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End of growth is our reality

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“Growth is the largest religion in the world and it is the one thing for which we collectively agree,” said filmmaker and author of ‘The Third Curve – The end of growth as we know it’ Mansoor Khan during his lecture by the same name, organised at Design Centre, Porvorim.

The first time author, in his two-hour lecture, elaborated on growth economy, the way man has exploited natural resources, and ‘Peak Oil’ – the point of saturation when the number of natural resources start depleting, which in turn not only affects our ecology but also our economy to a larger extent. Khan pointed out three phases of Peak Oil.

Phase-one was from 1750 to 1960, after the industrial revolution, which started with the discovery of coal in 1750 and that of oil in 1850, the world witnessed tremendous growth in various sectors. “It was paradise times,” said Khan.

Phase-two started after 1970, when we discovered that individual species are under threat. Initially these species were like dots on the screen, but soon these dots started taking up more screen space and we dubbed it ecological collapse.

Phase-three started in 2008 with rising inflation. “The money, which many considered will help solve our problems, is itself in trouble. Now we have more and more poor people. Issues like inflation are now a reality of our life,” said Khan. He went on to say that the growth in phase-one was real, in phase-two it was false, and now in phase-three growth has failed altogether.

Khan also stated that we have given more emphasis to money, which is a concept. While, in reality, it is the energy that makes money happen. “Energy is reality. It is derived from earth and is finite. The world has already finished half its resources and we have passed the peak of the bell curve. According to laws of geology when earth’s resources start depleting it starts behaving like a bell curve. But, we believe that earth is like a reservoir or water tank where even if half of the tank is over, it will not make any difference. This is not the case,” said Khan.

Khan informed that it was American geologist King Hubbert (1903-1989), who worked for the Shell Oil Company, who discovered this bell curve. He studied the oil reservoir and the bell curve right from 1930 to 1954. “He predicted that US oil will reach its peak in 1970. At that time everybody called him a fool. But, now it is there for everyone to see,” said Khan.

Speaking about energy, which we mainly get from fossil fuels, he said that 22 per cent of it goes to build the world. There are 6000 by-products of oil including plastic, etc. Even if we say that we will opt for renewable forms of energy like solar, wind, nuclear, there is no alternative for these 6000 products.

Khan said that oil is the ancient surplus of the earth, which is nothing but 300 million years of sun collected in the form of oil. But, we have finished this resource in just 150 years, making it currently 500 times deficit.

He said that we have still not understood or accepted this reality. We have already burnt our natural capital, ecological capital, social and cultural capital and also spiritual capital as we don’t mind lying to sell a product. “These capitals are qualitative capitals. The money which comes out of it is quantitative. As Edward Paul said ‘Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell.’ Perpetual growth is a global cancer. The cure for it could be limiting to our demand. And, in today’s world limit is a bad word. Only once we accept this there will be transition. We need to change the way we think about growth. End of growth is our reality, either deal with it or reality will deal with you.”

66 Comments on "End of growth is our reality"

  1. paulo1 on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 4:33 pm 

    Phase three problem is not inflation, rather DEFLATION. We are all racing to the bottom with inflation to come in an ‘oops didn’t see that one coming’ moment, still to come.

    Yes, I know there is a housing bubble in many areas and the price of food has grown relative to wages, but that is not yet the feared inflation of Weimar days and Zimbabwe lore. That may still come if anyone is left standing.

  2. apneaman on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 5:10 pm 

    “we have finished this resource in just 150 years”

    Wow we are getting more efficient. It took the ancestors 80,000 years to kill of most of the mega fauna with spears and running them off cliffs. If it wasn’t for oil/kerosene, I bet we would have extincted all the whales by 50 years ago too. Looks like big mammals are next on our hit list. Either intentionally or as collateral damage, which is what we will soon be. Don’t feel sorry for the apes. We are sleeping in a bed of our own making. We do not give a shit about anything but the next dopamine drip. Nature made us that way.

    Africa’s unloved vultures headed for extinction?


    So what, who needs em?

    Pooped out: absence of big mammals foils ecosystem fertilization

    “You can call it the fertilization cessation, and scientists say it has had a disruptive effect on ecosystems around the world.

    A study unveiled on Monday showed that the extinction or precipitous population declines of large land and sea mammals starting at the end of the last Ice Age and continuing through today has deprived ecosystems of a vital source of fertilization in their dung, urine and, after death, decomposing bodies.

    The scientists said these large mammals including whales, mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, rhinos, huge armadillos as well as seabirds and migrating fish like salmon played a key role in making Earth fertile by spreading nutrients across oceans, up rivers and deep inland.

    “In the past, abundant large free-ranging animals made nutrients more evenly distributed, thus increasing global fertility,” University of Oxford ecologist Christopher Doughty said.

    By traveling long distances, these large mammals transported and recycled nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen to far-flung ecosystems, boosting their productivity. This capacity to spread nutrients away from concentrated sources on both land and sea to other ecosystems has plummeted to 6 percent of its former level, the study found.”

  3. idontknowmyself on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 5:19 pm 

    Short well written article direct to the point.

    From the article above:

    We have already burnt our natural capital, ecological capital, social and cultural capital and also spiritual capital as we don’t mind lying to sell a product. “These capitals are qualitative capitals. The money which comes out of it is quantitative.

    This is why I think rebuilding something will be almost impossible rapidly. We burnt and depleted the most important ones, cultural, ecological social and spiritual capital. These take years to build and require real work to maintain these capitals.

    Just look at today youth, and you see that they don’t have any of these capitals.

  4. Rodster on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 6:02 pm 

    In order for end of growth to become a reality you need to change the way money works. The system that’s been in place for over a hundred years is what’s driving and fueling infinite growth of everything including humans.

  5. apneaman on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 6:21 pm 

    Flood damage repair is a growth industry. Unlimited potential.

    Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast>

    “Ocean water surged into neighborhoods on the Southeast coast on Tuesday morning during high tide, pushing gauges well beyond predicted levels. Seemingly overnight, spurred by sea level rise, we’ve entered an era where king tides compete with hurricanes in the water level record books.

    Tuesday morning’s high tide peaked at 8.69 feet in Charleston, over a foot and a half higher than the predicted level. The highest crest on record in Charleston was 12.56 feet on Sept. 21, 1989 — the day that Hurricane Hugo made landfall in South Carolina.

    The water level near Savannah, Ga., reached 10.43 feet, which was the third highest on record for the station. The top two records are 10.47 feet on Aug. 11, 1940, when a Category 2 hurricane made landfall on the Georgia and South Carolina coast, and 10.87 on Oct. 15, 1947, when Hurricane Nine made landfall in the same location.

    Residents are saying Tuesday’s high tide was worse than South Carolina’s “1,000-year flood” in early October.”

  6. GregT on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 6:34 pm 

    “In order for end of growth to become a reality you need to change the way money works.”

    The end of growth will become reality whether we change the way money works or not. Our monetary systems require growth, they do not make growth possible. When growth is no longer possible central banks will try to maintain the illusion of growth with monetary policies, as they are doing now. This can only continue on for so long before our monetary systems collapse due to the end of real physical growth.

  7. apneaman on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 6:57 pm 

    Fukushima Is Here, This Month the EPA Shut Off The Beta Radiation Monitors Because Strontium 90 is Beta Type

  8. kanon on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 7:06 pm 

    “In order for end of growth to become a reality you need to change the way money works.”
    There are so few people who recognize this and fewer still who understand it. IMHO by giving the “money power” to a fractional reserve banking cartel the US (and English culture worldwide) created a locomotive driven roller coaster. Everyone needs money and the only way it appears is when a banker deigns it worthy of creation. But there is never quite enough and the credit creation game comes to act like a ring in a bull’s nose. Just little tugs are enough to direct the bull and just little alterations in the lending game are enough to direct governments and society. But still there is not enough and so growth (of credit and collateral) becomes an obsession. Yet we are free and prosperous and have chosen this path.

  9. GregT on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 7:19 pm 

    “There are so few people who recognize this and fewer still who understand it.”

    Money does not create growth, it demands growth. Even fewer people seem to understand this. The limits to growth in the money supply are almost limitless, especially now that we can simply add digits to a computer entry. The physical growth needed by our current monetary systems is limited by the finite planet on which we live. Money is debt, or a claim on future production. Production requires both energy and resources. Both cannot continue to grow exponentially in a finite environment. Everyone in the world could have a trillion dollars in their bank account, but that would be meaningless if there was nothing to buy with that money.

  10. Davy on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 7:54 pm 

    Do you all really think there will be much of anything once we change how money works? Once this sucker goes down that’s it with the “as we know it”. What comes after will be a drastic change. Growth and how money works will be insignificant concerns. Our primary concern will be the basics.

  11. apneaman on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 7:59 pm 

    Paul Chefurka’s CO2 Factoid Overkill

    “» For every 16 gigatonnes of CO₂ we emit, the atmospheric concentration goes up by 1 part per million.

    » Humans currently emit about 40 gigatonnes of CO₂ per year, from a combination of fossil fuels, cement manufacturing and land-use changes.

    » As a result, CO₂ concentrations are increasing by about 2.5 ppm every year,

    » The lengthy residence time of CO₂ in the atmosphere means that so long as we emit any CO₂ at all, the atmospheric concentration will keep rising.

    » Every dollar of world GDP produced over the last 15 years has required the emission of 0.6 kg of CO₂ on average – even with the increase in renewable energy production.

    » If we want the atmospheric concentration of CO₂ to stop rising, we need to stop all economic activity.

    » Even if we stopped all CO₂ emissions today by ceasing all economic activity, we would still have a dangerous amount of CO₂ in the air.

    » No one has developed a method to take industrial quantities of CO₂ back out of the air, except (perhaps) for reforesting vast stretches of what is now farmland.

    » The world will not stop its economic activity overnight. We will not even reduce it significantly for the next decade or two, unless a global economic crash happens – in which case we will desperately try to rebuild it.

    » Two decades of economy-driven emissions will push the atmospheric CO₂ over 450 ppm.

    » According to Wasdell et al, the long-term equilibrium temperature rise produced by 450 ppm of CO₂ is about +5 degrees Celsius.

    » We don’t know how long it will take to stabilize at that temperature, but that’s where we will eventually wind up.

    » Such a temperature is not conducive to the survival of many plants and animals, even humans. It is utterly incompatible with our current civilization.”

    This is independent of positive self reinforcing feedbacks, like permafrost melt (CO2, methane) and melting sub sea methane clathrates , tundra and peat fires and mega forest fires as seen in the last few years.

  12. kanon on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 8:24 pm 

    “Money does not create growth, it demands growth.”

    Money is also the currency of the social hierarchy. One may gain status by creating new profit opportunities for the established aristrocrats. This is the preferred way for new applicants to enter the country club and often requires exploitation and destruction of nature. Fossil fuels are so vital to this process because the energy and technology allow (require) the commoners to participate in the status system and everyone needs money to pay for fuel, so the herd is always drawn to the trough for more credit (though never given enough). While I agree with the statement that our FRN’s are debt and a claim on future production, I think the social hierarchy aspect is more important than economic theory or models. Economic theories will be revised when they become too rediculous, and debts and claims may never come due. It is only when the aristrocrats lose control over the remaining finite resources or society rejects the status heirarchy that the money system will truly collapse.

  13. Cloud9 on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 8:44 pm 

    All of this continues as long as the bread continues. The circuses are a useful distraction. I do not know when the supply chains will break. When they do, that is it. The reason I am sitting here at my computer typing this is because I am relatively sure that when I go to Publix tomorrow that there will be more than I need or want sitting on the shelves. If for one second I thought this was it, I would max out the credit card on beans and rice.

    When the change comes, it will be rapid and most of us will be caught unawares. I bought a foreclosure last month. The people were evicted by the sheriff’s office. They had to know it was coming but they left their pictures on the wall and dirty dishes in the oven. Their situational bias blindsided them. Habituation is a witch and may kill us all.

  14. makati1 on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 10:04 pm 

    In other news, the wealthy are abandoning the good ship USS Police State in ever higher numbers. Soon only the slaves will be left, all sucking at a dry teat.

  15. makati1 on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 10:15 pm 

    More important than money or oil:

    “In 2009 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium of GM foods, safety testing and labeling. Their review of the available literature at the time noted that animals show serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system. Monsanto writes “There is no need to test the safety of GM foods”. So long as the engineered protein is safe, foods from GM crops are substantially equivalent and they cannot pose any health risks.” The US Food and Drug Administration waived all levels of safety testing in 1996 before approving the commercialization of these crops. Nothing more than voluntary research is necessary, and the FDA does not even want to see the results. And there is certainly no need to publish any of it. If you remember 1996, the year that the first crops were commercialized, the research scientists of the US FDA all predicted that transgenic crops would have unpredictable hard to detect side effects, allergens, toxins, nutritional effects, new diseases. That was published in 2004 in Biotechnology if you recall seeing it.”

    Sure make a lot of profits for the medical industry…

  16. penury on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 10:27 pm 

    Growth will never again be the engine for progress for humans that it has been in the past. Too many necessary resources are becoming scarce. Climate change (or your preferred term)will make vast changes to the flora of the planet and humans are causing extinction of the fauna. Its time to either really really downsize our use of resources or accept the fact that we have destroyed the air we breathe, poisened the water we drink and we are destroying the soil which provides our food, humans are all going away. The saddest part of the story is that in our rush to suicide we destroyed so many other living species.

  17. Bloomer on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 10:34 pm 

    Slow growth=unemployment many of us including myself, have experienced that. It’s very hard to survive unless you are earning a living. Perhaps, if you have the survival skills and can hunt, fish or farm you might not go hungry.

    Most of us need economic growth to sustain ourselves. The world has become to complex and too populated for us all to become hunters and gatherers.

  18. makati1 on Tue, 27th Oct 2015 10:39 pm 

    Shades of “Soylent Green”. LOL

    “Perhaps the most unsettling discovery by Clear Food is that human DNA was found in 2 percent of all samples and in 66 percent of the vegetarian products.”

    Did Granny end up in your hot dog? LOL

  19. GregT on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 12:47 am 

    “Technology does it again.”

    How technology has stopped evolution and is destroying the world

    “It has become something of a mantra within the sustainability movement that innovations in technology can save the world. But rather than liberating us, Doug Tompkins, the cofounder of retail brands The North Face and Esprit, believes technology has enslaved us and is destroying the very health of the planet on which all species depend.”

    “If you just hold your cell phone for 30 seconds and think backwards through its production you have the entire techno-industrial culture wrapped up there. You can’t have that device without everything that goes with it. You see mining, transportation, manufacturing, computers, high-speed communications, satellite communications, it’s all there, you see and it’s that techno-industrial culture that’s destroying the world.”

    “Tompkins derides those who pin their hopes on technological developments in areas such as wind, solar and nuclear as coming from the smart resource management school, saying they fail to understand that this will not address the core issue, which is that capitalism is addicted to growth.”

    “Capitalism doesn’t function when it starts to contract and we can see that quite clearly right here in the eurozone. It’s like pushing a giant monster underwater that’s gasping for air. It goes nuts. Capitalism may have all sorts of things that are good, but ultimately it’s bad for everyone.”

  20. BC on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 12:58 am

    Ready for more QEternity, another global deflationary recession, a bear market, another housing bust (high-end, buy-up properties this time), the 10-year yield below 1%, and the 30-year below 2%?

  21. GregT on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 12:58 am 

    “Most of us need economic growth to sustain ourselves.”

    Economic growth itself is not sustainable. We need to do a 180 degree about face. Until we do, less and less of us will be able to sustain ourselves.

  22. GregT on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 1:02 am 

    “Ready for more QEternity, another global deflationary recession, a bear market, another housing bust (high-end, buy-up properties this time), the 10-year yield below 1%, and the 30-year below 2%?”

    You listening yet Boat? Nobody here wants to see you living out in the streets. You’ve had plenty of warnings.

  23. MrNoItAll on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 1:30 am 

    Mak — At 1426 U.S. citizens renouncing their citizenship per year, it isn’t even a drop in the bucket. You need to actually read that article, not just the headline. The majority of those renouncing their citizenship are not wealthy individuals as you assert.

    According to this article, between 2003 and 2013, 42000 ultra-rich immigrants came to America, most from China and India.

    Compare that with the trickle of wealthy people leaving the USA to escape taxes or for other reasons, and it turns out that you don’t have a valid point at all.

    Mak, I know that you really truly WANT to believe that America is going to shrivel up and die a horrible death. And it might. But not for any of the reasons that you seem to be attempting to convince yourself and others of.

    America can easily become self-sustaining in oil/energy production if we just shut down the car culture and eliminate or severely restrict many of other sources of massive energy waste. America can feed itself without even trying, and many others at the same time.

    Rather than pointing out that a trickle of wealthy people are leaving America, ask yourself instead why thousands and thousands of wealthy people are bailing out of China and coming to America. The truthful answer destroys your constant theme of America going up in smoke while the rest of the world prospers and laughs at the passing of the great evil empire.

  24. makati1 on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 2:52 am 

    Ah, but, MrNo, the really wealthy ones already have their main assets outside of the reach of the IRS. They are just moving out physically now. And how many have to leave before all that are left are the poor? With millions of American’s already outside, how many will come back? Not me. As the repression increases, those numbers are going to explode. Wait and see.

    As for the Chinese, maybe they are just fools? Most are already wanted by the Chinese justice system for financial crimes (the money they use to buy those big homes with cash). About thirty thousand Chinese are on the list the US wants to deport back China, because they are criminals, but the Chinese don’t want them back and will not process the paperwork. LOL. So, you can use those numbers any way you want.

    There will be no ‘self-sustaining’ America until it reverts back to the 1700s, pre-hydrocarbon, lifestyle and over half of its population are dead. It has not been self sustaining for decades. At least 1970, if then. Check out what the US imports to keep it’s lifestyle going. You might be surprised.

    I Do see the US suffering the most when the SHTF. Why? Because there are few left who remember the Depression or the Dust Bowl or any kind of real hardship. It is the most drugged up, spoiled, dumbed down, arrogant nation on earth.

    I know there will be hardship in Asia also, but hardship is daily life here for most. The ones who will suffer are the Western wannabees that have some of the toys of the West and want more. They are the fat ones that inhabit the upscale malls in Manila. The Starbucks crowd. But they are a small percentage, not the majority. Many here will not even notice the end of oil or a financial crash.

  25. Mike616 on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 5:11 am 

    SOLAR and Wind are GROWING like Rockets.

    You just can’t imagine a world without carbon, but, everyone else can.

  26. Hello on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 6:39 am 

    Mak: “It is the most drugged up, spoiled, dumbed down, arrogant nation on earth.”

    Is that your assessment from seeing 2 places on earth? The US and an apartment in Manila?

    In my experience Europeans are much more arrogant than Americans.

    But maybe what you call arrogance is simply better educated? And that surely doesn’t shine a good light on you. But I’m sure you fit in well in Manila, with all your US $$ you can be like a little king.

  27. Davy on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 7:40 am 

    Mak, as you can see I am not the only one who gets tired of your “ad nausea” day after day the same post on the same agenda of diminishing and discrediting the US. Please contribute something of substance if you are going to post at the volume you do.

  28. Davy on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 8:03 am 

    This is worth reading on the subject: David Korowicz in “In the World at the Limits of Growth”

    “We share a common world-view formed in the context of our past experience, and in particular, that of economic growth and the profound influence it brought to the human experience. We have become accustomed to the reassuring thought that at the end of every recession, no matter how deep or long, growth and prosperity will again take off. There is a sense that economic growth, though sometimes wayward, is the natural order of things. It is a powerful idea both redemptive and optimistic.

    Economic growth is part of the glue that holds together the social contract between the rich and poor, and between citizen and state. It stands behind our expectations of technology, the rise of China, population growth, and pensions. Growth shaped the specialisation of our occupational roles and the forms of social relations. It acclimatised us to increasing wealth, both personal and in the goods and services we expect from society and the state. We are now claiming as rights, services that only fifty years ago would have been considered miracles. It shaped our identity as the tormented consumer and the anxious lover.

    Growth is very recent, two hundred years or so, and resilient, bouncing back from world wars and a great depression. It’s been the driving dynamic of the integrated, de-localised system that has tied our welfare to trillions of transactions across the world. It has been so stable, and we have become so habituated to it that we barely notice what has transpired, the inherent complexity obscured by attenuation in simple things and services-my phone rings, I take a bus, my money works to buy my bread. That bread was once hard won from our local environs and required a large share of our time or income. Now it is of slight cost, accessible with trivial effort, but requires the integrated dance of complex transport, IT, banking, electric grid infrastructure; factories supplying factories, supplying factories; and the economies of scale and supply-chains that depend upon a globalised world.

    Not only have our dependencies become more and more de-localised and complex, they have also become more dependent on high speed flows of good and services. The real-time flow of deliveries is an integral part of modern production processes. If economic transactions are halted, for example, by a large-scale systemic banking collapse, then trade and supply-chains would be arrested. The longer production systems are halted then the greater the entropic decay as consumables are consumed and systems wear and rust. And the longer the down time and the wider the scale, then the harder it would be to re-boot the economy, and the greater the risk of a terminal systemic collapse in the global economy. If a significant part of the global banking system collapses for anything more than a week, the risks of a terminal supply-chain/ production collapse rises significantly.

    Indeed internationalised production flows are as important for the viability of our complex economy as energy flows, they are two of a number of co-dependent elements that integrate the globalized economy. If spare parts for our national grid could not be replaced due to some supply chain failure, having plenty of fuel may not matter, electricity might not be delivered. And electricity failure would compromise other critical infrastructure such as banking and IT systems, sewage and water.

    The wonder of our globalised economy is that in all this globalised integration and complexity there is no one in control. It emergent property of billions of people, businesses and institutions interacting through infrastructures, cultures and behaviour to create the order of the globalized economy. Like rafters down a white-water river, we do not set the route or the rate, we are tossed and buffeted. We can trim the craft, avoid an obstacle, and if wise ensure we do not tip it over. But the driving dynamic, just like the globalised economy, is riding down an energy gradient.

    Our identification with national or inter-national political economy and the psycho-drama therein obscures our real dependencies. So while national economies may have an individual character, they have no autonomous existence in anything like their present form outside the globalized economy, just as an arm, lung or heart cannot declare independence from the human body. Continuing the analogy, our global economy’s metabolism has become increasingly complex and high speed. The globalised economy is more than the sum of its parts, but without the contributions of each, the whole would be diminished or fatally compromised. Because of this we might say that our local welfare is embedded within a high-speed de-localised fabric of exchange.”

  29. BC on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 8:59 am 


    The Dow Theory proxies above are rolling over again, implying that the current equity market rally is likely to fail at major moving averages and roll over.

    Orders and business sales are clearly recessionary as of late last year and early this year.

    Auto sales financed by subprime auto loans are primarily what is keeping the economy as a whole from rolling over with the energy, production, and transport sectors. Labor hoarding of part-time and contingency positions is also occurring to some extent, keeping firings and jobless claims low, which is not unusual at this point in the cycle.

    What typically occurs is that the perception is that someone hit a switch and growth of orders, sales, and demand inexplicably reversed; it didn’t, of course, as the cyclical change rates give plenty of warning.

  30. GregT on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 9:03 am 

    Mike said: “SOLAR and Wind are GROWING like Rockets.”

    “You just can’t imagine a world without carbon, but, everyone else can.”

    Sorry Mikey,

    It is YOU that can’t imagine a world without carbon. Solar and wind, the entire grid that supports them, and their manufacturing, delivery, and maintenance processes, all require carbon based energy sources. Personally, I CAN imagine a “world without carbon”, it looks very similar to the world that we lived in for many tens of thousands of years, pre-industrial society.

  31. BC on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 9:09 am 

    @Mike616: SOLAR and Wind are GROWING like Rockets. You just can’t imagine a world without carbon, but, everyone else can.

    Sorry, Mike616, growth of wind and solar in the US is decelerating from the peak in the price of oil. Now the oil/commodities cycle is turning negative as it did in 1986 and the early 1960s, suggesting that growth of wind and solar will turn negative in the years ahead with a peak in wind and solar electricity production as a share of total US energy production.

    The falling price of oil with a debt-deflationary regime, no growth of US electricity consumption per capita since the late 1990s, and no growth of real GDP per capita implies growth of solar and wind is done as in the 1990s.

    Yes, I know, the cognitive dissonance: Reject! Reject! This does not compute.

  32. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 9:39 am 

    Rockets go really high really fast, but they burn out really quick and often explode unintentionally.

  33. Rodster on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 10:05 am 

    “The ones who will suffer are the Western wannabees that have some of the toys of the West and want more. They are the fat ones that inhabit the upscale malls in Manila. The Starbucks crowd. But they are a small percentage, not the majority. Many here will not even notice the end of oil or a financial crash.”

    Um, when the expected crash hits it won’t be a crash next time but a collapse which is what Ben Bernanke said in his recent memoirs. A collapse is much different and worse than a crash. In a collapse or SHTF scenario there is the potential for EVERYTHING to come to a HALT and the military steps in to restore order. Good luck with that wherever you are because it could threaten human civilization this time.

    We are too interconnected globally for the worst possible outcomes, not to happen.

  34. joe on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 10:10 am 

    The current markets rally has lasted a couple of years nearly now. QE arguably had only limited impact and that inflation has more or less remained steady. Great news right? Except not. The law of diminishing returns ensures that low wage growth combined with inflation erodes purchasing power, thus even in a low oil price environment demand growth for oil is sluggish. UK growth has stalled and so the only driver of growth is government spending. Or in this case FED spending. The ECB has finally followed USA lead and is creating a new housing bubble right now. Banksters are calling for deregulation again and governments will only oblige. Rates will rise and QE will end in the next Presidential cycle then the sh1t sill hit the fan. But the feelgood factor will be maintained as long as possible.

  35. Davy on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 10:10 am 

    Thanks BC, Greg and I are always harping on the greentopians about their green noise. You comment inserts hard hitting numbers into the discussion. I feel alternative energy is vital for so many reason but let’s not be delusional with its possibilities. Its limitations are significant despite the costs going down and the technology improving.

    On the grid scale I see it as just another attempt to keep the unsustainable sustainable. Large alternative energy developments risk being stranded production if the grid goes unstable. I still prefer alternative energy to fossil fuel or nuclear but at this scale we are still throwing resources at something that could be better spent locally and individually.

    The status quo arrangement is not interested in sustainability it is worried about return on investment and most of the time the shorter the return payback the better. With this understood reality then large alternative energy development is better than the fossil fuel alternative. This is true to a point because we know storage and variability is a factor. Once you go over a certain economy energy penetration point these factor weigh heavily on the economics of alternative energy. You are not going to have these problems ever on the local and individual end user level with stand-alone systems.

    We need localized lifeboat investments by communities and individuals that install alternative energy, energy efficiency upgrades, and altered lifestyles. We can use alternative energy as a bridge energy source at localized levels. It CANNOT support the global status quo. It will not scale in performance nor the most important element of time. This is true because of the size of the energy change-out needed and the resources available. The cost are huge and at a time of a global economy in decline. We are struggling to maintain what we have now how are we going to change out a whole energy delivery system while maintaining the status quo?

    The other issue is technology and human attitudes. People are not ready or interested in alternative energy to the degree that is needed. If we had a 100% renewable economy we would have to drastically change our lifestyles and attitudes. Another issue is population frankly our population is too large for fossil fuels and it is too large for 100% renewables. Population pretty well trumps any and all efforts. It is society’s poison pill.

    My feelings are the most important area to be influenced by alternative energy investment would be our food production. There are so many applications for food production we could make with alternative energy. We are habituated to any kind of food we want today on demand. This is true anywhere in the world if you have the money you can get it. If we go into catastrophic economic decline or we have fuel disruptions our food chain will be compromised. Alternative energy would make our food chain more resilient to economic and fuel shocks. We know here these are on the way. Cornucopian society dismisses and discounts any talk of these dangers. This will be tragic for so many.

    The individual should have a minimum of a small system to run lights and small appliances. Solar hot water is an excellent choice. Alternative energy is a vital addition to farming, emergency services, and individual self-sufficiency. It is not a silver bullet for a society in overshoot. We still have some time to do energy conversions let spend the money wisely. This is a matter of life and death.

  36. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 10:20 am 

    Fancy a bargain? Multi-million-dollar mining machinery sold dirt cheap as industry downturn bites

    Auctioneers are hard at work selling tens of millions of dollars of coal mining machinery for just a fraction of its original market value.

  37. Rodster on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 10:29 am 

    Even Marc Faber who has been quite bullish on China in the past is beginning to realize that he could be very wrong.

  38. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 11:54 am 

    As I have contended for a long time, the future is coal. Even after collapse there will be coal.

    Coal Trumps Solar in India
    Activists hope for a renewable energy future but dirty coal remains cheapest

  39. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 12:46 pm 

    Half of Millennials live at home with parents: The economy still feels like it is in a deep recession for millions of Millennials.

  40. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 12:59 pm 

    MEGACANCER ~ Exploring the pathology of industrial civilization.

    Life’s Compass

    “It won’t come as any surprise to those reading this blog that technological civilization and the ecosystem are incongruent. In short-hand what this means is that they cannot co-exist for long. Again, using high-powered logic, what this means is that either one or the other or both will collapse. The ecosystem has several advantages, being fueled by solar energy and adapted and integrated into existing biospheric chemistry and climatology. The human technological civilization on the other hand is neither adapted nor integrated into the existing relationships and is in the process of upsetting a delicate homeostasis. The cancer of technological civilization has one goal, passing as much material and energy through its metabolism as possible in the shortest period of time possible using a myriad of ever improving tools to accomplish that goal. Eat and grow and shit. Unfortunately there’s only so much for a technological cancer to eat, only so far it can grow and only so much shit it can create before it destroys itself and its parent system. Humans, manning their RNA stations in this cancer want more, always more – more salary,more sales, more jobs, more profits, more entertainment, a bigger house, another car, cheaper gas and naturally they think new high efficiency fracking tools and processes will deliver the goods.”


  41. BC on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 1:11 pm

    The 45-50% average level is $22,000-$27,000.

    The 80% level is ~$62,000.

    90% is ~$87,000-$92,000.

    Top 5% is ~$122,000.

    Top 2% is ~$192,000.

    Top 1% is ~$272,000.

    Fully half of US wage/salary earners receive an income from paid employment of less than $30,000/year, which is no more than $1,800/month after taxes.

    Accelerating automation of paid employment in the 50-80% strata in the next 10-20 years will only exacerbate the conditions for the middle- to upper-income working class.

    At the ongoing trend for working-class earned income, debt, fiscal constraints, etc., there won’t be a mass-consumer economy in the US within a generation.

  42. BC on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 1:35 pm

    Why the Fed won’t raise rates, has maintained ZIRP, and will eventually do NIRP under deflationary conditions.

    But they can’t say this, or reveal it to the money honey chatterers, or cause bedlam in Belgium. 😀

  43. kanon on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 5:22 pm 

    apneaman — “As I have contended for a long time, the future is coal.”

    From Coal Trumps Solar in India:

    “The day the power came was one of celebration. Villagers, rich and poor alike, ate sweets. Then, the wealthy families plugged in energy-inefficient televisions and refrigerators. With the power suddenly facing heavy demand, the batteries drained within hours. When Kumar woke up at 4 a.m. before his farming duties to study, the light bulb did not work.”

    The problem of the “wealthy families” hogging all the electricity will not be solved by coal. IMHO coal is not really that cheap, but it is well subsidized. Also, The Obama administration has attacked India’s solar power efforts. To say “the future is coal” is to say there is really no future since the whole “prosperity” of fossil fuel energy is degrading the environmet.

    The articel goes on to say: “Dharnai is a work in progress, and the microgrid is operating as it was designed, he said.” Every technology will require appropriate behaviors it it is to be workable.

  44. ghung on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 6:44 pm 

    “Then, the wealthy families plugged in energy-inefficient televisions and refrigerators. With the power suddenly facing heavy demand, the batteries drained within hours. When Kumar woke up at 4 a.m. before his farming duties to study, the light bulb did not work.””

    Give each home a couple of panels and their own battery, that behaviour will change. The shared battery system won’t work any better for the group than would a shared checkbook that everyone has equal access to, especially if there’s no metering for each dwelling. Sort of like no one keeping track of who spends what from the checking account.

    Widely distributed alternative energy is capitalism at its finest. Each individual/entity will look after their own best interests (or not) if given the same opportunities.

  45. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 9:03 pm 

    In the future we will shut off the precipatators and scrubbers on coal fired boilers hoping to limit the amount of solar energy coming in while saving money on maintenance. Desperate measures. Folks will be burning coal in stoves and furnaces too. Anything flammable, anything to keep from freezing to death.

  46. makati1 on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 10:21 pm 

    Ap, you are correct, but I think that wood will be the fuel most available. The energy cost to mine coal these days is reaching the break even point and the heating quality of coal is also going down. It is not much better than wood. Those in Canada may last a few years longer then Americans because your forests are larger per capita, but, unless global warming brings a Florida climate to Ottawa, that forest will not last. Am I wrong?

  47. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 10:51 pm 

    Coal will be mined by human power – still is in India and a few other places. Canadian forests are being ravaged by bugs, fires and pollution – they won’t last. They will go really fast if that is all that is available. It was a number of years ago when the pine beetle jumped the Canadian Rockies. They’re headed for the great Boreal forest.

    Drought-stricken forests in B.C., Alberta face new threat from insects

  48. apneaman on Wed, 28th Oct 2015 11:21 pm 

    A World Where Heat Haunts Us — 2015 May See Worst El Nino Ever as Global Temperatures Rocket Past 1 C Mark

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