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Richard Heinberg: Old Age and Societal Decline

Richard Heinberg: Old Age and Societal Decline thumbnail

People grow old and die. Civilizations eventually fail. For centuries amateur philosophers have used the former as a metaphor for the latter, leading to a few useful insights and just as many misleading generalizations. The comparison becomes more immediately interesting as our own civilization stumbles blindly toward collapse. While not the cheeriest of subjects, it’s worth exploring.

A metaphor is not an explanation.

First, it’s important to point out that serious contemporary researchers studying the phenomenon of societal collapse generally find little or no explanatory value in the metaphorical link with individual human mortality.

The reasons for individual decline and death have to do with genetics, disease, nutrition, and personal history (including accidents and habits such as smoking). We are all genetically programmed to age and die, though lifespans differ greatly.

Reasons for societal decline appear to have little or nothing to do with genetics. Some complex societies have failed due to invasion by foreign marauders (and sometimes the diseases they brought); others have succumbed to resource depletion, unforeseeable natural catastrophe, or class conflict. Anthropologist Joseph Tainter proposed what is perhaps the best general theory of collapse in his 1988 book The Collapse of Complex Societies, which argued that the development of societal complexity is a problem-solving strategy that’s subject to diminishing marginal returns. Once a civilization’s return on investment in complexity goes negative, that civilization becomes vulnerable to stresses of all sorts that it previously could have withstood.

There is a superficial similarity between individual aging, on one hand, and societal vulnerability once returns on investments in complexity have gone negative, on the other. In both cases, what would otherwise be survivable becomes deadly—whether it’s a fall on an uneven sidewalk or a barbarian invasion. But this similarity doesn’t provide explanatory value in either case. No physician or historian will be able to do her job better by use of the metaphor.

Nevertheless, as long as we don’t fall into the trap of seeing it as an explanation, the comparison may still be useful. Explanation isn’t everything. We naturally want to know how to deal mentally and emotionally with both personal and societal mortality, and it’s in this pursuit that we may find usefulness in the metaphor.

Is the world getting old, or is it just me?

In order to locate that usefulness it’s probably best to start by acknowledging our context. Our own civilization is circling the drain. I won’t bore readers already well versed in the literature by rehearsing evidence that modern industrial society is past its sell-by date. For those new to the discussion, perhaps the most concise text I can recommend is William Ophuls’s tiny book, Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail. Ophuls surveys the best previous writings on the subject and offers a summary of the stages through which every civilization seems to pass on its inexorable journey toward collapse. It’s up to the reader to decide at which stage our own civilization has arrived.

Those of us who have spent years or decades drinking from the well of ecological literature on climate change, resource depletion, species extinctions, and limits to growth need no reminder of the existential threats to our society. The global industrial civilization that currently supplies us with everything that is necessary for life is coming apart—politically, socially, economically, and ecologically. Our leaders are incapable of acknowledging, much less reversing, industrial society’s progress toward oblivion.

This realization can be as at least as devastating as that of our personal mortality, though only for those who actually pay attention to the warning signs and have a historical perspective regarding past instances of collapse. (We haven’t talked about a third level of death—the extinction of the human species. This is eventually inevitable, but it obviously hasn’t ensued from previous civilizational crises, and probably won’t do so this time around either. Very few people give this ultimate mortality any thought whatsoever.)

Personal mortality is harder to deny that societal or species mortality. It’s true that, when we’re young, we know theoretically that our lifespan will be limited, yet somehow that knowledge tends not to sink in. But then, as decades pass and as we see ourselves age, our parents die, and our friends disappear one by one, death gradually becomes a constant if unwelcome companion. If we’re practical, we make plans for old age and write a will. If not, we may persist in denial, living as though nothing will ever change. But even then, moments when denial is impossible become more frequent. And in those moments the awareness of mortality is an inescapable psychological burden. However happy, unhappy, fulfilled, unfulfilled, privileged, underprivileged, eventful, or boring our life is and has been, it is in any case fleeting. In a few years our personal window into the world will no longer exist.

If it is mostly older people who viscerally understand and grapple with mortality, it may also be the deeply mature who are more likely to contemplate societal decline. At environmental lectures it’s hard not to notice that the average age of audience members tends to be 50 and above. That’s not to say there are no young people who understand that our civilization is fragile and self-destructive. In fact, some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated environmental activists I know are in their twenties and thirties. Perhaps most in their age cohort are simply too busy just getting by to bother attending lectures.

Is there a natural tendency for old people to yearn for the good old days and to complain that the world is going to hell? Certainly it is possible to think of examples of the stereotype—from biblical prophets like Jeremiah to elderly contemporary environmental writers such as Paul Ehrlich. But the key authors of The Limits to Growth were in their twenties when the book was released, as was Bill McKibben when he penned his bombshell New Yorker articles about climate change, which became the bestselling book The End of Nature. And Paul Ehrlich was only 35 when The Population Bomb was published.

Further, in traditional societies the role of elders was not so much to foresee calamity as to offer guidance and encouragement to younger people, in return for which they earned respect. Perhaps it’s only in societies that are at risk of decline and collapse, and in which the traditional role of elders is largely unacknowledged and unfilled, that old codgers tend to turn prophetic.

It’s the end of the world but I feel . . . how?

Nevertheless, our relative personal age may tend to make us feel somewhat differently about the end of civilization.

Young people are naturally concerned with career, partnering, reproduction, and parenting. They are likely to regard information about dire environmental trends as a distraction from these genetically and socially driven interests. Their incentive for denial is strong. Optimism sells: it helps one get ahead in the job market and it’s attractive to potential mates. However, if denial is overcome for whatever reason, a young person is likely to feel that societal decline is something she or he will personally have to deal with. One response might be to engage in activism to counter trends leading toward collapse; another would be to spend time and effort developing skills that are likely to be useful in a society that is downsizing and simplifying.

Older people are naturally more concerned with personal maintenance (failing vision and hearing, failing joints, failing memory). They want to ensure that they have made some lasting contribution to community and extended family. Though there are plenty of elderly activists, on the whole the attitude of the aged toward societal decline tends to be more that of an observer: there is the belief that although the world is going to hell, I personally will be gone by the time that destination is reached. Nevertheless it’s my duty to tell everyone who will listen what I think is happening and why.

Often, when denial of societal decline is no longer tenable, young and old alike jump straight to cynicism. Here I am not referring the teachings of the ancient Cynic philosophers such as Diogenes, which had many good points, but to the modern meaning of the term—which refers to concern only with one’s own interests, and the belief that society is inherently corrupt and irredeemable. Cynicism offers some minimal psychological self-immunization to utter despair, but this comes at the expense of connection with others—which is an essential ongoing source of emotional vitality.

Those who get beyond denial and cynicism often arrive at an attitude of compassionate engagement. We may not be able to prevent collapse, but we can still make life better for ourselves and other potential survivors as events unfold. We can make our community more resilient, protect vulnerable people and other creatures, and devote ourselves to creating places and moments of beauty.

May we have a good death; civilization too.

We each wish to die painlessly and well, with dignity, with our faculties intact, and with loved ones close by. It often doesn’t work out that way. But there are things we can do to improve our odds, such as to eat carefully, exercise, and treat others with respect and generosity.

What would a good civilizational death look like? It would be relatively slow rather than sudden; the distance of the fall would be manageable (people would be able to adjust to the reduction in societal complexity); and the casualties would be few. In the best instance, the death of a civilization is merely the “release” phase of the adaptive cycle, clearing the way for new growth of more diverse, simpler human cultures.

Achieving a “good” civilizational death would entail minimizing damage to ecosystems and exhaustion of natural resources, so that human survivors would have the biophysical basis for recovery. It would also require minimizing human births prior to collapse so as both to conserve resources and reduce the sum total of human suffering during the decline and fall, since collapse always entails a reduction in carrying capacity.

Sadly, a good individual death is easier to achieve than a good civilizational death: personally, we have a wide range of behavioral choices, whereas great civilizations are denial machines that, at least in their latter stages of development, always reward excess and penalize modest sufficiency. Civilizations grow as big as they possibly can, given their energy sources, their technologies, and the available ecological bounty. And ours has grown the biggest of all as a result of having fossil fuels as energy supplies.

Nevertheless, our personal choices make a difference for ourselves and for those in widening circles around us, potentially expanding our survival and recovery options within a civilization whose overall trajectory toward dissolution is already set. By pursuing sufficiency in the face of excess, conservation of the natural world, and connection with others, we can have as good and meaningful a life as possible within a civilization that is both itself dying, and dealing death to creatures great and small.

These are not entirely new thoughts. Joanna Macy has for years sounded many of the themes explored above in her “Work that Reconnects.”

Carolyn Baker does the same in her book Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times. And The Dark Mountain Project pursues “uncivilization” as a collective creative project, having acknowledged that “It is . . . our civilisation’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality.” The effort to seek and provide hospice care for the inhabitants of a dying civilization is never likely to go viral on social media or spark a movement. But it makes as much sense as any other activity I can think of.

According to tradition, the Buddha’s awakening began with his realization that sickness, old age, and death are inevitable. Perhaps our own realization that civilization’s demise is just as certain can lead to still another level of awakening.

Here the metaphor may show its highest usefulness. Old age teaches us the preciousness of everything—friends, nature, and ordinary moments in ordinary days. Truly ancient people, aged 85 and above, often attain a level of happiness that belies their physical frailty.

Maybe a society that’s on the verge of collapse provides the perfect incubator for an experience of reassessment, reconnection, and renewal. Whatever time we have left is valuable beyond measure. Let’s make the most of it.

As Climate Changes, We Need the Arts More than Ever

Article originally posted at Ensia.

In tumultuous times, art can and must express the turmoil and help us process what’s going on.

What role might the arts play in response to climate change and related economic and ecological crises?

In the 1997 film “Titanic,” Wallace Hartley, the violinist and leader of the band on the ill-fated ship, turns to his band mates as the water rises around him and says: “Gentlemen, it has been a privilege playing with you tonight.” Is the only contribution musicians and other artists can make at this moment in history to bravely go down with the ship, lifting the spirits of fellow passengers? On its own terms that’s an honorable contribution, but surely we can do more.

It’s often said that a novel, a painting, a song or a motion picture changed the world. What that really means is, it changed how a lot of people thought or felt about the world.

Anthropologists and historians rightly argue that society’s major transformations have emerged not from the arts, but from our relationship to our environment — for example, our shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture, or from using firewood as our main energy source to using fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, artists’ efforts help shape the terms by which society adapts to such transformations and their consequences. And this can be a big deal. Think of how Beethoven marked the beginnings of modern democracy, the Romantic Movement in poetry and philosophy, and the nascent Industrial Revolution with music that shattered the aristocratic formalism of previous generations. Or how Hollywood writers and directors galvanized massive support for the U.S. war effort during the early 1940s.

Now think ahead.

We have embarked on a century in which the societal systems built since the start of the Industrial Revolution — our food system, our transport systems, our energy system, our built environment, our financial system, and possibly our political and governance systems as well — will prove unsustainable. All were designed during an era in which fossil fuels met the great bulk of our fast-growing energy demand. Cheap, abundant, and easy to store and transport, these fuels facilitated long-distance transportation, and hence centralized, globalized systems of production and distribution. Economic growth would probably never have become the organizing principle of politics and society if we had never started burning coal, oil and natural gas.

But fossil fuels are exhaustible resources, and their depletion will drive evermore desperate methods of extraction, create evermore environmental risk and require ever more capital — even as alternative energy sources also demand far more investment. The economic and political implications are barely fathomable.

Everything will be up for negotiation, redesign and change.Further, burning fossil fuels changes our planet’s climate. So, at the same time our economy will need to be redesigned to run on entirely different energy sources, the natural world will be shifting around us in unprecedented ways, with more frequent catastrophic storms, floods and droughts. Sea level will rise. Cities will be forced to move to higher ground. Whole populations will migrate toward the poles and inland.

And artists will have the opportunity and duty to translate the resulting tumultuous human experience into words, images, and music that help people not just to understand these events mentally, but also to come to grips with them viscerally.

The economic and environmental shifts described above are currently being detailed in ever-greater specificity in hundreds of reports released yearly by climate and energy experts — though in terms the average person struggles with. What’s missing in their carefully worded journal articles are the human dimensions of imagination, joy or sorrow, inspiration, and passion. No wonder so many of us simply deny their message or tune it out.

Art can help us cope with the implications of our collective challenges. It can help prepare society for a possibly traumatic future. It can give voice to suffering and loss, helping people deal with life’s inevitable stress. And it can also offer beauty, which can be especially important in hard times.

Of course, to be good, art has to succeed in terms of structure, skill, insight and originality. Bad art with a valid social message is still bad art, and it will take far more than just an increase in the number of climate change-themed TV series, movies, operas, dystopian novels, county-western songs, art installations, hip-hop verses, and performance pieces to show us the way. Artists will need to dig deeper, observe more closely and help their audiences connect abstract explanations and forecasts with concrete experiences.

As we move closer to what surely will be unprecedented ecological, economic and social disruption, meaningful art can and must express the turmoil we encounter and help us process it intellectually and emotionally.

In this sense, our need for truly great artists has never been keener.

Teaser photo credit: Photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash

EIA: U.S. Energy Abundance for Now— But Don’t Peek Behind That Curtain!

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy is about to release its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2018, with forecasts for American oil, gas, and other forms of energy production through mid-century. As usual, energy journalists and policy makers will probably take the document as gospel.

That’s despite the fact that past AEO reports have regularly delivered forecasts that were seriously flawed, as the EIA itself has acknowledged. Further, there are analysts inside and outside the oil and gas industry who crunch the same data the EIA does, but arrive at very different conclusions.

The last few EIA reports have displayed stunning optimism regarding future U.S. shale gas and tight oil production, helping stoke the notion of U.S. “energy dominance.” No one doubts that fracking has unleashed a gusher of North American oil and gas on world markets in the past decade. But where we go from here is both crucial and controversial.

The most comprehensive critiques of past AEO forecasts have come from earth scientist David Hughes, a Fellow of Post Carbon Institute (note: I, too, am a Post Carbon Institute Fellow). Since 2013, Hughes and PCI have produced annual studies questioning EIA forecasts, based on an analysis of comprehensive play-level well production data. Their latest report, a critical look at AEO2017, is just out.

“Shale Reality Check: Drilling Into the U.S. Government’s Rosy Projections for Shale Gas & Tight Oil Production Through 2050” explores four big questions crucial to the realization of the EIA’s forecasts:

  1. How much of the industry’s recent per-well drilling productivity improvement is a result of better technology, and how much is due to high-grading the best-quality parts of individual plays? Over the past few years, industry has shown the ability to extract increased amounts of oil and/or gas from each well. This has been achieved in part by drilling longer horizontal laterals, tripling the amount of water and proppant (usually sand) used per unit of well length, and increasing the number of fracking stages. It is also in part a result of “high-grading,” or focusing drilling on the best-quality parts of each play (termed “sweet spots” or “core areas”). The decline in average well productivity observed in parts of some plays, despite the application of enhanced technology, suggests that sweet spots there are becoming saturated with wells. When this happens, drillers must either move to lower-quality rock outside of sweet spots, or drill wells too close together, which results in well interference or “frac hits” and reduced well production.
  2. Can technological advancement in the industry continue to raise productivity indefinitely? If, as the EIA suggests, improved technology will continue to increase well production, then perhaps per-well productivity can continue to grow for some time. However, based on the analysis of recent data, Hughes questions this (as does a team of MIT researchers). Well productivity is already declining in some plays, despite the application of enhanced technology, indicating that technology and high-grading have reached limits. Given uniform reservoir quality, improved technology allows the resource to be extracted more quickly with fewer wells, but it does not necessarily increase the overall amount of resource that can be recovered.
  3. What will be the ultimate cumulative production from all U.S. tight oil and shale gas wells? Taking the above points into account, Hughes concludes from a detailed analysis of production data that the EIA is making extremely optimistic assumptions about ultimate production and long-term production rates in most shale plays. Production over the long term is likely to be a fraction of what the EIA is forecasting.


  1. What about profitability? So far, overall, the industry has lost money on tight oil production, and shale gas has done little better. That’s even with most recent drilling being focused in core areas. The industry and its investors assume that if productivity continues to increase, and oil prices rise, profitability will eventually materialize. But what levels of oil and gas prices would be required to profitably extract fuels in the large non-core areas that the EIA assumes will eventually be tapped after “sweet spots” are drilled and exhausted? The AEO offers little in the way of realistic analysis on this point.

Let’s approach this subject another way. If you were an EIA analyst and you wanted to produce the most optimistic estimate possible of future U.S. oil and gas production, how might you go about it? You might do the following:

  • Mischaracterize the source of recent productivity improvements (assume it’s mostly technology, not high-grading);
  • Extrapolate recent well productivity improvements far into the future, even though evidence suggests this is unwise;
  • Assume that large areas that are not currently being drilled will be highly productive; and
  • Ignore price and profitability.

Check, check, check, and check.

Hughes figures, using EIA assumptions, that meeting the agency’s projections for shale gas and tight oil through 2050 for the 88 percent of production that would come from major plays would require drilling and fracking over 1 million wells at a cost of $5.7 trillion (the remaining 12 percent would require .68 million wells at a cost of $4.1 trillion). The EIA’s own estimate for all oil and gas (conventional, shale and offshore) is 1.3 million wells at a cost of $7.7 trillion. It would also consume countless billions of gallons of water and millions of tons of sand and chemicals. One might question the plausibility of this scale of expenditure of capital and physical resources. But even if the project were practically feasible, would it represent the best use of money in securing our energy future? And would the inevitable near- and long-term health and environmental impacts be somehow justified?

The EIA seems to assume that its audience consists of potential investors in struggling tight oil and shale gas companies, and that it speaks on behalf of those companies. That’s not the proper role of a government agency. Taxpayers who fund AEO reports deserve realistic estimates of future production, costs of production, and prices needed for profitable production. Otherwise, the agency’s pronouncements will continue to resemble those of the Wizard of Oz: Be amazed! Be awed! But pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


94 Comments on "Richard Heinberg: Old Age and Societal Decline"

  1. GregT on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 10:08 pm 

    “There is no reason to assume that in the near future MAD will cease to exist, so forget about “3 a.m. flashes”.”

    Agreed Cloggie, MAD still does exist. So if not 3 am EST, what time of the day would be your best guess?

  2. MASTERMIND on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 10:32 pm 

    Drugs, alcohol, and suicide are killing more Americans than ever

    But between 2015 and 2016 the racial differences popped out. We saw literally a 39 percent increase in deaths of people of color due to drug overdose,” added Miller, formerly of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
    “That is unheard of. This stood out like, holy cow what is going on?”

  3. GregT on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 10:39 pm 

    “Anecdotal “evidence”: I haven’t been scratching my window shield so many times like this winter for many years and the coldest days have yet to come.”

    Exactly the opposite here. Other than two winters ago, it’s been many years since I’ve scratched my window so little. The last time I remember that happening was before I owned a car. IOW, never. But of course the climate isn’t changing at all. It’s just a figment of both of our imaginations.

    Have zero faith in science Cloggie. Mathematics, biology, chemistry, and especially physics, are all a complete scam. Those people don’t have the slightest clue about what they’re going on about. I’d stick to geopolitics if were you.

  4. MASTERMIND on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 10:40 pm 

    Report: Alcohol, Drug, Suicide Deaths Hit New High

    Americans are dropping like fucking flies..

  5. Anonymouse1 on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 10:50 pm 

    The only thing cloggraham here should stick to is trump gossip. That is something, he can bloviate on with some authority at least. And why not? Its both topical AND timely, at least to cloggen-cohen who keeps mistaking for the national Easy mistake for him to make, they both sound so much alike after all…

  6. MASTERMIND on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 11:07 pm 


    This is what I would do to you in real life! That is why you have to hide behind a computer!

    You alt righters are laughing stocks of the internet for getting your shit punched in! LOL

  7. GregT on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 11:31 pm 

    “This is what I would do to you in real life!”

    Without a doubt, a young guy as useless as you, would be on the ground blowing snot bubbles crying for his mommy within a matter of seconds.

  8. MASTERMIND on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 11:43 pm 


    You would stick up for a Nazi. But then you crow about how terrible the US is…How ironic! Just proves what a fake you are! You fundamentalist preppers are so deluded! And once Anarchy comes you will be the easy target!

  9. MASTERMIND on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 11:43 pm 

    This is how you treat a Nationalist

  10. GregT on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 11:52 pm 

    ‘And once Anarchy comes you will be the easy target!”

    You’re more than welcome to drop by any time buddy.

  11. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:05 am 

    All the wild horses are extinct: study

  12. Cloggie on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:16 am 

    This is far more realistic for the near term, rather than societal collapse from peak fossil supply or financial baloney:

    Discussion about the ethno-state, how to get there.

    None of these guys are warlords btw, they are merely the announcers of what is next, after the US empire.

    Zakharchenko, the leader of the DPR (Donbass), now THAT is a real warlord:

    Read the timelines of the most recent ethno-wars (most wars in history are either ethno- or religious wars):

    …to understand what is coming to the US and, with delay, to Europe.

  13. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:16 am 

    World Scientists “Warning to Humanity” Signed by 15,000 Scientists from 184 Countries Including the Majority of all Nobel Prize Winners

    Scientific American: Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return?

    Peer Reviewed Study: Society Could Collapse In A Decade, Predicts Historian (Turchin, 2010)

    NASA Peer Reviewed Study: Industrial Civilization is Headed for Irreversible Collapse (Motesharrei, 2014)

    The Royal Society: Peer Reviewed Study, Now for the First Time A Global Collapse Appears Likely (Ehrlich, 2013)

    Peer Reviewed Study: Limits to Growth was Right. Research Shows We’re Nearing Global Collapse (Turner, 2014)

    Peer Reviewed Study: Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: Global Systemic Collapse (Korowicz, 2012)

  14. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:18 am 

    Plenty of wild horses still left in BC.

    As a matter of fact, they’ve got more than enough wild space left to survive, unless a runaway greenhouse event kicks in, then they’re toast, just like the humans.

  15. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:20 am 


    You are going to start a race ware with these people?

    LOL you are the laughing stock of the internet!

  16. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:23 am 


    The site you linked didn’t have any data..Maybe you should read things first…instead of just jumping to the first thing you find to try to refute old MM..I know it must make you feel good. Since you are such an old crusty loser! And the article I posted linked to a study in the Journal of Science. Not just just garbage from the CUCKanda government LOL and what about your president looking sharp in India! That dude is a fruit loop!

  17. Cloggie on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:27 am 

    Agreed Cloggie, MAD still does exist. So if not 3 am EST, what time of the day would be your best guess?

    So you are effectively saying that MAD no longer exists. Why is that? Did I miss anything?

    Have zero faith in science Cloggie. Mathematics, biology, chemistry, and especially physics, are all a complete scam. Those people don’t have the slightest clue about what they’re going on about. I’d stick to geopolitics if were you.

    I as a engineer obviously have faith in those, as you should know. Climate change is real, that’s why I fervently promote renewable energy, not because of depletion. I know that there are some scientists who say that runaway climate change is going to happen, but not everybody says that. There are also serious guys with deep frowns talking about “global luke warming”:

    I admit I have not nearly spend as much time on climate as I have on energy (or geopolitics/history). Until then I’m with Paris Accords and the EU renewable energy policy. We will be the first to know if that will be enough, now won’t we.

  18. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:28 am 

    More of your usual bullshit MM.

    None of those reports support your conclusions. Most of them support the premise that modern industrial society will cause environmental collapse.

    The sooner that MIS collapses, the better.

    Bring it on.

  19. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:31 am 

    “Agreed Cloggie, MAD still does exist.”

    “So you are effectively saying that MAD no longer exists.”

    Sorry Cloggie, I’m having difficulty following your logic.

  20. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:31 am 


    You are an engineer who believes in renewable s? that is like a biologist who believes in creationism..LOL

    UC Davis Peer Reviewed Study: It Will Take 131 Years to Replace Oil with Alternatives (Malyshkina, 2010)

    University of Chicago Peer Reviewed Study: predicts world economy unlikely to stop relying on fossil fuels (Covert, 2016)

    Solar and Wind produced less than one percent of total world energy in 2016 – IEA WEO 2017

    Fossil Fuel Share of Global Energy since 1990 – BP 2017

    Renewable energy ‘simply won’t work’: Top Google engineers

    IEA Sees No Peak Oil Demand ‘Any Time Soon’

    OPEC sees no peak oil demand from EVs before 2040

  21. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:37 am 

    Existing oil reserves are scheduled to begin a catastrophic crash within 1 to 3 years. When it hits the economic and social damage will be catastrophic. The end of Western Civilization, from China to Europe, to the US, will not occur when oil runs out. The economic and social chaos will occur when supplies are merely reduced sufficiently….

    And when the lights go out Greg the fundamentalist religious nutter will say..We still have oceans of oil left.! It was those greedy bankers who did this to us! LOL And Clogg will blame George Soros! LOL

  22. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:38 am 

    “I admit I have not nearly spend as much time on climate as I have on energy (or geopolitics/history).”

    That much is obvious. Geopolitics/history: A+ Energy: B Climate: C-, bordering on F.

    “Until then I’m with Paris Accords and the EU renewable energy policy.”

    Completely agree, as we all should be, but that is somewhat irrelevant if the entire world is not on board, especially the US of A.

  23. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:41 am 

    “And when the lights go out Greg the fundamentalist religious nutter will say..We still have oceans of oil left.! It was those greedy bankers who did this to us! LOL And Clogg will blame George Soros! LOL”

    And you will still be a complete idiot. You can’t fix stupid.

  24. Cloggie on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:44 am 


    You are going to start a race ware with these people?

    This is how a real war in Europe in 2018 looks like:

    Being in my sixties I’m not going to start a “race war”. The coming war in Europe will be ethno-religious, but since we have better demographics than North-America it will last a little longer before it starts here as well. I predict that the “troubles” in North-America will begin shortly after Trump will leave the White House, horizontally or vertically and that after 2025 the US will no longer exist in its present shape. One giant Yugoslavia.

    In the end of the day your and my kind will be separated, the “faschies” in the Heartland Red States and the mixed race commies in “Trans-Appalachia” and Rockies area (both coastal areas). Not sure if even the Heartland will remain in one piece.

    As I said several times before… the US is about the same size as continental Europe from Atlantic to Ural mountains, 10 million km2. The difference is that Europe is about 30 countries, the US (unfortunately) only one. There is no need for this state of affairs to continue ad infinitum. Multi-ethnic states are inherently unstable. They can exist, like Canada, Belgium or Switzerland, provided the ethnic groups are de facto segregated, but even in these cases calls for independence remain. Actually mixing different ethnic groups is asking for genocide. There is a reason why in a zoo different animals are kept in different cages, just to prevent the animals are going to see each other as their next meal.

  25. Cloggie on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:47 am 

    Sorry Cloggie, I’m having difficulty following your logic.

    I have difficulty following yours:

    Agreed Cloggie, MAD still does exist. So if not 3 am EST, what time of the day would be your best guess?

    I interpret this as you mocking my belief that MAD still does exist.

    So do you or don’t you agree with me that MAD is still in place?

  26. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:48 am 

    The real reason Greg moved out into his cabin society of preppers in the woods..And the reason why he is so paranoid of the government.

    Doomsday leader pleads guilty to child rape, abuse

  27. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:51 am 


    You cite Pat Buchanan book? He is total nut job! A lard ass most likely like you im sure! He says america is collapsing because it doest go to church enough! LOL Great scholary reference pal! I am sure that book is in the Harvard libary as we speak! LOL

  28. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:02 am 

    “So do you or don’t you agree with me that MAD is still in place?”

    It really doesn’t matter whether I agree that MAD still exists or not, which obviously I do. I’m not among the psychopaths who continue to put ‘all options on the table’, and I’m not among those who believe that an all out nuclear exchange can be won.

  29. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:07 am 

    “The real reason Greg moved out into his cabin society of preppers in the woods”

    I don’t live in a cabin MM, I live in a house.

    “And the reason why he is so paranoid of the government”

    Nothing to be paranoid about, the government will take care of you. You are the most important thing to them MM. Your wellbeing is the first item on their agenda.

  30. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:24 am 

    I’m guessing that they have cameras everywhere watching you MM, and a split second before you put that bullet into your head, they’ll break down your door, put several billion dollars into your bank account, and declare you the most important thing in the world since sliced bread. Nothing to be paranoid about buddy, they absolutely worship you.

  31. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:25 am 


    I know you hate the government because its a democracy of the people! And you want an authoritarian religious dictatorship. So you can push your fundamentalist ideology on everyone!

  32. Anonymouse1 on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:38 am 

    What sort of ‘engineer’ do you think you are cloggberg? A sanitation engineer? Sounds about right, since all you posts are garbage anyhow.

  33. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:46 am 

    “I know you hate the government because its a democracy of the people!”

    Donald Trump is your President MM, your Commander in Chief. How’s that democracy thingy working out for you buddy?

    Admittedly, it could’ve been worse Hilliary could have been your supreme ‘leader’. Gotta love demokracy.

  34. JuanP on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 3:31 am 

    Micromind “I know you hate the government because its a democracy of the people!”
    Do you still believe in the USA’s government and political system after all the crimes and atrocities that the USA has committed at home and abroad every single day for decades, if not centuries. LOL! You are more brainwashed, stupid, and ignorant than I imagined, Imaginary Neuron! It is because the USA is absolutely full of selfish, deluded retards like you that its government has become the largest terrorist organization of the planet. YANKEES GO HOME!

  35. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 6:51 am 


    Trump is better than you Cuck president! LOL even if the russians hacked the election!

  36. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 6:53 am 


    Nice one! Clogg is a master of the custodial arts! That is why he became a Nazi! I mean how many wealthy and successful people do that? Zero!

  37. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 7:37 am 

    Tesla Is ‘Structurally Bankrupt’ But So Are GM And Ford

  38. GregT on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 8:41 am 

    “Trump is better than you Cuck president! LOL”

    If you would be referring to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, you could be right. Personally, I wouldn’t know. I’ve never met either one of them, nor do I care to.

    I’ve never been a big fan of politicians, and I don’t believe in centralized top down control. Far too easily corruptible.

  39. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 9:37 am 


    You hate democracy because you want an authoritarian ruler so you can push your fundamentalist religious views on everyone!

  40. Antius on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 10:38 am 

    “Tesla Is ‘Structurally Bankrupt’ But So Are GM And Ford”

    Musk for all his money, just didn’t understand the technology well enough to reach a practical solution with electric transport. There is a mistaken view that hybrid vehicles are some kind of stepping stone to an all electric car. That view is quite wrong. Batteries have fundamental energy density limits that render them unsuitable for providing long-range power for electric transport. This is why the Tesla costs an unaffordable amount of money, with its giant expensive battery.

    If Musk had set out to develop a plug-in hybrid instead, the result could have been cost competitive with a conventional ICE vehicle, consuming a tenth of the fuel. That is an achievable and practical solution. It just isn’t as emotionally appealing as the purist approach of an all electric vehicle. Now he faces bankruptcy.

  41. Cloggie on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:19 pm 

    Batteries have fundamental energy density limits

    They have, but…


    (I used to sample wind energy data on one of those at the university)


    Macbook Air. Mine is already shelved.

    Morale: there is such a thing as development. The number of billions invested in battery factories is staggering. And then there is the competing model of fuel cells, the Japanese are betting on (and so am I 60-40).

  42. Cloggie on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 12:28 pm 

    The entire Dutch high-voltage grid is in the hands of a single company, Tennet. They also own a considerable chunk of the German grid, map:

    Tennet is for 100% owned by the Dutch state and as such an extension of Dutch (read: EU) energy policies. In order to upgrade their grid for the coming renewable energy era, Tennet announced an upgrade for the grid of 6 billion euro for Holland and 22 billion for the German part of their grid, to be invested over the coming 10 years.

    A crucial design aspect is how to media between a very large number of very small suppliers (solar panels on roofs, small wind turbines near farms, etc.) as well as their small scale storage facilities.

    Blockchain technology (analogous to bitcoin) will play a central role here.

  43. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:13 pm 

    Clogg new peer reviewed scientific paper for ya! Authored by a partial physicist at CERN.

    A Regional Oil Extraction and Consumption Model. (Dittmar 2017)

    Our model predictions indicate that several of the larger oil consuming and importing countries and regions will be confronted with the economic consequences of the onset of the world’s final oil supply crisis as early as 2020.

    Less than 3 years till Anarchy! Then Emma Watson is all mine! She can be the beauty and I will be the BEAST! LOL

  44. MASTERMIND on Fri, 23rd Feb 2018 1:15 pm 

    Since you can’t drive an EV out of the city they are basically worthless to most Americans..They are a fad for rich yuppies who own several vehicles.

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