.

        Not to discount the value of certain vaccines, of course.

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “things which would do no harm if nutrition and exercise are good, will likely kill you if you are malnourished”

          Gregory Clark has a lot to say about this topic. On the basis of physical evidence, probated wills, he makes the case that some groups of humans (in this case the British) were under intense selection for at least 400 years. He points out that the selection was as intense and went on as many generations as the Russian tame fox project. Nobody doubts that the personalities of those foxes have changed from the wild ones. There should be little doubt that intense selection would change human psychological characteristics. The same selection pressures acted on the Chinese, perhaps even stronger.

          It’s considered racist to acknowledge that there are differences between human groups. But there are, and they stem from brutal selection in the relatively recent past. This doesn’t say anything about an individual, just the group average.

          Clark’s work is one of the small number of studies that impressed me. It’s 12 years old now, but I think well worth reading. http://faculty.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/papers/Capitalism%20Genes.pdf

          It ties back to Xabier’s comment. If you were rich enough to keep the kids reasonably well fed in the frequent famines, your children were much less likely to die of the diseases which accompanied famines. This selected for the drive to do well economically and all the characteristics such as numeracy and literacy needed to be successful.

          • I was told when visiting Norway that the Norwegian population especially decreased at the time plague hit Europe. I expect people living there were already stressed by the climate and short growing season.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              I just reread Clark. He does not make explicit the connection between wealth and a higher survival rate of children. Some of the reasons, like better resistance to disease for the well-nourished, are obvious. But other factors may have been also important, such as heat for houses and clothing.

              There is another important paper related to your comments about Norway.

              The causality analysis of climate change and large-scale human crisis

              David D. Zhanga,b,c,1, Harry F. Leea,b, Cong Wangd, Baosheng Lie, Qing Peia,b, Jane Zhangf, and Yulun Anc
              aDepartment of Geography and bThe International Centre of China Development Studies, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; cSchool of Geographic and
              Environmental Sciences, Guizhou Normal University, Guizhou 550001, China; dDepartment of Finance, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China;
              eDepartment of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China; and fSouth China Morning Post, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
              Edited by Charles S. Spencer, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, and approved September 6, 2011 (received for review March 17, 2011)

              Recent studies have shown strong temporal correlations between
              past climate changes and societal crises. However, the specific causal
              mechanisms underlying this relation have not been addressed. We
              explored quantitative responses of 14 fine-grained agro-ecological,
              socioeconomic, and demographic variables to climate fluctuations
              from A.D. 1500–1800 in Europe. Results show that cooling fromA.D.
              1560–1660 caused successive agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and
              demographic catastrophes, leading to the General Crisis of the Seventeenth
              Century. We identified a set of causal linkages between
              climate change and human crisis. Using temperature data and climate-
              driven economic variables, we simulated the alternation of
              defined “golden” and “dark” ages in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere
              during the past millennium. Our findings indicate that climate
              change was the ultimate cause, and climate-driven economic
              downturn was the direct cause, of large-scale human crises in preindustrial
              Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.

              climate-driven economy | Granger Causality Analysis | grain price

              The same author wrote about weather driven crisis in China.

              When you live on average weather, a few bad decades make a mess of things.

              Incidentally, the black death seems to have been in Europe much longer than was previously thought. Researchers found DNA evidence in a plague pit in Scandinavia from the 5th century not long ago.

          • Thanks! The paper is very interesting –long also. I think he would have been able to go farther, if he was aware of the role of energy and self-organized systems. I will try to put up an additional comment later. Need to run now.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              During most of the era Clark is concerned with, the energy situation was biomass. Only toward the end did coal come into the picture in a big way. But good points.

            • This is what Wrigley shows for the timing of coal use in the UK.

              https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/wrigleyfig1-e1346123057549.gif

            • hkeithhenson says:

              What slightly surprises me in the graphic you posted is now small the waterpower sector was. In those days water was somewhat like electricity now, easy to control. Long as there was water in the flume, moving a lever would turn on or off the machines. I remember many years ago visiting a shop in Sheffield England and being impressed by how the water power was coupled into air blowers and trip hammers. (They made composite steel/iron scythes.)

              My guess is that water power enabled the highest tech sectors of the economy.

              When steam started being used to pump water out of mines, the engineers of the day put it to work pumping water back over the dams so they could run the manufacturing shops more than the river flow allowed.

            • Wind and water were both very low. They provide mechanical energy, but a lot more heat energy was needed.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              I think that the proper mix of energy sources is needed for a given technology. For example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashdown_Forest#The_iron_industry_of_Ashdown_Forest

              “Ashdown Forest’s iron industry flourished in the two eras when the Weald was the main iron-producing region of Britain, namely in the first 200 years of the Roman period (1st to 3rd centuries AD) and in the Tudor period (late 15th and 16th centuries). Ashdown was favoured by the widespread presence of iron-ore, extensive woodlands for the production of charcoal, and deep, steep-sided valleys (locally known as ghylls) that could be dammed to provide water power for furnaces and forges. ”

              At that time and technology, two energy sources were needed to make iron, charcoal and water power.

  38. World’s largest SWF (~ $1T) just dropped all upstream oil. Shell, BP and other stocks are falling..
    Is that just new fancy way of doing “eco” in Norway or are we hitting the real physical limits soonish..?

    • I would expect that the big issue is that without oil prices rising, the return on these investments is likely to be terrible, because costs will be higher than revenues. There will be a double win in selling these investments: (1) They look like they are saving the world by being “green,” and (2) They avoid future falling stock prices and reduced dividends.

      • Yes, even the given official statement this is all about rational diversification, because they are still keeping the domestic fossil extraction industries.. is somewhat ‘honest’ message out of Norway, but they obviously don’t continue explaining in detail B and C publicly why there could be legitimate worry about the whole industry into the future in the first place..

      • Additionally, with the ‘permanent’ QE in place, oil prices can merrily drag on the bottom for much longer. This could be also partial reasoning of their analysis.. OK, that’s proverbial 4Dchess kind of argument but possible nevertheless..

    • These fossil to scale visualizations are always very enjoyable and revealing..

      • It is interesting, but I am not sure it tells us as much as we would like it to.

        At some points in the past, crude oil has been much higher-priced than other types of fossil fuels because of crude oil’s energy density and its ease of transport. As long as the cost of production remained low, and the international price of crude oil stayed high, crude oil could be heavily taxed by governments. These taxes could be used to benefit the economy in many ways. For example, better roads could be added, using oil products to make the road, while the taxes on the oil could be used to hire workers to build the roads. I think of taxes on crude oil as a way of sharing the “surplus energy” that this crude oil produced.

        Furthermore, with this big price differential, oil exporters traditionally have sold oil locally at close to the country’s own cost of production. Thus, the taxes have only been paid by foreigners buying the oil, rather than the citizens of the exporting country. The low oil prices locally allowed citizens to have a higher standard of living than they might otherwise have. They could afford to own and operate cars, for example. Air conditioning, using low cost oil, even seemed to make sense.

        There has been a two fold problem taking place.
        (1) The cost of oil production often has been rising.
        (2) Starting in 2014, the selling price of oil has been lower

        These two problems effectively recognize the fact that there is now much less “surplus energy” being created by crude oil. Now that oil prices are lower (and the cost of production is trending upward), countries with a large production of crude oil are no longer benefitting nearly as much from it. They find themselves needing to go into debt to maintain programs put into place earlier. They cannot provide oil for citizens that is subsidized to the extent it was in the past. They are more in danger of overthrown governments.

        At one point, having high crude oil production was an unmitigated “good” situation. But now that is much less the case. Having enough cheap energy in total to consume is much more important.

        • Thanks that’s very well put summary of the situation.

          In terms of that animated clip, it helps to visualize scale across various focal points, landmarks, downtown skyline etc., nowadays (younger generations) are people soaked from various highly cinematographic natural world documentaries about the dimensions on planet Earth and also cross section animations of geological layers underneath etc., so such energy visualization would help come full circle to realized the finite world question as there is not enough of that stuff left around in the final analysis. At least that’s my perspective, the world is indeed a big place, but not as much.. one assumed.

          Nevertheless, this size – scale question could be eventually turned upside down again, beyond ‘traditional nuclear’ as various ongoing fusion experiments would demonstrate the gargantuan amounts of energy trapped in the sub atomic structure. At the moment the likely ‘low tech’ contender seems concentrated swarm of Laser beams vs hydrogen atom kind of fusion, nevertheless if successful it would take at least another decade to have functional experimental generating unit and more time to real life sized industrial power plant out of it. Now again are humanoids mature enough for utilizing such stuff?

          • Flipper says:

            >>>Now again are humanoids mature enough for utilizing such stuff?

            Oh sure, no problem. Let’s have Fast Eddie run the program.

        • Have you read this report? I read Richard Heinberg’s book ‘The End of Growth’ some time ago but have only just found this website.
          http://energyskeptic.com/2019/richard-heinberg-our-bonus-decade/

  39. SuperTramp says:

    Viva a la Revolution!
    9 revolutionary women’s movements that have heralded change
    This International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the most significant women’s movements over the decades:

    Women’s March of Versailles, 1789:

    One of the earliest and most significant events that triggered the French Revolution was the Women’s March of Versailles, also known as The October March or The March on Versailles. On the morning of October 5, 1789, around 7,000 women gathered in the marketplaces of Paris and occupied the city hall demanding that the high price of food and scarcity of bread be addressed.

    In 1904, leading women’s rights activists such as Marie Stritt, Millicent Fawcett, Carrie Chapman Catt and Susan B. Anthony founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in Berlin to fight for the cause of women’s suffrage around the world.

    More than 10,000 women from across ages, occupations and social strata, paraded down Fifth Avenue in New York City in a gathering for women’s rights, sponsored by the National Organisation for Women. The Women’s Strike for Equality celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote.

    Iceland, which leads the world in terms of gender parity, was one of the first countries where women took to the streets to protest the pay gap that exists between men and women. On October 24, 1975, ninety per cent of Iceland’s female population went on a strike off work for a day to protest against wage discrepancies and unfair employment practices.

    The 2012 brutal and horrific rape of 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern in New Delhi, who went on to become widely known as Nirbhaya, led to widespread anger and disgust across the country, sparking mass protests which saw both women and men come out in large numbers.

    The largest single-day protest in the history of the United States, and among the largest protest marches for global women’s rights, saw around 3-5 million women taking part in a march which was held after President Donald Trump took office in 2017. The organisers had planned a sustained campaign protesting against the polarisation of the United States and addressing issues such as reproductive rights, immigration and civil rights

    Look out AOC is the next one coming…
    Hope you like Gail
    https://news.yahoo.com/nine-revolutionary-womens-movements-heralded-slideshow-wp-070558941.html

    • I am certain that women’s movements have been made possible by rising energy consumption per capita. Without birth control, it is almost a given than women will have to be in charge of raising children.

      In order for an economy to have a high enough standard of living that they can afford to educate women, as well as men, requires significant energy supply. Otherwise, girls find themselves with many “jobs” that they need to do, such as carrying water from distant streams, so that their family can have sufficient water. (Common in Africa.) If an economy can afford to build pipelines, with pumps and even filters for the water, then these jobs for girls tend to disappear.

      Enough jobs that pay well for women is only possible by rising energy consumption per capita. If an economy only adds schools for girls, the only added jobs are likely those of teachers. Without good roads (requiring fossil fuels) and electricity transmission lines (requiring fossil fuels), at most women can make a few local crafts, and try to sell them internationally at a high price.

      A few light bulbs using intermittent electricity does further education. And it does make life more pleasant. It may allow population to grow more quickly, because the educated women understand that there is need to boil water before using it, for example. But it doesn’t fix the overall problem of too little energy consumption per capita.

  40. Harry McGibbs says:

    Diminishing returns in action:

    “Fishermen in Uttara Kannada [India] are left in the lurch as they are unable to get a good catch in the Arabian Sea for the past two weeks. Nearly 90 per cent of purse seine fishing boats have stopped fishing and have been anchored at Karwar port for the last two weeks. Like last year, fishermen this year too have been facing fish drought in February.”

    http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2019/mar/07/fish-drought-worries-fishermen-in-u-k-dist-1947891.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Women, wives, mothers who struggle to earn a living, despite the economic crisis in the Republic of Congo… Women fish vendors in Pointe-Noire, the Republic of Congo are unfortunately facing an increased shortage of their products in a country already hit by an economic crisis.”

      https://www.africanews.com/2019/03/07/congo-fish-scarcity-drives-prices-up/

      • Over fishing is a problem world wide. I saw information several years ago showing that the biggest fish (within a particular type of fish) tend to disappear first, because of the overfishing. Thus, the size of fish available tends to fall, as do the number.

        Many ecologists (or perhaps it is a different specialty) are interested primarily in diversity of fish species. Number and size are also important, however.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          As a former commercial fishermen (Micronesia), we need to stop.
          But we won’t.

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          Jeremy Jackson’s ‘Ocean Apocalypse’ lecture on the subject is well worth watching. It’s depressing viewing though, so perhaps a stiff drink first:

        • Xabier says:

          Unfortunate, as many earlier civilisations have depended on fish, often dried,smoked and salted, as a basic foodstuff – there was also that odd Roman fish sauce, garum,which could be stored and sent long distances.

          Whether fresh or processed, seas, rivers and fish-ponds could supply vital needs when land harvests failed or were inadequate.

    • Kanghi says:

      Makes one wonder how hard they have overfished their fish stocks. I doubt that there is any scientific measurements limiting the catch each year….

  41. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…ever since emerging markets became more integrated into the world’s financial markets, they have tended to be centre stage. A Fed tightening cycle preceded the debt crisis in Latin America in 1982, the Mexican crisis in 1995, the dotcom bubble in 2000 and the global financial crisis of 2008-09.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/5fb288da-40c8-11e9-9bee-efab61506f44

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The Turkish economy will contract by as much as 1.8% this year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has forecast. The prediction came in a week that saw opposition newspapers deploring the soaring cost of vegetables, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s blaming the price rises on speculators whom he likened to “terrorists” and opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s scoffing at Turkey’s having to import onions from Egypt.”

      https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/03/turkish-economy-contraction-forecast-oecd.html

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “A widespread blackout enveloped much of Venezuela in darkness Thursday night, stopping subway service in the capital and causing problems around the country, which has been plagued by power failures as its economic crisis has worsened.”

        https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/widespread-blackout-leaves-much-of-venezuela-in-darkness-1.3818910

        • This is an example of electricity failure coming early on in collapse. I don’t think wind turbines or solar panels would have helped.

          The article says, “Venezuela has suffered periodic power failures for months, as its electrical system has deteriorated along with much of the country’s infrastructure.” This is the big issue. Cheap energy products are needed to keep all of the infrastructure operating

          The article makes it sound like mismanagement and corruption are the cause of the problem. They tend to happen at the same time that energy supplies are low, but they are not the ultimate cause of the problems.

  42. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The government [of Japan] on Thursday downgraded its assessment of a key indicator of economic trends, suggesting Japan may have already entered a recession rather than marking its longest growth phase since the end of World War II, as previously believed. The Cabinet Office’s coincident index of business conditions for January was down 2.7 points from the previous month…”

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/07/business/economy-business/key-index-shows-japan-economy-may-already-recession/#.XII3iij7TIU

  43. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Americans’ net worth fell at the highest level since the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2018 as sliding stock market prices ate into the household balance sheet.

    “Net worth dropped to $104.3 trillion as the year came to an end, a decrease of $3.73 trillion from the third quarter, according to figures released Thursday by the Federal Reserve. The fall amounted to a drop of 3.4 percent.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/07/us-households-see-biggest-decline-in-net-worth-since-the-financial-crisis.html

  44. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Eurozone productivity shrank in the second half of last year for the first time since the financial crisis, amid slowing economic growth.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/7278f31a-40c2-11e9-b896-fe36ec32aece

  45. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China’s coal imports in February tumbled 42 percent from the prior month as the world’s top buyer stalled custom clearances of shipments from Australia, sparking speculation it was retaliating politically against one of its biggest suppliers.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-08/china-s-coal-imports-slump-42-as-australian-cargoes-delayed

  46. SuperTramp says:

    This is it…the News is out
    Dow Carnage: US Stock Market Plunges as Recession Warnings Intensify
    Sam Bourgi
    CCNMarch 7, 2019, 1:12 PM EST

    The Dow continues to plunge on Thursday as Wall Street grows concerned about a global recession. | Source: REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

    The Dow and broader U.S. stock market plunged anew on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) launched fresh stimulus measures to combat a slowing regional economy. The shocking announcement brought recession fears back to the fore as investors continue to navigate a synchronized slowdown in global growth.

    Dow Plunges; S&P 500, Nasdaq Follow
    All of Wall Street’s major indexes declined sharply through the morning, reflecting a volatile pre-market session for U.S. stock futures. By the end of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 200.23 points, or 0.8%, to close at 25,473.23. That was its fourth consecutive drop. The Dow was off more than 300 points at its lowest point during the day.

    Twenty-six of 30 Dow members recorded declines, with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) leading the declines.

    The broad S&P 500 Index declined 0.8% to settle at 2,748.93. Ten of 11 primary sectors recorded losses, with consumer discretionary shares falling 1.4% on averages. Financials stocks declined 1.1% while information technology and materials each fell 0.9%. Utilities, long considered a defensive play, was the lone bright spot, gaining 0.3%

  47. Posted at oilprice [] com in discussion comment:

    __
    Mamdouh Salameh on March 04 2019 said:
    OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo got it horribly wrong by claiming in an interview that US shale revolution helped avert total chaos in the global oil market.

    He should have the courage of his convictions to admit that the oil glut that led to the 2014 oil price crash wasn’t caused by US shale oil production since the impact of US shale oil production on the global oil supplies was, is and will remain minor for the foreseeable future. OPEC members brought the oil price crash on themselves by far exceeding their production quotas.

    Another factor which contributed to the 2014 oil price crash is the United States manipulation of oil prices by hiking the value of the dollar and also through exaggerated claims about rises in US oil production and huge build-up in its oil and refined products inventories in order to depress oil prices and achieve geopolitical and economic aims.

    If OPEC’s Secretary General is trying by his praise of the role of US shale oil in saving the global oil market from chaos to make peace with any and all amid discussions in US Congress about anti-OPEC legislation that would make its members liable to prosecution under U.S. antitrust laws, then he is taking the wrong approach.

    The only approach that the United States understands is for OPEC to meet threat with threat, sanctions with sanctions, retaliation with retaliation and a fight with a fight. He should learn from China’s dealing with the United States over the trade war between them. China stood its ground and never ran away from retaliating blow for blow for whatever tariffs the Trump administration imposed on Chinese exports. That is what brought President Trump to the negotiations table not a softly softly approach.

    OPEC’s Secretary General could learn another lesson from Saudi Arabia’s dealing with President Trump over his threat to punish it over the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. When Saudi Arabia threatened to retaliate against any punishment with stronger measures including cutting its oil production to force prices up and cancelling lucrative arms deals, President Trump backed down.

    Therefore, OPEC shouldn’t be unduly worried about the“No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act,” or NOPEC Act. It has enough muscle to retaliate against the US. If NOPEC ever becomes a law and the United States tried to sue any OPEC member under the NOPEC Act, OPEC members collectively could retaliate by withdrawing every single penny they keep in the United States and stop investing in the US altogether. They could also stop all their oil exports to the US and even cut their oil production to force prices further up. This will harm the US economy most being the world’s largest consumer of oil. They could also discard the petrodollar and adopt the petro-yuan instead thus undermining the US financial system.

    In fact, OPEC should pre-empt and sue the United States at the WTO for manipulation of oil prices to achieve unfair benefits for its economy at the expense of the economies of OPEC members.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
    __

    • I am sure that there are people who believe this stuff, but I don’t really agree the Salameh when he says, “OPEC members brought the oil price crash on themselves by far exceeding their production quotas.” Furthermore, OPEC doesn’t realy have the power that Salameh claims. It can’t get the prices up to the level that producers need, no matter how much it cuts production.

      It is not clear that Salameh understands the role that QE and low interest rates pay. He talks about something which is related (when the US quit its QE program, it raised the level of the dollar), but I don’t think he gives enough credit for this issue.

      • He obviously looks at this from very constrained perspective, that’s not why posted it.
        I’m simply providing it as a piece to the puzzle, especially as positions of various actors.

        Besides, the OPEC+ demonstrated they can stabilize prices to a degree, if and when the US alt/tight supply crashes down, lets wait and see what the OPEC+ are capable of mitigating the volatility somehow or not, how long etc..

    • Hm, found his ~2016 interview: he correctly predicted Saudis will eventually at the bottom end agree to the quota, he also correctly predicted Iran is not going to (incapable?) rise production (hinting PO?), but he incorrectly predicted Libya won’t be able to rise production ever – they actually doubled or more – however situation is still volatile there, and lastly he incorrectly predicted that $100-130 is the correct market price.. So his record is 50:50 so far.. but it was somewhat in the realm of 2018-20.. things still can change .. Anyway, interesting chap only on the politics side of it..

      • kschleunes says:

        The Carter doctrine is the important thing.

        • Wikipedia:

          The Carter Doctrine was a policy proclaimed by President of the United States Jimmy Carter in his State of the Union Address on January 23, 1980, which stated that the United States would use military force, if necessary, to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf.

        • It doesn’t work in the world of tomorrow though.

          When US alt/tight oil is demonstrably collapsing..
          When int payments for energy and major commodities are circumventing US/UK system..
          When several major countries have ‘cheap’ super sonic anti ship missiles..

          Slowly approaching though.
          Could be this year, in five years, fifteen years or in year 2065 or 2350, nobody knows.

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