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

    • 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.

        • TIm Groves says:

          • 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.

          • Mark says:

            Good comments

          • Harry McGibbs says:
            • Mark says:

              Good to see you on the weekend Mr Mc. 🙂 I actually do believe in awg, I just don’t think it can be quantified, nor do I think it will be the jenga stick that will cause collapse. Now, who’s going to keep those cooling pools full? 😉

            • Harry McGibbs says:

              Thank you, Mark. I am being naughty and neglecting my domestic duties. Even with the fiery c c debate, the comments section of OFW is somehow calmer than the McGibbs’ household…

    • 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!

  1. 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.”

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.”

      • 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.

  5. 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.” 🙂

  6. 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.

    • 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

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