Where Energy Modeling Goes Wrong

There are a huge number of people doing energy modeling. In my opinion, nearly all of them are going astray in their modeling because they don’t understand how the economy really operates.

The modeling that comes closest to being correct is that which underlies the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows and others. This modeling was based on physical quantities of resources, with no financial system whatsoever. The base model, shown here, indicates that limits would be reached a few years later than we actually seem to be reaching them. The dotted black line in Figure 1 indicates where I saw the world economy to be in January 2019, based on the limits we already seemed to be reaching at that time.

Figure 1. Base scenario from 1972 Limits to Growth, printed using today’s graphics by Charles Hall and John Day in “Revisiting Limits to Growth After Peak Oil,” with dotted line added corresponding to where I saw the world economy to be in January 2019, based on how the economy was operating at that time.

The authors of The Limits to Growth have said that their model cannot be expected to be correct after limits hit (which is about now), so even this model is less than perfect. Thus, this model cannot be relied upon to show that population will continue to rise until after 2050.

Many readers are familiar with Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) calculations. These are favorites of many people following the Peak Oil problem. A high ratio of Energy Returned to Energy Invested is considered favorable, while a low ratio is considered unfavorable. Energy sources with similar EROEIs are supposedly equivalent. Even these similarities can be misleading. They make intermittent wind and solar appear far more helpful than they really are.

Other modeling, such as that by oil companies, is equally wrong. Their modeling tends to make future fossil fuel supplies look far more available than they really are.

This is all related to a talk I plan to give to energy researchers later in February. So far, all that is pinned down is the Summary, which I reproduce here as Section [1], below.

[1] Summary: The economy is approaching near-term collapse, not peak oil. The result is quite different.

The way a person views the world economy makes a huge difference in how one models it. A big issue is how connected the various parts of the economy are. Early researchers assumed that oil was the key energy product; if it were possible to find suitable substitutes for oil, the danger of exhaustion of oil resources could be delayed almost indefinitely.

In fact, the operation of the world economy is controlled by the laws of physics. All parts are tightly linked. The problem of diminishing returns affects far more than oil supply; it affects coal, natural gas, mineral extraction in general, fresh water production and food production. Based on the work of Joseph Tainter, we also know that added complexity is also subject to diminishing returns.

When a person models how the system works, it becomes apparent that as increasing complexity is added to the system, the portion of the economic output that can be returned to non-elite workers as goods and services drops dramatically. This leads to rising wage disparity as increasing complexity is added to the economy. As the economy approaches limits, rising wage disparity indirectly leads to a tendency toward low prices for oil and other commodities because a growing number of non-elite workers are unable to afford homes, cars and even proper nutrition. 

A second effect of added complexity is growing use of long-lasting goods available through technology. Many of these long-lasting goods are only affordable with financial time-shifting devices such as loans or the sale of shares of stock. As non-elite workers become increasingly unable to afford the output of the economy, these time-shifting devices provide a way to raise demand (and thus prices) for commodities of all types, including oil. These time-shifting devices are subject to manipulation by central banks, within limits.

Standard calculations of Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI) ignore the fact that added complexity tends to have a very detrimental impact on the economy because of the diminishing returns it produces. To correct for this, today’s EROEI calculations should only be used to compare energy systems with similar complexity. The least complex energy systems are based on burned biomass and power from animals. Fossil fuels represent a step upward in complexity, but they still can be stored until their use is required. Intermittent renewables are far ahead of fossil fuels in terms complexity: they require sophisticated systems of storage and distribution and therefore cannot be considered equivalent to oil or dispatchable electricity.

The lack of understanding of how the economy really works has led to the failure to understand several important points:

(i) Low oil prices rather than high are to be expected as the economy reaches limits,

(ii) Most fossil fuel reserves will be left in the ground because of low prices,

(iii) The economy is experiencing the historical phenomenon of collapse, rather than peak oil, and 

(iv) If the economy is not to collapse, we need energy sources providing a larger quantity of net energy per capita to offset diminishing returns.   

[2] The world’s energy problem, as commonly understood by researchers today

It is my observation that many researchers believe that we humans are in charge of what happens with future fossil fuel extraction, or with choosing to substitute intermittent renewables for fossil fuels. They generally do not see any problem with “running out” in the near future. If running out were imminent, the problem would likely be announced by spiking prices.

In the predominant view, the amount of future fossil fuels available depends upon the quantity of energy resources that can be extracted with available technology. Thus, a proper estimate of the resources that can be extracted is needed. Oil seems to be in shortest supply based on its reserve estimates and the vast benefits it provides to society. Thus, it is commonly believed that oil production will “peak” and begin to decline first, before coal and natural gas.

In this view, demand is something that we never need to worry about because energy, and especially oil, is a necessity. People will choose energy over other products because they will pay whatever is necessary to have adequate energy supplies. As a result, oil and other energy prices will rise almost endlessly, allowing much more to be extracted. These higher prices will also enable higher cost intermittent electricity to be substituted for today’s fossil fuels.

A huge amount of additional fossil fuels can be extracted, according to those who are primarily concerned about loss of biodiversity and climate change. Those who analyze EROEI tend to believe that falling EROEI will limit the quantity of future fossil fuels extracted to a smaller total extracted amount. Because of this, energy from additional sources, such as intermittent wind and solar, will be required to meet the total energy demand of society.

The focus of EROEI studies is on whether the EROEI of a given proposed substitution is, in some sense, high enough to add energy to the economy. The calculation of EROEI makes no distinction between energy available only through highly complex systems and energy available from less complex systems.

EROEI researchers, or perhaps those who rely on the indications of EROEI researchers, seem to believe that the energy needs of economies are flexible within a very wide range. Thus, an economy can shrink its energy consumption without a particularly dire impact.

[3] The real story seems to be that the adverse outcome we are reaching is collapse, not peak oil. The economy is a self-organizing system powered by energy. This makes it behave in very unexpected ways.

[3a] The economy is tightly connected by the laws of physics.

Energy consumption (dissipation) is necessary for every aspect of the economy. People often understand that making goods and services requires energy dissipation. What they don’t realize is that almost all of today’s jobs require energy dissipation, as well. Without supplemental energy, humans could only gather wild fruits and vegetables and hunt using the simplest of tools. Or, they could attempt simple horticulture by using a stick to dig a place in the ground to plant a seed.

In physics terms, the economy is a dissipative structure, which is a self-organizing structure that grows over time. Other examples of dissipative structures include hurricanes, plants and animals of all types, ecosystems, and star systems. Without a supply of energy to dissipate (that is, food to eat, in the case of humans), these dissipative structures would collapse.

We know that the human body has many different systems, such as a cardiovascular system, digestive system and nervous system. The economy has many different systems, too, and is just as tightly connected. For example, the economy cannot get along without a transportation system any more than a human can get along without a cardiovascular system.

This self-organizing system acts without our direction, just as our brain or circulatory system acts without our direction. In fact, we have very little control over these systems.

The self-organizing economy allows common belief systems to arise that seem to be right but are really based on models with many incorrect assumptions. People desperately need and want a “happily ever after” solution. The strong need for a desirable outcome favors the selection of models that lead to the conclusion that if there is a problem, it is many years away. Conflicting political views seem to be based on different, equally wrong, models of how world leaders can solve the energy predicament that the world is facing.

The real story is that the world’s self-organizing economy will determine for us what is ahead, and there is virtually nothing we can do to change the result. Strangely enough, if we look at the long term pattern, there almost seems to be a guiding hand behind the result. According to Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee in Rare Earth, there have been a huge number of seeming coincidences that have allowed life on Earth to take hold and flourish for four billion years. Perhaps this “luck” will continue.

[3b] As the economy reaches limits, commodities of many types reach diminishing returns simultaneously.

It is indeed true that the economy reaches diminishing returns in oil supply as it reaches limits. Oil is very valuable because it is energy dense and easily transported. The oil that can be extracted, refined, and delivered to needed markets using the least amount of resources (including human labor) tends to be extracted first. It is later that deeper wells are built that are farther from markets. Because of these issues, oil extraction does tend to reach diminishing returns, as more is extracted.

If this were the only aspect of the economy that was experiencing diminishing returns, then the models coming from a peak oil perspective would make sense. We could move away from oil, simply by transferring oil use to appropriately chosen substitutes.

It becomes clear when a person looks at the situation that commodities of all kinds reach diminishing returns. Fresh water reaches diminishing returns. We can add more by using desalination and pumping water to where it is required, but this approach is hugely expensive. As population and industrialization grows, the need for fresh water grows, making diminishing returns for fresh water a real issue.

Minerals of all kinds reach diminishing returns, including uranium, lithium, copper and phosphate rock (used for fertilizer). The reason this occurs is because we tend to extract these minerals faster than they are replaced by the weathering of rocks, including bedrock. In fact, useable topsoil tends to reach diminishing returns because of erosion. Also, with increasing population, the amount of food required keeps increasing, putting further pressure on farmland and making it harder to retain an acceptable level of topsoil.

[3c] Increased complexity leads to diminishing returns as well.

In his book, The Collapse of Complex Societies, Joseph Tainter points out that complexity reaches diminishing returns, just as commodities do.

As an example, it is easy to see that added spending on healthcare reaches diminishing returns. The discovery of antibiotics clearly had a huge impact on healthcare, at relatively little cost. Now, a recent article is entitled, The hunt for antibiotics grows harder as resistance builds. The dollar payback on other drugs tends to fall as well, as solutions to the most common diseases are found, and researchers must turn their attention to diseases affecting only, perhaps, 500 people globally.

Similarly, spending on advanced education reaches diminishing returns. Continuing the medical example above, educating an increasing number of researchers, all looking for new antibiotics, may eventually lead to success in discovering more antibiotics. But the payback with respect to the education of these researchers will not be nearly as great as the payback for educating the early researchers who found the first antibiotics.

[3d] Wages do not rise sufficiently so that all of the higher costs associated with the many types of diminishing returns can be recouped simultaneously.

The healthcare system (at least in the United States) tends to let its higher costs flow through to consumers. We can see this by looking at how much higher the Medical Care Consumer Price Index (CPI) rises compared to the All Items CPI in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Consumer price index for Medical Care versus for All Items, in chart made by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis.

The high (and rapidly rising) cost of advanced education is another cost that is being passed on to consumers–the students and their parents. In this case, loans are used to make the high cost look less problematic.

Of course, if consumers are burdened with higher medical and educational costs, it makes it difficult to afford the higher cost of energy products, as well. With these higher costs, young people tend to live with their parents longer, saving on the energy products needed to have their own homes and vehicles. Needless to say, the lower net income for many people, after healthcare costs and student loan repayments are deducted, acts to reduce the demand for oil and energy products, and thus contributes to the problem of continued low oil prices.

[3e] Added complexity tends to increase wage disparities. The reduced spending by lower income workers tends to hold down fossil fuel prices, similar to the impact identified in Section [3d].

As the economy becomes more complex, companies tend to become larger and more hierarchical. Elite workers (ones with more training or with more supervisory responsibility) earn more than non-elite workers. Globalization adds to this effect, as workers in high wage countries increasingly compete with workers in lower wage countries. Even computer programmers can encounter this difficulty, as programming is increasingly moved to China and India.

Figure 3. Figure by Pew Research Center in Trends in Income and Wealth Inequality, published January 9, 2020. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality/

Individuals with low incomes spend a disproportionately large share of their incomes on commodities because everyone needs to eat approximately 2,000 calories of food per day. In addition, everyone needs some kind of shelter, clothing and basic transportation. All of these types of consumption are commodity intensive. People with very high incomes tend to buy disproportionately more goods and services that are not very resource intensive, such as education for their children at elite universities. They may also use part of their income to buy shares of stock, hoping their value will rise.

With a shift in the distribution of incomes toward those with high earnings, the demand for commodities of all types tends to stagnate or even fall. Fewer people are able to buy new cars, and fewer people can afford vacations involving travel. Thus, as more complexity is added, there tends to be downward pressure on the price of oil and other energy products.

[4] Oil prices have been falling behind those needed by oil producers since 2012.

Figure 4. Figure created by Gail Tverberg using EIA average monthly Brent oil price data, adjusted for inflation using the CPI Index for All Items for Urban Consumers.

Back in February 2014, Steven Kopits gave a presentation at Columbia University explaining the state of the oil industry. I wrote a post describing this presentation called, Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending. Oil companies were reporting that prices had been too low for them to make an adequate profit for reinvestment, back as early as 2012. In inflation-adjusted terms, this was when oil prices were about $120 per barrel.

Even Middle Eastern oil exporting countries need surprisingly high oil prices because their economies depend on the profits of oil companies to provide the vast majority of their tax revenue. If oil prices are too low, adequate taxes cannot be collected. Without funds for jobs programs and food subsidies, there are likely to be uprisings by unhappy citizens who cannot maintain an adequate standard of living.

Looking at Figure 4, we see that there has been very little time that Brent oil prices have been above $120 per barrel. Even with all of the recent central bank stimulus and deficit spending by economies around the world, Brent oil prices remain below $60 per barrel.

[5] Interest rates and the amount of debt make a huge difference in oil prices, too.

Based on Figure 4, oil prices are highly irregular. Much of this irregularity seems to be associated with interest rate and debt level changes. In fact, in July 2008, what I would call the debt bubble associated with subprime housing and credit cards collapsed, bringing oil prices down from their peak abruptly. In late 2008, Quantitative Easing (QE) (aimed at bringing interest rates down) was added just prior to an upturn on prices in 2009 and 2010. Prices fell again, when the United States discontinued QE in late 2014.

If we think about it, increased debt makes purchases such as cars, homes and new factories more affordable. In fact, the lower the interest rate, the more affordable these items become. The number of purchases of any of these items can be expected to rise with more debt and lower interest rates. Thus, we would expect oil prices to rise as debt is added and fall as it is taken away. Now, there are many questions: Why haven’t oil prices risen more, with all of the stimulus that has been added? Are we reaching the limits of stimulus? Are interest rates as low as they can go, and the amount of debt outstanding as high as it can go?

[6] The growing complexity of the economy is contributing to the huge amount of debt outstanding.

In a very complex economy, a huge number of durable goods and services are produced. Examples of durable goods would include machines used in factories and pipelines of all kinds. Durable goods would also include vehicles of all types, including both vehicles used for businesses and vehicles used by consumers for their own benefit. As broadly defined here, durable goods would include buildings of all types, including factories, schools, offices and homes. It would also include wind turbines and solar panels.

There would also be durable services produced. For example, a college degree would have lasting benefit, it is hoped. A computer program would have value after it is completed. Thus, a consulting service is able to sell its programs to prospective buyers.

Somehow, there is a need to pay for all of these durable goods. We can see this most easily for the consumer. A loan that allows durable goods to be paid for over their expected life will make these goods more affordable.

Similarly, a manufacturer needs to pay the many workers making all of the durable goods. Their labor is adding value to the finished products, but this value will not be realized until the finished products are put into operation.

Other financing approaches can also be used, including the sale of bonds or shares of stock. The underlying intent is to provide financial time-shifting services. Interest rates associated with these financial time-shifting services are now being manipulated downward by central banks to make these services more affordable. This is part of what keeps stock prices high and commodity prices from falling lower than their current levels.

These loans, bonds and shares of stock are providing a promise of future value. This value will exist only if there are enough fossil fuels and other resources to create physical goods and services to fulfill these promises. Central banks can print money, but they cannot print actual goods and services. If I am right about collapse being ahead, the whole debt system seems certain to collapse. Shares of stock seem certain to lose their value. This is concerning. The end point of all of the added complexity seems to be financial collapse, unless the system can truly add the promised goods and services.

[7] Intermittent electricity fits very poorly into just-in-time supply lines.

A complex economy requires long supply lines. Usually, these supply lines are operated on a just-in-time basis. If one part of a supply line encounters problems, then manufacturing needs to stop. For example, automobile manufacturers in many parts of the world are finding that they need to suspend production because it is impossible to source the necessary semiconductor chips. If electricity is temporarily unavailable, this is another way of disrupting the supply chain.

The standard way to work around temporary breaks in supply chains is to build greater inventory, but this is expensive. Additional inventory needs to be stored and watched over. It likely needs financing, as well.

[8] The world economy today seems to be near collapse.

The self-organizing economy is now pushing the economy in many strange ways that indirectly lead to less energy consumption and eventually collapse. Even prior to COVID-19, the world economy appeared to be reaching growth limits, as indicated in Figure 1, which was published in January 2019. For example, recycling of many renewables was no longer profitable at lower oil prices after 2014. This led China to discontinue most of its recycling efforts, effective January 1, 2018, even though this change resulted in the loss of jobs. China’s car sales fell in 2018, 2019, and 2020, a strange pattern for a supposedly rapidly growing country.

The response of world leaders to COVID-19 has pushed the world economy further in the direction of contraction. Businesses that were already weak are the ones having the most difficulty in being able to operate profitably.

Furthermore, debt problems are growing around the world. For example, it is unclear whether the world will require as many shopping malls or office buildings in the future. A person would logically expect the value of the unneeded buildings to drop, reducing the value of many of these properties below their outstanding debt level.

When these issues are combined, it looks likely that the world economy may not be far from collapse, which is one of my contentions from Section [1]. It also looks like my other contentions from Section [1] are true:

(i) Low oil prices rather than high are to be expected as the economy reaches limits,

(ii) Most fossil fuel reserves will be left in the ground because of low prices, and

(iv) If the economy is not to collapse, we need energy sources providing a larger quantity of net energy per capita to offset diminishing returns. 

Regarding (iv), the available energy supply from wind and solar (net or otherwise) is tiny relative to the total energy required to operate the world economy. This issue, alone, would disqualify a Great Reset using wind and solar from truly being a solution for today’s problems. Instead, plans for a Great Reset tend to act as a temporary cover-up for collapse.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged complexity, diminishing returns, EROEI, oil price, peak oil. Bookmark the permalink.

3,331 Responses to Where Energy Modeling Goes Wrong

  1. suttercraven
    Michael L'Merchant says:

    ISRAEL: POPULAR TEL AVIV BAR BECOMES “FIRST-EVER VACCINATION BAR” OFFERING DRINKS AND JABS
    https://www.bitchute.com/video/HxCUJ6xqoz4w/

  2. Jan Steinman
    Jan Steinman says:

    Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies is available on-line, for those who don’t want to give Jeff Bezos more money.

  3. Lidia17 says:

    One last thought on things being baked into the cake (I shared this in the webinar chat)…

    Just yesterday I was reading a book called “After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination”, by Kirkpatrick Sale, and I came across the following statement:

    “…for domestication, an animal must live in herds, with follow-the-leader hierarchical systems, be amenable to fencing, have a placid disposition, be able to eat the foods that humans could supply,… and be able to breed in captivity, criteria that 134 of the 148 large mammalian species never satisfied.”

    It’s commonly observed that the practice of Agriculture itself requires hierarchy; in addition, we need hierarchy in not only domesticating livestock, but in domesticating *ourselves*.

    Gail focuses on wage disparity as a problem for consumers, but wage disparity is implicit to a hierarchical structure; a less-hierarchical structure is then less able to engage in complex energy-gathering activities technologies like agriculture (or, in the modern case, FF extraction).

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Right! Hierarchy is baked into the cake. We can’t get away from it.

      • Cato Adams – A student of history and a tutor to the uninformed.
        Cato Adams says:

        Gail, thank you for hosting this forum. I have read your web log for a while and am a former reader of theoildrum.

        I think it is clear that we are entering a new phase and our coping mechanisms are lagging what appropriate action should be. There is a lot of pressure from business to get things going the ‘way they were’. I think it is the start of a new paradigm.

        Diamond, Tainter, and Gibbon are all good references for studying social collapse. In reality, I think we need to look at something akin to ‘sustainable unit organization’. Meaning, even if the Roman Empire was collapsing, the Legion itself was a unit capable of self-support, especially if you extend the concept to families and a delineated territory. While I am not suggesting regimentation to that degree, during a larger collapse, you need to start to look at localized independence and limited trading and sharing based on rationed supplies with very strong and capable local administration.

        • 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.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          Interesting idea. I am familiar with the writing of Diamond and Tainter. With respect to Gibbon, are you talking about something like this:https://www.gibbonexperience.org/sustainable-agriculture/

          They seem to be talking about slash and burn agriculture.

    • Kowalainen says:

      Yup, let’s build behemoth structures to praise our divine rulers. Well, until people get tired of the perpetual ego trips, wars and general BS, and scurry away to places where the sun doesn’t shine.

      Nope, can’t be alone there either, imposing BS on slightly genetically modified primate asses seem all important and all imposing.

      How about this for a proper hierarchy.

      1. Skill
      2. Knowledge

      Nah, too much work. Talk is chap, code is hard. Release the kraken.

    • Hmm, humans have bred humans as domesticated herd animals.

      We should all be able to spot the psychological ‘architecture’, within ourselves and others, that has ‘bequeathed’ to us.

      Mechanisms of social control have been internalised toward conformity and compliance through socially selective breeding, the gradual elimination of deviants over thousands of years (in fact millions of year as chimps display similar instincts.)

      Societal ‘identity’, social needs of ‘belonging’, of ‘sameness’, of social approval, ‘loyalty’, ‘duty’, ‘belief’ – all bred in through the elimination of deviants.

      Human society is one long social ‘genic’ (‘eu/ dys genic’ imposes value judgements on the perspective) process.

      Our own consciousness/ personality has been formed as an evolutionarily induced hallucination.

      And yet we now find ourselves in a culture that at least nominally approves of individualism, personal development. I suppose that limited individuality is itself a kind of conformity in liberal society – but the emphasis is always going to be toward approved sameness nevertheless – and all the same in our tolerance of the socially approved differences. And ‘individuality’ allows for professional flexibility in modern IC.

      I fancy that I have largely escaped from that conditioned ‘architecture’.

      And there is always the question of caste – human societies were caste structured for thousands of years, which implies the historical presence of at least two social types with different ‘architecture’. If some are to lead then it would perhaps not sit well that they are so conditioned to follow the herd.

      Perhaps the leader caste has been lost through the mixing of the castes since the breakdown of feudalism and only psychological traces remain here and there in personal independence from the herd mentality – even among the ‘deviants’?

      Nietzsche was pre-occupied with those sorts of questions – and whether we were headed for the ‘final man’, the absence of any type bar the sheep (no pun intended). In his view the mediocre, the sheep, are fine, they are needed as the majority in every society.

  4. Lidia17 says:

    Gail, I attended your talk. I thought it went very well. I have a question about one of the slides, the one about oil prices where it showed a huge crash and then a rebound to wiggly plateau after an indicated round of Quantitative Easing. Were the prices you were using for the chart inflation-adjusted to begin with? How do you (or do you) count for the effects of QE in terms of prices when it doesn’t seem to all show up in official inflation figures? At the wiggly plateau, you had indicated “prices too low”, which seemed to me that it could have been the case that the prices weren’t really the prices, if you get my drift… so that’s what spurs my question.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      The numbers in the chart were inflation adjusted. I took monthly average prices and adjusted them by the CPI Urban Index.

      There seem to be a lot of things that are affected by interest rates and debt levels. One of these is relativities among currencies. Another is speculation in oil markets. A third thing is willingness to start new investments of various kinds, which indirectly would use oil. I remember, way back when, reading some detail about how some particular pieces are affected. I am not sure if anyone knows all of the connections. What is strange, now, is how little oil prices have risen, with all of the manipulation going on in the market with COVID.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I think that the prices they were talking about really were these prices.

      The problem was that with oil prices this high, coal and natural gas prices were also high, as were steel prices. Oil producers had seen their own costs rising rapidly in the 2009 to 2012 period, and they were afraid that the trend would continue. Norway had fields it could develop, but they were concerned that their costs would be too high, relative to market prices. There were other countries as well.

      I don’t think that OPEC producers were really considered in figuring that “prices were too low” in this time period. But these OPEC producers were really depending heavily on prices at least this high for their tax revenue. Some of them are the ones that now look to be near collapse. Most US analysts forget that OPEC really needs high prices, too.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Stimulus uses lots of steel.

  5. Re Gail’s talk: I had to laugh when he twice seemed to speak of Europe as a ‘country’ and he then asked you which parts of the world are liable to collapse first – and you told him that countries are liable to break up and that the more adapted, functional parts are liable to reconnect across old borders in new ways. And he was speaking as a self-identified Catalonian – life finds ways to cast one in ironic lights.

  6. Kowalainen says:

    It’s official; the muppets in charge have decided to cancel the rayciss muppets.

    https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/02/22/media/the-muppet-show-disney-plus-disclaimer-scli-intl/index.html
    “Disney+ is warning viewers that some episodes of “The Muppet Show” feature “negative depictions” and “mistreatment of people or cultures.””

  7. jj says:

    Laura strays into conspiracy theory waters. “Liars in labcoats”. No new info for anyone here. Quite possibly a desperate attempt to associate the obvious abandonment of ethical medial standards with one side of the coin so the other side will follow conditioning. They are failing. A significant percentage of the population will not accept genetic modification.

  8. suttercraven
    Michael L'Merchant says:

    China’s central bank joins cross-border digital currency pilot
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinas-central-bank-joins-cross-105700496.html

    • another small sign that we are in The Endgame.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      What in the world? With Thailand, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates. Trying to make a digital international currency is over the top.

  9. Sorry, Jesse and Timmie….I was in error, my bad, CC will save us old farts to live another day
    CBS News
    Russian tanker cuts previously impossible path through warming Arctic

    Russian tanker cuts previously impossible path through warming Arctic
    Alexandra Odynova
    Tue, February 23, 2021, 10:33 AM
    Moscow — A Russian natural gas tanker has completed an experimental round trip along the Northern Sea Route — the first time the path across the Arctic has been forged at this time of year. The voyage by the Christophe de Margerie tanker through the ice is the latest visual indicator of climate change in the delicate region. The tanker, run by the Sovcomflot shipping company, returned to the remote Russian gas terminal at Sabetta on February 19, taking Russia one step closer to its goal of year-round commercial navigation through the warming Arctic.

    The LNG (liquefied natural gas) tanker set out from the Chinese port of Jiangsu on January 27 after delivering its cargo. It entered the Northern Sea Route, which traverses Russia’s north coast, a few days later near Cape Dezhnev, where it was met by the Russian nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of Victory). Together they completed the 2,500-nautical-mile voyage through the ice in 11 days and 10 hours.

    The deepest ice encountered by the ships was about 5 feet thick. The vessels encountered no multi-year buildup of old ice on the route, however, and meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus called that a clear indicator of “a climate emergency.”

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n7ZkQC0riwc

    Sing along Jesse and Timmie

    • yes, a small amount of glowball worming is a good thing.

      it’s insurance against the inevitable next major volcanic eruption, and will be helpful to partially counter the extreme solar minimum in the next decade.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Perhaps a northern passage for shipping from Russia will be made possible! Russia would become much less land-locked than today.

  10. MM says:

    I was thinking about the truth that Gail spelled out that we are dealing with the decay of a complex adaptive system.
    We know the path up and I might not exaggerate when I say that MEGACANCER Blog describes what was happening beyond “human control”
    “The people playing computergames helped to commercially increase the power of graphics cards so that as a byproduct better medical imaging technology was possible”

    On the way down, we might encounter some things that we do not comprehend because we do not yet have an experience thereof.
    Things seem to oscillate widely, people seem to make strange decisions, things fail that we did not anticipate, the attractor “jumps” to a new equilibrium over night. Plans become obsolete over night.
    This is a very interesting topic.

    Things that can not be sustained will not be sutstained
    vs
    Things that must happen, will happen

    meanning

    ascending civilization
    vs
    descending civilization

    Is this fatalism? What do you think ?

    Imho both leave some room for creativity…..

    • Lidia17 says:

      I believe in a deterministic world. To believe otherwise, you’d have to believe in what are called “causeless effects”.

      I think creativity going forward is going to lie within our own small spheres (being creative with small changes to one’s life to address collapse in the short term), the smallest being within our own minds: being creative in investigating philosophical avenues that will help us accept our fate with more equanimity.

      • Nehemiah says:

        Lydia wrote: “To believe otherwise, you’d have to believe in what are called “causeless effects”. ”

        In your opinion, how did the universe come into existence without an “uncaused cause” (creating a “causeless effect”) entering the picture at some point?

        • Nehemiah says:

          A further clarification: I guess an “uncaused cause” is not necessarily a “causeless effect,” since it itself is not an effect, but if an uncaused cause can exist, why not an uncaused effect?

          Also, my phrase “creating a causeless effect” is a bit confusing. I mean that acknowledging an uncaused cause “creates” (better: acknowledges or concedes or stipulates) a “causeless “effect”–not quite right, but it does stipulate the “causeless” part, which seems to be the basis of your philosophical determinism.

          Typically, these sorts of questions are tied in with the question of free will, and whether free will can exist as an emergent property of the mind. Determinism itself developed as an idea long before man identified or even conceived of emergent properties, so that is not a challenge that deterministic philosophies have had to grapple with before the 1980s.

          If free will is an emergent property of the mind, then we cannot understand it because the mind, as a complex system, could only understand itself if it were more complex than itself.

          • Lidia17 says:

            When pressed to think about it, I imagine a kind of pulsating simultaneity, with the germ of everything expressing itself in every part…. but I haven’t really read much philosophy and so am not up on that field’s exacting jargon.

            I can only imagine two possibilities. One is a round-trip ticket at whatever level of detail. The second is a one-way ticket.

            Biologically, we experience life as a one-way ticket, so that is the Alpha-to-Omega model that seems to be frequently imposed. Religions which entertain physical rebirth still seem to need a metaphysical out, an “off-planet” buffer, as it were, to make the math work. I think I remember reading about certain Buddhist sects being quite alarmed at the spectre of human/animal/ insect depopulation because then where would all the souls go? They were counting on them showing back up all the time.

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        I sometimes think that Presbyterians with their idea of pre-ordination were onto something. It is hard to come up with much of a concept of sin if a large share of what happens to an individual person arises because of happenings outside of that person’s control. We all know that a starving person is likely to behave differently than a well-fed person, for example.

        • Mrs S says:

          In esoteric traditions like Druidism, they believe in reincarnation, and people are said to plan their forthcoming lives whilst between lives.

          Souls plan their lives to be tough or not so tough according to what lessons they need to learn in order to advance spiritually.

          Such a view has a lot to recommend it.

        • MM says:

          I never understood why people should voluntarily queue up in the supermarkt for payment, hehe

      • Kowalainen says:

        Deterministic?

        Wasn’t determinism ruled out by experiment in quantum physics. I would perhaps think of it as approximate determinism. Large scale structures are almost indistinguishable from determinism, while at the quantum level it is no determinism. And everything in between.

      • MM says:

        Sorry, but deterministic is too big a word for me to comprehend and I do not want to engage in a lifelong discussion about it.
        I do not see it, you see it. so be it 🙂

      • Robert Firth says:

        Lidia, the world is full of causeless effects. Indeed, quantum mechanics is based on the irreducible nature of uncaused effects, and all attempts to finesse the experimental evidence have failed.

        • Lidia17 says:

          Well, quantum mechanics is something which I admit I have not studied beyond a couple of years of college-level physics classes decades ago. Something about the multiplicity of theories, and (what I assume to be) our limits of perception and experimentation leave something to be desired in this space, leaving things less than certain (to my mind).

          I tend to get hung up on assumptions like whether there actually is a zero or an infinity. We really are so good at fooling ourselves, like the Red Queen we can come up with six impossible things before breakfast.

          It is perhaps my own defect that my mind balks at certain propositions the way a horse might balk at a painted line on the ground. And we have painted ever so many lines!


          Thinking on it further, what would distance “causeless effects” from a possible deterministic simultaneity? Everything being its own cause as well as its own effect, in other words?

          • DB says:

            It is difficult to justify philosophy (or at least some aspects of it) on scientific grounds, as scientific knowledge is ever-changing (if it is truly scientific). Is quantum mechanics the last word on the micro realm of physics? Is there any scientific theory that is the last word on any aspect of nature? Physicists, in particular, have been declaring the end of physics for over a century. A little more humility seems appropriate.

            Even in philosophy more humility be good. Scientific knowledge is inherently uncertain. It might be too much to expect certainty in all aspects of philosophy as well.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      We don’t realize all of the things that will eventually work together.

      My husband got his Ph. D. in number theory (in Math). At the time he did the work, it was purely theoretical. It later became important in computer encryption.

      All of the people watching movies on the Internet have had an impact as well. All of their payments for internet services help support the overall system. Changing the system to support only big business and government would never work.

      • MM says:

        Dr. Tim Morgan talks a lot about this fact:
        “scale effects” and “minimum usage threshold”
        These are also at the core of “why the modelers get it wrong”
        The boundary conditions get more and more important in any model, the more either complex the model is or the nearer you get to them….

        A friend says: A lot in the C19 crisis communication is derived from simulations only.
        People rely a lot on simulations.
        I once applied for startup funding and they asked me for a business plan.
        I said: Do we call this capitalism or state planned economy? 🙂

        A motorcycle driver has some sense of risk and some feeling about taking it.
        A scientist in front of a computer screen, uhm, yeah…

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I expect that China would like to rely more on its own internal supply, so it wants to keep China’s coal prices high enough to encourage production in Inner Mongolia. This is a big reason to keep imports down. (They never have amounted to much, in total.)

      The outages were incredibly widespread and started very early in the season:

      Power cuts and outages began hitting swathes of China in early December, dimming even first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Hunan, Jiangxi and other industry-driven provinces imposed mandatory “power-saving initiatives” for the “orderly use of electricity.” In Zhejiang province, an economic powerhouse, the city of Yiwu’s “power restriction orders” meant local enterprises had electricity for one of every five days.

      When I look up these provinces of China, most of them stretch southwestward from Shanghai. Beijing is quite far north, a little inland from the coast of China.

      One related article I found from December 17 says,

      https://www.garda.com/crisis24/news-alerts/417536/china-power-shortages-likely-to-continue-in-hunan-jiangxi-and-zhejiang-through-early-february

      China: Power shortages likely to continue in Hunan, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang through early February

      Electricity shortages will likely continue in parts of Hunan, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces through early February 2021. According to authorities, cold weather and increased industrial production have caused demand to outstrip supply [emphasis added] in several areas. Localized coal shortages have also been reported. Intermittent power outages may continue throughout the affected region until the Chinese New Year period.

      This is a fairly long article I found on the situation, dated January 12. https://jamestown.org/program/winter-coal-shortages-reveal-chinese-energy-vulnerabilities/

      The proximate causes for China’s electricity shortages differed across provinces. Overall, coal production stoppages and reduced imports combined with higher-than-usual industrial production and seasonal heating needs contributed to restrict the domestic coal supply and send prices skyrocketing (Caixin, December 28, 2020). Coal usually fuels more than half of China’s electricity production; this winter, China’s coal shortages have put increased pressure on its oil and natural gas supplies as well (OilPrice, January 7). A lack of adequate national gas storage facilities has failed to keep up with demand even as an increasing number of users are planned to transfer their heating needs from coal to gas in order to meet decarbonization goals set under the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020) (Yicai, December 24, 2020). In summary, a combination of factors have contributed to stretch China’s energy supply this winter, resulting in historic power shortages causing widespread concern.

      Also, the Chinese economic recovery from COVID-19, spurred by government investments in “new infrastructure,” has led to the need for an increase in electricity consumption.

  11. suttercraven
    Michael L'Merchant says:

    Amid a pandemic, consistent hiking of prices of petrol and diesel is only adding to people’s woes

    Instead of passing on the benefit of low crude price to consumers, fuel is being brutally taxed by the present regime. Today, India has one of the highest rates of taxes on both petrol and diesel.
    https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/nirmala-sitharaman-fuel-price-rise-diesel-petrol-rates-india-natural-gas-gst-7200025/

  12. Very good review that is to say not at all technical and very clear, of the mRNA gene therapy hoax. Podcast with transcript, about 30 min. This is ideal for sending to my colleague, the one that I think might listen.

    It’s Gene Therapy, Not a Vaccine
    with Dr. David Martin
    https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/its-gene-therapy-not-a-vaccine/

    There is a minute or two of sponsor info near the beginning and middle, but otherwise an excellent review.

    “…COVID 19 is not a disease. It is a series of clinical symptoms. It is a giant umbrella of things associated with what used to be associated with influenza and with other febrile diseases. The problem that we have is that in February, the World Health Organization was clear in stating that there should not be a conflation between the two of these things. One is a virus, in their definition and one is a set of clinical symptoms. The illusion in February was that SARS-CoV-2 caused COVID-19. The problem with that definition and with the expectation is that the majority of people who test positive using the RT-PCR method for testing, for fragments of what is associated with SARS-CoV-2 are not ill at all. The illusion that the virus causes a disease fell apart. That’s the reason why they invented the term asymptomatic carrier.”

    • Nehemiah says:

      Almost exactly the same script that was used to argue against the reality of AIDS and its alleged connection with HIV in the 1980s. Wrong then, and wrong now.

      The Black Death: it wasn’t a disease, just a “series of clinical symptoms.” How Orwellian.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Yes, there is a video out there called “Fauci’s First Fraud” that goes into that.. how the immune issues of promiscuous gay drug users didn’t have all that much to do with the immune issues of malnourished Africans beset by parasites… but they “somehow” got connected.

        1hr., 33min.

      • Strangely enough, it reminded me of a video I watched recently about HIV/AIDS, but you and I seem to have come to opposite conclusions.

        With the Black Death, you got (and still do if not treated quickly enough) lumps called bubos. If you get bubos, that is fairly symptomatic of having bubonic plague, and vice versa, if you have untreated bubonic plague, you get bubos.

        With AIDS / HIV, there were a lot of men who had AIDS symptoms (there are many), but did not have HIV, and many who had HIV but no AIDS symptoms. If someone had AIDS symptoms but did not have HIV, they officially did not have AIDS (my understanding). There was a group of scientists (I think they still exist) who were sure that the main cause of AIDS symptoms in gay men was the cocktail of dodgy drugs they were using – quite a few, but Fauci et al refused to give them any funds to follow up this line of research. So we still do not know if dodgy recreational drugs have anything to do with AIDS symptoms.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP6eLydYrqo&t=31s

        What I took from the above talk is similar – there is no specific set of symptoms that everyone has from having SARS-cov-2, there are various symptoms and they vary from person to person. And at least some of the symptoms coincide with symptoms from having flu and other viruses. Some people who have had CV-19 symptoms have then tested -VE for SARS-COV-2. And many folk who got a positive CV-19 test had no symptoms at all. Just like with HIV / AIDS.
        My understanding anyway.

  13. suttercraven
    Michael L'Merchant says:

    Modified COVID-19 vaccines may get nod from FDA without repeating full trials

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued new guidance Monday that streamlines the vetting process for COVID-19 vaccines that are modified to target new coronavirus variants.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/health-news/modified-covid-19-vaccines-may-get-nod-from-fda-without-repeating-full-trials/ar-BB1dV4vY

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I don’t think we have had full vetting of the earlier versions yet.

      • Rodster says:

        That is correct, there was no full vetting and to my knowledge there weren’t any animal trials. In fact Big Pharma received indemnity from the US Government.

        • Nehemiah says:

          The FDA has not licensed any of these vaccines because they have not yet undergone Phase 3 clinical trials. Instead, they have authorized “Emergency Use Authorization” or EUA which remains in effect only so long as we are officially in a public health emergency.
          https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-12-12/why-fda-didnt-approve-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-eua

          Basically, we are being turned into test subjects for a vaccine that is still experimental. I have never thought that we should bet everything on a vaccine. Iceland and New Zealand both found somewhat different ways to suppress this disease in the pre-vaccine period, and some East Asian countries did a very good job of keeping death rates very low. “Vaccine or bust” was the wrong approach, but the US has developed a bad habit of depending too lop-sidedly on high tech solutions for every problem or challenge.

          • 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.
            Gail Tverberg says:

            Depending on vaccines helps fund the medical-pharmaceutical establishment and provides a career pathway for young people. Using vitamin D and other low tech solutions does nothing for the medical-pharmaceutical establishment. In fact, it may reduce its number of “customers” needing other kinds of healthcare treatment.

          • Lidia17 says:

            That is why “they” needed to suppressive alternative treatments like Ivermectin, HCQ, and chloroquine. The law on emergency use is only if there are no other potential cures.

    • JesseJames says:

      Infowars has published an article where…a paper published in the journal Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Immunologist J. Bart Classen reported that mRNA-based vaccines like the two jabs can misfold proteins in the body that are linked to the development of neurodegenerative disorders.

  14. Jonathan Cook describes how Big Pharma in cahoots with the medical establishment are trying to trash the evidence that Vitamin D is a good antidote for CV19. The medical establishment is critical of a study from Barcelona that points to the success of Vitamin D, whilst promoting a study from Brazil that was designed to fail from the start.

    By putting Big Pharma’s patents before patients, doctors will further erode trust in experts
    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2021-02-22/doctors-vitamin-d-erode-trust/

    • Rodster says:

      Can we now call it the “Government – Pharmaceutical Complex”? There was a bumper sticker back in the 80’s that read “don’t steal, the government hates competition”.

      Big Pharma doesn’t want anything interfering with its Covid vaccine monopoly. In fact they were given indemnity from the US Gov’t over their vaccines. You get permanently injured, can no longer work. Too bad, you can’t sue them. If it kills you your family can’t sue them.

      Tobacco companies wished they had those rights !

    • Nehemiah says:

      They did the same thing with HCQ.

  15. Kowalainen says:

    Not all seem to be hunky dory between Sweden and the various Biden shenanigans.

    https://www.dn.se/sverige/swedish-emails-reveal-new-facts-on-joe-biden-s-keys-to-hunter-s-office/
    “The son of the U.S. president was regarded as a security risk after smuggling a young woman and a homeless friend into the Swedish embassy building in Washington D.C.”

    When the Swedish institutionalized sociopathy considers this a major nuisance and a bit “much”. Then rest assured that it is.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I suppose taking in homeless people would be considered a good activity by some. But not through the back door of the Swedish embassy building.

    • kulmthestatusquo
      kulmthestatusquo says:

      It is quite unlikely for a President’s son to associate with a homeless person to begin with

      • Lidia17 says:

        Can you say, “crack whore”?

      • Lidia17 says:

        This material was actively censored by the US MSM prior to the election:
        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8901717/Hunter-Bidens-laptop-lays-bare-world-depravity-makes-target-blackmail.html

        Also included records of millions of dollars in bribes and apparent money-laundering activities.

        Laptop story had come out in the New York Post. Twitter took down the paper’s account to scuttle the story. TV news did not report on it.

        Hunter texts his daughter, Naomi “I love all of you. But I don’t receive any respect and that’s fine I guess. Works for you, apparently. I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years. It’s really hard, but don’t worry, unlike Pop (Joe Biden) I won’t make you give me half your salary.”

        All the shady deals go through Hunter, who kicks back to other Biden crime family members.

  16. worldofhanumanotg
    worldofhanumanotg says:

    Inspired from the good people at Surplus they mentioned more recent ~2019 top 20 list only but this WB bellow covers almost the whole world.. Perhaps it could work as nice collapse proxy and for comparative development trends.

    Evidently some countries are trending very badly, e.g. Germany and Algeria slipping hard even during ~2007-2017.. While rich and or organized countries work good so far; e.g. Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, ..

    Quality of electricity supply:
    https://tcdata360.worldbank.org/indicators/h052a54f3

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      This is the first time that I have heard of a databank of electricity quality. I should take time to see what it shows. The metrics seem to be relative to some base, with a choice of median world quality, or median regional quality, and perhaps one other. I didn’t find the charts for the bases, however.

      Do you have any information on how this quality measure is computed?

  17. Nehemiah says:

    Oh, crap.
    https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/just-as-the-world-is-beginning-to-deal-with-sars-cov-2-variants,-fatal-h5n8-avian-flu-cases-in-humans-debuts-in-russia
    Just As The World Is Beginning To Deal With SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Fatal H5N8 Avian Flu Cases In Humans Debuts In Russia!

    The head of Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Dr Anna Popova in a televised interview, said scientists at the Vektor laboratory had isolated the strain’s genetic material from seven workers at a poultry farm in southern Russia, where an outbreak was recorded among the birds in December.

    She added, “Information about the world’s first case of transmission of the avian flu (H5N8) to humans has already been sent to the World Health Organization.”

    The deadly H5N8 strain of bird flu was detected in poultry in the UK in December 2020 according to the European Food Safety Authority. Hundreds of thousands of birds including turkeys were slaughtered in a bid to stall the spread of the virus.

    Alarmingly the highly infectious disease which has an avian mortality rate up to 100 per cent has also been detected in migratory and wild birds across the continent.

    The H5N8 strain of bird flu has never before been previously reported to have spread to humans.

    Dr Popova praised “the important scientific discovery,” saying “time will tell” if the virus can further mutate.
    She stressed, “The discovery of these mutations when the virus has not still acquired an ability to transmit from human to human gives us all, the entire world, time to prepare for possible mutations and react in an adequate and timely fashion.”

    Humans can get infected with avian and swine influenza viruses, such as bird flu subtypes A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) and swine flu subtypes such as A(H1N1).

    It was said that according to the WHO, (An organization that is famous for getting things wrong!) people usually get infected through direct contact with animals or contaminated environments, and there is no sustained transmission among humans.(Similarly to what they had said initially in the case of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus!)
    SNIP
    Reports surfaced late last year that showed the H5N8 strain was prevalent in birds in at least 15 regions in Russia, and cases had been identified in China, the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe.

    The Avian flu has raged in several European countries including France, where hundreds of thousands of birds have been culled to stop the infection.
    The entity called the European Food Safety Authority has been tracking the spread of the H5N8 virus across the continent.

    European health officials had found the new virus in poultry in Poland in December 2019.

    Shockingly within three months the virus had spread across the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. Also between March and June 2020, the disease had spread to Bulgaria.

    The EFSA also reported that at the end of October 2020, H5N8 was detected in wild birds in the Netherlands.
    SNIP
    Medical Experts around the world are also worried that with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, the emergence of a Avian Bird Flu epidemic such as H5N8 could lead to a reassortant strain emerging if the SARS-CoV-2 and the H5N8 flu virus were to recombine.

    Note: While mainstream media around the world are ‘bragging’ about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and claiming that new COVID-19 infections are ‘down”, we urge readers to carefully monitor the COVID-19 death rates in the last 6 days and and also look at hospilization figues around the world and not the decrease in testings over the same period! Death rates in America and also in UK has shot up over the last few days and testings in countries like Israel has gone down!

  18. Tim Groves says:

    NEWSFLASH! Cary Mullis has been spotted!

    He’s been captured by the talking raccoons!

    • D. Stevens says:

      Looks like OFW regulars getting ready for a new post from Gail.

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        Not today, I am afraid. A day or two, I expect.

    • jj says:

      One of those raccoons doesnt believe in infinite hot dogs and is a conspiracy theorist. Some of the others suspect.

  19. NomadicBeer says:

    Gail, I was wondering if you are planning a post about the current step down in the process of civilization collapse?

    I am thinking here of JM Greer’s “catabolic collapse” but of course I know that many historians have talked about similar things.

    I would like to see your opinion about last year. Was it a step down or was it just more of the same?
    To me it seems obvious but two people that I respect (JM Greer and JH Kunstler) seem to treat it as just a linear continuation of the slow degradation that started arguably in 1970 and accelerated after 2001 and 2008.

    I think a functional description of “step down” in a civilization is when the rules change.

    For example until last year the govs could still pretend that printing money helps with economic crises. Since then they printed more than ever but they had to resort to other policies too (postpone rent payment, direct cash for poor people and a lot of covid policies).

    Another example is elections. Until 2016 the candidate that spent the most (iow had more oligarch support) would win the elections. In 2020 they changed the rules and used propaganda, conspiracies and large scale fraud to get rid of the Oranje man. I predict that this will be the m.o. from now on and even more, both parties will make sure that populist candidates never reach far enough.

    What do you think? Looking at the large scale behavior of our economic and social systems, was 2020 a smooth change or a discontinuity? And will the rules change from now or we will go back to “normal” collapse?

    Thanks

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I think that 2020 was the first real step down. The real peak was earlier. For example, private passenger automobile sales in China were at the highest level in 2017, and fell in 2018, 2019, and 2020. I would have to look up world sales.

      Thanks for the idea for a post.

    • my two cents:

      “Looking at the large scale behavior of our economic and social systems, was 2020 a smooth change or a discontinuity? And will the rules change from now or we will go back to “normal” collapse?”

      those are good intriguing questions.

      I agree that 2020 was a real step down, nothing smooth about it. Energy supply, which is the real base or foundation of economic activity, was down by an unprecedented amount, about 9%. If this downward trend continued through 2021, that would be an indication that 2020 was not just a step down, but the beginning of a permanent discontinuity.

      But any step down could be followed by a step up, or even a half step so to speak.

      so as JMG recently wrote, 2021 is the unknown (obviously like the future always is).

      what is known, is that the world is far into the stage of diminishing returns on most resources, and especially energy resources, where even with flat quantities of FF, the net (surplus) energy has started its inevitable irreversible decline.

      this decline could be mitigated somewhat by increasing the quantity of FF, so this is something to watch for in 2021, to see if the CB/gov manipulation is sufficient to temporarily bring up energy supply, or at least keep the decline to a far smaller % than the 9% of last year.

      I would conclude that going forward, “normal” is a continuing slow decline of FF and net (surplus) energy, and therefore a slow decline of economic activity.

      but within the next decade or two of “normal”, there could be rare years of half steps up, or a year or two of giant steps down, which essentially could be “collapse”.

      we who live through this may feel like it is a slow decline, but survivors in the 2040s or 2050s will be amazed at how fast it seemed to collapse.

      • Rodster says:

        Global debt is what’s making things worse and taking things down because those at the top realize that the “Global Debt” which now is around $2.5 Quadrillion (factoring derivates) that the debt will never be repaid. They i.e. TPTB, i.e. the BIS along with all the central banks realize the entire global financial and monetary system is headed for a catastrophic failure. Which is why Covid 19 is being used as an excuse.

        Why loan money to Shale and energy companies if the system is headed for an implosion?

        • Lidia17 says:

          Well, really why invest in any company whatsoever? This was clear to me in 2007/8 when I grokked that the money system was done for, and I remember my days were filled with waves of nausea at that recognition. Still are sometimes.

  20. Yoshua says:

    Angeland is of course the centre of the world. The rest of us are just exiled.

    https://youtu.be/nMeFafKx7GI

  21. Mrs S says:

    “The prediction published on the World Economic Forum back in November 2016 that in the future we will ‘own nothing and be happy’ is a simplistic but suggestive indication of what is in store for us. No doubt it will entail a continuation and acceleration of the hollowing out of the hitherto almost sacred place of the middle-class, whose consumer power is increasingly redundant to a capitalism confronting the limits of its growth, for which control of the remaining resources and not their greater consumption is the war being fought, and in which the new currency is not spending power but social credit.”

    This is a brilliant essay about what’s really happening.

    https://architectsforsocialhousing.co.uk/2021/02/19/cui-bono-the-covid-19-conspiracy/

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Thanks! Sort of depressing.

      • Mrs S says:

        It’s mightily depressing. But I don’t see how it could possibly work. Pauperising the middle class and issuing social credits does not constitute an economy.

        Do you think this could actually work, Gail?

        • Rodster says:

          It won’t work when the people realize that Klaus Schwab’s idea for his 4th Industrial Revolution is based on Communism.

          “You will own nothing and you will be happy”. His dream of Build Back Better will fail.

          • NomadicBeer says:

            “It won’t work when the people realize that Klaus Schwab’s idea for his 4th Industrial Revolution is based on Communism.”

            Please stop spreading this fallacy.
            How is an oligarchy owning everything communism?
            Despite the heavy propaganda in the west, the communist countries never had extremely rich people. They had powerful nomenklatura and massive scale crimes against humanity yes but not oligarchs as we se them today.

            By the same token, the poor in most of the world can only dream about being poor in a communist country. Most of them had free healthcare, free education, free/low cost housing and guaranteed jobs.

            Again, I am not defending communism – by all measures it was almost as deadly as fascism in the 20th century.

            But using the word “communism” as thought-stopper only plays into the hands of the Davos crowd.
            Think about it – in 2024 or next election for your country, an anti-communist candidate will come on strongly against communism. He wins the election handily – will anything change?
            He will not tax the rich (that would be communism), he will not provide free healthcare (ditto) and so on.

            So by the simple expedient of presenting themselves as the opposite of what they are, the rich can stay in power while the stupid keep voting “against” them.

            • jj says:

              If deadly is defined by genocide major events the bolshevik genocide of 66 million is 5x the nazi genocide of 13 million. Excluding outlying events like pol pot. Hate is hate. If your dusting people because of one manifesto or another your just a filthy murderer regardless of the symbol on your armband.

    • JMS says:

      Very useful. Thanks!

    • Kowalainen says:

      Isn’t that what we already got? People leasing their life belongings? Cars, houses, vacations, frivolous items?

      I can’t see the effective difference here.

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        Good point! Younger people especially.

        • Xabier says:

          There would indeed in material terms be no difference at all for the young, who own nothing except personal items and clothing, and rent almost everything else.

          All they would lose is merely the hope of owning property one day, which many seem to have been realistic enough to give up on anyway. They will adapt easily, and even children will probably be given a vote (so’ inclusive’!)

          Once those who do own property outright currently, and have substantial savings, are wiped out financially, they will certainly wail and lament, but the young might well even feel a certain schadenfreude at their dispossession, being anyway the generation which screwed up the future and the planet for them, as they are being taught to believe.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Western civilization since the Enlightenment has been founded on the right to “life, liberty and property” (pursuit of happiness being a high flown euphemism for the pursuit of property). If private property rights go, then liberty, already significantly and increasingly infringed upon since the beginning of the 20th century, is more imperiled than ever without the buttress of private property rights.

            “There can be no freedom of the press if the instruments of printing are under government control, no freedom of assembly if the needed rooms are so controlled, no freedom of movement if the means of transport are a government monopoly.”–F.A. Hayek

            Furthermore, people who do not own property tend to feel that they have less of a stake in the established order, and so less to lose if it is not preserved. This is a point that the social engineers would overlook at their own peril.

          • Mrs S says:

            But young people at least have the hope of inheritance.

            And if things get really bad they can stay with their parents/grandparents.

            If nobody owns anything then it’s the individual facing the might of the state.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Degree of intensity and penetration/capture.

        Level and granularity of control.

    • Xabier says:

      An obedient and compliant – if generally impoverished – population, whose consumption is determined centrally, will certainly be of far more importance going forward than a mass middle-class in any case less able to consume according to autonomous patterns than formerly.

      But if people are displaced en masse by automation – even if it is not quite universal, and they and their labour are of no real use – then why trouble to preserve their lives at all?

      This is why rapid mass depopulation of the ‘inessentials’ is probably logically inherent in this agenda.

      In 2020 we saw the equivalent of the ‘selections’ which took place on the railway platform upon arrival at the death camps: work/gas chambers then, and ‘essential’ and ‘key’ workers and businesses/ ‘inessential’ now. Ominous words, to those who know their history and human nature.

      First whole sectors and businesses are categorised in this manner, and then it will be lives. .

      • Rodster says:

        “This is why rapid mass depopulation of the ‘inessentials’ is probably logically inherent in this agenda.”

        If Bill Gates is behind this which he is a member of the World Economic Forum, then mass depopulation is definitely on the table. Gates has spoken out on the need for a reduction in World population.

      • Ed – I am interested in energy issues.
        Ed says:

        Killing the useless eaters makes sense to Klaus.

    • Artleads says:

      I read slowly, one word at a time, so there went my morning! Seriously, though, I found this article fascinating.

    • Ed – I am interested in energy issues.
      Ed says:

      Mrs S, great article king of long winded but I have to agree we have already arrived. The democratic institutions still exist but in name only with no substance.

  22. Nehemiah says:

    I am pasting the link below and it’s three paragraph summary of a paper re: British offshore wind power. (Biden is now pushing for the US to plunge into offshore wind power.) At the end, I will post a URL to the original paper.
    https://community.oilprice.com/topic/22686-disaster-looming-in-uk-offshore-wind-power/

    Professor Gordon Hughes, of the School of Economics, Edinburgh University has written a report on offshore wind entitled Wind Power Economics – Rhetoric and Reality A summary is linked. This has been issued through an organisation called the Renewable Energy Foundation, although the REF is clearly not about lobbying for renewable energy as the name would suggest. It has issued reports correctly predicting major increases in UK power prices, in part due to the increase in the use of renewables. That point aside, Prof Hughes conclusion is that all the wind farms to be built to meet Britain’s declare net zero goal are relying on completely unrealistic financial projections. They will run into financial trouble and have to be bailed out by the government which will then want to pass on the costs to the consumers. As a result he estimates that UK power prices will be 3-4 times in real terms (that is after allowing for inflation) than they are today. Say what? You may grumble that Prof Hughes is hostile to wind, none the less after trawling through the books of the existing UK offshore wind farms, all of which are audited and available to the public, he has some interesting points to make.

    One such point is that the government projections assume that the costs of offshore wind will decline as more installations are built. In fact, the exact opposite seems to be happening (the same trends are evident in offshore oil and gas installations). Although its not immediately clear why this should be so, after looking a the Danish experience Prof Hughes says one of the problems is that with the best sites already taken, new wind farms have to be built in deeper and deeper water. Deeper water means higher construction and operating costs. Another problem is the offshore wind industry’s use of the gigantic 2+ MW turbines, as opposed to the smaller turbines typically used onshore. The smaller turbines are far more reliable. He says:” nearly 60% of offshore turbines will experience an equipment failure in the first five years of operation.” Also the risk of failure increases sharply after 10 years of operation, although the Danish experience shows that this can vary greatly with location. In addition turbine performance declines rapidly..

    Although existing wind farms may survive, all this means that instead of the government’s assumption of an expected operating life of 20 to 30 years for new offshore wind farms, most will be lucky to last 20 years and fail to cover operating costs, let alone make any return on capital, after 12 years. Further, if the UK government insists on building a host of new farms, then costs will escalate. The result will be a financial disaster. As with all renewables, a few offshore farms are no bad thing. Its when you try building heaps of them the trouble really starts.. there is a lot more to the report which I urge you to read.

    Full text of “Wind Power: Rhetoric and Reality” can be read here:
    https://www.ref.org.uk/ref-blog/365-wind-power-economics-rhetoric-and-reality?mc_cid=026a515106&mc_eid=88b4c27cd8

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Thanks for pointing this out. I have made not of this.

    • Erdles says:

      My household gas in the UK is 3.3p/KwHr and electricity 16.5p/KwHr. A five fold difference when only 20 years ago it was twice as expensive. If forced to use electricity to heat my home my annual bill would increase from £800 to £4000. Why is no-one in the UK talking about this?

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        I have written before about the fact that the basement of our house (which is only partially finished) is heated with electricity. The first floor is heated with gas. We are not using the second floor; we slightly heat it during the winter. The cost of the electricity to heat the basement seems to be higher than the cost of the gas to heat the heat of the house. Basements normally don’t need a whole lot of heat to begin with.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Thank you, Nehemiah, an excellent find. Clearly, offshore wind is absurd, and onshore wind only a little less absurd.

      However, I thin there is a flaw in the paper, and a very big one. The calculation uses only money as a measure of value: will the investors lose money; will the electricity be too expensive; and so on. The projects are viable only with subsidies, public or private. Agreed.

      But where does that money come from? Ultimately, from the sale of goods and services, whose income is then diverted to the wind project. And what creates goods and services? Energy. And that energy is being diverted to uses that cannot support themselves. Since the paper shows that wind energy is more than twice as expensive as conventional energy, the conclusion seems to me inescapable: even in operation, the windmills are energy sinks, the consume more energy indirectly as subsidies than they produce by themselves.

      Shut them down.

      • nielscolding
        nielscolding says:

        Yes Robert, I am writing something like that in Danish to our politicians. They will not listen, but never the less, the energy spokesmen of our political parties will get a snail mail from me. Unfortunately they have now gone absolutely crazy.

        • Xabier says:

          That faux-renewables will save us is really now a new kind of religious faith,and nearly every religion has its reality-denying fanatics.

          Add to that politicians who are generally not trained engineers of physicists, etc, and what a recipe for disaster!

          • jj says:

            The percentage of politicians that flunked physics approaches 100%. (Statement anecdotal no statistical evidence presented).

        • Robert Firth says:

          Thank you, nielscolding, and my best wishes for your endeavour. Remember that the truth grows one convert at a time, and as the motto of the City of Oxford says, “Magna est veritas et praevalebit”.

      • Lidia17 says:

        That would go against the Prime Directive, which is energy dissipation, no?

    • Xabier says:

      This is the sort of thing that the Great Re-set will probably crash and break up upon: exaggerated expectations of non-scaleable novel, technologies.

      But how much damage will they do in the meantime,a s they attempt to implement it?

  23. Nehemiah says:

    The following link is not to a very interesting article (it appears to have been written to pump the stock price of some “green” startup company), but it has a few points that are very revealing as the world, especially the western world, is now led almost entirely by governments that are plunging headlong into a renewable future whose real world feasibility at scale they have not thought through and refuse to examine critically.

    Defenders of EV’s routinely tell us that EV’s will not require any expansion of electrical production because batteries are so energy efficient, but here we see that even ELON MUSK thinks that is a load of crap. So does the president of Toyota which pioneered hybrids and is now entering the EV business.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Single-Biggest-Threat-To-The-Electric-Vehicle-Boom.html

    But Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, had an ominous prediction for what could lie ahead.

    He stated that if EVs are adopted too quickly, we may not have the energy to support them at this point.

    In fact, he predicted Japan would run out of electricity by summer if they banned all gas-powered vehicles now.

    He even went as far as to say that if we rush the process of transitioning to EVs all at once, “the current business model of the auto industry is going to collapse.”
    SNIP
    While Toyota’s president made a dark prediction about where we could be headed, he’s not alone in being concerned.

    Elon Musk [yes, ELON MUSK!] expressed his own concerns about the issue recently as well.

    In an interview in December, he said that the world’s electricity consumption would likely double once EVs become the norm. [READ THAT AGAIN.]

    And that’s only accounting for this mass adoption in electric vehicles.

    The situation could become even more pressing as the rest of our lives grow increasingly digital too, sucking up more electricity in the process.

    With the “internet of things” creating smart cities and smart homes, the demand for electricity will only go up as everything from Peloton bikes to Nest thermostats are now connected by the internet.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      As far as I can see, electricity is in worse shape than fossil fuels in a lot of places. Electricity has lots of points of failure. It goes out every time a storm goes through. Rebuilding is difficult. Rebuilding takes fossil fuels, not electricity.

      • Nehemiah says:

        @Gail, Also production and usage must be kept in close balance at all times when electric power is produced in large quantities and distributed via a wire grid. This is a bit tricky, and many countries are not very good at it for whatever reasons. And feeding intermittent power through the grid makes it harder. Functioning power grids should perhaps be regarded as one of the wonders of the modern world. It can’t last. Our age is not only unique compared to all previous eras, but unique as well compared to future one. I feel sorry for school children in the future who will be trying to understand our age. They will have to learn a lot of non-history stuff (which we take for granted) just to fathom what was going on.

        • 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.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          I agree that the electric grid is a wonder. I have heard it described as the world’s largest machine. Adding huge amounts of renewables to it, and not funding the overall system properly, is a recipe for collapse of the grid. California and Texas have been on this road. Europe and Australia are heading in this direction as well, but I think that regulation may have kept rates somewhat higher, so that things are not quite as bad, yet, in these places. There are so many points of failure, they cannot possibly last long.

        • Artleads says:

          There’s a lot of non history stuff that we need to learn right now that we’re not learning. But for Gail, we’d be clueless about grid issues of all sorts. What we can learn now will add to what those in the future (but what future?) will be able to learn. It is not a future issue, but rather a now issue. And the vaccination coup pushes now to the existential extreme. If we can’t stave off the vaccinations significantly NOW, that will be a good reason to pack it in. This program is determining what people are allowed to do and learn NOW. And that, I believe, will determine what or any future humanity might have.

    • Xabier says:

      EV defenders also habitually refer to the fact that they will all be charged at night, using otherwise idle capacity. They believe that this refutes all capacity issues, and tend to get quite upset if this view is challenged.

      The truth is probably that EV fleets are intended to be only a fraction of current car fleets, due to the imminent population crash and severe movement restrictions – compulsory WFH for nearly everyone who can do so.

      Quite crazy, of course. But this is the problem with plans -like those of the WEF – which are formulated without proper external criticism and real-world input. There are far too many prophets and fantasists in the faux-renewables world.

  24. A summary of the WHO trip to Wuhan – c 19 source unknown as yet, wet market and lab ruled out as likely sources. It is sad the way that Trump tried to weaponize c 19 to the upping of self-interested geopolitical hostilities that would slow global growth and leave untold millions in dire poverty.

    > I was on the WHO’s Covid mission to China, here’s what we found

    No, it didn’t originate in Wuhan’s wet market, but it could have been spread by frozen food. Here is what we learned from Phase 1 of the investigation

    As I write, I am in hotel quarantine in Sydney, after returning from Wuhan, China. There, I was the Australian representative on the international World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the origins of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

    …. Our investigations concluded the virus was most likely of animal origin. It probably crossed over to humans from bats, via an as-yet-unknown intermediary animal, at an unknown location. Such “zoonotic” diseases have triggered pandemics before. But we are still working to confirm the exact chain of events that led to the current pandemic. Sampling of bats in Hubei province and wildlife across China has revealed no Sars-CoV-2 to date.

    We visited the now-closed Wuhan wet market which, in the early days of the pandemic, was blamed as the source of the virus. Some stalls at the market sold “domesticated” wildlife products. These are animals raised for food, such as bamboo rats, civets and ferret badgers. There is also evidence some domesticated wildlife may be susceptible to Sars-CoV-2. However, none of the animal products sampled after the market’s closure tested positive for Sars-CoV-2.

    …. There’s also genetic evidence generated during the mission for a transmission cluster there as viral sequences from several of the market cases were identical. However, there was some diversity in other viral sequences, implying other unknown or unsampled chains of transmission.

    A summary of modelling studies of the time to the most recent common ancestor of Sars-CoV-2 sequences estimated the start of the pandemic between mid-November and early December. There are also publications suggesting Sars-CoV-2 circulation in various countries earlier than the first case in Wuhan, although these require confirmation.

    The market in Wuhan, in the end, was more of an amplifying event rather than necessarily a true ground zero. So we need to look elsewhere for the viral origins.

    Frozen or refrigerated food not ruled out in the spread

    Then there was the “cold chain” hypothesis. This is the idea the virus might have originated from elsewhere via the farming, catching, processing, transporting, refrigeration or freezing of food. Was that food ice-cream, fish, wildlife meat? We don’t know. It’s unproven that this triggered the origin of the virus itself. But to what extent did it contribute to its spread? Again, we don’t know.

    …. Extremely unlikely the virus escaped from a lab

    The most politically sensitive option we looked at was the virus escaping from a laboratory. We concluded this was extremely unlikely.

    …. We looked at the closest virus to Sars-CoV-2 they were working on – the virus RaTG13 – which had been detected in caves in southern China where some miners had died seven years previously.

    But all the scientists had was a genetic sequence for this virus. They hadn’t managed to grow it in culture. While viruses certainly do escape from laboratories, this is rare. So we concluded it was extremely unlikely this had happened in Wuhan.

    A team of investigators

    When I say “we”, the mission was a joint exercise between the WHO and the Chinese health commission. In all, there were 17 Chinese and 10 international experts, plus seven other experts and support staff from various agencies.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/22/i-was-on-the-whos-covid-mission-to-china-heres-what-we-found

    • Nehemiah says:

      “WHO’s covid mission to China”–LOL! Gimme a break! It is well known by now that the WHO is totally in the CCP’s financial and political pocket. It was a foregone conclusion that any WHO “mission” or “investigation” was guaranteed to exonerate the Chinese Communist Party. Just a total farce, but never expect any cynicism or critical thinking re: an existing Communist power from the reliably left of center _Guardian_.

      • “Gimme a break! It is well known by now that the WHO is totally in the CCP’s financial and political pocket.”

        Really, who told you that?

        China is not in the top ten WHO funders: USA, Bill Gates, UK, GAVI, Germany, Japan, UNOCHTA, Rotary, World Bank, EU.

        > The WHO is financed by contributions from member states and outside donors. As of 2020, the biggest contributor is the United States, which gives over $400 million annually.[220] U.S. contributions to the WHO are funded through the U.S. State Department’s account for Contributions to International Organizations (CIO). In 2018 the largest contributors ($150+ each) were the United States, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Kingdom, Germany and GAVI Alliance.[221]

        In April 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump, supported by a group of members of his party,[222] announced that his administration would halt funding to the WHO.[223] Funds previously earmarked for the WHO were to be held for 60–90 days pending an investigation into WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in respect to the organization’s purported relationship with China.[224] The announcement was immediately criticized by world leaders including António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations; Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister; and Moussa Faki Mahamat, African Union chairman.[220]

        On 16 May, U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration agreed to pay up to what China pays in Assessed contributions, which is less than about one-tenth of its previous funding. China paid Biennium 2018–2019, for Assessed contributions US$75,796K, Specified voluntary contributions US$10,184K, Total US$85,980K.[225][226]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization#Financing_and_partnerships

        • About 1.5% of WHO funding comes from China.

        • Nehemiah says:

          Nice try. The CCP does not just help fund org’s like the WHO, but it also “funds” key figures of influence. That is how it got it’s preferred candidate, an Ethiopian Marxist and Red China sympathizer or collaborator, installed as head of the WHO. That is how it persuaded the WHO to ignore a long tradition of often naming viruses after the most likely place of origin and instead give it this weird ‘covid” name that was deliberately chosen not to anger the CCP, which was and is desperate to obscure the true origin of this virus which CLEARLY was engineered in a lab (30 million to one chance according to one researcher). We even know the name of the woman who was in charge of the project at the Wuhan lab very close to where this contagion erupted. Until that fateful moment, she was proud of her research and made no attempt to hide it. Furthermore, Chinese genetic research labs already had a reputation in the global scientific community for their lax security. If a virus were going to erupt from a research lab somewhere in the world, it was known that it was most likely to happen in China.

          • Really, you must post the evidence of WHO corruption some time. That would be most interesting. I would have thought all of the USA MSM would have been talking about it, given their current geopolitical hostility to China.

            • All is Dust says:

              Why? You’d just ignore it anyway. Take a look at China’s “Long March through the Institutions” published by Civitas and then get back to me…

              http://www.civitas.org.uk/content/files/A-Long-March.pdf

            • OK, so the Civitas report does not say anything about backhanders. Rather their angle is Chinese influence on WHO.

              The main allegation made is that Xi phoned WHO on January 21 to ask them to delay announcing human to human transmission of c 19. WHO denies that and in any case announced it on January 22.

              Civitas is ideologically free market and hostile to communism. Its own funding is ‘opaque’.

              > Civitas has been rated as ‘highly opaque’ in its funding by Transparify[21] and has been a given a E grade for funding transparency by Who Funds You?.[22] Its funders include the pro-free market Nigel Vinson Charitable Trust.[23]

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civitas_(think_tank)

              But anyway, I am not sure why anyone would think that I am batting for China. I do not consider any economic state to be a host of angels. States are organised will to power. Pushing for influence is part and parcel of existing in this world. The UN is itself an embodiment of that, its security council is the winners of wwii – but hopefully they have acted responsibly on c 19. In any case it is not my role to bat for the UN or anyone else.

    • Lidia17 says:

      Trump weaponized Covid-19?!? The Dems used it to push universal mail-in ballots and “fortify” the election fraud, allowing for the installation of the Chinese employee. I think Trump understood this was going to happen. It appears likely that the “vaccine” was already ready before the “outbreak” was publicized.

  25. 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.
    Gail Tverberg says:

    I think most of you saw my earlier link to the talk I am giving tomorrow morning. It is being billed as “Where Energy Modeling Goes Wrong,” but it is mostly about why economies grow and then collapse, and why we seem to be near collapse now.

    The talk will be 45 minutes long, with 45 minutes for Q/A. It starts at 10:00am Eastern Standard Time (or 16:00 CET). The last I heard, there are 150 are registered, but attendance will probably be less. I understand their Zoom account can handle a larger audience. Registration is free. This is another link:

    https://uncomfortableknowledge.com/webinar-where-energy-modeling-goes-wrong/

  26. MG says:

    The results of the use of ivermectin in the Slovak hospitals are disappointing:

    Google translate added by Gail:
    “Unflattering results
    In hospitals, however, treatment has gradually started and ivermectin has been administered to dozens of patients in Slovak hospitals. However, the results are not optimistic.

    “In a few dozen of our COVID-19 patients who have received ivermectin to date, we have seen no visible benefit compared with standard corticosteroid therapy, oxygen therapy, and other supportive, preventative, and symptomatic treatments. From the information I have from colleagues from other hospitals, it is clear that they usually have similar experiences, “said Milan Kulkovský, the head of the internal department of the hospital in Považská Bystrica, on his social network.”

    “Nelichotivé výsledky
    V nemocniciach sa však už liečba postupne rozbehla a ivermektín podali v slovenských nemocniciach už desiatkam pacientov. Výsledky však nie sú optimistické.

    „U pár desiatok našich pacientov s COVID-19, ktorým sme ivermektín doposiaľ podali, sme nezaznamenali žiadny viditeľný benefit v porovnaní s doteraz podávanou štandardnou liečbou, ktorej základom je podávanie kortikoidov, oxygenoterapia a ostatná podporná, preventívna a symptomatická liečba. Z informácií, ktoré mám od kolegov z iných nemocníc, je zrejmé, že majú väčšinou podobné skúsenosti,” zhodnotil svoje skúsenosti na sociálnej sieti primár interného oddelenia nemocnice v Považskej Bystrici Milan Kulkovský.”

    https://spravy.pravda.sk/domace/clanok/578874-ivermektin-by-mal-byt-v-lekarnach-nie-v-nemocniciach/

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I got this impression from the terrible death rate in Slovakia, relative to the number of cases.

      Using the right dosages at the right times I am sure makes a difference. I wonder whether this was done.

      • worldofhanumanotg
        worldofhanumanotg says:

        Yes, if you are already brought half dead into emergency on oxygen, it’s too late for low key “preventive” stuff like Ivermectin. You should load up way before on the first signs of approaching fever and early respiratory issues..

        These are only the negative sections of that article, in fully translated version they mentioned the same points as discussed here (it works if applied soon), and also the low stock / unobtanium status in pharmacies and ambulant health care at this point.. instead they put all the available stock into hospitals with advanced cases. So, again either “honest error” or an attempt to force vaccination first..

        Similarly if you have liver damaged by “recreational” booze and past history of unhealthy diet (low on key vitamins) this can strike down even younger quasi “fit” looking people without visible obesity or other issues, because exposure to sun and fresh air during occasionally exercise makes little difference, actually the deficit is getting worse (urban pop)..

      • Xabier says:

        When the death rate is alarmingly high, it’s as well to consider the nature and quality of the physicians, as well as that of the disease itself.

        And if a trial disappoints: Cui Bono?

  27. About bitcoins…and how rogue buyers are taking advantage of the Covid period

    I run a large site for Dutch speaking (Belgians and Dutch) in France.Sometimes I mediate for ‘selling’ problems with houses…here a transcript of the last mediation. It is about gold and bitcoins….!!….Welcome to the real world!

    1.Dear Gerard.
    We are not sure who to turn to hence….
    Because we are returning to Belgium, our French house is for sale. A pity but unfortunately. Now, yesterday a Dutch lady visited the house and she is very interested. However, the financial arrangements have to be made with her husband in the Netherlands. They insist that my husband comes to Amsterdam this week to make arrangements.
    Apart from the fact that I find it rather suspicious; can he just fly back and forth like that? Then it can be done in one day. Otherwise it’s in two days by train. Of course with a negative test.

    2.Well…I would start by contacting the husband in Amsterdam by phone and ask him about the ‘ins and outs’ Surely you will at least have his phone number and address.

    3.Only from the wife. There would be no communication with him by phone. Apart from that; do you know if it is allowed to travel back and forth for this reason?

    4. You can travel up and down within the Eu as per your airline’s requirements I would never do that under these unclear conditions though. If you wish I will be in touch with ‘madam’

    5. That is kind but my husband wants to go and hear what the spouse has to say anyway.
    Mrs. says she is taking the house and he is about the finances every time. They also have a hotel such. But really everything remains extremely vague and that worries me.

    6. Dear Gerard. I just wanted to update you on the progress regarding the sale of our house.
    My husband made the round trip from Bordeaux to Amsterdam last week. The potential buyer turned out to be not so kosher. He wanted to pay part of it in gold and bitcoins. So money laundering or worse: the well-known exchange trick.
    My husband, of course, did not go along with this.
    We are quietly looking for other buyers.

    7. Yes I suspected something like that. Bitcoins is a very ‘murky bubble’ payment method…. Gold !!!boy boy…. Well at least a nice story…. Smacks of serious crime…. The question now is whether you want to ‘publicize’ it….
    Well is probably not wise Hopefully new buyers are more bona fide.
    Thanks for the ‘update’ which of course will be considered ‘confidential’ Yours sincerely

  28. Tim Groves says:

    Former Assistant Secretary of Housing and investment advisor Catherine Austin Fitts says you have to be careful and fully understand Bitcoin.

    Fitts explains, “We do know they want to go to an all-digital system with central bank cryptos. The easiest way to build the prison is to get freedom lovers everywhere to build the prison for you.

    “To me, Bitcoin has always been the prototype on the way to building the all-digital crypto system that they would love to put into place. You have $400 trillion in fiat (currency) and it needs a place to go.

    “If you are trying to buy up all the gold, silver and farmland, the last thing you need is competition from retail. They want to shift them into crypto and get them to build the crypto train tracks. In a funny kind of way, it’s brilliant.

    “There is talk by big banks that Bitcoin could go to $300,000 per unit by the end of the year. Fitts thinks, “This is absolutely possible. This is pure politics. This has nothing to do with economics. How much will the central bankers, who can print as much money as they want, spend to get you into this platform? Your guess is as good as mine. The sky’s the limit as to how much they can spend.

    “Remember, once they decide to bring out the central bank currencies, and they have steadily been regulating the crypto currencies, Bitcoin and everything else, so the day they decide to take this to zero, they can do it. If you are going to invest into cryptos and build our prison for us, what you need to know is this thing could go to $300,000, and it can also go to zero. This is a highly speculative market, and you need to approach it accordingly.”

    Fitts warns of a dark future if the central bankers get everything they want. Fitts says, “When they decide to shut down our bank accounts and say you all get on crypto, universal basic income and take that injection or you can’t transact on the financial system, this is instituting a totalitarian system through the financial system. . . . When they shut that trap door, what you need to think about is where are you going to buy food?”

    In closing, Fitts says, “We are in Never, Never Land. We have two groups in our society: One group that can print money, and the other who can earn money. What we saw last year is the people who could print money declared war on the people who earn money. They basically said we are going to shut down your businesses, and suck up and take your market share or buy you out with money we print out of thin air. . . . We have no pandemic. This is an economic war.”

    https://usawatchdog.com/building-a-bitcoin-prison-catherine-austin-fitts/

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I think this is the issue:

      Fitts warns of a dark future if the central bankers get everything they want. Fitts says, “When they decide to shut down our bank accounts and say you all get on crypto, universal basic income and take that injection or you can’t transact on the financial system, this is instituting a totalitarian system through the financial system. . . . When they shut that trap door, what you need to think about is where are you going to buy food?”

    • worldofhanumanotg
      worldofhanumanotg says:

      That’s not their first rodeo, navigating through asset classes in time-space is name of the game. Basically, it’s very much like the old 1970s video game where you are jumping across moving half submerged alligators with bonus score points on their backs, hoping to successfully cross to the opposite bank of the river. Speaking of past decade+ only, say you scored ~20x on tech stocks then moved into Bitcoin for another ~20x gain, hence ~400x win – not too shabby so far, then offload to something completely different (utilities, farmland, ..) before it crashes from who knows what $300k-1M final level..

      To “win” such a sequenced – cascading game the probabilities involved in striking sheer “luck” are so elusive that only very tiny few realize the potential to the fullest. Obviously, in the end there are few more fairly – modestly successful, but most are “also runs” or failed category at some point in the process.

      Most of these megatrends are nurtured and pitched “selected” from the beginning for the utmost insiders, so general public is like ~4-5th wave of (speculative) investors usually loading up only very late near the bitter end (crash).

      Also, the above is further complicated by intervening various longer cycle structural realignments such as natural disaster, war, debt repudiation, inflation spikes, pension schemes, ..

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Bitcoin could be terminated in 2 seconds… The central banks could criminalize the holding of BC and the banks could refuse to allow people to exchange it for cash.

      I suspect the Central Banks are actually allowing Bitcoin just as they support Tesla Renewable Energy etc…. perhaps it’s like the new gold … it creates the perception of a safe haven when collapse comes… making people believe there is life after death

      Like everything else including gold … it will soon be worthless… I recommend cashing out and buying fun shit

      • Xabier says:

        Give the calf some fodder to chew even as you sharpen up the axe which you are going to drive into his skull. ….

        People are desperate to believe that some kind of safe haven exists (we all have that longing I suspect, however well-informed): but I see my rows of bottles of good brandy, piles of firewood,etc, as a much better ‘investment’ which can’t disappear at the flick of a switch.

        • Rodster says:

          I’m pretty sure gold hoarders will gladly trade their gold for a can of Spaghetti O’s when they’re starving.

          • Xabier says:

            Probably true; as an experiment I tried cutting down on meals a bit last year, and it wasn’t long before I was almost day-dreaming of sinking my teeth in the necks of my neighbour’s sheep!

            My thoughts were certainly rather one-track,and I wasn’t of course in any way starving, or even half-starved. Nor do I over-eat normally.

            Images of juicy red meat, eggs, cheese, pork pies and, above all, cream, revolved in my mind at all hours – which reminded me of the memoirs of civilians in Occupied Europe during WW2 which l’ve read.

          • Takes a lot of energy refining to process good…very high energy industrial process..
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WTPKaQZevGs

            There is an old saying ….Gold is traded between nations and silver between people.

            In today’s world those nations experiencing a meltdown, like Venuzuela, folks that have precious metals are able to make it the best means possible.
            Like it or not the metal holds value in people’s eyes.
            Gail has stated we don’t know how this will unfold, suddenly or in stages or in some parts of the world more so and others not do much.
            So, let’s say precious metals may be a part of ones insurance policy as Gail herself advised. Some things may work….hard to say.
            Oh, a few posts out there that the investor Michael Berry seen in the movie “The Big Short” portrayed by actor Christian Bale, has warned we may be headed in a German style hyperinflationary fallout from our MMT.
            All Unknown is Fast Eddy some 5 or 6 years ago wrote here once BAU is no longer, one won’t be able to buy a “toothbrush”…needless to say, I have about 2 decades of inventory of toothbrushes
            In other words, don’t take too seriously the opinions of others here and use common sense..and hopefully Lady Luck smiles on you on your time of need

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