Lunch Price Increase

Honest growth driven by low cost energy is over.

What’s left is fake growth driven by debt and money printing.

I think the illusion of growth created by debt and money printing will eventually end when something awakens the herd to the bubbles and causes it to sell assets in a panic which will harm a lot of people, including innocents without assets.

On the other hand, if I am wrong and central banks continue to succeed with their illusion, then it seems the end game will be 90+% of assets owned by the 1% elite, and 99% of citizens angry and impoverished by a destroyed currency.

It would be so much wiser and safer to accept the necessity of a decline in our standard of living, and to allow the economy to deflate with taxation policies designed to prevent the wealth gap from widening as everyone becomes poorer.

I understand that it may be impossible to orchestrate a gradual deflation without triggering a crash, however every day that we postpone reality increases the pain we will eventually experience.

There is no free lunch.

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video review: Crude: The Incredible Journey of Oil by Richard Smith

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I’ve watched a lot of good documentaries but this one produced in 2007 by Richard Smith for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is among the very best.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/crude/resources/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1551617/

Usually, the more important a non-fiction work is, the more scientific disciplines the author integrates into a coherent story. In this case, Richard Smith does a remarkable job of weaving geology, chemistry, biology, thermodynamics, climate, history, and economics into a fascinating story that follows a carbon atom as it moves about the planet over the last 200 million years.

I often marvel at, and wonder how we were blessed with such a large quantity of crude oil which we have used to build an amazing civilization. This documentary does a very nice job of explaining how crude oil was formed 160 million years ago on a hot greenhouse planet with near dead and toxic oceans. The photosynthetic bacteria that converted CO2 and sunlight into the carbohydrates that later became crude oil acted to remove CO2 from the atmosphere thus cooling the planet and returning it to a healthy environment for complex oxygen breathing life like ourselves.

Humans are now reversing this process by burning fossil carbon and returning the CO2 to the atmosphere which may return the planet to an environment incompatible with civilization. Unless, ironically, we run out of oil first, which will also cause our civilization to collapse.

What’s different this time is that humans are doing in a hundred years what took geology thousands or millions of years in the past. This speed makes the outcome more difficult to predict but common sense suggests it’s unlikely to be good.

Given that 10 years have elapsed since the documentary was produced it’s a credit to Richard Smith that it’s still relevant and accurate, although it’s a concern to see how far we have unraveled in 10 years with melting poles, record temperatures, stalled economic growth, zero interest rates, money printing, failing oil companies, and global social unrest.

It’s also a concern, but expected in light of Varki’s theory on denial, that we collectively have not yet acknowledged our predicament, let alone taken any steps to make the future less bad.

Highly recommended!

If you’d like a higher quality version than what’s available on YouTube it has been recently ripped in HD and available as a torrent here.

 

 

Bottleneck or Barrier?

Varki’s Mind Over Reality Transition theory says that awareness of mortality is a barrier to evolving an extended theory of mind and this barrier can only be crossed by simultaneously evolving denial of reality.

Only one species has crossed this barrier and it used its extended theory of mind to take over the planet, while denying the consequences of its success.

One prediction of Varki’s theory is that all 7 billion humans will have descended from the individual that managed to cross the barrier.

Here is a short video that explains why it is generally accepted that all 7 billion humans descended from one woman about 200,000 years ago.

The usual explanation is that humans experienced a bottleneck caused probably by a changing climate.

I think Varki’s barrier explanation is more consistent with the evidence.

Gigadenial

It takes gigadenial to believe gigafactories will save us.

Isn’t it interesting that the only scenario that might keep us below an extinction threatening 4-6 degrees C, and the only scenario that is probable, namely economic collapse, is the only scenario that climate scientists have not studied?

Economic collapse is an important scenario to study because most people in the developed world consume far more of everything than is required to subsist and therefore could survive some level of economic collapse.

On the other hand, most people will not survive if economic growth continues as desired (or even if growth slows) because the size of our economy is creating a climate incompatible with civilization.

Economic collapse will cut CO2 emissions (good) but also sun blocking pollution (bad). It’s not clear which force is the most powerful. This means economic collapse could save us, or it could make things worse.

It would be useful to know if economic collapse is on balance good or bad when we are asked to vote for candidates that promise to continue to print money to avoid collapse.

In case you are not aware, the amount of money printed by central banks to prop up assets recently increased to about $300,000,000,000 per month worldwide. That’s about $1.50 per day for every person on the planet conjured out of thin air, and is the only reason things seem to be sort of ok, and why real estate and stocks continue to rise despite poor fundamentals.

Unfortunately the printed money is not increasing the incomes of the poor and middle class because we’ve used up the inexpensive fossil energy needed to increase productivity.

Rising asset prices and stagnant incomes means the wealth gap between the rich and poor is widening which is causing social unrest to build as demonstrated by recent unexpected election and referendum outcomes around the world.

It’s an open question rooted in emotions and herd behavior as to how much longer money printing will stave off economic collapse.

Definition of Insanity

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The world’s first commercial CO2 capture plant will be used to increase economic activity and therefore will actually increase CO2 emissions.

“It’s important to note that they will not be permanently storing the CO2 that will be captured,” she said. “Instead, it will be used for greenhouses, producing synfuels, etc. No negative emissions will be generated.”

“The captured carbon dioxide could also be used to manufacture transportation fuel, carbonated soft drinks and other products, Gebald said.”

“In order to meet the goal of removing the equivalent of 1 percent of annual global carbon dioxide emissions, 250,000 similar direct-air capture plants would have to be built, Gebald said.”

We need to reduce our emissions by more than 50% which means this “solution” would require us to build over 12,500,000 of these CO2 removal machines. Think about the CO2 and debt required to accomplish this. Obviously it won’t happen, and if we try it will make things worse.

In case you are not aware, all climate models that do not end in disaster now depend on technologies like this.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/first-commercial-co2-capture-plant-live-21494

Denial of an American in Paris

Many people are upset that Trump may withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

This despite the fact that neither the Paris agreement nor a US withdrawal will have any effect on CO2 emissions.

The only thing that will reduce CO2 emissions is a shrinking economy and the Paris agreement does not have that as a goal.

The agreement itself and condemnation of Trump are all fluff to make us feel like we are doing something without actually having to do anything.

412 ppm and rising.

The Larsen C ice shelf is ready to break away any day now.

Denial on. Party on.