Do the World’s Energy Policies Make Sense?

The world today has a myriad of energy policies. One of them seems to be to encourage renewables, especially wind and solar. Another seems to be to encourage electric cars. A third seems to be to try to move away from fossil fuels. Countries in Europe and elsewhere have been trying carbon taxes. There are also programs to buy carbon offsets for energy uses such as air travel.

Maybe it is time to step back and take a look. Where are we now? Where are we really headed? Have the policies implemented since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 had any positive impact?

Let’s look at some of the issues involved.

[1] We have had very little success in reducing CO2 emissions.

CO2 emissions for all countries, in total, have been spiraling upward, year after year.

World CO2 Emissions

Figure 1. Carbon dioxide emissions for the world, based on BP’s 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy.

If we look at the situation by part of the world, we see an even more concerning pattern.

Figure 2. Carbon dioxide emissions by part of the world through 2018, based on BP’s 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy. Soviet Empire is an approximation including Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, based on the BP report. It would not include Cuba and North Korea.

The group US+EU+Japan has been able to reduce its CO2 emissions by 5% since 2005. Emissions were slowly rising between 1981 and 2005. There was a dip at the time of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, followed by a downward trend. A person might get the impression that CO2 emissions for the EU tend to rise during periods when the economy is doing well and tend to fall when it is doing poorly.

The “star” in emissions reductions is the former Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites. I refer to this group as the Soviet Empire. Emissions fell around the time of the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union in 1991. This big decrease in emissions seems to be related to huge changes that took place at that time. Instead of one country with a single currency, the individual republics were suddenly on their own.

The high point in CO2 emissions for the Soviet Empire came in 1990, the year before the collapse of the Soviet Union central government. By 1999, emissions had fallen to a level 37% below their 1990 level. In fact, even in recent years, emissions for this group of countries has stayed low. Much industry collapsed and has never been replaced.

The group that has more than doubled its emissions is what I call the Remainder Group. The group includes many countries, including China and India, that ramped up their manufacturing and other heavy industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the World Trade Organization added members. The Remainder Group also includes many countries that suddenly found new export markets for their raw materials, such as oil, iron ore, and copper. The Remainder countries became richer; they became more able to pave roads and build more substantial homes for their citizens. With all of this GDP-related activity, CO2 emissions increased rapidly.

[2] Population growth has followed a pattern that is in some ways similar to CO2 growth. 

Figure 3. Population from 1965 to 2018, based on UN 2019 population estimates.

In Figure 3, we see that population has been virtually flat in the former Soviet Empire (2% growth between 1997 and 2018). With the economy not doing well, young people emigrate to countries that seem to provide better prospects.

Population in the US+EU+Japan Group grew by 11% between 1997 and 2018.

The group that is simply outstanding for population growth is the Remainder Group, with 35% growth between 1997 and 2018. A big part of this population growth comes from improved sanitation and basic medical care, such as antibiotics. With these changes, a larger percentage of the babies that are born have been able to live to maturity.

It is hard to see any bend in the trend lines, which would indicate that recent actions have actually changed the course of activity from the way it was headed previously. Of course, the trend is only “linear,” implying that the percentage growth is gradually slowing over time.

This rapidly growing population feeds into the CO2 problem as well. The many young people would all like food, homes and transportation. While it is possible to obtain some version of these desired products without fossil fuels, the version with fossil fuels tends to be vastly improved. Most people prefer homes with indoor plumbing and electricity, if given an opportunity, for example.

[3] Deforestation keeps growing as a world problem.

Figure 4. Chart showing World Bank estimates of share of world forested by economic grouping.

High Income Countries keep pushing the deforestation problem to the poorer parts of the world. Heavily Indebted Poor Countries are especially affected. Worldwide, deforestation continues to grow.

[4] With respect to fossil fuels, there is a great deal of confusion with respect to, “What do we need to be saved from?” 

Do we have a problem with too much or too little fossil fuel? We hear two different stories.

Figure 5. Author’s image of two trains speeding toward the world economy.

Climate modelers keep telling us about what could happen, if indeed we use too much fossil fuel. In fact, the climate currently is changing, bolstering this point of view.

It seems to me that there is an equally great danger of collapse, accompanied by low energy prices. For example, we know that energy production in the European Union has been declining for many years, without the countries being able to do anything about it.

We also know historically that many civilizations have collapsed. The Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991, illustrating one type of collapse. The Soviet Union was an oil exporter. Its collapse came after oil prices were too low to allow adequate investment in new oil fields for an extended period of time. The Great Recession of 2008-2009 offers a much smaller, temporary version of what collapse might look like.

Another example of low prices accompanying collapse comes from Revelation 18: 11-13, warning of possible collapse like that of ancient Babylon. The problem was inadequate demand and low prices; even the energy product of the day (human beings sold as slaves) had little value.

11 The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

What we have been seeing recently is falling prices and prices that are too low for producers. Such a result can lead to collapse if too many energy producers go bankrupt and quit.

Figure 6. Inflation adjusted weekly average Brent Oil price, based on EIA oil spot prices and US CPI-urban inflation.

If we are in danger of collapse from low prices, renewables would not seem to be of much assistance unless they (a) are significantly less expensive than fossil fuels and (b) can be scaled up sufficiently rapidly to more than replace fossil fuels. Neither of these seems to be a possibility.

[5] Early studies overestimated how much help renewables might provide, especially if our problem comes from too little energy supply rather than too much.

Renewables look like they would be great from many points of view, but when it comes down to the real world situation, they don’t live up to the hype.

One issue is that while wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and other devices for capturing energy are called “renewables,” they are really only available through the use of the fossil fuel system. They are made using fossil fuels. If a part breaks, or if insects eat away the insulation on wires, replacements need to be made using the fossil fuel system and transported using the fossil fuel system. At best, renewables should be considered fossil fuel extenders, using less fossil fuels than conventional electricity generation. They are also dependent on other resources, which may eventually deplete, but which are not a problem at this time.

A second issue is that it is extremely difficult to do a proper cost-benefit analysis on renewables because they can only be used as part of a larger system. They tend to look inexpensive, when viewed in isolation. But when total system costs are viewed, they often are quite expensive.

One difficulty in a proper cost-benefit analysis is the fact that renewables are often sited at quite a distance from where electricity is to be used, leading to the need for a significant number of long distance transmission lines. Furthermore, if renewables provide intermittent power, they need to be sized for the maximum output, not their average output. All of these long distance lines need to be properly maintained, or they tend to cause fires. In some instances, burying the lines underground at significant cost is the only solution. Somehow, these higher costs need to be recognized as part of the cost of the system, but this is rarely done.

Another difficulty in a proper cost-benefit analysis is the fact that renewables’  intermittency must be overcome, if the electricity is to be of benefit to a modern economy that requires electricity 24/7/365. In theory, we could greatly overbuild the renewables system and the transmission. This might work, but we would end up with a large percentage of the system that is not used most of the time, greatly adding to costs.

Batteries can be added, but the cost tends to be high. One commenter on my site recently observed:

EIA reports the average cost for utility scale battery systems to be about $1500 per kWh. At that rate the batteries needed for backing up a solar or wind facility for three days cost around 30 times as much as the RE facility. But wind is often unpowered for more like seven days, during huge stagnant high pressure episodes. Thus the backup battery cost is more like 100 times the wind farm cost. Batteries are not feasible.

The major intermittency problem is season-to-season, especially saving up enough for winter. We do not have a way, today, of storing energy from one season to another, short of making it into a liquid (such as ammonia), and storing the liquid from season to season. This would be another way of driving up costs of the overall system. It has not been included in anyone’s cost calculations.

For the time being, we are forcing nuclear and fossil fuel to provide backup electrical services to intermittent renewables without adequately compensating them for their services. This tends to drive them out of business. This is not an adequate solution either.

A third issue is that renewables really need to be “economic” to work. In other words, they need to generate a profit for their owners, when comparing the unsubsidized costs with the benefits of the system. In fact, their owners need to be able to pay fairly substantial taxes to governments, to cover their share of governmental costs as well. If renewables truly were providing substantial benefit to the system, their use would tend to “take off” on their own, because they would be providing “net energy” to the system. Instead, renewables tend to act like “energy sinks.” They need endless subsidies. They can never substitute for fossil fuels. In fact, they can’t even pay their own way.

A related issue is that, because of the high total costs (as well as their lack of true net energy benefits), it is almost impossible to ramp up the quantity of renewables such as wind and solar very high. The EU has been a big supporter of renewables other than hydroelectric. Figure 7 shows a chart of the EU’s own energy production, together with its energy imports.

EU Energy by Type and Whether Imported

Figure 7. EU energy by type and whether imported, based on data of BP’s 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy. Renewables are non-hydroelectric renewables such as wind, solar, and geothermal.

After at least 20 years of subsidies, the EU has been able to increase renewables (other than hydroelectric) to about 10% of its total energy supply. The EU’s oil imports are roughly level, and its natural gas imports have been increasing. Even with rapid growth in non-hydro renewables, the EU has been experiencing a decrease in total energy consumption.

[6] Looking at the actual outcomes, a person might ask, “What in the world were policymakers really thinking about?”

We are told that the reason policymakers made the decisions they did was because they thought that they could reduce CO2 emissions in this way. Really? If a person really wants to reduce CO2 emissions, it is easy to see how to do it. A person simply has to take steps in the direction of reducing global co-operation. One step would be to reduce international trade. Another would be to get rid of umbrella organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and the European Union. In fact, within individual countries, the top level of government could be removed, leaving (for example) the provinces of Canada and the states of the United States. In other words, policymakers could push economies in the direction of collapse.

Another way collapse could be encouraged would be by rapidly raising interest rates or cutting off credit. With less purchasing power, the world would be pushed into recession.

At the time of the Kyoto Protocol, policymakers moved in precisely the opposite direction of pushing the economy toward collapse. They moved in the direction of adding international trade and more debt to enable the growth. The countries with greater trade had huge coal resources that had not been used. With the help of this coal, the world economy was able to continue to grow. This approach only made sense if the real problem at the time of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 was too little energy resources, not too much. The economy needed the stimulation that more low-cost energy and more debt could provide.

It is now more than twenty years later. The coal resources of China are starting to deplete. Coal is also causing serious ground-level pollution problems, both in China and India. Without growing coal production, world GDP growth starts slowing. We are again facing low oil prices and other commodity prices–a problem similar to the one present when the government of the Soviet Union collapsed. The world economy seems again to be headed toward having some of its governmental organizations collapse from inadequate energy. Political parties are becoming more extreme; countries are enacting new tariffs. If we go back to Figure 5, the concern should again be collapse, on the left side of the figure.

[7] The scenarios considered by the IPCC climate model need to be revisited.

A climate model looks to the past and tries to forecast what would happen in alternative “scenarios.” The concern I have is that the scenarios evaluated are not realistic. To get to the level of CO2 that would produce the most extreme scenarios, coal production would need to continue at a high level for many, many years. This seems unrealistic because world coal production has been fairly flat for several years, and prices tend to be lower than producers require if they are to stay in business. The likely direction for coal production seems to be down, rather than up.

Figure 8. World Energy Consumption by Fuel, based on data of 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

In order for coal production to grow as much as the higher emission scenarios assume, there needs to be a major turnaround in the situation. World coal prices would need to rise substantially. In fact, coal in very difficult locations for extraction, such as under the North Sea, need to become profitable to extract. This situation seems very unlikely.

It seems to me that climate modelers should be considering more realistic scenarios regarding CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. One scenario which should be considered is the possible near term collapse of several governmental organizations, such as the European Union, World Trade Organization, and the governments of several oil exporting countries.

[8] The push toward renewables makes little sense without a firmer foundation than currently exists.

Early studies looked only at the cost of renewables themselves, without the cost of extra long-distance grid transportation and battery storage. Such an estimate makes renewables look far more valuable than they really are.

We now have enough experience that we can see what goes wrong. A hydroelectric plant that operates during the wet season in a tropical country may be of little practical use, for example, if there is no fossil fuel energy available to provide backup electricity production during the dry season. The total cost of the overlapping systems needs to be taken into consideration, including the need to hire staff year around for both the fossil fuel and hydroelectric facilities. Electricity transmission will likely be needed for both types of generation.

There are many other real-world examples that can be examined, before blanket “use renewables” recommendations should be issued. If renewables are not truly very inexpensive (around 2 cents per kWh or less), without subsidies, they are likely not to be long-lasting. Subsidies become more and more difficult to maintain, as a system scales up.

This entry was posted in Energy policy, Financial Implications and tagged , by Gail Tverberg. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

1,380 thoughts on “Do the World’s Energy Policies Make Sense?

    • “Capital investment by Chinese firms has ground to its slowest pace in three years, as a weakening economy, tight credit and prolonged trade war with the United States dent sales growth and cash reserves, a Reuters analysis showed.

      “Companies are also spending more days to turn inventory into sales and eking out smaller profit gains, the analysis showed…”

      • “A household debt crisis may be brewing in China as the government tries to boost sluggish consumption amid a domestic economic slowdown and trade war with the United States.

        “China’s household debt had ballooned to 60.4 per cent of its gross domestic product at the end of 2018, the People’s Bank of China said in its annual financial stability report last week.China’s household debt

        “And for the first time, the household debt to income ratio hit 99.9 per cent, meaning that total debt is now roughly equal to total household income among the average Chinese household.”

        • I see, “. . . overall sales growth for the annual shopping festival [Singles Day] eased by 26 per cent, the weakest pace since the event started in 2009.” This doesn’t sound like an auspicious sign!

          • could it be that China will become the first (of many) slave supported societies of our modern era?

            Right now, the Chinese government are bringing in a form of total surveillance to cover every aspect of chinese life.

            those who conform receive benefits of the state (at rising levels) those who do not conform are relegated to lower and lower status. Modern technology now allows this to happen, far worse than Orwell imagined it.

            Taken to the logical endgame, the conclusion would seem to be that you end up with a elite and slave society.

            The elite are allowed all the priveleges, while the working class provide them—which excatly describes a medieval society

            • In terms of collapse sequencing and int/global triage, these provision by the Chinese gov should give them better pecking order chances. Some disagree though, Gail seems to support the theory China goes down either in sync as everybody else or sooner than the US/West..

            • China doesn’t do well in “Happiness” ratings. This article says:

              China’s relatively low ranking in the most recent United Nations-sponsored World Happiness Report puzzles some experts.

              Residents of more than 150 countries were asked how satisfied they are with their lives.

              China ranked 86 out of the 156 countries, down seven places from the previous year.

              As The Economist magazine noted, this placed China, “below Russia and even war-torn Libya.”

      • The article says,

        Companies’ financial reports indicate consumers have been cutting back spending on vacations and big-ticket items such as cars and home appliances, while falling smartphone sales have capped growth among telecommunications network providers. . . Yet while earnings reports indicate a slowdown, growth in factory activity neared a three-year high in November, reinforcing upbeat government data released over the weekend.

        Somehow, this combination doesn’t sound like it will work well. Local consumers aren’t buying. The US isn’t buying much. Who is going to buy all of this factory output? Won’t there be rising inventories that can’t really be sold? Alternatively, they will be dumped on the world markets at below the cost of production.

  1. “A decade of ultra-easy monetary policy conducted by the world’s major central banks has fuelled this dangerous bull market. To cite one example, US equity prices have increased more than threefold since their nadir in March 2009, and the US equity bull market is in its eleventh year…

    “Despite the clearest signals of gross global credit misallocation and the serious mispricing of credit risk, markets and policy-makers seem remarkably sanguine. The possibility of a violent repricing of risky assets, which could lead to large strains in the financial markets, is apparently far from their minds.

    “Their complacency is surprising, particularly in the light of early warning signs… Many factors point towards a global economic recession…”

    • “The next push for the global economy may come from governments instead of central banks – and the outcome for financial markets could be messy…

      “Even if a consensus is building that governments will have to enact more expansionary fiscal measures, not all may be able to do so…

      “Inflation may also accelerate if governments start to stimulate economies at full employment while interest rates are already low, putting pressure on bonds…”

      • “Enact more expansionary fiscal measures”

        In other words, build more bridges to nowhere, to keep people employed. Kick the can down the road a little farther. Indirectly, raise government debt. Back when more roads were helpful, such spending would have been helpful. More spending on electricity transmission might be helpful, but this does not really raise the potential productivity of the system. It simply reflects that intermittent renewables require a huge amount of electricity transmission. Hiring a vast army of people to keep branches cut away from long distance electricity transmission lines might be somewhat helpful in preventing fires, but did we need to get ourselves into this mess with the need for lots of long distance transmission in the first place?

        Can Venezuela and Saudi Arabia do this? Not very well.

        • Gail, I once again display my ignorance of modern economic theory. So, we pay people to create “bridges to nowhere”, things of no value. But they will presumably spend their pay on things that are of value, food, clothing, shelter, … rather than bridges. So the result of this policy is to create a surplus of things with no value, and a shortage of things with value. How can this make sense?

          • One of the big questions is, “Do you count all of these things with virtually no value as part of GDP?” Clearly the fact that the workers go and buy groceries and food means that there will be some true GDP coming out of this “investment.” It is part of the “multiplier effect” that we get whenever someone is hired to do something or the government pays someone a pension.

            There seem to be any number of investments that are equivalent to bridges to nowhere that can be built. China seems to build far too many concrete homes, relative to the number of people who can afford them. They sometimes build big four-lane highways that are practically not used. Japan does something similar.

            Back when we were first putting roads and bridges in place, these additions truly aided commerce. More businesses could prosper than in the past. Transportation would be faster. It likely would take less time and less fuel, if the new roads were paved and the previous ones were not. These investments truly added to the productivity of the system. They had a different kind of multiplier effect.

            Now, a lot of the “investments” we are making are simply fixing things that are breaking down. They don’t really add to GDP; they prevent it from falling.

            When it comes to things like electricity transmission and pipelines of various kinds, at one time the view was, “Keep replacing parts of the system on a regular schedule, so it doesn’t all fall apart at once.” Then someone figured out that it would be cheaper to just use the transmission lines and pipelines until they break, and then fix what is broken. I read that one of the California transmission lines that was recently a problem was installed in 1921. It supposedly had a life expectancy of 65 years. There is no sinking fund dedicated to taking care of electricity transmission lines. I suppose the money that should have been spent on transmission maintenance is spent on something else, helping reported GDP. Of course, fighting fires adds to reported GDP, too.

            Do all of our wind and solar investments really make sense? Probably not, if the full cost were considered. As long as the money is spent, the spending seems to be treated as adding to GDP.

            We have to keep the system going, so we convince women that they need a new dress for every occasion.

            I have stayed at a few hotels recently that don’t have towel bars in the bathroom. I asked about this over Thanksgiving weekend. I was told that management doesn’t think that people need to reuse towels, so there is no need for towel bars. Just put the towels on the floor.

      • I am hoping that in the run-up to the Nov 2020 election, Trump will resist the temptation to ratchet up trade tensions any further, as confidence in global economic growth is very fragile now, one feels.

        • At some point, China’s debt problems may take center stage instead of the trade tensions. Then it will (sort of) become apparent that China was not really a reliable trading partner in the first place. We were simply kidding ourselves.

          • Whatever the trigger, it is going to be pretty spectacular when the psychology of contraction takes hold to the point where it becomes self-reinforcing. A sudden dose of reality is going to be very unpleasant for our stimulus-addled financial system.

          • That’s an interesting point – suddenly China reliable partner no more?
            To whom, to perennial debt, int rule benders and warmongering scammers (of the West)?

            Actually what could happen, is sort of globalization stumbling relapse into block structure and quasi barter like deals, all stripped out of the legacy western currency and legal frameworks. For example, Africans and SE Asians getting tech, tools and medical supplies from China in exchange for raw materials, food, training.. It’s actually ongoing on some level already.

            The Chinese plan was to derail the US before ~2045, and later dominate in the partnership with Russia. Now, the ~nationalistic faction behind Donald answered with sanctions which perplexed the Chinese as unimaginably bold and crazy, unprecedented move, so their strategy must be also to speed up the process of maturing into more respected player.

            The only known issue is that there are also factions within the US not willing to go quietly into the night of ~relative collapse at any cost, hence the direct Russian ~recent warning on ~leaked first strike doctrine, don’t try anything unwise we have the coordinates of both of your gov & private dooms day bunkers dialed in for annihilation response..

        • t will be ‘interesting’, ‘memorable’, and ‘spectacular’ in all the most unpleasant senses of those words….

          I do love can-kicking, may it go on and on and on……..

          • Me, too! Weird and unsettling though this era of unprecedented central bank interventions is, it is surely better than whatever may follow it.

  2. “The 0.4% Australian GDP growth for the third quarter was lower than forecast by the Reserve Bank this week. But although it might have caught Martin Place by surprise, it’s no great shock to many close observers of the Australian economy.

    “With the retail sector on its knees…, wages still stagnant and serious doubts about whether the once-booming construction sector can continue to support growth, the outlook touted by the RBA on Tuesday appears quite optimistic.

    “All this comes despite the economy effectively living on the life support of ultra-low interest rates.”

    • “More Australians are expected to struggle repaying their mortgage next year, despite record-low interest rates.

      “Australia’s household-debt-to-income ratio already stands at a record 190 per cent, which is second only to Switzerland. American credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service has this week issued a note predicting a rise in delinquencies…”

      • Any little bump in the road would seem to be likely to cause a problem when debt levels are this high. A person might wonder about Switzerland as well.

        • Switzerland is one of the key spots for global fin cartel, tax heaven (safe heaven residency) for upper levers of int rich (mutually recognized as such), etc. So they (CH) will go down in the very last wave not sooner.. there are so many others to be thrown under the triage steamroller first. In other words the Swiss debt doesn’t stink.

          • Let’s hope! Whatever energy is available does tend to rise to the top, we know.

            But we can also see what a mess California is, with its high wages, little water, and attempts at non-fossil fuel energy supply. It is another rich place that either goes down first or last.

    • I see, “. . . sales of new cars fell 9.8% in November, the 20th monthly decline in a row . . .” This is hardly a good sign. When things aren’t going well and a person is already over indebted, buying a new car is not at the top of the list of their things to do.

      • Also, one has to admire the schemes how to get rid off old(er) clunkers asap in order to support the price structure from bellow. Be it parking lots at old runways and abandoned industrial parks to keep unwanted cars (diving in resale price) or subsidized premature scraping programs for ~newish carz etc..

  3. Is Greta Thunberg for real? An independent actor? A consummate actress from family of thespians? A high priestess of an apocalyptic death cult? Or is she a marionette who is being used, abused and exploited by the global elites who are putting her on the world stage and applauding her antics?

    Of course, much the same could be said about many young pop stars and actresses. Buy why choose Greta to front their campaign? This video, watched till the end, answers these questions and more, including introducing us to past generations of Gretas who failed to gain the level of traction Greta has achieved.

    • Curious minds WANT to KNOW!
      Me LVS GRETA and Hanoi Jane and all other elites privileged SNOWFLAKES.
      They sacrifice so much of themselves in an attempt to shake enlightenment in the rest of us consumer addicted zombies who unwittingly destroy the biosphere to prop up a collapsing economic, social network serving the multinational Corporate Empire!
      It’s very, very late in the game, only seconds left to go before it’s all over for humanity and life on the Green Planet.
      Will Greta and team be able to save us from the cruel finale while the uproaring crowds cheer on …..
      We need a miracle….

      Up to now Humanity has rolled the dice and won, will Lady Fate smile upon us all?

      But FIRST the awards …..drum roll please

  4. OMG….Is this just awful…..HOW DARE THEY!
    Hindu worshippers have begun beheading thousands of buffalo in Nepal as part of what is thought to be the world’s largest animal sacrifice event.
    The Gadhimai festival started in the early hours of Tuesday morning as a priest killed a goat, rat, chicken, pig and pigeon and then offered blood from his own body
    Around 200 butchers wielding curved kukri knives then descended on a walled temple arena containing an estimated 3,500 buffalo to behead the animals
    Campaigners for animal rights charity Humane Society International described seeing baby buffaloes bellowing as they watched their mothers being decapitated
    They said others collapsed from exhaustion, sickness and stress as worshippers attempted to drag them to their deaths
    Thousands of people from Nepal and neighbouring India travelled to Bariyarpur village to witness the festival, which occurs every five years.
    The sacrifices went ahead despite temple authorities announcing a ban in 2015 and Nepal’s supreme court directing the government to reduce animal sacrifice a year later.
    Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of Humane Society International in India, said being at the festival was “one of the most depressing and challenging experiences of my life”.
    “The suffering of these animals is so upsetting, they have endured exhausting journeys to get here and are paraded in front of a baying crowd as all around them they witness other animals being decapitated one by one,” she said.
    the last week the Indian border force and campaigners seized hundreds of baby goats, pigeons and buffaloes at the border.
    “We may not have a bloodless Gadhimai this time, but we are determined that one day we will see an end to this gruesome spectacle,” Ms Sengupta added.
    Mimi Bekhechi, Peta’s director of international programmes, said: “Nepali officials promised – but have failed – to protect thousands of petrified animals from being dragged and transported to a violent mass killing that starts today.
    The government must act forcefully to prevent this bloodbath from taking place again or feel the impact of a tourist boycott.”
    She added: “Devotees are bringing universal condemnation to a wonderful religion – which needn’t be based on fear and cruelty – and just as widow-burning and human-baby sacrifice have ended, so must the horror of an animal-slaughter festival.
    “Gruesome images of animals looking up pitifully and struggling as they’re hacked into pieces ruin Nepal’s reputation, and we urge all of its compassionate citizens to join the international clamour for an end to such barbarity.”
    In 2009, at the height of the festival, around 500,000 buffaloes, goats, pigeons and other animals were killed. After protests in the intervening years 30,000 were killed in 2014


    I imagine these worshippers are reasonable, rationale folks and just need an exchange to remedy their ill gotten traditions.
    Why, here in our Western culture open communication and democratic order solves such disagreements

    Oops…wrong video
    So sorry

    • It is strange how animal and human sacrifices have shown up in so many religions around the world. There seems to be a lot of people who see these sacrifices as helpful/necessary.

      At one time, the sacrificed meat was eaten by priests, at least some places. The leftovers were sold in the marketplace. Perhaps a way of providing meat to everyone on certain festival days?

      • Seems a reasonable assumption.

        Remember reading the last Pagan Roman Emperor Julian the Philosopher known as the Apostate attempted a revival of Paganism and to promote such to the people in Antioch had lavish Bull sacrifices. While traveling he was visible upset at a Temple when a Pagan priest showed up with only a undernourished goose for the ritual.
        He was a prolific writer and a great deal of his work has survived

      • Until recently Ethiopians,and no doubt others, kept an animal tethered outside the dining hut, and meat was cut from it sloice by slice – while still alive – so that guest could be assured of freshness.

        There was also a common theory that an animal which is stressed and terrified before being killed will taste much better – this lies behind the notorious bull-running of Pamplona, which also took place in England as well until the early 19th-century.

        • i know for fish, the effect of stress on the meat is opposite. a tuna that’s meat is “burned” (lighter red color) from stress will draw a lower price at market.

  5. How DARE THEY!
    World’s Biggest Oil-Refining Tower Completes 11,000-Mile Voyage
    Anthony Osae-Brown, Tope Alake and Alaric Nightingale
    BloombergDecember 4, 2019, 10:17 AM EST

    It’s the length of a soccer field and the weight of 320 large elephants, but the world’s biggest oil-refining tower has finally reached its destination — Nigeria — after an 11,000 mile voyage.
    The distillation column, which will heat up crude at different temperatures to make various fuels, arrived on Sunday at a port in Lagos, Dangote Industries Ltd. said in a statement. It will now be carefully unloaded so that it can be installed as the critical piece of kit at the Dangote oil refinery in Nigeria. When operational, it will be by far Africa’s single biggest oil-processing facility and be one of the largest anywhere in the world.
    The column is 112.5 meters (369 feet) long and weighs 2,250 metric tons. The tower — the largest of its kind in the world, according to Dangote — left China roughly 12 weeks ago aboard the Fan Zhou 9, a ship dedicated to transporting heavy pieces of infrastructure across oceans
    The refinery is a relatively unusual because it has just one column for distilling crude into more valuable fuels. Modern plants of a similar size would typically have at least two.
    The distiller was moved Tuesday to its final destination about six miles away by a self-propelled modular transporter that’s designed for such activity.
    While the arrival of the column is a milestone for Dangote, there’s still work to do to get the refinery ready, said David Bleasdale, an executive director at CITAC, an adviser to downstream energy companies in Africa. A major construction challenge remains completing the groundwork for the facility, he said.
    Designed to maximize gasoline output, it could start operations at the beginning of 2021, with full capacity reached by the end of the first half of the year, Devakumar Edwin, a group executive director at Dangote Industries, said in an interview in October.

    Looks like BAU is going strong….so sorry GRETA

    • I wonder whether this has been fully thought through.

      If something goes wrong, clearly the whole thing is out of commission. If there were two or three towers, there would be some backup. There is no doubt a reason for using multiple towers. I can’t imagine that there are many roads in Africa that can bear the weight of transporting such heavy equipment.

Comments are closed.