By Nate Hagens: Earth Day 2020 – The State of the Species

Every year Nate Hagens gives a talk on Earth Day. I missed the announcement of his talk a month ago, perhaps because I killed my social media accounts, but better late than never.

Nate’s presentation as usual is excellent, and this year he provides thoughts on how the virus may influence our overshoot predicament.

Here are a few of Nate’s predictions and ideas I thought were noteworthy:

  • The virus gave our economy a heart attack, although it was already sick.
  • The Great Simplification has begun: a GDP decline of 12-20% is likely this year.
  • Global peak oil was, with no uncertainty, October 2018.
  • Diesel availability is at risk because of surplus gasoline (my note: big problem because diesel powers everything we need to survive: tractors, combines, trucks, trains, and ships).
  • The financial system has been nationalized: central banks are now both the lender AND buyer of last resort.
  • Global debt/GDP, which was before the virus already unsustainable at 350%, will now rocket to 450+%, which sets us up for another more acute crisis in the not too distant future.
  • Poverty will increase in all countries.
  • Renewable energy is in trouble.
  • 25+% of higher education institutions will go bankrupt.
  • The experts don’t have answers: they do not understand energy or how our system works.
  • We need humans to have better bullshit filters: if we don’t use science to help us going forward we have no hope.
  • We should nationalize the oil industry and drain America last.

Nate concludes with many constructive and positive ideas on how we might respond to our predicament.

Unfortunately Nate did not mention the most important response needed: rapid population reduction. Yes I know that reality denial and the Maximum Power Principle, which govern our behavior, make voluntary population reduction highly improbable, but so do they make improbable all of Nate’s suggestions.

I’m thinking that since it’s unlikely we’ll do anything except react to crises as they unfold we might as well focus on the one and only action that would improve everything: population reduction. It simplifies the conversation, and makes it (theoretically) effective. Much better than talking about many things that we also probably won’t do, but even if we did wouldn’t address the core issue: overshoot.

Imagine this political platform: “We only need to do one thing, and there’s only one thing we need to do, don’t have children unless you win the lottery, so there can be future generations.”

You can find other excellent work by Nate that I’ve posted in the past here.

74 thoughts on “By Nate Hagens: Earth Day 2020 – The State of the Species”

  1. Montreal Shatters May Temperature Record With A 98°F High On Wednesday

    A short but intense heatwave swept over southeastern Canada and the American Northeast this week, bringing record heat and severe thunderstorms to the region. Temperatures climbed into the upper 90s on Wednesday as far north as the Montreal metro area, shattering monthly records and coming in as one of the region’s warmest afternoons in recent memory.
    h/t Panopticon


  2. In countries where women have control over reproduction (i.e., family planning, birth-control, education), the birth rate is already well below the replacement rate. The most humane (and hence, feasible) action is to educate women (as well as men) on how to have small, healthy families. At <2.2 children per couple, population will decline gracefully. I personally support charities which help educate African girls.

    Unfortunately, there are still those who look only 10-20 years ahead, and proclaim than MORE children are needed, to bear the tax burden of the idle elders, whether native-born or immigrant. I imagine that they congratulate themselves for looking farther into the future than the next quarterly financial report, or even the next 4-year election cycle.

    “The Fourth Turning” asserts that there are cycles in wealth inequality, of ~80 years period. Inequality is reduced through one or more of plague, famine, revolution, or warfare, which are currently due.


    1. Your preferred method may have worked in 1970 had we acted on the Limits to Growth study. Today it is way too late for a gradual approach to population reduction. It’s also too late for a one child policy. We need a democratically supported birth lottery where only about 1 in 140 woman who apply will be permitted to have a child for the next 50 years. We have to get down to a few hundred million people at a rate faster than the oil is depleting. If we don’t there will be massive suffering and death culminating in a medieval lifestyle at best.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s hideous and utterly inhuman. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it’s not the relatively poor billion on this planet who have caused, and are still causing, the rising climate disaster. Do stop with the calls to punish them.


  3. “Global peak oil was, with no uncertainty, October 2018…”

    If so, it’s certainly not showing up in prices, meaning pre-COVID-19. I don’t get the feeling that “renewables” are taking up enough slack to hide a true peak, but that’s just an opinion.

    The problem is that people try to cite a specific year, and when it passes with no blatant price evidence, the whole concept gets “debunked” again by abiotic oilers and shale hypsters.


    1. You should familiarize yourself with the latest thinking on peak oil. Gail Tverberg has probably thought and written the most. Here are some noteworthy essays by Gail that I’ve posted in the past:

      Most experts no longer believe declining oil production necessarily means high oil prices. As oil depletes the cost of production increases because we burn the cheap to extract oil first. This pushes the break even price of oil higher which acts as a growing tax on almost everything in our economy. At some point the price of oil and the associated hidden tax on things that use oil (i.e everything) exceed what the average citizen can afford to pay and he curtails his consumption. This causes the economy to contract and oil (and other) companies reduce production and/or go bankrupt. This in turn further reduces what citizens can afford resulting in a downward spiral. Because oil is so vital to everything we do it is likely that there will be short periods of high oil prices as governments and central banks respond with more debt, but the oil extraction cost tax relentlessly increases and will again cause the economy to contract. Total oil consumed and standards of living will thus trend down until we return to a pre-industrial lifestyle.

      I’ve glossed over much detail involving market crashes, deflation, hyperinflation, social unrest, despots, war, starvation, etc. but the gist of the summary is accurate.

      What’s interesting from a student of reality denial perspective is that at no point in the collapse process will leaders or citizens understand or acknowledge that peak oil is at the core of their troubles.

      h/t James

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know the giant keeps hitting its head on the oil ceiling, but it’s hard to find consensus on October 2018 outside of Hagens’ video and sites like If solidly proved, it’s huge news and merits its own documentary.

        But the economy was still mostly growing until COVID-19, so public awareness will depend on high prices again. “Peak Oil” in this context would describe a majority view, not just doomer echoes.


        1. As Nate has said, debt has outpaced income every year since the 1960s. The system has worked until now by successfully adding debt. How much longer? How much surplus energy you got?


          1. I’ve given up trying to predict how long the debt game can continue because I have a perfect track record of being wrong. All I know for sure is that the longer it continues the more painful the the endgame will be. There is no free lunch.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Well, Hagens has oddly optimistic views on energy surplus after a point in the video ( where he concludes “we still have a significantly greater amount of energy and resources than we really need.” Does he mean IF we industrialize the hell out of nature with wind and solar projects? What about population growth? He earlier implies that nuclear is just part of a mix with wind, solar & geothermal, and not a serious low-sprawl alternative (I think it’s the best one). Ar least he says the scale of economies will have to shrink. Video transcript side-note:

            After that, he dismisses the message of “Planet of the Humans” and “Idiocracy” (less serious but prophetic) as too negative. How can someone spend that much time studying the issues and claim people aren’t too greedy? The intent of the masses goes well beyond passive, with far more than “some bad actors” as he puts it. He goes on to blame “the system” and not the individuals who run it, saying it’s “no one’s fault and yet we’re all complicit.”

            I can’t make sense of that double-speak. Billions of people at various levels of denial will need to be offended if “saving the planet” is the real goal. Otherwise, it’s just more of the same lurching from crisis to crisis.


            1. I cut Nate some slack because I think he is a good and intelligent person, and because he has contributed a lot to deepening our understanding of the what and why of our predicament. I also think it would be impossible to teach young people about overshoot without feeling and projecting some genuine optimism.

              When Nate says we have more energy than we need what I think he means is that we could survive and have reasonable lives if we consumed a lot less. For example, people in the 1950’s I think consumed less than half what we do today and life was pretty good back then. This means we have enough remaining energy to proactively prepare, if we chose to do so.

              When Nate says no one is at fault I think what he means is that our species is behaving as we evolved to do. Nate does not share my view that reality denial plus the Maximum Power Principle are the dominant behaviors that have enabled severe overshoot, despite plenty of intelligence to understand and avoid the coming collapse. He thinks a large collection of behaviors that he’s cataloged in other talks and papers are the root cause of overshoot.

              We have one other significant point of disagreement. Nate thinks climate change is not a serious threat because oil depletion will curtail our CO2 emissions long before we have created an uninhabitable planet. I think the evidence says we have already emitted too much CO2 for a planet compatible with civilization and that we will experience climate induced food shortages and refugee crises within 30 years, even if we drastically curtailed emissions now. I do think there is still time to act to make the future less bad and to avoid extinction but I may be wrong.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. “we could survive and have reasonable lives if we consumed a lot less” is true – for some of us. The wealthier someone is, the more resources they consume. So, globally, perhaps the poorest billion have no need to consume less, indeed perhaps substantially more. In the rich societies, the wealthier will need to cut vastly more than the poorer. The Western “live simply, that others may simply live” movement is populated by middle-class people with lots of resources that they can live off as they cut back on energy consumption. Someone living on state benefits should not be even asked.


                1. But, if you account for sheer numbers of poorer people and their growth rates, I see it as a wash on a gut level. It’s risky to tell them they don’t have a net consumption problem already. It defeats the goal of trying to instill a global conservation ethic. “Tax the rich, feed the poor, ’til there are no rich no more…” (TYA)

                  There’s also a myth that the poor are uniformly humble(aka victims) and wouldn’t become gluttons if given the chance. Many of them are constantly striving for U.S. lifestyles, hence high immigration. I see no hope of changing those fundamentals, and mainly don’t want nature becoming a windustrial park before economies crash.

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. Don’t mistake INvoluntary simplicity with voluntary. Of the billions that are poor, what% are not trying to gain more material well-being? If they could…they would. That is the Maximum Power Principle. Rare exceptions amongst the well to do (voluntary simplicity requires giving up caloric throughput) are the exceptions that prove the rule. The “blame game” is a normal emotional, irrational response by those upset by overconsumption. I don’t like it, but changing human nature (like that of any life form) is not an option. Nature will put things back into balance…the hard way. You won’t lose a wager on that.


              2. I agree on cutting him some slack, but not for those who clearly don’t care about the future, which includes looters destroying businesses and vehicles just because an ex-con/armed-robber met a cruel cop and the former was black. They do little but pray (or glorify it in rap lyrics) when their own people keep killing each other. I don’t buy the “systemic racism” narrative for random bad arrests where other races also get killed. The media needs to stop fanning selective flames.

                Anyhow, I’m inclined to agree that Peak Oil will be too late to help much, unless climate scientists know it can help but don’t want complacency yet. Searching for a consensus on the Oct. 2018 peak, I see Art Berman tweeted the same graph: (finding it on the EIA site takes doing)


                1. I don’t think the young monkeys know why they’re mad. I think it’s their genes reacting to scarcity and unfairness. Racism is a convenient story their press secretary (consciousness) cooked up as an explanation.

                  I’m guessing that Art Berman is the source of peak 2018 and Nate trusts him as a leading expert, as do I.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I’d verify absolute trust with the following search, since quasi-renewables and economies had softened oil demand and Trump was pressing OPEC about a glut in 2018, trying to stabilize U.S. fracking viability, etc.

           (they specifically used October as a reference level)

                    Did Berman forget to account for that due to Maslow’s hammer? The word “production” doesn’t mean producing as much as the Earth can yield in a desperate scenario. I’m calling maybe on this one, waiting for more experts.


  4. The Fourth Turning? The authors claim to have come to their conclusions by strictly adhering scientific method. Horse shit.

    Here’s the complete title & sub title of their book:

    The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny

    Prophecy? Destiny? Oooooo….Sounds real scientific. Destiny as in manifest destiny. It’s been told.

    Howe and Strauss are typical American hucksters pimping their junk pseudo science to desperate & gullible Americans who want to feel exceptional…..cuz they be gods chosen people 2.0

    There’s no 4th turning, no MAGA, no exceptionalism. There’s just a dying empire & nation of vapid self absorbed half wits who birthed the worst culture in history going down the drain & the world don’t give a fuck. In fact, many are over joyed & having schadenfreude orgasms. Not me – I’ll end up as their collateral damage, due to geography, when it really hits. I’d be happy for one day of silence. It’d be nice if just once, just one day in my damn entire life if the US would shut the fuck up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Chris Martenson is enamored with the theory and has interviewed Howe several times so I tried to keep an open mind. I concluded it’s total bullshit from many different angles. My favorite angle is that we have been industrialized for such a short period of time (200 years) that you have to be a moron to think you can detect any meaningful periodicities.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Denial is a synonym for craziness.

    A global pandemic and historic economic downturn. A rapidly escalating U.S./China cold war. Surging U.S. unemployment and economic depression. A deeply fragmented society with intensifying animosity and conflict. Heightened social instability, with mounting protests (and even some ugly riots). Friday Drudge headline: “A Society On Brink of Complete and Utter Chaos…”

    A booming stock market. Rapidly expanding “money” supply. Exceptionally loose financial conditions, with record debt issuance. Huge inflows into corporate investment-grade and high-yield bond ETFs. Record Treasury and investment-grade corporate debt prices.

    It’s easy these days to question securities market sanity. Yet it’s a fundamental tenet of Credit Bubble analysis that things turn crazy at the end of cycles. In the waning days of history’s most spectacular financial Bubble, should we be too surprised by Complete and Utter Craziness?


    As I’m working to wrap up this week’s CBB, protests and violence are escalating in cities across the country. We’re seeing the most inflamed racial tensions in years. From a political perspective, the country is the most bitterly divided in decades. Wealth inequalities are, as well, tearing away at our nation’s social fabric. And somehow the pandemic strikes with freakish timing and ferocity – dousing gas on myriad smoldering social, political, financial, economic and geopolitical fires.

    It’s the worst-case scenario – my worry list coming to fruition. Social and political instability; a global pandemic; a runaway Fed balance sheet swiftly on its way to $10 TN; faltering Chinese and EM Bubbles; rapidly deteriorating U.S. and China relations; a disintegrating geopolitical backdrop; along with a final speculative “blow-off” throughout global finance. Markets have been corrupted, while the masses are increasingly disillusioned and insecure. A wrecking ball is chipping away at trust in our institutions.

    The global Bubble has been pierced, though unprecedented monetary inflation only exacerbates the epic divergence between inflating asset prices and deflating economic prospects. As I’ve written over the years – and as demonstrated rather conspicuously in March: contemporary finance seems to operate miraculously – so long as it’s inflating. It just doesn’t work in reverse. These days it’s even more frightening to contemplate how this all ends. The Scourge of “Whatever it Takes” Monetary Mismanagement.


  6. A new theory from Tyler Durden that monetary easing is deflationary, rather than inflationary as assumed by central banks, because people save more and spend less when interest rates drop below 4%.

    This is a perfect example of how when you lack an understanding of thermodynamics and the relationship between energy and wealth you understand nothing about the issues that matter and are forced to dream up all kinds of cockamamie stories to explain what you observe.


    1. “People” save more? No, the few at the top get a windfall and save it because they already have fulfilled their consumptive desires. For now


  7. Mac10 made me laugh today.

    Getting back to Trump Casino, the S&P futures are now INVERSELY correlated to bad news. Which is why the P/E ratio is now infinity.

    Whoa, step back. I was told the P/E ratio is 21.50. How do you get infinity?

    Where to begin. The P/E ratio is Wall Street’s magic 8 ball derived metric for deciding whether or not stocks are overvalued. As it turns out, stocks are NEVER overvalued, interestingly. The ratio is price divided by earnings. Which means in today’s terms it’s central bank Kool-aid divided by 1930s depression. Which gets us precisely to 21.50. That, and a frontal lobotomy.

    What will happen in Disney markets this week? No idea. Just realize that when Wall Street’s fantasy P/E ratio reaches its maximum extreme divergence between central bank fantasy and economic reality, the crash back to reality will be the most extreme financial event of our lifetimes. Making March look like a picnic.


  8. Contrast the idiots at ZeroHedge with someone like Tim Morgan that understands the relationship between fossil energy and wealth and whose essay today is very good.

    Unduly rapid exit, on the other hand, risks triggering a second wave of infections, at which point economies would be forced back into lockdown.

    Any ‘lockdown 2.0’ would be far worse than the original one. It would probably have to last a lot longer than the first version. As well as forcing economic activity sharply back downwards, this would strip people of much of the hope that has sustained them through the period of restriction. It would throw government and commercial planning into disarray, and would risk both severing supply lines and triggering a full-blown financial crash.

    Any recovery thereafter would be very gradual indeed, and might take too long to avoid permanent, perhaps even existential, economic and financial damage.

    The view expressed here is that de-growth has become very probable indeed. For purposes of explanation – and with a new downloadable summary of surplus energy economics in preparation – it might suffice to note that all economic activity is a function of energy, and that the energy cost of energy (ECoE) determines how much of any accessed energy is consumed in the access process, and how much remains for all economic purposes other than the supply of energy itself. Needless to say, no tinkering with the financial system of ‘claims’ on economic output can change the fundamental energy (not financial) dynamic which determines our prosperity.

    Analysis of these trends indicates that de-growth had already started, well before the economy was hit by the pandemic. During 2018-19, sales of everything from cars and smartphones to chips and components had turned down. Unmistakable signs of stress were already starting to appear right across the financial system.

    The arrival of de-growth finds us with a financial system that has been rendered unnecessarily fragile by futile efforts to counter “secular stagnation” – and, latterly, de-growth – with monetary gimmickry. Not content with allowing escalating debt to create cosmetic activity and “growth”, the authorities had already resorted to monetary policies which, as well as paying people and businesses to borrow, had destroyed returns on invested capital, with particularly adverse consequences for pensions.

    Seen as a dress rehearsal for de-growth, the coronavirus crisis gives us scant reason to trust that “it’ll be alright on the night”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Global debt/GDP, which was before the virus already unsustainable at 350%” – could you explain why it is unsustainable? I was unaware of this figure being even measured, let alone that it is important.


    1. Assume you have an income of $50,000 (GDP) and after living expenses you have a surplus of $5,000 (10% tax rate) available to service a loan. Do you think a bank would be wise to loan you $175,000 (350% of GDP) not to buy a hard asset like a house but rather to allow you to spend more on living expenses for a better quality of life? Obviously not.

      The main difference with government is that they can print money to service the loan but that’s not being honest about what you can afford because printing debases the currency which is an unfair form of hidden taxation that hits the poor the hardest.

      Our leaders say that we’ll grow the economy to service the debt but they are ignorant of and/or deny the unpleasant reality that growth is over (without even more unsustainable debt) because we’ve depleted most of the low cost fossil energy and because many other overshoot related issues like climate change are and will increasingly constrain the economy.


  10. Some good insight from James.

    Propaganda and media make an effort to at least create in our heads the idea of a single cohesive tribe. We all belong, we’re all equal, equal rights, hate speech not allowed and there even seem to be an effort to make us forget that we’re sexually different. But this is at odds with the biology of our species. I’ve never met anyone that wants to be equal, mediocre or average. Everyone wants to win and if you can shove an entire race of people below you in the hierarchy and convince them that they are indeed inferior, then so much the better. You have to convince the other race of their inferiority so that they’ll hang their heads in disgrace and leave the competition. If they stick their heads up and try to give you a run, then knock them back down. Various groups in the U.S. have been treated like this including women, blacks, Irish, Chinese and more. You must let the weaker group “know their place” in society and if you can you’ve eliminated quite a bit of the competition.

    The race I’d like to shove below us in the power hierarchy are the deniers. One small problem, the deniers outnumber us a million to one. Nevertheless Hernán Cortés beat similar odds, so it’s possible.


  11. Gail Tverberg thinks overshoot is at the core of the protests. She expects energy consumption (and therefore GDP) will drop at least 5% per year going forward. I agree. My personal guess is a 6% annual decline once we roll over the peak . Note that these decline rates assume we somehow avoid an economic crash which would result in one or more much larger quick steps down.

    The magic of exponential math means that with a 5% annual decline rate our standard of living will drop by 50% every 11 years so it will not take many decades for us to return to a pre-industrial state. The main problem of course is that it is impossible to feed 8 billion people without an industrial system. Which means we will experience the rapid population reduction I advocate, but it won’t be voluntary.

    When there is not enough energy to go around, the result can be low commodity prices, low wages and layoffs. This is not an intuitive result. Most people assume (low energy = high prices), but this is the opposite of what actually happens. The problem is that the amount workers can afford to pay for finished goods and services needs to be high enough to make to make production of the commodities used in making the finished products profitable. When affordability falls too low, the system tends to collapse.

    What the world is really facing is a competition regarding which parts of the economy can stay, and which will need to be eliminated, if there is not enough energy to go around. It should not be surprising if this competition often leads to violence.

    There is a fundamental “not enough to go around” problem that we do not have an answer for. Historically, when there hasn’t been enough to go around, the attempted solution was fighting wars over what was available. In a way, the violence seen in cities around the globe is a new version of this violence. Governments of various kinds may ultimately be casualties of these uprisings. Remaining lower-level governments will be left with the problem of starting over again, issuing new currency and trying to make new alliances. In total, the new economy will be very different; it will probably bear little resemblance to today’s world economy.


  12. Tim Watkins today summarized the case for the end of growth (aka peak oil) being now, and our possible responses.

    1) Green new deal

    … a final imperial resource grab in which a handful of developed states use what remains of the value of their currencies to secure the last of planet Earth’s resources in one final economic blowout that will last right up until the first of the irreplaceable wind turbines and solar panels begin to breakdown.

    There is simply no way in which the global economy gets to grow without fossil fuels – which, incidentally, are essential at every stage of the manufacture, transportation, deployment and maintenance of non-renewable renewable energy-harvesting technologies. The unspoken paradox of the green new deal is that you would need to double the fossil fuel that we currently burn to build, deploy and maintain enough non-renewables to replace the fossil fuel that we currently burn. And if you are going to do that, why not go for the simple black new deal being offered by politicians like Trump?

    2) Black new deal

    With oil extraction already past peak, any attempt to return the global economy to its pre-pandemic level via the fabled “V-shaped recovery” is likely to generate oil shortages which could see prices temporarily rise above a depression-inducing $100 per barrel. No amount of central bank financial alchemy is going to add oil to depleted fields or remove the gunk from shutdown wells, pipelines and refineries. And so a black new deal can only occur by diverting a large part of the energy previously used in the wider economy to the extraction of the last of the accessible fossil fuels – in its way, essentially the same imperialism as the green new deal, in which a handful of people in a handful of wealthy states enjoy one last energy-consuming blowout before industrial civilisation crumbles to dust; except in this version we incinerate what remains of planet Earth through runaway global warming.

    3) Brown new deal

    … a managed de-growth aimed at making the collapse of industrial civilisation as painless as possible. Such an approach does not claim any one energy source as better or worse than another, but rather aims to utilise the energy we still have available to us to simplify, regionalise and localise our economies as best we can in the time available to us. Nor does such an approach fit into traditional left v right political views which are all based upon the religion of progress and endless growth. Rather, it views a combination of the raw power of the state and the innovativeness of private markets to work together to create as soft a landing as possible.

    I’d say Watkins missed two possible responses: the one we should do, and the one we will do.

    4) Wise new deal

    Global rapid population reduction policies to cause the population to fall faster than the oil depletes so that we have a fighting chance of retaining some of the best aspects of modernity like sufficient food, clean water, sanitation, dentistry, eye care, trauma medicine, communications technology, science, and education. Notice that air travel and automobiles are not on the list because they are too resource profligate to survive any scenario.

    5) Reality Denial old deal (aka business as usual)

    What we will do is deny the real reason growth has stopped, and pray that god saves us while printing money until we destroy the currency and democracy, then blame another tribe for our troubles and go to war, then return to a medieval lifestyle (at best) after billions die from starvation after we’ve killed and eaten what remains of the planet’s wildlife.


  13. This latest Honest Government Ad is funny but also sad because it’s a great example of how people who understand that our current system is deeply broken and who advocate a fresh approach don’t have a clue how our system works nor what is physically possible so they propose great sounding ideas that simply won’t work.



    The Earth had its hottest May ever last month, continuing an unrelenting climate change trend as 2020 is set to be among the hottest 10 years ever, scientists with the Copernicus Climate Change Service announced on Friday.

    It’s virtually certain that this year will be among the top hottest years in recorded history with a higher than 98% likelihood it will rank in the top five, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    In the last week of May, parts of the Arctic Circle recorded temperatures on par with the average monthly temperature in Hong Kong. North Central Siberia, for instance, saw temperatures climb as high as 26 degrees Celsius. Scientists have raised concerns about thawing Arctic permafrost that will release stored greenhouse gases, further accelerating the rate of global heating.

    h/t Panaopticon


  15. Nice comment from Cynic over at…

    The “psychological kindness” he refers to is of course our strong tendency to deny unpleasant realities.

    Always loved the earnest wish expressed by an Indian subsistence farmer, quoted by Jared Diamond, when asked what he would like most of all:

    ‘A machine gun, to kill all the animals’.

    Only the cultured beneficiary of a complex civilization, with leisure and a full stomach, can possibly conceive of loving Nature and delighting in its intricacy and beauty -still less find deserts, mountains and wilderness a source of delight.

    As for it all going down, I suppose it is a kindness, psychologically, that people can be preoccupied with mass hysteria over the death of that minor but nasty criminal Floyd and be distracted from the death of the world itself.

    Jingle something for the baby in the pram, it’ll be happy……


  16. Tim Morgan’s back today with more detailed predictions. If you’re short of time there are no significant shifts from what he’s previously said.

    The single most important macroeconomic conclusion to emerge from this analysis is that households are going to be much poorer than they used to be, both in 2020 and in subsequent years. Falls in prosperity are likely to have been accompanied by a severe erosion of savings and, in the absence of quite extraordinary levels of monetary intervention, it should be assumed that most countries will experience a sharp correction in property prices, where affordability issues are likely to outweigh efforts at monetary support.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sometimes wonder if there is a contrarian view. What if central bankers are actually good people trying to do the best they can in a difficult situation? The hard constraint they face is that the money supply must increase or our monetary system will collapse. Energy depletion and the virus are contracting the money supply so they have to inject new money somewhere, but where?

      If central banks gave the printed trillions to the poor and middle class they would tend to spend the funds on living expenses which would inflate the cost of essentials like food and energy, which in turn would require the central banks to increase the interest rate to cool inflation, which in turn might set off a cascade of defaults requiring even more money printing leading to a self-reinforcing collapse.

      If instead they use the printed trillions to inflate the stock and bond markets, as they’ve chosen to do, then they avoid inflating the price of essentials at the social cost of increasing the wealth gap.

      Perhaps they’ve rationally calculated that social unrest from a widening wealth gap is less bad than a monetary collapse.


  17. May 2020 was hottest May on record – “The really large anomalies started during January, and since then this signal has been quite persistent”

    PARIS (AFP) – Temperatures soared 10 degrees Celsius above average last month in Siberia, home to much of Earth’s permafrost, as the world experienced its warmest May on record, the European Union’s climate monitoring network said Friday.


  18. Alberta’s version of the Maximum Power Principle…

    When something constrains economic growth, like say a virus, then remove other impediments to growth, like say environmental protections, so growth can continue.

    Alberta’s New Normal: Trashing Pollution Protections by Andrew Nikiforuk

    On the very day Premier Jason Kenney deemed it safe again to play hockey in Edmonton, the Alberta Energy Regulator released two more decisions basically saying the tribulations of COVID-19 meant it wasn’t safe to do environmental monitoring.

    That, added to previous pronouncements, means Alberta has now suspended all environmental reporting and monitoring in its oil patch. Most of the orders provide no timeline for resuming such obligations.

    It’s the new normal in Kenney’s troubled petro state. The rollbacks started with the suspension of requiring companies to submit environmental reporting on mine sites and the like. But they didn’t stop there.

    Now companies don’t even have to do any bothersome environmental monitoring.


  19. F****ing Americans and their obsession with race. We all descended from the same small tribe in Africa and we all deny reality about everything that matters. Race is NOT one of the issues that matters. Overshoot of our species is THE issue.


    1. As an American, I’ve noticed clear behavioral traits associated with race, like lower-class black’s propensity for primitive, impulsive violence. They’ll shoot people over just a look, and I saw it ruin a neighborhood firsthand, just when it seemed like a good value. Whites tend to be more measured in their bad deeds, and I’d much rather live in an area where crime has more predictability. Also, blacks and Hispanics tend to claim a right to make noise as part of their “culture” which is how my own blog got started. If you try to control their noise, things can get ugly fast.

      I think a realistic look at Africa explains why blacks will never create a Shangri-La in the modern world. Their big denial is that they’re victims of everyone else while they kill far more of their own people than cops do. This Floyd thing is not going to help race-relations because criminal looters have shown they’re a big element of Black Lives Matter, which claims to be fighting racism but really wants to overthrow what made America livable and replace it with a mess of hip-hop values. Imagine someone like Lil’ Wayne running even a town council.

      There’s a video of George Floyd himself speaking on an unknown date and he’s lamenting the very sort of crime that requires the police to be heavy-handed with many blacks. Below it, I’m including Sam Harris discussing what’s wrong with Black Lives Matter and naivety about police interactions. (Floyd) (Harris)

      I’m guessing Floyd got wise but not wise enough after making “mistakes” (like home invasion robbery) but people commenting on his video tend to miss his point and want to blame cops for all of it. None of this bodes well for the future, on top of all the environmental problems. There are too many people and too many of them are unintelligent and violent along with their denial traits.


      1. White Americans & their toxic culture is the worst culture in the history of civilization & it’s dispersed it’s poison planet wide.
        False Progress, your very presence is polluting this blog. Y’all self absorbed, white trash, poor me I’m the victim, degenerates deserve to burn. …..and you will.

        Pirate Television: Morris Berman – Why America Failed

        “Most criticism of the problems within American society places blame on institutions (military, corporations) rather than looking at the American public’s identity. The true root of the problem rests on the nature of the American culture, which has been based in war and religious objectives since colonists first arrived to the New World. The US reflects a “negative identity” in that we create oppositions to guide and justify our actions. To begin to rectify economic, political, and social problems in the US we need to address mass public education and redefine the American identity.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well written, Apneaman. And Berman really nails it down solidly in his speech. Despite being a White American myself I can only agree with his and with your comments. However, I think that when offered the opportunity and means to rape, pillage, and plunder the Earth’s resources, and to terrorize and murder fellow creatures, a vast majority of humans (especially human GROUPS) will do just that to the absolute maximum possible, even at expense of their own lives and livelihood. Humans seem to have a strong tendency towards annihilation generally. White Americans are simply the current gold standard at performing acts of terror and destruction. To anyone who is really paying attention, and who has sufficient intellect and a lower inclination to deny reality, that is pretty goddamn clear by now.


          1. “White Americans are simply the current gold standard at performing acts of terror and destruction.”

            That claim needs a ton of context. I only buy into white guilt on a case-by-case basis.


            It’s not that non-whites lack evil capabilities. Races with more organization and advanced technologies tend to cause more total damage per the politically-incorrect equation, I = PAT (you’re only allowed to blame wealth, not population size).

            We literally can’t afford to let the race card get played at the current level. Any “peaceful protesters” who validate looting and CHAZ nonsense should volunteer to clean it all up and pay glaziers’ fees, etc. Since so many are hiding behind masks, they’d weasel out of that even if it was law.


              1. Pursel wrote: “No, it only requires an adequate bullshit filter, which you lack.”

                I have no reality filter; the real BS is you ignoring evidence for PC reasons, while offering no counterpoints about black CRIME. This blog is about denial of reality, is it not? One isn’t required to be a terminal leftist to post here. I think the far right and left are both wrong (ecology and race issues, respectively).

                As said before, the vast majority of black deaths via cop involve CRIMINALS RESISTING ARREST, forcing cops to kill them to protect their own lives. The next potential BLM martyr is Rayshard Brooks: (video doesn’t show the struggle before he grabbed the taser)

                The Floyd case was an outlier because cops had him under control, sort of. Usually, these deaths occur in the heat of battle. I’m willing to put myself in cops’ shoes vs. chanting “racism, racism, racism!” on autopilot. If you’ve lived near certain types of blacks in substantial numbers, which I have, you know you’re lying out of white guilt or naivety.

                I guess you could escape rampant Western “racism” and enjoy a pleasant vacation in places like ….. throwing random dart at Africa ….. The “Democratic” Republic of the Congo, also known as the Rape Capital of the World. Great people over there, just a bit lawless (it must be whites’ fault). And vintage 1994 machetes may still be for sale in Rwanda, some with blood still on them. Also, did you know that many Africans sold their own people to whites in the slave trade? It takes two parties to make a deal. Google awaits the wilfuly ignorant.

                Back in America, another denial test is the 2019 Harith Augustus case:

                1) Before and during the shooting: (cops fear for their lives, as any sane person would)

                2) After the shooting: (angry mob forms, crying racism with no concern for context)

                And here’s days of videos showing people resisting arrest, many of them black. Armchair racism experts rarely have to physically handle criminals. (safe link)

                If you choose to ignore all of the above, spare me another evidence-free one-liner. Rob can boot my comments any time if they contain factual errors; I assume it would take blatant ones.


                1. Yeah, I don’t like those one-liners either. They’re intellectually weak and, for that, I apologize. I’m just tired of having to respond to stupidity.

                  For someone pointing out the importance of context you avoid it completely on this matter. For hundreds of years, White Americans have been enslaving, torturing, murdering and in other ways oppressing African Americans, Native Americans and other human groups. This is reality.

                  Like all persons in denial of reality, you cherry pick events that fit your perception of it. This, of course, benefits you in that you then don’t have to confront the difficult process of acknowledging the that this oppression has occurred and working with others on ways to prevent more of it. You can just pick what fits your comforting historical narrative and feel good about yourself. Those groups of people aren’t oppressed, they just have a “propensity for primitive, impulsive violence.” They’re to blame for their oppression. That’s some sick, twisted thinking. But all too human, and all too prevalent.

                  The vast majority of the people protesting this history of oppression, and the continuing murder and debasement of persons within those oppressed groups, are doing so peacefully. Yes, there’s a minority of people who are looting and otherwise damaging property, though compared to what their people (i.e. race/ethnicity/group) have endured this is peanuts. To compare hundreds of years of oppression to a few broken windows and burned buildings is to lack any context whatsoever. It’s just stupidity caused by denial.

                  That I have to respond to otherwise intelligent persons like you, who purport to understand MORT, is a clear example of the unbelievable power of denial. Even people who understand the mechanics of denial have massive cognitive blind spots, which you demonstrate so well on this topic.

                  The bigger picture is, as Rob alludes to in an earlier comment on this topic, that most of the protesters don’t understand the larger reason for why they’re protesting: MASSIVE OVERSHOOT.


                  1. You’re coming at me with an endless litany of general racism and I’m trying to explain that cops fear for their IMMEDIATE SURVIVAL. It’s classic apples and oranges, and the true denier among us isn’t getting the difference.

                    Given a time machine to the old South, if an escaping slave rushed you with a pitchfork, you wouldn’t stand there in a George Floyd t-shirt and say “I’m ashamed of my race, please stab me!” Or would you? Normal people would either flee or fight, and cops have to make those decisions constantly.

                    Bottom line: You won’t even begin to see if from a cop’s angle. I see all sides. A black man denied a mortgate is not the same as a thug with a gun bulge and a cop who has 0.2 seconds to make a surival decision.

                    The Floyd case was latched onto because they already had him down, though he still wasn’t fully controlled in their minds. Chauvin was a wildcard, not the norm. And at hiring time, a cop’s toughness is always going to be more critical than 100% race neutrality, which I doubt is even possible unless one lies.


        2. “False Progress, your very presence is polluting this blog. Y’all self absorbed, white trash, poor me I’m the victim, degenerates deserve to burn. …..and you will.”

          Bogus comment. The real white trash are the gutter punks co-looting America as we speak, with a black man’s death as their cover story. You’re accusing me of playing the victim, while radical leftists blame every little thing on racism or bad cops, never the low moral character of criminals. Blacks shoot each other on a daily basis with no whites in sight and the foul lyrics of rap music keep inciting violence. I’d like to know your ethnicity if you claim none of that’s true. This blog is about denial, you know.

          Floyd breakdown: A drug-abusing armed robber and porn actor got arrested while high, resisted arrest several times, met a ruthless cop (who probably never intended to kill him) and suddenly massive looting is justified in the minds of thugs who were always capable of it. That’s brainless victimhood on a staggering scale, and it’s killed many more people than the initial scene, including cops. I saw it as mostly between Floyd and Chauvin plus Internal Affairs, not something that had to explode like this.

          The vast majority of other cop-related deaths occur during resisting arrest, and many whites get shot for the same reason. Only fools fight the police, though “suicide by cop” used to cover a lot of what’s called racism now. Some cases are truly tragic, like Atatiana Jefferson, but they didn’t generate these obscene riots. Note that black women have far fewer criminal tendencies than black men; same deal with other races.

          Black behavior simply matters. Those who don’t talk like thugs, dress like thugs or blast loud music from ghetto vehicles face far less racial profiling. It’s the police’s job to go after criminals and they have to use logical indicators. Racism is a constant shadow but it rarely causes deaths during difficult arrests. Cops wanting to survive is the main reason (see Harris clip in my previous post). Some will go overboard and some are cruel but that doesn’t validate the “ACAB” you see spray-painted everywhere.

          On mornings when apnea hasn’t clouded your thinking, consider these concepts:

          1) A person can have COVID-19 AND cancer simultaneously. Toss in a few other illnesses, too.
          2) CO2 emissions AND the invasion of nature by industrial wind turbines are causing cumulative environmental problems. Deniers claim only the former can.
          3) White colonial types AND black criminals are causing cumulative societal problems. The latter issue won’t vanish just because grimy protesters want to defund the police and blame everything on racism.

          True critical thinkers don’t get stuck on mono-causal explanations.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. “True critical thinkers don’t get stuck on mono-causal explanations.”

            Nor do they make broad sweeping generalizations & condemnations of 13% of the population based on a handful of personal observations (loud music) & half the facts – cherry picked.

            I lived in Atlanta for a decade. I ran an eviction crew of 5+ guys, everyone black (drinking & drug addicts all except 1) & 1 white crack addict. Picked them up in the hood every work day. I’ve been to most housing projects & run down impoverished areas in Metro Atlanta including white & Latino. I know plenty about the bad & irresponsible behaviour of blacks. 75% of the people I put out were black. Many on ‘section 8’ with as low as $5 rent & had not paid in 6 months . I also know plenty about the systemic racism (eg: blacks getting longer prison sentences than whites for the same crime) I know the corruption & racism of many whites in law enforcement. I know of classicism among blacks. I know how they play the race card. I know the black politicians are just as corrupt. I know the black anti-education & authority attitudes (remarkably similar to deplorables). I know many blacks are racist too. I know the history & the stats & saw it all many many times. What I also know is an intractable clusterfuck issue when I see it. I know far too many people live in a world of mutual exclusivity & are terrible apologists. I know you will NEVER get it & always think you are right. What I don’t know, but strongly suspect is that you are scared shitless of black men. You are a product of your culture. A culture that has failed & is the laughing stock of the world. Why the hell should anyone listen to you?


            1. “What I don’t know, but strongly suspect is that you are scared shitless of black men. You are a product of your culture. A culture that has failed & is the laughing stock of the world. Why the hell should anyone listen to you?”

              You don’t listen much to anyone, apparently, writing off the evidence I’ve posted as broad generalizations. A big part of denial is not even looking at evidence. Don’t tell ME I’m polluting this blog (earlier comment).

              I respect a culture that doesn’t glorify scummy criminals, and “scared shitless” only applied once to an incident in Richmond, CA. It was the normal fear of getting shot, just like cops feel when fighting belligerent suspects. I get the impression you’re been drenched in thug culture and are black yourself, which could explain your denial. EXIBIT A in my previous post speaks directly to that audience. Did you click on a single one of those links, great oracle?

              If you’re white or Hispanic and still blind to the connection between crime, resisting arrest and inevitable deaths during some arrests (NOT racism), I’d suggest leaving this ACAB country for some African paradise. You’d think American blacks would be rushing back if their own cultures were so great. We erred in bringing them over in more ways than one. It’s as if their very presence is revenge now. I’ve also never known the depth of scummy whites who support all this looting.

              Speaking of Africa, they have some of the most corrupt police, and funnel trophy-hunting money to non-conservation causes. It’s also not just a stereotype that blacks don’t tend to visit U.S. wilderness areas (at least it keeps the crime down). Also, the growing merger of “social justice” and environmental “protection” tends to coddle third-world overpopulation. Call me less than eager about “social justice.”


        3. Also, I’ve known of Berman for some time and agree with his misanthropy, but ignoring the huge role of black crime in black deaths = blind white guilt, which I find unacceptable when it translates to riots. Once you remove that filter, no one race has the corner on evil.

          Time for some photos and a Chicago video:

 (black man at time-stamp can’t afford denial)


        4. “False Progress, your very presence is polluting this blog. Y’all self absorbed, white trash, poor me I’m the victim, degenerates deserve to burn. …..and you will.”

          Followup: Here’s a no-nonsense black man (military vet) and a famous white intellectual making detailed expansions on the same points. I included an older clip from a white female scholar. There’s a lot to be learned here if you stop playing the race card just because it’s popular now. Once again, this blog is supposed to be about evidence vs. denial.

          EXHIBIT A:

          Most Black People Just Make Up Stuff About Racism

          Quotes: “I’m sick of this bullsh-t. I’m tired of this woe is me made-up sh-t when the reality is 99% of you ni–as out there bring this sh-t on yourself, man! And you just look for white people and cops to blame. It’s just everywhere in every facet, and I’m tired of the crap.” […….] “Ni–as don’t even want to meet society halfway. […] They want society to completely evolve around THEM, and then if it doesn’t, everything is racist, everything’s designed to hold me back. They’s huntin’ us, they’s gettin’ us. This is the problem with black culture…”

          EXHIBIT B:

          Making Sense with Sam Harris #207 – Can We Pull Back From The Brink?

          Harris finally spoke on the Floyd riots, but since he’s white and fears offending blacks, he takes awhile to reach his points about the nature of violence and police self-defense during arrests. He really starts getting into it around the 5o minute mark, and later says cops actually kill more whites than blacks after accounting for population ratios and crime-types. The media rarely highlights sad videos like white man Tony Timpa being accidentally killed by cops (no cities burned over him).

          EXHIBIT C:

          Heather Mac Donald – A Conversation on Policing and Race in Post-Ferguson America

          This woman patiently explains how the breakdown of black families fuels their high crime rates, especially murder, and that cops’ job is to fight CRIME, so they invariably arrest blacks or have to question them on suspicion, aka “racial profiling.” Cumulative math ensures that some arrests won’t end well. But she notes far more blacks are killed by other blacks with no police involvement. Toward the end, she takes questions and most of them keep ignoring criminal culpability, trying to shift blame back onto police or misinterpreted statistics.


  20. You’re a Slave to Money, Then You Die

    “A global order of markets must be enforced upon recalcitrant peoples: as the New York Times’s eminent blowhard Thomas Friedman put in a famous, or, rather, infamous piece:

    For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is. The hidden hand of the market will not work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonell-Douglas, the designer of the F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technology is called the United States, Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

    It is no surprise that the United States, the mightiest and most prosperous neoliberal society on earth, should also have the largest leviathan on the planet: an enormous and growing prison system, a gargantuan military-industrial complex, a titanic apparatus of domestic and foreign surveillance. The greater the wealth, the greater the fear, and the greater the need to police and punish.”


    1. The U.S. Armed Forces are considered the world’s most powerful military.[15] The military budget of the United States was US$693 billion in 2019, the highest in the world.[16] In 2018, that accounted for 36 percent of the world’s defense expenditures. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States.[17] The U.S. Air Force is the world’s largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world’s largest navy by tonnage, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world’s second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world’s 12th largest maritime force.[18][19] The U.S. as of FY2019 has about 14,061 aircraft in its military inventory.[20]

      The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.[4] According to a 2008 study by the ODNI, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the U.S. intelligence community and account for 49% of their personnel budgets.[5]


  21. How Money Became the Measure of Everything
    Two centuries ago, America pioneered a way of thinking that puts human well-being in economic terms.

    “Today, well-being may seem hard to quantify in a nonmonetary way, but indeed other metrics—from incarceration rates to life expectancy—have held sway in the course of the country’s history. The turn away from these statistics, and toward financial ones, means that rather than considering how economic developments could meet Americans’ needs, the default stance—in policy, business, and everyday life—is to assess whether individuals are meeting the exigencies of the economy.”

    “Until the 1850s, in fact, by far the most popular and dominant form of social measurement in 19th-century America (as in Europe) were a collection of social indicators known then as “moral statistics,” which quantified such phenomena as prostitution, incarceration, literacy, crime, education, insanity, pauperism, life expectancy, and disease. While these moral statistics were laden with paternalism, they nevertheless focused squarely on the physical, social, spiritual, and mental condition of the American people. For better or for worse, they placed human beings at the center of their calculating vision. Their unit of measure was bodies and minds, never dollars and cents. ”


  22. Steve St. Angelo and Wolf Richter today remind us of our insane accelerating debt.

    What I find even more amazing than the data is the fact that none of our leaders, or intellectuals, or news media, or my neighbors have honest adult conversations about what this means.

    If you are a typical citizen that worries about how much money you have and do not think or give a shit about human overshoot then printing a lot of money that will never be repaid and that is not ending up in your own pocket should be a priority concern. But clearly it isn’t.

    I find it difficult to articulate how gobsmacking our genetic tendency to deny reality is.

    US National Debt Spiked by $1 trillion in 5 weeks to $26 trillion. Fed monetized 65%.


  23. Nassim Taleb on denying the reality of masks.

    View at

    Incompetence and Errors in Reasoning Around Face Covering

    1) missing the compounding effects of masks,
    2) missing the nonlinearity of the probability of infection to viral exposures,
    3) missing absence of evidence (of benefits of mask wearing) for evidence of absence (of benefits of mask wearing),
    4) missing the point that people do not need governments to produce facial covering: they can make their own,
    5) missing the compounding effects of statistical signals,
    6) ignoring the Non-Aggression Principle by pseudolibertarians (masks are also to protect others from you; it’s a multiplicative process: every person you infect will infect others).

    In fact masks (and faceshields) supplemented with constraints of superspreader events can save us trillions of dollars in future lockdowns (and lawsuits) and be potentially sufficient (under adequate compliance) to stem the pandemic. Bureaucrats do not like simple solutions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great list of reasoning errors. It provides me with a more precise understanding of the cognitive incompetence I’ve met from others when I’ve argued for the importance and benefits of wearing masks. Taleb is an excellent thinker.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s