263 Responses to Open Thread- Non-Petroleum- Sept 20, 2016

  1. Dennis Coyne says:

    Hi all,

    If anyone wants discuss other non-petroleum work by David Archibald, it should be done in this thread.

    Ron and I are both aware of other work by David Archibald such as


    I will only speak for myself, I do not agree with the views of David Archibald expressed in the paper above.

  2. Longtimber says:

    We may not be slaves to dead slime after-all … har. How Dumb do they think we are ?


    Speaking of Slavery … Vote No in Florida on Adm 1.


  3. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Net metering and the death of US rooftop solar

    “What we are seeing here is a conflict between on the one hand the utilities and grid operators, who view solar as a threat to their bottom line and to grid stability, and on the other the green lobby plus the residential owners, installers and PV panel salesmen who are now benefiting from the proceeds of subsidized solar and the existence of net metering. The surprising thing, however, is that this conflict has broken out even though solar still contributes a negligible percentage of the US generation mix. Why should this be? I think partly because the hundreds of thousands of homeowners who have installed solar arrays are dependent on a continuation of net metering to recoup their investment, partly because 200,000 people are now employed in the US solar industry, partly because solar can in some cases destabilize grids even at low levels of penetration (viz. Hawaii) and partly because of the claims made by some scientific organizations as to the percentage of US electricity generation solar could ultimately fill, such as:

    US National Renewable Energy Laboratory: 39% with rooftop solar PV alone
    Stanford University: 38% by 2050
    US Department of Energy: 27% by 2050
    International Energy Agency: 36% by 2050 (with solar thermal)

    Numbers like this, which assume an approximate sixty-fold expansion of US solar capacity over present levels, can only be described as wishful thinking. Yet in the minds of many they are realistic targets.”

    “The energy required to emplace and operate the infrastructure can be significant, especially at high rates of expansion, and has not been included explicitly in the overall IPCC scenario assessment;

    Due to significant uncertainty in the input energy (the denominator of the EROI ratio), there is a significant uncertainty in the results;

    The energy to emplace features necessary for integration (energy storage, transmission expansion, etc.) along with loss of efficiency due to energy storage, will tend to degrade the overall performance.

    The results highlight the relatively low EROI of solar energy and the high level of installed capacity of solar and wind owing to the low capacity factor of renewables. Moreover, the combination of high rate of expansion, and need to invest nearly all of the input energy up front leads to a significant drop in EROI due to dynamic effects… If the energy inputs for grid integration are factored in, the performance of the renewables will be degraded.” ~ Charles Neumeyer and Robert Goldston, ‘Dynamic EROI Assessment of the IPCC 21st Century Electricity Production Scenario’, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University

    “I suspect there is a difference between cost of production and price. First, one of the main input costs will be energy and since the price of energy has collapsed so will the cost of making PV. But it also makes their electricity less competitive because gas has become even more dirt cheap.

    Its also possible that with PV, over supply has led to the price falling more than cost, rather like shale gas. Shale gas is high cost, but sold for low price – ultra smart leading to bankruptcies everywhere.

    The other important factor perennially overlooked by renewables enthusiasts is that PV is made from coal. The given reason to use PV is to reduce CO2 emissions, and yet the life cycle CO2 for all PV panels ever made are already in the atmosphere.” ~ Euan Mearns

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Caelan,

      Euan is from Scotland, and where he lives PV solar is probably not a good idea.

      The idea that all PV comes from coal is silly, does coal produce all the electricity in the World.

      Perhaps Euan means that there is a lot of PV produced in China, that is true, but not all of Chinese electricity is produced with coal, there is hydro, nuclear, and some natural gas as well. We don’t know which electrons used to produce the PV were produced with which source.

      At some point Euan believes that fossil fuels will peak, he likes nuclear best I believe and if that is what Scotland thinks is best that is fine with me. Euan also does not think that climate change is a problem, so why he is worried about what energy source is used to produce the PV is puzzling.

      Do you agree with Euan that climate change is not a problem and that Nuclear power is the way forward? You should try for a consistent view, you seem to think we should use no energy, except the food we eat and feed to animals for transportation and farm labor, or that is the impression.

      • Ralph says:

        Scotland has got some of the best wind and tidal energy flows in the world. Recently Scotland produced 110% of demand from renewable energy averaged over 24hours ( on a low demand day).


        Scotland produced 58% of electricity from renewables in 2015.
        The figure is riaing about 10% a year
        Euarn Mearns hates all renewables. He considers them a net energy loss.

      • wharf rat says:

        “he likes nuclear best I believe and if that is what Scotland thinks is best that is fine with me”

        It appears Scotland thinks something else is better.

        Scotland knows how to use the cleanest natural resources rather than fighting against to them like many countries. The MeyGen Project is Scotland’s newest renewable endeavor and will consist of 269 turbines generating enough energy for 175,000 UK homes, only by using tidal power!

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Hi Dennis,

        Points taken and I’m tempted to agree somewhat, but have limited time at the moment to email Euan as to what he meant a few months ago ‘u^ or to run, in extra detail, along the thread of his quote to see about its context, which is of course within the responses of his blog (rather than contained within a formal article). It was also just the ‘cherry’ on my ‘sundae’ anyway. Hey, you like the cherry. ‘u^
        (And I dislike nuclear power and large-scale centralized undemocratically-derived/controlled power.)

        But this does underscore what I’ve mentioned before (Chinese Whispers/signal-degradation), and that’s complexity– in this case, the informational kind– which ostensibly goes part and parcel with some forms of decline and/or collapse, such as in taking too much time and resources in managing it and having it become corrupted by that and in general as well, until I guess, it helps create an unsustainable drag that grinds the whole thing to a halt.

        But that’s Peak Oil maybe 201, and I’m sure you already know that, although it does help to keep it in mind.

      • me says:

        Most of the energy inputs to PV panels are in polysilicon production. China imports a lot of (but by no means all) that from the US and Germany.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi me,

          Thanks, I didn’t realize that China imported the silicon to manufacture the PV.

    • islandboy says:

      Meanwhile, in other news:

      Largest solar plant in the Caribbean connected to the Puerto Rican grid

      It’s an exciting time for French-based Sonnedix Group, as the company was recently bought out by investors advised by J.P. Morgan, after two years of significant growth. Today the company can celebrate another landmark event, as it has connected to the grid the largest solar PV plant in the Caribbean.

      The 45 MW Oriana Solar Farm, which was built by Greece-based METKA-EGN, had over US$160 million invested in it. The plant will go a long way to helping the island cut down on carbon emissions, while also creating over 1,000 jobs throughout its development.

      “The energization of the largest solar power plant in the Caribbean will bring a large amount of clean, green energy to Puerto Rico,” commented Sonnedix CEO Andreas Mustad. “It is a landmark moment for Sonnedix. With this milestone, we have more than tripled our operating capacity over the past eighteen months.”

      Oriana Energy worked with U.S. company Yarotek to connect the plant the Puerto Rico Electricity Power Authority’s (PREPA) electrical transmission grid. It is the second utility-scale PV plant that the two have developed together in Puerto Rico, as the island looks to reduce its reliance on oil-based fuel.

      Kaneka achieves new efficiency record for a practical size crystalline silicon PV cell

      In a year that has seen a large number of cell and module efficiency world records toppled, it is encouraging to see efficiency for a practical size crystalline silicon PV cell pass 26%. The record was achieved by Japanese company Kaneka Corporation during the Development of High-Performance and Reliable PV Modules to Reduce LCOE project by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

      The previous record for this particular technology was 25.6%, so this is a big jump up in efficiency, which goes some way to showing how far this technology might be able to go. The cell was measured by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, which is known to provide certified measurement of solar cells.

      A joint report, published by NEDO and Kaneka, wrote that the “result was achieved by means of a combination of heterojunction technology using high-quality amorphous silicon, low resistance electrode technology, and a back-contact structure that captures more solar energy.”

      Huge growth in PV and wind helped renewables grow to over 30% of installed global power

      Renewable energy sources are moving in the right direction, as they continue to grow their share of the global energy mix. This was made abundantly clear in the World Energy Council’s new ‘Variable Renewables Integration in Electricity Systems 2016 – How to get it right’ report, which showed that solar PV had enjoyed the most dramatic rise of all renewable technologies in the last ten years, with an annual growth of 50%.

      The outstanding statistic coming out of the report was that renewable energies now account for over 30% of the world’s total installed power generation capacity and 23% of the world’s total electricity production. This is up from 21% in 2004, with installed cumulative renewable capacity growing from 842 GW in 2004 to 1,965 GW in 2015.

      A large amount of this growth can be put down to solar PV and wind energy, which have both experienced dramatic capacity increases in these years, with annual growth of 50% and 23% respectively. Interestingly, even with this growth, these two technologies combined only account for 4% of the global electricity supply, although this figure is expected to increase significantly in the coming.

      Abu Dhabi: Three world record bids entered for Sweihan solar project

      It is also important to note that the price in Abu Dhabi cannot just be repeated in other markets, as a number of factors make this price viable, including state support and cost of materials and labor. Yet, it clearly represents a trend, which doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

      Coincidentally, on the same day that the record-breaking bids were entered, financial think tank Carbon Tracker released a report that stated that renewable power generation costs are already lower on average worldwide than those of fossil fuels. Also stating that utility-scale renewable projects will continue to get cheaper.

      “Policy-makers and investors really need to question out dated assumptions on technology costs that do not factor in the direction of travel post-Paris [COP21],” said Carbon Tracker head of research James Leaton. “Planning for business-as-usual load factors and lifetimes for new coal and gas plants is a recipe for stranded assets.”

      The Abu Dhabi bid is a sign of the times when it comes to renewable energy prices, particularly solar PV. If prices in markets around the world continue to fall there will be no logical option but to turn to PV to solve some of the energy issues of the future. This comes with its own challenges, which should be addressed sooner rather than later.

      “Markets are having to deal with integrating variable renewable on a growing scale,” commented Carbon Tracker senior analyst Matt Gray. “Rather than continue debating whether this energy transition is already occurring, it is time to focus on developing the opportunities in energy storage and demand management that can smooth the process.”

      Methinks the bleating from the anti-renewable energy crowd is going to get a lot louder!

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Methinks that the mere fact of a large number, such as of Earth’s population, jumping on bandwagons (sometimes being duped/tricked into it) more or less all at once and with limited forethought or community involvement, can cause some unforeseen, problematic and/or catastrophic effects, like the bandwagons tipping over and spilling their contents in various less-than-comfy ways.

        Thus, methinks that this occurring– the bandwagons supposedly filling up– is not necessarily a sign of success, nor necessarily a sign of the bandwagons actually filling up and/or doing so properly.

        BTW, there’s another crowd too: ‘The anti-stupid-renewable crowd’

        In any case, ‘Go you!’.

  4. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Just a heads-up, and to see if you’re cool with this kind of diatribe, which is not the first time:

    Fuck you and everybody who thinks like you!
    If the site owners want to ban me and my comment should they find it offensive, go right ahead I really don’t give a shit anymore ! ~ Fred Magyar

    Fred Magyar’s bizarre (and ironic) quoted comment below, aside from falsehoods, distortions and unsupported claims, ‘etc.’, is crossing the line to obvious personal attacks.

    I’ve highlighted the particularly salient bits for facility.

    Fred Magyar says:
    09/19/2016 at 4:22 am

    Please don’t feed Caelan. He is completely incapable of any rational thinking. He is stuck in his cultish view of the world that we are all being manipulated by the evil empire.

    He is unable to incorporate facts such as: “Independent testing shows less than one percent degradation per year for panels.” into his world view.
    Since he thinks all technology, especially electricity, computers and the internet are also evil it is unlikely he can even bring himself to use a calculator.

    I just wish he would quit his proselytizing.

    He scours the internet looking for anything that might support his contention the alternatives such as wind and solar are useless and a waste of time. He keeps posting crap from Gail Tverberg site and doesn’t have the science background to understand that Prieto and Hall’s analysis of PVs EROEI is deeply flawed and has been thoroughly debunked.

    He doesn’t have any capability for thinking on his own all he can do is copy and paste failed philosophical and political ideas. He doesn’t live in the real world at all.

    So please do not feed him!

    Halloween’s not for a month and a bit yet, Fred, so you can slip out of your costume and change your underwear. Gail’s got nothing on you.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Caelan,

      Would you suggest he be banned, if so you would have been banned long ago.

      Are you seriously going to complain with the comments you have made attacking others in the past, or using quotations of others that have done the same, which amounts to the same thing in my opinion.

      Perhaps the pot and kettle should settle this, like adult cookware always does. 🙂

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        I would not suggest he be banned, no, and it’s not really a complaint per se. It’s maybe more for you.

        And what you just pulled with me here is I think called, ‘gunnysacking’– your own style I guess ay? ‘u^ Since no one made any issue of anything with me at some time (at least that went beyond the parameters set by the blog), you are retroactively pulling it out of the bag and not supporting the nebulous claim either. There are fine lines and I can walk them.
        It’s your call of course– and the quality you want for your site– but then we both can continue on this tack, right? (and you allow it/keep the precedent) or be civil/walk a certain line (like personal attacks are not ok, but gunnysacking 😉 and comment attacks are), and if we don’t, then we should be called on it at the time, not ages later.

        Anyway, in the larger picture, it’s of course neither here nor there, and something maybe Fred, and probably everyone else, might do well to reflect on before making some commentary. And lately, I’ve been a little more preoccupied elsewhere, including outside.

        By the way, how’s POB’s readership statistics these days since Ron handed it over to you?

        By the way 2, how do you like the Jesus image? Isn’t he great? 😀

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Caelan,

          Don’t be so thin skinned, you attack people all the time. If you would prefer I will call you on it every time in the future. I would prefer people do not resort to personal attacks. Generally when you attack others over and over, the favor will be returned.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Caelan,

            What is a comment attack, no it was not gunnysacking, it was simply the point that you often attack others personally, including me, I have not complained except in response to your obvious complaint about Fred who you also frequently attack.

            If your pointing out Fred’s comment was not supposed to be a complaint, then why bother to post it?

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Hi Dennis,

              Fred’s comment was just plain bizarre. I don’t really need to complain about it: It is its own complaint.
              Call it an inquiry and/or illustration if you wish. Rather like when I quote Fred’s other comment(s). Hey, I’m just the messenger. ‘u^

              At any rate, I have never, to my recollection at least, attacked anyone personally, including you. If you don’t know what a ‘comment attack’ is (say, criticism of the behavior as opposed to the person [there’s a difference] or of someone’s dubious argument; take on disruptive corporate technology or sucking up to the status-quo), then that may suggest where the confusion lies. But if you think otherwise, then kindly cough up the example and I’ll take a look at it– if with the caveat that it has nevertheless come and gone without an obvious complaint.

              As for thin-skinned? Surely you jest. While I am ok with some semblance of thin skin for a little realistic/honest balance, I think the thin skin can also come in being unable to handle even a criticism of one’s lifestyle, like, say their Nissan Leaf-Blower in their driveway or fetish for ‘government’; disruptive technology or Tony Seba. ‘u^

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Caelan,

                You don’t recall quoting others, that take jabs at me? Really? Attacking comments is not a problem. It is the ad hominem argument that should be avoided.


                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  Quoting others who take jabs at you? Or quoting their actual jabs? And in what contexts, like when, and who are these mysterious people and what are their mysterious jabs and would we agree that they are jabs or ad homs? ‘u’

                  There’s little point to your Wikipedia ad hominem link at the moment because we need some more information.

                  In any case, I wouldn’t sweat it.
                  Have a lovely evening/night and day tomorrow. Dinner’s done and I am headed out for a bike ride…

                  Don’t Worry, Be Happy ^u^

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  Still no example…

                  Were you talking about this?

                  “Mr. Likvern,

                  POB has dramatically changed for the worse since Ron ‘retired’ and put Dennis in charge…” ~ Petro

                  If so, it’s a ‘news item’ or ‘item of interest’ that’s quite relevant to POB and would seem to do you a favor in knowing about it.
                  It also doesn’t qualify as an ad hominem because it’s not in the context of an argument.

                  Petro has every right to take jabs at the blog elsewhere. If you’d rather not hear about it in your own little kingdom of the internet, that’s your prerogative, but then preferably or ideally, you have to say so, and at the time it happens, and/or not mixed in at a later date with another (fake/unsupported) ‘issue’. That’s gunnysacking.

                  At any rate, if you want to support double standards, nurture groupthink and/or generally let the blog run down, perhaps, as you’ve suggested, you could always shut it down.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Caelan,

                    No standard has been applied by me. So how can there be a double standard?

                    I did not sign up to be a hall monitor.

                    People will need to behave like adults.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Hi Dennis,

                    I’ll take it that you were talking about Petro then. The adult thing would have been to say so.

                    I’ll leave it at that and with something for ‘posterity’, just for fun, in maybe a language you can better understand:


                  • aws. says:


                    You are to generous with your time. : )

                    Life is too short for Caelan’s downer shit.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Caelan,

                    I said you quoted others, which is mostly what you do, there has been more than one occasion where you quote others when they comment about me. Generally I would assume if you bother to do so, that you agree.

                    I can ban anyone for any reason.

                    Just like if I invited you to dinner and you continually insulted me I would be unlikely to invite you a second time.

                    So in general, it’s a bad idea to insult the host over and over. And yes I guess that polite people gunnysack all the time. Get used to it.

                  • Paulo says:


                    I simply quit reading most of your comments some time ago due to ‘tone’. I start, then scroll forward. If you have something to say to your audience, you cannot exhort people to listen.

                    Dennis runs a respectful blog. I have followed this exchange due to others who commented. Relax and enjoy the insight of others.

                    Arguing seldom convinces anyone. Fred has a great sense of humour and I am surprised you pushed him this far. He must be very frustrated. Anyway, relax a bit.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Hi Dennis,

                    When some people get into power, they find that they can silence dissent– such as journalist quotes from former insiders unfavorable to something of their new regime– in a myriad of ways, such as through propaganda, disappearances, manufactured stories, imprisonment and media lockdowns.

                    Sound familiar? It should.

                    You can’t just normally waltz into a private home and I was already at POB when you took over, so the home/dinner-invitation analogy, among other nonsense, is ridiculous.

                    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Hi Paulo,

                    You can say that you don’t read my stuff, but secretly, maybe you do. Like Fred. Just admit it as a guilty pleasure and move on, there’s nothing shameful about it. Unless you announce that you aren’t but still do it anyway.

                    Some people, apparently driven near the deep end by techno-hopium or something similar, don’t of course have an echo-chamber in me. That’s just how it is. (shrug)

                    Incidentally, anger is not anger if you embrace it. Think Zen.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Caelan,

                    It is not dissent that bothers me, it is bad manners.

                    Let’s say I bought a house built by someone else, who used to invite you for dinner.

                    That does not mean that you can come to my house, insult me, and expect to be invited back.

                    And one can express an opinion without being a jerk, it really is possible.

                    That is my final word, poor behavior will get you banned.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Well, Dennis,

                    If you are truly interested in good manners, as you suggest you are and whatever you think of them to be, since we are not exactly privy to them within your value/mental construct, (and since many would seem arbitrary, like, say, a burqa versus a bikini or an insult versus a compliment), and in your consideration of them as to whether someone gets banned or not, then it would seem to stand to reason that you are also interested in their application across the board– like for everyone, including your cronies.
                    If so, I’m in agreement, but it would be nice to see evidence of it, and so far, it’s relatively absent, perhaps glaringly so.

                    Manners without ethics cancel out.

                    (For the record, though, I doubt this has much to do with ‘manners’ and as such is a bit of a red herring. I think you’re just chafing, Dennis, and thinking less clearly through your anger. The quoting of others is what good publications do and are definitely not personal attacks. It’s a case of blaming the carrier rather than the source; again, shooting the messenger. And that’s not ethical. Give me ethics over some person’s controlling notions of manners, and over dubious pretenses to boot, any day.)

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    “Life is too short for Caelan’s downer shit.” ~ aws.

                    “There is less multi year ice too. It’s a lot more fragile, so easier to melt come the following year.

                    This NOAA video shows how the the multi year ice has declined over the years.” ~ aws.

                    ^^ And this isn’t a downer?

                    I’m down with it though, just not with (your?) EV shit. To me, that’s ‘downer shit’, and there’s way too much of it on POB, as if nothing else matters and it’s some kind of holy transition grail.

                    Anyway, keep up the good work on the climate front, it’s appreciated.

  5. Dennis Coyne says:

    Webhubbletelescope posted the following on Sept 20, 2016 at 11:56 AM in the Petroleum thread, I moved it here.

    Anybody could have pulled those plots together.

    This guy David Archibald is a crank. He believes we are entering into an ice age. Media Matters actually took the time to do a story on him here:

    select quotes:

    “The more carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere, the more you are helping all living things on the planet and of course that makes you a better person.” — 2008

    “Any politician who has stated a belief in global warming is either a cynical opportunist or an easily deluded fool.” — 2014

    “There’s a large push towards global warming and regulation, carbon taxes, that’s completely unnecessary and wholly destructive of course. There should be some people looking at the potential for global cooling other than people like myself.” — 2014

    “The climate models that were supposed to project ‘climate change’ (global warming) on the basis of manmade carbon dioxide emissions have failed. The Climategate scandal gave us a glimpse of a corrupt scientific establishment scrambling to cover up that failure.” — 2014

    “[C]arbon dioxide’s heating effect is minuscule and everything would be better with more of it in the atmosphere. But there is still plenty to worry about because we are at the beginning of a severe cold period.” — 2013

    “We have to be thankful to the anthropogenic global warming proponents for one thing. If it weren’t for them and their voodoo science, climate science wouldn’t have attracted the attention of non-climate scientists, and we would be sleepwalking into the rather disruptive cooling that is coming next decade.” — 2008

    And besides being a climate crank, he is a medical quack:


    Despite no background in medical science, Archibald invented a formula for prostate cancer pills along with two Purdue scientists, made from vegetables such as “broccoli and chilli [sic],” and started testing them in clinical trials. According to his biography, “[t]his drug demonstrated efficacy during in vitro trials at Queensland University in 2009 and will be entering human trials in 2012.”

    Please post in correct thread, thanks.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      A day in the life of Dennis at POB. ‘u^

      • Dennis, Disagree.
        You opened the door by allowing Archibald to plug his book Twilight of Abundance. That is nothing more than a religious screed, with quotes from the Book of Revelations opening up each chapter. I put that out there so everyone can decide for themselves if Archibald is one of those End-Times guys.

        His entire post should go in this thread because he is just using oil depletion to sell his other ideas on the apocalypse.

        Paul Pukite

        • Web, it was my post, not Dennis’s. I don’t understand your complaint. Or to put it more clearly, are you complaining about David’s warming denial or his ideas on the collapse of civilization. Your post was all about his views on global warming yet in your reply to Dennis, you complained about something entirely different, his views on collapse… or apocalypse, or end times, as you call it.

          I don’t really like the terms “end times” or “apocalypse”. Both terms have too much religious baggage. The word “collapse”, as Joseph Tainter would use it, is the term I would use. And yes, I agree with Tainter and all the others who believe civilization as we know it is on the cusp of collapse.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Ron,

            Have you read other works by Archibald? I have only seen “failure to warm”, which I was not impressed by, it seems Webhubbletelescope has read his book which sounds (based on comments below) like it has a religious slant to it. I guess we would need to read the book, maybe Archibald will send you a free copy.

            • No, I have not read his book. However I do have it in Huntsville, where I will be Sunday. I bought it a couple of years ago but never got around to reading it. I am now living in Florida and left the book behind when I moved. I will check it out and comment on the next non-petroleum thread.

              But you can get all the comments Web posted in a few minutes. Just go to the link posted in the post, then click on “Look Inside”. Then on the left hand side of the screen you will see a search bar labeled: “Search Inside This Book”. If you then type in “global warming” you will see all the references to global warming inside the book, including all those Web posted.

              But I am not really concerned with that. I am convinced that global warming is real and caused by human activity. But I think we have far more pressing problems and they will cause very serious problems much sooner than global warming or climate change will.

              I am far more concerned with his views on collapse. I am now very anxious to get my hands on the book. I will give all the parts on collapse a quick read and give my comments on that.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Thanks Ron.

                I agree climate change is important, but that the energy transition that will be necessary when fossil fuels peak in 2025 (total energy provided by fossil fuel output) and then begin to decline is a more pressing problem.

                The quicker the World transitions to alternatives to fossil fuel energy, the less of a problem climate change will be, though long term climate change could be the bigger problem, hard to say for sure, more research is needed to reduce uncertainty.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Paul,

          It was not much of a plug, he is the author of the book, which I have not read.

          The problem with most of your post is that it ends up with a long discussion of climate change which annoys people who come to peakoilbarrel to discuss Petroleum.

          One cannot please everyone, but I would like the oil guys to continue to read and post, they probably won’t if the Petroleum thread gets clogged with off topic discussion.

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Dennis,

            WHT has my respect, although in the past I have referred to him as a stuffed shirt or pompous a few times.

            But I must admit I fail after the same fashion once in a while, just not having the patience to deal with people who don’t know enough to know they know very little indeed.

            It doesn’t help sell a message if you appear to have a low opinion of part of the potential audience for that message, and there are a couple of hundred million people plus here in the USA who are more or less TECHNICALLY illiterate, having never taken a real university level course in even one hard science of any sort.

            I try to remember that rubbing their noses in this fact is counterproductive if you want people to take peak oil, forced climate change, etc, seriously.

            I totally agree with WHT that Archibald is a crank, judging by the little I know about him, gleaned from this forum.

            I also think you are doing the best possible thing in having open threads that are dedicated non petroleum topics, although the line between will occasionally be sort of wide and fuzzy.

            Please continue along about as you are. All the regulars here appreciate all your hard work and all the hard work Ron has done and may yet do.

            Hopefully things will go well for him personally and he will have time and energy to drop in and post stuff from time to time.

            My personal belief is that the primary value of a forum such as this one is educational, although the hands on oil guys and investors in the oil industry may value it mostly as a business research tool.

            Having open topics is in my opinion the best or at least the most practical way to attract the largest and most varied audience.

            And even the hands on oil guys need to do some serious thinking about the future of their industry ten, twenty, thirty years down the road.

            The folks who bred horses and mules didn’t take automobiles and tractors seriously until they went broke in most cases.

            • GoneFishing says:

              The fact is that peak oil is not about oil production, it’s about how civilization is energized. How much oil is produced is irrelevant to peak oil. How much societies need oil is the key to the effects of oil production. As society moves away from oil and other fossil fuels, the role of oil will diminish. We can all see the pattern emerging now, that is why the denialists and the anti-renewable crowds are actually funded. They know there is plenty of other energy available and that the days of oil’s monopoly as a key player in the world is fading.
              All conspiracy theories and denialists aside, in twenty to thirty years the oil industry will be just another chemical industry, not a transportation monopoly. Oil powered vehicles will be the horse and buggy, quaint and fading away, historic examples of a by-gone age.
              Yes, peak oil topics are EV’s, wind towers, and solar energy. Peak oil (and it’s cousin coal) are tied hand and foot to global warming and environmental concerns. Governments are starting to move against fossil fuels, pushing alternatives. Peak oil topics are many and analysis of production is just one part of the picture.
              If the oil people can’t mix with the peak oil people, fine it is their loss. They can congregate in the back of the bus while the rest of us talk about the bigger and more inclusive world picture.

              • We can all see the pattern emerging now, that is why the denialists and the anti-renewable crowds are actually funded. They know there is plenty of other energy available and that the days of oil’s monopoly as a key player in the world is fading.

                That’s the dream. Too bad it is so far from reality.

                And you should not mix “denialist” with the “anti renewal” crowd. They have nothing to do with each other. Also, I haven’t seen any of that funding for the anti renewal crowd.

                The belief that renewals will never replace fossil fuel is called “skepticism”. Or call them the doubting crowd. And no one is funding them. Or if they are, I haven’t seen any of their ads yet.

                I happen to be one of those doubters. I do not believe large ships at sea, or planes in the air, will ever be powered by renewables. Or that large trucks will ever be powered by batteries.

                Cars perhaps, but I doubt that the renewable industry and the battery industry can ever be powered by renewables alone.

                You guys are dreaming but dream on, dream on.

                Oh, one more thing. It is a pipe dream that the grid will ever be powered by renewables alone also. It almost worked in Venezuela until climate change kicked in.

                • Oldfarmermac says:

                  Hi Ron,

                  I tend to agree with you, for the most part, in believing that industrial civilization is headed to hell in a hand basket, because I believe it is simply too late for the renewables industries to scale up world wide before we either run out of affordable extractable fossil fuel or the climate goes to hell, or both.

                  But maybe some countries and people will pull thru the bottleneck more or less whole, because the renewable energy industries are growing extraordinarily fast, this growth being a very pleasant surprise to me.

                  There is still plenty of fossil fuel we can use to back up renewable generation for a couple of generations at least, which is long enough for us to collectively reorganize our affairs so we CAN run almost entirely on renewable energy.

                  We can if necessary manufacture enough biofuels or synthetic oil to run absolutely essential vehicles.

                  Now as a practical matter, I agree with GF that the overall topic of the blog should include renewables climate etc, but some of the hands on oil guys want it to be all about oil and nothing else.

                  My own opinion is that it is best to indulge them to the extent of having open topics and mostly separating the discussion into oil and everything else.

                  It’s a great loss to the forum to have hands on oil people leave.

                • GoneFishing says:

                  You can believe what you want, but I think you agree with my points that peak oil topics go widely beyond just oil production.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  I happen to be one of those doubters. I do not believe large ships at sea, or planes in the air, will ever be powered by renewables. Or that large trucks will ever be powered by batteries.

                  My own thinking is continually evolving as I get new information. At this point I find it highly likely that a future industrial civilization will probably incorporate technologies such as vastly improved materials science based on biomimicry and will be using advanced 3D printing processes to manufacture things locally. Thereby greatly reducing the need for shipping materials and products over great distances via ships, planes, trains, trucks etc..


                  A Biomimicry Q&A with Janine Benyus and Presidio Graduate School

                  BTW she has some rather interesting ideas about the entire concept of competition and what Darwinian evolution is really selecting for. I think we are mostly still stuck in a very simplistic linear world view and we have yet to explore and understand how ecosystems work with all the symbiotic and mutualistic relationships.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Ron,

                  I disagree. There are plenty of things that man has accomplished that people were skeptical of. Heck if I had been an adult in 1930, the idea that a human would walk on the moon would have seemed ridiculous, but if I had been 20 years old and survived WW2, I would likely have seen it occur at the age of 60.

                  This does not prove anything of course, wishing that the grid will be powered by renewables will not make it so, but some research suggests that a widely dispersed highly connected wind, solar, and hydropower system can easily provide 90% of energy needs at low cost within 30 years. The other 10% can be provided by natural gas at first and eventually by batteries, fuel cells, pumped hydro, and vehicle to grid.

                  It is all possible, but that does not mean it will happen. Higher fossil fuel prices and proper policy will help make it happen.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Lots of things are possible, but there’s insufficient debate about whether they should be done or not.

                    Railroading through fantasy electric transition schemes ‘just because’ or just because crony-capitalist corporates like Tony Seba or Elon Musk say so and have a slick public-funded, public-indoctrination marketing campaign is just asking for trouble in a world already full of it.

                    If some kind of massive cull around the corner is inevitable, then this fantasy electric transition meme that appears to have thoroughly hijacked POB is clearly not a priority. Food, potable water and warm, dry shelters and knowledge thereof are and will be.


                • islandboy says:

                  Hey Ron. I might be dreaming but, as far as I am concerned, I have to. Not having any kids or a spouse, that dream is the only thing that gives me a reason to get up out of bed every day and do anything. If there’s absolutely no chance that any part of my dream is possible, what would be the point of sticking around to watch the collapse, complete with the suffering of millions (billions?), myself not necessarily excluded from said suffering?

                  On the other hand you have to admit there are a couple of things happening that are on the side of the dreamers;

                  1) The decline of oil production and the attendant economic woes have not happened as fast as many of us thought they would.

                  2) The expansion of renewables is happening faster than many of us thought possible and it appears that, if things don’t fall apart over the next couple of years, batteries and EVs could join the hyper growth party.

                  When the GFC hit in 2008 I thought, “Uh Oh, here we go” but we didn’t and here we are, eight years later debating the topic of Peak Oil, pretty much like we were in 2007-2008.

                  As I have said before, IMHO, there is a race happening between the energy transition and oil depletion. If depletion wins we are toast but, each day we go without the shit hitting the fan, brings us closer to the day when renewables save the day and I can exhale!

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Islandboy, there are infinite dreams and options, etc..

                    ‘Transition’ can mean many things. It can simply mean using less and less fossil fuel and adjusting along the way until it’s all gone for all intents and purposes.

                    It doesn’t have to mean transitioning to an ongoing-personal-disempowerment electric-based EV/PV corporate business-as-usual-lite fantasy meme and cannibalizing fossil fuels and threatening the climate and ecosystem– and mine too– while you’re at it.

                    It can mean, relinquishing your canned-air office/car and stuffy suit for the sun, sea and the land and growing some stuff vertically and composting and so forth.

                    Agriculture and extra energy from FF’s are in large part what freed us to have stuff like cars and other relatively-useless gadgets anyway. Once things ramp down, more of us will likely have to learn to do all that again anyway– to be farmers, only better ones on a poorer planet and to get it rich again.

                    Besides, when you don’t work for Da Man, you can work for yourself and community, and make it real again, rather than some gutted ghost town with malls, big box corporate squats and multilane highways on the fringes. So you have no or less taxes to pay to your pimps for things like blowing innocent people up overseas.

                    Running after this ongoing-personal-disempowerment corporate electric-based EV/PV business-as-usual-lite fantasy meme is pretty wacked when you think about it. But you have to actually think about it.

                    New Seeds

                • me says:

                  Large trucks aren’t much use anyway. Most of them need replacing by rail, or simply phasing out.

                  Or maybe not. But notice your argument is not about where the energy comes from, but how it is stored.

                  If we pretend for a second that that energy could be created by non-oil sources, then the problem reduces to an energy storage issue, not an energy sourcing issue.

                  For clarity, these two arguments should be kept distinct.

                  • Or maybe not. But notice your argument is not about where the energy comes from, but how it is stored.

                    Nonsense. I am arguing both points. There can never be enough non renewable energy to power civilization as we know it, or at a price that the economies of the world can afford. Also storage is a huge problem that the renewables crowd just take for granted. And I find that totally absurd.

                    If we pretend for a second that that energy could be created by non-oil sources, then the problem reduces to an energy storage issue, not an energy sourcing issue.

                    Oh for God’s sake. Get real for just a second. Of course energy can be created from non oil sources. Just not enough portable non-fossil energy can be created to power civilization as we know it.

                    For clarity, these two arguments should be kept distinct.

                    Bullshit! You wish they were distinct. The fact is that solar energy can only be produced when the sun shines. And wind energy can only be produced when the wind blows. And trying to pretend that storage is not a problem for both is just just burying your head in the sand.

                    Get real, storage is an integral problem of the renewal energy industry. Trying to pretend it is not just makes you look silly.

                    This is really getting to be funny. You “renewables will power the world” guys are looking more like Don Quixote every day.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    Widely dispersed interconnected Wind and Solar can provide plenty of energy with little need for storage. Less energy will need to be used for personal transport in personal vehicles, this can be done with Uber and Lyft and more light rail and rail (which can be powered by electricity). Trucks can use overhead wires in densely populated areas with batteries to take them the last few miles, but long haul will be done with rail.

                    There is no business as usual, except that things constantly change, BAU is not static.

                  • Paulo says:

                    Ron replied: “There can never be enough non renewable energy to power civilization as we know it, or at a price that the economies of the world can afford. ”

                    To me, key phrase is “as we know it”. I believe there will be different transportation options, particularly freight hauling, including new ways to power ships at sea. However, the days of ‘just in time delivery’ floating warehouse ships racing across the oceans will soon draw to a close. Most of the ‘shite’ are/is fluff goods people can do without, anyway. As scale reduces, shipping costs will increase and people will become discerning consumers as a result.

                    The slow food movement is going to be a model for many aspects of our life (ha). I think many aspects of our lives will start slowing down, and the last to do so will be our expectations. But, one day we’ll look around and realize we are living in a very different world. I just hope the transition doesn’t involve too much violence.


                  • In reply to Dennis Coyne.

                    Dennis, I am not going to argue with you anymore on the feasibility or probability of a totally renewable grid. I have beat that dead horse before and will not do it again. I can only say, again, that such a grid is a pipe dream and totally unrealistic… and in fact, impossible.

                    But all that is academic. We will never reach that point before world economic collapse. I will have more to say on that in a later post.

                  • In reply to Paulo.

                    To me, key phrase is “as we know it”.

                    Well, at least you got that right. But your idea of the change in civilization “as we know it” is extremely unlikely, Pollyannaish to a level of absurdity.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    We agree that we are unlikely to agree.

                    I believe any World collapse will be temporary. I also don’t think business as usual is constant, except that it is constantly changing. In 2050, when I am likely to be dead and gone, the World will be very different from 2015.

                    You do realize that nobody expects a 100% renewable grid is likely before maybe 2070 at the earliest and 2100 is probably more realistic. I try to avoid “never”, as it is a very long time until we get there. 🙂

                    As fossil fuels decline in output they will become expensive and people will gradually switch to other forms of energy because they will be cheap in comparison to expensive fossil fuels.

                    Some fossil fuels will no doubt still be used as non-fuel chemical inputs (about 8% of coal use for example in the US is for non-electric use.) These uses of fossil fuel will be difficult to eliminate, as will fuel use for planes and ships. Ships could be powered by nuclear and/or wind and they can slow down to conserve fuel, they could potentially use biofuels, or LNG, or possibly hydrogen in the future. It may be that fewer items will be shipped by sea and there may be much less travel by plane.

                    Mark Z Jabobson has a plan, which seems on the optimistic side, but if the time scale was stretched a bit (maybe to 2070), it seems plausible.

                    See http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/WWS-50-USState-plans.html

                    Also see chart downthread (which will have you rolling on the floor). 🙂

                  • Dennis wrote:

                    I believe any World collapse will be temporary.

                    Errrr…. that would be an impossibility. That is the World cannot recover from collapse, not within a few hundred years anyway. A few countries may recover…somewhat, but no country could be restored to anything like its former self.

                    What you are underestimating is the tremendous toll on the human condition, and human life, that a collapse would take.

                    Right now I am deep in a study of China. China is in the process of collapsing. That is, it is not that China will collapse, China is in the process of collapsing right now. China’s “ghost city” real estate market has already collapsed. Construction has stopped in all the hundreds of ghost cities in China. Hundreds of thousands of construction workers have been laid off. The steel and concrete industry has collapsed as a result. But the banks are hanging on. They are desperately trying to avoid collapse. Just Google it and you will see what I mean. I hope to have a post on that sometime next month so I will not post any links or comments right now.

                    You are right. The chart below is absolutely hilarious.

                  • HuntingtonBeach says:

                    What do collapse and love have in common ?

                    Everybody has a different view of there meaning

                  • HuntingtonBeach wrote:

                    What do collapse and love have in common ?

                    Just who the hell mentioned love… except you?

                    Please try to stick to the subject being discussed.

                  • HuntingtonBeach says:

                    The point is everyone has a different view of what collapse means

                  • The point is everyone has a different view of what collapse means.

                    No, I think it is pretty straight forward. Of course it depends on what collapsed. The Soviet Union collapsed. An empire collapsed. That means it no longer exist. I think everyone can agree on that.

                    But the collapse of a civilization is totally different from the collapse of an empire. The Mayan civilization collapsed. They went from around 13 million people to about 1 million people in about 100 years. (From about 800 AD to about 900 AD).
                    That is what we are talking about when we talk about the collapse of civilization as we know it.

                    The collapse of a civilization means that a large percentage of that civilization does not survive the collapse. And what does survive bears no resemblance to the civilization that existed before the collapse.

                    That is what is meant by the collapse of civilization as we know it.

                  • HuntingtonBeach says:

                    Ron, so when Dennis writes “I believe any World collapse will be temporary”. Do you think his definition is the same are yours ?

                    I don’t. I look forward to seeing your future post on the subject. Keep in mind on a lot of these blogs, people use the word incorrectly. I’m guessing Dennis would have been better off to have used the word depression, recession or something else, but not collapse.

                    I’m not arguing your definition of collapse.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Huntington Beach,

                    You are correct, I was talking about an economic collapse. I believe Ron’s vision of all of human civilization collapsing everywhere is highly unlikely. So more in line with the thinking of Jared Diamond.

                  • Eric Swanson says:

                    Replying mostly to Ron, let me remind folks that railroads are often powered by electricity and they can carry much of the traffic now shipped by trucks if the rail system were able to deliver products more quickly than is often the situation. Of course, electricity isn’t a primary energy source, so the problem becomes how to supply the necessary electricity from renewables and storage is a necessary part of such a system.

                    The focus on storage is usually the result of looking at electric supply, but there are low grade thermal needs, such as space and water heating, where the storage can be distributed locally. I built a house with solar heating and included a large storage tank for water with the intent of bridging several days without sunlight. My design was a compromise which did not use the most efficient collectors and the result was less energy and no need to use the large tank. But, I also use the slab floor as thermal storage and am presently improving the collector efficiency in hopes that my system will provide a large fraction of my winter heating needs. If I had spent more money initially, my system would have likely required much less backup from propane or wood heat and I hope to see such a result after my present upgrade.

                    Quite a few of the early solar thermal systems reported in the 1980’s did not exhibit great results and the causes of this poor performance are clear. Building on this understanding, newer designs would give much better results, but the current focus on electricity misses these opportunities, IMHO.

                    As for collapse, I suspect that collapse will begin locally. The situation in Syria is a prime example with many causes, but one major cause was the very sever drought which forced many farmers off the land and into the cities. Egypt may be in a similar situation, as they must import wheat to feed their large population and now find it difficult to pay for these imports. These countries are experiencing out migration as people respond with their feet, trying to move to Europe or even the Americas. Thus a collapse situation in one area leads to disruptions in other nations, resulting in greater impacts as immigrants destabilize the civil order elsewhere.

                    Of course, the politicans in democratic nations don’t want to address the fundamental problems, such as population, so I don’t see much chance for improvement in the situation…

        • Here is a passage by Archibald demonstrating his paranoid belief system

          “Interestingly, the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest body of the Communist party of China, has seven members, in an echo of the seven-headed red dragon described in the quotation from Revelation at the beginning of this chapter.”

          The entire book is based on building metaphors on what is happening to biblical prophecies. This is just sick stuff and hope it doesn’t taint this blog.

          I suppose I could have put my head in the sand and not piped up about it, but I have known about this guy for years and had to mention how much of a lunatic the guy is.

          • Religious kooks like Archibald think this is not Tainter-style collapse but that it is all a pre-ordained rapture event and they are just looking for clues to support the biblical prophesies that were apparently beat into their heads. So Archibald thinks there will be cooling because the bible says so and so looks for any evidence to support that. Same with peak oil.

            I don’t study this religious stuff at all, but know enough that I can smell it a mile away.

          • This is just sick stuff and hope it doesn’t taint this blog.

            Hey, I wouldn’t worry about that. There has been a lot of sick shit posted on this blog and I don’t think it has been tainted yet. Well, not any more than it was tainted from the start anyway. 😉

  6. Doug Leighton says:

    Continuing with my alarmist theme,


    As the world’s oceans continue to warm, marine heatwaves are likely to become more frequent and intense. Observations and model simulations also demonstrate that other factors such as ocean acidification and deoxygenation are putting additional stress on marine organisms and ecosystems.


    • Doug Leighton says:

      However, it’s not doom and gloom for all,


      I’m certainly no expert but expect these guys (water bears not polar bears) have no fear of climate change. In fact, tardigrades probably have their own highly reputable (peer reviewed) science journals with articles welcoming high CO2 levels and rising sea levels; maybe even with “Needless Alarmism” in the titles.


  7. GoneFishing says:

    Antarctica’s mysterious diatoms on Mt. Sirius – an explanation of how they got there involving collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene

    “The new study suggests otherwise. In the Pliocene — and especially the mid-Pliocene warm period, when atmospheric carbon dioxide was at about the level where it is now, 400 parts per million, but global temperatures were 1 or 2 degrees Celsious warmer than at present — the model not only collapses the entirety of West Antarctica (driving some 10 feet of global sea-level rise) but also shows the oceans eating substantially into key parts of East Antarctica. In particular, the multi-kilometer thick ice that currently fills the extremely deep Aurora and Wilkes basins of the eastern ice sheet retreats inland for hundreds of miles — which would have driven global seas to a much higher level than a West Antarctic collapse alone.”


    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Gonefishing,

      Nice article, have you read the paper? The WP article seems to suggest that RCP8.5 was used to drive the model. Does anybody who reads this blog think that there will be 5000 Gt of carbon from fossil fuels burned by 2250 as the RCP8.5 scenario projects? They should limit their analysis to Scenarios that are likely to occur which would be no more than RCP6 and RCP4.5, with about 1500 Gt of carbon emissions to 2250, would be the best choice imo.

      Note for those that think my “high scenarios” for fossil fuels are absurdly high, those scenarios result in about 1600 Gt (or Pg) of carbon emissions as CO2 (multiply by 3.664 for Pg of CO2), fairly similar to RCP4.5.

      This is not to say there is no problem, I just think we should base out thinking on relatively realistic scenarios. A cornucopian outlook is needed to take RCP8.5 seriously.

      • GoneFishing says:

        No haven’t read the paper yet, giving everyone else time to read it and then maybe we can have an informed discussion.

        • GoneFishing says:

          I just re-read the article and it implies that the model used was at 400 ppm CO2, so not sure why you are going on about the various higher scenarios.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Gonefishing,

            At the end of the Washington Post piece there was a video showing how Antarctica would melt in an RCP8.5 scenario. I have read the paper and you are correct it uses a scenario that reproduces the mid Pliocene warm period.

            A paper describing their setup and climate model at link below:


            The mid Pliocene global average temperatures are 2.2 K above pre-industrial according to the model, Hansen estimates roughly 2 K based on paleo data (so similar).

            Note that pre-industrial is typically defined as temperatures around 1700-1800. Based on analysis by Marcott et al, the Holocene climactic optimum (HCE, 5000-8000 BP) was about 0.4 K above the 1961-1990 average temperature which is about 0.4K above the 1850-1899 average temperature, so the planet has seen recent warmth about 0.8 K above pre-industrial. The mid Pliocene was 1.4 K warmer than the HCE, based on this model (ECS=2.9K).

            There are a number of difficulties with examining the Pliocene. The CO2 levels are uncertain with a range of 350-450 ppm, other green house gas levels are not well known and actual temperature estimates based on data are relatively uncertain and the modelling has also been relatively uncertain. So far we have looked at a 240,000 year period window about 3.1 million years in the past, temperatures were roughly 1.8 to 3.6 C above preindustrial with a mean of about 2.7C, based on the models. The GISS-E2R model, with ECS of 2.7C resulted in 2.1C for the Pliocene temperature change above pre-industrial, the other two land ocean models run with the preferred boundry conditions both have high ECS of about 3.6 C and the GISS model had a more reasonable TOA energy balance.
            Link below discusses model results
            Link below is an overview of data and models for Pliocene

            • Eric Swanson says:

              The paleo data suggests that the Earth entered a new climate regime around 3.0 million years BP characterized by repeated periods of Ice Ages with short Interglacial periods inbetween. It’s been postulated that this transition was the result of the closure of the Isthmus of Panama, which blocked the equatorial connection between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. If so, the previous warm period(s) are not useful analogs for future warming, as the basic circulation patterns of the oceans will be different.

              For example, the last Interglacial, the Eemian, was a few degrees warmer than pre-industrial and the sea-level was higher, perhaps the result of major melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The Greenland ice cores hit bedrock at the time of the Eemian, thus there’s no evidence of earlier climate history from them. One wild thought from these facts is that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could be a prerequisite for the start of another Ice Age…

      • GoneFishing says:

        From the paper: Windblown Pliocene diatoms and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat

        “Improved models

        A new version of an established Antarctic ice-sheet model (PSUICE-3D) (ref. 3), which uses hybrid ice dynamics and allows for the buttressing effects of floating ice shelves and freely migrating grounding lines, now includes physics associated with glaciological processes of melt-water enhanced calving due to hydrofracture and ice cliff failure7. When forced by modest atmospheric and oceanic warming representative of warm Pliocene conditions with 400 p.p.m.v. CO2 and a warm austral summer orbit7, the model produces a significant retreat of marine-based ice, including most of West Antarctica and the major Wilkes and Aurora basins in East Antarctica, where grounding lines retreat more than 500 km into the interior (Fig. 2), thus providing a physically plausible scenario for EAIS recession, with sea level rise and marine basin development.”

        So the model they used had current CO2 levels to achieve collapse of the West Antarctic Ice sheet (much of which is land bound but below current sea level).

        • Dennis Coyne says:


          • GoneFishing says:

            Of course there is great uncertainty about how long it will take for these changes to occur. I just found it very interesting that evidence is showing how a world similar to what we have now (sans humans) had such dramatic effects on the polar ice cap. Richard Alley has presented this situation, where much of the grounded ice sheet is below sea level and once the ocean starts to enter, the speed of breakup could be relatively fast.
            Portions of Antarctic ice sheets may be more unstable and subject to breakup than much of the Greenland Ice sheet.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Gonefishing,

              How long does the isostatic rebound take? I believe the modelling for the paper used different orbital parameters than we have today, so it would be interesting to see how quickly the ice breaks up under a current scenario. I believe another paper they wrote, published in Nature had between 2 and 7 meters of mean sea level rise by 2500 under an RCP4.5 scenario see figure at link below:


              a, RCP ensembles to 2500. b, RCP ensembles to 2100. Changes in GMSL are shown relative to 2000, although the simulations begin in 1950. Ensemble members use combinations of model parameters (Methods) filtered according to their ability to satisfy two geologic criteria: a Pliocene target of 10–20 m GMSL and a LIG target of 3.6–7.4 m. c and d are the same as a and b, but use a lower Pliocene GMSL target of 5–15 m. Solid lines are ensemble means, and the shaded areas show the standard deviation (1σ) of the ensemble members. The 1σ ranges represent the model’s parametric uncertainty, while the alternate Pliocene targets (a and b versus c and d) illustrate the uncertainty related to poorly constrained Pliocene sea-level targets. Mean values and 1σ uncertainties at 2500 and 2100 are shown.

              Chart below

              • GoneFishing says:

                As far as orbital conditions go, we are entering a phase where the Arctic regions will get increased solar insolation for the next 40,000 years while the Antarctic slowly gets less. The differential is about 25 watts/m2 at 65 latitude, reducing by about half the differential over the last 11,000 years, peaking about 30,000 years from now.

                So we are entering a moderated orbital region, with the orbit becoming more circular and the differentials reduced. Previous differential ranges were over 100 watts/m2 (Eemian period and previous) while the recent total changes will reach an overall delta Arctic minima of about 55 watts/m2 (Holocene peak to about 55,000 years from now). The next Arctic rise will occur 20,000 years later with a delta of about 45 watts/m2.

                It is warming for Arctic over the next 40,000 years, which means the southern ocean will be fed warmer waters unless the overturn current stops – that would make for non-linear changes across the globe.

                But those orbital cycles have been going on for a long time and are moderately repetitive on the 40k and 100k time period. The Eemian temperature was over a much longer period, loss of CO2 was probably the major factor in the temperature reduction.
                So we shall see what decreased variability in orbital differentials combining with increased GHG’s does to the planetary climate and ice sheets. Well, not us in particular, but those future generations that will have to experience it along with the billions of other life forms with which we share this world.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Gonefishing,

                  Supposedly there was a point during the Pliocene warm period where the Milankovitch cycle was similar to today, so perhaps that is not really a factor after all. As far as sea level rise, the paper in nature (which I have not read, I only looked at the abstract and some of the supplementary stuff).

                  If we keep carbon emissions close to 1200 Pg (1800 to 2200) from all carbon dioxide sources and other Greenhouse gases and other emissions follow the RCP 4.5 scenario we will be between the RCP2.6 and RCP4.5 scenario with roughly 22 cm of sea level rise by 2100. This may be only from Antarctica (I haven’t read the paper, no access).

  8. robert wilson says:

    I believe that this is one of the best articles ever published by Gail. Could it be posted as a peakoilbarrel special to enable discussion and critique? https://ourfiniteworld.com/2016/09/20/why-really-causes-falling-productivity-growth-an-energy-based-explanation/

    • HuntingtonBeach says:

      Hello Robert

      Gail is a hammer and every problem she sees is a “Diminishing Returns with Respect to Oil Extraction” nail. She’s an oil industry con artist and still complaining about filling her lamps with whale oil.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Just a note that…

        …Gail Tverberg recently informed me that she banned ChiefEngineer from her blog…

        With regard to the one with the relatively-new-and-sparkly ‘HuntingtonBeach‘ handle

        Who posts periodically in this way about Gail?

        ChiefEngineer? (so to speak)…” ~ Caelan MacIntyre

        “I was over at Gail Tverberg’s the last couple of days under a hand full of different screen names pointing out the ignorance.” ~ ChiefEngineer

        • ChiefEngineer says:

          Yes, Tverberg bands people who disagree with her from her blog. Because her arguments don’t hold up under scrutiny and she doesn’t want to disenfranchise her followers.

        • HuntingtonBeach says:

          Yes, Tverberg bands people who disagree with her from her blog. Because her arguments don’t hold up under scrutiny and she doesn’t want to disenfranchise her followers.

          It really gets old listening to conservatives whine about debt. Until they get real about their endless desire for tax cuts and military spending they just look like fools. The wealthy 10 percent of the Republican party have been lying to their base and creating this problem since at least Reagan with his tax cuts and increased military spending. Followed by “W” tax cuts with more military spending. Now the Donald wants more tax cuts for the rich and who knows what else. He changes day to day.

          First of all, if you want a robust economy. Money has to be spent on things that improve peoples lives. That can be done by government or individuals. Cutting spending is only going to make the economy smaller. Second, consumer sediment must be positive for individuals to spend more. People like Tverberg or Caelan have a negative affect on sediment and the economy. Third, to grow the economy there has to be investment into the future.

          Consumer sentiment is a statistical measurement and economic indicator of the overall health of the economy as determined by consumer opinion. Sentiment takes into account an individual’s feelings toward his or her own current financial health, the health of the economy in the short term and the prospects for longer term economic growth.

          The pattern in consumer attitudes has the foremost influence on both the stock and bond markets. Consumer sentiment figure impacts the stock market positively when sentiment is up, and negatively when sentiment is down. The industry that is most affected by consumer sentiment is the retail industry, as their profits are directly affected by consumer spending.

          Caelan, you and Tverberg have a lot in common. Just because you don’t like to hear what Fred has to say. Doesn’t mean he should be band.

          • robert wilson says:

            Huntington Beach. I suspect that the banned poster was particularly obnoxious. Gail dos not generally ban critical posters. She often replies thoughtfully and courteously. That is also true on her Facebook page where she is currently being excoriated on nuclear power (re burning the rocks). I have been critical of her in the past regarding Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and other matters. http://energyfromthorium.com/energy-weinberg-1959/

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Fred suggested or mentioned the idea of banning himself in his own comment that I quoted.

            He’s also conspicuously announced ignoring me and then turned around and ignored– a few times– his own resolution– the infamous one, ‘sideways’, under someone else’s comment. Etc.. ~63 years old, apparently.

            Hi Fred.

            Peak Oil Barrel, Our Finite World, and other similar light-screen virtual communication channels probably wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t gotten ourselves in the kinds of binds we’re in right now.
            So it’s important to keep that in mind and consider sometimes stuffing pie (or meds, perhaps for Fred), instead, into our pie-holes, metaphorically-speaking of course.

            Incidentally, ‘consumer’ is a mindfuck and ‘the economy’ is a joke.


    • me says:

      > It is human labor, leveraged by various tools, that leads to productivity growth.

      The rot starts here. The sentence sounds like it makes sense, but it doesn’t come close. Productivity is the output of a unit of human labor. Labor doesn’t cause productivity growth. She might as well say speed makes cars go faster.

      In many cases bigger machines help, but human ingenuity has been the primary driver of increased productivity. Adam Smith’s discussions of pin production and specialization are excellent examples of this. Time and motion studies such as the Gilbreths’ work revolutionized industry.


      Japanese ideas like the Toyota Production System and Kaizen revolutionized industrial production in the 80s. The Japanese liked to brag that the fact that they were short of everything made them the world’s best producers.


      You’d have to have been sleeping under a rock to miss this revolution. Or nuts.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        In actuality you don’t have to be as dumb as a fence post to write and say the things Tverberg says.

        It is almost inconceivable that she has been around as long as she has, in various forums dealing with energy, without knowing that her message is composed of fifty percent bullshit and sitting on a foundation of sand.

        The preacher at the church where my people are buried, on the hilltop nearest my farm, very cheerfully preaches the KJB, while enjoying just about all the fruits of modern technology and modern industry.

        The congregation WANTS to hear that “old time gospel” and the members have absolutely no problem overlooking the countless inconsistencies and problems associated with what he preaches.

        The simplest explanation is that she has a BRAND, or a product, and a following, just like a preacher has a message, and a congregation, and she is doing exactly what leaders of that sort do.

        Her followers WANT to hear what she says, and they are not in the least interested in hearing anybody point out where she goes wrong.

        She is making a living out of doing it, maybe a very good living.
        There are plenty of people who are making a living by manipulating and controlling the beliefs of a band of followers.

        Most people would rather die than do any actual thinking, but feed them something that reinforces what they believe already, if it is on their mind, and they will lap it up like a kitten drinking milk. This is especially true if the stuff you are feeding them reinforces the tribal identity of the listener.

        There is no doubt in my mind that anybody that reads her stuff regularly is opposed to renewables on political grounds- simply because renewable energy is generally associated with the liberal wing of our political system.

        This does not mean red states and conservatives across the board are necessarily opposed to renewables, witness Texas and the wind industry in some farm states.

        If you want to understand the behavior of naked apes, the first rule is to never forget that we are tribal creatures. Tribal loyalties often mean more than just about anything else except food and sex, and sometimes tribal loyalties trump even food and sex.

        • robert wilson says:

          OFM “She is making a living out of doing it, maybe a very good living.”

          Maybe this is not true. Gail made a living as an actuary,

          “There is no doubt in my mind that anybody that reads her stuff regularly is opposed to renewables…”

          Thus there is NO DOUBT in your mind that I am opposed to renewables?

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Robert,

            I stuck my chin out for that one, for sure.

            What I should have said is that almost everybody who reads her stuff regularly can safely be counted in the anti renewables column.

            This is simple human nature. If you agree, you keep reading, if you disagree, you don’t keep on reading her on a regular basis.

            You don’t have to eat an entire meal that you don’t like on a regular basis, lol. A bite or two of stuff you don’t like now and then is enough to remind you that you still don’t like it.

            But there are people, not very many, who are exceptions to this rule.

            I read a lot of columnists and publications that I disagree with myself, in order to keep up with what other people are saying, doing, and thinking.

            You may fall into this category as well. I suspect you do, thinking about links you have posted in the past.

            Sometimes I engage in long running debates with people that I believe are simply wrong or else fibbing for some reason.

            There is also a possibility that she may be running her blog as an ego trip rather than for money. This sort of behavior is also well known, especially among people with money enough to indulge themselves.

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Renewables aren’t even renewable.

              • wharf rat says:

                Renewables are recyclable.

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  Too simple, Ratty.

                  Beekeeping is truly renewable, resilient, educational, systems-based, ecological, self-empowering, recyclable and compostable…

                  If the kids, for example, learn stuff like that, rather than, say, how to drive, then they become less dependent on the system– a system of wage-slavery, tax-slavery and assorted drudgery, such as to buy said supposed renewables. Pseudorenewables don’t come without any strings attached above and beyond the typical ones talked about.

                  Do we want to continue to sell our kids to slavery? It certainly looks that way.

        • There is no doubt in my mind that anybody that reads her stuff regularly is opposed to renewables on political grounds- simply because renewable energy is generally associated with the liberal wing of our political system.

          Mac, you are really confused here. I know of damn few people that are opposed to renewables. You are equating those who simply do not believe renewables will save the world with being opposed to renewables.

          I am all for renewables. I love them. I cheer every time I see a new solar plant go up. Here in North Florida I see billboards, with lights, that are not on the grid. Many have a small wind turbine powering them, or rather charging their batteries. Others have solar panels doing the same thing. I love them. I love wind farms. It is just that renewables are not the panacea you guys believe they are.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Ron,

            The energy that society will need, will be reduced by efficiency measures as fossil fuels become more expensive and other forms of energy such as wind, solar, hydro, pumped hydro, geothermal, tidal, and nuclear power will supplant the declining fossil fuel output over time. I don’t think this transition will be easy nor do I believe it is a panacea, just a necessary step along with a peak in World population by 2050 to 2070 through continued decline in the total fertility ratio as more women are educated and have better control over their fertility through modern birth control.

            • Dennis, thanks for the post. Of course you must realize that what you wrote was a statement of faith. It is simply what you believe will happen. It is what you want so desperately to happen that you must believe it.

              It is like believing in life after death. The thought that nothing follows this life is just too horrible for some to believe, so they must believe, they simply must.

              There is very little factual evidence that your scenario even possible, and even less evidence that it is likely. The fact is that massive overpopulation is already destroying the earth and playing hell with governments around the world. Much of the world is teetering at the brink. And if half this ship goes down, it will take the other half with it.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Ron,

                There is plenty of evidence. There is also not much evidence that the collapse you envision is very likely.

                The future is not known by you or by me. Not a lot of facts from the future that I am aware of.

              • Doug Leighton says:

                Save your breath Ron, Dennis is a hard-wired cornucopian. It’s time to wake up. Our planet is dying.


                “Rising sea temperatures have already wiped out 100 kilometres of kelp forest along the south coast of Western Australia – and this unprecedented loss looks set to worsen… The loss of kelp forests is as catastrophic as the demise of the Great Barrier Reef…”


                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Doug,

                  Not on fossil fuels, relative to those that believe that RCP8.5 (with 18,300 Pg of CO2 emissions) is a possibility. My “ridiculously optimistic” high fossil fuel scenario would result in about 5900 Pg of CO2 emissions which is relatively close to RCP4.5, which many people would consider a “moderate” emissions scenario.

                  We do not know what the future will bring. When you were 20, did you anticipate all the future changes that would occur?(I didn’t.) Do you think that the average person at your education level that was 50 years older would have anticipate the future any better than you might have? (note that my feeling is that this would not be the case.)

                  Perhaps Henny Penny is correct or perhaps it is Pollyanna, I think reality tends to fall between these extreme points of view.

                  Live everyone else, I think my own viewpoint is the realistic one. Nobody knows, not you, me, or even Ron.

                  Unlike some I don’t present what I think may as a certainty, only as a possibility.

                  I admit Collapse is possible, especially if there is a nuclear holocaust, barring that (not that it is not possible, but on the assumption that is avoided) my view is that a complete collapse of human civilization in general is unlikely.

                  Not quite the same thing as everything coming up roses as I expect a depression on the order of the 1930s around 2030 from which the World will eventually recover.

                • GoneFishing says:

                  How did the kelp survive the Pliocene when oceans were at least 2 C average warmer than now? Fossil kelp predated that time.
                  Could they be seeing the result of herbivores devastating the region?
                  How are the other kelp forests reacting?

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gonefishing,

                    In the piece Doug linked I believe they said the sea surface temperatures in the region of Australia were 6 C above normal. It is not clear if this is mostly a local problem in Australia or it is more widespread from reading the article.

                    Hi Doug,

                    I agree there are lots of problems and believe we should attempt to do all we can to correct them, we won’t necessarily succeed, and there is no certainty that mankind will fail to reduce the damage we are inflicting on the planet. The decline in fossil fuel use due to depletion is likely to reduce the damage, better environmental policy, fewer people due to the eventual peak and decline in human population will also reduce environmental impact. A rapid transition would be best and hopefully those who believe that the URR of fossil fuels will be lower rather than higher will be correct as that ensures higher fossil fuel prices sooner, which creates more incentive for a rapid transition to other forms of energy.

                    It also makes it more likely that global land ocean temperatures remain close to 2C above pre-industrial, as the “low” fossil fuel scenario is close to 1000 Pg of total carbon emissions(from all sources) which mainstream AOGCMs suggest have a 50/50 chance of keeping us at 2 C or less. This assumes no attempt at reduction of fossil fuel use, but that we use all that we can extract. As fossil fuel use falls we will have great incentive to increase the use of wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear power (and others such as geothermal and tidal), as use of these types of power are increased, economies of scale will tend to reduce their cost so that they will be less expensive alternatives to fossil fuel, this will tend to drive fossil fuel prices lower and reduce the amount of economically recoverable fossil fuels.

                    Depending on how quickly this all occurs the total carbon emissions might be kept to as little as 800 Pg C, in any case the fewer carbon emissions the better.

                    Not a panacea, just a step in the proper direction. Not a lot more we can do than try to solve the problems we see as best we can. At least that is how I see it.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    “In the piece Doug linked I believe they said the sea surface temperatures in the region of Australia were 6 C above normal”

                    Dennis, don’t confuse global averages with local, regional or temporary temperatures. It’s the same planet, variations across it happen all the time and the variations would have been larger in the Pliocene.

                    For example the North Pole had temperatures above freezing while I at 41N had temperatures well below freezing last winter.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gonefishing,

                    I think you are talking about air temperatures, the article was talking about ocean temperature anomalies.

                    I am aware that the temperature varies in time and place, an anomaly of 6 C for an ocean temperature seems large as these are typically relative to recent times (usually relative to the 1961-1990 average.)

                    I have no idea what the typical sea surface temperature anomalies are, but 6 C sounds pretty big to me. Maybe they are missing a decimal point, in 2010 the SST Dec anomaly was about 0.6 C above the 1961-1990 average in the Australia region. A 6 C anomaly seems unlikely to me.


                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Dennis, pay close attention to this paper and when you see SST Pliocene anomalies of 4.4 C above today, understand that is an average and can vary around that.
                    “Mid-Pliocene equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature reconstruction: a multi-proxy perspective”


                    There is a large temperature gradient across the ocean surface. about 32C. To form an anomaly all that has to happen is a shift in ocean currents to get warming or cooling. Combine the warm current with some GHG heating and the anomaly gets large. The ocean is not as volatile as the atmosphere, but it is a fluid and quite mobile, it also is a great solar energy collector except where ice covers it.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gonefishing,

                    Perhaps there have been daily anomalies of 6C, on an annual basis the anomaly for the Australia region has been no higher than 0.8C above the 1961-1990 average.

                    As the Pliocene was 3 million years ago, an anomaly of 4.4C above todays’s SST is reasonable. Over a 40 year period, not so much.

                    Of course there are differences in temperature at different latitudes.

                    My understanding is that Australia has not moved much in the past 40 years or so.

                    Does a 6 C anomaly in Australia seem reasonable to you on even a monthly basis relative to the 1961-1990 average SST temperature? I think the article made a mistake and it should have been 0.6 C and not 6 C.

                    If it were an article on astronomy, it would be fine as anything within an order of magnitude is close enough. 🙂

                  • Nick G says:

                    This assumes no attempt at reduction of fossil fuel use, but that we use all that we can extract.

                    Well, no. The coal research you’re relying on (Rutledge, Mohr, et al) is modelling the actual decline in coal consumption in various places, not the theoretical declines that might happen due to geological limits. For instance, coal consumption in the UK has declined primarily because of politics: coal miners raised the cost of coal slightly above the cost of imported oil (before the N. Sea), and were targeted for extinction by Thatcher (alternatively, the UK could have supported the domestic coal industry as a strategic advantage).

                    Similarly, there’s more than 150 billion tons of coal in the Illinois Basin that’s going unused: it peaked, but not because of depletion, but because low sulfur coal was very slightly cheaper. You won’t see that in the coal research you’re relying on, but it really is there – ask the USGS, or anyone in the industry.

                    There’s somewhere between 200 billion and 5 trillion tons of coal in Alaska. No one knows exactly, because no one has bothered to look – it hasn’t been needed, and it likely would be at least slightly more expensive than current reserves. There are similar coal deposits in Alberta.

                    Curve fitting, in the form of a Hubbert linearization, only describes the actual pattern, which can be caused by many things. You have to look at the fundamentals to know whether it tells you anything about the geology.

                    I think that the curves you show are fairly realistic, because governments and individuals are making serious efforts to move away from coal. For instance, CTL has been cost effective recently in the US, but policy makers signaled that they wouldn’t make it easy, so it didn’t happen. For another example, China’s coal consumption has started to decline entirely because of overt policy changes, not because of resource limits.

                    Geology won’t do the job for us. That’s why the 8.5 curve keeps getting shown – it’s what would happen without a conscious effort to go a different way.

                • GoneFishing says:

                  Doug, if you don’t have this resource, here are the NOAA/NESDIS SST Anomaly maps for a range of years.


          • Oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Ron,

            I am grinning ear to ear reading your comment—- saying you know damned few people opposed to renewable energy.

            You remind me of the pipe smoking English professor at a small New England liberal arts college, wearing earth shoes, with corduroy patches on your elbows, the one in the classic joke saying “I can’t understand how Mondale lost. Everybody I know voted for him. ”

            You can take my word for it, there are many many millions of people out there who are opposed to renewable energy because they know nothing more about it than that the D party is the party of the environment, and that the D party is FOR it.

            If you ever trouble yourself to read any right wing websites, you will see that I am NOT exaggerating.

            See my comment in reply to Robert Wilson for clarification of what I really meant to say.

            You are dead on that renewables are not a panacea that will save us, but they are tools that combined with enormous amounts of hard work and major changes in the way we live MIGHT enable some of us to save ourselves. Maybe.

            • robert wilson says:

              OFM Referring to Gail Tverberg you also said: “She is making a living out of doing it, maybe a very good living.” Do you believe that Ron has made a living, maybe a very good living from his massive efforts giving us peakoilbarrel?

              • Oldfarmermac says:

                Back atcha one more time , Robert

                In Ron’s case, no, because I have some knowledge of his personal affairs from having emailed him occasionally etc.

                Tverberg gets paid to put on her show. I have paid the admission fee, and seen it. She also seems to get to do a good bit of traveling, etc.

                She may be doing her thing as an ego trip, as I have mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

                I have an unfortunate tendency to post comments in a conversational fashion, without thinking thru the difference between the printed word and the nuance added by the waving hand or crooked smile or wink.

                I used to actually defend her occasionally at the old TOD site, back when I was much more of a doomer myself, as for instance when she got a tour of the oil fields some place in South America during a big legal dispute going on about paying restitution to the locals and paying for clean up – with the oil company paying for the trip.

                Since that time I have taken it on myself to actually learn something about the possibility of a transition to a society powered by renewable energy, and have morphed from a doomer to being cautiously optimistic that a few countries and societies can manage a successful transition away from fossil fuels.

                There is now a truly substantial body of knowledge leading me to believing that a transition to renewable energy IS possible, on a national and even global basis, given time and good leadership, etc.

                I go where the evidence leads me, even if doing so involves admitting I was wrong previously.

                Most people won’t admit they have been wrong on a major important issue.

                It is commonly said that science advances one funeral at a time. Tverberg has been repeating herself for years.

                The evidence that renewables work, and that they are now cheap enough and will be getting cheaper has about the same effect on her that rain does on a ducks back- it runs right off, the duck doesn’t even notice.

                Maybe she is dense, maybe she is making a living, maybe she is on an ego trip, or maybe she is a sincere sadist and trying to convince us all that we should just roll over and die quietly.

                I don’t really know, and don’t care.

                I have read enough of her stuff to know that she consistently presents only one side of the big picture, which makes her a fossil fuel bau partisan rather than an intellectually honest and objective thinker and leader.

                I caught the very tip of the tail end of the horse and mule era as a child on the farm, and I have lived to see tractors drive themselves and to witness the birth of the genetic engineering revolution.

                Times and circumstances change.

                I seem to recall that you are from down Texas way.
                Texas went a full week with wind power supplying forty percent or more of the load on the grid a few months back.

                This was supposed to be impossible, of course.

                From here on out I will try to remember to ignore any discussion of Tverberg, but my memory is not what it used to be, lol.

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  Hi Glen,
                  Gail is far from the only one singing a particular tune and for some people, going where the ‘evidence’ is or might be has to go beyond certain channels, like the corporate ones, like, say, beyond Tony Seba’s; various pseudorenewables; and governpimp ones.

                  One could argue the point about making money for just about anyone, but then, what might that imply? That we’re all in a sense biased and/or traitorous to each other by virtue of the system that has a gun (cops, military, pseudosecurity-guards, auto-wage-garnishing, banksters) to all our heads via the dystopic ‘musical-chairs’ system that runs on a coercive legal structure, mediated by money that’s increasingly becoming distorted?

                  Well, that’s where anarchism comes into the discussion. Of course, at POB, it almost never does. That’s part of its myopia.

                  Watcher, incidentally, mentions that about money and of course I am in relative agreement. Why wouldn’t you be?
                  But a question is, what are the implications of investing/buying into a system where its symbol of exchange/value has lost or is losing its ‘meaning’?
                  What happens to us and our notions and operations on reality, on nature, within such a system? What happens to nature?
                  Again, little discussion of that on POB, just a lot of BAU-Lite tripe.

                  Seems to me we may be entering Nightmare Time from Dream Time…
                  And the proverbial lemmings all running off a cliff in unison…

            • me says:

              Restoring what used to be probably isn’t all that great an idea. It’s like saying we save the whales so we can all go back to using whale oil lamps. No thanks, we have LEDs now.

  9. David Archibald says:

    Ron, I have sent you a copy of the Twilight of Abundance draft. Also sent is my “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” presentation it is based on.

    Over the last couple of years I have switched more to analysing defense matters. This article was popular with over 10,000 Facebook shares:

    My main mission at the moment is killing the F-35 program. The F-35 is a complete dog and a threat to Western Civilisation. Congress voted to give Lockheed Martin another $1.5 billion for 10 F-35s more than the DOD request in the 2017 budget. Outrageous.

    I still do stuff in climate science. At the end of this month I have a co-authored paper coming out in a monograph which explains the cause of the solar cycle – solving a 400 year old mystery. My co-author is a retired B-52 pilot in Ohio. And for those who believe in global warming, please explain the mystery of the cooling North Atlantic without resorting to voodoo:

    • HuntingtonBeach says:

      “F-35 is a complete dog”

      “a threat to Western Civilization”


      Please elaborate without “without resorting to voodoo” that you have already used on the subject.

      • David Archibald says:

        I made submission no 8 to the current Australian Senate inquiry into the F-35. Go to this page:

        Click the little box on the right and then “Download Selected” at the bottom. It is 68 pages. Things have deteriorated since then.

        • HuntingtonBeach says:

          The F-35 Lightning II is of vital importance to the security of the
          United States and its allies, including Australia. I have been on the job
          for three years and three months as the Program Executive Officer and
          Program Director. I am committed to elivering an affordable, reliable
          and sustainable fifth-generation fighter to our warfighters within the
          time, money, and resources I have been given. The F-35 will form the
          backbone of air combat superiority for decades to come. It will replace
          the legacy tactical fighter fleets with a dominant, multirole, fifthgeneration
          capability to project and deter potential adversaries. The
          F-35 will become a linchpin for future coalition operations and will help
          to close a crucial capability gap that will enhance the strength of our
          security alliances.

          • David Archibald says:

            You are General Bogdan? Why not say so? The centre lift fan is the original sin of the F-35.

            • HuntingtonBeach says:

              No, I got that statement from your link.

              “The centre lift fan is the original sin”

              That’s all you got. Let’m build it and learn the technology. Your just a paid special interest.

            • Archibald said:
              “David Archibald says:
              09/21/2016 AT 1:26 AM
              You are General Bogdan? Why not say so?”

              What a rube!

              Aussie Larrikins are so clueless.

          • Paulo says:

            Did you say affordable?

            Maybe the military should have stuck with super hornets and F-16s.

            These cmplex stystems don’t seem to address trash can bombs and other insurgencies.

            I always think back to Viet Nam and how that worked out when people push ‘systems’.

      • me says:

        By the time the F-35 flies, pilots will be obsolete. without a pilot most of the plane is obsolete.

  10. R Walter says:

    Whose stupid idea was it to build out wind turbines and solar arrays anyhow? The dearth of abundance is upon us all.

    Don’t need no revealed religion to see where all of this is going. It is all going to hell in a hand basket.

    I see forty-foot tall wind chargers that are now 100-120 years standing and are still operable but not used.

    Those days will probably return after the collapse of civilization. Good thing those Chicago Aerators are still around, they’ll come in handy in the future. Simple mechanical operation, no electricity necessary, they’ll work as long as you maintain the gearboxes.

    Old wind chargers don’t need no steen-king fossil fuels, situated over a water well, a pumpjack connected to the wind charger spinning around up there closer to the sky, they’ll pump water until the cows come home. Just put the thing in gear, away she goes. After the collapse, you’ll need water in the worst way. Coal will be the choice of a heat source, heat rises, you won’t need electricity to burn coal, just something to ignite the coal. Some paper soaked with bacon fat, a striker, flint and steel, with some lint, etc. Fire starting is an easy job to get ‘er done. Shelter, water, heat, food and clothing will be all that matters after everything goes to hell in a hurry. Coal is clean compared to oil when considering the form of use, for heat, it can’t be beat. Wood will work, but coal is better. Enough right sized chunks of coal into the octopus will burn a good thirty hours before going out.

    If you have some wire, you can run them to the batteries in the house, the wind charger will do that too, you will have lights, by golly. Old wind chargers are a saving grace, a blessing in disguise. A comforting fact, something you can rely upon.

    September 28th is National Drink Beer Day, an advance notice so you can be prepared. Coincides with Octoberfest.

    I will recommend Mojo from Boulder Brewing.

    There is no beer in heaven, so to hell with that noise. har

    • Doug Leighton says:

      What do you mean, there’s no beer in heaven? What’s Valhalla anyway if it’s not a big beer hall — The ULTIMATE Beer Hall. Jesus man….. (shambles away muttering) 🙂

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Religious folks who are inclined toward beer are welcome to become Baptists.

        We are pretty much teetotalers in theory, but in actuality the percentage of Baptists who are drunks is only slightly lower than the percentage of the general public.

        Jesus does save a few people from John Barleycorn.

        The nice thing about being a Baptist is that we have the “priesthood of the believer”. You are allowed to interpret the rules to suit yourself, lol.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Wait until many of those “faithful” followers find themselves recycled right back here to face the future that we are creating today. Now that would be an unexpected state of affairs for them, amusing though.

      • R Walter says:


        Old Norse poems depict Valhalla as being thatched with shields and spears and guarded by wolves and eagles.[1][2][3] It’s a place of perpetual fighting, presumably with the intention of sharpening the skills of the warriors for their battle against Fenrir. After any scuffle in Valhalla, the warriors emerge healed to sit together around the hall’s table.[4]

        When the wolf is at your door, the battle is just beginning!

        Not only a place of perpetual fighting, but I suspect a place of perpetual beer drinking!

        I’ll be there! lol

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Jesus man….. (shambles away muttering)

        Jesus?! Who the hell is Jesus? Isn’t he some latino?
        Odin’s son, would be Thor! So no beer for you!
        And for that lapse, you sir, are headed to Helheim!

        • GoneFishing says:

          Honor Dionysus, great festivals with food, wine, dancing, plays moving from town to town. Sounds like a lot more fun than the Vikings had. A great drunken festival. Light the bonfires, dance around them, the hearty or stupid will leap across them.

          • Doug Leighton says:

            Sacrilege is what that is Mr Fish, bloody sacrilege. “… more fun than the Vikings had” You’ve never been on a monastery raid man. Now that’s what I call fun.

  11. Oldfarmermac says:


    This pumped storage will not be coming online for a few years yet, but it’s a whopper, and will provide enough storage to suck up a hell of a lot of wind and solar power and release it at the hours it’s most needed.

    We aren’t going to run out of coal or gas or oil all at once.

    Some people think I have to much faith in the powers of Leviathan, but the fact is that government, given time to recognize a problem, and supported by the public once the public recognizes the problem, can accomplish a hell of a lot.

    Consider that we have as a general thing managed to keep most of our water clean enough that it is fairly close to drinkable, right out of the river at point it is withdrawn, needing only relatively minor cleanup, compared to what COULD be the case. This has been done of course by passing laws that forbid dumping waste products in rivers.

    We have passed the laws that allowed and encouraged the highway system and the electric grid etc to be built, we have more or less free secondary universal education, we have an old age safety net.

    We have armies and navies to protect us from enemies.

    Barring a fast collapse, I don’t really see any reason we can’t build out lots of pumped storage infrastructure, lots of wind and solar farms, have building codes that require new construction to be near net zero energy, etc etc.

    It’s not that we can’t afford to do these things. It’s just a question of rearranging our priorities, and doing them.

    Most of the world is probably too poor and getting started too late to avoid a very hard crash, but the richer countries with better educated people and relatively large remaining endowments of natural resources have a fair to decent shot at managing a successful transition to a low energy per capita economy, and the remaining endowment of fossil fuels appears to be adequate to bring off the transition.

    Once renewables are built out on the grand scale, a year’s worth of the gas we use currently to generate electricity will probably be enough to back up the grid four or five years or maybe even longer.

    The people who living near the turn of the next century will have plenty of time to figure out their own problems.

    If they are smart enough to have few enough kids to keep the population gradually falling, they will need almost nothing in the way of new roads, new grid, new public buildings, etc. They will get by just fine simply maintaining what they inherit.

    • farmboy says:

      wouldn’t it make more sense to only use hydro when wind and solar are producing insuficient energy rather then to waste energy pumping water?

      Stated another way; lets just save the water behind the dams till we need it and build more dams than to rely on pumping.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Renewable energy tends to overproduce at times, making more than the local grid can handle easily. The pumped hydro is a means of storage for that excess energy to be used later when the renewables are not producing enough. Storage is an integral part of any power production scheme.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        The reason pumped storage is a good deal, a great deal, is that wind and solar farms, and even nuclear power plants produce more energy at certain times than can be used.

        There is a pumped storage reservoir near where I live that is refilled during the small hours with excess juice from the nukes where I used to work.

        The water is released at times when the load on the local grid is high, thereby saving having to burn a lot of coal and gas to generate the necessary juice.

        It costs almost nothing at all to refill the reservoir at night, since the price of nuclear fuel is trivial, and the nuke has to be kept running anyway.

        If the reservoir is full, the pumped storage turbines can be run up in a hurry in the event a coal or gas fired or nuclear plant goes down, thereby helping prevent a possible black out.

        I believe newer pumped storage systems operate at about eighty five percent efficiency, meaning that for every hundred kilowatt hours you use to pump the water up, you get back about eighty five when you release it.

        A kilowatt hour may be worth nothing, or only a couple of cents, at three am, but worth ten cents or more sometime during the day.

      • me says:

        True, but not really relevant. In lots of places there is more electricity sloshing around than hydro. For example the Swiss import lots of energy from the French at night and sell it back to them at a premium during the day. It’s a lot of energy.

        • Oldfarmermac says:

          The energy the Swiss import from France is off peak nuke juice, which is essentially worthless to the French in the small hours. The same energy the Swiss sell back is stored via pumped hydro until needed.

          I fail to see what is not relevant in my comment. The efficiency at eighty five percent is about as good or better than anything else I have heard of, and the infrastructure will last indefinitely, generations at least.

          Pumped hydro is our very best short term day to day storage technology for now and likely to remain the best for a long time, maybe forever, in places with suitable sites.

          Unfortunately pumped hydro does not scale down. It’s strictly a large scale solution.

          Unless the costs of other storage technologies come down by a factor of ten or more,I believe that a great many pumped storage systems will be built in many places, even if doing so requires condemning a lot of land and building a lot of otherwise unnecessary long distance transmission lines.

    • HVACman says:

      “Consider that we have as a general thing managed to keep most of our water clean enough that it is fairly close to drinkable, right out of the river at point it is withdrawn, needing only relatively minor cleanup, compared to what COULD be the case. This has been done of course by passing laws that forbid dumping waste products in rivers.”

      The environmental laws only work when there is money, energy, and technology to back it up. Among other things, I do some mechanical design for local wastewater treatment plants. They are able to remove the hazardous chemical and biological waste products in the waste water through technological and energy-intensive wizardry. Very likely the first thing to go as our societies become economically and energetically poorer will be the high-end waste treatment processes that current 1st-world countries employ to keep the rivers, lakes, and oceans so clean. Go to 3rd world countries to see what we could devolve back to.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Hi HVAC,

        I agree, success is not assured.

        But people in richer countries have come to realize that perhaps it is cheaper to prevent water pollution in the first place than it is to clean it up to the point the water is useful for consumption and agriculture, etc, and so there is a fair to good chance water laws will continue to be enforced, in some places at least.

        Unfortunately you are probably right overall , especially in relation to the waters of the oceans. Stopping everybody from dumping into rivers will be impossible. The management of fresh waters is often within the control of a single government that MIGHT do a good job.

        Predicting the behavior of people and governments is a risky undertaking, lol.

  12. Oldfarmermac says:

    Hopefully somebody will have time to listen to this before it evaporates and fill us in on what is happening in Nevada concerning solar power. I have to get back to a time sensitive job.


    • me says:

      Quashing solar rooftops is a rearguard action of an industry with no hopes for long term profitability.

  13. Bob Nickson says:

    Mitsubishi Heavy Industries just announced that they have developed a home scale carbon capture liquid fuel production plant.


    The plant is small, only two cubic meters. It can produce 6-700 gallons of gasoline equivalent fuel per year, and is modular. You can combine units to increase output if your needs require it. The units capture atmospheric carbon dioxide, and apparently require only water and direct sunlight. Each unit costs $12,000 installed at your residence, but Mitsubishi is confident that economies of scale will allow the price to decline by an anticipated 40% within ten years. They offer a 25 year warranty.

    The product is shipping now, and Mitsubishi claims >5,000,000 gallons of fuel have been produced to date. It’s fully proven technology as early trial units have been producing fuel for over two years, although at lower output.

    Mitsubishi does not believe there will be production constraints, and will license the technology to other manufacturers. They claim production of up to 50,000,000 units possible by end of 2017 and 100,000,000 annual production capacity by Q4 2018, dependent upon market response.

    Would you buy one if they work? Will this advancement allow you to worry less about the catastrophic effects of peak oil? If you are an oil producer or refiner, does this advancement cause you some concern?

    This is all fantasy – Mitsubishi has no such product – but aside from the liquid fuel production part, and the need for water. Solar PV matches that equivalent ‘fuel’ output, that installed price, and that physical volume. Granted, an EV is required to utilize it, but what if EV’s were the same price as a normal car? How would that impact the outlook?

    (700 gallon equivalent output and pricing is based on a 3kW system at $4/W installed, 15kWh of average daily production, and 240 miles of range from a Chevy Bolt with a 60kWh battery. 30 miles per gallon is assumed for the petrol.)

  14. Oldfarmermac says:

    Hi Ron,

    About your comments upthread, where all the reply slots are taken already:

    You keep talking about life or civilization as we know it when you say renewables can’t giterdone.

    Nobody much if anybody who is a serious student of renewable energy thinks renewable energy will provide us with the same energy hog, wasteful life style we enjoy today, burning fossil fuels.

    But this does not mean we can’t live decent, dignified, comfortable, full lives using all renewable energy.

    We have poured concrete and laid asphalt by the thousands of square miles. I really can’t see any reason we can’t build wind and solar farms on the same scale, if we decide to do so before it’s too late and the necessary fossil fuels are exhausted.

    Scale up renewable energy production far enough, and it WILL be self supporting.

    We have no real NEED of flying hither and yon on a whim or on business. We don’t NEED throwaway cars, throwaway furniture, throw away clothing, throw away appliances.

    We don’t need highly processed foods, and we don’t need to haul beer hundreds and thousands of miles. Beer can be brewed locally just about anywhere.

    And for the most part, we don’t really NEED one hundred percent around the clock electrical energy ,or transportation.

    We got along without electricity, automobiles, airplanes, and processed food quite well up until only a hundred years or so ago.

    We can get by later on with intermittent electricity, automobiles that only go a hundred miles between charges, and honest to Sky Daddy natural minimally processed foods. We can get by without any airplanes at all, if necessary.

    There is no real reason why a washing machine or a kitchen range or refrigerator or any more or less essential machine or appliance cannot be made to last a hundred years.

    And there is no real reason why we shouldn’t have few enough kids going forward that the population will gradually decline.

    There are no guarantees, but a few countries might manage a successful transition to a renewable energy economy. We have two or three generations to get the job done, climate questions aside.
    Every time we add a percent or two of renewable energy to overall production, we put off the day we run out of affordable fossil fuels.

    • Lloyd says:

      We got along without electricity, automobiles, airplanes, and processed food quite well up until only a hundred years or so ago.

      Which is the point at which average Western life expectancy started the rise from 40 to 80 years.

      Without things like emergency rooms, affordable and available medication, and washing machines (and detergent), the path back to 40 years average, with all the early childhood death, etc., would (or will) be swift.

      here is no real reason why a washing machine or a kitchen range or refrigerator or any more or less essential machine or appliance cannot be made to last a hundred years.

      I just bought a washing machine- a high-efficiency unit with two computers in it. Spins at 1400 rpm. That motor can’t be made to last 100 years, and the circuits won’t either. The unit it replaced was two years old(had an extended warranty, luckily.) No spare parts were available, so they gave me my money back.

      So your 100 year technology requires either stalling the technology to keep parts available, or something so overbuilt and under-stressed (with the accompanying additional size, weight and energy usage) that it will last that long. Neither is likely, in my opinion.


      • GoneFishing says:

        I looked back through several generations of my ancestry (back into the early 1800’s) and most of them lived well into their 80’s some 90’s. Most of that time there were no antibiotics and little modern medicine. The length of life for someone that made it past the first few years was about as long as today, without all that modern medical interdiction that is supposedly expanding our lifespan.

        Death rates for cancer have tripled since 1900, they are now equivalent to the 1900 death rate from tuberculosis. Death rates from major cardiovascular diseases have fallen by 15% since 1900. The big drop in death rate from influenza and pneumonia occurred between 1900 and 1940 (202 to 70), it has now fallen to 17.
        In some ways, all that new technology is not having much effect in some major areas.

        • Ulenspiegel says:

          “The length of life for someone that made it past the first few years was about as long as today, without all that modern medical interdiction that is supposedly expanding our lifespan. ”

          Here I disagree. Besides the high number of childs who died early, many women died in childbed because of bacterial infections.

          And the data of the German retirement fond clearly showed that the working men only had on average four or five years after their retirement with 65.

          Higher mortality due to cancer is in many cases simply a result of higher life expectancy, not a sign of worse situation; in some cases of better diagnosis.

          The real tragedy is IMHO that modern life style choices like becoming fat due to the lack of physical labour and exercise will compensate for the benefits of our medicinal care. First obvious signs are that there is no real correlation between resources spend on medicinal system and life expectancy.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Actually, I looked at the UK statistics and the percentage of deaths from cancer falls off quite a bit for the elderly , peaking in the 50 to 74 range. Heart and respiratory take over for the elderly.

        • robert wilson says:

          True. Cancer is generally a disease of the elderly. There are now more elderly persons. Age-specific death rates are a different matter. It is of interest that around 1900 TB was the #1 cause of death in the US. Early cancer statistics are suspect. When I was first practicing Radiology some lung cancer deaths were still being signed off as pneumonia or heart failure. Other cancers could also be misdiagnosed.
          See seer data. http://seer.cancer.gov/

      • Ulenspiegel says:

        “Without things like emergency rooms, affordable and available medication, and washing machines (and detergent), the path back to 40 years average, with all the early childhood death, etc., would (or will) be swift.”

        Basic medication, which did most of the job, and detergents are not that energy intensive, they do not require a fossil fuel infra-structure. And ambulance cars as EV neither. Because the USA burn an incredibly high percentage of the GDP for health care does not distrct from the fact that very cheap alternatives like physical exercise would give an overall result which is better. 🙂

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        I have personal knowledge of electric motors that have been in continuous service for over fifty years, without problems.

        And while it might be that new technology makes it practical and economical to junk older machines and appliances, there is no real reason why the design and manufacture of them cannot be standardized so that the number of different spare parts that must be kept can be cut down by as much as eighty or ninety percent.

        Commercial trucks are built so that parts are very highly standardized and interchangeable, so that when you need a new engine, you can bolt any of four or five different makes right in, and a 2005 model engine will most generally attach to the motor mounts and transmission of a truck twenty or thirty years old, no problem.

        I have some appliances and quite a lot of machinery that is fifty years old or older, and I can keep all of it running for a very minor fraction of the cost of replacement , so long as I don’t get ripped off on replacement parts.

        But getting parts at a price that reflects the cost of manufacturing them is getting to be a problem. I was recently told a new door gasket for a forty year old refrigerator would cost me a hundred and fifty bucks. An ENTIRE new refrigerator the same size can be bought for four or five times that amount. The door gasket comprises less than five percent of the materials in that old refrigerator.

        Sometimes I find that identical parts are sold for as much as five or ten times more by different businesses, for different applications.

        When I work on a nearly new car, half the parts are “dealer only” and fit only one model for one or two years.

        All the bearings, seals, fasteners, etc in my fifty year old tractor are available at NAPA or any industrial supply by way of looking them up with an interchange catalog. Each specific seal and bearing is used in a hundred or more different machines, sometimes thousands of different machines.

        Standardization is possible. There is no reason to throw away a kitchen range because it has a bad switch or burner or thermostat, except that we live in a throwaway culture.

        Most of my furniture is from fifty to eighty years old, some older, manufactured locally from local wood, in small backyard shops, never boxed up, never shipped. I have been offered substantial sums of money for it a piece at a time or altogether, but it’s not for sale being family stuff. None of it is museum quality stuff, it was all made by local farmers etc during the off season.

        It will last at least a couple of hundred years barring fire or being allowed to get wet long enough for it to rot.

        Barring fire, our old masonry farmhouse which is already seventy five years old will also last at least a couple of centuries, with maintenance of course.

        So will the masonry outbuildings.

      • But this does not mean we can’t live decent, dignified, comfortable, full lives using all renewable energy.

        Of course we can. But just not nearly as many of us can live full long lives as can do it with the aid of fossil energy. Perhaps one in ten.

        Scale up renewable energy production far enough, and it WILL be self supporting.

        Mac, anyone can make a declarative statement. Trump does it all the time. That does not make it true. In fact, when people just declare something to be true, it is usually totally bullshit.

        We got along without electricity, automobiles, airplanes, and processed food quite well up until only a hundred years or so ago.

        Of course we did. But the world population was only about one fourth what it is today. But you are correct… if three fourths of the population dies from starvation.

        There is no real reason why a washing machine or a kitchen range or refrigerator or any more or less essential machine or appliance cannot be made to last a hundred years.

        Oh good gravy, now you are just getting silly.

        And there is no real reason why we shouldn’t have few enough kids going forward that the population will gradually decline.

        And it is obvious that you haven’t a frigging clue as to what the term “human nature” really means. Let me give you another example of such absurdity.

        “There is no reason for a police force to exist. All that is needed is for everyone to obey the law and treat everyone with love and kindness.”

        Really Mac, I mean are you serious? You are an old man like me. You have lived long enough to know better than that bullshit.

        • Oldfarmermac says:

          Hi Ron,

          I have about the same use for Trump as you do, namely none at all.

          But actually there is no reason, so far as I can see, that we CANNOT scale up renewable energy to the point it is self supporting and able to support an industrial civilization, one that is organized around high efficiency and low energy consumption per capita.

          If we put our minds to it, we can build wind and solar farms just as easily and plentifully as we have been building shopping malls, freeways, football stadiums, armies and navies.

          Putting the price of JUST one average new car into the construction of a new house above and beyond the typical requirements of current building codes will reduce the energy consumption of that house by ninety percent or more, and may even suffice to make it a net zero house.

          Thirty thousand bucks spent on building materials and carpenters will contribute just as much to economic prosperity as spending it on a car.

          It will contribute MORE because after five or ten years the car is worth maybe twenty percent of the new price. The well constructed new house or renovated older house will still be in great shape, compared to a car.

          Maybe the difference in outlook between people like you and people like me is that I have routinely dealt with the vagaries of weather and markets ever since I was old enough to work on the farm. If it rains, it rains, and I change my plans accordingly.

          It is normal for me to have a large truck that I use only a few days most months, and no days at all some months, then every day for six weeks, and leave it sitting unused for a week due to contrary weather even in the middle of the busy season.

          Other business people who own similar trucks find it necessary to use them almost every day in order to justify ownership.

          Over building renewable energy infrastructure will be expensive as hell, but paying the bill will be preferable to collapse.

          At any rate, we present day naked apes don’t have to deal in energy absolutes, because we only live a few decades. Long term survival is an academic question until short term survival is assured.

          If we can get to say seventy five percent renewable energy and twenty five percent fossil fuel energy, there is probably enough fossil fuel left for us to live “business as usual ” lives for four or five more generations, at least.

          After that, our descendants will have to figure out new solutions. That will be their problem, not ours, lol.

          Two generations back my people were backwoods Baptists. High school diplomas were rare, college diplomas unknown. My grandparents generation had anywhere from three or four kids on up to eight or even more.

          My generation is well sprinkled with professionals such as professors, doctors, lawyers, etc, and the average number of kids per couple is WAY below replacement level.

          The younger women tell me in no uncertain terms that having two kids is almost out of the question.

          They will be well satisfied to have one or none, or maybe adopt one or two.

          Times change.

          • GoneFishing says:

            “Over building renewable energy infrastructure will be expensive as hell, but paying the bill will be preferable to collapse. ”

            Not so sure on that point Old Farmer, all the gigantic framework and infrastructure for the fossil fuel system and the fossil fuel electric power system have to be maintained and replaced over time. The money needed to do that is extremely large, probably far greater than the renewable systems that are less complex. So if fossil fuel systems are not needed, the money that would have gone into them can be used to build out more of the renewable sector that is replacing it.

            • Oldfarmermac says:

              Good point GF but we will have to simultaneously maintain the legacy fossil fuel infrastructure for a couple of generations because it will take that long to make the transition, IF we succeed in making it.

              As the renewable infrastructure is built out, we can neglect long term maintenance on parts of the existing fossil fuel infrastructure and do only the short term maintenance, since it will be phased out anyway.

              My thinking is that while the doing of it is certainly possible, theoretically, we might run out of sufficient quantities of fossil fuels before the job is far enough along.

              This means that success may very well depend on good luck and good leadership.

              If the public comes to understand that the transition is absolutely necessary, soon enough, then it can be done in my opinion.

              We ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of what can be done in terms of building solar farms, etc, if we once put our minds and industrial capacity to the job.

              I don’t have any trouble seeing solar going in by the square kilometer, with the installation process being streamlined to the point that a crew a dozen men can start on level bare ground and install an acre of panels in a day, all wired up, using equipment built especially for the job.

              We used to dig postholes one at a time by hand, then we got an auger for the tractor, then we went to steel posts that I drive in with a slide hammer or else I push them into the ground with the bucket loader mounted on the tractor. I can build fence three or four times faster than my Daddy could, and he used to be twice the man I ever was, in terms of being a tough fast worker.

              Now there is a guy in the neighborhood who has a machine mounted on a truck that bores the holes or drives the posts with one guy driving and one on the back feeding the posts into the machine and watching for problems. It’s already possible to automate this whole job, except nobody wants enough posts installed to make it worthwhile, for now at least.

              This guy and his helper can build a fence four or five times faster than I can with a helper.

              Right now we do every thing piecemeal in the renewable energy industries, except actual manufacturing.

              That will change.

              Crews will go to graded ground and install panels all wired up and ready for connection to the grid by the acre, on a daily basis. They will get faster and better at it every time they do it.

              That truck mounted pile driver will pound in the posts that will hold the racks for the panels to within a half inch, more than close enough, and the following machine will open a trench for any buried cable and a third machine will swing out a rack that will hold panels, and bolt it to the pre drilled holes on the post.

              The rack will be a sun tracker, and it will have a little computer built right in that takes care of every thing in terms of alignment and tracking, and that little computer won’t cost hardly anything at all, once it is in mass production. The gearbox , drive motor, and computer will all be integrated and it will take a man or robot with a power wrench maybe a minute to attach it to the post.

              Times change.

              Leviathan can giterdone, if Leviathan is once aroused and motivated.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Mac,

                No doubt someone will assert that it cannot be done and that you are a dreamer. I think you are correct and Leviathan (which is not the US government, but represents any viable nation state in the World, and there are many) will only be needed if there is an economic collapse, which is likely around 2030+/-5 years in my opinion.

                Government intervention by means of fiscal stimulus on a grand scale may push along the needed energy transition, instead of World War 3 (which most intelligent people realize is likely to mean the end of civilization for hundreds of years, or perhaps thousands.) Once the economy recovers (10 years or so of depression), high fossil fuel prices relative to lower prices for wind, solar, hydro, EVs, public transportation, car pooling, and general society increases in energy efficiency (better buildings and appliances and equipment) will continue the energy transition.

                In addition general income levels World wide may rise and women may be better educated and have greater access to modern birth control and Total Fertility Ratios (TFR) could fall to 1.5 to 1.75. Population might fall quickly if the TFR=1.5, to 4 billion by 2150. Chart below is from publication at link below (Figure 1a on page 1153)


                • Oldfarmermac says:

                  Hi Dennis,

                  Fiscal stimulus is just a medium sized hammer in Leviathan’s tool box.

                  If the situation calls for it, bigger hammers will be brought out.

                  Men will be drafted, if necessary, but more than likely they will just be put to work on relevant projects financed by the government.

                  Property needed for the transition will be condemned, maybe in very short order via emergency decrees using laws that already exist, or a new federal law that allows such condemnation.

                  Factories will be retooled as dictated by people who would ordinarily be running a wartime economy.

                  Materials of many kinds will be rationed, and a great many products will disappear from the market place by way of new production being banned for the duration.

                  University budgets in fields touching on energy will be doubled and doubled again, but the new football stadium will be put on hold.

                  There is nothing new or original in what I am saying here.

                  This is the way nation states go about making war, and it is the way they will go about ensuring their own survival, once the people and government are convinced it’s time to do or die.

                  It’s all in the history books. History doesn’t necessarily repeat, but it does rhyme. 😉

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Old Farmer Mac,

                    Yes I suppose it is more than just fiscal stimulus, but I view what happened to the US economy during World War 2 as mostly a big fiscal stimulus with plenty of mistakes mixed in (internment of Japanese Americans, which was essentially racism as there were no German Americans interned as far as I know, jumps to mind).

                    There was certainly more to it though, it was more of a “planned” quasi-capitalist system. Hopefully some of the past mistakes will be avoided in the future, especially World War. Better to build stuff than destroy it in my view.

              • Ulenspiegel says:

                “Good point GF but we will have to simultaneously maintain the legacy fossil fuel infrastructure for a couple of generations because it will take that long to make the transition, IF we succeed in making it.”

                That is not correct. We replace old fossil capacity with new RE, change transmission lines ….

                Most of it uses resources that would have been used for fossil capacity in BAU, the system becomes of course more complex as we have for one or two generations a larger variety of generators.

                The differential costs of the transition will be positive for ~30 years, then become negative. For me it is a good long term investment.

                • Oldfarmermac says:

                  Back atcha GF,

                  It seems we are pretty much on the same page, with some relatively minor differences of opinion as to how long it will take and how hard it will be to manage the transition.

                  I am not as optimistic as you are, when it comes to phasing out legacy ff infrastructure sooner rather than later, but you may be right.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    For you Old Farmer and others, a poem expressing the need to see reality and to have a strong vision of the future.

                    The Gates of Hope

                    “Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope—

                    Not the prudent gates of Optimism,

                    Which are somewhat narrower.

                    Not the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense;

                    Nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness,

                    Which creak on shrill and angry hinges

                    (People cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through)

                    Nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of
                    “Everything is gonna’ be all right.”

                    But a different, sometimes lonely place,

                    The place of truth-telling,

                    About your own soul first of all and its condition.

                    The place of resistance and defiance,

                    The piece of ground from which you see the world

                    Both as it is and as it could be

                    As it will be;

                    The place from which you glimpse not only struggle,

                    But the joy of the struggle.

                    And we stand there, beckoning and calling,

                    Telling people what we are seeing

                    Asking people what they see.”

                    Victoria Safford

                    “Both as it is and as it could be.”

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    We must not let our legacy drown us in the past. Moving forward, to whatever our fate, is just the way live works. Allowing past works and ideas to anchor us is a self-inflicted trap.

          • Mac, I am slapping myself on the forehead. I simply didn’t understand where you were coming from. Sorry about that, I will try to take more time to understand your position next time.

            You are talking about the U.S.A. I am talking about the World. You are talking about 4.3% of the world’s population. I am talking about 100% of the world’s population.

            Mac, it’s a global problem.

            • Oldfarmermac says:

              Hi Ron,

              You’re cool.

              I still agree with you that most of the world is headed to hell in a hand basket, which is why I very often but not every time say “a few fortunate countries and people” or something to that effect have a fair shot at managing a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, at least to the extent that their remaining endowment of fossil fuels can be stretched out for a LONG time, several generations.

              The reason I think most of the world won’t manage the transition without a collapse is that most of the world is starting from too far behind, already being overpopulated, not to mention under educated and too poor in remaining natural resources. Such people and such countries will almost for sure make too many short term decisions and not enough long term decisions to succeed.

              And I am fully aware that unless things go well, in terms of leadership and effort, that even the USA, Canada, etc are at high risk of failure.

              Success is by no means guaranteed.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Old Farmer Mac,

                Not really seeing that everywhere, some of the fastest growing countries (rates of real GDP growth) are India and China, the two countries with the highest populations.

                Some of the lower income nations may be less reliant on fossil fuels and global trade.

                There are parts of Africa that get quite a bit of sunshine, so as solar costs come down they have the potential to produce a lot of solar power, they would need to build a better grid to move the power around the continent. This seems far fetched at present, there is certainly room for improvement in the social progress of many African nations, population growth is very high with total fertility ratios above 5 in many nations.

                There is no doubt that things are not great in many places on the planet, perhaps they will become worse over time,
                a lot will depend on population growth and more efficient use of resources.

                • Oldfarmermac says:

                  Hi Dennis,

                  We are basically talking about the same things, using somewhat different terminology.

                  You may be right, and countries such as India may manage as well as any other country, despite the handicaps of starting with a large mostly uneducated population and relatively sparse resource base.

                  It’s not just how fast the renewable energy industries can grow. Improving energy efficiency and adapting successfully to intermittent availability will be just as important, and maybe more important to success.

                  In this respect a country such as India may have some real advantages, since the people are there don’t necessarily feel the sense of entitlement Americans do.

                  I think maybe most of them will be more than happy to run their new washing machine when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining,lol.

                  And I think maybe they will mostly be satisfied with electric cars that will go only thirty or forty miles on a charge, since most of them have never owned a car. India is not handicapped by past history the way we Yankees are, when it comes to cars, due to sprawl.

                  Indians may be able to keep their communities well integrated in the sense that shopping, manufacturing, housing, etc are all well mixed so that long commutes and twenty mile trips for groceries are the exception rather than the rule.

                  Above all, they may take the issue more seriously than other, richer countries, and thus work far harder on the transition.

      • robert wilson says:

        Medical care was discussed on TOD on several occasions. Here is one that Gail posted http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5188

  15. me says:

    The coal industry is in trouble.


    US production is down 26% this year.

    • GoneFishing says:

      Renewables have got hold of King Coal’s pantleg, increased efficiency has hold of his leg, but Natural Gas is going for the throat.

  16. Oldfarmermac says:

    Maduro will obviously do anything within his power to stay in power.


    Hopefully Fernando will have something to say about this, since he is the only regular here who seems to have some connections inside the country.

    It’s hard for me to understand why riots haven’t totally disabled the country already, but with virtually all the power in the hands of the Maduro regime, people who are aligned with it have substantially better access to food and medicine, etc, for themselves and their families.

    It could be that the opposition will conclude it must play hardball and start taking out chunks of the oil industry or the water and sewer system or the grid, etc.

    From what I have read, there is not much expectation that Maduro will be able to avoid default the next time the due date for government debt rolls around, but things will probably come to a head sooner anyway.

  17. GoneFishing says:

    I wondered how many square miles of land that just natural gas pipeline ROW’s take up in the US. It comes to 5776 square miles if one assumes the typical right of way width of 50 feet. This is land that allows no trees, limited use, no other development, maybe some farming of seasonal crops. Access priority is given to the pipeline company. That is about a square 76 miles on a side, two thirds the size of New Jersey.

    That area does not include the area of 1400 compressor stations, 400 underground storage areas, 11,000 delivery points, 5000 receipt points, 14oo interconnection points, 24 hubs, or facilities for the purification of natural gas.

    Well pads and related roads for drilling took an additional 7 million acres between 2000 and 2012. That is another 10,937 square miles. Reductions in farm and animal production also occur.

    Now bring that forward to 2050, that would be a huge de-vegatated region in total. Areas that are generally no longer carbon sinks but carbon producers.

    Now consider similar losses for oil production.

    Coal mining has disturbed about 10 million acres, That does not include the additional disturbance to land caused in the vicinity of coal mines by coal processing, transportation, sludge storage, storage or damage to watersheds. Nor does it include the area of coal driven power plants.
    The fact is that wind power alone only needs about 4 % of the land area to produce as much power as coal.

    • R Walter says:

      A strip of land 1/80th of a mile, four rods, 66 feet, 16.5 feet, one rod, times 4, by 480,000 miles will be 6000 square miles. 160 rods by 160 rods is one quarter section of land. 160 x 16.5=2640

      5280 divided by 80 equals 66.

      1/80 x 480,000=6000

      One could build 240 strips 2000 miles long by 66 feet wide (1/80th of a mile) and never see it.

      From coast to coast, you could have 240 pipelines, at least, and possibly more.

      I use 66 feet, a road width.

  18. Duncan Idaho says:

    Boy, the Bewildered Herd is a bit jumpy today.

    • GoneFishing says:

      Beware of peasants with torches.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        For a second there I thought you written pheasants… which might have been a good source for some feathers to add to the tar. 🙂

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Duncan, incidentally, I had listened to the Kunstlercast you mentioned when it came out (about trucking). It was a good one and I’ve been listening to Kunstlercast on and off since about 2010.
      (I wonder if it might be worthwhile to take a listen to some back episodes.)

      Art Isn’t Real (Kunstlercast’s old theme song)

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Some good ones, but I’m selective.

        The diesel engine holds this train wreck together at the moment.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          If you ever run into an extraterrestrial with an offer to whisk you off the planet to their own fantastic one, feel free to let me know if there might be extra space for me.
          (Because the entire planet, itself, has become the runaway train wreck.)

          • hightrekker23 says:

            We live on a hot, crowded, cop ridden planet.
            I see no way off.

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Oh aren’t those things great? Cops? Who’s kidding who? I say one on every corner. Who’s in? Ok, and one in the middle for jaywalkers.

  19. robert wilson says:

    I saw a Chevy Volt in a parking lot near my barber shop today. Did not see the owner. This is my fourth encounter with an ev in Ventura County California this year. On the freeway I might encounter four crossovers in less than 60 seconds. The Prius is popular in this area. Mine is red. Hopefully the SAV’s (Suburban Assault Vehicles) going 75 to 80 will see me.

    • HuntingtonBeach says:

      Hi Robert,

      I’m surprised you haven’t seen more than only four EV’s this year. I remember a few years ago seeing lots of Prius’s in the Santa Barbara area. EV’s are past the point of noticing them anymore around here because of there regularity.

    • GoneFishing says:

      New battery technology with 10 times charge density and essentially no degradation. Could this be the big breakthrough? Still don’t know the current capability, so we shall see.

      “Called nanowires, these remarkable structures are able to store more than 10 times the energy of existing lithium-ion technology.”
      “Thai’s solution involved taking gold nanowires and coating them in a manganese dioxide shell and an electrolyte made of a Plexiglas-like gel. Once entombed in this mix, the nanowires are rendered flexible, reliable and resistant to failure. Over the course of three months of testing, Thai cycled the electrode more than 200,000 times without any loss in capacity. ”


      • Duncan Idaho says:

        We shall see if it scales.
        I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Scales? We have 160 mph high end electric sedans running on the equivalent of a bunch of laptop batteries! Did you think laptop batteries would scale up to run cars over 200 miles down the road?
          A lack of vision and imagination makes for a dull boy. Give it a chance, it’s still very young. Do you look at babies and say “We shall see if it scales.
          I wouldn’t hold my breath.” ?

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Yes, scales and contextualizations…

            Now talk to us about scale and contexts from there. Let’s have a thought experiment…

            Put all kinds of batteries in all kinds of cars around the world. Where’s the energy coming from? Materials? Support? Jobs? Economy? Taxes? Just-in-time supply chains? Collapsing economies in various places within these supply chains? Financing? Highway infrastructure? The so-called developing world and their billion-plus-fold needs and wants? Waste? Proper recycling? Political irresponsibility? Cost increases and nullified warranties and subsidies without warning? Business bankruptcies? Expensive parts? Inflation? Fluctuations in supply and demand? Resource competition/wars? Increasing population? Increasing wealth disparities?

            “Hey! Where did those come from!?”

            …Here’s an idea: Get a bunch of people out on a balcony and all at the same time, bounce up and down until the balcony starts increasingly fluctuating in time with each bounce. Do it on a higher floor– say at least 10 stories up– to make it more exciting. Doesn’t happen? Invite even more people out onto it, then. But don’t stop when it starts, keep doing it. See how long the balcony holds…

            That’s 7 billion-plus people bouncing on the planet. I just scaled it up and contextualized it a bit for you.

            • GoneFishing says:

              Apparently you are against any improvements that will reduce our impacts on the environment and are against taking steps toward moving away from our current untenable paradigm.
              Much like a little child, you read Jensen and cling to his philosophy as if it is an actual answer. Without looking at the ramifications of taking that path.
              It is the worst possible destructive path we can take, there is no direct way there without total destruction of the ecosystem along the way.
              The priests of paradise have always had followers, often very disappointed and sometimes dead ones. Beware your allegiance to the promoters of paradise. They have an endpoint, but no way to get there. All they have is an idea and a need for followers and their money. No map, no real guidance, no real plan.
              The road ahead is one of many steps, ones that do not push things over the edge into oblivion. Those unwilling to take the steps might just as well go back to watching the tele and drinking the beer, while winding their way to cardiac arrest.
              But maybe that is all you are really capable of, so enjoy the tele and beer.

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                Which sounds religious/personal; doesn’t actually answer any of my previous questions above; and conveniently ignores my often-mentioned suggestions related to pure/real democracy and democratically-derived(/appropriate) technology and government (which is ‘social technology’), self-empowerment and community/local-empowerment and permaculture and/or related ecologically/pure-democracy-focused movements.

                But as long as the EROEI for fossil fuels is above that of so-called renewables, it appears that it will be burned anyway, yes?
                So what does that mean? Feel-good pseudorenewable toys and money-grabs for the ‘haves/1%’ before the whole thing upends?

                “Apparently you are against my improvements that will reduce our impacts on the environment…” ~ GoneFishing

                A ‘high end sedan with laptop batteries’?
                It would be laughable in a bizarre-humour sense if you didn’t seem so serious about it.

                Ever heard of a bike? Or ride-sharing? Or taking the bus? Walking? How about rollerblading?
                More support for your local economy? Community gardens? Let’s talk about those.

                As for your nonsense about Jensen (etc.); I read and quote a whole lot of people, research and organizations. How about you? Here’s one from Steve who pops in here periodically (if maybe less so these daze):

                steve from virginia

                @CoolElectricCar Can’t handle the truth. #TSLA = Ponzi scheme. Electric cars = business fraud.

                Thanks, Steve. Of course the entire economy is a ponzi.

                Maybe Trump will add to the surrealism of it all should he get elected…

                • GoneFishing says:

                  Even a bicycle needs a large industrial based society to produce it. So does ride sharing and buses. So how is that different from 3 people in an EV which is not only more convenient but actually gets people there and are more efficient than trains or buses?
                  You wobble back and forth from go primitive to go high end industrial. I was speaking to your go primitive personality.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            “Do you look at babies and say ‘We shall see if it scales.’ ” ~ GoneFishing

            Kind of, yes. I mean, beyond a certain scale, I’d start to worry.

            • GoneFishing says:

              So set up a fund or business that takes people’s money and invests it in ecological improvement.

              • I am trying to do better because, for example, that uses the dystem’s money, and there’re problems with that. But crowdsourcing, for example, is part of it.

                If you select my name, you can see. For now, it’s evolving and is a formative and transparent test bed and info and idea ‘dump’.
                I also wrote a rough draft manifesto over at Permaculture Global, which you can see, that I want to break up and reorganize and reincorporate into the structure of Permaea’s site. That process has already begun.

                Of course, everyone’s invited who subscribe to care of Earth and of people.

    • Techsan says:

      I commonly see 4 or more EV’s while driving to work (just 7 miles). Lots of Teslas, plenty of Leafs and Volts, some BMWs. The garage I park in has charging stations, usually filled, and I typically see 4 or more EVs just in that building, not counting mine. This is in Austin, Texas.

  20. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Decades of research have warned about the human attention span in automated cockpits

    “In studies of highly automated cockpits, NASA researchers documented a peculiar psychological pattern: The more foolproof the automation’s performance becomes, the harder it is for an on-the-loop supervisor to monitor it. ‘What we heard from pilots is that they had trouble following along [with the automation],’ Casner says. ‘If you’re sitting there watching the system and it’s doing great, it’s very tiring.’ In fact, it’s extremely difficult for humans to accurately monitor a repetitive process for long periods of time. This so-called ‘vigilance decrement’ was first identified and measured in 1948 by psychologist Robert Mackworth, who asked British radar operators to spend two hours watching for errors in the sweep of a rigged analog clock. Mackworth found that the radar operators’ accuracy plummeted after 30 minutes; more recent versions of the experiment have documented similar vigilance decrements after just 15 minutes.

    These findings expose a contradiction in systems like Tesla’s Autopilot. The better they work, the more they may encourage us to zone out—but in order to ensure their safe operation they require continuous attention. Even if Joshua Brown was not watching Harry Potter behind the wheel, his own psychology may still have conspired against him.”

    Limits to Growth? 2016 United Nations report provides best evidence yet

    “In order to accommodate an additional 2 billion people in 2050, material consumption will need to nearly triple to 180 billion tonnes of materials, almost three times today’s amount. If 180 billion tonnes grows in the future at 5% compound rate, in 497 years the entire earth will be consumed, all 5.972 x 1021 tonnes of it, and we’ll be floating in outer space.” [LOL]

    We now interrupt our regular comment with a commercial announcement…

    “He scours the internet looking for anything that might support his contention the alternatives such as wind and solar are useless and a waste of time.” ~ Fred Magyar

    Ya, well, good, proper, rigorous research suggests scouring and digging and stuff like that, and then providing multiple references to boot so that people can do their own crosschecking, form their own ideas and opinions, and debate/discuss the issues.

    I mean in preference to uttering shrill, defamatory and unsubstantiated remarks, while doing apparently very little of what I just mentioned, while maybe targeting specific and limited areas, like corporate biz websites and then providing comments that read more like corporate advertising brochures.

    But you know, maybe POB could canvas some of those same corporations and see if some advertising revenue could be obtained by placing ads at the tops and bottoms of pages and along the margins, such as to help recoup some time and management costs, like arguing with Caelan about manners and whatnot. But then, many of us have ad blockers. But then again, we could always read comments-as-adverts, a la guerilla marketing.

    Maybe this is in fact already here. Anyone here being paid-to-post?

  21. “Society is besotted with how clever it has been in devising processes and mechanisms. The current emphasis on fields like robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology suggests continuing progress is sustainable despite the reality of the Dependence on Nature Law. The reality will have a trickle up effect to gradually stifle these edifices of civilization. There will be the predicament of re-educating, re-directing this cleverness to mitigating the consequences of the fundamental fact that civilization is using up natural bounty capital.
    There are many technological proposals supposed to make more worthwhile use of natural bounty capital. Realistic appraisal of these proposals is a major predicament as they are often tainted by vested interests.
    The progress of civilization has been characterized by some seeming certainties clouded by many uncertainties. As pointed out earlier, many of these certainties have really been the myths that have contributed to the misdirection of civilization

    There is little doubt that the unavailability of oil will hit the developed countries but it is clearly a mistake to just focus on the fossil fuel symptom alone. It encourages the belief that providing alternative sources of industrial energy is the main challenge.”
    “The essay ‘Energy and Our Future’ by Cutler Cleveland in Earth Portal provides a resume of the dominant role played by the fossil fuels in the development of industrial society in recent centuries. He refers to the energy transitions from wood to coal to oil and gas. He then speculates on the transition as oil and gas become scarce. He goes into the possibilities in some detail and discusses the interaction with climate change, food production and poverty. He manages to give the impression that this transition is possible with an increasing population and without having a major impact on business as usual. It is surprisingly optimistic about how much renewable energy can substitute for the fossil fuels in a timely manner. I am sure many people will believe this view is credible because of the author. Yet it does not take into account the under lying facts spelt out in the Dependence on Nature Law below. It gives the impression that an adequate on-going supply of energy is sufficient to enable civilization to progress – in its devastation of the ecosystem!” ~ Denis Firth

    “More solar, more business as usual, more solar, more BAU. Put up as many solar collecting devices as the earth can bear. Build all the auxiliary equipment to run these devices. Consume by mining, refining, fabricating, manufacturing and transporting all the toys and tools we want to use.
    Lament climate change but blind yourself to the energy and resource needs of these devices.
    Call yourself green. Call yourself renewable. Call yourself sustainable.” ~ John Weber

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Image of solar-powered garbage dump.

      • me says:

        Garbage dumps are an inherently stupid idea and should be phased out. This is already happening in Europe.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          That’s right!


          The circular economy is a generic term for an industrial economy that is producing no waste and pollution, by design or intention, and in which material flows are of two types: biological nutrients, designed to reenter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, which are designed to circulate at high quality in the production system without entering the biosphere as well as being restorative and regenerative by design. This is contrast to a Linear Economy which is a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production.

          15 – 17 NOV 2016 – BARCELONA

          Welcome to the Circular Economy European Summit!

          And one more plug for Biomimicry!
          BIOMIMICRY : An Introduction with Janine Benyus

          We need new paradigms in technology, government, society at large, the economy and in industry. Neo Luddites who are against clean energy production, anti all forms of technology and scientifically illiterate with regards advances in materials science, bioscience, ecosystems, non linear dynamics and chaos theory, etc… etc… need not apply they can go stick their heads in the sand somewhere!

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Unpacking this, we see that it contains a false dichotomy:
            Either you’re with technology ‘done our way’ or you’re a ‘neoluddite’.

            For sheeple consumption in the interest of discouraging critical thinking.

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              “Even if it had been a really good job, for what possible reason would anyone one have wanted to install solar arrays on a mountain of trash that is constantly being buried?!” ~ Fred Magyar


              Renewable energy electric truck.

            • Ulenspiegel says:

              “For sheeple consumption in the interest of discouraging critical thinking.”

              That is rich. The sentence comes from somebody who is usually not able to get the basics right, copy and pasts ideas of others that “confirmes” his model, sell this as critical thinking, and fakes pics. Cea, you are the posterboy of a poor loser in a serious discussion. 🙂

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                True, some might not want any ‘ideas of others’ blasphemy infecting their Church. For one, it might disconfirm their beliefs.

                Are you the one who engages in some sort of chemistry specialization by the way? While you may not be part of the rampant traitorousness of our species to itself and its ecosystem, I seem to recall previously mentioning something about exotic and toxic chemicals spilling into our environment, polluting it and, for example, affecting amphibian development.

                Anyway, I’m sure their wind-powered mining trucks go very fast and well and hardly make a scratch on ol’ Mom Earth. This one looks like it generates electricity during the day so that it can mine at night on battery power. The windmill is probably the detachable kind. Please continue with your ‘serious’ discussion of, say, a new and smooth-transitioning society of crony-capitalist plutarchy-derived corporate technology and don’t mind about your ‘poor-loser posterboys’ and why certain ‘peak oil’ and ‘collapse’ sites exist.

                “The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.” ~ Terence McKenna

                “The Earth is not dying, it is being killed. And the people who are killing it have names and addresses.” ~ Utah Phillips

      • anon says:

        Sorry, can’t let it pass.. I’m not an engineer, I’m here to learn, but I use Photoshop for a living. That’s a very bad job, I must say. Fake.

  22. Oldfarmermac says:

    Hi Caelan,

    If you were smart enough or honest enough to actually do some real research, then you would know and acknowledge the incontestable fact that automated machinery that looks after itself is far safer than having a man look after such machinery doing a highly repetitive or boring job.

    Self driving cars don’t look away from the road at billboards picturing hot women or muscled up guys, or drop lit cigarettes between their thighs, or turn around to scream at fighting kids and or fall asleep or get drunk or get dopey from a blood sugar crash or have heart attacks or get into the music and drift away. They don’t get blow jobs going down the road. They don’t worry about the mortgage money or the kid’s problems at school or how to deal with a big problem with the boss or the spouse.

    The technology is new, and still in its infancy, but it is already safer than many a man, woman or kid driving today, and it will get better, fast.

    You are about as interested in REAL RESEARCH as the Koch brothers are in shutting down the coal industry, lol.

    I find it impossible to come to any conclusion that reflects well on you when you make such a claim.

    Even if it were the case that you are doing real research, instead of just posting one sided junk, it’s a waste of time here, where you are the ONLY person who makes such comments as yours. You haven’t got a snowball’s chance on a red hot stove of changing any body’s mind HERE.

    You might have better luck someplace else.

    You may not have noticed ( sarcasm light blazing!) that the discussion among the technically literate members of this forum started LONG AGO by acknowledging the many interlocking and nearly intractable problems associated with industrial civilization. The discussion is and has long been about what can be done to solve as many of these problems as possible without creating even WORSE problems.

    You have never made a single useful WORKABLE suggestion to the best of my memory and judgement, but I am getting somewhat senile and may have missed or forgotten such a suggestion. Judging by the bulk of your remarks you are in about the same spot as a backwoods Baptist Sunday school teacher ( I grew up in a backwoods Baptist community !) who has inadvertently taken his lesson into a physics or biology seminar, without realizing that he is making an utter and absolute fool of himself.

    Now it’s YOUR turn. Let’s hear what you have to say about me, lol.

    • Glen, the more complex the tech, the less control we have over it and over our own lives where it influences them. When you can’t control your own technology, then you can’t control what it does to your life and surrounds, like others’ lives and the rest of the planet.
      Essentially you have technology that controls you, rather than the other way around. And some of the finest writings, philosophy and works of art, etc., are precisely about this.

      We refuse to learn at our peril.

      “…all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop oligarchic tendencies, thus making true democracy practically and theoretically impossible, especially in large groups and complex organizations. The relative structural fluidity in a small-scale democracy succumbs to ‘social viscosity’ in a large-scale organization. [Accordingly] …democracy and large-scale organization are incompatible.”… ~ Wikipedia, Iron Law of Oligarchy entry

      P Machinery

      “Another hope feeds another dream
      Another truth installed by the machine.
      A secret wish the marrying of lies
      Today comes true what common sense denies…”

      Sleeper In Metropolis

      “As a sleeper in metropolis
      You are insignificance
      Dreams become entangled in the system…
      Outside the cancerous city spreads
      Like an illness
      It’s symptoms
      In cars that cruise to inevitable destinations…”

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Caelan,

        Nature is quite complex. People used the complex natural “technology” for many millennia with little understanding of it. Does that mean it was a bad thing?

        Do you have a complete understanding of everything you use, down to what is happening at the level of quarks in the constituent sub-atomic particles?

        If not, you better dust off several physics textbooks so you won’t be controlled by nature. 🙂

        • Fred Magyar says:

          If not, you better dust off several physics textbooks so you won’t be controlled by nature.

          LOL! You had also better brush up on your math and biology because nature can be quite complex…

          Here’s a fun little paper for your perusal.

          Differential Equations (Ordinary)
          Sebastian J. Schreiber
          Department of Evolution and Ecology and the Center for Population Biology
          University of California, Davis, California 95616; sschreiber@ucdavis.edu

          Since their Newtonian inception, differential equations have been a fundamental tool for modeling the natural world. As the name suggests, these equations involve the derivatives of dependent variables (e.g. viral load, species densities, genotypic frequencies) with respect to independent variables
          (e.g. time, space).
          When the independent variable is scalar, the differential equation is called
          ordinary. Far from ordinary, these equations have provided key insights into catastrophic shifts in ecosystems, dynamics of disease outbreaks, mechanisms maintaining biodiversity, and stabilizing
          forces in food webs.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            From the paper we can even tell that after 2026 there will be no more need for any of our technologies 🙂

            Fig. 1.— Population extinction and blow-up in finite time. In (a), solutions to dx/dt = −√x that all satisfy x(20) = 0 i.e. there are multiple population trajectories for which the population is extinct at time 20.
            In (b), data on human population growth until 1960 (green circles) and the best fitting (in the sense of least squares) solution of dx/dt = r x1+b which blow up in finite time in year 2026


        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          “People used the complex natural ‘technology’ for many millennia with little understanding of it…
          Do you have a complete understanding of everything you use, down to what is happening at the level of quarks in the constituent sub-atomic particles?” ~ Dennis Coyne

          Unpacking this, we see that it contains a faulty instance of the argument from analogy.

          “Argument from analogy is a special type of inductive argument, whereby perceived similarities are used as a basis to infer some further similarity that has yet to be observed… ” ~ Wikipedia

          As far as I am aware, Dennis, the universe doesn’t ‘sleep on the job’ (etc.) like humans do; nor am I a robot product of industrialization, where humans are my creators.

          I would have suggested that you dust off some critical thinking philosophy textbooks if I didn’t appreciate that, in a hyperspecialized society, we are all interdependent on each other for such things as specialists not sleeping on the job (etc.), and as such, have limited time in one life to ‘dust off the textbooks’ and learn physics, surgery, aeronautics and architecture, etc.. 🙂


          “In this dimension everything is possible
          As we travel the multiverse and timelines
          One vision becoming more than humankind
          Prometheus is rising

          Suddenly, I can see for eternity
          Suddenly, time just melts away
          And I feel like a god tonight
          As I reach for the stars…”

          ‘Apotheosis’ suggests the lyrics’ subject’s own subterfuge, because what does ‘denoument’ mean?

          You are here.

  23. Oldfarmermac says:

    Time to change the subject, and pontificate a bit about the possible shortcomings in the thinking of people who are too deep into their specialties, and not well informed about at least the basics of other branches of culture and science.


    Hawking says we should be very wary of answering any signal received from another species somewhere out there. I totally agree.

    Those astronomers who disagree, in my opinion, have their heads up their backsides so far they will never see daylight, at least not until they acquaint themselves with the a b c’s of biology.

    They say any such other intelligent creatures know about us already, because we are have been sending out radio and tv signals for a century now.

    BUT BUT BUT- those signals have only reached out for about a hundred light years, and our own galaxy is I forget the number but hundreds of thousands or more light years across. Our piddly ass little radio and tv signals may never be picked up , because they aren’t all that powerful, and the nearest spider like creature LISTENING may be ten thousand or five hundred thousand light years away. If that creature exists.

    Even a freshman biology student knows that predatory species use LURES of various sorts to find and entice their prey so as to make capture easier.

    Now as to whether an entirely unknown species will be peaceful, or aggressive, is an unknown, and anybody who knows diddly knows that the only way to find out is to run the experiment.

    If an alien civilization does send out a signal,and we detect it, and it IS an aggressive space traveling civilization, then those biologists who are too much under the influence of PC people may well be signing our death warrant if they get their way and reply, revealing our location and the fact that we are well enough endowed with resources to be playing around with radio telescopes etc.

    There is no way to know in advance, but the odds in my estimation are that any species actually LOOKING to communicate with another species across interstellar space is more apt to be an aggressive species than not.

    Anybody who points out that we naked apes are doing so is a real ding a ling if he doesn’t also recognize that we are a rapacious predatory species, lol.

    Prey animals do what they can to stay hidden. Predatory animals do what they can to locate prey.

    If a predatory space traveling species does exist , then an excellent strategy for finding prey would be to send out lots of probes that would do nothing except LISTEN and phone home if they detect a potential prey world. It would take a hell of a lot of such probes to put one every five hundred light years or every thousand light years all thru the galaxy, but just one hit could easily justify the expense if it leads to finding a rich new planet that can be fumigated to get rid of any troublesome endemic species, lol.

    My own thinking is that considering the size of the universe, it is extremely likely that intelligent life exists in many places- but also that it is extremely unlikely that any other intelligent species exists NEARBY.

    If there are a million intelligent species on a million different worlds at this moment, spread all across the universe, the odds against even one of them being within many thousands of light years are extremely high. Even if there are a billion such species, the odds would still be very high that not even one of them is located within a thousand light years.

    I wish I could remember the name of the famous astronomer who said evolution can no more create an eyeball than a hurricane can assemble an airliner out of a scrap yard full of parts. He no doubt knew his math and his astronomy and physics, but he didn’t know even the abc’s of biology and made a fool of himself.

    Beware of experts, they know every thing about nothing and nothing about everything all to often. 😉

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Hey OFM,

      Maybe you should cut Stephen Hawking a bit of slack on this, given that he seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about the universe in general…

      Stephen Hawking Sings Monty Python… Galaxy Song (Music Video)

      And the original version…
      Monty Python Galaxy Song

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Good morning Fred,

        This is the first time ever that I have noticed a failure on your part to read carefully, lol.

        Methinks you were maybe indulging in your favorite brewed beverage on Saturday night? I wish I could have been there with you.I live so far back in the sticks that some major name brands, never mind craft beers, are hard to find. You do seem to know your beer!

        Saturday nights are dull affairs for me, as a rule,these days, spent looking after my ancient Daddy. But things did perk up a bit last night, we had a fair sized black bear come looking for a hand out, as well as the usual huge raccoon that comes to clean up the cat food. He’s a real whopper of a coon, but then he ought to be , he’s probably the best feed coon for many miles around! Bears are scarce around here and most likely somebody will kill it and eat it when hunting season opens. Unfortunate, but the population is growing slowly but surely. We have effective and well enforced fish and game laws here.

        I agree totally with Hawking and said so right up top.

        My little rant was about the precautionary principle and being wary of people who think they know all the answers.

        Sometimes that sort know less than a well informed child, when it comes to the BIG PICTURE.

        • GoneFishing says:

          We cannot even perceive how other animals view the world and communicate, so how on earth could we understand an actual alien? In fact we have a difficult time even understanding and dealing with other humans.
          Maybe we are not smart in the ways that count.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Methinks you were maybe indulging in your favorite brewed beverage on Saturday night?

          No, you’ll never believe this but I was abducted by aliens! 🙂

    • Synapsid says:


      That famous astronomer with the scrapyard/airliner simile was Fred Hoyle.

      Hoyle deserved the Nobel for his foundational work on nucleosynthesis in stars, but he also clung to the idea of a steady-state Universe past when it stopped looking plausible, and (horrors!) wrote a couple of very good science-fiction novels. My favorite of his novels is Ossian’s Ride, since you ask.

      He went off the deep end later, pushing the panspermia idea to excess and then claiming that the Archaeopteryx skeleton in the Natural History Museum in London was a fake. His status was such that the Museum actually did a study that demonstrated it wasn’t, to quiet the rubes.

    • Suyog says:

      Any alien species that is advanced enough to visit Earth will have the technology to make what they want by simply assembling relevant atoms and molecules. Why would they want to steal Earth’s resources? Also, if they come here, our atmosphere and gravity may not be suitable for them.


      • George Kaplan says:

        If they come in a reasonably sized craft at the speed of light, doesn’t the energy they expend to stop pretty much vapourise us all anyway?

        There is also the ageing issue – if thy travel here at near light speed then when they get back home with their specimens everybody they knew is a million years older, so maybe looking forward to retirement and not so interested anymore.

  24. notanoilman says:

    I’ve been looking at 18650 batteries to add lighting to my bike. I have been surprised by the range of power capacities available, up to 12000mA!!! Any advice on what to aim for or reliable sources? (China not USA, USA companies won’t even reply to an email, as I am in Mexico, while I have found Chinese ones very helpful and polite.)


  25. GoneFishing says:

    Considering that today’s Li-ion batteries have about 1/100 the charge density of gasoline. Since there is a 4 times efficiency difference between an electric and an ICE, that makes a 25 times energy difference per weight of useful energy source needed. The latest new technology battery research indicates a potential 10 times increase in charge density. That gives a 2.5 to 1 weight ratio.
    Next take the weight of a typical 300 horsepower engine as 635 pounds. That much new technology battery would give the equivalent of 36 gallons of gasoline for the 635 pound of engine not needed. So getting a new technology battery to run a car would give no increase weight over an ICE car. Break even will be near 5X the current Li-ion density.
    So 500 mile ranges or more are within the current science of batteries.
    If hydraulic hybrids were used, range could be extended even further. Use of in-wheel motors would also extend the range and capabilities even more.
    Of course I expect some competition from ICE’s in that field, since they have a potential of 40% efficiency at lighter weight than current manufacturing. Let’s see if the manufacturers are keen enough to attempt it.

  26. Fred Magyar says:

    This one is for the ‘Solar will never be a useful substitute for oil ‘ crowd!


    I happened to spend much of this week in Abu Dhabi, from whence came, conveniently, the most important news of this week, month, year, and arguably decade. Yes, bigger than the American election; yes, bigger than the long-awaited rise of machine learning; yes, bigger than Elon Musk’s one-two punch of space travel and electric cars — although it’s related to that.

    I refer of course to what Ramez Naam elegantly describes as: “the cheapest contract for electricity ever signed, anywhere on planet earth, using any technology.” And what is the source of this unbelievably inexpensive energy, here in this oil-soaked nation of the United Arab Emirates, on the edge of the Persian Gulf, home to a full fifth of all the world’s oil?

    Yep, you guessed it: solar power. Unsubsidized solar power.


    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Hi Fred,
      Since we are obviously tribal allies, given all the beliefs ad values we hold in common, I find myself more or less compelled to believe that you at least THINK you were abducted by aliens last night. 😉

      Now if the beer was plentiful and one of the more powerful brews, it’s not hard at all imagining you were not only abducted but that you also saw some pink elephants and unicorns.

      On a more serious note, I have long believed that the Saudis and their nearby oil rich and sun rich neighbors will eventually build solar farms on the grand scale, meaning by the square kilometer.

      They can sell the oil they are burning to run air conditioners and come out smelling like a rose, money wise, once the price of oil goes back up, which I personally believe is inevitable, for the reason that depletion will in my opinion outrun demand destruction arising from electric vehicles, etc.

      My personal guess is that these hypothetical by the square kilometer solar farms aren’t under construction TODAY for two or three major reasons.

      One is internal royal family politics. There is a power struggle inside the royal family , and starting big new projects at this time is probably not feasible, with the price of oil down.

      Another reason is that they may be betting that by waiting they will get their solar farms for a LOT less money a few more years down the road.

      A third possible reason is that they may be deliberately engaging in an oil price war for political reasons, thereby magnifying the scope of the first two.

      The biggest single reason I don’t have a fair sized pv system of my own is that the prices of the component parts are coming down so fast I can’t AFFORD not to wait, from a money management stand point.

      It’s better for me to put the money into other efficiency and conservation projects that have faster payback times.

  27. Oldfarmermac says:

    I just ran across this site for the first time. Anybody interested in the stuff we talk about here will find it worth bookmarking.


    • Oldfarmermac says:

      The link in my 2:25 pm comment is from Stanford U and it is about the solar electricity revolution taking place in Africa where there is little in the way of a conventional grid.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        From the link:

        Worldwide, 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity, while another 1 billion experience significant rolling blackouts. Nearly 97 percent of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia, and lack of reliable electricity creates a massive drain on education, manufacturing, and retail. More than 50 percent of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa identify electricity as a major constraint to their operation compared with just 27 percent citing transportation.

        This is precisely the reality that cultists like Caelan like to ignore while they themselves enjoy all the comforts of science, technology and civilization as they proselytize about the evils of a global corporate conspiracy to push alternative energy on the poor. While these people have a biological and ecological footprint that is impacting their local biosphere, they currently use wood, charcoal, and kerosene at huge personal and ecological cost!

        Giving them access to clean electricity via solar panels LED lights, batteries and smartphones is the only possible path towards providing them with access to education that might allow them to exit poverty and be in a better position to reduce their population size and become empowered to better protect their natural environment.


        Close to 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa – about two-thirds of the population – live without grid electricity. And despite ongoing efforts to expand the grid to reach more people, the reality is that this expansion is slow and expensive and, in some places, simply not technically or financially feasible. Due to these difficulties, the number of people living without access to the grid in sub-Saharan Africa is actually rising as population growth outpaces expansion.

        Without the option of simply flipping a switch to turn on the lights, they largely turn to kerosene lamps, candles and torches, all of which, unfortunately, come with serious drawbacks. These lighting sources carry recurring fuel costs, necessitating repeated financial expenditure and time to fetch kerosene, new candles or disposable batteries. These expenditures can make up a significant portion of a household budget amongst those living in ‘energy poverty’.

        Additionally, kerosene lamps (the most commonly used alternative) carry serious health risks in the form of respiratory diseases and accidental poisoning, as well as the risk of fires – a risk they share with candles. All of these products also carry a notable environmental toll, with disposable batteries ending up in landfills. Moreover, kerosene lamps contribute to global warming through black carbon and CO2 emissions. A typical kerosene-burning household in Africa emits 100 kg of CO2 per year – a significant amount, especially when you consider how many households are using these lamps.

        Only an ignorant fool or a hypocrite could possibly argue against the use of clean solar energy and related technologies in these parts of the world!

  28. Stanley Walls says:

    Hello from a long-time reader but first-time poster. I’ve been trying to post a question, but every time I get about 1 sentence written, something happens and it all disappears. So, I’ll skip introducing myself for now, and try to get the question down before it all goes poof again.

    Subject: Fuel mileage, especially diesel-powered trucks.
    Recently someone posted something about the Feds possibly will, or should, mandate the doubling of fuel-mileage standards for class-8 trucks. Something I’ve never seen addressed when this subject is discussed has gotten my weak mind to churning, and I wondered if some of the better educated folks here could shed some light on it. Here’s what I don’t understand: A diesel-powered pickup, any of the current offerings, gets what kind of mileage, 16 or 20 mpg? ( Sorry, I should have looked that up myself, never owned one). Said truck weighs around 7000 lbs, I think. (Same apology). A few years ago I owned and operated a truck, a 2000 model Peterbilt, with a Cat C16 engine with 600 hp. Loaded, it grossed 80k lbs legally, though I was often a bit heavier than that. Empty weight was nearly 45K, quite heavy as it was a car-hauler. Fuel mileage averaged about 5 1/2 mpg over all miles, which was about half empty, half loaded.

    See the question coming?

    The pickup gets about 63 ton/miles per gallon, while the big truck gets about 220 ton/miles per gallon. Whence comes the great difference?
    I know there is a considerable difference in the maximum performance possible between the two vehicles, but I don’t think that can account for anywhere near the difference realized in fuel-use.

    Thinking about this question causes me to doubt the possibility of doubling the fuel-efficiency of the big-truck engines.
    At first I thought that maybe the builders of the smaller engines could learn something from the big-engine folks, but I don’t think that’s the case, because in some cases, they are one and the same! Cummins builds both, as does IH (Navistar now, I guess)

    Then I wondered if maybe the larger the engines are, the more efficient they can be, due to volume of combustion area compared to surface area of same. Don’t know.

    So, maybe some of you engineering and scientific folks can shed some light on the subject.

    And, looks like the gremlins lost interest in eating my words for now, so a really huge thanks for all the education I’ve gotten here over the last several years.
    Especially to Ron, and now Dennis for all the time and expertise you’ve invested here.
    Thanks in advance for any insight.

    • Stanley Walls says:

      I posted this a bit hurriedly last night, trying to stay ahead of the word-eating gremlins, and then realized that my example needed a bit of updating.

      The example I used was my own truck, which was a 2000 model, was built before the latest and greatest upgrades for aerodynamics and had an engine that was larger than most on the road. So, I’ll make a better present-day example, based on what I read and hear from truckers I still talk with occasionally.

      In the last dozen or so years, truck builders have started designing with fuel efficiency as a high priority. That is most readily apparent by the more aerodynamic shape of the cabs, deflectors from the cab to trailer, under-trailer skirting, trailer-tail add-ons, etc. Engines in the 400-500 hp range and speed-control (driving in the 55-65 mph range) contribute to better fuel economy also.

      I’ve heard from drivers who I can trust who report actual fuel mileage of 7 to 8 mpg. I’ve read of some tests getting 10 mpg, but the pictures I’ve seen of the rigs, and other descriptions cause me to believe these figures are not anywhere near real-world conditions yet, so I’ll use the figures I believe to be the real-world case to arrive at the starting point for the intent to double trucks fuel efficiency.

      So: Eight mpg x 40 tons gross = 320 ton/miles per gallon. Compared to the pickup’s 63, I’m hesitant to believe a doubling of the big-truck’s fuel mileage is coming soon, if ever.

      Anybody want to enlighten me?


      • HVACman says:

        It’s not the engines that gives big-rigs such good ton-mile/gallon as compared to pickups, it’s the payload vs aerodynamic drag ratio.

        2/3 of fuel energy used in highway driving is overcoming aerodynamic drag. About 25% from rolling resistance and the balance for running accessories. That assumes level ground. Big climbs burn extra fuel. A big-rig carries 10x the weight, but only has 3x the drag of a domestic pickup (Both pickups and tractor-trailers have about the same drag coefficient Cd = 0.6, but the tractor-trailer has about 3x the face area).


        Doubling fuel efficiency will be achieved through a series incremental improvements in aero, rolling resistance, diesel engine efficiency, along with the potential energy recovery available with a hybrid diesel-electric-battery to recover braking energy. Lots of R &D happening on all fronts. Then there is the Nikola concept of installing a gas turbine hybrid drive which would use inexpensive natural gas + the hybrid efficiency potential.

        Rail is better yet. The relative aero-drag-to-payload is an order of magnitude better and rolling resistance with steel wheels is almost nil. Rail is up over 400 ton-miles/gallon.


        • GoneFishing says:

          Here is a thorough slide show analysis of rail transport efficiency and the ALAM system to decrease aerodynamic drag on trains.


          • Stanley Walls says:

            Thanks Fishin’
            Interesting stuff there also. Makes me wonder who paid for that bit of research though, after seeing their ton/mile figure for trucks listed as about 130, when my own experience is about 2 1/2 or more times that.

            • GoneFishing says:

              Stanley, I am sure the gallons/ton-mile varies quite a bit depending on the truck and load. I looked up the figure in Wikipedia and they give an even worse value for heavy trucks, essentially 11.6 times more energy per ton-mile than freight trains. I think we need a bit more research on this to define the values and the ranges.

        • Stanley Walls says:

          HVACman, Thanks for the info. That gave me a starting point for a bit of reading and learning. Considering the aero shapes already incorporated into new trucks, as well as recent engine gains, I’m still left wondering where enough improvement is coming from to double today’s mileage numbers. Of course, as you stated, lots of different areas of R & D might total up to more than I’m aware of.
          Thanks again

    • scrub puller says:

      Yair . . .
      Hello STANLEY WALLS.

      You have raised some points that have puzzled me as well.

      I believe much present day fuel consumption is a function of speed and don’t quite understand the modern fixation on horsepower. Torque (gearing) determines what you can do, horsepower determines how fast you can do it.

      I have a friend involved in semi-tanker operations between two major centres and being a crotchety old bastard like me he insisted in speccing one new Kenworth with 250 hp instead of 550 and halved fuel consumption on that particular run.

      In the ‘sixties I regularly hauled sixty ton loads (D9G scrub spec. tractor with half the chain) with a 275 hp triplex Mack with 28mph diffs . . . guys wouldn’t even think of hauling that these days unless they had at least 500HP.

      Fuel consumption was never an issue back then and I have no idea of mileage.

      Some of the folks on here may come up with some interesting comments.


      • Stanley Walls says:

        You sound like my folks, except on the underside of the world! The old Mack reference brings back my favorite childhood memories, namely riding in a B61 with my Dad, hauling cotton around the SE US. No heavy loads like the Cat, but doing it with a 673, about 175 hp, and a duplex overgear, geared to run about 65.

        Would you happen to be a member of the ATHS? I have been for ’bout 16 or 18 years I guess. Only old truck I’ve got now is an old B61 with said 673, but with a triplex double-over, which I stuck in there just for fun. Plenty of road speed, but can’t rock a load out of a hole! Of course, it doesn’t do anything now, just sits there, till I crank it occasionally for old times sake.
        Always enjoy your posts.

        • HuntingtonBeach says:

          Hi Stanley,

          To start with, your car-hauler trailer is a lot less aerodynamic than a box trailer. It’s conceivable that under the same conditions your 5 1/2 mpg could be 7 with a box trailer at 80,000 gvcw. Second, comparing fuel mileage without including speed conditions is pretty meaningless. The same rig traveling at 70 mph compared to 60 mph could be as much as 1 1/2 mpg less. Also, here is something you didn’t realize. Most engines are most efficient near or at full throttle at peak torque. This is the point were the engine turning and internal air compressing is least per pound of fuel and energy output.

  29. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Konvict music is right: Why Akon’s new scumbag ‘philanthropy’ is the worst thing for Africa

    “Akon has secured a $1 billion line of credit from China Jiangsu International Group, a Chinese government-owned construction company that has made it its business to go into corrupt areas of Africa and create a stronghold on those countries in the development realm. China Jaingsu specifically has focused on business in war-torn- but oil rich countries.”

    Akon is the face of African Investment, but are the Chinese… pulling the strings?

    “One concern that some have is the fact that the project is heavily financed by China Jiangsu International. The Chinese have often been accused of creating investment deals that are harmful to African people, as they operate under the cloak of expansion and modernization

    What are the conditions under which Akon is borrowing a billion dollars from the Chinese? Other countries have been investing in Africa for centuries, typically to the detriment of the country. These nations are known for stripping Africa of its most important natural resources and taking wealth abroad while fattening the pockets of local leaders. Is Akon’s project different?

    …The article also makes disturbing allegations of exploitation of African citizens as the Chinese move into markets and change the living conditions of people who are already there.

    They are building roads designed to help them take minerals out of Africa; Chinese are getting privileged, under-market prices for the commodities they are shipping out from Africa (oil, timber, coal, copper, coltan, etc.); they are creating segregated neighborhoods for Chinese people only: Chinatowns have sprung up throughout the continent just like the Apartheid era white farms; they are paying Africans very low salaries and often fire them when they try to object to working conditions (see the cases registered in Zambia, South Africa and Angola). All this considered, we still haven’t gotten to the ‘new’ colonialism. All the above are replicas of the policies used by the white racists 50 years ago.”

    • Fred Magyar says:

      And your ignorant diatribe is an answer to what exactly?
      Are you planning on going to Africa to fight the evil Chinese colonialist empire?
      Because unlike you with your armchair quarterbacking there are plenty of people from many organizations around the world who are actually on the ground working with the local communities. Like these people for example:
      Or the people behind https://www.thinkdif.co/
      Medecins Sans Frontieres

      They actually work to make the world a better place and I could provide hundreds of links to other organizations who do the same.
      You have no answers only vacuous empty criticisms!

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Hang in there, Caelan

      The rest of us need street corner preachers on soapboxes to remind us of what we are up against, and for a bit of comic relief.

      I am wondering how you feel about the evils of modern medicine , and what remedies you use when you are feeling a little under the weather.

      Most of us have shared some of our personal and professional experiences here, by way of helping others understand how and why we believe and think the way we do.

      I think it would be great if you would do likewise. What sort of work have you done? What part of the world do you live ? Are you a vegetarian? Do you indulge in tobacco and beer? Do you read novels and history ? Have you ever spent a day at hard physical labor under the southern sun?Had to have somebody pull an abscessed tooth for you with a pair of pliers? Gone to bed hungry? Graduated from a university other than the kind advertised on matchbook covers?

  30. R Walter says:

    I was going to name my dog God so there would be a God, being dyslexic at times, it made sense to me. If I would have, God would be at my side most of the time and there would be a God in the form of a dog right here on earth. God the dog would have been purdy doggone cool too. It would have been too confusing to me, I wouldn’t know if my dog is God or if God is a dog, so I gave my new puppy a name other than God to avoid any confusion.

    Had I named my dog God, everybody would have looked at me like I’m nuts.

    Then I thought Zeus or Apollo, but those names are already gods, so those two names were not chosen for obvious reasons.

    However, I am convinced my dog is an alien, a refugee from another planet somewhere out there in the great wide open. My dog is black as night with a white spot on his chest, so Sirius was a serious consideration. Is there a planet or two circling Sirius?

    In any event, my dog needs to eat, wants those creature comforts. He does bite the hand that feeds him until he does get fed and is always hungry for more. He could be an alien, but probably not. Far be it from me if he is. Dogs don’t drive, they just hang their heads out the passenger side window.

    The consciousness streams like a river. It’s an open thread, so what the heck. har

    Today is National Situational Awareness Day, so it is a good day for a debate.


    • JN2 says:

      A poem:

      I could not lie anymore so I started to call my dog ‘God.’
      First he looked

      then he started smiling, then he even

      I kept at it: now he doesn’t even

      I am wondering if this
      might work on

      ~ Daniel Ladinsky

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