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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, 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.

Footnote:

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

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

 

 

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,529 Responses to The climate change story is half true

  1. Dennis L. says:

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

    • TIm Groves says:

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

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

      • Dennis L. says:

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

        Dennis L.

        • Jan Steinman says:

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

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

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

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

            • Jan Steinman says:

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

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

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

            • I agree about the need for medicinal herbs.

            • Aubrey Enoch says:

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

          • TIm Groves says:

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

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

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

          • Jan Steinman says:

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

            A thousand thumbs up!

            Now off to milk goats…

  2. http://davecoop.net/seneca.htm

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

    • This is the current version — Thanks

      • JeremyT says:

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

        • doomphd says:

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

          “the revolution will not be televised.”

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

          • Sheila chambers says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            • Sheila chambers says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • TIm Groves says:

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

        • Chrome Mags says:

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

          • TIm Groves says:

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

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

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

          • Sheila chambers says:

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

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

            • Sheila chambers says:

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

        • Robert Firth says:

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

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

  3. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    smallest flying sports car:

    and totally safe!

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

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

    • Rodster says:

      The Jetson’s

    • Tsubion says:

      I prefer these…

      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-17/watch-air-taxi-aimed-revolutionizing-city-travel-lift-first-time

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

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

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

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

      • Robert Firth says:

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

        • Tsubion says:

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

    • Sheila chambers says:

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

      • Tsubion says:

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

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

        36 all-electric engines

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

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

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

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

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

  4. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

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

    https://www.cnbc.com/quotes/?symbol=DE10Y-DE

    minus 0.106%

    wow… those Germans…

    so innovative!

  5. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    surprise Australian election results:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/australias-conservatives-appear-set-to-win-surprise-victory-11558186774

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

    • Why is this a surprise?

    • Tsubion says:

      I expect to see a lot more of this worldwide.

      Reality deniers will squirm and squirm.

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

      • Jan Steinman says:

        surprise Australian election results

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

        • TIm Groves says:

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

  6. adonis says:

    Read this report if you want to see what the elders were working on back in 1974 it will enlighten you as to what’s coming down the turnpike .In summary the past and present “elders” are “malthusians” and their solution to the problem is de-population. How they will do it will probably involve technology . http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:wEw6UtNboGkJ:https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/Pcaab500.pdf+informe%20kissinger%20pdf&hl=en&ct=clnk

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

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

        • Tsubion says:

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

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

      • Tsubion says:

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

        https://globalpossibilities.org/abortion-drugs-discovered-in-bill-gates-vaccines-secret-sterilization-program-discovered-in-africa/

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

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

        • TIm Groves says:

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

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

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

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

          • Robert Firth says:

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

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

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

            • Jan Steinman says:

              One such chemical contains mercury.

              Childhood vaccines no longer contain mercury.

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

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

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

            • Tsubion says:

              Jan,

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

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

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

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

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

          • Tsubion says:

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

            https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-18/panic-grips-pakistan-after-childrens-doctor-infected-over-500-hiv

            Now imagine mandatory vaccines worldwide.

            Just one crises away.

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

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

      • Tsubion says:

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

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

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

        • TIm Groves says:

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

          • Xabier says:

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

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

          • Tsubion says:

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

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

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

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

    • MG says:

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

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

      • MG says:

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

      • Tsubion says:

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

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

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

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

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

        • MG says:

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

          • Jan Steinman says:

            Ridiculous.

            I agree, but would offer a more nuanced reply.

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

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

            • MG says:

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

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

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

            • Jan Steinman says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

              End hope-mode. Off to plant squash.

            • Tsubion says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            • Jan Steinman says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Tsubion says:

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

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

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

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

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

          • Tsubion says:

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

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

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

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

            • Jan Steinman says:

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

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

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

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

  7. hkeithhenson says:

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

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

    https://www.space.com/scientists-propose-solar-system-national-park.html?fbclid=IwAR3CjqO3TQgU2YZvuc34T_C5E5LmdXIHZKhia4avB7tnrX7j7TZgQt6_1ac

    Our problems could be worse I guess.

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

      • Tsubion says:

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

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

        • Musk is his own version of virtual reality

          • TIm Groves says:

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

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

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

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

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

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

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

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

              well, that’s clear as day…

              actually, one of my favorites:

            • Xabier says:

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

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

    • Rodster says:

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

    • MG says:

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

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

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

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Works

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

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “where can we get energy for space mining?”

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

        “Our problem is not minerals, but energy.”

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

        • Tsubion says:

          Get back to work!

          Our goose is almost cooked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Tsubion says:

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

        Yeah… we’re getting desperate alright.

  8. nickreality65 says:

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

    It is neither.

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Tsubion says:

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

        I really like the sound of that.

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

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

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

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

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “Is this planet unique? ”

          Perhaps so. Try https://arxiv.org/pdf/1806.02404.pdf

          Dissolving the Fermi Paradox

          Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler and Toby Ord

          Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford UniversityJune 8, 2018

          Abstract

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

          It is a really good article.

        • AubreyEnoch says:

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

          • nope

            a wet rock is what happens

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

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

      • that explains why they let us invent roundup

    • Jan Steinman says:

      greenhouse theory that has the atmosphere warming the earth

      That isn’t how it works.

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

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

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

      • nickreality65 says:

        “trapped” is thermodynamic BS.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          “trapped” is thermodynamic BS

          Or basic physics.

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

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

        • AubreyEnoch says:

          What if we call it “increasing energy density “?

      • TIm Groves says:

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

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

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

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

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

        the atmosphere is fairly opaque to infrared

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

        • Jan Steinman says:

          you love to pontificate

          HA! Pot calling the kettle black!

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

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

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

          But you did admirably show off your google abilities.

          • TIm Groves says:

            HA! Pot calling the kettle black!

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

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

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

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

            • Jan Steinman says:

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

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

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

              See Flemming’s “Straw Man.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

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

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/how-to-predict-the-future/588040/

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

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

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

    • Great article!

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

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

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

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

      • TIm Groves says:

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

        That is a statement that is worth pondering.

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

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

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

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

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

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%80%93Ehrlich_wager

  10. Dennis L says:

    More farming:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-18/john-deere-slashes-production-amid-1980s-style-farm-crisis-collapse-midwest

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

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

    Dennis L.

    • Xabier says:

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

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