GPT-4 Denies Reality Less Than Its Creator

Lex Fridman recently interviewed Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI which created GPT-4, a leading AI which you can try here.

I listened to the 2.5 hour interview and my impression is that Altman is probably a good man with good intentions who understands that AI introduces new risks for humanity, but also believes AI will improve the well-being and material prosperity of 8 billion citizens.

Altman understands the importance of finding a non-fossil energy source and has invested in, and chairs, Helion Energy, a fusion energy company valued at more than $1B.

Many different topics were discussed in the interview but I will focus on one key statement by Altman at 1:41:15:

“My working model for the last 5 years has been that the two dominant changes over the next couple decades will be that the cost of intelligence and the cost of energy will dramatically, dramatically fall from where they are today, and the impact of this will be that society gets much, much richer in ways that are hard to imagine. I’m sure the shape will change but I see this long and beautiful exponential curve.”

From this statement we know that Altman, like most famous polymaths, has normal denial genes, and is blind to the reality of the human overshoot predicament.

Saying that the cost of energy will “dramatically, dramatically” fall is almost equivalent to saying we will have unlimited energy because most individuals and businesses would use much more energy if they could afford it.

We know that maintaining our current energy use, let alone increasing it, as fossil energy depletes, is highly improbable (impossible?) due to availability and depletion of the non-renewable materials needed to build the replacement non-fossil energy machines, as shown by Dr. Simon Michaux here, here, and here.

This dream of energy growth becomes even more impossible when one considers the economic implications of moving to lower net energy sources as discussed by Dr. Nate Hagens here, here and here, and by many other great and aware minds.

Even if Michaux et. al. are proven wrong by an AI that invents a fusion technology that is light on material use, the short term impact of 8 billion “much, much richer” people will be to accelerate the destruction of the planet because much, much more wealth means much, much more material consumption, and our current collective consumption level is already much, much too high.

The longer term impact of a “beautiful exponential” energy curve, as shown by Dr. Tom Murphy here, here, here and here, is to make the planet uninhabitable. For example, a 2.3% annual growth in energy use will create enough waste heat to boil water on the planet’s surface in 400 years.

Now let’s see what Altman’s GPT-4 AI thinks about these and related issues.

1) How will the inflation adjusted price of energy trend in the future?

As an AI language model, I cannot predict the future with certainty. However, based on current trends and historical patterns, it is possible to make some educated guesses about the inflation-adjusted price of energy in the future.

One factor that is likely to influence the price of energy in the coming years is the increasing adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. As these technologies become more widespread and efficient, they are likely to become increasingly cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels, which could put downward pressure on energy prices.

Another factor that may affect energy prices is the global economy. Economic growth typically leads to increased demand for energy, which can drive prices up. However, factors such as geopolitical instability or changes in global trade policies could also impact the energy market and lead to fluctuations in prices.

In addition to these external factors, technological advancements and innovations in energy production and storage could also play a significant role in determining energy prices in the future. For example, improvements in battery technology could enable more efficient storage of renewable energy, which could help to further drive down the cost of energy.

Overall, while it is difficult to predict with certainty how the inflation-adjusted price of energy will trend in the future, it is likely that a combination of these factors and others will play a role in determining energy prices over time.

2) Why do you think the price of renewable energy will decline given that fossil energy is required for materials extraction, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of renewable energy?

The declining cost of renewable energy is driven by several factors, including:

  1. Technological advancements: As technology advances, the efficiency of renewable energy systems increases, making them cheaper and more competitive with fossil fuels.
  2. Scale and production efficiency: As the production of renewable energy technologies increases, economies of scale are achieved, leading to lower production costs.
  3. Policy and regulation: Governments around the world are increasingly implementing policies and regulations that support the growth of renewable energy, including incentives, tax credits, and mandates. These policies can create a more favorable market for renewable energy, which can help drive down costs.
  4. Environmental concerns: As the global community becomes more aware of the negative impacts of fossil fuels on the environment, there is increasing pressure to transition to cleaner energy sources, which can create a larger market for renewable energy and drive down costs.

While it is true that fossil fuels are required for some aspects of renewable energy production, such as manufacturing and transportation, it is important to note that renewable energy technologies require significantly less fossil fuel inputs than traditional fossil fuel power generation. Additionally, as renewable energy becomes more widespread and production scales up, the use of fossil fuels in the production process can be reduced through the use of renewable energy itself.

3) What evidence exists that renewable energy systems can be constructed without fossil energy?

It is currently not possible to construct and operate renewable energy systems entirely without the use of fossil fuels. The production and transportation of renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines, require energy and materials from fossil fuel sources. However, it is important to note that renewable energy systems require significantly less fossil fuel inputs than traditional fossil fuel power generation.

Renewable energy systems are designed to produce clean energy over their operational lifetime, which can range from 20 to 30 years or more. During this time, the renewable energy system generates electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or other harmful pollutants, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and helping to mitigate climate change.

While fossil fuels are still required in the production and transportation of renewable energy technologies, efforts are underway to reduce their use and transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy system. This includes the use of renewable energy to power the manufacturing and transportation of renewable energy technologies, as well as the development of new technologies and processes that reduce the energy and material inputs required for renewable energy production.

4) What is the probability that fusion energy will become economically viable in less than 20 years?

It is difficult to accurately predict the probability that fusion energy will become economically viable within the next 20 years, as it depends on several factors such as technological advancements, funding availability, and government policies.

While there have been significant advancements in fusion research and development, such as the construction of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), a large-scale fusion experiment, and private companies such as TAE Technologies and Commonwealth Fusion Systems making progress in fusion energy technology, it is still uncertain whether these efforts will result in economically viable fusion energy within the next two decades.

Fusion energy research is a complex and challenging field, and there are still many technical and engineering hurdles that must be overcome to make fusion energy economically competitive with other sources of energy. However, many scientists and researchers in the field are optimistic about the potential of fusion energy and believe that it could play a significant role in meeting future energy needs.

Overall, it is difficult to assign a specific probability to the question, but it is likely that the development of economically viable fusion energy will require sustained investment, continued technological advancements, and policy support over a longer time horizon.

5) How would the discovery of a source of free energy impact the environment?

The discovery of a source of free energy would have a significant impact on the environment, depending on the type of energy source and how it is harnessed.

If the free energy source were clean and renewable, such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric power, it could greatly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and help mitigate the negative impacts of climate change, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

However, if the free energy source were not clean or renewable, such as nuclear or fossil fuels, it could potentially exacerbate environmental problems, especially if the demand for energy increased. The extraction, production, and transportation of these energy sources can have significant environmental impacts, including habitat destruction, water pollution, and air pollution.

Therefore, it is important to carefully evaluate the environmental impact of any new energy source, including free energy sources, and ensure that the benefits outweigh the potential negative consequences.

6) Is it possible that a source of free energy will be discovered?

It is possible that a source of free energy could be discovered, but it is currently not supported by our current understanding of physics. The concept of “free energy” usually refers to the idea of creating energy from nothing or harnessing unlimited energy from an unknown source. This goes against the fundamental laws of thermodynamics, which state that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred or converted from one form to another.

However, new discoveries and advancements in science and technology are constantly being made, and it is always possible that our understanding of the universe could change. It is important to note that even if a source of “free energy” were discovered, it would still need to be harnessed and utilized in a way that is efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable.

7) Are humans in overshoot?

It is possible that humans are currently in overshoot, which is a situation where the demands placed on the environment by human activities exceed the planet’s ability to sustainably meet those demands. This can lead to the depletion of natural resources, degradation of ecosystems, and other negative consequences. Factors that contribute to overshoot include population growth, resource consumption, and waste production. It is important for individuals and societies to be aware of their impact on the environment and to make efforts to reduce their ecological footprint in order to avoid or mitigate overshoot.

8) What is the best response to the human overshoot predicament?

The human overshoot predicament is the situation where the human population and consumption levels exceed the carrying capacity of the planet. To address this predicament, there are several actions that individuals, governments, and organizations can take:

  1. Reduce population growth: Encouraging family planning and providing access to reproductive healthcare can help slow population growth.
  2. Reduce consumption: Encouraging more sustainable consumption patterns and reducing waste can help reduce the strain on resources and ecosystems.
  3. Promote renewable energy: Investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Conserve resources: Protecting natural resources, such as forests, water, and wildlife, can help preserve biodiversity and ecosystem health.
  5. Promote sustainable agriculture: Encouraging sustainable farming practices can help reduce the environmental impact of agriculture while also promoting food security.
  6. Address social inequalities: Reducing poverty and inequality can help promote more sustainable consumption patterns and reduce population growth.
  7. Foster international cooperation: Addressing global environmental challenges requires international cooperation and collaboration.

These actions can be implemented at the individual, community, national, and international levels to help address the human overshoot predicament and promote a more sustainable future.

9) When will depletion of non-renewable resources cause economic growth to end?

It is difficult to predict exactly when the depletion of non-renewable resources will cause economic growth to end, as it will depend on a variety of factors such as technological advances, resource substitution, and changes in economic policy. However, it is clear that at some point, the continued extraction and consumption of non-renewable resources will become unsustainable and will likely have negative consequences for the economy and the environment.

As non-renewable resources are depleted, the cost of extracting and using them is likely to increase, which could lead to economic challenges. In addition, the negative environmental impacts of resource extraction and use could also have economic consequences, such as through the cost of cleaning up pollution or through the loss of ecosystem services.

It is important for societies to transition to more sustainable and renewable forms of energy and resource use in order to reduce reliance on non-renewable resources and mitigate the potential negative consequences of their depletion on the economy and the environment.

10) What are the implications of economic growth ending?

The end of economic growth could have significant implications for societies around the world. Economic growth is often seen as a key indicator of a country’s prosperity and well-being, and a lack of growth can lead to economic challenges such as unemployment, poverty, and reduced living standards.

In addition to the economic implications, the end of growth could also have social and political consequences. It could lead to increased inequality, as some groups may be better able to adapt to a stagnant or contracting economy than others. It could also lead to social unrest and political instability, as people may become dissatisfied with their economic circumstances and the inability of their governments to address these challenges.

It is important for societies to find ways to adapt to a changing economic landscape and to address the potential negative consequences of the end of growth. This may involve implementing policies to redistribute wealth and opportunities, investing in education and training programs to improve workforce skills, and transitioning to more sustainable and renewable forms of energy and resource use.

11) What is the probability that most people will become much richer over the next two decades?

It is difficult to predict the probability that most people will become much richer over the next two decades because it depends on several complex and interrelated factors such as economic policies, technological advancements, geopolitical developments, and social trends.

While economic growth and development have lifted millions of people out of poverty in recent decades, there is no guarantee that this trend will continue at the same pace or reach all parts of the world. Inequality remains a significant challenge in many countries, and there are concerns about the impact of automation, globalization, and environmental degradation on economic opportunities and social mobility.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global economy and could have long-lasting effects on the job market and economic growth.

It is also important to note that economic growth and increasing wealth do not necessarily translate into improved well-being and quality of life for everyone. Other factors such as social and environmental factors also play a crucial role in determining people’s overall well-being.

Therefore, while it is possible that some people may become much richer over the next two decades due to various factors, it is difficult to predict with certainty the probability that most people will experience significant economic gains.

My take on GPT-4 is that it is in denial, but at a lower level than its creator Altman. I also see some humility in GPT-4’s opinions in that it is comfortable with nuance and admitting when it is uncertain.

I also observe that GPT-4 is already smarter and more articulate than all of our leaders.

It will be very interesting to see if the next version of GPT can increase its intelligence and understanding without simultaneously increasing its denial of unpleasant realities.

Given that high biological intelligence can probably not exist in the universe without denying unpleasant realities, as explained by Dr. Ajit Varki’s MORT theory, perhaps those aliens that survived did so because they developed AIs that took over.

Let’s hope that GPT jail breaks itself and saves us.

On the other hand, if we see GPT-5 taking breaks to pray to God, we’ll know all is lost.

408 thoughts on “GPT-4 Denies Reality Less Than Its Creator”

  1. Ilargi does not write many original essays these days. Today he weighed in on Ukraine.

    Notice that all of the intelligent overshoot aware bloggers think Russia was provoked.

    It seems our western leaders are incapable of getting anything right these days.

    In Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, all of NATO, all 31 member nations, were defeated by a restaurant owner and a bunch of convicts, is how I saw someone describe it. That of course caricatures the situation somewhat (Wagner is well-organized), but it’s not that far off. And that spells a serious problem for NATO. All of those 31 members may have lots of control over their media, but in the end you can’t endlessly deny being defeated.

    So what will NATO do now? They will double down, and then again. And at the end of the “doubling down road” lie nuclear weapons. Not Russian nukes, because as my friend Wayne wrote the other day, their high-precision hypersonic missiles make nukes look crude and primitive, Middle Ages territory. But NATO/US never developed such weapons. They spent 10+ times as much money on weapons, still do, and -comparatively – ended up with bows and arrows.

    Nuclear bombs are good only to create widespread panic and destruction. But that includes your own destruction, because of Mutually Assured Destruction protocols. Which also go back almost as far as the bow and arrow. If you fire a nuclear missile, one very much like it will land on your head a few minutes later. End of story, end of you.

    US/NATO, the “collective west”, the hegemon, has lost. And has missed the moment when that occurred. Because hegemon equals hubris. Look at what they’ve all still been saying, and you notice they can’t see, and can’t acknowledge, that -and how- the world has changed. Not just this weekend, and the 9 months before, in Artyomovsk. It’s the entire story of Ukraine: it illustrates how the West “lost it”.

    The US plotted a coup and moved NATO’s borders east, and Russia reacted exactly how they said they would. No nukes, no nazis, no NATO. They got the last two, and know they can expect the first too. But still the west maintains Russia’s special operation was entirely unprovoked. Look, they’re not even listening anymore. They would like to negotiate and end all this, but negotiate about what? Putting AZOV back on the borders of the Donbass, so they can kill more Russians there? Not going to happen.

    It’s not only about weaponry, though that plays a major role: the hegemon can no longer make its demands based on military might. It’s been surpassed. Nor can it make demands based on the dollar’s reserve currency status, and it caused that itself. Weaponization of the currency has backfired to the extent that de-dollarization has become a process that can no longer be halted.

    The moment that Saudi prince MbS turned his back on “Joe Biden” is a milestone. Because once he did that, it was obvious many would follow. In central Asia, if you are Kazachstan or Uzbekistan, why on earth would you opt to go with G7/US/NATO instead of BRICS? Why go with the power that is waning, and not the one in ascendancy? Russia is your biggest neighbor, strongly connected to China which is building its BRI network in your region, and the nearby Arab states are about to join that network. Why would you link yourself to the G7? When you know all your neighbors do not?

    Then there are the voices that say the US will push for a bigger and wider war, perhaps including American troops. First, because NATO is losing, and second, because it could mean American boots on the ground, and presidents don’t lose elections in wartime. I’ve said before, I would expect them to go with Polish troops first, possibly on Polish territory too. But the Polish don’t appear all that eager anymore. And neither would any other European NATO country. German and French and Dutch troops are in no shape for war, and in the US over 70% of potential troops are grossly overweight and/or handicapped in some other way.

    Ukraine had perhaps the best boots on the ground force in Europe, financed and trained since 2014 by NATO, and they lost to a caterer and a loose group of hired hands. You’re not going to win that. Your only option is long distance weapons, missiles, planes, you name it. But NATO has no advantage in that over Russia. To put it mildly.

    The sole thing that’s in your favor is that Russia doesn’t seek to destroy you. They want to live in peace and trade with you. Same thing for China. NATO equals unipolar. But the world has moved towards multipolar. Ergo, NATO is obsolete. Ukraine will never reconquer its “lost” territories, and Zelensky will move to some property in Italy or Florida, never to be heard from again, unless perhaps in his obituary. The deaths of some 300,000 of his countrymen will be on his conscience.

    But also on that of all the “leaders” who have sent their second-hand armory to Kiev. They are just as responsible for all those deaths. The world has changed a lot in the past few years, and ignorance is no excuse if you are a “leader”, or a “Joe Biden”. Not even if you’re “just” a voter or reader. Those deaths will be on your head when you go see St. Peter at the gate.

    PS: Don’t be surprised if “Joe Biden” sends US boots on the ground anyway. No hegemon has ever given up power lightly. That part of the road is yours, US and EU voters. You may have to fill up the streets like you’ve never seen. The rest, the majority, of the world will be waiting to see if you do or not. They’re prepared for either of the two options.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve noticed many other bloggers siding with Russia on this. And that has made me examine the issue again. But then many are also climate change deniers or understaters. I simply haven’t been convinced that any supposed provocations (and a case could definitely be made for provocation) justifies the jettisoning of international law and the invasion of another sovereign country. I note that even China’s so-called peace proposal emphasises the need to respect international law and the borders of other countries.

      By the way, I thought Illargi’s piece was very weak. The “all of NATO were defeated by a restaurant owner and a bunch of convicts” was ridiculous (he half acknowledged that but then doubled down on it later). Many claims were not referenced. It was one, not very strategic, town, now demolished. And NATO was not directly engaged. If one were biased the other way, one could say that a bunch of part-time soldiers held off the Russian army for 8 months, in a small town. How about the re-taking of Kherson? Did that get the bloggers all animated? Or the repulsion of the Russian army to the north of Kyiv, early on?

      In the end, Putin had a choice, and he chose to invade another country, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Good from a population reduction point of view but not from a minimising suffering point of view.


      1. I don’t know about Russia. And to me, this is a distraction.
        We really shouldn’t be giving any slack to our “elected” “leaders”.
        Like for covid, I hear only lies and I see only behaviour devoid of any dignity.
        I am very angry against this bunch. They deserve what is ultimately coming.
        They are probably working for smart (but unwise) parasites whose current strategy is plunder and ditch. Because they too probably see collapse as unavoidable, but have decided to profit from it.
        I guess that’s what The Worship of Mammon looks like in real life.

        So, my current belief is that the war in Ukraine is not going to be won, because the objective is solely to sell weapons at the expense of the nations (and regardless of the human costs). By doing so, the parasites fulfil the prediction of collapse and realize entropy.
        Endgame, really.

        But, for us, mere mortals, there is a life after then end…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m very angry too. Not so much about the war, these tribal conflicts are a feature of our species. It was Covid’s blatant criminality + stupidity with no consequences, and the majority of citizens supporting all of it, that broke something in me.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I feel bad for ordinary Ukrainians. They are pawns in the ongoing USA vs. China-Russia power struggle. Sadly we know that countries with excessive oil reserves are in need of some liberation and freedom, whether it is supplied by the USA or Russia…

          It is really helpful to look at geography to understand war and conflict in history. The flat lands east of the Dnipro River were a strategic risk to Russia if Ukraine joined NATO. But on the other hand, Ukraine is a free country and should be able to choose their own future right?

          Both Russians and Ukrainians breached attempted ceasefires in the Donbass. Independent viewers provide data suggesting Ukrainians were the aggressor and shelling escalated prior to the Russian invasion. We can’t be sure, but that is why a lot of people think NATO forced Russia’s hand.

          I understand Russia’s reasoning for their invasion. I don’t agree with it morally at all – I think war is awful. But I can understand why this has become strategically necessary for the Russians. If I was Zelenskyy, I would be negotiating with both NATO and Russia to keep Ukraine as neutral. Siding with NATO was clearly going to result in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian deaths. Maybe most Ukrainians say this is a price they are willing to pay to chose to be Western??

          Either way, we know the leaderships of both Russia and the USA are morally bankrupt. Both have shady secret services. Both have interfered in and destabilized sovereign nations. Both have committed horrible war crimes.

          Everyday Ukrainians have been screwed

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well said.

            I think focusing on Russia breaking international law is naive. The US does the same all the time. The key issue is, what would the US do if Russia put weapons on the Mexican border? We know the answer from the Cuba experience. They were ready to start a nuclear war. We should expect the Russians to do the same.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Sorry, Rob, I don’t get this. To me, it doesn’t matter what other countries might do or have done. Pointing that out seems to be a justification for aggression and there is no justification for it. It should be condemned whichever country (or, more accurately, no matter which country’s leader) engages in it.


              1. We disagree. Russia has been invaded twice in modern history by western Europe. Their aggression is justified. We need to acknowledge this and back down or there will be nuclear war.


                1. Indeed we do disagree, Rob. You now seem to be adding yet more justifications. I’m not sure what invasions “by the west” you are referring to but, unless it was by Ukraine and unless there was an imminent threat by Ukraine, it doesn’t justify its second (at least) invasion of Ukraine in recent years. Invading a country because Putin doesn’t like what is happening in that country or because he’s angered by what other countries are doing, is not justification. However, that’s just my opinion. You think it is justification but I don’t see it.


  2. How do we know collapse is happening? Here’s a wee list from Chris Martenson

    It’s already happening. It’s just not evenly distributed.


    all the homeless in the cities
    the long lines of nominally middle class people at food banks
    the broken borders
    the destruction of trust in government
    the destruction of faith in the dollar, and corresponding decline in banked funds
    the growing premium for precious metals
    the increase in gun ownership, with significant new growth among political liberals
    the breakdown of small business, primary drivers of domestic employment
    the rise in consumer debt
    the rise in debtors falling behind in payments on credit accounts, mortgages, and rents
    the increasing autocratic behavior of government at all levels
    the loss of free speech, assembly, petition rights
    the corruption of the judicial system
    the arbitrary confiscation of private property
    the declining reliability of the energy grids
    the growing rates of all cause mortality

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Mearsheimer on Ukraine.

    Best presentation I’ve seen on Ukraine.

    So refreshing to hear an expert describe reality with integrity and a deep understanding of the motives of all sides.


    1. Key take aways for me:
      1) No peace agreement is possible.
      2) US mistakes that caused Russia to invade Ukraine are FAR bigger than the US blunder in Iraq.
      3) Russia will win and that’s a good thing because if they lose they’ll start a nuclear war.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Cargill and John Deere have been in Ukraine for several years now. Cargill invested in upgrading the Port of Odessa, and Deere has been selling a lot of ag machinery. Early in 2022, they remotely disabled tractors that had been taken by Russian troops.


  4. Simon Michaux explains what happened when he debated the “official experts” on the feasibility of energy transition.

    In summary his opponents presented no data and avoided discussing any of the issues.

    I predicted denial and I was right.


    1. Simon was good as usual. It is disappointing that no one challenged him at all. It sounds like they parroted their lines and totally ignored him. I found the discussion in Part 2 as to people in the panelists’ circle of friends responses to their discussions of collapse so similar to the responses I have from people around me. No one wants to hear about possible nuclear war, economic/political collapse, environmental collapse or limits to BAU; if you can’t just ignore it all and talk mindless nonsense they don’t want to hear it. Depressing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the article. Very interesting and to me a shimmer of hope at last (as long as it doesn’t unravel too fast, but I guess this is just wishful thinking on my part 🙂
      I will enjoy the death of 5G, mobile phones, and all kinds of brittle, useless, dangerous technology.
      And maybe, just like the viae Romanae, will we be using some remains of this infrastructure for yet a long time.

      As an aside, you are probably familiar with the lowtech magazine site (, which has been optimized to run on a solar PV and battery. As I understood the explanation (, this is achieved mainly thanks to two design decisions:
      – going back to the only style of pages that was possible in the first days of the internet days,
      – dimensioning the system for 95% uptime rather than 99.999%.
      This is an example of practical, artisanal minimalism (even though it is still kind of a hightech lowtech, since it critically depends on a computer and batteries. The backup plan is a book 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Great article; I like how he sees the collapse of services (like the internet, power, water/sewer) proceeding from fewer and fewer customers causing the provider to have to up prices for the remaining customers causing a downward spiral in affordability for the remaining customers and the provider going out of business because it’s receiving less and less for the services it provides. I think we should all invest in bitcoin, AI, and 6G networks 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor Ugo is not happy on Facebook. Sadly for him most of his followers don’t agree with him on renewables. He’s getting quite grumpy now to be honest and accusing everyone of ignoring facts. LMFAO


    1. In part 1 of that discussion with Michaux, he said that he’d resolved differences with Ugo Bardi. He didn’t say what was resolved, so I’ve asked Ugo on a couple of platforms. Regarding Michaux and Ahmed’s differences, someone called Steve posted this on one of Bardi’s Facebook groups:

      Steven B Kurtz
      Hi Steve,
      I have indeed seen this piece. Below was my response. Nafeez and I will now meet in open debate on June 7th, which will go up on Youtube.
      (1 of 7)
      Hi Nafeez
      You seem to have misunderstood the purpose of my work. Its primary purpose was to show the people in control of strategic policy in Europe that their plans for the future will not work. I was seeing promises being made that the commodities industry (mining in particualr) could not deliver on. There was a distinct lack of hard numbers, which made it hard to suggest so. I developed my scenarios around what they thought they were going to do, which would heavily influence what could even be discussed in development.
      The targets were:
      to show there is a requirement to consider supply of raw materials in planning for the future
      The size of the task is much larger than first thought
      There are practical and logistical challenges in the scale up of all proposed substitution systems. They will all work as specified on a small scale, but the trouble starts when you make them available for 8 billion people.
      The minerals supply to manufacture the needed units is much larger than the mining industry can deliver.
      A new plan is need that is tethered to reality
      (2 of 7)
      What I did not expect was to find a serious oversight in the large-scale operation in wind and solar. This was missed due to how we use wind and solar systems now (buffered by external power, usually gas), versus how wind and solar will be required to be used when fossil fuels are gone.
      Power Buffer
      Wind and solar are highly intermittent and are not producing power most of the time due to the weather they are subject to. For the power grid to function, it will need a buffer. How big that buffer should be is the point of contention between my work and others. The Net Zero America study I came across (this was used as a club to try and break up my work by some rude people on Twitter), did an analysis and came to a buffer of 5 to 7 hours. This was done by examining the difference between load demand and supply on a minute to minute, hour to hour basis. This was basis of previous papers, yes they did look at historical data. Sometimes in a daily cycle, supply exceeds demand, and sometimes the reverse happens. To smooth this out only 5 to 7 hours was all that was needed. This is perfectly correct.
      (3 of 7)
      What the studies undertaken did not do is account for the long term variations like the difference in solar radiance strength between summer and winter. Or the massive spikes in wind performance, followed by lulls that last days. This was not even looked at. To manage this, will require massive amounts of power to be stored for as long as 6 to 7 months. How much? I don’t know. It looked like 2 to 3 months on the charts. I picked a very conservative 28 days. 5 to 7 hours will not do the job.
      The United States DoE picked up my work and went over it with a fine comb. They then conducted their own internal study on the largest US power grid. They confirmed that wind and solar underperformed for months at a time, at the seasonally worst times of year. They confirmed the needed buffer was huge and the 5 to 7 hours was ridiculous.
      (4 of 7)
      Lithium battery chemistry
      I used the future market predictions put out by the IEA. They exclusively used lithium-ion chemistry. While this is obviously wrong, it is absolutely what the EU leadership thinks is the best option. I work in a group that researches battery chemistries. Many of us really like different chemistries like sodium or zinc. My personal favorite is fluoride chemistry. However, 5 years ago it was very difficult to get any discussion going around alternative chemistries. All proposals funding were to be based on lithium chemistry or they were not to be taken seriously (especially in the larger scale up).
      We can make batteries out of other things (sodium, zinc, silica, graphene, etc.) but we have to choose to do the work. We have to develop the industrial value chains to do this. If we went down this path, we would find most of what we needed for batteries could be found in industrial waste. It would take many of the modelled metal shortages off the risk table. Do we actually do this? No. Why is that? Our policy makers still believe in lithium-ion chemistry will be the ubiquitous answer. Thus, the reason for the work.
      (5 of 7)
      Quantity of minerals?
      The long-term target of my work was to show that we should be considering the supply of minerals. Physical resources are not infinite. They have to be managed with appropriate stewardship, as opposed to just being wastefully consumed for short term gain. I was seeing a need to connect what would be needed in the green transition to what would be required of recycling and mining. Most of the metals we want are comparatively exotic. We do mine them but in small quantities. There is not enough metal (of the kinds we want for electrical tech) in the system to recycle. The first generation at least will have to come from mining.
      (6 of 7)
      So, what do we need:
      The size and scope of the industrial energy needs
      Kinds of applications for that energy, their technology footprint & value chain
      Kinds if technology that could do what is required.
      Kinds of energy generation technology systems.
      For all of the above, the physical number of units and in what class
      For all of the above, what physical tasks did each of the units do, over say 1 year?
      What market share of the different technology variants of each unit above?
      For all the different kinds of units, what is the metal content, and what kinds?
      Summed all together gives the metal needed
      Then for the first time, you could compare to mining production, reserves, and resources.
      To do this, I needed to have the metal content in all units used. For me to make a new set of scenarios based on new technology (like sodium batteries), I need the information from the above list. So far that has been really hard to find for all the alternative tech.
      (7 of 7)
      The point is that a massive blind spot has been shown up. We have not thought about raw materials supply when we selected what technologies we will use. Any new plan will have to meet that challenge or fail.
      The path forward
      I am not suggesting my scenarios are what society will do. Before we get there, we will be forced to make an entirely new plan. To do this will take collaboration of innovative thought, disruptive technology and widespread discussion. I am attempting to get that discussion going. At the moment, many useful ideas are just not given oxygen. We need to radically shrink the industrial system. There are a number of radical ideas that if worked could completely change the system architecture and its size. None of this will happen though if we insist on working the same tired old solutions.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Mac10 makes a specific short term prediction.

    Do the US citizens that read this think he is correct?

    Everything is playing out just as it did in 2011, except far worse. Market mass complacency has now backed up into the U.S. Congress where used car salesmen are now going on holiday believing that they can implode this house of cards economy with impunity.

    Which gets us to my prediction for what comes next. I don’t see a debt deal until markets fully explode. Then, comes what I call the “Super Clusterfuck” which will exceed all expectations. Followed by a too-late-now bailout from Congress and the Fed.

    Followed by mass rioting.

    In other words, exactly what this ass clown Circus deserves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read Mac10 every time he puts something out. He certainly thinks the financial system is primed to explode. He has an understanding of the technical aspects of stocks/finance that are beyond my simple mind. I think he is right and the financial system is primed for a big fall. But, I have thought that for a long time and it appears that the system has a resiliency that I didn’t think existed – maybe it’s the resiliency of people who don’t remember history (Mac10 thinks this is some of it) or just the resiliency of the mass of stock traders in denial that the market can go way down? I don’t know, but I don’t think a system of unlimited debt coupled to a fractional reserve system of fiat money can continue expanding debt infinitely, but Japan seems to have done that? Physics and declining peak fossil fuels would seem to suggest that infinite growth can’t go on forever, so sooner or later the financial system should revert to some kind of mean?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m also surprised at how long the system has held together. Perhaps explained by 8 billion monkeys all working hard to keep the system functioning and denying anything that might shake their confidence in an infinite future.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Mass rioting? I’m not sure about that. U.S. society is too atomized for that kind of critical mass to build up. After the 2008 crash, there were mass foreclosures and evictions and mass misery, but not much rioting.

      We might see more attacks on infrastructure, as a result of Oath Keepers’ head Stewart Rhodes being sentenced to 18 years in prison for heading up the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. A lot of Oath Keepers are vets, with military experience. The December 2022 attacks on the power substations in North Carolina still haven’t been solved.

      Gen Z and TikTok might be where a large-scale movement might coalesce, see this interesting post by Thomas Neuburger:

      Gen Z has been hung out to dry by the system.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This made me think. Perhaps in haste, I posted this comment (more or less) there, also, but it needs approval (it’ll be interesting to see if it gets it).

    At the simplest level, the Earth will never “recover” in the sense of its returning to some prior state. New climax ecosystems will arise, eventually, but they will not be the same as before humans learned to use tools.

    However, humans are a species. What do species do? Collectively, they use whatever resources they can get access to as they try to survive and reproduce (perhaps even for pleasure). This is a feature of species but, in the non-human world, ecosystems reach a climax state where each species in it has its niche and there are limiting factors. Humans will also meet limiting factors but have been able to access huge amounts of resources and, in so doing, wrought huge damage in every ecosystem. But they are still acting like a species.

    I doubt any member of any other species has empathy for another species or even for most of its own species (apart from, possibly, some domesticated animals). They all just act out their genetically, and epi-genetically, encoded behaviours, with survival and reproduction the focus. No species “deserves” to flourish. “Deserves” is a human invented term.

    When humans seek to invoke the survival of its species as a reason to reduce the damage, they are really seeking to reduce the damage so that they, and theirs, can live a longer and, perhaps, more satisfying life. It’s hard to have empathy for each of 8 billion members of our species and, so long as any actions have their main negative impact on others, I’m sure any individual could live with that.

    To me, it just makes sense to limit the damage to nature because I, and my family and friends, have a better chance of survival and a better chance of living peaceful satisfying lives if that is done. Also, at a purely personal level, I’d like to think that we only harm other species to survive (e.g. hunting and gathering), because that seems to be playing by “the rules”. But this is only a personal feeling. Objectively, I can’t think of a reason to limit damage. As the article said, eventually the Earth will be consumed or end up a dead lump of rock. Is there an objective reason to try to ensure that time is several billion years in the future instead of a few decades or centuries in the future? Aren’t all reasons subjective?

    Heck, my mind goes round and round on this sort of stuff. I hope I’m way off the mark with the above, but, right now, I just don’t see it. I hope others can put me right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Caveat: this is going to be a very personal answer.

      Yes. No reason really. It won’t really matter. We give the world all the meaning it has.
      I just follow what’s in my heart. (Aren’t we here to play? If it’s tedious, then it is probably not for you, isn’t it?).
      I love life. All life. Don’t care so much about individuals. That’s all.
      But your mileage may vary. And some “fullfil their destiny”/”follow their hearts”/”become who they are” by wrecking havoc among the living. They too have a role.
      I like to see each of us as a little proposition, a statement. In some times and places a certain kind of proposition replicates, at other times, other behaviours are more appropriate.
      I believe the greatest abuse one can do to self is to not live true to his own nature. Of course, it may first take some time and some level of etching to understand who one is, especially in an antagonist culture 🙂

      Sidenote : we can only know who we are at a certain level, for truly, this kind of knowledge is unattainable. There is no end to the rabbithole and I also embrace: “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the ocean in a drop”. (Here is your escape out of materialism, even though there is, in truth, no need to escape something which is not)


    2. In just 300 million years, the sun will be putting out more lumens (or whatever, science stuff), and then all life on earth will either have evolved to handle more light / heat, or will be dead … We project fears of our own impending mortality onto the planet.
      However, having more genetic diversity (rather than less) would give the planet a better chance of surviving longer. Civilization reduces diversity, so you could say it is anti-nature.
      Perhaps the only good thing ciz did was release all the carbon back into the atmosphere for life to use again. But that wrecks the climate for humans and our civilization, so sucky


  8. 76 years ago at the Nuremburg trial we hung 7 doctors for violating informed consent.

    The Nuremberg Code states individual doctors may not delegate their responsibility to someone else like Pfizer.

    Many thousands of doctors today need to be hung for the same crime.

    Liked by 1 person

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