COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

The COVID-19 story keeps developing. At first, everyone listened to epidemiologists telling us that a great deal of social distancing, and even the closing down of economies, would be helpful. After trying these things, we ended up with a huge number of people out of work and protests everywhere. We discovered the models that were provided were not very predictive. We are also finding that a V-shaped recovery is not possible.

Now, we need to figure out what actions to take next. How vigorously should we be fighting COVID-19? The story is more complex than most people understand. These are some of the issues I see:

[1] The share of COVID-19 cases that can be expected to end in death seems to be much lower than most people expect.

Most people assume that the ratios of deaths to cases by age group, computed using reported cases, such as those included in the Johns Hopkins Database, give a good indication of the chance of death a person faces if a person catches COVID-19. In fact, the cases reported to this database are far from representative of all cases; they tend to be the more severe cases. Cases with no symptoms, or only very slight symptoms, tend to be missed. The result is that ratios calculated directly from this database make people think their risk of death is far higher than it really is.

The US Center for Disease Control has published Planning Scenarios, based on information available on April 29, 2020.* Using this information, the CDC’s best estimate of the number of future deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms is as follows:

Ages 0 – 49    0.5 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 50-64    2.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 65+       13.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

The CDC’s best estimate is that 35% of cases have no symptoms at all. Thus, if we were to include these cases without symptoms in the chart above, the chart would become:

Ages 0-49   0.5 deaths per 1,538 cases (including those without symptoms), or 0.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 50-64  1.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 65+    8.5 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

A recent study of blood samples from 23 different parts of the world came to a similarly low estimate of the number of deaths per 1000 COVID-19 infections. It reported that among people who are less than 70 years old, the number of deaths per 1000 ranged from 0.0 to 2.3 per 1000, with a median of 0.4 deaths per 1000.

The same paper remarks,

COVID-19 seems to affect predominantly the frail, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized – as shown by high rates of infectious burden in nursing homes, homeless shelters, prisons, meat processing plants, and the strong racial/ethnic inequalities against minorities in terms of the cumulative death risk.

[2] There seem to be things we can do ourselves to reduce our personal chance of serious illness or death.

General good health is protective against getting a bad case of COVID-19. Thus, anything that we can do in terms of a good diet and exercise is likely helpful. Staying inside for weeks on end in the hope of preventing exposure to COVID-19 is probably not helpful.

Continued exposure to huge amounts of disinfectants and hand sanitizers is likely not to be helpful either. Our bodies depend on healthy microbiomes, and products such as these adversely affect our microbiomes. They kill good and bad bacteria alike and may leave harmful residues. It is easy to scale back our personal use of these products.

There are recent indications that vitamin D is likely to be protective in reducing both the incidence of COVID-19 and the disease’s severity. Web MD reports:

Several groups of researchers from different countries have found that the sickest patients often have the lowest levels of vitamin D, and that countries with higher death rates had larger numbers of people with vitamin D deficiency than countries with lower death rates.

Experts say healthy blood levels of vitamin D may give people with COVID-19 a survival advantage by helping them avoid cytokine storm, when the immune system overreacts and attacks your body’s own cells and tissues.

While we don’t know for certain that vitamin D is helpful, there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that it would likely be worthwhile to raise vitamin D levels to the amount recommended by the National Institute of Health (30 nmol/L or higher). People with dark skin living in areas away from the equator might especially be helped by this strategy, since dark skin reduces vitamin D production.

Masks seem to be helpful in preventing the spread of infection. A person’s own immune system can handle some level of germs. If two people meeting together both wear masks, the combination of masks can perhaps reduce the level of germs to within the amount the immune system can handle. Our immune systems are built to handle a barrage of small attacks by virus and bacteria. Continued “practice” with relatively low combinations of good and bad bacteria (as occur with masks) will tend to build up our bodies’ natural defenses.

We see dentists and dental hygienists wearing face shields. These shields are readily available over the internet and can be worn with a mask or by themselves. We don’t yet know precisely how much protection they provide, but early models suggest that they can be helpful in two directions: (a) preventing the wearer’s droplets from harming others and (b) reducing the droplet exposure from others. Thus, they may be a worthwhile way to reduce exposure to the virus causing COVID-19, even when others are not wearing masks.

[3] The medical community’s ability to treat COVID-19 cases keeps improving.

There seem to be many small changes that are improving treatment of COVID-19. If patients are having trouble getting enough oxygen, having them lie on their stomachs seems to increase their blood oxygen levels. The cost of this change is pretty much zero, but it keeps people out of the ICU longer.

Originally, planners thought that ventilators would be needed for patients with COVID-19, since ventilators are often used on pneumonia patients. Experience has shown, however, that oxygen plus something like a CPAP machine often works better and is less expensive.**

The simple change of not sending recuperating patients to nursing home-type facilities for the last stages of care has proven helpful, as well. Many of these patients can still infect others, leading to infections in long-term care facilities. Tests to tell whether patients are truly over the disease do not seem to be very accurate.

Last week, it was announced that treatment with an inexpensive common steroid could reduce deaths of people on ventilators by one-third. It could also reduce deaths of those requiring only oxygen treatment by 20%. Using this treatment should significantly reduce deaths, at little cost.

We can expect improvements in treatments to continue as doctors experiment with existing treatments, and as drug companies work on new solutions. Looking at cumulative historical mortality rates tends to overlook the huge learning curve that is taking place, allowing mortality rates to be lower.

[4] More doubts are being raised about quickly finding a vaccine that prevents COVID-19. 

The public would like to think that a vaccine solution is right around the corner. Vaccine promoters such as Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates would like to encourage this belief. Unfortunately, there are quite a few obstacles to getting a vaccine that actually works for any length of time:

(a) Antibodies for coronaviruses tend not to stay around for very long. A recent study suggests that even as soon as eight weeks, a significant share of COVID-19 patients (40% of those without symptoms; 12.9% of those with symptoms) had lost all immunity. A vaccine will likely face this same challenge.

(b) Vaccines may not work against mutations. Beijing is now fighting a new version of COVID-19 that seems to have been imported from Europe in food. Early indications are that people who caught the original Wuhan version of the COVID-19 virus will not be immune to the mutated version imported from Europe.

Vaccines that are currently under development use the Wuhan version of the virus. The catch is that the version of COVID-19 now circulating in the United States, Europe and perhaps elsewhere is mostly not the Wuhan type.

(c) There is a real concern that a vaccine against one version of COVID-19 will make a person’s response to a mutation of COVID-19 worse, rather than better. It has been known for many years that Dengue Fever has this characteristic; it is one of the reasons that there is no vaccine for Dengue Fever. The earlier SARS virus (which is closely related to the COVID-19 virus) has this same issue. Preliminary analysis suggests that the virus causing COVID-19 seems to have this characteristic, as well.

In sum, getting a vaccine that actually works against COVID-19 is likely to be a huge challenge. Instead of expecting a silver bullet in the form of a COVID-19 vaccine, we probably need to be looking for a lot of silver bee-bees that will hold down the impact of the illness. Hopefully, COVID-19 will someday disappear on its own, but we have no assurance of this outcome.

[5] The basic underlying issue that the world economy faces is overshoot, caused by too high a population relative to underlying resources.

When an economy is in overshoot, the big danger is collapse. The characteristics of overshoot leading to collapse include the following:

  • Very great wage disparity; too many people are very poor
  • Declining health, often due to poor nutrition, making people vulnerable to epidemics
  • Increasing use of debt, to make up for inadequate wages and profits
  • Falling commodity prices because too few people can afford these commodities and goods made from these commodities
  • Gluts of commodities, causing farmers to plow under crops and oil to be put into storage

Thus, pandemics are very much to be expected when an economy is in overshoot.

One example of collapse is that following the Black Death (1348-1350) epidemic in Europe. The collapse killed 60% of Europe’s population and dropped Britain’s population from close to 5 million to about 2 million.

Figure 1. Britain’s population, 1200 to 1700. Chart by Bloomberg using Federal Reserve of St. Louis data.

We might say that there was a U-shaped population recovery, which took about 300 years.

A later example that almost led to collapse was the period between 1914 and 1945. This was a period of shrinking international trade, indicating that something was truly wrong. On Figure 2 below, the WSJ calls its measure of international trade the “Trade Openness Index.” The period 1914-1945 is highlighted as being somewhat like today.

Figure 2. The Trade Openness Index is an index based on the average of world imports and exports, divided by world GDP. Chart by Wall Street Journal.

Many of the issues in the 1914-1945 timeframe were coal related. World War I took place when coal depletion became a problem in Britain. The issue at that time was wages that were too low for coal miners because the price of coal would not rise very high. Higher coal prices were needed to offset the impact of depletion, but high coal prices were not affordable by citizens.

The Pandemic of 1918-1919 killed far more people than either World War I or COVID-19.

World War II came about at the time coal depletion became a problem in Germany.

Figure 3. Figure by author describing peak coal timing compared to World War I and World War II.

The problem of inadequate energy resources finally ended when World War II ramped up demand through more debt and through more women entering the labor force for the first time. In response, the US began pumping oil out of the ground at a faster rate. Instead of depending on coal alone, the world began depending on a combination of oil and coal as energy resources. The ratio of population to energy resources was suddenly brought back into balance again, and collapse was averted!

[6] We are now in another period of overshoot of population relative to resources. The critical resource this time is oil. The alternatives we have aren’t suited to fulfilling our most basic need: the growing and transportation of food. They act as add-ons that are lost if oil is lost.

If we look back at Figure 2 above, it shows that since 2008, the world has again fallen into a period of shrinking imports and exports, which is a sign of “not enough energy resources to go around.” We are also experiencing many of the other characteristics of an overshoot economy that I mentioned in Section 5 above.

Figure 4 shows world energy consumption by type of energy through 2019, using recently published data by BP. The “Other” combination in Figure 4 includes nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other smaller categories such as geothermal energy, wood pellets, and sawdust burned for fuel.

Figure 4. World energy consumption by fuel, based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Oil has been rising at a steady pace; coal consumption has been close to level since about 2012. Natural gas and “Other” seem to be rising a little faster in the most recent few years.

If we divide by world population, the trend in world energy consumption per capita by type is as follows:

Figure 5. World Per Capita Energy Consumption based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy

Many people would like to think that the various energy sources are substitutable, but this is not really the case, as we approach limits of a finite world.

One catch is that there are very few stand-alone energy resources. Most energy resources only work within a framework provided by other energy sources. Wood that is picked up from the forest floor can work as a stand-alone energy source. Wind can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it is used to power a simple sail boat or a wooden windmill. Water can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it can be made to turn a wooden water wheel.

Coal, when its use was ramped up, enabled the production of both concrete and steel. It allowed modern hydroelectric dams to be built. It allowed steam engines to operate. It truly could be used as a stand-alone energy source. The main obstacle to the extraction of coal was keeping the cost of extraction low enough, so that, even with transportation, buyers could afford to purchase the coal.

Oil, similarly, can be a stand-alone energy solution because it is very flexible, dense, and easily transported. Or it can be paired with other types of less-expensive energy, to make it go further. We can see our dependence on oil by how level energy consumption per capita is in Figure 5 since the early 1980s. Growth in population seems to depend upon the amount of oil available.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the economy is a self-organizing system. If there isn’t enough of the energy products upon which the economy primarily depends, the system tends to change in very strange ways. Countries become more quarrelsome. People decide to have fewer children or they become more susceptible to pandemics, bringing population more in line with energy resources.

The problem with natural gas and with the electricity products that I have lumped together as “Other” is that they are not really stand-alone products. They cannot grow food or build roads. They cannot power international jets. They cannot build wind turbines or solar panels. They cannot put natural gas pipelines in place. They can only exist in a complex environment which includes oil and perhaps coal (or other cheaper energy products).

We are kidding ourselves if we think we can transition to modern fuels that are low in carbon emissions. Without high prices, oil and coal that are in the ground will tend to stay in the ground permanently. This is the serious obstacle that we are up against. Without oil and coal, natural gas and electricity products will quickly become unusable.

[7] A major problem with COVID-19 related shutdowns is the fact that they lead to very low commodity prices, including oil prices. 

Figure 6. Inflation-adjusted monthly average oil prices through May 2020. Amounts are Brent Spot Oil Prices, as published by the EIA. Inflation adjustment is made using the CPI-Urban Index.

Oil is the primary type of energy used in growing and transporting food. It is used in many essential processes, including in the production of electricity. If its production is to continue, its price must be both high enough for oil producers and low enough for consumers.

The problem that we have been encountering since 2008 (the start of the latest cutback in trade in Figure 2) is that oil prices have been falling too low for producers. Now, in 2020, oil production is beginning to fall. This is happening because producing companies cannot afford to extract oil at current prices; governments of oil exporting countries cannot collect enough taxes at current prices. They hope that by reducing oil supply, prices will rise again.

If extraordinarily low oil prices persist, a calamity similar to the one that “Peak Oilers” have worried about will certainly occur: Oil supply will begin dropping. In fact, the drop will likely be much more rapid than most Peak Oilers have imagined, because the drop will be caused by low prices, rather than the high prices that they imagined would occur.

Amounts which are today shown as “proven reserves” can be expected to disappear because they will not be economic to extract. Governments of oil exporting countries seem likely to be overthrown because tax revenue from oil is their major source of revenue for programs such as food subsidies and jobs programs. When this disappears, governments of oil exporters are forced to cut back, lowering the standard of living of their citizens.

[8] What our strategy should be from now on is not entirely clear.

Of course, one path is straight into collapse, as happened after the Black Death of 1348-1352 (Figure 1). In fact, the carrying capacity of Britain might still be about 2 million. Its current population is about 68 million, so this would represent a population reduction of about 97%.

Other countries would experience substantial population reductions as well. The population decline would reflect many causes of death besides direct deaths from COVID-19; they would reflect the impacts of collapsing governments, inadequate food supply, polluted water supplies, and untreated diseases of many kinds.

If a large share of the population stays hidden in their homes trying to avoid COVID, it seems to me that we are most certainly heading straight into collapse. Supply lines for many kinds of goods and services will be broken. Oil prices and food prices will stay very low. Farmers will plow under crops, trying to raise prices. Gluts of oil will continue to be a problem.

If we try to transition to renewables, this leads directly to collapse as well, as far as I can see. They are not robust enough to stand on their own. Prices of oil and other commodities will fall too low and gluts will occur. Renewables will only last as long as (a) the overall systems can be kept in good repair and (b) governments can support continued subsidies.

The only approach that seems to keep the system going a little longer would seem to be to try to muddle along, despite COVID-19. Open up economies, even if the number of COVID-19 cases is higher and keeps rising. Tell people about the approaches they can use to limit their exposure to the virus, and how they can make their immune systems stronger. Get people started raising their vitamin D levels, so that they perhaps have a better chance of fighting the disease if they get COVID-19.

With this approach, we keep as many people working for as long as possible. Life will go on as close to normal, for as long as it can. We can perhaps put off collapse for a bit longer. We don’t have a lot of options open to us, but this one seems to be the best of a lot of poor options.

Notes:

*The CDC estimates are estimates of future deaths per 1000 cases. Thus, they probably reflect the learning curve that has already taken place. It is unlikely that they reflect the benefit of the new steroid treatment mentioned in Section 3, because this finding occurred after April 29.

**I have been told that disease spread can be a problem when using CPAP machines, however. Using ventilators at very low pressure settings seems also to be a solution.

 

 

 

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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903 Responses to COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

  1. adonis says:

    the word “they” is not part of the excerpt here is the link to the original document it will take a long time to read

    https://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252

    • Pintada says:

      Sorry Adonis, this is very old news. Science and scientists have no power in this society. Those warnings were ignored for decades before it was too late to do anything. Now that it is way too late they will definitely be ignored again.

      Your money is safe from “them”.

  2. GBV says:

    Bwaaa-haaa-haa… 😀

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/83-tons-fake-gold-bars-gold-market-rocked-massive-china-counterfeiting-scandal

    The old saying must be true… “not everything that glitters is gold”

    https://zh-prod-1cc738ca-7d3b-4a72-b792-20bd8d8fa069.storage.googleapis.com/s3fs-public/styles/inline_image_desktop/public/inline-images/fake%20gold%203.jpg?itok=Iw4MmcmJ

    I suspect this kind of fraud (which actually may have already been committed en masse, with who knows how many goldbugs sitting on their stacks of gold-plated tungsten) will continue to pop up on our radar…

    Cheers,
    -GBV

    • doomphd says:

      you need an x-ray scanner, but you can probably tell if the bars have been tampered with by tungsten replacement. also, a precise weight/volume measurement might give it away.

    • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

      Yep, very true..helps to purchase from a major reputable seller and not from a fly by night seller listed on Fleabag. Also, on YouTube has video posts on how to detect takes and good guidance/advice on what to look for in coins and bars.
      With gold trading near record highs, these forgery products will undoubtedly be placed on the market. Buyer beware….
      Nice video on bar

      Another on common bullion British sovereign

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        I once had a bag full of gold coins.

        it turned out to be chocolate inside.

        perhaps that explains a lot.

        • doomphd says:

          at least you can get some nourishment from the chocolate.

          • Herbie Ficklestein says:

            Yep. From the Miami Herald.. December 2018

            Venezuelans sell gold and silver chains, bracelets, earrings — including pieces that have belonged to their families for decades or generations — so they can walk out the door of the pawnshop with enough money simply to eat, at least for a while.

            Some get rid of their family jewels to pay for other necessities like school registration for their children, oil changes for the car, dental procedures or healthcare.

            Torres found a temporary solution by trading her most precious possession, but she still struggles to buy groceries. Money is so tight that she’s tempted to sell the only piece of jewelry remaining: a silver ring her godmother gave her before she died.

  3. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Oh no, not again….
    Pandemic threat
    A bad new strain of influenza is among the top disease threats that experts are watching for, even as the world attempts to bring to an end the current coronavirus pandemic.
    The last pandemic flu the world encountered – the swine flu outbreak of 2009 that began in Mexico – was less deadly than initially feared, largely because many older people had some immunity to it, probably because of its similarity to other flu viruses that had circulated years before.
    Coronavirus: This is not the last pandemic
    That virus, called A/H1N1pdm09, is now covered by the annual flu vaccine to make sure people are protected.
    The new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to 2009 swine flu, but with some new changes.
    So far, it hasn’t posed a big threat, but Prof Kin-Chow Chang and colleagues who have been studying it, say it is one to keep an eye on.
    The virus, which the researchers call G4 EA H1N1, can grow and multiply in the cells that line the human airways.
    They found evidence of recent infection starting in people who worked in abattoirs and the swine industry in China.
    Current flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, although they could be adapted to do so if needed.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/health-53218704

  4. Duncan Idaho says:

    “Interesting” chart:

    • Tim Groves says:

      For those of us brought up to neither a borrower nor a lender be, this graph is a bit of a shocker.

      Eyeballing this, the two lines began to diverge during the seventies and the debt one has rocketed up, doubling the GDP one by the mid-eighties and tripling it by the end of the century. Now it’s reached over four times higher, and one wonders how much higher it can go.

      • john Eardley says:

        Divergence really began in 1944 with the Bretton Woods agreement and the end of the gold standard. It accelerated after 1971 when Nixon closed the gold window that had allowed countries to exchange the $ for US held gold.

        • The world economy began growing more rapidly quite quickly after WWII. It also used a lot of debt to enable the growth. The combination would seem to be the reason that the gold standard could no longer be made to work, especially after the US hit its early peak oil in 1970.

  5. j arnott says:

    Hi Gail,

    Can I just say I enjoyed reading this article.

    I discovered your blog in the early 2010’s and I have been reading regularly ever since.

    All of your posts have a such a high degree of credibility, Your reasoning seems sound, though I hope you are wrong for the sake of humanity.

    Best wishes

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence.

      I hope I am wrong, too. I always seem to be wrong on timing, if nothing else.

      • GBV says:

        To be fair, unless I missed something, I don’t think anyone else has got the timing right on the complete collapse of modern industrial civilization yet either 😀

        Cheers,
        -GBV

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          “A secret question hovers over us, a sense of disappointment, a broken promise we were given as children about what our adult world was supposed to be like. I am referring not to the standard false promises that children are always given (about how the world is fair, or how those who work hard shall be rewarded), but to a particular generational promise—given to those who were children in the fifties, sixties, seventies, or eighties—one that was never quite articulated as a promise but rather as a set of assumptions about what our adult world would be like. And since it was never quite promised, now that it has failed to come true, we’re left confused: indignant, but at the same time, embarrassed at our own indignation, ashamed we were ever so silly to believe our elders to begin with.

          Where, in short, are the flying cars? Where are the force fields, tractor beams, teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, tricorders, immortality drugs, colonies on Mars, and all the other technological wonders any child growing up in the mid-to-late twentieth century assumed would exist by now? Even those inventions that seemed ready to emerge—like cloning or cryogenics—ended up betraying their lofty promises. What happened to them?”

          • Tim Groves says:

            As usual, Greta said it best.

            • Herbie Ficklestein says:

              Scientists have been tracking temperature at the Amundsen-Scott south pole Station, Earth’s southernmost weather observatory, since 1957. It is one of the longest-running complete temperature records on the Antarctic continent.
              Our analysis of weather station data from the south pole shows it has warmed by 1.8℃ between 1989 and 2018, changing more rapidly since the start of the 2000s. Over the same period, the warming in West Antarctica suddenly stopped and the Antarctic Peninsula began cooling.
              One of the reasons for the south pole warming was stronger low-pressure systems and stormier weather east of the Antarctic Peninsula in the Weddell Sea. With clockwise flow around the low-pressure systems, this has been transporting warm, moist air on to the Antarctic plateau.
              …..The temperature variability at the south pole is so extreme it currently masks human-caused effects. The Antarctic interior is one of the few places left on Earth where human-caused warming cannot be precisely determined, which means it is a challenge to say whether, or for how long, the warming will continue.
              But our study reveals extreme and abrupt climate shifts are part of the climate of Antarctica’s interior. These will likely continue into the future, working to either hide human-induced warming or intensify it when natural warming processes and the human greenhouse effect work in tandem.

              Kyle Clem is a research fellow in climate science, Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington
              https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/30/south-pole-warming-three-times-faster-than-rest-of-the-world-our-research-shows

          • neil says:

            We did get astonishing leaps forward in phone technology, like this one I’m using now. In 2001, a space odyssey, he had to go to the phone booth to call home.

            • rufustiresias999 says:

              In Alien, interstellar transportation, AI, androids, but so awful 80s style low def computer screens. Funny. (but, hey, great movie).

          • Robert Firth says:

            i remember reading the British Interplanetary Society’s proposal for a manned expedition to Mars for the opposition of 1956. (Yes, back then we were still a first world country) It nearly broke my heart, because I would be far too young to join. And here I am now, far too old. Whither is fled the visionary gleam?

  6. Dennis L. says:

    Okay, here is one in memory of FE posts on the subject, something about climate delta:

    Apparently, the world is not going to end for a bit, read and enjoy or become angry depending on point of view. I know nothing about the subject, so I let a smile be my umbrella and go on my way.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/forbes-censors-award-winning-environmentalists-apology-over-three-decade-climate-scare-so

    Dennis L.

    • Excerpt

      On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.

      I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.

      But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as Expert Reviewer of its next Assessment Report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.

      Here are some facts few people know:

      Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”

      The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”

      Climate change is not making natural disasters worse

      Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003

      The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska

      The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California

      Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s

      Adapting to life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor

      We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter

      Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change

      Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels

      Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture

    • Rodster says:

      Haha, someone needs to forward that article to Guy McPherson aka “The Nutty Professor”.

  7. Dennis L. says:

    More on Covid-19, it changed between the beginning and now, tough to make a vaccine seems to be part of the conclusion of this article.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/not-just-accidental-how-one-coronavirus-mutation-helped-virus-conquer-globe

    It appears this will be a challenge to all of us.

    Dennis L.

  8. Tim Groves says:

    Note to aggressive in-yer-face protestors:
    In encounters with other road vehicles, pedestrians invariably come of worse.

  9. Chrome Mags says:

    In all, the Fed on Sunday identified 794 companies whose bonds it will be buying directly to support the market for investment-grade corporate debt. Automakers, Technology Firms Are Largest Components of Fed’s Corporate-Bond Purchases – WSJ
    They are buying everything. No other choice.

    I got this 2nd hand, so no link, but the source given was Wall Street Journal, so a quick search would likely find it.

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/debt-from-att-and-other-corporate-giants-saw-biggest-purchases-from-the-fed-2020-06-28

      the Fed owns the bonds, the corporations get the cash.

      I don’t like this save-everyone approach.

      “Automakers, Technology Firms Are Largest Components…”

      I think the economy needs to discard a major automaker and a major airline, for starters.

      this approach would give the survivors a bigger slice of the economic pie, which is a smaller pie as the economy is resetting at a lower level.

      so allowing the economy to self-organize at a lower level of activity.

      • Xabier says:

        While that might seem logical, the end of civilization -which is what we face now – is not a logical process, any more than the growth phase was.

        The usual pattern is to endeavour to keep it all up and running, refusing to face reality.

        The rulers do not anticipate wisely; they only react – desperately.

        Everyone just hopes that things will go back to the way they were, and that all the troubles would dissolve. instead of -as they must -accumulating and growing ever deeper.

        Few will be capable of comprehending fully what is happening; and those few will be unable to act on what they know, due to the inertia and complexity of the system, and the wishful -thinking and delusion of the mass of people, both elite and non-elite.

        • Minority Of One says:

          “…and those few will be unable to act on what they know, … due to … the wishful -thinking and delusion of the mass of people, both elite and non-elite.”

          Thus why Ugo Bardi calls his blog Cassandra’s Legacy.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Cassandra, Princess of Troy, was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, and a priestess of Apollo. The god admired her, and gave her the gift of prophecy in exchange for her promise of a gift of herself. But she then reneged on the deal (some things never change) so Apollo added a small codicil to his gift: that nobody would believe her. And ever since, prophets without honour have used the pen name “Cassandra”.

            • JMS says:


              But Cassandra had problems
              She denied a god love
              And he ruined her gift of prophecy
              She could see it all
              But no one believed her
              No one believed her when she said
              We are all victims of the dance

          • Xabier says:

            Maybe ‘Green Clean’ energy is our Trojan Horse – a gift we should be wiser to reject?

      • It seems like some of these companies are the same ones who were some of the same ones being recommended in a recent video by an analysts saying what terrible shape the world economy is in. I suppose a company that just got a big bailout would be expected to do well.

        It is disturbing that AT&T and Comcast, both of whom are big sellers of internet services, are on the list. Without internet services, none of us will have internet connections. Maybe they really need to charge more for their services.

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire proposed splitting off the debt piled up as a result of emergency spending to tackle the coronavirus and spreading out repayments over years.”

    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/france-mulls-splitting-off-coronavirus-153458876.html

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