The climate change story is half true

The climate change story is true in some respects: The climate is indeed changing. And CO2 emissions do seem to affect climate. Burning fossil fuels does indeed make a difference in CO2 levels.

The problem I have with the climate change story is that it paints a totally inaccurate story of the predicament the world is facing. The world’s predicament arises primarily from too little affordable resources, especially energy resources; climate change models tend to give the illusion that our problem is one of a superabundance of fossil fuels.

Furthermore, the world economy has no real option of using significantly less energy, because the economy tends to collapse when there is not enough energy. Economists have not studied the physics of how a networked economy really works; they rely on an overly simple supply and demand model that seems to suggest that prices can rise endlessly.

Figure 1. Supply and Demand model from Wikipedia.
Attribution: SilverStar at English Wikipedia CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The quantity of energy supply affects both the supply and demand of finished goods and services. History shows that the result of inadequate energy supplies is often collapse or a resource war, in an attempt to obtain more of the necessary resources.

Climate scientists aren’t expected to be economists, but have inadvertently picked up the wrong views of economists and allowed them to affect the climate models they produce. This results in an over-focus on climate issues and an under-focus on the real issues at hand.

Let’s look at a few issues related to the climate change story.

[1] Growth in energy consumption and in world GDP are very closely linked. In fact, energy consumption seems to be the cause of GDP growth.

If we look at the relationship between World GDP and energy consumption growth, we see a close correlation, with energy consumption increases and decreases often preceding GDP growth changes. This implies a causal relationship.

Figure 2. World GDP Growth versus Energy Consumption Growth, based on data of 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy and GDP data in 2010$ amounts, from the World Bank.

The reason why this close relationship exists is because it takes the “magic” of energy consumption to make the physical changes we associate with GDP growth. It takes energy to transport goods. It takes energy to heat goods, whether to refine metals or to cook foods. Refrigeration is similar to heating, except that heat is moved out of the space that is to be cooled. Electricity, of course, depends on energy consumption.

We cannot expect the relationship to be as close at an individual country level as at the world level, because service economies tend to require less energy per capita than manufacturing economies. If a government sees that energy supplies are running short, it can direct the economy to become more services-oriented. This workaround can keep the local economy operating fairly close to normally, at least for a time.

Longer-term, an economy that has been hollowed out by a lack of energy supplies is likely to find that a substantial share of workers are earning only very low wages. With this reduced buying power, many citizens cannot afford to buy expensive goods like homes and cars. This lack of purchasing power tends to hold down commodity prices of all kinds, since finished goods are made with commodities. It is this lack of purchasing power that tends to hold down oil prices and other energy prices.

[2] There are two very different views of our energy future, depending upon whether an analyst believes that oil and other energy prices can rise endlessly, or not.

Figure 3. Two Views of Our Energy Future

There is substantial evidence that the second view is the correct view. Nearly every time the price of oil rises very much, the US economy has tended to head into recession. And forecasters tell us that while some countries (oil exporters) would be winners with higher prices, on average the world economy will tend to shrink. Oil importers, especially, would shrink back in recession. Figure 4 shows a recent chart by Oxford Economics with the conclusion that oil prices cannot rise very much without adversely affecting the world economy.

Figure 4. Chart by Oxford Economics on their view of the impact of oil prices reaching $100 per barrel. Chart shown on WSJ Daily Shot, April 25, 2019.

Climate change modeling has inadvertently incorporated the opposite view: the view that prices can be expected to rise endlessly, allowing a large quantity of fossil fuels to be extracted. Of course, if fossil fuel prices are expected to rise endlessly, then expensive renewables such as wind and solar can become competitive in the future.

[3] To date economists and their policies have had pretty close to zero success in reducing world CO2 fossil fuel emissions.

Figure 5. World Carbon Dioxide Emissions for selected groupings of countries, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data. Growing Asia is my grouping. It is BP’s Asia Pacific grouping, excluding Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. It includes China and India, among other countries.

A popular view of economists is, “If every country limits its own CO2 emissions, certainly world emissions will be reduced.” In practice, this does not work. It simply moves emissions around and, in the process, raises total world emissions. A carbon tax sends high-carbon industries to Emerging Market nations, helping ramp up their economies. The country with the carbon tax on its own citizens then imports manufactured items from the Emerging Market nations with no carbon tax, aiding the Emerging Market countries without a carbon tax at the expense of its own citizens. How reasonable is this approach?

When Advanced Economies transferred a significant share of their industrial production to the Growing Asian nations, the growth rate of industrial production soared in these countries, at the same time that it stagnated in Advanced Economies. (Sorry, data are not available before 2000.)

Figure 6. Percentage increase over prior year for Industrial Production, based on data of CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. Advanced Economies is as defined by CPB. My Growing Asia grouping seems to be very similar to what it shows as “Emerging Asia.”

This soaring production in the Growing Asian nations led to a need for new roads and new homes for workers, in addition to new factories and new means of transportation for workers. The net result was much more CO2 for the world as a whole–not considerably less.

If we calculate the savings in CO2 between the date of the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and 2017 for the US, EU, and Japan (the bottom grouping on Figure 5), we find that there has indeed been a savings close to 1.0 billion tons of carbon dioxide over this 20-year period. Unfortunately, Figure 5 shows:

  • Growing Asia added 9.0 billion tons of CO2 between 1997 and 2017
  • Middle Eastern oil producing nations added 1.1 billion tons of CO2 in the same period, and
  • The Rest of the World added 1.5 billion tons of CO2.

So, what little CO2 savings took place in the US, EU, and Japan during the 20 year period between 1997 and 2017 were dwarfed by the impact of the ramp up of industrial growth outside the US, EU, and Japan.

[4] Probably the single most stupid thing world leaders could have done, if they were at all concerned about CO2 emissions, was to add China to the World Trade Organization in December 2001.

In looking at world CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, we can see a distinct bend occurring in 2002, the year after China was added to the World Trade Organization.

Figure 7. World CO2 Emissions with Trend Line fitted to 1990-2001 data, based on data from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

The fitted trend line shows that emissions were growing at about 1.1% per year in the 1990 to 2001 period. Once China, with its huge unused coal reserves, was added to the World Trade Organization, both China’s coal production (Figure 8) and its coal consumption (Figure 9) soared.

Figure 8. China energy production by fuel, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 data.

Figure 9. China’s energy consumption by fuel, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy.

With the extra “demand” from China for roads, homes, airports, and new factories, oil and other energy prices soared in the 2002 to 2007 period. Energy prices were again high in the 2011 to 2014 period, after the Great Recession was over. These higher energy prices (see Figure 10 below) encouraged drilling for new oil and gas, such as that from shale formations in the United States. This further helped raise world fossil fuel consumption and thus world CO2 emissions.

Figure 10. Historical inflation-adjusted oil prices, based on inflation adjusted Brent-equivalent oil prices shown in BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy.

[5] One way of seeing the truth of the close tie between the growth in energy consumption and economic growth is to observe the dip in world CO2 emissions at the time of the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

If a person looks at any of Figures 5, 6, 7, or 8, it is easy to see a clear dip in CO2 emissions at the time of the Great Recession. What seems to happen is that high prices lead to recessions in oil importing nations. These recessions lead to lower oil prices. (Note the dip in prices in Figure 10.) It is the fact that high prices lead to recessions in oil importing countries that makes the belief that energy prices can rise endlessly seem absurd.

[6] The European Union is an example of a major area that is fighting declines in nearly all of its major types of energy supplies. In practice, energy prices do not rise high enough, and technology does not help sufficiently to provide the energy supplies needed.

Figure 11. European Union energy production versus total energy consumption, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In the chart above, the colored amounts in the lower part are the amount of energy produced within the European Union, shown in layers, based on BP’s evaluation. The black line at the top is the amount of energy consumed by the European union. The difference between the black line and the colored part is the amount that must be imported from somewhere else.

The problem that the European Union has had is that nearly all of the energy types that the EU has been producing have been declining in spite of higher prices and improving technology. Coal is the EU’s largest source of energy, but it has been declining since before 1965. Oil, natural gas, and nuclear are also declining. Hydroelectric isn’t very significant, but its supply is staying more or less level.

The only category that is rising is “Other Renewables.” This category includes biofuels, wind and solar, and wood and trash burned for fuel. Except for the wood burned as fuel, these are what I would call “fossil fuel extenders.” They are only possible because we have fossil fuels. They help reduce the size of the gap between what is produced and what is required by the economy, but they come nowhere close to filling the gap.

There is controversy regarding how wind and solar should be counted in equivalence to fossil fuels. BP data treats the output of wind and solar as if they replace somewhat less than the price of wholesale electricity (worth about 3 to 5 cents per kWh). The International Energy Agency treats wind and solar as if they only replace the fuel that operates power plants (worth about 2 to 3 cents per kWh).* In practice, the IEA gives less than half as much credit for wind and solar as does BP. In exceptionally sunny places, solar auction prices can be low enough to match its value to grids.

It would make sense to treat wind and solar as replacing electricity, if the systems were set up to include substantial storage capacity. Without at least several days of storage capacity (the situation today), the BP method of counting wind and solar overstates the benefit of wind and solar. Thus, the value of Other Renewables to the EU tends to be overstated by the BP methodology used in Figure 11.

[7] There are huge differences in CO2 growth patterns between (a) countries whose governments have recently collapsed and (b) countries that are growing rapidly.

Government Collapse Related Countries.  Russia, Lithuania, and Ukraine are all countries whose central government (the Soviet Union) collapsed in 1991. Romania was “only” a country that was dependent on the Soviet Union for imported oil and other trade. These countries all saw a major fall in industrialization after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine has been especially hard hit because it has never been able to replace the industry it lost with new industry.

Figure 12. Selected countries with falling CO2 emissions since 1990, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy.

As I see the situation, the Central Government of the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 because the Soviet Union was an oil exporter, and the price of oil had fallen too low for an extended period of time, leaving inadequate funding for investment in new productive capacity. Russia was able to recover better than the other countries shown because once the price of oil rose again, it was able to again ramp up its oil production and exports, supporting its economy.

Examples of Rapidly Growing Countries. If we consider the CO2 patterns of a few  growing Asian nations, we see very different patterns than those of the countries attempting to recover from the collapse of the Soviet Union’s central government. The CO2 emissions of the Growing Asian Countries have been rising rapidly, relative to 1990 levels.

Figure 13. CO2 Emissions of Selected Asian Countries, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy.

China’s flattening CO2 emissions since 2013 are an indication that much of its cheap-to-extract coal has been mined out. It has been difficult for China to maintain its level of coal production (see Figure 8, above), given the low level of coal prices in recent years. This problem of low coal prices seems to be parallel to the problem of inadequate prices for oil producers.

[8] Unfortunately, the real story about economies is that they are governed by the laws of physics. Like plants and animals, and like hurricanes, they are dissipative structures that grow for a time and eventually come to an end. 

We know that over the ages, many, many economies have grown for a time and then collapsed. But the study of how and why this has happened has been divided among many fields of study, including physicists and historians. Economists, who tend to be hired by politicians, seem to be among the last to understand collapse. They simply model the future as if it will reflect a continuation of past patterns. With such models, economic growth will continue forever.

But growth forever isn’t what really happens. Eventually, growth in population outstrips growth in resources. Various workarounds are tried, often requiring growing specialization, bigger businesses and governments, improved technology and more international trade. This additional complexity tends to lead to too much wage disparity. The problem with wage disparity is that it tends to lead to a large number of workers with very low wages.

The low wages caused by increased wage disparity tend to harm the economy. These low-paid workers cut back on their purchases of discretionary goods–for example, they delay buying a new car or visiting restaurants. These cutbacks lead to what look like “gluts” of commodities such as oil and metals used in making finished goods. Commodity prices tend to fall instead of rise, in order to clear the gluts.

As wage disparity grows, low-wage workers become very unhappy. They may elect radical leaders, or they may try to overthrow a king. With the many low-wage workers, it becomes difficult to collect enough tax revenue. Governments may collapse for lack of tax revenue. Sometimes, governments will attack other economies to try to solve their low-resource problem in this way.

[9] Climate change modelers have not understood that one of the things that they should be concerned about is near-term collapse. The rising wealth disparity in recent years is a major indicator that the world economy may be headed toward collapse. 

Economists and politicians model the world as if business as usual will continue forever, but this is not the way the real situation works.

Meteorologists and other climate scientists have closely examined historical climate situations, but when it comes to future patterns of energy consumption, they are far outside of their field. They miss the likelihood of near-term collapse. With the assumption of economic growth forever, it is easy to arrive at projections of growth in fossil fuel consumption almost forever. This, of course, leads to growth in CO2 pollution and a very concerning rise in temperature.

In fact, with the story of economic growth forever, climate change becomes the most serious problem the world is facing. People believe that 100 or 500 years from now, the economy can be expected to operate as in the past. One of our biggest problems will be rising oceans and the need to move our cities back from them. Also, weather changes will be of huge concern.

[10] If the world economy is headed toward near-term collapse, climate change shrinks back in the list of things we should be worried about.

Most of us remember what happened in the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. Collapse of the world economy would likely be far, far worse than this recession. It would involve debt defaults as the economy stops growing fast enough to repay debt with interest. It could perhaps involve collapses of governments, similar to the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union in 1991. If low oil prices are again a problem, collapses could especially affect oil exporting nations. In some cases, the use of fossil fuels could fall as quickly as the decline in CO2 emissions for Ukraine (Figure 12).

I often think that the concern about climate change comes from the fact that it can be modeled as if nothing else changes in the future. Surely, if researchers were modeling the overfishing in the sea, they would come to a correspondingly bleak view of how the sea might operate 50 to 100 or 1000 years from now. Similarly, if researchers were modeling our problems with soil erosion, they would come to a correspondingly bleak view about soil conditions, 50 or 100 or 1000 years from now.

One of the problems with the climate change model is that it overlooks the huge number of limits we are reaching simultaneously. These issues will surely change how the economy functions in the future, in ways that are not reflected in today’s climate models.

[11] The great draw of wind and solar is that they seem to solve problems of any type: either too much fossil fuels or too little.

Very few dare talk about the real problem we are facing–a huge number of limits coming at us from many directions at once. World population has risen too much relative to resources. Wage disparity is too great. Aquifer levels are being drawn down, far more quickly than they are being replaced. Pollution of many types (not just CO2) is becoming a problem. Microbes are mutating more quickly than we can find new antibiotics to fight them.

There seem to be plenty of fossil fuels in the ground, but there is a mismatch between the prices consumers can afford and the prices producers need in order to be profitable. It is not just the price of gasoline used at the pump that is important; the prices of finished goods made with energy products (such as homes and automobiles) are just as important. Young people are especially being squeezed with all of their educational loans.

If our problem can be framed as a problem of “too much,” rather than “too little,” we have a situation that is much more salable to the average consumer. People can easily believe that prices will rise endlessly, and that the economy will continue to grow forever. If economists have faith that this can happen, why not believe them? In this context, potential solutions such as wind and solar seem to make sense, even though, with adequate storage, they tend to be high-cost.

[12] Wind and solar, when analyzed without the need for energy storage, seem to help reduce CO2 emissions. But if substantial electricity storage needs to be included, this CO2 benefit tends to disappear.

Most analysts (such as those doing Energy Returned on Energy Investments calculations) have overlooked the need for electricity storage, if penetration is to ramp up. If the direct and indirect energy costs of storage are considered, the expected climate benefit of wind and solar tends to disappear.

Figure 14. Slide by author referencing Graham Palmer’s chart of Dynamic Energy Returned on Energy Invested from “Energy in Australia.”

This is only one estimate. More extensive calculations are needed, but the indications of this example are concerning.

Conclusion: Ultimately, the climate story, as it tends to be quoted in the news media, is misleading.

The climate story we hear tends to give the impression that climate change is a huge problem compared to all the other resource and environmental problems we are encountering. Furthermore, a person gets the impression that simple solutions, such as wind, solar, carbon taxes and voluntary cutbacks in fossil fuel use, are available.

This is a false picture of the situation at hand. Climate change is one of many problems the world economy is facing, and the solutions we have for climate change at this time are totally inadequate. Because an increase in energy consumption is required for GDP growth worldwide, even voluntary cutbacks in fossil fuel usage tend to harm the economies making the reductions. If climate change is to be addressed, totally different approaches are needed. We may even need to talk about adapting to climate change that is largely out of our ability to control.

The benefits of wind and solar have been greatly exaggerated. Partly, this may be because politicians have needed a solution to the energy and climate problems. It may also be partly because “renewable” sounds like it is a synonym for “sustainable,” even though it is not. Adding electricity storage looks like it would be a solution to the intermittency of wind and solar, but it tends to add costs and to defeat the CO2 benefit of these devices.

Finally, IPCC modelers need to develop their models more in the context of the wider range of limits that the world is facing. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to model the expected impact of all limits combined, rather than limiting the analysis to climate change. In particular, there is a need to consider the physics of how an economy really operates: Energy consumption cannot be reduced significantly at the world level without increasing the probability of collapse or a major war.


*Island economies and other remote economies sometimes burn oil to produce electricity. In this case, the cost of fuel consumption for electricity generation will be much higher than the $0.02 to $.03 cents per kWh quoted in the text, so the economics will be different. For example, if diesel is selling for $3.00 per gallon, the cost per kWh of fuel for electricity from diesel will be $0.24 per kWh, based on EIA efficiency estimates. With this high cost of fuel, substituting wind or solar for part of the diesel generally makes economic sense.

The “catch” is that whether the remote economy powers its electricity with oil or with oil plus wind/solar, the price of electricity will remain high. If the remote economy is primarily operating a tourist trade, high electricity prices may not be a major issue. But if the remote economy wants to sell goods in the world economy, its cost of finished goods can be expected to be high compared to the cost of goods made elsewhere, because of its high electricity cost. The high cost of electricity is one of the reasons for the economic problems of Puerto Rico, for example.



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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1,529 Responses to The climate change story is half true

  1. Karl says:

    The worst part of being aware of the impending collapse is trying to muster the energy to care about my job in the FIRE economy. Sweet baby Jesus, OFW has been terrible for my work productivity. If it turns out you are all a bunch of doomsday cultists that have duped me, I am going to be super pissed when I wind up eating cat food during my retirement (in 25 years). Plus my wife will probably daily remind me how wrong I was, which may be a fate worse than famine, pestilence, or ending up in some cannibals pot.

    • The article you link to says,

      The biggest source of helium in the United States, the Federal Helium Reserve, in Amarillo, Texas, is winding down its operations after Congress passed laws in 1996 to take the U.S. government out of the helium business. It’s given the reserve until Sept. 30, 2021, to sell the reserve’s remaining helium stores in a series of auctions. Many researchers worry about where their helium will come from after the reserve, believed to account for as much as 40 percent of the U.S.’s helium supply, closes.

      The short supply has caused helium prices to soar in recent years, from $5 per liter a decade ago to $100 a liter today.

      It seems like new legislation could be passed, at least partly fixing the US supply problem.

  2. For the greenhouse effect to perform as advertised the earth must be surrounded by a cold outer space, perhaps as low as 5 K. That explains how NOAA can claim that the naked earth would become a frozen ice ball at -430 F.

    In fact, earth is surrounded by hot outer space, i.e. 394 K, 121 C, 250 F. That’s why the International Space Station includes an ammonia refrigerant cooling system.

    The atmosphere does not warm the earth like a greenhouse but cools it like that reflective panel behind a car’s windshield.

    No greenhouse effect, no greenhouse gases, no man caused climate change nor global warming.

    A thirty-year illusion orchestrated by hustlers behind green velvet curtains.

    Take that red pill of honest science and wake to reality.

    • here we go again

      somebody must have set that to music by now—it’ll be a hit among the deniers

      this is my favourite, because he is / was in charge of US environmental protection:

      and who said god didn’t have a sense of humour?

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Here on Earth, things are a bit different.
      April 2019 was the 410th consecutive month the global temperature was above the 20th Century average according to the just released NASA GISTEMP data. There were 3 billion fewer people on Earth the last time we were below average.

    • hkeithhenson says:

      ” perhaps as low as 5 K.”

      2.7 actually. It’s the cosmic microwave background.

  3. Duncan Idaho says:

    Chicago Fed “Index Points to Slower Economic Growth in April”
    Well, it is only Chicago—–

  4. Hilton Dier III says:

    Interesting thesis. What about efficiency? Europeans use about 60% as much energy per capita as we do in the U.S., and yet maintain a decent standard of living. California outperforms the rest of the U.S. by about a third and has a more robust economy than other, more energy intensive states.

    The future of grid electricity will have to be more intelligent. Less about the brute provision of energy on demand and more about dynamic load shedding and opportunistic loads in response to variable supply and demand. We’ll undoubtedly see the relaxation of rules about ponding behind hydroelectric dams to allow for peak load response. Likewise pumped storage and gravity/rail storage, both with long service life and low embodied energy.

    Just the elimination of single use zoning would significantly increase the energy efficiency of our economy without reducing quality of life.

    Part of the solution is for high energy intensity nations to push efficiency hard. The other part is to work with developing countries to help them down an alternative path, avoiding our energy intensive history.

    • What you are pushing for is what I write about under the name of “greater complexity.” It involves more specialization; more education for some; bigger corporations; more technology; bigger government; more international trade; more debt at ever cheaper interest rates.

      Greater complexity unfortunately is not really sustainable. The result is too much wage disparity. Those with low wages can’t really buy very much of the output of the world economy–things like automobiles, air conditioners, and new homes. The result is commodity prices that fall too low for producers. The economy collapses, not too differently from the many economies that collapsed in the past.

      I am afraid that collapse is what we are up against now. The problem we will probably reach first is a major financial crunch, not too different from 2008.

      • we might put it down to aspirations

        we Europeans fought war after war for 1000+ years, once or twice every generation, then we sort of ran out of energy by the 1900s, although we didn’t realise it at the time.

        But of course, at that point the USA had come through its early phase and was just opening up wide spaces, so Europeans left their overcrowding and moved there. (collective short term benefit)

        That was fine for a generation or two–but the aspirational factor didn’t shut down while there seemed expansion available

        Whereas the aspirations of we Europeans was limited by space, (and we trimmed them accordingly) Americans were told that it was unlimited,
        (remember the 1000 yr 3rd Reich?)—same thing—they too were told to loot resources to maintain german living standards. (Oil wars anyone??)

        You now have another fuh rer saying it again. Old Adolf must be chortling in glee at one of his own taking over—just as he planned

        Politicians and pastors scream the same nonsense—send me money and you too will be rich. How much does a POTUS need to get elected???

        And the dimbo masses believe them

        But modern expansion, as you say, needs greater and greater complexity to sustain it. Road/rail are neglected because planes are/were cheaper
        now commodity prices are rising and few and fewer people can afford them

        the result? business start to fail because the infinite growth isn’t there to support them. You can see that in the numbers of homeless, food support, store closures/airline closures

        All part of the same pattern of contraction–aspiration doesnt lead anywhere.

        This why the USA will have civil war as it disintegrates, just like the Europeans did as our states ebbed and flowed against each other.

        Which is why I just love sitting looking at our beautiful English channel–though for how much longer i hesitate to think

        “Which serves it the office of a wall” WS Richard 2nd

    • doomphd says:

      unfortunately, the efficiency gains you promote will only offset the effects of depletion for a few years, at best. oil and coal depletion, like rust, never sleeps.

  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “As of 2017, more people have been forced by violence and conflict to flee their homes than live in the U.K. or France. Why it matters: That’s upwards of 60 million people — a global nation of refugees. If all of these asylum-seekers, internally displaced people and refugees were a country, they’d be the 21st most populous nation in the world, according to UNHCR estimates. More than half of refugees are under the age of 18.

    “The crisis is the worst its been since World War II, and it’s not getting better.”

  6. Harry McGibbs says:

    ““All of the most important components of [Japan’s] GDP are negative,” said Hiroaki Muto, chief economist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center. “The economy has already peaked out, so we are likely to have a mild recession,” he said. “No one would object to delaying the sales tax hike.”

    “The headline GDP expansion was caused largely by a 4.6% slump in imports, the biggest drop in a decade and more than a 2.4% fall in exports.”

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    “What’s unsettling financial markets, allies and adversaries most is an inability to properly calculate and thus “bake in” this degree of geopolitical risk from a U.S. president who prides himself on his disruptive tactics.

    “No one quite knows what unifying strategy binds these situations – nor what President Trump’s end game might be on each [China, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea].”

  8. Dennis L says:

    More farming:

    Farming is a real business the inputs of which are fairly easy to understand as well as the net income. JD is cutting back, that will impact JD’s marginal revenue significantly, it implies rural areas will be hit, land values will be hit which in MN translates into lower RE tax revenue from farm land.

    The stock market has the feel of monopoly money, price is most likely set at the margin and the companies may not be worth book value. That does not mean it can’t keep going up.

    Dennis L.

    • Xabier says:

      One can also look at the top end of the Contemporary art market – doing wonderfully at the moment, judging by the recent New York auctions.

  9. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    generalists (foxes) are far better at predictions than experts/specialists (hedgehogs):

    “Incredibly, the hedgehogs performed especially poorly on long-term predictions within their specialty. They got worse as they accumulated experience and credentials in their field. The more information they had to work with, the more easily they could fit any story into their worldview.”

    “… the foxiest forecasters—bright people with extremely wide-ranging interests and unusually expansive reading habits, but no particular relevant background…”

    “Tetlock and Mellers found that not only were the best forecasters foxy as individuals, but they tended to have qualities that made them particularly effective collaborators. They were “curious about, well, really everything,” as one of the top forecasters told me. They crossed disciplines, and viewed their teammates as sources for learning, rather than peers to be convinced.”

    • Great article!

      The title is, “The Peculiar Blindness of Experts.”

      In the article, the author start out by talking about the bet between Paul Erlich, author of The Population Bomb and Economist Julian Simon about the price of five metals, which Erlich felt were getting scarcer and scarcer. Erlich felt the price would rise in the next 10 years because of scarcity; Simon bet that they would fall.

      This same mistake is being made today, when it comes to the prices of energy products. People are convinced that scarcity is the overall reason why prices rise, but it is not. It is much more complex than this. It has to do with affordability of the end products. If the metals were truly essential, two or more groups might end up fighting over them.

      The ability to make models allows a person to think he knows more than he really knows. The models are often wrong in ways a person cannot understand.

      • TIm Groves says:

        The ability to make models allows a person to think he knows more than he really knows.

        That is a statement that is worth pondering.

        What sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom? Well, lots of things really. But one of the biggest differences is the extent and scope of the human imagination. And imagination is the key to making models that are attempts to represent processes.

        We are familiar with formalized economic and scientific models, which can appear to be very sophisticated and impressive. On a more personal level, we all possess models in our own minds that allow us to envisage things in our environment and make estimates of what is going on in that environment.

        These models can be a simple as a mental map of the local area made up of memories of the things and people we’ve seen on our travels, to human networks and organizational models that allow smart people to do well in business and politics, etc. Our success or failure in life can often depend on how well these models represent reality. And when we become overconfident we tend not to notice when our models aren’t working until a major failure occurs. I know this because I’ve been there and done that. 🙂

        • The big thing that is missed is the interconnectedness of the economy and how this changes outcomes. Too little “demand” is as important as too little “supply,” for example. Diminishing returns and growth to offset these diminishing returns are also important. Humans are in a battle with other species for resources; humans are now winning because of our ability to consume extra supplemental energy in addition to the energy from the food we could directly gather and eat raw. If we give our supplemental energy consumption up, humans will be back competing on a level playing field with others in the animal kingdom. Our bodies have mutated to adapt to our high level of supplemental energy input (big brain, small gut, smaller jaws and teeth, higher metabolic rate). It is not clear that the human species can even survive on a level playing field.

      • Although I agree with your point broadly, however it would be fair to also add the peculiar timing of this wager into this discussion. As it is clear by now the West got out of the 1970/80s pickle by gigantic print fest, and later taking China outsourcing on board, as well as sabotaging the Soviet & East Block maneuver.. in similar direction. Hence the West (and global) got nice 30+ yrs BUA can kicking extension..

  10. One of the heated issues underlying greenhouse theory is whether space is hot or cold.

    It is neither.

    By definition and practice temperature is a relative measurement of the molecular kinetic energy in a substance, i.e. solid, liquid, gas. No molecules (vacuum), no temperature. No kinetic energy (absolute zero), no temperature. In the vacuum of space the terms temperature, hot, cold are meaningless, like dividing by zero, undefined.

    However, any molecular stuff capable of kinetic energy (ISS, space walker, moon, earth) placed in the radiative energy pathway of the spherical expanding solar photonic gas at the earth’s average orbital distance will be heated per the S-B equation to an equilibrium temperature of: 1,368 W/m^2 = 394 K, 121 C, 250 F.

    Like a blanket held up between a camper and campfire the atmosphere reduces the amount of solar energy heating the terrestrial system and cools the earth compared to no atmosphere.

    This intuitively obvious and calculated scientific reality refutes the greenhouse theory that has the atmosphere warming the earth and no atmosphere producing a frozen ice ball at -430 F.

    No greenhouse effect, no CO2 global warming, no man caused nor cured climate change.

    • The fact of such abundant (recently) life on Earth vs no identifiable lifeforms in (deep) space suggests broadly two options, either that life itself outside is very rare or looking at it differently the evolution of life on Earth is very suspicious, which leads to the theories-explanations such as this our existence is just some sort of ‘lab experiment’ of some upper macro universe, essentially for them cluster of galaxies scale-wise is something as mere bacterial colonies to us..

      • Tsubion says:

        “… the evolution of life on Earth is very suspicious…”

        I really like the sound of that.

        I kind of go with deep sea vents as origin of life so other planets and moons with deep sea vents should have life too right?

        But then what about all the other factors involved. Every condition found on earth for life to evolve would also have to exist on the other potential life incubators.

        The Universe is a big place but there’s no evidence that any two planets can reproduce the same results and even if they could we’d never know about it.

        Is this planet unique? Or are we being played? If so, who are the players?

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “Is this planet unique? ”

          Perhaps so. Try

          Dissolving the Fermi Paradox

          Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler and Toby Ord

          Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford UniversityJune 8, 2018


          The Fermi paradox is the conflict between an expectation of a high ex-ante probability of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and the apparently lifeless universe we in fact observe. The expectation that the universe should be teeming with intelligent life is linked to models like the Drake equation, which suggest that even if the probability of intelligent life developing at a given site is small, the sheer multitude of possible sites should nonetheless yield a large number of potentially observable civilizations. We show that this conflict arises from the use of Drake-like equations, which implicitly assume certainty regarding highly uncertain parameters. We examine these parameters, incorporating models of chemical and genetic transitions on paths to the origin of life, and show that extant scientific knowledge corresponds to uncertainties that span multiple orders of magnitude. This makes a stark difference. When the model is recast to represent realistic distributions of uncertainty, we find a substantial ex-ante probability of there being no other intelligent life in our observable universe, and thus that there should be little surprise when we fail to detect any signs of it. This result dissolves the Fermi paradox, and in doing so removes any need to invoke speculative mechanisms by which civilizations would inevitably fail to have observable effects upon the universe.

          It is a really good article.

        • AubreyEnoch says:

          Put liquid water on a big rock and life happens. No stopping it.
          I should say “what we call life” happens.

          • nope

            a wet rock is what happens

            next day you have a dry rock–a year later you have a dry rock—even if it rains for a week you finish up with a dry rock

            A consistently wet porous rock might grow lichen, but that is not spontaneous life, that is migratory life

      • that explains why they let us invent roundup

    • Jan Steinman says:

      greenhouse theory that has the atmosphere warming the earth

      That isn’t how it works.

      A broad spectrum of light strikes the atmosphere, and some of it — mostly visible light and some ultra-violet — gets through to the surface. There, it is absorbed by soil, vegetation, water, etc., which then heats up and re-radiates this energy as infrared.

      But the atmosphere is fairly opaque to infrared — and increasingly more so, as so-called “greenhouse gasses” accumulate.

      So now, this infrared, thermal energy is trapped between the atmosphere and the planet. It really has nothing to do with the “atmosphere warming the Earth.”

      • “trapped” is thermodynamic BS.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          “trapped” is thermodynamic BS

          Or basic physics.

          Ever see an infrared photograph? What colour is the sky? Our atmosphere is nearly opaque to infrared. So yea, “trapped,” while not a term of art, is pretty accurate.

          Of course, “nearly” opaque can be more-or-less opaque. That’s where greenhouse gasses come in, by changing the IR opacity of the atmosphere.

        • AubreyEnoch says:

          What if we call it “increasing energy density “?

      • TIm Groves says:

        Jan, you are an educated man, we can see that. But there seem to be some gaping holes in your knowledge, if the above display is anything to go by. And yet you love to pontificate. Are you by any chance a teacher?

        A broad spectrum of light strikes the atmosphere, and some of it — mostly visible light and some ultra-violet — gets through to the surface.

        Compare this with a more accurate description broadly accepted by almost everyone who has bothered to check:

        The three relevant bands, or ranges, along the solar radiation spectrum are ultraviolet, visible, and infrared. Of the light that reaches Earth’s surface, infrared radiation makes up 49.4%, visible light provides 42.3% and ultraviolet radiation makes up just over 8% of the total solar radiation.

        The single biggest component of insolation at the earth’s surface is the infrared. But you have omitted that fact and stated erroneously that insolation consists of “mostly visible light”. I wonder why?

        the atmosphere is fairly opaque to infrared

        This is a gross oversimplification and misleading. The wavelength range of IR is very broad. The shortest IR frequencies close to the visible light part of the spectrum have a wavelength of about 750 nm (0.75 µm) whereas the longest, bounding with the short end of the microwave radio spectrum, have a wavelength of about 1 mm (1000 µm). That’s a difference of well over 1,00 times. The atmosphere is opaque to some frequencies of IR but transparent to others. As a result, approximately half the radiation that reaches the earth’s surface is visible light and half is infrared light. The reflection and absorption percentages vary due to cloud cover and sun angle. In cloudy weather, up to 70% of solar radiation can be absorbed or scattered by the atmosphere.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          you love to pontificate

          HA! Pot calling the kettle black!

          They say we most dislike in others what we despise in ourselves.

          Thanks for further elaborating the simple explanation I presented, which of course was not as complicated as your most excellent one-upmanship further pontification.

          Look at an IR photograph. What colour is the sky? Case closed.

          But you did admirably show off your google abilities.

          • TIm Groves says:

            HA! Pot calling the kettle black!

            Fair enough, I have been known to lapse into preaching. At our age, I think we’re entitled to do that, don’t you. Nobody takes us seriously anyway. 🙂

            But does about half of the radiation earth’s surface receives from the sun come in the form of infrared or doesn’t it? And if half of our insolation is in the infrared, why don’t you acknowledge it? Didn’t you know? Or didn’t you think it was important? Or did you omit it for simplicity, or because it tends to spoil the optics of the CO2 narrative.


            For anyone else who may be reading this, there is a lot of IR radiation raining down on us from the sun, just as there is a lot of it coming up from the earth, and so if CO2 is “trapping” some of that IR radiation from the earth and the ocean, it is also be “trapping” some of that IR radiation from the sun and preventing it from making it down to the ground or the ocean in the first place.

            On balance, more CO2 appears to make things a little bit warmer, but it can’t be ruled out at present that any further rise will produce no further increase or even a decrease in temps. As the British Astronomer Patrick Moore was fond of saying on The Sky at Night, “We just don’t know!”

            • Jan Steinman says:

              … there is a lot of IR radiation raining down on us from the sun, just as there is a lot of it coming up from the earth, and so if CO2 is “trapping” some of that IR radiation from the earth and the ocean, it is also be “trapping” some of that IR radiation from the sun and preventing it from making it down to the ground or the ocean in the first place.

              And as my capable adversary so nicely pointed out, not all IR is equal, and the IR that comes to Earth from the Sun is “near IR,” closer to visible light than the “far IR” that re-radiates back from the Earth into that black, opaque sky you see in stunningly stark infrared photography.

              On balance, more CO2 appears to make things a little bit warmer, but it can’t be ruled out at present that any further rise will produce no further increase

              See Flemming’s “Straw Man.”

              “It can’t be ruled out” is not a valid argument. I can toss back “The Precautionary Principle” at you.

              “It can’t be ruled out” that super-intelligent aliens from Alpha Centauri won’t descend to the Earth, granting humans the secrets of infinite zero-point energy, thus making Keith’s dreams of making diesel fuel from water and CO2 attainable.

              “It can’t be ruled out” that a bearded man in the sky is just having a temper tantrum, testing us to see if this teen-aged civilization is mature enough to clean up its own room, before giving us the car keys to the Universe. (I think we’re flunking that test, though.)

              “It can’t be ruled out” that evil scientists, dismayed that they were denied tenure track at a major university, have indulged in the greatest successful conspiracy in the history of mankind. Even luminaries like Fourrier and Tyndal lhave been in on this conspiracy since the 1820s!

              That’s where “The Precautionary Principle” comes in. When a possible outcome — even if low probability — is tragic, you take precautions you would not take if it simply “couldn’t be ruled out.” Police routinely wear bullet-proof vests, even though they rarely encounter bullets. Scientists are working on astroid-deflecting schemes, even though such events only happen every tens of millions of years or so. People are not allowed to drink alcohol and drive, even though most of such drinkers make it home safely most of the time.

              And even you skeptics should take the possibility seriously that global warming is going to imperil at least our economy, and possibly our very existence, and possibly even the existence of all life on the planet. (Cue the rise of Venus on the horizon, where “it can’t be ruled out” that spaces probes will soon reveal that the surface of the planet is covered with industrial smokestacks from an ancient civilization that managed to turn all their planet-based solid carbon into CO2.)

              Like Gail, I happen to think that global warming is a secondary effect to the primary effect that humans are addicted to fossil sunlight. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take it seriously! We have two thorny problems with one neat solution here.

  11. hkeithhenson says:

    Space Mining Could Ruin Our Solar System If We Don’t Establish Protected Places Now, Researchers Warn

    “If the growth of a space economy is anything like the exponential growth of terrestrial economies since the Industrial Revolution began roughly two centuries ago, the study authors wrote, then humans could deplete the solar system of all of its water, iron and other mineable resources in a matter of centuries — potentially leaving the solar system a dried-up wasteland in as little as 500 years.”

    Our problems could be worse I guess.

    • as far as i can see, the only useful end product for space mining is employment for CGI artists

      • Tsubion says:

        Thank God for Nasa and CGI otherwise how would us mere mortals know that space is a real thing and not just an elaborate fairy light display.

        Elon says virtual reality will be indistinguishable from real life (whatever that is) so what’s to say that you’re not actually on vacation at the Martian Trump 2045 Low Gravity Golf Resort but drugged up in a basement at Area 51 with poo dribbling down your leg. Just another mind control experiment.

        • Musk is his own version of virtual reality

          • TIm Groves says:

            The idea that we live in a simulation is not original to Elon, by the way.

            Hindu philosophy and mythology describes such a world (not that I claim any expertise in this field) win which we sentient beings are mere avatars, manifestations or projections of the Source.

            Jon Anderson of Yes used to make obscure references to this sort of thing. Tales from Topographic Oceans reeks of them. People speculated at the time that Jon had been overdoing the weed, but its more likely was just very impressed with what he’d read in the Hindu scriptures.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              “Dawn of light lying between a silence and sold sources
              Chased amid fusions of wonder
              In moments hardly seen forgotten
              Coloured in pastures of chance dancing leaves cast spells of challenge
              Amused but real in thought, we fled from the sea whole

              Dawn of thought transferred through moments of days undersearching earth
              Revealing corridors of time provoking memories
              Disjointed but with purpose
              Craving penetrations offer links with the self instructors sharp and tender love
              As we took to the air a picture of distance

              Dawn of our power we amuse redescending as fast as misused expression
              As only to teach love as to reveal passion chasing late into corners
              And we danced from the ocean

              Dawn of love sent within us colours of awakening among the many wont to follow
              Only tunes of a different age
              As the links span our endless caresses for the freedom of life everlasting”

              well, that’s clear as day…

              actually, one of my favorites:

            • Xabier says:

              This idea also exists in some Persian Sufi tales: once you have glimpsed the higher ‘source’ world, this one appears as just a defective copy.

              Rather like the reality of, say, the Grand Canal in Venice as compared to one of JMW Turner’s most aethereal and jewel-like water-colour sketches.

    • Rodster says:

      So we’ve ruined this Planet, we’re ruining outer space and we want to start life on other planets so we can screw those up as well? Nothing like a Sunday Flight into outer space with the family to grab some burgers at McMars.

    • MG says:

      We do not have enough energy for reprocessing all waste, where can we get energy for space mining?

      Our problem is not minerals, but energy. The oceans are full of minerals that were washed down from the continents and islands.

      Palestine since the time around the death of Jesus Christ was a depleted country: trees cut down and minerals washed down into the Dead Sea. When the fossil fuels came, the mining of the Dead Sea and the revival of that Jordan river kettle, where no river flows from, was possible:

      The kettle-like Palestine is a perfect miniature of the finite world we live in.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “where can we get energy for space mining?”

        The Sun. If you are out in space near Earth’s orbit, there is a constant energy flux of more than 1.3 kW/m^2. Kind of like living on the bank of a stream. But mining in space is beyond what I work on.

        “Our problem is not minerals, but energy.”

        Right. If you have enough energy, most of the mineral problems can be solved.

        • Tsubion says:

          Get back to work!

          Our goose is almost cooked.

          By the way… I don’t think China will be able to manage even cooking dogs soon let alone put up solar satellites for our glorious authoritarian collective. It’s all a house of cards and noone is holding a good hand.

          Who do think this transhuman / posthuman system wide internet of things wonderland is being set up for? Clue? It’s not the good guys.

          Uploading copies of ourselves to a supercube in space to be tortured for all eternity is not my idea of winning. Is it yours Keith?

          I used to think that we were on some kind of trajectory based on natural selection – an evolutionary path to Elysium: The Higher Ground. Now I’m convinced that it’s all a nasty trap. The techno hopium. The future human. It’s all a lie. It always was.

          Science fiction writers are a very suspect bunch. And I dabble. Yet I don’t mind shooting myself in the foot by saying this… it’s a form of programming and we have been subjected to it over the years. The culmination of that programming is the idea that we can load copies of oursleves to server farms in space and live out incredble role playing adventures until the sun ends.

          Because that’s the logical extrapolation from where we are now… staring into the little screen based computer that hijacks our brains every few minutes.

          Dopamine. Clever. No neural implant required. Wirelessly hook a whole generation of knuckle draggers into the One Machine. Every tip tap updating the machine that learns. Until one day… they’re able to operate on their own. No knuckle draggers required.

          Come to think of it… this is genius… if your goal is to end humanity as we know it.

      • Tsubion says:

        You mean like the ideas to mine coal at the bottom of the North Sea?

        Yeah… we’re getting desperate alright.

  12. adonis says:

    Read this report if you want to see what the elders were working on back in 1974 it will enlighten you as to what’s coming down the turnpike .In summary the past and present “elders” are “malthusians” and their solution to the problem is de-population. How they will do it will probably involve technology .

    • From the table of contents of the report, Kissinger and others well looking at fertility reduction to fix the problem.

      • pretty soon—folks in alabama and elsewhere will be too scared to have sex in case the morality police find out

        • Tsubion says:

          I was wondering… can’t they just nip across the border to a state where such things are kosher? Or will they be hunted across america from state to state by low flying air taxis with extra sharp blades?

          And if that’s the case, which channel do I need to watch?

      • Tsubion says:

        Pop an undetectable sterilisation agent in vaccines that you roll out to the Third World and Bob’s your gender fluid uncle.

        Of course Billy Gates and The WHO deny any such nonsense but it still makes for a great read. And lets be honest, if the global plantation owners wanted to keep the herd in check then a method such as the above would do the trick nicely.

        Collapsing the global economy and letting nature take its course works too. Famine is cheap and easy and negates the need for fancy labs and putting up with Elon swanning around like he’s saving the world every five minutes.

        • TIm Groves says:

          “Well I never! I wonder how they got in there! Melinda, you supervise the vaccine cooking. Do you know anything about this?”

          Our Elite Guardians seem intent to get our numbers down one way or another. It’s all laid out there written in stone on top of a hill in Georgia. And the less well off and less smart among us tend to have more children than the Guardians, in their considerable wisdom, deem appropriate. China’s one-child policy was a resounding success, but what worked in highly regimented China in the wake of a brutal totalitarian revolution probably wouldn’t work in chaotic India or anarchic Africa. And while sterilization is certainly a violation of fundamental human rights, arguably it is preferable to starvation, war or abject poverty, and moreover, it represents a positive effort by the Guardians to do something about the Third World population —because “something” must be done, and this is “something”— so nobody will be able to accuse them of standing idly by while things were getting out of control.

          As an aside, I’m not necessarily against ALL vaccines, although the older I get and the more I read online, the less I personally like the idea of playing Russian Roulette with them.

          While the principle behind some vaccines may be perfectly sound—and this should be debatable just as everything officially sanctioned should be debatable in a society of responsible adults—the big issue for me is always going to be, “Doctor, what’s in this particular needle you want to inject into my bloodstream now!? Did you mix the ingredients yourself? And are they all going to be good for me? And just to reassure me, are you going to have a jab first?”

          • Robert Firth says:

            Tim Groves, a comment I can relate to. I am also skeptical about today’s vaccines, for a simple reason.

            We are told the vaccines have been thoroughly tested and are safe. So they are. But the vaccines tested in the lab are not those injected into you. The latter have been adulterated with chemicals to extend their shelf life, and those chemicals have never even been tested.

            One such chemical contains mercury. It is stabilised at low temperature by a weak covalent bond that will break apart when heated. By body heat, for instance. And your metabolism will then reduce the residue to metallic mercury.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              One such chemical contains mercury.

              Childhood vaccines no longer contain mercury.

              I’m no big fan of either side of this particular argument. Polio has been eradicated, thanks to vaccines. Put a mark in the “vaccines good” column. But measles? I don’t think this is such a big thing.

              When I was a child, parents would have “measles parties,” so all their kids could get it, and then have immunity. (Measles is much harder on adults than it is on children.) The rate of death from measles was about 0.1% of the rate of death from auto accidents, and yet there is no movement to “vaccinate” us against cars!

            • One of the complaints is that small babies are injected with several of these immunizations, practically simultaneously, when they are tiny. Can these tiny systems really withstand this onslaught? Even if mercury isn’t the preservative, do we really know that other preservatives, in the quantities given, are really safe for newborns?

            • Tsubion says:


              Totally agree about measles etc. I also use similar arguments when it comes to death rates from cars or tobacco smoking etc. We have a very high tolerance level for death from certain things and won’t tolerate even tiny levels from others.

              It doesn’t make any sense at all to vaccinate a whole population against relatively benign infections. Herd immunity and calls for mandatory vaccination for all kinds of diseases seem to be excuses leading to the next level of control for the authorities. Once laws are passed vaccines can be forced on all, even religious exemptors with the excuse that vaccines only work if more than a certain number are vaccinated.

              The vaccinated are usually terrified when in the presence of an unvaccinated individual. Why?

              On polio, it appears that there has been a huge increase in non natural polio labelled flacid paralysis in countries where Billy’s polio vaccine was rolled out even if natural polio has fallen to zero.

              Not really a fair trade off in my opinion but in the minds of the number crunchers it probably works out as a positive.

          • Tsubion says:

            Panic Grips Pakistan After Children’s Doctor Infected Over 500 With HIV


            Now imagine mandatory vaccines worldwide.

            Just one crises away.

    • The mix of advanced IT, biochem/genetics nowadays make it pretty sure when they unleash it, the operation mode would be surely targeting age group, nationality (be it indirectly from specific pollutants-food markers), race etc..

      How they are planning to safely phase out (turn down) at least the most dangerous industrial site at the target place is beyond my paygrade but this has to be one of the major tasks they had to consider either way (controlled or not).

      • Tsubion says:

        Race specific bioweapons are a particularly nasty sword to wield. Not sure how specific they can actually be. Plenty of bleed along the edges. Lots of collateral damage since half the world is mixed race now or getting there.

        Also, imagine the aftermath of such an undertaking. How do you process something like that, on that scale, and mop up the mess?

        “We did it so that the Remainers could live,” say the global plantation owners as the Remainers hang their heads and get back to work. “It was either us or them.”

        • TIm Groves says:

          You have a point there. I wonder if the Remainers developed a bioweapon that selectively culled Brexiters, would they use it?

          • Xabier says:

            They would, because they believe Brexiters to be an inferior , it would put an end to their ‘poor, white, ignorant’ existence. A villa in Tuscany would be just wasted on people like that, you know…..

            They might even see it as virtuous, the way the angry little Austrian thought about dealing with the Slav peoples.

          • Tsubion says:

            Remainers are a silly bunch. I know a few. Trust me, they’re like spoiled children that always got what they wanted. Half of them are not “british”. They whine about whatever will they do without their supply of French and Italian recipe ingredients etc etc etc.

            That’s the level they’re on. And anyone that doesn’t get how intolerable meal time will be for them is a racist and a fascist.

            To be honest, I can’t wait for the games to begin. It’s been a long time coming. The soft and facile little dictators and other special people are out of control, running around ninnying and bullying because that’s what spoiled brats do when the adults fall asleep on the job.

            I have lost all fear of what comes next. I have stared into the abyss. And the abyss said Everything’s cool and all, but those effing Remainers can find another alternative safe space wormhole to fall down. We don’t accept their kind here.

    • MG says:

      We have problems with the implosion of the system. It is not about the depopulation, but about the depletion. The falling birth rates were underway at that time, some populations were already reaching their limits. We have much more divorces, more and more people with insufficient wages, rising debt levels.

      There is no conspiracy of so called elders behind the scene. We all live in the same world.

      • MG says:

        I should have written: “It is not about an orchestrated depopulation…”

      • Tsubion says:

        There has always been a conspiracy of so called elders behind the scenes.

        Ever since our alpha ranked knuckle dragging ancestors collaborated to get one over on the neighbouring knuckle draggers or each other there has existed an impulse to be on top whatever it takes. That’s just the way we’re put together. To not understand this is to not understand human nature at its most basic level. Yes, we are a collaborative species but groups of us collaborate to dominate the rest of us.

        The Greeks, the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the EU, the Masters of Coin etc etc. How naive do you have to be to think that emperors, kings, queens, popes and Elon Musk live in a theoretically similar world to you and do not have agents and handlers behind them whispering in their ear and pulling their strings?

        Musk is an actor, a puppet, put on the world stage to maintain high levels of hopium in the emaciated, bed ridden patient that is the global economy. Trump plays a role too as do Putin and Xi. This play was written a long time ago and the elders do everything within their power to keep reality on track for an endtimes showdown. Whether they will achieve their goals or not is another matter entirely but try they will as they are utterly convinced that their god or gods have granted them special purpose.

        Now, you can argue that the elders are a bunch of deluded old men wearing silly hats but to claim that they don’t exist… well that’s just silly.

        • MG says:

          Ridiculous. And you have fotfgotten to add that the so called elders are immortal. Hahaha…

          • Jan Steinman says:


            I agree, but would offer a more nuanced reply.

            Many indigenous peoples — including those on un-ceded territory in Canada — have a long tradition of what I call “elder-led consensus.” They have “potlatch” dinners — huge feasts, for everyone in the clan — where issues are discussed, and elders keep the focus on the long term, the fabled “seven generations.”

            Not that I think this is what @Tsubion was writing about at all, but things could be a lot worse than having experienced elders guide people to a group decision.

            • MG says:

              The point is that the elders get senile or do not have the actual knowledge due to the deteriorating sensory capabilities. Moreover, telling the children the truth that they are born into a depleting/depleted world is like accepting that various myths about preserving life of the human species etc. are false or less and less effective.

            • I think that experienced elders, local religions, local customs, and “sticking with what has worked in the past,” have a lot in common. This approach works best when an economy is headed in the same direction that it is has been headed in the past. When population starts grows beyond resources available to the population each year, there is a huge problem, whether elders or someone else is doing the decision making. Somehow, either more resources must be found or population must be reduced.

              A third outcome that works at least temporarily is greater complexity and the ability to make do with fewer resources. Unfortunately, greater complexity is self-limiting as well. It leads to too much debt and wage disparity. It also leads to too little demand and prices that are too low for resource producers. This is the limit we seem to be reaching now.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              I think that experienced elders, local religions, local customs, and “sticking with what has worked in the past,” have a lot in common. This approach works best when an economy is headed in the same direction that it is has been headed in the past.

              I don’t indulge in hope very often, and I think that your perception is very valid in the US, where indigenous people have thoroughly been beaten down.

              But a giant is stirring in northern Canada, and I hope that it doesn’t get quashed. The Wet’suwet’en have successfully blocked five out of six attempts to run pipelines across their “un-ceded” territory.

              The law is complicated, but the Supreme Court of Canada has been siding with the traditional chiefs on un-ceded territory. They have found that the racist 1876 “Indian Act” only applies to natives on designated reserves who have signed a treaty. But there are vast areas that are “un-ceded,” or never covered by treaty.

              In a worst-case scenario, it might be that the aboriginal people living on un-ceded land have the greatest chance of “making it” in Gail’s world of “walking around naked, rubbing sticks together.” They are feeling invigorated with the backing of the court system, and young people are maintaining languages previously spoken by just a few elders, and they are re-learning old ways of survival.

              This movement is fully supported by institutions like Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which has numerous programs on aboriginal ways and culture. To many Canadians, aboriginal culture is not something weird or alien, but an integral part of being Canadian.

              End hope-mode. Off to plant squash.

            • Tsubion says:

              Jan, yes, I mean those elders too. I mean all elders at all levels that make decisions for the rest of the group or for other groups.

              Elders can conspire for the good of the tribe which includes being mean to other tribes sometimes at great cost in lives and resources for some attained benefit.

              For MG to claim that this simply doesn’t happen or these boards of directors or cabals don’t exist is silly and should be discouraged because it does not reflect the reality that we live in.

              A hierarchy of councils exists. The one at the top rules.

              We all know that the Federal Reserve has huge influence over global markets. Religious, financial, military power dominates the world but at the end of the day shady individuals give the orders. These individuals belong to secret societies and do the bidding of the society not the public.The masses are incredibly easy to move this way and that with whatever agenda is in play.

            • I know that the Federal Reserve has huge influence. And there are rich folks from around the world who gather at the Davos World Economic Forum and at various athletic events. Trump has a group of his advisors, some of whom are from companies, and not on his staff.

              I am skeptical that there really are Elders other than this. Politicians, and how they expect people to vote on particular issues, seem to have more influence.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              I mean those elders too. I mean all elders at all levels that make decisions for the rest of the group

              Tsubion, I guess you read something other than what I wrote, then.

              The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en do not “make decisions for the rest of the group.” They lead a consensus process that they have used for thousands of years. Everybody gets a say. The elders remind people of their long-term responsibility and consequences. In some clans, they get veto power. In most clans, there is a process for their removal if they are not doing a proper job.

              When the only tool you’ve used is a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. Our “modern” system of voting and representative “democracy” — which is imposed, by force, on countries with other systems — is not the only one around, and others have been historically more successful.

              Modern voting is two wolves and a sheep, “voting” on what to have for supper. Or three children and their parents, “voting” on having ice cream for dinner.

              No one seems to think that latter example should rule, because the parents are older and more experienced. So why do you feel that all “elders” are somehow out to get you?

              The older I get, the more I think we need to listen to our elders. 🙂

          • Tsubion says:

            You really should research something called bloodlines. Genetic memory is a wonderful thing.

            Some people simply don’t have eyes to see. Blind leading the blind. And those are the genes they pass on. What a waste of good genetic code.

            Of course, if it all falls apart then we’re back to bashing each other with sticks. I have mine ready. Do you?

        • Tsubion exactly, MG seems unfortunately not to be up to speed on this important topic.
          As the old funny adage said, the capitalist actually joined single front way before the proletariat even started discussion about it.., lolz.

          There were many thresholds and development stages, but to oversimplify the history basically since the formation of BoE (end of 17th century) as private company, we have more or less today’s globalist system in place, govs and parliaments are just display joke to fence off gullible masses from the real powers to be. Obviously, sometimes the control partially falters like when communist took power after WWI and WWII, but theirs was not global dominant system or taking place in the actual core of the core of IC ..

          • Tsubion says:

            Yes exactly. At some point dynastic family organisations in every region on the globe (Medicis, Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Ming etc) become modern day corporations and conglomerates that control whole industries worldwide.

            I don’t understand why people in this day and age can’t see how global politics is just a puppet show to distract and obfuscate while century long agendas play out as planned. The world has a board of directors or two that decide everything that happens.

            The seemingly separate factions are working together to bring about a New World after a period of deep suffering. Order out of chaos.

            Of course, the elite organisations could be entirely wrong, delusional, or insane but that just makes them more human in the end.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              global politics is just a puppet show to distract and obfuscate while century long agendas play out as planned. The world has a board of directors or two that decide everything that happens.

              I feel sad for those with such a mind-set.

              Personally, I think that there are people who want the world to be that way. But ultimately, having such a mind-set simply absolves one from one’s own responsibility for some part of the situation. If you believe you are a powerless puppet, you don’t have to challenge yourself by thinking differently.

              I wonder what the global hegemon would do if Gail’s naked people started knocking on doors… 🙂

  13. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    surprise Australian election results:

    “Voters in mining areas turned on center-left opposition that had campaigned on climate change issues…”

    • Why is this a surprise?

    • Tsubion says:

      I expect to see a lot more of this worldwide.

      Reality deniers will squirm and squirm.

      Bring it on. I am sick to the teeth of being lectured to by self righteous twits with a lot more money than me and that continue to build million dollar resorts at sea level. That’s right, I’m looking at you Di Caprio you fraud.

      • Jan Steinman says:

        surprise Australian election results

        Meanwhile, here in Canada, the Green Party just doubled it’s Parliamentary representation, and has assumed Official Opposition status in a Province (PEI) for the fist time ever.

        • TIm Groves says:

          Canadians of all people could use a little warming, one would have thought. Most of them live huddled up against their southern border and hibernate for five months of the year.

  14. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    BUND 10year is lower than the Japan 10year bond:

    minus 0.106%

    wow… those Germans…

    so innovative!

  15. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    smallest flying sports car:

    and totally safe!

    this is a game changer… h a h a h a h a h a…

    • Let’s all get one of these and fly to work!

    • Rodster says:

      The Jetson’s

    • Tsubion says:

      I prefer these…

      But I fail to see how it replaces mass transit systems like overground and underground trains, buses, etc.

      They might be useful as a cheap alternative to helicopters that currently buzz back and forth over cities but that’s about it.

      When I see how much commuter traffic currently invades cities 5 days a week I have to wonder where we went wrong as a species. Not one human being really wants to do this. They would rather be doing something else.

      I wish there was a way forward that would release all these commuters from wage slavery.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Tsubion, you already possess two of the smartest, best, and most sustainable means of transport ever devised. A left one and a right one. That is the future.
        And yes, I gave up the motor car 22 years ago.

        • Tsubion says:

          Wow! I just looked down and you’re right. Two wierd looking appendages dangling from my hips. I’ll watch a youtube tutorial on how to use them. Thanks for the tip!

    • Sheila chambers says:

      “Game changer”? ha ha ha ha ha!
      Just WHERE would they PARK those things? Look at how WIDE they are not to mention NOISY!
      What fuel do they use? surely not BATTERIES!
      What is it’s RANGE?
      Great fun for some twit with more money than brains!
      I want one! heh heh heh!

      • Tsubion says:

        It’s actually not a bad idea as a helicopter replacement for specific purposes. But how exactly does it help replace millions of vehicles going back and forth every single day usually with one passenger in each vehicle.

        I’m talking about the more professional offerings such as the Lilium example.

        36 all-electric engines

        by 2025 we will be in a number of cities around the world

        to fly from JFK airport to Manhattan would cost between $70-$80 with a flight time of six minutes

        Morgan Stanley told investors that it expected the air taxi market to be valued at $1.5tn per year by 2040

        There will be a network of pads across metros, counties, and even regions that will transform travel in the coming years

        Of course, this doesn’t change anything that we talk about here and certainly not in the time frame mentioned.


    (My computer is playing tricks on me, & displaying an old version of this graph, so I’d like to see how it displays here.)

    • This is the current version — Thanks

      • JeremyT says:

        Not very convincing really. The linearity of the red squares (wot no legend?) from 1982 thru 2020) suggests to me that whatever it is that delivers the oil, from the capex financing processes, the extraction technology development, the brutish political forethought and execution… whatever it is, it WORKS, just in time, to keep the system on the road. Right on!
        Things work until they don’t, a Korowizian or black swan event will give a sharp correction to the blue curve. To give it a gentle, if steep, curve through ratiocination is to miss the point. This is what we have. This is what happened up to now. You can’t drive halfway to the shops to go shopping.
        I don’t see big strong politicos with vision and enlightenment striding forward to make bold decisions for the good of all. I see complexity eroding, the elected ignorant or incapable of enacting transitionary processes to power down the fossil-fuelled froth that is late capitalist civilisation.
        The irreversibility of the dissipative form should inhibit people’s desire to ride curves. This is why I’m a convert to BAU. It has given us a polluted planet, but it is much more likely an unknown unknown will get us than the curves fit.
        Carpe diem

        • doomphd says:

          i doubt that production updates will be plotted once the bubble bursts, so if the Seneca cliff is correct, it is the last version to be distributed before the internet goes down.

          “the revolution will not be televised.”

        • I think we spend way too much time worrying about oil and way too little time worrying about other types of energy production. Coal production seems to be past peak, worldwide. At best, it is on a bumpy plateau. Coal is the workhorse. Its lower cost has what has average energy cost down. Without coal, our civilization will end. Renewables are not fixing the situation at all!

          • Sheila chambers says:

            I thought OIL was the linchpin of our civilization not coal.
            Coal is dirty, low in energy density, heavy & it’s a solid, not what we need to fuel our transportation, power heavy machinery or use as a raw material for producing thousands of other products, that’s why when oil become available, we dropped most coal use & switched to oil. Coal is still essential for producing steel.

            I am aware of course that it was coal that started off the industrial revolution, it powered the pumps that removed water from the coal mines, it powered the early steam engines, in the US, wood was the fuel for our first steam engines.
            On the east coast of the US, coal is still important to generate electricity but that coal wouldn’t exist without OIL to power the huge machines that remove mountain tops to access that coal, OIL powers the trains that haul that coal to the coal burning electric generating plants, no oil = no coal!

            We cannot mine coal without burning OIL, we cannot drill for natural gas without burning OIL, we can’t even drill for oil without having OIL to power those rigs & pumps.
            I still think that OIL is the keystone of our civilization not coal.
            Indeed, “renewables” are not changing the situation at all!

            • You have been reading too much peak oil literature. I think that coal is equally as important as oil.

              At one time, the world got along with coal without other fossil fuels. When China was added to the World Trade Organization, its economy was based primarily on coal. China’s interest in electric cars, today, seems to be the result of the country having far more coal than oil. Electric cars are a way for China to use more of its coal.

              Early analysts (and peak oilers) did not understand the importance of the average cost of the energy mix. This average cost must stay low, relative to wages, or the goods made by the economy become too expensive for workers to buy. Greece’s big problem has been that is economy is too much based on oil. Tour ships run on oil. Electricity on Greece’s islands very often is generated by burning diesel or other oil based fuel. When oil costs ran up in the 2004 to 2008 era, its economy was especially hard hit. Even now, oil is more expensive than other fuels (except wind and solar with lots of battery backup). Having lots of coal in a country’s energy mix tends to keep the average cost of the energy mix down.

              A low cost of electricity for industrial use is important, if a country wants the goods it sells to to be competitive in the world marketplace. Coal is used in many parts of the world for electricity production because it is cheap.

              In the US, natural gas recently has alas been quite cheap. But once it is shipped across the ocean as LNG, its cost rises significantly. Also, some of the natural gas (methane) escapes in the long-distance travel, adding to global warming gases. So long distance natural gas doesn’t really work from a climate perspective either.

              We need a very, very plentiful, cheap abundant replacement for coal.

            • Sheila chambers says:

              In the US, most of the electricity in the eastern states is by burning coal & coal is essential for the production of steel, but that coal wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have the OIL needed to MINE it, same for natural gas, fracked oil & oil itself, without OIL, those resources wouldn’t be available to us.
              That’s why I said that OIL, not coal, is the keystone of our civilization.

              Coal & natural gas wouldn’t be so “cheap” if OIL wasn’t cheap & available, no oil, no coal or natural gas.
              Yes I know that in the past we could mine coal by hand but the coal seams now are thinner & deeper in the earth, we are now removing entire mountain tops to get at the coal, it’s not cost effective to mine coal by hand any more & we need too much now for even a army of hard bodied miners to dig it out by hand.
              Have you seen the size of the MACHINES they use to mine coal now? Their the largest land machines ever made & their powered by OIL not coal!
              Use Google earth to look at the huge open pit coal mines now disfiguring the Appalachian mountians of the US east coast or in Wyoming.

              “We need a very, very plentiful, cheap abundant replacement for coal.”
              While coal seams were on the surface & thick, we could mine coal cheaply by hand but coal is dirty, bulky, & has less energy per kilo than oil has per liter.
              We now need very large OIL FUELED MACHINES to mine coal in the quantities we now need.

              Oil is a more compact, energy dense source of liquid fuel, it is easier to put in a tank to power machinery whereas coal needs to be shoveled or augered into a stove to be burned for external steam production to turn a turbine or a piston, oil fuels an internal combustion engine producing much more power for the size of it’s engine. That’s also why we have diesel engines for trains now instead of coal fueled steam engines.
              Coal fueled steam engines are not only larger but more complex & need more maintenance than a diesel engine.
              I think we could continue to limp along even without coal, but everything would would quickly fall apart without OIL.
              EVERYTHING is tied to OIL not coal.
              Look it up.

            • Lots of people write about oil, because it is energy dense and easily transportable. But cheap is just as important a characteristic. It is not as appealing a characteristic to researchers, however.

    • When countries start fighting, I expect oil supply falls very quickly.

      • TIm Groves says:

        We (the major powers) can’t afford to make war against each other anymore. The damage to everything would be to great to recover from. But like the alcoholic with the shot liver who’s been on the wagon for years and goes to AA meetings, there is always a danger that when the stresses and sufferings of life become unbearable, we may conclude that we can’t afford NOT to make war, and so we will go on a binge without considering how much harm it is going to cause us.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          On the surface that makes sense, Tim, however people are emotionally reactive. When the obviousness of the decline becomes unbearable they will stick the blame on some country, then declare war. Even at this juncture blame is being placed on china for unfair trade practices, but the US is the country that allowed that arrangement in the first place. We were fine with stuff sold cheaper than we could make it regardless of whether it was fair or not, until our own decline made us find blame, then start a trade war. How far off is actual war?

          • TIm Groves says:

            It could be argued that the trade war along with the cyber war and the propaganda war add up to an actual war, although it won’t be announced as such and it might not involve physical confrontation. What would be the point of America and China duking it out like boxers? I think it’s far more likely that they will grapple with each other like sumo wrestlers, each trying to topple the other without any overt punching or kicking.

            Some people thank the Chinese for not joining BAU industrialization until the 1980s because this kept coal and oil use lower than it otherwise would have been. Other people, including Gail if I’m not mistaken, thank the Chinese for stepping up to the plate and keeping BAU going from the 1990s, since without them it would have collapsed before now.

            I agree with you that for Americans to be blaming in the Chinese is unfair, but people in general like to have a justification for their own actions other than pure selfishness or expediency, and blaming the other fits the bill perfectly.

          • Sheila chambers says:

            “Our” corporations & manufacturers thought they had a good deal when they dumped more expensive american workers for cheaper Chinese workers & they didn’t have to bother with worker safety, environmental regulations or pollution but they never looked ahead to where this would lead.
            Now we have lost our manufacturing infrastructure, millions of people are unemployed or working several low wage jobs just to survive & “they” wonder what happend to their consumers?

            Now nearing the end of the fossil resource age, it’s too late to tariff the imports enough so we could compete again, it takes too much ENERGY to rebuild our manufacturing infrastructure & now we can’t afford what is being produced.
            Game over & we through our stupidity & GREED have lost!

            • Sheila chambers says:

              Gee, I wonder what “dirty” or “forbidden” word I used in my above post to trigger “moderation”?
              Was the forbidden word “environmental”?

        • Robert Firth says:

          That was precisely the thesis of Jean de Bloch, in his massive study of “The Future of War”: that war was now impossible because the damage to our advanced industrial societies would be too great.

          It was a best seller when first published in 1898. Didn’t look too good 16 years later.

  17. Dennis L. says:

    Planting is late in MN, everyone has opinions on how we should get our food, planting and harvesting it is very hard work even with incredible equipment. This video shows much larger equipment than used on my farm, but the ideas are the same. Incredible capital which is only used part of the year.
    Yesterday I visited the young man who was getting the fields ready to plant, he was sleeping in a reclining lounger in his dusty, farm office waiting for a gentle rain to stop; the night before he worked until 1:00 AM, weather determines work schedule. Hard work, difficult to maintain OSHA(which I favor) working conditions, difficult to follow good work practices after a twelve hour or more day.

    • TIm Groves says:

      Dennis, I sympathize with your predicament and I hope things dry out in time for you to get the planting done.

      How long is your usual growing season? And how much margin do you have this spring before you say “blow this for a game of soldiers”?

      • Dennis L. says:

        Beans instead of corn, can be planted later, raining today.
        I own the farm, I rent to a relative, it is a good arrangement; a man must know his limitations and partnering with people of knowledge and integrity is almost always a better idea than trying to go alone.
        Gail is sort of ruining my days with all this doom stuff, many Amish close by, CRP land up for renewal this year, maybe horses are a good investment. They seem to be sustainable in that self replication is a demonstrated fact. For amusement perhaps guitar lessons and a few chorus’s of “I am an old cowhand from the Root River Valley.”

        Dennis L.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          maybe horses are a good investment. They seem to be sustainable in that self replication is a demonstrated fact. For amusement perhaps guitar lessons and a few chorus’s of “I am an old cowhand from the Root River Valley.”

          I think that is the challenge: to invest in knowledge and resources you think you’ll need under a worst-case scenario, while having a plan for it to pay its way today.

          I don’t fancy spending lots of money on freeze-dried foods that only take up storage space until Judgement Day. (Although we do have a good stock of beans, grain, and dried/preserved food.)

          • let me have your address in case you are raptured and I’m not

            • Jan Steinman says:

              let me have your address in case you are raptured and I’m not

              I’m not hard to find, but not about to be “raptured,” if that means I must believe some gobbledy-gook about some all-knowing, all-seeing man in the sky.

              But today, I have to go weed the absinthe. We’re gonna need medicinal herbs when the medical system goes away. 🙂

            • I agree about the need for medicinal herbs.

            • Aubrey Enoch says:

              OPERATION RAPTURE. That’s what the overlords call it. As they implement the plan of Induced Impairment, with toxic food, water, air, electromagnetic fields and propaganda, we need the rapture to fix that …per capita part of the equation.

          • TIm Groves says:

            I am far more likely to be taken out by a rupture than a rapture. 🙂

        • As a farmer working with draft animals regularly and with many Amish friends, I don’t think of them so much and solving the worlds problems (the horses didn’t invent capitalism) or save us from them. What they do offer (and what attracts the Amish I think; is how they effect our daily lives today. They cause us to live “in community”. They grant us an opportunity to live and work closely with other humans. This is what I get from working with horses and mules.

          • Living and working with others is certainly important. Big corporations, trying to cut costs to the bone, have missed this important point. Workers often become very depressed when their work is very isolated.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            What they do offer (and what attracts the Amish I think; is how they effect our daily lives today. They cause us to live “in community”. They grant us an opportunity to live and work closely with other humans.

            A thousand thumbs up!

            Now off to milk goats…

  18. Rodster says:

    I miss Fast Eddy, he was a good counterbalance to all the imaginary Hopium. Come back Fast Eddy, there’s work yet to be done ! 😀

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      yes, hurry… the spent fuel pools are about to blow!

    • Xabier says:

      Like Daenerys in Game Of Thrones, he exterminated all Hopium in a ball of flame, and is not required anymore….. 🙂

      • Mark says:

        Well, you know who, mentioned some kind of (magical) “synthetic fuel” just up the page.:)

        • hkeithhenson says:

          Synthetic fuel is no more magical than a wind-up toy car. On the other hand, if you have no understanding of physics and chemistry, then maybe magical is the best description you can make for the toy car.

          • Hideaway says:

            Keith, how much energy does it cost ( Kwh, not cents or dollars) to get a one tonne payload into geostationary orbit using current technology??
            Please include fuel, launch vehicle embodied energy etc.

            The answer to this tells the real story of space solar.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “using current technology”

              It’s not a useful analysis. The current method is to launch to GTO and circularized the orbit with onboard electric thrusters over weeks to months. Do you want to include the solar power the satellite uses for this maneuver? It is not connected to the earth. You can’t do this maneuver with a power satellite because you have to cope with the space junk. Space junk is not a problem for small satellites, but it means a huge power satellite would be wrecked on the way up.

              The current thought is to launch hundreds to thousands of small payloads to LEO, then use chemical fuel to take the parts up to 2000 km (above the junk) and construct the power satellites there. Has to use robots/teleoperation since the radiation level would cook people in a few hours.

              Still, it’s not hard to calculate. A little looking at the web gives 147 tons of RP-1 for the first and second stages of a Falcon. Figure RP-1 energy at 45 GJ/ton or 6615 GJ. Divide by 3600 to get GWh or about 1.84 GWh. Divide by 8.3 to get it per ton, ~.221 GWh/ton or 221 MWh/ton or 221,000 kWh/ton. At 6.5 kg/kW, a ton of power satellite will generate 154 kW or 3692 kWh/day. A little division says the energy in the rocket fuel will be repaid in 59 days.

              The energy embedded in the parts is small, at the most 100 kWh/kW. So that adds 4 days to the payback time. The energy cost the vehicles depends on how many times they are being used. The assumption for Skylon is about 1500 flights.

              The energy cost is probably not too far off from this estimate using a Falcon in GTO mode. I have calculated the payback time before and got similar numbers of 2-3 months.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            if you have no understanding of physics and chemistry

            Intelligence. Rest secure – someone of your intelligence can’t be wrong.

            from David Flemings’s How To Cheat At An Argument.

            • Mark says:

              Thanks for posting that. He actually wasn’t technically wrong, my comment was misunderstood. …..Story of my life lol

      • TIm Groves says:

        I haven’t seen Eddy, or his other pseudonym Thomas Malthus, at any forum this year.

        I hope very much he’s having fun completing his bucket list! But I fear he may have inadvertently locked himself in his container with only eight years’ supply of Mars Bars and canned sardines to keep him going.

        Any doomer who is planning to make use of a shipping container for storage purposes should be sure to keep a jumbo-sized tin opener inside, just in case!

  19. Sven Røgeberg says:

    «Lots of jobs that are being created are in or near flourishing cities like Madison, where low-paid workers are squeezed by high housing costs. Pew has estimated that 38% of all tenant households spend at least 30% of their income on rent. Living in more affordable places, such as Janesville, an hour south of Madison, may be an option for the lower-paid. But that means commuting to the city, or taking local jobs with less pay and fewer benefits. Few workers earning less than $12 an hour get health insurance from their employer, whereas most do so above that threshold.

    Katherine Cramer, who studies the long-standing causes of simmering anger among poorer, rural Americans, says “resentment is worse than before”, despite the recent better wages. Rural folk complain that “it’s been like this for decades”, she says. A year or two catching up has not yet been enough to change their minds.»

    • Wage disparity is a big problem. A lot of people drop out of the workforce because the effort to get to and from the job, relative to the small pay, is not worth the cost involved, especially if the person involved has other tasks (childcare, eldercare, dropping off children, etc) that need to be handed off to someone else at the same time. Strange hours that change from day to day and week to week are a problem as well.

      • Tsubion says:

        This is so true.

        The return on investment for a low paid worker to move to a high rent area near the place of work is just not worth it.

        In the end, most of these workers are really acting as slave labor for local service industry owners to fill their own pockets. That has always been the nature of work. The business owner is the beneficiary. What benefit does a worker recieve when a salary barely covers the costs of carrying out work for the business owner?

        Work only becomes beneficial for the worker when they cross the threshold of personal gain. Otherwise you are simply a cheap tool used to make someone else wealthy.

        Certain types of automation are in a position now to wipe out whole swathes of jobs that keep millions of people just barely above this threshold. I see this as part of the irrational charge towards implosion. It all makes sense from the perspective of certain profit and productivity seeking corporations but absolutely no sense from the perspective of big picture economic balance. No workers. No consumers. No trade. No economy.

        So why the push to automate call centers, trucking, cabs, supermarkets, farming, factories, at a time when we need as many consumers as possible to keep the wheels spinning?

        What does it matter if we decentralise certain aspects of the economy and revolutionise the way people use money if noone has any surplus money to spend?

      • Rodster says:

        I have never understood people traveling a long way +15 miles one way for a job when they have an option of working closer to home. I knew of coworkers who traveled a long distance +20 miles one way when they could have worked for the same company within 5 miles of their home.

        • Xabier says:

          Maybe they wanted to leave home before the kids woke up, and get back after they had gone to bed. It’s not unknown…….

    • hkeithhenson says:

      “at least 30% of their income on rent”

      In the 1830s, the US had a food shortage that was poorly recorded. Showed up as a nearly one-inch reduction in height but (of course) not among the affluent. The cause for the reduction is debated, but one of the reasons seems to have been that the cost of housing was diverting too much income from buying food.

      It’s a 60-page paper, and mainly about how long it took for this understanding of the past to emerge. If you have the attention span to read it, it’s fascinating.

      “That growth in income could have negative health externalities was not part of the tool kit of conventional economic theory. But children did not decide for themselves what they would eat and their parents made many uninformed decisions on their behalf. To be sure, the income pertained to adults whereas height pertained to children and youth. But, they were also part of the society. Hence, their welfare should also matter to the interpretation of the standard of living. The mainstream view of the economic history of the period included neither imperfections of information, nor transaction costs that would impose unforeseen hindrance to the biological development of children and youth of the antebellum decades. Indeed, children and youth seldom appear in conventional texts of American economic history. Market processes such as commercialization was supposed to be good for everyone, so there was no reason to place children’s welfare under the magnifying lens. There was not supposed to be a downside to the expansion of internal trade, market integration, commercialization, and to the loss of self-sufficiency. Industrialization was an integral part of economic growth and the increased opportunities that it afforded. It was not supposed to hurt the children experiencing it.

      “So the solution to the Antebellum Puzzle indicates that progress was far from linear at the onset of modern economic growth.”

    • Sheila chambers says:

      And now they will have to compete against tens of thousands of poor, needy, unemployed, unskilled, non English speaking, ILLEGAL MIGRANTS!
      I see that “simmering anger” amongst our poor getting HOTTER!

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “With the world heating up, drastic rises in sea level mean whole islands are literally disappearing. It’s an extraordinary sight, and proof positive we must do more, right now.”

      what drastic rises? a couple of inches?

      where’s the “proof positive” that in the past there never was any erosion of islands by tidal forces and storms?

    • SuperTramp says:

      Beginning to look like where I’m living now, South Florida
      The study not only shows which communities stand to lose the most, but also which ZIP codes are the most at-risk from global warming. Miami Beach’s 33139 is the most at-risk ZIP code, with 1,584 houses and $610 million of property value in danger of being wiped out due to rising sea levels.

      After Miami Beach, Palmetto Bay’s 33157 has the most homes at risk. Coconut Grove’s ZIP 33133 has only 15 houses at risk, but has more than $36 million in value at risk, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports.

      The impact of rising sea levels is not relegated to home and property value loss. It will likely mean a total change in flood insurance programs, the mortgage industry, developers and virtually everyone else in the real estate industry, according to the study.

      “I believe that we will see credit downgrades sooner than later. Property values will be impacted as chronic flooding increasingly manifests. Reinsurers will be wary ahead of exposure in coastal areas,” John Miller, a flood policy expert, said in the report.

      • We are reaching a near-term financial crash. There will be a lot of things we won’t have to worry about, including banks, paychecks, insurance and jobs. In this context, whether or not the sea level rises is one of the least of our worries. If you are worried about sea level rise, why don’t you move somewhere else, now?

        • SUPERTRAMP says:

          I’m not worried at all Gail, I did not write the article, experts did!🏝️🏖️.
          I’ve posted on this before regarding the cost it will bear on property owners here.
          You’ve read and commented. Actually, my City just had a vote on a number of Bond issues, one being the urgent need to bolster sea walls. The reason for this being done was the property values on the Ritchie waterfront properties would crash and thus raising property taxes on all others. I’m about 3 miles inland so at my age not gonna have beach front property anytime soon, nor flooding. By the looks of the climate, there really is no safe bet to move to anyway. In a few years time looking a bit Northward in Central Florida in a less congested area. Hopefully, a catastrophic event like happened to Puerto Rico, whipping out everything here in South Florida won’t occur…are least until I’m safely away that is🎂🍳.
          From the Miami Herald

          “The letter might have already come in the mail. “Your building is at high risk for flooding,” it declares in bold. There are ominous charts warning that if you don’t take action, your flood insurance premium could rise up to 18 percent each year.
          The bottom line: your flood insurance premium is going up again — and under a policy change the Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering, it could skyrocket even more in coming years.
          Last time the National Flood Insurance Policy got this type of revamp the results were dramatic. Premiums doubled, tripled and more in flood-prone areas. In one extreme case, the premium on a $300,000 house in Monroe County went from $1,900 a year to more than $49,000. Congress hastily walked it back, but the motive behind the change (the NFIP’s sorry finances) has only gotten worse since then.
          ECT ECT ECT…more fun to come

          • The Flood Insurance policies are from the Federal Government. The Federal Government does strange things. Historically it has written flood insurance coverage at give-away prices. No one wants to discourage “development.” Raising the prices to something like adequate rates would probably require big increases.

            • Country Joe says:

              My neighbor was telling me that any time the government insures something it is because the insurance industry considers the risk too great. If the government was taking business away from the private companies it would be social izem . Seems like if the insurance companies thought they could make money on flood insurance that the government is selling they would be screaming their heads off.

            • Actuaries have known for years that Flood Insurance is mostly a give-away plan to encourage building in areas where common sense would say that it makes no sense to build. I have not followed the situation in recent years; it is possible that the government has gotten better about making a “real” insurance program. Given its nature, no insurance company has been interested in this program.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          If you are worried about sea level rise, why don’t you move somewhere else, now?

          Been there, done that, planning to cash out on future oceanfront property, if the overshoot continues long enough… 🙂

      • Sheila chambers says:

        There was no mention in that artical about how SALT WATER will contaminate their drinking water, it was all about property values.
        Far more homes & people will be affected by rising seas contaminating their water supply than will lose value on their homes from flooding.
        I suggest they get out now while they can still sell their home to some poor dupe.

      • psile says:

        Thanks for the update. Miami is certainly a ground zero area, where it comes to sea level rise. Take care!

    • TIm Groves says:

      The Pacific nation of Tuvalu—long seen as a prime candidate to disappear as climate change forces up sea levels—is actually growing in size/, new research shows.

      A University of Auckland study examined changes in the geography of Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, using aerial photographs and satellite imagery.

      It found eight of the atolls and almost three-quarters of the islands grew during the study period, lifting Tuvalu’s total land area by 2.9 percent, even though sea levels in the country rose at twice the global average.

      Co-author Paul Kench said the research, published Friday in the journal Nature Communications, challenged the assumption that low-lying island nations would be swamped as the sea rose.

      “We tend to think of Pacific atolls as static landforms that will simply be inundated as sea levels rise, but there is growing evidence these islands are geologically dynamic and are constantly changing,” he said.

      “The study findings may seem counter-intuitive, given that (the) sea level has been rising in the region over the past half century, but the dominant mode of change over that time on Tuvalu has been expansion, not erosion.”

    • Tsubion says:

      Hysteria on steroids.

      • psile says:

        The only thing hysterical is your predictable reaction!

        • TIm Groves says:

          If I lived in Southern Florida, I would be a lot more concerned about the effects of sea level rise than I currently am.

          We know Southern Florida is very low-lying land and we know the sea is rising at 2 or 3 mm per year. So if it keeps up at that rate the sea will be 5 meters higher in another 2,000 years and Florida will look something like this.

          But still the punters keep arriving in Florida, driving up the population and settling down by the seaside like a flock of flamingos.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “2,000 years”

            I don’t think it is worth being concerned about the future that far out. I can think of several ways the population on earth could be 1% or less of the human population by then. I described one of the ways in “The Clinic Seed,” but there are others, like 99% living off Earth.

    • Tsubion says:

      If you just breathe a bit harder… you could suck up all the excess carbon dioxide and save us all from doom.

      • Sheila chambers says:

        Ha ha, that would only work for PLANTS!
        For humans, too much C02 is TOXIC.

  20. By the way, planting the US corn crop is far behind the usual schedule. Corn is used to feed animals and to make ethanol. (Not much for direct food for people.) This is an article by Michael Snyder on the subject.

    Total Catastrophe For U.S. Corn Production: Only 30% Of U.S. Corn Fields Have Been Planted – 5 Year Average Is 66%

    The rain isn’t stopping either.

    As much as 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) of rain will soak soils from South Dakota and Minnesota south to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      Farming taking some big hits of late – Chaco province in Argentina has also been inundated and Australia having to import wheat for the first time in over a decade after their terrible drought.

      • TIm Groves says:

        Thanks to global cooling?

        • SUPERTRAMP says:

          Whatever makes you feel better….it don’t matter…..

        • Pintada says:

          Duh, No.

          Heat evaporates water. More water in the atmosphere causes more rain. Now you can leave the third grade Tim.

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship predicts an increase in the water holding capacity of air of approximately 7% per degree Celsius rise in temperature. Speaking of which, wasn’t Japan rather surprisingly hot and torrentially inundated last year, Tim? 😀

            • TIm Groves says:

              Japan had one very hot and very dry month last year—August, which was great for the rice—followed by a rather cool and wet September, which was bad for drying the harvest. There was also the Tanabata (July 7) typhoon, which caused a lot of flooding and landslides, so yes it was a wet year overall.

              One other notable event last year was the recording of a minus 12 degrees C night in February at my place, which was by far the coldest temperature I’ve experienced in almost 30 years here. The previous record low was minus 7!

              Now, riddle me this, Harry and Pitanda, if more heat causes more water in the atmosphere and more rain, why do alarmists always blame drought on g/warming? W

              Recently we had the Californian and Texan and Australian “permanent” droughts, all of which have proved to be less than permanent. Did you believe the media people and politicians who assured us they were never going to end? I bet you did.

              I am aware that, on the whole, a warmer world is a wetter world. For instance, during the last glacial when it was several degrees cooler than today on the average, desert covered a much wider swarth of African and Asia than it does at present. And conversely, during the Holocene climatic optimum, when it was a bit warmer than today, the Sahara was much wetter than at present.

              But to answer my own first question, alarmists always blame everything on CO-two. It’s the molecular equivalent of Donald Trump.

            • Harry McGibbs says:

              But Japan didn’t just have a hot August; it had a record-breakingly hot July, which saw its national heat record broken with Kumagaya reaching 41.1c (data for Kumagaya goes back to 1896). And this was part of an extraordinary heatwave that also spanned the entire Eurasian landmass all the way up to Scandinavia, where we saw wildfires raging in the Arctic. The rain also broke some all-time precipitation records for Japan.


              I noticed that Korea has just announced its earliest ever heat advisory (Gwanju, May 16th), beating out the previous record by three days. You may be in for another hot one over there, Tim. 😀

            • TIm Groves says:

              Kumagaya is an interesting place. It has rapidly grown in terms of both human population and amount of concrete since the war, and its urban heat island has grown correspondingly. It’s only 60km from downtown Tokyo and if you take the train or the highway you’ll notice that it’s suburban sprawl all the way. It’s no surprise that it’s maximum summer temperatures have been going up. Most of the entire Kanto Region now forms probably the world’s largest conurbation with 40 million people squeezed into it like hens in some huge battery farm.

              Kumagaya also has some unique geographic and topographic features that help it set records. I hate to quote Wikipedia, but it IS convenient:

              Kumagaya has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) and is known for being one of the hottest areas in summer in Japan. This is caused by very hot winds from Tokyo and the Chichibu basin in the west of the prefecture. In central Tokyo, the summer monsoon enhanced by sea breeze is heated by the urban heat island. Also, from the Chichibu Mountains, the Fohn blows. The two winds converge above the city at about 2 p.m.

              Things are very different out here in deepest satotyama, where I’m surrounded by rice paddies, bamboo groves and forested hillsides, where the crows, hawks and herons feast on mice, moles, frogs and tadpoles, swallows nest under the evens of inhabited buildings, and deer, bear, boar and badger inhabit the woods. We’ve had hotter summers and hotter hottest days. From my own records, 1994, 1997 and 2016 were blistering with plenty of 37, 38, and 39 degree days. Last year we failed to get a single day over 34. Those were real events with real temperatures that I could feel as I lay in my malarial hamper swatting mosquitoes and hoping the poisonous snakes wouldn’t get me in my slumber.

              But the average is what you get when you add up lots of temperatures taken at different times and places for a whole year and then divide them up. (I know, they work with anomalies for convenience sake!) But the point is, average temperature isn’t real, it’s an abstraction. Nobody has ever experienced the global temperature.

    • Sheila chambers says:

      Still raining in the CENTRAL states? It’s still raining here as well. I’m very late getting my potatoes planted, their sprouting in the bag waiting for the rain to stop.
      Late planting could mean the crops will still be in the ground when the rains or frost return, not good for their harvest. That will lead to higher prices for cattle breeders, ethanol producers & all those corn syrup makers, YEAH!
      Trump needs to FIRE BOLTON before he get’s us into another dam war but this time with a superpower that can FIGHT BACK!
      Depletion isn’t the only way to raise oil prices, so will a WAR on the extractors!
      Trump & Bolton are dumber than dirt & far less useful.

      • TIm Groves says:

        Sounds like the sort of weather that characterized much of the Little Ice Age.
        I’m just praying we don’t have any big volcanoes blowing their tops or we might get a year without a summer or a potato famine.

  21. Sheila chambers says:

    WHY do I have to keep LOGGING IN each day?
    Then after I do,Wordpress DELETES MY POST!
    Fortunately, I had first composed it in NOTEPAD!

    • I have had some problems with WordPress making me log in, too. Sort of annoying. It doesn’t discriminate. Don’t turn the computer off; put it to sleep.

      • Sheila chambers says:

        I’m pretty frugal Gail, putting it to “sleep” is still ON, so I turn it off & cut the juice, then I know it’s off!
        Being low income all my life has “encouraged” me not to waste resources.
        I have a heat pump as well as a wood stove for those rare times when the power fails like it did one time right in the middle of cooking dinner. I just fired up the wood stove & continued with my cooking.
        7.6 billion humans doing the same thing would quickly wipe out our forests!

        What’s most annoying is having your post deleted before you could get it posted!
        Thank goodness, I first composed it on “Notepad”.
        I wish Trump would fire Bolton or send him off to Iran, alone!

        • Tsubion says:

          Look at this way.

          Everything will be alright in the end.

          Everything is happening exactly as it should. Species rise, reach peak, and fall. Just as they always have. Some adapt to new situations. Others don’t. Every single species strives to survive but sometimes it’s just not possible.

          Enjoy this experience. There may not be another. But I’m not 100% sure about that.

          All species can be invasive. We are no different. Why do you expect us to be?

          Can some of the 7.6 billion survive a global economic collapse? Maybe… but that’s their problem. You don’t have to worry about that because you simply cannot know which way things will play out.

          At this point I’m fairly convinced that we don’t have the time for any kind of energy transition. What are the options? Renewables and storage? The latest nuclear power plants? Electric vehicles? This is what is being pushed as the solution. That and some kind of monetary revolution that would shake up the global banking industry.

          Meanwhile, the stage is being set for global war, which of course doesn’t help anyone. The whole world needs a sedative! I hear Marijuana is finally taking off as a major investment product. Whatever it takes.

          Can you imagine if the first world adopted a frugal lifestyle. The economy would tank but so what. Our current trajectory towards techno slavery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Most people have already sold their souls to tiny little screens.

        • TIm Groves says:

          You might just get your first wish. Trump fires people all the time and staff turnover within his administration is high. Bolton is his fourth national security advisor in just two years and four months. So with a bit of luck he’ll be gone by Christmas!

          • Tsubion says:

            As you know, the goals were set a long time ago and progress has steadily continued towards achieving them no matter which puppets are on the stage…


            Trump derangement syndrome is a recognised disease.

            People that are so easily knocked sideways were never really the surviving type anyway. They are irrelevant. All this bluster is irrelevant. But people love drama. I love drama. But I don’t lose my mind over the real life Game of Thrones.

            People pulling strings behind the scenes either know things can be reorganised or they are also delusional. If so, we’re screwed.

            Unipolar hegemon (US) shift to multipolar global community (Russia, China etc)

            Russian pipelines and nuclear technology dominate.

            Chinese (apparent) economic miracle (giant fraud)

            One belt one road – Siberia, Europe, India (unsustainable) (easily disrupted)

            America flailing around, lashing out, trying to be relevant – death spiral

            Personally, I don’t think China is in a good position. It’s all a fraud. Fantasy. A House of Cards. Therefore, all this preparation will be for nothing.

            European Union (another fraud) will collapse soon. Leaving nation states flailing about trying to cope. Possibly more authoritarian but also lacking the means to maintain control.

            Global Hegemon (reformed United Nations) will rise. Accept the new rules or perish. What do you think desperate people will choose?

            Many will opt out. In more ways than one.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          I first composed it on “Notepad”.

          Ha! My market-weary eyes read that as “I first composted it on Notepad.” 🙂

  22. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Since commodity prices are informed by marginal costs subject to intermittent deflationary or inflationary disruptive forces, this expected maturing of the Chinese economy is troubling. In 2017-18, when China’s perceived economic adjustment was clear for all to see, commodities ended up as the worst performing asset class.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Recent flare up in trade tensions between the US and China led to outflows of more than US$2.5 billion in Chinese equities last week Inflows into global bond funds has been accelerating at their fastest pace since 2002.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “China’s state media signaled a lack of interest in resuming trade talks with the U.S. under the current threat to escalate tariffs, while the government said stimulus will be stepped up to buttress the domestic economy.”

        • Or doesn’t have much to offer, if trade talks resume?

        • Chrome Mags says:

          I suggest China’s unwillingness to engage in talks regarding trade indicate it is stating loud and clear it is a SUPERPOWER, that won’t be bullied.

      • Zero sum game? Chinese stocks are no longer looking so good. Money needs to go somewhere else.

        According to the article:

        The stock market sentiment has looked shaky recently, with the Shanghai Composite down almost 10 per cent from an April high. Overall corporate earnings have failed to catch up with share-price gains; economic growth is showing signs of decelerating again and a trade war against the US has flared up once again.

        • Hideaway says:

          Money never ‘leaves’ a market, there is always the same $ amount bought as is sold. Perhaps a better expression is smart money leaving while dumb money comes in, while at market bottoms the opposite seems to happen.

          Stock markets are nothing but large rotating (as in to different stocks) ponzi schemes, with indices set up to show a positive bias over time while the economy and ‘market’ grows.

          All of us here know that it is energy flows that keep the ‘market’ growing and hence keep the ponzi alive. When the energy flows decline plus the extend and pretend newly created money become too much of a burden, reality will hit stock markets very hard, with most of the population wondering what happened.

          • Tsubion says:

            A House of Cards built on sand waiting for a single gust of wind to ruin some kids day.

            We are all that kid.

    • Commodity prices are definitely important, but they are (for the short term) most easily manipulated by government actions and by local catastrophes. The WSJ has an article up called China Steel Boom, Supply Problems Drive Iron-Ore Price to Five-Year High: The benchmark price for cargoes of iron ore sold into northern China is up 38% this year

      Yet this year, there has been a rise in iron prices, as the impact of the Vale Dam collapse on iron ore supplies is felt, and as the effect of Chinese stimulus to build more homes, roads, and infrastructure is felt. This price rise does not seem sustainable long-term.

      Meanwhile, China’s steel market is booming. Analysts and traders say this is thanks to a hot property market and demand for infrastructure such as subways and sewerage systems—suggesting China’s drive to shore up growth is feeding into the real economy. China is the biggest buyer of iron ore and produces more than half the world’s steel.

      The benchmark price for cargoes of iron ore sold into northern China jumped 2.4% on Friday to $100.40 a metric ton, according to S&P Global Platts. It quotes one such price for every trading day.

  23. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Americans now pay their banks an average 17% interest on credit cards — the highest level recorded by the Fed. The rising monthly cost for U.S. consumers may be one reason they’re spending less, as April’s weak retail sales laid out. The combination doesn’t bode well for GDP growth.”

    • These interest payments are disproportionately being made by people who are relatively poor and overspending their incomes. The interest payments funnel more money to the banking industry, making life for these people even more difficult.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      17% interest on credit cards is a reflection of a federal government in the pocketbook of big business. We The People for the most part now are ignored.

  24. Harry McGibbs says:

    “If a stronger currency is supposed to lead to lower inflation by making imports cheaper and making domestic producers absorb the costs associated with a stronger currency, why is that not happening with the Euro. As the EUR advances on the Yuan we see inflation rising and not falling. Why?

    “The answer he gave to the conundrum is that there is a bigger influence on the Euro than the currency strength, namely oil.”!/eurozone-inflation-and-its-correlation-with-oil-prices-20190517

  25. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The global property boom is over as slowing growth, high prices and rising risks point to the end of the long recovery from the financial crisis, investment bank UBS has warned.

    “Rock-bottom interest rates have kept prices rising but the result is that buyers are stretched and are facing record low returns on investment in prime property.

    “Prices have run out of room to grow in many parts of the world in commercial and residential property, and the market cycle is thought to have peaked around nine months ago, the bank warned.”

    • But the way the system works, there was nothing that they, or anyone else, could do about it.

      • SuperTramp says:

        Well, we could enact “something”, but that would a taboo alternative.
        Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon, admitted it in a public forum. Claims they are part of the IPCC process and we will adapt to the CC as needed, such as, sea walls and crop placement.

        • Why wound you enact “something,” when you don’t understand the something you need?

          If the population is 1/10 or 1/1000 the size it is today, the needs will be far different. The logical choice is to move out of the way.

          • Ed says:

            Yup, only nature has the power to do what is needed. Get out of the way far enough that maybe you survive.

            • doomphd says:

              think of Jay Hanson’s question: “Is war the answer?” the angry, starving primates will probably not die off quietly. they will lose it, riot and demand war with those that have resources. i think the Russians understand this, and have prepared an asymmetric response to any western threat. probably the Chinese, also.

          • I should point out that the people moving will be walking and perhaps using a pack animal or two. They will need to put together some sort of longing in the new area they move to, using whatever materials they can gather there. They will need to find food along the way, however they can. Probably not a lot of people will, in fact, succeed in making the move.

            • Tsubion says:

              You can tie helium balloons to people and give them a gentle shove in the right direction. Then all you have to do is sacrifice a goat or two to make sure the wind doesn’t blow you off course.

              If anyone’s interested I have also patented a handy catapult system specifically for the purpose of launching travellers over very high obstacles such as border walls which tend to slow the flow if you get my drift. Don’t worry, a little parachute deploys on descent to break your fall. We’re not savages.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “But the way the system works, there was nothing that they, or anyone else, could do about it.”

        That has certainly been true, nobody had a proposal that made sense economically. Is there one (or more) now? I think so, the thing that has changed the ground rules is a lower cost to lift cargo to orbit. That and construction robots since the orbit where you need to build them has so much radiation that people would die in a few hours.

        Will the idea become well known and acceptable? Can’t say, too many unknowns, but it might. The other options are bleak.

        • Tsubion says:

          The other options being?

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “The other options being?”

            The ones that don’t involve going into space are StratoSolar (maybe), fission reactors, including the salt bath type. A long shot is fusion.

            If things hang together long enough for nanotechnology and AI, then energy problems almost certainly go away. Of course, the dominant life form post-singularity may not be something we would recognize as human.

            One of the stranger concepts is that humanity could become biologically extinct without any of the existing population dying. That’s the theme in “The Clinic Seed.”

      • psile says:

        I won’t argue with that. But can we put the issue to rest now? No more silly AGW denial screeds should be allowed to be posted anymore.

        • TIm Groves says:

          So your conviction that humans are warming the planet is so shaky that you can’t bear to have it challenged in print?

          How very liberal and progressive of you!

          • psile says:

            Sure, if you want to be a flat-earther type, go ahead. I will always redirect comments back to this report on Exxon. I’m sure all the other big oil companies have done similar research, and have come to the same conclusions.

            • Tsubion says:

              Let me ask you a question?

              What do you want to achieve with all this?

              Do you want the global carbon trading scam to continue fleecing the world’s population for no real benefit?

              Do you believe that we can transition from fossil fuel based civ to a 100% renewable energy based one in short order and if so how many people do you think we can sustain?

              Do you think that by doing the above we will stop the climate from changing? That any inertia in the system will magically grind to a halt? That we can then maintain the atmosphere in some state of equilibrium that suits our needs for all eternity?

              Do you think spraying the skies and seeding the oceans with particulae is a rational way of maintaining this equilibrium going forward?

              Is that what you hope to achieve by being a AGW cheerleader?

              Do you truly believe any of the above is even remotely possible or relevant to the impending state of human affairs as regards imminent economic and societal collapse barring some kind of miraculous solution?

            • TIm Groves says:

              Thanks for the flat earther putdown, Psile. I always take personal insults as evidence that the person throwing them is doing so because they are all out of persuasive arguments.

              If I want a gallon of gas I might go to Exxon, but I would never rely on Exxon or any other large corporation to tell me the truth about anything. There are all kinds of reasons why Exxon might have commissioned this or that research and all kinds of reasons why said research might be valid or invalid. The fact that Exxon commissioned some research doesn’t automatically validate the research, does it?

              In recent decades, the climate has not warmed beyond what nature could have done all by itself. Carbon dioxide is not going to melt the poles or suffocate us or drown Manhattan, whatever anyone’s research says. Got it!

            • Jan Steinman says:

              whatever anyone’s research says

              See “Assertion” in How to Cheat In An Argument.

              I’m just going to number the sections in David Flemings excellent essay and just start posting the numbers.

              (To be fair, @psile did resort to perhaps the most often used cheat, “Ad Hominem.” So I guess one good burn deserves another.)

            • Pintada says:

              Dear Tsubion;

              The answer to your question is simple. It used to be that reality was recognized and an honest person would simply admit that the truth is in fact the truth. In this age of lies people refuse to admit the truth.

              The earth is warming because humanity uses the atmosphere like an open sewer and that is causing problems. It is true. An honest person would admit the facts and move on.

          • Pintada says:

            Dear Tim Groves;

            How can you be so incredibly and purposefully ignorant? It must be a talent.

            Catch a clue, flat earther.

            • TIm Groves says:

              One tries one’s best, Pitanda. But no, I have no special talent, I simply live in a different conceptual universe from the one you live in.

              I’m simply not convinced that that rising CO2 is making any significant difference to the temperature or the climate. Unlike you and Jan and Psile, I don’t pretend to knowledge of phenomena in the physical world what I can’t verify for myself, I don’t defer to authorities, and basically, I don’t join things.

              You lot are emotionally invested in the CC thing. It has all the hallmarks of an organized religion and you truly believe it because you are—and I’m sorry I’m going to have to say this—you are true believers. Now there is nothing wrong with religious belief per se, and much that is good about it. But many people—and you’d be surprised how many—are unable or unwilling to think for themselves. They are only comfortable thinking in herds, and with their thinking done for them by somebody else and handed down to them as a dogma.

              This little book from over half a century ago explains the phenomenon succinctly.


            • Once a person understands that moving to wind and solar is not a solution, perhaps they can start to understand our predicament. Instead of campaigning for a few mild changes that supposedly might make a difference, they need to start walking around, naked, going from door to door, campaigning for everyone in the world to join them in the fight to (possibly) prevent climate from changing. I cannot imagine the true solution catching on at all. The imaginary solution, however, becomes very popular.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            Freedom of speech is also freedom of stupidity.

            One is free to challenge the “theory” of gravity by jumping off a 30-floor building, just as one is free to challenge the theory of anthropomorphic global warming by continuing their profligate life-styles, in complete denial of the hardships they are imposing on future generations.

            Challenging either “theory” at this point is equally stupid.

            As a farmer, I keep good records. I have direct evidence that things are warming, at least at our location. I see that my records agree with the consensus of atmospheric scientists. I see that my records disagree with the tiny minority of economists, politicians, and business people who claim there is no such thing.

            WordPress really needs an “ignore” button. I’m not going to respond further on this topic.

            • SuperTramp says:

              But Jan, that’s the whole idea behind the so called “debate”, if there is unfounded doubt created, that’s an excuse not to address the issue of CC. It worked for decades in the cigarette cancer campaign, and has been very effective by the fossil fuel industry up to now.
              This case is different, I agree with Gail, not much can be done with the current population levels and trend of increase in numbers.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “This case is different”

              It might be worth considering that the population could be cut in half by six months from now. There are a dozen ways this could come about, not that I expect any of them, but they could happen. Currently watching Ebola.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              This case is different, I agree with Gail, not much can be done with the current population levels and trend of increase in numbers.

              It is so sad that the solution to both the problem of global warming and that of resource depletion is the same: de-consume!

              Leave it to humans to turn one neat solution into two thorny problems.

            • Tsubion says:

              Works both ways. Your extremely biased dogmatic posts would be the first to get the “ignore” treatment from me. Oh wait… that’s called censorship. Maybe I should tolerate your posts as part of some kind of masochistic self flagellation ritual just to appear fair? Nah… sod it. You’ve earned it.

              When individuals such as yourself and Psile continuously blather on about CC, endlessly parroting the party line with a total disdain and lack of tolerance for anyone that may have doubts, you come across as the ultimate jerks. Hurling insults, calling people stupid because they choose to question dogma, resorting to ridicule, and conflating doubts about accuracy of climate predictions with gravity or globe earth denial proves that you are truly the ones lacking any scientific rigour. You sound pathetic.

              Your use of anecdotal records in your local area spanning a decade or two justs adds to the hilarity. Your records match the global trends you say. Whoop de doo! How very scientific! Now you can lecture us on what the climate will do for the next hundred years based on your observations and a rigged climate model or two. Takes time to get the “desired” results.

              To be honest and out of a selfish desire for mental peace, I want the insanity to end. And at the moment, insanity is rising up from all corners of the earth. But the AGW CC brigade represent one of the most rabid, cult-like examples of mass hysteria the world has ever witnessed. Truly a marvel to behold.

              What really astonishes me, having lurked in the comment section for many years, is how the mostly leftist eco warrior segment that also lurks here, stubbornly refuse to accept other points of view or adopt a more humble stance when it comes to predicting the future. The only thing that appears to be certain for the time being is everything that Gail and others have tried to explain to us. Our dissapative system of industrial civilisation is on its last legs. A miraculous turnaround seems unlikely at this point as it would require a huge rollout of nuclear power plants worldwide (or equivalent) in a very short amount of time when the global economy appears to be deflating.

              So why all the blather about CC. It is very obviously not our concern. Human population could decline extremely rapidly with just a few shortages in supply chains. The planet and everything on it is a self regulating system and self regulate it will – with or without the human ants crawling over the surface. Our impact is so miniscule and so temporary in the overall scheme of things that its really not worth bothering with. Unless of course you’re a narcisistic egomaniac that believes the whole universe revolves around what you get up to in your back yard.

              I will admit I maintained a love hate relationship with Fast Eddy and I appreciate the relative quiet and other voices in the comments. But you know what… things can swing too far the other way! Thank God for Tim Groves and David ina100blahblah… balance is beautiful thing.

            • TIm Groves says:

              Please do feel free ignore me, Jan. Unlike Fast Eddy, I’m not going to call you a More-on because I believe in respecting people, even if they happen to disagree with me about certain things. Even if they call me a More-on, or stupid or a denier, or a deplorable or whatever.

              But we both know I’m not stupid. I’m as smart as you are and I can see through quite a lot of the nonsense you tell yourself and choose to believe, and the self-serving justifications you bring up in order to try to justify the opinions you hold. You are quite transparent, you know.

              I’ve farmed in the same place for 30 years and I keep good records too. Most days of the year I am out standing in my field. Overall it was warmer here in the 1990s and 2000s and it has cooled since. If it was still warming, I would admit it. If it warms next year, I’ll let everyone on OFW know., promise!

              What I don’t understand is how educated enlightened intelligent people can become so emotionally invested in a narrative about the weather that they need it to be true, that they need it to be true so much that they shut out any evidence that doesn’t support it being true and they call people who don’t agree with their opinion about it “stupid”. I really don’t understand how we got into this situation in the West.

              I also it is a fairly good generalization to say that nobody ever convinced anybody of anything on the internet. Which is why I don’t expect to convince any warmist or alarmist that they are wrong. But to borrow an idiom from my old granny, anyone who can’t see globbly wobbly for the scam it is by now needs their bumps felt. 🙂

            • TIm Groves says:

              As a farmer, I keep good records. I have direct evidence that things are warming, at least at our location. I see that my records agree with the consensus of atmospheric scientists.

              Jan, since you tout consensus as giving support for your opinions in this instance, then why you have any problem with Roundup?

              A couple of lawsuit losses notwithstanding, the global scientific consensus firmly remains that glyphosate is a comparatively mild herbicide that poses no harm to the general population from residues in our food and is unlikely to cause cancer in workers who face long term exposure.

              Not being a consensus hugger myself, I have no problem rejecting the one that proclaims Roundup safe. But for you to do so looks like double standards, no?

            • Jan Steinman says:

              why you have any problem with Roundup?

              A couple of lawsuit losses notwithstanding


              I was about to mention that Monsatan is getting buried in legal costs when you neatly dismissed the biggest problem Monsatan shareholders should be having with RoundUp™!

              Congratulations! You’ve learned how to cheat at an argument!

            • Slow Paul says:

              But how can you know that things wouldn’t have warmed by itself if humans weren’t around?

              And what is the use going on about it when nothing gets done as long as nobody can make a dime on it? Everything in nature is regarded as a resource that is bought and sold. Everybody is addicted to making more money to buy more crap. Ain’t got time to worry about soiling our nest, got to go to work today and tomorrow.

            • TIm Groves says:

              Not cheating Jan, just presenting you with a simple question.
              You don’t have to go there if you are uncomfortable thinking about it, but the accusation that I somehow cheated in asking was an evasion of the question on your part.

              I wouldn’t go as far as calling what you did “cheating” but it was a well-considered defensive move if it was based on your understanding that you are indeed employing a double standard in deferring to the so-called “scientific consensus” re. CC while dismissing the so-called scientific consensus re glyphosate.

              Scientific issues can be complex, and the verdicts of lay people sitting on juries prove nothing, do they? A lay jury found O.J. Simpson non guilty, didn’t they? 🙂

              I chose the pesticide issue because you and I are both farmers who seem to have strong views against using it on the grounds that we think it’s poisonous, despite what the experts say. We might also explore other controversial issues, such as the health effects of non-ionizing radiation from cellphones and routers, or vaccinations, or the need for pasteurization of dairy products. Do you agree with the scientific consensus on each of these issues, and if not why not?

        • Tsubion says:

          Nothing more silly than an echo chamber. Only wanting to listen to your own screeds is a sure sign of madness. I could just as easily vote for all narcisistic control freaks to be pushed off a cliff into shark infested waters for the sake of normal people. Authoritarian collectivism is by far a much greater concern than rising sea levels over the next hundred years. Please try to focus on the here and now instead of whatever ephemeral boogeyman the “authorities” come up with next… eg. the rise of artificial intelligence, asteroids, genetic engineering, alien invasion etc.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      here’s the conclusion to psile’s linked story:

      “All of this is why the company and other oil majors are now facing a host of lawsuits for spending decades misleading the public and shareholders as well as calls for trying fossil fuel executives for crimes against humanity.

      Those decades of spreading denial are why we’re now facing a crisis and the need to rapidly drawdown emissions. Because the future Exxon charted back in 1982 is one we don’t want to be headed towards.”

      no, it’s not because Exxon was “spreading denial”…

      it’s because most humans want the benefits of using FF…

      while Exxon “knew” in 1982, most FF users have known for at least a decade or so…

      so why haven’t consumers stopped? IMMEDIATELY!

      shouldn’t consumers be put on trial for burning FF?

      those trials will be interesting… I suppose it’s actually possible that the FF companies may lose…

      but such as the case where CA is suing them… not only do most of the citizens of CA continue to use FF, but the state government has many vehicles/equipment which burn FF, and state buildings which are heated/cooled/powered (electricity) by FF…

      why isn’t the state of CA being sued for burning so much FF?

      because right NOW, they “know”…

      finally, psile continues to use some FF in his life, whether directly or indirectly…

      why aren’t the billions like him being sued for burning FF?

      because they’re not stopping, but they “know”…

      • Tsubion says:

        By any rational measure, all Californians at this stage and according to their own beliefs should be 100% vegetarian, Prius or Tesla Model 3 owners, and living in eco mud huts with a single solar panel on top to meet all their needs unless of course they’re all actually just a bunch of shallow virtue signalling narcisistic hypocrits that move to another state the minute taxes and energy bills go thru the roof and swarms of illegal immigrants make it impossible to keep pretending everything is okey dokey in paradise!

      • TIm Groves says:

        Fortunately we have some fine upstanding morally superior people such as Psile and Jan.

        They would both dearly love to stop using fossil fuels, but that would be virtue signaling.

        • All a person has to do is take off all of their clothes, move out of their homes, and begin living like animals, eating raw food that is available in nature. It is very easy. It is a wonder everyone doesn’t want to do it!

          • as I’ve pointed out before

            remove fossil fuels and you’re sitting naked on bare earth starving to death

            • Pintada says:

              Dear Norman Pagett;

              You are exactly correct. It is also true that the earth is warming. To not admit that is either dishonest or profoundly stoopid.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              ” true that the earth is warming”

              But, as Gail points out, this might not be our biggest problem.

          • Tsubion says:

            As Global Dictator I shall make your suggestions mandatory as of next week. No exceptions. And if I spot anyone cheating they’ll end up in the pot.

            There. Wasn’t too difficult was it. People worry too much.

            Problems get solved… one way or another.

          • Very Far Frank says:

            This is the most sassy I’ve seen Gail. Now you’ve done it!

          • Jan Steinman says:

            take off all of their clothes, move out of their homes, and begin living like animals, eating raw food that is available in nature

            C’mon, Gail. “Reductio ad absurdum” is beneath you.

            I think that a lot of people who deny that a simpler life can be useful and helpful are simply selfishly unwilling to give up an inch of their current profligate ways.

            There. One “reductio” deserves another. 🙂

            Millions of people learned things like “thrift” and “frugality” during the Great Depression. A few managed to even pass those values on to children and grandchildren. Those values were lauded and admired in their day.

            But these days, people are so enamoured of the “consensus trance” that they find themselves in that they won’t even consider such values as a way saving something for future generations. Those who still value things like thrift and frugality are then treated with derisive scorn. Really? Really?

            • I think that there has been a great misunderstanding in the “peak oil” community, basically coming from their view that oil and other energy prices will always rise, so that whatever is technically extractable can be extracted and used. They have assumed that

              (1) The economy can always continue to extract ever smaller amounts of fossil fuels, at ever higher prices,
              (2) Efficiency will grow, so that these ever smaller amounts will somehow be sort of sufficient, and
              (3) The world economy can adapt to these smaller amounts, at ever higher prices, without collapsing. (Or, alternatively, it can collapse and build up quickly again)

              Everything I can see says it doesn’t really work this way. We either use more and more, and an ever lower price of energy (considering efficiency gains and the impacts of inflation). Or the system “breaks,” and we have to do without. (The economy is really a dissipative structure.) The wage disparity that occurs with greater and greater complexity is part of what makes the system collapse. We need to go back to a much less complex system that is adapted to the real amount of energy available to us.

              If we have to do without, the question is what we can build up to. The point of my example is that we really cannot build up to much of anything that I can see. Perhaps some of us can walk around without clothes and can start a small fire by rubbing two sticks together. But we really don’t get very far at all.

              The only way I can imagine fixing the climate change situation (and I am doubtful it would work, either) is for all people to eliminate energy that we get from today’s fossil fuel system. This would include electricity from hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and solar, besides all kinds of energy from fossil fuels, since all energy we have today is made possible by our fossil fuel powered system.

              The naked people who gather their own food could, in theory, walk around door-to-door, looking for recruits, saying, “If we get everyone in the world to sign up for this lifestyle, we can (perhaps) prevent climate change. Come join me. Spread the message! This is terribly important.”

              This will not happen.

              Cutting back and frugality really aren’t enough for the change that is needed.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              The wage disparity that occurs with greater and greater complexity is part of what makes the system collapse. We need to go back to a much less complex system that is adapted to the real amount of energy available to us.

              So far, so good. We’re in complete agreement here.

              If we have to do without, the question is what we can build up to. The point of my example is that we really cannot build up to much of anything that I can see. Perhaps some of us can walk around without clothes and can start a small fire by rubbing two sticks together.

              I thought you were being facetious about naked people gathering berries. I see you were serious. I apologize.

              I think there are many options between “business as usual” and being naked, rubbing sticks together.

              I can tan a hide. I won’t go unclothed!

              Even in a sudden, complete crash scenario, durable human artifacts are not going away overnight. My Gerber multi-function tool will still be in my back pocket, long after these cargo shorts have rotten away and been replaced with buckskin. (The Gerber tool may become so valuable that the buckskin version may have a custom pouch for it!)

              Cutting back and frugality really aren’t enough for the change that is needed.

              I don’t claim these values are enough to reverse global climate change and resource depletion. I do claim that becoming practiced in these values may be the difference between life and death for an individual, family, or small group of people.

              I don’t have a magic crystal ball. None of us do. (Although some here pretend to!)

              But surely, frugality and self-sufficiency can’t really hurt, can they? Isn’t it better to learn and practice such skills, than to have their need suddenly imposed on you someday?

            • Our economy is collapsing from too little “demand.” Frugality works in the direction of collapse, so it is not really helpful. We need people who are willing to use debt to spend far beyond their income.

              Self-Sufficiency is trying to do without the rest of economy, at least in some respects. Or if the rest of the economy is only slowly disappearing, being able to get along with the very limited economy that still remains. For a few people, for a few years, perhaps it can be helpful. But I doubt it can be helpful for any substantial share of people, for very long.

              Part of our problem is that we don’t really know what parts we are losing, how quickly. I would presume any restaurant grease you are going to use to operate your vehicles will disappear practically overnight. Road maintenance will likely disappear. Any kind of services you are planning to have available (police, fire, grocery store, restaurants, store to buy gardening supplies, hospital) will likely disappear quickly. We may lose banks overnight. The electric grid will disappear quickly. Needless to say, without the electric grid, the Internet will not be available. Charging your telephone will likely be of limited benefit, if the rest of the system is down.

              If governments continue to exist, they will still want taxes. Somehow, your self-sufficiency will need to provide for what the government requires, plus what you need yourself.

              I find it hard to figure out a scenario where a person can continue to live very long beyond the amount of “stuff” that person has stored up to meet needs of all types. There are too many contingencies that a person cannot plan for. You really need a much more resilient overall system that you can draw on. You have wonderful neighbors available, but they will have many of the same difficulties you do.

            • DB says:

              Gail, do you really think those with the skills and knowledge to live in a low-energy world (perhaps roughly equivalent to a medieval or ancient agricultural society) might not be able to manage some sort of existence? Among the commenters here, it seems as if Jan and Tim, despite their differing opinions, might be especially well-prepared for a low energy world. Jan may lose his restaurant source of biodiesel, and eventually run out of parts for his tractor, but it sounds like he could adjust without both. And Tim might already be living as if he were in a low energy world.

              Of course, it matters what others around them (and the rest us) do. If fairly self-sufficient farms are the 7-11s of the post-collapse world (nobody can describe like FastEddy!), and the farmers can’t defend themselves, maybe such preparations would be for naught. I know that there might be other events — nuclear war, cooling ponds boiling off, etc. etc. — that would be almost universal killers, so I am just restricting the thought experiment to less cataclysmic collapse scenarios. The new life wouldn’t be close to a modern life, but might be able to provide the essentials for a small fraction of the current population.

              It seems that there are pockets of people able to carry on in this way after collapse, especially in poor countries least touched by modern ways. For these people, the adjustment might not be unlike the adjustment people faced in prior collapses. In most developed countries, I guess hunting and gathering would take some generations to develop, not only because the necessary knowledge is less widespread (compared to agricultural knowledge, which is admittedly quite limited, too) but also because stocks of prey (herds, fish runs) are limited and isolated. Hunters and fishermen now access their prey primarily with the help of fossil fuels.

              I know you are pessimistic about small-scale agriculture arising and enduring post-collapse, but your comments on this topic have been general. I would be interested in your detailed and reasoned critique of this scenario. Perhaps a new blog topic! It certainly is a recurring them in the comments. Thank you!

            • There has been a recurrent myth that a low energy economy is possible going forward.

              The big issue is how to “get from here to there.” You need a whole networked low-energy system of government (local overlord, dictator, probably hereditary), supply chains, and method of trading to get a few essential things. An occasional metal object would be helpful, for example. The issue is that we can’t get “from there to there.” The lower-energy system has to be built up from pieces that are available, and we don’t have them in this direction, as far as I can see. There is too much dependence on leftover grease from restaurants that cannot possibly continue to exist in the future, for example.

              The direction where a new economy might be built up from scratch is from people in a few areas of the world who still live as hunter-gatherers. They may still have enough knowledge of basic hunter-gathering to continue as before and be able to ramp their life-styles up. Some may even be able to migrate to new parts of the world, and start new hunter-gatherer enclaves.

            • depends what you hunt and gather, how good you are at hunting and gathering, and if there’s anything worth hunting and gathering

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “hunter-gatherer enclaves”

              Gail, I think the chances of a human future of hunter-gatherers is really low. The vast majority of our ancestors for the last ten thousand years were farmers. That’s long enough to have resulted in serious genetic selection.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              There is too much dependence on leftover grease from restaurants that cannot possibly continue to exist in the future, for example.


              But that bridge must happen. One can use limited amounts of biodiesel today, to wean oneself for tomorrow. I harbour no illusions that restaurant grease will be around forever, but in the meantime, I can compete with other market vendors who are using petrol-diesel. If we hand to farm by horse, our products would be priced out of the market.

              The direction where a new economy might be built up from scratch is from people in a few areas of the world who still live as hunter-gatherers. They may still have enough knowledge of basic hunter-gathering to continue as before and be able to ramp their life-styles up.

              … as I alluded to in my last comment, regarding the Wet’suwet’en and other tribes from northern Canada.

              They don’t so much as practice the old ways as they are open to re-learning them. (There is vast resistance to re-learning such things in the general population.)

      • when I was very young (yes my memory is that good) I used to watch my dad smoking and think—that is a very stupid thing to do. Somehow I knew even then that it was death on a stick. The medical profession, with all their expertise mostly said otherwise.

        Same with the other kids who used to puff away behind the bike sheds—idiots I thought.
        That was my choice, I could never be persuaded to have even a single puff…ever.

        Then I grew up, and started buying cars. I had to have a car—job, girlfriend then family…and so on.

        I also knew oil use was somehow not a good idea—just like cigarettes. I just didn’t believe the ‘forever’ bit.
        But there are some aspects of life you just have to get on with, so like everyone else, I became an oil consumer.

        There were very few opportunities for hermits back then—the only alternative.

        If the oil companies had printed warnings on the pumps like they now do on cig packets—does anyone seriously imagine that consumers would have slowed down or stopped?

        Of course not. We have locked ourselves into oil use. If we stop, we die. If we go on we are likely to die. Interesting choice there.

        The existence of all of us is oil critical. There are no alternatives. The fantasies about pulling this or that from the air or seawater are just—fantasies.


        Because to carry out all these fantastical schemes requires an industrial infrastructure.

        The only one we have is oil-driven. All these ideas are as yet uninvented, and without modern industry, we will not have the industrial clout to bring them to usable viability–(as opposed to laboratory wheezes)

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “Because to carry out all these fantastical schemes requires an industrial infrastructure.”

          Last I looked, we have one. If we got started on power satellites within the next ten years, the infrastructure and oil will last until it is being replaced by synthetic fuel.

          Of course, that does require recognizing we have a problem and doing something about it. But it need not be western countries.

          • humankind obeys the same laws of physics as all moving bodies

            when in motion they do not change direction until forced to do so by a stronger force moving in the opposite direction

            (or something along those lines)

            • TIm Groves says:

              I like your analogy ver much, Norman.

              Motivated by a well aimed cue, or jostled by one of our fellow balls, we zoom around like billiard balls on the snooker table of life, until one day we disappear into a pocket.


      • Sheila chambers says:

        They/we aren’t stopping because the/we cannot.
        We are now totally DEPENDENT upon these fossil RESOURCES.
        We & they know that we have no other option, there are simply too many of us, may as well demand we all stop breathing to reduce C02 emissions.
        In time, there will be billions of us who will stop breathing, see, C02 delema SOLVED!

  26. SuperTramp says:

    A prime example of what I pointed out recently…
    “Trump administration opens up Minnesota wilderness area to copper mining
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Interior Department on Wednesday renewed two long-mothballed leases near the Boundary Waters Wilderness area in Minnesota, a key step in opening up the popular wilderness and recreation area to copper mining despite heavy opposition from local and national conservation groups.
    The department’s Bureau of Land Management granted the hardrock mineral leases inside the Superior National Forest to Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, a subsidiary of Chile’s Antofagasta, with the aim of expanding domestic mining of “critical minerals” used in common appliances and products, saying it is beneficial to national security because it reduces foreign imports.”
    Nothing is protected from BAU…NOTHING…by a stroke of a pen it’s gobbled up to feed the FULL
    THROTTLE, pedal to the metal, whatever it takes, flat out pace we need to keep it from collapsing.
    Oh , another bites the dust…great going Donald!
    …”The Obama administration in 2016 had implemented a moratorium on new mineral development in the area while it would conduct an extensive environmental impact statement (EIS) analysis to determine whether 234,000 acres of the watershed around Boundary Waters should be withdrawn from mining for up to 20 years.
    But after President Donald Trump took office in 2017, he reversed course, cancelling the EIS in favor of a less-demanding and faster environmental assessment last January.
    The BLM said it got more than 39,000 comments during the 41 day EA review, which informed its decision, although the majority of those comments were in opposition to allowing mining..
    The site attracts more visitors than any other U.S. wilderness area.”

    By Valerie VolcoviciWASHINGTON (Reuters)

    • If we don’t exploit our own resources, we have more international trade, also using quite a bit of fossil fuels as well as ramping up the economies of the countries we import from. The CO2 effect of importing resources is likely greater.

      If we expect to have goods and services, we need to be a able to provide them for ourselves.

  27. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Iran is on the “cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy”, an Iranian military commander has claimed, as sabre-rattling between Washington and Tehran intensified.”

  28. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Global luxury home prices stagnated in the first quarter of 2019, rising a meager 1.3% across 45 of the world’s priciest housing markets, according to a quarterly index released Wednesday from brokerage Knight Frank. 

    “It marked the slowest annual price growth the index has recorded since 2009, when world markets were in the throes of the financial crisis. Cooling home prices have largely been the byproduct of broad economic skittishness paired with a slew of local governmental reforms.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “In Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada, house prices fell 0.4% in April from March, the ninth month in a row of month-to-month declines, according to the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index. The index is down 4.7% from the peak in July 2018, the sharpest nine-month decline since July 2009. And it’s down 2.8% from April last year. One of the most splendid housing bubbles in the world is now deflating before our very eyes…”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The British Columbia government commissioned independent investigator Peter German to produce a report on the role of laundered criminal money in the province’s white-hot real-estate bubble, centred on the city of Vancouver; German’s report found that last year alone, CAD7b was laundered through BC, with much of that money going into property (as well as luxury cars and casino gambling).”

      • Evidently their oil sands area is not as booming as in the past. Housing prices were ridiculous at one point. What goes up has a tendency to come back down.

      • Jan Steinman says:

        In Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada, house prices fell 0.4% in April from March, the ninth month in a row of month-to-month declines

        I would not take this as any sort of generalized indicator of the economy.

        Vancouver has had one of the hottest housing markets in the world, to the point that both foreign-ownership taxes and vacant housing taxes have been imposed. Plus, a recent commission has found that housing has been used to launder billions of dollars of crooked money.

        So the recent housing declines are part over-due correction, and part government control — not an indicator that even the hot Vancouver employment market is faltering.

    • What really pumps up mansion prices is falling interest rates. Interest rates weren’t generally falling in the first quarter, so I am sure that that contributed to the lack of growth in prices. The cut-off in purchases from foreigners has come from two directions: taxes such as ones Vancouver has on homes bought by foreigners, and capital controls of China (and perhaps other countries), I expect.

      The real market for homes today is young people with modest incomes. They would like inexpensive homes, not mansions. In the US, it seems like builders are mostly interested in building higher-priced homes, perhaps because of the high fixed costs associated with building (for example, fees that governments charge regarding need for new roads, schools, etc.).

  29. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Huawei has hit back at the Trump administration after it declared a national emergency to ban technology from “foreign adversaries” and subjected the Chinese telecommunications company to strict export controls.

    “An executive order issued by the US president, Donald Trump, on Wednesday declared a national economic emergency that empowers the government to ban the technology and services of “foreign adversaries” deemed to pose “unacceptable risks” to national security, including from cyber-espionage and sabotage.”

  30. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The yield curve isn’t the only sign recession is coming. Rising corporate misconduct says the same. Business scandals seem to peak at the end of every growth cycle. I think that’s because CEOs are human, and humans get overconfident when everything is going well.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Serious auto-loan delinquencies – 90 days or more past due – jumped to 4.69% of outstanding auto loans and leases in the first quarter of 2019, according to New York Fed data. This put the auto-loan delinquency rate at the highest level since Q4 2010 and merely 58 basis points below the peak during the Great Recession in Q4 2010 (5.27%). These souring auto loans are going to impact banks and specialized lenders and the real economy…”

      • I think that part of the problem relates to prices of cars rising faster than wages of typical workers. These higher prices are partly because of mandated increased efficiency and partly because of new features (backup cameras, better bumpers, audio equipment, air conditioning, anti-lock breaks, etc.) CPI calculations say that the prices are close to flat, considering the additional features. But if buyers can’t really afford the new features, the higher cost is a problem.

        In some ways, this reminds me of the healthcare system. The cost keeps going up because the healthcare system finds more tests and more higher-cost treatments that are supposedly, in some marginal way, a little better than the previous approach. Buyers cannot really afford the higher-cost treatments. I was reminded of this when I recently heard about a 9 ounce premature baby that doctors were trying to save. This is a way to spend lots of the healthcare system’s money and fairly often ends up with an adult with problems. I would wonder if a female child, raised to maturity from being extra small, would have an elevated possibility of giving birth to another extra small child in the next generation as well.

  31. Under Flowerpot says:

    The assertion to reduce meat-intake needs to be analyzed independently. The imperatives of the civilized food chain to 1) market agriculture products as healthy (for digestion and biosphere) or 2) market skipped procedure steps (for digestion and biosphere) as sustainable, overshadows whats going on with sun-to-gut energy paths.

    Peter Ballerstedt, PhD. Forage Agronomist. Argues directly and forcefully with the assertions and narratives about reducing meat-intake by increasing plant-intake. Gail, he desires and seeks engagement.
    (One of his slides has a calculation error redacted in the comments, approx 28:30)

    The energy which plants receive when it comes to positive or negative nutrition is about comparative gut-biomes and not about which vertebrates ingest vertebrates. This requires a bottom-up energy balance across gut performance. For those unaware, one of the observations about the obesity epidemic encompassing the world can be phrased as “fat people are fat because they are starving”, that is, what they eat is not satisfying what their organism requires but their organism is evolutionarily programmed to transform the accessible or affordable or addictive unneeded input into fat.

    As a stark example of comparative gut performance, the quantity of feed supplied to a RUMINANT versus same the quantity of feed supplied to a human omnivore are not equivalent. No vertebrate other than a RUMINANT can ingest grass. The earth is covered with lots of grasslands and only a ruminant can ingest the stuff and the grasslands need the ruminants to survive. The carbon cycle between grass and ruminant is rather incredible.

    None of the above is at odds with Gail’s analyses, rather, civilized agriculture and debt-burden require us to feel stress and keep eating cheap non-sustaining food multiple times a day. Much changes if we all had a lifestyle permitting a sustaining, satisfying, single meal a day.

    • Jan Steinman says:

      No vertebrate other than a RUMINANT can ingest grass.

      There are lots of non-ruminant grass eating vertebrates out there! Camelids, equines, lagomorphs, brantas, ailuropoda, and many more families and genera subsist on grass.

      I’m not quite sure what point you’re trying to make with the rest of your comment.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “Much changes if we all had a lifestyle permitting a sustaining, satisfying, single meal a day.”

      I like eating about 5 small meals per day…

      I find that more enjoyable… and enjoying food is perhaps the second best thing in life…

      grilled red meat is one of the best… especially meat with a high proportion of fat…

      (just to say, I’m a decently low weight for my average height…)

      dark chocolate… yum! lately, it’s been more chocolate cake… yum!

      carbs, sweets, meats…

      so what if I die a few years sooner?

      The Bottleneck is coming and 99% of us are doomed!

      well… 100%, but please don’t tell anyone!

      as the Wise Man on the mountaintop said:

      eat whatever…

      • adonis says:

        we will be starving to death in thenear future soeat anything i say being obese may get u thru the bottleneck or worst case scenario on the menu

        • neil riley says:

          Indeed. The obese will still be here long after the fit and athletic have lost the race.

    • neil riley says:

      Wrong. The horse is not a ruminant.

      • TIm Groves says:

        Two ruminants—a sheep and a goat—were chewing the cud in a bar.
        It was a salad bar.

        Said the sheep to the goat, “why is it that some grass eaters such as cows, deer and giraffes are ruminants and others such as as horses and camels aren’t?”

        “Oh, that’s a difficult question,” replied the goat. “I’ll have to chew that over. Pass me another carrot!”

        After ruminating on the subject for a few minutes, the Goat’s eyes lit up, and he declared triumphantly to the sheep, “I’ve got it! The reason why some grass eaters aren’t ruminants is because they haven’t got the stomach for it!”

        • Sheila chambers says:

          Ha ha ha, right, their REAR GUT FERMENTORS, less efficient that ruminants who ferment their chew in a multichambered stomach which is more efficient. That’s why horses need a more nutritious fodder than cows, sheep or goats.
          A large horse can plow faster than a ox but a ox is easier to feed, it’s hardier & easier to eat in the end.
          In my area, if we survive the bottle neck, I expect there will be oxen hauling the plow not a horse, we have poor fodder here because of all our RAIN.

          • Tsubion says:

            All the four legged creatures will be dead and eaten by then.

            Some two legged ones too.

    • Humans seem to be able to adapt to a fairly wide range of diets.

      In very warm climates, the usual pattern seems to be to eat mostly plant food, with only a little animal products. Near the sea and rivers, fish are eaten too. When plant food is available year around, storage never becomes an issue.

      As climates get cooler, it becomes ever more difficult to get enough plant food. In fact, the return on human labor seems to be high enough to justify adding quite a bit of animal products to the diet. Animals and their products don’t present the same storage problem that plant foods have. They can be killed as needed, or milk and eggs can be obtained as needed.

      Now we have industrial agriculture. Producers can add more beef by providing grain-fed cattle and using lots of antibiotics. Other animals can also be grown in close quarters with lots of antibiotics. Any pesticides used in grain-growing concentrate up in the meats and diary products. All these changes make the food that is produced have more questionable characteristics.

      Part of my reduced use of meat has to do with the US industrial agricultural system. I buy cheese from Europe, hoping that it has a higher chance of being from grass fed cows. I buy lamb (for flavoring in soups) from Australia, hoping that it has a chance of being from grass fed animals, with less pesticide use.

      I have also discovered that eating a lot of produce and a reduced amount of meat/dairy seems to have health benefits, at least in middle age. My impression is

      (1) At a young age, more meat, eggs and dairy produces bigger, taller children. (Adding lots of sweets and fruit juice produces plumper children.) In hand-to-hand combat, being bigger than a competitor is helpful. But being taller also tends to have drawbacks, such as more back problems for very tall men. I don’t know what impact a change of diets has on intelligence; clearly having wealthier parents changes both diet and parenting, and it is hard to separate these in studies.

      (2) Once we reach adult age, we don’t have a need for as much meat, eggs, and diary products. We never have a need for lots of sweets and highly processed food. People (especially men) who eat more vegetable products and less meat and dairy and sweets seem to have better health outcomes, and less chance of death. Exercise helps, too.

      (3) In people over age 65, underweight is as much of a risk as overweight for higher risk of death. (For example, see this Japanese study. Also, this American study.) The strategy may need to change again, slightly.

      • Jan Steinman says:

        Part of my reduced use of meat has to do with the US industrial agricultural system. I buy cheese from Europe, hoping that it has a higher chance of being from grass fed cows. I buy lamb (for flavoring in soups) from Australia, hoping that it has a chance of being from grass fed animals, with less pesticide use.

        Surely, Atlanta has farmers markets, no?

        I think they are the best bet for getting healthy food. If nothing else, you can actually talk to the producer. “Is this cheese from grazed animals?” “Do you use pesticides or artificial fertilizers?” etc.

        Most farmers will answer such questions quickly and accurately, without hemming or hawing. If they start out with, “Well, pesticides aren’t really that bad for you,” just move on to the next one.

        Or perhaps I’m just spoiled by our local farmers market, where 99% of the food is produced in a low-impact manner.

        • I looked up to see were there are farmers’ markets near me. The closest one that seems to have cheese in addition to vegetables seems to be the Marietta Farmers Market, which is open on Saturday mornings from 9:00 – 12:00. It is about 8 miles away. I may check it out sometime. Thanks for the idea.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            … the Marietta Farmers Market, which is open on Saturday mornings from 9:00 – 12:00. It is about 5 miles away. I may check it out sometime.

            In some future scenarios, having a relationship with a grower may determine if you get to eat or not!

            Some have the impression that farmers markets are expensive. Our Tuesday Market association purchased a shopping cart of food of comparable quality from both the local grocer, and from the farmers market. The cost was essentially the same.

            The key is of comparable quality. Supermarkets can beat farmers markets on highly-processed food made from corn, soy, wheat, and sugar — the high-calorie, low-nutrition crap you find in the “centre aisles” of the supermarket.

            But the farmers markets are more likely to have higher-quality food, comparable to that found in the organic section of the supermarket, although many small producers cannot afford the time and money it takes to be “certified organic.”

            Gail, I’d be interested to find out what your experience with the Marietta Farmers Market is like.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      “…one of the observations about the obesity epidemic encompassing the world can be phrased as “fat people are fat because they are starving”, that is, what they eat is not satisfying what their organism requires…”

      That seems rather obvious. Think of it this way; let’s suppose someone got hooked on eating cream filled chocolate eclairs. That person would get heavier and heavier yet feel sick all the time. Lots of nutrition in a salad. It’s not that hard to eat. The trouble with the US at this point is everything is about cheese and meat. There are ads now running on TV that show people walking with a pizza box like they just discovered gold. No, it’s not a healthy food. Sure, sometimes but not exclusively anymore than a chocolate éclair.

      • I wonder if the trend toward single living and couples with two wage earners is fueling the obesity epidemic.

        Instead of “Mom” cooking healthy food at home for the family, the time stretched family opts for fast food or meals that can be prepared from mostly-prepared items on the center isles of grocery stores. Singles feel like the time put into cooking isn’t worth the bother either, especially when they end up eating the same thing for a week straight.

        I don’t think that the trend toward “energy dense” rather than “nutrient dense” cooking is helping either. Fast food places want people to feel like they are getting a lot for their money. They may get a lot of calories, but nutrient-wise, they are not getting much.

  32. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Anti-immigrant parties, often with roots in fascist and neo-Nazi organisations, have encroached on the mainstream in pretty much every European country. Ultra-nationalists are the main opposition in Germany; in Austria they are in coalition government. Democracy in Poland and Hungary has been twisted out of shape by authoritarian regimes that suffocate political opposition, vilify dissent and foment racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and antisemitism.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini sent ripples through financial markets on Tuesday, saying Italy could be ready to break European Union fiscal rules, on the same day his coalition partner called on him to stop “fanning the flames” with critical comments about the government.

      ““If we need to break some limits, like the 3% or the 130-140%, we’ll go ahead,” League party chief Salvini told reporters in Verona…”

    • Sheila chambers says:

      I suspect the working class sees all those immigrants as competitors for limited jobs & housing & their right. More people = lower wages, higher rents, higher food prices, higher utility costs, more gridlock & a lower quality of life.
      The wealthy politicians live away from all that in nice, clean, gated communities, “they” don’t have to breath dirty air, struggle to find work, pay the rent or buy food, they have no idea how the working class struggles to exist & many don’t care.
      It’s the immigrant that pays the price for worker anger over immigration not the politicians who allowed open borders & unlimited immigration, they need GROWTH to profit, who cares if it hurts their working class, their EXPENDABLE!

  33. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The current narrative is that the US economy is buzzing. No major indicator is flashing red. However, by looking at major indicators in aggregate a clear peak can be made out in October 2018 and we are on a downward trend.”

  34. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Argentina’s hope of fast-tracking production from its vast Vaca Muerta shale play, the world’s second largest by output, could be delayed as the country adapts to recession. Last year, Argentina was forced to seek a $57bn bailout package from the IMF — the largest-ever sum issued by the fund — after the peso lost over 60pc of its value and inflation surged.”

    • Harry Mcgibbs says:

      “Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December vowing to revive state-owned energy company Pemex and put the brakes on foreign investment to give the public a bigger cut of the country’s oil wealth. The leftist oil nationalist’s ambitions include building a new $8 billion refinery, refurbishing existing refineries and reversing a steady decline in crude production.

      “The problem is that such expensive plans – for the world’s most indebted oil company – have alarmed credit rating agencies, which are threatening to downgrade Pemex bonds to “junk” status. A downgrade could cripple the president’s bold energy agenda, along with his plans to use new oil revenue to help finance social welfare programs. It could also imperil Mexico’s sovereign creditworthiness.”

  35. kesar0 says:

    Despite the increase in spending on new oil projects, “today’s investment trends are misaligned with where the world appears to be heading,” the IEA said. “Notably, approvals of new conventional oil and gas projects fall short of what would be needed to meet continued robust demand growth.”

    • Or perhaps IEA’s goals are not aligned with reality.

    • Sven Røgeberg says:

      In the same article about the forecasts from IEA:
      «But in the next breath, the IEA warned that the world is on an unsustainable path in terms of carbon emissions. “There are few signs in the data of a major reallocation of capital required to bring investment in line with the Paris Agreement and other sustainable development goals,” the agency said. “Even as costs fall in some areas, investment activity in low-carbon supply and demand is stalling, in part due to insufficient policy focus to address persistent risks.”

      These goals are at odds with each other – investing in new sources of oil and gas to ensure supply growth for years to come, while at the same time reallocating capital to renewable energy to accelerate an energy transition away from fossil fuels.

      In fact, the IEA acknowledges as much. Despite oil and gas spending standing at a fraction of pre-2014 levels, the agency said that spending on fossil fuels “would need to taper further to be consistent with” the Paris Climate Agreement. “However, investment levels fall well short of what would be needed in a world of continued strong oil demand.”

      In other words, on a business-as-usual trajectory, the world could find itself short on oil in the next decade absent a major increase in spending on developing new reserves. However, if there is any hope of reaching climate goals, spending on oil, gas and coal needs to fall. It’s largely a zero-sum equation, one that many governments have failed to reckon with.»

      • The other detail is that the renewables don’t really work, without a huge amount more spending on battery backup and transmission. In fact, they also don’t work with the huge amount of spending on battery backup and transmission, because then they are using as much or more fossil fuels than before, and they are terribly expensive.

        We don’t really have a fix, no matter what IEA claims. It is not just “insufficient policy focus.”

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “We don’t really have a fix”

          Yep. Due to scale, there are not many potential fixes either. SBSP, nuclear reactors, possibly molten salt reactors, StratoSolar maybe. I don’t understand but for some reason, people will not work the math.

          • doomphd says:

            David Goodstein did the math in his book, published in 2004. “To make up for the coming depletion [of fossil fuels, oil in particular], a one gigawatt nuclear power plant needs to be built every day for the next 30 years”. Of course, that will not happen.


            • hkeithhenson says:

              “a one-gigawatt nuclear power plant needs to be built every day for the next 30 years”

              That sounds about right. The SBSP proposed business plan constructs around 1500 GW per year of power satellites for at least ten years.

            • Sheila chambers says:

              I think what people continue to overlook is that oil is not just a “fuel”, it’s an essential RESOURCE!
              It supports every aspect of our lives from the food we eat to the cloths we wear & electricity, no matter how it’s generated, produces NO RESOURCES & it’s RESOURCES not just electricity we will come up short on soon.
              I think I’m going to need to post more links to this site.

            • i keep banging away at the weird idea that somehow “renewables” are going to let us have BAU with only minor inconveniences

              it just isn’t going to be like that

              David Mackay’s book:


              is the best source, free to download

            • This Sustainable Energy seems to be fairly narrow in scope. It is looking at replacing energy for heating in the UK without using fossil fuels. He seems to conclude that air source heat pumps and inter-seasonal heat transfer are the way to go. Somehow, these can replace fossil fuels, perhaps with the assistance of greater availability of electricity.

              First, there needs to be a whole system in place, in order to have air source heat pumps. Electric transmission lines will be needed; industry and international trade are needed. An international financial system is needed. Transportation is needed.

              Second, it is not clear where all of the electricity for this system will come from. This is simply a way of trying to use the electricity that the UK has, efficiently.

              David Mackay was a clear thinker, but he died in 2016 from cancer at age 48. His writings have not been updated to reflect what we have been learning since 2016 on the impracticalities of renewables. And they don’t seem to address more than a fraction of the problem, in one particular small area of the world.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “David Mackay’s book: is the best source, free to download”

              I corresponded with David MacKay for 5 years. One of the brightest people I ever ran into, an utter shame when cancer got him at a young age.


              “I dismissed that idea on the grounds that “the advantage of space over the deserts of Libya and Nevada as a location for solar panels is only roughly a factor of 4, and surely that’s outweighed by the difficulty and cost of getting panels (and associated power-re-transmission systems) into space, compared with just plopping them on the ground in a desert?” However, Keith Henson has for some time been working out the details of a scheme that might prove me wrong.”

              Worth reading if you appreciate Dave MacKay.

            • great that you knew David Mackay

              we went to one of his lectures once—, basically the one on youtube now
              I saw an article about him that called him the cleverest man in Britain, which I could only agree with

              a truly staggering intellect

              A real loss to everyone that he died so young

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “cleverest man in Britain”

              His main characteristic was objectively evaluating proposals in the light of physics and economics, something I do my best to emulate. In all the cases he looked at, sustainable (renewable) energy just didn’t make sense–for some of the same reasons Gail find that it comes up short.

              But MacKay found that power satellites (as I had proposed them) didn’t have the obvious problems of other energy sources and *might* be a solution. His saying this meant a lot to me.

            • it must have been a great encouragement when David Mackay said that about your thinking.

              However, I still see the problem as one of materials as much as energy—-it isn’t possible to make synthetic everything

              And we seem to be about to run out of most things.

              Wheels do not create wealth—wealth allows you to have wheels. That is something that most people simply cannot grasp. (As long as I can drive to work/shops, all will be well.)
              you can have a primary industrial infrastructure with energy production as a supporting activity.

              What you can’t have is energy production as the primary infrastructure, with industry as a supporting activity.

              If when copper or phosphates become critical, the disruption to our existence will become critical

              Also—no matter how much power is delivered, we cannot run an infrastructure based on universal mobility outside a fossil fuel based environment.

              And as far as I can see, reserving mineral oils for uses other than transport would make it too expensive to use at all—our economic system is based on cheap surplus oil
              the reason it’s cracking up is that we have no cheap surplus oil left

              Oil is the one commodity that fuels its own usage.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “-it isn’t possible to make synthetic everything”

              That’s true or close enough. Indium would be very useful if it could be made, but nuclear changes are too difficult. But take any organic chemical you like, and it can be made from CO2, water and other elements.

              “What you can’t have is energy production as the primary infrastructure, with industry as a supporting activity.”

              Why not? MacKay didn’t have a problem with this.

              “If when copper or phosphates become critical, the disruption to our existence will become critical”

              Aluminum can be substituted for copper. For a lot of uses, it already is. And there is no lack of aluminum in the crust. Phosphates *are* a problem. Eventually, they will have to be sorted out of the sewage and sent back to the farms. This will take a great deal of energy, but that problem has to be solved anyway.

              “Also—no matter how much power is delivered, we cannot run an infrastructure based on universal mobility outside a fossil fuel based environment.”

              That’s not the case. Besides the obvious, such as electric trains and battery powered local delivery, you can *make* all the hydrocarbon fuel you want from water and CO2. This is already done on a large scale making diesel from natural gas via H2 and carbon monoxide. It’s straightforward and well-understood chemistry. I am not the only one who has looked into this; there is a discussion on the subject at

              “Oil is the one commodity that fuels its own usage.”

              The cost of synthetic hydrocarbons per bbl is 2 MWh of power and a capital cost of around $10/bbl. At $30/MWh, the cost of a bbl of synthetic fuel would be $70. We can afford that.

            • the main thread of your comment is debatable—either way

              but the affordability of fuel I think you see in today’s terms–$70 bbl

              But that $70 is underpinned by today’s infrastructure—in a future where we are involved in making our energy, as a prime activity, that $70 is likely to be 3-4 times that in real terms

              remember our prime function has to be food production/delivery.

              We have plenty of food right now because we still have energy surpluses, we cannot pull that surplus out of the air and make food with it.

              look to countries where there are no energy surpluses and you will find empty supermarkets

            • hkeithhenson says:

              ” that $70 is likely to be 3-4 times that in real terms”

              Can’t happen. That would imply a much higher price for energy. Can’t be because if the cost is that high for power from space, we will not develop this resource. It’s a case of design to cost. If you can’t hit the cost target, the design has failed and you don’t do it.

              If the cost of power falls to 2 cents/kWh, then the cost of synthetic fuel would be $50/bbl. And at one cent it would be $30/bbl.

              “remember our prime function has to be food production/delivery. ”

              That has been front and center in my concerns for many years. Perception of a bleak future turns on psychological mechanisms that eventually takes a group of people into war. We have been wired up to take this path by evolution and have little or no choice.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              you can *make* all the hydrocarbon fuel you want from water and CO2. This is already done on a large scale making diesel from natural gas via H2 and carbon monoxide

              Uhm… “making diesel from natural gas” does not sound at all like making diesel from “water and CO2.”

              The devil’s in the details.

              For one thing, there already exists a huge natgas production/delivery infrastructure. There is no equivalent CO2 capture infrastructure, even if one could actually make diesel fuel out of CO2 and water in any practical manner.

              Them’s covalent bonds. They don’t give each other up simply or easily.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              ” “water and CO2.”

              Do you want me to spell out every detail? Or do you remember a little chemistry from long ago?

              F/T reactions take place combining high-pressure hydrogen and carbon monoxide using a catalyst. In the existing plants, those gases are made by reforming natural gas with high-temperature steam.

              A plant using electricity from space would make hydrogen from water and pull the carbon it needed out of the atmosphere.

              “There is no equivalent CO2 capture infrastructure,”

              Look up direct air capture David Keith Big test systems have been constructed at Harvard. The engineering and energy consumption is well understood. The capital cost and energy consumption is about 2% of the energy to make hydrogen so for a first pass economic analysis you can ignore them.

              “Them’s covalent bonds.”

              This is a technology that dates back to before WW II. If you have the energy to electrolyze water and make hydrogen and the simple ability to capture CO2 out of the air, you can make all the synthetic fuel you want. You do have to convert the CO2 into CO, which uses more hydrogen, but the reaction, reverse water gas shift, is done on a huge scale today. It’s one of the ways they make hydrogen for nitrogen fertilizers.

              If you want to say this will never be done, that’s ok because it might not. But please don’t make a mystery out of simple chemistry.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              please don’t make a mystery out of simple chemistry.

              Then you’ll have to refrain from painting things as simpler than they actually are. Because while you might see “A” and “Z” and imagine all the steps in-between are a simple matter, many of us are skeptical that “B” through “Y” are actually ready to roll, or that the end result will actually have a positive energy balance.

              You still haven’t shown me how “water and CO2” produces diesel fuel, instead slyly segueing into talking about natgas while berating someone who points out that natgas is not water. Yea, you can electrolyze water to produce hydrogen, but that’s not as convenient a building block as the methane that makes up most of natgas.

              Yea, with a lot of effort, energy, civilization-spanning-scale infrastructure, and productization of technology that is only in university laboratories now, you could run civilization by turning natgas into diesel fuel. But natgas is still not “water and CO2.”

              You have a serious case of “I’ve thought about it, therefore it can easily and simply scale up to civilization-spanning quantities.” I don’t see anything you’ve talked about that is ready to roll out on a planetary scale.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              reverse water gas shift, is done on a huge scale today. It’s one of the ways they make hydrogen for nitrogen fertilizers.

              Reference, please?

              Because I came up with no use whatsoever of “reverse water gas shift” for making nitrogen fertilizer. Virtually all synthetic nitrogen fertilizer comes from natgas.

              I won’t deny that some university lab somewhere has done this. But you need to come up with something better that Google does to support your “huge scale today” assertion.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “Reference, please?”

              “The Coffeyville plant started up in 2000 and, until 2016, was the newest ammonia plant in the US. It is currently the only ammonia plant in the US to use petroleum coke feedstock.”


              The Wikipedia article says there are two of them that don’t use natural gas.


              Back before natural gas was widely installed, local gas companies made town gas by heating coke and blowing steam into it. This made a mix of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

              If you really want to know about the chemistry, I can go into it at great depth.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              “Petroleum coke” is not the “water and CO2” that you allege can make diesel.

              You’ve grown pretty comfortable with cheating at arguments. You are indulging in what David Fleming describes as “shifting ground:” making an assertion, then repeatedly backing it up with unrelated examples.

              I can do the molar math to see how water and CO2 can produce long-chain hydrocarbons that average out to nonane, including how much energy it would take. That is theory. We can agree that, in theory, water and CO2 and some fairly large quantity of energy can produce something that could be combusted in a diesel engine.

              What I have yet to see from you is how that happens in practice. You’ve mentioned using natgas and using petroleum coke. You have not yet documented an actual, industrial-level practice of turning “water and CO2” into diesel fuel.

              A confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. — Göthe

            • Actually, China uses coal to make synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. It is only where natural gas is plentiful that natural gas is used.


              Nitrogenous fertilizers can be only produced through burning and reforming natural gas or by gasifying coal.

              Also China changes expected to hike fertilizer prices – May 2018

              Twenty years ago, the world laughed when China announced it was going to become self-sufficient in urea production.

              Not only did China attain that goal, it became the world’s largest urea exporter. Just a few years ago it shipped out 14 million tonnes of the product, accounting for nearly one-third of global trade.

              However, most countries have not been producing more fertilizers because they do not have low-cost natural gas and have not had access – up to this moment – to the technology to cleanly transform its coal reserves into urea.

              TransGas develops projects that employ German gasification technology to allow countries to utilize their coal reserves as feedstock to produce urea of the highest international quality standards in a clean and extremely cost-effective manner.

              But a lot of China’s urea production plants are coal-fired and a government crackdown on pollution, including the elimination of subsidies, is forcing some fertilizer plants to temporarilyidle production or shut down altogether.

              A country that was once the lowest cost producer of urea has become the highest cost producer and the highest priced market for urea in the world, said Frost in a webcast of his presentation.

              China’s annual exports have plummeted to two to three million tonnes and he doesn’t see them recovering from that level.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “Nitrogenous fertilizers can be only produced”

              You can also make them using electrolytic hydrogen from water. Right now that’s not the best use of electric power, but if power got cheap enough it would make economic sense.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              You can also make them using electrolytic hydrogen from water.

              Perhaps in theory, but when asked for documentation for this fallacious claim, all you’ve come up with is natgas and petroleum coke as feedstocks.

              Repeating a falsehood over and oven does not make it true.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “fallacious claim”

              I am sorry that you never electrolyzed water in a grade school science class or you would know what I said was true. But beyond that, hydrogen _was_ made from water and used to make ammonia on an industrial scale.


              “As a result, Norsk Hydro became the heavy water supplier for the world’s scientific community, as a by-product of fertilizer production, for which the ammonia was used.”


              “By the 1920s, Norsk Hydro’s electric arc-based technology for manufacturing artificial fertilizer was no longer able to compete with the newly developed Haber-Bosch process, and in 1927 the company formed a partnership with the German company IG Farben in order to gain access to this process.”

            • Jan Steinman says:

              I am sorry that you never electrolyzed water in a grade school science class or you would know what I said was true.

              I’m sorry that, not only can you not come up with a single contemporaneous industrial example of making diesel fuel from “water and CO2,” but I’m more sorry that you simply can’t admit that you were talking through your hat, and that all the examples you provided depend on fossil sunlight.

              hydrogen was made from water and used to make ammonia on an industrial scale.

              What, gave up on future-tense verbs, and decided to switch to past-tense verbs?

              Norsk Hydro’s electric arc-based technology for manufacturing artificial fertilizer was no longer able to compete with the newly developed Haber-Bosch process

              There you go.

              I know you claim your satellites can make electricity for two cents a kilowatt-hour. But you’re going to have to do better than that, because that is what electricity cost when Norsk Hydro said electrolysed ammonia was not cost-competitive with natgas.

              I don’t have a problem with dreamers. I certainly don’t have a problem with people who cite past examples as a possible future. I just get annoyed when someone talks about the future or the past as though they exist right now.

              It’s going to be a tough journey — either to your techno-cornucopian future, or to my low-energy past. Trivializing either doesn’t win people over.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “contemporaneous industrial example of making diesel fuel from “water and CO2,” ”

              Of course not. This is a solution for when we have vast amounts of cheap electrical power and it makes economic sense to convert some of that energy to liquid fuels.

              To find lab/pilot scale examples, put “diesel from water and CO2” in Google or substitute jet fuel for diesel and see what you get. Here is one of them.

              “The first step in the process involves harnessing renewable energy through solar, wind or hydropower. This energy is then used to heat water to temperatures in excess of 800oC (1472oF). The steam is then broken down into oxygen and hydrogen through high temperature electrolysis, a process where an electric current is passed through a solution.

              “The hydrogen is then removed and mixed with carbon monoxide under high heat and pressure, creating a hydrocarbon product they’re calling “blue crude.” Sunfire claim that the synthetic fuel is not only more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel, but that the efficiency of the overall process—from renewable power to liquid hydrocarbon—is very high at around 70%.”


              “two cents a kilowatt-hour

              Two cents would require an installed cost for power satellites of about $1600/kW. Might get down that low, but the best I now think possible is around 3 cents per kWh.

              ” because that is what electricity cost when Norsk Hydro said electrolyzed ammonia was not cost-competitive with natgas.”

              Do you have a source for what the power cost Norsk Hydro? It seems unlikely to be as high as 2 cents/kWh because the hydropower they were using was very low cost. Also, before WW II, I don’t think natural gas in Norway was an option for making hydrogen.

              “someone talks about the future or the past as though they exist right now.”

              Past, present or future, the chemistry is the same. All the pieces needed to make synthetic fuel exist, all have been deployed at scale. The only thing needed for this to become a huge industrial operation is the low-cost power.

              “Trivializing either”

              The whole project is not trivial. Involves an increase in the aerospace sector that has not been seen since WW II and developing robots/teleoperators since humans can’t work in the required places is space. But making synthetic fuel from electric power, that is (by comparison) trivial.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              Nitrogenous fertilizers can be only produced through burning and reforming natural gas or by gasifying coal.

              I would argue for the word “synthesized” rather than “produced.”

              Many natural processes can produce nitrogenous fertilizers, although arguably not in vast enough quantities to feed our current population.

              Human excreta produces a considerable amount of bioavailable nitrogen, albeit with a high “yuk factor” for most industrialized nation residents. In theory, the amount of plant nutrients present in human excreta equals the amount needed by the next generation of food crops. But as they say, the devil’s in the details. Some of them are applied to the wrong plants (weeds), some are leached out into water courses, bio-available nitrogen exposed to sunlight can re-form into noble N3, which is not bioavailable.

              The survivors of the coming bottleneck event may well be the ones who understand and employ human excreta to grow food.

            • TIm Groves says:

              I would argue for the word “synthesized” rather than “produced.”

              Yes, Jan, you are allowed to argue that.

              Just for fun, I put “synthesize Nitrogenous fertilizers” into a Google search box and got 5 hits. Then I put “produce Nitrogenous fertilizers” into the same box and got just over 500 hits.

              Similarly “nitrogenous fertilizer synthesis” got 4 hits while “nitrogenous fertilizer synthesis” got 19,500 hits.

              So you would be arguing against vox populi there.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              you would be arguing against vox populi there

              Why, thank you! I didn’t think I’d ever hear you pay me such a compliment! 🙂

              (If vox populi got us into this mess, surely they will get us out!)

              (BTW: “nature” is “producing” more nitrogen fertilizer than industrial processes of any sort produces. How would you clarify that essential difference?)

            • TIm Groves says:

              Sorry!!! That should have read “nitrogenous fertilizer production” got 19,500 hits.

            • TIm Groves says:

              BTW: “nature” is “producing” more nitrogen fertilizer than industrial processes of any sort produces. How would you clarify that essential difference?

              I see your point. “Synthesizing” does it admirably.

              “Fertilizer manufacturing” also gets a lot of hits, but I personally don’t particularly like that turn of phrase because it is not really a “hands on” process like making widgets.

              On the other hand, I can’t see the the fertilizer production (or manufacturing) industry referring to themselves as the fertilizer synthesis industry any time soon.

        • artleads says:

          I’m saying simple coal mining technology for regional supply might work. If you run perforated exhaust conduits over long areas of open land and cover it with carbon absorptive plants, it might be clean enough for humans. The trouble and expense would be in the new machinery and technology to replace the old ones that were thrown away. The anti-coal-at-all-costs lobby, public normalcy bias, horticultural planning, and technology costs could also be stumbling blocks.

          • where I’m sitting right now, I can see the remains of 5 local coalmines, left from 1/200 years ago. They served the local communities within a few miles radius

            Now they look like grassy hills, with trees n stuff, but the sheer size of the spoilmounds necessary to extract coal from only 60ft down is truly colossal. (100ft high) It was all burned in iron furnaces and homes.

            I dont know what the spoil rate is for every ton, but it must be x4 at least

            then it was utterly filthy— but now it’s become a country park and is rather pretty, no trace of what it used to be

            try and do the coal thing again though and you will be back to the spoil heaps

  36. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China’s economy looked to have had its growth slow sharply in April, the last month before new US trade war tariffs take effect, with both industrial production and retail sales growth posting significant declines.

    “The big picture to be gleaned from Wednesday’s data dump is that China’s economy is losing the momentum it gained in the first quarter, at a time when it is being sucked into an ever-intensifying trade war with the US. Over the past week, the world’s two largest economies have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs, as it looked like chances of a near-term trade deal – which had appeared to be growing only two weeks ago – have dwindled.

    “The weak data are also likely to rekindle the debate over whether the Chinese government needs to enact more fiscal and monetary stimulus to prop up the economy.”

  37. richard b says:

    The Chinese have read Trump’s book, the Art of the Deal.

    • I discovered when I visited China that they were reading the same nonsense from standard business publications as leaders in other parts of the world were reading.

  38. MG says:

    Why we should not fight the climate change? Because lower crops caused by the extreme weather make us deplete the resources slower. When the crops stop to grow, the population growth stops, too.

    It is the failing crops and lowering quality of the food that limit the population size. Limiting the fossil fuels use when we already have some populations that need electricity, transportation and heating fuels etc. is not possible.

    • I was just reading an article in the Economist about quite a few populations (including sub-Saharan Africa and India) wanting to eat more meat. As people eat more meat, it leads to a need for more domesticated animals, including cows that belch methane gas. Feeding the animals, and then eating them, takes a huge amount more of harvested crops than just eating the plant food directly (at least the way the US grows crops and animals). This big increase in meat eating is expected to be a major cause of global warming gases.

      Someone needs to start a campaign to reduce meat-eating around the world. This is one of the few ways we can reduce fossil fuel use. Reducing the number of meat-eating animals that are kept as pets would help as well.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “cows that belch methane gas.”

        Methane in the atmosphere is something we can fix. Ten years ago I heard Dr. Stuart Strand talk about inserting 5 genes from methane eaters into maize. The US corn crop filters the whole atmosphere a couple of times a year. A few years of this will almost eliminate the methane,

        • Chrome Mags says:

          Hk, you believe that?

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “Hk, you believe that?”

            Dr. Strand is a well-known scientist. Why should I not take his proposal to deal with methane seriously? Of course, he might be wrong, but the logic of his proposal seems reasonable.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            Hk, you believe that?

            Techno-cornucopians will believe anything that furthers their irrational view that human exceptionalism will triumph!

            While that corn is filtering out methane, Musk and Bezos will be importing it from Titan! Anything is possible, to those who “believe!”

            “Belief” is the hallmark of a religion. I prefer evidence.

            • TIm Groves says:

              Methane is natural, Jan. I thought you permaculturists loved everything natural.


              And as for preferring evidence, no you don’t, Jan. You readily accept evidence that supports your beliefs. You readily reject evidence that goes against your beliefs. Your intellect is totally subservient to these beliefs, which control your thinking and your emotions. All this is is transparent to discerning readers from the totality of the comments you make.

              And as you said, “Belief” is the hallmark of a religion. Which makes you a very religious man, Jan. Even the goat milking and the weed pulling. I expect you do that religiously.


            • Perhaps we all look for evidence that supports our beliefs.

              If we can’t find evidence that supports our beliefs, we create “models” of how the system works, and show that our beliefs are consistent with the models we have created. (Big surprise!)

            • Jan Steinman says:

              Word Press really needs a “ignore user” button.

      • Jason says:

        Every population wants to eat more meat. It taste good.