Overshoot Doubt? Chris Clugston Kills It

Thanks to Sam Hopkins for bringing my attention to the work of Chris Clugston.

I’m pretty well read in the overshoot space and I thought I knew all the important contributors. Somehow I missed Chris Clugston.

Clugston has written two books: Scarcity in 2012, and Blip in 2019.

His unique contribution is to research our consumption of depleting non-renewable resources. All 100+ of them, not just fossil energy.

For many people, fossil energy depletion is a fuzzy threat because it’s complicated and there are so many cheerleaders of false beliefs. Ditto for the climate change threat with its promoters of green growth and carbon capture machines.

Clugston presents so many tangible non-negotiable threats to modern civilization that after absorbing his work there is no room for doubt and no where to hide.

His conclusion is bleak. Clugston calculates modern civilization will be done by 2050, with or without climate change, with or without peak oil, and with or without any green new deal idea.

Harsh yes, but real, and honest, and helpful for those still trying to make the future less bad, because his work shows that the best path is democratically supported rapid population reduction policies.

Clugston’s visibility on the internet is low. I don’t know it that’s by choice, or because of the unpleasantness of his message. I’d like to see that fixed so the people working to make the future less bad can use his work as ammunition.


What we do to enable our existence simultaneously undermines our existence…

Our enormous and ever-increasing utilization of NNRs (nonrenewable natural resources) – the finite and non-replenishing fossil fuels, metals, and nonmetallic minerals that enable our industrial existence – is causing:

– Increasingly pervasive global NNR scarcity, which is causing

– Faltering global human prosperity, which is causing

– Increasing global political instability, economic fragility, and societal unrest.

This scenario will intensify during the coming decades and culminate in humanity’s permanent global societal collapse, almost certainly by the year 2050.

Since 2005, Chris Clugston has conducted extensive research into human “sustainability”, with a focus on non-renewable natural resources (NNR) scarcity. His goal has been to articulate and quantify the causes, implications, and con­sequences associated with industrial humanity’s “predicament” – our self-inflicted, self-terminating human/Earth relationship.

Here is the companion video to his book Blip:

Here is a 2012 presentation by Clugston in support of his book Scarcity:

Here is a summary of Clugston’s 2012 book Scarcity:

Here is a 2014 paper titled “Whatever Happened to the Good Old Days?

232 thoughts on “Overshoot Doubt? Chris Clugston Kills It”

  1. So much of the economic expansion and resource consumption has gone hand in hand with political egalitarianism and may be said to have enabled it. With rapid depletion of resources and a reduction in available wealth and wealth benefits then a new political reality comes into existence with the resources being used exclusively by a small minority of ‘powerful’ individuals at the expense of the majority who become suppressed and gradually eliminated. Already leaders with a non inclusive social policy are being ‘elected’, i.e. promoted by the elite so that, initially, social minorities who are judged as inferior will be eliminated and, with the identification of further social fractions, they in turn will become the political victims eventually leaving only the masters and the subservient underclass. By this means the overconsuming elite will survive.


    1. Chris Clugston dates the origin of our dillema to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution – when we began to use non renewable resources unsustainably.

      I have dated the origin of our dilemma to the beginning of agriculture —–
      —-calling it ‘THE 10,000 YEAR MISUNDERSTANDING’

      Both of us reach the same conclusion:…….Human numbers will shrink (voluntariily or involuntarilly) to levels that can be supported by renewable resource utilization….. see my paper at


      Peter Salonius


        1. I blame the Earth’s decision to start sequestering carbon about half a billion years ago. It recently decided (about a 100,000 years ago) it needed it back in the atmosphere as quickly as possible (geological forces were to slow for its purposes) so it picked on one of the monkey species available, to liberate it (presumably the Neanderthals were not up to the task).
          Upright stance, opposable thumbs, large brain, operating under The MPP and for the coup de gras, to allow it to operate without regard to its own survival, evolution implanted a special extended TOM mortality denial module so these monkeys were always ready to deny unpleasant facts.
          And here we are – job’s a good’un as we say.


            1. Rob, have you read Guns, germs and steel by Jarrod Diamond? I found it very enlightening. It’s well worth the read if you haven’t done so already.


    2. In many countries today, including the US, a vote still has a lot of power to create positive change. Citizens need to become better aware our our predicament and vote for people that understand what needs to be done. The best example of the power of a vote is that Trump was elected despite most of the elites and most of the government institutions opposing him. Unfortunately population reduction policies were not a priority for Trump.

      I like this angry rant by Peter Watts about the many times citizens have been offered wise choices and rejected them:

      My favorite example is Jimmy Carter:

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the Peter Watts rant that Rob Mielcarski referred to (above).

    Watts appears to actually believe that humans and their carbon containing greenhouse gas emissions are the drivers of climate change and that there is a climate crisis.

    Rob here. Contra arguments are welcome provided they are grounded in science. I have deleted the balance of this comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The comment I made and that Rob deleted, included Dr. Happer’s presentation that offered basic ROCK SOLID physics: see:

      CO₂ is not a Pollutant — Exposing the Fraud Behind the Global Reset/Green New Deal

      Rob here, link deleted.
      It took me about 20 seconds to confirm that Happer is not grounded in science:


    2. Thanks Peter. This blog totally needs more input from white male American conservative deniers. The whole world needs more actually, which is sad since your tribe has suffered such a major die back the last few decades & looks to be the next ideology slated for extinction.

      I know y’all white male American conservatives think you’re eternal (don’t they all), but your time is almost up. Like gods, religions & empires, ideologies come & go.

      Some people find it sad watching your tribe desperately struggle to remain relevant in a world that rejects your primitive worldview & has passed you by.

      I’m not one of those who find your clinging desperation sad. Quite the opposite. I am amused.

      Trump & the MAGA crisis cult are fucking hilarious. Your country has pretty much become a global laughing stock. MAGA-tards are like a A freak show within a freak show.

      You’re a real trooper Petey. Most of your tribe have all but given up on climate denial & put all their energies into looking stupid via the great reset & other imagined Boogeymen.

      It’s all slipping away Pete. The signs are everywhere. Open your eyes Pete.

      Poll: American Church Membership Drops Below 50% For First Time


      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, Apneaman, my tribe appears to be on the wane in general, and the conservative power structure side in particular. And possibly along with all the other tribes as a result of many of our cultural values/memes and technologies being adopted those tribes. Civilizations are always a mixture of good and bad, and the bad now is on full display, or at least, under full retrospective review. Under review and criticism by the people who are for the most part alive today because of that culture and its technology. Yes, we conquered most of the world and displaced or replaced a lot of people. But now our reproductive rates are down to less 2 in most places. Liberal modernity with the loss of traditional values and religiosity, seems to do that, at least to our tribe.

        We are left to pout in public about our fate and take rearguard actions to preserve our powers. I admit, it is a bit sad to watch. On the bright side, I suppose, our tribe did invent antibiotics etc. and industrial agriculture, and the internet. Most people reading this blog, and almost everyone complaining about the old guard is alive today in large part because of that white male dominated culture coming out of Europe. (Please, I have no political affiliations, I am just an observer of the big picture….and noting the irony in our situation.)

        How might it have been different? Has anyone ever written an alternative history of the world where humans lived wisely and in balance with the nature? I would be interested in that. Would an Islamic culture have kept fossil fuels in the ground, and over time developed liberal values, and a harmonious relationship with nature? A Sino or Hindu culture? Was North America before Columbus and the introduction of foreign diseases a garden of Eden of peaceful tribes co-existing in perfect harmony? Even if we can sustain or resource base, can this civilization be voluntarily transformed into a multi-tribal socialist paradise in harmony with nature, as envisioned by some? Mostly rhetorical questions.

        In the U.S., we are living through a demographic transition. Admittedly, the old guard is making it easy to for those who want to point fingers and throw them under the bus as the cause for all of our current problems.

        Probably, large transitions of power to different groups will take place the U.S. in the coming years.

        I am just not sure that the new bosses will be any better than the old bosses.

        (Neural plasticity begins to decline at age 25 or so – the median age of white males is now above 40 I believe. Don’t expect us to change…coping with new information consists of denying that information so that our established brain wired perceptions of the world do not have to change. Memory, thoughts, perception, are about built neural structures and connections, not some ephemeral fleeting thing. Apneaman, I have read many things from you, no doubt this is not new info. I am just using your post as a prompt for my thoughts. Thanks.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Sabine Hossenfelder’s mind as I wrote here:

    Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math

    Today she discusses Musk’s $15M prize for a carbon capture invention.

    Unfortunately I’ve had to add Hossenfelder to my list of famous polymaths in denial:

    On Famous Polymaths

    Musk is already on the list.

    Notice that Elon did not create a prize for an invention that creates more copper, or phosphorous, or sand. Nor a prize for the best population reduction idea.

    And Hossenfelder did not notice these omissions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rob, you’ll free up shit loads of time if you switch to a list of polymaths who are NOT in denial.

      When it comes to over population, and a few other overshoot ‘taboos’ I’m not sure a list is helpful since it’s based on their public comments. Invite a gang of polymaths & prominent academics to a west-coast barbecue & bonfire on the beach, get them all shitfaced, then bring up over population & the other overshoot ‘taboos’. Bye bye list.

      May 12, 2010

      Why Is Population Control Such a Radioactive Topic?


      I’m an environmental journalist, but I never write about overpopulation. Here’s why.

      Since you asked (many times).

      By David Roberts@drvolts Updated Nov 29, 2018, 11:25am EST


      Is it time to end the population taboo?
      by Frances Kissling , Peter Singer | 26 Jun 2018

      By Frances Kissling, Jotham Musinguzi and Peter Singer

      Frances Kissling is the president of the Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy and is on the board of The Life You Can Save. Jotham Musinguzi is director general of Uganda’s National Population Council. Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and is The Life You Can Save’s Founder.

      This article was first published in the Washington Post, June 18, 2018


      I remember watching a tv news segment of James Hansen testifying to the US senate in 1988 giving them & the world what I call the first “no doubt” AGW warning.

      That’s when the global warming conversation really got underway & the talking has increased by the day & once residential internet service became widespread it took an effort to avoid the topic. Today the consensus by scientists who study climate is virtually 100% that it’s caused by humans & very bad at best.

      What has that 33 years of climate talk accomplished?

      CO2 1988 – 351ppm

      CO2 2021 – 421ppm

      If one understands the implications & that humans are still piling on by the day, there’s nothing left to say…….. except maybe ‘Sorry’ to the grand kids.

      Say tomorrow that the world starts talking about population control like they’ve talked about climate change for the last 33 years. So?

      We’ve seen this act (COP) repeat over and over, ever since COP1 in Berlin in 1995, as each successive COP-ending-ceremony finds the Parties congratulating each other, slaps on the back, for one more successful climate conference of 20,000-30,000 able-bodied professionals wiped-out from overconsumption of Beluga caviar and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, but subsequently carbon emissions increase the following year, and every following year thereafter. What’s to congratulate?

      More to the point, the annualized CO2 emissions rate is +60% since COP1, not decreasing, not going down, not once. After 25 years of the same identical pattern, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the take-home-work from all 25 COPs mysteriously turns into the antithesis of the mission statement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


      CO2 421ppm & rising. There’s your population control.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The post with my list of famous polymaths in denial also contains a list of polymaths not in denial, all of which of course are distinctly un-famous.

        [Denial On] I have a dream that someday when millions of influential people read this blog there will be great social pressure to have one’s name removed from my denial list, and all those smart people will begin talking about population reduction. [Denial Off]

        I think the excuses you linked for why people don’t talk about population reduction are lame. There were times in history when the same excuses were used for racial discrimination and sexual abuse.


  4. Tim Morgan today dances around denial.


    Do governments and central bankers, really think we can somehow overcome these fundamental, energy-driven trends by pouring yet more cheap credit and cheaper money into the system? Do businesses selling discretionary goods and services realise that they’re becoming hostages to the fortunes of credit expansion? And do those companies and investors reliant on assumed increases in consumer income streams understand the dynamic that is squeezing consumer discretionary prosperity?

    In most cases, the answer, very probably, is “no”.

    Have political leaders looked ahead to the very different agendas that will concern voters once the gravy-train of cheap credit either hits the deflationary buffers or crashes off the inflationary rails?

    Again, probably not.


  5. Tom Murphy yesterday used more poetic words to say the same thing as Clugston.

    Murphy does not mention population reduction policies.


    So one answer, on one extreme, is to abandon technology and live more as part of the wild world. We obviously won’t (and can’t) flip a switch and do this, being unprepared in terms of requisite skills, psychological disposition, and even physical condition.

    More hopefully, we could appreciate that our endpoint needs to dovetail back into nature, and establish a glide path by which we could do so smoothly and deliberately, in such a way as to preserve hard-won knowledge of the way the world works and assure the survival of critical technologies to at least preserve knowledge, if not expand upon it.

    I don’t know if this is possible. Continued growth—the ways of the last few centuries—is manifestly impossible. A high level of resource use characteristic of today is impossible to maintain in present form over the very long term. A high-tech world may therefore be impossible for nature to support more than temporarily: fundamentally incompatible. A mostly natural world keeping a veneer of technology may be possible. And a primitive existence is certainly, demonstrably possible.


    1. Jack Alpert at http://www.skil.org has worked out the numbers, the mechanism and the localities, just has no answer for how to get the ‘democratically supported population reduction’ policies in place. Its pretty benign on the face: just ensure more people die of natural causes than are born for about 25 years, and we’re in the zone!


      1. Last time I checked Alpert’s plan requires that only 1 in 200 woman be permitted to have a child for (I think) about 50 years, after which the population will be 50 million or so and a modern advanced technology civilization can continue in perpetuity without depending on non-renewable resource draw-down, and then women will be permitted to resume having on average 2 children.

        I wouldn’t call it benign, but it’s a hell of a lot better than 7 billion starving to death with the survivors living as medieval peasants, at best.

        Are you aware of a newer more benign plan by Alpert?


        1. you got the numbers approx but the good news is that if there was to be a new social contract to limite births by lottery, natural deaths would rapidly exceed birth and the lottery would be extended. I think it w as 1 in 47 would have the right each year to bear a child, at the outset.


        2. who’s persuaded that there has been a depopulation agenda in America at least, since the 1940s? This article is a history of that: https://thecovidblog.com/2021/10/15/depopulation-agenda-planned-parenthood-from-its-documented-beginnings-in-1916-race-based-eugenics-to-2021-global-genocide/
          Personally, I don’t know what to think about this. Yes there are too many humans on the planet, made worse by the gigantic biomass of our domesticated food animals. No I don’t think there should be a covert plan to eliminate, sterilize, infect, etc. the unwanted (and who decides?).


            1. Hi Rob,
              Maybe you are too busy but perhaps you could take a read through the essay. Just because population is still r ising globally is not to say there is not a multi-faceted campaign to reduce it. Birth rates in industrialized c ountries are indeed below replacement rate. Not low enough imo.


      2. In the US and many other countries, we are already “in the zone.” Native born fertility is consistently below replacement. Only pro-immigration policies keep the population growing in the US and many other western countries (and this seems to be a policy only in western countries). Furthermore, once they arrive here, the first generation of immigrants proceed to produce more offspring on average than their national counterparts who remained in their native lands. Without the Hart-Celler immigration act of 1965, the US would likely have a smaller population today than when that act was passed. Pro-immigration is pro-population growth, and I think this politically motivated enthusiasm for immigration is why the left, which used to support policies to curb fertility in the past, no longer does so, and why they now join libertarians in denouncing “neo-Malthusianism.”

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Although I have not finished it yet, Derrick Jensen et al’s book Bright Green Lies has opened up quite a bit about even those things that we might think are “conservation” things, like LED lighting for one. I still look forward to where they are taking their analyses.


    1. The community I live in has an air quality problem caused by wood stoves. Our leaders are trying to move people away from wood for heat.

      When I was a kid this community had 1/5 the population, everyone heated with wood, and there was no problem.

      The problems associated with the natural gas and electricity being used to replace wood are “away”, out of sight, and out of mind.

      My point is that almost everything we do has some negative side effect.

      That’s why, as Albert Bartlett said, fewer people improves every problem we face.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sam. I believe you said you had some additional information about Chris’s work that might interest people. Feel free to post it.

      Don’t worry about formatting and typos. I can clean up any mistakes.


  7. I believe Tim Watkins is the only person who explains that it was the central banks’ incorrect interpretation of rising oil prices as inflation rather than scarcity, and their corresponding response to increase the interest rate, that caused the 2008 financial crash. He’s worried they’re about to do it again.

    Me, I don’t know what to predict, other than we’ll all soon be poorer.


    As was widely predicted, disruption to the oil industry last year is finally manifesting in higher fuel prices as economies attempt to open up. The WTI price is now above $60 per barrel and the Brent price looks set to go above $70; putting us in recessionary territory as, since 2008, prices above $60 have proved too high for consumers. In the short-term though, rising oil prices spell higher fuel charges at the pumps… something that is already impacting the official measure of inflation here in the UK, and which may well impact the USA as the summer motoring season gets going.

    Shipping, too, is proving a major headache. Ultra-efficient, just-in-time global logistics chains were torn asunder by the various pandemic restrictions last year. The result is that ships and containers are in the wrong places and, with no certainty about what the post-pandemic market will be like, for now at least there is no way of rebalancing the system. And so, the cost of everything that is transported on ships will be rising.

    The disruption to energy and transport has a knock on impact on almost everything else too. Shortages of everything from wood pulp to computer chips have been popping up like paste bubbles on badly hung wallpaper. And those shortages will also be feeding through as higher prices in the near future. Indeed, reopening our economies looks set to be more traumatic than locking them down for months on end.

    The big danger is that states and central bankers stick to the modern definition of inflation and assume that the price rises we are beginning to see – which are actually the result of the pandemic response 12 months ago – are evidence of inflation caused by all of the additional currency they created. If they assume this, then the two policy responses – central bank interest rate rises and state austerity cuts – are going to make the consequences of the pandemic far worse than they need be; and will likely bring about a far bigger crash than would have happened in 2008.

    What we are witnessing in 2021 is not the result of currency printing. That will arrive soon enough. But the increased prices today are a consequence of real economy shortages – some of which began before the pandemic – to which the economy will have to adapt. With not enough energy to go around from here on in, the price of material goods and services will be rising anyway. That means that people will be buying them less often; and that those at the bottom will no longer be buying them at all. Allow this rebalancing to occur – as they should have done in 2006 – and the landing is going to be a lot less bumpy than if the rug is pulled out from beneath the economy before it has had chance to adjust.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yesterday I tried population reduction on my neighbor who is a retired left wing environmental activist. Couldn’t budge him. Couldn’t even get him to consider the facts about our predicament. I watched the curtain come down over his eyes.

    Best response he could come up with was “we’ve going to level off at 11 billion”.


    1. I may have stated this before here but it’s worth my repeating. Any and every time I’ve spoken with friends and acquaintances holding left wing and/or environmentalist views this is by far (BY FAR!) their biggest “blind spot”. It’s exasperating and one of the (many) reasons I don’t have as many friends/acquaintances as I once did.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m totally a left wing environmentalist and retired too! and I totally get the population thing. So clear that it has been anathema since Malthus. so it must not be just about ‘leftwing’and ‘environmentalism’. JUst like there are polymaths that get it and ones that don’t. Tangent: most every physicist in the whole world ignores Tim Garrett’s Relation of energy consumption and total accumulated human production, but if they didn’t deny it, we would have been able to resolve theclimate emergency 30 years ago when Hansen blew the whistle. (btw, and i’m a retired business entrepreneur and mba too: where does that place me in the firmament?)


        1. I mentioned he was a left wing environmentalist, not because I think they more often oppose population reduction policies, but rather because in the absence of genetic reality denial one would expect that group to be the first to embrace population reduction policies. But they don’t, because reality denial dominates in that group too.


    2. I’ve usually gotten anger in response to bringing it up. I think it’s obvious what we will do is what we’ve always done – fought with others over resources. I also think it won’t look like this is what we’re doing – it will be talked about in terms of political economy.


      1. 30 years ago, when I was a different person, I made a donation to the conservative political party. Last night they called asking for my support in the upcoming election. I asked what their position was on population reduction. His tone changed immediately and asked what I meant. I said we are in a severe state of overshoot and need to get our population down quickly. He said he hadn’t heard of that and I should come to the all candidates meeting. I told him there was no one I could vote for because even the Green Party doesn’t call for population reduction.


  9. Tim Garrett calculates US$1 = 9.7 mW (1990) = 5 mW (2020)

    Brian Snyder calculates US$1 (bitcoin) = 17,000,000 mWh (2020)

    I know I’m comparing a flow with a stock, but it seems bitcoin is not a good use of depleting energy.


    In 2020, “Bitcoin Bros” mined about 400,000 bitcoins and consumed something like 120 TWh of energy. Given an exchange rate of one bitcoin to $50,000 (roughly its price today), this 120 TWh “generated” a product worth about $20 billion. Thus, each dollar’s worth of bitcoin required about 6 kWh to produce. But, since 65% of the energy used to produce electricity is lost as heat, this means it took about 17 kWh of primary energy to generate $1 of bitcoin.


    1. The poster Polybius on Peak Oil (I know) has posted again on bitcoin. I don’t really understand and don’t own any bitcoin but this seems reasonable to me -can any of the more technically able (in bitcoin matters) posters here explain where he is wrong- if he is? If it looks like a scam?

      “In simple terms, Bitcoin is an online excel spreadsheet globally kept in sync by the Internet. You can also think of it like a giant shared google sheets collaborative document shared live publicly with the globe. This synchronized spreadsheet contains rows full of transaction entries logging every transaction that ever occurs. The moment the very first entry hits the first/top row of this digital excel bookkeeping ledger the virtual currency of bitcoin came into existence from nothing. Each bitcoin that comes into existence does not take an existing dollar out of circulation, its entirely an additive act and not one of substitution…

      Furthermore, Bitcoin just happens to be the first tab of the spreadsheet and anyone in the world can start their very own tab and thereby ushering into existence an entirely new spreadsheet and new virtual currency. There is no limit to the amount of tabs that can be created but because bitcoin spreadsheet tab was the first tab and also the default tab, it currently enjoys the first mover advantage and the social “network effects” of popularity and adoption…

      Think back to when some co-workers at your company started a football squares and passed around the paper sheet asking people to mark and buy up squares…. in the end someone won while most people lost. It was all games and fun even though real money was involved you knew that this activity never created any value nor did it generate any wealth, it merely reshuffled the existing pooled money around and redistributed it to a few.

      So whenever you buy or “invest” in bitcoin you are also merely just paying someone real money to buy up individual cells or rows on the first tab of this digital excel spreadsheet. It is really just a game of hot potatoes, from bitcoins initial start at 0.01 USD per bitcoin to its recent peak of $64,000 per bitcoin, its been on average one long chain of successive buying and reselling of rows of this spreadsheet. On average in the long run each subsequent person who bought up a row of the spreadsheet was willing to pay more that what the previous owner had himself paid to previously acquire it… in other words, when the current owner of a row or rows of this spreadsheet wants to sell it to another buyer he fully hopes and expects to be able to find a new buyer willing to pay even more and thereby pocket a profit…

      People talk of bitcoin as a game charger, a hedge against inflation, a safe haven, or some sort of savior of the world… how because of the rise of all cryptocurrencies its suddenly brought so much new wealth into the world or somehow unlocked so much potential…

      But if you understand the fundamentals of what bitcoin actually is, an online excel spreadsheet shared globally where each row represented a transaction of buying or selling a particular row, then its crystal clear bitcoin,not unlike the football squares, was never going to solve anything… its not a storage of wealth nor is it a source of energy nor does it have any intrinsic value whatsoever…

      As far as the Tulip mania analogy goes, I’ve said it before, Bitcoin is more akin to the paper buying and selling of futures contracts of an entirely fictitious made-up flower that no one has actually seen and in fact has never even existed in the first place.”

      Last edited by Polybius on Wed 21 Apr 2021, 20:29:31, edited 1 time in total.


  10. If I needed a mechanic to rebuild my engine I would be wise to first confirm he has the skills to change my tire.

    COVID treatment recommendations by my provincial government:

    Click to access Recommendation_Therapies_COVID-19.pdf

    9. Ivermectin
    Ivermectin is not recommended for treatment or prophylaxis of COVID-19 outside of approved randomized-controlled trials.

    10. Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin D
    Ascorbic acid and Vitamin D are not recommended for treatment or prophylaxis of COVID-19 outside of approved randomized-controlled trials.

    The FLCCC Alliance explains what’s going on without proposing a global conspiracy to murder people.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. These people seem to agree with Chris Clugston’s calculations but disagree on the conclusion.

    Rather than taking down modern civilization, copper scarcity presents the greatest investment opportunity.

    They’re kind of like the people who think we can use the methane captured from rotting food in landfills to create fertilizer in Haber Bosch factories to grow more food.


  12. Mac10 thinks about denial today.


    Today is Earth Day of course. However, to most people it’s just another day to take the blue planet for granted. So I thought I would dedicate this post to discussing my views of the environment and the great reset that began last year, from an economic standpoint. One of my recurring topics prior to the pandemic was my uncontrolled rage at the denial of global climate change by people who are in denial about everything. Climate change being the least of their worries. My opinion is that if this deep reset via COVID – which is orders of magnitude beyond anything imagined at any climate conference – doesn’t work, then nothing will.


    1. My feelings exactly. If we can’t collapse the economy we can’t even get started on population reduction/downsizing our consumption. All the economic talk/market hype wants is more growth, MORE GROWTH. The vast majority is in denial that we have a problem with growth of population, consumption or the economy. Unless we can get degrowth we are screwed. The problem is that we need the plane (civilization) on a rapid glide down to a steady state/sustainable landing – and we don’t know if it will just fall from the sky and crash and burn instead. But we needed to have started down long ago, better now today than tomorrow.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Ilargi rants at the insanity that almost no one sees.


    I sometimes can’t believe I think I must revisit this theme time and again, but here we are. Joe Biden is chairing a virtual climate plan/summit/whatever, and absolutely nothing has changed since the last time I tried to explain why it is nonsense, or all the other times before that. But this is the biggest boondoggle/cheat/trick ever played on mankind, so what choice do I have?

    It’s still a bunch of politicians all over the world who are beholden to a bunch of extremely rich people for their cushy positions and claim they intend to save the world hand in hand with these rich people. In other words, our resident sociopaths and psychopaths are the only ones who can save us. But you’re going to have to pay up, or they won’t do it.

    It’s all an intensely moronic piece of theater (no, I won’t insult Kabuki!), but since all the media is in on it, who would know that? It’s the biggest show on earth! Your carrots are jobs, profit, and a saved planet for your children. What’s not to like?

    Biden’s billionaire political sponsors promise to save you, but of course they do need to make a profit off it. One that is preferably larger than the profits they have been making over the past decades off of the very things they now pretend to condemn, and are still invested in, fossil fuels.


  14. h/t Panopticon


    Corn, wheat, soybeans, vegetable oils: A small handful of commodities form the backbone of much of the world’s diet and they’re dramatically more expensive, flashing alarm signals for global shopping budgets.

    This week, the Bloomberg Agriculture Spot Index — which tracks key farm products — surged the most in almost nine years, driven by a rally in crop futures. With global food prices already at the highest since mid-2014, this latest jump is being closely watched because staple crops are a ubiquitous influence on grocery shelves — from bread and pizza dough to meat and even soda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds serious.

      I’ll still probably be able to afford the rent with a modest price increase in food. I might have to cut down to only 5 boxes of ‘Little Diabetes’ snack cakes & just two 2L bottles of Mountain Dew per day, but I’ll solider on.
      I’m very resilient like that.


  15. I’m thinking these people have not studied Chris Clugston’s work.

    I’m thinking they’re not going to study his work.


    The Sky’s the Limit: Solar and wind energy potential is 100 times as much as global energy demand

    Solar and wind potential is far higher than that of fossil fuels and can meet global energy demand many times over, unlocking huge benefits for society.

    The land required for solar panels alone to provide all global energy is 450,000 km2, 0.3% of the global land area of 149 million km2.

    Humans specialise in extracting cheap energy, and fast, as witnessed by the rapid development of shale gas. Now the opportunity has been unlocked, expect continued exponential growth of solar and wind deployment.

    The technical and economic barriers have been crossed and the only impediment to change is political.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No discussion of the intermittency problem and/or storage. No discussion of how to expand the grid. No discussion of how will electricity replace diesel fuel. No discussion of how much CO2 is going to be produced to build this solar out. NO discussion of lowering our level of consumption or population. Just hopium and denial.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Antonio Turiel today discusses the depletion of NRR’s, and what we should do, but does not mention population reduction.


    note: Google translate, not Turiel, is responsible for the awkward English.

    Since my appearance in the Spanish Senate , some people have sent me various reports on the state of some industrial sectors in Spain. All of them are related to an issue that I mentioned in my appearance and about which I already wrote here, the end of cheap plastic . The reports always mention the same thing: more than significant price increase in the last year of plastics and other raw materials (wood, aluminum, rolled steel, etc.), companies declaring force majeure for not complying with their supply contracts, stock break in some cases. And in general, no one expects these problems to be solved before 2022 or 2023.

    If one reads the analyzes on the causes of these supply problems, one usually finds a variety of problems mentioned. The scarcity of raw materials is often mentioned (sometimes presented elliptically; for example, “mismatches between supply and demand”), but many conjunctural issues of variable influence are also mentioned, but which are clearly exaggerated in these reports: from the snow storm in Texas, the obstruction of the Suez Canal or the increase in the consumption of certain hygiene products derived from the measures against COVID. The truth is that in 2020 consumption in general fell a lot, and the shortage problems were already notorious at the end of 2020, so all those problems mentioned sound like excuses rather than the true cause of so much disorder.

    And it is that at the root of all these problems is the accelerated decline in oil production in which we are already immersed. I am not going to repeat here once more the same arguments in full detail; consult, if you consider it necessary, what was discussed in the post ” The Great Waste”. The summary of the argument is as follows: the oil companies discovered a few years ago that there are no profitable oil fields left, because despite being at record prices they were losing money by the handful; thus, since 2014 they have been drastically reducing their investments and for this reason, the International Energy Agency itself anticipates a very important and unstoppable drop in oil production, which could reach up to 50% in 2025 if we do not react. Even if there is a strong reaction, a drop of 20 % seems inevitable. Such a large drop in oil production augurs a real economic disaster. This year alone, production could already fall by 10%. The shortage of certain raw materials that is being observed indicates that we are indeed going down that path .The price of a barrel of oil has not yet skyrocketed in price, but because of Liebig’s law of refineries (which we commented when talking about the shortage of plastics ) plastic is already in short supply. The shortage of other raw materials, such as microchips or some metals, has an energy component and another that depends on many other factors, but in any case it will be exacerbated by the decline in oil.

    But, for the same reason, because we are already beginning the descent, there is no time for the solutions that are being proposed for the Energy Transition, motivated by the fight against Climate Change but which should also be valid to face the energy shortage and material that is coming our way. We have been discussing the pros and cons of the renewable transition for many, too many, years. We have been discussing the limits of renewables for many, too many years , with legitimate discrepancies that have yet to be resolved. Nothing was done when it had to be done because, deep down, it did not seem so urgent. And now, simply, what we had planned can no longer be.

    Latin America passed its energy peak in 2016 , and just before COVID its energy consumption surpassed its production . With the current global worsening of the energy problem, will Chile continue to send us its copper, especially now that its costs have skyrocketed due to the poverty of the mines? Will Argentina continue to export its lithium for batteries? Will Mexico continue to send us its oil? The latter we already know not: Mexico’s oil consumption has already exceeded its production for a couple of years.

    Will solar panels continue to come from China as before? And the neodymium? And the cobalt from the Congo? Niger’s uranium?

    We have waited too long. In the middle of the fire it is not the time to hold a neighborhood meeting to approve the installation of a fire escape. On a seriously damaged plane, when the captain says “brace, brace” this is not the time to discuss what we will visit first when we arrive at our destination. There is no time for that.

    …the focus should be elsewhere. We should equip ourselves, as soon as possible, with the capacity to be self-sufficient in food production. We should ensure the supply of water, in potable conditions, and the ability to purify wastewater. We should relocate the production of everything that is relocatable. We should open our landfills and junkyards to reuse everything that is reusable. Recycle everything that is recyclable and reengineer industrial processes to promote recycling, especially of certain metals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I asked Chris Clugston to answer your question and this was his answer:

      “Blip” is different – and better – than “Scarcity” for reasons that I won’t go into at this point; so I’d recommend “Blip”.


  17. As I see it, Clugston’s work is just a more updated edition of James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency.

    For centuries if not millennia non-Western sociocultural milieux such as China thrived on the sustainable use of RNRs. They weren’t perfect societies (heck, name me one), but at least they were sustainable and didn’t jeopardize the continued tenure of humanity on this planet. Then the Western world came along and spread its gospel of industrialization around, gaining converts everywhere and all too often through the barrel of a gun. Hence the sorry state of affairs we all face now.

    I don’t buy the nonsense that the non-Western milieux themselves wanted to industrialize and weren’t forced to. Leaving behind a way of life one had been following for millennia to change to a new way of life can only be the most psychologically painful experience possible, no matter how many good things the new way of life may purportedly offer (and it has turned out that this new way of life isn’t going to have that many good things to offer after all). All too often the single overriding reason for the non-Western world to industrialize has been: if others industrialize and you don’t, it will be easy for others to trample on you.

    We non-Westerners have therefore had to endure immense psychological, cultural and societal traumas and upheavals — no telling how much blood and how many tears were shed — as we left our cherished traditional ways of life behind in our bid to industrialize. Now that we’ve finally settled down to this new way of life, another even more terrible upheaval looms on the horizon. Is it not enough what we’ve had to go through in the past couple hundred years?

    I therefore want to ask: what has the West got to be proud about? What number of Shakespeares, Beethovens, Newtons and Leonardos will make up for this crime — the crime of bringing about the Industrial Revolution and compelling everyone to tread the same sorry path to Hell?


    1. I therefore want to ask: what has the West got to be proud about?

      It’s a very good question. My reflex answer was scientific knowledge but then I realized much of it will be lost when the grid goes down.

      The honest answer probably is that we helped the universe get to it’s destination as quickly as possible by short circuiting the earth’s battery.

      Apollo 11 was also pretty amazing.

      On Apollo: The Most Impressive Human Achievement


      1. What has the West got to be proud of? I dunno… but I felt you were kinda begging for someone to come up with that Python skit “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

        This might be minor, but I think it is something we can be proud of – the West has given us people like Steven M. Wise of the NonHuman Rights project who fight for the habeas corpus of individual great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales held in captivity across the US.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Achievements. in art architecture, literature and music at least equal to those of ancient China. Persia, India, Greece, etc. Nothing to be ashamed of!

        Everything comes to dust, nothing endures, it’s all fugitive – which is the beauty.


        1. I met a traveller from an antique land,
          Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
          Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
          Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
          And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
          Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
          Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
          The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
          And on the pedestal, these words appear:
          My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
          Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
          Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
          Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
          The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

          Percy Bysshe Shelley


    2. Chris Clugston sent the following response to your comment:

      After you read “Blip”, tell me if you still think that it’s “a more updated version” of “The Long Emergency” – or anything else that you’ve ever read. If so, I’d like to read whatever it is myself!

      In answer to your question, we Homo sapiens have accomplished great things during our brief tenure as industrialized beings – many of which are discussed in “Blip”. Industrialism is a wonderful lifestyle paradigm – the drawback is that it’s unsustainable, terminally unsustainable, owing to the fact that it is enabled by finite, non-replenishing, and increasingly scarce fossil fuels, metals, and nonmetallic minerals.

      To those who long for the days and ways of our hunter-gatherer or pre-industrial agrarian predecessors, my response is, “go for it, nobody is stopping you”. However, for the vast, vast majority of pre-industrial humanity, life was “nasty, brutish, and short”.

      As far as our overexploitation of Earth resources – which is covered extensively in “Blip” – Bill Catton summed things up well in his book Overshoot, “…organisms using their habitat unavoidably reduce its capacity to support their kind by what they necessarily do to it in the process of living”.

      The point is that we Homo sapiens are no different than any other species, and we are certainly not an “evil” species. We were introduced into a habitat in which we could succeed, and thrive – and we did! We just did it on a grander scale than any species before us – owing to our unparalleled ingenuity – and once we industrialized, we did it on steroids! But cockroaches, whales, or any other species on Earth would have done the same thing, if they could have…

      It is interesting, though, how Nature suckered us into our predicament by baiting us with agrarianism, then by making us the offer we couldn’t refuse with industrialism – but that’s another discussion for another day.

      I’d very much appreciate your taking a look at “Blip” – and giving me your thoughts after you’ve read it. (Rob knows how to find me…)

      Thanks again for your interest, and all the best,



    3. Lame, childish version of how it went down. I only know 1 person from SE Asia, & a handful from India, but none of them sound like you. Plenty of people here in N America do sound like you – self loathing progressive white people pimping a revised and cherry picked Manichean narrative version of history (whites all bad, everyone else innocent & pure) and who’s self loathing is a ruse. It’s actually tribal virtue signalling. Further, the way in which you describe ‘non westerns’ as helpless tiny babies who had their candy stolen is kinda insulting to them don’t you think? That’s also how many progressives in the US portray & treat blacks & other racial minorities.
      ‘Aweee aren’t you just the sweetest little things – don’t you worry bout a thing. Were here to help. We know best’.

      I suppose it’s our fault y’all bred like rabbits & grew the worlds biggest two legged Cancer tribes? Evil Whitey Round eye forcing y’all to strip & fuck at gun point. Gimme a break. Y’all shit out kids like we shit out shit.

      Perhaps the ‘non west’ will win an Oscar this evening.

      For 5 + billion people who were forced into an evil way of life by whitey round eye, y’all are doing a world class job of acting like you like it – dopamine hits all around yee haw! The added touch of spending trillions on nukes & the military to defend said techno industrial life style is Par Excellence.

      And the Oscar for best acting by an ensemble goes to – ‘the non west’ in ‘The White Devil Made Us Do It’

      C’mon dude, it’s obvious that y’all are more than a little envious & still somewhat flabbergasted at how a few uncouth N European tribes, a couple generations removed from barbarism & mud huts, could conquer & control much of the worlds people resources & trade for 500 years.

      Let’s not pretend that that’s not exactly what China’s in the process of doing right now. Doing it rather well I’d say although the competition are decadent, disunited & dumbed down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. China is very late to the party: all dressed up, smiling, looking forward to getting laid: but the champagne’s already going flat and mostly gone anyway…..


    4. On the issue of Western guilt. Suppose there are three separate monkey troops occupying contiguous territory. Nearby is a human camp with treats. One of the troops raids this camp for the peanuts . To do this, they need to take initiative, cooperate and use a rudimentary tool to open a box storing the peanuts. They bring back their haul but unfortunately the loot is infected with a virus. The virus kills 75% of the population. The other troops, smelling the peanuts from afar and sensing a nice quiet lull in activity come over to investigate, get infected and suffer a similar mortality rate. Is the troop that launched the peanut raid uniquely evil in some special simian way?


  18. Nice essay today by Albert Bates with a couple great images.


    “A year at a time” is how we are taking life now. It is preparing us for our future. Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been” has a corollary: “Watch where everyone is moving and go where they aren’t.” Maybe you would be better off painting water colors, moving to an ecovillage, or running the kitchen in an Ecosystem Restoration Camp than whatever it was you were doing before. Plant some trees, help with a whale census, bag the peaks. Now is the time. Skate to where the puck is going.


    1. Great hockey analogy & Gretzky quote. I remember it well as a Canadian teen playing/obsessed with hockey (since the age of 4 when I first laced up). Not only was Gretzky the best anyone had seen, but he was different than anyone we’d every seen & it rubbed off on his teammates & made them better. Gretzky & the Oilers were so dominate the NHL changed some rules to try & equalize things & teams changed their core strategies to defensive ones which resulted in a number of years of boring hockey.

      Perhaps the world would benefit from a bunch of Gretzky like leaders who see different & all have enforces like Gretzky had with Dave Semenko.

      What’s that? You refuse to curb your emissions? – You’re on Semenko!

      Don’t want to change your agriculture practises? Fine. – SEMENKO!

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Dave Borlace is another polymath in denial but his piece today is excellent evidence that the only way we’ll degrow is via collapse.

    Global greenhouse gas 2021 rebound. Is there any chance of staying under 1.5 degrees Celsius?

    Global greenhouse emissions dropped by 7% in 2020, for reasons that we all understand only too well. Our new enforced way of life led many to suggest we had discovered the template for a green recovery and more sustainable way of living. So as we approach the half way mark in 2021…how’s that all going??


    1. 1.5C? Really? For all intents & purposes, 1.5C is a lie. Doubly so when that little part about massive non existent industrialist scale carbon capture & storage to achieve it is barely touched or skipped over entirely.

      Is 1.5 C an impossible target?

      June 5, 2020

      “Limiting warming to 1.5 C would be beneficial for the planet, said John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist and a professor at Texas A&M University. But he noted that reducing emissions to zero may not be enough to stop temperatures from rising.

      Already, emitted CO2 would continue to warm the planet even without additional emissions, meaning carbon dioxide will actually need to be removed from the atmosphere to prevent further warming.

      In an analysis last year, the IPCC reported that all pathways to 1.5 C require the use of technology that removes CO2 from the atmosphere. The report noted that such technologies are in limited use today.”


      I’ve always thought pushing false hope was the cruellest cut of all, but perhaps I’m wrong & have it backwards. I just don’t see all these people telling others ‘it’s not too late!’ for nefarious reasons. It could be they believe it (need) or think they are doing folks a kindness or think hope is necessary to keep order, which is self serving, but far from nefarious.


  20. I don’t think I’ll watch this new BBC documentary because it’s too depressing.

    I’m also unable to watch documentaries about elephant poaching.

    A rip is up at the usual places if you want to download it.


    Anarchy in the Amazon?

    Under cover of Covid, the Amazon rainforest is under attack. Deforestation is at levels not seen for more than a decade. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, talks of opening the forest up to development while the environmental police are under attack from loggers.

    Our World has obtained a recording of the environment minister talking about using the cover of Covid to ‘change all the rules’ in the Amazon. Justin Rowlatt goes on a mission to find out how a tribe he visited a decade ago is faring in the face of this assault.


    1. The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon

      “But the incentive for the destruction comes from large-scale international meat and soy animal feed companies like JBS and Cargill, and the global brands like Stop & Shop, Costco, McDonald’s, Walmart/Asda, and Sysco that buy from them and sell to the public. It is these companies that are creating the international demand that finances the fires and deforestation.”


      Here’s the headline you won’t see:

      The Consumers behind the Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon

      Another case of innocent humans forced to behave (shop) at gunpoint.

      The Amazon has been front & centre of the environmental movement since I was a teenager 40 years ago – ‘The lungs of the planet’ & all that. Everyone heard & seen it.

      Face it, the only Amazon the chimps give a shit about is the one owned by Overlord Jeff Bezos where they get super-awesome deals on Brazilian hardwood flooring (every 5 years) & guilt free ‘sustainable’, ‘organic’, ‘fair trade’ _____.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Not saying the old growth forests of BC are unimportant, but they are nowhere near as valuable as those of the Amazon for sheer biodiversity. Around 30% of the world’s species, and 10% of the world’s biodiversity, can be found there.

          Liked by 1 person

  21. Why So Much Suffering?

    ” …our survival drive is so strong that we’ll try and put a positive spin on the most awful things…. people need to do this… need to affirm life is so strong that we will go against the facts and say well you know whatever um i suffered all this as a child but it’s made me stronger… i know now understand people more yeah or something… some kind of nonsense that… some story that people will tell themselves just to try and make it all all right when actually it isn’t all all right so what’s the best way to deal with these basic mechanics of existence that create suffering well the best way to deal with it all is to understand it.

    [Copy-N-pasted from transcript. Emphasis mine]

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I am now registered with the BC government to be vaccinated – waiting for the call.

    I’m trying to decide which vaccine to get. The Bill Gates 5G Brain Chip or Elders of Zion-Deep State Population Control Deluxe.

    I was kinda leaning towards the Bill Gates 5G Brain Chip, but I don’t want to put up with all those damn security updates every day.

    Decisions decisions…….

    Liked by 1 person

  23. If you agree with my worldview that energy and religion are central to the human story, but don’t see any need for genetic denial of unpleasant realities in the story, then you’ll love today’s essay by Richard Heinberg on big history:


    Here’s my competing version of big history with denial at the core:

    un-Denial Manifesto: Energy and Denial

    Given that Heinberg discusses all the important issues except the only issue that really matters, the need for rapid population reduction policies, I think my story is the more accurate story.

    The closest he’s comfortable getting is:

    If the rapid population growth of the past two centuries depended on the benefits of cheap, abundant energy, what are the population implications of energy decline?

    Liked by 3 people

  24. I call BINGO on Tim Watkin’s explanation today for why so much of the news looks suspiciously like a conspiracy.


    When you see the same story repeated, almost verbatim, across the establishment media, you can be sure you are dealing with some kind of soft propaganda. No, this is not some kind of conspiracy theory. It is merely the observation that in the era of social media, traditional news outlets have been crushed by declining audiences and a loss of advertising revenue. As a consequence, journalists have largely been replaced with commentators who lack the skills, time and resources to investigate a story.


    1. How does news survive? Advertising. Here in Colorado, the Denver Post is very excited to print something that says happy days will soon return. What choice does it have?


  25. From 2005

    Ocean heat store makes climate change inevitable

    No matter how well the world controls emissions of greenhouse gases, global climate change is inevitable, warn two new studies which take into account the oceans’ slow response to warming.

    Even if greenhouse gases never rise beyond their present level, temperatures and sea levels will continue rising for another century or more because of a time lag in the oceans’ response to atmospheric temperatures, say researchers.

    This time lag means policymakers cannot afford to wait to tackle climate change until its consequences become painful, because by then they will already be committed to further change, they urge. “The feeling is that if things are getting bad, you hit the stop button. But even if you do, the climate continues to change,” says Gerald Meehl, a climatologist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.




    The ‘heat bombs’ destroying Arctic sea ice

    “…shows in a new study how plumes of warm water are flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean and accelerating sea ice melt from below.

    The research primarily funded by the Office of Naval Research describes so-called underwater “heat bombs” as one of many mechanisms by which global warming-driven encroachment is changing the nature of the Arctic Ocean faster than nearly any other place on Earth. It adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests that Arctic sea ice, a source of global climate stability, could disappear for larger portions of the year.”

    “The rate of accelerating sea ice melt in the Arctic has been hard to predict accurately, in part because of all of the complex local feedbacks between ice, ocean and atmosphere; this work showcases the large role in warming that ocean water plays as part of those feedbacks,…”

    “Warm, relatively salty water enters from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait and then the Barrow Canyon off Alaska’s northern coast, which acts as a nozzle as the water flows through the narrow passage.

    Because this water is saltier than the Arctic surface water, it is dense enough to “subduct,” or dive beneath, the fresh Arctic surface layer. Its movement creates pockets of very warm water that lurk below surface waters. Scientists have been seeing these pockets of warm sub-surface water strengthen over the last decade.”


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marine heat waves are also destroying kelp forests. The heatwaves sweep through the oceans scorching marine ecosystems like forest fires. But there are also inspiring people trying to restore the blue forests with green gravel.

      It’s a great technique. “It involves seeding small rocks with kelp propagules, rearing them in the lab and then out-planting them into the field. The juvenile kelps overgrow or move off the green gravel and attach to the underlying reef. This technique is cheap, simple, and does not require scuba diving, highly trained field workers, or engineered structures. The gravel can be scattering from a boat and can be up-scaled to treat large areas. Green gravel also represents an exciting avenue to ‘future proof’ restoration efforts. By seeding gravel with resilient species or assemblages, we may be able to enhance the resilience of kelp forests to future disturbance or climate change.”

      https://www.greengravel.org/ https://www.greengravel.org/

      There is a lot of bad stuff happening to our oceans but maybe this will buy us some time.


      1. The kelp beds on the east coast of Vancouver Island are mostly gone. I remember their abundance as a child.

        I went to the local government fisheries office to ask if there was any way we could restore the kelp on the reef near where I live. They looked at me like I was crazy and said something to the effect of “it’s too late because of climate change”.

        I’ll read up on this green gravel.


    2. Two links: Alex Smith’s Ecoshock.org this week: https://www.ecoshock.org/2021/05/abrupt-climate-change-is-possible.html
      Posted on May 5, 2021, by Radio Ecoshock
      Abrupt climate change: unimaginable changes in less than a lifetime. From Copenhagen Dr. Sune Olander Rasmussen explains the risks. Plus: From GEOMAR at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Dr. Andreas Oschlies takes us on a tour of deep life and its future.
      “Global heating pace risks ‘unstoppable’ sea level rise as Antarctic ice sheet melts…

      “The current pace of global heating risks unleashing “rapid and unstoppable” sea level rise from the melting of Antarctica’s vast ice sheet [rapidly accelerating circa 2060, they suggest], a new research paper has warned.”



  26. Paul Beckwith today without his cat, and with an extra serious message.

    I used to feel the same utter bewilderment until I discovered Varki’s MORT theory. Our predicaments, and there are several big ones in addition to climate change, are so serious, and our responses so unbelievably lame, that it can make you depressed and crazy without a scientific explanation like MORT.

    I have often wondered how humanity, in our present day and age, can be facing total and utter catastrophe from abrupt climate system change, and still have the vast multitudes of citizens, governments, and nations not even want to recognize the grave dangers that we face. These are not long term risks, in fact we face the imminent complete loss of Arctic Sea Ice, enormous outbursts of methane gas, mass extinctions of our plants and animals, and global food shortages leading to deadly widespread famine within a decade. How is this possible? How can society be so stupid? Why am I cursed to recognize the imminent and complete collapse of our society?

    Having been within the university system and academia for many years, I have been constantly puzzled as to why there is no sense of societal danger and risk of near term collapse. The Ivory Towers of Academia have been completely oblivious to the existential crisis, and has done absolutely nothing to educate the public to these risks. The university is essentially a knowledge-factory to push forward the boundaries of knowledge in a vast array of independently siloed fields, while it has completely lacked the wisdom to recognize let alone address the real world problems that are right in front of our face. As a result, with zero wisdom from our esteemed institutes of learning, our society is teetering on the brink of complete and utter collapse from abrupt climate system change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rob,
      It can make you depressed and crazy especially with an explanation by MORT. How do you get people who are in denial to see reality? My spouse is in complete denial, she lives on hopium and a belief that human ingenuity can solve everything. Any discussion of our predicament just gets shut down.
      I thought Tom Murphy’s takedown in his textbook of the belief in science fiction solutions (magical IMHO) to our predicaments was great, but people refuse to listen to any of that as it only gets them depressed. No one wants to hear about rapid population reduction or living with less as that message creates so much cognitive dissonance with the overwhelming propaganda from the MSM and society at large that everyone, except those here, deny the message. I’m becoming a cynic like James (Megacancer), we are just RNA dissipative structures.


      1. I used to be very depressed. Now I have the occasional bad day, but for the majority I feel ok or even occasionally great. Three things have helped me.

        First, Varki’s MORT theory has given me a scientific explanation for why 99.9% of the people around me aggressively deny our predicament. Knowing that people are not willfully ignorant or evil helps.

        MORT also explains why we are the only species with sufficient intelligence to have created our predicaments, and to understand those predicaments, and to be having this conversation.

        My biggest pleasure in life is listening to people with great minds like, for example, Nick Lane, Sabine Hossenfelder, and Jeff Hawkins explain how the world works. Their knowledge, which I expect is vanishingly rare in the universe, and my pleasure from understanding some of it, would not be possible unless we had evolved to deny unpleasant realities.

        To enhance this pleasure with a mental and physical health benefit, and to make the best use of my time, I read via audiobooks while hiking in nature.

        Denial is thus a glass half full. How we choose to view denial can make us grateful or depressed.

        Second, making some preparations for what is coming has also helped. There is something cathartic about intelligently preparing for a threat, rather than simply worrying about it. I’m not a crazy prepper with guns and bunkers, but I’ve done some things that have increased my resilience, and even if they don’t end up helping, have much reduced my stress. COVID was a good test run for me. When people were panic buying, I was totally calm and ready.

        Third, I find that helping other people that need help makes me feel good. I have a failing elderly aunt/uncle and I help maintain their house. I recently repaired their washing machine and deep freezer which not only saved them money, and made me feel good, but also forced me to learn some useful new skills.

        Volunteering can also contribute to preparations. For example, I do not own land suitable for growing food, but I help several people who do. I think a key to resiliency is redundancy, and so I have more than one future option for food.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I echo your sentiments and have been depressed intermittently becuse of what I now realize is our future. I made the move to asmall farm 14 yrs ago, learned some skills, built up a network, enoughness rules my life. Now I wait for the desperadoes…


      2. How does anyone who urges lower consumption and rapid population reduction ever get married? Perhaps we withheld our true selves during the courting process.


        1. Or, people change over time. . . Since I am an older person, I met my wife 40+ years ago. Although we were both educated (and became more so as time went on) she was more into the status quo and I was more of an intellectual maverick. I always tried to challenge the boundaries of conventional thought (house in the burbs, new cars, travel, etc.). As time wore on I became more and more concerned with the environment. Then about 10 years ago I happened on Guy McPherson. I read everything he wrote and became much more aware of our overshoot problem (and much more depressed). I was still somewhat in denial. Then I started watching Paul Beckwith and hanging out on-line in the “Doomstead Diner”. Being somewhat prepared, resilient and lowering my carbon footprint became important. Then I found this web site, read Varki’s book, read Overshoot by Caton AND now am not in denial. BUT you are right, it would be hard to get married again. . . unless you found someone who understood our predicament. The only other person that I know that understands this (other than the people on this and a few other sites) is my daughter. So, if I wasn’t married I doubt if I could get married again.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Yes, people definitely change.

            I was once a stereotypical capitalist that cared only about more money. I remember getting angry at my company’s HR department when they started a campaign to encourage employees to cycle to work and to recycle waste. I responded by displaying a bumper sticker in my office that said “Nuke the gay whales for Jesus”. True story.

            My marriage of 25+ years ended shortly after I became un-denied. Several issues were in play so it would be untrue to say my awareness was the sole reason for the breakup. I suspect however that if I had chosen to remain engaged in the corporate rat race with a daily 2 hour commute in heavy traffic to a house in the suburbs punctuated by an annual long distance vacation I might still be married.

            Once you see reality, you can’t un-see it.

            No one in my real life sees what I see. A few people that care about me have politely listened to my story but then we don’t discuss overshoot and MORT again unless I bring them up, which I rarely do now because it makes people uncomfortable.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Most of us will always come alone on this path… I have one friend that undersands our predicament, still he prefers to deny it for most time and “get his piece of pie”…
              I guess AJ may consider himself lucky if he has daughter that undersands what he understands…

              Liked by 2 people

          2. Many years ago I tried to get RE to look at MORT and he blew me off so I never went back.

            What are the forums at the Doomstead Diner like? Good experience?

            Sadly, the comments at Our Finite World, one of the last places standing doing new thinking on peak oil, have become 90% focused on virus conspiracies. It’s been quite remarkable watching it slide into insanity.


            1. Doomstead Diner has kinda gone defunct. RE had serious health issues sometime last year and has not been active. I stopped commenting there early in the pandemic because most commenters refused to acknowledge that the virus was something to worry about. Additionally, most of the comments started taking on personal attacks that divided along political lines. I didn’t need that. Politics is a waste of time at this point and appears to be a denial of our serious overshoot position.


              1. Thanks. Nasty tribal behavior seems to be correlated with limits to growth. Will be interesting to see what happens with serious de-growth.

                Did you ever hang out in the Peak Prosperity forums? I made a promise to myself never to go there when in the early days they made climate change a taboo topic.


                1. Never spent any time at Peak Prosperity forums other than to read those dealing with Covid-19 last year. I liked Chris’s response to the virus and his analysis of the government/media/Big Pharma messaging (lying) on it. Chris sought out the truth. As for their financial analysis I have lately thought that Peak Prosperity is kinda a ridiculous name – only if you deny where we are going with overshoot would you think you could be prosperous. I know Chris is trying to become much more resilient with his farm so I can’t criticize him personally, but no one should be looking for prosperity. Humanity’s avoidance of extinction alone might be the epitome of success.

                  Liked by 2 people

          3. Catton’s Bottleneck is lesser known but just as crystal clear. Has Guy McP updated his 9 years to extinction forecast? I arranged for his coming to Ontario 4 yrs ago and got over my exuberance at getting his message out.


        2. Look lads, there is more to marriage than seeing eye to eye on overshoot and doomsday scenarios. You get married so you can have fridge magnet fights and argue whose turn it is to put the dog out for a piss. Also, nice to have backup when you are taking the trash out late at night.

          Liked by 4 people

  27. Great to see an authentic appreciation for Chris Clugston’s immense, mightily compelling work. Buy both “Blip” and “Scarcity” and go without a couple of cans of Schlitz for a few days, and your wallet will be the same.
    The problem always seems to be the same when discussing completely solid, hard-hitting work like Chris Clugston’s – the topic is too threatening, so it gets ignored, or gets temporarily diverted into the breakdown lane of odious popinjays like the three-named MAGA-friendly guy in upstate New York.


  28. Panopticon’s twice weekly roundup of weird weather around the world was a doozy today.


    “Europe shatters record for hottest April night. The station of Falasarna near Chania in the island of Crete didn’t drop below 30.7C [87.3F] during the night.

    “Temperatures have been nearly 34-35C from midnight to after 2am. By far the warmest night ever recorded in April in European history.”

    “A heatwave is expected to hit Greece over the [Greek Orthodox] Easter holiday, with temperatures peaking at an incredible 38°C (100°F) on Sunday in some parts of the country.”

    “Although the weather in the country is generally warm at this time, temperatures in April are very rarely this high, with the past ten days of well above 20°C (68°F) temps having already broken records.”

    Liked by 1 person

  29. The most interesting thing about this article is that they deny and/or do not understand the underlying non-renewable energy depletion cause. As usual, they discuss everything except what matters.


    A Record 34% Of All Household Income In The US Now Comes From The Government

    …Personal Current Transfer payments which are essentially government sourced income such as unemployment benefits, welfare checks, and so on. In March, this number exploded to a mind-blowing $8.1 trillion annualized, which was not only double the $4.1 trillion from February, but was also $5 trillion above the pre-Covid trend where transfer receipts were approximately $3.2 trillion.

    Stated simply, what all this means is that the government remains responsible for a third of all income, or 33.8 to be precise!

    Putting that number in perspective, in the 1950s and 1960s, transfer payment were around 7%. This number rose in the low teens starting in the mid-1970s (right after the Nixon Shock ended Bretton-Woods and closed the gold window). The number then jumped again after the financial crisis, spiking to the high teens. And now, the coronavirus has officially sent this number to a record 34%!


    1. ZH: If we just stopped benefits to poor people (and, to be fair, cut the war machine down to size) and had a balanced budget, everything would be great! Trend, i.e. the 20th century, is destiny!


  30. Tim Morgan could have edited today’s conclusion down to 2 words: un-denial = crash


    It’s equally possible, though, that we might see markets brought down by a sudden, dawning recognition that discretionary consumption is destined to contract (as, excluding debt-funded purchasing, it already is); that perpetual growth in future income streams from consumers is a figment of self-delusion; that property prices must fall back into equilibrium with incomes; and that our fascination with technology has been blinding us to the laws of physics as they apply to prosperity, the economy and the environment.


  31. Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology course lectures with Professor Azim Shariff {Psychology department at University of British Columbia}.

    19 shortish lectures (15 to 30 min)

    I’ve watched the first 2 lectures. I know much of the material, but I’m still learning & can always use a refresher & Professor Azim is a very good communicator, so all things considered I give the course to thumbs up – time well wasted.

    Evolutionary Psychology – the bane of blank slate Progressives & evangelical, Dumb earth creationists.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. My brain has a defect that prevents me from understanding any language that is deliberately obtuse like poetry (except limericks), Shakespeare and Homer.

          Many people think Shakespeare said important things so I’ll watch Wood’s series in the hope that he explains why Shakespeare was so bright. I’ve got a bad feeling though that all Shakespeare writes about are the political dramas between monkeys which I have no interest in.


          Just checked my library and I watched In Search of Shakespeare 10 years ago. I’ll watch it again because I don’t remember any of it.


          I finished episode 1 about Shakespeare’s early life. It’s mostly about two tribes with different versions of a wacky belief in life after death, the Protestants and the Catholics, vying for power.


          In the subsequent episodes, the dominant tribe becomes more cruel and uses spies to discover members of the other tribe, which are then hanged, drawn, and quartered.


          To be hanged, drawn and quartered was, from 1352 after the Treason Act 1351, a statutory penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272). The convicted traitor was fastened to a hurdle, or wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution, where he was then hanged (almost to the point of death), emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded, and quartered (chopped into four pieces). His remains would then often be displayed in prominent places across the country, such as London Bridge, to serve as a warning of the fate of traitors. For reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead burned at the stake.


        2. Picking up on the M. Woods thread, there is a book called “Shakespeare’s Restless World.” In it Neil MacGregor discusses 20 objects that capture the essence of Shakespeare’s universe. One object is the Stratford Chalice. It is a silver communion cup kept at Shakespeare’s parish church, Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon. This Protestant cup was a matter of life and death. It is simpler than the usual ornate Catholic chalice. It symbolized that England was done with Catholicism. Not being Catholic, I was surprised to learn that the wine in the chalice was drunk only by the priest during mass. In the new Protestant service, every parishioner was obliged to sip from it. It was not just a religious innovation, but also social and political. It was a test of sorts. You had to drink to show your loyalty to Elizabeth I. To have refused to drink would have been a grave misstep. The cup was a form of physical propaganda introduced diocese by diocese across the country in a design dictated centrally by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In Shakespeare’s day church attendance was compulsory imposed by an act of parliament and enforced by law.


    1. re: evolutionary psych course

      Let us know what they say happened in that small group in Africa about 100-200,0000 years ago when behaviorally modern humans emerged.

      That’s the key event in Varki’s MORT story.

      Curious how they explain the simultaneous emergence of God and a brainy ape.


      1. Will do.

        At the end of lecture 1 Prof Azim mentions that a small group of our ancestors left the cradle of Africa about 70,000 years ago. A date many believe homo sapiens had evolved full behavioural modernity by.

        I like to think of that date as the point in time the cancer chimps went from benign to malignant – “Ok tribe listen up. We have a lot of territory to cover so we’re going to split up. You guys on the left – head south. Guys on the right – due east. The rest of us will head north…..Let’s move it people! We have an entire planet to infect.”


        1. Or maybe, “We’re hungry God, what should we do?! We’ve done as you instructed and multiplied our numbers, killed all the other blasphemous tribes, and eaten most of the game you provided for us. What should we do now? Go forth and multiply you say? OK, got it, we’ll move. Thanks for the tip God.”


  32. I don’t know how many young people are visiting but I think Roger Hallam has a way with words to express our doom.


    1. Does the fellow from the movie direct his message to young people??
      Really? I mean – I am relatively old, but first 10 minutes is pure boredom.
      And when at around 9:30 he spells “I want to tell you little bit about myself” I though ” Ohhh boy….”

      No bloody idea what is his hope of getting with this kind of verbiage to youngsters.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Interesting find by Alice Friedemann today.


    The end of fracked shale oil?

    Conventional crude oil production may have already peaked in 2008 at 69.5 million barrels per day (mb/d) according to Europe’s International Energy Agency (IEA 2018 p45). The U.S. Energy Information Agency shows global peak crude oil production at a later date in 2018 at 82.9 mb/d (EIA 2020) because they included tight oil, oil sands, and deep-sea oil. Though it will take several years of lower oil production to be sure the peak occurred. Regardless, world production has been on a plateau since 2005.

    What’s saved the world from oil decline was unconventional tight “fracked” oil, which accounted for 63% of total U.S. crude oil production in 2019 and 83% of global oil growth from 2009 to 2019. So it’s a big deal if we’ve reached the peak of fracked oil, because that is also the peak of both conventional and unconventional oil and the decline of all oil in the future.

    Some key points from this Financial Times article:

    – A fracking binge in the American shale industry has permanently damaged the country’s oil and gas reserves, threatening hopes for a production recovery and US energy independence.
    – The damage was done by operators who carried out such “massive fracks” that “artificial, permanent porosity” was inadvertently created, reducing the pressure in reservoirs and therefore the available oil.
    – Wil VanLoh, chief executive of Quantum Energy Partners, a private equity firm that through its portfolio companies is the biggest US driller after ExxonMobil, said too much fracking had “sterilized a lot of the reservoir in North America”.
    – Wells have often been drilled too closely to one another…. so “for the last five years is we’ve drilled the heart out of the watermelon.”
    – Mr VanLoh goes on to say that it is physically impossible to produce more than 13 mbd because the reservoirs are so messed up. Predictions from 3-4 years ago will not come true.
    – Production from the Permian, the prolific shale field of west Texas and New Mexico, peaked even before the crash this year, Mr Waterous said. At current prices, only 25 per cent of US shale was economical

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Interesting comparison by Niall Ferguson of the 1957 Asian flu with today’s Wuhan virus.

    I observe that today’s low tolerance for pain extends beyond our health policies to our economic policies where any decline in the stock or real estate market is now viewed as unacceptable.

    Could it be that with fewer people practicing religion today than in 1957 our cortical column model for life after death is less strong and so our desire to deny and avoid pain is higher?


    Like Covid-19, the Asian flu led to significant excess mortality. The most recent research concludes that between 700,000 and 1.5 million people worldwide died in the pandemic. A pre-Covid study of the 1957-58 pandemic concluded that if “a virus of similar severity” were to strike in our time, around 2.7 million deaths might be anticipated worldwide. The current Covid-19 death toll is 3 million, about the same percentage of world population as were killed in 1957–58 (0.04%, compared with 1.7% in 1918-19).

    The policy response of President Dwight Eisenhower could hardly have been more different from the response of 2020.

    Eisenhower did not declare a state of emergency. There were no state lockdowns and, despite the first wave of teenage illness, no school closures. Sick students simply stayed at home, as they usually did. Work continued more or less uninterrupted.

    With workplaces open, the Eisenhower administration saw no need to borrow to the hilt to fund transfers and loans to citizens and businesses. The president asked Congress for a mere $2.5 million ($23 million in today’s inflation-adjusted terms) to provide additional support to the Public Health Service. There was a recession that year, but it had little if anything to do with the pandemic. The Congressional Budget Office has described the Asian flu as an event that “might not be distinguishable from the normal variation in economic activity.”

    It has become commonplace to describe the speed with which vaccines were devised for Covid-19 as unprecedented. But it was not. The first New York Times report of the outbreak in Hong Kong—three paragraphs on page 3—was on April 17, 1957. By July 26, little more than three months later, doctors at Fort Ord, Calif., began to inoculate recruits to the military.

    A striking contrast between 1957 and the present is that Americans today appear to have a much lower tolerance for risk than their grandparents and great-grandparents. As one contemporary recalled, “For those who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing unusual about finding yourself threatened by contagious disease. Mumps, measles, chicken pox and German measles swept through entire schools and towns; I had all four….We took the Asian flu in stride. We said our prayers and took our chances.”

    Compare these stoical attitudes with the strange political bifurcation of reactions we saw last year, with Democrats embracing drastic restrictions on social and economic activity, while many Republicans acted as if the virus was a hoax. Perhaps a society with a stronger fabric of family life, community life and church life was better equipped to withstand the anguish of untimely deaths than a society that has, in so many ways, come apart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems to be an apples to oranges comparison unless you think the COVID19 death toll would be little different without state-imposed restrictions. Not surprised from Niall Ferguson.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you were allowed to punch your wife in the face in 1957 too.

        Zerohedge & Ferguson can go fuck themselves.

        The give away, the tell is in the last paragraph – more dumb boring US politics.

        Since there gs no getting away from American stupidity ANYWHERE on the internet, I’m fucking done. Adios


        1. Really hate so see you go, Apneaman, but I perfectly understand your reason(s) for doing so. Maybe just take a break (?) as un-Denial will be less stimulating, and have less of a compelling edge, without you and your writing.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I’m sorry for upsetting you, it was not intentional.

          I’ve read many of Ferguson’s books. Like most historians he has no clue about overshoot or the centrality of energy to history, but with that caveat I enjoy his explanations of modern history. I don’t always agree with Ferguson but I do usually learn something from him.

          ZeroHedge are usually idiots but this time they just copied extracts from Ferguson’s new book titled “Doom” which I hope to read soon.


          1. I just read the History of Money. It’s interesting in places, but from my perspective he has blind spots. Of course, he also believes the Earth is an infinite plane.


            1. Yes, lots of blind spots. Also arrogant and doesn’t know what he doesn’t know like Pinker. But his brain has a lot of facts about history and I usually learn something from him.


              1. In this case, though, comparing 1957 to today is really sloppy. He should have written an article using history to show no lockdown with COVID would have achieved the same result.


        3. Zero Hedge is owned by ABC Media (Bulgaria) and Daniel Ivandjiiski. Niall Ferguson is Scotch. So technically the Yanks are innocent!


  35. Tom Murphy today on denial.


    We are lamentably ill-equipped to appreciate the abnormality of our time and assess a more accurate picture of what long-term “normal” must look like. Failure to do so leads to uncontrolled…failure. Evolution may well have discovered by its usual blind experimentation a limit to how smart a successful species may be.

    In summary, we can ignore the warning signs and insist on continuing the current trajectory, only tolerating minor tweaks as long as we experience little or no inconvenience. But to what end? If that approach leads to failure of civilization, is it still the right choice? We’re smart enough to have dug an impressive hole for ourselves. Are we wise enough to look past our shovels to understand where this ends, and change behaviors enough to avoid the worst fate? I am eternally and perhaps irrationally hopeful that we are, but still yearn for reassuring evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Are we wise enough to look past our shovels to understand where this ends…”

      This NPR story dates to 2016 buts somehow feels relevant and speaks to the question of how collectively smart we are.

      “When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.

      Cards Against Humanity, the maker of the game of the same name, announced last week it would be celebrating Black Friday by digging a giant, pointless hole in the ground. The company named it the Holiday Hole, and said it would dig the hole for as long as people were willing to pay for it. The dig lasted for days and ended on Sunday.

      Before the dig was stopped, donations began to dwindle, but for more than a week the money piled up, as has all the displaced dirt next to the hole — the location of which Cards Against Humanity has not disclosed. According to the website, the initiative has brought in $100,573.

      This has raised a lot of questions in NPR’s newsroom, some of which Cards Against Humanity endeavored to answer on its site:

      What's happening here?
      Cards Against Humanity is digging a holiday hole.
      Is this real?
      Unfortunately it is.
      Where is the hole?
      America. And in our hearts.
      Is there some sort of deeper meaning or purpose to the hole?
      What do I get for contributing money to the hole?
      A deeper hole. What else are you going to buy, an iPod?
      Why aren't you giving all this money to charity?
      Why aren't YOU giving all this money to charity? It's your money.
      Is the hole bad for the environment?
      No, this was just a bunch of empty land. Now there's a hole there. That's life.
      How am I supposed to feel about this?
      You're supposed to think it's funny. You might not get it for a while, but some time next year you'll chuckle quietly to yourself and remember all this business about the hole.
      How deep can you make this sucker?
      Great question. As long as you keep spending, we'll keep digging. We'll find out together how deep this thing goes.
      What if you dig so deep you hit hot magma?
      At least then we'd feel something.

      https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/27/503502142/people-donated-nearly-100-000-to-dig-a-big-pointless-hole-in-the-ground r


  36. Gail Tverberg believes the stresses created by fossil energy depletion today are similar to those that led up to World War II.

    Gail also believes that our leaders understand what what is going on, are hiding the truth from their citizens, and are preparing for a bioweapon or cyber war that can be fought with less oil.

    I think the brains of our leaders are about the same as the brains of our citizens and I observe that our citizens aggressively don’t want to understand reality preferring stories that predict continued growth and prosperity. The news media makes a living, and politicians get elected, by telling stories citizens want to hear.

    As Nate Hagens says, “no one is driving the bus”.

    I agree that war is probable. But I don’t think it’ll be a carefully calculated response to energy depletion. Rather it will be an irrational and emotional response to growing social unrest caused by falling standards of living and a widening wealth gap.


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

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

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

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

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

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Morgan today seems to agree with me.


      The unfolding failure of the established ‘growth engine’ is causing systemic, cognitive, psychological and political disruption.

      We’ve done everything we can to deny the reality of involuntary de-growth. Means of denial have included financial gimmickry, the making of exaggerated claims for the potential of renewable energy and for technology more broadly, and even assertions that we can find ways of ‘engineering’ our way out of environmental constraints.

      The lengths to which we’ve been prepared to go to deny the physical reality of the faltering economy have been quite remarkable.

      Conspiracy theories have flourished in a context of ignorance (about energy reality), suspicion and mistrust.

      Despite the climate of denial, the storm front of de-growth has already thrown systems into chaos. The “market economy” has been abandoned in all but name, transformed into what might best (and most neutrally) be described as the “make it up as you go along” economy. We’ve embraced the fiction that the creation of ever more money can keep the wolf of de-growth from the door.

      Most of us cannot even imagine a system in which politicians, opinion-formers, business leaders and financiers stop talking about “growth” and start discussing contraction. There have always been some people who have advocated “de-growth”, but they have tended to promote this as a beneficial choice, not as an involuntary inevitability.


    2. “I agree that war is probable. But I don’t think it’ll be a carefully calculated response to energy depletion. Rather it will be an irrational and emotional response to growing social unrest caused by falling standards of living and a widening wealth gap.”

      Well said, Rob.


  37. Heads up that Alice Friedemann has published a new book titled “Life After Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Energy”.

    I have read the table of contents and I expect the book will make an important contribution to our understanding of human overshoot.

    I am reading the book now and plan to write a review.

    This book is a reality check of where energy will come from in the future. Today, our economy is utterly dependent on fossil fuels. They are essential to transportation, manufacturing, farming, electricity, and to make fertilizers, cement, steel, roads, cars, and half a million other products.

    One day, sooner or later, fossil fuels will no longer be abundant and affordable. Inevitably, one day, global oil production will decline. That time may be nearer than we realize. Some experts predict oil shortages as soon as 2022 to 2030. What then are our options for replacing the fossil fuels that turn the great wheel of civilization?

    Surveying the arsenal of alternatives – wind, solar, hydrogen, geothermal, nuclear, batteries, catenary systems, fusion, methane hydrates, power2gas, wave, tidal power and biomass – this book examines whether they can replace or supplement fossil fuels.

    The book also looks at substitute energy sources from the standpoint of the energy users. Manufacturing, which uses half of fossil fuels, often requires very high heat, which in many cases electricity can’t provide. Industry uses fossil fuels as a feedstock for countless products, and must find substitutes. And, as detailed in the author’s previous book, “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation,” ships, locomotives, and heavy-duty trucks are fueled by diesel. What can replace diesel?

    Taking off the rose-colored glasses, author Alice Friedemann analyzes our options. What alternatives should we deploy right now? Which technologies merit further research and development? Which are mere wishful thinking that, upon careful scrutiny, dematerialize before our eyes?
    Fossil fuels have allowed billions of us to live like kings. Fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, we changed the equation constraining the carrying capacity of our planet. As fossil fuels peak and then decline, will we fall back to Earth? Are there viable alternatives?

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Mac10 today on inflation and a very nice example of how we’ll probably never acknowledge that energy depletion is at the core of our economic problems.


    The bar that constitutes a recovery keeps getting lower and lower. It’s so low now that a 2% annualized increase in GDP since 2019 (using CBO projections) is now causing end of cycle inflation hysteria. The irony of bailing out the economy without allowing any deleveraging is that it truncates the length of the new cycle, because bottlenecks typically associated with the end of the cycle manifest instantaneously in the *new* cycle.

    …the reason there is so much “inflation” hysteria is because the middle class has been obliterated and therefore small price increases have outsized impact on household budgets. It’s a poverty trap in which wages can never rise because inflation hawks immediately call for higher interest rates to quash the recovery. They have a well brainwashed populace taught to believe that prices at Walmart can only go down, never up. The virtuous circle of rising wages and rising output/productivity that created the middle class in the first place cannot exist under this current paradigm. Likewise, amid record debt, small increases in interest rates have outsized impact on credit markets. In other words, this is a Mr. Creosote economy. Always only a wafer thin mint away from exploding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The call for higher interest rates is seldom heeded. Has Mac10 looked at the US 10 year treasury for the last forty years?


      1. I find the interest rate very interesting.
        On the one hand, it can’t go up or the system will implode.
        On the other hand, it has to go up or the system will implode.
        I’m thinking it will stay down until there is an unpleasant reset to some “new” system.
        What do you think will happen?


        1. Hi Rob

          Agree, it is interesting to think that real interest rates cannot rise much without breaking the U.S. and U.S. centric global system, and that U.S. rates at least cannot go much lower – below zero? – without breaking that dollar based system. (Pick your interest rate benchmark…)

          As noted by several folks (Steve from Virginia, Gail Tverberg, others), there seems to be a parallel and probably connected situation with oil prices. Oil prices are cannot go much higher ($65-75?) without causing a credit crisis and recession/depression, or much lower, without shutting down more oil supply and causing a recession/depression.

          As oil depletes, there is a descending line of oil price that the consumer can afford, and an ascending line of oil production costs and the selling price required by the producer. There is a doomsday point when those lines cross…

          Corresponding with these lines of interest rates and oil prices, is, or was at least, the descending line of average annual global GDP growth. Pre-Covid, by my simple eyeball review a few years ago, it was tracking downward to zero somewhere around 2023-2025.

          Now however, the system already appears to have broken at one level, and on full life monetary life support. We will know in a few years whether the current system dies soon, or if we can climb back to near pre-Covid levels using massive monetary intervention, and new technological innovation allowed to continuing by such stimulus. I doubt it. (I do think we are on the cusp of some new basic science and a new tech wave from the accumulation of knowledge and AI …but hard to see how it will play out as fossil energy declines.)

          Nominal interest rates are have already climbed past the breaking point as inflation soars to 10% ? in the coming year? (Nominal interest rate = real interest rate + rate of inflation)

          How does the current system break and reset? It is interesting to imagine, but hard to predict with so many economic and geopolitical variables. What kind of political and economic systems are viable in a world where economic growth is negative year after year? I assume that some folks in government – non-political actors – are in fact thinking about this and maybe planning for it in some way. I don’t know that. I do know from published documents that the militaries are quite aware of oil depletion….and that U.S. military action in the past has been at least partly driven by oil.

          Right now, I am assuming a rapid 30% decline purchasing power in the U.S. when the system breaks and resets.


          1. Excellent summary thanks.

            Steve Ludlum was I think the first to explain the triangle of doom. It’s an excellent way of visualizing our predicament.

            I agree there must be a connection between the interest rate and oil. Art Berman says “money is a call on energy, debt is a lien on future energy.”

            I think of it this way. Our standard of living (including food) is created by machines. Interest is the cost of buying machines, and energy is the cost of operating machines. As the cost of energy goes up due to depletion, interest must go down for there to be enough profit to buy and operate machines, including the machines that extract energy. When interest reaches zero, the machines will begin turning off.

            I asked Alice Friedemann what she thinks the year on year oil decline rate will be and when it will start. She pointed me to chapter 2 in her new book “Life After Fossil Fuels” which says:

            The IEA forecast a supply crunch by 2025 in their rosy New Policies scenario, which assumes greater efficiencies and alternative fuels are adopted (Fig. 2.3). By 2025, with 81% of global oil declining at up to 8% a year (Fustier et al. 2016; IEA 2018), 34 mb/day of new output will be needed, and 54 mb/day if facilities are not maintained. That is more than three times Saudi Arabian production. The 15 mb/day of predicted US shale is not likely since the IEA shows it declining in the mid-2020s (IEA 2018 Table 3.1).

            The IEA (2018) points out that the new conventional crude projects approved over the last 3 years are only half the amount needed by 2025. With Covid-19, few projects are likely to begin. Oil prices have gone down so much that exploration and production investments were plummeting before Covid-19 and many fields already found are too costly to develop. Already 4 years of world oil consumption, 125 billion barrels, are likely to be written off by oil companies and remain in the ground (Rystad 2020b; Hurst 2020).

            Alice added the clarification:

            The natural rate is 8.5% now globally, decline began Nov 2018 world-wide, and 4% can be made up by the usual stuff oil companies do, like injecting water or gas to push the oil up. But the gap keeps getting wider, fracked oil can’t make up the decline, discoveries aren’t keeping up, new projects aren’t being started…

            My take away, if we are lucky, we have another 3-4 years to prepare. Less if we are unlucky.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks for the reply Rob.

              The issue of “machines” is often left out of the fossil fuel energy decline discussions. Most specially, the issue of internal combustion engines and turbines as enablers of modern civilization. Jean-marc Jancovici covers this in his presentations. Vaclav Smil covers this in “Prime Movers of Globalization.” (I have not ponied up yet to buy Alice Friedemann’s “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”)

              As best that I can figure it, the current massive “flow” rate of natural resources from resources “stocks,” and the processing and delivery of the vast array of goods including food, depends almost completely on diesel fuel burned in internal combustion engines. That high flow rate of natural resource conversation per unit of human labor is the basis for the large amount of surplus goods available for distribution through society. Those large surplus of essential and non-essential goods allow/enable for the creation of vast amounts of credit money claims on anticipated future resource flows from stocks.

              The thing is, internal combustion engines are limited in their thermal efficiency. When burned in internal combustion engines, only 25% to 45% of the energy content of the liquid fuel is converted to mechanical power. Average Thermal efficiency for vehicles is about 27% for gas and 35% for diesel. The rest of the energy is dissipated as escaped heat, or friction on mechanical parts and road surfaces.

              As the cost of oil extraction/production and refinement to liquid fuel rises, and the surplus energy available in a barrel of oil diminishes. But because of the thermal efficiency limits of ICEs, this also means the net energy available to perform mechanical motion and economic work diminishes even more rapidly.

              We have a built a massive infrastructure of internal combustion engines for energy production itself, resource extraction, goods movement, and people movement. The heat engine that is civilization is not a single thing, but a collection of billions of machines burning fuels.

              I don’t know if it right, but I see the interest rates and monetary stimulus as a way of continuing to “feed” these existing machines refined liquid fuels, and maintain the conversion flow rate of natural resources from resource stocks.

              We are locked into this infrastructure by the massive energy already spent to build this infrastructure, a capitalistic system, and geopolitical competition for resources. We will “print” money until this system locks and freezes from a lack of refined fuels.

              ICEs gave us massive leverage on human labor on the way up the fossil fuel surplus energy production curve………so……

              A visit to this Caterpillar mining page provides some perspective on diesel powered resource extraction equipment. https://www.cat.com/en_US/by-industry/mining.html


        2. My prediction a couple of years ago was the UST 10 year would never go above 3% for more than six months. I now say never above 2% for six months. Much ado about rising interest rates this year but they are still below the beginning of . . . 2020. The rates will drift down until collapse. Then borrowing will be, ahem, quite rare.

          Liked by 1 person

  39. Preptip: Reusable Canning Lids

    Standard Bernardin/Ball canning lids bother me for several reasons:
    – they’re expensive ($0.47 each here)
    – they’re single use
    – they’re frequently out of stock (especially during crises when you need them most)
    – they recently changed a proven 50+ year design
    – new design now seals for only 18 months or less (old design was good for years)
    – new design no longer pings to confirm seal
    – new design has thinner gasket meaning you can’t cheat and reuse a 2nd time
    – some users are reporting more seal failures with new design

    I went down a rabbit hole today looking for a reusable lid.

    There are two brands available:
    – Tattler https://reusablecanninglids.com/
    – Harvest Guard https://canninglids.com/

    The same family started both companies.
    Both products work.
    They are compatible with each other.
    Lids can be reused many (6-10+) times.
    Harvest Guard may have slight design edge with thinner plastic lids making them easier to secure with rings.
    Harvest Guard is less expensive with an additional 10% discount using code: homestead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We use a Fowlers vacola however this is the water bath method so is no good for veggies and meat. Fowlers makes a variety of glasses in different shapes and sizes. They’re sealed with a rubber ring and stainless steel lid. We reuse the rubber seals multiple times. I believe there is no reason why you can’t put them in a pressure cooker.
      Fowlers used to be Australian made. Not sure if they still are.
      I’m currently looking into a pressure cookers so we can can corn, beans and left over cuts of meat. I plan on using our Fowlers jars. Any recommendations on a brand of pressure cooker?
      As regards to the interest rate dilemma I have no idea. All I know is that it will resolve itself in a way that is worse than bad. I’ve been putting my preparation into overdrive the last twelve months.


  40. What Happens When Apex Predators Take Over the Planet by Stefano Mancuso


    Good read! Included some interesting facts that I wasn’t aware of. Like

    Every time that the energy produced by plants is transferred from a lower level to the next higher level of the pyramid (e.g., when the herbivores eat plants) only 10 to 12 percent of the energy is used to constitute new body mass, thus becoming stored energy, while the rest is lost in various metabolic processes. Therefore, at each successive level we will find 10 percent of the energy present at the preceding level. This is a precipitous drop. Just think, if we attribute to the primary producers (plants) an arbitrary energy level of 100,000, the successive levels will be 10,000, 1,000, 100, 10, 1, and so on. In practice, the organisms positioned at the top of the pyramid, the so-called apex predators, are the least sustainable in terms of energy that one can imagine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. You’d probably enjoy Nick Lane’s book “Oxygen”. Or read the chapter on photosynthesis in his book “Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution”.

      The splitting of water to release oxygen using a photon is an amazingly difficult technical problem that evolution somehow figured out.

      Photosynthesis and oxygen had a profound effect on our planet:
      1) Stopped the oceans from boiling off into space. We’d be like Mars without oxygen.
      2) Made life interesting by enabling the protein lignin which enabled the evolution of large plants and animals.
      3) Made life diverse by enabling more efficient respiration which enabled 6+ levels in the food chain from apex to autotroph.
      4) Created both our food and a means to digest it.
      5) Enabled this conversation by creating fossil energy.
      6) Some other big effects that I forget.

      Liked by 2 people

  41. I gave the paper a quick scan and was not impressed.

    1) Anyone that begins by drawing an analogy between a failed peak oil “theory” and a belief that metal ores are depleting really doesn’t have clue.

    2) I saw no discussion of the thermodynamics of mining. We haven’t yet been hurt by declining ore quality because we made up for it with more diesel. That game will soon end.

    3) They believe scarcity will create higher prices which will fix scarcity. That idea is out of date and wrong. See Gail Tverberg’s work for why.

    If I read too quickly and missed something please correct me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1 both are are exactly the same claim just regarding to seperate resources.

      2 I have no reason to think that the remaing metals are a lower quality
      3 we will not being hitting scarcity in decades who knows the advancmets of recyling and space travel will be in that time.


  42. Poor Mac10 is going crazy.

    He’d be so much more at peace if he understood Varki’s MORT.


    Sane observers want to know, when do we reach the apex of stupidity? It’s a great question, however in a society of limitless idiots all surprises are to the upside, until it all explodes unexpectedly…

    “No one saw it coming”

    Filed under careful what you wish for, monetary heroin addicts have reached the inevitable point of stimulus overdose. Central banks have Ponzified markets to the point that now there are no “safe havens” in risk markets. Every asset class is massively overvalued and waiting its turn to spike and collapse like a cheap tent. Those who think that the S&P 500 will be spared, were not investing 13 months ago. The process of alleviating these newbies of their misallocated wealth is well underway…

    “Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency branded after a viral dog meme from years ago, has a market capitalization of about $86 billion following a six-month climb of nearly 25,000 percent”

    A joke crypto is now worth almost two Ford Motor Companies. You have to wonder why anyone goes to work anymore, when they can become millionaires by hanging out in Reddit chat rooms.

    What we have now is a society of grifters moving from one scam to the next.


    1. Good find, thanks.

      I like this quote:

      This cements my belief that the chief source of problems is solutions to other problems. We have gotten ourselves into such loops because we believe that technology itself equals solutions rather than simply more and different problems. To get out of that loop we would need to go beyond technology to rethinking our entire way of life.

      Cobb neglects to mention “…and significantly reduce our population”.

      Why is it that everyone neglects to mention the only thing that might help?

      It’s quite remarkable once you notice this phenomenon.


      1. The quote from Kurt Cobb ties in very nicely with Craig Dilworth’s “vicious circle principle” as set out in his “Too Smart for our Own Good” published in 2010. Dilworth IMO is almost certainly Canada’s (although settled in Sweden) most doomy doomer. The book (available at a very good price from re-sellers on Amazon UK) is a very dense and fact filled and to be honest it makes my brain hurt if I try to read too much at a sitting. There’s an excellent review of it on Amazon by Richard Reese (a bit of a doomer himself).

        There is a talk by Dilworth at this link (although generally he seems to have a small internet footprint)

        There is also a very short YouTube video of him – to the point if not to say blunt

        I have no idea how he managed to get Cambridge University Press to publish his book (although I’m very glad he did) as it is totally lacking false hope or wishful thinking and he strays (most wonderfully)from his usual field of expertise which is philosophy.

        The book ends
        “Consequently human civilization — primarily Western techno-industrial urban society — will self-destruct, producing massive environmental damage, social chaos and megadeath. We are entering a new dark age, with great dieback.”

        Needless to say a very fine addition to what my wife calls my Library of Doom.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I remember “Too Smart for our Own Good” was one of my first doome books.
          I remember I was absolutely astonished that completely obscure guy wrote such monumental book.
          Those days I was still pretty naive about human condition and I hadn’t been able to understand how such great mind is not in top ten of science book 😀 …


        2. Thanks, Mick. Craig’s pragmatic, terse speech and mannerisms made me chuckle as they’re so rare these days. His approach and style are, to me, similar to many of Rob’s posts and comments.


  43. Meanwhile, over at OFW, one of the few places on the planet that researches our overshoot predicament, they are discussing whether the moon landings were fake.

    It’s a shame that overshoot awareness frequently becomes entangled with wack jobs.

    It’s no wonder that peak oil is discounted as a fringe idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The way people deceive themselves amazes me. The same is with COVID-conspiracy.

      I guess people prefer to discuss anything but important subjects on which they don’t have any impact and are helpless.
      We cannot do anything about reality of “peak oil”? Let’s make it a fringe subject.
      We cannot do anything about the fact that COVID is some natural phenomenon and we cannot control it? Let’s create bunch of crazy theorie just to believe some evil created it.
      We cannot do anything about reality of climate change and it overwhelms as? Let’s make it a hoax!

      The worst thing for people is to concede that in many aspects “there is nobody in control”.

      I always wonder with people disseminating these crazy killer-vacines theories. I don’t claim vaccines are safe – we cannot be sure, we will know in a few years. But for sure in comparison to the risk of COVID-isation, it is much more reasonable choice.

      Now, if those vaccines are so evil, I have a few queations:

      1) Are all vaccines so awful? I mean did all (probably 20+ now) producers colluded to kill population wih them? If so – this is really nice conspiracy; probably hundres of thousands of colluders and noone said a word! what a loyalty! Not to adding unprecedented agreement beween USA, Russia, China, India, EU…

      2) If I am evil – I would rather design one simple diseases that “cleans” the ground and that is all. Why bother wih some vaccines that are pre-condition (as I understand) for diseases to work? Why make it so complex?

      3) Assuming vaccines are prepared to control population. I would rather create a disease that kills everybody who didn’t take the vaccine! Why? Because vaccine takers are sheeple easy to steer! I would rather get rid of “resistance” 🙂 ….


  44. Rune Likvern today with a detailed analysis of the Bakken.


    Looking at several economic indicators and metrics around the world, many of these still scream incoming deflation.

    Should this reflation trade turn sour, it will cause a strengthening of the USD (higher DXY), which will pose a considerable risk for several reflation assets, like oil.

    Now I hold it probable that the Bakken PDP reserves will continue to decline by an estimated 20% towards the end of 2021.

    Suppose the additions of more wells from available capital (both organic and inorganic) over time remain below some threshold (RRR< 100%). Then many companies start to flirt with breaching loan covenants as RRR remains below 100% and could soon find themselves responding to a reality where they have to prioritize financial deleveraging, thus diverting funds from well manufacturing.

    Such a situation creates a kind of “doom vortex” whereby financial deleveraging restricts the level of well additions. As this dynamic continues to play out, it continually develops stress on the companies’ balance sheets.


  45. https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/acid-squeeze-latest-obstacle-facing-202458362.html

    (Bloomberg) — Add sulfuric acid to the list of challenges facing copper miners as the world clamors for more of the wiring metal.

    The compound, used to extract copper from ore, is getting harder to come by. A slowdown in oil refining during the pandemic has resulted in less availability of sulfur, a key input for the acid. At the same time, more acid made in Asia is being used locally as industries there rebound. At least one copper mine in top-producer Chile has already been impacted and spot prices have surged.


  46. Tim Watkins today…


    Running an economy entirely on renewable energy is easy. Humans had been doing it for millennia prior to the 1750s. Running this highly complex industrial economy on renewables on the other hand, is simply impossible. Nevertheless, without some yet-to-be-discovered useable energy-dense fuel source to replace oil, gas and coal, we will have to more or less rapidly simplify and shrink our economy to something more akin to that of the early nineteenth century. But, of course, nobody is volunteering to do this in a managed way. And so, one of these days, maybe next year, maybe a couple of decades from now, those US gas queues are going to be the real thing; not an artificial shortage, but the result of permanently declining supply. And when that happens, industrial civilisation will come to an end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “And so, one of these days, maybe next year, maybe a couple of decades from now,….”

      Predicting the future is hard. But for Tim Watkins, this seems like an unusually wide mark on when we might run short of fuels to burn in our personal transport vehicles…

      That said, as we move from the age of plenty, to the age of scarcity, actual long term shortages of gasoline supply might not show up for a while. (Speaking here of North America.) Demand might be reduced from 1) decreased reduced personal income and spending, 2) decrease in the number of vehicles per family 3) cultural changes that rationalize a move away from monster trucks to smaller vehicles 20-30% more efficient, 4) move to EVs, etc. etc.

      I am in North Carolina today, and experiencing the impact of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown and gas shortages. It is a sharp reminder of how our lives are so leveraged to fuels and internal combustion engines. All the reading and thinking about our future does not really prepare one for that future, as much as a dry run of what future shortages will be like. Very few will learn the lessons, however.

      But is real preparation for the coming changes really possible on an individual level? I will not be moving to a cabin in the woods even as we begin the fossil fuel decline. Of course there are a few sensible things one can do, but for the most part, a person’s fate will be bound to the larger society in which they live.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. …a person’s fate will be bound to the larger society in which they live.

        Yes, that’s probably true, and it’s worrisome because the vast majority of our citizens are in complete denial of reality. I expect war.


    1. Thank you very much. That is a very good article.

      I’m struggling with deciding whether or not to get vaccinated. On the one hand, I expect the vaccines are reasonably safe and effective, for the current virus versions. On the other hand, my government is failing on all the simple issues like early mask advice, vitamin D, closing the borders to clear threats, and cheap Ivermectin treatment. If they can’t get the simple stuff right, I have a problem trusting them on the complicated stuff. I don’t have a lot of contact with other people so I’m thinking I’ll wait and observe a little longer.


      1. Rob,
        I think waiting is the right strategy. If you read the stuff James puts on his blog (MegaCancer) you wouldn’t get the shot. It’s hard to discover what the truth is when BigPharma only wants profits, doctors have abandoned the Hippocratic Oath(do no harm) in droves (group think) and the Science (post pandemic) seems to be flawed by politics/status. I think the science that unsettles me is that when virologists tried to make a SARS (original Coronavirus) vaccine the mice when later challenged by the virus died. I can’t find the exact link but I think this is the study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22536382/). With Ivermectin out there to treat Covid I think vaccines are probably unnecessary. That said, I had the J&J shot. Being old and with Collapse on the way I figure if I die, so what – not much to live for. I also had family pressure. J&J at least is not a mRNA vaccine. The mRNA vaccines are basically gene therapy and that doesn’t have a good record.


      2. I find it frustrating that you can’t have a discussion about vaccines or ivermectin without a lot of people thinking your a wack job if your views differ from the official narrative. Just because I have my reservations about the covid vaccinations doesn’t mean I’m an antivaxer nut job!
        Like you I think they’re probably safe but as the above article states they’re essentially still in stage 3 trials and we won’t know for sure that they are safe for quite a while. Why would you get the jab if there is a known safe alternative treatment that works?


          1. hardly inspires confidence when
            Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that about 40 percent of his agency’s employees have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, while a deputy at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the agency is reporting similar numbers and the CDC don’t know about their employees.

            there is little trust in these Vaccines for good reason.


    1. I feel your pain. No matter how many times I see it, I’m still amazed at the depth of denial in otherwise intelligent people. We should tell the growing segment of retired people that rather than being useless eaters they should plan on volunteering in the fields when fossil energy becomes scarce.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I fully agree with you. Of all the reasons given for population growth, that we need more young ones to take care of the old, is the weakest. I am seventy-two, I am still working and I do not want any young people waste their time and effort taking care of me. If I can not move on my own, feed me to the wild animals. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  47. A lot of older folks like to brag they’ll be dead before the worst of resource decline / climate change hits. I like to say, no you’ll be very old and vulnerable. Retirement and old age care is incredibly energy expensive, as is early child care and 18+ years of schooling. We have seen a trend over the last 3-4 decades of outsourcing activities that were handled within the family, may the next 4 decades will see us insourcing those again ….

    Liked by 1 person

  48. I like Tim Morgan’s essay today on the debate between inflation and deflation.


    Even without getting into the energy fundamentals, a string of dysfunctionalities in the American economic situation should be visible to anyone prepared to look. These are best considered, not within the current disturbances created by the coronavirus pandemic, but on the basis of trends that have been in place for a much longer period.

    Most obviously, the aggregate of American debt – combining the government, household and private non-financial corporate (PNFC) sectors – increased in real terms by $28 trillion (104%) between 1999 and 2019, a period in which recorded GDP grew by only $7.4tn.

    One way to look at this is that each dollar of reported “growth” was accompanied by $3.75 of net new debt. Another is that, over twenty years in which growth averaged 2.0%, annual borrowing averaged 7.5% of GDP.

    Cutting to the chase

    This debate over the reality and the rate of inflation, though, risks missing the point, which is that the in-place dynamic between liabilities and economic output makes either inflation, and/or a cascade of asset price slumps and defaults, an inescapable, hard-wired part of America’s economic near future.

    Even before Covid-19, each dollar of reported “growth” was being bought with $3.75 of net new borrowing, plus an incremental $3.80 of broader financial obligations. Even these numbers exclude the informal (but very important) issue of the future affordability of pensions.

    Crisis responses under the Biden administration – responses which might not have been very different under Mr Trump – are accelerating the approach of the point at which, America either has to submit to hyperinflation or to tighten monetary policy in ways that invite the corrective deflation of plunging asset markets and cascading defaults.

    The baffling thing about this is that you don’t need an understanding of the energy dynamic, or access to SEEDS, to identify unsustainable trends in relationships between liabilities, the quantity of money, the dramatic over-inflation of asset markets and a faltering underlying economy.

    Confirmative anomalies are on every hand, none of them more visible than the sheer absurdities of paying people to borrow, and trying to run a capitalist economy without real returns on capital. Meanwhile, slightly less dramatic anomalies – such as the investor appetite for loss-making companies, the “cash burn” metric and the use of debt to destroy shock-absorbing corporate equity – have now become accepted as routine.
    Obvious though all of this surely is, denial seems to reign supreme. Mr Trump – and his equation linking the Dow to national well-being – may have gone, but government and the Fed still cling to some very bizarre mantras.

    One of these is that stock markets must never fall, and that investors mustn’t ever lose money. Another is that nobody must ever default, and that bankruptcies destroy economic capacity (the reality, of course, is that bankruptcy doesn’t destroy assets, just transfers their ownership from stockholders to creditors).

    Businesses, meanwhile, seem almost wilfully blind to the connection between consumer discretionary spending, escalating credit and the monetization of debt.

    On the traditional basis that “when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold”, what we seem to be nearing now is something more closely approximating to pneumonia.


    1. I will read in more detail, but bankruptcy does destroy assets. It’s what “discharging a debt” means.


  49. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14306648/

    Tonight I watched the documentary Bright Green Lies which is based on Derrick Jensen et. al.’s book of the same name (see above for a book review by Alice Friedemann).

    The documentary did a good job of discrediting the greenness of renewable energy, and of explaining the destructive nature of our modern industrial civilization.

    Their main conclusion is that industrial civilization and agriculture must end, however they provided no hint of how that might be achieved while feeding 8 billion people.

    They did not say a single word about the need for rapid population reduction policies.

    Not a word.

    It’s quite amazing because population reduction is key for BOTH the goal of deindustrialization, AND the opposing goal of retaining industrial civilization, as non-renewable resources deplete.

    In other words, population reduction is the only wise path forward, no matter what lifestyle you desire.

    Thank goodness for Varki’s MORT.

    I’d go insane without understanding why there are vanishingly few sane people on this planet.

    You can download the documentary here:


    1. Yes, it is depressing. I just read about the new IEA report outlining how the world can reach “net zero” by 2050. It is touted as authoritative and groundbreaking (acknowledging “peak oil demand”!), but I rather think it is all pie in the sky at best and just misleading nonsense at worst. How can that be? Do these people really believe what they have written here? If the answer is “yes”, the extent of denial must be horrendous. I am aware of Varki’s MORT, but I still find this shocking.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here is a summary of the IEA report:

        Among many other crazy things, it says,

        “On top of keeping below 1.5C, the Paris-based agency says its net-zero emissions by 2050 (NZE) scenario would boost global GDP, create millions of jobs, provide universal energy access by 2030 and avoid millions of premature deaths due to air pollution.”

        “The amount of energy used by the global economy would fall 8% by 2050, despite a doubling of GDP, a population rise of more than two billion people and the provision of universal energy access by 2030.”

        Who could ever believe all that?!?


          1. Yes, I agree. But this one is special. It is a high-level publication that is discussed in newspapers all around the world today. What they are presenting here is not just denial; it is actively creating a fantasy world of sheer nonsense. That is more – and more serious – than denial. If it wasn’t so depressing and frustrating, I would say the report deserves a debunking.

            Liked by 1 person

  50. Tom Murphy today makes a strong 21 point case for the collapse of civilization.

    A theme throughout is how can something so obvious be so aggressively denied? And doubly so since denial will make the outcome worse.

    I’ll try again to bring Murphy’s attention to Varki’s MORT theory with another comment on his blog.


    In order to have a constructive conversation about collapse, we must set aside what we want to be true and try to detach from the enormity of the prospect in favor of a cool analysis. Just as fearing and denying our own death will not prevent its ultimate arrival, similar evasive reactions will not decide our fate on the question of collapse. In fact, they may act to secure a catastrophe. Only by breathing deeply and accepting that collapse is a legitimate possible outcome, and one that many current elements are directing us toward, can we justify any confidence in averting such an end. So collapse, unlike death, is not inevitable unless we fail to take the prospect seriously.

    5. Renewable Energy is harder than fossil energy… Some folks at UC San Diego are evaluating ways to retire the campus’ methane-burning infrastructure for electricity, heating, and cooling—ideally generating and storing all its own renewable energy via solar. It’s very hard—both practically and economically. UCSD is an affluent land-rich campus in an affluent, progressive state in an affluent country; free of the political rancor typical of state and national governance; benefiting from guidance and leadership by sage academics rather than elected politicians; situated in a sunny and mild location; and not even trying to solve the thornier problems of transportation, shipping, or manufacturing. Yet it seems extremely unlikely that we can pull it off. If transitioning away from fossil fuels is prohibitive for UCSD, then who, exactly, could we expect to succeed in making a clean break to fossil-free renewable energy?

    10. Are we problem solvers, or problem creators? Make a list of global problems we have created. The list might include: climate change; fossil fuel dependency; staggering inequality; habitat and species loss; desertification and salt build-up in agricultural lands—to name a few. Now make a list of global-scale problems we have solved. The ozone hole? Not convincingly, but at least holding steady now. Hunger? Energy? Pollution? Waste? Happiness? Population? Stabilized wilderness? I am not pretending that the human endeavor is devoid of improvements, like sanitation, health care, and tolerance (all to do with treating ourselves better, notice). But does it seem like global problems are fewer in number today than 100 years ago, or the reverse? A root problem is our sense that we are the dominant species on the planet and justified in prioritizing our needs over those of other elements of nature. Yet, a partnership is the only way to make it work long-term.

    16. Space fantasies are alluringly alarming. They’re like reverse mortgages, attracting rafts of seemingly sane individuals, lured by Tom Selleck’s moustache. It’s a trap, people! As exciting as it is to think about, fueling imagination in an otherwise “boring” reality, it’s simply impractical to a degree that entertainment fails to convey. Space ambitions promote collapse in three ways. First, it’s an enormously intense mis-allocation of precious resources that just dig our hole deeper for no meaningful reward other than stoking fantasies. Second, promoting space as a viable escape hatch from earthly woes is a form of denial that defeats what might otherwise be an appropriate “immune system” response to the threat of collapse (thus, akin to an auto-immune disease). Finally, it may serve as a window into irrational human responses to real challenges. If we’re so easily misled in this domain, how can we have confidence that we’ll approach other aspects of collapse threats soberly and realistically?

    …a feedback dynamic can arise that would make it seem like the person warning of collapse might be emotionally invested in being proven right, and it goes like this. The idea of collapse is proffered. A strong opposition freaks the profferrer out because if we can’t acknowledge collapse as a viable possibility, it’s that much scarier and likely. So the arguments escalate and take on a desperate tenor. It would be easy to confuse the unspoken, underlying emotional reaction of “why don’t you see this as a problem?” and/or “your denial is exactly why this is an existential problem” as “I desperately want to be right about this.” How would you know the difference? If the exchange becomes antagonistic enough (a human specialty), it is not an uncommon reaction for the collapse-warner to spitefully want the disastrous scenario to play out just to witness the collapse-dismisser suffer with the rest of us and finally admit in their ruin that they didn’t have the answers. Oh, the look on their face! I told you so! That’s an unfortunate personal thing, not a genuine desire to see humanity go down in flames. But to the recipient of the ill-wisher, it can all look the same: this cat wants collapse.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Nate Hagens has a new version of his annual Earth Day talk up. This year he did not constrain his talk to a fixed duration and instead gave each topic the time it required resulting in a 3 hour talk. Time stamp links are provided to make it easy to watch topics of interest.

    Here are a few notes on the topics that interested me (- means I disagree, + means I agree, ! means new info):
    – consumption and economic growth are bigger problems than over population
    – we can’t do anything about population reduction until we drop economic growth as a goal, after which a 1% population decline per year (1B per decade) is achievable and sufficient
    + we need to bend rather than break the system because we might not recover from a break
    + nuclear war is a much bigger short term threat than climate change
    ! using only 100 of our 13,000 nuclear weapons would extinguish most life on the planet
    ! USA is the only country that has not agreed to use nukes only for defense
    ! USA leadership thinks it can win a nuclear war
    ? we are not doomed, we will probably muddle through
    + we need more people understanding our predicament and working to design a new realistic future
    + social cohesion and democracy is at risk
    + something new must replace our monetary system this decade and the transition will entail risk

    Nate concludes with many good ideas for how we might respond to our predicament. As in previous years, I think it’s all a waste of time until we confront head on our genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think humanity will muddle through. How should this be possible? We are large apex predators with high energy needs. Our current food source, fossil fuels, is going away. Our previous, organic agriculture, is on the way out due to climate and I don’t think there will be much game left at the end of this. Humanity can’t survive on hubris alone.

      Or is a matter of time scale? We humanity go extinct this century? Rather unlikely. 400 years from now? Not so absurd anymore, is it? Our species seem to be akin to a sparkler (the firework type), very bright but lasts only so long. If we count generously it was a 2 million years spectacle. What a flash in geological history.


      1. I think Nate might agree with you that 400 years is plausible if we do the wrong things. He thinks we can survive with much less, and that climate change will be much less of a threat when fossil energy depletes. It’s also important to remember that his primary audience is young university students seeking advice on what they should do.

        I count less generously than you and start the clock when we evolved God to deny death 1-200,000 years ago.


      2. “We humanity go extinct this century? Rather unlikely.”
        I wish you were right. BUT, in the back of my mind are two semi related questions: 1. If civilization collapses, who is going to shut down and move to permanent storage all the spent fuel in 400 + nuclear reactors world wide? How many are just going to go Chernobyl (without a sarcophagus)? Baring storage of the fuel, I’ve heard (maybe incorrectly????) that the radionucleotides released will take away the ozone layer in a very short time and then UV solar radiation will destroy most primary plant production – there we go. 2. Just read somewhere yesterday that it will only take a nuclear war exchange of 100 weapons to do the planet in from radiation also. And we have 10,000 – 20,000 weapons out there, 100 seems like nothing. Will civilization collapse without any nuclear war?
        So, I would wish humanity could survive a collapse, but I’m unsure if that is just hopium. Being my depressing self;)


  52. Hi Rob

    I just finished a quick run through Blip. Quick thoughts.

    We gloomy/doomy non-denialists in this and other similar spaces tend to focus most on the exploitation of fossil fuels as the key explanation of our human history and future. And if you had to pick just one variable to understand our recent history, and our near and mid-term future, it would probably be something around oil production levels. Those levels correlate well with the “great acceleration” beginning circa 1945 and probably will track closely to future inflation and debt adjusted GDP.

    But “Blip” makes it clear we must also look at the exploitation of metals and non-metallic minerals and their depletion curves to understand our history and future.

    Dr. Nate Hagens speaks of people being “energy-blind” when talking about the human condition and future. Those analysists that do focus on energy, and fossil fuel depletion in particular, including Dr. Hagens himself, usually do not directly address the rising extraction cost curves for non-energy natural resources, and the impact of the depletion/exhaustion of those metals and non-metallic minerals on our future. For example, Dr. Hagens most recent YouTube video summarizing 15 years of work, “Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality”, does not directly get to the deep issues pointed out in “Blip”. We are all generally natural resource blind.

    But we have not always been blind to this issue. We have just forgotten it. Depletion of nonrenewable resources was one of the five major trends investigated in the World2 Model in Limits of Growth (LTG).

    “…collapse occurs because of nonrenewable resource depletion. The industrial capital stock grows to a level that requires an enormous input of resources. In the very process of that growth it depletes a large fraction of the resource reserves available. As resource prices rise and mines are depleted, more and more capital must be used for obtaining resources, leaving less to be invested for future growth. Finally investment cannot keep up with depreciation, and the industrial base collapses,…. “

    LTG uses simplified resource estimates and algorithms to estimate depletion. “Blip” provides greater detail and context for natural resource extraction and depletion, but on my first reading, I did not see an attempt to plot future depletion curves. Chris Clugston’s conclusions of timelines for depletion and the future history of the next 30 years seem to be based on his absorption of the material in writing the book and “eyeballing” depletion curves. Fair enough. Probably too many variables to do otherwise without massive data input and computer support.

    The topic of non-energy minerals is now being discussed in terms of whether there are sufficient amounts to support conversion to a “green economy. Blip provides the context for this discussion: we are attempting to prolong industrial civilization by switching to “green” technologies that require even greater exploitation of non-renewable metals and non-metallic minerals. We are doomed to exhaust those at some point, by 2050 if Mr. Clugston is directionally correct on his estimates.

    It is this sense of finality to the human endeavor that is the biggest impact of Blip. There is no going back to a time or place where large supplies of metals and non-metallic minerals can be found laying on the surface of the earth, or dug up from the crust with relatively minimal effort. Once this civilization is finished, there is no second industrial civilization possible within this geological age.

    Predicting the future is hard. Mr. Clugston’s future history of the next three decades, based on the exhaustion of these resources, seems a pretty reasonable attempt. War of some kind does seem inevitable.

    I do think there are some wild card variables that could possibly alter the depletion and industrial civilization sunset timeline. But generally those variables result in an involuntary reduction of human population. Engineered bioweapons, AI, etc. And what will be the ambitions of 1.3 billion ethnic Chinese.

    Other “optimistic” scenarios seem implausible to me, like mining asteroids and going to Mars, but we need to believe in such things, to stay occupied and hopeful. At this point in our history, denial may not be such a bad thing for the general populace. UFO stories are also a nice distraction.


    1. Thanks Shawn for the excellent review of Blip!

      I’m going to make Chris Clugston aware of your review in case he’d like to comment.

      In addition to us being energy blind, Nate Hagens also talks about fossil energy being indistinguishable from magic for most people. I suspect the reason we haven’t worried about non-renewable mineral depletion since LTG is that we had plenty of diesel to compensate for falling ore concentrations.

      I like these three images from Chris Martenson’s Crash course on the modern history of copper mining:

      Your observation about the finality of mineral depletion is sobering.

      The only plan I have seen that might successfully sustain a modern civilization for the long term is that proposed by Jack Alpert. He calls for rapid population reduction to about 100 million, with very aggressive recycling of non-renewable minerals, and I think also assumes a small quantity of fossil energy remains available for mining those minerals that cannot be recycled, until fusion or some other energy source can be developed to replace diesel.


      Even if elements of Alpert’s plan are infeasible, getting our population down quickly reduces the severity of every one of our many problems, and would provide more time for our best minds to craft a plan.

      I try to bring attention to our genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities because population reduction, which is the only possible solution, makes obvious sense only when reality is understood.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think the vintage photo of the prospectors and the giant copper nugget is from Alaska.

        Apparently, massive copper boulders were once scattered across portions of northern Michigan — known as “float copper”, because they were sliced off rock strata by glacial ice movement. Some of the boulders are on display in town squares and museums today:


        But they’re mostly long gone, and now we’re digging mile-deep mines to go after the crumbs.


  53. I don’t think this guy is overshoot aware but his video today on the scale and complexity of our food distribution system is a nice reminder of how fortunate we are, and how dependent the things we take for granted are on fossil energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. I went back and watched Nate Hagen’s Earth Day talk a second time.

    Nate really did an outstanding job this year but something doesn’t sit right with me. I tried to articulate my discomfort in the following comment I left on YouTube.

    Well done Nate! Best ever. I watched it twice.

    You present many good ideas for people to work on, and you also present many good reasons that most of these ideas will probably not come to fruition.

    Wouldn’t it be so much more effective to focus on the one and only thing that will improve every problem we and other species face?: democratically supported rapid population reduction policies, like for example a birth lottery.

    Sure there are many reasons that population reduction policies would be opposed, but we would have a single clear effective focal point for all aware caring people to focus their energy on, thus increasing the chance of success.

    One single goal, with one simple message, that improves everything.


    1. I’ve reached the point where I’m fully aware that humans, as a species, are not capable (i.e. willingness or choice isn’t at all involved) of acknowledging that their excessive breeding will completely destroy themselves (and possibly most or all life on Earth). I’m more accepting of that happening than I’ve ever been. I’m not happy about it in the least, but much more accepting of it.

      So much of our focus, whether doomsayer or not, is that humans MUST continue on no matter the disaster that surely awaits us. I’ve yet to hear a good enough reason to justify this consistently desperate plea. Being intelligent and having the capacity to be aware and in awe of all that we can be isn’t a good enough reason for me. The bottom line for humans is that ONLY WE have created our current situation, on the utter brink of absolute catastrophe (total human and other species extinction, total environmental destruction). We have done these things to ourselves and our beautiful world. We are not a species capable of living within the limits of our existent circumstances. And we never will be. We would need to evolve into a different species for this to be possible. And there isn’t enough time for that to happen.

      I’ve become very interested in trying to understand the reasons why this truth is so hard for so many to accept or acknowledge, even within the doomsayer community. I think one big reason is that many would simply give up their efforts (to reduce human population, to limit environmental destruction) if they accepted/acknowledged it. But this isn’t a necessary consequence of this acceptance. We can still enjoy the beauty that remains and try to reduce suffering in our own little ways while letting go of the absurd demand that humans must survive no matter what.


      1. I think most overshoot aware people agree with you. For example Meadows, Rees, Chefurka, Morrison, Hall, Mobus, Garrett, Hanson, Korowicz, Tverberg, Morgan, Watkins, Dowd, Clugston, Zawacki, Friedemann, Foss, Ludlum, etc.

        The number of overshoot aware people that argue for rapid population reduction policies, which is the only thing that might prevent a lot of suffering in human and other species, is tiny. I’m thinking Alpert and myself.

        I don’t know what drives Alpert, but I view it as my responsibility to the universe because we might be the only species in existence intelligent enough to know better.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m half way through the book “Epidemics and Society” by Frank Snowden. He discusses the history of small pox and explains that herd immunity occurred after sufficient people got sick and recovered. There was no herd immunity in the American aboriginals which is why a few Europeans wiped out entire civilizations with disease. Have you seen any data about the number of recovered Covid patients getting sick again?


    1. I am very excited about this vehicle. May I buy two? Until the four minute mark or so, I didn’t know it had batteries. But, rest assured, it does.

      How many I wonder? More than a top of the line Tesla? I am sure the electric 18 wheeler cannot be far behind /s


  55. I missed this interview when it was first broadcast on April 22. Bret Weinstein does an amazing job of helping Geert Vanden Bossche explain his concerns about our current Covid strategy.

    It’s a must watch.

    Liked by 2 people

  56. Nice essay today by Richard Heinberg on the history of what we once knew to be true and then denied…

    Failing to plan is often the equivalent of planning to fail. Planning is a function of language and reason—of which we humans are certainly capable. We plan all sorts of things, from weddings to the construction of giant hydroelectric dams. Yet we are also subject to cognitive dysfunctions—denial and delusion—which seem to plague our thinking when it comes to issues of population and consumption, and their implications for the future. In effect, we have collectively bet our fate on the vague hope that “somebody will come up with something.”

    Some readers may be thinking: Wasn’t agriculture, rather than the adoption of fossil fuels, the biggest planning failure in human history? After all, if we hadn’t adopted grain crops, we wouldn’t have developed full-time division of labor and all the specialized knowledge and skills that were required to mine coal and drill for oil and gas, and to apply these fuels to the solution of practical problems. True enough. However, from a quantitative standpoint, it’s clear that fossil fuels have enabled much higher population growth during the past two centuries than occurred during the previous 10,000 years. The same could be said for per capita consumption rates and environmental damage. Agriculture may have set us humans on an unsustainable path, but fossil fuels broadened that path to a superhighway.


    Liked by 2 people

  57. Thanks for linking me back to the comments on Nate Hagens’ presentation. In regards to population reduction – I don’t suppose you are familiar with Peter Pogany? An economist who passed away in 2014. His 2006 book, Rethinking the World, proposed what economists call a “transformation curve” that has population on one axis, and material output on the other. You want more material output? Fine, reduce your population. You want to grow your population? Fine, reduce your material output.

    His language is a bit dense and flowery – an interesting combination that takes getting used to, but worth the effort – he had a lot of interesting and unique insights.



    1. Thanks. I haven’t heard of Pogany. I skimmed his book excerpt and don’t understand what he is saying.

      If by “material output” he means energy and mineral consumption then it seems he is violating the Maximum Power Principle (MPP) which means he is wrong.


      1. Pogany defines material output as “all ‘things’ made of matter. The social product, the GDP, is the final demand for material output (thus excluding intermediary inputs) plus the final demand for services. National GDPs summed and screened for double (or multiple) counting yield the Gross World Product (GWP). Global material output is ‘agriculture’ and ‘industry.’ The service sector’s independence from the material output is limited. Once the limit is crossed, increase in services entails increase in material output. Interdependence is also manifest when services decrease.”

        He defines ecoplasm as “the amount of dependably usable low-entropy matter, ecological order, and consistent, accessible information about the environment, all at once…A given amount of ecoplasm constrains growth in both somatic and extrasomatic directions and does so in conformity with the law of increasing costs.”

        He defines somatic as people, and extrasomatic as material output.

        How do you see him violating HT Odum’s Maximum Power Principle?

        I created a summary of Pogany’s views, but does not include any detail about this idea on the transformation curve. This chapter is probably the most challenging to digest, and the extract at google books leaves out some key pages. Here’s the summary document I created:


        1. Thanks. It seems to me that Pogany is deliberately trying to be obtuse rather than clear, which makes my brain shut down and not care.

          It’s easy to be obtuse and very hard to be clear when discussing complicated topics.

          In one sentence, please summarize his key idea.


          1. One sentence from me:
            Pogany is using the classic Econ 101 model of the transformation curve (usually taught as “guns vs. butter” – allocation of labor between armament production and military service vs. civilian goods and services https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns_versus_butter_model) as a means for finding the most dignified means of survival as we determine the optimal trade-off between trade-off between global population and world material output in consideration of the Earth’s carrying capacity and declining resources.

            One sentence from Pogany:
            “There are, of course, an infinite number of intermediate combinations between Country Club
            Palace (very high output with very low population) and Malthus Point (very low output and very
            high population).”
            This is consistent with what Howard Odum has written about population in A Prosperous Way Down, and Environment, Power, and Society for the 21st Century.


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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