How Renewable Energy Models Can Produce Misleading Indications

The energy needs of the world’s economy seem to be easy to model. Energy consumption is measured in a variety of different ways including kilowatt hours, barrels of oil equivalent, British thermal units, kilocalories and joules. Two types of energy are equivalent if they produce the same number of units of energy, right?

For example, xkcd’s modeler Randall Munroe explains the benefit of renewable energy in the video below. He tells us that based on his model, solar, if scaled up to ridiculous levels, can provide enough renewable energy for ourselves and a half-dozen of our neighbors. Wind, if scaled up to absurd levels, can provide enough renewable energy for ourselves and a dozen of our neighbors.

There is a major catch to this analysis, however. The kinds of energy produced by wind and solar are not the kinds of energy that the economy needs. Wind and solar produce intermittent electricity available only at specific times and places. What the world economy needs is a variety of different energy types that match the energy requirements of the many devices in place in the world today. This energy needs to be transported to the right place and saved for the right time of day and the right time of year. There may even be a need to store this energy from year to year, because of possible droughts.

I think of the situation as being analogous to researchers deciding that it would be helpful or more efficient if humans could change their diets to 100% grass in the next 20 years. Grass is a form of energy product, but it is not the energy product that humans normally consume. It doesn’t seem to be toxic to humans in small quantities. It seems to grow quite well. Switching to the use of grass for food would seem to be beneficial from a CO2 perspective. The fact that humans have not evolved to eat grass is similar to the fact that the manufacturing and transport sectors of today’s economy have not developed around the use of intermittent electricity from wind and solar.

Substituting Grass for Food Might “Work,” but It Would Require Whole New Systems 

If we consider other species, we find that animals with four stomachs can, in fact, live quite well on a diet of grass. These animals often have teeth that grow continuously because the silica in grass tends to wear down their teeth. If we could just get around these little details, we might be able to make the change. We would probably need to grow extra stomachs and add continuously growing teeth. Other adjustments might also be needed, such as a smaller brain. This would especially be the case if a grass-only diet is inadequate to support today’s brain growth and activity.

The problem with nearly all energy analyses today is that they use narrow boundaries. They look at only a small piece of the problem–generally the cost (or “energy cost”) of the devices themselves–and assume that this is the only cost involved in a change. In fact, researchers need to recognize that whole new systems may be required, analogous to the extra stomachs and ever-growing teeth. The issue is sometimes described as the need to have “wide boundaries” in analyses.

If the xkcd analysis netted out the indirect energy costs of the system, including energy related to all of the newly required systems, the results of the analysis would likely change considerably. The combined ability of wind and solar to power both one’s own home and those of a dozen and a half neighbors would likely disappear. Way too much of the output of the renewable system would be used to make the equivalent of extra stomachs and ever-growing teeth for the system to work. The world economy might not work as in the past, either, if the equivalent of the brain needs to be smaller.

Is “Energy Used by a Dozen of Our Neighbors” a Proper Metric?

Before I continue with my analysis of what goes wrong in modeling intermittent renewable energy, let me say a few words about the way Munroe quantifies the outcome of his energy analysis. He talks about “energy consumed by a household and a dozen of its neighbors.” We often hear news items about how many households can be served by a new electricity provider or how many households have been taken offline by a storm. The metric used by Munroe is similar. But, does it tell us what we need to know in this case?

Our economy requires energy consumption by many types of users, including governments to make roads and schools, farmers to plant crops and manufacturers to make devices of all kinds. Leaving non-residential energy consumption out of the calculation doesn’t make much sense. (Actually, we are not quite certain what Munroe has included in his calculation. His wording suggests that he included only residential energy consumption.) In the US, my analysis indicates that residential users consume only about a third of total energy.1 The rest is consumed by businesses and governments.

If we want to adjust Munroe’s indications to include energy consumed by businesses and governments, we need to divide the indicated number of residential households provided with energy by about three. Thus, instead of the units being “Energy Consumed by a Dozen of Our Neighbors,” the units would be “Energy Consumed by Four of Our Neighbors, Including Associated Energy Use by Governments and Businesses.” The apparently huge benefit provided by wind and solar becomes much smaller when we divide by three, even before any other adjustments are made.

What Might the Indirect Costs of Wind and Solar Be? 

There are a number of indirect costs:

(1) Transmission costs are much higher than those of other types of electricity, but they are not charged back to wind and solar in most studies.

A 2014 study by the International Energy Agency indicates that transmission costs for wind are approximately three times the cost of transmission costs for coal or nuclear. The amount of excess costs tends to increase as intermittent renewables become a larger share of the total. Some of the reason for higher transmission costs for both wind and solar are the following:

(a) Disproportionately more lines need to be built for wind and solar because transmission lines need to be scaled to the maximum output, rather than the average output. Wind output is typically available 25% to 35% of the time; solar is typically available 10% to 25% of the time.

(b) There tend to be longer distances between where renewable energy is captured and where it is consumed, compared to traditional generation.

(c) Renewable electricity is not created in a fossil fuel power plant, with the same controls over the many aspects of grid electricity. The transmission system must therefore make corrections which would not be needed for other types of electricity.

(2) With increased long distance electricity transmission, there is a need for increased maintenance of transmission lines. If this is not performed adequately, fires are likely, especially in dry, windy areas.

There is recent evidence that inadequate maintenance of transmission lines is a major fire hazard.

In California, inadequate electricity line maintenance has led to the bankruptcy of the Northern California utility PG&E. In recent weeks, PG&E has initiated two preventative cut-offs of power, one affecting as many as two million individuals.

The Texas Wildfire Mitigation Project reports, “Power lines have caused more than 4,000 wildfires in Texas in the past three and a half years.”

Venezuela has a long distance transmission line from its major hydroelectric plant to Caracas. One of the outages experienced in that country seems to be related to fires close to this transmission line.

There are things that can be done to prevent these fires, such as burying the lines underground. Even using insulated wire, instead of ordinary transmission wire, seems to help. But any solution has a cost involved. These costs need to be recognized in modeling the indirect cost of adding a huge amount of renewables.

(3) A huge investment in charging stations will be needed, if anyone other than the very wealthy are to use electric vehicles.

Clearly, the wealthy can afford electric vehicles. They generally have garages with connections to electrical power. With this arrangement, they can easily charge a vehicle that is powered by electricity when it is convenient.

The catch is that the less wealthy often do not have similar opportunities for charging electric vehicles. They also cannot afford to spend hours waiting for their vehicles to charge. They will need inexpensive rapid-charging stations, located in many, many places, if electric vehicles are to be a suitable choice. The cost of rapid-charging will likely need to include a fee for road maintenance, since this is one of the costs that today is included in fuel prices.

(4) Intermittency adds a very substantial layer of costs. 

A common belief is that intermittency can be handled by rather small changes, such as time-of-day pricing, smart grids and cutting off power to a few selected industrial customers if there isn’t enough electricity to go around. This belief is more or less true if the system is basically a fossil fuel and nuclear system, with a small percentage of renewables. The situation changes as more intermittent renewables are added.

Once more than a small percentage of solar is added to the electric grid, batteries are needed to smooth out the rapid transition that occurs at the end of the day when workers are returning home and would like to eat their dinners, even though the sun has set. There are also problems with electricity from wind cutting off during storms; batteries can help smooth out these transitions.

There are also longer-term problems. Major storms can disrupt electricity for several days, at any time of the year. For this reason, if a system is to run on renewables alone, it would be desirable to have battery backup for at least three days. In the short video below, Bill Gates expresses dismay at the idea of trying to provide a three-day battery backup for the quantity of electricity used by the city of Tokyo.

We do not at this point have nearly enough batteries to provide a three-day battery backup for the world’s electricity supply. If the world economy is to run on renewables, electricity consumption would need to rise from today’s level, making it even more difficult to store a three-day supply.

A much more difficult problem than three-day storage of electricity is the need for seasonal storage, if renewable energy is to be used to any significant extent. Figure 1 shows the seasonal pattern of energy consumption in the United States.

Figure 1. US energy consumption by month of year, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration. “All Other” is total energy, less electricity and transportation energy. It includes natural gas used for home heating. It also includes oil products used for farming, as well as fossil fuels of all kinds used for industrial purposes.

In contrast with this pattern, the production of solar energy tends to peak in June; it falls to a low level in December to February. Hydroelectric power tends to peak in spring, but its quantity is often quite variable from year to year. Wind power is quite variable, both from year to year and month to month.

Our economy cannot handle many starts and stops of electricity supply. For example, temperatures need to stay high for melting metals. Elevators should not stop between floors when the electricity stops. Refrigeration needs to continue when fresh meat is being kept cold.

There are two approaches that can be used to work around seasonal energy problems:

  1. Greatly overbuild the renewables-based energy system, to provide enough electricity when total energy is most needed, which tends to be in winter.
  2. Add a huge amount of storage, such as battery storage, to store electricity for months or even years, to mitigate the intermittency.

Either of these approaches is extremely high cost. These costs are like adding extra stomachs to the human system. They have not been included in any model to date, as far as I know. The cost of one of these approaches needs to be included in any model analyzing the costs and benefits of renewables, if there is any intention of using renewables as more than a tiny share of total energy consumption.

Figure 2 illustrates the high energy cost that can occur by adding substantial battery backup to an electrical system. In this example, the “net energy” that the system provides is essentially eliminated by the battery backup. In this analysis, Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) compares energy output to energy input. It is one of many metrics used to estimate whether a device is providing adequate energy output to justify the front-end energy inputs.

Figure 2. Graham Palmer’s chart of Dynamic Energy Returned on Energy Invested from “Energy in Australia.”

The example in Figure 2 is based on the electricity usage pattern in Melbourne, Australia, which has a relatively mild climate. The example uses a combination of solar panels, batteries and diesel backup generation. Solar panels and backup batteries provide electricity for the 95% of annual electricity usage that is easiest to cover with these devices; diesel generation is used for the remaining 5%.

The Figure 2 example could be adjusted to be “renewable only” by adding significantly more batteries, a large number of solar panels, or some combination of these. These additional batteries and solar panels would be very lightly used, bringing the EROEI of the system down to an even lower level.

To date, a major reason that the electricity system has been able to avoid the costs of overbuilding or of adding major battery backup is the small share they represent of electricity production. In 2018, wind amounted to 5% of world electricity; solar amounted to 2%. As percentages of world energy supply, they represented 2% and 1% respectively.

A second reason that the electricity system has been able to avoid addressing the intermittency issue is because backup electricity providers (coal, natural gas, and nuclear) have been forced to provide backup services without adequate compensation for the value of services that they are providing. The way that this happens is by giving wind and solar the subsidy of “going first.” This practice creates a problem because backup providers have substantial fixed costs, and they often are not being adequately compensated for these fixed costs.

If there is any plan to cease using fossil fuels, all of these backup electricity providers, including nuclear, will disappear. (Nuclear also depends on fossil fuels.) Renewables will need to stand on their own. This is when the intermittency problem will become overwhelming. Fossil fuels can be stored relatively inexpensively; electricity storage costs are huge. They include both the cost of the storage system and the loss of energy that takes place when storage is used.

In fact, the underfunding issue associated with allowing intermittent renewables to go first is already becoming an overwhelming problem in a few places. Ohio has recently chosen to provide subsidies to coal and nuclear providers as a way of working around this issue. Ohio is also reducing funding for renewables.

 (5) The cost of recycling wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries needs to be reflected in cost estimates. 

A common assumption in energy analyses seems to be that somehow, at the end of the design lifetime of wind turbines, solar panels and batteries, all of these devices will somehow disappear at no cost. If recycling is done, the assumption is made that the cost of recycling will be less than the value of the materials made available from the recycling.

We are discovering now that recycling isn’t free. Very often, the energy cost of recycling materials is greater than the energy used in mining them fresh. This problem needs to be considered in analyzing the real cost of renewables.

 (6) Renewables don’t directly substitute for many of the devices/processes we have today. This could lead to a major step-down in how the economy operates and a much longer transition. 

There is a long list of things that renewables don’t substitute for. Today, we cannot make wind turbines, solar panels, or today’s hydroelectric dams without fossil fuels. This, by itself, makes it clear that the fossil fuel system will need to be maintained for at least the next twenty years.

There are many other things that we cannot make with renewables alone. Steel, fertilizer, cement and plastics are some examples that Bill Gates mentions in his video above. Asphalt and many of today’s drugs are other examples of goods that cannot be made with renewables alone. We would need to change how we live without these goods. We could not pave roads (except with stone) or build many of today’s buildings with renewables alone.

It seems likely that manufacturers would try to substitute wood for fossil fuels, but the quantity of wood available would be far too low for this purpose. The world would encounter deforestation issues within a few years.

(7) It is likely that the transition to renewables will take 50 or more years. During this time, wind and solar will act more like add-ons to the fossil fuel system than they will act like substitutes for it. This also increases costs.

In order for the fossil fuel industries to continue, a large share of their costs will need to continue. The people working in fossil fuel industries need to be paid year around, not just when electrical utilities need backup electrical power. Fossil fuels will need pipelines, refineries and trained people. Companies using fossil fuels will need to pay their debts related to existing facilities. If natural gas is used as backup for renewables, it will need reservoirs to hold natural gas for winter, besides pipelines. Even if natural gas usage is reduced by, say, 90%, its costs are likely to fall by a much smaller percentage, say 30%, because a large share of costs are fixed.

One reason that a very long transition will be needed is because there is not even a path to transition away from fossil fuels in many cases. If a change is to be made, inventions to facilitate these changes are a prerequisite. Then these inventions need to be tested in actual situations. Next, new factories are needed to make the new devices. It is likely that some way will be needed to pay existing owners for the loss of value of their existing fossil fuel powered devices; if not, there are likely to be huge debt defaults. It is only after all of these steps have taken place that the transition can actually take place.


These indirect costs lead to a huge question mark regarding whether it even makes sense to encourage the widespread use of wind and solar. Renewables can reduce CO2 emissions if they really substitute for fossil fuels in making electricity. If they are mostly high cost add-ons to the system, there is a real question: Does it even make sense to mandate a transition to wind and solar?

Do Wind and Solar Really Offer a Longer-Term Future than Fossil Fuels?

At the end of the xkcd video shown above, Munroe makes the observation that wind and solar are available indefinitely, but fossil fuel supplies are quite limited.

I agree with Munroe that fossil fuel supplies are quite limited. This occurs because energy prices do not rise high enough for us to extract very much of them. The prices of finished products made with fossil fuels need to be low enough for customers to be able to afford them. If this is not the case, purchases of discretionary goods (for example cars and smart phones) will fall. Since cars and smart phones are made with commodities, including fossil fuels, the lower “demand” for these finished goods will lead to falling prices of commodities, including oil. In fact, we seem to have experienced falling oil prices most of the time since 2008.

Figure 3. Inflation adjusted weekly average Brent Oil price, based on EIA oil spot prices and US CPI-urban inflation.

It is hard to see why renewables would last any longer than fossil fuels. If their unsubsidized cost is any higher than fossil fuels, this would be one strike against them. They are also very dependent on fossil fuels for making spare parts and for repairing transmission lines.

It is interesting that climate change modelers seem to be convinced that very high amounts of fossil fuels can be extracted in the future. The question of how much fossil fuels can really be extracted is another modeling issue that needs to be examined closely. The amount of future extraction seems to be highly dependent on how well the current economic system holds together, including the extent of globalization. Without globalization, fossil fuel extraction seems likely to decline quickly.

Do We Have Too Much Faith in Models? 

The idea of using renewables certainly sounds appealing, but the name is deceiving. Most renewables, except for wood and dung, aren’t very renewable. In fact, they depend on fossil fuels.

The whole issue of whether wind and solar are worthwhile needs to be carefully analyzed. The usual hallmark of an energy product that is of substantial benefit to the economy is that its production tends to be very profitable. With these high profits, governments can tax the owners heavily. Thus, the profits can be used to aid the rest of the economy. This is one of the physical manifestations of the “net energy” that the energy product provides.

If wind and solar were really providing substantial net energy, they would not need subsidies, not even the subsidy of going first. They would be casting off profits to benefit the rest of the economy. Perhaps renewables aren’t as beneficial as many people think they are. Perhaps researchers have put too much faith in distorted models.

Note:

[1] This is my estimate, based on EIA and BP data. With respect to electricity, EIA data shows that in the US, residential users consume about 38% of the total. With respect to fuels that are not used for transportation and not used for electricity, US residential users consume about 19% of these fuels. Combining these two categories, US households use about 31% of non-transportation fuels.

With respect to transportation fuels, the closest approximation we can get is by looking at petroleum use, divided between gasoline and other products. According to BP data, on a worldwide basis, 26% of petroleum is burned as gasoline. In the United States, about 46% of petroleum consumption is burned as gasoline. Of course, some of this gasoline usage is for non-residential use. For example, cars used by police and sales representatives are typically powered by gasoline, as are small trucks used by businesses.

Furthermore, the US is a major importer of manufactured goods from China and other parts of the world. The embodied energy in these imported goods never gets into US energy consumption statistics. In theory, we should add a little energy consumption by foreign manufacturers to supplement total reported US energy consumption.

The selection of “about a third” is based on these considerations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.
This entry was posted in Alternatives to Oil, Energy policy, Financial Implications and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,605 Responses to How Renewable Energy Models Can Produce Misleading Indications

  1. Sven Røgeberg says:

    Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.
    https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806
    Conclusions

    Mitigating and adapting to climate change while honoring the diversity of humans entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems. We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern. Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations. Schoolchildren are striking. Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts. Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries, states and provinces, cities, and businesses are responding.

    As the Alliance of World Scientists, we stand ready to assist decision-makers in a just transition to a sustainable and equitable future. We urge widespread use of vital signs, which will better allow policymakers, the private sector, and the public to understand the magnitude of this crisis, track progress, and realign priorities for alleviating climate change. The good news is that such transformative change, with social and economic justice for all, promises far greater human well-being than does business as usual. We believe that the prospects will be greatest if decision-makers and all of humanity promptly respond to this warning and declaration of a climate emergency and act to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home.

    • Robert Firth says:

      The “Alliance of World Scientists” sounds rather familiar. Perhaps their motto should be “There is no absolute limit to either knowledge or power”.

      Their power, one presumes, once they can get the governments of the world to do their bidding. Creating the utopia described in detail by H G Wells in “The World Set Free”, published in 1914. You really, really do not want to go there. Of all tyrannies, a scientific tyranny, using all the resources of Nature to enforce absolute control, is surely the worst. As was shown us in 1927, by Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”.

      • but by the standards of our gggrandfathers, we would be judged to be already there.
        Most diseases curable–even death itself can be held off if not entirely overcome

        where only the nobiilty had ‘horsepower’, it is now available to billions of us, as is the instant lighting of universal darkness. We don’t have to kill something to take its skin to keep us warm.
        I could go on

        by their standards we live the life of gods, and we see ourselves as having done it by human ingeniuty.

        True—up to a point.

        But it all falls back on our fossil fuels prop, which even at this late hour isn’t recognised by the majority as our sole means of support

        • Robert Firth says:

          Thank you for another H G Wells reference: “Men Like Gods”, from 1923. I found his political novels very, very boring; but in retrospect they were alarmingly prescient.

    • Robert Firth says:

      “… with social and economic justice for all …”

      I missed that gem on the first reading. Cicero, in his De natura deorum, defines justice as “giving each his due” (“iustitia suum cuique distribuit”). In other words, you can have justice, or you can have “social justice”; choose one.

      And remember, when a man talks about the good of humanity, he is getting ready to commit a crime.

    • Floyd Dempsey says:

      Here is a little info into who the “scientists” actually are.

      • Tim Groves says:

        The same organization sent out an almost identical climate declaration in 2017 and that was signed by 15,000 “scientists”, so if numbers add up to anything, obviously the crisis is less now than it was then.

        Furthermore,

        There was something goofy about the petition signed by 11,258 “world scientists” from 153 countries declaring a “climate emergency.”
        One “scientist” was named “Mouse, Micky” from the “Micky Mouse Institute for the Blind, Nambia.” Another was Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts. And then there was “Araminta Aardvark” from the fictional University of Neasden.
        Among the “Alliance of World Scientists” members who were apparently real people, many identified themselves as teachers, students, administrators, statisticians, economists, technicians, therapists, doctors, psychologists — not climate scientists.
        As it turns out, however, being recognized as a “world scientist” may be easier than you think.
        The alliance is a project of the Oregon State University College of Forestry, which invited “all scientists” to add their names to the four-page statement, “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency,” by clicking on a green “sign the article” button on the college’s website.
        Following a round of fact-checking in the press and on social media, the college removed 34 names, including “Micky,” “Araminta” and “Dumbledore,” bringing the total to 11,224 signatories on the Nov. 5 article published in the journal BioScience, part of the Oxford University Press.
        “During our original signature screening process, we attempted to remove all signatures that appeared to be invalid,” said a post on the OSU website. “Although, a few invalid ones were missed. We are thoroughly reviewing the full list at the moment and will make further updates if required.”
        That said, the less-than-scientific signature-gathering process and ensuing media mockery did no favors for the climate-crisis movement, nor the major media outlets that trumpeted the story.

        https://www.climatedepot.com/2019/11/12/climate-emergency-declaration-takes-heat-for-fictional-world-scientists/

        • Get HaPpY says:

          Calm down, Please. It’s like not the other side of the issue did not do it first!
          https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/30000-scientists-reject-climate-change/

          Did 30,000 Scientists Declare Climate Change a Hoax?
          More than 30,000 people may have signed a petition challenging the veracity of anthropogenic global warming, but one doesn’t have to be a climate scientist, or even a practicing scientist, to sign that document.
          ALEX KASPRAK
          PUBLISHED 24 OCTOBER 2016
          What’s True
          A petition that has been in circulation since 1998 claims to bear the name of more than 30,000 signatures from scientists who reject the concept of anthropogenic global warming.

          What’s False
          The petition was created by individuals and groups with political motivations, was distributed using misleading tactics, is presented with almost no accountability regarding the authenticity of its signatures, and asks only that you have received an undergraduate degree in any science to sign

          So, what are the facts? I don’t know if this latest was just a setup to smear the consensus.

  2. Get HaPpY says:

    Just what is Gloomy Doomie like to read…EnjOy!
    The team gathered archaeological and fossil records from artifacts that are hundreds of thousands years old – many of which came from Morocco and Ethiopia – in a second part of the study
    They showed that humanity could go through a soft landing, a gradual die-off, or full blown collapse.
    Experts said a die-off, in which as much as seven in ten of a planet’s inhabitants were wiped out before stabilizing, was by far the most common outcome.
    A soft landing was the most positive outcome, and occurred when a civilization adapted to its changing planet without a mass extinction.
    During a full blown collapse, the planet was too sensitive to recover from damage caused by its inhabitants, leading to a rapid annihilation of all intelligent life.
    Even when planets switched to renewable fuels to save themselves from extinction, the damage done was sometimes still enough to wipe out the inhabitants, according to the models.
    Scientists said the simulations reveal ‘a radical truth about the challenge we face as we push the Earth into its human-dominated
    Using statistical models they mapped out possible histories of alien worlds, the civilizations they grew, and the climate change that followed.

    They called these societies ‘Exo-civilizations’ and say that learning from their mistakes could help us prepare for the effects of climate change.
    Unfortunately, of the three fates observed, none were positive.
    The most common outcome observed by the team was known as the die-off.
    As the civilization on the simulated planets used energy, its population exploded, but its use of resources pushed the planet away from the conditions the society had become accustomed to
    As the population continued to expand the planet became uninhabitable, forcing a devastating drop in the number of civilians until a sustainable planetary civilization was achieved once more.
    In many of the models, researchers observed that as much as 70 percent of the population perished before a steady state was reached again.
    The second outcome viewed by the team was the soft landing – the most positive outcome of the three observed.
    This time, the growing population and the planet maintained a smooth transition to a new, balanced equilibrium, partly through low-impact resources.
    Although the localisation changed the planet, it did so without triggering a mass extinction, like those observed in the first outcome.
    Outcome number three was a full-blown collapse, which also started with a skyrocketing population.
    However, these worlds were too sensitive to change and were unable to cope with a rapidly expanding, resource-hungry civilization
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7673963/amp/Humans-1-14-000-chances-going-extinct-year-getting-struck-lightning.html

    The Daily Mail has such nice tabloid news….

    Well. At least our odds are better. Thank you Mister Spock!

    • Robert Firth says:

      Reindeer. St Matthew Island. Enough said.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “They showed that humanity could go through a soft landing, a gradual die-off, or full blown collapse.”

      due to unchanging human nature, I don’t see any chance for a soft landing…

      it will be a gradual die-off, or full blown collapse!

      not only that, but it’s coming soon… perhaps in the 2020s…

      this is getting quite exciting!

  3. Get HaPpY says:

    HA HAHAHAHA…..too funny….oh, how they suffer…. pleaaasssseeee

    (Hanoi) Jane Fonda Swears Off Shopping By Announcing Her Last Clothing Purchase
    The actor said her move was inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5dc99ae6e4b0fcfb7f6aa0ca/amp

    EXCUSE ME…you are 82 friggin years OLD Lady! How much shopping days are left in you?????

    “So, you see this coat?” Fonda said to the crowd gathered around her on Capitol Hill, grabbing her jacket by the lapels. “I needed something red and I went out and found this coat on sale. This is the last article of clothing that I will ever buy.

    Sure it is Jane…if you need anything a “fiend” will go out to the store and buy it for you!

    • Hubbs says:

      Elizabeth Warren has an uncanny similarity to Jane Fonda.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      okay, so there’s an implicit challenge there…

      will Greta now also stop buying clothing?

      come on Greta, let Jane inspire you!

      • Get HaPpY says:

        The deserve each other! Jane can run for President of Climate Scientists and Greta be her running mate.

        Too bad they are wasting the final days of BAU in protesting something we people can’t possibly curtail….
        Well, at least Jane got her face back in the media…..boy, was she such a Hottie way back when….ymmie

        • Tim Groves says:

          You don’t think Greta is equally a Hottie?
          Perhaps her Wednesday Friday Addams look puts you off?

          • Get HaPpY says:

            I only approach over 50 year hotties now….

            Greta is jail bait….as Jane Fonda has learned the hard way!
            LOL from Yahoo News…
            The actress has already been arrested three times during her peaceful demonstrations, and once spent the night in jail. While she risks a longer sentence if she continues to be arrested — which could interfere with production on the final season of her hit Netflix series, Grace and Frankie — Fonda is open to the possibility of spending her upcoming birthday in jail.

            “Friday is December 20. I turn 82 on December 21, so it depends on my lawyer,” she explained. “If I risk going to jail for three months, I’m not going to do it.”

            “It doesn’t matter about the arrest,” she added. “What matters is getting the word out to people and engaging in civil disobedience, because this is what’s going to be more and more necessary. Everybody’s gotta get used to this new normal, getting beyond our comfort zone and not acting as business as usual anymore. Risking a little bit more, because there’s so much at stake.

            Come on Jane…drama class is over…

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Hong Kong’s rule of law has been pushed to the “brink of total collapse” after more than five months of protests, police have warned.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-50384360

  5. sorryaboutyourluck says:

    A spat or 96 again in Israel?

  6. Lannan says:

    Hi Gail, longtime reader, first time commenter – I ran into an issue trying to respond to a comment you made somewhere in here, but I kept getting a mystery error. Not sure why.

    Anyways, this is what I wrote in response to something you said about millennials not listening to health authorities:

    As a member of the generation in question, we listen to health authorities quite often – it’s the health authorities don’t often listen to us. With skyrocketing rates of mental illness and chronic conditions among my generation, many doctors just don’t know what to do with us. I myself gave up seeing a GP for all but my most serious complaints because all she wanted to do was prescribe pills. I was tired all the time? Here’s a scrip for not one, but two separate antidepressants. I later found out that I had a cluster of symptoms commonly known as “adrenal fatigue”, which medical professionals seem to refuse to want to investigate. I had IBS and was sent to a gastro – all he did was give me a scrip for industrial strength Immodium to rush me out of the room after 5 minutes rather than sit me down and have a conversation about the way my body was processing different kinds of foods. I was left to experiment on my own with my diet for years.

    Millennials are also always on the move. We have to be, because we follow jobs and cheap rent all around the country. I myself have moved 15+ times in my life, all by necessity. I moved 3 times in 5 years when I was going to school in NYC because rent kept shooting up, even in the crummiest, leakiest, coldest apartments in the most dangerous neighborhoods. But because of this hypermobility, we are unable to form relationships with doctors and have to rely on ourselves to keep track of our medical history. In other countries, like here in Canada, there is even a shortage of family doctors because the health system rewards medical professionals who seek specialization at large hospitals, and makes it very difficult for family doctors with their own practice to make any money. In the US, a third of millennials do not have a family doctor, and I would expect the same to be said of Canadian millennials as well, if not more. Most of us have to resort to walk-in clinics with long wait times and mechanically impersonal and very limited care, or go to UC.

    Our pace and quality of life is creating subtle and slow-killing health problems for us at an unprecedented rate. The medical establishment is not well-equipped to handle this epidemic, and we know this. We have to fight with our doctors at every step of the way just to work on a diagnosis. Most doctors seem to think that chronic conditions, auto-immune diseases, and mental illness are still somehow outside of the norm, and piecing together the highly complex interplay of nebulous symptoms takes time, money, and expertise. Why bother doing any of that when you can just throw pills at us?

    https://healthinformatics.uic.edu/blog/5-ways-millennials-view-healthcare-differently/
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evj98k/millennials-will-get-sick-and-die-faster-than-the-previous-generation
    https://genesight.com/do-doctors-take-mental-health-as-seriously-as-physical-health/

    • I think, too, that young people have too many worries to want to think about exercising and eating healthy food. They think that is something for older people. They don’t have time or money for it. So they look for pills to tix their problems.

    • Kim says:

      Many modern diseases are infammation-related and can arise from eating the industrialized garbage that has been in our troughs this last 70 or so years. I suffered for decades with auto-immune’inflammatory diseases but over a few years eliminated 90% of my problems, including many of the symptoms of spinal arthritis.

      Here are my basics:

      1. Eat properly and develop proper digestion – make sure you have adequate stomach acid and enzyme production. If you have digestive trouble, which many people do and often is associated with inflammation, you can help to restore stomach acid to proper levels by taking Betaine HCl (an over-the-counter product) for a few months unntil levels are normalized. The body recycles HCl, so you don’t have to use this for more than a few months.
      2. Be aware that people are often told they have too much stomach acid when in fact they have too little.
      3. For your protease (enzyme) levels, take a few papaya seeds with your protein. Use either dried seeds or fresh seeds. Both are great. No need to buy papaya powder. Just eat a couple of seeds. It is better than anything you can buy. Dry some. They keep in a jar for ages.
      4. No grains or pulses or nuts
      5. Chew conscientiously. Don’t rush your chewing or swallow lumps. Chewing increases the surface area of the food so that enzymes can act on it, exposes the carbs to enzymes in the mouth and also stimulates the release of enzymes in the stomach
      6. No modern factory oils, they are evil – only palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil and fish oil or animals fats/dripping
      7. Eat steamed vegetables with most meals,cruciferous veges being the best
      8. Eat sauerkraut to restore/support healthy intestinal bacteria
      9. Grate fresh turmeric into your food – it really is effective against inflamation. It should be added to warm food with oil or fat to release the active ingredient.
      10. No (modern) dairy
      11. Nothing that comes in a can, jar or packet
      12. Broths are easy on the body and give the system a rest
      13. Supplement with L-glutamine to repair intestinal damage – 20 grams twice a day

      • Kim says:

        I should also add that intermittent fastng is very helpful as away to get insulin issues under control. For example, as a habit, eat your last meal in the evening at least two hours before bedtime – say at 6 pm – and do not eat again for 16 hours, until say 10 am or noon the next day. This will completely reset your insulin levels and restore proper hunger signaling. Excessive body and internal fat will melt away.

  7. Get HaPpY says:

    Oh, this is a new one.. TECHNICAL LIMITS…
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/aircraft-engines-hitting-technical-limits-073538633.html
    (Bloomberg Opinion) — The high-pressure turbine blades in a Trent 1000 passenger jet engine have to withstand temperatures far above the melting point of the nickel alloy from which they’re made. It’s a fiendish technical challenge for the engine’s British manufacturer, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc — comparable to trying to stop an ice cube melting inside a kitchen oven on full blast. The solution found by the company’s engineers was to blow cool air through tiny holes in the blades. Unfortunately this clever approach has encountered some unexpected problems.
    Boeing 787 aircraft operated by British Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Virgin Atlantic and others have been grounded in recent months for inspections and repairs because the Trent 1000 engine blades have been degrading faster than anticipated. It’s the type of problem that’s becoming common in the industry as the demands placed on engines become ever greater.
    The expense of dealing with these things is rising too. Last week, Rolls-Royce quantified the cost of fixing various Trent 1000 issues at 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion), a cash outflow the debt-laden manufacturer can ill afford.
    Few inventions have done more to transform our life over the past century than jet engines. They’ve let people travel faster and further, and they’re remarkably safe. Passenger fatalities like the one caused by a turbine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight last year are rare. Developed at enormous expense and using innovative new materials, the most recent “powerplants” (to use engines’ industry name) are comparatively quiet and fuel efficient.
    Yet these innovations have taken the technology closer to its technical limits and reliability issues have crept in. “By pushing the envelope on thrust and efficiency, things have started to go wrong elsewhere in the system,” says Nick Cunningham at Agency Partners. This is worrying because companies are under pressure to build even more efficient propulsion systems to curb carbon emissions.
    Rolls-Royce’s problems appear the most serious — some 40 787s powered by its engines are parked — but this is an industry-wide issue. Forced to ground planes and adjust flight schedules, airlines have resorted to leasing replacement aircraft and have told engine manufacturers to pay compensation.

    There is so much one can do or improve…but there is always MORE….

  8. Yoshua says:

    In Bolivia a fascist revolution took place as the military took hold of the power from the socialist government.

    Hurray!

    Now the kilIing of the poor can start.

    But what happens when the fascists fail?

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      They always fail– Fascists Spain, Nazi Germany, Italy, etc.
      Not the brightest porch lights on the block.
      Brazil and the US are next.

    • adonis says:

      hiie Yoshua sorry to change the subject but i was wondering what the “Commodities to Equity” ratio was referring to in relation to QE

      • Yoshua says:

        The Fed started QE when the stock market had hit a bottom.

        Now the Fed starts “not” QE when the stock market is at an all time high.

        For commodity prices the opposite happened.

        So what happens now when the Fed restarts the QE program?

  9. Get HaPpY says:

    But I like going online and shop!
    Those Amazon Returns? They’re Killing the Environment.
    Adam Minter
    BloombergNovember 12, 2019, 7:00 PM EST
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/those-amazon-returns-killing-environment-000002170.html

    Bloomberg Opinion) — In December, American consumers will return more than 1 million packages to e-commerce retailers each day. It’s a flood of unwanted stuff that’s expected to peak on Jan. 2, which UPS Inc. cheekily calls “National Returns Day.”For UPS and other shippers, that’s reason for plenty of post-holiday cheer. For everyone else, those tens of millions of packages are a real problem. By one recent estimate, they accounted for 5 billion pounds of landfilled waste in the U.S. alone and an additional 15 million tons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere

    No joke, I have a SISTER that shops and shops and returns and returns. It drives everyone CrAzY!
    BAU loves it….

    • Artleads says:

      All of the (non toxic) stuff going into landfill can be used for various kinds of construction. Throwing it away id about as dumb as it gets.

  10. Yoshua says:

    “FED’S HARKER SAYS ONE LESSON OF REPO VOLATILITY IS FIVE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS OWN ABOUT 80% OF RESERVES AND WERE NOT WILLING TO LEND”

    The rest of the banks are broke?

Comments are closed.