How the World’s Energy Problem Has Been Hidden

We live in a world where words are very carefully chosen. Companies hire public relations firms to give just the right “spin” to what they are saying. Politicians make statements which suggest that everything is going well. Newspapers would like their advertisers to be happy; they certainly won’t suggest that the automobile you purchase today may be of no use to you in five years.

I believe that what has happened in recent years is that the “truth” has become very dark. We live in a finite world; we are rapidly approaching limits of many kinds. For example, there is not enough fresh water for everyone, including agriculture and businesses. This inadequate water supply is now tipping over into inadequate food supply in quite a few places because irrigation requires fresh water. This problem is, in a sense, an energy problem, because adding more irrigation requires more energy supplies used for digging deeper wells or making desalination plants. We are reaching energy scarcity issues not too different from those of World War I, World War II and the Depression Era between the wars.

We now live in a strange world filled with half-truths, not too different from the world of the 1930s. US newspapers leave out the many stories that could be written about rising food insecurity around the world, and even in the US. We see more reports of conflicts among countries and increasing gaps between the rich and the poor, but no one explains that such changes are to be expected when energy consumption per capita starts falling too low.

The majority of people seem to believe that all of these problems can be fixed simply by increasingly taxing the rich and using the proceeds to help the poor. They also believe that the biggest problem we are facing is climate change. Very few are even aware of the food scarcity problems occurring in many parts of the world already.

Our political leaders started down the wrong path long ago, when they chose to rely on economists rather than physicists. The economists created the fiction that the economy could expand endlessly, even with falling energy supplies. The physicists understood that the economy requires energy for growth, but didn’t really understand the financial system, so they weren’t in a position to explain which parts of economic theory were incorrect. Even as the true story becomes increasingly clear, politicians stick to their belief that our only energy problem is the possibility of using too much fossil fuel, with the result of rising world temperatures and disrupted weather patterns. This can be interpreted as a relatively distant problem that can be corrected over a fairly long future period.

In this post, I will explain why it appears to me that, right now, we are dealing with an energy problem as severe as that which seems to have led to World War I, World War II, and the Great Depression. We really need a solution to our energy problems right now, not in the year 2050 or 2100. Scientists modeled the wrong problem: a fairly distant energy problem which would be associated with high energy prices. The real issue is a very close-at-hand energy shortage problem, associated with relatively low energy prices. It should not be surprising that the solutions scientists have found are mostly absurd, given the true nature of the problem we are facing.

[1] There is a great deal of confusion with respect to which energy problem we are dealing with. Are we dealing with a near-at-hand problem featuring inadequate prices for producers or a more distant problem featuring high prices for consumers? It makes a huge difference in finding a solution, if any.

Business leaders would like us to believe that the problem to be concerned with is a fairly distant one: climate change. In fact, this is the problem most scientists are working on. There is a common misbelief that fossil fuel prices will jump to high levels if they are in short supply. These high prices will allow the extraction of a huge amount of coal, oil and natural gas from the ground. The rising prices will also allow high-priced alternatives to become competitive. Thus, it makes sense to start down the long road of trying to substitute “renewables” for fossil fuels.

If business leaders had stopped to look at the history of coal depletion, they would have discovered that expecting high prices when energy limits are encountered is incorrect. The issue that really happens is a wage problem: too many workers discover that their wages are too low. Indirectly, these low-wage workers need to cut back on purchases of goods of many types, including coal to heat workers’ homes. This loss of purchasing power tends to hold coal prices down to a level that is too low for producers. We can see this situation if we look at the historical problems with coal depletion in the UK and in Germany.

Coal played an outsized role in the time leading up to, and including, World War II.

Figure 1. Figure by author describing peak coal timing.

History shows that as early coal mines became depleted, the number of hours of labor required to extract a given amount of coal tended to rise significantly. This happened because deeper mines were needed, or mines were needed in areas where there were only thin coal seams. The problem owners of mines experienced was that coal prices did not rise enough to cover their higher labor costs, related to depletion. The issue was really that prices fell too low for coal producers.

Owners of mines found that they needed to cut the wages of miners. This led to strikes and lower coal production. Indirectly, other coal-using industries, such as iron production and bread baking, were adversely affected, leading these industries to cut jobs and wages, as well. In a sense, the big issue was growing wage disparity, because many higher-wage workers and property owners were not affected.

Today, the issue we see is very similar, especially when we look at wages worldwide, because markets are now worldwide. Many workers around the world have very low wages, or no wages at all. As a result, the number of workers worldwide who can afford to purchase goods that require large amounts of oil and coal products for their manufacture and operation, such as vehicles, tends to fall. For example, peak sales of private passenger automobile, worldwide, occurred in 2017. With fewer auto sales (as well as fewer sales of other high-priced goods), it is difficult to keep oil and coal prices high enough for producers. This is very similar to the problems of the 1914 to 1945 era.

Everything that I can see indicates that we are now reaching a time that is parallel to the period between 1914 and 1945. Conflict is one of the major things that a person would expect because each country wants to protect its jobs. Each country also wants to add new jobs that pay well.

In a period parallel to the 1914 to 1945 period, we can also expect pandemics. This happens because the many poor people often cannot afford adequate diets, making them more susceptible to diseases that are easily transmitted. In the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919, more than 50 million people worldwide died. The equivalent number with today’s world population would be about 260 million. This hugely dwarfs the 3.2 million COVID-19 deaths around the world that we have experienced to date.

[2] If we look at growth in energy supply, relative to the growth in population, precisely the same type of “squeeze” is occurring now as was occurring in the 1914 to 1945 period. This squeeze particularly affects coal and oil supplies.

Figure 2. The sum of red and blue areas on the chart represent average annual world energy consumption growth by 10-year periods. Blue areas represent average annual population growth percentages during these 10-year periods. The red area is determined by subtraction. It represents the amount of energy consumption growth that is “left over” for growth in people’s standards of living. Chart by Gail Tverberg using energy data from Vaclav Smil’s estimates shown in Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects, together with BP Statistical Data for 1965 and subsequent years.

The chart above is somewhat complex. It looks at how quickly energy consumption has been growing historically, over ten-year periods (sum of red and blue areas). This amount is divided into two parts. The blue area shows how much of this growth in energy consumption was required to provide food, housing and transportation to the growing world population, based on the standards at that time. The red area shows how much growth in energy consumption was “left over” for growth in the standard of living, such as better roads, more vehicles, and nicer homes. Note that GDP growth is not shown in the chart. It likely corresponds fairly closely to total energy consumption growth.

Figure 3, below, shows energy consumption by type of fuel between 1820 and 2010. From this, it is clear that the world’s energy consumption was tiny back in 1820, when most of the world’s energy came from burned biomass. Even at that time, there was a huge problem with deforestation.

Figure 3. World Energy Consumption by Source, based on Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects and together with BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy data for 1965 and subsequent years. (Wind and solar are included with biofuels.)

Clearly, the addition of coal, starting shortly after 1820, allowed huge changes in the world economy. But by 1910, this growth in coal consumption was flattening out, leading quite possibly to the problems of the 1914-1945 era. The growth in oil consumption after World War II allowed the world economy to recover. Natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear have been added in recent years, as well, but the amounts have been less significant than those of coal and oil.

We can see how coal and oil have dominated growth in energy supplies in other ways, as well. This is a chart of energy supplies, with a projection of expected energy supplies through 2021 based on estimates of the IEA’s Global Energy Review 2021.

Figure 4. World energy consumption by fuel. Data through 2019 based on information from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2020. Amounts for 2020 and 2021 based on percentage change estimates from IEA’s Global Energy Review 2021.

Oil supplies became a problem in the 1970s. There was briefly a dip in the demand for oil supplies as the world switched from burning oil to the use of other fuels in applications where this could easily be done, such as producing electricity and heating homes. Also, private passenger automobiles became smaller and more fuel efficient. There has been a continued push for fuel efficiency since then. In 2020, oil consumption was greatly affected by the reduction in personal travel associated with the COVID-19 epidemic.

Figure 4, above, shows that world coal consumption has been close to flat since about 2012. This is also evident in Figure 5, below.

Figure 5. World coal production by part of the world, based on data of BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, 2020.

Figure 5 shows that coal production for the United States and Europe has been declining for a very long time, since about 1988. Before China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, its coal production grew at a moderate pace. After joining the WTO in 2001, China’s coal production grew very rapidly for about 10 years. In about 2011, China’s coal production leveled off, leading to the leveling of world coal production.

Figure 6 shows that recently, growth in the sum of oil and coal consumption has been lagging total energy consumption.

Figure 6. Three-year average annual increase in oil and coal consumption versus three-year average increase in total energy consumption, based on a combination of BP data through 2019 from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, 2010 and IEA’s 2020 and 2021 percentage change forecasts, from its Global Energy Review 2021.

We can see from Figure 6 that the only recent time when oil and coal supplies grew faster than energy consumption in total was during a brief period between 2002 and 2007. More recently, oil and coal consumption has been increasingly lagging total energy consumption. For both coal and oil, the problem has been that low prices for producers cause producers to voluntarily drop out of coal or oil production. The reason for this is two-fold: (1) With less oil (or coal) production, perhaps prices might rise, making production more profitable, and (2) Unprofitable oil (or coal) production isn’t really satisfactory for producers.

When determining the required level of profitability for these fuels, there is a need to include the tax revenue that governments require in order to maintain adequate services. This is especially the case with oil exporters, but it is also true in general. Energy products, to be useful, produce an energy surplus that can be used to benefit the rest of the economy. The way that this energy surplus can be transferred to the rest of the economy is by paying relatively high taxes. These taxes allow changes that aid economic growth, such as improvements in roads and schools.

If energy prices are chronically too low (so that an energy product requires a subsidy, rather than paying taxes), this is a sign that the energy product is most likely an energy “sink.” Such a product acts in the direction of pulling the economy down through ever-lower productivity.

[3] Governments have chosen to focus on preventing climate change because, in theory, the changes that are needed to prevent climate change seem to be the same ones needed to cover the contingency of “running out.” The catch is that the indicated changes don’t really work in the scarcity situation we are already facing.

It turns out that the very fuels that we seem to be running out of (coal and oil) are the very ones most associated with high carbon dioxide emissions. Thus, focusing on climate change seems to please everyone. Those who were concerned that we could keep extracting fossil fuels for hundreds of years and, because of this, completely ruin the climate, would be happy. Those who were concerned about running out of fossil fuels would be happy, as well. This is precisely the kind of solution that politicians prefer.

The catch is that we used coal and oil first because, in a very real sense, they are the “best” fuels for our needs. All of the other fuels, even natural gas, are in many senses inferior. Natural gas has the problem that it is very expensive to transport and store. Also, methane, which makes up the majority of natural gas, is itself a gas that contributes to global warming. It tends to leak from pipelines and from ships attempting to transport it. Thus, it is doubtful that it is much better from a global warming perspective than coal or oil.

So-called renewable fuels tend to be very damaging to the environment in ways other than CO2 emissions. This point is made very well in the new book Bright Green Lies by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith and Max Wilbert. It makes the point that renewable fuels are not an attempt to save the environment. Instead, they are trying to save our current industrial civilization using approaches that tend to destroy the environment. Cutting down forests, even if new trees are planted in their place, is especially detrimental. Alice Friedemann, in her new book, Life after Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Fuels, points out the high cost of these alternatives and their dependence on fossil fuel energy.

We are right now in a huge scarcity situation which is starting to cause conflicts of many kinds. Even if there were a way of producing these types of alternative energy cheaply enough, they are coming far too late and in far too small quantities to make a difference. They also don’t match up with our current coal and oil uses, adding a layer of time and expense for conversion that needs to be included in any model.

[4] What we really have is a huge conflict problem due to inadequate energy supplies for today’s world population. The powers that be are trying to hide this problem by publishing only their preferred version of the truth.

The situation that we are really facing is one that often goes under the name of “collapse.” It is a problem that many civilizations have faced in the past when a given population has outgrown its resource base.

Needless to say, the issue of collapse is not a story any politician wants to tell its citizens. Instead, we are told over and over, “Everything is fine. Any energy problem will be handled by the solutions scientists are finding.” The catch is that scientists were not told the correct problem to solve. They were told about a distant problem. To make the problem easier to solve, high prices and subsidies seemed to be acceptable. The problem they were asked to solve is very different from our real energy problem today.

Many people think that taxing the rich and giving the proceeds to the poor can solve our problem, but this doesn’t really solve the problem for a couple of reasons. One of the issues is that our scarcity issue is really a worldwide problem. Higher taxation of the rich in a few rich countries does nothing for the many problems of poor people in countries such as Lebanon, Yemen, Venezuela and India. Furthermore, taking money from the rich doesn’t really fix scarcity problems. Rich people don’t really eat a vastly disproportionate amount of food or drink more water, for example.

A detail that most of us don’t think about is that the military of many different countries has been very much aware of the potential conflict situation that is now occurring. They are aware that a “hot war” would require huge use of fossil fuel energy, so they have been trying to find alternative approaches. One approach military groups have been working on is the use of bioweapons of various kinds. In fact, some groups might even contemplate starting a pandemic. Another approach that might be used is computer viruses to disrupt the systems of other countries.

Needless to say, the powers that be do not want the general population to hear about issues of these kinds. We find ourselves with narrower and narrower news reports that provide only the version of the truth that politicians and news media want us to read. Citizens who have developed the view, “All I need to do to find out the truth is read my home town newspaper,” are likely to encounter more and more surprises, as conflict situations escalate.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,878 Responses to How the World’s Energy Problem Has Been Hidden

  1. Jan says:

    Corona is all about oil.

    As dedicated doomers we forget there are still cheap to produce reserves under the Caspian sea (50 mio barrels), in Irak/Iran (40 mio), Saudi peninsula (40 mio) and Venezuela (50 mio). With population reduction, lockdowns and solar/wind leveraging it might work for some more centuries.

    Russia (Assad) and China (silk street) have played their game well and gained advantage recently (Syrian-Russian friendship, Chinese-Iranian contracts). Bilateral oil delivery will replace world markets soon. If the US and Europe dont get access to their own wells in the long run they have nothing to offer Russia and China.

    The transatlantic partners need access to the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf to transport the oil. Currently 20.000 US-soldiers are carried through Germany and Austria to Hungary and Slovenia, heading gen Ukraine under the pretense of a military exercise, maneuver Defender 2021. On the Russian side close to Ukraine 20.000 Russian soldiers are waiting after a large training maneuver, what a coincidence!

    The orange domino strategy of democratising the oil states and Ukraine was not really successful. I guess they needed a slowdown of the economy after the unexpected end of US-fracking to prevent bankruns and prepare the war.

    The EU leaders believe a war will strengthen European unification and give them unprecedented power as unelected leaders. If you believe Trump and/or Biden hit bottom you have never listened to EU leaders. They are completely dependent on the USA and dont have the military capacity to snatch their part of the cake.

    The Americans could turn to Venezuela, but they need the developed European markets.

    We will see it bang soon in the Black Sea and in the Persian Gulf, I guess. Probably Europe will be held hostage by Russia because it is easier to reach than the US. Israel will help to cover up all as a clash of religions. Ukraine, Georgia and Aserbaidshan will want democracy and women’s rights, of course, and in exchange sell their oil cheaply.

    The USA need not necessarily win this war. But they have an alternative: Venezuela. Europe has not.

    • StarvingLion says:

      “The Americans could turn (in)to Venezuela”

    • MM says:

      The oil in Venezuela has very high extraction costs (cough)
      Where do you get the numbers from the black sea?
      It has all been drilled relentlessly by russia for ages.
      The oil in Iran has high sulphur content that makes it expensive for refining.
      Oil is sipping out of our ears but the pockets, these damn pockets of the consumers have a hole in them.
      The maintenance costs of Ukraine are already starting to annoy the EU and the NATO and Putin has factually turned the shithole over.
      War as a means for “political power” is so 19th century.
      A talk show has much mcuh higher impact.
      Or a Twitter post by Elon ?
      Haha, very stable base of power, indeed..

      • MM says:

        50 Mio Barrels???
        Verry impressive, seems google has forgotten the answer for
        “global daily consumption of crude oil”?
        Alas, not yet. 🙂

    • Peak Oil Pete says:

      Canada has the world’s 3rd largest reserves if we count the oil sands.
      Pipeline and rail systems already exist between Canada and USA.
      The US knows that this oil is available anytime they want it.
      Canada is happy to comply. It’s more of a “Carbon Footprint” issue for the politicians.
      If the Oil Sands were allowed to produce at full capacity they could fuel North America for another century. But will that be allowed ???

      • problem is not the volume of oil available

        it’s the energy-cost of getting hold of it that’s the problem

        Oil doesn’t produce wealth and industrial ‘growth’.

        to do that you have to convert the oil into something else—forward motion, plastic, heat sources, and so on. Our wages are created at the point of that conversion. We used that conversion to pay ourselves wages that made the products of oil seem cheap.

        We could only do that by producing ever- increasing volumes of oil, and using it to prop up the economic system (wages) we created.

        That can only be done if there is always a large ‘energy-surplus’ over and above the energy necessary to get hold of the oil in the first place.

        We are at the crunch point. That surplus is no longer there. So oil is becoming unaffordable, even though 90% of the world’s transport runs on it. This lesson in economics has destroyed Venezuela.
        It will destroy global economics eventually. (We can’t run our system on batteries)
        ‘Allowing’ it is irrelevant.

        The tar sands can produce oil, but unfortunately not at a cost that will sustain industrial civilisation long term. The vast majority of people see oil as ‘usable’ no matter how or where it comes from.

        Right now we are mortgaging our future to pretend that the oil surplus equation is irrelevant

  2. A “vaccine” so safe and effective, you need five million dollar lotteries to compel your constituents to get it.

    The state of Ohio will award five vaccinated residents $1 million each in an effort to raise vaccination percentages, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

    “Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive one million dollars,” DeWine said in a tweet thread Wednesday.

    The drawings will be conducted by the Ohio lottery, DeWine said. All Ohio residents over the age of 18 are eligible, so long as they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    • I suppose the view is that low income people are especially drawn to lotteries. Someone who already has enough and does some reading, not so much.

      • Xabier says:

        And the most likely to blow the cash in a year or two and be back right where they started, too.

        Still, a better incentive than a doughnut or an ice cream as offered elsewhere!

  3. Ed says:

    Van Morrison tells the truth
    with songs titled “The Long Con,” “Big Lie,” “Why Are You on Facebook” and “Stop Bitching. Do Something.”

  4. CDC ACIP just approved BOGO, buy ONE get SIX! When your child goes for the SARSCoV2 drug (tested short term on just 2260 healthy children) you will also get tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, HPV, and meningitis! Because sales are down and drug interaction be damned!×900

    When discussing the evidence in favor of recommending the Covid vaccine for age 12-15, ACIP cited (1) that the US already purchased 600 million doses, and (2) that the vaccine will be free. And that’s how Science is Bought.

    • Conferences for physicians historically have been largely funded by drug makers.

      Physicians get their money by providing drugs that only they can prescribe. They tend not to pay much attention to solutions outside of prescription drugs and vaccines.

      It is a sad state of affairs.

      • Dennis L. says:

        At my last meetings, there was a great deal of disclosure regarding financial support, etc. of presenters. This was especially true at Mayo and their presentations all have this information at the beginning of the videos.

        There is more pressure on physicians by administration than others. Once upon a time at a meeting long long ago a physician asked a presenter how he was supposed to be both more efficient and meet his patient’s needs on a personal level. I don’t recall much of an answer.

        As a Mayo patient, they do an excellent job, good processes are very formalized; I am here at very low personal cost due to a very expensive machine and a physician with a MIT engineering degree(PhD) prior to medical school.

        Bashing groups is not very helpful, somewhere, sometime decisions need to be made on much less than complete information; it is still the practice of medicine.

        Dennis L.

      • Xabier says:

        Dr Sam Bailey, from NZ. recently made an excellent YT video on how far medicine has moved from actually trying to heal people, and keep them healthy in the first place. rather than drug them up to the eyeballs with medicines of doubtful efficacy. All her stuff is worth a look.

  5. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Elon Musk says Tesla will stop accepting bitcoin for car purchases, citing environmental concerns
    Tesla has “suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin,” out of concern over “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining,” according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday.

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday on Twitter that Tesla has “suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin,” out of concern over “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining.”

    The price of bitcoin dropped about 5% in the first minutes after Musk’s announcement.
    In an SEC filing in February, Tesla revealed that it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and it may invest in more of bitcoin or other crypto currencies in the future.

    At that time, the company said it would start accepting bitcoin as a payment method for its products.

    Support for cryptocurrency from Tesla contributed to the prices of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and dogecoin, skyrocketing in recent months.

    I betcha Elon is worried about the his wallet

  6. As COVID Vaccines Drive Record Profits, CEOs Get Ultra Rich Off Massive Pay Packages, Questionable Stock Sales

    Big Pharma CEOs are making millions off COVID vaccines raising questions over massive pay packages, questionable stock sales and windfall profits made possible by taxpayer funding.

    As pharmaceutical companies make billions from COVID vaccines and reassure investors that plans are underway for boosters and annual shots, CEOs of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson (J&J) are pocketing millions with massive compensation packages and questionable stock sales.

    In his weekly notes to investors last month, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal offered shocking revenue estimates for Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines — $24 billion in revenue for Pfizer compared with $14 billion for Moderna.

    By the fourth quarter, Gal and his team project industrywide COVID vaccine revenues reaching more than $18 billion per quarter. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots will account for roughly $11 billion of that amount with the remaining revenue split equally between J&J, AstraZeneca and Novavax, Fierce Pharma reported.

    Pfizer’s first quarter revenue report released May 4 showed $3.5 billion in revenue generated during the first three months of this year by the company’s COVID vaccine — making it the biggest source of Pfizer’s revenue. The company now anticipates revenue of $26 billion for its COVID vaccine, up from its previous estimate of $15 billion.

    According to a February report by Accountable.US — a nonprofit non-partisan public advocate and watchdog organization that monitors public corruption — executives at five drug companies, including Moderna, Pfizer, J&J, Emergent Biosolutions (contracted to manufacture J&J’s vaccine) and Novavax made $250 million dumping company stocks during the first six months of “Operation Warp Speed.”

    According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, from the beginning of September through November 15, 2020, executives and directors at Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and Emergent, who received government COVID vaccine funding, made stock transactions valued at a net profit of more than $105 million.

    • Rodster says:

      “As COVID Vaccines Drive Record Profits, CEOs Get Ultra Rich Off Massive Pay Packages, Questionable Stock Sales

      Big Pharma CEOs are making millions off COVID vaccines raising questions over massive pay packages, questionable stock sales and windfall profits made possible by taxpayer funding.”

      And that’s the reason why Anthony “Tony” Fauci and Bill Gates want you to get vaccinated i.e. take their experimental drug even if it causes (paralysis, spinal or heart inflammation, stroke, blood clots or DEATH) because Fauci owns several of the patents and Bill Gates has invested in these vaccine companies.

    • Somehow, this isn’t a surprise.

      AstraZeneca is not on this list, at least with respect to high prices/high profits. It was trying to provide a low price, probably lower than its real cost. Needless to say, it has had production problems besides acceptance problems. It is not sold in the US.

  7. WAF crude sellers scramble for buyers as Indian refiners step back

    West African crude sellers have been dealt a big blow by key buyer India slowing down its purchases as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world’s third-largest oil consumer.

    India’s state-owned refiners typically issue tenders for a large proportion of their crude requirements, but with the latest wave of COVID-19 infections in the country still raging, no new tenders have been issued since late April, according to trading sources.

    Refiners such as Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd usually buy significant amounts of Middle Eastern and West African crudes through regular tenders.

    But the last such buy tender was awarded by HPCL on April 23 for crude loading from West Africa in early June, according to S&P Global Platts data.

    IOC last bought crude loading mid-to-late June in a tender that closed April 15. The refiner has since cut run rates across its refineries to an average of 88%, company officials said May 12. The run rate across its nine refineries was 96%-98% in the first half of April.

    Indian refineries typically consume a diet of sweet and sour crudes, and the country is the single-largest buyer of Nigerian crude. Over the past few months, most of the sweet crude requirements have come from Nigeria, where oversupply has forced sellers to offer their oil at relatively economical prices.

    • It sounds like even before the Indian cutback, Nigeria was having problems selling its oil. (Note: “where oversupply has forced sellers to offer their oil at relatively economical prices”)

      The EIA reports, “Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa. Although Nigeria is the leading crude oil producer in Africa, production is affected by sporadic supply disruptions.”

      Nigeria’s highest crude oil production was in 2005, at 2,627,000 barrels per day. Its production averaged only 1,775,000 barrels per day in 2020. In January 2021, it production was reported to be 1,463,000 barrels per day. Nigeria has problems both with falling production and with prices that are too low. Production does seem to be back up somewhat in Feb. – April, according to an OPEC report.

      If Nigeria is having problems, it might be a reason why buyers of oil might look elsewhere.

  8. Goa prescribes Ivermectin for all above 18 irrespective of symptoms

    The government’s decision to administer the anthelmintic drug to the entire population comes at a time its vaccination program for the 18-44 age group is yet to take off and is expected to start only by the third week of May.

    With a ten-fold rise in Covid-19 infections over the last month, the Goa government on Monday announced that it will be starting prophylaxis treatment by administering Ivermectin to all above the age of 18 years in the state, irrespective of Covid-19 symptoms. The government’s decision to administer the anthelmintic drug to the entire population comes at a time its vaccination program for the 18-44 age group is yet to take off and is expected to start only by the third week of May.

    Health minister Vishwajit Rane said that Goa would be the first state in the country to administer Ivermectin to its adult citizens as a step towards protecting lives. “There have been studies in journals of therapeutics, there have been studies in the US, UK, Japan, Germany that when this (Ivermectin) is administered in advance, when the entire population is administered this treatment, their mortality rate fell and effects of Covid-19 on that individual were also less (sic). All our doctors and experts, the chief minister have unanimously decided to go ahead with this….We should go ahead and give it to the population. It’s a must,” Rane said.

    The minister said that Ivermectin 12 mg will be given to those above 18 years for five days. The tablet will be made available at all the district, sub-district, primary health centres, community health centres, sub-health centres and the Goa Medical College so that people can collect the medication and start the treatment, “irrespective of symptoms or anything”, Rane said.

  9. JPMorgan, Others Plan to Issue Credit Cards to People With No Credit Scores

    Regulator had asked banks to brainstorm on how to make loans to people who have often been locked out from getting them

    Some of the largest U.S. banks plan to start sharing data on customers’ deposit accounts as part of a government-backed initiative to extend credit to people who have traditionally lacked opportunities to borrow.

    JPMorgan Chase JPM -0.69% & Co., Wells Fargo WFC -0.17% & Co., U.S. Bancorp USB -0.98% and others will factor in information from applicants’ checking or savings accounts at other financial institutions to increase their chances of being approved for credit cards, according to people familiar with the matter. The pilot program is expected to launch this year.

    It is aimed at individuals who don’t have credit scores but who are financially responsible. The banks would consider applicants’ account balances over time and their overdraft histories, the people said.

    • This actually might not be a bad idea, if banks are looking to get more credit card revenue.

      Of course, if they find young people or immigrants with high average balances and no overdrafts, quite a few of them will likely be using debit cards instead. I expect quite a few of them will say, “Why do I want a credit card?

  10. US-China tech war: Beijing’s secret chipmaking champions

    How Washington’s sanctions boosted China’s semiconductor sector

    TAIPEI — Once a month, senior executives of Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. fly to Beijing for a flurry of meetings with China’s top economic management bodies. They focus on the company’s efforts to build some of the world’s most advanced computer memory chips — and its progress on weaning itself off American technology.

    Based in the central riverside city of Wuhan, Yangtze Memory is considered at the vanguard of the country’s efforts to create a domestic semiconductor industry, already mass-producing state-of-the-art 64-layer and 128-layer NAND flash memory chips, used in most electronics from smartphones to servers to connected cars.

    These marvels of nanoengineering stack tiny memory cells in ever-greater densities, rivaling industry leaders such as U.S.-based Micron Technology and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics.

    That would be hard enough for a company that only opened its doors in 2016. But added to the challenge is the ambitious, state-directed aim of weeding out the company’s American suppliers, along with those reliant on U.S. technology. The equipment used to manufacture high-end computer chips is virtually an American global monopoly. Eighty percent of the market in some chipmaking and design processes such as etching, ion implantation, electrochemical deposition, wafer inspection and design software is in the hands of U.S. companies.

    It is a frustrating area of dependence for China, which imported $350 billion worth of semiconductors last year, according to the China Semiconductor Industry Association. Removing this source of U.S. leverage over its economy became a national priority two years ago, when Washington put sanctions on China’s biggest telecommunications equipment maker, Huawei Technologies, amid spying allegations that the Chinese company has constantly denied.

  11. Did Homo erectus speak?

    Early hominins who sailed across oceans left indirect evidence that they might have been the first to use language

    What is the greatest human technological innovation? Fire? The wheel? Penicillin? Clothes? Google? None of these come close. As you read this, you are using the winning technology. The greatest tool in the world is language. Without it there would be no culture, no literature, no science, no history, no commercial enterprise or industry. The genus Homo rules the Earth because it possesses language. But how and when did we build this kingdom of speech? And who is ‘we’? After all, Homo sapiens is just one of several species of humans that have walked the Earth. Does ‘we’ refer to our genus, Homo, or to our species, sapiens?

    To discover the answers to these questions, we need to travel back in time at least 1.9 million years ago to the birth of Homo erectus, as they emerged from the ancient process of primate evolution. Erectus had nearly double the brain size of any previous hominin, walked habitually upright, were superb hunters, travelled the world, and sailed to ocean islands. And somewhere along the way they got language. Yes, erectus. Not Neanderthals. Not sapiens. And if erectus invented language, this means that Neanderthals, born more than a million years later, entered a world already linguistic.

    Likewise, our species would have emerged into a world that already had language. In spite of the fact that many paleoanthropologists view erectus as little more than a skinny gorilla, of few accomplishments, far too stupid to have language, and lacking a vocal apparatus capable of intelligible speech, the evidence seems overwhelming that they had language. Erectus needed language. They were capable of language. And, though often denied in evolutionary studies, the ‘leap’ to language was little more than a long series of baby steps, requiring no mutations, nor any complex grammar. In fact, the language of erectus would have been every bit as much a ‘real language’ as any modern language.

    • Rodster says:

      “Homo erectus” sounds, gay. 😛

    • MM says:

      I bet telepathy got out of fashion because women got the impression that there was something going on when another woman of the tribe passed by her cave while “the man” was sitting outside chewing mushrooms.

  12. McDonald’s to use packaging to promote COVID-19 vaccines

    McDonald’s will soon be serving its customers a friendly reminder to get their COVID-19 vaccine. The fast food chain has partnered with the Biden administration on its “We Can Do This” campaign to help share vaccine information with its customers across the country and the restaurant plans to spread the word in multiple ways over the coming months.

    As part of the campaign, McDonald’s will debut COVID-19 vaccine information from trusted third parties on its Times Square billboard later this month. The billboard is located right above one of the iconic McDonald’s restaurants in the country, so the company is hoping to get a lot of eyeballs on it.

  13. Yoshua says:

    S&P 500 futures is breaking down.

    The market correction is coming despite QE ZIRP and REPO operations? It would be the first time ever?

    • StarvingLion says:

      Banana Republics don’t have stock market corrections. They just have vertical lines.

      • StarvingLion says:

        The “Federal” “Reserve” is tapering POMO operations which means the housing bubble will instantly collapse followed by stock market collapse.

        The .gov junkheads can’t find anyone to fund this banana republic legitimately.

        Therefore, the only “solution” is hyperinflation.

        • This is a link to recent Federal Reserve balance sheet trends.

          The chart shown at this link shows a big tapering in purchases at the end of 2014. We should remember this as when oil prices dropped badly. China looked like it was headed toward recession.

          There was also a smaller reduction in the amount of assets held by the Federal Reserve, between July 2017 and September 2019. This didn’t seem to affect oil prices much.

          I haven’t found articles on the Federal Reserve tapering its Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO), but if the Federal Reserve is expecting the economy to bounce back now, this is what a person would expect. Do you have a link to articles on this?

    • I was thinking that something must be breaking down right about now. The story is becoming a lot less rosy. There have been two big down days for the US stock market. Today, the plunge protection team must have sprung into action, because the Dow is up 400+ points already.

      The auto business looks like it will turn down because of the chip crisis. The auto sales places have relatively few new cars, according to recent stories. The ones available don’t have many options. They are also high-priced.

      I can’t see the fancy new home building business going far, or the kitchen renovation business going far, without a better (cheaper) supply of fancy new appliances. If interest rates go up as well, there really won’t be much of a market.

      • Dennis L. says:

        If interest rates increase, can governments fund their borrowing? If they cannot fund their borrowing will they print money? If they print money will prices of real goods increase?

        It might be that as long as governments have a monopoly over money printing, deficits don’t matter but prices of real stuff do.

        Dennis L.

  14. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The Government of Panama announced Wednesday that it would cut expenses in areas such as travel expenses, consultancies, and the appointment of new positions to curb the fiscal deficit, which has soared in the midst of the ongoing pandemic emergency.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Argentina was already hurtling towards its second sovereign default in 20 years when the COVID pandemic struck. President Alberto Fernandez is in Europe this week, seeking support for extra time to pay.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “With the end of the emergency salary scheme at the turn of the year and the coronavirus-led job crisis, the debt levels of Brazil’s poorest populations have hit new records…

        “While indebtedness rose in all segments of Brazilian society, the trend was much harsher on the poor.”

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Colombia protests are an act of ‘desperation’ from people struggling to survive…

          “Dozens of people have been killed in the protests that originally broke out on April 28 in response to a proposed tax hike on public services, fuel, wages and pensions.”

          • Fast Eddy says:

            We’re talking about desperation, basically. Families that don’t have any means to survive right now are the ones that we have on the street asking for help from the government.
            – Sandra Borda, Los Andes University

            They are asking for subsidies from the government, what they call a basic mandatory salary.

            Then the problem is state capacity is not that salient now anymore because the state doesn’t have that much money. This is the reason why they wanted to put forward this tax reform, because they need to collect resources in order to help people. But they didn’t present this in the right way. They didn’t form a political coalition in order to support this tax reform. And we’re seeing the consequences now.

            Take a good hard look … this is what peak oil looks like…. the oxygen supply is being squeezed

            • you mean you agree with me that the fundamental problem is the absence of cheap surplus energy?

              surely not

              There must be a conspiracy in all this somewhere

            • I agree with Norm that the fundamental problem is the absence of cheap surplus electricity.

            • Thierry says:

              The absence of cheap surplus energy does not mean there is no “conspiracy” or whatever you call it. Actually, I would be even more worried if our leaders did not try anything and let the collapse happen by itself. As wicked as a conspiracy-plan-coordination-reset might be, still better than anarchy. Or maybe not, but time will tell.

        • Ending an emergency salary scheme sounds like a disaster for the economy.

    • Cutting expenses = less payments to workers and less payments for travel related costs. Sounds like a way to push the economy toward recession.

  15. Harry McGibbs says:

    “ECB Pressed by Banks to Extend Capital Relief Beyond June.

    “Banks are lobbying the European Central Bank to extend temporary capital relief granted during the pandemic to keep credit flowing to fragile economies, according to people familiar with the matter.”

    • I thought this was a neat summing up of our situation, which I read this morning

      short and to the point, and deadly accurate:

      >>>>“the world of a mixed economy, where the profits of a productive capitalist sector could be taxed and redistributed to provide universal welfare, social security and a public infrastructure for the benefit of all, no longer exists.”<<<<<

      Might just give the conspiracy merchants something real to think about for a change

      • The big issue is that there are no longer enough profits to tax because we cannot extract fossil fuels (and substitutes) cheaply enough. The whole economic system doesn’t work when aggregate profits are too low. Wages of many workers tend to be too low because businesses cannot afford to pay them a living wage. Reinvestment in public infrastructure drops terribly low. The American Society of Civil Engineers says that US infrastructure of many types is very deficient because needed repairs and upgrades have been omitted. There is a new report out on this. Doing these upgrades will take lots of fossil fuels.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The European Union’s framework for controlling debt must be changed to help the euro area overcome economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Italian Premier Mario Draghi said.

      ““The current fiscal rules were inadequate and are even more inadequate for an economy exiting a pandemic,” Draghi told Italian lawmakers in Rome on Wednesday.”

      • Robert Firth says:

        As usual: the bigger the deadbeat, the louder he screams for more free money.

      • Student says:

        Many times indeed, in the past, different Italian governments asked the same and the answer was always no. The pandemic offers a some sort of technical justification to ask it again… Here just one example of the various times it happened.

        We will see what will happen this time.
        It is interesting.

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          The need to take on emergency debt last year forced the EU states to find a compromise where everyone had to give some ground on the issue of borrowing but the repayment plan is hazy.

          The tensions between the “frugal” states and states like Italy and Spain look increasingly unresolvable to me.

          “…the latest European council summit – the longest in nearly 20 years – was especially bitter because it triggered deep conflicts on economic and political values…

          “Some northern European countries have long accused southern Europe of failing to carry out necessary reforms to protect their economies from a crisis.”

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            Also I am curious as to why the EU has suspended its trade deal with China. Surely there must be more to this than the headline suggests?

            “EU Suspends China Trade Deal as Tensions Grow Over Xinjiang, Hong Kong… EU Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said last week that efforts to get the deal ratified by lawmakers in the European Parliament had been halted.”


            • Mirror on the wall says:

              I suspect that the process of approving any deal, which would have required everyone to sign up to it, precluded its approval anyway. I would have to check the details to be sure of that.

              Prima facie, the EU position that it will not do an investment deal with China because CCP did tit for tat sanctions on individuals is frankly childish.

              When one is a child, one assumes that the ‘adults’ know what they are doing. The older ones gets, the more one realises that the world is full of idiots who do not even need to hide it.

            • I expect that “who gets the jobs” is a big issue in any trade deal. It is hard to make people happy, when there are not enough jobs that pay well to go around. If China is able to use what is close to forced labor, it holds its costs down.

  16. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Analysis: India’s prized investment grade status hanging by a thread.

    “India’s devastating COVID-19 crisis is making investors question more than ever whether after years of debt accumulation and patchy progress on reforms, a country touted as a future economic superpower still deserves its ‘investment grade’ status.”

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “A measure of the amount of freight carried by commercial trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines, and air freight operators fell in March to its lowest level since last June, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)…

    “The TSI’s slump was forced by a large decline in truck freight volumes, possibly due to supply chain issues, that outweighed gains in the other modes—water, rail carloads, rail intermodal, and air freight—the BTS said.”

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Peak demand? More like a supply crisis propelling oil to US$100…

    “The world stands on the cusp of an oil supply crisis. Years of insufficient investment in offshore mega-projects combined with the end of U.S. shale hyper growth and a recent shift by global supermajors to preferentially invest in alternative energy over traditional hydrocarbons have resulted in an oil industry that lacks the ability to meaningfully grow its production in the years ahead.”

    • Fast Eddy says:

      They are not actually investing meaningfully in alternatives… that’s just the PR Team lying again…

      The problem is that we ran out of viable conventional options in 2005…. and now shale is collapsing…

      The PR Team is lying when they say demand for oil is crashing because of EVs… that is just pure Bullshit…

      It’s a very good time to kill all humans… you would want to do that before oil rings the $200 bell….

      But first you have to use Covid to reduce the burn rate and buy a little time to execute the CEP…

      Vaxx up people!

      • StarvingLion says:

        Eddy, The Elders will make a special exemption for me when I finish my physics book in the next 2 months before the Canada Leak says military in the streets after the STock Market Collapse. Modalities of the electrostatic field can explain the phenomenon ‘The Physicists’ call gravity. Look at this einstein garbage in the video. Bad Elders “physics”…its so bogus and eddy is on his knees worshipping this?

        • Kowalainen says:

          My guess is that they are obsessed with creation myth. Big bangs, black holes and big crunches. All hyperbole extended from a projection from their own sense of grandeur.

          Let’s take the opposite stance for a moment and shove our nasal breathing orifice and myopic photon detectors straight into the soil of Mother Earth and carefully observe the workings of perpetual process. Can you see it? No?


          AND TRY AGAIN.

          How about now? Can you observe inevitable and eternal process?

          There is no beginning
          There is no end
          Death is is inevitable
          Extinction is inevitable
          Your “lineage” and “eugenics” folly is nothing but an act of futility
          It is all process

          And it is hunky dory drama and comedy.


  19. Lastcall says:

    Lets get some more gunpowder on this forum…. I enjoy the following option being played..

    ‘When your opponent uses a merely superficial or
    sophistical argument and you see through it, you can, it is
    true, refute it by setting forth its captious and superficial
    character; but it is better to meet him with a counterargument which is just as superficial and sophistical, and so dispose of him; for it is with victory that you are concerned,
    and not with truth.’

  20. StarvingLion says:

    “Our political leaders started down the wrong path long ago, when they chose to rely on economists rather than physicists”

    Are you sure about that? Here is one nobel winning physicist who has made a complete fool of himself by writing a book on the fossil fuel depletion problem. Its all bullshit.

    In Powering the Future, Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin transports us two centuries into the future, when we’ve ceased to use carbon from the ground — either because humans have banned carbon burning or because fuel has simply run out. Boldly, Laughlin predicts no earth-shattering transformations will have taken place. Six generations from now, there will still be soccer moms, shopping malls, and business trips. Firesides will still be snug and warm.

    How will we do it? Not by discovering a magic bullet to slay our energy problems, but through a slew of fascinating technologies, drawing on wind, water, and fire. Powering the Future is an objective yet optimistic tour through alternative fuel sources, set in a world where we’ve burned every last drop of petroleum and every last shovelful of coal.

    Powering the Future: How We Will (Eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of
    Tomorrow by Robert B. Laug

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      not all physicists are good systems thinkers.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Not all systems thinkers live as they preach which makes their positions rather weak and riddled with shallow assumptions.

        How is it to have no offspring, crank the pedals and stuff oats into the cookie hole other ‘systems thinkers’ might wonder? Well, despair not; below is a complete assessment of the experience:



        THE BLISS!

        Bbbbbbut, you are not reproducing… Oh noes… Doge much sad…Your ‘eminence’ will be erased by the winds of time:


        Repeat after me:

        OUT OF SPITE!

        Silly perhaps? Yet again – it’s the only way to be sure:

        OUT OF SPITE!

        ‘Nuff said.


    • Xabier says:

      It’s nothing more than a Happy Ending book: they sell, the unpalatable truth doesn’t!

      It’s worth noting, however, that the authors of the Great Re-set also appear to share this delusion: with ‘100 yrs of progress in 25 yrs’, all energy and societal problems will be solved.

      For the lucky, even Death itself will be pushed further away, and cancer will be but a fading memory, etc.

      Fantasies born of greed, self and group-hypnosis, and sheer desperation can determine policy.

      Before they are disproved by physical reality, a great deal of money can be made by the connected, using various corporate-government rackets.

      • StarvingLion says:

        When will Gail and Fast Eddy admit they have been duped by ‘The Physicists’? who are nothing more than religious kooks and/or crooks.

        Here is some real physics they never taught you:

        Nature’s Deeper Secrets Explained

        • Azure Kingfisher says:

          Thanks for this. There’s “physics” meant for public consumption – which limits our thinking as we grapple with the end of cheap oil – and physics like the above which points toward a direction outside the box and has thus long been occulted.

          “Mother nature is just that simple: she’s not a nerdy girl with a calculator. No, she’s a hemp skirt and muddy feet illiterate person that only knows pressure mediation because everything in nature works off of pressure and pressure alone. Force in motion, inertia and acceleration – everything’s capacitance, resistance, magnetic permeability and dielectric permittivity – there is no escape from that.”

  21. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says: worldometers showing world population growing by 222,000 today.

  22. Mirror on the wall says:

    Oh dear!

    This is an unbelievable situation in USA, like something out of the Twilight Zone.

    > ‘The President’s mental and physical condition cannot be ignored’: More than 120 retired US generals and admirals sign open letter questioning Biden’s mental health and backing election fraud claims

    …. ‘Without fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the ‘will of the people’ our Constitutional Republic is lost,’ the letter from retired officers says.

    The group calls itself ‘Flag Officers 4 America’ and consists of retired military officers including generals and admirals.

    ‘The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020,’ they wrote.

    The letter, called an ‘Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals,’ was reported by Politico.

    It echoes Trump’s claims that absentee ballots are not secure as it goes after Biden, who serves as Commander in Chief of the military.

    ‘Election integrity demands insuring there is one legal vote cast and counted per citizen. Legal votes are identified by State Legislature’s approved controls using government IDs, verified signatures, etc,’ they write.

    ‘Today, many are calling such commonsense [voter ID] controls “racist” in an attempt to avoid having fair and honest elections. Using racial terms to suppress proof of eligibility is itself a tyrannical intimidation tactic,’ they write.

    The retired officers raise doubts about Biden’s mental capacity – and reference Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move to get assurances about the nuclear codes in the days after the January 6 MAGA riot….

    • Sam says:

      Retired General’s ????? You are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. I am not a big fan of the Democrats but stop wasting space 🤯 on here; come back when you get something

      • Robert Firth says:

        Of course. When the rest of the barrel is full of Democrats and traitors (but I repeat myself), where else can you find men of honour?

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        It is not, or should not be, a partisan question.

        Public confidence, or otherwise, in the system is a very serious matter.

        I do not think that an intervention by hundreds of high ranking military can be so easily dismissed.

        And the attempt to personalise the matter was moronic and bespeaks zero gravity.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      I’m surprised they didn’t add that he kisses women on the neck without their consent.

    • Malcopian says:

      If only Mirror on the wall could get Biden a Scottish passport, he would be miraculously cured!

      • Xabier says:

        Indeed, Malcopian: the rejuvenating, ferociously bracing, air of…… Freedom! Freedom!

        In fact, you only have to shout that out – with Mel Gibson’s accent – to feel 100% better! (Face-paint and sword optional).

        So, one wonders, why is Scotland the Brave (and they are a fine race, or were) now ruled by a corrupt clique headed by a repulsive, power-mad midget dictator?

        • Mirror on the wall says:

          Xab and I tend to give each other a wide berth, which is perhaps wise. He has probably worked out by now that I am not the forgiving type. Life is too long for that.

          Anyway, life is too short.

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        Now now, there are many Scottish Tories that I would not give the time of day. : )

  23. China-Australia relations: coal shipments continue but remain stuck off Chinese coast amid ban

    Australian miners have continued shipping small amounts of coal to China since the start of the year despite an unofficial ban on their coal imports, and those shipments have not been cleared by Chinese customs to enter the country.
    Some analysts said miners were hoping that China would at least lift the ban for thermal coal ahead of the peak summer electricity-generation period, but there has been no indication that this may happen. Moreover, given the continued deterioration of communication channels between Beijing and Canberra, the prospects of any thawing in relations appear remote.
    Amid worsening bilateral ties, China unofficially banned Australian coal in October, leaving dozens of vessels waiting off its coast. Over the ensuing months, some docked to release crew members, though cargoes were never cleared, and some were redirected to other markets.

  24. INDIAN OIL refiners are facing a double whammy: along with low refining margins, poor demand for petroleum products is leading to a build-up in inventories — forcing refiners to reduce run rates.

    Sources said Indian Oil Corporation had reduced its refinery run rate to 88 per cent, while privatisation-bound Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd cut its run rate to 85 per cent of its refining capacity. Run rate is the proportion of crude processed by a refinery relative to its total processing capacity.

    “ A build-up of bitumen, sulphur and diesel stocks have forced refineries to reduce production,” said an official, adding refiners were looking for options to evacuate rising stocks of petroleum products and speaking with large buyers, such as the Indian Railways, to pre-pone purchases.

    The country’s overall demand for petroleum products has fallen as a result of the second Covid surge. Official data released on Wednesday showed that demand for petrol fell 13 per cent in April, while that for diesel dropped 7.5 per cent, compared to the previous month. Overall demand for petroleum products fell 9.4 per cent month-on-month. Year-on-year demand for petroleum products was up 82 per cent, however, as last April saw stricter restrictions on movement.

  25. Trudeau now advocating for domestic vaccine passports:

    “Anything we can do to encourage people to get vaccinated is going to be important,” he said. “That’s where the idea of proof of vaccination for different services or better access is something to look at.”

    It’s something the prime minister says he’s considering.

    “When it comes to the privacy aspects of proof of vaccinations, vaccinations aren’t just about protecting the individual. They’re about protecting all of society,” he said.

    “It matters to know that Canadians are getting vaccinated and I think we should be able to walk the path of respecting someone’s privacy but also understanding whether or not someone vaccinated is something we should be able to make use of.”

    Epidemiologist Cynthia Carr says Canada can learn a lot from other countries that are seeing successes.

    “We should follow suit countries like Israel, the United Kingdom, that kept those layers of protection quite strictly in place while they very efficiently rolled out the vaccine program,” said Carr. “That’s where we see the significant de-escalation of cases.”

  26. Vaccine passport could be required for going to work, restaurants, Quebec’s economy minister says

    Businesses in Quebec should be able to use vaccine passports to make their workplaces safer for staff and clients, Quebec’s economy minister said, offering a first glimpse of how the controversial system might work in the province.

    Starting Thursday, Quebec will begin issuing digital proof, in the form of a QR code, to people who have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    A QR, or quick response, code is a barcode that can be scanned using a cellphone app to get a link, or a piece of information.

    Health Minister Christian Dubé has insisted that the QR code, which will supplement the paper document already being distributed, is not itself a vaccine passport.

    But he has said the digital code is a necessary technological step the province would need to take first before implementing a vaccine passport system.

    In a recent interview with Radio-Canada, Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said the QR code, or an eventual passport, would be an important tool allowing businesses to resume normal operations.

    “I think businesses will use it because they have a need to keep their employees safe; they have a need to keep their clients safe,” Fitzgibbon told Les coulisses du pouvoir in a pre-recorded interview that was broadcast Sunday.

    He cited, as an example, restaurants requiring proof of vaccination, adding: “I think it’s maybe a good idea to allow businesses to benefit from this technological tool.”

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I am thinking what they are doing is using this to coerce fence sitters … some will just say it’s inevitable so they take the injection…

      But I doubt it is inevitable … I am just thinking of a business I operate … there are at least two very key people in the office… and if they both said they won’t take the jab and I said you’re fired… that could collapse the business…

      If it came down to a court decision … I suspect the Nuremberg Code would come into play … and employers would be on the line for some whopping settlements…

  27. Duncan Idaho says:

    “California has a great big 75.7 billion dollar surplus. You see, unlike most states, California taxes capital gains the same as money made from wages and salaries. Surprisingly, the state’s super-wealthy people have decided to stay in the state despite being forced to share a portion of their vast wealth. Imagine that. After all, it’s not as if they can’t spare it. ”

    CA has the 5th largest GDP on the planet, more than GB or France.

    Covid? Move there if you want to avoid it.

    • When you posted the link to this on May 10, I found another article that from November 2020 that said,

      The report released Wednesday estimates California will see a temporary surplus next year beyond what lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom expected when they created the current $202 billion state budget that cut money from education and state worker salaries [Emphasis added].

      That extra cash could allow them to avoid major cuts in next year’s budget, but the windfall will evaporate quickly, the report warns.

      So there is more than capital gains involved. I imagine the high tax is only on realized capital gains.

      Also, a lot of capital gains escape taxation for one reason or another. Funds in a retirement accounts escape taxation. Funds given to a charity in the form of appreciated assets usually escape taxation, I believe. Funds that are left as inheritances escape taxes, unless the size of the estate is quite large. I am sure a tax advisor could help someone living in California look at this issue.

    • Rodster says:

      Thank you for that PSA, Gavin Newsom.

  28. in case there’s a conspiracy shortage, this might fill a gap

    • Tim Groves says:

      Not needed, and I won’t bother to click on this.Reading about how the shots are destroying so many of those who take them and how many others are cheering the jab program on like good people at a Nuremberg rally is more than enough excitement for me.

      • Xabier says:

        Eric Clapton says that he made a grave mistake in getting 2 jabs, and he almost lost his ability to play the guitar.

        The first ‘adverse reaction’ (ie 1st-stage poisoning) was bad, but the doctors said it was quite normal, and he should still have the next in 12 weeks, which he did. Very nasty experience it seems.

        Clearly, the injections are not causing mass instant death, but I suspect a lot of suffering is transpiring below the radar, as in the case of Eric.

  29. Yorchichan says:

    This one’s a recording of somebody being called by the UK’s NHS to arrange a depop injection:

    Have you had the covid vaccine?

    I love to listen to call centre staff squirm.

    • Xabier says:

      Vaccine call centres: one of the ‘new and exciting’ expanding fields of employment which Boris likes to talk about! Like Covid marshals, etc.

      Cutting-edge Britain, we’re on a roll!!!

  30. Yorchichan says:

    Stamford man vows to battle back after losing his leg weeks after receiving AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination

    “I think it has got to be linked. It has put me off having the second one.”

    It would put me off too.

    • Rodster says:

      Umm, he should have read the part that his Gov’t gave Big Pharma total indemnity. So no lawsuit for you and that goes for the healthy 21 yr old Israeli woman who died a couple of weeks after taking the jab from “inflammation of the heart”. And you can include the rest of those who have suffered: “paralysis, stokes, spinal inflammation, blood clots and death”.

      Too bad, should have done your research to see these aren’t vaccines but experimental drugs aimed to hack the bodies operating system. Let’s see all the other cute and weird potential problems that appear 2-3 yrs from now.

      • Ed says:

        Evolution in action.

      • Tim Groves says:

        One potential route would be to get the courts to rule on whether the Covid-19 shots are actually vaccines. If they don’t meet the legal definition of what vaccines are, then Big Pharma and all the henchpersons will be back on the hook for potentially ruinous compensation.

        Even if 90% of the compensation disappeared into legal fees, it would still be a sort of justice.

        • jj says:

          The courts are just a political echo chamber now. They are a one way street. you or me break the law and the hammer comes down. The political elite not so much. Justice took off her blindfold and watches CNN.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I suspect we’ll all be dead before this comes to court…

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Here’s a video of what hit the pentagon….

      Here’s security footage of the strike taken from a nearby CCTV…

      Where are the engines… the wreckage of the plane… the seats with passengers… that looks more like a cruise missile demolished the building … not a plane….

      • StarvingLion says:

        Eddy, here is your nuke “bomb” video

      • Tsubion says:

        I agree but explain the downed lamp posts along the flight path.

        Did the minions run out immediately and cut them down to make it look like a plane?

        I mean anything is possible at this point…

    • Tim Groves says:

      If the second shot has a similar effect on him, he won’t have a leg to stand on.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Hate to see a man walk crooked… give him another pint to even it up … and a another lethal injection ….

        Meanwhile … this is the sort of thing Freud was talking about ….

        Doomie Preppers pay attention to the driver of that car….

        Now imagine that same crowd came to you in the dark and asked for food… and you said ‘sorry fellas…. we’ve just enough for the family — you should have stockpiled and grown your own garden — now please go away’

        There won’t be any ambulance to shuffle your busted body to the hospital…. there won’t be a functioning hospital ….

        What there will be… is a horde of hungry violent people fighting over your meagre food reserves… tearing up the garden … eating your dog.. cat… and barnyard animals…. while you lay in the corner with a fractured skull.. and busted bones… watching….

        Then they will grab your women… and have their way with them… like wild dogs on an antelope… they’ll be fighting amongst each other to go next …. Then when the provisions run out… they’ll drag you out of the corner … gut you … and roast you in a pot…. then they’d do the same with your women and your children…

        These are the things Mr DNA does… when the oil runs dry… when the power goes off… when his very survival is at stake… no tambourine banging here… this will be an all out war without any Geneva Conventions… Mr DNA will seek to avoid extinction … this will be the Ultimate Darwinian Battle… the most conniving vicious strongest fastest murderous men will win…

        Unfortunately for the winners… they lose … nobody wins against 4000 spent fuel ponds.

        • StarvingLion says:

          Eddy, your 4000 spent fuel ponds are fake. Otherwise you would be on a physicist blog commenting, instead of an actuary.

          In fact there really are no physicist blogs around that people actually give a shit about, including you?

          Eddy, tell me why that is.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Well, the fuel ponds are apparently there. I am not sure if there are 4,000 but it’s a reasonable figure. As long as they stay covered by water, there’s nothing to worry about. But society collapses and people are raping, butchering and barbecuing each other—although not necessarily in that order—then there might not be sufficient order or administration remaining to keep topping up the ponds.

            Of course, if there are no nuclear power and no fuel rods and the existing nuclear power stations generate energy based on some other technology, then the ponds would be fake. But if nuclear doesn’t exist, how so we explain the mess after Chernobyl or Fukushima. Walk around in a contaminated zone with a Geiger counter and you’ll get more clicks than Greta’s Facebook page.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Ah, the fallacy of the absolute. Which goes something like this: If X is faked, then obviously Y and Z MUST be faked.

              Of course I could argue that this mobile communications computer is faked and it is just a playback device that devices me to think I’m having an interaction with the outside world.

              But you see, once a simulation becomes indistinguishable from objective reality. It too becomes objective reality, thus the simulation stares into the abyss of existence never to be seen again as an act of simulation.

              For sure the myopia of the ordinary is blinding, but try removing all the tech from your life and compare with that. You’ll quickly discover how awesome tech is. A double edged sword for sure, but what tools isn’t?

              Any Luddite of a different opinion are free to start their life’s as a subsistence farmer. And don’t call the ambulance when your children gets injured or your wife gets pregnancy complications. I’d like to find one single example of an self entitled family of princesses in IC doing exactly that. Let me tell you:

              AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN

              We are perfectly happy pretending life will be just hunky dory post IC. Again let me tell you:

              AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN

              If the moon landing was faked or not is entirely irrelevant. What is important is the flurry of new tech, culture, scientists and engineers it brought forth. In that sense it was an outstanding success. It could have perhaps been spread out over, say, 5 decades. Which sort of makes now about time to go to the moon (for real or again).. You know, to prove a point out of spite and let the BS Rest In Peace.


            • Actually, self-organization works a whole lot like conspiracy. If businesses everywhere are short of profits and governments everywhere are short of tax revenue, their actions will tend to be quite parallel. If wages of lower-paid workers are stagnating everywhere, this will cause a problem around the world. The way of handling this problem may look like a conspiracy, but it really represents a very limited range of options by governments for trying to deal with the problem. Keeping people at home is a rational response.

              People cannot tell the difference between outcomes expected by self-organizing system and those that might be engineered by conspiracies. To make matters worse, people in positions of power will try to manipulate outcomes so that they and their families will come out ahead. This will add to the impression of conspiracies taking place.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Assume you have some some ‘real power’, of course you’d never micro manage things, instead the allocation of capital and planning towards a goal will be implicit. Think of it as a Commie 5-year “plan” with as little detail as possible. A plan which states “we should do X, because Y”, now let people sort out the detail”. If will of course give the impression of “self-organization”, just as life self-organizes under evolutionary pressures.

              Let’s call it ‘self organizing’ within boundaries. And accept the fact that boundaries is put there with an intent, whatever that is could be debated and pondered upon.

              Usually shit just doesn’t materialize out of nothingness without a reason. Somebody want something. That is for sure, otherwise mankind would have stagnated a looong time ago. Such is the allure from myopia of the ordinary. Stagnation is death. And boring. People are quite boring for the most part.


            • Right! There has been a push toward “preventing climate change” in recent years.

              Pushing manufacturing toward China did, indeed, help keep local CO2 emissions down. But it raised world CO2 emission. It kept the world economy going, thanks to its huge coal supplies, its inexpensive labor force, and its willingness to accept very polluting industries.

              Preventing climate change has also helped shape research at universities. Funding tends to go in this direction. Indirectly, preventing climate change has shaped what is taught at universities. Preventing climate change was a goal that made everyone “sort of” happy, but it really wasn’t the correct issue to focus on. We were facing with a near-term physics problem that would limit fossil fuel production. People haven’t really understood the nature of our real problem. Now, with the big subsidies for intermittent renewables, even oil companies want to move in this direction. There is a plan, but mostly it is a plan to hide the nature of our real problem.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe could have been far worse, it turns out, and experts say neither the nuclear industry nor its regulators are doing enough to prevent a calamitous nuclear fuel fire in America

            Japan’s chief cabinet secretary called it “the devil’s scenario.” Two weeks after the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing three nuclear reactors to melt down and release radioactive plumes, officials were bracing for even worse. They feared that spent fuel stored in the reactor halls would catch fire and send radioactive smoke across a much wider swath of eastern Japan, including Tokyo.


            Assuming a 50-100% Cs137 release during a spent fuel fire, [8] the consequence of the Cs-137 exceed those of the Chernobyl accident 8-17 times (2MCi release from Chernobyl). Based on the wedge model, the contaminated land areas can be estimated. [9] For example, for a scenario of a 50% Cs-137 release from a 400 t SNF pool, about 95,000 km² (as far as 1,350 km) would be contaminated above 15 Ci/km² (as compared to 10,000 km² contaminated area above 15 Ci/km² at Chernobyl).

            A typical 1 GWe PWR core contains about 80 t fuels. Each year about one third of the core fuel is discharged into the pool. A pool with 15 year storage capacity will hold about 400 t spent fuel. To estimate the Cs-137 inventory in the pool, for example, we assume the Cs137 inventory at shutdown is about 0.1 MCi/tU with a burn-up of 50,000 MWt-day/tU, thus the pool with 400 t of ten year old SNF would hold about 33 MCi Cs-137. [7]

            Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.

            The problem is if the spent fuel gets too close, they will produce a fission reaction and explode with a force much larger than any fission bomb given the total amount of fuel on the site. All the fuel in all the reactors and all the storage pools at this site (1760 tons of Uranium per slide #4) would be consumed in such a mega-explosion. In comparison, Fat Man and Little Boy weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki contained less than a hundred pounds each of fissile material – See more at:

            Once the fuel is uncovered, it could become hot enough to cause the metal cladding encasing the uranium fuel to rupture and catch fire, which in turn could further heat up the fuel until it suffers damage. Such an event could release large amounts of radioactive substances, such as cesium-137, into the environment. This would start in more recently discharged spent fuel, which is hotter than fuel that has been in the pool for a longer time. A typical spent fuel pool in the United States holds several hundred tons of fuel, so if a fire were to propagate from the hotter to the colder fuel a radioactive release could be very large.

            According to Dr. Kevin Crowley of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, “successful terrorist attacks on spent fuel pools, though difficult, are possible. If an attack leads to a propagating zirconium cladding fire, it could result in the release of large amounts of radioactive material.”[12] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission after the September 11, 2001 attacks required American nuclear plants “to protect with high assurance” against specific threats involving certain numbers and capabilities of assailants. Plants were also required to “enhance the number of security officers” and to improve “access controls to the facilities”.

            The committee judges that successful terrorist attacks on spent fuel pools, though difficult, are possible. If an attack leads to a propagating zirconium cladding fire, it could result in the release of large amounts of radioactive material. The committee concluded that attacks by knowledgeable terrorists with access to appropriate technical means are possible. The committee identified several terrorist attack scenarios that it believed could partially or completely drain a spent fuel pool and lead to zirconium cladding fires. Details are provided in the committee’s classified report. I cannot discuss the details here.

            If any of the spent fuel rods in the pools do indeed catch fire, nuclear experts say, the high heat would loft the radiation in clouds that would spread the radioactivity.

            “It’s worse than a meltdown,” said David A. Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists who worked as an instructor on the kinds of General Electric reactors used in Japan. “The reactor is inside thick walls, and the spent fuel of Reactors 1 and 3 is out in the open.”

            If you don’t cool the spent fuel, the temperature will rise and there may be a swift chain reaction that leads to spontaneous combustion–an explosion and fire of the spent fuel assemblies. Such a scenario would emit radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

            Pick your poison. Fresh fuel is hotter and more radioactive, but is only one fuel assembly. A pool of spent fuel will have dozens of assemblies. One report from Sankei News said that there are over 700 fuel assemblies stored in one pool at Fukushima. If they all caught fire, radioactive particles—including those lasting for as long as a decade—would be released into the air and eventually contaminate the land or, worse, be inhaled by people. “To me, the spent fuel is scarier. All those spent fuel assemblies are still extremely radioactive,” Dalnoki-Veress says.

            It has been known for more than two decades that, in case of a loss of water in the pool, convective air cooling would be relatively ineffective in such a “dense-packed” pool. Spent fuel recently discharged from a reactor could heat up relatively rapidly to temperatures at which the zircaloy fuel cladding could catch fire and the fuel’s volatile fission product, including 30-year half-life Cs, would be released. The fire could well spread to older spent fuel. The long-term land-contamination consequences of such an event could be significantly worse than those from Chernobyl.

            Today there are 103 active nuclear power reactors in the U.S. They generate 2,000 metric tons of spent nuclear waste per year and to date have accumulated 71,862 tons of spent fuel, according to industry data.[vi] Of that total, 54,696 tons are stored in cooling pools and only 17,166 tons in the relatively safer dry cask storage.

            Spent fuel fire on U.S. soil could dwarf impact of Fukushima

            A fire from spent fuel stored at a U.S. nuclear power plant could have catastrophic consequences, according to new simulations of such an event.

            A major fire “could dwarf the horrific consequences of the Fukushima accident,” says Edwin Lyman, a physicist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. “We’re talking about trillion-dollar consequences,” says Frank von Hippel, a nuclear security expert at Princeton University, who teamed with Princeton’s Michael Schoeppner on the modeling exercise.

            ….the national academies’s report warns that spent fuel accumulating at U.S. nuclear plants is also vulnerable. After fuel is removed from a reactor core, the radioactive fission products continue to decay, generating heat. All nuclear power plants store the fuel onsite at the bottom of deep pools for at least 4 years while it slowly cools. To keep it safe, the academies report recommends that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and nuclear plant operators beef up systems for monitoring the pools and topping up water levels in case a facility is damaged. The panel also says plants should be ready to tighten security after a disaster.

            At most U.S. nuclear plants, spent fuel is densely packed in pools, heightening the fire risk. NRC has estimated that a major fire at the spent fuel pool at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania would displace an estimated 3.46 million people from 31,000 square kilometers of contaminated land, an area larger than New Jersey. But Von Hippel and Schoeppner think that NRC has grossly underestimated the scale and societal costs of such a fire.

        • Xabiers says:

          Rather nasty robbery and murder in Greece, recently: mother of an 11 month old baby tortured, and then strangled in front of the child, the family dog hanged from the balcony, while the husband listened, tied to a chair in the next room.

          The reason? They seemed to have known that he had thousands in cash to pay for work on the property the next day.

          He very sensibly didn’t resist the three armed men at all, and handed the cash over right away, but they wanted more. So they tortured the poor woman for an hour.

          Suspects must logically, I suppose, include the builders, their family, friends or employees, or even -and most likely – the bank staff who knew of his withdrawal of the cash.

          During the Argentinian crisis, people were robbed or had their children kidnapped, by their own employees and work colleagues, and by the police themselves.

  31. Jarle says:

    Norway drops AstraZeneca vaccine:

  32. From WSJ Tesla’s April Sales From China Were Mostly Exports
    New figures raise questions about the strength of demand for its vehicles in the world’s largest auto market

    The EV maker sold 11,671 locally built Model 3 and Model Y cars in China last month, while exporting a further 14,174, according to the China Passenger Car Association. . . Tesla’s April wholesale figure of 25,845 was down 27% from March, worse than the 12% month-on-month decline in overall electric vehicle sales.

    Some analysts have questioned whether there would be enough demand in China to absorb most of the Shanghai factory’s planned output of 500,000 vehicles a year. While a portion of the company’s Chinese production could be earmarked for export, the bulk of buyers would likely need to come from China—the world’s largest auto market—for the factory to be sustainable. Demand from the rest of Asia is relatively weak and Tesla is planning new production plants in Europe and the U.S., its other main markets.

    By the way, 500,000 cars per year is equivalent to 41,667 per month. Total sales for April of 25,845 were 38% below this amount.

    • Rodster says:

      And yet they have a higher market cap than Toyota and VW combined. The land of the weird but then again that goes along with the Crypto fad and the Houdini style financial and monetary system.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Maybe they are dumping them in the ocean to inflate numbers?

      Even if they did and acknowledged that… the DelusiTANIS would still big up the share price…

  33. Minority Of One says:

    Here is an antidote to the increasing amount of uncivil comments of recent:

    Moby – Love Of Strings 2013

    • Merrifield says:

      Thank you. I have started just avoiding certain responders and also avoid the political and conspiracy theory comments. Not that I avoid these topics, but that’s not why I come here.

    • nikoB says:

      We are all under pressure.

      Here is another great release valve.

  34. Ed says:

    Go Elon. I predict
    six months Starship to orbit and back
    one year Starship trip aroud the Moon
    two years Starship lands on the Moon
    three years Starship lands on Mars
    four years Jacinda allow Kiwis to travel to Australia
    five years humans land on Mars using Starship
    eight years large mirrors in GEO orbit provide 24/7 sunlight for PV panels on Earth makes Elon first ten trillionaire

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      those first two years would be entertaining. There’s half a chance it could happen. Mars a year later seems very improbable, and every year later is another year of the decline of IC.

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