Oil consumption growth

News Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump Recommended Links Energy Bookshelf Secular Stagnation Energy returned on energy invested (ERoEI) A note of ERoEI decline
MSM propagated myth about Saudis defending this market share Deflation of the USA shale oil bubble Oil glut fallacy Why Peak Oil Threatens the Casino Capitalism Media disinformation about Plato oil and Hubert peak Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  
Energy Geopolitics Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Russian Ukrainian Gas wars The fiasco of suburbia Fiat money, gold and petrodollar The Great Stagnation Big Fukushima Debate
Casino Capitalism Inflation, Deflation and Confiscation All wars are bankers wars Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System Financial Quotes Financial Humor Etc

Until recently the main source of consumption growth were China and India. The USA also increase consumption substantially due to low oil prices.

Earth population growth imply the growth of oil consumption.


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[Dec 08, 2018] Iran nuclear deal Trump s oil gamble comes at just the wrong time by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

This article is from May 2018 but it read as if it was written yesterday.
Notable quotes:
"... He estimates that sanctions will cut Iran's exports by up to 500,000 barrels a day later this year. "It could well be much more in 2019," he said. ..."
Dec 08, 2018 | smh.com.au

"U.S. political pressure is clearly a dominant factor at this OPEC meeting, limiting the scope of Saudi actions to rebalance the market," said Gary Ross, chief executive of Black Gold Investors and a veteran OPEC watcher. channelnewsasia.com 10 May 2018

Donald Trump could hardly have chosen a more treacherous economic moment to tear up the "decaying and rotten deal" with Iran. The world crude market is already tightening very fast. Joint production curbs by Opec and Russia have cleared the four-year glut of oil. There is no longer an ample safety buffer against supply shocks. The geopolitical "premium" on prices has returned. Tensions run high:

The Maduro regime in Venezuela is entering its last agonies, and the country's oil industry is imploding. North America has run into an infrastructure crunch. There are not yet enough pipelines to keep pace with shale oil output from the Permian Basin of west Texas, and it is much the same story in the Alberta tar sands. The prospect of losing several hundred thousand barrels a day of Iranian oil exports would not have mattered much a year ago. It certainly matters now.

World leaders respond to President Trump's move to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran while pulling the United States out of the international agreement aimed at stopping Tehran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.

Oil price shock is looming

It is the confluence of simmering political crises in so many places that has driven Brent crude to $US77 a barrel, up 60 per cent since last June. "We believe an oil price shock is looming as early as 2019 as several elements combine to form a 'perfect storm'," said Westbeck Capital. It predicts $US100 crude in short order, with $US150 coming into sight as the world faces a crunch all too reminiscent of July 2008. The fund warns that the investment collapse since 2014 is about to deliver its sting. Declining fields are not being replaced. Output from conventional projects has until now been rising but will fall precipitously by 1.5 million barrels a day next year. By then global spare capacity will be down to a lethally thin 1 per cent. US shale cannot plug the gap. "The mantra after 2014 of lower for longer has lulled oil analysts into a torpor," Westbeck said. Needless to say, a spike to $US150 would precipitate a global recession.

The US might hope to weather such a traumatic episode now that it is the world's biggest oil producer but it would be fatal for oil-starved Europe. Such a scenario would test the unreformed euro to destruction. Britain, France and Germany may earnestly wish to preserve the Iran deal but they can do little against US financial hegemony and the ferocity of "secondary sanctions". The US measures cover shipping, insurance, and the gamut of financial and logistical support for Iran's oil industry.
In the end, there are infinitely greater matters at stake than barrels of oil.
Any European or Asian company that falls foul of this will be shut out of the US capital markets and dollarised international payments system. The EU has talked of beefing up the 1996 Blocking Regulation used to shield European companies from extraterritorial US sanctions against Libya. But this is just bluster. No European company with operations in the US would dare flout the US Treasury. "A choice for corporate Europe between the US and Iran is unequivocally going to fall the way of the US," said Richard Robinson from Ashburton Global Energy Fund.

Rise in oil prices turns malign

He said Europe will have to slash its imports from Iran by 60 per cent because groups such as ENI or Total will refuse to ship the oil, whatever the strategic policy of the EU purports to be. This dooms the nuclear deal (JCPOA) since Iran will not abide by the terms if the EU cannot deliver on its rhetoric, let alone come through with the $US200 billion ($251 billion) of foreign investment coveted by Tehran.

David Fyfe from oil traders Gunvor said we do not yet have enough details from Washington to judge how quickly companies will have to act. He estimates that sanctions will cut Iran's exports by up to 500,000 barrels a day later this year. "It could well be much more in 2019," he said.

Late last year it was still possible to view rising oil prices as benign, the result of a booming world economy. This year it has turned malign. Global growth has rolled over. The broad IHS index of raw materials has been falling since February.

Europe's catch-up spurt fizzled out in the first quarter. Japan's GDP probably contracted. The higher oil price is itself part of the cause.

$US500 billion extra 'tax'

Even at current levels, it acts as an extra $US500 billion "tax" this year for consumers in Asia, Europe and America. Not all of the windfall enjoyed by the petro-powers is recycled quickly back into global spending.

One cause of the slowdown is the credit squeeze in China, which is ineluctably feeding through into the real economy with a delay. Proxy indicators suggest that true growth has fallen below 5 per cent.

My own view is that monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve - and declining stimulus from the European Central Bank - is doing more damage than widely presumed.

Higher US interest rates are pushing up borrowing costs for much of the world. Three-month dollar Libor rates used to price $US9 trillion of global contracts have risen 76 basis points since January.

The Fed is shrinking its balance sheet, draining international dollar liquidity at a quickening pace. If the Fed is not careful, it will tip the US economy into a stall.

Ominously, we are seeing the first signs of a US dollar rally, tantamount to a "short squeeze" on Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia, among other emerging market debtors.

Toxic combination

The combination of a slowing economy and an oil supply shock is toxic, even if the "energy intensity" of world GDP is now half the level of 30 years ago.

Opec and Russia can of course lift their output cap at any time, though that alone will not restore the full 1.8m barrels a day of original curbs. Venezuela is now in unstoppable free-fall.

The Saudis have pledged to uphold the "stability of oil markets" and to help "mitigate the impact of any potential supply shortages". Kuwait and Abu Dhabi could add a little. Yet cyclical forces may be moving even beyond their control.

In the end, there are infinitely greater matters at stake than barrels of oil. Trump is throwing US power behind Saudi Arabia in the epic Sunni-Shia battle for dominance over the Middle East, and behind Israel in its separate battle with Iran.

What can go wrong?

Both conflicts are on a hair trigger. Israel attacked an Iranian air base in Syria last month and killed seven revolutionary guards. This is a dangerous escalation from proxy conflict to direct hostilities. The JCPOA nuclear deal may be all that restrains the Iranian side from lashing out.

Saudi Arabia's impetuous young leader Mohammad bin Salman is itching to settle the score of all scores with Iran, the Iranian revolutionary guard are in turn itching to launch a one-year dash for nuclear weapons, and Trump is itching for regime change. What can go wrong?

The Daily Telegraph, London

[Nov 29, 2018] If The Saudi s Oil No Longer Matters Why Is Trump Still Supporting Them

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Wall Street journal ..."
"... Everyone knows it's the US presence in the Middle East which creates terrorists, both as proxies of and in resistance to the US imperial presence (and often one and then the other). So reading Orwellian language, Pompeo is saying the US wants to maximize Islamic terrorism in order to provide a pretext for creeping totalitarianism at home and abroad. ..."
"... The real reason is to maintain the petrodollar system, but there seems to be a conspiracy of silence never to mention it among both supporters and opponents of Trump. ..."
"... everyone knows why the usa is in the middle east.. to support the war industry, which is heavily tied to the financial industry.. up is down and down is up.. that is why the usa is great friends with ksa and israel and a sworn enemy of iran... what they don't say is they are a sworn enemy of humanity and the thought that the world can continue with their ongoing madness... ..."
"... The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF ..."
Nov 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russ , Nov 28, 2018 3:28:31 PM | link

Why are U.S. troops in the Middle East?

In an interview with the Washington Post U.S. President Donald Trump gives an answer :

Trump also floated the idea of removing U.S. troops from the Middle East, citing the lower price of oil as a reason to withdraw.

"Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel ," Trump said. "Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we're producing more oil now than we've ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you don't have to stay there."

It is only Israel, it is no longer the oil, says Trump. But the nuclear armed Israel does not need U.S. troops for its protection.

And if it is no longer the oil, why is the U.S. defending the Saudis?

Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo disagrees with his boss. In a Wall Street journal op-ed today he claims that The U.S.-Saudi Partnership Is Vital because it includes much more then oil:

[D]egrading U.S.-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the U.S. and its allies.

The kingdom is a powerful force for stability in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is working to secure Iraq's fragile democracy and keep Baghdad tethered to the West's interests, not Tehran's. Riyadh is helping manage the flood of refugees fleeing Syria's civil war by working with host countries, cooperating closely with Egypt, and establishing stronger ties with Israel. Saudi Arabia has also contributed millions of dollars to the U.S.-led effort to fight Islamic State and other terrorist organizations. Saudi oil production and economic stability are keys to regional prosperity and global energy security.

Where and when please has Saudi Arabia "managed the flood of refugees fleeing Syria's civil war". Was that when it emptied its jails of violent criminals and sent them to wage jihad against the Syrian people? That indeed 'managed' to push millions to flee from their homes.

Saudi Arabia might be many things but "a powerful force for stability" it is not. Just ask 18 million Yemenis who, after years of Saudi bombardment, are near to death for lack of food .

Pompeo's work for the Saudi dictator continued today with a Senate briefing on Yemen. The Senators will soon vote on a resolution to end the U.S. support for the war. In his prepared remarks Pompeo wrote:

The suffering in Yemen grieves me, but if the United States of America was not involved in Yemen, it would be a hell of a lot worse.

What could be worse than a famine that threatens two third of the population?

If the U.S. and Britain would not support the Saudis and Emirates the war would end within a day or two. The Saudi and UAE planes are maintained by U.S. and British specialists. The Saudis still seek 102 more U.S. military personal to take care of their planes. It would be easy for the U.S. to stop such recruiting of its veterans.

It is the U.S. that holds up an already watered down UN Security Council resolution that calls for a ceasefire in Yemen:

The reason for the delay continues to be a White House worry about angering Saudi Arabia, which strongly opposes the resolution, multiple sources say. CNN reported earlier this month that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, "threw a fit" when presented with an early draft of the document, leading to a delay and further discussions among Western allies on the matter.

We recently wrote that pandering to the Saudis and keeping Muhammad bin Salman in place will hurt Trump's Middle East policies . The piece noted that Trump asked the Saudis for many things, but found that:

There is really nothing in Trump's list on which the Saudis consistently followed through. His alliance with MbS brought him no gain and a lot of trouble.

Trump protected MbS from the consequences of murdering Jamal Khashoggi. He hoped to gain leverage with that. But that is not how MbS sees it. He now knows that Trump will not confront him no matter what he does. If MbS "threws a fit" over a UN Security Council resolution, the U.S. will drop it. When he launches his next 'adventure', the U.S. will again cover his back. Is this the way a super power is supposed to handle a client state?

If Trump's instincts really tell him that U.S. troops should be removed from the Middle East and Afghanistan, something I doubt, he should follow them. Support for the Saudi war on Yemen will not help to achieve that. Pandering to MbS is not MAGA.

Posted by b on November 28, 2018 at 03:12 PM | Permalink

Comments Pompeo: "Saudi Arabia has also contributed millions of dollars to the U.S.-led effort to fight Islamic State and other terrorist organizations."

Everyone knows it's the US presence in the Middle East which creates terrorists, both as proxies of and in resistance to the US imperial presence (and often one and then the other). So reading Orwellian language, Pompeo is saying the US wants to maximize Islamic terrorism in order to provide a pretext for creeping totalitarianism at home and abroad.


lysias , Nov 28, 2018 3:35:15 PM | link

The real reason is to maintain the petrodollar system, but there seems to be a conspiracy of silence never to mention it among both supporters and opponents of Trump.
Ross , Nov 28, 2018 3:41:42 PM | link
There is really nothing in Trump's list on which the Saudis consistently followed through. His alliance with MbS brought him no gain and a lot of trouble.

He did get to fondle the orb - although fuck knows what weirdness was really going on there.

james , Nov 28, 2018 3:47:06 PM | link
thanks b... pompeo is a very bad liar... in fact - everything he says is about exactly the opposite, but bottom line is he is a bad liar as he is thoroughly unconvincing..

everyone knows why the usa is in the middle east.. to support the war industry, which is heavily tied to the financial industry.. up is down and down is up.. that is why the usa is great friends with ksa and israel and a sworn enemy of iran... what they don't say is they are a sworn enemy of humanity and the thought that the world can continue with their ongoing madness...

oh, but don't forget to vote, LOLOL.... no wonder so many are strung out on drugs, and the pharma industry... opening up to the msm is opening oneself up to the world george orwell described many years ago...

uncle tungsten , Nov 28, 2018 3:49:24 PM | link
Take a wafer or two of silicon and just add water. The oil obsession has been eclipsed and within 20 years will be in absolute disarray. The warmongers will invent new excuses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lk3elu3zf4

karlof1 , Nov 28, 2018 4:33:18 PM | link
A hypothetical: No extraordinary amounts of hydrocarbons exist under Southwest Asian ground; just an essential amount for domestic consumption; in that case, would Zionistan exist where it's currently located and would either Saudi Arabia, Iraq and/or Iran have any significance aside from being consumers of Outlaw US Empire goods? Would the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes/Picot Secret Treaty have been made? If the Orinoco Oil Belt didn't exist, would Venezuela's government be continually targeted for Imperial control? If there was no Brazilian offshore oil, would the Regime Change effort have been made there? Here the hypotheticals end and a few basic yet important questions follow.

Previous to the 20th Century, why were Hawaii and Samoa wrested from their native residents and annexed to Empire? In what way did the lowly family farmers spread across 19th Century United States further the growth of its Empire and contribute to the above named annexations? What was the unspoken message sent to US elites contained within Frederic Jackson Turner's 1893 Frontier Thesis ? Why is the dominant language of North America English, not French or Spanish?

None of these are rhetorical. All second paragraph questions I asked of my history students. And all have a bearing on b's fundamental question.

A. Person , Nov 28, 2018 5:20:13 PM | link
b says, "And it its no longer the oil, why is the U.S. defending the Saudis?"

The US has a vital interest in protecting the narrative of 9/11. The Saudis supplied the patsies. Mossad and dual-citizen neocons were the architects of the event. Hence, the US must avoid a nasty divorce from the Saudis. The Saudis are in a perfect blackmailing position.

Tobin Paz , Nov 28, 2018 5:50:19 PM | link
Maybe Trump is unaware, but the fracking boom is a bubble made possible by near zero interest rates:

U.S. SHALE OIL INDUSTRY: Catastrophic Failure Ahead

Of course, most Americans have no idea that the U.S. Shale Oil Industry is nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme because of the mainstream media's inability to report FACT from FICTION. However, they don't deserve all of the blame as the shale energy industry has done an excellent job hiding the financial distress from the public and investors by the use of highly technical jargon and BS.

Oil is the untold story of modern history.

NOBTS , Nov 28, 2018 6:08:53 PM | link
S.A. is a thinly disguised US military base, hence the "strategic importance" and the relevance of the new Viceroy's previous experience as a Four Star General. It's doubtful that any of the skilled personnel in the SA Air Force are other than former US/Nato. A few princes might fancy themselves to be daring fighter pilots. In case of a Anglo-Zio war with Iran SA would be the most forward US aircraft carrier. The Empire is sustained by its presumed military might and prizes nothing more than its strategically situated bases. Saud would like to capture Yemen's oil fields, but the primary purpose of the air war is probably training. That of course is more despicably cynical than mere conquest and genocide.
Pft , Nov 28, 2018 6:08:56 PM | link
Trump is the ultimate deceiver/liar. Great actor reading from a script. The heel in the Fake wrestling otherwise known as US politics. It almost sounds as if he is calling for an end of anymore significant price drops now that he has got Powell on board to limit interest rate hikes. After all if you are the worlds biggest producer you dont want prices too low. These markets are all manipulated. I cant imagine how much insider trading is going on. If you look at the oil prices, they started dropping in October with Iran sanctions looming (before it was announced irans shipments to its 8 biggest buyers would be exempt) and at the height of the Khashoggi event where sanctions were threatened and Saudi was making threats of their own. In a real free market prices increase amidst supply uncertainty.

Regardless of what he says he wants and gets now, he is already planning a reversal. Thats how the big boys win, they know whats coming and when the con the smaller fish to swim one way they are lined up with a big mouth wide open. Controlled chaos and confusion. For every winner there must be a loser and the losers assets/money are food for the Gods of Money and War

As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. My money is on the US to be in Yemen to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis while in reality we will be there to secure the enormous oil fields in the North. Perhaps this was what the Khashoggi trap was all about. The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF

psychohistorian , Nov 28, 2018 6:35:06 PM | link
@ Pft who wrote: "The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF"

BINGO!!! Those that control finance control most/all of everything else.

Augustin L , Nov 28, 2018 6:37:43 PM | link

Saudi Arabia literally owns close to 8% of the United States economy through various financial instruments. Their public investment funds and dark pools own large chunks from various strategic firms resting at the apex of western power such as Blackstone. Trump and Pompeo would be stupid to cut off their nose to spite their face... It's all about the petrodollar, uncle sam will ride and die with saudi barbaria. If push comes to shove and the saudis decide to untether themselves from the Empire, their sand kingdom will probably be partitioned.
Pnyx , Nov 28, 2018 7:02:31 PM | link
The oil certainly still plays an important role, the u.s. cannot maintain the current frack oil output for long. For Tronald's term in office it will suffice, but hardly longer. (The frack gas supplies are much more substantial.)

Personal interests certainly also play a role, and finally one should not make u.s. foreign policy more rational than it is. Much is also done because of traditions and personal convictions. Often they got it completely wrong and the result was a complete failure.

Likklemore , Nov 28, 2018 7:07:15 PM | link
Let us watch what Trump does with this or if the resolution makes it to daylight:

Senate advances Yemen resolution in rebuke to Trump

The Senate issued a sharp rebuke Wednesday to President Trump, easily advancing a resolution that would end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen's civil war despite a White House effort to quash the bill.

The administration launched an eleventh-hour lobbying frenzy to try to head off momentum for the resolution, dispatching Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Capitol Hill in the morning and issuing a veto threat less than an hour before the vote started.

But lawmakers advanced the resolution, 63-37, even as the administration vowed to stand by Saudi Arabia following outcry over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"There's been a lot of rhetoric that's come from the White House and from the State Department on this issue," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. "The rhetoric that I've heard and the broadcasts that we've made around the world as to who we are have been way out of balance as it relates to American interests and American values." [/]
LINK TheHill

But Mattis says there is no smoking gun to tie the Clown Thug-Prince to Kashoggi's killing.
TheHill

And Lyias @ 2 is a bingo. Always follow the fiat.

Soon, without any announcements, if they wish to maintain selling oil to China, KSA will follow Qatar. It will be priced in Yuan...especially given the escalating U.S. trade war with China.

2019 holds interesting times. Order a truckload of popcorn.

Midwest For Truth , Nov 28, 2018 7:29:46 PM | link
You would have to have your head buried in the sand to not see that the Saudi "Kings" are crypto-Zionistas. Carl Sagan once said, "One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back." And Mark Twain also wrote "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
karlof1 , Nov 28, 2018 7:59:31 PM | link
Gee, not one taker amongst all these intelligent folk. From last to first: 1588's Protestant Wind allowed Elizabeth and her cronies to literally keep their heads as Nature helped Drake defeat the Spanish Armada; otherwise, there would be no British Empire root to the USA, thus no USA and no future Outlaw US Empire, the British Isles becoming a Hapsburg Imperial Property, and a completely different historical lineage, perhaps sans World Wars and atomic weapons.

Turner's message was with the Frontier closed the "safety valve" of continental expansion defusing political tensions based on economic inequalities had ceased to be of benefit and future policy would need to deal with that issue thus removing the Fear Factor from the natives to immigrants, and from wide-open spaces to the inner cities. Whipsawing business cycles driving urban labor's unrest, populist People's Party politics, and McKinley's 1901 assassination further drove his points home.

Nationwide, family farmers demanded Federal government help to create additional markets for their produce to generate price inflation so they could remain solvent and keep their homesteads, which translated into the need to conduct international commerce via the seas which required coaling stations--Hawaii and Samoa, amongst others--and a Blue Water Navy that eventually led to Alfred T. Mahan's doctrine of Imperial Control of the Oceans still in use today.

As with Gengis Khan's death in 1227 that stopped the Mongol expansion to the English Channel that changed the course of European history, and what was seen as the Protestant Wind being Divine Intervention, global history has several similar inflection points turning the tide from one path to another. We don't know yet if the Outlaw US Empire's reliance on Saudi is such, but we can see it turning from being a great positive to an equally potential great negative for the Empire--humanity as a whole, IMO, will benefit greatly from an implosion and the relationship becoming a Great Negative helping to strip what remains of the Emperor's Clothing from his torso so that nations and their citizens can deter the oncoming financialized economic suicide caused by massive debt and climate chaos.

Vico's circle is about to intersect with Hegel's dialectic and generate a new temporal phase in human history. Although many will find it hard to tell, the current direction points to a difficult change to a more positive course for humanity as a whole, but it's also possible that disaster could strike with humanity's total or near extinction being the outcome--good arguments can be made for either outcome, which ought to unsettle everyone: Yes, the times are that tenuous. But then, I'm merely a lonely historian aware of a great many things, including the pitfall inherent in trying to predict future events.

robjira , Nov 28, 2018 8:08:58 PM | link
"The suffering in Yemen grieves me, but if the United States of America was not involved in Yemen, it would be a hell of a lot worse." And I'll bet Pompeo said that with a straight face, too. lmfao

And as for "...keep[ing] Baghdad tethered to the West's interests and not Tehran's," I'm guessing the "secretary" would have us all agree "yeah, fk Iraqi sovereignty anyway. Besides, it's not like they share a border with Iran, or anything. Oh, wait..."

p.s. Many thanks for all you have contributed to collective knowledge, b; I will be contacting you about making a contribution by snail mail (I hate PayPal, too).

imo , Nov 28, 2018 8:25:35 PM | link
"... a powerful force for stability in the Middle East."

"Instability" more like it.

Paid for military coup in Egypt. Funding anti-Syrian terrorists. Ongoing tensions with Iran. Zip-all for the Palestinians. WTF in Yemen. Wahhabi crazy sh_t (via Mosque building) across Asia. Head and hand chopping Friday specials the norm -- especially of their South-Asian slave classes. Ok, so females can now drive cars -- woohoo. A family run business venture manipulating the global oil trade and supporting US-petro-$ hegemony recently out of goat herding and each new generation 'initiated' in some Houston secret society toe-touching shower and soap ceremonies before placement in the ruling hierarchy back home. But enough; they being Semites makes it an offence to criticize in some 'free' democratic world domains.

karlof1 , Nov 28, 2018 8:52:24 PM | link
Likklemore @14--

Instead of the "rebuke to Trump" meme circulating around, I found this statement to be more accurate:

"'Cutting off military aid to Saudi Arabia is the right choice for Yemen, the right choice for our national security, and the right choice for upholding the Constitution,' Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, declared in a statement. ' Three years ago, the notion of Congress voting to cut off military support for Saudi Arabia would have been politically laughable .'" [My Emphasis]

In other words, advancing Peace with Obama as POTUS wasn't going to happen, so this vote ought to be seen as an attack on Obama's legacy as it's his policy that's being reconsidered and hopefully discontinued.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 28, 2018 9:44:50 PM | link
Trump, Israel and the Sawdi's. US no longer needs middle east oil for strategic supply. Trump is doing away with the petro-dollar as that scam has run its course and maintenance is higher than returns. Saudi and other middle east oil is required for global energy dominance.

Energy dominance, lebensraum for Israel and destroying the current Iran are all objectives that fit into one neat package.

Those plans look to be coming apart at the moment so it remains to be seen how fanatical Trump is on Israel and MAGA. MAGA as US was at the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Pft , Nov 29, 2018 1:15:05 AM | link
As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. Remember when he said he wanted out of Syria. My money is on the US to be in Yemen before too long to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis, while in reality it will be to secure the enormous oil fields in the North. Perhaps this was what the Khashoggi trap was all about.

The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF .

james , Nov 29, 2018 1:57:51 AM | link
@16 karlof1.. thanks for a broader historical perspective which you are able to bring to moa.. i enjoy reading your comments.. i don't have answers to ALL your questions earlier.. i have answers for some of them... you want to make it easy on us uneducated folks and give us less questions, like b did in his post here, lol.... cheers james
b , Nov 29, 2018 2:33:04 AM | link
This came faster than assumed:

Yemen war: US Senate advances measure to end support for Saudi forces

The US Senate has advanced a measure to withdraw American support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

In a blow to President Donald Trump, senators voted 63-37 to take forward a motion on ending US support.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had urged Senators not to back the motion, saying it would worsen the situation in Yemen.

...

The vote in the Senate means further debate on US support for Saudi Arabia is expected next week.

However, correspondents say that even if the Senate ultimately passes the bipartisan resolution it has little chance of being approved by the outgoing House of Representatives.

That is quite a slap for the Trump administration. It will have little consequences in the short term (or for Yemen) but it sets a new direction in foreign polices towards the Saudis.
jim slim , Nov 29, 2018 4:04:44 AM | link
Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda. It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel.
mina , Nov 29, 2018 4:14:20 AM | link
duterte...idris deby...so many democrats visiting Netanyahu lately!!
Rhisiart Gwilym , Nov 29, 2018 4:49:48 AM | link
@Uncle Tungsten, 5:

Take a look at some of the - informed - comments below the vid to which you linked. Then think again about an 'all electric civilisation within a few years'. Yes, and Father Christmas will be providing everything that everyone in the world needs for a NAmerican/European standard of living within the same time frame. Er - not.

'Renewables' are not going to save hitech industrial 'civilisation' from The Long Descent/Catabolic Collapse (qv). Apart from any other consideration - and there are some other equally intractable ones - there is no - repeat NO - 'renewable' energy system which doesn't rely crucially on energy subsidies from the fossil-hydrocarbon fuels, both to build it and to maintain it. They're not stand-alone, self-bootstrapping technologies. Nor is there any realistic prospect that they ever will be. Fully renewable-power hitech industrial civilisation is a non-deliverable mirage which is just drawing us ever further into the desert of irreversible peak-energy/peak-everythig-else.

Rancid , Nov 29, 2018 5:58:26 AM | link
@16 karlof1. I also find your historical references very interesting. We do indeed seem to be at a very low point in the material cycle, it will reverse in due course as is its want, hopefully we will live to see a positive change in humanity.
Russ , Nov 29, 2018 7:24:10 AM | link
John 28

For example we know Tesla didn't succeed in splitting the planet in half, the way techno-psychotics fantasize. As for that silly link, how typical of techno-wingnuts to respond to prosaic physical facts with fantasies. Anything to prop up faith in the technocratic-fundamentalist religion. Meanwhile "electrical civilization" has always meant and will always mean fracking and coal, until the whole fossil-fueled extreme energy nightmare is over.

Given the proven fact that the extreme energy civilization has done nothing but embark upon a campaign to completely destroy humanity and the Earth (like in your Tesla fantasy), why would a non-psychopath want to prop it up anyway?

bob sykes , Nov 29, 2018 7:37:37 AM | link
It is still the oil, even for the US. The Persian Gulf supplies 20% of world consumption, and Western Europe gets 40% of its oil from OPEC countries, most of that from the Gulf. Even the US still imports 10% of its total consumption.
y , Nov 29, 2018 7:47:36 AM | link
Peter AU 1 | Nov 28, 2018 9:44:50 PM | 20
b | Nov 29, 2018 2:33:04 AM | 23
USD as a world reserve currency could be one factor between the important ones. With non US support the saud land could crash under neighbours pressure, that caos may be not welcomed.
Guerrero , Nov 29, 2018 10:16:10 AM | link
Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 28, 2018 7:59:31 PM | 16

"Vico's circle is about to intersect with Hegel's dialectic and generate a new temporal phase in human history. Although many will find it hard to tell, the current direction points to a difficult change to a more positive course for humanity as a whole..."

Yes!

Humble people around where I live have mentioned that time is speeding up its velocity; there seems to be a spiritual (evolutionary)/physical interface effect or something...

Tolstoy, in the long theory-of-history exposition at the end of War and Peace, challenges 'the great man' of History idea, spreading in his time, at the dawning of the so-called: European Romantic period of Beethoven, Goerte and Wagner, when the unique person was glorified in the name of art, truth, whatever (eventually this bubble burst too, in the 20th C. and IMO because of too much fervent worship in the Cult of the Temple of the Money God. Dostoyevki's great Crime and Punishment is all about this issue.)

Tolstoy tries to describe a scientifically-determined historical process, dissing the 'great man of History' thesis. He was thinking of Napoleon Bonaparte of course, the run-away upstart repulican, anathema to the established order. Tolstoy describes it in the opening scene of the novel: a fascinating parlor-room conversation between a "liberal" woman of good-birth in the elite circles of society and a military captain at the party.

...only tenuously relevant to karlofi1's great post touching upon the Theory of History as such; thanks.

Now as to the question: ¿Why is Trump supporting Saudi Arabia? Let me think about that...

[Nov 24, 2018] Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system.

Nov 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

RioGrandeImports, 21 seconds ago link

Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system. The book, "The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century" by James R. Norman details the use of oil futures as a geopolitical tool. Pipelines change the calculus quite a bit.

[Nov 17, 2018] OPEC Plus Putin's move to control energy market with Saudi partnership (Video)

Nov 17, 2018 | theduran.com

The Express UK reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia's 'long-term relationship' will not only survive, but grow, regardless of geopolitical turmoil and internal Saudi scandal as the energy interests between both nations bind them together.

... ... ...

But IHS Market vice chairman Daniel Yergin said the decision was unlikely to jeopardise the relationship between the two allies.

The Saudis have faced significant international criticism in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Yergin made it clear that Moscow and Riyadh would continue to be closely aligned irrespective of external factors.

He explained: "I think it's intended to be a long-term relationship and it started off about oil prices but you see it taking on other dimensions, for instance, Saudi investment in Russian LNG (liquefied natural gas) and Russian investment in Saudi Arabia.

"I think this is a strategic relationship because it's useful to both countries."

Saudi Arabia and Russia are close, especially as a result of their pact in late 2016, along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers, to curb output by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to prevent prices dropping too far – but oil markets have changed since then, largely as a result.

The US criticised OPEC, which Saudi Arabia is the nominal leader of, after prices rose.

Markets have fluctuated in recent weeks as a result of fears over a possible drop in supply, as a result of US sanctions on Iran, and an oversupply, as a result of increased production by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, which have seen prices fall by about 20 percent since early October.

Saudi Arabia has pumped 10.7 million barrels per day in October, while the figure for Russia and the US was 11.4 million barrels in each case.

Mr Yergin said: "It's the big three, it's Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, this is a different configuration in the oil market than the traditional OPEC-non-OPEC one and so the world is having to adjust."

BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley told CNBC: "The OPEC-plus agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia and coalition is a lot stronger than people speculate.

"I think Russia doesn't have the ability to turn on and off big fields which can happen in the Middle East.

"But I fully expect there to be coordination to try to keep the oil price within a certain fairway."

Markets rallied by two percent on Monday off the back of the Saudi decision to cut production , which it justified by citing uncertain global oil growth and associated oil demand next year.

It also suggested waivers granted on US sanctions imposed on Iran which have been granted to several countries including China and Japan was a reason not to fear a decline in supply.

Also talking to CNBC, Russia's Oil Minister Alexander Novak indicated a difference of opinion between Russia and the Saudis, saying it was too soon to cut production, highlighting a lot of volatility in the oil market.

He added: "If such a decision is necessary for the market and all the countries are in agreement, I think that Russia will undoubtedly play a part in this.

"But it's early to talk about this now, we need to look at this question very carefully."

[Nov 16, 2018] Oil, Power, and War A Dark History by Matthieu Auzanneau

Notable quotes:
"... Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it. ..."
Nov 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Similarly, the real story of oil is of fortunes lost, betrayal, war, espionage, and intrigue. In the end, inevitably, the story of oil is a story of depletion. Petroleum is a nonrenewable resource, a precious substance that took tens of millions of years to form and that is gone in a comparative instant as we extract and burn it. For many decades, oil-hungry explorers, using ever-improving technology', have been searching for ever-deteriorating prospects as the low- hanging fin its of planet Earth's primordial oil bounty gradually dwindle. Oil wells have been shut in, oil fields exhausted, and oil companies bankrupted by the simple, inexorable reality of depletion.

It is impossible to understand the political and economic history of the past 150 years without taking account of a central character in the drama -- oil, the magical wealth-generating substance, a product of ancient sunlight and tens of millions of years of slow geological processes, whose tragic fate is to be dug up and combusted once and for all. leaving renewed poverty in its wake. With Oil, Power, and War, Matthieu Auzanneau has produced what I believe is the new definitive work on oil and its historic significance, supplanting even Daniel Yergin's renowned The Prize, for reasons I'll describe below.

The importance of oil's role in shaping the modern world cannot be overstated. Prior to the advent of fossil fuels, firewood was humanity's main fuel. But forests could be cut to the last tree (many were), and wood was bulky. Coal offered some economic advantages over wood. But it was oil -- liquid and therefore easier to transport; more energy-dense; and simpler to store -- that turbocharged the modern industrial age following the development of the first commercial wells around the year 1860.

John D. Rockefeller's cutthroat, monopolist business model shaped the early industry, which was devoted mostly to the production of kerosene for lamp oil (gasoline was then considered a waste product and often discarded into streams or rivers). But roughly forty years later, when Henry Ford developed the automobile assembly line, demand for black gold was suddenly as explosive as gasoline itself.

Speaking of explosions, the role of petroleum in the two World Wars and the armament industry' in general deserves not just a footnote in history books but serious and detailed treatment such as it receives in this worthy volume. Herein we learn how Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany literally ran out of gas while the Allies rode to victory in planes, ships, and tanks burning refined US crude. Berlin could be cut off from supplies in Baku or North Africa, and Tokyo's tanker route from Borneo could be blockaded -- but no one could interrupt the American war machine's access to Texas tea.

In the pages that follow, we learn about the origin of the decades-long US alliance with Saudi Arabia, the development of OPEC, the triumph of the petrodollar, and the reasons for both the Algerian independence movement and the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Auzanneau traces the postwar growth of the global economy and the development of consumerism, globalization, and car culture. He recounts how the population explosion and the Green Revolution in agriculture reshaped demographics and politics globally -- and explains why both depended on petroleum. We learn why Nixon cut the US dollar's tether to the gold standard just a year after US oil production started to decline, and how the American economy began to rely increasingly on debt. The story of oil takes ever more fascinating turns -- with the fall of the Soviet Union after its oil production hit a snag; with soaring petroleum prices in 2008 coinciding with the onset of the global financial crisis; and with wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen erupting as global conventional oil output flatlined.

As I alluded to above, comparisons will inevitably be drawn between Oil, Power, and War and Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer-winning "The Prize", published in 1990. It may be helpful therefore to point out four of the most significant ways this work differs from Yergin's celebrated tour de force.

The most obvious difference between the two books is simply one of time frame. The Prize's narrative stops in the 1980s, while Oil, Power, and War also covers the following critical decades, which encompass the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, 9/11, the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the global financial crisis of 2008. and major shifts within the petroleum industry as it relies ever less on conventional crude and ever more on unconventional resources such as bitumen (Canada's oil sands), tight oil (also called shale oil), and deepwater oil.

Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it.

Taken together, these distinctions indeed make Oil, Power, and War the definitive work on the history of oil -- no small achievement, but a judgment well earned.

Over the past decade, worrisome signs of global oil depletion have been obscured by the unabashed enthusiasm of energy analysts regarding growing production in the United States from low-porosity source rocks. Termed "light tight oil," this new resource has been unleashed through application of the technologies of hydrofracturing (tracking) and horizontal drilling.

US liquid fuels production has now surpassed its previous peak in 1970, and well-regarded agencies such as the Energy Information Administration are forecasting continued tight oil abundance through mid-century.

Auzanneau titles his discussion of this phenomenon (in chapter 30), "Nonconventional Petroleum to the Rescue?" -- and frames it as a question for good reason: Skeptics of tight oil hyperoptimism point out that most production so far has been unprofitable. The industry has managed to stay in the game only due to low interest rates (most companies are heavily in debt) and investor hype. Since source rocks lack permeability, individual oil wells deplete very quickly -- with production in each well declining on the order of 70 percent to 90 percent in the first three years. That means that relentless, expensive drilling is needed in order to release the oil that's there. Thus the tight oil industry can be profitable only if oil prices are very high -- high enough, perhaps, to hobble the economy -- and if drilling is concentrated in the small core areas within each of the productive regions. But these "sweet spots" are being exhausted rapidly. Further, with tight oil the energy returned on the energy invested in drilling and completion is far less than was the case with American petroleum in its heyday.

It takes energy to fell a tree, drill an oil well, or manufacture a solar panel. We depend on the energy payback from those activities to run society. In the miraculous years of the late twentieth century, oil delivered an averaged 50:1 energy payback. It was this, more than anything else, that made rapid economic growth possible, especially for the nations that were home to the world's largest oil reserves and extraction companies. As the world relies ever less on conventional oil and ever more on tight oil, bitumen, and deepwater oil, the overall energy payback of the oil industry is declining rapidly. And this erosion of energy return is reflected in higher overall levels of debt in the oil industry and lower overall financial profitability.

Meanwhile the industry is spending ever less on exploration -- for two reasons. First, there is less money available for that purpose, due to declining financial profitability; second, there seems comparatively little oil left to be found: Recent years have seen new oil discoveries dwindle to the lowest level since the 1940s. The world is not about to run out of oil. But the industry that drove society in the twentieth century to the heights of human economic and technological progress is failing in the twenty-first century.

Today some analysts speak of "peak oil demand." The assumption behind the phrase is that electric cars will soon reduce our need for oil, even as abundance of supply is assured by fracking. But the world is still highly dependent on crude oil. We have installed increasing numbers of solar panels and wind turbines, but the transition to renewable is going far too slowly either to avert catastrophic climate change or to fully replace petroleum before depletion forces an economic crisis. While we may soon see more electric cars on the road, trucking, shipping, and aviation will be much harder to electrify. We haven't really learned yet how to make the industrial world work without oil. The simple reality is that the best days of the oil business, and the oil-fueled industrial way of life, are behind us. And we are not ready for what comes next.

[Nov 14, 2018] Oil, Power, and War A Dark History by Matthieu Auzanneau

Notable quotes:
Oil, Power, and War is a story of the dreams and hubris that spawned an era of economic chaos, climate change, war, and terrorism -- as well as an eloquent framing from which to consider our options as our primary source of power, in many ways irreplacable, grows ever more constrained.
Nov 14, 2018 | www.barnesandnoble.com

In this sweeping, unabashed history of oil, Matthieu Auzanneau takes a fresh, thought-provoking look at the way oil interests have commandeered politics and economies, changed cultures, disrupted power balances across the globe, and spawned wars. He upends commonly held assumptions about key political and financial events of the past 150 years, and he sheds light on what our oil-constrained and eventually post-oil future might look like.

Oil, Power, and War follows the oil industry from its heyday when the first oil wells were drilled to the quest for new sources as old ones dried up. It traces the rise of the Seven Sisters and other oil cartels and exposes oil's key role in the crises that have shaped our times: two world wars, the Cold War, the Great Depression, Bretton Woods, the 2008 financial crash, oil shocks, wars in the Middle East, the race for Africa's oil riches, and more. And it defines the oil-born trends shaping our current moment, such as the jockeying for access to Russia's vast oil resources, the search for extreme substitutes for declining conventional oil, the rise of terrorism, and the changing nature of economic growth.

We meet a long line of characters from John D. Rockefeller to Dick Cheney and Rex Tillerson, and hear lesser-known stories like how New York City taxes were once funneled directly to banks run by oil barons. We see how oil and power, once they became inextricably linked, drove actions of major figures like Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler, Kissinger, and the Bushes. We also learn the fascinating backstory sparked by lesser-known but key personalities such as Calouste Gulbenkian, Abdullah al-Tariki, and Marion King Hubbert, the once-silenced oil industry expert who warned his colleagues that oil production was facing its peak.

Oil, Power, and War is a story of the dreams and hubris that spawned an era of economic chaos, climate change, war, and terrorism -- as well as an eloquent framing from which to consider our options as our primary source of power, in many ways irreplacable, grows ever more constrained.

The book has been translated from the highly acclaimed French title, Or Noir .

[Oct 18, 2018] Germany Clashes With The US Over Energy Geopolitics

Notable quotes:
"... This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach . ..."
"... By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest. ..."
"... She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open. ..."
"... What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018. ..."
"... Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana. ..."
"... IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere. ..."
"... So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines. ..."
"... Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA. ..."
"... It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong? ..."
"... The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/ ..."
"... I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question. ..."
"... She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe. ..."
Oct 18, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach .

Yves here. It's not hard to see that this tiff isn't just about Russia. The US wants Germany to buy high-priced US LNG.

By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice

The United States and the European Union (EU) are at odds over more than just the Iran nuclear deal – tensions surrounding energy policy have also become a flashpoint for the two global powerhouses.

In energy policy, the U.S. has been opposing the Gazprom-led and highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project , which will follow the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. EU institutions and some EU members such as Poland and Lithuania are also against it, but one of the leaders of the EU and the end-point of the planned project -- Germany -- supports Nord Stream 2 and sees the project as a private commercial venture that will help it to meet rising natural gas demand.

While the U.S. has been hinting this year that it could sanction the project and the companies involved in it -- which include not only Gazprom but also major European firms Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, and Wintershall -- Germany has just said that Washington shouldn't interfere with Europe's energy choices and policies.

"I don't want European energy policy to be defined in Washington," Germany's Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andreas Michaelis said at a conference on trans-Atlantic ties in Berlin this week.

Germany has to consult with its European partners regarding the project, Michaelis said, and noted, as quoted by Reuters, that he was "certainly not willing to accept that Washington is deciding at the end of the day that we should not rely on Russian gas and that we should not complete this pipeline project."

In July this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that "Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply." Related: The Implications Of A Fractured U.S., Saudi Alliance

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline," President Trump said.

Germany continues to see Nord Stream 2 as a commercial venture, although it wants clarity on the future role of Ukraine as a transit route, German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said last month.

Nord Stream 2 is designed to bypass Ukraine, and Ukraine fears it will lose transit fees and leverage over Russia as the transit route for its gas to western Europe.

Poland, one of the most outspoken opponents of Nord Stream 2, together with the United States, issued a joint statement last month during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Washington, in which the parties said , "We will continue to coordinate our efforts to counter energy projects that threaten our mutual security, such as Nord Stream 2."

The United States looks to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European market, including to Germany , to help Europe diversify its energy supply, which is becoming increasingly dependent on Russian supplies. Related: High Prices Benefit Iran Despite Lost Oil Exports

The president of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Dieter Kempf, however, told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung last month, that he had "a big problem with a third country interfering in our energy policy," referring to the United States. German industry needs Nord Stream 2, and dropping the project to buy U.S. LNG instead wouldn't make any economic sense, he said. U.S. LNG currently is not competitive on the German market and would simply cost too much, according to Kempf.

The lower price of Russian pipeline gas to Europe is a key selling point -- and one that Gazprom uses often. Earlier this month Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom's Management Committee, said at a gas forum in Russia that "Although much talk is going on about new plans for LNG deliveries, there is no doubt that pipeline gas supplies from Russia will always be more competitive than LNG deliveries from any other part of the world. It goes without saying."

The issue with Nord Stream 2 -- which is already being built in German waters -- is that it's not just a commercial project. Many in Europe and everyone in the United States see it as a Russian political tool and a means to further tighten Russia's grip on European gas supplies, of which it already holds more than a third. But Germany wants to discuss the future of this project within the European Union, without interference from the United States.


Alex V , October 18, 2018 at 4:43 am

Thankfully liquefying gas and then reconstituting it uses no additional energy, and transportation into major harbors is perfectly safe.

Capitalism inaction!

Quentin , October 18, 2018 at 6:23 am

Maybe the US thinks it will also have to go out of its way to accommodate Germany and the EU by offering to construct the necessary infrastructure in Europe for the import of LNG at exorbitant US prices. MAGA. How long would that take?

disillusionized , October 18, 2018 at 7:03 am

The question is, is it inevitable that the EU/US relationship goes sour?

Continentalism is on the rise generally, and specifically with brexit, couple this with the geographical gravity of the EU-Russia relationship makes a EU-Russia "alliance" make more sense than the EU-US relationship.

Ever since the death of the USSR and the accession of the eastern states to the EU, the balance of power in the EU-US relationship has moved in ways it seems clear that the US is uncomfortable with.

To all of this we must add the policy differences between the US and the EU – see the GDPR and the privacy shield for example.

I have said it before – the day Putin dies (metaphorically or literally) is a day when the post war order in Europe may die, and we see the repairing of the EU-Russia relationship (by which I mean the current regime in Russia will be replaced with a new generation far less steeped in cold war dogma and way more interested in the EU).

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm

"The post war order in Europe will doe and we see the repairing of the EU/Russian relationship "

I think you mean the German/Russian relationship and that repair has been under way for more than a decade. The post war order is very very frayed already and looks close to a break point.

This Nord Stream 2 story illustrates more than most Germany's attitudes to the EU and to the world at large. Germany used its heft within the EU to 1 ) get control of Russian gas supplies into Central Europe (Germany insisted that Poland could not invest in the project apparently and refused a landing point for the pipeline in Poland. Instead it offered a flow back valve from Germany into Poland that the Germans would control) 2) thumb its nose at the US while outwardly declaring friendship through the structures provided by EU and NATO membership.

Even Obama suspected the Germans of duplicity (the Merkel phone hacking debacle).

It's is this repairing relationship that will set the tone for Brexit, the Ukraine war, relations between Turkey and EU and eventually the survival of the EU and NATO. The point ? Germany doesn't give a hoot about the EU it served its purpose of keeping Germany anchored to the west and allowing German reunification to solidify while Russia was weak. Its usefulness is in the past now, however from a German point of view.

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Putin dying isn't going to change Washington. As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest.

Come to think of it, maybe Merkel dying off would improve German-Russian relations

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open.

Germany won't lose if NATO and the EU break up. It would free itself from a range increasingly dis-functional entities that, in its mind, restrict its ability to engage in world affairs.

Susan the other , October 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I think you are right. Russia and Germany are coming together and there's nothing we can do about it because "private commercial venture." Poetic justice.

And the economic link will lead to political links and we will have to learn a little modesty. The ploy we are trying to use, selling Germany US LNG could not have been anything more than a stopgap supply line until NG from the ME came online but that has been our achilles heel.

It feels like even if we managed to kick the Saudis out and took over their oil and gas we still could no longer control geopolitics. The cat is out of the bag and neoliberalism has established the rules. And it's pointless because there is enough gas and oil and methane on this planet to kill the human race off but good.

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

@Susan

That exactly right. and Gerhard Schroder has been developing those political relationships for more than a decade. The political/economic links already go very deep on both sides.

if the rapprochement is occurring, Brexit, the refugee crisis and Italy's approaching debt crisis are all just potential catalysts for an inevitable breakup. Germany likely views these as potential opportunities to direct European realignment rather than existential crises to be tackled.

JimL , October 18, 2018 at 7:08 am

What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:49 am

The US produces annually about 33,000,000 million cubic feet and consumes 27.000.000 million according to the EiA . So there is an excess to export indeed.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Leaving 6,000,000 million to be exported, until the shale gas no longer flows. How farsighted.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:42 am

Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana.

I don't know much about NG markets in Poland but according to Eurostat prices for non-household consumers are very similar in Poland, Germany, Lithuania or Spain.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:36 am

Gas contracts are usually linked to oil prices. A lot of LNG is traded as a fungible product like oil, but that contract seems different – most likely its constructed this way because of the huge capital cost of the LNG facilities, which make very little economic sense for a country like Poland which has pipelines criss-crossing it. I suspect the terminals have more capacity that the contract quantity – the surplus would be traded at market prices, which would no doubt be where the profit margin is for the supplier (I would be deeply sceptical that unsubsidised LNG could ever compete with Russia gas, the capital costs involved are just too high).

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere.

IMO, the folks responsible for this waste are as usual, ignoring the 'externalities', the costs to the environment of course, but also the cost of infrastructure and transport related to turning this situation to their advantage.

So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines.

This doesn't even take into account the possibility that the whole fracked gas supply may be a short-lived phenomenon, associated with what we've been describing here as basically a finance game.

Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

Just to clarify, fracked gas is not usually a by-product of oil fracking – the geological beds are usually distinct (shale gas tends to occur at much deeper levels than tight oil). Gas can however be a byproduct of conventional oil production. 'wet' gas (propane, etc), can be a by-product of either.

Synapsid , October 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

PlutoniumKun,

It's common for oil wells both fracked and conventional to produce natural gas (NG) though not all do. The fracked wells in the Permian Basin are producing a great deal of it.

Natural gas does indeed form at higher temperatures than oil does and that means at greater depth but both oil and NG migrate upward. Exploration for petroleum is hunting for where it gets captured at depth, not for where it's formed. Those source rocks are used as indicators of where to look for petroleum trapped stratigraphically higher up.

Steve , October 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong?

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

What could go wrong?

I wonder what the secret industry studies say about the damage possible from an accident at a LNG port terminal involving catastrophic failure and combustion of the entire cargo of a transport while unloading high-pressure LNG.

They call a fuel-air bomb the size of a school bus 'The Mother of all bombs', what about one the size of a large ocean going tanker?

Anarcissie , October 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

Many years ago, someone was trying to build an LNG storage facility on the southwest shore of Staten Island 17 miles SW of Manhattan involving very large insulated tanks. In spite of great secrecy, there came to be much local opposition. At the time it was said that the amount of energy contained in the tanks would be comparable to a nuclear weapon. Various possible disaster scenarios were proposed, for example a tank could be compromised by accident (plane crashes into it) or terrorism, contents catch fire and explode, huge fireball emerges and drifts with the wind, possibly over New Jersey's chemical farms or even towards Manhattan. The local opponents miraculously won. As far as I know, the disused tanks are still there.

Wukchumni , October 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

This was a fuel-air bomb @ Burning Man about a dozen years ago, emanating from an oil derrick of sorts.

I was about 500 feet away when it went up, and afterwards thought maybe we were a bit too close to the action, as we got blasted with heat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyc6LTVxhJA

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:56 am

Does this page help Watt4Bob?

https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/LNG/app4.htm

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

That last one was a doozy as they say!

Nigeria 2005;

A 28-inch LNG underground pipeline exploded in Nigeria and the resulting fire engulfed an estimated 27 square kilometers.

Here's one from Cleveland;

On 20 October 1944, a liquefied natural gas storage tank in Cleveland, Ohio, split and leaked its contents, which spread, caught fire, and exploded. A half hour later, another tank exploded as well. The explosions destroyed 1 square mile (2.6 km2), killed 130, and left 600 homeless.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm

The locals in Nigeria drill hole in pipeline to get free fuel.

The Nigeria Government has been really wonderful about sharing the largess and riches of their large petroleum field in the Niger delta. Mostly with owners of expensive property around the world.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 9:05 am

I am trying to think of what might be in it for the Germans to go along with this deal but cannot see any. The gas would be far more expensive that the Russian deliveries. A fleet of tankers and the port facilities would have to be built and who is going to pick up the tab for that? Then if the terminal is in Louisiana, what happens to deliveries whenever there is a hurricane?

I cannot see anything in it for the Germans at all. Trump's gratitude? That and 50 cents won't buy you a cup of coffee. In any case Trump would gloat about the stupidity of the Germans taking him up on the deal, not feel gratitude. The US wants Germany to stick with deliveries via the Ukraine as they have their thumb on that sorry country and can threaten Germany with that fact. Nord Stream 2 (and the eventual Nord Stream 3) threaten that hold.

The killer argument is this. In terms of business and remembering what international agreements Trump has broken the past two years, who is more reliable as a business partner for Germany – Putin's Russia or Trump's America?

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 10:20 am

Apart from cost issues, If American companies rely on shale gas to keep or increase production will they be able to honor 20 year supply contracts?

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

I find it impossible to believe that a gas supplier would keep to an artificially low LNG contract if, say, a very cold winter in the US led to a shortage and extreme price spike. They'd come up with some excuse not to deliver.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:40 am

Good question that. Poland has just signed a 20 year agreement with the US so I will be curious how that works out for them. Story at - https://www.rt.com/business/441494-poland-us-gas-lng/

jsn , October 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Trumps argument appears to be that Germany as a NATO member relies on US DOD for defense, to pay for that they must buy our LNG.

jefemt , October 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

My recollection was that there was a law that prohibited export-sales of domestic US hydrocarbons. That law was under attack, and went away in the last couple years?

LNG with your F35? said the transactional Orangeman

Duck1 , October 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The fracked crude is ultralight and unsuitable for the refineries in the quantities available, hence export, which caused congress to change the law. No expert, but understand that it is used a lot as a blender with heavier stocks of crude, quite a bit going to China.

oh , October 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

The petroleum industry has been bribing lobbying the administration for quite a while to get this policy in place, The so called surplus of NG today (if there is), won't last long. Exports will create a shortage and will result in higher prices to all.

vidimi , October 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

also, if Germany were to switch to American LNG, for how long would this be a reliable energy source? Fracking wells are short lived, so what happens once they are depleted? who foots the bill?

John k , October 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm

We do. Shortage here to honor export contracts, as has happened in Australia.

Big Tap , October 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe.

So, three cheers for Trump embarrassing Merkel on this issue!

Unna , October 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Putting money aside for a moment, Trump, as well as the entire American establishment, doesn't want Russia "controlling" Germany's energy supplies. That's because they want America to control Germany's energy supplies via controlling LNG deliveries from America to Germany and by controlling gas supplies to Germany through Ukraine. This by maintaining America's control over Ukraine's totally dependent puppet government. The Germans know this so they want Nord Stream 2 & 3.

Ukraine is an unreliable energy corridor on a good day. It is run by clans of rapacious oligarchs who don't give one whit about Ukraine, the Ukrainian "people", or much of anything else except business. The 2019 presidential election may turn into a contest among President Poroshenko the Chocolate King, Yulia Tymoshenko the Gas Princess, as well as some others including neo Nazis that go downhill from there. What competent German government would want Germany's energy supplies to be dependent on that mess?

It has been said that America's worst geopolitical nightmare is an economic-political-military combination of Russia, Iran, and China in the Eurasian "heartland". Right up there, if not worse, is a close political-economic association between Germany and Russia; now especially so since such a relationship can quickly be hooked into China's New Silk Road, which America will do anything to subvert including tariffs, sanctions, confiscations of assets, promotion of political-ethnic-religious grievances where they may exist along the "Belt-Road", as well as armed insurrections, really maybe anything short of all out war with Russia and China.

Germany's trying to be polite about this saying, sure, how about a little bit of LNG along with Nord Stream 2 & 3? But the time may come, if America pushes enough, that Germany will have to make an existential choice between subservience to America, and pursuit of it's own legitimate self interest.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm

The Empire fights Back.

Study a map of the ME, and consider the silk road Terminii.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

It's hard to make NG explode, as it is with all liquid hydrocarbons. It is refrigerated, and must change from liquid to gaseous for, and be mixed with air.

I've also worked on a Gas Tanker in the summer vacations. The gas was refrigerated, and kept liquid. They is a second method, used for NG, that is to allow evaporation from the cargo, and use it as fuel for the engine (singular because there is one propulsion engine on most large ships) on the tanker.

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I dunno, there are other opinions .

[Oct 09, 2018] The Next Pillar Of Oil Demand Growth

Oct 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nick Cunningham via Oilprice.com,

The debate about peak oil demand always tends to focus on how quickly electric vehicles will replace the internal-combustion engine , especially as EV sales are accelerating. However, the petrochemical sector will be much more difficult to dislodge , and with alternatives far behind, petrochemicals will account for an increasing share of crude oil demand growth in the years ahead.

[Oct 05, 2018] Putin on Venesuella

Oct 05, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, let's get back to geopolitics. When you were talking about oil – and when everyone talks about oil and disruptions on the market, they don't just talk about Iran, they talk about Venezuela – you mentioned Venezuela at the beginning of our conversation. Last year, I interviewed President Maduro, the President of Venezuela, here. Venezuela is an ally of Russia. Russia has a lot of oil interests in Venezuela. Oil production in Venezuela is not going well, and politically, things are going very poorly, as you know. Millions of people are leaving the country. There's hunger. There is a lot of talk in the United States, and not only in the United States, in Central and South America, that perhaps it's time for President Maduro to go. Do you agree with that?

Vladimir Putin: This is up to the people of Venezuela, not anyone else in the world.

As for various means of influencing the situation in Venezuela, there should be no such thing All of us influence each other in one way or another, but it should not be done in a way that makes the civilian population even worse off. This is a matter of principle.

Should we rejoice that life is extremely difficult for people there and want to make things even worse with a view to overthrowing President Maduro? He was recently targeted in a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt. Shall we condone such methods of political resistance too?

I think this is absolutely unacceptable. This and anything like it. The people of the country should be given a chance to shape their destiny themselves. Nothing should be imposed from the outside.

This is what has emerged historically in Venezuela. What has emerged historically in the Persian Gulf has emerged there, and the same in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. Nobody should go in there like a bull in a china shop without understanding what is taking place there, instead thinking only that the bull is one of the largest and smartest animals. It is necessary to take a look and give people a chance to figure it out. I have a very simple outlook on this.

[Oct 05, 2018] Russian Energy Week International Forum: Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the second Russian Energy Week Energy Efficiency and Energy Development International Forum.

Oct 03, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Indeed, we have now met with the Secretary General and spoke about our cooperation in detail. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that probably for the first time in history all participants in the agreements honoured their commitments in full. I believe Russia made a commitment to reduce production by 30,000 barrels, and we did this, just like all other participants in this agreement.

The market is now balanced. The current growth of oil prices is by and large not a result of our efforts but triggered by attendant circumstances, expectations of decisions on Iran – incidentally these decisions are absolutely illegal and harmful to the world economy. The fall in oil production in North Africa is also linked with political circumstances – a civil war and so on. The reduction in Venezuela is also taking place for domestic political reasons and in connection with the restrictions it has introduced. This is what it is all about.

As you said, President Trump considers this price high. I think he is right to some extent but this suits us very well – $65–$70–$75 per barrel. This is quite enough to ensure the effective performance of energy companies and the investment process. But let us be straight – such prices have largely been produced by the activities of the US administration. I am referring to expectations of sanctions against Iran and political problems in Venezuela. Look what is happening in Libya – the state is destroyed. This is the result of irresponsible policy that is directly affecting the world economy. Therefore, we must work closer with each other, not only in the energy industry but also in the political area so as to prevent such setbacks.

As for increasing production – we have already increased it by 400,000 barrels as we agreed with our partners. We can raise it by another 200,000–300,000 barrels per day if need be. Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, is it right for the President of the United States to be so actively trying to manage the price of oil? We're coming up on elections in the United States, he's concerned about the price of gas. A gallon of gas in the United States costs almost $3. Traditionally, voters punish the party in power when prices rise ahead of elections. Is he doing the right thing, or actually should he step out of the oil market and let the market dictate what happens?

Vladimir Putin : I have already said this and want to repeat it again: we had a very good meeting with the President of the United States in Helsinki. But if we had talked about the issue we are discussing now, I would have told him: Donald, if you want to find out who is guilty for the increase in prices, you should look in the mirror. That's the truth. We have just spoken about the geopolitical factors behind the price hikes. They exist and really play a role in the market. It is better not to interfere in these market processes, not to try and get some competitive advantage by using political instruments and not to try to regulate prices as the Soviet Union did. This does not end well. After all, when talking about our negotiated actions with OPEC we do not use non-market instruments. We are merely matching supply and demand in the market, no more than that. Everything else today has to do with geopolitical factors that influence prices.

As for gas prices, they are calculated on the basis of oil prices. Oil prices are produced by the market whereas gas prices are linked to oil prices. Gas prices fluctuate depending on oil prices with a small time lag of five to six months. That is all.

What is happening in the United States? The United States is one of the world's biggest producers of both oil and gas. We know everything about new technology that is being countered by environmentalists. I agree with them, this production is often carried out using barbarous methods we do not use.

Who is trying to exert pressure on the administration? I do not know. Let us talk about the energy industry. Please do not involve me in domestic political processes and squabbles in the United States. It is for you to figure out or else we will be accused again of meddling in the domestic political life of the US.

Ryan Chilcote: When I spoke about the price of gasoline in the United States, a gallon of gasoline, I meant the price of petrol, of "benzin," not "gaz."

Vladimir Putin : As you understand, this is the price of the end product and this applies to oil products. This price is not simply formed from the primary price of oil or gas if we are talking about gas fuel. State policy also exerts an influence on the final price for consumers. And what about taxes? Why do some European countries double prices on our gas before it reaches the final consumers? This is all state policy.

So it would be best not to point your finger at energy producers all the time. You should figure out what economic policy is being pursued in a country and what is being done to make sure the product reaches the customers at affordable prices. That is all. Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, let me ask you about this EU initiative. What do you make of it?

Vladimir Putin : (commenting on the EU initiative to protect European companies in connection with US sanctions against Iran) It is a bit delayed but better late than never. It is delayed because quite recently the President of France speaking, I believe, in New York directly announced the need to enhance the economic sovereignty of the European Union and reduce its dependence on the United States. This is certainly right.

And how can it be otherwise if, as I have already said, someone is trying to gain competitive advantages in business by using political instruments? I think nobody will like this but this is happening and we are seeing this today.

This is why Europe is thinking about some new opportunities in connection with these circumstances, for instance about dollar-free settlements that incidentally will undermine the dollar. In this context – I have said this many times but would like to repeat it again – I believe that our American partners are committing a huge strategic mistake and undermining confidence in the dollar as today's only reserve currency. They are undermining confidence in it as a universal instrument and are really biting the hand that feeds.

This is strange, even surprising, but I think this is a typical mistake made by any empire when people believe nothing will happen, that everything is so powerful, so strong and stable that there will be no negative consequences. But no, they will come sooner or later. This is the first point.

And the second point, Europe wants to fulfil its international commitments – this is how we understand our European partners – in this case, as regards Iran's nuclear deal, and sees in it, as we do, an element of stability in global affairs, in global politics, which, in one way or another, is reflected in the global economy, as we have already noted.

< >

Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, I'd like to go back to Iran for a second. One of the things that the United States would like to see Iran do is to obviously withdraw from Syria. The US national security advisor just last week said that the United States is going to now stay in Syria as long as Iran and its proxies are there. Russia has been very clear. Russia says that the US military's presence in Iran is illegal. What can you do about the US being in Syria?

Vladimir Putin : There are two options available to remedy the situation.

The first is that the United States must obtain the mandate of the UN Security Council to have its armed forces on the territory of another country, in this case Syria, or receive an invitation from the legitimate Syrian government to deploy its troops there for whatever reason. International law does not allow the presence of any country on the territory of another country for other reasons.

Ryan Chilcote: What can Russia do to change the US' position? The US says it's going to stay, that Iran has to leave, and the US will stay until Iran pulls out of Syria. So what can Russia do?

Vladimir Putin : As we are all well aware, in this particular case the United States (just read the UN Charter to see that my point is correct, and this is not news to anyone) is violating the UN Charter and international law by its presence on the territory of another country without the authorisation of the UN Security Council, without a corresponding resolution and without the invitation of the government of that country. There is nothing good about it.

We have been operating on the premise that we nonetheless cooperate with our US partners in fighting terrorism and ISIS in Syria. But as ISIS gradually ceases to exist in Syria, there is just no other rationale, even outside the framework of international law.

What, in my opinion, can be done and what should we all strive to achieve? We must strive to ensure that there are no foreign troops from other countries in Syria at all. This is what we need to achieve.

Ryan Chilcote : Including Russian forces, of course.

Vladimir Putin : Yes, including Russian, if the Syrian government so decides.

Ryan Chilcote : You just struck a deal with President Erdogan on Syria. Do you think that that's going to hold?

Vladimir Putin : How is that related to oil?

Russian Energy Week International Forum.
Russian Energy Week International Forum.

Ryan Chilcote : It's in a very sensitive geopolitical area.

Vladimir Putin : Maybe it is related, since Syria also produces energy resources and influences the market situation one way or another.

In this sense, yes, we need a stable Syria, no question about it. I am not even talking about other aspects related to international security and fighting terrorism.

This is a very good deal (between Russia and Turkey in this particular case), because it prevented more bloodshed. As you may recall, it includes our agreement to create a demilitarised zone 15–20 kilometres deep, a de-escalation zone near the city of Idlib, known as the Idlib zone. I would like to note that along with our Turkish partners we are now working to implement these agreements. We can see it and are grateful to them for their efforts, and we will continue to work with them on this matter with the support of Iran.

Ryan Chilcote : Let's return to energy, or at least more directly to energy, President Putin, and talk about Nord Stream 2. That's the pipeline that Gazprom wants to build between Russia and Germany. Again, the President of the United States has said his opinion about this. He says that Germany is effectively a hostage already of Russia, because it depends on Russia for so much of its energy and gas supplies, and that it's vulnerable to "extortion and intimidation" from Russia. What do you make of that?

Vladimir Putin : My response is very simple. Donald and I talked about this very briefly in Helsinki. In any sale, including the sale of our gas to Europe, we are traditionally the supplier, of pipeline gas I mean. We have been doing this since the 1960s. We are known for doing it in a highly responsible and professional manner, and at competitive prices for the European market. In general, if you look at the characteristics of the entire gas market, the price depends on the quantity and on sales volumes. The distance between Russia and Europe is such that pipeline gas is optimal. And the price will always be competitive, always. This is something all experts understand.

We have a lot of people here in this room, in the first row, who could easily be seated next to me, and I would gladly listen to them, because each one is an expert, so each of them can tell you that. And so Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project, I want to emphasise this, warranted by rising energy consumption, including in Europe, and falling domestic production in European countries. They have to get it from somewhere.

Russian gas accounts for around 34 percent of the European market. Is this a lot or a little? It is not insubstantial, but not a monopoly either. Europe certainly can and does actually buy gas from other suppliers, but American liquefied gas is about 30 percent more expensive than our pipeline gas on the European market. If you were buying products of the same quality and you were offered the same product for 30 percent more , what would you choose? So, what are we talking about?

If Europe starts buying American gas for 30 percent more than ours, the entire economy of Germany, in this case, would quickly become dramatically less competitive. Everyone understands this; it is an obvious fact.

But business is business, and we are ready to work with all partners. As you know, our German partners have already begun offshore construction. We are ready to begin as well. We have no problems with obtaining any permits. Finland agreed, and so did Sweden, Germany, and the Russian Federation. This is quite enough for us. The project will be implemented.

< >

Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, did you want to jump in here?

Vladimir Putin: (following up on the remarks by CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden) We understand the realities and treat all our partners with respect. We have very good, amiable long-term relations with all our partners, including the company represented by my neighbour on the left. This company is working in the Russian market and working with great success, but we understand everything very well and understand the realities. We are carrying out the project ourselves. We do not and will not have any problems here. That is to say, they may arise, of course, but we will resolve them.

Some things are beyond the realm of political intrigue. Take supplies to the Federal Republic of Germany. Not everyone knows that the decision was made there to shut down the nuclear power industry. But that is 34 percent of its total energy balance. We are proud of the development of the nuclear power industry in the Russian Federation, although the figure for us is just 16 percent. We are still thinking about how to raise it to 25 percent and are making plans. Theirs is 34 percent and everything will be closed down. What will this vacuum be filled with? What?

Look at LNG [liquefied natural gas ] which is sold by our various competitors and partners. Yes, LNG can and should be in the common basket of Europe and Germany. Do you know how many ports built in Europe are used for LNG transfer? Just 25 percent. Why? Because it is unprofitable.

There are companies and regions for which it is profitable to supply LNG and this is being done. The LNG market is growing very fast. But as for Europe, it is not very profitable, or unprofitable altogether.

Therefore, in one way or another we have already seen Nord Stream 1 through and its performance is excellent. Incidentally, our gas supplies to Europe are continuously growing. Last year, I believe, they amounted to 194 billion cubic metres and this year they will add up to 200 billion cubic metres or maybe even more.

We have loaded practically all our infrastructure facilities: Blue Stream to Turkey, Nord Stream 1 is fully loaded. Yamal-Europe is fully loaded – it is almost approaching 100 percent, while the demand is going up. Life itself dictates that we carry out such projects.

Ryan Chilcote : President Trump's position on American LNG exports is perhaps a little bit more nuanced. His point is that instead of buying Russian gas, even perhaps if it's a bit more expensive, the Germans and other European allies of the United States, because the United States is paying for their defence, should be buying American gas even if there is, I guess the argument suggests, a little bit of a higher price for that

Vladimir Putin : You know, this argument doesn't really work, in my opinion. I understand Donald. He is fighting for the interests of his country and his business. He is doing the right thing and I would do the same in his place.

As for LNG, as I have already said, it is not just a little more expensive in the European market but 30 percent more. This is not a little bit more, it is a lot more, beyond all reason, and is basically unworkable.

But there are markets where LNG will be adopted, where it is efficient, for instance in the Asia-Pacific region. By the way, where did the first shipment of LNG from our new company Yamal-LNG go? Where did the first tanker go? To the United States, because it was profitable. The United States fought this project but ended up buying the first tanker. It was profitable to buy it in this market, at this place and time, and it was purchased.

LNG is still being shipped to the American continent. It's profitable.

It makes no sense to fight against what life brings. We simply need to look for common approaches in order to create favourable market conditions, including, for example, conditions conducive to the production and consumption of LNG in the United States itself and securing the best prices for producers and consumers. This could be achieved by coordinating policy, rather than just imposing decisions on partners.

As for the argument, "We defend you, so buy this from us even if it makes you worse off", I don't think it is very convincing either. Where does it lead? It has led to the Europeans starting to talk about the need to have a more independent defence capability, as well as the need to create a defence alliance of their own that allegedly will not undermine NATO while allowing the Europeans to pursue a real defence policy. This is what, in my view, such steps are leading to.

This is why I am sure that a great many things will be revised. Life will see to that.

< >

Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, let's get back to geopolitics. When you were talking about oil – and when everyone talks about oil and disruptions on the market, they don't just talk about Iran, they talk about Venezuela – you mentioned Venezuela at the beginning of our conversation. Last year, I interviewed President Maduro, the President of Venezuela, here. Venezuela is an ally of Russia. Russia has a lot of oil interests in Venezuela. Oil production in Venezuela is not going well, and politically, things are going very poorly, as you know. Millions of people are leaving the country. There's hunger. There is a lot of talk in the United States, and not only in the United States, in Central and South America, that perhaps it's time for President Maduro to go. Do you agree with that?

Vladimir Putin: This is up to the people of Venezuela, not anyone else in the world.

As for various means of influencing the situation in Venezuela, there should be no such thing All of us influence each other in one way or another, but it should not be done in a way that makes the civilian population even worse off. This is a matter of principle.

Should we rejoice that life is extremely difficult for people there and want to make things even worse with a view to overthrowing President Maduro? He was recently targeted in a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt. Shall we condone such methods of political resistance too?

I think this is absolutely unacceptable. This and anything like it. The people of the country should be given a chance to shape their destiny themselves. Nothing should be imposed from the outside.

This is what has emerged historically in Venezuela. What has emerged historically in the Persian Gulf has emerged there, and the same in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. Nobody should go in there like a bull in a china shop without understanding what is taking place there, instead thinking only that the bull is one of the largest and smartest animals. It is necessary to take a look and give people a chance to figure it out. I have a very simple outlook on this.

I would like to return to the previous question. After all, we are dealing with energy. I would like to confirm what my colleagues said here about Russia's energy resources and potential. They are indeed enormous. Truly enormous. We are in first place in gas reserves. I believe we have 73.3 trillion cubic metres of gas. The Yamal peninsula was mentioned here but NOVATEK will carry out one more project, Arctic 2, on a neighbouring peninsula. It is about the same size and with the same investment. The first tranche in this project is $27 billion, and the second tranche is about $25 billion. I believe all this will be carried out.

We have the world's largest coal reserves – 275 billion tonnes. We are third in oil reserves. Third in the world in oil reserves. We are the world's largest country by territory. If we take a deeper look we are bound to find many other things. So, we are indeed lucky.

But we were given this not by the Lord alone. Past generations of ours developed these lands. We should never forget what was done by our predecessors, and we will continue to build on it. We will work with our partners. Incidentally, almost all major energy companies work in Russia.

Ryan Chilcote: When we were talking about the EU initiative to try and allow trade between EU countries and Iran, I couldn't help but remember that Russia itself, faced with sanctions, is thinking about a plan to wean itself off of the dollar. This is something that many countries have tried and failed. Why does Russia think that it can succeed in this?

Vladimir Putin : You used the past tense or is the translation inaccurate? Faced. Have the sanctions been lifted? Did I miss something?

Ryan Chilcote: Russia is facing with sanctions.

Vladimir Putin: Okay then. You know, sometimes I think that it would be good for us if those who want to impose sanctions would go ahead and impose all the sanctions they can think of as soon as possible. ( Applause. ) This would free our hands to defend our national interests however we deem most effective for us.

It is very harmful, in general. It hurts the ones doing it. We all figured this out long ago. That is why we have never supported and will never support illegal sanctions that circumvent the United Nations.

Ryan Chilcote: Since you brought up the subject of sanctions, as you know after the Skripal poisoning, Russia is facing even more of them, perhaps as soon as November. What is Russia prepared to do to change the trajectory of relations with the United States and the West?

Vladimir Putin : We are not the ones introducing these sanctions against the United States or the West. We are just responding to their actions, and we do this in very restrained, careful steps so as not to cause harm, primarily to ourselves. And we will continue to do so.

As regards the Skripals and all that, this latest spy scandal is being artificially inflated. I have seen some media outlets and your colleagues push the idea that Skripal is almost a human rights activist. But he is just a spy, a traitor to the motherland. There is such a term, a 'traitor to the motherland,' and that's what he is.

Imagine you are a citizen of a country, and suddenly somebody comes along who betrays your country. How would you, or anybody present here, a representative of any country, feel about such a person? He is scum, that's all. But a whole information campaign has been deployed around it.

I think it will come to an end, I hope it will, and the sooner the better. We have repeatedly told our colleagues to show us the documents. We will see what can be done and conduct an investigation.

We probably have an agreement with the UK on assistance in criminal cases that outlines the procedure. Well, submit the documents to the Prosecutor General's Office as required. We will see what actually happened there.

The fuss between security services did not start yesterday. As you know, espionage, just like prostitution, is one of the most 'important' jobs in the world. So what? Nobody shut it down and nobody can shut it down yet.

Ryan Chilcote : Espionage aside, I think there are two other issues. One is the use of chemical weapons, and let's not forget that in addition to the Skripal family being affected in that attack, there was also a homeless person who was killed when they came in contact with the nerve agent Novichok.

Vladimir Putin: Listen, since we are talking about poisoning Skripal, are you saying that we also poisoned a homeless person there? Sometimes I look at what is happening around this case and it amazes me. Some guys came to England and started poisoning homeless people. Such nonsense. What is this all about? Are they working for cleaning services? Nobody wanted to poison This Skripal is a traitor, as I said. He was caught and punished. He spent a total of five years in prison. We released him. That's it. He left. He continued to cooperate with and consult some security services. So what? What are we talking about right now? Oil, gas or espionage? What is your question?

Let's move on to the other oldest profession and discuss the latest developments in that business. (Laughter.)

Ryan Chilcote : A lot of what we've discussed today goes back to Russia's relationship with the United States, and so I'll ask you just a couple of questions about that and we can move on. The US says you personally ordered the 2016 interference in the elections – I know you deny that. You have said you wanted Trump elected. What do you want to see in 2018 from these midterm election

Vladimir Putin: In Russia or the United States? What are you asking me about?

Ryan Chilcote : What would you like to see happen in the 2018 midterm elections in the United States.

Vladimir Putin: What I want – and I am completely serious – is that this nightmare about Russia's alleged interference with some election campaign in the United States ends. I want the United States, the American elite, the US elite to calm down and clear up their own mess and restore a certain balance of common sense and national interests, just like in the oil market. I want the domestic political squabbles in the United States to stop ruining Russia-US relations and adversely affecting the situation in the world.

Ryan Chilcote: I'll ask this final question on the political front. In Helsinki, you said that you wanted President Trump to win because he favours better relations with Russia. But in fact, as Russia itself says all of the time, relations between Russia and the United States seem to get worse every day. Wouldn't it be better for Russia to have a president in the United States that is not politically compromised by the widely held perception that this country helped him get into the White House?

Vladimir Putin : Firstly, I do not believe President Trump was compromised. The people elected him, the people voted for him. There are those who do not like this; those who do not want to respect the opinion of the American voters. But this is not our business – this is an internal matter of the United States.

Would we be better off or worse? I cannot say either. As is known, there are no ifs in politics. Maybe it would have been even worse, how are we to know? We must derive from what is , and work with that. Good or bad, there is no other President of the United States; there is no other United States either.

We will work. The US is the largest world power, a leader in many spheres, our natural partner in a variety of projects, including global security, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, climate change, as well as the environment. We have a lot of common problems which overlap that we have to work on together.

We presume that sooner or later the moment will come when we will be able to restore full-fledged relations.

< >

Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, I know you need to get a meeting with the Austrian Chancellor, so I'm going to wrap this session up with you, sir. The title of our conversation today is Sustainable Energy for a Changing World. You've been driving Russian energy policy for nearly 20 years now. What changes in the world, or what change in the world, would you identify as the biggest concern for you, and what gives you the most optimism when it comes to what we're seeing.

Vladimir Putin: If you allow me, I would stick to the subject. The questions that you asked concern me as well.

Indeed, we are apparently witnessing global warming, but the reasons for this are not entirely clear, because there is still no answer. The so-called anthropogenic emissions are most likely not the main cause of this warming. It could be caused by global changes, cosmic changes, some changes in the galaxy that are invisible to us – and that's that, we don't even understand what is actually happening. Probably, anthropogenic emissions influence the situation somehow, but many experts believe they have an insignificant effect. This is my first point.

Secondly, I already said this, and I can remind you once again. Everyone blames the United States now. As you see, we have many problems and unresolved matters with the United States, and the US President and I approach many international affairs differently and evaluate our bilateral relations differently. But we still have to be objective. There was a time I saw President Bush refuse to sign the Kyoto agreements. But we still found a solution. I think the same will happen in this case. Well, Trump believes that the Paris Agreement is unprofitable for his country for a variety of reasons. I will not go into details now, he must have talked about this many times, and we know his position.

But I think, we should not antagonise the relationship with the US, because without them it would be impossible to reduce the influence of anthropogenic air pollution on the global climate even a little bit. Therefore, one way or another we need to involve the US in this discussion and this joint work. As I understand, President Trump does not object. He says that he dislikes some provisions of the Paris agreement, but he is not opposed to working with the global community on this matter.

Now, as regards the pollution and the future of the global energy, in order to fight the heat, we need no less energy resources than to fight the cold. Secondly, my colleagues were right, millions of people do not have access to energy resources, and we will never prohibit the use of the contemporary blessings of civilization, it is just unreal. The economy and the industry will keep developing.

Of course, in Russia we also join the best international practices, so-called energy efficient technology that has a little bit of influence on the environment, and we, of course, will continue this.

But I also agree with our Saudi colleague. These alternative sources are very important, but we will not be able to go without hydrocarbons in the next decades. People will have to use them for many decades to come. We mostly speak about oil, but coal is what is used most.

We are speaking about the need to use electric cars, but where will the electricity come from? From the socket? Okay, from the socket, but how did it get there? First we need to burn coal to produce electricity, while gas remains the most environmentally friendly energy resource. So we need to take a comprehensive approach to all such matters.

Ryan Chilcote : Patrick Pouyané posed a challenge to you. He said it would be good if Russia used less coal. Are you prepared to accept that challenge and reduce consumption of coal here in Russia and production?

Vladimir Putin: We have signed the relevant Paris agreements and taken up our responsibilities. We have implemented the first stage of the Kyoto Protocol, and now the Paris Agreement will replace it. We have taken up all necessary responsibilities and will adhere to them. The question is not about reducing the usage of coal for domestic needs, we are not the largest emitter, the US and Asian countries emit much more. Here, we are not the leaders. We sell a lot of coal, but also not more than anyone else and we only help cover the demand. The question is not about us, but about modern technology that uses primary energy resources.

Let us go back to the last question, could you please repeat it?

Ryan Chilcote : Well, the title of the panel is Sustainable Energy for a Changing World. You've been driving Russia's energy policy for nearly 20 years now. What changes, or what is the change that gives you the most hope and what do you think the biggest challenge that you see amongst the changes is for energy?

Vladimir Putin : Concern is caused by uncertainty. In politics, in security, and in the economy. Volatility, in other words. This is it. And the number of uncertainties is growing. This is what causes concern – the unpredictability of the situation.

Ryan Chilcote : Are you talking about your colleague, the President of the United States?

Vladimir Putin : Not exactly. He certainly makes a significant contribution to this unpredictability by virtue of being the President of the largest world power, but not only him. I am talking about the situation in general.

Look at the rise of extremism – where did it come from? Why is this problem so acute today? Why is this extremism turning into terrorism? Doesn't that concern us? This is what we need to understand – where it all came from.

I will not go into details because we have a limited amount of time. But this is happening in many spheres. In the economy – the same thing. This growing uncertainty in all fields is what causes concern.

Now, what causes optimism? Common sense, I think. No matter how hard it is, people, humankind have always found ways out of the most difficult situations, guided by the interests of their countries, their peoples, and it is the goal of any government to ensure the well-being as well as the growth of the welfare of its people.

I think that sooner or later, and the sooner the better, the realisation will come that we need to get away from controversy as soon as possible, in any case, away from trying to resolve this controversy with unacceptable tools and ways that go beyond international law. It seems to me that it is necessary to strengthen the leading role of the United Nations, and on this foundation, move on.

Ryan Chilcote : And on that note, please join me in thanking and congratulating our participants in today's panel and, of course, our host today the President of Russia.

Vladimir Putin : Thank you very much.

[Oct 05, 2018] A few days ago the annual Russian Energy Week conference occurred where Putin gave a speech and answered numerous questions related to energy and geopolitics.

Oct 05, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Oct 5, 2018 6:44:15 PM | link

Per @54--

Thanks for your answer, which is what I'd presumed. The bottom line seems to be that nothing's unhackable--no matter what, it will get hacked.

What follows is OT, but attempts to supply a reason for the propaganda pimple burst. A few days ago the annual Russian Energy Week conference occurred where Putin gave a speech and answered numerous questions related to energy and geopolitics. A few of the choice quotes related to his answers were published, but the transcript portion recording the Q&A had yet to be published in full at the Kremlin's website. The transcript's now complete regarding those Q&As directed at and answered by Putin, and what he has to say on a wide spectrum of issues is highly educational: No one can say they know how Putin feels about a particular issue without having read his answers. A few days ago, I tried linking to the Kremlin's website only to have the post eaten by TypePad's Cloud. Here's the link . Reading his answers and comments might lead Russophobic members of Trump's Swamp to burst a propaganda pimple in revenge for his honesty.

[Sep 21, 2018] A Container Ship Is Sailing Through Russia's Arctic Passage for the First Time

Sep 21, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Another landmark for the "Northeastern passage" -- so far only tankers had made the trip Brendon Petersen 16 hours ago | 1,546 5 Explorers and navigators have long searched for a way to move ships through the Arctic Circle as find a faster way to move goods between the Atlantic and the Pacific without having to go around either Asia or South America. Groups of people hunted for the fabled Northwest passage through North America for decades. The problem, of course, is that the Arctic contains too much ice.

Over the past few years, however, ice levels in the Arctic have been hitting record lows thanks to climate change, and while its effects are almost universally negative, one benefit is opened northern sea routes. Over the past month, a container ship sailing from Eastern Russia is pioneering a new Arctic route by being the first such ship to cross the Arctic Ocean .

On August 23, the container ship Venta Maersk left the Russian port of Vladivostok and headed to Bremerhaven in Germany. Normally, a trip like that would take the Venta Maersk through the Suez Canal on a 34 day trip. Instead, the ship will sail through the sea north of Russia on a route that will only take 23 days.

Last week, the Venta Maersk passed through the Sannikov Strait, the narrowest and most hazardous part of its journey, and is expected to arrive in Germany by the end of the week. Once it arrives, it will become the first container ship to complete a successful route through the Arctic Circle.

[Sep 21, 2018] Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up analyst to RT -- RT US News

Notable quotes:
"... "pushing for higher and higher oil prices" ..."
"... "they stop it," ..."
"... "protecting those countries." ..."
"... "The US economy is overstimulated by the Trump $4 trillion tax cuts for investors and businesses," ..."
"... "When Trump accuses Iran publicly, it gives the global oil speculators a reason to drive up the price," ..."
"... "He is whipping up his domestic base," ..."
"... "Trump [is] trying to blame foreigners of all kinds for economic situation in the US." ..."
"... "another factual misrepresentation," ..."
"... Like this story? Share it with a friend! ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.rt.com

Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up – analyst to RT Published time: 21 Sep, 2018 21:03 Edited time: 21 Sep, 2018 21:28 Get short URL Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up – analyst to RT FILE PHOTO. © Lucy Nicholson / Reuters The tax and trade policies of Donald Trump are, in fact, what have contributed to the surge in oil prices, a US economics professor told RT, adding that the US President's tough words to OPEC are a political stunt. On Thursday, Trump accused OPEC's Middle East producers of "pushing for higher and higher oil prices" and demanded "they stop it," adding that the US is "protecting those countries." Oil prices showed a mixed reaction to Trump's words. The Brent benchmark fell 43 cents to $78.97 per barrel, while the US Texas Intermediate grew by 9 cents to $71.21.

We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2018

OPEC does, in fact, control oil supply to a significant extent but that does not necessarily mean that it is also in full control of the oil prices, Jack Rasmus, a professor of Political Economy at St. Mary's College of California, told RT, adding that the policies pursued by the US president himself play a much bigger role in what happens to oil and gasoline prices in the US.

Read more © Nick Oxford Trump demands OPEC lower oil prices, claims US 'protects' Middle East countries

"The US economy is overstimulated by the Trump $4 trillion tax cuts for investors and businesses," Rasmus explained, adding that the rising inflation is one of the primary factors contributing to the oil price surge. Apart from that, Trump's trade war with China and even with the US allies in the West also drives up the prices, as businesses also have to raise them to adapt to the tariffs that both the US and its trading partners have imposed recently.

Trump's sanctions war on Iran also does not make the situation any better. The US sanctions, which are aimed at bringing Iran's oil exports to "zero," led to a decrease in Iran's oil sales, thus cutting the supply and driving the prices up. As if it was not enough, Trump's rhetoric only adds fuel to the fire, according to Rasmus.

"When Trump accuses Iran publicly, it gives the global oil speculators a reason to drive up the price," he told RT, adding that it is the "global speculators that are driving the short-term oil prices." "There is a connection between the speculators and Trump policies. When he makes those statements, it certainly does contribute to the oil prices rise," the analyst explained.

This rhetoric was more about winning voters' support ahead of the November mid-term elections than about really remedying the situation in the oil market, Rasmus says. "He is whipping up his domestic base," the analyst said, adding that "Trump [is] trying to blame foreigners of all kinds for economic situation in the US."

#US will find it difficult to cut #Iran 's oil exports completely as the oil market is already tight - Tehran https://t.co/T1oiFmGvOq pic.twitter.com/uaJO0Qn8gt

-- RT (@RT_com) September 15, 2018

Trump got elected on a platform of economic nationalism in particular, Rasmus said, adding that the president now sticks to that narrative and blames foreigners –be they immigrants or some foreign competitors– for the US' woes. However, this is "another factual misrepresentation," the analyst said.

As oil prices remain high, prices for gasoline in the US are growing. The average cost of gasoline has risen 60 percent from $1.87 per gallon in February 2016 to over $3 in September.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

[Sep 20, 2018] This scenario would leave the US with the main sources of 'low production cost' Middle East energy in its hands (i.e. Gulf, Iran and Iraqi oil and gas).

Sep 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Sep 19, 2018 9:05:12 PM | link

Alastair Crooke's latest at Strategic Culture.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/09/18/two-major-middle-east-projects-afoot-gaining-mass-they-may-collide-before-long.html
....But a turnaround in Iraq also puts a spike into the balloon of President Trump's aspiration to reassert US energy dominance over the Mideast. Iran – it was hoped – would ultimately capitulate and fall to economic and political pressures, and as the Iranian domino capsized, it would take with it, crashing down into political acquiescence, the Iraqi domino.

This scenario would leave the US with the main sources of 'low production cost' Middle East energy in its hands (i.e. Gulf, Iran and Iraqi oil and gas). On the face of this week's events however, it looks more likely that these resources - or at least, the greater energy resources of Iran and Iraq - will end up in the Russian sphere (together with Syria's unexplored Levant Basin prospects). And this Russian 'heartland', energy-producing sphere, may, in the end, prove to be a more than substantive rival to US (newly emerged as 'the world's top oil producer') aspirations for restoring its Mideast energy dominance.....

The piece covers both Trump's plans for global energy dominance by taking full control of middle east oil and also the Trump Kushner moves against the Palestinians.

[Sep 19, 2018] One would think that the optimal strategy for a country that has oil is to ally itself with a military power that can deter invasion by some other military power, without having the ally's troops actually present on the territory

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher

x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 2:27 am
So people think that oil production next year will not meet demand. Of course consumption will equal production, but demand will be higher, and we won't be belabor this further because the point here is a question above -- how does society react too insufficient oil?

The question is never analyzed in a particular way. It's usually evaluated from the consumer's perspective. Who does what to get the oil they need. We can imagine they bid higher, we can imagine that day seize the oil enroute to someone else, and we can imagine a magical agreement on the part of everyone to stop all economic activity not involved in food production/distribution to reduce global consumption.

What seldom is described is the decision making process within the leadership of oil producers and exporters. It seems clear that a sudden awareness of insufficiency would yield leadership meetings making decisions not about how to distribute more oil to customers, but rather how to keep the oil for future generations of the producing country, without getting invaded and destroyed.

One would think that the optimal strategy for a country that has oil is to ally itself with a military power that can deter invasion by some other military power, without having the ally's troops actually present on the territory. Or perhaps more effective would be investing in the necessary explosives or nuclear material for one's own oil fields, and inform potential invaders that the oil will remain the property of the country whose geography covers it, or the fields will be contaminated for hundreds of years to deny them to anyone else.

Clearly this is the optimal path for an oil producer and not seeking some technology that can allow them to drain the resources of future generations more rapidly now.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 6:13 am
So people think that oil production next year will not meet demand. Of course consumption will equal production, but demand will be higher,

Watcher, I assume you think demand is what people want. But there is no way to measure what people want but can't afford. So "demand" in that sense has no meaning whatsoever. So what happens is the price of gasoline, or whatever, rises or falls until supply equals demand. As prices rise, demand falls and as prices fall, demand rises because people can now afford it. Therefore demand always equals consumption. Demand is what people buy at the price they can afford. I wish we had a word for what people want but even if we did there would be no way to measure it. A poll perhaps? 😉

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 6:35 am
Ron,

I answered that above
http://peakoilbarrel.com/opec-august-production-data-2/#comment-651890

Estimating demand is essential for a company and can determine its survival. Demand is dependent on price, so demand estimates are essential for deciding the price of a product. The curves for price and demand cross at a point that maximizes income.

Demand is estimated statistically (polls sometimes), with models, and expert forecast. It has a large uncertainty.

"there is no way to measure what people want but can't afford."

That is potential demand at a lower price point. It is estimated in the same way. Companies decide to lower their prices with hopes to realize that lower-price demand.

"demand always equals consumption."

Exactly. Demand becomes consumption when realized, so it only makes sense to talk about demand in the future or the present (due to lack of real-time data). It doesn't make sense to talk about past demand, because it becomes consumption or sales.

Watcher x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 12:26 pm
There is a numerical measure for how much people want gasoline, regardless of price.

It is the length of the line of cars at the gas station in the 1970s. Demand was measured in 100s of feet. Price somewhat doesn't matter. If you can't afford it, you put it on a credit card and then default.

Guym x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 2:20 pm
Put it on the credit card and not pay it. Because, it was de fault of the company to give it to you in the first place.
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 7:18 pm
The length of the queue is an interesting metric by which to measure the want that people have for an item. Nice one. I'm gonna use that. Reminds me of my Dad's old story about lining up for a week to buy tickets to see The Beatles.
Fred Magyar x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 9:30 pm
When you are lining up to buy tickets to see the Beatles it might be called a 'Want' or a 'Desire'. However, when it is the line at the soup kitchen it becomes 'Hunger' or 'Desperation'!
And that queue can sometimes feel like a hundred miles
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 9:17 pm
I remember that -- -
It was eye opening.
TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 12:58 am
The bigger issue is people, Business, & gov'ts servicing their debt. If the cost of energy increases, it make it more difficult to service their debt. Recall that Oil prices peaked at $147 right before the beginning of the 2008/2009 economic crisis. Since then 2008 Debt continued to soar as companies & gov'ts piled on more debt. Debt is promise on future production. Borrow now and pay it back over time.

I recall the presentation Steven Kopits did about 4 or 5 years ago that stated Oil production was well below demand. I think real global oil demand was projected to be about 120mmbd back in 2012-2013 (sorry don't recall the actual figures).

I think the bigger factor is how steep the declines will be. Presumably all of the super giants are in the same shape and likely heavily relied on horizontal drilling to offset natural decline rates. Presuming as the oil column shrinks in the decline rates will rapidly accelerate. Most of the Artic\Deep water projects were cancelled back in 2014\2015, and I believe most of those projects would take about 7 years to complete and need between Oil at $120 to $150/bbl (in 2012 dollars) to be economical. I am not sure the world can sustainably afford $120+ oil, especially considering the amount of new debt that has been added in the past 10 years.

Ron Wrote:
" I wish we had a word for what people want but even if we did there would be no way to measure it"

Perhaps the word "Gluttony" or the phase "Business As Usual". People don't like change, especially when the result, is a decrease in living standards.

Adam Ash x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 3:11 am
Being willing to pay more for oil may change who gets it. But it will not alter the fact that someone who wants oil will not get it. That will be a ripple of market information which will travel around the world pretty quick, I should imagine!
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 7:31 pm
There is always somebody who wants oil but cannot afford it.

This is unlikely to change in the next 30 to 40 years.

farmboy x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 10:52 am
The vast majority in almost all the places in the world would like to use more oil but their income is not enough so they end up doing with less. That includes me. Who doesn't want a bigger faster newer lawn mower, truck, or tractor? What person would not prefer the latest iphone etc. ? or going on vacation, eating out at high end steakhouses? The main reason they can't is because it would take more and cheaper oil for them to be able to afford it. Else they can only try to take it away from someone else? The peak in global oil production/person happened back in 1979, not because folks were tired of using it all but due to the laws of physics coming into play.
Adam Ash x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 11:05 pm
So there are two 'classes' of 'peak oil'. One class is where oil supply is constrained by price (throwing more money at production sees an increase in production), the second class is where oil supply is constrained by physical availability at any price (wave more money at production, but production cannot increase).

In the first case (price constrained) normal market behaviour will apply – folk pay more (if they can afford it) to get more.

But in the second case (resource constrained), it does not matter how much is offered, there is simply no more oil to be had.

With the prevailing declining yields and declining discoveries, are we not in the transition between these two states – moving from price constrained to resource constrained? And once we get well into resource constrained, the price a buyer can pay will determine who gets the remaining available oil, and no amount of screeching and dollar-bill-waving by those who have missed out will improve the supply situation for them.

Boomer II x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 12:43 am
The second case is my main interest. And I think we are already there. We wouldn't be looking at LTO and oil sands if there were cheaper options.

LTO decline rates should make the issue more obvious when there are fewer places to drill new wells.

Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 3:43 am
LTO decline rate would be no problem by a conventional / state possessed oil company.

They would have a field with tight oil, and then just equip let's say 20 fracking / drilling teams and start to produce through their field in 30 or 50 years. They would have a slow decline by starting at the best location and getting to the worse one, while increasing experience / technic during the years to compensate a bit.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 6:23 am
You have a pretty good argument except for the "30 or 50 years" part. That's where the wheels fell off your go-cart. Just how large would the tight oil reservoir have to be to keep 20 drilling and fracking units for 30 to 50 years? And if you assume other oil companies are in that same reservoir doing the same thing? They are going to cover a lot of acreage very fast.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 9:35 pm
Adam Ash,

It matters very little. At any time t the available supply is limited and the market price will determine who gets what is available. Those willing to pay more than others will get the oil. When we reach a point where no more oil can be supplied at price P, there might always be some more oil that could be at some higher price P', it is simply a matter of oil prices reaching the point that there are substitutes that can replace the use of oil in some uses. Today the biggest use for oil is transport and electricity and natural gas may soon replace a lot of this use, especially as oil becomes scarce and prices increase.

At $100 to $120/b the transition to EVs could be quite rapid, maybe taking 20 to 25 years to replace 90% of new ICEV sales and then another 15 years for most of the fleet to be replaced as old cars are scrapped. So by 2055 most land transport uses for oil will be eliminated.

The higher oil prices rise, the more incentive there will be to switch to cheaper EVs, even natural gas will probably not be able to compete with EVs as Natural Gas will also peak (2030 to 2035) and prices will rise. It will probably be unwise to spend a lot of money for Natural gas fueling infrastructure, though perhaps it might work for long haul trucking, rail seems a more sensible option.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:23 am
Adam Ash Wrote:
"So there are two 'classes' of 'peak oil'. One class is where oil supply is constrained by price (throwing more money at production sees an increase in production), the second class is where oil supply is constrained by physical availability at any price (wave more money at production, but production cannot increase)"

Consider this way:
There is already a huge shortage of $10/bbl oil, and a massive glut of $300/bbl oil. There is always shortage resources. Price is just a system that balances demand with supply.

Adam Ash Wrote:
"But in the second case (resource constrained), it does not matter how much is offered, there is simply no more oil to be had no amount of screeching and dollar-bill-waving by those who have missed out will improve the supply situation for them."

Not exactly. People that can only afford $50/bbl Oil get out priced by people willing to pay $100/bbl. Supply shifts to the people that can afford the hire price at the expense of people that cannot afford the higher cost. Higher prices will lead to new production, even if has a Negative EROEI (ie tar sands using cheap NatGas).

In an ideal world, higher prices lead to less energy waste (flying, recreation boating) and better efficiency (more energy efficient buildings & vehicles). But I am not sure that will be the case in our world.

The first to suffer from high energy prices will be the people living in poor nations. Recall back in 2008-2014 we had the Arab spring when people could afford the food costs, and started mass riots and overthrough gov'ts. This will return when Oil prices climb back up.

Its possible that the world make continue to experience price swings, as global demand struction decreases demand. For instance in July 2008 Oil was at $147/bbl but by Jan 2009 it was about $30/bbl. I doubt we will see such large price swings, but I also doubt that Oil will continuously move up without any price corrections.

Realistically we are in deflation driven global economy as the excessive debt applies deflationary force to the economy. However central banks counter deflation with artificially low interest rates and currency printing (ie Quantitive Easing). My guess is that industrialized nation gov't will become increasing dependent on QE and other gimmicks that lead to high inflation\stagnation.

[Aug 26, 2018] What Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Caelan MacIntyre

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 5:14 AM

What Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

" On Venezuela

it is absolutely clear who is behind the food and medicine boycotts (empty supermarket shelves), and the induced internal violence. It is a carbon copy of what the CIA under Kissinger's command did in Chile in 1973 which led to the murder of the legitimate and democratically elected President Allende and to the Pinochet military coup ; except, Venezuela has 19 years of revolutionary experience, and built up some tough resistance.

To understand the context 'Venezuela', we may have to look at the country's history.

Before the fully democratically and internationally observed election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, Venezuela was governed for at least 100 years by dictators and violent despots which were directed by and served only the United States. The country, extremely rich in natural resources , was exploited by the US and Venezuelan oligarchs to the point that the population of one of the richest Latin-American countries remained poor instead of improving its standard of living according to country's natural riches. The people were literally enslaved by Washington controlled regimes .

A first coup attempt by Comandante Hugo Chavez in 1992 was oppressed by the Government of Carlos Andrés Pérez and Chavez was sent to prison along with his co-golpistas. After two years, he was freed by the Government of Rafael Caldera.

During Peréz' first term in office (1974-1979) and his predecessors, Venezuela attained a high economic growth based on almost exclusive oil exports . Though, hardly anything of this growth stayed in the country and was distributed to the people. The situation was pretty much the same as it is in today's Peru which before the 2008 crisis and shortly thereafter had phenomenal growth rates – between 5% and 8% – of which 80% went to 5% of the population oligarchs and foreign investors , and 20% was to be distributed to 95% of the population – and that on a very uneven keel. The result was and is a growing gap between rich and poor, increasing unemployment and delinquency.

Venezuela before Chavez lived practically on a monoculture economy based on petrol. There was no effort towards economic diversification. To the contrary, diversification could eventually help free Venezuela from the despot's fangs, as the US was the key recipient of Venezuela's petrol and other riches. Influenced by the 1989 Washington Consensus, Peréz made a drastic turn in his second mandate (1989-1993) towards neoliberal reforms, i.e. privatization of public services, restructuring the little social safety benefits laborers had achieved, and contracting debt by the IMF and the World Bank. He became a model child of neoliberalism, to the detriment of Venezuelans. Resulting protests under Peréz' successor, Rafael Caldera, became unmanageable. New elections were called and Hugo Chavez won in a first round with more than 56%. Despite an ugly Washington inspired coup attempt ("The Revolution will Not be Televised", 2003 documentary about the attempted 2002 coup), Hugo Chavez stayed in power until his untimely death 2013. Comandante Chavez and his Government reached spectacular social achievements for his country.

Washington will not let go easily – or at all, to re-conquer Venezuela into the new Monroe Doctrine, i.e. becoming re-integrated into Washington's backyard. Imagine this oil-rich country, with the world's largest hydrocarbon reserves, on the doorsteps of the United Sates' key refineries in Texas, just about 3 to 4 days away for a tanker from Venezuela, as compared to 40 to 45 days from the Gulf, where the US currently gets about 60% of its petrol imports. An enormous difference in costs and risks, i.e. each shipment has to sail through the Iran-controlled Strait of Hormuz.

In addition, another socialist revolution as one of Washington's southern neighbor – in addition to Cuba – is not convenient. Therefore, the US and her secret forces will do everything to bring about regime change, by constant economic aggressions, blockades, sanctions, boycotts of imports and their internal distribution – as well as outrights military threats. The recent assassination attempt of President Maduro falls into the same category. "

[Aug 25, 2018] The Geopolitics Of Energy

Very amateur level of analysis...
Aug 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The antagonism between Saudi Arabia and Iran sets off a variety of political reverberations affecting the countries of the Persian Gulf, unsettling the situation between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, and entangling Russia and the United States in the ensuring imbroglio.

... ... ...

The role of the Russian Federation cannot be viewed apart from what is happening in the energy-rich, formerly Soviet Central Asian republics. The so-called -Stans (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan) are major players in today's energy markets. Whatever they do, however, cannot be seen as separate from what Russia is doing or from Russia's intentions. Although some of them, primarily Azerbaijan, have initiated projects that are not aligned with Moscow's goals, they nevertheless need to behave in ways that do not upset their powerful northern neighbour on whom they are heavily reliant, to some extent, for their welfare (due to their dependence on oil and gas pipeline networks).

Politics is therefore deeply intertwined with energy in most of those cases, bringing diplomacy front and centre as a determinant of behaviour and economic outcomes.

... ... ...

Europe's problem is that, with the exception of North Sea oil and gas, it relies entirely on imports to provide it with a comfortable level of energy. Thus, events in the Middle East and the Russian stance toward the continent determines whether it is adequately supplied with energy or faces shortages.

The deposits in the North Sea have kept some European states (Britain and Scandinavia among others) well supplied for quite a while. But unfortunately there is a strong suspicion that these deposits are diminishing at a dangerous rate. As a result Europe will gradually become dependent on imports from the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, and the Atlantic (Angola, Brazil, Mexico, and the US). The situation is disquieting since Japan, and more recently, China, are seeking to buy their own supplies from the same sources.

skbull44 Cosmicserpent Wed, 08/22/2018 - 21:37 Permalink

"...Things started to change after the fracking and shale gas revolution. The United States suddenly realized that it could not only became absolutely self-sufficient in oil and gas, but it also emerged as one of the most important exporters to the rest of the world..."

Ths is factually untrue. The US still depends on crude oil imports to meet its needs. And if this simple, verifiable fact is misunderstood by the author, then I have to wonder about the rest of his analysis...

Cloud9.5 Wed, 08/22/2018 - 21:08 Permalink

From the middle of the last century to the present, everything has been about oil. The peak oilers were correct. What they did not consider was the power of debt to hold this whole thing together long after it should have collapsed. Shale oil is not profitable. That does not mater as long as debt underwrites the cost of production. What does matter is the rapid decline rate of shale oil wells. Yes it is true that shale wells are continuing to produce long after they have reached their peak but it is the volume of production that matters.

If you read the projections put out by the Hirsch Report, the Llyiods Report and the Bundeswehr Report, things should get interesting in the next couple of years.

[Aug 25, 2018] What Trump's Policy of Energy Dominance Means for the World

Notable quotes:
"... Art of the Deal ..."
"... but neither are they amenable to a stoic acceptance of national decline" ..."
"... Unleashing American Energy ..."
"... American energy dominance, ..."
"... Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act ..."
"... "... an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. – Just as you want a secure homeland in Israel." ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

ALASTAIR CROOKE | 05.06.2018 | WORLD / ASIA PACIFIC | FEATURED STORY

Two weeks ago, we wrote about how President Trump's foreign policy somehow had 'folded' into 'neo-Americanism', and quoted US Foreign Affairs Professor, Russell-Mead, suggesting that Trump's 8 May metamorphosis (the exit from JCPOA), represented something new, a step-change of direction (from his being principally a sharp Art of the Deal negotiator), toward – pace, Russell-Mead – "a neo-American era in world politics – rather than an [Obama-ist] post-American one". "The administration wants to enlarge American power, rather than adjust to decline (as allegedly, Obama did). For now, at least, the Middle East is the centrepiece of this new assertiveness", Russell-Mead opined, explaining that this new Trump impulse stems from: [Trump's] instincts telling him that most Americans are anything but eager for a "post-American" world. Mr. Trump's supporters don't want long wars, but neither are they amenable to a stoic acceptance of national decline" .

There is something of a paradox here: Trump and his base deplore the cost and commitment of the huge American defence umbrella, spread across the globe by the globalists (sentiments aggravated by the supposed ingratitude of its beneficiaries) – yet the President wants to " enlarge American power, rather than adjust to decline". That is, he wants more power, but less empire. How might he square this circle?

Well, a pointer arose almost a year earlier, when on 29 June 2017, the President used a quite unexpected word when speaking at an Energy Department event: Unleashing American Energy . Instead of talking about American energy independence , as might be expected, he heralded instead, a new era of American energy "dominance" .

In a speech "that sought to underscore a break with the policies of Barack Obama", the FT notes , Mr Trump tied energy to his America First agenda..."The truth is we now have near limitless supplies of energy in our country," Mr Trump said. "We are really in the driving seat, and you know what: we don't want to let other countries take away our sovereignty, and tell us what to do, and how to do it. That's not going to happen. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only the American energy independence that we've been looking for, for so long – but American energy dominance, " he said.

It seems, as Chris Cook explains , that Gary Cohn, then chief economic adviser to the President had a part in the genesis to this ambition. Cohn (then at Goldman Sachs), together with a colleague from Morgan Stanley, conceived of a plan in 2000 to take control of the global oil trading market through an electronic trading platform, based in New York. In brief, the big banks, attracted huge quantities of 'managed money' (from such as hedge funds), to the market, to bet on future prices (without their ever actually taking delivery of crude: trading 'paper oil', rather than physical oil). And, at the same time, these banks worked in collusion with the major oil producers (including later, Saudi Arabia) to pre-purchase physical oil in such a way that, by withholding, or releasing physical crude from, or onto the market, the big NY banks were able to 'influence' the prices (by creating a shortage, or a glut).

To give some idea of the capacity of these bankers to 'influence' price, by mid – 2008, it was estimated that some $260 billion of 'managed' (speculative) investment money was in play in energy markets, completely dwarfing the value of the oil actually coming out of the North Sea each month, at maybe $4 to $5 billion, at most. These 'paper' oil-option plays would therefore often trump the 'fundamentals' of real supply, and real end-user demand.

'Step one' for Cohn, was therefore, for the US to manage the trading market, both in price and access – with U.S. antagonists such as Iran or Russia, being able to access the market on inferior terms, if at all. The putative 'step two', has been to nurse US shale production, build new American LNG export terminals, and open America to further oil and gas exploration, whilst strong-arming everyone from Germany to South Korea and China, to buy American LNG exports. And 'thirdly', with Gulf oil exports already under the US umbrella, there were then, two major Middle East energy producers beyond the boundaries of cartel 'influence' (falling more into rival Russia's strategic energy-producing 'heartland'): Iran – which is now the subject of regime change–style, economic siege on its oil exports, and Iraq, which is subject of intense (soft) political pressures (such as threatening to sanction Iraq under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act ) to force its adherence to the western sphere.

What would this Trump notion of energy dominance mean in simple language? The US – were energy dominance to succeed – simply would control the tap to the economic development – or its lack thereof – for rivals China, and Asia. And the US could squeeze Russia's revenues in this way, too. In short, the US could put a tourniquet on China's and Russia's economic development plans. Is this why JCPOA was revoked by President Trump?

Here then, is the squaring of that circle (more US power, yet less empire): Trump's US aims for 'domination', not through the globalists' permanent infrastructure of the US defence umbrella, but through the smart leveraging of the US dollar and financial clearing monopoly, by ring-fencing, and holding tight, US technology, and by dominating the energy market, which in turn represents the on/off valve to economic growth for US rivals. In this way, Trump can 'bring the troops home', and yet America keeps its hegemony. Military conflict becomes a last resort.

Senior advisor Peter Navarro said on NPR earlier this week that "we can stop them [the Chinese] from putting our high tech companies out of business" and "buying up our crown jewels of technology ... Every time we innovate something new, China comes in and buys it, or steals it."

Is this then Trump's plan: By market domination and trade war, to prolong America's 'superiority' of technology, finance and energy – and not somehow be obliged to "adjust to decline"? And by acting in this way, curtail – or at least postpone – the emergence of rivals? Two questions in this context immediately present themselves: Is this formula the adoption of neo-conservatism, by the US Administration, which Trump's own base so detests? And, secondly, can the approach work?

It is not neo-conservatism, perhaps – but rather a re-working of a theme. The American neo-conservatives largely wanted to take a hammer to the parts of the world they didn't like; and to replace it with something they did. Trump's method is more Machiavellian in character.

The roots to both of these currents of thought lie however – more than partly – with Carl Schmitt's influence on American conservative thinking through his friend, Leo Strauss, at Chicago (whether not, Trump has ever read either man, the ideas still circulate in the US ether). Schmitt held that politics (in contrast to the liberal/ humanist vein) has nothing to do with making the world fairer, or more just – that is the work of moralists and theologians – politics for Schmitt, concerns power and political survival, and nothing more.

Liberals (and globalists), Schmitt suggested, are queasy at using power to crush alternative forces from emerging: their optimistic view of human nature leads them to believe in the possibility of mediation and compromise. The Schmittian optic, however dismissed derisively the liberal view, in favour of an emphasis on the role of power, pure and simple – based on a darker understanding of the true nature of 'others' and rivals. This point seems to go to the root of Trump's thinking: Obama and the 'liberals' were ready to trade the 'crown jewels' of 'Our Culture' (financial, technological and energy expertise) through some multilateral 'affirmative action' that would help less developed states (such as rival China up the ladder). Perhaps such thoughts too, lay behind Trump's withdrawal from the Climate Accord: Why help putative rivals, whist, at same time, imposing voluntary handicaps on one's own Culture?

It is on this latter, quite narrow pivot (the imperative of keeping American power intact), that neo-cons and Trumpists, come together: And both also share in their disdain for utopian liberals who would fritter away the crown jewels of western Culture – for some or other humanitarian ideal – only to allow America's determined rivals to rise up and overthrow America and its Culture (in this optic).

The common ground between both currents, is expressed with remarkable candour through Berlusconi's comment that "we must be aware of the superiority of our [western] civilisation". Steve Bannon says something very similar, though couched in the merits of preserving (a threatened) western Judeo-Christian culture.

This sense of Cultural advantage that must at all costs be recuperated and preserved perhaps goes some (but not all) way towards accounting for Trump's ardent support for Israel: Speaking to Israel's Channel Two, Richard Spencer, a prominent leader of the American Alt-Right (and one component to Trump's base), highlighted the deeply felt the dispossession of white people, in their own country [the US]:

"... an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. – Just as you want a secure homeland in Israel."

So, can the attempt to leverage and weaponise the American élites' Culture – through the dollar, and putative energy hegemony, and its hold over technology transfer – succeed in holding on to American 'Culture' (in the reductionist construct of Trump's base)? This is the sixty-four thousand dollar question, as they say. It may just easily provoke an equally powerful reaction; and a lot can happen domestically in the US, between now, and the November, US mid-term, elections, which might either confirm the President in power – or undo him. It is difficult to hold to any analytic horizon beyond that.

But a larger point is whilst Trump feels passionately about American Culture and hegemony; the leaders of the non-West today, feel just as passionately that it is time for 'the American Century' to yield place. Just as after WWII, former colonial states wanted independence – so, now, today's leaders want an end to dollar monopoly, they want an opt-out from the global, US-led order and its so-called 'international' institutions; they want to 'be' in their own distinctive cultural way – and they want their sovereignties back. This is not just cultural and economic nationalism, it portends a significant inflection point – away from neo-liberal economics, from individualism and raw commercialism – towards a more rounded human experience.

The tide, in the wake of WWII, surely was irreversible then. I can even recall the former European colonialists subsequently bemoaning their forced withdrawal: "They'll [the former colonies] regret it", they confidently predicted. (No, they never did.) The tide today runs strongly too, and has spread, even, to Europe. Where – who knows – whether the Europeans will have the spine to push back against Trump's financial and trade machinations: It will be an important litmus for what comes next.

But what is different now (from then), is that currency hegemony, technological prowess, and energy 'domination', are not, at all, assured to western possession. They are no longer theirs. They began their migration, some time ago.

[Aug 25, 2018] The Geostrategy That Guides Trump's Foreign Policies by ERIC ZUESSE

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's US aims for 'domination', not through the globalists' permanent infrastructure of the US defence umbrella, but through the smart leveraging of the US dollar and financial clearing monopoly, by ring-fencing, and holding tight, US technology, and by dominating the energy market, which in turn represents the on/off valve to economic growth for US rivals. ..."
"... "Towards the tail end of the Clinton administration and the Dot Com boom in 2000, [Trump's U.S. Treasury Secretary until April 2018] Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs had dinner with his counterpart at Morgan Stanley, John Shapiro. From this dinner was hatched an audacious plan to take control of the global oil market through a new electronic global market platform." ..."
"... "Wall Street bankers, particularly Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, backed him and he launched ICE in 2000 (giving 80 percent control to the two banks who, in turn, spread out the control among Shell, Total, and British Petroleum)." ..."
"... "The second objective was a switch from oil to natural gas, and when the U.S. [ military ] was obliged to leave Saudi Arabia, they [the U.S.] thereupon established their biggest regional base in Qatar, who co-own with Iran the greatest single natural gas reserve on the planet – South Pars. ..."
"... Energy Dominance ..."
"... In the four months since President Trump's announcement, the market strategy developed by Gary Cohn is now being implemented and its elements are emerging into view. ..."
"... Firstly, there has been a massive inflow of Managed Money into the oil market, particularly the Brent contract, which has seen the Brent oil price increase by 35% since the starting point, which I believe can be dated to the August Brent/BFOE Crude Oil option expiry on June 27 th 2017. ..."
"... The dominant market narrative is that the backwardation in Brent is evidence of surging global oil demand which has emptied inventories and is leading the price to new sunlit uplands. However, I see the market rather differently. ..."
"... Firstly, whether the Brent spot month is supported by financial, rather than physical demand, the result will still be a backwardation, and because few oil producers expect a price over $60 to be sustainable they therefore hedge and depress the forward price. In support of this view, I am far from the only market observer who believes that Aramco, and Rosneft would not be selling equity if either Saudi Arabia or Russia believed the oil price trajectory will be positive even in the medium term. ..."
"... This still leaves open the $64 billion question of which market participant is motivated and able to support the ICE Brent term structure for years into the future by swapping dollar risk (T-Bills) for long term oil risk (oil reserves leased via prepay purchase/resale contracts). ..."
"... My conclusion by a process of elimination is that this Big Long can only be Saudi Arabia and regional allies, with Saudi Arabia now under the management of the thrusting young Mohammad bin Salman." ..."
"... Although Trump routinely talks about withdrawing U.S. troops, he does the exact opposite. ..."
"... the U.S. economy becomes increasingly dependent upon Big Oil and Big Minerals and Big Money and Big Military, ..."
"... War against King Saud's chosen enemies (Iran, Qatar, Syria) and possibly even against the U.S. aristocracy's chosen enemy, Russia (and against Russia's allies: China, Iran, and Syria) -- seems more likely, not less likely, with Trump's geostrategy. ..."
"... "I want to address what Mr. Cohn was talking about from a standpoint of how important American energy is as an option, not as the only option, but as an option to our allies and to count[r]ies around the world. ..."
"... At the G7 it was really kind of interesting. The first thing they beat on the table talking about the Paris accord, you can't get out of it, and I was kind of like OK. Then we would go into our bilats and they'd go, how about some of that LNG you've got? How do we buy your LNG, how do we buy your coal? And it was really interesting, it was a political issue for them. This whole Paris thing is a public relation[s], political issue for them. We made the right decision, the President made the right decision on this. I think it was one of the most powerful messages that early on in this administration that was sent. ..."
"... We are in a position to be able to clearly create a hell of a lot more friends by being able to deliver to them energy and not being held hostage by some countries, Russia in particular. Whether it is Poland, Ukraine, the entirety of the EU. Totally get it, if we can lay in American LNG, if we can be able to have an alternative to Russian anthracite coal that they control in the Ukraine. ..."
"... If that was more the reality of Trump's "Unleashing American Energy" policy than just the pro-global-burnout cheerleading of Trump's mere words, then it seems to be -- in the policy's actual intent and implementation -- more like "send more troops in" than "bring the troops home," to and from anywhere. It is more like energy policy in support of the military policy, than military policy in support of the energy policy. ..."
"... In any aristocracy, some members need to make compromises with other members, no matter how united they all are against the publics' interests. This is the way it's done -- by compromises with each other. ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

According to Alastair Crooke, writing at Strategic Culture, on June 5 th :

"Trump's US aims for 'domination', not through the globalists' permanent infrastructure of the US defence umbrella, but through the smart leveraging of the US dollar and financial clearing monopoly, by ring-fencing, and holding tight, US technology, and by dominating the energy market, which in turn represents the on/off valve to economic growth for US rivals.

In this way, Trump can 'bring the troops home', and yet America keeps its hegemony [America's control of the world, global empire]. Military conflict becomes a last resort."

He bases that crucially upon a landmark 6 November 2017 article by Chris Cook, at Seeking Alpha, which laid out, and to a significant extent documented, a formidable and complex geostrategy driving U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign policies. Cook headlined there "Energy Dominance And America First" , and noted that,

"Towards the tail end of the Clinton administration and the Dot Com boom in 2000, [Trump's U.S. Treasury Secretary until April 2018] Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs had dinner with his counterpart at Morgan Stanley, John Shapiro. From this dinner was hatched an audacious plan to take control of the global oil market through a new electronic global market platform."

This "global market platform," which had been started months earlier in 2000 by Jeffrey Sprecher , is "ICE," or InterContinental Exchange, and it uses financial derivatives in order to provide to Wall Street banks control over the future direction of commodites prices (so that the insiders can game the markets), by means of the financial-futures markets, locking in future purchase-and-sale agreements. It also entails Wall Street's buying enormous commodities-storage warehouses and stashing them with such commodities - such as, in that case, aluminum) , and so it influences also the real estate markets, and doesn't only manipulate the commodities markets. Those vast storehouses (and the operation of the U.S. Government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to carry out a similar price-manipulation function in the oil business) are crucial in order for the entire scheme to be able to function, because without control over the storehousing of physical commodities, such futures-price manipulations aren't possible. Consequently, ICE couldn't get off the ground without major Wall Street partners, which are willing to do that. Cohn and Shapiro (Goldman, and Morgan Stanley) backed Sprecher's operation; and Wikipedia states that,

"Wall Street bankers, particularly Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, backed him and he launched ICE in 2000 (giving 80 percent control to the two banks who, in turn, spread out the control among Shell, Total, and British Petroleum)."

This is today's financial world -- a world in which billionaires control the future directions of commodities-prices, and thus manipulate markets, and even determine the economic fates of nations. It's not the myth of capitalism; it is the reality of capitalism. It functions by means of corruption, as it always has, but the corrupt methods constantly evolve.

However, Trump's geostrategy goes beyond merely this, especially by bringing into the entire operation the world's wealthiest person, the trillionaire King Saud, who, as the sole owner of the Saudi Government, which in turns owns the world's largest corporation Aramco, which in turn dominates the oil market and which is also #6 in the natural-gas market (far behind the three giants, which King Saud is trying to destroy -- Russia, Iran, and Qatar -- so that the Sauds will become able to dominate even there). Trump's geostrategy ties King Saud even more tightly than before, into America's aristocracy.

King Saud, as Cook noted, is trying to disinvest in petroleum and reposition increasingly into natural gas, because outside the United States and around the world, people are seriously concerned to minimize global warming so as to postpone global burnout from uncontrollably soaring atmospheric carbon. Petroleum has an even worse carbon footprint than does natural gas; and therefore natural gas is the world's "transition fuel" to a 'survivable' future, while solar and other alternatives take hold (even if too late). Despite all of the carbon-fuels industries' propaganda, people outside the United States are determined to delay global burnout, and the insiders know this. King Saud knows that his petroleum-laden portfolio will have to diversify fast, because the long-term future for petroleum-prices is decline. And he won't be able to control prices at all in the natural-gas business unless he's got America's aristocracy on his side, in the effort to keep those prices up (at least while the Sauds will be increasing their profits from natural gas). Unlike his dominance over OPEC, Saudi Arabia has no such position to control natural gas-prices. He thus needs Wall Street's cooperation.

Cook said:

"The second objective was a switch from oil to natural gas, and when the U.S. [ military ] was obliged to leave Saudi Arabia, they [the U.S.] thereupon established their biggest regional base in Qatar, who co-own with Iran the greatest single natural gas reserve on the planet – South Pars.

Energy Dominance

In the four months since President Trump's announcement, the market strategy developed by Gary Cohn is now being implemented and its elements are emerging into view.

Firstly, there has been a massive inflow of Managed Money into the oil market, particularly the Brent contract, which has seen the Brent oil price increase by 35% since the starting point, which I believe can be dated to the August Brent/BFOE Crude Oil option expiry on June 27 th 2017.

The dominant market narrative is that the backwardation in Brent is evidence of surging global oil demand which has emptied inventories and is leading the price to new sunlit uplands. However, I see the market rather differently.

Firstly, whether the Brent spot month is supported by financial, rather than physical demand, the result will still be a backwardation, and because few oil producers expect a price over $60 to be sustainable they therefore hedge and depress the forward price. In support of this view, I am far from the only market observer who believes that Aramco, and Rosneft would not be selling equity if either Saudi Arabia or Russia believed the oil price trajectory will be positive even in the medium term.

This still leaves open the $64 billion question of which market participant is motivated and able to support the ICE Brent term structure for years into the future by swapping dollar risk (T-Bills) for long term oil risk (oil reserves leased via prepay purchase/resale contracts).

My conclusion by a process of elimination is that this Big Long can only be Saudi Arabia and regional allies, with Saudi Arabia now under the management of the thrusting young Mohammad bin Salman."

However, I do not agree with Alastair Crooke's "In this way, Trump can 'bring the troops home', and yet America keeps its hegemony [America's control of the world, global empire]. Military conflict becomes a last resort." I explained at Strategic Culture on March 25th "How the Military Controls America" and noted there that "on 21 May 2017, US President Donald Trump sold to the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, an all-time-record $350 billion of US arms-makers' products." This means that not only Wall Street -- the main institutional agency for America's aristocracy -- and not only American Big Oil likewise, are committed to the royal Saud family, but U.S. corporations such as Lockheed Martin also are. Vast profits are to be made, by insiders, in invasions and occupations, just as in gas and oil, and in brokerage.

Although Trump routinely talks about withdrawing U.S. troops, he does the exact opposite. And even if this trend reverses and America's troop-numbers head down, while the U.S. economy becomes increasingly dependent upon Big Oil and Big Minerals and Big Money and Big Military, America's military budget is, under Trump, the only portion of the entire U.S. federal Government that's increasing; so, "Military conflict becomes a last resort" does not seem likely, in such a context. Rather, the reverse would seem to be the far likelier case.

War against King Saud's chosen enemies (Iran, Qatar, Syria) and possibly even against the U.S. aristocracy's chosen enemy, Russia (and against Russia's allies: China, Iran, and Syria) -- seems more likely, not less likely, with Trump's geostrategy.

In fact, on 29 June 2017, when President Trump first announced his "Unleashing American Energy Event," the President spoke his usual platitudes about the supposed necessity to increase coal-production, and what he said was telecast and publicized ; but his U.S. Energy Secretary, the barely literate former Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, also delivered a speech, which was never telecast nor published, except that a few days later, on July 3rd, an excerpt from it was somehow published on the website of Liquified Natural Gas Global, and it was this:

"I want to address what Mr. Cohn was talking about from a standpoint of how important American energy is as an option, not as the only option, but as an option to our allies and to count[r]ies around the world.

At the G7 it was really kind of interesting. The first thing they beat on the table talking about the Paris accord, you can't get out of it, and I was kind of like OK. Then we would go into our bilats and they'd go, how about some of that LNG you've got? How do we buy your LNG, how do we buy your coal? And it was really interesting, it was a political issue for them. This whole Paris thing is a public relation[s], political issue for them. We made the right decision, the President made the right decision on this. I think it was one of the most powerful messages that early on in this administration that was sent.

We are in a position to be able to clearly create a hell of a lot more friends by being able to deliver to them energy and not being held hostage by some countries, Russia in particular. Whether it is Poland, Ukraine, the entirety of the EU. Totally get it, if we can lay in American LNG, if we can be able to have an alternative to Russian anthracite coal that they control in the Ukraine. That singularly will have more to do with keeping our allies free and building their confidence in us than practically anything else that I have seen out there. It is a positive message around the world right now."

If that was more the reality of Trump's "Unleashing American Energy" policy than just the pro-global-burnout cheerleading of Trump's mere words, then it seems to be -- in the policy's actual intent and implementation -- more like "send more troops in" than "bring the troops home," to and from anywhere. It is more like energy policy in support of the military policy, than military policy in support of the energy policy.

This sounds even better for the stockholders of Lockheed Martin and other weapons-firms than for the stockholders of ExxonMobil and other extractive firms. On 6 March 2018, Xinhua News Agency reported that, "U.S. President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn has summoned executives from U.S. companies that depend on aluminum and steel to meet with Trump this Thursday, in a bid to persuade the president to drop his tariff plan, media reported Tuesday." After all: Goldman has warehouses full of aluminum, and has the futures-contracts which already commit the Wall Street firm to particular manipulations in the aluminum (and other) markets. Controlling the Government so that it does only what you want it to do, and only when you want the Government to do it, is difficult. In any aristocracy, some members need to make compromises with other members, no matter how united they all are against the publics' interests. This is the way it's done -- by compromises with each other.

Tags: Energy

[Aug 19, 2018] Economics

Notable quotes:
"... each click brings us closer to the bang ..."
"... Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business ..."
"... there will be no war and no negotiations ..."
"... carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state ..."
"... Trump's ALL IN CAPS meme ..."
"... This is where Ali Khamenei's stance is more puzzling, at least to me: when he says that there will be no war, does he mean that the US threats are not credible or does he mean that Iran has the means to deter a US attack? His words make it sound like he is quite certain that there will be no war. How can he be so sure? I am especially amazed by the apparent Iranian confidence that the AngloZionists will not attack them when I compare it with the obvious Russian policy of actively preparing for war since at least 2014 (also see here , here , here , here , here and here ). Of course, Iran has been preparing for war with the US for almost 40 years now whereas the Russians only woke up to reality comparatively recently. I see several potential explanations for Ali Khamenei's statement (there might be more, of course) ..."
"... Personally, every time I think of a possible US attack on Iran I think of the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 which happened in spite of the fact that it was plainly visible to everybody that the Israelis were waltzing straight into a conflict which they could not win and which, in fact, resulted into one of the most abjects defeats in military history. Conversely, while Hezbollah did win a truly historical victory, it also remains a fact that Hezbollah leaders did not expect the Israelis to launch a full-scale ground offensive. Finally, history is full of examples of wars which were started in spite of all objective factors indicating that they would end up in disaster. ..."
"... If it weren't for its nuclear arsenal, the US could be dismissed as a particularly obnoxious country led by ignorant leaders with bloated and mostly ineffective armed forces. Alas, the US nuclear arsenal is very real (and still very capable) and we know that top-level US Neocons have already considered using tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state's conventional force in the past . In a twisted way, this makes sense: if you are a megalomaniac infused with a sense of messianic superiority then international or even civilizational norms of behavior are of no interest (or even relevance) to you. Listening to US Presidents, pretty much all of them (but especially Obama and Trump) it is pretty clear that these folks consider themselves to be the Kulturträger ..."
"... Shaytân-e Bozorg ..."
"... It would be a big mistake to dismiss the US because of its incapable military or moral bankruptcy. The truth is that in terms of aggregate national power, the US still remains the most powerful country on the planet (even if we don't include nuclear weapons). Anyone doubting that needs to look how how the currencies of the countries the US is singles out for attack suddenly began slipping: the Russian ruble (which has since bounced back), the Iranian rial, the Venezuelan bolivar, the Turkish lira , etc.) or how little time it took Trump to bring the (admittedly spineless) Europeans to heel . ..."
"... As for Russia, for all her military might, she remains only a semi-sovereign country in which the pro-US/pro-Israeli "Atlantic Integrationists" continue to try to sabotage (often successfully) everything Putin and his supporters are doing . I would not place big hopes in China either, especially considering the lack of meaningful Chinese action in Syria where Russia and Iran did all the heavy lifting. ..."
"... So count with yet another imperial war of aggression, a barrel of crude at over 100$ and oil shortages, rocketing inflation, job losses, a stagnant real estate market and stock exchange, and a national debt and government deficit which would make even Reagan proud. And plenty of dead Americans (nevermind the Iranians, right?). But don't worry: there will still be a huge supply of Chinese-made US flags to wave! ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | www.unz.com


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We can all thank God for the fact that the AngloZionists did not launch a war on the DPRK, that no Ukronazi attack on the Donbass took place during the World Cup in Russia and that the leaders of the Empire have apparently have given up on their plans to launch a reconquista of Syria. However, each of these retreats from their hysterical rhetoric has only made the Neocons more frustrated and determined to show the planet that they are still The Hegemon who cannot be disobeyed with impunity. As I wrote after the failed US cruise missile strike on Syria this spring, " each click brings us closer to the bang ". In the immortal words of Michael Ledeen , " Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business ". The obvious problem is that there are no "small crappy little countries" left out there, and that those who are currently the object of the Empire's ire are neither small nor crappy.

Having now shown several times that for all its hysterical barking the Empire has to back down when the opponent does not cower away in fear, the Empire is now in desperate need to prove its "uniqueness" and (racial?) superiority. The obvious target of the AngloZionist wrath is Iran. In fact, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the Empire ever since the people of Iran dared to show the AngloZionists to the door and, even worse, succeed in creating their own, national and Islamic democracy. To punish Iran, the US, the USSR, France and all the other "democratic" countries unleashed their puppet (Saddam Hussein) and gave him full military support, and yet the Iranians still prevailed, albeit at a terrible cost. That Iranian ability to prevail in the most terrible circumstances is also the most likely explanation for why there has not been an overt attack on Iran for the past four decades (there have, of course, there has been plenty of covert attacks during all these years).

I won't list all the recent AngloZionist threats against Iran – we all know about them. The bottom line is this: the US, Israel and the KSA are, yet again, working hand in hand to set the stage for a major war under what we could call the " Skripal-case rules of evidence " aka " highly likely ". And yet, in spite of all this saber-rattling, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has summed up Iran's stance in the following words " there will be no war and no negotiations ".

First, let's first look at Iranian rationale for "no negotiations"

The obvious: "no negotiations"

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been very clear in his explanations for why negotiating with the US makes no sense. On his Twitter account he wrote:

The Iranian Supreme Leader even posted a special graphic summary to summarize and explain the Iranian position:

Finally, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his fundamental approach towards the AngloZionist Empire:

The contrast between the kindergarten-level low-IQ bumbling hot air and threats coming out of the White House and the words of Ali Khamenei could not be greater, especially if we compare the words the two leaders decided to post all in caps;

Trump : To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

Khamenei : THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S..

Notice first that in his typical ignorance, Trump fails to realize that Hassan Rouhani is only the President of Iran and that threatening him makes absolutely no sense since he does not make national security decisions, which is the function of the Supreme Leader. Had Trump taken the time to at the very least check with Wikipedia he would have understood that the Iranian President " carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state ". It is no wonder that Trump's infantile threats instantly turned into an Internet meme !

In contrast, Khamenei did not even bother to address Trump by name but, instead, announced his strategy to the whole world.

Trump's ALL IN CAPS meme

Of course, issuing ALL IN CAPS threats just to be treated with utter contempt by the people you are trying to hard to bully and having your words become a cause of laughter on the Internet will only further enrage Trump and his supporters. When you are desperately trying to show the world how tough and scary you are, there is nothing more humiliating as being treated like some stupid kid. Therein also lies the biggest danger: such derision could force Trump and the Neocons who run him to do something desperate to prove to the word that their "red button" is still bigger than everybody else's.

ORDER IT NOW

It is important to note here that making negotiations impossible is something the Trump administration seems to have adopted as a policy. This is best illustrated by the conditions attached to the latest sanctions against Russia which, essentially, demand that Russia admit poisoning the Skripals. In fact, all the western demands towards Russia (admitting that Russia is guilty for the Skripal case, that Russia shot down MH-17, that Russia hand over Crimea to the Ukronazis, etc.) are carefully crafted to make absolutely sure that Russia will not negotiate. The sames, of course, goes for the ridiculous Pompeo demands towards the DPRK (including handing over to the US 60 to 70 percent of its nukes within six to eight months; no wonder the North Koreans denounced a "gangster-like" attitude) or the latest US grandstanding towards Turkey. Sadly, but the Neocon run media has successfully imposed the notion that negotiations are either a sign of weakness, or treason, or both. Thus to be "patriotic" and "strong" no US official can afford to be caught red-handed negotiating with the enemy of the day.

Under these conditions, why would anybody want to negotiate with the US?

Frankly, the "no negotiations" approach makes perfectly good sense, and while the Iranians are the only ones who have openly said so, the Russians have hinted to the same on many occasions (see their words about the US being "non-agreement capable" or about US diplomats confusing Austria and Australia). To any objective observer it should by now be completely obvious by now that a) the US cannot negotiate (due to intellectual, cultural and political limitations) and b) the US has no desire to negotiate. This is, of course, a highly undesirable and dangerous situation, but it would only make things worse to pretend that civilized negotiations with the US are possible.

So, if both sides agree on "no negotiations", what about war?

The not so obvious: No war?

This is where Ali Khamenei's stance is more puzzling, at least to me: when he says that there will be no war, does he mean that the US threats are not credible or does he mean that Iran has the means to deter a US attack? His words make it sound like he is quite certain that there will be no war. How can he be so sure? I am especially amazed by the apparent Iranian confidence that the AngloZionists will not attack them when I compare it with the obvious Russian policy of actively preparing for war since at least 2014 (also see here , here , here , here , here and here ). Of course, Iran has been preparing for war with the US for almost 40 years now whereas the Russians only woke up to reality comparatively recently. I see several potential explanations for Ali Khamenei's statement (there might be more, of course):

Personally, every time I think of a possible US attack on Iran I think of the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 which happened in spite of the fact that it was plainly visible to everybody that the Israelis were waltzing straight into a conflict which they could not win and which, in fact, resulted into one of the most abjects defeats in military history. Conversely, while Hezbollah did win a truly historical victory, it also remains a fact that Hezbollah leaders did not expect the Israelis to launch a full-scale ground offensive. Finally, history is full of examples of wars which were started in spite of all objective factors indicating that they would end up in disaster.

It seems to me that in purely military terms (not in political ones!) Israel could be seen as a stand-in for the US and Hezbollah as a stand-in for Iran and that the outcome of any future US-Iranian war will be very similar to the outcome of the war in 2006, albeit on a much larger (and bloodier) scale. I am confident that the folks in the Pentagon realize that, but what about their Neocon bosses – do they even care about Iranian or, for that matter, US casualties? I highly doubt it: all they care about is their power and messianic ideology.

If it weren't for its nuclear arsenal, the US could be dismissed as a particularly obnoxious country led by ignorant leaders with bloated and mostly ineffective armed forces. Alas, the US nuclear arsenal is very real (and still very capable) and we know that top-level US Neocons have already considered using tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state's conventional force in the past . In a twisted way, this makes sense: if you are a megalomaniac infused with a sense of messianic superiority then international or even civilizational norms of behavior are of no interest (or even relevance) to you. Listening to US Presidents, pretty much all of them (but especially Obama and Trump) it is pretty clear that these folks consider themselves to be the Kulturträger and the Herrenvolk of the 21st century and their messianism is in no way less delusional than the one of their Nazi predecessors (or, for that matter, the one of the Popes of the past 1000 years). And why would the people who nuked two Japanese cities under the (entirely fallacious) pretext of "shortening the war" (almost a humanitarian operation!) not do the same thing in Iran?

Of sure, they probably realize that using nukes will result in a massive political backlash, but they are confident that no matter what happens in the end, they will always be able to say "screw you!" to the rest of the planet. After all, this is something which Israel and the US have been doing with almost total inpunity for decades already – why would they stop now? As for the fact that the Persian people have been dealing with all kinds of invaders since no less than 2500 years will not stop the AngloZionists from trying to crush them. After all, having laid waste to a country which many see as the cradle of civilization, Iraq, why not do the same thing to Iran? Iraq, Iran – what's the difference, they are all just "sand niggers" and our red button is bigger than theirs, right?

Standing up to Shaytân-e Bozorg (almost alone?)

It would be a big mistake to dismiss the US because of its incapable military or moral bankruptcy. The truth is that in terms of aggregate national power, the US still remains the most powerful country on the planet (even if we don't include nuclear weapons). Anyone doubting that needs to look how how the currencies of the countries the US is singles out for attack suddenly began slipping: the Russian ruble (which has since bounced back), the Iranian rial, the Venezuelan bolivar, the Turkish lira , etc.) or how little time it took Trump to bring the (admittedly spineless) Europeans to heel .

As for Russia, for all her military might, she remains only a semi-sovereign country in which the pro-US/pro-Israeli "Atlantic Integrationists" continue to try to sabotage (often successfully) everything Putin and his supporters are doing . I would not place big hopes in China either, especially considering the lack of meaningful Chinese action in Syria where Russia and Iran did all the heavy lifting.

Sadly, but the only ally Iran can truly count on is Hezbollah. And while Hezbollah is considered a "non-state actor", it has a formidable capability to strike at the US's colonial masters, especially in terms of missiles .

This will not protect Iran, but it could serve as a very real deterrent to the Israelis, especially since Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah he has made it clear that Hezbollah more than capable of taking on Israel .

For the time being, the Israelis are already preparing for a re-match against Hezbollah and they are massing forces in the north to prepare for a war against Hezbollah .

Does that look to you like there will be no war against Iran?

I hope so. But to me it very much looks like an attack is pretty much inevitable. I have been predicting such an attack since 2007 and, so far, I have been completely wrong (and thank God for that!). The very first article I ever wrote for my blog was entitled " Where the Empire meets to plan the next war " ended with the following words:

So count with yet another imperial war of aggression, a barrel of crude at over 100$ and oil shortages, rocketing inflation, job losses, a stagnant real estate market and stock exchange, and a national debt and government deficit which would make even Reagan proud. And plenty of dead Americans (nevermind the Iranians, right?). But don't worry: there will still be a huge supply of Chinese-made US flags to wave!

And yet, 11 years later, the AngloZionist attack which looked so imminent in 2007 has not happened yet. Could it be that this time again an attack on Iran can be avoided? Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to be very confident that it will not happen. I am not so sure, but I fervently hope that he is right.

[Aug 08, 2018] America's About To Unleash Its NOPEC 'Superweapon' Against The Russians Saudis

Aug 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

The US Congress has revived the so-called "NOPEC" bill for countering OPEC and OPEC+.

Officially called the " No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act ", NOPEC is the definition of so-called "lawfare" because it enables the US to extra-territorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices.

Lawsuits, however, are unenforceable , which is why the targeted states' refusal to abide by the US courts' likely predetermined judgement against them will probably be used to trigger sanctions under the worst-case scenario, with this chain of events being catalyzed in order to achieve several strategic objectives.

The first is that the US wants to break up the Russian-Saudi axis that forms the core of OPEC+, which leads to the second goal of then unravelling the entire OPEC structure and heralding in the free market liberalization of the global energy industry.

This is decisively to the US' advantage as it seeks to become an energy-exporting superpower, but it must neutralize its competition as much as possible before this happens, ergo the declaration of economic-hybrid war through NOPEC. How it would work in practice is that the US could threaten primary sanctions against the state companies involved in implementing OPEC and OPEC+ agreements, after which these could then be selectively expanded to secondary sanctions against other parties who continue to do business with them.

The purpose behind this approach is to intimidate the US' European vassals into complying with its demands so as to make as much of the continent as possible a captive market of America's energy exporters, which explains why Trump also wants to scrap LNG export licenses to the EU .

If successful, this could further erode Europe's shrinking strategic independence and also inflict long-term economic damage on the US' energy rivals that could then be exploited for political purposes. At the same time, America's recently unveiled " Power Africa " initiative to invest $175 billion in gas projects there could eventually see US companies in the emerging energy frontiers of Tanzania , Mozambique , and elsewhere become important suppliers to their country's Chinese rival, which could make Beijing's access to energy even more dependent on American goodwill than ever before.

If looked at as the opening salvo of a global energy war being waged in parallel with the trade one as opposed to being dismissed as the populist piece of legislation that it's being portrayed as by the media, NOPEC can be seen as the strategic superweapon that it actually is, with its ultimate effectiveness being dependent of course on whether it's properly wielded by American decision makers.

It's too earlier to call it a game-changer because it hasn't even been promulgated yet, but in the event that it ever is, then it might go down in history as the most impactful energy-related development since OPEC, LNG, and fracking.

bshirley1968 -> HilteryTrumpkin Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:47 Permalink

No way US can manipulate oil trade at this point without hurting themselves or helping their "enemies". Cause and effect, just think it through.

The world needs energy, Russia has energy...and a real surplus for sale. The US is a net energy consumer with no surplus. China needs energy in a big way. Trying to cut off Russian and Iranian oil and trying to blow up the Chinese economy are acts of war. The West realizes there is no way they can survive in their current status of moar with that kind of competition out there. The BRICST now constitute $17 trillion in combined GDP. They have the energy sources (Russia and Iran), they have the manufacturing base (China), they have the agricultural base (Russia, Brazil, South Africa), and they have plenty of customers.....even outside the BRICST union. That is a formidable competitive force to face when you are an economy structured on infinite growth on a finite planet......that you control less and less of each year.

[Aug 06, 2018] America's About To Unleash Its NOPEC 'Superweapon' Against The Russians Saudis

Aug 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

The US Congress has revived the so-called "NOPEC" bill for countering OPEC and OPEC+.

Officially called the " No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act ", NOPEC is the definition of so-called "lawfare" because it enables the US to extra-territorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices.

Lawsuits, however, are unenforceable , which is why the targeted states' refusal to abide by the US courts' likely predetermined judgement against them will probably be used to trigger sanctions under the worst-case scenario, with this chain of events being catalyzed in order to achieve several strategic objectives.

The first is that the US wants to break up the Russian-Saudi axis that forms the core of OPEC+, which leads to the second goal of then unravelling the entire OPEC structure and heralding in the free market liberalization of the global energy industry.

This is decisively to the US' advantage as it seeks to become an energy-exporting superpower, but it must neutralize its competition as much as possible before this happens, ergo the declaration of economic-hybrid war through NOPEC. How it would work in practice is that the US could threaten primary sanctions against the state companies involved in implementing OPEC and OPEC+ agreements, after which these could then be selectively expanded to secondary sanctions against other parties who continue to do business with them.

The purpose behind this approach is to intimidate the US' European vassals into complying with its demands so as to make as much of the continent as possible a captive market of America's energy exporters, which explains why Trump also wants to scrap LNG export licenses to the EU .

If successful, this could further erode Europe's shrinking strategic independence and also inflict long-term economic damage on the US' energy rivals that could then be exploited for political purposes. At the same time, America's recently unveiled " Power Africa " initiative to invest $175 billion in gas projects there could eventually see US companies in the emerging energy frontiers of Tanzania , Mozambique , and elsewhere become important suppliers to their country's Chinese rival, which could make Beijing's access to energy even more dependent on American goodwill than ever before.

If looked at as the opening salvo of a global energy war being waged in parallel with the trade one as opposed to being dismissed as the populist piece of legislation that it's being portrayed as by the media, NOPEC can be seen as the strategic superweapon that it actually is, with its ultimate effectiveness being dependent of course on whether it's properly wielded by American decision makers.

It's too earlier to call it a game-changer because it hasn't even been promulgated yet, but in the event that it ever is, then it might go down in history as the most impactful energy-related development since OPEC, LNG, and fracking.

[Jul 19, 2018] Proposed Law Would Allow U.S. to Sue OPEC for Manipulating Oil Market

Jul 19, 2018 | foreignpolicy.com

S 2929 text

perated by high gasoline prices just ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, lawmakers in Congress are trying to make it easier for the United States to sue OPEC. And unlike previous failed efforts to go after the oil-exporting cartel, this time Congress will find a sympathetic ear in the White House.

The bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC bill, would tweak U.S. antitrust law to explicitly ban just the kind of collusive behavior that OPEC was created to engage in. The bill, a carbon copy of previous legislation, makes illegal any activity to restrain the production of oil or gas or set oil and gas prices and knocks away two legal defenses that in the past have shielded OPEC from U.S. antitrust measures.

[Jul 19, 2018] Iran in 1953: How an Oil Cartel Operation Became a Job for the CIA

Jul 19, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Extracted from: The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld By Peter Dale Scott

The international lawyers of Wall Street did not hide from each other their shared belief that they understood better than Washington the requirements for running the world. As John Foster Dulles wrote in the 1930s to a British colleague,

The word "cartel" has here assumed the stigma of a bogeyman which the politicians are constantly attacking. The fact of the matter is that most of these politicians are highly insular and nationalistic and because the political organization of the world has under such influence been so backward, business people who have had to cope realistically with international problems have had to find ways for getting through and around stupid political barriers. 44

This same mentality also explains why Allen Dulles as an OSS officer in 1945 simply evaded orders from Washington forbidding him to negotiate with SS General Karl Wolff about a conditional surrender of German forces in Italy – an important breach of Roosevelt's agreement with Stalin at Yalta for unconditional surrender, a breach that is regarded by many as helping lead to the Cold War. 45 And it explains why Allen, as CIA Director in 1957, dealt summarily with Eisenhower's reluctance to authorize more than occasional U-2 overflights of the USSR, by secretly approving a plan with Britain's MI-6 whereby U-2 flights could be authorized instead by the UK Prime Minister Macmillan. 46

This mentality exhibited itself in 1952, when Truman's Justice Department sought to break up the cartel agreements whereby Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) and four other oil majors controlled global oil distribution. (The other four were Standard Oil Company of New York, Standard Oil of California or Socony, Gulf Oil, and Texaco; together with Royal Dutch Shell and Anglo-Iranian, they comprised the so-called Seven Sisters of the cartel.) Faced with a government order to hand over relevant documents, Exxon's lawyer Arthur Dean at Sullivan and Cromwell, where Foster was senior partner, refused: "If it were not for the question of national security, we would be perfectly willing to face either a criminal or a civil suit. But this is the kind of information the Kremlin would love to get its hands on." 47

At this time the oil cartel was working closely with the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, later BP) to prevent AIOC's nationalization by Iran's Premier Mossadeq, by instituting, in May 1951, a successful boycott of Iranian oil exports.

In May 1951 the AIOC secured the backing of the other oil majors, who had every interest in discouraging nationalisation.... None of the large companies would touch Iranian oil; despite one or two picturesque episodes the boycott held. 48

As a result Iranian oil production fell from 241 million barrels in 1950 to 10.6 million barrels in 1952.

This was accomplished by denying Iran the ability to export its crude oil. At that time, the Seven Sisters controlled almost 99% of the crude oil tankers in the world for such export, and even more importantly, the markets to which it was going. 49

But Truman declined, despite a direct personal appeal from Churchill, to have the CIA participate in efforts to overthrow Mossadeq, and instead dispatched Averell Harriman to Tehran in a failed effort to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Mossadeq's differences with London. 50

All this changed with the election of Eisenhower in November 1952, followed by the appointment of the Dulles brothers to be Secretary of State and head of CIA. The Justice Department's criminal complaint against the oil cartel was swiftly replaced by a civil suit, from which the oil cartel eventually emerged unscathed. 51

Eisenhower, an open friend of the oil industry changed the charges from criminal to civil and transferred responsibility of the case from the Department of Justice to the Department of State – the first time in history that an antitrust case was handed to State for prosecution. Seeing as how the Secretary of State was John Foster Dulles and the defense counsel for the oil cartel was Dulles' former law firm (Sullivan and Cromwell), the case was soon as good as dead. 52

Thereafter

Cooperative control of the world market by the major oil companies remained in effect, with varying degrees of success, until the oil embargo of 1973-74. That the cooperation was more than tacit can be seen by the fact that antitrust regulations were specifically set aside a number of times during the 1950-1973 period, allowing the major companies to negotiate as a group with various Mideastern countries, and after its inception [in 1960], with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC. 53

Also in November 1952 CIA officials began planning to involve CIA in the efforts of MI6 and the oil companies in Iran 54 -- although its notorious Operation TP/AJAX to overthrow Mossadeq was not finally approved by Eisenhower until July 22, 1953. 55

The events of 1953 strengthened the role of the oil cartel as a structural component of the American deep state, drawing on its powerful connections to both Wall Street and the CIA. 56 (Another such component was the Arabian-American Oil Company or ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia, which increased oil production in 1951-53 to offset the loss of oil from Iran. Until it was fully nationalized in 1980, ARAMCO maintained undercover CIA personnel like William Eddy among its top advisors.) 57 The five American oil majors in particular were also strengthened by the success of AJAX, as Anglo-Iranian (renamed BP) was henceforth forced to share 40 percent of the oil from its Iran refinery with them.

Nearly all recent accounts of Mossadeq's overthrow treat it as a covert intelligence operation, with the oil cartel (when mentioned at all) playing a subservient role. However the chronology, and above all the belated approval from Eisenhower, suggest that it was CIA that came belatedly in 1953 to assist an earlier oil cartel operation, rather than vice versa. In terms of the deep state, the oil cartel or deep state initiated in 1951 a process that the American public state only authorized two years later. Yet the inevitable bias in academic or archival historiography, working only with those primary sources that are publicly available, is to think of the Mossadeq tragedy as simply a "CIA coup."

[Jul 18, 2018] The United States and the Russian Federation would seem to be natural allies

Jul 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Oil as a tool of geopolitics

Peter AU 1 , Jul 17, 2018 4:23:41 PM | 112
VK
I posted the sequence of events used to create the petro dollar back in the 2018-33 thread.
Will post them again here as this thread concerns Kissinger.
More specifics can be added to this planned sequence of events, this just the basics.
...........
In the late 1960s, US found oil at Prudhoe bay and by 1970 it was a proved crude oil reserve.
Due to environmental and other legal challenges, construction of the pipeline was held up.

In late 1972 the US Secretary of the Interior declares the trans-Alaska pipeline to be in the US national interest

1973-74. OPEC oil embargo due to US backing of Israel pushes oil prices up in an initial rise.

1973 (OPEC oil embargo) The Trans-Alaska pipeline Authorization Act legislation is quickly pushed through. Signed by Nixon on November 16 1973. This blocked all further challenges allowing construction to begin. pdf

Late 1973 Nixon along with Saudi Arabia create the petro dollar beginning in 1974.

The trans-Alaska pipeline is pushed through to meet a deadline, no costs spared, first oil delivered through the pipeline 28th July 1977, extra pumps then installed and pipeline running at full capacity by 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construction_of_the_Trans-Alaska_Pipeline_System

1979-80 the price of oil skyrockets due to the Iranian revolution. The US is now the global economic hegemon as all countries now need US dollars to purchase oil.

Historical crude oil price chart https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/65661/111554736.48/0_118d4e_344fb37_orig
..................


I have read that Kissinger withheld information from both Nixon and Israel, but have not followed that line of research.
Here is a piece from an official Kissinger biography. You can see here he was working both sides.

https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/kissinger-henry-a
Kissinger entered the State Department just two weeks before Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. The October War of 1973 played a major role in shaping Kissinger's tenure as Secretary. First, he worked to ensure Israel received an airlift of U.S. military supplies. This airlift helped Israel turn the war in Israel's favor, and it also led members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to initiate an oil embargo against the United States. After the implementation of a United Nation's sponsored ceasefire, Kissinger began a series of "shuttle diplomacy" missions, in which he traveled between various Middle East capitals to reach disengagement agreements between the enemy combatants. These efforts produced an agreement in January 1974 between Egypt and Israel and in May 1974 between Syria and Israel. Additionally, Kissinger's efforts contributed to OPEC's decision to lift the embargo.

[Jul 18, 2018] Syria and geopolitics of oil

Jul 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jul 17, 2018 6:46:40 PM | 141

Daniel,

It is noticeable that Trump's US attack any Syrian forces coming too close to US occupied zones of al Tanf and Dier Ezzor. Also Trumps takeover of the Deir Ezzor oilfields where US forces simply set up bases or forward posts in the ISIS occupied area.

Under Trump, US has set up a number of new bases in Syria. On the other hand, no concern about Afrin and Manbij. The Deir Ezzor area is Arab tribes and this and al Hasakah (Kurd/Arab?) is the top end of the Persian Gulf/Mesopotamia oil field.

US now controls al Hasakah and half of Deir Ezzor province. The have been ongoing efforts by the US under Trump to take Al Bukamal. US has a base just south of Al Bukamal in Iraq. US bases are now thick throughout Mesopotamia, with more being built.

Also a new base being installed in Kuwait.

The US controls the Arab shore of the Persian gulf, it now has many bases in Iraq and Syria. The only thing missing is the oil rich strip of Iran running alongside the Persian gulf and Mesopotamia.

[Jul 15, 2018] Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy

Putin/Russia is also the only entity that can prevent Trump's US from simply walking in and taking over the rich energy hub (Mafia style) to the south of Eurasia.
Notable quotes:
"... Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy. Although not labeled as global, when reading through the energy dominance section of the NSS, it can clearly been seen to be global. This is not just about sell oil produced in the US. ..."
"... Trump is going for the Achilles heel of Eurasia - energy. Rather than a creative accounting scam that simply racks up huge amounts of debt, Trump is looking for a monopoly or near monopoly business to take over and rake in the profits. ..."
"... Russia supply energy to Eurasia from the North. The opening for the Trump mob is in the south. The meet with Putin may well be to sound out the possibilities of forming a cartel. ..."
"... Yes, it absolutely is. But this is not a new "Trump policy." Certainly Zbiginew Brzezenski laid this out quite clearly in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives." It's really all in there, just as you're now identifying. If you can't take the time to read it, please consider at least reading some book reviews. As I've noted before, Ziggy apparently didn't foresee Putin rising to power and restoring the Russian state, which threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the globalists' plans, but really, US foreign policy has continued to follow his plans otherwise. ..."
Jul 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 4:55:33 PM | 101

The latest article at the Saker site by Rostislav Ishchenko - Trump's Geopolitical Cruise - I think is the best take on Trump's and his backers mindset. Worth a read and covers what I think was the cause of the split in the US elite.

The petro dollar, kicking off in the late 70s was a piece of creative accounting to give unlimited credit. This should have been ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but greed got the better of most. Trump and the people backing him could see that this was now in its terminal stages and US close to collapse itself.

Rostislav Ishchenko, like many thinks that Trump is pulling the US back to a form of isolation from the world, but I don't think this is the case.

Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy. Although not labeled as global, when reading through the energy dominance section of the NSS, it can clearly been seen to be global. This is not just about sell oil produced in the US.

Trump is going for the Achilles heel of Eurasia - energy. Rather than a creative accounting scam that simply racks up huge amounts of debt, Trump is looking for a monopoly or near monopoly business to take over and rake in the profits.

Russia supply energy to Eurasia from the North. The opening for the Trump mob is in the south. The meet with Putin may well be to sound out the possibilities of forming a cartel.

Putin/Russia is also the only entity that can prevent Trump's US from simply walking in and taking over the rich energy hub (Mafia style) to the south of Eurasia.

Daniel , Jul 14, 2018 5:35:42 PM | 104

Peter @101

"Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy."

Yes, it absolutely is. But this is not a new "Trump policy." Certainly Zbiginew Brzezenski laid this out quite clearly in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives." It's really all in there, just as you're now identifying. If you can't take the time to read it, please consider at least reading some book reviews. As I've noted before, Ziggy apparently didn't foresee Putin rising to power and restoring the Russian state, which threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the globalists' plans, but really, US foreign policy has continued to follow his plans otherwise.

Kissinger has written much the same, though I don't recall in which books/articles. This page from the US Navy seems a fine reading list, designed as it appears to indoctrinate officers in AZ Empire geopolitics.

http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/CNO-ReadingProgram/partnernetwork.html#!

IMO, the US took the lead in the Empire's Global Energy Dominance quest when FDR met with King Saud on Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal in 1945 (swinging by after the final post-war world planning meeting with Churchill and Stalin at Yalta). This was when the US largely replaced Great Britain in primacy over Asian/Middle Eastern energy dominance.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 5:42:51 PM | 105
Daniel, I will read through the Grand Chessboard again.
Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 5:49:29 PM | 106
US setting up more bases. A base in Iraq, and a large airfreight logistics base in Kuwait.
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201807141066354147-new-us-bases-iraq/

The US is in the Persian Gulf to stay. Trumps face face meet with Putin will be so Trump can try and gauge what Putin will do - if he will run any blocking moves, his reaction to a fait accompli ect. Most likely a few more face to face meetings before any move on Iran.

Daniel , Jul 14, 2018 6:52:45 PM | 108
Peter, thanks for pointing out the new and unwanted US base in Iraq. I just read that the US was building the world's largest Embassy Compound in "Iraqi Kurdistan." I wonder it they're the same thing?

In a quick web search, failing to find an answer, I noticed that besides the "Green Zone" compound we built in Baghdad at the start of the current military occupation, the record holder was the US Embassy Compound in Pakistan.

James and I have discoursed here a bit on the history of US military occupations since WW II. Boils down to the US has never removed its military from any country it's occupied with the exception of Vietnam.

veritas semper vincit @103 linked blogpost notes that the US has 40,000 troops still occupying Germany. His (I presume) post is quite entertaining considering the severe seriousness of the topic.

Dis is a nice little country ya gotz heyah. Id be a shame if sumpin' bad was ta happen to it.

[Jul 03, 2018] The squealing and consternation coming from the UK indicates that the empire changed course as for neoliberal globalization, and the UK is left out

The USA elite might now want abandoning of GATT and even WTO as it does not like the results. That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics.
Notable quotes:
"... The US still depends heavily on oil importation -- it is not "independent" in any manner whatsoever. Here's the most current data while this chart shows importation history since 1980. ..."
"... the only time a biological or economic entity can become energy independent is upon its death when it no longer requires energy for its existence. ..."
"... A big part of the US move into the middle east post WWII was that they needed a strategic reserve for time of war and also they could see US consumption growing far larger than US production. ..."
"... The USA of WAR may have oil independence, but it is temporary. The race is on for release from oil dependency and China intends to win in my view. It is setting ambitious targets to move to electric vehicles and mass transit. That will give it a technology dominance, and perhaps a resource dominance in the EV sphere. We are in the decade of major corporate struggles and defensive maneuverings around China investments in key EV sectors. ..."
"... In ten to twenty years' time the energy story could well be significantly different. The USA and its coterie of killers are still fighting yesterday's war, yesterday's hatred of all things Russian, yesterday's energy monopoly. ..."
"... I don't believe that the USA of WAR has changed or even intends to change the way they play their 'game'. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade set the trajectory for technology transfer, fabrication skills transfer, growth of academic and scientific achievement in 'other' countries (China, Russia etc). Their thoughts in the GATT deal were trade = economics = oligarchy = good. ..."
"... That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics. ..."
"... Canada and the gulf monarchies are the only countries with large reserves that are not hostile as yet to the US. As the US no longer is totally reliant on imports to meet its consumption, Saudi's, Bahrain and co are now expendable assets. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Jun 29, 2018 5:51:08 PM | 32

Peter AU 1 @28--

The US still depends heavily on oil importation -- it is not "independent" in any manner whatsoever. Here's the most current data while this chart shows importation history since 1980.

As I've said before, the only time a biological or economic entity can become energy independent is upon its death when it no longer requires energy for its existence.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2018 6:11:54 PM | 33

karlof1 32

What I am looking at are strategic reserves, not how much oil is currently produced. With shale it now has those reserves and shale oil I think is now at the point where production could quickly ramp up to full self sufficiency if required. Even if the US were producing as much oil as they consumed, they would still be importing crude and exporting refined products.

A big part of the US move into the middle east post WWII was that they needed a strategic reserve for time of war and also they could see US consumption growing far larger than US production.

uncle tungsten , Jun 29, 2018 9:25:02 PM | 41
@Peter AU 1 #28 Thank you for that stimulating post. I just have to respond. And thanks to b and all the commenters here, it is my daily goto post.

The USA of WAR may have oil independence, but it is temporary. The race is on for release from oil dependency and China intends to win in my view. It is setting ambitious targets to move to electric vehicles and mass transit. That will give it a technology dominance, and perhaps a resource dominance in the EV sphere. We are in the decade of major corporate struggles and defensive maneuverings around China investments in key EV sectors.

In ten to twenty years' time the energy story could well be significantly different. The USA and its coterie of killers are still fighting yesterday's war, yesterday's hatred of all things Russian, yesterday's energy monopoly.

I don't believe that the USA of WAR has changed or even intends to change the way they play their 'game'. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade set the trajectory for technology transfer, fabrication skills transfer, growth of academic and scientific achievement in 'other' countries (China, Russia etc). Their thoughts in the GATT deal were trade = economics = oligarchy = good.

That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics.

By gross ignorance and foolish under-investment, the USA of WAR and its coterie of killers have eaten their future at their people's expense.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2018 9:25:04 PM | 42
karlof1 32

This is the chart for US exports of crude and petroleum products.
https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTEXUS2&f=M

Peter AU 1 , Jun 30, 2018 4:07:22 AM | 65
61

Light sweet vs heavy sour. Light means it contains a lot of diesel/petrol. Sweet means low sulphur. Many oils are heavy sour. Canada sand. the stuff they get from that is thick bitumen with high sulpher. The sulpher needs to be removed and the bitumen broken down into light fuels like diesel and petrol.

Canada and the gulf monarchies are the only countries with large reserves that are not hostile as yet to the US. As the US no longer is totally reliant on imports to meet its consumption, Saudi's, Bahrain and co are now expendable assets.

The great game for the US now is control or denial. Access to oil as a strategically critical resource is no longer a factor for the US.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 30, 2018 4:30:22 AM | 67
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." Karl Rove.

The squealing and consternation coming from the UK indicates that the empire has changed course and the UK is left sitting on its own shit pile.

[Jul 03, 2018] Oil is energy and energy means power to those that control it

Notable quotes:
"... As always, profits "trump" humanity. ..."
"... The great power game is why there is continuity of government policy in the 'US west' no matter who is elected. Within the great power game democracy in the west is meaningless. ..."
"... If the US is changing how it plays the game, then the Brit players may be getting desperate. They are now small players but unlike the US do not have an oil reserve. ..."
"... This may be the reason the Brits have ramped up the propaganda to the ridiculous and also why they have attempted to take down Trump. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 4:14:35 PM | 24

Loot is only a side benefit for post WWII wars and no doubt before. Oil is energy and energy means power to those that control it. UK, French, US have fucked the MENA region over simple for control of the oil.

Working to prevent communism, socialism, democracy and pan Arab movements which are all a threat to FUKUS control of MENA, and then pulling the same dirty tricks on each other. Russia has its own all and through the Soviet era seems to have only dabbled in the region.

China needs to import energy and so the great power game of controlling or denying access to energy continues.

ben , Jun 29, 2018 4:15:18 PM | 25

karlof1 @ 3 said"Criminality mostly driven by Greed."

james @ 5 said: "trump isn't much different or he would be addressing this too..."

Two bottom line truths, that are apparent...

As always, profits "trump" humanity. How to change that mindset? I for one, don't know, but, the so called "religious" among us, should ask themselves that same question. IMO, religion is, as practiced, mostly crowd control..

Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2018 5:16:04 PM | 28
The great power game is why there is continuity of government policy in the 'US west' no matter who is elected. Within the great power game democracy in the west is meaningless.

with USA's new found oil independence, the direction they take may change from the last 70 years or so.

Another recent change is the rise of current Russia and their vision of a multi polar world, also the rise of China.

If the US is changing how it plays the game, then the Brit players may be getting desperate. They are now small players but unlike the US do not have an oil reserve.

This may be the reason the Brits have ramped up the propaganda to the ridiculous and also why they have attempted to take down Trump.

[Jun 21, 2018] There is a narrative that oil demand will soon begin dropping due to widespread use of EV.

Jun 21, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

shallow sand x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 2:36 pm

There is a narrative that oil demand will soon begin dropping due to widespread use of EV.

1 million EV just replaces 14,000 BOPD of demand. Conservatively assuming those one million EV require $40K per unit of CAPEX, just to replace 14,000 BOPD of demand took $40 billion of CAPEX.

Likewise, to replace 1.4 million BOPD of demand via EV would take $4 trillion of CAPEX.

Worldwide demand has been growing somewhere between 1.2-2.0 million BOPD annually, depending on who one believes.

See where I am going with this? How do the EV disruption proponents explain away the massive CAPEX required just to cause oil demand to flatten, let alone render it near obsolete?

I'd like to see some explanation with numbers.

GoneFishing x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 3:28 pm
The average US car gets 25 mpg and travels 12,500 miles per year for 500 gallons of gasoline per year.

Refineries in the US produce 20 gallons of gasoline per barrel of oil.

That gives 69,000 BOPD per day reduction per million EV cars in the US and 110,000 BOPD oil equivalent energy due to the multiple energies put into gasoline and distillate production.

At current rates of EV sales growth the US will reach 50 million EV cars by 2031. That should put he US to being mostly independent of external oil for gasoline by mid 2030's and

It's tough to predict a complete transition in the US since cars as a service could greatly reduce the numbers of cars needed, especially in dense population areas. That would mean a much earlier transition.

If US ICE cars trend upward in mpg during that time, the demand for oil could be quite low by the early 2030's.
All depends on continuation of trends, for which the auto manufacturers seem to be on board. Just have to get the public charging infrastructure out ahead of the trend.

Here is an interesting article, from a couple of years ago, showing the trend and sales at that time.

https://www.nanalyze.com/2017/03/electric-cars-usa/

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 6:04 pm
Shallow sand,

Cars get replaced all the time and the cost of new EVs will fall over time to the same price as ICEV, so it's simply a matter of replacing the ICEV currently sold with EVs over time, in addition cars can get better gas mileage (50 MPG in a Prius vs 35 MPG in a Toyota Corolla or 25 MPG in a Camry.) There's also plug in hybrids like the Honda Clarity (47 miles batttery range) or Prius Prime(25 mile range on battery) these have an ICE for when the battery is used up.

If oil prices rise in the short term to over $100/b (probably around 2022 to 2030), there will be demand for other types of transport besides a pure ICEV.

EVs and plugin hybrids will become cheaper as manufacturing is scaled up due to economies of scale.

[Jun 21, 2018] Strange consumption growth in Eastern Europe

Jun 21, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher, 06/17/2018 at 11:37 pm

Got time to go thru the bible more carefully.

Surprising stuff. Huge oil consumption growth rates in Eastern Europe. 8+% growth %s in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Something weird going on because Romania and Slovenia didn't show the same thing.

Western Africa grew consumption of oil 13% last year. I'll add a !!!!. East Africa about 6%. Both are over 600K bpd, so that growth rate is not on tiny burn.

World oil consumption growth 1.8%.

(population in africa . . . . . .)

Ktoś, 06/18/2018 at 8:44 am

Poland's official oil consumption growth is caused by better fighting with illegal, and unregistered fuel imports since mid 2016. When taxes are 50% of fuel price, there is big incentive for illegal activities. Real oil consumption probably didn't increase much.
Strummer, 06/18/2018 at 2:00 pm
Poland, Czech and Slovakia are going through a huge economic boom now (I live in Slovakia and party in Czech Republic). It's visible everywhere, there wasn't this much spending and employment ever in the last 28 years
Watcher, 06/19/2018 at 12:04 am
South Africa grew at 0.6%.

Middle Africa is listed as growing at 0.4%. North Africa is divided up Egypt, Morocco and "Other North Africa". Other was +4.7% consumption growth.

It's gotta be Nigeria west and Angola east.

Watcher, 06/18/2018 at 2:43 pm
Pssssst.

Oil consumption 2017 increased 1.8% from 2016.

Oil price 2016 about $41/b. Oil price 2017 about $55/b.

hahahahhaa

Dennis Coyne, 06/19/2018 at 6:41 am
Oil demand is mostly determined by GDP growth, oil price has a minor influence on short term demand. World GDP grew by about 5% from 2016 to 2017 according to the IMF, so oil demand increased by 1.8% possibly less than one would expect. Real GDP (at market exchange rates) grew by about 3% in 2017.

[Jun 21, 2018] The idea behind peak demand fallacy is simply that oil supply may at some point become relatively abundant relative to demand in the future (date unknown).

Jun 21, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 5:54 pm

Hi George,

The idea behind peak demand is simply that oil supply may at some point become relatively abundant relative to demand in the future (date unknown). When and if that occurs, OPEC may become worried that their oil resources will never be used and will begin to fight for market share by increasing production and driving down the price of oil to try to spur demand. That is the theory, I think we are probably 20 to 40 years from reaching that point for conventional oil.

Oil still contributes quite a bit to carbon emissions and while I agree coal use needs to be reduced (as carbon emissions per unit of exergy is higher for coal than oil), I would think it may be possible to work on reducing both coal and oil use at the same time. Using electric rail combined with electric trucks, cars and busses could reduce quite a bit of carbon emissions from land transport, ships and air transport may be more difficult.

Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 06/19/2018 at 3:56 am
Why making a fire sale?

It's better to sell half of your ressources for 90$ / barrel than all at 30$ / barrel.

The gulf states will always have cheap production costs at their side, they will earn more at each price of oil. Why not make big money, especially when at lower production speed the production costs are much lower (less expensive infrastructure).

And in the first case you can sell chemical feedstock for a few 100 years ongoing for a good coin. Theocracies and Kingdoms plan sometimes for a long time. When you bail out everything at sale prices, you end with nothing ( and even no profit).

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 06/20/2018 at 8:00 am
Eulenspeigel,

You assume half the resource can be sold at $90/b, at some point in the future oil supply may be greater than demand at a price of $90/b, so at $90/b no oil is sold and revenue is zero.

In a situation of over supply there will be competition for customers and the supply will fall to the point where supply and demand are matched. Under those conditions OPEC may decide to drive higher cost producers out of business and take market share, oil price will fall to the cost of the most expensive (marginal) barrel that satisfies World demand.

I don't think we are close to reaching this point, but perhaps by 2035 or 2040 alternative transport may have ramped to the point where World demand for oil falls below World Supply of oil at $90/b and the oil price will gradually drop to a level where supply and demand match.

[Jun 20, 2018] Consumption of oil continues to grow in 2018

Jun 20, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher, 06/13/2018 at 12:54 pm

The bible is out. A few surprises.

India's oil consumption growth was only 2.9%. Derives from their monetary debacle early in the year. We should see signs of whether or not that corrects back to their much higher norm before next year.

China consumption growth 4%. Higher than India. Clearly an aberration.

KSA consumption actually declined fractionally, which allows Japan to still be ahead of them in consumption.

US consumption growth 1%. So much for EV silliness.

[Jun 18, 2018] China blindsides US with new energy tariffs threat by Jim W. Dean

Notable quotes:
"... According to US Energy Department figures, China imports approximately 363,000 barrels of US crude oil daily. The country also imports about 200,000 barrels a day of other petroleum products including propane. ..."
Jun 18, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com
Just as China topped the list of nations buying US oil, Beijing – retaliating to unilateral Trump economic threats – sent jitters through energy markets on Friday by threatening new tariffs on natural gas, crude oil and many other energy products.

On Friday, Beijing threatened to impose tariffs on US energy products in response to $50 billion in tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump. Such tariffs would inhibit Chinese refiners from buying US crude imports, potentially crashing US energy markets and hitting the fossil fuel industry where it hurts the most: in shareholder approval.

"This is a big deal. China is essentially the largest customer for US crude now, and so for crude it's an issue, let alone when you involve [refined] products, too. This is obviously a big development," Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData, told Reuters.

According to US Energy Department figures, China imports approximately 363,000 barrels of US crude oil daily. The country also imports about 200,000 barrels a day of other petroleum products including propane.

The US energy industry has seen its profits boosted by fracking in domestic shale fields, which produce some 10.9 million barrels of oil per day.

The US is also exporting a record 2 million barrels per day, and encouraging countries like China to import more US energy products instead of those from Iran, after Trump recently withdrew from the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) 2015 nuclear arms deal with Tehran.

China is currently the largest buyer of Iranian oil as well, purchasing some 650,000 barrels daily during the first quarter of 2018.

According to Bernadette Johnson with the Denver, Colorado, energy consultancy Drilling info, tariffs will increase prices for other petroleum products including propane and liquefied natural gas.

"The constant back-and-forth about the tariffs creates a lot of market uncertainty that makes it harder to sell cargoes or sign long-term [trade] deals," Johnson noted, cited by Reuters.

In late March, the White House slapped trade sanctions on China, the world's second largest economy, including limitations in the investment sector as well as tariffs on $60 billion worth of products.

Citing "fairness" considerations, Trump referred to the car market, stating that China charged a tariff ten times higher on US cars than the US did on the few Chinese cars sold in the US.

Separately, in a bid to deliver on campaign promises, Trump announced his intention to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports from an array of US allies, including the EU, Mexico and Canada. Those nations -- longtime allies to the US -- have promised retaliatory economic measures.

Trump has also reportedly mulled placing a 25-percent import tax on European cars, something that would significantly affect the highly-profitable US market for expensive German automobiles.

[Mar 29, 2018] "The objectives of these US actions as the labelling of China as a "strategic competitor" suggests, is it to halt China's technological progress altogether

China's rise has made the US fear the loss of its role as the sole superpower. And the neoliberal elite fights back. That replays on a new level rift of the USSR and China in the past.
Mar 29, 2018 | www.ft.com

Martin Wolf : How China can avoid a trade war with the US

... the plan to impose 25 per cent tariffs on $60bn of (as yet, unspecified) Chinese exports to the US shows the aggression of Mr Trump's trade agenda. The proposed tariffs are just one of several actions aimed at China's technology-related policies. These include a case against China at the World Trade Organization and a plan to impose new restrictions on its investments in US technology companies.

The objectives of these US actions are unclear. Is it merely to halt alleged misbehaviour, such as forced transfers -- or outright theft -- of intellectual property? Or, as the labelling of China as a "strategic competitor" suggests, is it to halt China's technological progress altogether -- an aim that is unachievable and certainly non-negotiable. Mr Trump also emphasised the need for China to slash its US bilateral trade surplus by $100bn. Indeed, his rhetoric implies that trade should balance with each partner. This aim is, once again, neither achievable nor negotiable.

...A still more pessimistic view is that trade discussions will break down in a cycle of retaliation, perhaps as part of broader hostilities.

[Feb 20, 2018] For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia

Highly recommended!
This post summaries several "alternative" views that many suspect, but can't express as clearly as here.
Feb 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Palloy | Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | 34

@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil peaked its production in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed. At this point their shares would become worthless and they would become bankrupt. The contagion from this would spread to transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total collapse of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic. The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis. Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b. The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for WW3. So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.

Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

[Jan 13, 2018] All eyes may be fixed on Jan. 18 as the day China begins trading oil contracts in Yuan currency ~ The Daily Economist

Jan 13, 2018 | www.thedailyeconomist.com

According to one source out of the Far East, China's Yuan denominated oil contract is set to go live for trading on Jan. 18.

While not an official date announced from government sources, according to an anonymous member of the Futures market where the new oil contract will trade, this is the expected date for Beijing to begin its latest challenge to the long-standing Petrodollar system.

According to the Shanghai-based news portal Jiemian, which cited an unidentified person from a futures company, trading is expected to start Jan. 18. Multiple rounds of testing have been carried out and all listing requirements met. The State Council, China's cabinet, was said to have given its approval in December, one of the final regulatory hurdles. The push for oil futures gained impetus in 2017 when China surpassed the U.S. as the world's biggest crude importer. - Zerohedge
While the Chinese markets are not expected to immediately take dominion over the West's Brent and WTI oil markets, several countries which include Venezuela, Russia, Qatar, Pakistan, and perhaps even Iran appear ready to transition away from dollar based oil trade. Additionally, many more nations will likely be willing to dip their toes into this market as it proves itself to be a viable alternative to dollar hegemony, and as protection from foreign policy threats from the U.S. which often uses the dollar as leverage in economic sanctions.

[Dec 25, 2017] The Petro-Yuan Bombshell and Its Relation to the New US Security Doctrine

Notable quotes:
"... The new 55-page "America First" National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as "revisionist" powers, "rivals," and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States. ..."
"... The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an "attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries." Still, Beijing qualified it as "reckless" and "irrational." The Kremlin noted its "imperialist character" and "disregard for a multipolar world." Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as "the world's most significant state sponsor of terrorism." ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | russia-insider.com

"Russia and China ... have concluded that pumping the US military budget by buying US bonds ... is an unsustainable proposition ..." Pepe Escobar 12,072 198

The new 55-page "America First" National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as "revisionist" powers, "rivals," and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.

The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an "attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries." Still, Beijing qualified it as "reckless" and "irrational." The Kremlin noted its "imperialist character" and "disregard for a multipolar world." Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as "the world's most significant state sponsor of terrorism."

Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geo-economic process of Eurasia integration.

The NSS can certainly be regarded as a response to what happened at the BRICS summit in Xiamen last September. Then, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on "the BRIC countries' concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies," and stressed the need to "overcome the excessive domination of a limited number of reserve currencies."

That was a clear reference to the US dollar, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total reserve currency around the world and remains the benchmark determining the price of energy and strategic raw materials.

And that brings us to the unnamed secret at the heart of the NSS; the Russia-China "threat" to the US dollar.

The CIPS/SWIFT face-off

The website of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) recently announced the establishment of a yuan-ruble payment system, hinting that similar systems regarding other currencies participating in the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will also be in place in the near future.

Crucially, this is not about reducing currency risk; after all Russia and China have increasingly traded bilaterally in their own currencies since the 2014 US-imposed sanctions on Russia. This is about the implementation of a huge, new alternative reserve currency zone, bypassing the US dollar.

The decision follows the establishment by Beijing, in October 2015, of the China International Payments System (CIPS). CIPS has a cooperation agreement with the private, Belgium-based SWIFT international bank clearing system, through which virtually every global transaction must transit.

What matters, in this case, is that Beijing – as well as Moscow – clearly read the writing on the wall when, in 2012, Washington applied pressure on SWIFT; blocked international clearing for every Iranian bank; and froze $100 billion in Iranian assets overseas as well as Tehran's potential to export oil. In the event that Washington might decide to slap sanctions on China, bank clearing though CIPS works as a de facto sanctions-evading mechanism.

Last March, Russia's central bank opened its first office in Beijing. Moscow is launching its first $1 billion yuan-denominated government bond sale. Moscow has made it very clear it is committed to a long-term strategy to stop using the US dollar as their primary currency in global trade, moving alongside Beijing towards what could be dubbed a post-Bretton Woods exchange system.

Gold is essential in this strategy. Russia, China, India, Brazil & South Africa are all either large producers or consumers of gold – or both. Following what has been extensively discussed in their summits since the early 2010s, the BRICS countries are bound to focus on trading physical gold .

Markets such as COMEX actually trade derivatives on gold, and are backed by an insignificant amount of physical gold. Major BRICS gold producers – especially the Russia-China partnership – plan to be able to exercise extra influence in setting up global gold prices.

The ultimate politically charged dossier

Intractable questions referring to the US dollar as the top reserve currency have been discussed at the highest levels of JP Morgan for at least five years now. There cannot be a more politically charged dossier. The NSS duly sidestepped it.

The current state of play is still all about the petrodollar system; since last year, what used to be a key, "secret" informal deal between the US and the House of Saud, is firmly in the public domain .

Even warriors in the Hindu Kush may now be aware of how oil and virtually all commodities must be traded in US dollars, and how these petrodollars are recycled into US Treasuries. Through this mechanism, Washington has accumulated an astonishing $20 trillion in debt – and counting.

Vast populations all across MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) also learned what happened when Iraq's Saddam Hussein decided to sell oil in euros, or when Muammar Gaddafi planned to issue a pan-African gold dinar.

But now it's China who's entering the fray, following through on plans set up way back in 2012. And the name of the game is oil-futures trading priced in yuan, with the yuan fully convertible into gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong foreign exchange markets.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange and its subsidiary, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) have already run four production environment tests for crude oil futures. Operations were supposed to start at the end of 2017, but even if they start sometime in early 2018, the fundamentals are clear: this triple win (oil/yuan/gold) completely bypasses the US dollar. The era of the petro-yuan is at hand.

Of course, there are questions on how Beijing will technically manage to set up a rival mark to Brent and WTI, or whether China's capital controls will influence it. Beijing has been quite discreet on the triple win; the petro-yuan was not even mentioned in National Development and Reform Commission documents following the 19th CCP Congress last October.

What's certain is that the BRICS countries supported the petro-yuan move at their summit in Xiamen, as diplomats confirmed to Asia Times . Venezuela is also on board. It's crucial to remember that Russia is number two and Venezuela is number seven among the world's Top Ten oil producers. Considering the pull of China's economy, they may soon be joined by other producers.

Yao Wei, chief China economist at Societe Generale in Paris, goes straight to the point, remarking how "this contract has the potential to greatly help China's push for yuan internationalization."

The hidden riches of "belt" and "road"

An extensive report by DBS in Singapore hits most of the right notes linking the internationalization of the yuan with the expansion of BRI.

In 2018, six major BRI projects will be on overdrive; the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, the China-Laos railway, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, the Hungary-Serbia railway, the Melaka Gateway project in Malaysia, and the upgrading of Gwadar port in Pakistan.

HSBC estimates that BRI as a whole will generate no less than an additional, game-changing $2.5 trillion worth of new trade a year.

It's important to keep in mind that the "belt" in BRI should be seen as a series of corridors connecting Eastern China with oil/gas-rich regions in Central Asia and the Middle East, while the "roads" soon to be plied by high-speed rail traverse regions filled with – what else - un-mined gold.

A key determinant of the future of the petro-yuan is what the House of Saud will do about it. Should Crown Prince – and inevitable future king – MBS opt to follow Russia's lead, to dub it as a paradigm shift would be the understatement of the century.

Yuan-denominated gold contracts will be traded not only in Shanghai and Hong Kong but also in Dubai. Saudi Arabia is also considering to issue so-called Panda bonds, after the Emirate of Sharjah is set to take the lead in the Middle East for Chinese interbank bonds.

Of course, the prelude to D-Day will be when the House of Saud officially announces it accepts yuan for at least part of its exports to China.

A follower of the Austrian school of economics correctly asserts that for oil-producing nations, higher oil price in US dollars is not as important as market share: "They are increasingly able to choose in which currencies they want to trade."

What's clear is that the House of Saud simply cannot alienate China as one of its top customers; it's Beijing who will dictate future terms. That may include extra pressure for Chinese participation in Aramco's IPO. In parallel, Washington would see Riyadh embracing the petro-yuan as the ultimate red line.

An independent European report points to what may be the Chinese trump card: "an authorization to issue treasury bills in yuan by Saudi Arabia," the creation of a Saudi investment fund, and the acquisition of a 5% share of Aramco.

Nations under US sanctions, such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela, will be among the first to embrace the petro-yuan. Smaller producers such as Angola and Nigeria are already selling oil/gas to China in yuan.

And if you don't export oil but are part of BRI, such as Pakistan, the least you can do is replace the US dollar in bilateral trade, as Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal is currently evaluating.

A key feature of the geoeconomic heart of the world moving from the West towards Asia is that by the start of the next decade the petro-yuan and trade bypassing the US dollar will be certified facts on the ground across Eurasia.

The NSS for its part promises to preserve "peace through strength." As Washington currently deploys no less than 291,000 troops in 183 countries and has sent Special Ops to no less than 149 nations in 2017 alone, it's hard to argue the US is at "peace" – especially when the NSS seeks to channel even more resources to the industrial-military complex.

"Revisionist" Russia and China have committed an unpardonable sin; they have concluded that pumping the US military budget by buying US bonds that allow the US Treasury to finance a multi-trillion dollar deficit without raising interest rates is an unsustainable proposition for the Global South. Their "threat" – under the framework of BRICS as well as the SCO, which includes prospective members Iran and Turkey – is to increasingly settle bilateral and multilateral trade bypassing the US dollar.

It ain't over till the fat (golden) lady sings. When the beginning of the end of the petrodollar system – established by Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud way back in 1974 – becomes a fact on the ground, all eyes will be focused on the NSS counterpunch.

John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 10:11 AM

China and Russia been dumping US bonds for a good while.
They just have to do it slowly, so they can get as much cash, to buy stolen discounted gold with from the British Anglo Zionist Empire, as possible without tanking the market.

The Federal reserve, prints currency, "loans" it to USA corporation, at USURY rates, gives this currency to other "sovereign" puppet states such as Belgium, who then act like they are buying the bonds for themselves.

It is a scam. Those who trust the USA/British Empire, will wind up with worthless paper, while the Usury bankers, their bosses, China and Russia, will wind up with gold.
All you USA worshipers should understand something.
He who has the gold, makes the rules.
Guess the western sheep are going to be the bitc#s of China and Russia for the next century or so.

Tommy Jensen John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:26 AM

I believe America will win. Therefore I sold my gold and bought dollares. The bad guys always win.............LOL.

Cliff Aleksandar Tomić , December 23, 2017 6:20 PM

" Treason doth never prosper
What be the reason?
For when it prosper,
None dare call it treason" -William Shakespere

Mychal Arnold Tommy Jensen , December 24, 2017 4:49 AM

Hey Tim or whatever. Yep you always win huh? Vietnam, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Sudan, .ring any bells I could go on but you have been embarrassed enough with your msm drivel. Always the weak and defenseless you lily livered chicken's. You better avoid war with the two most powerful countries in the world. Can you guess? and neither are you pedos and babykillers. You make me sick and disgusted. Voted again the most threat to world peace. Ussa, ussa, ussa. Proud are ya all. The time is coming where you reap what you have sown and on that day I shall dance my happy dance that you feel what you and your evil countrymen have wrought in the world in the name of democracy and freedom hope it is on cable! You rotten to the core people!

Richard Burton Mychal Arnold , December 24, 2017 11:11 AM

Here here, the US Holocaust, countless millions killed all over the globe as the USA plunders, wars and props-up evil, despot regimes. Bin Laden, Taleban, just two of the US former best allies, how long can a 200 year old, degenerate country like the USA keep sponging-off/ using exploiting the worlds billions to enrich itself? USA... infested with drugs, crime, rust belts, slums, homeless, street bums VAST inequality.

zorbatheturk Richard Burton , December 25, 2017 2:11 AM

It's still a million miles better than a craphole like RuSSia!

Mychal Arnold Richard Burton , December 24, 2017 12:01 PM

Yep! As Rome burns and eaten from within!

Le Ruse Tommy Jensen , December 25, 2017 2:32 AM

Yes Tommy.. Good move !!
Buy US$ !! US$ is backed by US government !! Gold is not backed by anything !!

Peter Jennings John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:09 AM

Remember the Belgium Bulge a few years back? the process must also work in reverse.

wilmers13 John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 12:43 AM

You cannot buy gold from the Empire, have you not read the book Gold Warriors.

Security is a propaganda term now, stands for war preparations.

John C Carleton wilmers13 , December 24, 2017 8:39 AM

The Empire sells other peoples gold to China and Russia everyday, having stole and sold Americans gold long since.
Works like this.
The not Federal, and no Reserve(s) dollar, is worth about 1 cent, of a 1913, pre Usury criminal banker scam "dollar".
That 1 % is swiftly loosing it's value.
To keep the American people, from realizing, the USA, is using them for cattle, stealing their labor, through planned hyperinflation,:
Israhell/Washington crime cabal, dumps massive amounts of "paper gold and silver", on the market, each and every damn day the rigged market is open, in order to artificially keep the price of gold and silver way the hell below where it should be priced in federal reserve currency.
This hide s the true inflation rate of the not federal and no reserves private Usury Banker Currency, falsely identified as the "US Dollar".
Israhell/Washington DC, does not have the physical gold and silver to cover what they sell.
It is a criminal scam.
Those who buy this paper gold and silver, small guy, will never be given physical for the paper.
Small guy, traded green paper for white paper. Either will be worthless soon.
Sovereigns, can buy enough of it, to demand delivery of physical.
The day the British Anglo zionist Empire defaults delivering physical gold, to China and Russia, for the paper gold, is the day the curtain comes down on the illusion of the USA financial empire.
Washington DC knows this, China knows this, Russia knows this.
In order to buy time, Israhell/Washington DC, has stolen, sold at hugely discounted prices, to keep the dollar scam alive, just a while longer, all the gold they were supposably storing for safe keeping, of other sovereigns.
They have stolen privately held gold, which was stored in commercial banks and vaults for "safe keeping.
They stole the gold which went missing from the basement vaults in the world trade centers, before they set off the demolition charges.
Then they sold it.
They stole and sold Ukraines gold.
They stole and sold, Libya's gold.
They had intended to have already stole and sold Syria's gold.
They are fast running out of other peoples gold, to deliver to China and Russia at huge discounts, to prop up the scam, just a while longer.
The day there is no more stolen gold to deliver to China and Russia, the music stops, all the chairs are removed, this game of musical chars is over. Starving Americans will eat their pets, rats, and each other.
Thanks Israhell!
Thanks Washington DC/USA.

Trauma2000 John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 1:11 PM

I want more information on this. Isabella said a similar thing. I want to know more... So the U$T's that are in actual fact worthless, Russia is using to buy gold at a huge discount to what should be the true market rate; and then Russia is storing this. I understand the storing thing. I'm a straight forward kind-of-a-guy. But its the U.$.T.'s to Physical Gold I can't get my head around.

Why is the U.$. honouring what is a knife-to-its-throat deal that is very soon going to result in the collapse of the U.$. dollar? And according to this forum fully 20% of Russia's reserves are still held in fiat U.$.T's..?

Why would Russia hold such a large percentage if its reserves in what will be worthless U.$.T.'s when it knows that the U.$. is going to try and scam Russia and default..?

I want to know more.

John C Carleton Trauma2000 , December 24, 2017 2:02 PM

Picture a crime family.
Some branches are pure evil.
Some not so evil.
Some are very open about their evil.
Some are sneaky hypocrites who use the news media to white wash their crimes, and vilify their victims.

BUT! And this is one huge BUT, they all know too much on each other to start talking too damn much.
Also, their criminal Empire, (shearing/raping/murdering the sheep for fun and profit) is all tied together. Common banks, common/interchangeable fiat currencies, Usury debt practices.
Take part of it down, the other part will suffer great losses, if not go down with them.
Russia, and China, has gotten tired of the British Anglo zionist Empire lording it over them and treating them like red headed step children.
Russia and China, have not seen the Light, are not operating for the sake of their people, but to keep themselves in power, by returning to the people, some of the wealth they stole from the people to begin with
British Anglo zionist pig fkers Empire, is too greedy to return any of the stolen loot.
The BAzE, have a let them eat grass like the animals they are elitist attitude.
China and Russia, are trying to position themselves to come out on top when the economic reset happens.
They both were FORCED, by Empire, to both buy and hold, huge stashes of both Federal reserve fiat currency, and bonds, to do business in the rest of the world.
The USA military is the enforcement arm for the BAzE.
USA military is corrupted, demoralized, veterans fked over royally, weapons do not work as their purpose, was to steal the labor of the American working man and women, not to produce weapons which worked as advertised.
Russia and China, will continue to buy gold, buy time, to get in a better position to give Uncle Sugar's pedophilic ass both middle fingers.
It is in their interest to do so.
The owners of the British Anglo zionist Empire, have their personal vaults filled with stolen gold.
The politicians you see, the Rothschild's even, are window dressing to hide the true owners, and to protect the true owners asses during slave revolts, by offering, kings, queens, politicians, bankers, heads to get chopped.
These owners have no loyalty to any other person, or country in the world. They see themselves as the chess players, humanity as the pieces, the earth as their personal chess board.
They do not give a FF about America, the American people, or the hand puppet political whore of DC/USA.
The hand puppet whores, are too stupid, and corrupt anyway, to understand whats coming, or to have the power, intelligence, or balls to stop it
There are all kinds of fun and wealth created, for deviant sick bastards, in creating, and tearing down empires.
Besides, all the death and destruction gets them sexually excited
Takes years of study, experience with, and intuition, to begin to understand their evil, and the way the world really works.
Whether someone started years back, educating themselves, preparing for whats coming, will determine if they will enter the kill zone as a sheep or not.
The only protection sheep have, is the hope, the jackals will rape and murder some other sheep, not them. That is why they will not stand up or speak up.
That is why they violently attack anyone wants to leave the herd mentality, everyone else forced to be in the same sheep state as them,
They are afraid the jackal will notice them individually.
Herd numbers and hiding in the herd, are the cowards only protection

Bd-prince Pramanik Trauma2000 , December 24, 2017 8:28 PM

your answer is in your question!

Mychal Arnold John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 12:41 PM

John I firmly believe they will get what is coming to them just a matter of time nothing endures forever. But mostly not in our life time, though!

John C Carleton Mychal Arnold , December 24, 2017 12:46 PM

Any day now, any week, not very many months, can the scam go on.
In other words, Americans might want to bone up on delicious recipes for Rats, cats, and their neighbors.

Trauma2000 John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 3:15 PM

re: "China and Russia been dumping US bonds for a good while.
They just have to do it slowly, so they can get as much cash, to buy stolen discounted gold with from the British Anglo Zionist Empire, as possible without tanking the market."

I have been reading this for a while. But I've yet to see it in practice. Rosneft is still accepting U.$. dollars for oil/gas transactions, the most recent of which I believe was the gas shipment from St Petersburg to Poland..? https://tomluongo.me/2017/1...

I need to read more on this subject.

BobValdez Trauma2000 , December 23, 2017 3:48 PM

Russia acceps dollars for oil, and uses them to buy physical gold. No need to hold useless dollars, just convert them to gold.

Paw Trauma2000 , December 23, 2017 9:48 PM

What you buy by petrodollars ?
Saudi .Arabia buys arms. But SA has got millions of unemployed people , because they studied Islamic religion , wahabist fanaticism ... Further SA employs millions of workers from other countries. And owns US assets in value over 1 trillion dollars. So what else to buy , where to spend their petrodollars? Only get billions dollars arms ,that are in couple years useless...Population hate the fully corrupt royal family in numbers approximately 40 thousands princess as they have to get about 500 thousands yearly salaries...For doing nothing , only to spend it everywhere...
Populations hate US presence in SA. Very much.

Richard Burton Paw , December 24, 2017 11:18 AM

But the Great Satan~USA adore such scum as the vile Crooked Saudi royal family, the snakehead USA ignore all their anti-democracy, anti- human rights their beheading, their evil ways, they worship money the US swine, its all they see and lap-up, plus they have Russia/ China /Iran to pick on and blame not their evil Saudi- swine arms buyers. View Hide

Isabella Jones Trauma2000 , December 24, 2017 11:54 AM

At the moment, because the US is illegally holding gold prices down using uncovered shorts on paper gold, and at the same time has used sanctions to devalue the rouble, Russia is producing oil at reduced - rouble - rates, selling it on the international market for U$, [artificially inflated] and buying massive amounts of cheap gold with the huge profits she is making.
Russia is singing all the way to the bank right now. The US backed itself into a corner on this one it cannot get out from - short of waging war on Russia !!!

Mychal Arnold Isabella Jones , December 24, 2017 12:32 PM

10% of GDP goes out where is the ussa 100 as are many others in the west. All western country have huge debts funny how that is or is it?

Tony B. Isabella Jones , December 24, 2017 11:31 PM

Why should anyone who is in love with gold be upset if someone is holding the price down? It should be a wonderful time to buy.
Russia is MINING gold, its own gold.

Isabella Jones Tony B. , December 25, 2017 5:41 AM

It is a great time to buy, if you have some spare cash to store, I agree. It's just a poor time if you need to realise your gold - you wont get the price for it you should. But indeed, it's a buyers market. Yes, Russia has a fair bit of gold "reserves" just sitting in the ground.

John C Carleton Trauma2000 , December 23, 2017 3:41 PM

There is the face the beast lets you see, and the real face of the beast.
You do not think the beast is stupid enough to show it's real face to all the sheep?
Really?
The sheep who are given personal attention in private places, see the real face of the beast, because it sexually excites the beast for the chosen sheep to die bleating in terror.

Nathan Dunning John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 4:36 PM

You're a tool for the left I bet you're American Liberal.

John C Carleton Nathan Dunning , December 24, 2017 9:44 AM

You are a sheep.
i Am a wolf.
You are lucky i lost my taste for mutton.
i prefer goat and jackal. View Hide

John C Carleton Nathan Dunning , December 24, 2017 9:49 AM

View Hide

Mychal Arnold Nathan Dunning , December 24, 2017 12:45 PM

Guess you just got here you friggin troll. You know nothing you shill. Go back to the basement mom has brought you dinner and cookies n milk and let the grown men talk, now that is a good boy bye. Sorry John I have disappointed my Mom said be nice but idiots bother me. Say hi to your lovely Mom for me and God bless. Merry Christmas everyone! Got your back as always.

alexwest11 John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:25 AM

John C Carleton • an hour ago China and Russia been dumping US bond
-------
no they don't! Russians reserves are about 100+ bln in UST

and WHOLLY 20 % OF RUSSIAN assets in Russian banks are kept mostly $$$ and some euro

John C Carleton alexwest11 , December 23, 2017 12:18 PM

Glad you are so confident in the currency, which has lost 99% of it's buying power since 1913, when the not Federal and no Reserve(s) was forced on the American people by the Usury Banker ancestors of the owners of the 'Fed", buying USA politicians.

Where did that 99% value go?
To the I%ters. You know, the pedophile elite.
They want it all, they are coming for the other 1% of the "dollar's" value.
They are coming for Social security, government pensions, private pensions, checking accounts, any thing with any value.

Oh by the way, just cause you are ignorant of how things work, don't mean they don't work that way, just means you are ignorant.
Have a wonderful day now!
See mother, i was nice to the bad person who was trying to run interference for pedophile baby rapers.

oncefiredbrass John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 2:44 AM

Good to see someone else Awake! A good portion of the Sheep are still sleeping, they think the National Debt and Zero Interest Rates mean nothing (in the Eurozone Interest is Negative). The US Dollar is soon to be Toilet Paper! Our Military can only overthrow small countries that defy the PetroDollar system. Now with so many doing it, John Carleton is right, the National Debt and Retirements Accounts are basically equal. That is why Obutthead set the start of grabbing them by creating the MYRA, the Theory is the Sheep are to stupid to manage their own retirement accounts, so the Government would grab them and put them in a so called safe investment called "Treasury's". Unfortunately the SS Trust Fund has been raided and is broke, but they do have drawers full of Treasuries. Trump has to immediately open public lands for Mining & Drilling! A normalization of Interest Rates to 5-6% would consume Government Revenues just to pay Interest on the Debt!

John C Carleton oncefiredbrass , December 24, 2017 8:22 AM

Will work like this, they may already be doing it quietly.
Take private pensions.
They are already in trouble, having stocks, bonds, commercial real estate holdings.
All of these will become worthless, or close to it.
Anything with value, currency, decimal dollars, will be taken by the Washington thieves, and worthless US bonds which will probably never be redeemed, or redeemed for chump change, will be put in their place by Washington, as they "protect" the retirement accounts.
Old people will eat rats, each other, dog and cats, die without medical care and meds which they can not afford.
Some will eat their pistols.
Not going to be nice or orderly.

Ron John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:11 PM

Dude, your postings are good and has an element of humor, thanks.

alexwest11 John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:25 PM

pedophile baby rapers.
------
people who associate everything w/ pedophile baby rapers.
USUALLY ARE pedophile baby rapers.!!!!!

YES, $ lost about 97 %, but rest of even worse

russian ruble of 1913 - worthless
german mark -worthless
japanese yen - worthless
etc!

John C Carleton alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 8:58 AM

Open mouth in ignorance, insert foot.
Don't worry about a foot in the other end, i will do that verbally with my Texas cowboy boot.

Dispora Pedophiles increasingly Use Israel as 'haven,' activist charge.'
https://www.timesofisrael.c...

'Advocacy group: Israel is a pedophiles paridise-Haaetz-Israel News'
https://www.haaretz.com/adv...

'Nachlaot, where pedophiles roam free,--the Times of Israel
https://www.haaretz.com/adv...

'Israel Found to be Safe For Pedophiles'
http://yournewswire.com/isr...

'Jewish Pedophiles Increasingly use Israel as a haven, activist charge'
https://freespeechtwentyfir...

'Power, Pedophilia and the US Government'
http://www.whale.to/c/power...

'Frankland Coverup Sex Scandal,
(pedophile prostitution ring being run out of Reagan's White House)
http://www.johnccarleton.or...

All pedo's, should be given a fair trial, and a fair hanging. A pedophile which was given a fair trial, and a fair hanging, never again, raped a child.
Amazing how that works.

How you like them Texas cowboy boots?

Aurora alexwest11 , December 23, 2017 1:19 PM

Correct and very easy at any given moment to be converted in a GOLD.Just follow dynamic Russia and China buying GOLD on a world market and everything will be clear to you

alexwest11 Aurora , December 24, 2017 12:43 AM

dynamic Russia and China buying GOLD on a world market
-----

btw . moron

Russia/ china don't buy gold on world market. they are 2 /3 gold producers in the world

WHAT IS YOU LEVEL OF FORMAL EDUCATION ??

it seems you are uneducated moron !

AM Hants alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 7:25 AM

Russian Gold Reserves 2014-2017 View Hide

Aurora alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 1:19 PM

While all eyes are on the oil price and the ruble to dollar rate, the Central Bank of Russia has quietly been buying huge volumes of gold over the past year. In January, 2016, the latest data available, the Russian Central Bank again bought 22 tons of gold, around $800 million at current exchange rates, that, amidst US and EU financial sanctions and low oil prices. It was the eleventh month in a row they bought large gold volumes. For 2015 Russia added a record 208 tons of gold to her reserves compared with 172 tons for 2014. Russia now has 1,437 tonnes of gold in reserve, the sixth largest of any nation according to the World Gold Council in London. Only USA, Germany, Italy, France and China central banks hold a larger tonnage of gold reserves.
Notably also, the Russian central bank has been selling its holdings of US Treasury debt to buy the gold, de facto de-dollarizing, a sensible move as the dollar is waging de facto currency war against the ruble. As of December, 2015, Russia held $92 billion in US Treasury Bonds down from $132 billion in January 2014.China bought another 17 tons of gold in January and will buy a total of another 215 tons this year, approximately equal to that of Russia. From August to January 2016 China added 101 tonnes of gold to its reserves. Annual purchases of more than 200 tons by the PBOC would exceed the entire gold holdings of all but about 20 countries, according to the World Gold Council. China's central bank reserves of gold have risen 57% since 2009 acording to data the PBOC revealed in July, 2015. Market watchers believe even that amount of gold in China's central bank vaults is being politically vastly understated so as not to cause alarm bells to ring too loud in Washington and London.

Mychal Arnold alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 12:50 PM

Dude stop your only making yourself look stupid by opening your gob and proving or in this case writing. Merry Christmas or is it happy Hanukkah? Troll boy.

Le Ruse Mychal Arnold , December 25, 2017 2:37 AM

Maybe Happy "Kwanza" whatever is that ??

alexwest11 Aurora , December 23, 2017 11:29 PM

any given moment to be converted in a GOLD.J
----------
???????? converted what ?

in Russia, in gold ? you are not Russian, don't live, know nothing

----------
most Russians are stupid and uneducated in finance, savings do not exist

average Russian rather buy car , or flat than save money for something.

it is USSR mentality plagued by memory of deficits

Bd-prince Pramanik alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 8:51 PM

alexwest11 You are stupid ! a flat or house is real money you know ! They are uneducated in Rothschild finance! are you a russlanddeutsche! or jew from holy ukraine like poroschenko ?

Tony B. Bd-prince Pramanik , December 24, 2017 11:36 PM

Rothschild finance can be described in a single word: THEFT.
The world's sole economic problem.

Le Ruse Tony B. , December 25, 2017 2:39 AM

Humm...
the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away ??

AM Hants alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 7:38 AM

You confuse me. If Russians are so stupid and uneducated in finance, then why is their President a Dr in Economics?

Why are they in control of their vast wealth of natural resources?

Why do they have virtually enough gold to back the ruble and decent currency reserves, that rise monthly?

Also, how come they have free healthcare and education, including university level, if they are so stupid and uneducated?

Why does the US require Russian engines to make it into space?

Like I said, you confuse me, as I assumed you were talking about another super-nation, that has seriously lost it's way.

PUTIN'S PHD THESIS ESSENTIAL READING FOR OFFICIALS
http://slavija.proboards.co...

Russia National Debt: $194,545,062,334
Interest per Year $12,805,556,000
Interest per Second $406
Debt per Citizen $1,330
Debt as % of GDP 19.32%
GDP $1,007,000,000,000
Population 146,300,000

Russia Foreign Exchange Reserves

View Hide
oncefiredbrass alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 2:52 AM

Russia is one of the largest Countries by land mass with a sparse population after the breakup of the Soviet Union. They run very low deficits and their National Debt is very low, they are one of the Countries that is best prepared for a major economic crash.

alexwest11 oncefiredbrass , December 24, 2017 3:19 AM

oncefiredbrass alexwest11 • 28 minutes ago Russia
is one of the largest Countries by land mass with a sparse population
after the breakup of the Soviet Union. They run very low defic
--------
but facts say quite opposite!!!!!!!!

during oil selloff of 2008*9 Russian ruble fall 50%, from 23 to 37 per$

during oil selloff of 2014*15 Russian ruble fall 250 %, from 33 to almost 90 per$

right now its about 60 per $ , still 100% devaluation from 2014
-------

i don't remember $ fall against euro or yen during 2000 or/and 2008 crises in USA

more than 20 %

oncefiredbrass alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 3:27 AM

The fall of the Ruble was an attack or sanction by the Obama Regime over Ukraine. Why not trying to look up the Debt to GDP ratio for Russia and then the US and then ask yourself what economy is actually in a better position to withstand a Depression. Russia almost has enough Gold to back all their currency. How much gold would it take to back all the Treasuries and Dollars that the US has spread all over the world?

alexwest11 JIMI JAMES , December 24, 2017 6:23 AM

because in the end only the strong will survive and russia just like china
-------
!!sure moron.

avg salary in Russia about 500 $
avg pension 200 $

that is why idiotic Russians twice in 20 century totally annihilated own country!!!!!! 1917 and 1991

-----
and for china!!!!!!! it just show how moronic you are
we will see how china is good in 100 or 200 years!!!

cause history showed china always being overrun by someone else;
mongols, Manchurians, etc

learn a history western moron!!!!!!!!

Mychal Arnold alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 12:59 PM

Hey let the grown men talk baby boy! You are spouting msm talking points you're trying to debate the choir about hymns. Your not going to make anyone here see the light because you have no truths behind or in front. Msm drivel. One simple question! Who took Berlin? In ww2 of course!

Why , December 23, 2017 9:42 AM

I hope Russia will survive UKUSA's onslaught.

Craig A. Mouldey Why , December 23, 2017 10:51 AM

Me too. The U.S. has become the evil empire. The bully on the world stage stealing everyone's lunch money. I know it will devastate us in Canada, but I would still rather see the U.S. economy crumble if it would cripple their war machine, than to see this situation go on. Ron Paul was right: Instead of war, why not pursue peaceful trade? But the U.S. controllers want everyone else under their thumb as obedient serfs. It is evil. And as Smedley Butler so bluntly put it "War is a Racket"! He said this because he was sent to war with Guatemala on behalf of the United Fruit Company, aka Chiquita Brands International. This time, they are trying to steal the lunch money from those who can defend themselves. We aren't going to sit on our couch watching this war on TV, because we will watch it out our front windows.

[Dec 03, 2017] Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction by Ron Patterson

Notable quotes:
"... Carrying Capacity : Carrying capacity is a well-known ecological term that has an obvious and fairly intuitive meaning: "the maximum population size of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment". Unfortunately, that definition becomes more nebulous the closer you look at it – especially when we start talking about the planetary carrying capacity for humans. Ecologists claim that our numbers have already surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet, while others (notably economists and politicians ) claim we are nowhere near it yet! ..."
"... Overshoot : When a population surpasses its carrying capacity it enters a condition known as overshoot. Because carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population that an environment can maintain indefinitely, overshoot must by definition be temporary. Populations ..."
"... to (or below) the carrying capacity. How long they stay in overshoot depends on how many stored resources there are to support their inflated numbers. Resources may be food, but they may also be any resource that helps maintain their numbers. For ..."
"... one of the primary resources is energy, whether it is tapped as flows (sunlight, wind, biomass) or stocks (coal, oil, gas, uranium etc.). A species usually enters overshoot when it taps a particularly rich but exhaustible stock of a resource. Like oil, for instance ..."
"... The zoomass of wild vertebrates is now vanishingly small compared to the biomass of domestic animals. In 1900 there were some 1.6 billion large domesticated animals, including about 450 million head of cattle and water buffalo (HYDE 2011); a century later the count of large domestic animals had surpassed 4.3 billion, including 1.65 billion head of cattle and water buffalo and 900 million pigs (FAO 2011). Calculations using these head counts and average body weights (they have increased everywhere since 1900, but the differences between larger body masses in North America and Europe and lower weights elsewhere persist) yield estimates of at least 35 Mt C of domesticated zoomass in 1900 (more than three times the total of all wild land mammals) and at least 120 Mt C in the year 2000, a 3.5-fold increase in 100 years (and 25 times the total of wild mammalian zoomass). And cattle zoomass alone is now at least 250 times greater than the zoomass of all surviving African elephants, which in turn is less than 2 percent of the zoomass of Africa's nearly 300 million bovines (Table 2). ..."
"... Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction ..."
"... let go/ get out ..."
"... until which time as I say otherwise ..."
"... until which time as I or you opt out ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

11/29/2017 Notice: Please limit your comments below to the subject matter of this post only. There is a petroleum post above this one for all petroleum and natural gas posts and a non-petroleum post below this one for comments on all other matters.

First, let us define carrying capacity and overshoot. And none has done that better than Paul Chefurka .

Carrying Capacity : Carrying capacity is a well-known ecological term that has an obvious and fairly intuitive meaning: "the maximum population size of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment". Unfortunately, that definition becomes more nebulous the closer you look at it – especially when we start talking about the planetary carrying capacity for humans. Ecologists claim that our numbers have already surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet, while others (notably economists and politicians ) claim we are nowhere near it yet!

Overshoot : When a population surpasses its carrying capacity it enters a condition known as overshoot. Because carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population that an environment can maintain indefinitely, overshoot must by definition be temporary. Populations always decline to (or below) the carrying capacity. How long they stay in overshoot depends on how many stored resources there are to support their inflated numbers. Resources may be food, but they may also be any resource that helps maintain their numbers. For humans one of the primary resources is energy, whether it is tapped as flows (sunlight, wind, biomass) or stocks (coal, oil, gas, uranium etc.). A species usually enters overshoot when it taps a particularly rich but exhaustible stock of a resource. Like oil, for instance

When we talk about carrying capacity we need to define exactly who or what we are carrying. Are we talking about humans, all animals or what? Well, let's just talk about terrestrial vertebrate biomass.

Okay, Vaclav Smil and Paul Chefurka (and the estimates of most earth biologists) are correct, the long-term carrying capacity of terrestrial vertebrate biomass is a little over 200,000,000 tons. But how do we know that amount is correct? Easily, because that is what it was for millions of years before the advent of agriculture and other things brought about by modern day Homo sapiens.

Plant and animal species all struggle to survive. In doing so they have evolved to fill every available niche on earth. If a plant can grow in an area, any area, it will do so. If an animal can find a habitat in any area on earth, it will do so. At least since the mid-Triassic, about 225 million years ago, plants and animals have occupied every available niche on earth. If any animal overshot its habitat, dieoff would soon correct that situation. So for many millions of years, the terrestrial vertebrate biomass remained at about two hundred million tons, give or take. I say that because climate change, sea levels rising and falling, continental drift would cause the long-term carrying capacity to wax or wane. Also, the estimate is just that, an estimate. It could be slightly higher or lower. But the long-term carrying capacity of the earth always remained at one hundred percent of what it was possible to carry.

Then about 10,000 years ago man invented agriculture. At first, this only enabled a slight increase in population. Soon only plants that produced the most grain, fruit or tuber per plant, or per area of ground, was selected for replanting. Genetic engineering goes back thousands of years.

Then they discovered fertilizer. Animal and human waste could greatly increase plant production. Animals were domesticated and the plow was invented. More food per area of ground could be produced. Then chemical fertilizers were invented and the population floodgates were opened. At first phosphates from bird guano dramatically increased agricultural production but around the middle of the last century nitrate fertilizers from the Haber Bosch process enabled the green revolution and enabled the population to expand three fold.

It's mostly cows, then humans, then pigs then chickens then Interesting that the biomass of chickens is ovwe three times that of all the wild animals combined. If this chart does not shock you then you are totally unable to be shocked by anything concerning the earth's biosphere.

The world population is still expanding at an alarming rate. By 1989 the population was expanding by about 88 million people per year. Then by the year 2000 population growth had slowed to about 77 million per year. Then the slowdown stopped and started to increase again. it stands at about 79 million per year according to the US Census Bureau.

Now they are saying it will start to slow. But that slowdown has not yet started. True, the fertility rate has been dropping but that has been offset by the increase in population. The fertility rate is dropping but on more and more people.

Notice the U.S. Census Bureau starts the slowdown at almost the exact date this chart was drawn, August 2017. If they had drawn this chart in 1995, then no doubt they would have started their prediction of constant decline in 1995.

But I have no doubt that the population will start to decline. It must, it must because we are destroying the ability of the planet to feed all its people.

Paul Chefurka created the above graph in May 2011. I think he was a little off. He has the world population hitting almost 8 billion then starting to drop around 2030.

I am more inclined to agree with the U.S. Census Bureau who thinks the world population will hit 9.4 billion around 2050. Then I believe the population will start to fall. The rate of population decline and how far it will fall is hard to predict. That will depend on many things but primarily on if and when globalization collapses. The collapse of globalization will bring about civil strife, border wars, and famine around the world.

I want to call your attention to the green, wild animal, portion of the second graph at the top of this post. Notice the wild animal portion of the terrestrial vertebrate biomass, by 1900, had dropped to about 20% of its historical value. Then by 2000, it had dropped to half that amount. Then by 2050, we expect that 2000 value to be cut in half again.

By 2100, it will very likely all be gone. Well, almost all gone. There will still be plenty of rats and mice and perhaps a few other small vertebrates will still survive, but all the large megafauna, except humans, will be gone. Gone forever or at least for the next million years or so. It will take that long for new megafauna to evolve after the human population has been greatly reduced to a billion or even a few million people.

But the far distant future is of little concern to us now. The sad fact of the matter is your descendants will live in a world completely free of wild megafauna. There is no way to avoid that fact now, it is already too late to stop the destruction.

WHY?

Yes, why? Why are we destroying the earth's ecosystem? Why are we driving most all wild animals into extinction? Why have we dramatically overpopulated the planet with human beings? Why did all this happen? However, when you ask why, you are implying that all this had a cause, that someone or some group of people are to blame for this damn mess we have gotten ourselves into.

Was it the early farmers who invented agriculture. Or was it the early industrialists like James Watt or Thomas Edison? Or was it Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, are they the villains that got us into such a damn mess? No, it was none of these people. It was no one person or no group of people. It was not even any revolution like the industrial revolution, the medical revolution or the green revolution. There is no one to blame and there is nothing to blame.

Agriculture enabled the very small early population to expand. The industrial revolution and later the green revolution enabled more people to be fed. The medical revolution enabled more babies to survive and people to live much longer. Our population has exploded simply because it could. We have always lived to the limit of our existence and we always will. It was just human nature pure and simple.

Now many will say that we are now controlling our population, that we have learned how to limit our fertility rate. Well, yes and no. Reference the below chart and table that were produced by the Population Reference Bureau in 2012.

In the developed world, where most of the world's energy is consumed, we almost have zero population growth. But in the less developed world, the population is still growing.

Here is the perfect example of what is happening, what is still happening , in much of the world. Notice the difference in the infant mortality rate and the annual infant deaths. Most of the world's people are still living at the very limit of their existence.

<sarc>But not to worry. The death rate is rising, babies are dying, the population will soon start to fall in the undeveloped world. </sarc>

Note: The Paul Chefurka graphs in this post were created, primarily, with data from the research of Vaclav Smil and is published in this 24 page PDF file: Harvesting the Biosphere: The Human Impact . The file includes over 2 pages of notes and 4 pages of references where Smil sources and documents every stat he quotes. Below are a table and some text from the paper.

The zoomass of wild vertebrates is now vanishingly small compared to the biomass of domestic animals. In 1900 there were some 1.6 billion large domesticated animals, including about 450 million head of cattle and water buffalo (HYDE 2011); a century later the count of large domestic animals had surpassed 4.3 billion, including 1.65 billion head of cattle and water buffalo and 900 million pigs (FAO 2011). Calculations using these head counts and average body weights (they have increased everywhere since 1900, but the differences between larger body masses in North America and Europe and lower weights elsewhere persist) yield estimates of at least 35 Mt C of domesticated zoomass in 1900 (more than three times the total of all wild land mammals) and at least 120 Mt C in the year 2000, a 3.5-fold increase in 100 years (and 25 times the total of wild mammalian zoomass). And cattle zoomass alone is now at least 250 times greater than the zoomass of all surviving African elephants, which in turn is less than 2 percent of the zoomass of Africa's nearly 300 million bovines (Table 2).

Please comment below but only on the subject matter of this post.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Megafauna Extinction , Overpopulation , Overshoot , Peak Oil , Population Explosion , Species Extinction . Bookmark the permalink .

295 Responses to Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 8:23 am

Great summary. Mainly so I don't have to think about all the depressing aspects: do you not think if humans disappeared but even a few of our larger domesticated animals survived that evolution could go bonkers and we'd have new familes and species springing up all over in far less than a million years. After all homo sapiens are only a few hundred thousand years, and dogs (admittedly still technically wolves) only a few thousand. It would depend a bit whether we left much of the planet that was actually habitable of course – i.e. there'd need to be plenty of evolution pressure, but not too much. I guess your point would be we'd get new species but not the mega fauna, but I think there's evidence that isolated small islands can lead to either pygmy species or giants depending on the exact environment.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 9:28 am
George, I would have to start by saying that humans are not going to disappear. Other than extinction via natural disaster, like a giant meteorite hitting the earth, species are driven into extinction. That is they are outcompeted for territory and resources. Humans are the drivers of extinction, no species will drive us into extinction. We occupy every habitable niche on earth and will likely continue to do so even after our numbers have been dramatically reduced.

If we have a collapse of globalization, and I believe that is inevitable and will happen within the next one hundred years, then the human population will be devastated by civil strife, border wars, and famine. Seven to nine billion hungry people will be a disaster for all other animal life, domestic as well as wild. So I do not believe there will be enough domestic animal life to kick-start evolution of new wild species of megafauna. As I have said before, we will eat the songbirds out of the trees. So there sure as hell will not be any cows left.

Okay, so perhaps it will not take a million years for other large megafauna to evolve. Perhaps it will only be in the hundreds of thousands of years.

The Cunning Linguist says: 11/29/2017 at 10:18 am
So, after we eat the songbirds from the trees, what the hell will we eat then?

Is it not possible that the human species will drive itself to extinction because we are so successful at destroying the natural environment which we depend upon for our survival?

After industrial civilization collapses, the great human die-off will rapidly reduce human numbers by more than 90%. Life for the remaining humans will be extraordinarily hard. If the overall stress level is high enough, it will be very difficult for humans to raise enough offspring to reproductive age to maintain the species over time. Biologists call this pre-extinction phase die out. Once a species numbers fall below replacement level, they go extinct.

And what the hell do you mean: "If we have a collapse of globalization, and I believe that is inevitable and will happen within the next one hundred years "? Within the next 100 years? You are dreaming! We are in the early stages of apocalypse right now! Rapid die-off will begin within the next few years. 100 years from now, there will be no one alive who will remember it.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 10:44 am
Cunning said; "After industrial civilization collapses, the great human die-off will rapidly reduce human numbers by more than 90%." ..

..while what is left of nature will rapidly move into the niches vacated by species humans have wiped out. If (big if, maybe) there are remaining reproductively viable human populations, they will exploit those recovering niches at rates which will be far below the astounding rates of exploitation during the industrial age. Where humans have abandoned their schemes of destroying the natural world for their own purposes, nature, in some form, recovers quite quickly.

On the other hand, if global warming goes off the scale (ala Guy McPherson, et al), all bets are off. Everything larger than a shrew will be toast.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 10:59 am
Once a species numbers fall below replacement level, they go extinct.

The replacement level for animals in the wild and the replacement level for domestic animals are two different things entirely. For animals in the wild, the replacement level may be several hundred to several thousand. Animals in the wild have to find each other in order to reproduce. For domestic animals, the replacement level is two.

In this regard, we Homo sapiens are far more like domestic animals than wild animals. An example would be the Polynesians who migrated to distant islands in sailing outrigger canoes. Their numbers, in those canoes, likely numbered only a dozen or so. Yet huge numbers eventually sprang from tiny numbers.

Yes, stress during periods of great strife and famine will be great. Stress will likely take a great toll. But there will always be survivors. Everyone is not equally affected by stress. Some can overcome, some cannot. It is a little like a plague or disease. There are always some who are immune or otherwise escape the problem.

As for rapid die-off coming within a few years, yes that may happen but I doubt it. Humans societies are far more resilient than you might expect. For instance, look at Somalia, or Venezuela. Somalia, a failed state, has been in turmoil for decades yet no massive die-off has occurred. Venezuela is in a state of almost total anarchy, yet no massive die-off as of yet.

I believe the die-off will start within the next hundred years. Next week is within the next hundred years. But I doubt it will happen by then, or even within the next few years or so. In my opinion, it will take several decades for things to really fall apart.

The Cunning Linguist says: 11/29/2017 at 12:01 pm
Ron,

You said:
"But I doubt it will happen by then, or even within the next few years or so. In my opinion, it will take several decades for things to really fall apart."

What about Limits to Growth? That study forecast that real problems would begin in the first or second decade of the 21st century, in other words, now. Why is Limits to Growth wrong? How do we avoid sudden, catastrophic collapse once world economic growth comes to an end?

What about the fragile, debt ridden financial/credit/monetary system? Have you read the Korowicz paper? How will industrial civilization gradually unwind over many decades when the world economy freezes very suddenly and food stops arriving at the grocery stores? That should lead to a very rapid die-off as every city suddenly becomes uninhabitable.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 12:27 pm
What about Limits to Growth? That study forecast that real problems would begin in the first or second decade of the 21st century, in other words, now. Why is Limits to Growth wrong?

Hey, I have a copy of Limits to Growth right here in my hand. On what page do they predict catastrophic collapse before 2050. Help me out here but I just can't seem to find it.

As to real problems, hell yes, we are having real problems right now. We have been having real problems in Venezuela and a lot of other places. But there is a tremendous difference between real problems and catastrophic collapse.

And what about all the other terrible things you are say are happening right now. Hell yes, they are happening and they are terrible. But they have not yet led to catastrophic collapse. But it is very likely they will lead to collapse in three or four decades from now.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 12:37 pm
The LTG graphs appear to show economic and industrial peaks @2025-2030, if not sooner, dropping off quickly.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/9/1/1409550981593/cc68cfc8-072c-4e53-a741-b28c3d6bcea3-573×1020.jpeg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=1ec7d319d599211c6d4adb5d287cced8

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 12:59 pm
Ghung, what page is this on?
Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 1:17 pm
It's actually from a Guardian article, taken from Bardi's "The Limits to Growth Revisited". I don't know what page the original graph was on, but I have a copy of the original 1972 graph which shows the same curves, without the more recent data curves.

Guardian article "Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse" :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:17 pm
Ron – that graph is from the Graham Turner LtG update: http://sustainable.unimelb.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/MSSI-ResearchPaper-4_Turner_2014.pdf
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:32 pm
Shit? Is this real? I had no idea that we might be this close to collapse.

Nevertheless, I just can't believe we are that close. I think it will be at least 20 to 30 years from now.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:43 pm
It depends on what you call collapse. The UK and USA are both following the curve such that life expectancy is starting to decline. I think industrial productivity might be going the same way in UK, and definitely our health and old age care systems (which is one of the measures he uses for "services") are in decline (though the government always finds a way to massage the numbers so far). One of the authors of LtG has said that once one of the main curves is definitely through an extrema then the models probably don't work any more – which I took to mean possible accelerating chaos, but might mean something else.
Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:37 pm
Shit? Is this real? I had no idea that we might be this close to collapse.

Yep -- -
Population overshoot, ecocide, environmental destruction, deforestation, ocean acidification, mass loss of pollinators–
I could go on --

It doesn't take a weather man to tell which way the wind blows.

Alice Friedemann says: 11/29/2017 at 8:02 pm
This a unique, one-time only collapse because we never relied on fossil fuels in the past, and we certainly won't in the future. If you look at energyskeptic/3) Fast Crash, you'll see the many reasons I think collapse will unfold quickly. Turchin, who has looked at the patterns of collapse in civilizations going back to Mesopotamia, says it takes about 20 years on average. That is in line with Hook's estimate of a 6% exponential decline, which is the rate at which the 500 giant oil fields decline on average after peaking (something like 270 of them last I checked), all others (offshore, shale, smaller, and so on) decline much faster, hence Hooks estimate of an exponential increase of .0015 a year as non-giants increasingly contribute to what's left of production (giants are now 60% of world oil production). If Hook (2009) is right, that means we'll be down to 10% of what we produce after global peak production in 16 years. At that point, even if governments are rationing oil wisely to grow and distribute food, you're reaching the breaking point. Oil makes all other resources possible, so although many resources reaching their limits, the decline of oil will be the true beginning of the end. No more pumping water from the Ogallala 1,000 feet down, going 10,000 miles on factory farm fishing boats, and so on. Oil is masking how incredibly far we are over overshoot. Above all, 99% of the supply chain transport – trucks, rail, ships – depends on oil. 80% of communities in the U.S. depend entirely on oil, by far the least efficient mode of transportation of the three. Well, it is too big a topic to cover in a comment. I have a lot more to say in my book "When Trucks Stop Running".

Oh, and when I heard Dennis Meadows speak at the 2006 Pisa Italy ASPO conference, he said that if anything Limits to growth was head of schedule, with collapse starting as early as 2020. We'll see, too many factors. Also in the past, nations avoided collapse way past their carrying capacity by trading or conquering other nations, like the Roman Empire, which had to import food from Carthage and Egypt, no way to grow enough food in Italy.

Hook, M., Hirsch, R., Aleklett, K. June 2009. Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production. Energy Policy 37(6): 2262-2272
https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:225443/FULLTEXT01.pdf

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:14 am
Hi Alice,

I'm hoping to see more comments from you in the future, and not just in this one thread, lol.

It's very common for experts in any given field to presume there are none in other fields that are capable of solving the problems they see as civilization killers.

There are no guarantees of success, but success is possible when it comes to finding and implementing solutions to problems such as the eventual depletion of oil.

Once the shit starts hitting the fan pretty hard and fast in terms of declining oil supplies, both good and bad things will happen on a scale that will take the breath away.

The bad will unquestionably include economic collapse across large swathes of some and maybe most societies.

The good will come in the form of action on the part of awakened LEVIATHAN, the nation state. Those of us who cannot see that once LEVIATHAN stirs and focuses on such problems as we FORCED to deal with soon have little understanding of history , human nature, and technology.

Now WHETHER , or NOT, Leviathan, Uncle Sam, John BULL, the Russian BEAR, et al, can do enough to keep the wheels on and turning, instead of falling off, is an open question.

I believe they can, depending on how far gone things are once they begin to come to grips with the various troubles that will threaten their existence.

People CAN AND DO come together, and work together, sometimes. Consider the case of the USA. We were mostly all isolationists the day before Pearl Harbor, but within a couple of days after, we were all ready to to go flat out to murder our enemies on the grand scale, and DID.

Neither I nor anybody else can prove either way whether we WILL work together well enough to prevent outright collapse meaning we die hard deaths by the tens of millions even here in a country such as the USA.

There's no question that we CAN work together, once we realize we must. Whether we get started soon enough is probably going to determine just how bad things will get in economic terms.

But between what scientists and engineers can do for us, by way of providing us with better tools, and what we can collectively do for ourselves by way of collective action, there's a real possibility that some countries will pull thru ok, no longer sleek and lazy and fat and wasteful, but at least still functional, and with most of their populations still alive and leading a reasonably dignified life style.

I will have more to say about what Leviathan awakened, scared and enraged can do later on, way down thread someplace within the next few days, by relating some historical examples.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:22 pm
I too feel that one day the trucks will stop running. It will be a very interesting transition to observe. I imagine it will have a progression that goes something like this:
-trucks running will increase in cost as will the things that they are running about with inside them.
– trucks will run to less and less places.
-trucks will run to less and less places less frequently.
-trucks will run only very rarely and only for high priority reasons.
-trucks will stop running altogether.

As this process takes place I imagine there will be measures taken to fill some of the void, where and when it is possible to do so.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 12:57 pm
Ron – do you think humans will still be around in a million years or even a hundred thousand? If they are I think it will only be because they have made themselves irrelevant to the environment (i.e. small in numbers and having found a way to live sustainably) and other species will be evolving without too much human involvement.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:59 pm
Yes, George, I think humans will be around in a million years. Not nearly as many as are around today however. If I had to guess, and I do have to guess, then I would guess around 10 to 15 million humans would be around a million years from now. That would be one person alive then for every 500 alive today.

Of course, all fossil fuel would be gone and everyone would live off the land.

But if you doubt human survival, then just what do you think will wipe everyone out? What will bring the human population to zero?

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 2:26 pm
That sounds as good a guess as any. Part of my point was that they could only survive if they were not intrusive, and therefore would not be an impediment to evolution of other mega fauna. I think average species life time is estimated at around 1 to 2 million years, homo is a family rather than a species so the sapiens could go and something else come along, like we took out the Neanderthals. On the other hand if the bottlenecks get small enough in different locations we could just be whittled away by different causes.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 2:52 pm
I think average species life time is estimated at around 1 to 2 million years,

The point is George, Homo sapiens is not an average species. If we were an average species we would still be competing with other species for food and territory, losing some of those battles and winning others. But our numbers would be kept in check by our success and failure of that struggle, just like every other average species.

Our dominance has overwhelmed all other species. Like a plague, we are killing them all off. There is nothing average about us as a species.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 2:59 pm
Ok, but our numbers were kept in check and we were competing like that for almost all of our history, until the Holocene interglacial came along and we decided agriculture was a good idea, or maybe we had a go before and it never took in a less stable climate. But before that there is evidence of some pretty tight bottlenecks when we were almost gone either locally (e.g. in India) or globally. And things like the Roman empire collapse suggest we can forget any kind of technological advantages in a couple of generations.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 3:11 pm
You lost me. I don't understand your point.

But since our brains to a degree where we could create stone tools and use fire, our population has been on a slow increase, bottlenecks notwithstanding.

What has made us not average is our brains, our mental ability. That is the one thing that has given us a huge advantage over all other species.

We are smart enough to wrestle all the world from every other species that stood in our way. If another species had something that we wanted, including even their flesh, we got it. We are smart enough to dominate the world, but not smart enough to see that we are destroying it.

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 11:23 am
My point is that unless we find a niche in which we can exist sustainably despite our intelligence and ability to get whatever we want and dominate the world, then we won't survive very long, and may not even then.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:31 pm
Hi Ron,

I think some (you for example) are smart enough to see that we are destroying our World.

It may not be a majority view, though I think the numbers are increasing.

I would agree that we so far have not demonstrated that we are smart enough to change what we are doing (reduce the rate that we destroy the planet as rapidly as possible to zero (or negative, by which I mean restore the planet closer to a natural or sustainable state).

This may never be accomplished, but we cam move in that direction while reducing our numbers and our impact.

Des Carne says: 11/30/2017 at 1:02 pm
What it is about our brains that makes us not average is our capacity to deny reality. The mind over reality transition (Varki &Brower) is arguably what gave "sapiens" the advantage, successful but apparently impossible risk taking, to do away with neanderthalensis. In small scale hunter bands surrounded by magafaunal predators, denial of reality is a decided advantage, but in mass societies with the capacity to produce mass belief in non-realityy, it is the disadvantage that could do us in. Although not experimentally demonstrable, the idea that this mind over reality transition was an evolutionary event in the hominid genus 100-200 thousand years ago is a plausible explanation for sapiens' dramatic cortical development and the development or consolidation of female sexual selection, not present in our forebears or current great apes.

In a future world scratching a living as we did for most of our history as hunter-gatherer bands, but from a depleted world absent of any predators, we might evolve the ability to believe reality, without sacrificing cortical development. The first inhabitants of my country (Australia) managed to get by fot 60,000 years by killing off the megafauna. They were helped by climate change which dessicated the continent, but hung in there making it an extremely attractive aquisition by my ancestors when they came along.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:26 am
Hi Ron,

In broad terms, I agree with what you are saying here.

"Our dominance has overwhelmed all other species. Like a plague, we are killing them all off. There is nothing average about us as a species."

But we aren't doing any better than rats or fire ants, lol.

You're dead on about humanity not being an average species. We will be around at least until some other species capable of wiping us out evolves, and it's unlikely that we will ALLOW such a species to exist, unless it's a microbe and we can't wipe it out.

If chimps were to evolve just a little further along the lines of using tools and being able to communicate and work together, and started attacking humans, numerous humans armed only with primitive weapons such as fire and bows and arrows would kill every last chimp, and they wouldn't lose any time in doing so.

This brings up an interesting question. We know chimps use stone tools as hammers to break nuts, etc, , and that they fight ORGANIZED fights to the death sometimes.

Is there any evidence they are using stones as weapons . YET?

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:38 am
No, chimps do not use stones as weapons but they do use sticks to flail another chimp with.

Chimps will not evolve much further if any. Their numbers are dropping like a rock. They will all be gone in 20 or 30 years.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:27 pm
I once heard an interesting story about chimps. Might have been in one of Pinker's books, I can't recall.

If you hang a bunch of bananas from the ceiling that a chimp cannot reach and you leave an A-frame ladder laying on the ground the chimp will set the ladder upright and get the bananas.
If you do the same thing with 2 chimps and a ladder so heavy that one chimp alone cannot set it upright, but 2 chimps working together could set it upright, they'll never get on the same page, so to speak, and cooperate in setting up the ladder. They will both try individually and fail. The bananas will never be reached.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:46 pm
Hi Ron,

The charts in your post suggest about 1 billion might work, I would say 500 million would be my guess, not sure where you come up with 10 to 15 million.

Note that 500 million is roughly the World population in 1550 CE.

Just a different guess as I think a sustainable society could be reached by 2300 at these lower population levels, though perhaps fertility levels will remain below replacement over the long term so population will continually decline eventually some optimum will be determined and fewer than two children will not be encouraged.

Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 3:47 pm
Humans, that is Homo Sapiens per se, maybe not. Don't forget Cro-Magnons probably caused the extinction of Homo Neandertalis in about 40,000 years or so ago. Some other future species of the Genus Homo, very likely will be around for another million or so years. This is what I think they might look like. Maybe they will be called Homo technoligicus implantabilis, feel free to call them whatever you want. In any case resistance will be futile and you will be assimilated. 😉
Cheers!
.

robert wilson says: 12/01/2017 at 12:23 am
http://www.eindtijdinbeeld.nl/EiB-Bibliotheek/Boeken/The_Next_Million_Years__how_to_kill_off_excess_population___1953_.pdf
Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:18 pm
First of all, Ron, a species which destroys its own food supply or its own habitat *does* go extinct. They're currently referred to as "superpredators" -- it's happened repeatedly throughout history.

Second, regarding population growth, my primary charity for 20 years has promoted sex ed, access to contraceptions, and education of women worldwide. We know how to halt and reverse population growth in the "underdeveloped world". It's not difficult except for the religious groups which oppose contraception and oppose women's liberation.

Often the same religious groups who promote burning of fossil fuels. And deforestation.

Basically, whether humans survive depends on whether we defeat those groups, IMO.

Countries like Cuba which are very underdeveloped but essentially *lack* those religious groups (thank you Godless Communism!) they're doing OK on population stabilization.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:15 pm
Hi Nathaneal,

There are countries that are religious such as Iran that have seen rapid demographic transition (15 years for TFR to go from over 5 to under 2). Also non-communist nations such as South Korea saw rapid transitions.

I agree education and gender equality as well as access to modern contraception are helpful.

Electrification will also help.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:46 am
Thank you Dennis,

Religion has it's points, as Twain used to put it, both good and bad. Preachers and priests have a way of figuring out what is in their own best interests, short term, medium term, and long term.

There are some religions or cultures, which are not necessarily one and the same thing , that do encourage or more or less actually force women to bear lots of children.

I come from a culture that is very often ridiculed here in this forum, which doesn't bother me at all personally. It's ridiculed on such a broad scale that it's hard to find a public forum peopled with technically well educated people where ridicule isn't the NORM.

As religion goes, my own personal extended family is about as religious as they come in the USA. My nieces and nephews and third cousins, the children of my FIRST cousins, are having kids at less than the necessary 2.1 rate needed to maintain our blood lines, lol. My informal seat of the pants estimate is that the extended family birth rate is down to somewhere around one point five.

It's well known that the birth rate in some countries that are supposedly Catholic has fallen like a rock over the last couple of decades.

And while I can't prove it, it's my firm opinion that once the priesthood in any country comes to understand that it's own long term interests are best served by encouraging small families, small families WILL BE ENCOURAGED. That may not happen for another generation or so, and it may not happen at all in some countries, if there is no top down control of the culture and religion.

Priests and preachers don't exist to serve GOD, or any combinations of gods, etc. They exist because they have found a way to provide a secure and relatively easy way of living largely off the work of their followers.

This is not to say their followers don't get back as much or more as they contribute. Every society has to have leaders, and priests and preachers can be and have often been very effective leaders. Some of them are effective leaders today.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 5:41 pm
First of all, Ron, a species which destroys its own food supply or its own habitat *does* go extinct. They're currently referred to as "superpredators" -- it's happened repeatedly throughout history.

Really, I have never heard of that. The only superpredator I ever heard of are human beings. But if you can give an example of a species destroying its own food supply and habitat, please enlighten me.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:31 pm
Humans on Easter island is the only thing that comes to my mind when thinking of such an example. I'm no expert on Easter island, however I understand people there did not go extinct, and that there was a small group living there when the island was found by Europeans. Again, not terribly well informed about that particular bit of history.
Kathy C says: 12/02/2017 at 5:20 am
When things begin to collapse the grid infrastructure will collapse. Coal factories in China and elsewhere will shut down and dimming will end. James Hansen estimated that warming may be held back by 50% by dimming, so we can expect warming to shoot up. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130329_FaustianBargain.pdf

When the grid collapses the nuclear power plants will no longer be able to be cooled. We know what happens then. This article addresses that happening from solar flares or emp attack but of course the failure of the grid from civilization collapse would do the same thing http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/7301-400-chernobyls-solar-flares-electromagnetic-pulses-and-nuclear-armageddon

With collapses of civilization their will be no remediation of forest fires. Chemical and Nuclear Dumps will burn as well as the nuclear power plants that have gone Fukushima.

A very underappreciated study is that of decaying leaves around Chernobyl While horses and other wildlife might now roam around Chernobyl the implications of leaves not decaying is enormous. "However, there are even more fundamental issues going on in the environment. According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers -- organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay -- have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem."
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/forests-around-chernobyl-arent-decaying-properly-180950075/

To just state that humans wouldn't disappear is nothing more than an assertion, as is stating that they would certainly disappear. However what faces humans is much more daunting than just the chaos of civilization collapse. Those who survive everything else will have a hard time reproducing with all that radiation around https://chernobylguide.com/chernobyl_mutations/

Of course long before civilization collapses the countries of the world may well play out the scenario that Richard Heinberg describes – Last Man Standing. Sound like politics today?

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:34 pm
I suspect someone will bulldoze the nuclear power plants into the ocean before they let them melt down on land. Just a WAG.
Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 9:13 am
I posted this as a reply to a comment by GF a few threads back.

I highly recommend the following three ASU Origins Project debates and panel discussions to get a good feel for the big picture. It might take up a good four hours or so of your time. This isn't something suitable for sound bites. It involves a lot of in depth cross disciplinary knowledge.

https://origins.asu.edu/events/great-debate-transcending-our-origins-violence-humanity-and-future
Great Debate: Transcending Our Origins – Violence, Humanity, and the Future

https://origins.asu.edu/events/great-debate-extinctions-tragedy-opportunity
Great Debate: Extinctions – Tragedy to Opportunity

https://origins.asu.edu/events/conversation-inconvenient-truths-love-extinctions
Conversation: Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions

Maybe we are all royally fucked already but I also recommend E.O. Wilson's book 'Half Earth'.

Cheers!

Tom Welsh says: 11/29/2017 at 9:38 am
"Why did all this happen? However, when you ask why, you are implying that all this had a cause, that someone or some group of people are to blame for this damn mess we have gotten ourselves into".

I would like to suggest, respectfully, that this wording is the wrong way around. The essence of the problem is that no one has been in charge, no one has taken responsibility – and that is hardly changing at all.

The world is teeming with governments, corporations, NGOs, and "leaders" of all kinds. But what are all those leaders, and their estimable organizations, really trying to do? Some are aiming to earn as much money as possible. Others are trying amass as much power as possible. Most of their programmes have a lot to do with gaining more money and power – which become interchangeable at a certain point (as can be seen from a study of the US Congress, for example).

An intelligent alien visitor to our planet would reasonably conclude that, although individual humans are intelligent to various degrees, the human species as a whole is profoundly unintelligent. It has ample means of diagnosing what has happened, is happening, and will happen. Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 10:34 am
Tom, I think my wording was correct, you just did not quote all of my explanation. You wrote:

The essence of the problem is that no one has been in charge, no one has taken responsibility

No one can take responsibility because no one is in charge of the human race. And as far as being "profoundly unintelligent", I think that is an unfair charge. Having a blind spot in our DNA does not imply that we are unintelligent. The human race has never been faced with such a dilemma before. Our brains evolved to its present state during our hunter-gatherer days. We are molded by evolution to do everything possible to survive and reproduce. There is nothing in our DNA that tells us to protect the biosphere because the lives of our grandchildren depend upon it. So we don't.

What is happening is just human nature. That's all.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:20 pm
What is happening is just human nature.

Evolution has resulted in all species, including humans, having a biotic potential that is greater than the carrying capacity of the niches in which they live. Populations are limited by resource limits and predation, not by self restraint or mutual agreement.

It would have been very unusual, perhaps unique in evolutionary history, for humans to have deliberately limited our population, even though it might have been theoretically possible due to our 'intelligent' ability to foresee our probable future. Despite Malthus, Limits to Growth and many other warnings, no realistic attempt has been made to remain below carrying capacity.

As you note, a massive die-off is inevitable, the only real question is when. Like The Cunning Linguist, I personally think it will be whenever people lose confidence in the global monetary system, as in Korowicz's "Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion – a study in global systemic collapse". Once money stops flowing so does the food supply.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:10 pm
Hi Joe,

What would cause this rejection of the monetary system? I don't follow the argument. Everyone decides at once that money is no longer a reasonable medium of exchange. Didn't happen during any financial crisis so far, people couldn't access their money at Banks after the 1929 crash, but this was less of a problem in OECD nations during the GFC.

The ETP nonsense is just that, anyone who knows their thermodynamics knows that theory is full of holes.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/29/2017 at 9:29 pm
Didn't happen during any financial crisis so far

No, but we did come close in 2008. All sorts of debt instruments including commercial paper, CDOs (the root of the problem), many derivatives and letters of credit all froze up. Without prompt dramatic action by the central banks and the US Treasury, the financial system could have collapsed. Nobody knew who was solvent or insolvent, so the central banks had to backstop every financial institution. All this over some mortgage securities based on the US housing market.

Now imagine that growth has turned to continuous worldwide economic recession, the inevitable fate of the global market economy in the face of energy and resource depletion ( it will happen despite the stupidity of the Hill's Group). Unemployment increases year after year and tax revenues continuously fall. Every kind of debt instrument, from sovereign debt to mortgages, to municipal and corporate bonds is more and more likely never to be repaid. Defaults are increasing with greater and greater frequency. The equities of every company become suspect as more and more companies go under.

Sooner or later, a critical mass of people are going to realize that most debts can never be repaid and are therefore worthless as assets. Since almost all money is created from debt, almost all money becomes worthless.

The only thing that makes money work is confidence in its value. When confidence in money (debt repayment) fails, the monetary system fails and without a monetary system, the global market fails.

Billions of lives are dependent on that market functioning smoothly every day. When it fails to function, people will die. I fully expect to lose every financial asset I own at some point, that's why I am preparing to live without money. Unfortunately, most people in the developed world can't do that, though they should be trying to do so with utmost urgency.

I admit that if there were a concerted international effort to declare a debt jubilee and start all over with a new world currency, some form of monetary system might continue after the present one collapses, but I really doubt that creditor countries and debtor countries are going to cooperate with the rapidity and solidarity needed to manage such a transition.

And even though all the productive assets in the world would still continue to exist after a financial collapse, without a market to mediate their interconnected function, everything would grind to a halt. I don't see an international command economy taking over either. That would be harder than creating a whole new monetary system.

The global market economy is very complicated and very fragile. I certainly wouldn't trust my family's life to something that could collapse virtually overnight and neither should you.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:07 pm
Hi Joe,

There are a lot of if's in your scenario, any of which if broken makes the conclusion invalid.

I suppose it is possible that all of those things could happen, just as it is possible that a large asteroid will strike the planet.

I choose not to concern myself with very low probability events.

Pretty sure neither of us will convince the other. If you are convinced buy some good farm land and maybe gold, guns, lead, and gun powder.

Probably even better, find a nice community somewhere.

Note that as long as governments are willing to intervene in the economy when necessary, the system is much more resilient than you believe.

The biggest risk to the Global financial system would be free market fundamentalism where government intervention is never invoked.

I cannot imagine a continuous world wide economic recession, this is a fundamental flaw in your argument.

This assumes what you are trying to prove.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/30/2017 at 6:32 pm
I cannot imagine a continuous world wide economic recession, this is a fundamental flaw in your argument.

Well, I can't imagine how the global market economy and industrial civilization are going to have a steady state economy forever at present levels of production and affluence. Overshoot means eventual retrenchment and die-off.

Up-thread you estimated the carrying capacity of the earth at around 500 million people. You obviously expect to gracefully reach that level (in 2300!) through birth control while still maintaining current standards of living.

I expect that we will reach that population, or fewer, due to complications from resource-depletion-caused economic failure (famine, war, pandemic). There simply isn't enough energy available to make the transition you desire without also destroying the climate, even if there were the political will to do so, which there isn't.

I suggest looking at the history of the last 100 years to decide which future is more probable. Humanity has had the ability to create a high technology, steady-state civilization with sustainable population levels for over a century, but has failed to do so. There is still no evidence that we are serious about making the attempt now. I wonder why you can believe that such a thing will happen at a time when the resources to make it happen will be declining rapidly. Continuous world-wide recession is a certainty and unless you are very old, you will live to see it.

And as far as your suggestions for prepping go, my family has already got it's lifeboat ready in a rural tropical community. I've got the productive land, the community and the guns. I don't expect to rely on gold at all. To my mind, the best durable trade items are ammo, fishing equipment and livestock.

If raising my own food and living without money is necessary, I can do it. If your eco-modernist utopia magically appears, I won't be disappointed, or regret one iota of the 'unnecessary' preparations I will have made, but I prefer to err on the side of prudence.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 1:14 pm
Hi Joe,

I don't expect to live forever and as I said don't plan ahead for scenarios I believe have a very low probability of occurring. As fossil fuel resources become scarce they will become more expensive and we will use them more carefully (or efficiently). There has been no need to do so for the past 100 years as they have been relatively cheap and abundant. There will be enough energy from Wind, solar, hydro, and perhaps nuclear to make the transition, as fossil fuel becomes expensive these will be produced as they will become cheaper alternatives. Much of freight traffic can be moved to rail, which can be electrified, moving goods from rail to factory or store can be done on overhead wires on main roads with EV used for the last few miles.

Also keep in mind that fossil fuels by nature are quite inefficient in producing electricity with about 60% of the energy wasted, for heating systems compared to heat pumps there is also higher energy use. The transition to non-fossil fuels will result in about one third the energy use for the same exergy (or work and useful heat) provided.

I make no assumptions about living standards being maintained, perhaps the transition will be very difficult and living standards in the OECD will decrease while living standards in less developed nations increase. Note that declining population will reduce resource pressure and realization of resource limits (as will be clear from fossil fuel scarcity) by the majority of citizens may lead to changes in social behavior.

Also note that we have only been aware of the climate problem for about 38 years (using Charney report in 1979 as the starting point).

If fossil fuels are very limited (say 1200 Pg C emissions from 1800-2100) then climate change might be less of a problem, but this will still be adequate for a transition to non-fossil fuels. Even 1000 Pg of total carbon emissions from all anthropogenic sources (including fossil fuel, cement and land use change) may be adequate for an energy transition, though it will need to begin in earnest in the next 5 to 10 years, the sooner we begin the easier it will be to accomplish.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:51 am
"What is happening is just human nature. That's all."

EXACTLY.

I posted a long rant down thread trying to get this across to people who somehow think we are DEFECTIVE because we don't collectively behave more rationally, hoping to get it across in terms that are intelligible to those of us who have HEARD of evolution, but never actually studied it for more than an hour or two at the most.

alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 6:07 pm
Nonsense, this is just Libertarian propaganda, which is actually a fake religion invented by real estate investors in the fifties in a political catfight to avoid rent control legislation. It has now widen to some kind of pseudo-Darwinistic hocus pocus, but it ignores the obvious fact that we became the world's dominant species be collaboration and long term thinking.

We're doomed if we don't get along with each other, and lots of propaganda is pushing you to believe we never have or could, and never can or will. But that doesn't make it true.

Hickory says: 12/02/2017 at 12:02 am
aren't all religions fake (fabrications)?
Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:42 pm
That's a pretty narrow view of libertarianism.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism
What you say is perhaps relevant to contemporary versions of libertarianism in USA, however it goes back a bit further than the 50's.
It's worth noting there are left wing libertarian models also.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism
Phil Stevens says: 12/02/2017 at 2:56 pm
I'd like to question the assertion that no one is in charge of the human race. In "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States" (Yale, 2017), James C. Scott demonstrates fairly convincingly that humans actively avoided adopting grain-based agriculture because the labor:reward tradeoff was far less satisfactory than what could be obtained through hunting and gathering. The accumulation of surplus, and presumably the insurance a surplus would provide against yearly fluctuations in food supply, in other words, was an insufficient motivation for humans to give up hunting and gathering. As Scott documents quite clearly, this refusal to adopt agriculture as the basis of the human economy persisted for more than 5,000 years in Mesopotamia, and much longer elsewhere.

So what caused the shift? Alas, Scott fails to explore this in any detail. (Just one of the many weaknesses of the book, which nevertheless manages to make its central argument very well.)

I will speculate that what caused the change was the coming-together of a sufficiently large number (five? a dozen? who knows?) of individuals who lacked the ability to feel remorse, shame, or compassion, and who were motivated purely by a desire to enrich and empower themselves. Modern psychology calls these types psychopaths. I suggest that it was these individuals who, likely with help from others with the related disorder of sadism (see recent research on "the dark tetrad"), were first able to subjugate (Scott uses the very apposite term "domesticate") human communities and force them to labor on the land to produce a surplus, which of course then could be appropriated by the psychopaths and their henchmen.

I am not aware of anyone else who has advanced the notion that civilization was founded by psychopaths and sadists. But recent psychological research (popularized in books such as Babiak and Hare, "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work") suggest that psychopaths are four times more commonly represented in upper management than in the population as a whole, so it seems plausible to me, at least, that the project of civilization and its attendant destruction of the ecosphere has been, from its inception, forced upon humanity by a small minority.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 5:00 pm
Phil, thanks for a great post. I have no doubt that psychopaths have had a great influence on civilization. Many great leaders were no doubt psychopaths. Hitler and Stalin come to mind. However, not all of them were psychopaths. Rosevelt, Washington, Jefferson, and many other U.S. presidents were not psychopaths. Neither was Churchill or Gandhi.

However, your original sentence was: I'd like to question the assertion that no one is in charge of the human race. So I kept reading, waiting for you to tell us just who was in charge of the human race. Of course you did not do that.

Phil Stevens says: 12/03/2017 at 4:56 pm
Fair enough, Ron.

My short answer to your question would be to ask "Cui bono?" Doubtless not everyone who reaps the most benefit from the biocidal trajectory of late capitalism is dominated by one or more of the traits of the Dark Tetrad, of course. Some of us might even be able to argue plausibly that we were unaware of the consequences of our actions. But even though late capitalist society is sufficiently robust that it continues to work out its internal logic without a lot of direct guidance by the dark few, I doubt it would last long without their presence among the wealthy and powerful classes. If their interventions on behalf of the killing machine could be eliminated, my guess is that dismantling the machine would be a much easier project.

Ultimately, it's the ones in positions of power who manifest the traits of the Dark Tetrad whose interventions are critical to maintaining the status quo. If anyone can be said to rule the earth, it's them.

Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 12:24 pm
An intelligent alien visitor to our planet would reasonably conclude that, although individual humans are intelligent to various degrees, the human species as a whole is profoundly unintelligent. It has ample means of diagnosing what has happened, is happening, and will happen. Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces.

That is my view as well! Though some like E.O. Wilson argue that we have evolved into an eusocial species and can at least in theory function as a hive or termite mound. Where the collective intelligence emerges and even though the individual ants or bees are stupid the anthill is an entity unto itself is smart and knows how to defend itself. See also Douglas Hofstader and Daniel Dennett's book, 'The Mind's I', Chapter 11 titled Prelude Ant Fugue.
http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-11-prelude-ant-fugue.html

Also check out Curtis Marean's talk at the end of Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions from the link I provided above from the ASU origins debates. He specifically makes that analogy about aliens, in his talk.

Marean is a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the associate director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. He is interested in the relation between climate and environmental change and human evolution, both for its significance as a force driving past human evolution, and as a challenge to be faced in the near future. Curtis has focused his career on developing field and laboratory teams and methods that tap the synergy between the disciplines to bring new insights to old scientific problems. He has spent over 20 years doing fieldwork in Africa, and conducting laboratory work on the field-collected materials, with the goal of illuminating the final stages of human evolution – how modern humans became modern.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:04 am
" Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces."

Such an organ would be very costly, in terms of depriving humanity of the energy and resources devoted to it, depriving us of the use of these resources for other purposes.

Evolution doesn't create organs that will be useful in dealing with new circumstances, by plan, ahead of time, except by accident. It's just a "lucky accident" FOR US TODAY that our own ancestors evolved hands capable of grasping things such as branches .. which set the stage for us to be able later on to grasp a stone and use it as a hammer or weapon.

No planning is involved. NONE. Various deists who accept the reality of evolution but still believe in higher powers disagree of course.

I can't prove they are wrong. I don't believe anybody else can. All we can do is demonstrate that they have no evidence that such higher powers exist.

An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, lol.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:04 pm
I doubt if "intelligent" aliens are any different than we are – and therefore probably have a very short life expectancy should they ever get to an industrial age – evolution can only work from one generation to the next and is therefore incompatible with longer term planning for species longevity.
Steve says: 11/29/2017 at 2:25 pm
"It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on the Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing intelligence this is not correct. We have or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only." – Sir Fred Hoyle
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 3:19 pm
Thanks for posting this Hoyle quote Steve. I have read it before, many times. And the truth of it is so obvious. All the things that have enabled this wonderful abundant life will soon be gone. Then what?
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:02 pm
Hi Ron,

We recycle what we can, we use less of scarce resources as prices rise and we try to find substitutes for resources as they become scarce. Also population will fall as TFR falls (with a time lag due to population momentum) putting less pressure on resources.

None of this will be easy, and perhaps not possible, hard to predict the future.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 5:58 pm
Dennis, Hoyle here, is talking about long-term. Recycle or not, we will run out of all fossil fuels and eventually all metals. However, recyclig will help, in the short term anyway.

No, we cannot really predict the future. All we can do is look at what is happening right now and say: "If this continues ." And Dennis, it will continue. Human nature may be changed by evolution. But that will take many generations and tremendous evolutionary pressure. So right now, human nature being what it is, we can predict that collapse is just down the road. Just how far down the road is what we are trying to figure out right now.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 6:27 pm
Ron, if we look at the apparent numbers, say of many species, collapse appears already here, just that the shockwave hasn't hit yet. Remember, if you see an explosion in the distance, it takes awhile to hit.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 11:51 am
Hi Ron,

Yes some things will continue and others will not.

For example fossil fuel output has grown pretty steadily in absolute terms (about 163 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year from 1981 to 2016) and I expect that will change (it will not continue).

The total fertility ratio has decreased at about 1.38% per year from 1965 to 2015, but I expect this will continue until the World TFR approaches the high income nation average of about 1.75 (which would be reached in 2040 if the 1965-2015 rate of decrease continues).

There may be more fossil fuels available than either of us think, but if my medium scenarios are correct there may be enough fossil fuel to enable a transition to non-fossil fuel, then we just need to deal with other depleting resources.

Note that the fact that fossil fuels have peaked and declined (which should be apparent by 2035 at the latest), may enable people to realize that this will be true for every scarce resource and perhaps we will plan ahead and recycle, and use resources more efficiently.

Much of this is a matter of education.

Perhaps the meaning of soon we use differently.

When you say "will soon be gone." Can you define soon in years.

The sun will eventually destroy all life on Earth, but not "soon", as I define it. 🙂

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 12:10 pm
Well, perhaps I should not have said "gone". There will always be trace amounts of everything left. And nothing will suddenly disappear. There will be a decline curve for everything. But let's deal with the one with the least future abundance, oil. I believe we are at peak oil right, or very near it anyway. The bumpy plateau may last from 5 to 10 years. Then the decline curve will be much steeper than the ascent.

That's about the best answer I can ive you.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 1:26 pm
Hi Ron,

Let's assume for the moment you are correct and the peak is either now or next month and we remain on plateau for a year or two.

What happens to the price of oil?

Let's assume that you agree that unless there is a severe World recession in the next year or two that oil prices are likely to rise.

What happens it oil output if oil prices rise to say $100/b or more?

Eventually I expect output will reach a peak no matter how high oil prices rise, I just disagree it will be at the current level of output.

Can you define your limits for the "bumpy plateau" (high and low 12 month average output level)?

If the limits were 80 to 85 Mb/d, then we would agree and I would say we may be on a bumpy plateau between 80 and 85 Mb/d for 10 years or so.

I suspect you may expect output to remain below 81 or 82 Mb/d (World 12 month average C+C output).

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:01 pm
Dennis, you must be familiar with the phrase "You cannot get blood from a turnip". High prices will not create more oil in the ground. We will most definitely have higher prices but they will be high because we have reached the peak. So, $100 oil will not create a higher peak.

Just my guess but I believe the plateau will average less than 82 million bpd.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 10:37 am
Hi Ron,

So could you define your "bumpy plateau"?

Is it a trailing 12 month average of between 80 and 82 Mb/d?

I imagine we will break above 82 Mb/d in 2018 if oil prices are over $65/b (Brent in 2016$) for the annual average in 2016.

For the most recent 12 months (EIA data) ending August 2017 we are at 80.93 Mb/d.

In the low price environment since 2015 the trend in World output is an annual increase of 280 kb/d. This rate of increase is likely to double (at minimum) with oil prices over $80/b, which would bring us to 82 Mb/d by 2019 or 2020, perhaps this will be as high a output rises, but my guess is that there is a 50% probability that output will continue to rise above this and perhaps a 25% probability it may reach 85 Mb/d around 2025.

Ron Patterson says: 12/03/2017 at 2:49 pm
I thought I did that Dennis. I the bumpy plateau will average about 82 million barrels per day or less. There could be spikes and dips and it will last from 2 to as much as 10 years. But when it heads down, it will do so with a vengeance.
alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 6:11 pm
Blah, nobody needs coal or oil in the long run, and metal is never "gone" unless you shoot into space or a fission reactor.

For every obvious problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

-H. L- Mencken

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 7:03 pm
Jesus H. Fucking Christ, how fucking stupid can one person be?
OFM says: 11/29/2017 at 6:17 pm
Hi Steve,

I will have a lot to say later on tonight.

For now, all I have to say is that while Sir Fred forgot more about astronomy than I have or ever have even DREAMED of knowing, he didn't know shit from apple butter about biological evolution . not even as much as a good student in a good public high school after finishing one high school level course in biology.

"The chance that higher life forms might have emerged through evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein."

It's very common for people who are great experts, sometimes even renowned experts at the very peak of their professions, to make fools of themselves talking about subjects of which they know less than nothing.

Hoyle is the best single example I know of and the one I use most often to point out this very common shortcoming.

For what it's worth, he would be RIGHT if the problem were the one of having a gazillion monkeys typing at random and one of them eventually turning out Romeo and Juliet, correct to the last letter.

That involves getting every letter right in one try.

Evolution doesn't work that way. It's more like a poker game, in which you can discard cards you don't want, and keep the ones you do, until you have a GREAT hand.

In a real poker game, discarding is usually limited to two rounds, but in real life and evolution, the number of rounds is literally unlimited, the same as the number of generations. If you have two pairs, you can keep on discarding until EVENTUALLY , assuming all the discards go back into the deck, you have a full house. And given time enough, you could discard your pair, and eventually have four of a kind.

YOU DON'T usually throw away a pair of aces, lol, even in a game that allows you to ask for a redeal if you have no more than a pair.

Evolution is a blind, and runs on random chance, at the individual level and generational level, but at the species level, it's a blind BUILDER, one that generally retains what works from one generation to the next, and builds on it. Over time .. lots of time, usually.

But significant evolutionary change can happen in very quickly, in terms of evolutionary time. House flies evolved resistance to DDT within the space of a single generation of humans, lol.

Biologists work with time on roughly the same scale as geologists and astronomers, counting in billions of years. It's quite possible that life originated not too long after the first stars evolved to the point that the heavier elements were first created from lighter ones.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 6:47 pm

"I will have a lot to say later on tonight." ~ OFM

LOL

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:41 pm
Hoyle, IMHO, is a closet Cabbage for Christ.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 8:30 pm
Hightrekker's Alpine Garden of Eden Restaurant

~ Menu ~

• Talking Snake Au Jus (So fresh, you can almost hear it hissing!)
• BBQ Rib-Woman's Ribs
• Stuffed Cabbages for Christ
• Wing Pawn Garlic Prawns

Dessert:

• Apple Pie A La Mode (So sinful, one bite and you will be cast out of Eden, after you pay your bill.)
• Tree of Knowledge Crepe Flambé (Ask about our Summer Forest Fire special!)
• Adam's Fruit Cobbler

Drinks:

• The Blood of Christ
• Holy Water Cider
• Milk of Holy Cow

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:26 am
Yum!
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 8:10 pm
Stop the presses! I forgot the

• Cider-Marinated Free Range Chicken Wing Pawn Platter for Two

BTW, I just began my first ever apple cider home brew, Nov 30th . (I actually tried making sauerkraut ages ago.)
What I did was buy half a liter of fresh-pressed raw organic apple juice, and then added the peel of an organic apple to it for a wild yeast innoculation, and closed up top with a simple cellophane wrap and elastic with a toothpick-prick hole on top for ventilation

I used these instructions and accompanying YouTube video, Eat The Weeds, episode 9.

So now the bottle is just hanging out in one of my lower kitchen cupboards, and we'll see what happens. (Does it need light?)

I'll try to let POB know if it works and I get a good batch or if it throws a bad one and I have to start over. I am unsure what a good or bad batch is supposed to taste like, but I guess if it's tasty, then it's good.

Survivalist says: 12/01/2017 at 10:19 pm
My fav post that you made was a link to some great riot porn! Oh man that made my day 🙂
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/02/2017 at 8:30 pm
Hi Survivalist, glad you enjoyed it.
Frank Lopez's Sub.Media channel, (which is probably where I sourced the riot-porn-in-question from), its videos, have been picked up by PeakOil.com, incidentally.
I'll admit that some of the riot porn was a bit dubious with regard to its 'methodical randomness', but it could be from the younger 'anarchists' who may be still learning. That's perhaps also why some of the Antifa members have sometimes gotten criticized for their (apparent misplaced or misapplied) 'violence' tactics.

The image is of the cider in question– about one litre. With the unwashed organic apple peel in it as the only yeast 'starter', it's supposed to take 2 to 3 weeks to start bubbling. The pin you see is to pop the hole in the plastic when it starts doing so.

If it throws a good flavour, I intend on keeping the yeast, and innoculating some more juice but also some kind of straight-up water-and-honey or sugar mixture and see if I can get pure alcohol or 'mead' or something like that from it, using freeze distillation (a 'jack'). (And yes, I am aware of the methanol issue, but apparently, it is not a big deal at this scale/amount, although I'll recheck it to be sure.) (You can of course select the image for a larger image popup.)

If, when or as the 'trucks stop running', we may want– and have– to look into more local/home-brewing and other locally-/homemade things of course. So we might as well start sooner rather than later.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:52 pm
Once upon a time I provided health services to inmates in a prison. Generally speaking I liked the inmates better than the guards, who for the most part were men who had wanted to become cops but were too stupid to pass selection. I met some real brewmasters (inmates) working that gig. Good luck with the brew.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:00 pm
Interesting line of work, Survivalist, and thanks, fingers crossed
Paulo says: 11/29/2017 at 10:36 am
Up early today and lit the shop woodstove; just waiting for light to get on with my day which always starts (after chores) with my dog and I going for a walk.

Ron, I do not disagree with your post or comments, with the exception of when population will peak and the aspect/timing of social disruption?

On this morning wait for daylight I have been reading various blog sites with CNN ticking over in the background. Maybe it is the speed of the news cycle and my being used to the insanity of what is being reported, but today, after seeing the Trump tweets on Muslim Violence (film clips), the so-called tax plan, sexual misconducts, the recent reports on KSA, Yemen, Syria, and what is ramping up concerning North Korea, I think we are at a crux right now. I think there will be a Market collapse and war; perhaps global in scale. Further to that I don't see any desire or mechanism for defusing tensions or a way to recall the situation.

I am 62 and was a kid during a recent/last big social reset. I had older sibs and parents who moved us north to Canada in '68 because they had had enough. My WW2 veteran parents proclaimed they had seen enough to be afraid, and sold out to start over and build new lives. While I was thinking about it, and your post, I realized that in today's situation there are no simple answers and not really any places to run to. It seems different because of the population numbers and armaments, plus the willingness of people to pretend it's just 'tribal/crooked politics as usual'. Then, I thought about photographs and how a few catapulted us into rapid change last century. Certainly, the haunted faces of the Dust Bowl sparked a move towards reform. Images from the south and the stories of the KKK perhaps Rosa Parks herself helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement. For me, the image of the young lady holding the dead student at Kent State, (her anguish), the burning Monk and young girl coated with napalm coupled with the lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident pushed me into cynicism; so much that I was not surprised about the non-existent WMD of Iraq.

Perhaps it won't be an image, or story that we look back to as a turning point. Maybe it will be a tweet. Maybe it will be the Market collapse or a premptive attack on North Korea that sets everything in motion. I just think we are loaded and tamped down like a pipe bomb ready to blow.

I do not think we will continue to grow in population until 2050. I think it could start to unravel pretty fast and any day. I don't see any step back from war(s) in either the ME, or Korea.

From Wiki: (just one event that pales alongside today's triggers)
Kent State
"Just five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., against the war and the killing of unarmed student protesters. Ray Price, Nixon's chief speechwriter from 1969 to 1974, recalled the Washington demonstrations saying, "The city was an armed camp. The mobs were smashing windows, slashing tires, dragging parked cars into intersections, even throwing bedsprings off overpasses into the traffic down below. This was the quote, student protest. That's not student protest, that's civil war."[10] Not only was Nixon taken to Camp David for two days for his own protection, but Charles Colson (Counsel to President Nixon from 1969 to 1973) stated that the military was called up to protect the administration from the angry students; he recalled that "The 82nd Airborne was in the basement of the executive office building, so I went down just to talk to some of the guys and walk among them, and they're lying on the floor leaning on their packs and their helmets and their cartridge belts and their rifles cocked and you're thinking, 'This can't be the United States of America. This is not the greatest free democracy in the world. This is a nation at war with itself.'"

I apologize if this seems North American centric; and in blinders. I wish to reiterate that our population numbers, plus increasing divide and disparity, proliferation of weapons and intolerance, coupled with environmental degradation and Climate Change, makes this much much worse. It's a gun waiting for a trigger, imho.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 11:10 am
Yes, things are pretty bad. But things were bad during the Kent State/Nixon era. Yet we survived.

It has been my experience, following this biosphere destruction for many years now, that people who see and understand the destruction, almost always expect things to fall apart real soon. They never do.

I once spent several months as a stockbroker. One thing I learned during that period was a truth about insider traders. That is traders who trade the stock of the company they work for. They see things happening inside their company and expect it to cause great trouble or great profit. They are almost always right and almost always way too early with their predictions. Things just never seem to happen as fast as they expected.

We, you and I and a few others, are insiders to this problem that I have described in my above post. We know something terrible is going to happen. But most of us expect it to happen way before it actually will happen.

An example is "The Population Bomb" by Paul Ehrlich. I think he was spot on, but things just did not happen as fast as he expected. I hope to avoid his mistake.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 11:34 am
Yep, Ron, and we need to be careful about saying "this time is different". Perhaps we need a list of things that really are different this time.

One that should be obvious to anyone paying attention is that, in the late 60s, US debt to GDP was in the mid 30% range. It is now over 100% according to a number of sources. As Gail T. is wont to say, unservicable debt will likely be the trigger that results in a cascading failure of financial systems, and everything else is likely to follow. In short, our financial house of cards has grown three-fold in 50 years, as the global reserve currency is tagged to nothing.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 1:16 pm
Hi Ghung,

I think the debt problem is a little overblown.

Now people use debt differently sometimes implying "total debt" and sometimes "public debt" and sometimes "central government debt".

Which one are you talking about?

I don't read Tverberg's stuff.

Looking at your numbers and the link below

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

it seems you are talking about total US federal government debt.

Consider Japan

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/QJPGAN770A

They have been over 100% debt to GDP since 1999 and have been around 200% since 2014.

If Japan has collapsed, I missed it. 🙂

Note that I agree with the idea that when the US economy is doing well (which at present is the case), that paying down debt is a better idea than reducing taxes. I would raise taxes if anything ( a carbon tax would be ideal) and reduce the deficit to less than zero and pay down the debt.

Or just balance the budget and let economic growth reduce the debt to GDP ratio.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 1:28 pm
The figures I posted only include US government (National) debt. Total US debt (public+private) is, of course, much higher.

US National debt currently around $20.5 trillion.
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

US GDP for 2016 per the World Bank was $18,569,100.00
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD

As for Japan, most of what they owe is to themselves while they own a lot of that US debt, above. Japan also uses the carry trade to stay afloat.

I only posted this as being one of the things that is different about our situation ~50 years ago. People can make of it what they will. I personally think it is significant since the world runs on credit. No credit, no growth.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 4:49 pm
Hi Ghung,

Hard to imagine no credit.

Also in the 1960s there was less borrowing by the government (so less credit) and higher growth rates (at least in the US) than today.

In the old days there was concern the government would "crowd out" private debt, as if there was some fixed amount of debt the system could sustain and the system always remained at this maximum debt level.

Instead it seems the system had room for higher levels of debt as government debt as increased, but there is little evidence of "crowding out". There may be some maximum debt level that an economy can sustain and Japan may be there. Also note that 50 years ago debt was at fairly low levels, but in 1946 Debt to GDP was 118% of GDP, rapid economic growth from 1946 to 1974 reduced this debt to GDP to 31%, by 1992 it was at 61%, and in 2016 it was 105%.

Strange that the Republicans want to raise the debt higher by cutting taxes, this made sense when the economy was doing poorly during the Obama years and the aftermath of the GFC.

I agree debt could become a problem and would be worried if central government debt to GDP was 200% (as in Japan).

I also don't buy into the unfunded liabilities argument, laws change and governments don't always fulfill their promises, that is just a fact of life.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:17 am
Personally I believe Tverberg is a person who has discovered a niche she can exploit and is making a living out of it. I had the pleasure of seeing her make her canned presentation at a conference once, where all the presentations were repeated several times over for three days so the entire attending crowd could see them all.

If you ask her a real question, she seizes up like a deer in headlights. She knows some elementary level stuff that is worth some thought, in the case of people who know little or nothing about the overall economy and environment.

Her answer in the case of a real question is the same answer you get from a politician who doesn't WANT to answer. She just pretends you asked a DIFFERENT question, and provides a stock answer to THAT question.

She doesn't have anything to say worth listening to , in terms of the level of understanding of the contributing members of this forum.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:25 am
Being a Cabbage for Christ and a AGW Denier doesn't exactly lend credibility to her work.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 9:06 pm
She denies AGW?
doomphd says: 12/03/2017 at 4:18 am
She does not deny AGW. She just doesn't think the effects of AGW are going to be our biggest problem going forward, especially if we run low on fossil fuel flows in the near future.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:02 pm
Ok, thanks for the clarification.
Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
UK government debt to GDP was well over 400% for decades running; it was never a problem. Don't worry about it. Government debt is not really debt, it's actually money.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 4:54 pm
Hi Nathanael,

When was that?

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEBTTLGBA188A

Oh I see high debt but not 400%

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PSDOTUKA

It was over 160% from 1925 to 1952, maybe that's what you mean.

Paulo says: 11/29/2017 at 1:39 pm
Good point on the rate. I remember my grade 11 Social Studies teacher talking to me after class in 1972. One of our class texts was The Population Bomb. He expected to see, in his lifetime, a collapse of sorts. When I asked him to expand further he described small scale gardens/farms of no more the 2 acres. The primary machinery used would be walk-behind tractors.

I smiled at the memory when I bought my BCS walk-behind ten years ago. I smile every spring when I till the gardens. I still think he was right, just off on the timing (just like I was when I got out of stocks several years ago and put my money in term deposits.) 🙂

The older I get, the less I understand. I take comfort in knowing my Dad wouldn't get it, either.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:49 pm
I thought Ehrlich's book "The Dominant Animal"was fairly well measured, and generally in line with the post above (I haven't read the population bomb).
Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:44 pm
Ehrlich underestimated the Green Revolution and Haber/Bosch factor that was really upping food production at the time.
Ultimately, he will be proven right.
OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:39 am
I met Ehrlich personally when he visited Va Tech sometime around 1972. Visiting scholars often have smaller seminar meetings after making their presentation to the larger U community, which he did. Not many people attended the particular seminar I participated in , probably less than a couple of dozen. I was taking some ag courses there at the time, and enjoyed a long conversation with him.

You're dead on. He badly underestimated what we farmers could do, and are still doing, given the necessary industrial support system that keeps industrial level agriculture humming.

Sooner or later . We are going to have to deal with the Population Bomb. The resources we are devoting to industrial ag aren't going to last forever. Neither are nature's one time gifts of soil and water so long as we are in overshoot.

I was head over heels in love with a milk and corn fed girl from Ohio and we were about ready to join the Peace Corp or something along that line, and go someplace and save the people in some backwards community by teaching them how to farm the American way all day and enjoy each other all night of course.

But one of my crusty and profane old professors took me aside and asked me if I really wanted to go to XXXXX and teach starving people how to produce twice as much food so that twice as many of them would starve a generation down the road.

HE was right about the increase in production just resulting in more mouths to feed . back then. Since then, things have changed dramatically . in SOME countries.

There are good reasons to believe that birth rates may fall dramatically within the next decade or two in at least some of the countries that still have exploding populations. Maybe a few of them will manage to avoid starvation on the grand scale long enough for their populations to stabilize and decline.

It's too late for falling birth rates to prevent famine on the grand scale in a hell of a lot of places.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:54 am
Hi Old Farmer Mac,

Let's assume Ron's prediction of 2050 for a peak in World population at around 9 Billion is correct (this seems a very reasonable guess to me).

Also assume for the moment the grain is freely traded throughout the World with few barriers to trade (tariffs and outright bans).

Are you suggesting that it is likely that World food output will not be adequate to feed the World under this scenario?

Typically famine results from war and food supply not being able to be safely transported to those in need, at least in the past 50 years or so.

Do you expect this to change before 2070?

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 2:51 pm
Hi Dennis,

I'm going to answer twice, lol.

First off, do I think it's technically possible that we can feed a population that peaks around nine billion a few decades down the road?

This answer depends on how well energy supplies and the overall world economy holds up, with some wild cards thrown in relating to climate, depletion of certain critical resources such as fresh water and minerals such as easily mined phosphate rock, etc.

New technology and the reactions of the people to it will also play a big role.The role played by governments local to national to international will be critical, and huge, because only governments will have power enough to FORCE some changes that may and probably will be necessary.

Here are a few examples.

It may be necessary to force well to do people aka the middle classes, to give up eating red meat for the most part, so that grain ordinarily fed to cattle and hogs can be diverted to human consumption.

(I expect rich people will still be able to get a ribeye or pork chop any time by buying up ration tickets, or buying on the black market, or paying an exorbitant consumption tax, or any combination of these strategies.)

Fuels, especially motor fuels, may be tightly rationed, so that enough will be available to run farms and food processing and distribution industries.

Large numbers of people may be paid or coerced into going to work on farms or in community gardens or greenhouses.

A substantial fraction of the resources currently devoted to other needs or wants may have to be diverted to building sewage treatment infrastructure designed to capture and recycle the nutrients in human sewage.

I could go on all day.

Bottom line, I think that barring bad luck, it is technically possible that we can feed that many people that long, and for a while afterwards, as the population hopefully starts trending down.

As a practical matter, I don't think there WILL BE food enough for nine billion.

It's more likely in my opinion that some countries are going to come up desperately short of food, and be unable to beg, buy or steal it from other countries. Some people, and some countries, are likely to resort to taking food, and other resources of course by force from weaker neighbors .. maybe even "neighbors" on the far side of oceans.

I may be too pessimistic, but I'm one of the regulars here who think that climate change for the worse, much worse, is in the cards, and I spend a few hours every week reading history. Humans have always been ready to go to war, even without good reasons. A lot of people in desperate situations are going to see war as their best option, in my opinion, over the next half century.

Maybe my fellow Yankees will be willing to give up their burgers for beans so that kids in some far off country can eat. I'm not so sure we are compassionate enough to do so on the grand scale.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 11:25 am
Hi Hightrekker,

If total fertility ratios continue to fall (for the World they fell from 5 in 1965 to 2.5 in 2015) about a 1.38% per year, there may be no catastrophic collapse.

If that average rate should continue for 16 years then World TFR would be at 2 (below replacement level) by 2031. If the rate of decrease in TFR experienced from 1965 to 2015 continues for 35 years (to 2050), the TFR for the World would be 1.54 in 2050.

Based on UN data from 2015, 65% of the World's population had a weighted average TFR (weighted by population) of 2.05, but a more sophisticated calculation using estimates of the population of Women of child bearing age I have not done, I simply used total population to weight the TFR from each nation which implicitly assumes the age structure of each nation is identical which is clearly false.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 1:01 pm
Dennis-
We are adding 83 million per year to a already population in drastic overshoot.
The barn door is already open, and the horses are gone.
Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 1:17 pm
Exactly! That's been my point from the very beginning. It is already way too late to fix things.

We have a predicament that must be dealt with, not a problem that can be solved.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 7:41 pm
Bingo --
We have a winner!
alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 3:09 pm
Yeah, they shot white people. Can't have that. Nowadays the cops shoot three people on average every day in America. Nobody cares, life is cheap in America. Gun deaths are the price of freedom. Native Americans run about three times the risk of white folks, and black folks run about twice the risk.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 11:03 am
It is obvious that humans are the major drivers of extinction on the planet. We are in the Sixth Extinction event and we cause it directly and indirectly through our actions. the why is quite obvious, all species live to propagate and expand to their limits, our limits are global at this point and so are our effects. I don't see energy as much of a problem as there is plenty of it in various forms and we can obtain it if we want it. That however means continuing the high tech industrial form of civilization which we have embarked upon. Can that be made sustainable and much less harmful, even helpful? Of course it can, it's all about wise choices and thinking before we act instead of just going for profit.

The loss of vertebrates is just horrible but the loss of invertebrates will be the undoing of our farming and food production and much of the other life that depends upon them. The loss of insect life due to global human generated poisoning of the environment, especially food production areas, will unwind much of the food production.
As collapse starts, the chaos of riots and crime will rise sharply. All those mentally ill and drug addicted people will no longer have their chemicals, causing a trigger point of violence and chaotic actions.
However the major fast cause of loss of human life will be disease. People forget how it was just a few generations ago before antibiotics. Diseases will spread rapidly among the weak and starving, public sanitation will fail causing more disease to spread. Clean water supplies will become absent, compromised or even purposely wrecked. Hospitals will fail because of both being overrun and the power will fail plus supplies will fail. Disease will grow and spread among both people and their animals. It could take less than a generation to drastically reduce the population of the species, with the resulting loss of knowledge, technical ability and industrial ability the cascade will go further.
In the bad case scenarios much of the infrastructure will burn putting up a cloud of aerosols and GHG's as well as causing a large toxic pulse to the environment.

But on the other side humans are very inventive and determined to continue the system that supports a huge population. So we may expand this time forward for quite a while, but only through smart choices and changing how we do things such as agriculture, industry and technology. Smart choices, not choices just for profit.

Just one example of our innovative and creative ability.
From sand to soil in 7 hours
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stc5MUIloP0

SRSrocco says: 11/29/2017 at 11:17 am
NOT TO WORRY .

Humans need not worry about the Falling EROI, the Falling Carrying Capacity or the degradation of the environment. Those no longer matter now that BITCOIN is now trading over $11,000.

Technology will solve all our problems and Bitcoin will make us all wealthy once again.

steve

Doug Leighton says: 11/29/2017 at 11:21 am
Ron -- The full text of this paper in SCIENCE will cost you 15 bucks but in my opinion, is well worth it; below is the Abstract. Commenters are welcome to talk about educating women, etc. but its too late for Africa for the balance of this century. I have personally observed the situation in Central Africa where you can see a school each containing about 1,000 kids located at roughly one-kilometer intervals along all significant roads -- a lot of kids. Virtually all schools in Africa are run by churches (of all types), and you can guess what these guys are teaching about birth control: I've asked, and the answer is NOTHING. AFRICANS LOVE KIDS. And, health care has improved greatly over the past few decades meaning general health has been upgraded and infant mortality has been reduced greatly. In fact, I would say the bulk of the UN's efforts in Africa are directed towards improving general health at which they have been successful.

Sorry for the inarticulate ramble but this is a rather personal interest of mine partly because our family is supporting a young girl in Uganda who will soon become a medical doctor. I had promised to stop commenting on the Blog but the African over population crisis issue is one dear to my heart.

WORLD POPULATION STABILIZATION UNLIKELY THIS CENTURY

"The United Nations recently released population projections based on data until 2012 and a Bayesian probabilistic methodology. Analysis of these data reveals that, contrary to previous literature, the world population is unlikely to stop growing this century. There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100. This uncertainty is much smaller than the range from the traditional UN high and low variants. Much of the increase is expected to happen in Africa, in part due to higher fertility rates and a recent slowdown in the pace of fertility decline. Also, the ratio of working-age people to older people is likely to decline substantially in all countries, even those that currently have young populations."

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/346/6206/234

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 11:39 am
There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100.

I think you are about 237,500,000 too low with your estimate of world population. Well, that was as of a few minutes ago. It was 7,437,500,000 last time I checked.
World Population Clock

However, I think the UN is way off on their population projection. I believe that world population will reach 9 billion by 2050, just about a billion and a half above where it is now. However, I doubt it will ever go much above that. The UN, of course, is predicting no catastrophes. After all, that's not their job.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 3:11 pm
The UN systematically underestimates the fall in birth rate associated with better education for women and their access to health care and contraceptives.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 11:43 am
Here is the free pdf version of the paper"World population stabilization
unlikely this century".
https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~aldous/157/Papers/gerland.pdf
Doug Leighton says: 11/29/2017 at 11:57 am
Thanks Fish!
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 12:49 pm
Hi Doug and Gonefishing,

The article inked below is also of interest (chart from the PDF).

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378014001095?via%3Dihub

David Archibald says: 11/30/2017 at 2:06 am
My work suggests that the world runs out of more land that can be put under grain by 2035. This is mainly Brazil and Russia. Just about every country in Africa is importing grain now. Therefore most of their population growth has to be fed on imported grain. Most of the costs in producing grain are in energy so a rising oil price will have a leveraged effect on food prices.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 12:31 pm
Hi Doug,

Glad you decided to comment.

Yes Africa is indeed a problem as far as population growth. With education and improved access to health care and internet access on smart phones, African women may become empowered and decide to control their fertility using modern birth control. The transition to lower fertility can happen in a generation.

As an anecdotal example, my family and my wife's averaged a Total fertility ratio (TFR) of 5.5 for the two families (close to the average sub-Saharan TFR), the next generation of 11 children in total had a total of 6 children for a TFR of about 1.1.

Unscientific and likely too optimistic, but not that different from what occurred in the upper middle income nations of the World (population about 2.4 billion in 2015) where TFR decreased from 4.93 in 1975 to 1.93 in 2000 a period of 25 years.

It is the low income nations that have lagged in reducing TFR, economic development is a key ingredient to getting population under control. Easier to say than to accomplish.

The article below is hopeful

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/26/the-race-to-solar-power-africa

I saw something similar on PBS

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/in-remote-kenyan-villages-solar-startups-bring-light

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:10 pm
Dennis – I guess this site is rightfully energy-centric but what's your view on the other limits that are showing up like potable water, top soil, phosphorus?
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 1:40 pm
Hi George,

I think recycling human waste might help with top soil and phosphorus, though a Farmer would know more than me. I think recycling water from sewers can also be done and eventually the expansion of solar power may allow desalination of sea water.

In short, I think there are solutions to these issues, especially as we move to more sustainability (less beef production would help) and a peak in population as education levels improve would also help.

Some nations such as Iran have made amazing progress on their TFR, from 1990 to 2005 (15 years) the TFR fell from 5.62 to 1.97 and by 2015 it had fallen to 1.75.

African nations should find out what happened in Iran over that period and import some of the lessons learned.

Note that there are many examples of a rapid demographic transition, another is South Korea where total fertility ratio (TFR) decreased from 5.63 to 1.60 from 1965 to 1990 and in 2015 had fallen to 1.26.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 5:44 pm
Using South Korea as an example of increased sustainability (the point here?) is not helping your case much Dennis. As their TFR decreased, their consumption grew exponentially. Just since 1991:

https://i0.wp.com/www.eurasiareview.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/petroleum_consumption.png

Seems their per-capita energy use has skyrocketed in the last 60 years or so, and they now import most of their energy sources. They became 9th in CO2 emissions as of 2005. Looks like increased standards-of-living and declining birth rates are not much of a solution for reducing planetary impacts.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:40 am
Hi Ghung,

I agree. The point was that population growth can be reduced.

We need two things to happen, reduced use of fossil fuels (which peak fossil fuels will take care of by 2030) and reduced population (which peak population in 2050 to 2070 will take care of).

https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol28/39/28-39.pdf

Figure below is from page 1153 of the article linked above.

Note that in 2015 the TFR for South Korea was 1.26, if average life expectancy does not rise above 90 years and World TFR falls to 1.25 by 2100, then World Population falls from 8 billion to 2 billion in about 100 years. This reduces the use of resources and the pressure on other species.

Transition to wind and solar with pumped hydro, wind gas, and thermal storage backup can reduce carbon emissions and reforestation as population falls will help to absorb some of the carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon capture and storage of burned biofuels and cement that absorbs CO2 would be other options for reducing atmospheric CO2.

As fossil fuel peaks prices will rise and the transition to non-fossil fuel will speed up.

The process will be messy, but we are likely to muddle through as there is not much alternative (or not a better one as I see it.)

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:41 am
Forgot chart sorry

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 3:54 am
I think a common factor in all countries seeing large falls in birth rates is that they are preceded by large falls in death rates. This typically takes a couple of generations, which is one of the biggest causes of population overshoot. In Iran it was maybe a bit faster but not much – from above 20 per 1000 in the 50s and 12 in the eighties to around 4 now.
yvesT says: 11/30/2017 at 8:39 am
Regarding fertilizers, when you realize that there was a "human bones" market in the 19th century, and that for instance England "emptied" the catacombs in Sicily for that, or took back the soldiers bones from Waterloo, you get a sense of the urgency for fertilizer without phosphorus or natural gas based ones.
See for instance below :
"England is robbing all other countries of their fertility. Already in her eagerness for bones, she has turned up the battlefields of Leipsic, and Waterloo, and of Crimea; already from the catacombs of Sicily she has carried away skeletons of many successive generations. Annually she removes from the shores of other countries to her own the manorial equivalent of three million and a half of men Like a vampire she hangs from the neck of Europe."
https://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_04.html
Or below :
https://medium.com/study-of-history/the-bones-of-waterloo-a3beb35254a3

I had a better link regarding the bones from Sicily catacombs (many due to the plague epidemia I think), but cannot find it back.

yvesT says: 11/30/2017 at 10:21 am
Note : the above quotation is in fact from Justus Von Liebig (German chemist/agronomist), it also appears in below books :
https://books.google.fr/books?id=bnXXES5-LRcC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=fertilizer+sicily+catacombs&source=bl&ots=uWrEC04pcf&sig=zf_RNhU0HfM_aetTy6AkyHSpp3Q&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7m_v-uebXAhXF0aQKHR1ABOkQ6AEIXjAK#v=onepage&q=fertilizer%20sicily%20catacombs&f=false
or :
https://books.google.fr/books?id=VugoemP2th0C&pg=PA178&lpg=PA178&dq=justus+von+liebig+bones+sicily&source=bl&ots=M808Tc41C4&sig=D-NkZ4zpKOekifQQs-eJt4P7LsI&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwia1eiczObXAhUJF-wKHRITBM0Q6AEIRTAI#v=onepage&q=justus%20von%20liebig%20bones%20sicily&f=false

And this page above (from "Justus Von Liebig : the chemical gatekeeper" p 178) is also interesting on other aspects, suggesting Liebig would today address energy ..

Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:24 pm
The churches which promote childbearing must be destroyed. They are basically the enemies of humanity. Since they're losing in North America, Europe, South America, and most of Asia, they are targeting Africa.

(And *targeting* is the correct word -- they are deliberately sending missionaries to spread their sick, twisted doctrines and spending lots of money to do so.)

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 5:00 pm
If you read my story below, Food for the Poor is a religious group. In Jamaica I believe it is affiliated with Missionaries for the Poor , an international Catholic organisation. So while they are doing yeoman service in providing shelter for poor folks, they are doing diddly squat to encourage poor folks to stop creating more mouths to feed and bodies to clothe and shelter. Isn't that just dandy?

Incidentally here's a recent newspaper article from my neck of the woods:

Crime strangling growth – Youth unemployment in Caribbean highest in world, fuelling criminality

Youth unemployment in the Caribbean is said to be the highest in the world, and crime, partly fuelled by this high rate of joblessness, is a major obstacle to economic growth in the region, according to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF boss, who addressed the sixth High Level Caribbean Forum, held yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, said that crime imposed several economic costs such as public spending on security and the criminal justice system, as well as private spending on security. She also highlighted social costs arising from the loss of income owing to victimisation and incarceration.

Can anybody spot my comment? Hint: I used a pseudonym that should be familiar with everybody here.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:49 pm
Can we be so unpolitical correct to call for "A Pope onA Rope?"
Someone must draw a line in the sand- or should we all be under a religious spell?
Or do we want to break that spell?
Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:57 pm
"would you like to see the pope on the end of a rope do you think he's a fool"

https://youtu.be/OOCbrUTpukM

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 7:54 pm
This was discussed just this morning on NYC NPR, concerning homelessness and the housing provided for low income people. The gist of it was that although there were programs to help the people with food and housing, very little was really being done to solve the problems.
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 8:20 pm
"This uncertainty is much smaller than the range from the traditional UN high and low variants. Much of the increase is expected to happen in Africa, in part due to higher fertility rates and a recent slowdown in the pace of fertility decline. Also, the ratio of working-age people to older people is likely to decline substantially in all countries, even those that currently have young populations."

I have the impression that many of us myself included have an outdated and still colonialist view of African societies. I think changes happening in many parts of Africa will surprise us and technologically leapfrog over much of the built infrastructure of the OECD countries. I have seen it happen first hand in previously underprivileged parts of Brazil.

https://www.ted.com/talks/keller_rinaudo_how_we_re_using_drones_to_deliver_blood_and_save_lives#t-518345

How we're using drones to deliver blood and save lives

Keller Rinaudo wants everyone on earth to have access to basic health care, no matter how hard it is to reach them. With his start-up Zipline, he has created the world's first drone delivery system to operate at national scale, transporting blood and plasma to remote clinics in East Africa with a fleet of electric autonomous aircraft. Find out how Rinaudo and his team are working to transform health care logistics throughout the world -- and inspiring the next generation of engineers along the way.

BTW, I have a serious question! Does this kind of technology make the population crisis in Africa better or worse? Would like to hear some thoughts on the matter.

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 1:49 pm
It is uncanny how this lead post has come about just when I have been thinking about this subject recently. I am currently very depressed, to the point I suspect it may be clouding my better judgment with respect to various matters. This depression is partly caused by my views of the future of my little island in particular and the world in general. Let me try and illustrate how my thoughts have been brought into focus recently.

I travel around the city I live in, passing through all the different types of communities from time to time. We have pockets of extreme wealth as evidenced by palatial homes with swimming pools, tennis courts and all the creature comforts you would expect in the home of a wealthy first world resident. Leaving these pockets of extreme wealth, one doesn't have to drive for more than five minutes to reach pockets of extreme poverty, people who are so poor, they cannot pay rent and cannot envision ever buying a plot of land or a house, so they build structures on any piece of land that they can get away with. This type of activity extends across the island and there is no area that does not experience informal settlement (aka squatting). There is a political aspect to this, in that in an effort to garner the votes of the large voting block that poor people make up succesive governments have not discouraged squatting, to the point of encouraging it. See yesterday's cartoon in one of the local rags for a satirical perspective of the situation but, I digress.

I try to avoid too much contact with people outside my socioeconomic and educational class because it inevitably leads me to being depressed but, sometimes I end up in that exact situation. This past Monday night was one such case and it was my observations from Monday night that got me thinking about Peak Oil and carrying capacity and overshoot. I was invited to visit a gathering and told to bring drinks and that they were going to cook so, I decided not to eat a meal before leaving the city. It was a forty five minute drive, including a drive through late evening heavy traffic heading westward out of the city, past a big highway construction project being carried out by a Chinese (honest to God, from China) construction firm that has been active in the island for a number of years. On arriving at my destination I was told by my host that the gathering was at another house less than half a mile away.

This particular house was one of 39 houses made possible by the efforts of a couple from Grand Junction, Colorado (with pics) along with the local branch of Food For The Poor . I estimate that, these "houses" measure about 13ft. by 15 ft. inside and are supposed to include a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. The sister of my host was the recipient of this house, being qualified for the charity as a result of being unemployed with four children, one of whom was either newborn or yet to be born at the time the house was handed over to her. She was not yet thirty years old when her last child was born. Does anybody see where I am going with this yet?

Back to the gathering. On arriving at the house my host informed that no food had been cooked. By this time I was hungry and asked where was the nearest cook-shop where I could purchase a meal. I traveled with my host to Old Harbour, the nearest town apart from Spanish Town. I can only describe Spanish Town as an overpopulated, crime infested, thug controlled mess, that becomes a ghost town by midnight even though it is surprisingly busy by day. I asked my host if I should buy a meal for them also and they declined but, by the time we got back to the house, they declared that they were hungry and needed to get something to cook to go with the rice they had. So off we went to try and find a local shop that had what they wanted and was still open. First one was a 24 hour joint, built using an old cargo truck body but it didn't have all they wanted so it was off to another one that we managed to catch just as they were closing. We came away with a small packet of "veggie chunks" and some cooking oil. The little propane stove had been fired up and the rice was almost done so in less than fifteen minutes a meal of rice and veggie chunks was being served to four or five adults, one of whom had an infant, less than a year old, sharing the meal with her.

So let me weave together how all of this ties in with the subject of the lead post. First the "house" was only possible through the generosity of citizens of a first world, developed country. The materials that made the house (lumber corrugated, galvanized steel) are the products of extractive industries that rely heavily of FF, petroleum in particular. The soft drinks and alcohol that I brought to the gathering were manufactured, distributed and retailed in a system, heavily dependent on external energy. My vehicle runs of diesel. The rice for the meal I ate and the one at the house was imported from outside the island, again produced and delivered with lots of help from petroleum. The chicken I ate was locally produced with imported grain, a product of industrial scale agriculture, probably in the USA. Thankfully many of the chicken farmers are involved in a project that started with 15 kW systems at about 40 chicken farms and seems to be expanding. The veggie chunks are a meat substitute protein made from soy meal, again a product of industrial scale agriculture.

The cooking oil was probably one of soy, palm, canola, corn or coconut oil, produced at an industrial scale and imported to the island. Jamaica was once an exporter of coconut oil before the industry was decimated by a disease called lethal yellowing back in the early 70s. Virtually the entire population of coconut palms on the island was wiped out by this disease and even though efforts have been made to resuscitate the industry using disease resistant varieties, more than forty years on, the manufacture of coconut oil in Jamaica is a tiny cottage industry.

So here we have five or adults, two males and three females, one of which had four children with the other two having one each. There were other people at the gathering but as far as I am aware only two had jobs, the brother of my host who left before the meal and the woman with the infant who has a part time job selling lotto tickets. All of these people are living on the edge, heavily dependent on a system that is in danger of collapse for their very survival and they are far from alone. there are thousands of them if not hundreds of thousands on this island alone.

If for whatever reason industrial scale agriculture fails, the songbirds are going to be eaten out of the trees. I used to dissect rats in my sixth form (12 and 13th grade) biology classes and there ain't much meat on them but, if we get hungry enough maybe we'll turn on the rats. Without affordable propane, every tree and shrub will end up as firewood. This is the reason why I have an almost obsessive focus on renewable energy, solar in particular. It is my hope that the deployment of renewable energy can stay ahead of FF depletion long enough for global civilization to transition away from FF. It is my hope that our civilization, seeing itself on a real time, renewable energy budget, will begin to recognize the fragility of our situation. I have to ask Ron and others to forgive me as I continue to bring attention to the hopeful stories. It is the only way I can keep myself from sliding into depression and despair. It is the only way I can cope.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:07 pm
The Green Revolution in the 60s was supposed to solve all our problems, and it solved a lot of them, especially in Europe and Asia. It works well when you have a lot of water and farm intensively, but is destructive in semi-arid conditions and when used in extensive agriculture, like the American Midwest.

After the Green Revolution, Asia boomed and Africa fell behind, prompting racist theories. Geography and climate are more likely explanations. In India, for example, the more arid north did less well than the wetter south. The Chinese were the first to realize the problem, and started a new generation of re-greening projects to boost agricultural production.

Meanwhile bad farming practices continues to rapidly degrade wide stretches of North America and South America. I was reading recently about a county in SD that lost 19 inches (not feet!) of topsoil between 1960 and 2014. Many places in America simply abandoned farming, like New England and Appalachia. People blame red dirt and the crick risin' in Appalachia and glacial rocks in New England, but that wasn't a problem before soil degradation set in.

The Green Revolution focused on genetics and chemistry, which makes sense if applied correctly. Development economists were puzzled that Kenyan farmers were uninterested in high yield seeds, but the explanation as simple: They need a regular water supply, not better seeds. A lot of places in the world get 3-4 weeks of rain a years, and good seeds don't solve this problem. Pumping the water out of the aquifier isn't the solution either, just ask anyone in Antelope Valley CA, a former grassland turned desert by the alfalfa farmers.

My mother warned my to watch out for flash floods when camping in the desert. It took me decades to understand why flash floods are a particular problem in the desert: More or less by definition, deserts are places where there are flash floods. The flash floods are both cause and symptom of soil degradation. Deserts aren't places where there isn't enough water -- they are places where rainwater runs off the surface instead of seeping into the soil. Degraded soil can't absorb water fast enough, surface runoff degrades soil.

The problem with industrial agriculture is that it treats the great outdoors like a hydroponic farm -- it ignores soil ecology and just assumes the hydrology will work itself out.

A more modern approach starts with water and soil. It's spreading rapidly in Africa, for example with the sand dams in Kenya, the terracing in Ethiopia and Kenya, and the various planting pit (like zai and demi-lunes) in the Sahel and agroforestry (planting trees in fields, or crops in orchards) in a lot of arid places.

It's true that mankind is pushing the limits of what the current ecosystem can carry, but it's also true that the ecosystem could be much bigger than it currently is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtOBSmIBx1A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkq540gsq2M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nKc5wEjWrY

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
Meanwhile bad farming practices continues to rapidly degrade wide stretches of North America and South America. I was reading recently about a county in SD that lost 19 feet of topsoil between 1960 and 2014.

There is a serious problem with that statement. No place on earth has 19 feet of topsoil, not even 19 inches over an entire county.

Topsoil Wikipedia
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm). It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:30 pm
Inches I mean, not feet obviously.

EDIT: Here's a shot from Kalkriese, Germany where they are digging out a Roman-German battlefield. The artifacts are all found at or just below the border between the black topsoil and the red dirt underneath it -- that was 7 BC

https://www.landkreis-osnabrueck.de/sites/default/files/bildergalerie/k1600_grabung1016_1.jpg

http://www.kalkriese-varusschlacht.de/fileadmin/_processed_/csm_2015-02-16-Archaeologie_Schnitt_68a0493043.jpg

The archaeologists there told me the topsoil is about 1.5-2m deep, and was formed after the Romans left by later farming practices.

Ulenspiegel says: 11/30/2017 at 5:07 am
In the Kalkriese area, the farmers used sod planting ("Plaggendüngung"), i.e. they removed the top soil on large areas to improve the soil on their fields.

Therefore, Kalkriese is an example how NOT to do it.

alimbiquated says: 11/30/2017 at 5:35 am
I think the thickness of the topsoil in the area speaks for itself.

My point is that as Ron points out, there is a limited carrying capacity for the planet, but I don't really think we are there yet, because there are relatively simple methods available to make huge areas of the Earth's surface. Of course, even if it's possible, it isn't clear it will happen.

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 11:57 am
there are relatively simple methods available to make huge areas of the Earth's surface.

That seems to be an incomplete sentence. Make huge areas of the Earth's surface what ? Desert? We sure can do that. We are doing more of that every year. Scrubland? We are doing that also by cutting down the forest and trying to make farmland out of it. After a few years the land will row nothing of value. That's happening in the Amazon right now.

There is nothing we can do to increase human habitual area without reducing the wild habitual area. That is what my post is all about. We are destroying every wild thing by destroying their habitat, by taking their habitat for ourselves.

alimbiquated says: 11/30/2017 at 12:50 pm
productive.

Your last paragraph is not correct. Much of the world is desert, and that desert could be much more productive than it is, given the right agriculture methods.

Whether that will actually happen is another question of course.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
Just a line of rocks on contour works too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCSYqUiI41w

The chinese are a lot farther down ths road.

http://www.topguilintravel.com/images/longsheng-travel-bg.jpg

But the Ehtiopians are doing their best to imitate the chinese

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CVSiR0mWsAAxhqi.jpg

The Kenyns too.

http://c8.alamy.com/comp/B7P41Y/africa-kenya-matiliku-ukambani-makueni-district-fertile-farming-country-B7P41Y.jpg

This would be great in East Tennessee, but they get their corn in a jar, as the old song goes.

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 4:11 pm
That very same first world country that donated the materials has plenty of homeless and large amounts of poor. It also has large amounts of empty buildings and huge amounts of food waste, yet they do not take care of their own. That is even a sadder situation as people freeze to death, starve, and die of simple preventable health problems in one of the richest countries in the world. Basic needs are not met and the governing bodies are constantly fighting to reduce the paltry benefits that are given. It's a country full of hate for their own people and hate back at the haters.
TonyMax says: 11/29/2017 at 4:42 pm
There's no inherent evolutionary advantage to caring for people you have no relation to. That's the real reason why all of these 'safety net' programs you describe are hated in the general sense and under attack as time marches on.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 9:06 pm
Now Tony, we all know the public programs are under attack because of the greed and selfishness of people who already have too much money and stuff.
We all know it is the greed and the overconsumption that is causing the destruction of our environment and possibly the whole human race. That is a huge evolutionary disadvantage.
Helping, sharing and cooperating is the advantage. The selfish and greedy are like ticks sucking the world dry for their own personal benefit.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 2:51 pm
There's no inherent evolutionary advantage to caring for people you have no relation to.

That is absolute Bullshit!

http://www.sarahmathew.net/

Dr. Sarah Mathew

I study the evolution of human ultra-sociality and the role of culture in enabling it. I am especially interested in how humans evolved the capacity to cooperate with millions of genetically unrelated individuals, and how this links to the origins of moral sentiments, prosocial behavior, norms, and large-scale warfare. To address these issues, I combine formal modeling of the evolution of cooperation with fieldwork among the Turkana. The Turkana are an egalitarian pastoral society in East Africa who cooperate, including in costly inter-ethnic raids, with hundreds of other Turkana who are not kin nor close friends. Through systematic empirical studies in this unique ethnographic context, my research project here aims to provide a detailed understanding of the mechanisms underpinning cooperation and moral origins.

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:53 pm
evolutionary advantage of caring for others
About 232,000,000 results (0.58 seconds)
https://tinyurl.com/y7wv5sez

This information is not exactly carved in a stone tablet and hidden on the dark side of the moon.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 5:20 pm
Hi Ron,

I haven't read your good article just yet (although it is doubtful any of it will surprise me or add to what is already more or less understood), but just to mention that I recently listened to a podcast from Chris Martenson's site, Peak Prosperity, featuring William Rees from the University of BC

Two things about the podcast that stood out was that William was in fine form (articulate, clear, concise, passionate, 'deathly' serious, etc.); and the second was his mention of possibly fundamentally changing the natural system of Atlantic cod (fisheries), so that they may never recover. Not everything can simply reverse, and quickly enough, if they can, such as, say, with the depletion of the ozone layer, and when it involves all kinds of living systems– much, and the intricacies/complex interconnections, of which we are blissfully unaware of, despite some of our arrogant pretensions to the contrary (such as with regard to the avocation of most if not all forms of geoengineering)– it is very serious.

What concerns me also is how some people, such as on this site, can ostensibly claim a required greenwashed BAU from out of one side of their mouths, while on the other side, express grave concerns for the ecosystem. We cannot have it both ways.

To me, much greenwashed BAU is just swapping out different forms of rampant resource extraction, pollution and inequability for other forms.

The system, along with its 'power-politics', is still intact.

IOW, there is no real change.

Loren, assuming that's you, I am certain that radical decline, if not outright collapse, is already well underway, despite the obstinate mindlessness of some people. Just because some don't see something or want to see something doesn't mean it is not there.

My simple recommendation, especially for certain people WRT this deathwish-for-a-culture is to let go/ get out (and in the process, learn things like permaculture and local community resilience, and how our ancestors did some of it). Your comforts are much of an illusion (and predicated, for example, on natural draw-down).

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 6:46 pm
I knew you'd show up sooner or later and since you've always been critical of my support for renewables and EVs, let's bite.

"To me, much greenwashed BAU is just swapping out different forms of rampant resource extraction, pollution and inequability for other forms.

The system, along with its 'power-politics', is still intact.

IOW, there is no real change."

Are you saying that "there is no real change" going from corporate owned, centrally located, large scale, FF fired generators to small scale, individually or community owned, distributed renewable generators? If so, that's not what the FF and corporate generator class in Australia thinks. They have captured the Australian federal government and are fighting renewables as hard as they can.

Are you saying "there is no real change" going from ICE powered vehicles to EVs that, are perfectly happy to suck electrons from any source including renewable sources individually owned or owned by a co-op of which the vehicle owner is invested? That's not an opinion shared by the Koch brothers who are spending millions of dollars to try and paint EVs in a bad light in the eyes of the public.

Surely you realize that an individual with solar on their roof and an EV is giving a big middle finger to the status quo, including FF corporations and utilities who will no longer be able to feed at that individual's trough. In case you don't realize it, that is a very big disruption of "system, along with its 'power-politics'" and no, in case you haven't been listening, "The system, along with its 'power-politics'", will not be "still intact."

Now if you read my fairly long narrative further up, I hope the point I am trying to make does not escape you. That point is that there are millions, no lets make that billions of poor poorly educated folks who depend on things like industrial agriculture and the current status quo for the basic necessities of life, food, clothing and shelter. If the status quo collapses they are dead, let me say that again, dead! I'm all for dismantling the status quo and replacing it with something that is much kinder to all life on this pale blue dot we call home but, I shudder at the thought of millions or billions of human beings starving to death, just as I shudder at what we are doing to the biosphere. Can you see why I'm depressed right now?

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 7:59 pm
Alan,
This is my cameo appearance. LOL

There is no real change if we are still relying on the monstrosity that is the crony-capitalist plutarchy/government-big-biz symbiosis, such as for solar panels, etc. and/or what some misleadingly refer to as 'renewable'.

If you are in the biz– and I think you wrote hereon that you indeed are– then some might suggest, maybe even me, that you are, say, 'soft-shilling' and/or rationalizing for your product using POB as your platform, and maybe problematically skewing the narrative a little more towards a dystopic system that we should be getting the hell out of, while making preparations to do so, like learning how to do the basics in a local, resilient context so that we do not need industrial agro. The longer we rely on industrial anything– and as if it's somehow morally/ethically neutral– the harder/faster we will likely fall, maybe along something of a seneca curve.

We cannot eat solar panels and electricity is not a necessity, except to for the brainwashed and the brainwashers.
Attempting to play on people's heartstrings, such as about poor people in so-called undeveloped locales to sell a product they don't need and that would risk locking them– and others– into a certain ('Western') lifestyle, in some contexts, approaches contemptible, by the way.

You should already know how sociogeopoliticultural ideologies like Westernisation is foisted upon the global masses through physical, cultural, mental and intellectual colonialism, with the result often being wars and deaths to people and traditional ways of life. Just consider the Middle East right now. In the name of what? Oil and oligarchy?
You've said it yourself hereon that you have some kind of slavery in your family, yes? Well, many people are still slaves anyway, if with coats of white paint. Libya was in the news recently about that– slavery– incidentally.

If we want to do solar panels etc. the right, ethical ways, we need sea changes, such as that avoid slavery and privilege-by-gun, but I highly doubt we will manage them in time, and suspect that we are already long past that time.

That said, how do you feel now?

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 10:31 pm
I am not yet in the business of doing anything with solar PV so, as of right now I have no product that I am shilling for, soft or hard. I am in a business connected to entertainment if you must know. The entertainment business can by no means be classified as non-discretionary and recent technology has allowed far more people to compete with me so it will be necessary to get out of that at some point. How about viewing this as something I see as as worthwhile pursuit for the future of mankind, given my skill set and thus my advocating it as a worthwhile area for me to pursue a vocation in? I am not only advocating for solar PV because it's a field I can participate in but, because I think it can contribute a great deal to reductions in carbon emissions among other noble aspirations.

Are you going to start suggesting that I want to get into the business of manufacturing and selling EVs just because I am suggesting that large scale EV adoption would be a good thing? I ain't no Elon Musk if that's what your thinking. Now, if the shit hits the fan and motor fuels became really unobtainium, I might take a stab at an EV conversion business, a la Jack Rickard but, right now even Jack seems disillusioned with that pursuit, having posted only one new video since the middle of August and only two new blog posts since the last week of July. At any rate the necessary preconditions for such a business to be successful in an age of factory made EVs, do not exist.

I am with OFM on the point that some of your ideas for agriculture cannot adequately serve the needs of a rapidly growing population of 7.5 billion people. My dad who was a descendant of rebel runaway slaves, known in Jamaica as Maroons , was into agriculture and left me and my surviving sister a six acre homestead when he died. I can tell you agriculture ain't a walk in the park. It's damned hard work and carries all sorts of risks not faced by other pursuits (droughts, thieves, diseases pests etc.) . You seem to have some romantic view of agriculture that I do not share.

As for locking people in to a western lifestyle, that doesn't apply to Jamaica. The western lifestyle came with colonization and slavery. Do you think that people outside of the developed word should forgo electricity, computers, cell phones, the internet and other modern conveniences?

Despite all of that, the Caribbean has been bucking western culture for centuries. Trinidad and Tobago has their carnival and it's music and Jamaica has had as big an impact on western culture with our music (reggae and ska) as western culture has had on us. Even this past weekend, a dark skinned Jamaican woman sporting a huge afro, placed third in the Miss Universe pageant. The girl that won was from South Africa and could pass for Caucasian whether she is or not and I didn't see any other black women in the contest sporting an afro hairstyle (not that I watched it).

When it comes to some things, that train has already left the station. No point in romanticizing about what could have been. I'd rather focus on what small steps we can take to improve things in the here and now, while moving us to a more sustainable future. I will probably remain depressed until the new year. Probably more to with not having any immediate family around for "the festive season" than anything else. Maybe the new year will bring some good news on the renewable/sustainability front! That would cheer me up!

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:40 pm
Islandboy–
After being in Central America for quite a while, and that heavy Catholic noose around everyones neck, it was so liberating to get out to the islands.
Lets Party Mon!
islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 3:17 am
Now you're talking! We in the Caribbean know how to party! I wouldn't be surprised if we woke up the morning after the collapse and said, "Collapse? What collapse? We were too busy partying to notice" 😉

Having said that, Trinidad is heavily influenced by catholicism, their carnival being associated with the catholic observance of Lent. I don't see any evidence of the Trinis (as they are known in the islands) taking the admonitions of their various religious leaders too seriously. Hell! I've never been to Trinidad carnival but, I hear it's one wild party!

On the other hand, Trinidad should have some long term concerns about what they are going to do after Oil and Gas production fall below consumption and they have to start importing hydrocarbons. What if either prices are too high or supplies are limited? What if prices collapse due to lack of demand as Seba suggests will happen after EVS and solar begin to dominate transport and electricity generation?

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:22 am
So how is that wind farm coming along?

https://www.ustda.gov/news/press-releases/2017/ustda-advances-wind-power-generation-jamaica-through-us-solutions

islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 9:04 am
Way too early to say. The article dated October 4, 2017 says this:

"The feasibility study will evaluate the viability of installing the wind farm, which would represent one of the first offshore wind installations in Jamaica and the greater Caribbean region."

I expect the feasibility study is going to take months and I would expect them to do some detailed analysis of the offshore wind resource in the process. It is good that this study is being done so soon after two devastating hurricanes have hit the region. Should keep hurricanes very much in the picture.

Dated

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 11:01 am
Looking at some Caribbean buoy data it looks like wind would be a good source of power for the islands.
Beside the wind, the island has about 54 billion kwh/day of sunlight falling on it. That is more than ten times the total energy production per year for the island. Energy is not a problem, how the energy is generated is the problem.
Cover less than 0.1 percent of the island with solar panels and make up the difference with wind power.
islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 4:26 pm
I have done some numbers in terms of what it would take to power the island entirely with renewables, mostly solar. Not impossible but the technocrats, one of whom is a college classmate of mine, cannot wrap their head around 100% renewable electricity!

Incidentally, I came across a video presentation on Youtube (with a really annoying backing track) that at about 3 minutes in contains the following text:

"Seba's forecasts are predicated on the assumption that the cost of generating and storing electricity will continue to fall – to the point where just about all generation will be solar by 2030. But electricity production would only have to increase by 18 percent in the US to cope with a complete switch to EVs, he said"

That 18% figure squares quite nicely with some back of the envelope calculations I have done.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 4:36 pm
The choice is to transistion or fail.
OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 12:14 pm
I've made good friends with a couple of guys from Jamaica who have friends and family here that have managed to get their permanent paperwork taken care of.

Unfortunately it doesn't look as if they will ever be able to get permanent resident status. They're older guys, and about as mellow and fun people to be around as I have ever met. They come up for an extended family visit every fall, which just HAPPENS to be the time of year local farmers need a lot of extra help, lol.

As soon as I'm finished with family duties, I'm going down to spend a month with them. 😉

Will be spending some money on food and utilities and a few new nice things for them of course, because while they're friends, they're not well off.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:31 pm
Bottom line:
It is really hard to face the extinction of your species, no matter what reality presents to you.
GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:31 am
What has been highly disturbing is watching the natural world be run over and steadily destroyed.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 9:52 am
We cannot eat solar panels and electricity is not a necessity, except to for the brainwashed and the brainwashers.

Than do the world a favor and unplug yourself from all sources of electricity! At least we here won't have to read your fantasies!

BTW there are plenty of people who understand that the current capitalist system is not the answer, read Kate Raeworth's, Donut Economics for starters.

Modern humans could no more live without electricity in the 21st century than they could live without food and water. Try living without refrigeration in any city in the world. You would cause massive starvation in a few days. Try providing medical care to an urban population without electricity.

You have to be completely delusional to suggest that electricity is not a necessity!

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 9:48 pm
That's all irrelevant to my point which still stands– especially when the system is destroying our planet. We have lived with electricity for a relative split second of our existence as a species on this planet.
Besides, if we're not treating the planet properly, do we even deserve electricity and its conveniences? I think not.

And then there are assorted uses for electricity, some being more questionable as priorities than others.

Electric car versus fridge?

FWIW, I have personally lived without refrigeration for months in a major city, at least at home after shopping at the grocery store LOL, but also in the country– more hard-core.

If your local community especially is growing and processing its own food, then it's easy.

There's pickling, drying, fermenting, spicing/salting, alcohol, etc., and natural cool-storage, such as root cellars and simple cooling-by-evaporation systems.

There's also 'eating as you go'. Other animals do that, and I've never heard of an animal that needs a fridge or electricity, have you? Maybe your cat at home, but even Meow Mix can last outside the fridge, yes?

But some of us have to actually help make the changes, such as to the narrative, and limit the cling to some kinds of BAU narratives and fantasies.

Do it for Mother Earth, Fred. Or me. Or Harvey Weinstein or whoever/whatever motivates you. Coral.

Obviously, we can't just turn off the lights and fridges overnight, but there are plenty of ways to manage, maintain and consume food that don't require a fridge. So if we can't just turn off the lights and fridges overnight, maybe we should start talking more about how to live without them and/or with greater resilience.

But even if the juice stays on forevermore, some juiceless skills and knowledge are great to learn, have and apply.

BTW, I just watched this documentary on rare earths– the apparently highly-polluting stuff that's supposed to help power, until they run out, all these new and relatively-useless electrical gadgets now and in the future to get off of those other pollutants.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:53 pm
but just to mention that I recently listened to a podcast from Chris Martenson's site, Peak Prosperity, featuring William Rees from the University of BC

Highly recommended.
And I'm not a fan of some of Martenson's guests.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 8:09 pm
I came across the podcast indirectly via another site, but do sometimes run into Chris' material. He seems good at interviewing and is easy to follow in videos.
OFM says: 11/29/2017 at 7:59 pm
This post is going to be a gold mine for me, because it relates directly to so much of what I'm working on for publication in book form if I ever manage to finish it to my satisfaction. Here's hoping it attracts over a thousand comments, lol! I'm especially interested in comments that dispute my own, because those are the ones enable me to understand my own blind spots. 😉

Now so far, nobody has said anything about what I will refer to as the SECOND key fact that one must understand to understand evolution. Hoyle missed the first one altogether, making a total fool of himself, although he was a brilliant scientist, one of the top men in HIS field, his mistake being that he failed to understand that evolution BUILDS on it's PAST " accomplishments".

The second key fact I am hereby pointing out is that while evolution creates new life forms that reproduce to fill any and all available niches, there's no GUIDANCE involved, no overall PLAN, no GOD in charge, if you wish to put it that way.

Evolution is characterized in large part by parsimony, by being conservative in the use of resources. Animals that don't have use for claws don't have claws like tigers, lol, and animals that don't eat grass out in the fields don't have digestive systems like COWS. Evolution creates organisms that are "good at" taking advantage of whatever resources are available, WITHOUT REGARD ANY FUTURE CONSEQUENCES because there is NO LONG TERM PLAN. Behavioral BRAKES that aren't needed don't evolve, lol, and countless things that would be extremely useful, like eyes in the back of our heads, which would keep us from being attacked from the rear, don't often evolve either, because .. well because of more factors than I have any inclination to cover at this minute. Half of the SHORT answer is that eyes in the back of our heads would cost us more in terms of sacrificing something else than they would gain for us. The other half of the SHORT answer is that since pure chance plays such a big role . the odds are astronomically high against it happening anyway.

This a comment/ rant, not a BOOK. The BOOK is in the works, and will be available free to member of this forum who may want to read it and point out shortcomings in it before I publish it, most likely for free on the net. I'm not so arrogant as to think anybody will PAY for it, lol.

Dead ends, blind alleys, and death, at the individual level, and or at the species level, means absolutely NOTHING to "Mother Nature" because she is not sentient, she's not moral, she's not even ALIVE in the usual sense. She's just an artifact, a tool, that we naked apes have invented in our efforts to understand reality.

What I'm getting at, since She IS parsimonious, is that She does not provide brakes where none are needed.
Sometimes things do evolve that prove to be useful under new circumstances, but when this happens, it's just a lucky accident for the creature involved. If for instance a creature evolves a forelimb capable of grasping a branch, so that it can climb better, lol, later on the ability to GRASP something MAY come in very handy, because it sets the stage for that creature being able to grasp a stone which can be used as a tool or weapon. This does NOT mean the creature WILL eventually discover the use of tools and weapons. It DOES mean the probability of such evolution is vastly enhanced. There's NO PLANNING INVOLVED . except in the minds of deists who accept the reality of evolution while also retaining the concept of a God or gods or some guiding force of some sort.

IF the need arises for BRAKES, well then, die off, or even extinction, takes care of the problem. If a given species eats only a given plant, and that plant goes extinct, Mother Nature does not grieve for either the plant, nor the species that feeds exclusively upon it,which very likely also goes extinct. She doesn't even consciously keep score, as indifferently as a hired bookkeeper keeps books for a client he has never met and will never meet. She does however inadvertently create a RECORD of historical "scores" , which we can read. It's the fossil record.

It's rather amusing that professional biologists go around talking about human stupidity as if there is something inherently WRONG with people, as if we are collectively DEFECTIVE. We are what we are because we are final product ( up until today ) of our own evolutionary history. We're as " good " or "well designed "as we are evolved to be, like all other living creatures.

Engineers build in safety margins, and add features that may be useful, under certain circumstances, when they design things, because they DO work with and from PRECONCEIVED PLANS. Mother Nature doesn't make plans, she just deals and redeals the cards, over and over, and will continue to do so until all life on this planet perishes which won't be until the sun expands sufficiently to destroy the last vestiges of life on it.

We are NOT something different from the rest of biological creation, we do NOT operate under different rules, we aren't on some sort of fucking pedestal, separate from the rest of the biosphere. THAT whole crock of shit sort of thinking is one of the cornerstones of kinds of the thinking that some of the regulars here like to make fun of, such as religion, nationalism, racism, etc.

A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No.

We have succeeded,basically for no other reason that accident in the last analysis, to the point we compete mostly with each other, rather than other species.

The evolved PROGRAMS hard wired into our brains that drive our behavior DO NOT include much in the way of built in brakes, because BRAKES HAVE COSTS. If we over populate, if we use up critical resources on which we depend for our survival, and perish, there's NOBODY who gives a shit.. other than some of us who are aware of the fact that we ARE in overshoot. Mother Nature is INCAPABLE of giving a shit.

The whole fucking idea that we are SOMETHING SPECIAL was probably originated by the first priests and their allies. It's an idea that has little to do with any discussion based on real SCIENCE within the context of understanding our own overshoot .

Now none of this rant should be interpreted as indicating I don't know and understand that humans are tribal creatures, that we are social creatures, and that we survive and thrive because we DO live and work cooperatively. The thing is , we survive and thrive as COMPETING communities, tribes, and nations, rather than as a SINGLE global community. Wolf packs compete. Prides of lions compete. Bands of chimps compete. We humans compete with each other. Talking as if we are DEFECTIVE because we behave this way is a waste of time.

When the shit hits the fan hard enough and fast enough, we do sometimes cooperate with our former enemies, at least temporarily.Old enemies can be new allies.

It's at least THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE that we can cooperate as a SPECIES, at the global level, in order to solve some or maybe even most of the problems associated with our own overshoot. We have cooperated before at levels up to and including the global level. In WWII, most of the developed countries of the world were involved as partisans on one or the other side. We cooperate to some extent at the global level now, in economic terms, and in terms of our physical security, as for instance in arms control agreements.

But just because it's theoretically possible that we can cooperate at the species level globally doesn't mean it's going to happen. I don't think there's any real likelihood of it happening, although alliances consisting of the various major economic and military powers do exist and will continue to exist and some of these alliances will prove to be critically important in determining the course of future history.

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 9:17 pm
"A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No." Do you mean E. O. Wilson has his head up his ass?
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 6:17 am
Do you mean E. O. Wilson has his head up his ass?

Edward O. Wilson's New Take on Human Nature

The eminent biologist argues in a controversial new book that our Stone Age emotions are still at war with our high-tech sophistication

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/edward-o-wilsons-new-take-on-human-nature-

In his newly published The Social Conquest of the Earth -- the 27th book from this two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- Wilson argues the nest is central to understanding the ecological dominance not only of ants, but of human beings, too. Ants rule the microhabitats they occupy, consigning other insects and small animals to life at the margins; humans own the macroworld, Wilson says, which we have transformed so radically and rapidly that we now qualify as a kind of geological force. How did we and the ants gain our superpowers? By being super-cooperators, groupies of the group, willing to set aside our small, selfish desires and I-minded drive to join forces and seize opportunity as a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe. There are plenty of social animals in the world, animals that benefit by living in groups of greater or lesser cohesiveness. Very few species, however, have made the leap from merely social to eusocial, "eu-" meaning true. To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson's definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice "at least some of their personal interests to that of the group." It's tough to be a eusocialist. Wouldn't you rather just grab, gulp and go? Yet the payoffs of sustained cooperation can be huge. Eusociality, Wilson writes, "was one of the major innovations in the history of life," comparable to the conquest of land by aquatic animals, or the invention of wings or flowers. Eusociality, he argues, "created super­organisms, the next level of biological complexity above that of organisms." The spur to that exalted state, he says, was always a patch of prized real estate, a focal point luring group members back each day and pulling them closer together until finally they called it home. "All animal species that have achieved eusociality, without exception, at first built nests that they defended from enemies," Wilson writes. An anthill. A beehive. A crackling campfire around which the cave kids could play, the cave elders stay and the buffalo strips blacken all day. Trespassers, of course, would be stoned on sight.

As is evident by some of the comments on this thread, while the hive may be able to display collective intelligence, the individual ants can still be pretty dumb! Do check out the link I posted to 'The Mind's I' chapter 11 Prelude to Ant Fugue.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:16 am
If we can't cooperate globally then the idea of Half-Earth is a farce.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 9:18 am
The idea is still sound! If humans have not yet evolved to the point that they are able to include the whole globe as a part of their hive Well, that's a separate issue and may indeed mean that we are collectively fucked! Because not enough of us have reached that particular point in our evolution.

As George Carlin once said: "The Planet is fine, it's the people that are fucked"

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 12:18 pm
An idea is sound only if it can be implemented, otherwise it is just a bunch of sugars turned to heat and in this case trees turned to wastepaper.

My point was not that E.O. Wilson is wrong, but that he would not have presented such a point if he did not think it possible or even probable. It was OFM that was the one saying it was not possible, which is a rather narrow view of humanity. Humanity cooperates on large scale right now.

Looking at the update of Limits to Growth I get the feeling that the flattening out of some of the parameters (energy, industrial output) may be misinterpreted. The same thing would happen if an energy and industrial transistion were occurring.
The key question is what does a transistion look like initially?

A field to a forest transistion looks a lot like field, then some bushes with a few small trees, then eventually almost all trees. Originally the trees are hardly there at all and don't seem to be having much effect as their leaves smoother a lot of plant life around them and they take up more and more of the solar energy that used to reach the ground. It starts small then spreads to complete takeover.

An energy and industrial transistion goes hand in hand with a social/governmental transistion. It looks small and scattered at first but steadily fills in even despite the resistance of the legacy systems. Key to the fast takeover is the weakening of the previous growth and it's demise leaving easy space for the takeover.

For example, I have a kitchen ceiling light fixture. It has three bulb positions. I had replaced the three 60 watt incandescent bulbs years ago with a 100 watt CFL (running actual 25 watts).
Last night the CFL started flickering so I pulled it and it had burn marks on the base of the bulb. The CFL bulb has now been replaced by two 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs which together use only 16 watts and provide more light than the CFL.
Also the LED bulbs may never have to be replaced in my lifetime. 180 watts to 16 watts and no more replacement, that is high ground transistion! Now $4 replaces over $500 on the user end and eliminates large amounts of pollution.

The power cost and economics have overshadowed the legacy instrument in an inexorable way. The death of an individual instrument allowed the replacement by a superior one.
I think that effect has been happening all across the world in many areas of energy use and industrial process for decades. This effect may have been interpreted as a reduction in energy and industrial output while it is really mostly a transistion in process.

So how do we get a fast takeover? Strand and remove the old legacy assets and systems plus do not replace dead systems with the same system. The action is harsh, but that is how it is done.

I will know we are on the right course when I see those large glass buildings being stripped of their components, their glass re-used, their steel reused and recycled, their wiring removed as they are removed. Why and how do we put up R2 buildings that soak up huge amounts of energy for heating and cooling? They need to go now. Passenger vehicles that get less than 150 pMPG need to go now and no passenger vehicle that gets below 400 pMPG should be built ever again. There are many inefficient, harmful and problematical systems that could be removed and changed.

Trash the old ways now and insert better ways, ones that work longer with less harm. Make new systems that heal soil and nature in general. The collapse is occurring now, take advantage of it by putting in superior systems that allow E.O. Wilson's Half-Earth idea to flourish, not finish.

Personally, until a lot of the old stupid harmful systems are put aside we can't see clearly if a fast collapse is at hand or not. Maybe if we just stop following bad and stupid we can ease off our consumption of the planet and reverse some of the major problems we face. There may be no real need to go through a grand scale collapse and huge loss of species.

Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 2:40 pm
Yeah, I have to agree with most of what you said.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

― R. Buckminster Fuller

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 6:20 pm
""It was OFM that was the one saying it was not possible, which is a rather narrow view of humanity. "

BULLSHIT.

Here's what I actually said in a comment upthread. It was posted a day previous to your comment, lol.

"It's at least THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE that we can cooperate as a SPECIES, at the global level, in order to solve some or maybe even most of the problems associated with our own overshoot. We have cooperated before at levels up to and including the global level. In WWII, most of the developed countries of the world were involved as partisans on one or the other side. We cooperate to some extent at the global level now, in economic terms, and in terms of our physical security, as for instance in arms control agreements. "

Perhaps I ought to lecture you a little on the meaning of the word EXPECT within the context I used it, which I think is obvious enough to anybody who WANTS to understand. In this context, expect means (or not ) that cooperation will happen spontaneously, or with only moderate incentives.

I don't think global level cooperation will happen, IF it happens, until the incentives to cooperate are OBVIOUS and overwhelming, when it comes to really changing the way we do things. I don't think any competent biologist will argue with this position, speaking in the broadest terms, painting with the so called broad brush.

We do after all have a few thousand years of known history that indicates that we are as apt to fight as cooperate, lol.

When the shit hits the fan hard enough, id it also hits slowly enough for us wake up , I EXPECT ( PREDICT ) that WE WILL COOPERATE on the grand scale, at least up to the nation state level, in most nations, and frequently at the international level, and MAYBE even at the global level.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 3:40 pm
Hi GF,

I must admit I'm a little behind in reading E O Wilson, who is as capable a scientist as any in his field, and head and shoulders above almost all the rest, in my opinion. He's also one of the best writers ever in his field, probably THE best writer in biology in my personal opinion.

But so far as a I know, and I have read all of his older books, unless I'm mistaken, he would basically agree with me, because I am, as I interpret his work, AGREEING WITH HIM.

There's a HELL OF DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING people to cooperate on the grand scale, and believing they are capable of doing so.I believe we are capable of cooperating on the grand scale, given sufficient motivation to do so, and have said so already in this thread. I don't EXPECT us to cooperate with people we see as outsiders and enemies, but given new circumstances, new conditions, new problems, new fears, we can and sometimes do find new common ground, and make friends with former enemies.

I'm ready to bet the farm that I'm WITH E O WILSON, rather than AGAINST HIM.

Nuance matters.

To me at least, lol.

A couple of days back in another thread, you lectured me, telling me to THINK GLOBALLY, as if to imply I 'm unaware that most of the people in the world are still desperately poor. I have never said that most of humanity is well off. I have never IMPLIED that most of humanity is well off.

What I DID say, is that FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, quoting myself, that there is a sound case to be made for the trickle down effect, and that a substantial number of even very poor people humanity HAVE ALREADY benefited greatly from economic and technological progress.

Hundreds of millions of desperately poor people are benefiting today from progress made in fields ranging from public health to industrial agriculture to renewable energy , etc. Hundreds of millions of very poor people are making relatively fast economic progress by some measures, for instance in the rate at which they are able to make use of at least some electricity, even if it's only a single light powered by a battery recharged by a small solar panel.

The less you have, the greater the marginal value of anything new you are able to get.

Just one rechargeable light is worth a LOT to a person who has no other option than perhaps a candle or kerosene lamp or a home made torch.

Incidentally I can remember being told by my grand parents that back when they were kids, it wasn't at all usual to literally light a ( corn ) shuck to provide some light so as to make a quick run to the outdoor privy or take care of some other after dark chore. They had kerosene, but it was considered wasteful to use it unnecessarily.

Things can and do get better sometimes, even on the global scale, lol.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 4:51 pm
E.O. Wilson would not have written the book Half Earth if he did not think that people could and would cooperate on a grand scale. I don't think he was just blowing wind. Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others.

I have not read his latest book yet " The Social Conquest of Earth" which relates to this subject.

See mine and Fred's comments above.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 6:57 pm
" Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others."

Bullshit again. You're deliberately twisting my words into something I didn't say.

You brought up his name, and you have put words in his mouth, as well as mine, in a manner of speaking.

I will say it again. There's a DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING or PREDICTING cooperation between large and diverse groups of people EXCEPT when circumstances leave the various groups little or no choice, and they have COME TO UNDERSTAND that the only real option they have IS to cooperate.

ONCE various competing groups or societies come to understand that they have little or nothing in the way of viable choice other than cooperation, well then I PREDICT OR EXPECT them to cooperate.

I believe my position is entirely consistent with E O Wilson's thinking and beliefs, speaking in general terms.

If you want to play word games,I'm ready, because it's TRAINING as well as entertainment for me. I need all the practice I can get when it comes to making my arguments clear before I go out on my own with my own book and web site .. EVENTUALLY.

The audience here is sophisticated enough to understand nuance, lol.

Well, MOST of the audience here , anyway.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 7:11 pm
You ask for opposing opinions then you get nasty and personal and show no sign of wanting to learn or discuss anything, just shove your ideas. Since you apparently are not capable of dealing with opinions or thoughts other than your own, I will cease interacting with you. Plus you are always yelling in your comments, very rude.

Here is what you actually said ""A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No."

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 11:06 am
I want opposing opinions , and I'm always on the lookout for new facts. I do NOT want my words twisted into pretzels so that they appear to mean something diametrically opposite to what I actually said, by taking them out of context.

I think you are more interested in finding personal fault with me than you are in actually discussing facts, possibilities, and ideas.

I use a lot of caps, but seldom more than five or six words at a time, because caps are a lot quicker for me than taking time to use italics or bold.

I'm not presenting a paper for publication here, lol. I'm just participating in a conversation. If you want to take offense, feel free, it's still somewhat of a free country.

I

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:00 pm
" Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others."

Bullshit again. You're deliberately twisting my words into something I didn't say.

You brought up Wilson , and you have put words in his mouth, as well as mine, in a manner of speaking.

I will say it again.

There's a DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING or PREDICTING cooperation between large and diverse groups of people under ordinary circumstances versus under new and compelling circumstances.

IF AND WHEN circumstances leave various groups little or no choice other than cooperation, , and they have COME TO UNDERSTAND that the only real option they have IS cooperation , well then .

I expect or predict that such groups WILL cooperate, sometimes, maybe even almost every time.

I believe my position is entirely consistent with E O Wilson's thinking and beliefs, speaking in general terms.

The audience here is sophisticated enough to understand nuance, lol.

Well, MOST of the audience here , anyway.

Understanding is tough for those who prefer NOT to understand.

alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 4:15 pm
This is pretty much nonsense. People are very different than other animals because they get ideas in their head and follow them. That's the secret to our success -- we change our game plan all the time instead of being stuck in a single niche like most species. It's always hard to guess which ideas are going to work out, but societies choose -- so to speak -- whether to destroy themselves or not.

America has been choosing self destruction for several decades, and the eschatology our wacky creed planted in our minds seems very attractive, especially to old farts -- the alternative is to try something different.

Many societies have shown themselves to be resilient an sustainable. America has a colonial mentality that doesn't support that, even when it's obvious. My grandmother was born in Kansas and when she talked about the Dust Bowl she would shake her head and say, "I always told them not to cut down those cottonwoods -- they were the only thing keeping the farm from being blown away". Now they're depleting the aquifier in Kansas by planting maize for diesel. So the desert will continue to spread.

But the Japanese aren't like that at all. They've been planting trees for centuries. They don't have much choice, because the hills aren't very stable there. They'll get through.

And the Sahel Zone, the world's worst and poorest place, is changing as well. They've started replanting. A lot of them will survive.

Crazy hippies like this may do better than you think. Civilizations come and go, the species won't die for a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FHMNke5ppE

Root hog or die, as my father used to say. You can't imagine a world without Walmart, but it isn't the end of the world.

Another thought -- The Tasmanians. They were probably the wolrd's most primitive culture. They were cut off from the very old Australian mainland after the Ice Ages, and seems to have even forgotten fishhooks one of mankind's oldest technologies. But they had their ways, and they survived.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:29 pm
A panda who was "really, really, ridiculously good at sex" brought the species back from the brink of extinction, but things are still weird

https://boingboing.net/2017/11/29/panda-bangers.html

Hickory says: 11/29/2017 at 11:32 pm
thank you Ron for this posting. I am in complete agreement with you on this.
nothing more important. it is a bizarre and tragic spectacle to behold, and to participate in.
what a poor use of such an incredible biosphere.
Gene Orleans says: 11/29/2017 at 11:55 pm
Many people from the looks of it here try to deal with the crises we face as a species and civilization the same way as myself. I spend much time here in front of modern electronic gadgetry. It's useful in distracting the mind from a diseased dying world along with a way to pass the time while waiting on my Lord and Savior to return to cleanse all the wickedness Satan has saturated humans with. Yes this is truly a sick sad world we live in now. Matthew 13:38-40.
Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:51 am
It's useful in distracting the mind from a diseased dying world along with a way to pass the time while waiting on my Lord and Savior to return to cleanse all the wickedness Satan has saturated humans with.

You are likely to be waiting a very long time. Religious stupidity makes the problem worse, never better.

Watcher says: 11/29/2017 at 11:55 pm
Didn't know this was here.

1. Any quotes of someone's book on collapse and how collapse happens based on history . . . all worthless. There is no history.

2) There is no history because there has never been 7 billion before. There has never been collapse with nuclear weapons involved before. There has never been collapse with the maggot and fly total in the atmosphere from 6.5 billion corpses before.

3) Chinese oil consumption lags US per capita and they are striving mightily to correct that, as they should. When per capita consumption growth becomes difficult, they HAVE to take oil from someone else. That someone else's population starts to starve for lack of food production or transport. They object to the theft of "their" oil. War. They must. War or starve.

4) Consider Japan. Consider the relations between China and Japan. Japan cries out . . . you're taking this oil to improve your country's standard of living and you are starving our country to death to do this. How can you find morality in this? China will have no trouble whatsoever contriving morality in this.

5) Simply that. When there isn't enough to go around, no one will quietly accept inadequate amounts. Nor should they. All other stuff about global warming and debt and sacrificing lifestyle for someone else is just so much bizarre delusion. You got too little to live, you kill whoever took it.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 9:57 am
Hi Watcher,

If you were correct there would be constant World War, most humans realize that conflict does not always lead to a positive outcome.

In an anarchic world things might play out as you imagine, we don't live in such a World.

Most people will do all they can to prevent anarchy.

Watcher says: 11/30/2017 at 11:18 am
Ahh so only evil people resort to war.

Haven't you noticed only good guys win?

Survivalist says: 12/01/2017 at 8:33 am
'Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning' by Timothy Snyder is quite good. If you're not into the minutia of east European history circa WW2 then just cut to the conclusion. 'Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin' is good too.

Here's an interview with Timothy Snyder if you want to get a taste.
Will this be the catalyst for the next Holocaust?
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/12/09/what-will-cause-the-next-holocaust/

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 11:35 am
Almost anyone, I suppose, can call himself or herself an anarchist, if he or she believed that the society could be managed without the state. And by the state -- I don't mean the absence of any institutions, the absence of any form of social organisation -- the state really refers to a professional apparatus of people who are set aside to manage society, to preëmpt the control of society from the people. So that would include the military, judges, politicians, representatives who are paid for the express purpose of legislating, and then an executive body that is also set aside from society. So anarchists generally believe that, whether as groups or individuals, people should directly run society.
-Murray Bookchin

Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
-Edward Abbey

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 2:09 pm
Hi Hightrekker,

I define anarchy as without government.

Let's assume for a moment a World without any governments at all.

Let's also assume there at 7.4 billion people in the World.

I just don't see how that works. The World is not a perfect place, but it is far from clear that a World without any government(s) would be an improvement.

When some one comes up with a plan that is appealing to the majority of citizens in some nation, perhaps such a form of non-government will be instituted.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/02/2017 at 8:50 pm
Collapse Dynamics: Initial Conditions, Media Manipulation and The Short-Circuiting of Consensuality

Hi Dennis,

I see anarchy, if it is understood correctly, as potentially having government if it is optional/consensual/legitimate.

For example, if I want you to represent me until which time as I say otherwise , then you can if you wish .

I also see anarchy as potentially 'hierarchical', or at least pseudohierarchical, if it is chosen freely.

So, for example, if I want you to tie me to a bed and have your way with me as your 'slave' if you wish , until which time as I or you opt out , then that is still ok. (fans face with hand)

It is about consensuality and a large part of the whole idea behind media manipulation of the masses is to 'short-circuit' consensuality– IOW, to make the masses consent to what they might not have normally consented to.

At the moment, I do not consent, for example, to what we call 'government' to take my money, or 'skim my labor', such as in the form of taxation. It is an 'initial condition' (think the butterfly effect) that can cascade, and seems to have cascaded, over time into dangerous, 'hurricane', territory. I mention this angle also to hopefully appeal to your apparent understanding and appreciation of physics and physical dynamics over time.

Right now, there is software available, ostensibly to support government governing consensually, called Loomio . There are likely others as well.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 10:48 am
Hi Caelan,

See free rider problem. If taxes are not required, then very little is collected. So essentially, not taxes is roughly equal to no government.

How do legal agreements work in this no coercion society?

When there are disagreements how are they settled?

Come up with a system which works in a World with 7.5 billion and maybe someone will pay attention.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:42 pm
Hi Dennis,

Your assertion does not necessarily stand to reason and is just an assertion without support. I could flip/modify it this way:

If taxes were consensual, then people would likely feel a greater sense of belonging to their locales and how they are shaped and so give them freely and as they see fit.
Consensual tax collection could be viewed as part of the modus operandi of actual government, rather than as a kind of large-scale centralized armed coercive mob, such that it appears.

See also here . I'll paraphrase some of it for you (again)

" if economics is to become an instrument of freedom and prosperity instead of an instrument of statism, then there are certain fundamental fallacies that must be continually challenged and discredited. Chief among these is the persistent non sequitur from externality to coercion -- that is, the bogus conclusion that coercion is a proper means to solve problems involving economic externalities.

One of the most blatant examples of this non sequitur occurs in discussions of the 'free rider problem' and the alleged solution of government provision of so-called 'public goods'. This is a particularly insidious economic theory that bears a great deal of the responsibility of derailing economics into the ditch of statism." ~ Ben O'Neill

A system that works for many more people, rather than a handful of elites, would appear to be a system that truly echoes what the people actually want, rather than what they are forced to.

islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 5:08 am
On the matter of carrying capacity, I have a minor quibble with some of the ideas presented here. Let me start by outlining my understanding of what is being said about carrying capacity.

"So for many millions of years, the terrestrial vertebrate biomass remained at about two hundred million tons, give or take"

So that lays a base line for carrying capacity but, unnatural selection, the selection of higher output varieties of crops or genetic engineering of crops would have raised the carrying capacity and I suggest, that increased carrying capacity would be sustainable indefinitely. The use of fertilizer, primarily organic types, if done in a sustainable way and by that I mean, returning animal and human waste streams to the soil, would also result in a more or less permanent increase in carrying capacity. So far, I've outlined two methods that humans could have used to positively influence carrying capacity more or less permanently.

The big change in carrying capacity comes with the FF age and the industrial revolution, first with the advent of mechanization and then with the Haber-Bosch process. A quick Internet search to refresh my memory of what the Haber-Bosch process entails, reveals that it is the chemical synthesis of ammonia (NH3) from nitrogen and hydrogen. Herein lies the basis for the connection between the petroleum industry and fertilizer industries and by extension carrying capacity. However, if we have enough excess energy we can easily get nitrogen from the atmosphere and hydrogen from water though I'm not sure how well that would work at a industrial scale at a global level.

So between the manufacture of fertilizers and the use of diesel powered machinery in farming, we have seen a huge increase in the ability to produce food. Ostensibly this ability can only last as long as the NG used to obtain hydrogen at an industrial scale and the petroleum to fuel the farm machines. However, the University of Minnesota has a Wind to Nitrogen Fertilizer project that aims to use excess wind power to manufacture ammonia so, it may well be that, if sufficient amounts of renewable energy can be harnessed, the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizers could be extended way beyond the end of the petroleum age.

That is the basis for my minor quibble. Obviously, fossil hydrocarbons have allowed us to increase the carrying capacity of the planet in a way that can only last as long as the finite hydrocarbon reserves do. Might it not be the case that, a transition to renewable energy on a massive scale would allow a more or less sustainable increase in the carrying capacity of the planet above and beyond the 200 million tons of terrestrial vertebrate biomass that existed 10,000 years ago? I would argue that, from the standpoint of energy, renewable energy has the potential to yield a far more sustainable increase in carrying capacity than fossil energy has. What the level of that carrying capacity is would require a fair amount of academic research.

I fully concede that there are all sorts of other resource limits that will negatively affect carrying capacity. Maybe I'm just bargaining.

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:59 am
Islandboy, there is no doubt that the carrying capacity of human beings can be increased somewhat by the use of organic fertilizers. But it is chemical fertilizers that have very dramatically and very temporally increased our carrying capacity.

Of course when the carrying capacity of humans is increased the carrying capacity of wild species, especially megafauna is decreased.

That is one thing that just drives me up the wall. Everyone is concerned about the welfare of human beings. No one seems to give a rats ass about the welfare of all other species.

HuntingtonBeach says: 12/01/2017 at 2:58 am
Hi Ron, I hope your doing well. Thank you for a great post. It sure explains why Costco was so F'n busy last weekend.

"No one seems to give a rats ass about the welfare of all other species"

That's just not all true. I'm pretty sure GoneFishing cares about his dog a lot more than myself.

"the selection of higher output varieties of crops or genetic engineering of crops would have raised the carrying capacity and I suggest, that increased carrying capacity would be sustainable indefinitely"

I think you could include the knowledge of harvesting water and controlled irrigation also increasing sustainable capacity

James says: 11/30/2017 at 8:47 am
Humans evolved to become the equivalent of RNA in cells. We use tools and information, primarily in technological cells and use them with ATP equivalent fossil fuels to do work. Like organisms or cells in the ecosystem, human organizations seek to grow, profit and take market share – to further their existence.

The human brain is primarily a reward seeking organ as is most neural tissue in the ecosystem. Since humans are dissipative structures, not seeking rewards is the greatest threat they face. Most other threats, short of being chased by a pack of wild dogs, can be watered down and ignored since the brain must concentrate on getting resources and energy. Even though a human can think about things, it does not substitute for being greedy and gathering as much wealth as possible and reproducing prolifically. We're selected for doing that.

The natural greed which evolved because of natural scarcity in the ecosystem, did not wane as we evolved into a technological setting. There is no limit on our desires to be "rich" because we perceive associated advantages in survival and reproduction. Civilization is an explosive cancer that emerged from the ecosystem to consume and destroy the ecological body. Humans are the RNA that can't stop reproducing and stimulate the growth of new cells and distribution systems until the entire consumable earth is covered and the ecosystem dies or at least becomes much less complex.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:06 am
Hi James,

In many wealthy nations total fertility has fallen below the replacement level, in fact for about half the World's population TFR is below replacement (dividing things up by nation state). Generally it is higher income nations where this is the case and correlation between education level and total fertility is very strong.

These facts and the trend in Global education levels for women don't square very well with your theory.

As Ron has suggested, homo sapiens sapiens is not your average species.

James says: 11/30/2017 at 11:29 am
Even the education occurs in schools, the cellular equivalent of the nucleolus. Instead of pursuing the rewards of children, women are pursuing "wealth" created by the technological system. I'm not sure which one is most damaging.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 10:30 am
The natural greed which evolved because of natural scarcity in the ecosystem, did not wane as we evolved into a technological setting. There is no limit on our desires to be "rich" because we perceive associated advantages in survival and reproduction.

And out of which orifice did you pull all that BS out of?! Let me guess, you are of the Neo-Liberal Economist school of though, right? Try cracking a few tomes on human evolution and anthropology instead of failed 20th century memes about the nature of man and rationality of markets.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:49 am
Speaking of the rationality of markets:

Whitefish is halting Puerto Rico power repairs, claiming it's owed $83 million

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/20/us/puerto-rico-power-whitefish-halts-work/index.html

James says: 11/30/2017 at 11:34 am
You don't see any greed? None in the ecosystem? Why is everyone trying to accumulate more wealth? Why do all organisms struggle to eat and reproduce to the maximum? Look in the cell, it's all happened before, but mostly with sunshine at the base.

Why do we worship the likes of Warren Buffett?

Cooperation exists, but only to enhance competition against a similarly cooperating group.

Cats@Home says: 11/30/2017 at 1:25 pm
Warren Buffett seems like a good man but Jeff Bezos is the businessman I admire most right now.
Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 11:07 pm
The Creepy Religion That Explains All Of Trump's Actions.
"The Prosperity Gospel is quintessentially American. One journalist described it as the "religion of winning," so we have to assume Charlie Sheen is onboard too."
http://www.cracked.com/blog/trumps-bizarre-religion-weirder-than-scientology/
Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 3:22 pm
Blowing Up the Territory
Trump's biggest break came from the Democratic party. Booking Hillary Clinton as the good guy in this match was a colossal error, especially when the most improbable thing in all of politics was waiting in the wings: a legit babyface.

Bernie Sanders came off like Paddington Bear next to Hillary Clinton. Bernie was a nice old Jewish man from Vermont who legitimately meant well, and he got a real pop from his fans. He drew like crazy. Hell, even I sent him money, the first time I have ever contributed to a political campaign -- every time he got on TV and started shooting about marijuana smokers going to jail while Wall Street hoodlums were walking, I Paypaled him five bucks. I had waited my whole life to hear a politician cut a promo like that -- I think he eventually ended up with a Jackson from me, straight from my personal pot budget.

As a face, Clinton just had too much baggage, a lot of it achingly familiar: A partner known for predatory sexual behavior, wicked family ties to big business, an entitled daughter, a family charity fund loaded with foreign money, lies, flip flops. . . . What was good for the goose might have been tolerable for the gander, but all she really got was a cheap pop, and if she had any moral high ground at all, she lost it when former Democratic operative Donna Brazile, while working for CNN, leaked potential questions to the Clinton campaign before a debate with Sanders. That was cheating, behavior clearly unbecoming to a babyface. But more important was that she failed to deliver on the only thing that matters: she didn't draw. For a while it looked like there might be a "Dusty finish," a gimmick ending (named for Dusty Rhodes, the legendary wrestler and booker who invented it) in which one wrestler is declared the winner, only to have the decision reversed on a technicality -- for instance, interference from Russian hackers. This was a finish guaranteed to drive crowds insane, but Hillary couldn't put it over.

So who's the best worker? If we are using the Hulk Hogan index, it is indisputably Donald Trump. He won the election. He's the president.

But when it all comes tumbling down, be ready for a fresh wave of Trump-brand kayfabe -- transparently flawed in both conception and execution, except that he actually believes it. He'll ride off in his helicopter claiming that Washington was too dirty to clean up, that he tried but he couldn't drain the swamp, that they wouldn't accept the One Honest Man. He'll blame obstructionist Democrats for staging a witch hunt, and the Republicans for not having the guts to back him. In wrestling parlance this is called "blowing up the territory."

Pundits will argue: How much of it was real, how much reality show? How much was a put-on, how much of it was a guy legit skating at the edges of madness and dementia? Was it a work, a shoot, or a worked shoot? The only thing we can be sure of is that the secular writers will get it wrong. And, existentially, at least, Trump will still wear spandex when he mows the lawn. He can't help himself, that's just the kind of jerk he is.

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-art-of-the-heel-edison

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:40 pm
Organisms evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power. With greater power, there is greater opportunity to allocate energy to reproduction and survival, and therefore, an organism that captures and utilizes more energy than another organism in a population will have a fitness advantage.
Individual organisms cooperate to form social groups and generate more power. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.
"Politics" is power used by social organisms to control others. Not only are human groups never alone, they cannot control their neighbors' behavior. Each group must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will grow its numbers and attempt to take resources from them. Therefore, the best political tactic for groups to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth, but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off and take resources from others[5].
The inevitable "overshoot" eventually leads to decreasing power attainable for the group with lower-ranking members suffering first. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain it. Meanwhile, social conflict will intensify as available power continues to fall.
Eventually, members of the weakest group (high or low rank) are forced to "disperse."[6] Those members of the weak group who do not disperse are killed,[7] enslaved, or in modern times imprisoned. By most estimates, 10 to 20 percent of all the people who lived in Stone-Age societies died at the hands of other humans.[8] The process of overshoot, followed by forced dispersal, may be seen as a sort of repetitive pumping action -- a collective behavioral loop -- that drove humans into every inhabitable niche of our planet.
Here is a synopsis of the behavioral loop described above:
Step 1. Individuals and groups evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power, which requires over-reproduction and/or over-consumption of natural resources (overshoot), whenever systemic constraints allow it. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.
Step 2. Energy is always limited, and overshoot eventually leads to decreasing power available to some members of the group, with lower-ranking members suffering first.
Step 3. Diminishing power availability creates divisive subgroups within the original group. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals, who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain power.
Step 4. Violent social strife eventually occurs among subgroups who demand a greater share of the remaining power.
Step 5. The weakest subgroups (high or low rank) are either forced to disperse to a new territory, are killed, enslaved, or imprisoned.
Step 6. Go back to step 1.
The above loop was repeated countless thousands of times during the millions of years that we were evolving[9]. This behavior is inherent in the architecture of our minds -- is entrained in our biological material -- and will be repeated until we go extinct. Carrying capacity will decline[10] with each future iteration of the overshoot loop, and this will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.
http://www.dieoff.org
Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:50 pm
will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.

Such a optimist!

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:38 am
Megacancer?
Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:28 am
"There's no indication that we're going to do anything philosophically different," said Jim Blackburn, an environmental law professor at Rice University. "With a few modifications, it's business as usual."

As Houston rebuilds from the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, local officials plan to dredge waterways, build new reservoirs and a coastal barrier to protect against storms that experts say are growing in intensity due to a warming climate. They have asked Washington for $61 billion to pay for it all.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-harvey-floods/hurricane-harvey-makes-houston-reassess-growth-friendly-policies-idUSKBN1DU1KP?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:37 am
"Half the inhabitants of Melbourne have probably never seen something like this," Mr Williams said.

"This is a vast, intense, high impact event for this state."

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-weather-record-rainfall-and-flash-flooding-to-kick-off-summer-20171129-gzvk4s.html

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 11:40 am
Apart from our own actions there may be random events that can take us out. There's a report in the Times today of research into super-eruptions. The Toba explosion, 75,000 years ago, almost took out Homo sapiens. The latest research indicates such events (maybe not quite as bad) happen on average every 17,000 years instead of every few hundred thousand as previously thought, and we are currently in an unusually long hiatus from these.

The biggest explosion since "civilization" started was probably Krakatoa in the 6th century, which has been proposed as the beggining of the dark ages in Europe and the end of a couple of other civilizations, though there's a bit of controversy about that theory, but it was much milder than an explosion from one of the major calderas would be.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-volcanic-doom-is-closer-than-we-think-90c8d56gr

(paywall – but there might be some free articles per month available and the research is to be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters)

Sorry – probably the wrong thread.

Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 12:57 pm
Continuing from above (this mirrors my own experience in Central Africa where families currently seem to be averaging about four kids each):

POPULATION GROWTH IN AFRICA: GRASPING THE SCALE OF THE CHALLENGE

"In the past year (2016) the population of the African continent grew by 30 million. By the year 2050, annual increases will exceed 42 million people per year and total population will have doubled to 2.4 billion, according to the UN. This comes to 3.5 million more people per month, or 80 additional people per minute since the early 1990s, family planning programmes in Africa have not had the same attention (as Asia and Latin America), RESULTING IN SLOW, SOMETIMES NEGLIGIBLE, FERTILITY DECLINES. IN A HANDFUL OF COUNTRIES, PREVIOUS DECLINES HAVE STALLED ALTOGETHER AND ARE REVERSING."

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/jan/11/population-growth-in-africa-grasping-the-scale-of-the-challenge

Also,

WHY HAVE FOUR CHILDREN WHEN YOU COULD HAVE SEVEN? FAMILY PLANNING IN NIGER

" but Hamani is unusual in that three babies are enough for her. Despite having the highest fertility rate in the world, women and men alike in Niger say they want more children than they actually have – women want an average of nine, while men say they want 11."

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 5:08 pm
Sounds like an explosion that will lead to implosion and migration. Families used to be fairly large in the European and American regions not long ago. Some still are.
There are 27.7 million people in Uganda. But by 2025 the population will almost double to 56 million, close to that of Britain, which has a similar land mass. In 44 years its population will have grown by nearly as much as China's.
"You look at these numbers and think 'that's impossible'," said Carl Haub, senior demographer at the US-based Population Reference Bureau, whose latest global projections show Uganda as the fastest-growing country in the world. Midway through the 21st century, if current birthrates persist, Uganda will be the world's 12th most populous country with 130 million people – more than Russia or Japan.

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2006/sep/01/guardianweekly.guardianweekly1
Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 6:02 pm
"There are 27.7 million people in Uganda."

That sounds about right and from personal observation almost all 27.7 million of them are school kids who (currently) are quite well nourished and with decent health care. A big problem, as I see it, is that virtually all schools in Uganda are run by "Western" churches who seen determined to increase the size of their flock by NOT teaching their students about contraception and the benefits thereof: sound familiar?

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:36 pm
"In 2015, the median age of the population in Uganda was 15.8 years."
https://www.statista.com/statistics/447643/average-age-of-the-population-in-uganda/
George Kaplan says: 12/01/2017 at 1:48 am
Doug – like you I have some sponsorship in Africa – a general women's group rather than an individual. From their letters what they want is education (both formal for the children and also just tips on farming and running a business), enough money (very little) to start a business so they can feed their children, a way to manage HIV if they are infected (many still are) and peace and quiet. What they don't want is more children, forced marriage through kidnap, the return of their husbands to beat them up, interference from the elders (all men) in their business. Often they only realise these options are even possible after they have had contact with the groups set up by the charity.
Doug Leighton says: 12/01/2017 at 9:35 am
George – My African experiences are mainly restricted to Uganda (the pearl of Africa) where my family visit annually and have done so for almost 20 years; we love the country, the people, the wildlife. Its been a joy watching the girl we assisted progress from kindergarten to medical school; to meet and relate to her extended family who've become our close friends. The country (Uganda) and the people are currently doing well, very well indeed (unless you happen to be gay). Wildlife parks flourish and are well managed. My concerns relate to the future. There are too many kids. In my opinion, without reigning in population growth the country will face immense over-population problems in the future. I hope I'm wrong. Having said that, I agree with your comments -- all of them. And its true, woman's business groups are in many respects the future of Africa.

Cheers,

Rob Mielcarski says: 11/30/2017 at 4:00 pm
For anyone seeking a plausible scientific explanation for why:
– one species has a uniquely powerful brain
– why the brain of that species is capable of visiting the moon but incapable of understanding or acting on it's own overshoot
– why one small group of hominids exploded about 100,000 to take over the planet
– why religion emerged simultaneous with the behaviorally modern mind about 100,000 years ago
– and more big questions: https://un-denial.com/2017/06/25/why-my-interest-in-denial/

I find this theory by Ajit Varki and Danny Brower very satisfying.

https://un-denial.com/denial-2/theory-video/

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 4:08 pm
That's a smart site you have there. I read that book some time ago, it's interesting but I thought a bit of a just-so story, but that's maybe becasue the ideas woud be so hard to prove one way or the other. It's a pity Brower died before his ideas got out to more discussion.
Rob Mielcarski says: 12/01/2017 at 1:13 am
Your initial reaction to the theory is perfectly reasonable and common.

If you dig deeper and start connecting dots I think you may find it is the best available explanation for many big unanswered questions. The theory may not be correct but there are no known facts that slay it, nor any other equally elegant theories that fit the data better.

Varki acknowledges the difficulty of testing the theory, but does point to some promising avenues of research. Unfortunately Varki's speciality and day job is in a different domain so his theory is likely to sit on the shelf until some young scientist with a defective denial gene picks up the baton.

George Kaplan says: 12/01/2017 at 2:08 am
I did find it neat and convincing as you say, but that's the point of just-so stories, plus it's difficult to know where to go if it is correct, but I'm going to be visiting your site without question.
Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 7:39 pm
I suppose this 2014 piece is apropos,

WILL OVERPOPULATION LEAD TO PUBLIC HEALTH CATASTROPHE?

"Our new projections are probabilistic, and we find that there will probably be between 9.6 and 12.3 billion people in 2100," Prof. Raftery told Medical News Today. "This projection is based on a statistical model that uses all available past data on fertility and mortality from all countries in a systematic way, unlike previous projections that were based on expert assumptions."

"A key finding of the study is that the fertility rate in Africa is declining much more slowly than has been previously estimated, which Prof. Raftery tells us "has major long-term implications for population."

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284619.php?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Medical_News_Today_TrendMD_1

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 7:50 pm
Spain's water crisis deepens as Rio Tajo dries up

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/3.0.15/news/on-euro-weekly-news/spain-news-in-english/146617-spain-s-water-crisis-deepens

(haven't had a wing pawn global cooling update for a while)

http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/sahara-moving-north/43959

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 9:30 pm
Declining uncertainty in transient climate response as CO2 forcing dominates future climate change

https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo2371

( Nature Geoscience , not Watt Is My Head Doing Up My Ass?

Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 5:09 am
No discussion about human evolution or even biological evolution across all species can be considered complete without at least a basic understanding of the biochemical and molecular biological basis of CRIPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and gene drives.

Sam Harris' latest podcast has a discussion of this technology with Jennifer Doudna.

https://www.samharris.org/podcast

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jennifer Doudna about the gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9. They talk about the biology of gene editing, how specific tissues in the body can be targeted, the ethical implications of changing the human genome, the importance of curiosity-driven science, and other topics.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 8:56 am
E.O. Wilson
I have always been a great admirer of E.O Wilson. I have followed his work for years. I especially liked "Sociobiology" and "Consilience". I have followed his feud with Stephen J. Gould, Steven Rose, R.C. Lewontin, and Leon Kamin, (as reported by Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins). (I always came down on the side of Wilson et al.) And I am very proud to say he is a fellow Alabamian.

That being said, there are areas where I must disagree with him. For instance:

From Kirkus Reviews of "Half Earth":
In this final volume of his trilogy, Wilson (The Meaning of Human Existence, 2014, etc.) opens with a compelling proposal on how to slow current species extinction rates: set aside half of the planet (noncontiguously) as wilderness preserves free from human encroachment, a measure that the author claims would stabilize more than 80 percent of species.

Fred Magyar, above, quotes from Edward O. Wilson's New Take on Human Nature:
Wilson argues the nest is central to understanding the ecological dominance not only of ants, but of human beings, too ..

By being super-cooperators, groupies of the group, willing to set aside our small, selfish desires and I-minded drive to join forces and seize opportunity as a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe ..

To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson's definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice "at least some of their personal interests to that of the group." It's tough to be a eusocialist.

First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous. Which parts of the U.S. would we set aside, parts that make half the land area? Could we convince every African nation to do the same? Or Russia? Or China, South Korea or Japan?

Second, as much as I admire Wilson, I think he is just flat wrong on his new take on human nature. And I think Pinker and Dawkins would agree with that opinion. If you had read Pinker's " The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature ," and I have, you would know exactly what I mean. Our minds are not blank slates to be molded by society, to be made to behave like ants in a colony, like a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe. All those traits that Wilson says we must give up are in our genes, human nature.

I will not deny that humans can be ruled. An Iron Fist could compel us to behave in such a matter. But all such Iron Fists carry within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's just human nature.

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 10:49 am
Hi Ron,

After reading your eight fifty six am, I'm telling ya straight .. Between your ears, where you live intellectually, you are a TRUE conservative.

The people who we refer to today as conservatives, meaning those who inhabit the right wing politically, are not REAL conservatives, not according to my definition.

Don't forget that I am a follower of the Humpty Dumpty School of Linguistics. Words mean exactly what I intend them to mean, when I use them, rotfl.

To my way of thinking, the first and single most important qualification of a TRUE conservative is that he must have a sound grasp of human nature. You have it. You understand that we cooperate with friends, family, known community, and compete with outsiders .. and that when circumstances compel us to do so, we make friends or at least ally ourselves with former enemies or strangers, and work together .. but mostly only when we have little or no choice but to do so.

I'm just teasing you a little, not making fun of you. 😉

Decent people, left or right wing, want the same things, when you get down to the basics. Peace, dignified life, freedom from unnecessary worries, etc.

I haven't yet read Wilson's latest books. Hoping to get around to it, this winter.

We need to keep it in mind that just because somebody presents a grand plan in a book, and writes as if it might be possible to implement it, he does not necessarily believe there's a snowball's chance on a red hot stove that his plan will ever actually be implemented.

Such books are sometimes intended as sources of inspiration for a new generation of people following along in his footsteps .. and such a plan MIGHT be implemented . a few centuries down the road, lol. Stranger things have happened, historically.

Such a book can be the result of an old man's dreams being put in libraries so as to achieve a sort of immortality . Wilson had that already of course.

I reckon you're even older than I am, and here's wishing you the best at the personal level.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:09 am
To my way of thinking, the first and single most important qualification of a TRUE conservative is that he must have a sound grasp of human nature. You have it. You understand that we cooperate with friends, family, known community, and compete with outsiders .. and that when circumstances compel us to do so, we make friends or at least ally ourselves with former enemies or strangers, and work together .. but mostly only when we have little or no choice but to do so.

Sorry Mac, but I just don't get the connection. The definition you pen here could just as well be the definition of a True Liberal.

I am a conservative when it comes to conserving the environment, saving animal habitat and saving species from extinction. But those are qualities held by most liberals and not held by so-called conservatives. Right-wing Republicans call themselves conservatives.

So I just have to accept the lexicon as it exist today. I am a liberal, not a conservative.

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 11:01 pm
"Sorry Mac, but I just don't get the connection. The definition you pen here could just as well be the definition of a True Liberal."

You DO GET IT, Ron, except you haven't yet quite got around to thinking of labels as jokes or weapons . Labels are for partisans. Labels are clubs we use to pound each other into submission.

People with real working brains generally come to the same basic conclusions, regardless of the way they're labeled by themselves or others. There's usually more than one route by which we can travel and arrive at the truth.

You're a man willing to tell it like it is, as for instance when you have pointed out the realities of the way things work in some countries where you worked yourself. A partisan D just won't repeat that sort of stuff, true or not.

When you say you're a liberal, you're just labeling yourself. What you ARE is something else. You're a man with a working brain, a man who understands reality, a man who tells it like it is, as you perceive it to be.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:12 pm
You're a man with a working brain, a man who understands reality, a man who tells it like it is, as you perceive it to be.

You are a goddamn right man, and that means I am a liberal. 😉

OFM says: 12/02/2017 at 2:40 pm
Ah yes, but liberal is still just a label.

It is however true that the so called liberals are more often right by a substantial margin than the so called conservatives in terms of having objective facts on their side when considering issues such as the environment, public health, and many others.

But they're not always right. Sometimes the liberal camp seems to have it's head as far up its backside as the conservative camp.

The leaders of both camps seem to be more interested in having plenty of foot soldiers to serve as cannon fodder than they are in the actual welfare of the country.

I can provide as good arguments for any sort of truly sound public policy from a conservative pov as you can from a liberal pov.

To me this proves we both have working brains, and are capable of looking the truth in the eye, and publicly agreeing on what IS true, and what is not.

If we could free ourselves of goddamned infernal partisan politics and identity politics , based on our community cultures, we could make things happen politically.

If for instance we could put the question of subsidizing wind and solar power to a referendum, I could easily convince most of the so called conservatives I know that voting in favor of subsidies would be a GREAT BARGAIN for them, long term. Well, the ones with brains enough that they know a little about the business world anyway. That's at least half of them, and more than enough.

They won't ordinarily support subsidizing renewable energy as part of a package deal because they perceive the PACKAGE to be weighted in favor of their political and cultural enemies. Supporting renewable energy subsidies would mean voting for D's and they don't like the overall D agenda.

OFM says: 12/03/2017 at 5:49 pm
Back to you one more time Ron,

I'm not sure WHERE this comment will appear, but hopefully it will be below my two forty pm.

Allow me to approach this liberal/ conservative label thing from a different direction.

Suppose you meet a new person, and get to talking about oh let us say water pollution, and fishing, and having to spend your local tax money on a sophisticated water treatment plant, because there's too much of this or that and the other as well in the river that passes your town to drink the water, without spending a lot of money. .

If you NEVER MENTION anything that LABELS you as a liberal or conservative, you can talk meaningfully to just about anybody about this issue.

Identify yourself as a liberal, or a conservative, you more or less automatically blow your opportunity to say anything to your new POTENTIAL friend who thinks of himself as your opposite and enemy, politically, other than something he already knows and believes, even if what that something is factually incorrect.

Label yourself as a liberal, and the typical serious Christian voter in the state of Alabama automatically thinks of you as a murderer of yet to be born children. Forget labeling yourself, avoid it to the extent you can, and you have an EXCELLENT shot at talking to that voter about supporting only candidates who have a decent record of being respectful to women, immigrants, minorities, etc.

If I label myself as a conservative, I've automatically blown my chance to have a serious conversation with a liberal about the possibility of having some real choice in education . meaning breaking the teacher's unions and government's de facto monopoly control of our educational system.

You may not like this idea, but think about this how much better are your options NOW, given that we have email, fax, UPS, Fed Ex , etc, when it comes to getting a letter or package where it needs to go FOR SURE and RIGHT AWAY?

I have heard lots of liberals say that allowing any real choice in the schools would mean the end of any real opportunity for poor kids, inner city kids, etc, to get a decent education. Sometimes, in the same breath almost, I hear those same liberals admit that the public schools in lots of communities large and small are literal disaster areas, where hardly any of the kids learn anything. I used to know quite a few of this sort , back in my younger days, when I was living in the Fan and hanging out with the older ( grad students mostly ) kids at VCU having a good time, taking a course or two per semester to keep my grad student ID up to date. I spent about ten years there off and on.

Ya know WHAT? EVERY LAST COUPLE I knew among them moved out of town when their OWN kids got old enough to go to school.

Quite a few of them spent their careers as teachers, lol. And my guess is that not more than one out of ten of those couples ever moved to a place where the schools were the sort of hell holes we read about so often these days .. and that tenth couple of course had NO KIDS, lol.

Yet they almost universally believe in the de facto teacher / government educational monopoly as it exists today, as it totally ruins the prospects of millions of kids denying them, or more accurately, their parents, any real choice in the schools their kids attend. If liberal versus conservative comes into the conversation, it's OVER. The liberals aren't going to listen, any more than conservatives listen.

How many members of this forum think Roy Moore ought to be tarred and feathered ? How many have ever had the intellectual integrity to say the same thing about Bill Clinton?

Liberals are liberals, and conservatives are conservatives, and the gulf between can be as vast as the gulf between East and West. Communication is tough to impossible.

But if we avoid the labels . communication can happen.

Incidentally this rant does NOT mean I am a supporter of the Trump administration in general, or the Trump education department in particular. Nothing I know of concerning the Trump administration seems to be about the good of the COUNTRY or of the majority of the people of this country.

Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 11:04 am
First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous.

Even stopping the rape and scrape accelerating is highly unlikely.

This is total fantasy.
At best, the survivors (if any) on the other side of the wall we are about to crash into, will have enough wisdom and intelligence to embrace the condition they are in.

Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 11:19 am
First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous.

That isn't what he proposes even though it is the title of his book. May I suggest you read it! What he is really arguing for is more along the lines of a network of ecological corridors that might connect already existing nature preserves, parks and private property and therefore allow isolated pockets of natural ecosystems to be connected with others.

To be very clear, E.O. Wilson is not in any way naive about our predicament and says so.
That's not to say he has thrown in the towel, especially given that he is now in the later portion of his 80's. He apparently doesn't want to go down without a fight.

I have read his book twice already and have the Kindle version on my laptop. To be honest I'm not what anyone might call overly optimistic about the prospects of his proposals coming to pass. Having said that, I do admire his deep knowledge base about the natural world and have the greatest admiration for the man! More power to him for trying!

Cheers!

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 12:01 pm
Fred, I read Half Earth and have to agree with E.O. Wilson. I think my personal bias is toward nature, but that aside, humans can do what is needed. All the gadgetry in the world cannot replace a functioning ecosystem. Those functions are mandatory for the preservation of life on earth. We need to preserve, expand and enhance (if we get smart enough) natural ecosystems around the world.
Why not build armies? Armies called the United Conservation and Environmental Protection Corp, whose job is to protect and expand natural areas around the world. It would increase employment and be funded by monies that otherwise go to military purposes. This and other organizations could be doing things that make the people proud to be human, rather than just wheels and cogs in basically destructive system.

This is not naïve, this is just choices. Humans make choices, that is one of our inherent abilities. Our current state and appearance is due to a set of previous choices that have not quite worked out. We get stuck in old choices, time to make new ones.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 12:24 pm
I think my personal bias is toward nature, but that aside, humans can do what is needed.

Really now? If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. Species are going extinct at a rate as fast as the last great extinction 65 million years ago. And the extinction rate is accelerating. If humans can do what is needed it is goddamn time they got started.

Our current state and appearance is due to a set of previous choices that have not quite worked out. We get stuck in old choices, time to make new ones.

Those choices were made, and are being made, by 7 billion people. And yes, it is time those 7 billion people changed the way they are behaving, it is time they made different choices. But don't hold your breath.

I am sorry Fishing, but I just don't share your optimism.

Doug Leighton says: 12/01/2017 at 12:38 pm
Yup, reminds me of China, driving to a restaurant half way across Beijing with a car full of Chinese because they knew about a hot spot where some endangered species or other was on the menu: get it before you're too late. Life in the real world!

"Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural "background" rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we're now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century."

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 2:06 pm
"If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. "
"I am sorry Fishing, but I just don't share your optimism."

By destroying the environment we destroy ourselves. I think that will soon become quite apparent and then those who are already on track can leverage that.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 3:21 pm
As Charlie Brown would say: Good Grief!
Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 8:44 pm
Really now? If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. Species are going extinct at a rate as fast as the last great extinction 65 million years ago. And the extinction rate is accelerating. If humans can do what is needed it is goddamn time they got started.

Ok, let's assume for a moment using round numbers that there are currently 7.5 billion humans living on this tiny planet as I type these words. How many of those humans do you suppose are actually aware of the fact that we are probably in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? I'm going to go way out on a limb here and guess about a couple hundred thousand.

Now most of those couple hundred thousand are in shock and denial of reality. So there are maybe 100,000 humans who are aware and are actually starting to do something.

While that may sound like a minuscule amount I can cite data and research that shows that may be enough to really start to change the current paradigm in a big way.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:06 pm
As I quoted Charlie Brown above: Good Grief!
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 7:15 am
LOL!
.

Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 12:22 pm
Yea, the feud between Gould/Lewontin/Rose VS Wilson/Dawkins/Dennett has been interesting.
Being somewhat Marxist in my orientation, I was kinda presupposed to the Gould camp, but the Wilson/Dawkins have proven to ring much truer.
The Blank Slate puts the nails in the coffin for Marxist view of human nature, as Marx viewed it as totally a function of environment. Pinker buried that view.
Orr was always Gould and Lewontin's go to guy with media, as he had power in the NYT's and Boston Globe, and could often control reviews and and coverage.
It has been interesting.
Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 8:59 pm
http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html

I'm sure most here are familiar with what Carl Sagan said about our Pale Blue Dot

This excerpt from Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan's suggestion, by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. As the spacecraft left our planetary neighborhood for the fringes of the solar system, engineers turned it around for one last look at its home planet. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away, and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane, when it captured this portrait of our world. Caught in the center of scattered light rays (a result of taking the picture so close to the Sun), Earth appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size.

Now guess what?!

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/12/after-37-years-voyager-has-fired-up-its-trajectory-thrusters/

At present, the Voyager 1 spacecraft is 21 billion kilometers from Earth, or about 141 times the distance between the Earth and Sun. It has, in fact, moved beyond our Solar System into interstellar space. However, we can still communicate with Voyager across that distance.

This week, the scientists and engineers on the Voyager team did something very special. They commanded the spacecraft to fire a set of four trajectory thrusters for the first time in 37 years to determine their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses.

FURTHER READING
The Voyagers have reached an anniversary worth celebrating
After sending the commands on Tuesday, it took 19 hours and 35 minutes for the signal to reach Voyager. Then, the Earth-bound spacecraft team had to wait another 19 hours and 35 minutes to see if the spacecraft responded. It did. After nearly four decades of dormancy, the Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactured thrusters fired perfectly.

"The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test. The mood was one of relief, joy, and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all," said Todd Barber, a propulsion engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Humans can do some pretty incredible things!

Cheers!

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 10:03 pm
Yes, they can even teach their young to love the life of the planet and help keep it safe.
HuntingtonBeach says: 12/01/2017 at 10:59 pm
Not if your born in the South and damaged by religion
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 7:14 am
Well, E.O. Wilson was born in Alabama into an evangelical family. 😉
Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 11:14 am
So was I. Well, sort of. My dad was a Deacon in the Primitive Baptist Church but he was not a crusading evangelical.

I have told this story before but I will do it again here.

I was about 17 or so when I sidled up to my dad who was sitting in his easy chair. I asked: "Dad, how did them kangaroos get from Australia to over there where Noah's Ark was? And how did they get back?" Dad jumped up from his chair, stuck his finger right in my face and yelled: "Son, that is the word of God and that is not for you to question."

I never questioned my Dad again about religion.

HuntingtonBeach says: 12/02/2017 at 6:01 pm
It takes character and courage not act like sheep. My hat goes off to you. Ron, I'm sure you understood exactly what I meant by my earlier comment.
Hickory says: 12/02/2017 at 12:15 am
When countries begin to hit the wall economically ( as happened in Germany in the 1930's for example), the populace will often out of desperation (and ignorance of course) enable a dictator to come to power. This is with the false hope that grandiose promises of prosperity will be fulfilled.

This explains why Trump was elected, even though the American has yet to be tested by disruption, much.

As the world hits the wall of growth limits, the risk is for more and more leadership failures, the rise of warlords, the failure of functioning democracies.

Violent choices and dysfunctional government will serve to be a mechanism of population decline, ugly population decline. Current events can be seen through this lens as time unfolds.

Hard to watch.
May be better to have no TV.
The de-evolution will be televised, will be televised, will be televised

George Kaplan says: 12/02/2017 at 2:59 am
The general population in Germany did not really enable Hitler to come to power. He was appointed as a compomise by the two leading parties in an election who had split the main vote. They both thought he would make such a mess of it that they would sweep the board at the next election. As soon as he was appointed he started killing or imprisoning these smart opposition leaders, and there wasn't another clean election. It was more like an extended coupe, admittedly with a large number of supporters, often ex WW-I soldier thugs, in the general population.
OFM says: 12/02/2017 at 2:23 pm
George is in the bullseye about how Hitler came to power, considering he was painting fast with a broad brush in such a short comment. I have devoted many a long evening to reading the history of war in the twentieth century, so as to better understand the history of my time.

Wars are usually the result of politicians either wanting them, or being boxed into situations where they either can't avoid them or consider them the best of an assortment of bad options.

Hickory says: 12/03/2017 at 1:17 am
Point taken George. Despite that the general notion that as crunch time develops, there will be a trend towards extremist and totalitarian regimes throughout the world. Along with pockets of failed states, anarchy and warlords. 'Have nots' will take big risks.
GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 8:25 am
No devolution involved. Just human nature.
The loose knit groups with similar hates, anger and dislikes were temporarily brought together. It was an inverse election that utilized the negative and more volatile side of human nature. it only hangs together with constant stirring and occasional negative results (pound the enemy). Finger pointing and passing the buck is not enough, the groups start fracturing.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 9:43 am
Lose the Tee Vee -- -
The more you watch, the less you know.
HuntingtonBeach says: 12/02/2017 at 8:18 pm
The difference between the "Tee Vee" and the Internet is exposing your ignorance to the world
Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 1:36 pm
A question for Dennis Coyne, or any other cornucopian who believes renewable energy will save the world from economic collapse, at least for the next 200 years or so.

Dennis, I understand your very optimistic outlook for the welfare of future human populations. I don't agree with it but I understand your argument. But as I understand it, and please correct me if I am wrong, your entire argument deals with the human population of the earth. I don't remember reading your predicted outlook for the rest of the animal kingdom? Perhaps you did make one and I just missed it.

That being said, you have read my outlook many times. And it was all repeated in my post above. Do you agree or disagree? Just where do you see the large wild animal population in the year 2100? Please elaborate.

Edit: Dennis, I know you do not consider yourself a cornucopian, however, I was just comparing your outlook for the future of civilization to mine. And using that comparison?

islandboy says: 12/02/2017 at 2:36 pm
Nice! I was just thinking about a response to a comment following one of mine further up and this pops up, which dovetails nicely into what I've been thinking. In my comment I mention using wind power to make ammonia as a foundation for chemical nitrogen fertilizer and you (Ron) in you reply stated that, " But it is chemical fertilizers that have very dramatically and very temporally increased our carrying capacity." I don't know if you realized this but, that sort of was my point in that, the manufacture of ammonia and the resulting chemical fertilizer using excess wind (and/or solar) power might well result in a much extended (permanent) increase in carrying capacity by allowing us to continue the manufacture of chemical nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate if memory serves me right) in the absence of oil and NG.

This can be viewed as a downside to the ongoing exponential increasing capacity of renewable electricity generation. If renewables grow big enough fast enough, there will be incentives to use any excess to do things like manufacture fertilizer allowing mankind's expansion into wild habitats to continue. I think it is important that the existing population of the planet continues to have more or less adequate food supplies in order to avoid the sort of situation that exist in Haiti but, the real problem as I see it, is to get poor people in less developed countries to believe that they would be better off not having as many children. Based on utterances I have heard in my neck of the woods, as recently as last night, many of these people do not see any problem with having lots of kids. There seems to be an attitude abroad that there is a great big world out there, just ready for the taking. No limits. I wonder whatever gives people that idea?

I wanted to post some pictures of garbage, sitting in open storm water channels, just waiting for the next big shower of rain to be washed out of existence. At least that must be what the people who dump this stuff into the drains think. I have to wonder if they ever bother to think about where it's going to end up but, it seems to be a simple case of out of sight, out of mind. I guess some readers will have figured out that if you visit any area of the Jamaican coastline that does not have a regular, structured clean up crew, you will see where the trash ends up. I have seen it and it is depressing.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:18 pm
I don't know if you realized this but, that sort of was my point in that, the manufacture of ammonia and the resulting chemical fertilizer using excess wind (and/or solar) power might well result in a much extended (permanent) increase in carrying capacity by allowing us to continue the manufacture of chemical nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate if memory serves me right) in the absence of oil and NG.

Errr . I don't know if you realize it but you cannot make nitrogen fertilizer without natural gas . or some other source of hydrogen. Of course, you might get the hydrogen from water via electrolysis but that would be super expensive.

Fertilizer Made with Natural Gas Is Lifting Our World
Referred to by some as the most important technological advance of the 20th century .Between 3 and 5 percent of the world's annual natural gas production – roughly 1 to 2 percent of the world's annual energy supply – is converted using the process to produce more than 500 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer, which is believed to sustain about 40 percent of the world's 7 billion people. Approximately half of the protein in today's humans originated with nitrogen fixed through the Haber-Bosch process.

islandboy says: 12/02/2017 at 3:45 pm
"Of course, you might get the hydrogen from water via electrolysis but that would be super expensive."

Not if you are experiencing negative electricity prices as has happened when there's lots of wind and no demand or transmission capacity for the electricity being generated. I think OFM has alluded to this a few times in his ramblings, suggesting that hydrogen production via electrolysis or desalination might be useful ways of avoiding otherwise wasted electricity when the resource is available but, there is limited demand or transmission capacity.

If we ever get to the point where wind and solar generators are ubiquitous and abundant this could be a distinct possibility. In case you missed it in my earlier post here's The University of Minnesota's Wind to Nitrogen Fertilizer project :

We are pursuing a Grand Challenge – the challenge to feed the world while sustaining the environment. In the spirit of this grand challenge, a team of researchers across the University are pursuing an elegant concept in which wind energy, water, and air are used to produce nitrogen fertilizer.

WCROC energy from the windEnergy generated from the wind is used to separate hydrogen from water. Nitrogen is pulled from air. The hydrogen and nitrogen are then combined to form nitrogen fertilizer that nourishes the plants surrounding the farmer.

Next to water, nitrogen fertilizer is the most limiting nutrient for food production. Minnesota farmers import over $400 million of nitrogen fertilizer each year and are subjected to volatile price swings. Furthermore, nitrogen fertilizer is currently produced using fossil energy which contributes significantly to the carbon footprint of agricultural commodities.

and from https://www.siemens.co.uk/en/insights/potential-of-green-ammonia-as-fertiliser-and-electricity-storage.htm

"Green" ammonia demonstration programme:

Siemens is participating in an all electric ammonia synthesis and energy storage system demonstration programme at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford. The demonstrator, which will run until December 2017, is supported by Innovate UK. Collaborators include the University of Oxford, Cardiff University and the Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 2:59 pm
Hi Ron,

I do not know much about the subject so I should probably not offer an opinion, but because you asked

I agree that humans are the problem and believe that fewer humans (as in reduced population) will improve the situation. Will humans choose to protect some of the mega fauna, until population falls to a more sustainable level? I have no idea.

Is it possible? I would say yes.
High probability? My guess would be no (less than a 66% probability).

So I do not have a prediction for the Earth's megafauna in 2100, except to say I doubt your prediction that we will be reduced to rats and mice, etc. is correct. This is no doubt because I believe there will be a gradual transition to a more sustainable society. I believe some of the mega fauna might be preserved until human population falls to 1 billion or so (by 2150 to 2200). Most likely in North America, Scandanavia, and Siberia, and perhaps in the Himalaya and parts of South America. The rapid expansion of population in Africa makes it less likely the megafauna will survive there.

I am using the 40 kg cutoff for megafauna, though there are many definitions.

Note that some would consider cornucopian an insult.

Certainly I do not think fossil fuels are as abundant as those who believe scenarios such as the RCP8.5 scenario (with about 5000 Pg of carbon emissions) are plausible.

I also do not believe resources are unlimited or infinitely substitutable, which tends to be the cornucopian viewpoint. There is great need to utilize resources more efficiently and to recycle as much as possible (cradle to grave manufacturing should be required by law).

Now if you define cornucopian as someone who is less pessimistic than you, then I am by that definition a cornucopian. 🙂

I am certainly more optimistic than you, but if we all agreed there would be little to discuss.

Clearly the future is unclear.

The outlook for the wild megafauna is tragic and we should do what we can to preserve species diversity. Getting human population to peak and decline would improve the situation of other species, but I share your pessimism that this will be enough, I am just less pessimistic than you.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:53 pm
I believe some of the mega fauna might be preserved until human population falls to 1 billion or so (by 2150 to 2200).

Okay, let's do the math. It looks like the world will reach 9 billion people by 2050. Then if it were to fall to 1 billion by 2150, that would be a decline of 80,000,000 per year or 219,178 per day. That is deaths above births. That would be a catastrophic collapse by any stretch of the imagination. And of course, most of those deaths would be by starvation. And for sure, as I said before, we would eat the songbirds out of the trees.

Hell, if that scenario takes place, there will likely be no rats left. No, no, no, Dennis, please forgive me. You are definitely not a cornucopian. Oh God, how could I have been so wrong?

GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 4:19 pm
The most rapid population decreases have been from disease. A few bouts of virulent diseases in a world with little medical help and control could dramatically reduce population.

Population Collapse in Mexico (Down to about 5% in a century)

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 5:14 pm
Hi Ron,

See chart below. If total fertility ratio (TFR) falls to 1.5 by 2050 then population can fall from 9 billion to 4.5 billion by 2125 and to 2.25 billion by 2200 and to 1 billion by 2300, a fall in TFR to 1.25 (South Korea is about 1.26) would result in more rapid population decline. It is not clear how low TFR can go for the World, it was cut in half in 40 years, whether that can continue so that 1.27 is reached in 2055 is unknown. This scenario assumes life expectancy rises to no higher than 90 for the World.

Deaths would be natural rather than from starvation, this is just a matter of people choosing to have fewer children as is the case today in many East Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan and in many European nations as well.

Education for women and access to birth control and electrification (watch tv, instead of other forms of entertainment leading to increased family size), and empowerment of women in general will reduce population growth. Higher income also helps.

Chart from paper linked below

http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/10438/1/28-39.pdf

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:27 pm
Keeping things in perspective, why not go with the experts until they're proven wrong?

WORLD POPULATION LIKELY TO SURPASS 11 BILLION IN 2100

"American Statistical Association. "World population likely to surpass 11 billion in 2100: US population projected to grow by 40 percent over next 85 years."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150810110634.htm

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:36 pm
THERE'S A STRONG CHANCE THAT ONE-THIRD OF ALL PEOPLE WILL BE AFRICAN BY 2100

The combination of declining mortality and relatively high fertility is the driver of rapid population growth in Africa. Even if fertility would continue to decline, as assumed by the UN medium scenario, it will not bring down the growth rate in the near future, let alone halt population growth. This is because of "demographic inertia". And this is because Africa has a high proportion of young adults of reproductive age. Even if each one had very few children, the number of births would remain high.

http://theconversation.com/theres-a-strong-chance-that-one-third-of-all-people-will-be-african-by-2100-84576

Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 7:52 pm
We are all African– it's just some of us have been gone for a while.
(well if you are east of the Wallace Line, you are part Denisovan, and west, part Neanderthal and a species we haven't discovered yet)
Synapsid says: 12/03/2017 at 12:24 pm
Hightrekker,

The Neanderthals and Denisovans are of African descent too, so African we are.

It's turtles all the way down.

Doug Leighton says: 12/03/2017 at 12:47 pm
"It's turtles all the way down." LOL Exactly!
GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 9:22 pm
Here is how the year 2000 looked like to the people of 1900.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-boston-globe-of-1900-imagines-the-year-2000-97021464/

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 6:32 pm
Dennis, you are assuming that the population will alter their fertility rates to a lower value. Yes, that has already happened in developed countries. The fertility rates in undeveloped countries are still controlled by what their economy and environment will bear.

The vast majority of the human population lives in undeveloped countries. They will continue to push, push, push against the very limits of their existence. And that will still be the case 50 years from now, and 100 years from now, and 150 years from now.

There are reasons the fertility rate is dropping in developed countries. Female empowerment, contraception, and so on. There are entirely different reasons the fertility rate is dropping in undeveloped countries. Poor nutrition, almost no prenatal care and so on. Also, much higher infant death rate helps keep the population in check. Please check my chart above from the Population Reference Bureau.

I think that if you could just live just one year in Bangladesh, or the Congo, or Zimbabwe, or . you would have an entirely different outlook. You would be forced to take off those rose-colored glasses.

Again, check the Population Reference Bureau chart above.

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:38 pm
" if you could just live just one year in Bangladesh, or the Congo, or Zimbabwe, or . you would have an entirely different outlook. You would be forced to take off those rose-colored glasses."

Wouldn't take a year, one week would do it: even keeping the rose-colored glasses on. 🙂

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 9:07 pm
I spent a bit of time on leave in "Liberated Burma"/Karen State shortly after the fall of Manerplaw. A week would do it, however I was there for about 3 months. I haven't had a bad day since.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 10:03 pm
Got chased out of Myanmar by someone with a AK, lucky I wasn't a captive. Walked across from Masi.
It wasn't the best idea I've ever had.
Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 10:44 pm
I linked up with some folks in Mae Sot on the Thai side. It was well planned before hand. There's was a lot of back and forth across the border in those days. Did some long range mobile medical patrols in Karen and Karenni State. Got chased around by Tatmadaw/SLORC a bit. When I was 25 that was my idea of a good time. Yeah, kinda fucked I know.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 10:58 pm
Yea --
I was the only Farang around in Masi, and everyone else was going back and forth.
Very interesting place.
That was a long time ago, in a land far, far away.
It would be impossible in the homogeneous police state we are currently inhabiting.
Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 11:09 am
Hi Doug and Ron,

I spent about 5 months hitchhiking through North and West Africa in 1981-2. Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Gabon, Republic of Congo, and Zaire (as it was known in 1982).

The TFR of half the World's population as of 2015 is less than 2. The World TFR decreased from 5.02 in 1965 to 2.51 in 2015.

Different experts have different opinions

https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/11/population-paradigm-wolfgang-lutz-education-effect/

and

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Lutz

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/WorldPopulation/News/170109-GSDR.html

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 2:32 pm
The problem I see with fertility rates is the same problem I see with planting trees. Even though I support a foundation to plant trees I realize that future changes could allow people to wipe out those and other trees very quickly, thus rendering the effort useless. I also realize the preserved areas of nature and wilderness could quickly disappear or be irreparably harmed by government decree, war and material/food pressures.
The same goes with lower fertility rates. Since they are only based on decisions and not biological, the lower rates could reverse quite quickly. Just stress the population and see how fast it will change.
Once people realize that technological progress is an empty dead system that moves us to an empty dead world, birth rates will climb quickly.

Rather than adding to our knowledge, Tompkins argues computers and smartphones represent "deskilling devices; they make us dumber. We're immersed in a system that now requires the use of a cell phone just to get around, just to function and so the logic of that cell phone has been imposed on us.

"The computer is a mechanism for acceleration, it accelerates economic activity and this is eating up the world. It's eating up resources, it's processing, it's manufacturing, it's distributing, it's consuming. That's what the computer's real work does and it does that 24/7, 365 days a year, non-stop just to satisfy our own narrow needs."

Tompkins foresees a dark future dominated as he puts it by more ugliness, damaged landscapes, extinct species, extreme poverty, and lack of equity and says humanity faces a stark choice; either to transition now to a different system or face a painful collapse.

"The extinction crisis is the mother of all crises. There will be no society, there will be no economy, there will be no art and culture on a dead planet basically. We've stopped evolution."

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/technology-stopped-evolution-destroying-world

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 2:51 pm
Rather than adding to our knowledge, Tompkins argues computers and smartphones represent "deskilling devices; they make us dumber. We're immersed in a system that now requires the use of a cell phone just to get around, just to function and so the logic of that cell phone has been imposed on us.

So put the damn cell phones to better use. They can also make us smarter They can be used to track illegal logging in endangered rain forests. The fact that I have a device in my pocket that gives me access to all of human knowledge and access to GPS does not make me dumber.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=5Fju_wOaV3Y

When a tree calls for help | Topher White | TEDxCERN

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 3:35 pm
Really? You have cell service in the rain forests? I barely have cell service where I live and it disappears totally between the mountains near me. I don't need electronic mapping and GPS to get around so no problem for me.
Let the rest feel nervous as they get out of touch. For many it's a disaster if they lose their phones, fully dependent.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 5:26 pm
I don't need electronic mapping and GPS to get around so no problem for me.

I actually learned how to use a sextant and a compass but GPS is available so I admit that I do use it upon occasion.

In any case my point was that it is possible to use technology for purposes other than tweeting or posting selfies of oneself to Facebook every ten minutes.

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 8:44 pm
Fred, they are highly capable machines but just machines. How they are used is determined by the machine and the operator interface.
I could go on for hours how they have had very bad effects on personal time and personal interactions. For many people life is a series of texts and phone calls with real time life being the background now. Interruptions are the norm now. Sacrilege is when they have to turn them off.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 8:57 pm
You won't fix stupid no matter how hard you try

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cznepJAbyg

Texting and walking fails compilation

notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 9:56 pm
@Fred
I come close to nailing a textwalker or walkytalky nearly every time I am out on my bike. SOP, watch out for the buggers. It amazes me that people are unable to move about (foot, moto, car, bus, truck) without a phone in their hand.

NAOM

Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 3:13 pm
A question for Dennis Coyne, or any other cornucopian who believes renewable energy will save the world from economic collapse, at least for the next 200 years or so.

Ok, I'll take a nibble!

First of all, why do we have to accept the current definition of what the economy has to be? All of nature has existed on renewable energy since the beginning of life on this planet 3.8 billion years ago, so obviously the problem isn't renewable energy. If it were, life wouldn't even exist. The extractive, linear growth based neo liberal idea of the economy that we have come to accept as normal, is a relatively recent construct that was created by a small group of people at the beginning of the 20th century and it certainly is an aberration! Personally I don't think it is worth saving.

That economy will certainly collapse and no energy source can ever make it sustainable. Therefore it will by definition collapse. However there is nothing that says we need to continue on that path. There are indeed choices that people and societies can make. Even to the point of something that is considered radical and taboo like limiting population growth. (that is a separate dissertation from my point here)

With regards alternative economic thinking maybe start with Kate Raeworth. Not everyone in the world who has ideas that are out of the box are automatically naive cornucopians.

How to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. 45:00 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR1Wy7ZAgY0

What is the goal of economics? Does GDP really tell us all we need to know about a country's wealth and well-being? Our guest in this show argues that our economic system should be designed to meet everyone's needs, while living within the means of the planet.

Kate Raworth is the author of the acclaimed book 'Doughnut Economics', and she will join us in the studio for an exploration of a new 21st century economic model and why she believes so many economists have got it wrong for so long.

The implications of her Doughnut Economics are profound and and can be read and embraced as a roadmap for change not just by experts or economists, but by everyone! This is a chance to challenge her with your questions and critiques.

If you want to think a bit more about how ideas like E.O. Wilson's Half Earth might look here's a TED talk that touches on it.

Nature is everywhere -- we just need to learn to see it 16:00 minutes

https://www.ted.com/talks/emma_marris_nature_is_everywhere_we_just_need_to_learn_to_see_it#t-779393

How do you define "nature?" If we define it as that which is untouched by humans, then we won't have any left, says environmental writer Emma Marris. She urges us to consider a new definition of nature -- one that includes not only pristine wilderness but also the untended patches of plants growing in urban spaces -- and encourages us to bring our children out to touch and tinker with it, so that one day they might love and protect it.

Emma Marris is a writer focusing on environmental science, policy and culture, with an approach that she paints as being "more interested in finding and describing solutions than delineating problems, and more interested in joy than despair."

I agree with Gone Fishing, we do have choices! There are people all over the world who are making them.

david higham says: 12/03/2017 at 7:28 pm
Regarding the first paragraph of your reply. Conflating the functioning of ecosystems
using the renewable energy from the sun with the 'Renewable Energy' required by industrial civilisation is a common mistake. The energy from the sun is renewable.
The infrastructure required to collect and store that energy requires the mining of the
requisite minerals,transportation,smelting,manufacturing,installation. The energy
required for all of that is supplied by fossil fuels. All of that infrastructure,and all of the
rest of the human-constructed industrial world,has to be rebuilt. Solar panels last
about 25-30 years. Wind Turbines about 50 years. Our industrial constructed world
has an immense amount of embedded fossil fuel energy. The mineral density of many ores are declining now,which means that the energy required to extract a given amount of mineral is increasing. I haven't done much reading on this site. No doubt someone has posted this link before. It gives a good idea of the scale of the construction required.
Natural ecosystems are quite different. The energy collection occurs using biodegradable
and recyclable materials,without the energy input of fossil fuels.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil
notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 8:49 pm
You don't seem to have come across the concept of recycling.

NAOM

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 9:20 pm
This is just the typical FF anti-renewable blurb slightly rewritten. It has more holes in than Swiss cheese.
david higham says: 12/03/2017 at 9:50 pm
Have a read of the numbers in the link. All recycling requires energy. I don't know if anyone has done an analysis of the amount of energy
required,but it would be very large. It is also worth remembering that some of the minerals in that infrastructure are difficult to separate and
recycle.
notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 11:03 pm
Plenty of people have investigated recycling and are doing it. You obviously haven't. Even the Giga-Factory is building a recycling facility.

On the personal level, I have just replaced my washing machine and stove as the old ones were falling apart – literally. The stove is ready to go to the local recycler where it will be separated and then sent to be melted back to new steel. The washer will be checked over by a refurbisher who will decide if he can use it or it's parts and what is left will go to the recycler. Simple. All my waste metal goes to the recycler but, unfortunately, we have no glass recycling so that just has to go to land fill.

NAOM

Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 11:04 pm
Diet pills?
Kinda makes sense.

Elton John blares so loudly on Donald Trump's campaign plane that staffers can't hear themselves think. Press secretary Hope Hicks uses a steamer to press Trump's pants -- while he is still wearing them. Trump screams at his top aides, who are subjected to expletive-filled tirades in which they get their "face ripped off."

And Trump's appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald's, with a dinner order consisting of "two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."
[ ]

In another episode, Lewandowski describes how staffer Sam Nunberg was purposely left behind at a McDonald's because Nunberg's special-order burger was taking too long. "Leave him," Trump said. "Let's go." And they did.

Trump's fast-food diet is a theme. "On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke," the authors write.

The plane's cupboards were stacked with Vienna Fingers, potato chips, pretzels and many packages of Oreos because Trump, a renowned germaphobe, would not eat from a previously opened package.

The book notes that "the orchestrating and timing of Mr. Trump's meals was as important as any other aspect of his march to the presidency," and describes the elaborate efforts that Lewandowski and other top aides went through to carefully time their delivery of hot fast food to Trump's plane as he was departing his rallies.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.de/2017/12/hes-got-to-be-on-diet-pills.html

Hillary says: 12/03/2017 at 12:44 am
"two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."

Oh let there be a god

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 11:01 am
One of the biggest problems we face as population and industry grows is obtaining enough fresh water. Sure there is a lot of water on the planet, but it is mostly salty.

Marcia Barbosa talks about the many anomalies of water and how exploiting them with nano-tubes could help address the problem of freshwater shortages.

Marcia Barbosa has a PhD in physics from Brazil's Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, where she is now the director of its Physics Institute. She studies the complex structure of the water molecule, and has developed a series of models of its properties which may contribute to our understanding of how earthquakes occur, how proteins fold, and could play an important role in generating cleaner energy and treating diseases. She is actively involved in promoting Women in Physics and was named the 2013 L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards Laureate for Latin America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OLFwkfPxCg

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 11:36 am
Tks, GF!
LOL! I'm head over heels in love with her!
I kept imagining her giving her talk to this sound track 😉
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wunq6YlcSX0
Can you see all the dancers dressed as raindrops on a Samba Float in a Carnival Parade?
Doug Leighton says: 12/03/2017 at 4:36 pm
Fred – As you know my bag is astrophysics, with climate change denial being merely irritating BUT when I see science news headlines like the following then I really get pissed off, or feel sick. Who gives a shit if Earth can "carry" 7 or 9 or 11 billion people when dolphins & elephants are relegated to "bush meat" and when species are disappearing at increasingly alarming rates. You're probably the only one here qualified to assess this issue so please give us your thoughts.

CURRENT EXTINCTION RATE 10 TIMES WORSE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

"Life on earth is remarkably diverse. Globally, it is estimated that there are 8.7 million species living on our planet, excluding bacteria. Unfortunately, human activities are wiping out many species and it's been known for some time that we are increasing the rate of species extinction. But just how dire is the situation? According to a new study, it's 10 times worse than scientists previously thought with current extinction rates 1,000 times higher than natural background rates."

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/current-extinction-rate-10-times-worse-previously-thought/

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 5:37 pm
Doug, if you get a chance, watch the ASU Origins project debates to which I have posted links recently addressing the topic of extinction. This is a very serious cross disciplinary discussion and can't really be done justice in a quick response here. It probably necessitates a full post of similar length to Ron's.

Here is a very short teaser.

Origins Project Highlight: Elizabeth Kolbert on Climate Change & Mars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLusJDXY5SZhWUbALfqiDpk9NGmIoT4n48&v=zTXHcNNiPk4

Link to ASU Origins Project home page:
https://origins.asu.edu/

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 7:53 pm
I look on space habitats as being trapped inside a giant iron lung. Exploration is one thing, but actually thinking of Mars as a possible home for humans is just sad.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 8:19 pm
Couldn't agree more! And that's from someone who lived and worked in a hyperbaric chamber as a saturation diver on oil rigs. I'd say that is pretty close to living in an iron lung as well 😉

The part about going to Mars that has always bothered me is the radiation exposure.

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 9:17 pm
Plenty of dangerous and exciting exploring, work and research to do right here on Earth.

[Nov 10, 2017] 600,000 Bpd At Risk As Venezuela Delays The Inevitable by Nick Cunningham

Nov 10, 2017 | oilprice.com

For the oil markets, the implications are pretty significant. Venezuela has already lost an estimated 20,000 bpd each month for the past year, according to Reuters estimates. And in September, Venezuela's output plunged by more than 50,000 bpd compared to a month earlier. Production could fall by an additional 240,000 bpd in 2018, a decline made worse by U.S. sanctions.

But that isn't even the worst-case scenario. A default could set off a scramble to seize Venezuela's overseas assets. That could lead to much steeper production declines. One OPEC source told Reuters that they see a potential for production declines on the order of 300,000 to 600,000 bpd next year.

[Oct 29, 2017] One third of ECB bond buys were for bonds with negative yields. So those guys not only loaned money to the company, they paid the company interest for holding the bond.

Notable quotes:
"... And this is cool. As of July of last year, 35% of all ECB bond buys (aka lending to private companies with money from nothingness) were of individual bonds with -- get this -- negative yields. They not only loaned money to the company, they paid the company interest for holding the bond. ..."
"... And y'all think money is a meaningful metric for the overall circumstance of oil flow. hahahahahhaah How can it be? Schlumberger!!! Hell, they are funding US shale flow with money from nothingness. ..."
Oct 29, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher says: 10/27/2017 at 10:44 am

Not gonna scroll. Found some ECB corporate bond buys. Specific companies.

Daimler
Deutsche Bahn no idea what that is
BMW
Eni (!!!!!)
Air Liquide
Schlumberger (!!!!!)
Total (!!!!!)

The specific bond serial number (in the US it would be called CUSIP-like) of each purchase is known. The buy takes place on the secondary market. Much the same way the Fed never bought Treasury issuance direct from Treasury. There was always a go between -- which essentially means nothing. This was never discussed about Mort. Backed Securities. Bought them from who had them -- at about 1000X market price.

And this is cool. As of July of last year, 35% of all ECB bond buys (aka lending to private companies with money from nothingness) were of individual bonds with -- get this -- negative yields. They not only loaned money to the company, they paid the company interest for holding the bond.

And y'all think money is a meaningful metric for the overall circumstance of oil flow. hahahahahhaah How can it be? Schlumberger!!! Hell, they are funding US shale flow with money from nothingness.

[May 30, 2017] Looks like the Chinese have been filling their SPR over the last two years

May 30, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
George Kaplan says: 05/24/2017 at 9:57 am
There's a plausible sounding theory, even though posted on Zero Hedge, that the Chinese have been filling their SPR over the last two years, and that is about to stop. This would mostly account for why OECD storage levels only took about 35% of the supply-demand imbalance. If they do stop then about 1 mmbpd of demand would suddenly be lost, but it might also imply that the real economy demand growth in the period since January 2015 has only been half what it looks to have been. Taking account of the sudden drop and a slower growth in demand would mean a longer time would be needed to draw down OECD stocks. However if the China SPR scenario is correct then almost all the drawdown would come from OECD. By my reckoning this would push a balancing out to late 2018 (although by then we may be seeing some bigger supply drops as the pipeline for new project start-ups will be drying up). But if the balancing is pushed out then the chances of many FIDs this year or next will decline and the possibility of a sudden supply crunch in 2019 through 2022 would be greater. The green curve below gives possible drawdown under this scenario. The red one was a previous assumption that the OECD stocks would be drawn down at only about 35% of the imbalance (as happened when they were rising). I seemed a bit iffy when I fitted it that way, and I think the China SPR filling is a better explanation.

Watcher says: 05/24/2017 at 6:00 pm
SPRs in general try to have 90 days of domestic consumption in them. This was a standard put into place mostly in Europe. China has embraced it.

The US at 750ish million barrels and having a consumption (net of production) of about 11 million bpd (remember, this is real stuff . . . consumption, no refinery gain BS allowed) and so not quite 70 days domestic consumption.

China, at net consumption of about 7 million bpd X 90 needs an SPR of 630 million barrels. That's about what they have, but of course with 5% consumption growth they'll have to adjust up, but for now . . . all is well.

There probably is no flow in or out of China for SPR reasons. Already full. Have been for a while.

Dennis Coyne says: 05/25/2017 at 12:30 pm
Hi Watcher,

Crude inputs to refineries and blenders was 16.2 Mb/d for the 2016 average.

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pnp_inpt_dc_nus_mbblpd_a.htm

So 700/16.2 is 43 days for SPR alone. For commercial crude stocks plus SPR it is 1200 Mb so 1200/16.2=74 days.

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_stoc_wstk_dcu_nus_m.htm

George Kaplan says: 05/25/2017 at 2:29 pm
This is the chart Zero Hedge had, or linked to – the key is Xinhua CFC, who have Chinese data not otherwise available and charge a lot of money for it. I don't know how you'd go about checking if it's correct.

Energy News says: 05/26/2017 at 4:26 am
Hello, don't forget that Xinhua doesn't publish China's SPR figures. The SPR figure in the chart is an estimate based on (Production + Imports – Refinery Inputs). I'm not sure if all the teapots are included in the official refinery data.

I think Zero Hedge borrowed the chart from here:
Scotiabank pdf file: http://www.gbm.scotiabank.com/scpt/gbm/scotiaeconomics63/SCPI_2017-04-12.pdf

Latest figures from Xinhua news agency
2017-05-26 Chinese oil inventories month/month April changes: crude +1.64%, oil products -7.87% (gasoline -0.27%, diesel -14.4%) – OGP/BBG

Chart showing March

Energy News says: 05/26/2017 at 8:49 am
China's April diesel stocks fall for second straight month -Xinhua
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL4N1IS2EJ
George Kaplan says: 05/26/2017 at 1:54 pm
So are the numbers you are posting supporting or not the Zero Hedge theory and/or my projection based on it? And if not why?
Energy News says: 05/27/2017 at 1:34 pm
I guess that Chinese demand must be higher than estimated. Like this article was suggesting

Bloomberg – October 11th 2016
China's appetite for oil.
Fuel use grew by about 5 percent in the first half of 2016, according to China's biggest oil refiner, faster than the 0.4 percent derived from government data. That "official" number is clouded by rising gasoline exports - blends that don't show up in official figures, according to the International Energy Agency, Sinopec Group and Energy Aspects Ltd.
Chinese authorities are also having trouble tracking refinery activity because of the surge of processing by independent refiners, known as teapots, according to Energy Aspects' Meidan.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-10/gasoline-cocktails-mix-with-gaps-in-data-to-cloud-china-oil-view ?

[Apr 17, 2017] China crude oil imports increased to a record 9.21mb/day in March 2017 versus 8.32mb/day in February 2017

Apr 17, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
Energy News says: 04/15/2017 at 10:35 am
China crude oil imports increased to a record 9.21mb/day in March 2017 versus 8.32mb/day in February 2017 (7.33 barrels per ton conversion) – Chinese customs data. I guess China is still filling it's SPR.

Before I had read this I had been wondering why news articles were saying that world oil inventories had decreased a little. Inventories often build into April. Also news agencies estimates are still saying that OPEC oil exports are holding steady and have not decreased in line with their production cuts, I guess that they have been exporting from their inventories.

inventory declines, news clips

Reuters Apr 11, 2017 – Nordic bank SEB said global oil inventories in weekly data have dropped by 42 million barrels in the last four weeks.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-oil-opec-storage-idUKKBN17D1NH

Bloomberg 2017-04-04 – Since mid-February, between 10 million and 20 million barrels have left the Caribbean
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-03/oil-traders-said-to-drain-caribbean-hoards-as-opec-impact-hits

Clipper Data Apr 6, 2017 – This week we have seen Iranian barrels drop to 5 million barrels, while barrels offshore of United Arab Emirates have halved in the last week, dropping to just under 10 million barrels.
http://blog.clipperdata.com/floating-storage-holding-up-despite-iran-drop

[Feb 21, 2017] Chinese oil demand growth

Feb 21, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

Reuters calculated Chinese oil demand growth of 2.5% in 2016, based on official data-a three-year low-down from 3.1% in 2015."

> > > > > > > >

[Feb 12, 2017] Wall Street Pouring Money Back Into Oil And Gas

Feb 12, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Nick Cunningham via OilPrice.com, Despite the near record increase in U.S. oil inventories last week – an increase of 13.8 million barrels – oil prices traded up on February 8 and 9 as traders pinned their hopes on a surprise drawdown in gasoline stocks, which provided some evidence of stronger-than-expected demand. The abnormal crude stock increase took inventories close to 80-year record levels at 508 million barrels, and is another bit of damming evidence that should worry oil bulls. But the oil markets were not deterred. In fact, that has been a defining characteristic of the market in recent weeks – optimism even in the face of some pretty worrying signals about the trajectory of the market "adjustment" process. More signs of optimism abound. Wall Street is pouring the most money into oil and gas companies in the U.S. since at least 2000, according to Bloomberg. In January alone, drillers and oilfield service companies raised $6.64 billion in 13 different equity offerings. "The mood is absolutely different," Trey Stolz, an analyst at the investment banking firm Coker & Palmer Inc., told Bloomberg. "Go back to a year ago and the knife was still falling. But today, it feels much, much better."

[Jan 28, 2017] Crude Oil: So Much For That Rally by Johanna Bennett

Notable quotes:
"... Light, sweet crude for March delivery recently fell 90 cents, or 1.67%, to $52.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, brent, the global benchmark, dropped $1.02, or 1.8%, to $55.22 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. ..."
"... We believe the market will soon get the catalyst it has been waiting for to push higher – better inventory stats. Getting ahead of this catalyst is a good risk-reward proposition in our view. ..."
blogs.barrons.com
If you were hoping crude oil prices would end the week on a positive note after yesterday's rally, you're likely to be disappointed.

U.S. and brent crude futures fell Friday as worries about U.S. drilling activity once again weighed on the market following the release of data showing that the number of active rigs rose for a second consecutive week.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery recently fell 90 cents, or 1.67%, to $52.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, brent, the global benchmark, dropped $1.02, or 1.8%, to $55.22 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Crude prices have oscillated between gains and losses over the past several weeks as investor sentiment has shifted almost daily. OPEC and its allies have so far followed through on promised production cuts, yet fears linger that U.S. drilling will hurt efforts to curb global supply.

Crude prices settled Thursday at their highest prices in several weeks. But today's decline pushed futures contacts into the red for the week. If U.S. and brent crude contracts settle at current levels, prices will fall more than 0.6% for the week.

But Vikas Dwivedi and his team at Macquaire recommend increasing oil exposure, pointing to a tightening sour crude market and storage trends. But he warns that 2018 looks challenging.

We believe the market will soon get the catalyst it has been waiting for to push higher – better inventory stats. Getting ahead of this catalyst is a good risk-reward proposition in our view. However, we caution against turning a rally into a structural trade. Our balances indicate the market is oversupplied again in 2018. Key 2018 drivers include the return of approximately 1.2 MM BPD of post-deal (OPEC and NOPEC ex U.S.) supply and 0.6 MM BPD of U.S. supply growth + global.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR Energy ETF (XLE) fell 1.3% in recent market action, while the iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE) dropped 1.2%.

Elsewhere in the ETF realm, the United States Oil Fund (USO) declined almost 1.8% and the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN (OIL lost 2%. The U.S. Brent Oil Fund (BNO) also fell 2%.

[Jan 11, 2017] What percentage of US oil consumption is food transtoration

Jan 11, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 11:36 am
What % of US oil consumption is food transport? This got tricky quickly.

Average US person eats about 5.4 pounds of food a day. That's just the food. Average meal travels 1500 miles to reach your mouth.

First tricky item - packaging. It has to transport, too. Amazing variance on this. Glass jar of pickles vs paper around candy bars. The only estimate out there is numbers for municipal solid waste and estimates of % of that is food packaging. Year 2000 US waste generation 4.5 pounds/day/person, and growing. Probably over 6 by now based on the curve, but will use 5 lbs/day cuz round number.

31% of that is packaging and half of that number is food packaging. Some 2006 study. So 15% of 5 lbs a day is 0.75 pounds added to the 5.4 pounds of food is 6.15 pounds shipped a day per person.

For 1500 miles.

Eyeballing some charts looks like typical/average truck hauling weight for stuff hauled is 60,000 lbs. Typical diesel mileage 6 miles/gallon.

6.15 pounds X 320 million mouths = about 2 billion pounds of food moved each day
1500 miles / 6 = 250 gallons truck burned
2 billion lbs / 60,000 lbs = 33,333 truck trips X 250 gallons/truck trip = 198.4K bpd to move food.

Ain't much. Maybe there's an error in there. Top of my head . . . things not included, hauling spare parts for the food moving trucks, spare parts for the packaging gizmos, plastic packaging, agricultural consumption itself.

[Edit] Blurb says 17% of total US oil use is agricultural, up and downstream (fertilizer plus fuel). This would be far more than food transport.

Oldfarmermac says: 01/10/2017 at 12:26 pm
I am suspicious of that fifteen hundred mile figure, but it may be accurate. Or it may have assumed a life of it's own, after being tossed out by one or two people who really just guessed at it.

Most of the food that is produced in truly huge amounts, staple food, is shipped by water, and or by rail, if it travels a LONG way. A VERY limited amount of food, in relation to the total amount, is air freighted.

Here in the USA, it's not too likely that very much in the way of unprocessed or processed staple food is shipped more than a thousand miles by truck. Exceptions will be mostly fresh high retail value produce, shipped as directly and quickly as possible from grower to retailer.

The REAL food miles come at the very tail end of the distribution chain. I never owned an eighteen wheeler, but I did once own a C70 Chevy which would legally haul about sixteen thousand pounds of apples to market. The farthest local growers usually go with their own truck of this sort is about a hundred miles, one way. Thirty gallons of diesel would take me that far, and home again.

The people who actually bought my apples at retail, after they were picked up at the wholesale market and delivered around town in smaller trucks, usually bought no more than five pounds at a time.

I'm guessing, pulling numbers out of my hat, but I suppose a typical shoppers average grocery purchase weighs from about twenty five to thirty pounds, up to a hundred pounds,depending on family size, and is made on roughly a weekly basis, on average.

And I'm guessing that the average trip to the super market is at least six to ten miles, round trip. THAT's where the food miles really pile up. A liter of gasoline burnt to get fifty pounds home, the last five miles, times around a hundred million households, times fifty weeks, adds up. FAST.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 1:58 pm
Maybe. The pickle jar weighs a LOT and there's not much food weight part of that. The whole packaging thing is a significant thing, and that's another food item I didn't include, disposal of it.

I'm going to guess the 1500 mile thing came from the coasts' pop centers and their daily bread from Iowa and Nebraska. The various websites talking about this like to talk about a head of Imperial Valley California lettuce going to England. X calories burned for 1 or two calories delivered to the mouth. But that sort of thing definitely would drag the average up. 1500 miles maybe is legit.

I am surprised the total transport is south of 1 mbpd, if it truly is. As for shipping, I can't see Iowa bread going to NYC any way but by truck. Not going to fly it there. And the canals don't reach.

Everybody driving the last 5 miles to the store . . . maybe that really doesn't show in the diesel calc. Oh! Of course. The issue is not diesel. It's the 60,000 pounds per trip. A car is carrying the much lower weight per your estimate. Will redo.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 3:20 pm
14 billion pounds of food move the last 5 miles by car per week, probably at 150 lbs per weekly load (family of 4 at 6 lbs/day/mouth incl packaging)

14 billion / 150 lbs = 93 million car trips per week.

5 miles in a 25 mpg car is 0.2 gallons. X 93 million /7 and /42 = an additional 63,000 bpd from the car trips added to the trucks above. About 260K bpd for food transport.

Hmmm of course if it's 5 miles each way that's a X 2 on the 63K. And SUVs for that trip, not a Datsun. Might be up nudging 400K.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 8:07 pm
It occurs to me that Pepsi and Coke may not be food, and they are heavy.

I'm having problems with this 400ish K number because the famous 2004 pie chart of US oil consumption said 65% transportation, and of that 65% it was only 37% passenger cars, 18% heavy trucks and 27% light trucks (sums to 45%), and that was before SUVs (called light trucks) had swept up sales. Though F-150s may have arrived.

0.37 X 0.65 is only 24% of consumption. Trucks light and heavy rather more. So what are they hauling. Food as a daily consumable would seem to be the dominant hauled stuff, but apparently not.

Oldfarmermac says: 01/10/2017 at 5:18 pm
Most of the grain or flour that goes from the midwest to the northeast probably gets there by rail, where it will then be baked into bread, packaged, and shipped by truck to food distribution centers, or directly to supermarkets. But the distribution center food warehouse seems to rule these days, because it's better to load a truck up to the doors with a variety of stuff all destined for one address or maybe two or three, than it is to have a truck stop to deliver bread and nothing but bread to a bunch of different stores. That means a lot more total time and miles invested in stop and go driving, compared to the one stop load. That still happens, but not as often as in the past.

Grain is milled into flour near where it's grown, when possible, because this reduces total shipping costs, being that the weight and volume of flour is less than the weight of whole unprocessed grain, plus the tailings are used mostly in livestock rations, and customer for that product is most definitely NOT in NYC, lol.

Most of the cows,hogs and chickens we eat are raised in confinement, and are raised in the mid west and southeast, closer to the feed supply, and where land and water are cheaper, and neighbors less fussy, and mostly in localities where neighbors are relatively few in number.

Nobody's ever going to operate a modern supersize hog farm anywhere close to the BIG APPLE, 😉

clueless says: 01/10/2017 at 2:08 pm
Watcher's conclusion is probably right – not much fuel used to transport food compared to the total available. On the other hand, some random thoughts. 5.4 pounds/day/person is too high. Babies, young children, seniors, etc. Second, the 1500 miles is too high. Some of the basics make up a significant amount of the weight – like liquid milk, along with other dairy products, cheese and eggs. These products generally will never go 1500 miles. Vegetables, seafood, fruit, etc yes. But, chicken, pork and beef – I think that 1500 miles is too high.

OOPS! Of the 5.4 lbs, 30% – 40% is wasted.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 3:16 pm
Pre oil, railroad cars had no refrigeration to speak of in summer months. That's where the term cattle car came from. Had to ship beef alive to the cities.

40-50% of a steer by weight is not edible.

Oldfarmermac says: 01/10/2017 at 6:04 pm
I am not at all sure just HOW much of a cow winds up as nekkid ape chow these days, but YOU most definitely don't WANT to know much about what goes into processed meat products, if you plan on eating them.

Fifty years ago when I had the "insider tour" of a huge and extremely famous hog slaugher plant that you get only by personal invitation from management,even back then, they bragged about selling everything but the squeal.

I'm pretty sure that well over fifty percent of the live weight of a cow winds up as nekkid ape chow these days, but how much over I can't say. Fifty to fifty five percent would be a reasonable guess. Farmers have been breeding cows for more milk and meat, and less waste, since the beginning. For the last seventy five years or so, this breeding has been based on high tech such as artificial insemination, a solid understanding of genetics, and very sharp pencils. So a typical cow TODAY is going to yield significantly more more than she did a decade or two back.

[Jan 08, 2017] Long carbon based energy perspectives

Jan 08, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
texas tea says: 01/05/2017 at 5:00 pm
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/01/05/energy-and-society-from-now-until-2040/

long carbon based energy

Key conclusions of the report:

Developing countries, like China and India are urbanizing and their populations are becoming more affluent, this will increase global energy demand 24% by 2040. This includes the ExxonMobil prediction that energy use efficiency will double (figure 4).

The world population will increase from 7.3 billion today to over 9 billion in 2040, with a much larger middle class population (defined as >$14,600 and <$29,200 yearly for a family of 4) using energy than today. World GDP will effectively double by 2040. Living standards will rise dramatically, especially in the developing world.

Natural gas consumption will increase 54 quadrillion BTUs by 2040. Nuclear and renewables will increase 24 and 20 quadrillion BTUs, respectively. The 2040 energy mix will remain about the same as today (figure 5 and Table 1).

Rising electricity demand will drive the growth in global energy between now and 2040. The increase in the number of homes with electricity, industrialization of the developing world and our increasingly digital and plugged-in lifestyles will drive this growth. Half of global electricity demand is from industrial activity; thus good jobs can be lost if electricity costs are too high. Jobs will move to locations where electricity is cheap, an example is the new Voestalpine steel plant in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Crude oil and natural gas will remain the world's primary energy source. Even in 2040 oil and natural gas will supply 57% of all energy demand, this is an increase from 56% today. Oil demand will grow 18% through 2040 and natural gas demand will grow 44%. The developing world will account for the largest increases. Unconventional ("fracked") oil and gas, oil ("tar") sands, and deep water oil production will account for over 25% of the liquid supply in 2040.
Carbon dioxide emissions will increase, at least until 2030."

[Jan 08, 2017] High taxes create a "tax shield". The price at the pump in Europe is approx one third oil and refining and two thirds tax and duty. Consumption is therefore less responsive to the international oil market price compared to the USA. Europeians also drive smaller and more fuel efficient cars.

Jan 08, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
High taxes create a "tax shield". The price at the pump in Europe is approx. 1/3 oil and refining and 2/3 tax and duty (see http://euanmearns.com/energy-prices-in-europe/ ). Consumption is therefore less responsive (inelastic) to the international oil market price compared to the USA. Also, Europeans have adapted to this over time and drive smaller and more fuel efficient cars.

Several oil producers have cut back on subsidies during the last couple of years. This should restrict domestic demand increase. Most oil exporters' oil consumption/capita will probably level off and never come close to the US figure. However, given the level of population growth and demographics (young people) in MENA their domestic consumption is unlikely to reduce significantly (slight increase seems more likely).

Watcher says: 01/04/2017 at 11:47 am
"Most oil exporters' oil consumption/capita will probably level off and never come close to the US figure."

US per capita consumption 0.061 bpd.

Exporters:

Canada 0.066
KSA 0.135
Kuwait 0.156
Qatar 0.145
UAE 0.09

The only major exporter not there is Russia at 0.02, but President Trump will help them increase. Not an exporter, but FYI Singapore is highest I've seen at 0.24.

Jeff says: 01/04/2017 at 2:58 pm
_most_ oil exporters.

In 2012 ( http://www.indexmundi.com/map/?v=91000 ): Ecuador (0.11), Libya (0.051), Kazakhstan (0.12), Iran (0.23), Iraq (0.22), Venezuela (0.27), Oman (0.46)

Watcher says: 01/04/2017 at 7:19 pm
mazama says Ecuador may drop to imports this year. They don't list any Libya exports. Kazakhstan and Iran are legit. And the bible doesn't track Iraq.
AlexS says: 01/04/2017 at 4:09 pm
"The only major exporter not there is Russia at 0.02, but President Trump will help them increase."

How? Will he help to increase car fleet in Russia? KSA and its neighbours use a lot of oil for electricity generation. Russia uses natural gas, nuclear, hydro and coal.

Watcher says: 01/04/2017 at 7:11 pm
How? Will he help to increase car fleet in Russia?

Precisely.

Chris says: 01/05/2017 at 12:58 pm

Just to add information, in Europe, taxes are split in two parts: excise (typically fixed amount) and VAT (variable amount). For gas in Belgium, excise are about 0.60 per litre or half the price of gas.

So price variations due to oil international prices are attenuated. Add to these that taxes decreases when oil price increase and increase when oil price decrease. This is a way to guarantee revenue for the State when oil prices decrease.

[Dec 26, 2016] Vehicle Sales Forecast: Sales Over 17 Million SAAR Again in December, On Track for Record Year in 2016

Dec 26, 2016 | www.calculatedriskblog.com