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Heinberg: Goodbye Administrative State, Hello Community Resilience

Public Policy

White House strategist Steve Bannon’s project for the “deconstruction of the administrative state” appears to be out of the starting blocks and well on its way toward a glorious victory lap. Using executive orders and other directives, President Trump has so far:

  • Curbed several of President Obama’s climate regulations, notably the Clean Power Plan to move America away from coal dependency.
  • Ordered a review of tougher U.S. vehicle fuel-efficiency standards put in place by the previous administration.
  • Directed the Treasury secretary to review the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law.
  • Instructed the Labor Department to delay implementing an Obama rule requiring financial professionals who are giving advice on retirement—and who charge commissions—to put their client’s interests first.
  • Instructed agencies that for every new regulation introduced, two existing ones need to be abolished.
  • Required every agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate regulations and recommend rules for repeal or modification.
  • Revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
  • Imposed a hiring freeze for federal government workers (excluding the military) as a way to shrink the size of government.
  • Directed federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of Obamacare.

But that’s not all. The president has nominated officials who clearly intend to gut the agencies over which they will preside (notably Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education, Scott Pruitt at EPA, Alexander Acosta at Labor, and Rick Perry at Energy). And he has submitted a proposed budget that would dramatically cut funding for every department other than the military. Environmental, worker, financial, and consumer regulations are about to disappear by the batch, bale, and bushel. While the Reagan and Bush II administrations sought to aggressively weed out unwanted federal rules, Trump appears to be taking a flamethrower to the entire garden patch.

It is all happening so quickly that it’s difficult to mentally process the implications. By itself, the repeal of the Clean Power Plan is momentous: it effectively cedes U.S. leadership on international efforts to combat climate change (as if to dispel any doubt on the matter, Trump is considering withdrawing from the Paris climate accord). Two decades of work by climate activists have crumbled with the stroke of a pen. Some environmentalists have put on a brave face, pointing out that efforts by states like California to promote solar and wind power won’t be affected. But the current national build-out rate of renewable energy generation capacity is only about a tenth what would be required to produce the amount of energy needed, in the time required, to avert some combination of catastrophic climate change and economic disaster (and that’s if wind and solar technologies are even capable of powering a consumer economy on the scale of the U.S.; as of now, they probably aren’t). Obama’s efforts probably constituted a step in the right direction, but they were far from sufficient. Now even that tentative momentum has been broken, and it will be years before the nation can win back a similar level of federal effort to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. But climate change won’t wait; we really don’t have four or eight more years to waste.

The implications for education, health care, labor, and financial regulation are just as dire on their own terms, even if they don’t threaten global catastrophe.

Maybe it would be helpful to step back a minute and recall why the administrative state came into being in the first place. In the year 1900 it barely existed: there were no U.S. Departments of Labor (established in 1913), Health and Human Services (1953), Housing and Urban Development (1965), Energy (1977), or Education (1979); nor was there an Environmental Protection Agency (established in 1970). Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance hadn’t appeared yet; neither had the federal income tax. The role of the national government was far more limited in those days: its main duties were to conduct foreign policy and wage war, manage federal lands, regulate interstate and foreign trade, and make and enforce national laws—most of which had to do with property rights. The national budget represented about 5 percent of GDP (today the figure is about 21 percent).

In many ways, this was the Golden Age of free-market capitalism. At the time, however, it was gradually dawning on a lot of people that unrestrained industrial commerce was creating side effects that might increasingly drag down the further expansion of the system. As Karl Marx had observed, capitalism was generating greater economic inequality—a trend that meant the poor would eventually become so numerous and disgruntled as to revolt (as soon happened in Russia); it likewise meant that an ever-larger portion of the populace would be unable to afford factory-made goods, and the resulting decline in the customer base could ultimately lead to the bankrupting of factory owners. Meanwhile it was also becoming apparent that environmental pollution could so imperil the health of workers as to impose serious costs on the owners and managers of industry (as Chinese leaders have recently discovered)—not to mention workers and their families. Economists coined a useful term to describe these kinds of impacts on society: externalities, which are defined as consequences of an industrial or commercial activity that affect other parties without being reflected in the price of the goods or services sold. Without some kind of regulation and reform to either reduce externalities or force industry to pay for them, capitalism would eventually drown in its own effluent. Since industry was incapable of managing externalities on its own, it was up to government to do the job.

At the same time, the industrialization of agriculture was sending a growing stream of people from farms to cities. And employers needed a mobile work force able to supply labor when and where the market demanded it. The result was that ever more people became dependent on wages and markets to supply all the supports and goods that formerly sprang from farm and family. But wages and markets were fickle. During the miserable years of the Great Depression, the government began stepping in to guarantee more of what land-based traditional communities used to provide, if imperfectly: support in old age and during hard times. Entitlements in the forms of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and veterans’ programs eventually formed a new social safety net.

Regulations imposed costs of compliance on industry. And providing entitlement programs was expensive, so paying for them required higher taxes. The result was a bigger, more complex government. The notion of big government has always irked some, particularly wealthy industrialists who don’t want to shoulder the burden of their own externalities. Over the past few decades, industrialists and financiers funded a network of think tanks and lobbyists to push for fewer regulations or ones designed to favor particular industries or companies; to the same end, they also funded the election campaigns of thousands of business-friendly candidates for state and national office across the country. Meanwhile, labor unions, public interest groups, and environmental organizations stitched together a countervailing web of institutions to lobby for regulations.

Given the obvious benefits of environmental and worker protections and entitlements, one might think there would be near-universal support for them among the general working public. With regard to entitlements that’s mostly the case; indeed, the faux-populist presidential candidate Trump repeatedly promised not to touch Social Security or Medicare. However, the industrialists who funded anti-regulation think tanks also bankrolled a decades-long public relations effort to convince Americans that regulation is their enemy—it takes away freedom, costs them money in taxes, and kills jobs. The hard-core free-marketers also hate entitlements and have always wanted to privatize Social Security, but this view has been much tougher to transplant to Main Street America.

With the advent of Trump, decades of patient anti-regulatory persuasion bore fruit. The candidate appealed to voters who wanted more and better jobs and who had come to scorn a Washington bureaucracy that was increasingly complex, distant, and corrupt. Trump convinced his constituents that slashing regulations and reining in the bureaucracy would give more power to ordinary folks, but of course most of the benefits will accrue to big businesses, which have much more interest in automation than in job creation. A prime example is Trump’s de-regulation of the coal industry, advertised as a way to bring back thousands of jobs. In reality, the U.S. coal industry was on the skids long before Obama’s Clean Power Plan came along, and more coal jobs have been lost to automation than to government interference. But few of the working people who voted for Trump are interested in those facts, nor will they keep score on how many new jobs actually appear as a result of the president’s actions. By now the nation’s political polarization has proceeded so far that seeing hated liberals get their comeuppance is satisfaction enough for Trump voters, even if the bargain entails breathing dirtier air, drinking polluted water, and getting taken in by financial scams.

Meanwhile the wholesale destruction of federal rules and regulations is a truly catastrophic development both for the uncounted throngs of people in social movements, NGOs, and unions who have worked for decades to craft or advocate for polices to temper the capitalist industrial system, and for the people and ecosystems they sought to protect. The one thing the social movement and environmental activists and Trump can probably agree on is that it is far easier and quicker to destroy systems than it is to build or rebuild them.

*          *          *

So far, this tale of the administrative state’s gradual construction and rapid demise should be fairly transparent to students of U.S. political, social, and economic history. But there is a deeper layer to the story that few understand. The spectacular growth of the American economy during the twentieth century was almost entirely due to the one-time-only harvesting of extraordinarily bountiful energy resources in the forms of oil, coal, and natural gas. Cheap, abundant, concentrated fuels made many things possible: the industrialization of agriculture, and hence the growth of the middle class; the revolutions in transport resulting from automobiles and aviation; the powering of assembly lines and the automation of resource extraction and industrial production; and the electrification of the country, bringing extraordinarily diverse energy services literally within reach of everyone.

These fuels were extracted from Earth’s crust using the low-hanging fruit principle, meaning that the highest-quality and cheapest-to-access resources were targeted first. After more than a century of ever-rising extraction rates, the best of the world’s petroleum—the most important of the fossil fuels—has been burned once and for all time. The costs of oil production are rising fast (over 10 percent per year over the past decade) while the ability of customers to pay for gasoline is not. Therefore the price of oil these days is always either too low to yield profits for producers, or too high to enable further expansion of the overall economy. The oil industry has tried to paper over this gaping conundrum with a massive increase in debt.

Debt has proliferated throughout the rest of society too. With rapid GDP growth during the last century, institutions arose that depended on further growth. Debt was a way of monetizing optimistic expectations: consume now, pay later. Today, government debt, corporate debt, and household debt have reached staggering levels never before seen. Meanwhile, averaged real economic growth has been slowing for the past two or three decades, and I’m among a growing number of observers who argue that the twentieth-century era of growth is rapidly coming to an end.


It’s helpful to view these trends in comparative perspective, looking at the histories and trajectories of other societies that have grown to heights of wealth and sophistication. Perhaps the most useful work on the subject is Joseph Tainter’s classic The Collapse of Complex Societies (1988), which explores the relationship between energy and societal complexity. According to Tainter, societies solve problems with complexity, but complexity costs energy. Eventually returns on investments in complexity begin to erode and may even turn negative (more complexity actually makes problems worse). At that point societies begin to collapse, shedding complexity until they reach a level of functioning that can be sustained with still-available energy and resources.

The gutting of the administrative state can perhaps be seen as a reduction of systemic complexity. Should we regard the Trump slash-and-burn attack on government as a sign of collapse, or a strategy to postpone it?

Let’s think through the implications of the latter view. Suppose for a moment that Trump and his advisers are either directly familiar with Tainter’s work, or merely have an intuitive grasp of the principles that Tainter identified. Just about everyone agrees that the federal government is too bureaucratic and wasteful. (A small but telling example is the government’s procurement website,, which cost almost $200M to build and is hugely buggy.) Maybe Trump and Bannon believe that the United States is in crisis and the only way to preserve the system is to shed a few of its layers of complexity. Their hypothetical conclusion actually makes sense up to a point—but then one has to address the question of which layers of complexity are best discarded. As we have seen, the administrative state was built in order to solve real and imminent problems. Take it away and those social and environmental problems will bite with a vengeance. After all, they have been held at bay only marginally. We did a reasonable job of reducing smog in Los Angeles and keeping the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland from continuing to catch fire, but climate change, ocean acidification, and soil degradation are much bigger threats that we’ve barely touched. Plus, economic inequality is now back to 1900-era levels, even with a raft of entitlements in place. Simplifying the system according to the Trump formula might not be so smart, and the effort will certainly not go uncontested.

That’s because there are plenty of people who believe we need more of an administrative state. Social movements, environmental NGOs, and what’s left of the labor unions are pushing for universal health care, stronger climate regulations (such as a carbon tax), and perhaps even a universal guaranteed income. These, after all, were the sorts of programs that at least partially solved a range of problems during the growth phase of the American industrial system, and that in stronger forms work well in other countries (of which Norway is now the happiest). As social and environmental problems proliferate, what else are we to do? Further, a good argument can be made that at least some regulatory and entitlement programs do not really add much complexity: indeed, a single-payer health care system might actually be significantly simpler than America’s current byzantine web of insurers, providers, policies, and deductibles.

Are there other, better opportunities for reducing societal complexity? Maybe it would make more sense to seek simplification in the areas of the system that most threaten its overall stability. Two obvious candidates are the financial sector and the energy system. For the past four decades, America’s financial system has grown faster than any other segment of its economy—by piling on debt. And as we’ve seen, debt levels are now unsustainable. Previous societies have been able to extricate themselves from similar dilemmas in only one way—by forgiving debt, cancelling it, and repudiating it on a large scale. This will eventually happen, quite literally by default, one way or another; why not get ahead of the curve by managing a financial collapse? If it were managed really, really well, perhaps it might not even feel like a collapse.

Similarly, with regard to the nation’s energy system, business-as-usual is a pathway to guaranteed crisis, and the only sensible (though admittedly difficult) way forward is to begin dramatically reducing energy production and consumption. Doing so is the main realistic pathway (along with reforestation and agricultural reform to store carbon in trees and soils) to dealing with the climate crisis, which is truly an existential threat. I say this having spent a year researching and co-authoring a book (Our Renewable Future, with David Fridley, 2016) on the prospects for fully transitioning society to run on renewable electricity; the short of it is that, even if well-funded, such a transition would still probably require us to use a lot less energy. Yes, using substantially less energy would reverse economic growth. But growth is ending anyway: we need to restructure the economy so it can provide what we really need (food, basic services) without the expectation of continual expansion. Maybe one way to do this would be to heavily tax carbon-based energy and use the money to provide more of a basic social safety net so that the human impacts of economic shrinkage could be minimized. I have made more suggestions along these lines in another book (The End of Growth, 2011). It would also help to incentivize smaller families; that way per-capita energy would not have to fall as quickly as total national energy usage.

Of course, none of these things is happening now, and won’t until the Trump administration is history and crisis (perhaps in the form of another financial crash) returns, forcing us all to question the status quo and requiring us to make heroic sacrifices and engage in a concerted effort to redesign and repair our societal systems.

All of this reasoning leads me to conclude that the Trump attack on the administrative state is more a sign of collapse than a serious (or well thought out) effort to push back against it.

If our national political-economic system is crumbling, and if the folks currently in charge of it have no reasonable plan for preventing it from disintegrating further, then many problem solvers are perhaps better off shifting their attention to local (and therefore often insufficient) efforts to deal with problems like climate change, economic inequality, and financial fragility—even though city, county, and state policies along those lines might be subject to pre-emption at the federal level (a good indicator in this regard will be the Trump administration’s response to California’s determination to maintain high vehicle fuel efficiency standards). There’s a silver lining here: localism is one of the most-discussed solutions to the over-complexity of our system, and most people are supportive of the notion of stronger, more self-reliant, and more resilient communities. The downside is that not all localities will be equally proactive or successful in their efforts to build community resilience.

Whether Donald Trump is somehow turfed out of office soon, or remains in place for the next few years to make an even deeper mark on history, we’re nevertheless seeing a fundamental turning point in the evolution of the American system of governance. Though this is likely a transitional moment and not a persistent “new normal,” the Trumpist jihad to eliminate the administrative state still marks the end of the period in which all of us grew to maturity. We’re in a new era, like it or not.

Helping Forests Migrate

A few weeks ago I had coffee with Connie Barlow, an author of popular science books (including The Ghosts of Evolution, 2002), as she and her partner Michael Dowd stopped in Santa Rosa en route southward. Among other things, we talked about the human-assisted migration of trees in response to climate change. I didn’t know much about the topic before, but have done a little reading recently at Connie’s behest, and the subject seems worth exploring in an essay.

Here, in short, is the argument for helping forests migrate:

  1. Trees and forests are important. Trees are vital to most terrestrial ecosystems, they hold soil and water, they produce oxygen, and they are key to the future survival of humans.
  2. Climate change is leading to shifts in rainfall and climate zones, resulting in threats to many important tree species in their current growing ranges.
  3. Unlike many other organisms, trees can’t move very quickly. If we figure a 30-year average generation time from seeding to reproduction, and an annual seed dispersal and fertilization range of a few miles at most (much less than a mile in most cases), then forests can migrate only a few miles per decade at best. But many climate zones are moving faster than that, putting forests and in some cases entire tree species at risk. (Topography is important: forests growing on mountainsides can often migrate to a new climate zone just by shifting a relatively short distance uphill; for flatland forests, that’s not an option. Geography is important too: some forests exist as islands in a sea of roads, buildings, and other impassable human infrastructure, making unassisted migration nearly impossible.)
  4. Assisted migration is feasible. What’s required are a rough idea of what the climate is likely to be in 30-60 years, and the human and economic resources needed to plant a large number of trees of a selected species in a region where future conditions will be to its liking.

The idea of assisted migration has been around for a while now. Carl Zimmer wrote a key article on the subject (addressing not just trees but other species as well) in the New York Times in 2007; as he noted, the subject is not without controversy. Old-line conservationists have argued against assisted migration, using arguments that I mostly agree with. Such efforts could take time, resources, and attention away from climate change mitigation and the conservation of remaining wilderness areas. Further, climatologists and conservationists can only make rough predictions about future habitats and future relationships among species within those changed habitats. The unknowns are staggering. Humanity has already sown havoc in ecosystems worldwide by deliberately or inadvertently introducing non-native species. Might well-intended efforts to save endangered forests through assisted migration end up creating as many problems as the similarly well-intended introduction of cane toads into Australia?

Further, for me the idea has some unpleasant associations. Emma Marris discussed assisted migration approvingly in her 2011 book Rambunctious Garden; she is sometimes characterized as an eco-modernist (other eco-modernists—also sometimes called eco-pragmatists or “bright greens”—include British author Mark Lynas along with Ted Nordhaus and Michael Schellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute). Marris and the eco-modernists have been opposed by critics such as conservation biologist E. O. Wilson, who are skeptical of claims that the continued growth of human numbers and consumption rates is compatible with the survival of natural systems. I was present at a debate between Marris and Wilson at the Aspen Environment Forum in 2012 (I publicly debated Lynas at the same gathering); in my view, Wilson made by far the stronger case, arguing that the world’s last wild places really do require and deserve extraordinary defense (to Marris, everyplace is nature, including the shopping mall, so what’s the big deal?). “Where do you plant that white flag you’re carrying?”, he famously asked Marris. In their 2015 manifesto, 18 self-professed eco-modernists wrote, “. . . we affirm one long-standing environmental ideal, that humanity must shrink its impacts on the environment to make more room for nature, while we reject another, that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse.” I firmly believe that second long-standing ideal, rejected by the eco-modernists, is cast aside at our enormous collective peril.

Nevertheless, without acceding to the overarching eco-modernist views of Lynas, Nordhaus, Schellenberger, and Marris, who care little about preserving whatever bits of pristine wilderness are left, I have to agree that the case for helping forests migrate is persuasive. And it appears that many if not most conservationists are coming to the same conclusion. Indeed, the pushback from traditional conservationists is subsiding as the grim reality of climate change asserts itself. The debate about assisted migration of species seems to have peaked in the years 2006-2014 (an article in Orion in 2008 summarized the arguments well). Today, assisted migration is widely discussed in forest conservation plans as a key component of “climate adaptation.” Public and private forestry professionals routinely forecast how the ranges of native tree species will shift, and plan accordingly. Assisted migration efforts are well underway in the forests of Alaska and western Canada. (Here is Connie Barlow’s information page on the subject, where you can find just about any imaginable resource.)

Reading the arguments as they evolved among conservationists over the past decade or two is sobering, frightening, and occasionally heart-rending. One realizes just how much is at stake, how much has already been lost, how much is at risk over the short term, and how much more over the long term. The essential motive of wild lands conservation was and is to keep relatively undisturbed areas away from human interference so that native species can persist in their myriad diversity, and so that evolution can continue to do its slow, transformative work. The fact that many conservationists are now contemplating or actively involved in assisted migration programs should tell us just how dire the climate crisis is.

The impact of climate change on forests is already staggering. Forest fires, pests, disease, and drought connected in some way with greater weather extremes and shifting rainfall and temperature patterns are decimating forests in North America, South America, Siberia, and Australia. And those impacts are projected to intensify dramatically in the next decades. Here is the EPA page on climate change impacts on forests (read it while it’s still there!).

Tens of thousands of people work in conservation in the U.S. alone—from employees of the Department of Interior to regional and local conservation officials and employees, to conservation biologists employed by industry. Their various philosophical and practical approaches have been subsumed under rubrics such as reservation ecology, restoration ecology, resilience ecology, and reconciliation ecology. Just about everyone agrees that the challenges are growing rapidly, and that one of the worst of these is the ethical dilemma of whether, when, and how to interfere with nature in order to mitigate the effects of past human interference.

E.O. Wilson has proposed the sensible strategy of setting aside half of Earth for the maintenance of biodiversity. Given large areas in which to maintain sufficient population sizes, and corridors for migration, it is likely that many species would be able to respond to a changing climate through adaptation, competition, and migration. But even Wilson’s “Half Earth” solution, bold as it is, might fail to save most of the planet’s forests. And without forests, innumerable other species would perish as well. The only way to save the forests now is to intervene, despite all the myriad risks that human intervention entails.

It seems almost silly to be discussing Wilson’s brave proposal in the context of new Trumpian political realities. The EPA will soon be a shadow of its former self, discussion of climate change will have been expunged from government web pages, and federal conservation work will be at least partly defunded, with whole programs disappearing. That means if assisted migration is to occur in the United States, it will depend largely on the action of private forestry companies and scientist-led citizen groups—backyard gardeners, state-supported botanical gardens, urban tree planters, and guerilla tree planting operations.

In a short 2004 video, Connie Barlow explains the rationale for helping an endangered conifer tree, Florida Torreya (Torreya taxifolia) recover from otherwise certain extinction. Connie coordinated the formation of Torreya Guardians, an organization that has legally planted nursery-grown seedlings of Torreya taxifolia in two forested plots of private land in the mountains of North Carolina. This is, of course, only a token example of the efforts that would be required in order to make a significant difference in the survival of North American tree species.

In addition to movements of resistance (against oil pipelines, among other things), there is also increasing need for citizen movements of preservation and conservation. A century from now, looking backward, which will have had greatest positive impact? Your guess is as good as mine.

44 Comments on "Heinberg: Goodbye Administrative State, Hello Community Resilience"

  1. onlooker on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 4:29 pm 

    Yes for all of us alive, for what remains of our lives, we cannot count on Govt. or the State to do positive things for us. We must do them ourselves

  2. penury on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 4:31 pm 

    I am sorry the Ds did not win, I wonder how long it will take these people to recover?

  3. makati1 on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 5:49 pm 

    Just another article about unicorns and ‘what ifs’. Humans have chosen the path to our short future. There will not be any significant efforts made to change anything. The world we once knew is gone, history, over forever. The best we can do is try to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I do not see any humans still around in 100 years to “look back” as he suggests in his last sentence. None.

  4. Apneaman on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 9:10 pm 

    Resilience is being pushed as I write. We are just going to have to wait and see when it breaks. It will break. The new planetary physics alone will do it.

    Record rainfall across New Zealand after country battered by wild weather

    It has been the wettest start to a year on record for several locations around New Zealand

    New Zealand – isn’t that where a bunch of those rich parasite fucks bought their luxury bugouts? Baha. Gonna learn the hard way there is NOWHERE to run to NOWHERE to hide. Once the shit hits down there I expect those Maori’s, who have preserved their warrior tradition, to come out of the bush and club those pussies to death or maybe enslave them. Take all their shit.

    Think I’m exaggerating? Hell they even psycho at weddings.

  5. Apneaman on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 9:25 pm 

    March set a remarkable new record for global warming, NOAA reports

    First time any month was more than 1.8°F warmer than normal “in the absence of an El Niño episode.”

  6. Boat on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 10:03 pm 

    The good news is solar and wind will continue to dominate new growth and eat at coals market share. Now if Trump attacks immigration like he promised the US will slow population growth. The impact of electric cars will become finally start making some noise in 5 years as the price of batteries drop and many new models will be available, including semis and pickup trucks.

  7. GregT on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 10:17 pm 


    From the other article that you commented on 20 minutes ago;

    “Recall everything we just saw at the New York Auto Show. The gas-burning Dodge Demon and SUVs and crossovers that extended as far as the eye could see. Countless automakers are either ramping up SUV and crossover production or introducing new, large-sized models. Because that’s what people are into buying right now.

    If you need further proof, just look at the rise and fall of Prius sales.”

    More ignorance on your part Kevin. La la la la la, I can’t hear you………

  8. Apneaman on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 10:20 pm 

    Boat, can solar and wind replace the transportation -air, land & sea- emissions? No. Can solar and wind stop the few dozen positive feedback loops underway? No. Can solar and wind halt the mass extinction underway? No. The only possible hope this species has, and it’s a slight one at that, is if they cull at least 7 billion of the 7.5 billion and have the rest devote their lives to repairing the biosphere. You just don’t get it dude. Probably better for you that way.

  9. GregT on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 10:23 pm 

    Boat is also obviously completely oblivious to what will happen if or when we ever stop burning coal.

  10. Boat on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 10:45 pm 


    It’s completely silly to think there will be a culling of 7 billion people. However climate change will cull and displace however many it takes until a balance is reached. Obviously an electric society will support more humans than a FF society. So why not cheer more survivors. In this new smaller populated world there will be less humans and less FF burned.
    100 years from now FF may be 20 percent of the mix, who knows, we’ll be long dead. But solar and wind will rule along with electric trains, cars trucks, home heating, etc.

  11. Boat on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 11:00 pm 

    When climate gets to where it kills say 50 million a year and the world’s coastal cities are being shut down there will be a sea change in survival instinct. Less babies, huge push towards weaning of of FF and a general realization of the need for sustainablity. Even politicians will be able to run on no immigration and food sanctions for overpopulated countries. Total doom, no way. Humans are just to resilient . If your a country that uses coal, you may be attacked. Lol

  12. GregT on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 11:06 pm 

    “Obviously an electric society will support more humans than a FF society.”

    Electricity is a byproduct of fossil fuels Boat, and no, electricity will not support more people than fossil fuels do. We currently have both, and alternate electric power generation will never replace more than a fraction of the electricity currently generated with fossil fuels.

    “100 years from now FF may be 20 percent of the mix, who knows, we’ll be long dead.”

    It is highly likely that there won’t be any humans left to burn FF well within a 100 year timeframe. Also highly likely that life will become extremely problematic within your natural lifetime.

  13. GregT on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 11:13 pm 

    “When climate gets to where it kills say 50 million a year and the world’s coastal cities are being shut down there will be a sea change in survival instinct.”

    It will be far too late to stop a global mass extinction event long before it ever gets to that point. There is about a 30 year lag time between CO2 accumulations and GMT rise. Not that it really matters anymore anyways, what’s happening already in the Arctic, isn’t going to stay in the Arctic. Tipping points have already been reached. There is a very good reason why runaway climate change is referred to as catastrophic.

    Catastrophic bad, Boat.

  14. Boat on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 11:34 pm 


    I understood the lag to last as long as 40 years. Once the world gets serious about sustainable think once again how many people could die with little impact on productivity. Someday there will be no cash. Everything will be online. Amazon is changing how we shop. If insurance companies had their own repair shops, no need for their building infrastructure. Government flat tax, no need for tax companies. Etc. a huge amount of today’s jobs are not needed along with the accompanying infrastructure. When climate change pushes survival and takes out chunks of humans the world will change quickly. Who will be the least prepared to make these changes? The less educated, less tech oriented, inefficient countries. In the US where would the coast move? The land of nat gas and wind. Texas, Kansas, S Dekota, N Dekota etc. Largly unpopulated areas where the wind is.

  15. GregT on Wed, 19th Apr 2017 11:50 pm 

    “I understood the lag to last as long as 40 years.”

    Still up for debate, but the consensus is around 30 years. If it is indeed 40 years, that would make our situation even more dire.

    “Once the world gets serious about sustainable”

    It is generally agreed that sustainable human population numbers are somewhere between about 500 million, and 1.5 billion people. In order to get ‘serious about sustainable’ we would need to cull
    somewhere between 6 and 7 billion people. The remaining people would need to spend their entire lifetimes working to repair the damage inflicted on the planet over the last few hundred years of modern industrialism.

    Like Apneaman said above; you just don’t get it.

  16. Cloggie on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 5:29 am 

    The titanic failure aka Richard Heinberg has quietly dropped his sensationalist 2005 “peak oil” message, implying that industrialism was about to collapse and that by 2015 it was game over for industrial society.

    The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.


    Even Alex Jones is less sensationalist than this low hanging fruit cake.

    If there is one thing I have learned from the Heinberg drama is never to trust laymen about issues of a technical/technological nature.

    What Heinberg did was wishful thinking. He had enough of industrial society and began to predict its demise in the hope that it would become a self-full-filling prophecy.

    His whole message is obsolete and has created a lost generation of nihilistic doomers and end-times fantasists, who dug themselves so deep in a hole that for them there is no escape from their own past imprudence by embracing the unfounded idiocy of this liberal loon.

    All the chances are that a more or less smooth transition towards renewable energy in the next 2-4 decades is very well possible after all and that new energy sources have enough net energy. With a little luck the effects of climate change can be limited hand in hand with the energy transition.

  17. Cloggie on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 5:52 am 

    The Talmud Apneafreak claims: The only possible hope this species has, and it’s a slight one at that, is if they cull at least 7 billion of the 7.5 billion and have the rest devote their lives to repairing the biosphere.

    I had to look up what “cull” means…

    Dutch: “ruiming”

    Culling is sometimes used as a term to describe indiscriminate killing within one particular species which can be due to a range of reasons

    Just like that. Our genocidal idiot from BC at large again. First wanted to shoot Trump voters (“first shoot, than ask”). Now wants to organize 1000 holocausts and this time for real.

    Having said that, if Apneasnot will volunteer to give the good example, nobody is going to stop him making the world a better place. If we can be of any help, give us a call, Apneasnot.

  18. Davy on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 6:20 am 

    “Culling is sometimes used as a term to describe indiscriminate killing within one particular species which can be due to a range of reasons”

    Culling can be used as a way to express a natural processes of indiscriminate killing of all species and the many reasons can be due to one reason of ecosystem collapse. Clog, you can explain away human culling but have fun talking down nature.

  19. AFDF on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 7:02 am 

    The goal of agriculture is not the permaculture scam since there’s nothing permanent about nature and nothing that can withstand in face of nature’s onslaught. For example, water will find its way through and destroy everything.

    Nature is infinitely complex while manufacturing is a human domain and has a set of limited parameters. Therefore the goal of agriculture must be to turn it into manufacturing. Agriculture is already largely manufacturing employing mechanization, industrial scale farming, high tech management.

    The problem with current practice is intensive consumption of energy. We should focus on making it less destructive to the environment less energy intensive.

    Learn to work with nature the way Viktor Schauberger studied water. For example, if Oroville engineers knew of Schauberger they would’d made the spillway gradually widen since there’s more energy in the water downstream.

  20. AFDF on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 7:08 am 

    Don’t talk about culling or that sort of stuff since the problem becomes who to cull, and inevitably YOU wouldn’t be on the cull list. Also, YOU are not doing the culling either.

    According to my very conservative (as in perv Bill O’reilly and Tom Cruise only straight sex) estimate, our renewable solar energy is 60 times our current fossil sources. My simple neuronal abacus algebra tells me to multiply that by the current 7 billion people.

  21. onlooker on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 7:32 am 

    AFDF, not talking about culling will NOT stop it from happening. Nature will be doing the culling whether any of us like it or not

  22. Ghung on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 9:16 am 

    Cloggo, on Heinberg; “His whole message is obsolete and has created a lost generation of nihilistic doomers and end-times fantasists, who dug themselves so deep in a hole that for them there is no escape from their own past imprudence by embracing the unfounded idiocy of this liberal loon.

    All the chances are that a more or less smooth transition towards renewable energy in the next 2-4 decades is very well possible after all and that new energy sources have enough net energy.”

    Cloggo totally skips the part where it was “loons” like Heinberg who inspired thousands to begin that renewable transition, the ones who took a chance and proved to many naysayers that it could be done,, at least on certain scales. That seed was planted in the 60s/70s, and those folks were called “loons” as well.
    I began our transition in 1996 well before the whole peak oil/peak everything became more mainstream, mainly because the loons were making crazy talk about how humans couldn’t keep going down the industrial age path without major consequences. It was people like me, inspired by people like Heinberg, that were the drivers of the ‘renewable revolution’ you like to tout so much.

    That said, it is also people like me that will tell you that your optimism is unrealistic in light of the deeply systemic predicaments we face. What you view as a new age of enlightenment powered by renewables will be, at best, an age of triage where those who have adapted early stand the best chance of getting through the coming bottleneck. Whatever transition you envision will certainly run smack into the realization that we are quickly running out of planet to exploit.

    And if/when humanity turns on itself in a global (nuclear) way, all bets are off. Meanwhile, billions of tonnes of carbon are still being pumped into our atmosphere every year, while billions of tonnes of useless goods, soon destined for landfills, are still crossing our dying oceans even as our political checks-and-balances continue to become more dysfunctional and impotent.

    Let me know when we’ve actually changed our collective behavior in any truly significant way.

  23. Sissyfuss on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 10:16 am 

    An excellent summation, Ghung though its prescience will bounce off Clognosous’ cranium like sunlight skipping off a dung beetles excrement.

  24. GregT on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 11:20 am 


    What part of:

    “The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.”

    Are you having problems with?

    Crude oil prices climbed relentlessly from $16.91/bbl in Nov 98, to $155.92/bbl in Jun 08. They are now at $50.57/bbl. No longer cheap. The consequences of which are rather difficult to ignore. If oil was still selling at ~$20/bbl, alternate energy would not be cost effective. With oil at $50/bbl there is constant talk of a glut of oil holding prices down. That glut is of the oily stuff that came online when prices were north of $100/bbl, and much of it is not profitable in this environment, and not affordable to our economies. Can you think of anyone who would benefit from even higher oil prices other than oil producers, shareholders, or alternate energy companies themselves?

    We HAVE entered into a new era. One of economic stagnation, central bank intervention, exponentially growing levels of debt, political and societal unrest, and a rapidly expanding divide between the rich and the poor. As time goes on there will be less net energy available to society at prices that are affordable. Collapse is inevitable, which even you have conceded. Collapse is a process, and that process is now well underway and will gain momentum as time goes on.

  25. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 12:43 pm 

    Hair clog, still having problems with word definitions and hanging inaccurate labels on folks. The average Heinburg follower is neither nihilistic nor a doomer. I think you use these labels for anytime you read something that disturbs you. Anything or one that clashes with your fantasy, and often contradictory, worldview. Blindly lashing out.You need a catchall label like Christians invented, like, “unnatural” for all the things and people you don’t like, but don’t know how to accurately explain why. It will still make you look stupid, but not as stupid as consistently hanging the wrong labels on folks – major fucking dumb.

    “Definition of nihilism

    1-a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless
    Nihilism is a condition in which all ultimate values lose their value. — Ronald H. Nash

    b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths

    2-a : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility

    b capitalized : the program of a 19th century Russian party advocating revolutionary reform and using terrorism and assassination”

    The definition of Doomer can mean many things to many people and is just another version/label of “unnatural” conjured up by hopey humans who can’t stand the truth. It’s a ad hom.

    death, destruction, or some other terrible fate.
    “the aircraft was sent crashing to its doom in the water”
    synonyms: destruction, downfall, ruin, ruination;”

    “Definition of doomer
    plural -s
    archaic : one that pronounces sentence
    : a prognosticator of doom”

    See, technically speaking any doctor who gives you a diagnosis of terminal cancer can be labeled a doomer.

    Now on the other hand there is no shortage of research supporting the claim that most of the humans, including you, are all but useless at predicting, spotting and acknowledging serious risks to themselves and society at large. The optimism bias run wild.

    How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality

    You can see the pattern in history by the trail of dead civilizations leading up to us.

  26. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 2:51 pm 

    Predicaments Lack Solutions

    “As “the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise,” I’m fed up with ridiculous “solutions.” Climate change is a predicament, not a problem. If there were a solution, I believe the people pulling the levers of industry would know about it. I don’t believe they enjoy the prospect of human extinction.

    Civilization is responsible for life-destroying, abrupt climate change. Turning off civilization kills us all faster. If this seems like a Catch-22, you’ve got it figured out.

    I’m not suggesting that correctly identifying the predicament leads to a solution. It doesn’t. Predicaments don’t have solutions.”

  27. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 3:27 pm 

    Another milestone for the Cancer.

    Daily CO2

    ALL TIME HIGH >> April 18, 2017: 410.28 ppm

    April 18, 2016: 407.80 ppm

    March CO2

    March 2017: 407.05 ppm

    March 2016: 404.86 ppm

  28. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Apr 2017 9:17 pm 

    Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse

    Climate change is altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for viruses like Zika.

    “The outbreak began so slowly that no one in Dallas perceived it at first. In June 2012, a trickle of people began showing up in emergency rooms broiling with fever, complaining that their necks were stiff and that bright lights hurt their eyes. The numbers were initially small; but by the middle of July, there were more than 50 victims each week, slumping in doctors’ offices or carried into hospitals comatose or paralyzed from inflammation in their brains. In early August, after nine people died, Dallas County declared a state of emergency: It was caught in an epidemic of what turned out to be West Nile virus, the worst ever experienced by a city in the United States. By the end of the year, 1,162 people had tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus; 216 had become sick enough to be hospitalized; and 19 were dead.”

  29. Cloggie on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 2:15 am 

    I began our transition in 1996 well before the whole peak oil/peak everything became more mainstream, mainly because the loons were making crazy talk about how humans couldn’t keep going down the industrial age path without major consequences. It was people like me, inspired by people like Heinberg, that were the drivers of the ‘renewable revolution’ you like to tout so much.

    Fine, let’s settle on “useful idiot” then as a more adequate description of Heinberg. I began the “transition” in 1975, under the influence of the Report of the Club of Rome. It is absolutely false to attribute the push towards renewables to Heinberg. That movement started in the seventies, both in Europe and the US. After 1980, Reagan destroyed the alt-energy movement in the US (at least on a federal level) and Europe carried on mostly alone and with severe resistance against nuclear energy. Beacons in the battle against nukes and pro=alt-energy were Denmark and Germany. No need for freaks like Heinberg. The real reason why alt-energy is now breaking through on a global scale is simple price erosion as a result of decades of systematic effort, the end of which is not in sight, not in a long shot.

    That said, it is also people like me that will tell you that your optimism is unrealistic in light of the deeply systemic predicaments we face. What you view as a new age of enlightenment powered by renewables will be, at best, an age of triage where those who have adapted early stand the best chance of getting through the coming bottleneck. Whatever transition you envision will certainly run smack into the realization that we are quickly running out of planet to exploit.

    Before 1960, at least in Holland, few people had a car. This is how an average street looked like in the early sixties:

    Now the same street is completely filled with parked cars (verify Noordwijk, Google Streetview). In a matter of 20 years a large chunk of the population managed to generate the resources to acquire a car (15-20k euro in present day prices). There is no reason to assume that the same population will not succeed in generating the far smaller resources necessary to carry out a private energy transition. My sufficient solar installation costed 3000 euro; by 2020 it will be 2000 euro or less. Peanuts. The geothermal revolution will be paid (financed) from the monthly amount NOT spent on fossil fuel for space heating, by far the largest part of the family energy budget.

    And if/when humanity turns on itself in a global (nuclear) way, all bets are off.

    I’m always accused of being an “optimist”, but that relative optimism is only limited to the technological realm. But I am not optimistic at all about the prospects for this planet. The very people (white people) able to internalize our predicament and able to do something about it, are gradually dying out. My point is that energy is not going to be the major problem, as was suggested by liberal loon Heinberg. The real collapse will be social, not energetic. “Social” as in ethnic strife and civil war. And it will be caused by the ideology as promoted for decades by gamma males and liberal loons like Heinberg.

    Heinberg IS the embodiment of the collapse. He does everything to destroy white civilization in America and as such bring the country to the breaking point and to the brink of disaster. But Heinberg will continue to deny human nature and dream on about non-existing racial harmony and Kumbaya.

    Peak-oil is no longer interesting. Most of the technological preconditions for a successful transition has been fulfilled or will be fulfilled.

    The real collapse will come from geopolitical and social upheaval, not from petrol stations with “out of service signs”.

  30. Cloggie on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 2:29 am 

    Crude oil prices climbed relentlessly from $16.91/bbl in Nov 98, to $155.92/bbl in Jun 08. They are now at $50.57/bbl. No longer cheap.

    You are cherry-picking by choosing 1998 as a starting point, falsely suggesting that between Adam & Eve and 1998 we had low oil prices. Not true:

    Oil price is not a big issue, as there is giant potential for notably America to save energy and hence money.

    USA 7000
    Germany 3700

    German standards of living are good enough for America.

    High oil prices are a stimulus for the transition, as the price of sun rays will remain zero for the coming many millions of years.

    The further development of solar solid state technology can be expected to follow a similar path as was the case with IT technology over the past 50 years (processing and memory): ever cheaper devices with ever increasing output. Won’t be long until a solar panel will have the price of blockboard.

    Exit “high oil prices” being a problem.

  31. Cloggie on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 2:48 am 

    Hair clog, the average Heinburg follower is neither nihilistic nor a doomer. I think you use these labels for anytime you read something that disturbs you.

    TalmudTurd, I was a “Heinberg follower” between picking up his book in 2007/2008, until November 2012. I came to this board in January 2012 as “Arthur” because of Heinberg and the peak oil story that apparently was looming.

    Not in the least thanks to information from oil-pro Rockman, I began to see that there was the potential for a “third carbon age” (coal being the first and oil the second), making obsolete worries that we would run out of fossil fuel before we would be able to carry out the alt-energy transition. A technology-driven third carbon age being a fossil fuel harvesting age, enabling to pick Heinberg’s high-hanging fruit. Most fruit-farmers by the way make living from picking high-hanging fruit, not low-hanging fruit, a fact studiously ignored by low-hanging fruit cake Heinberg.

    Additionally since 2012 we have witnessed a spectacular price erosion for alt-energy, making the ASPO-2000 story, as parroted by Heinberg, 100% obsolete. Energy problem solved. Period.


    That doesn’t mean we haven’t enormous problems left.

    Climate change (extent is unclear), overpopulation, a rapidly darkening = dumber and poorer planet, subsequent degradation of the biosphere and biodiversity and a rabid Anglo-Zionist “elite” in Washington that wants to conquer the world by any means, including war, now perhaps temporarily somewhat halted by the hairpiece. And then there is the real prospect of civil war in and breakup of America as a consequence of changing demographics, as promoted by the tribe of the TalmudTurd since 1965.

  32. Davy on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 5:11 am 

    The alternative movement may have spawned in the 70’s but it was 30 years later it coalesced as the system broke through an envelope of the possibility of change. We squandered our chance at some kind of change with a doubling down on the status quo of growth primarily with financialization of the globalism in the 80’s.

    I remember a small effort to give the Whitehouse solar hot water. There was some efforts to insulate and the like but that was not because of climate change and less so because of the realization of limits, it was because of the oil shock. Heinberg ET all from around 2000-2005 made the big impact with the idea of peak everything but mostly peak oil. I was exposed to peak oil and climate change in college in 84. I was transformed in 2003 with the idea of an end to civilization as we know it from a convergence of dangerous systematic positive feedbacks. By 2007 I was fully in and was part of the few who realized the 08 crash was imminent. 08 was a systematic crash influenced by energy and financial economic dysfunction that was averted by macro financial repression. This financial repression is itself a continuation of the 08 systematic collapse process with compression and dispersion of risk.

    This is really a systematic collapse process and cannot be narrowed to energetics, social decline, and or climate destabilization. This is about all of the above. It is about peak oil and declining per capita energy. It is about social decline from overpopulation. It is about climate disruption and the possibility of an abrupt shift of climate to a new and hazardous climate regime. It is about our financial system mired in debt and increasingly at resource limits. It is about a cancerous market based capitalism and dysfunctional liberal based democratic system and its hybrids in a corrupt dysfunction of moral hazard and affluence transfer. The commons are being looted for private profit. It is about planetary destructive change from habitat destruction and the loss of soil, pollution of water, and declining air quality.

    What is most insidious is the convergence of all of the above and the positive reinforcing feedbacks. It is the scale of these changes and the increasing tempo. This scale and tempo is like a vortex because it is like the compression of fluid from centrifugal forces. It is the combination of many limits converging at minimums and in compression. It is about turbulence and system chaos from dysfunction. It is about an irrational economic abandonment as growth continues all in the name of efficiency. It is about complexity hitting diminishing returns. Most of all it is about our species itself in denial with a fantasy of manifest destiny of techno progress in a finite world.

    This denial is now in a mechanization. It is a self-organizing and adapting process of delocalization and increasing centralization in globalism of all aspects of life. We are connecting digitally and through trade remotely and in automation. Our food and means of survival are no longer local and within reach. Now it is supplied and picked up. We may find ourselves with rotting mountains of wheat as urban areas face hunger. We may find our whole financial system disrupted in an instant from system perturbations. Our distribution system can lock up and within days our vital systems can shut down. These shut down may not reboot. We are spreading around the world in mass travel much like an invasive species. We are destroying diversity both natural and human. We are breeding down as our population spirals upwards to dangerous overshoot levels locally, regionally, and globally. We are dumbing down as we increase the pursuits of increasingly irrelevant science. Increasingly this science is opening doors that can’t be shut and may be catastrophic. Do we really know how GMO will end? Nuke dangers are here to stay. We have a financial system that is now based on bubbles of inflation and once deflation occurs reflation elsewhere all being malinvestment and unsustainable living arrangements. We have a Ponzi world and a house of cards civilization that somehow maintains a status quo of consumerism and techno optimism. We are being driven in increased efficiency to greater speeds and tighter complexity to grow in affluence when what is really happening is we are rotting on the inside as the outside expands. We are now a species without direction in metastasis.

    If I overdid the above it is in an effort to compare the negative to the positive. What are the positives? Techno optimism of a few innovations. The advent of a renewable based civilization that is still on the drawing board. Please enlighten me to real substantive positives because there are none. Nothing has the leverage to power us through the negative. We are now at a paradigm shift of systematic change. We are in a zone of change that is an undulating plateau of growth and decline with the inertia of decline slowing the all-important growth of a growth based global system.

    What we may have is some time. This time allows us to live and prepare for changes. Our civilization is on a gradient and impervious to change but many individuals and small groups can find a refuge from the impending planetary destruction and bifurcating modernism. If there is some optimism it is we still have some time to adapt individually and locally through the status quo as we leave it. It is these people who will leave a legacy to those that may survive the end of modernism. They will leave a wisdom that is greater than all of our gadgets. It is about the truth and the truth points back towards nature not to human exceptionalism.

  33. Davy on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 6:02 am 

    “All I Have Is Hunger” – Many Venezuelans Too Weak To Protest Despite Maduro Misery”

    “While tens of thousands of angry Venezuelans turned out for the ‘mother of all protests’ yesterday, facing an increasingly hostile military/police state, the numbers could have been significantly larger but for the fact that legions of poor Venezuelans are simply too frail from starvation to protest.”

    “Some say they are intimidated by armed pro-government militias who scour the slums for signs of dissent. Others say they are afraid to lose the few food handouts the cash-strapped government still provides.”

  34. Davy on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 6:19 am 

    We have those here who trumpet growth of China and India like some magic elixir that will prolong growth. What is increasingly reality is more likely a global bubble deflation without tools of reflation. We have grown habituated to the appearance of economic stability. This allows people on this board to forecast energy issues without true basis which is capex and confidence. Things like renewable build outs and oil production growth are economic activities subject to economic cycles. This time around the downturn will be much different. It may not be the end but it will be the end of the new normal and a beginning of the end of modernism.

    “Paul Tudor Jones Has A Message For Janet Yellen: “Be Terrified”

    “significant correction” this summer or early fall, citing as potential triggers President Donald Trump’s struggle to enact policies, including a tax overhaul, as well as geopolitical risks. Philip Yang, a macro manager who has run Willowbridge Associates since 1988, sees a stock plunge of between 20 and 40 percent, according to people familiar with his thinking, citing events like a severe slowdown in China or a greater-than-expected rise in inflation that could lead to bigger rate hikes.”

    “Larry Fink, whose BlackRock Inc. oversees $5.4 trillion mostly betting on rising markets, acknowledged this week that stocks could fall between 5 and 10 percent if corporate earnings disappoint. Another multi-billion-dollar hedge fund manager, who asked not to be named, said that rising interest rates in the U.S. mean fewer companies will be able to borrow money to pay dividends and buy back shares. About 30 percent of the jump in the S&P 500 between the third quarter of 2009 and the end of last year was fueled by buybacks….years of low interest rates have bloated stock valuations to a level not seen since 2000, right before the Nasdaq tumbled 75 percent over two-plus years.”

    “Just as portfolio insurance caused the 1987 rout, he says, the new danger zone is the half-trillion dollars in risk parity funds. These funds aim to systematically spread risk equally across different asset classes by putting more money in lower volatility securities and less in those whose prices move more dramatically. Because risk-parity funds have been scooping up equities of late as volatility hit historic lows, some market participants, Jones included, believe they’ll be forced to dump them quickly in a stock tumble, exacerbating any decline. “Risk parity,” Jones told the Goldman audience, “will be the hammer on the downside.”

  35. onlooker on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 7:03 am

    China’s debt is 250% of GDP and ‘could be fatal’, says government expert

  36. Davy on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 7:30 am 

    “Renewable Energy Technology is Now Powerful Enough to Significantly Soften the Climate Crisis”

    Please read this crock of shit fake green news. Understand this news is great in context and scale but what is wrong with it is its inferences. It is telling us we will be OK but we aren’t. It is telling us a carbon plateau has occurred when in fact we are at all-time highs so a plateau is meaningless. A reduction in carbon will be the end of globalism and modernism. Reality and honesty tells us this is just another existential catch 22 trap.

    To get carbon emission down where we need them we will destroy modernism. Without modernism 7BIL people will not be supported. Even if the lion share of the die down occurs in the poor 3rd world the develop world cannot remain intact systematically to a die down. This is unconscionable science denial. It is one step up from basic science denial. It is acknowledging science until it fails to adhere to the social narrative of techno progress with social optimism then the practice of science denial kicks in. It is much more insidious to the truth than basic science denial. Most of us laugh at creationist but few laugh at this Scribbler nonsense.

    Scribbler is a brilliant climate change scientist that is a failure with reality. Much of the fake green left is in this same place. Fake news and false based beliefs are just more social denial that is stratified throughout modern civilization in so many forms. I am less upset with people like Scribbler than the conservative right because at least the efforts of the fake news lying liberals has some side benefits of increased resilience from renewables, conservation, and recognition of social injustice. That still does not remove the shame of lying. The Truth is sacred if we can label anything sacred anymore. When you disregard the truth because the means justifies the end you are in a vicious circle of deceit that will end badly.

  37. Ghung on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 8:10 am 

    Cloggo said; “I began the “transition” in 1975, under the influence of the Report of the Club of Rome. It is absolutely false to attribute the push towards renewables to Heinberg.”

    Right, Clog. You were living on wind/solar in 1975? Got pictures? I do. And I was in the Netherlands in 1974 and didn’t see any PV panels or modern wind turbines. Maybe they were just on your home.

    “It is absolutely false to attribute the push towards renewables to Heinberg.”

    But I didn’t do that Clog, did I? As always, you can’t have an honest conversation. And there’s nothing “false” in saying that people “LIKE” Heinberg were drivers of your so-called ‘renewable revolution’. Many were alarmists whose predictions didn’t quite pan out in the time-frames they were projecting, but there was still a lot of validity in what they were saying.

  38. Cloggie on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 8:20 am 

    Right, Clog. You were living on wind/solar in 1975? Got pictures? I do. And I was in the Netherlands in 1974 and didn’t see any PV panels or modern wind turbines. Maybe they were just on your home.

    No, a little more consequential than that: I chose for an engineering study and graduated on renewable energy topics and worked for a couple of years afterwards at the university on said topics.

    You did say:

    Cloggo totally skips the part where it was “loons” like Heinberg who inspired thousands to begin that renewable transition, the ones who took a chance and proved to many naysayers that it could be done,, at least on certain scales.

    So you are nitpicking in the 2nd half of your last post.

    I’m NOT calling Heinberg a loon for stimulating people to live sustainable, I am calling him a loon for his liberal US-destroying attitudes and his totally false narrative (way too doomerish) regarding the global energy picture. His 2005 story is now in 2017 completely obsolete. Renewable energy is now the largest chunk of new installed energy generation capacity and this chunk will only grow with every passing year, until in 20-40 years time there will no fossil capacity left to replace.

  39. Cloggie on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 8:26 am 

    Please read this crock of shit fake green news. Understand this news is great in context and scale but what is wrong with it is its inferences. It is telling us we will be OK but we aren’t. It is telling us a carbon plateau has occurred when in fact we are at all-time highs so a plateau is meaningless. A reduction in carbon will be the end of globalism and modernism.

    Trapped in doomerism, right Davy? You first need to “plateau” before you can think of reducing. He is not saying at all that “we are OK”. He says that we need to hurry up with alt-energy:

    And they need to start falling soon before the serious impacts that we are already seeing considerably worsen and begin to overwhelm us.

  40. Apneaman on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 10:35 am 

    hair clog, as the evidence and disasters increase so does your accusations of “doomer” & “nihilist”. Pathetic slings and arrows cause you got nothing. It does not matter how many fucking solar panels or wind turbines the humans build the CO2 & methane continue their UNPRECEDENTED rise. In fact, if you look at the aggregate numbers for most everything that matters – population, ocean acidafication, drought, floods, sea level rise, most forms of pollution, etc they are all climbing. There is already a ton of inertia – do you know what that means science boy? It means there is more to come even if the humans shut down shop. But they are not shutting down. They can’t get enough. See clog the reason there are Doomers is because the world today and more so for the human future is looking doomy and anyone who has the intellectual courage to turn off that inherent, but not impenetrable, collection of bad news filters in their brain (AKA cognitive biases) and take a look can’t really come to any other conclusion. Doubly so when one has educated themselves on the history of this planet and a moderate level of chemistry, physics and biologly.

    Scientist: “Its pretty depressing that it’s only a couple of years since the 400 ppm milestone was toppled” – Global CO2 Emissions Just Breached 410ppm, Level Unseen In Millions Of Years

    “Oldspeak:” Just 4 years ago, we watched Earth’s CO2 levels rocket past 400ppm and now quite a short time later we’re at 410ppm, and levels are ACCELERATING. “The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last ice age…This is a real shock to the atmosphere.” The changes to Earth’s climate are occurring at a pace that cannot be adapted to with known current technology. We are experiencing an atmosphere that has not existed on earth for millions of years. Can we really expect carbon levels to “level off” any time soon, given the current political and economic conditions? And if by some miracle that even happens, the effects of are expected to extend hundreds of years into the future. Pretty depressing, indeed. Happy 4/20! PUFF PUFF GIVE KIDS!” -OSJ”

  41. Apneaman on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 10:40 am 

    In new paper, scientists explain climate change using before/after photographic evidence

    “A group of scientists offers photographic proof of climate change using images of retreating glaciers in a new paper, “Savor the Cryosphere,” appearing in GSA Today, a peer-reviewed publication of the Geological Society of America.”

    Savor the Cryosphere


    This article provides concise documentation of the ongoing retreat of glaciers, along with the implications that the ice loss presents…”

    “We present the retreat of glaciers—the loss of ice—as emblematic of the recent, rapid contraction of the cryosphere. Satellites are useful for assessing the loss of ice across regions with the passage of time. Ground-based glaciology, particularly through the study of ice cores, can record the history of environmental conditions present during the existence of a glacier. Repeat photography vividly displays the rapid retreat of glaciers that is characteristic across the planet. This loss of ice has implications to rising sea level, greater susceptibility to dryness in places where people rely upon rivers delivering melt water resources, and to the destruction of natural environmental archives that were held within the ice. Warming of the atmosphere due to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases released by the combustion of fossil fuels is causing this retreat.”

  42. Apneaman on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 10:56 am 

    Human Climate Impact Now Reaches High Into Stratosphere, Disrupting Giant Jet Streams, As Earth Warms

    ” “Warming driven by carbon dioxide emissions from car exhausts and power stations, they argue, tends to make these giant oscillating waves stall in their journey around the hemisphere – to create enduring episodes of high and low pressure and lingering hazards of drought and flood.” –Tim Radford

    “Yep, heedless human activities are fucking with multiple critical planetary cycles; the water cycle, the biogeochemical cycle come most readily to mind. Add this one to the list. To anyone living in Syria, California, Bangladesh or Saudi Arabia this isn’t really news, it’s been the new normal for some time now. Devastating 1,000 year floods. Crippling and persistent drought. Extreme climactic changes in the blink of any eye. Expect this trend to continue & the weather events to intensify as human & natural carbon emissions are steadily increasing globally with no end in sight.” -OSJ”

  43. GregT on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 11:20 am 

    “You are cherry-picking by choosing 1998 as a starting point, falsely suggesting that between Adam & Eve and 1998 we had low oil prices.”

    Then how’s about choosing the entire 94 year period from 1879-1973 as the starting point? Just ignore the volatility, invasions, coups, wars, assassinations, etc,, that occurred after the largest oil consuming nation in the world reached peak production in 1973. During that entire 94 year period of time oil never rose north of $40/bbl in 2014 inflation adjusted US dollars, and averaged closer to $20/bbl. Less than half the price seen today during ‘The Oil Glut™’ that everyone is talking about bringing to an end so that prices can rise even higher.

    And Cloggie, you of all people linking to a chart produced by “a Goldman Sachs macro research team”? In an article written by Elena Holodny for Business Insider?


  44. Anonymouse on Fri, 21st Apr 2017 6:38 pm 

    Its hard to take weinberg seriously any longer, really. Everything he is blammering on about here, was well underway and on full display under his gods, ‘obama-clint-on’. For some strange reason(s), he could only offer up the most muted and mild of direct criticisms of the prior figureheads regime though. He had almost nothing to say of ‘obamas’ blatant hypocrisy, militarism, his easy-going neo-liberalism or his affinity for wall st bankers or the mil-industrial-surveillance complex. During the ‘obama’ years, he was all about ‘re-localization, electric cars, and windmills, and thats about it.

    But now, weinberg cant stop talking politics, such an amazing about face, and in record time too. Granted, trump is an easy target and the (many) criticisms of him are well justified of course. Still, doesnt excuse weiny’s sudden about face any.

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