Why a Great Reset Based on Green Energy Isn’t Possible

It seems like a reset of an economy should work like a reset of your computer: Turn it off and turn it back on again; most problems should be fixed. However, it doesn’t really work that way. Let’s look at a few of the misunderstandings that lead people to believe that the world economy can move to a Green Energy future.

[1] The economy isn’t really like a computer that can be switched on and off; it is more comparable to a human body that is dead, once it is switched off.

A computer is something that is made by humans. There is a beginning and an end to the process of making it. The computer works because energy in the form of electrical current flows through it. We can turn the electricity off and back on again. Somehow, almost like magic, software issues are resolved, and the system works better after the reset than before.

Even though the economy looks like something made by humans, it really is extremely different. In physics terms, it is a “dissipative structure.” It is able to “grow” only because of energy consumption, such as oil to power trucks and electricity to power machines.

The system is self-organizing in the sense that new businesses are formed based on the resources available and the apparent market for products made using these resources. Old businesses disappear when their products are no longer needed. Customers make decisions regarding what to buy based on their incomes, the amount of debt available to them, and the choice of goods available in the marketplace.

There are many other dissipative structures. Hurricanes and tornadoes are dissipative structures. So are stars. Plants and animals are dissipative structures. Ecosystems of all kinds are dissipative structures. All of these things grow for a time and eventually collapse. If their energy source is taken away, they fail quite quickly. The energy source for humans is food of various types; for plants it is generally sunlight.

Thinking that we can switch the economy off and on again comes close to assuming that we can resurrect human beings after they die. Perhaps this is possible in a religious sense. But assuming that we can do this with an economy requires a huge leap of faith.

[2] Economic growth has a definite pattern to it, rather than simply increasing without limit. 

Many people have developed models reflecting the fact that economic growth seems to come in waves or cycles. Ray Dalio shows a chart describing his view of the economic cycle in a preview to his upcoming book, The Changing World Order. Figure 1 is Dalio’s chart, with some annotations I have added in blue.

Figure 1. New World Order chart by Ray Dalio from an introduction to his theory called The Changing World Order. Annotations in blue added by Gail Tverberg.

Modelers of all kinds would like to think that there are no limits in this world. Actually, there are many limits. It is the fact that economies have to work around limits that leads to cycles such as these. Some examples of limits include inadequate arable land for a growing population, inability to fight off pathogens, and an energy supply that becomes excessively expensive to produce. Cycles can be expected to vary in steepness, both on the upside and the downside of the cycle.

The danger of ignoring these cycles is that researchers tend to create models of future economic growth and future energy consumption that are far out of sync with what really can be expected. Accurate models need to include at least some limited version of overshoot and collapse on a regular basis. Models of the future economy tend to be based on what politicians would like to believe will happen, rather than what actually can be expected to happen in the real world.

[3] Commodity prices behave differently at different stages of the economic cycle. During the second half of the economic cycle, it becomes difficult to keep commodity prices high enough for producers. 

There is a common belief that demand for energy products will always be high, because everyone knows we need energy. Thus, according to this belief, if we have the technology to extract fossil fuels, prices will eventually rise high enough that fossil fuel resources can easily be extracted. Many people have been concerned that we might “run out” of oil. They expect that oil prices will rise to compensate for the shortages. Thus, many people believe that in order to maintain adequate supply, we should be concerned about supplementing fossil fuels with nuclear power and renewable energy.

If we examine oil prices (Figure 2), it is apparent that, at least recently, this is not the way oil prices actually behave. Since the spike in oil prices in 2008, the big problem has been prices that fall too low for oil producers. At prices well below $100 per barrel, development of many new oil fields is not economic. Low oil prices are especially a problem in 2020 because travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic reduce oil demand (and prices) even below where they were previously.

Figure 2. Weekly average spot oil prices for Brent, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Strangely enough, coal prices (Figure 3) seem to follow a very similar pattern to oil prices, even though coal is commonly believed to be available in huge supply, and oil is commonly believed to be in short supply.

Figure 3. Selected Spot Coal Prices, from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Prices are annual averages. Price for China is Qinhuangdao spot price; price for US is Central Appalachian coal spot index; price for Europe is Northwest European marker price.

Comparing Figures 2 and 3, we see that prices for both oil and coal rose to a peak in 2008, then fell back sharply. The timing of this drop in prices corresponds with the “debt bust” in late 2008 that is shown in Figure 1.

Prices then rose to another peak in 2011, after several years of Quantitative Easing (QE). QE is intended to hold the cost of borrowing down, encouraging the use of more debt. This debt can be used by citizens to buy more goods made with coal and oil (such as cars and solar panels). Therefore, QE is a way to increase demand and thus help raise energy prices. In the 2011-2014 period, oil was able to maintain its price better than coal, perhaps because of its short supply. Once the United States discontinued its QE program in 2014, oil prices dropped like a rock (Figure 2).

Prices were very low in 2015 and 2016 for both coal and oil. China stimulated its economy, and prices for both coal and oil were able to rise again in 2017 and 2018. By 2019, prices for both oil and coal were falling again. Figure 2 shows that in 2020, oil prices have fallen again, as a result of demand destruction caused by pandemic shutdowns. Coal prices have also fallen in 2020, according to Trading Economics.

[4] The low prices since mid-2008 seem to be leading to both peak crude oil and peak coal. Crude oil production started falling in 2019 and can be expected to continue falling in 2020. Coal extraction seems likely to start falling in 2020.

In the previous section, I showed that crude oil and coal both have the same problem: Prices tend to be too low for producers to make a profit extracting them. For this reason, investment in new oil wells is being reduced, and unprofitable coal mines are being closed.

Figure 4 shows that world crude oil production has not grown much since 2004. In fact, OPEC’s production has not grown much since 2004, even though OPEC countries report high oil reserves so, in theory, they could pump more oil if they chose to.

Figure 4. World crude oil production (including condensate) based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Russia+ refers to the group Commonwealth of Independent States.

In total, BP data shows that world crude oil production fell by 582,000 barrels per day, comparing 2019 to 2018. This represents a drop of 2.0 million barrels per day in OPEC production, offset by smaller increases in production for the US, Canada, and Russia. Crude oil production is expected to fall further in 2020, because of low demand and prices.

Because of continued low coal prices, world coal production has been on a bumpy plateau since 2011. Prices seem to be even lower in 2020 than in 2019, putting further downward pressure on coal extraction in 2020.

Figure 5. World coal production based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

[5] Modelers missed the fact that fossil fuel extraction would disappear because of low prices, leaving nearly all reserves and other resources in the ground. Modelers instead assumed that renewables would always be an extension of a fossil fuel-powered system.

The thing that most people do not understand is that commodity prices are set by the laws of physics, so that supply and demand are in balance. Demand is really very close to “affordability.” If there is too much wage/wealth disparity, commodity prices tend to fall too low. In a globalized world, many workers earn only a few dollars a day. Because of their low wages, these low-paid workers cannot afford to purchase very much of the world’s goods and services. The use of robots tends to produce a similar result because robots can’t actually purchase goods and services made by the economy.

Thus, modelers looking at Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI) for wind and for solar assumed that they would always be used inside of a fossil fuel powered system that could provide heavily subsidized balancing for their intermittent output. They made calculations as if intermittent electricity is equivalent to electricity that can be controlled to provide electricity when it is needed. Their calculations seemed to suggest that making wind and solar would be useful. The thing that was overlooked was that this was only possible within a system where other fuels would provide balancing at a very low cost.

[6] The same issue of low demand leading to low prices affects commodities of all kinds. As a result, many of the future resources that modelers count on, and that companies depend upon as the basis for borrowing, are unlikely to really be available.

Commodities of all kinds are being affected by low demand and low selling prices. The problem giving rise to low prices seems to be related to excessive specialization, excessive use of capital goods to replace labor, and excessive use of globalization. These issues are all related to the needs of a world economy that depends on a high level of technology. In such an economy, too much of the output of the economy goes to producing devices and to paying highly trained workers. Little is left for non-elite workers.

The low selling prices of commodities makes it impossible for employers to pay adequate wages to most of their workers. These low wages, in turn, feed through to the uprisings we have been seeing in the last couple of years. These uprisings are part of “Revolutions and Wars” mentioned in Figure 1. It is difficult to see how this problem will disappear without a major change in the “World Order,” mentioned in the same figure.

Because the problem of low commodity prices is widespread, our ability to produce electrical backup of all kinds, including the ability to make batteries, can be expected to become an increasing problem. Commodities, such as lithium, suffer from low prices, not unlike the low prices for coal and oil. These low prices lead to cutbacks in their production and local uprisings.

[7] On a stand-alone basis, intermittent renewables have very limited usefulness. Their true value is close to zero.

If electricity is only available when the sun is shining, or when the wind is blowing, industry cannot plan for its use. Its use must be limited to applications where intermittency doesn’t matter, such as pumping water for animals to drink or desalinating water. No one would attempt to smelt metals with intermittent electricity because the metals would set at the wrong time, if the intermittent electricity suddenly disappeared. No one would power an elevator with intermittent electricity, because a person could easily be trapped between floors. Homeowners would not use electricity to power refrigerators, because, as likely as not, the food would spoil when electricity was off for long periods. Traffic signals would work sometimes, but not always.

Lebanon is an example of a country whose electricity system works only intermittently. It is hard to imagine that any other country would want to imitate Lebanon. Lack of reliable electricity supply leads to protests in Lebanon.

[8] The true cost of wind and solar has been hidden from everyone, using subsidies whose total cost is hard to determine.

Each country has its own way of providing subsidies to renewables. Most countries give wind and solar the subsidy of “going first.” They are often given a fixed rate as well. Both of these are subsidies. In the US, other subsidies are buried in the tax system. Recently, there has been talk of using QE to help wind and solar providers lower their cost of borrowing.

Newspapers regularly report that the price of wind and solar is at “grid parity,” but this is not an apples to apples comparison. To be useful, electricity needs to be available when users need it. The cost of storage is far too high to allow us to store electricity for weeks and months at a time.

If we were to use intermittent electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels in general, we would need to use intermittent electricity to heat homes and offices in winter. Sunshine is abundant in the summer, but not in the winter. Without storage, solar panels cannot even be counted on to provide homeowners with heat for cooking dinner after the sun sets in the evening. An incredibly huge amount of storage would be needed to store heat from summer to winter.

China reports that it has $42 billion in unpaid clean energy subsidies, and this amount is getting larger each year. Countries are now becoming poorer and the taxes they are able to collect are lower. Their ability to subsidize a high cost, unreliable electricity system is disappearing.

[9] Wind, solar, and hydroelectric today only comprise a little under 10% of the world’s energy supply. 

We are deluding ourselves if we think we can get along on such a tiny total energy supply.

Figure 6. Hydroelectric, wind, and solar electricity as a percentage of world energy supply, based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Few people understand what a small share of the world’s energy supply wind and solar provide today. The amounts shown in Figure 6 assume that the denominator is total energy (including oil, for example), not just electricity. In 2019, hydroelectric accounted for 6.4% of world energy supply. Wind accounted for 2.2%, and solar accounted for 1.1%. The three together amounted to 9.7% of the world’s energy supply.

None of these three energy types is suited to producing food. Oil is currently used for tilling fields, making herbicides and pesticides, and transporting refrigerated crops to market.

[10] Few people understand how important energy supply is for giving humans control over other species and pathogens.

Control over other species and pathogens has been a multistage effort. In recent years, this effort has involved antibiotics, antivirals and vaccines. Pasteurization became an important technique in the 1800s.

Humans’ control over other species started over 100,000 years ago, when humans learned to burn biomass for many uses, including cooking foods, scaring away predators, and burning down entire forests to improve their food supply. In my 2018 post, Supplemental energy puts humans in charge, I wrote about one proof of the importance of humans’ control of fire. In the lower layers of a cave in South Africa, big cats were in charge: There were no carbon deposits from fire and gnawed human bones were scattered around the cave. In the upper layers of the same cave, humans were clearly in charge. There were carbon deposits from fires, and bones of big cats that had been gnawed by humans were scattered around the cave.

We are dealing with COVID-19 now. Today’s hospitals are only possible thanks to a modern mix of energy supply. Drugs are very often made using oil. Personal protective equipment is made in factories around the world and shipped to where it is used, generally using oil for transport.

Conclusion

We do indeed appear to be headed for a Great Reset. There is little chance that Green Energy can play more than a small role, however. Leaders are often confused because of the erroneous modeling that has been done. Given that the world’s oil and coal supply seem to be declining in the near term, the chance that fossil fuel production will ever rise as high as assumptions made in the IPCC reports seems very slim.

It is true that some Green Energy devices may continue to operate for a time. But, as the world economy continues to head downhill, it will be increasingly difficult to make new renewable devices and to repair existing systems. Wholesale electricity prices can be expected to stay very low, leading to the need for continued subsidies for wind and solar.

Figure 1 indicates that we can expect more revolutions and wars at this stage in the cycle. At least part of this unrest will be related to low commodity prices and low wages. Globalization will tend to disappear. Keeping transmission lines repaired will become an increasing problem, as will many other tasks associated with keeping energy supplies available.

This entry was posted in Energy policy 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.

2,288 thoughts on “Why a Great Reset Based on Green Energy Isn’t Possible

  1. “Rising demand, floods, insect infestations, and rumors of spoiled inventories are all contributing to China’s developing food related woes…

    “China, which holds just over half of the world’s wheat inventories and is the globe’s second largest producer of wheat (behind the European Union), has already imported more wheat in the first half of 2020 than it has in the first half of any year in the past decade.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/salgilbertie/2020/07/28/china-food-crisis-rising-domestic-prices-and-large-import-purchases-send-a-signal/#38e8e81b1bcb

  2. “The world economy’s fragile recovery is in danger of stalling.

    “A resurgence of coronavirus infections across the Asia-Pacific region, which was considered to have broadly curbed the virus more effectively than elsewhere, is being viewed as an early warning for the rest of the world…

    “…Yelp Inc. estimates that more than half of the U.S. business closures that were temporary when the virus outbreak began are now considered permanent.”

    https://www.livemint.com/news/world/flaring-virus-threatens-world-economy-s-sputtering-recovery-11595986165110.html

  3. “Japanese Style Price Fixing by the Fed is On the Way… The world needs a market price for the 10-year Treasury yield, and Mr. Powell is threatening to take that away…

    “”We don’t know what price the global economy would pay for such a policy in economic distortions or financial instability. The Fed doesn’t know either. No one should be eager to find out.””

    https://www.thestreet.com/mishtalk/economics/japanese-style-price-fixing-by-the-fed-is-on-the-way

    • “The extreme measures taken by central banks have provided relief but risk inflicting huge pain later on. These actions could potentially usher in a new regime akin to either the stagflation of the 1970s (most likely in my view) or depression of the 1930s…

      “Investors need to perform a high-wire act. They dare not disregard the firepower of central banks. Nor can they ignore the likelihood that its unprecedented use could well herald a new era of upheavals; especially since markets had already lost any sense of connectivity with the real economy prior to the crisis.”

      https://www.ft.com/content/8b741a21-8a00-41a1-900e-4e23a71b332f

      • “In a world riven by disease and credit risk, traders are betting central bankers will pin down global borrowing costs for years to come — regardless of the consequences.

        “With banks awash with cash, money markets are signaling that unsecured lending rates will stay near historic lows across Europe and the U.S., even as rising corporate bankruptcies add pressure to bank balance sheets.”

        “…“Moral hazard is absolutely rampant,” said James Athey, investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments in London. “There are some very disturbing outcomes possible: default, depression. And the more liquidity is pumped into the system without production to back it up, the more outright currency debasement there is.””

        https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/even-defaults-won-t-stop-funding-frenzy-started-by-central-banks

          • > How long can funny money keep the whole system afloat?

            As long as primary production (farming, mining, oil, and gas) holds up, a long time.

            Actually, all money is funny, but it sure is useful.

            • Primary food production has already been hit in quite a few areas. We were reading about US farmers plowing their crops under in the US, because of broken supply lines. Restaurants did not want to buy their food, and the food could not easily be packaged for sale in supermarkets.

              China seems to have a definite problem with adequate food already. They are importing more wheat. They still have a major problem with the African Swine Flu killing their pigs. One forecast posted earlier indicated a 30% drop in food production.

              When there were lockdowns in countries like India, it affects the planting of crops.

              Any country that wants to quarantine crews bringing food to a country runs the risk of the supply getting cut off. I see that the WSJ has one article called FedEx Pilots Seek to Halt Hong Kong Operations Over Tighter Covid-19 Rules. Union says city’s hospitalization and quarantine requirements are unacceptable, highlighting complexities for businesses navigating different rules worldwide.

              No crew wants to be stuck in a quarantine for 14 days, anywhere. This will be a deal-killer for food imports. Australia is struggling with more COVID-19 cases now than it had earlier. If it tries to follow Hong Kong’s lead, it will need to learn to live with its own food supply.

            • > Primary production has been hit pretty hard in quite a few areas. We were reading about US farmers plowing their crops under in the US, because of broken supply lines.

              I think most of that was produce and it was partly due to broken markets (restaurants).

              > China seems to have a definite problem with adequate food already. They are importing more wheat. They still have a major problem with the African Swine Flu killing their pigs. One of their forecasts was for a 30% drop in food production.

              As long as they can buy food elsewhere, they should not have a famine. Lebanon looks like a much more serious problem.

              > When there were lockdowns in countries like India, it affected the planting of crops. Any country that wants to quarantine crews bringing food to a country runs the risk of the supply getting cut off. I see that the WSJ has one article called FedEx Pilots Seek to Halt Hong Kong Operations Over Tighter Covid-19 Rules. Union says city’s hospitalization and quarantine requirements are unacceptable, highlighting complexities for businesses navigating different rules worldwide.

              I am kind of surprised by this. Food, except for high-value items, mostly moves by ship. The ship crew is isolated for the length of the voyage. Worst case, the crew could stay on board while the ship was unloaded/loaded.

              > No crew wants to be stuck in a quarantine for 14 days, anywhere. This will be a deal-killer for food imports. Australia is struggling with more COVID-19 now than it had earlier. If it tries to follow Hong Kong’s lead, it will need to learn to live with its own food supply.

              I don’t think Hong Kong grows much food while Australia is a major exporter.

  4. “UK Banks may set aside a figure approaching £100 billion for bad debts for the first half of this year, analysts believe — yet the true picture of how bad the Covid-19 pandemic has been for financial institutions in Europe and the United States will not become clear until the autumn or even the end of year, when recession starts to bite.”

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/scale-of-the-financial-crisis-yet-to-break-will-not-be-clear-till-spring-h8zsnh7q2

    • Banks around the world are going to be very hard hit by all of the bankruptcies and defaults on loan payments. It is hard to see how this can work out even reasonably well.

      • On UK news this morning,
        The UK is still going ahead with Heathrow 3rd runway, to be ready for ‘increased traffic’ in the early 2030s

        I must be missing something

            • “Heathrow has sunk to a record half-year loss after the pandemic sent passenger numbers plunging at Britain’s biggest airport…

              “The transport hub also said that the opening of its contentious third runway will be delayed by at least two years due to the Covid crisis and an ongoing appeals process.

              “Construction of a new runway was expected to be completed between 2028 and 2029, but it was already facing delays after the Court of Appeal ruled in February that the Government’s decision to let it go ahead was unlawful on environmental grounds.”

              [which would indeed mean the third runway opening in the early 2030’s, assuming the appeals are rejected and powered flight is still, you know, a thing].

              https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/07/29/heathrow-sinks-record-loss/

          • A good opportunity to close that abominable airport permanently. Just imagine by how many billions of pounds house prices would rise in the aftermath. And as a bonus, after closing the World’s Worst Airport, shut down Bl**dy British Airways.

            • >>A good opportunity to close that abominable airport permanently

              If air travel does not pick up big-time soon, I should image that that will be a distinct possibility.

            • “A good opportunity to close that abominable airport permanently.”

              I agree 100%! Way too huge! Gees, we stood in line to get through customs for an hour & a half, then spent a lot of time answering some very personal questions to four different customs agents. Much nicer when we went through Rome’s airport customs in 20 seconds. No line, the agent took one quick look at our passports and welcomed us to Italy. I mean either a passport means something or it doesn’t. In the UK a US passport means you have the opportunity to be interrogated.

            • ” And as a bonus, after closing the World’s Worst Airport, shut down Bl**dy British Airways.”

              Surely that decision is in Spanish hands these days?

            • not saying your comments about Heathrow are wrong

              but 76000 people work there

              any suggestions?

    • “…yet the true picture of how bad the Covid-19 pandemic has been for financial institutions in Europe and the United States will not become clear until the autumn or even the end of year, when recession starts to bite.”

      That’s the time period we should all be worried about. This coming winter is going to be the winter of discontent unless a vaccine rides to the rescue.

      • I am not convinced that a vaccine makes a difference. It will be at most, a little help, for a few people. It will reduce their chance of death, not eliminate it. The ones who refused to leave their homes before will still not want to go out. Restaurants still will not be able to operate profitably. Factories will still have outbreaks. There will still be a problem with using mass transit.

      • unless a vaccine rides to the rescue

        Be careful what you wish for.

        Swine Flu 1976

        MIKE WALLACE: The flu season is upon us. Which type will we worry about this year, and what kind of shots will we be told to take? Remember the swine flu scare of 1976? That was the year the U.S. government told us all that swine flu could turn out to be a killer that could spread across the nation, and Washington decided that every man, woman and child in the nation should get a shot to prevent a nation-wide outbreak, a pandemic.

        Well 46 million of us obediently took the shot, and now 4,000 Americans are claiming damages from Uncle Sam amounting to three and a half billion dollars because of what happened when they took that shot. By far the greatest number of the claims – two thirds of them are for neurological damage, or even death, allegedly triggered by the flu shot.

        From 60 Minutes, on the 1976 swine flu vaccine:

        We pick up the story back in 1976, when the threat posed by the swine flu virus seemed very real indeed.

        PRESIDENT GERALD FORD; This virus was the cause of a pandemic in 1918 and 1919 that resulted in over half a million deaths in the United States, as well as 20 million deaths around the world.

        WALLACE: Thus the U.S. government’s publicity machine was cranked into action to urge all America to protect itself against the swine flu menace. (Excerpt from TV commercial urging everyone to get a swine flu shot.) One of those who did roll up her sleeve was Judy Roberts. She was perfectly healthy, an active woman, when, in November of 1976, she took her shot. Two weeks later, she says, she began to feel a numbness starting up her legs.

        JUDY ROBERTS: And I joked about it at that time. I said I’ll be numb to the knees by Friday if this keeps up. By the following week, I was totally paralyzed.

        WALLACE: So completely paralyzed, in fact, that they had to operate on her to enable her to breathe. And for six months, Judy Roberts was a quadriplegic. The diagnosis: A neurological disorder called “Guillain-Barre Syndrome” – GBS for short. These neurological diseases are little understood. They affect people in different ways.

        As you can see in these home movies taken by a friend, Judy Roberts’ paralysis confined her mostly to a wheelchair for over a year. But this disease can even kill. Indeed, there are 300 claims now pending from the families of GBS victims who died, allegedly as a result of the swine flu shot. In other GBS victims, the crippling effects diminish and all but disappear. But for Judy Roberts, progress back to good health has been painful and partial.

        For more of this:
        https://www.wanttoknow.info/health/1976_swine_flu_vaccine_60_minutes_transcript

  5. “Australia’s biggest fall in consumer prices since the depths of the Great Depression in 1931 has prompted concerns the economy will struggle to escape the grips of the coronavirus pandemic and force the Reserve Bank to leave official interest rates at record lows for even longer.

    “The consumer price index fell by 1.9 per cent in the June quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on Wednesday…”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/deflation-threat-to-recovery-as-prices-crash-at-depression-rate-20200729-p55glx.html

    • “As Papua New Guinea stands on the edge of the precipice of an unchecked Covid-19 outbreak, and other Pacific island nations face economic devastation trying to keep the virus from their shores, health professionals have warned the broader health impacts of the fight against the novel coronavirus could be as devastating as the virus itself.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/29/pacific-nations-face-wider-health-crisis-as-systems-focus-on-stopping-covid-19

      • The article says:

        “As cases mount in Papua New Guinea, experts warn already fragile services will not be able to combat other diseases such as TB, HIV/Aids and malaria.”

        There is only so much the healthcare system can do. Increasing one service tends to decrease others.

      • Courtesy of The Guardian, The Lancet, and the Judith Neilson Institute. By the way, Papua New Guinea has exactly 63 cases of the virus. A thin read on which to hang another huge taxpayer scam operation.

        • “…health professionals have warned the broader health impacts of the fight against the novel coronavirus could be as devastating as the virus itself.” ”

          So are they saying the treatment they are delivering is as damaging as the disease?

          • > So are they saying the treatment they are delivering is as damaging as the disease?

            No, it is overloading and diverting medical resources to COVID from many other areas, like cancer surgery. Also, fear has kept people who really need ERs from going.

            • I could be wrong but I have not got the impression that ‘diverting medical resources’ is a problem re cancer treatment etc. They have just shut down or reduced various treatment departments to stop the spread of Covid-19.

              I seem to remember back in March / April, many hospital departments being closed in the USA because they we told to. For sure, some departments were closed here in the UK as well, and have not yet opened up again.

            • “No, it is overloading and diverting medical resources to COVID from many other areas, like cancer surgery. ”

              We can see that in terms of greatly extended times for appointments to be assessed. But right now the level of Covid cases is greatly reduced and has been for a while. I;m not convinced that is what the comment refers to – at least not ONLY that situation.

              I suspect that some medics have acknowledged that some of the treatments used were not really appropriate and that in general many of the “recovered” are left with potentially long term, perhaps permanent, reduced healthiness compared to their pre-admission state. Thus represent an additional burden on the system for which no one has a known approach to further treatment.

              But only time will tell if that suspicion is correct.

  6. I suspect that unions everywhere are not adjusting too well to the new reality of the economic chaos brought about diminishing resources, and expedited by the reaction to Covid-19.

    Yesterday the BBC reported that the trade union Unite is threatening to go on strike in its ongoing dispute with British Airways. UK companies have a track record of being a bit heavy-handed with their employees, a throw-back to the Victorian era, but I just cannot see the value of going on strike with a company that is on the verge of bankruptcy, and an industry that has almost overnight become redundant, to a large extent.

    British Airways faces strike threat over job cut plan
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53564385

    • With not enough jobs to go around, unions are losing their power to leverage workers demands. The employer isn’t making money in most cases. It can’t afford to pay more.

      • Unfortunately, British Airways, with or without my preferred qualifier “Bl**dy”, will be bailed out by the taxpayer, as usual. And the money will go straight to the Spanish holding company, as usual.

  7. Crossroads (weekday China news update on YT) have an interesting feature on the Three Gorges dam today, at minutes 5:00 – 10:25. Mostly a summary of recent past news, but ends with the story now circulating in China that the video posted a few days ago that simulates what would happen if the Three Gorges dam burst, was released by the Chinese Communist Party itself, as a means of unofficially warning downstream residents what to expect at very short notice. I am not sure that millions can be evacuated in minutes / a few hours, but that does not seem to have bothered the CCP in the past.

    This video, and others I have seen recently, say that much of the flooding in China of recent has been caused by the CCP, deliberately breaking dams or levees in one place to prevent flooding elsewhere. When they do this, they have a pretty good idea of the consequences, but rarely if ever warn people / cities.that they are about to be flooded.

    Cracks and Structure Problems in Three Gorges Dam; Xi Sends Veiled Message;Third Wave Hits Chongqing

    • I watched the video for about 12 minutes. It is pretty interesting. The reporter talks about China’s planned cutbacks in government spending because tax revenue is low. This is likely to be a huge problem, because it leads to more unemployment. The same kind of thing is happening everywhere in the world.

    • Norman, I find your lack of doubt disturbing.

      Over the years, the BBC itself has made anyone with half a brain doubt everything the BBC says.

      Would you like to see a list? Do I really need to give you a list of things that the BBC has done to FUBAR its credibility and its reputation?

      Those with a whole working brain I can’t speak for, as it’s been a while since I possessed one of those.

      • (eye rolling time—dunno why I bother)

        A friend of mine, now retired, used to run the BBC yacht club, (bear with me, there is such a thing, the concept will no doubt leave you foaming at the mouth with rage ) He was a senior BBC techie, and sailing nut. He still is, somewhere out in the Atlantic at this moment.

        Some years ago, the BBC was left an £80000 yacht to add to their fleet, by a wealthy listener in the far east, in gratitude for the reliable truth that the BBC had given him over the years.

        (I will add your latest tirade to my Helen Keller list—is there no end to your need to find new plots hoaxes and conspiracies ?)

        No broadcasting service can be 100% accurate, but the BBC has always been the most reliable in this respect

    • From Dr. Willie Soon (proper scientist) to the propaganda producer working on “How they made us doubt everything”:

      Dear Ms. Keane,

      I am wary of responding to your false allegations, since your questions seem somewhat loaded. Disappointingly, they appear to repeat the dishonest and misleading claims of the former Greenpeace USA research director, Kert Davies (now running the so-called “Climate Investigations Center”), whose research we have shown to be disingenuous in Section 2 of our attached 2018 report on Greenpeace (Attachment 1). Unfortunately, the premise of your series seems to be the dangerous conspiracy theories promoted by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their 2010 book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change and their 2014 film of the same name. I’ve attached a short 3-page .pdf (Attachment 2) summarizing just a few examples of the poor scholarship and bizarre hypocrisies in Oreskes & Conway’s conspiracy theories.

      The BBC has an established history of stifling genuine scientific inquiry and nuanced debate on climate change since its infamous 2006 Climate Change – the Challenge to Broadcasting? seminar, as described in detail in Andrew Montford’s short book The Propaganda Bureau and summarized in various blogs in 2012, e.g., here, here, here and here.

      It is also regrettable that you attempted to contact me in such a roundabout way, i.e., by going through the Heartland Institute, rather than emailing me directly here at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I am not pleased that you saw fit to circulate your letter, with its numerous libellous comments, to a third party.

      The BBC seems to encourage the unethical pseudo-journalistic practice of selectively quoting and cherry-picking out-of-context interviewees who disagree with the narrative of the program, in order to make the interviewees seem foolish or uninformed. Richard North, summarized this unethical practice well in this 2011 essay: https://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/01/on-being-stitched-up.htmlThis was a particular concern when I considered whether to reply to your allegations.

      I am hoping that you have more journalistic integrity than your BBC colleagues who have carried out unethical “hatchet jobs” in the past. I suspect that you may not be planning to “fairly and accurately reflect any comments” as you promised me.

      Nonetheless, given the number of false allegations you are threatening to broadcast, I feel compelled to respond. I have copied this letter a number of friends and colleagues who might be interested to see the questions you have asked me and my responses.

      More here:
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/13/bbc-asks-dr-willie-soon-to-respond-to-climate-conspiracy-claims/

      • Gone?
        7 day moving average says Italy had 179 cases 2nd July and now its 245 cases. A 37% increase in three weeks. Lets see!

        • those numbers do not support the use of the word “pandemic”.

          in my opinion.

          Australia also has rising numbers that don’t equate to “pandemic”.

          Italy daily deaths are close to zero!

          yes, let’s see what August brings them.

        • How many of these cases have symptoms, Erdles?

          And how many have symptoms worse than a runny nose?

          I would check this out myself, only I’m bored with the whole covid thing and tired of debunking the torrent of claims that seems as frothy and unending as the floodwater passing through the Three Gorges Dam these days?

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