#155. The art of dark sky thinking


One of the clichés much loved by business leaders and others is “blue sky thinking”. An implication of this term, it seems to me, is that there’s an infinity of possibility. Although the mainstream press has, in the past, dubbed me “Dr Gloom” and “Terrifying Tim”, I don’t discount the concept of infinite possibility. I’m an incurable optimist – when I’m not looking at the economic outlook, anyway.

However positive you are, though, if you set out on a lengthy expedition, it’s as well to take some wet weather clothing with you, because blue skies can turn dark grey pretty quickly. ‘Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst’ seems a pretty prudent way to think.

Before we address some of the financial, economic and broader issues which might darken our skies, I’d like to draw your attention to an important distinction, which is that ‘situations’ and ‘outcomes’ are different things. ‘Situations’ are circumstances calling for decisions, but, in themselves, they generally contain a multiplicity of possible results. ‘Outcomes’ are determined by the responses made to any particular set of ‘situations’.

This is important, because a lot of what I’m going to discuss here concerns ‘situations’. Many of these look pretty daunting, but the point about a multiplicity of possible ‘outcomes’ remains critical. Bad decisions turn difficult situations into malign outcomes, but wise choices can, at the very least, preclude the worst, and can even produce good outcomes from unpromising situations.

The gloomy non-science

Economics has been called “the gloomy science”. In fact, economics – as currently practised – may or may not be “gloomy”, but it isn’t a “science”. The fundamental flaw with conventional economics is that it assumes that the economy is a financial system, to be measured in dollars, pounds, euros and yen.

This, in reality, is a huge misconception. Throughout history, systems of money have come and gone. A collector might well buy a Roman coin from you, but you couldn’t use it in a café or a shop.  Money is simply a human artefact, often of temporary duration, which we can create or destroy at will.

The purpose of money is the facilitation of exchange, something more convenient than barter. Its other often-claimed functions (as “a store of value” and a “unit of account”) are flawed at best. The “store of value” concept is particularly unconvincing. If somebody in a Western country dug up some banknotes buried in the garden by his or her great-grandmother, their purchasing power would be dramatically lower than when the biscuit-tin containing them was interred between the cabbages and the carrots. Measured using the broad-basis GDP deflator, the US dollar has lost 62% of its purchasing power since 1980 alone, and the pound has shed 71% of its value. Moreover, many countries change their notes and coins at frequent intervals, invalidating older versions.

Money does have important characteristics – which we’ll come to – but it’s not in any sense coterminous with a ‘real’ economy that consists of goods and services. All of these are products of the use of energy. Once you grasp this fundamental point, a ‘science’ of economics becomes a possibility, but as a branch of the laws of thermodynamics, and not, as now, as ‘the study of money’.

The energy fundamentals

As regular readers will know, whenever energy is accessed, some of that energy is always consumed in the access process. This divides the totality of energy supply into two streams – the consumed component is known here as ECoE (the Energy Cost of Energy), and the remainder is surplus energy. Because this surplus energy powers all forms of economic activity other than the supply of energy itself, it is the determinant of prosperity.

The SEEDS model calculates that, over the last twenty years, global trend ECoE has more than doubled, from 3.6% in 1998 to 7.9% last year. That’s already taken a huge bite out of our ability to grow our prosperity, and there’s no likelihood of ECoE levelling out in the foreseeable future, let alone turning back downwards.

The ECoEs of renewables are falling, just as those of fossil fuels are rising exponentially. This is a topic that we’ve discussed before, and will undoubtedly return to in the future, but it seems unlikely that a full transition to renewables, utterly vital though it is, is going to stabilise overall ECoE at much below about 10%. For context, back in the 1960s, when real economic growth was robust (and when petroleum consumption was growing by as much as 8% annually, whilst car ownership was expanding rapidly), world trend ECoE was less than 2%.

There are two reasons – one obvious, one perhaps less so – why an understanding of ECoE is critical to the environmental debate.

Obviously, if we continue to tie our economic fortunes to fossil fuels, the relentless rise in their ECoEs is going to carry on making us poorer, so there’s a compelling economic (as well as environmental) case for transition to renewables.

Less obviously, whilst prosperity is a function of surplus (aggregate less-ECoE) energy, climate-harming emissions are tied to total (surplus plus ECoE) energy. Essentially, we need to reduce our emissions from fossil fuels at a rate which at least matches the rate at which their ECoEs are rising if we’re to stand any chance at all of overcoming climate risk.

It’s a dispiriting thought that, whilst energy-based economics could make a powerful contribution to the case for environmental action, conventional, money-fixated economics can only interact negatively, by telling us how much it’s going to “cost”. Unfortunately, mainstream economics can’t really tell us the cost of not transitioning.

These “costs”, to be sure, are dauntingly large numbers. IRENA – the International Renewable Energy Agency – has costed transition at between $95 trillion and $110tn. These equate to between 619 and 721 Apollo programmes at the current-equivalent cost ($153bn) of putting a man on the Moon.

Moreover, the Americans of the 1960s had a choice about whether or not to fund a space programme. In economic as well as in environmental terms, there is no choice at all about our imperative need to transition.

The invalidation of futurity

The gigantic costs that energy transition involve bring us back to money, where we need to note something that couldn’t really be done with barter, but is well facilitated by money. That concept is futurity.

Time itself has always formed part of economic transactions, and this was the case even before the invention of the first efficient heat-engine enabled us to tap the energy wealth of fossil fuels. When someone bought, say, a table, he or she was paying for the labour (which, of course, is energy) that had gone into making it. Hiring someone to plough a field was a payment for labour in the present, and engaging someone to build a barn was payment for labour in the future.

But futurity is something different. When someone invests, he or she is looking to the future, hoping that income from the investment, or its future saleable value, will exceed the initial outlay. When an insurance policy is agreed, both parties have in mind the likelihood, and possible cost, of some future eventuality. Perhaps most importantly of all, loan transactions make a lot of assumptions about the future in which the loan, and interest, are to be repaid. Very much the same applies to saving for a pension.

All of these transactions can make a positive contribution to the effective functioning of the economy. Vitally, though, they require making assumptions about conditions at some future date. To a large extent, these assumptions – which, collectively, form a consensus – are based on prior experience. To this extent, decisions taken about futurity are only as good as the consensus on which they are based.

Imagine that you’re an insurer, issuing a policy on a car. Historically, this type of car, and this category of driver, is likely to be involved in an accident once in ten years, so the policy is priced accordingly, remembering that competitor insurance companies are likely to be working on a very similar basis of calculation. Then, though, these cars start crashing, not once every ten years, but once in every three. You’ll lose money, because your futurity assumption has been invalidated.

This is a simple example, with corollaries in any transaction involving futurity. The danger arises when prior experience ceases to be a valid guide to the future.

A good real-world example involves the provision of pensions. Prior to the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), historic long-run returns on American bonds and equities averaged 3.6% and 8.6%, respectively. Now, though, forward calculations need to be based, according to the World Economic Forum, on returns of only 3.45% for equities, and just 0.15% for bonds. Critically, this doesn’t just apply to funds invested after the fall in rates – it also cripples forward returns on capital accumulated before rates of return collapsed.

This, says the WEF, has helped created shortfalls so large that they amount to a “global pension timebomb”. Since, according to my calculations, a person investing 10% of his or her income in a pension fund before the GFC now needs to raise that to about 27% to get the same outcome – a percentage not remotely affordable for most people – we can almost say that private pension provision worldwide has been rendered inoperable by post-2008 monetary policy.

If my energy-based interpretation of the outlook for prosperity is correct – and I’d contend, simply, that its logic keeps getting more and more corroboration from events – then the entire basis of ‘consensus futurity’ has been invalidated. SEEDS shows prosperity growth petering out, not in the future, but now, and over a period which began roughly twenty years ago.

This invalidated the futurity consensus used during the massive issuance of debt before 2008, and, equally, destroys the assumptions on which subsequent monetary adventurism has been based.

Slow or negative growth – something which invalidates any projection based on pre-2000 experience – means that “secular stagnation” (or whatever euphemism you care to use) isn’t something that the economy will “grow out of”, much as youngsters grow out of childhood ailments. It’s the ‘new normal’, though it’s not the kind of thing that anyone is going to recognize as ‘normal’.

This, sooner or later, can be expected to cause a financial crash on a scale much larger than 2008, and this event (‘GFC II’) is going to hit, not just the banks, as in GFC I, but the financial system, and the very validity of fiat currencies.

Put another way, the ‘real’ and the ‘financial’ economies have moved so far apart that the latter is destined to topple over into the gap.

And this, remember, is the same financial system that needs to find the equivalent of more than 700 Apollo space programmes to finance energy transition.

I hope I’m wrong about financial crash risk, but I can see only one possible way out of the gigantic commitments – debt, pensions and much more – that we have made to a future that isn’t going to be what we thought it was going to be. The theme tune for this could be a song by the late, great Mickey Newbury – “The future’s not what it used to be”.

That only possible way out is the deliberate triggering of inflation. This would allow borrowers to ‘soft default’ their way out of unaffordable debt, ‘repaying’ lenders but in greatly devalued money. But it’s a medicine whose economic side-effects are at least as bad as the disease. High inflation has killed more currencies than any other cause.

‘De-coupling’ fiction and ‘de-growth’ fact

Rather than going into the implications of a financial crisis dwarfing that of 2008, my aim here is to look at the broader economic and environmental issues both before and after GFC II. Optimistically, one consequence of that event could be a general reappraisal of our situation – and this, of course, is where the logic of choices determining the ‘outcomes’ of ‘situations’ becomes all-important.

One set of possible choices is to try to recreate the status quo ante, but a more positive interpretation is that we will finally be forced to face a reality that, hitherto, few have understood, and fewer still have been prepared to confront.

Already, though, here have been some encouraging exceptions. In Britain, for example, chief environmental scientist Professor Sir Ian Boyd, has said recently that environmental objectives can be achieved only if people can be persuaded to move away from consumption.

This followed a report from a committee of legislators which concluded that, “[I]n the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation”. The committee said that the government should “aim to reduce the number of vehicles required”, promoting public transport and making it cheaper than car ownership. (In passing, it’s regrettable that the committee also advocated the inclusion of hybrids in the future ban on the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered cars, when it could instead have called for a near-term all-hybrids policy, and a limit on engine sizes).

The situation to be faced can be summarised as follows. Our obsession with “growth” has led us into behaviours which are destructive, not just of our environment and ecology, but in ways that we might term ‘social’, ‘political’ and ‘behavioural’. Now, though, energy-based interpretation suggests that the scope for further growth has ceased to exist. This compels us to change our thinking about the economy.

Of course, I don’t doubt that, even in extremis, a consensus based on conventional financial interpretation of the economy will express outright denial over this, and will come up with yet more hare-brained schemes to follow on from failed credit and monetary adventurism. These may well be attempted but, of course, they won’t work.

The fundamentals are that the surplus energy from fossil fuels which, hitherto, has driven economic growth is being squeezed, from two directions. Whilst the trend ECoE of fossil fuels is rising, our ability to try to counter this by increasing aggregate (pre-ECoE) supply is nearing its limits. The petroleum industry may indeed be guilty of having “cried wolf” in the past over the sorts of prices it needs to overcome depletion, but the reality of ECoE – especially where oil is concerned – suggests that the economics of the industry in many parts of the world really are in trouble. We can anticipate higher production from at least two OPEC countries – Iraq and Iran – and might extend this hope to Russia, though the costs of Russian production are far from encouraging. But US shale production alone is barely economic (if that), and has required, from the outset, subsidy, from optimistic investors and very insouciant lenders.

Whether ‘peak oil’ is brought about by cost-based supply constraint, or by the diminishing ability of customers to purchase petroleum, is something of a secondary consideration. But we do need to note that about 97% of all transport is powered by oil, with electric railways the only sizeable exception.

At the same time, we should dismiss the idea that we can somehow “decouple” the economy from energy. Fortunately, a quite superb recent report from the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has debunked the concept of “decoupling” so comprehensively that we can defer detailed consideration to a later discussion.

“Our finding is clear”, the EEB report concludes – “the decoupling literature is a haystack without a needle”.

There – political leaders please note – goes your cherished ambition to deliver “sustainable growth”. ‘Sustainable’ is something to which we can and must aspire. But “growth” is not.

Transition is vital – but at what scale?

This, of course, takes us back to transition. I’ve aimed to leave nobody in any doubt about my belief in the imperative need to make this transition. I share the experts’ concern about climate change, and am horrified by many broader issues, such as the loss of habitats and species.

All of these consequences are a price far too high to pay for an obsession, rooted in quite recent history, with ‘growth at all costs’.

But I do question, very seriously indeed, whether we can wholly replace today’s use of fossil fuels with renewables, let alone use them to increase the aggregate supply of primary energy to the economy.

Financially, a capital requirement of $95tn to $110tn, even spread over thirty years, suggests that we need to be investing an average of about $3,400bn annually, against which actual spending (last year, $304bn) simply doesn’t cut it. Unit costs will continue to decrease. But so too – in a world with diminishing prosperity, and with a near-manic prioritization of immediate consumption over long-term investment – will our capacity for investment.

Then there’s the sheer volumetric scale of what needs to be done. In 2018, the world consumed more than 11,740 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mmtoe) of oil, gas and coal. Replacing that, again over thirty years, requires annual additions of output from renewables averaging 390 mmtoe, from a current base of 561 mmtoe. Last year’s actual increase was only 71 mmtoe, and the rate of capacity expansion has stalled. Even the 390 mmtoe number assumes no further increases in energy supply.

The third consideration, in addition to capital requirements and volumetric scale, is resources. Transition to full like-for-like replacement of fossil fuels would require vast material inputs, most obviously steel, copper and plastics. Ironically, the supply of these inputs currently relies very heavily indeed on the use of fossil fuels.

Back in the 1960s, the television series Thunderbirds looked ahead to a near future in which nearly everything – from cars and trucks to aeroplanes, ships, space rockets and, perhaps, even the humble lawnmower – was going to be nuclear-powered. Some of today’s portrayals of the future as a bigger, cleaner, glossier version of today look like similar techno-dreaming.

The idea that we’ll be driving just as many (or more) cars as we do today (except that they’ll be electric), and that we’ll be taking just as many flights (but in aeroplanes powered by batteries) seems pretty implausible.

Both economic and environmental reality suggest a need to embrace the concept of de-growth. The trick will be so to manage it that an economy that is smaller in size is also more in tune with human needs.

777 thoughts on “#155. The art of dark sky thinking

  1. Evidence of Turn to Censorship and Persecution

    The Government now argues that a hundred year old Espionage Act, which everyone said was about foreign spies, can be used against anyone the government doesn’t like, with no justification.

    The public has no ‘right’ to know about the extent of Obama’s assassination program in the Middle East? American citizens can be treated like foreign spies with no justification whatsoever.

    Don Stewart

  2. Old Peak Oil Guys
    Art Berman, who was the leader of the US branch of Peak Oil for a while, posts Greta’s truly obnoxious speech on his Twitter today:

    “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money & fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” –Greta Thunberg mail.google.com/mail/ca… #OOTT #oilandgas #oil #WTI #CrudeOil #fintwit #OPEC pic.twitter.com/Zk3s2Gb…
    2 hours ago

    Tad Patzek, another leader of the Peak Oil group, regularly posts about how humanity is destroying ‘our beautiful Earth’.

    Looking back, I think quite a number of people saw the danger, but expected Peak Oil to put us on a very different trajectory. Some complicated feelings result.

    Don Stewart

  3. Don, I feel bad for these very earnest people who try to hold the government to account in the hopes that if people only realize what government is doing, we can have a government that truly serves the common good, only to be crushed beneath the iron heel. Laws protecting whistleblowers are for cosmetic purposes only, “virtue-signaling” by the government, like the Constitution itself.

    It does not take much reading of history to discover the real nature of government. Or, for that matter, read a few actual laws in light of the question, whether this is a kind of law that an entity truly concerned with your welfare would enact.

    You should know and judge them by their fruits. Nothing else. This is actually one of the most radical ideas of Christ’s teaching – I won’t say Christianity. Stop judging and excusing performance by intent or the potential power for good, stop looking at governmental power with the thought, think of all the good that could be done if only.

    I very much think that more censorship, persecution, repression and expropriation are in our future and I believe that, while noble, it is naïve and foolhardy to try to confront this head on as these whistleblowers do in the hopes that government will be reformed.

    My own conclusion, admittedly drawing on and biased by my Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry and familiarity with the Amish and Mennonites, is that the only effective response is to “go out from among them,” form your own community and own and control your own resource base, provide for yourselves and take care of one another within that small community, and shun the person who breaks the social contract. Or as Julianne Geiger brilliantly characterized the attitude of Millennials who are breaking businesses with their lifestyle choices and consciences, and who predicted that this was bad news for the future of the oil industry, adopt a “you are dead to me” stance toward all sociopaths. {“Millennials Really Do Ruin Everything, and Big Oil Is Next,” Sept. 22, OilPrice dot com} We don’t engage with people who “are dead to us,” we just move on. Leave them be in the desert of their own irrelevance and sociopathology .

    • @Jeff Snyder
      I was thinking this morning that I really need Dmitry Orlov to write again, after a long lapse, about Kropotkin and Anarchism.
      Don Stewart

    • Governments need not be unjust, but government officials and dependents will prioritise getting paid over the common good.

      All failing governments invariably put their own citizens into the grinder (taxes, expropriation, conscription, etc) in an attempt to preserve an unsustainable status quo, for as long as coercion is possible.

      Simply inevitable, however it’s dressed up in the propaganda.

      When the Moghul Empire based in New Delhi was collapsing in the early 18th century, peasants -already raided by warrior bandits – who couldn’t pay the extortionate taxes demanded by the capital, found that the army turned up, blew their villages to pieces, and chased them into the forests where they were massacred as a punishment for tax evasion and resistance.

      Fairly self-defeating on the part of the Empire – ruined villages and dead peasants – but that didn’t stop them.

      It is for this reason that new rulers might be more welcome than the old ones, as many in India benefitted from less cruel and capricious (if very greedy) rule by British colonialists after the Mughals, and Rome was welcomed for ending a state of constant war and banditry in some regions.

  4. Extract from BBC News -Bolsonaro’s address to the UN

    President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted that the Brazilian areas of the Amazon rainforest are sovereign territory.

    He said it was a “fallacy” to describe the Amazon as the heritage of humanity and a “misconception” that its forests were the lungs of the world.

    He defended his government’s treatment of indigenous people, saying many backed his policies.

    There’s no hope for our planet with men like him in charge

  5. ewaf88,
    As I understand it, Brazilian farmers and ranchers see an opportunity to have a big new profitable market selling soybeans for pig feed to China and beef to Europe, thanks to Trump imposing tariffs and preventing American farmers from selling their products at low, low everyday prices.

    So, actually, there is no hope for our planet with people who want to keep eating pork and beef in quantity and who want to keep burning wood pellets to keep warm, in charge.

    Bolsonaro is just another opportunistic head of government looking to cash in on a market opportunity. And, you know, markets are always right. They are the best possible resource allocation mechanism in the best of all possible worlds, and produce the best possible results in the best of all possible worlds.

    • If the EU was functioning properly in terms of saving the planet it would ban Brazilian beef.

      China doesn’t care how it gets the resources it needs.

      I find the destruction of the rain forests very upsetting especially as new drugs could be found there.


    • It is best to take the macro-view and recognise that civilization itself, even non-industrial and on a merely regional scale, is on the whole a resource and eco-system destroyer.

      We merely see the process magnified and accelerated with globalism, facilitated by easy and viable transport of heavy bulk goods using fossil fuels.

      Mankind must quite simply retreat from civilization – no doubt in an involuntary manner……

  6. From BBC news – is anyone surprised?

    French power company EDF said the new nuclear plant it is building at Hinkley Point C will cost up to £2.9bn more than thought.

    It also said the risk of the project being 15 months late had risen.

    I doubt this will be the last delay and price rise

    • It’s the wrong technology, and the wrong approach.

      The government wanted a solution funded by the contractor, who will be reimbursed by very, very high prices later. This tied it to a very narrow (and mistaken) technical choice.

      A state-funded project, chosen from the very best on offer and financed using ultra-cheap debt issuance, would have made far more sense.

  7. Hope? Ethics? Rising ECoE; Really Dark Sky

    There is an interesting article today at Resilence.org:
    The Hope of the Green New Deal
    It is interesting because this ‘green’ website pours cold water on all the schemes (such as solar and wind and EVs) which are supposedly going to keep Business pretty much As Usual.

    There is a tsunami of articles in the last few days prompted in part by increasingly dire climate predictions, the UN conference, and the interest stimulated by The Green New Deal and Greta Thunberg and the children. Almost all of the articles start with the postulate that whatever we do has to be ‘fair’ and perhaps even ‘reparations’.

    As an antidote to the wishful thinking that the Resilience article attacks so convincingly, I would like to suggest that we look at Nature’s solution. The goal is to produce a healthy human child (see Footnote 1). And a healthy human child must be able to efficiently turn food into energy. Let’s look at just a surface level analysis of how Nature accomplishes that feat:
    *An astronomical number of sperm in a male are selected down, or get lucky, or a combination of the two, and produce a small number of fertilized eggs. And all of the mitochondrial DNA from the male is left on the cutting room floor to avoid potential conflicts…which is how we can talk about ‘mitochondrial Eve’.
    *When the egg is fertilized, it begins to produce an enormous number of oocytes. At 5 months gestation, a female fetus has produced 7 million oocytes. She will never have that many again.
    *By the time she is born, the female will be down to 2 million. 5 million have been selected out.
    *During the development of the fetus, the body is comparing the mitochondrial DNA to the nuclear DNA and purging incompatible oocytes. (Mitochondria are the energy generating organelles, formerly bacteria, in the cell).
    *If there is insufficient energy production, the body will likely create a spontaneous abortion. If the body doesn’t create a spontaneous abortion, the child will likely have Down’s syndrome or some other birth defect.
    *As we age, Nature becomes less and less interested in our survival.

    I suggest that in an age of declining exosomatic energy (not derived directly from food), our Ethics must be informed by Nature’s example. The ‘informed’ part may be by creating new religious concepts or by pretending that the old religions are still relevant, while behaving as if Nature is really suggesting what needs to be done.

    So, we might frame the problem as follows:
    *Nature is measuring how many big brained apes the future world can support. That turns out to be, as an example, 500 million (see footnote 2)
    *Nature then compares the total number of existing big brained apes (roughly 8 billion) and does some arithmetic and most of the existing big brained apes are ’disappeared’.
    *Nature’s selection process is likely to be based on energy, just as energy is the dominant consideration in the selection of the eventual child which is born into the world.
    *Nature’s measure of energy capacity is very unlikely to involve the manipulation of ‘high tech’ energy such as fossil fuels and nuclear and complex wind and solar.
    *Nature’s measure of energy capacity is much more likely to involve assessing the health of the existing energy system (metabolic capacity) and the epigenetic capacity of the individual (or tightly knit community) to utilize natural sources of energy, including biomass.

    I realize this formulation will appall many people. But it seems to me to be a realistic way to avoid more of the wasted time and energy that the Resilience article points to. I will also mention that an individual’s metabolic capacity is heavily influenced by the lifestyle they choose…those who accomplish the most in terms of consistency with emerging reality are the most likely to survive.

    Don Stewart
    Footnote 1: Interestingly, Vladimir Putin said that ‘everybody deserves to have fun any way they choose to…but the interest of the State is in healthy children’.
    Footnote 2: ‘Forward looking natural selection’ is anathema to dogmatic Darwinianism. But the facts are the facts, and my ‘interpretation’ may be suggestive.

  8. On the subject of going green and saving our environment it’s sad to see that they’ve had to close some roads around Mont Blanc for fear of part of the glacier collapsing.


  9. After all the legal tumult it was entertaining to see the UK parliament sitting last night, “debating the issues and holding the government to account”

    • We’re beginning to look like the world’s prize idiots.

      From abroad, it looks simple enough – the voters were asked to make a decision. They made it – rightly or wrongly. The government and Parliament were supposed (and pledged) to carry it out.

      The only possible solution now is a general election. Let’s wait and see if the Remainer establishment has the integrity to let that happen.

    • @Dr. Morgan
      May I suggest that Britain is in a classic move plot. Think back to The Graduate by Mike Nichols. The wedding is taking place. Benjamin Braddock is upstairs in the church pounding on the glass. The bride in her finery turns and looks at him. The evil mother gloats ‘he is too late’. The bride says ‘the hell he is’ and runs down the aisle in her wedding dress, Benjamin grabs a cross and blocks the door behind them, and they board a passing bus and look at each other blankly…what the hell do we do now?

      By the way, the blank looks at the end were a mistake. The camera just kept rolling after the actors thought they had finished the scene. Nichols saw it during editing and realized it was a masterstroke.

      Don Stewart

    • Unfortunately Don if I was to put thus link in a pro Brext newspaper like the Telegraph I would get insulting comments and could get described as a member of Project fear.

      The Brexiteers want us to leave at any cost regardless of any damage to trading systems.

      I was at my Doctors today and she told me how fearful they were of any drug shortages.

      Yet politicians like the disrespectful and not very bright Jacob Rees Mogg claims there will be no shortages as drugs can just be flown in at short notice.

      From where and at what price and quality he didn’t say.


    • The trouble with this, for me, is that it’d be like joining a club whose members include Blair, Brown, Cameron, Major, Watson and, to put the tin lid on it, Starmer.

      Not a crowd I’d want to be seen in public with, thanks!

    • He is indeed: and he suggested that the best thing an individual can do faced with all of this is perhaps get a dog and have some good walks with it.

  10. Korowicz’s essay underlines that the aim of ALL parties involved after the Referendum on Brexit should have been to ensure as smooth an exit of Britain as possible, with the least possible disruption to trading and manufacturing networks: he is quite right that average Brexiteers (and their leaders) simply hadn’t a clue as to the complexity issues involved (our societies being rather like the serene duck with feet desperately paddling under the water) ; but, equally, one must castigate the efforts of the EU and Remainers to negate the Referendum result and effectively overthrow any UK government that attempts Brexit, making any seamless transition impossible. A dismaying spectacle of wasted years and horrifying irresponsibility!

    • The whole affair will be required reading for any student in a decades time when the full effects are known.

      I can’t see the purpose of leaving – even with a deal – if it makes many poorer and we’ll have no say in EU affairs.

      However it’s what the majority wanted – leave that is – not to be made poorer

    • A post I saw at today at Going Postal – “no one reads the comments” – it gets 1000s.

      From what I am hearing, people I chat to day to day, this is changing minds again, my last count was 13 close acquaintances moving from firm remain to WTO leave, chatted to a couple of people today who I would have imagined were firm remainers, they are now behind Boris for a fast exit.
      Personally I think that even the ‘kids’ with the remain camp have changed, certainly my nephew who was very much for the Magic Grandpa, has seen the error of his ways, and now argues openly with his mum (the only remainer left in the family, and the least clued up) for WTO.
      I think, rather than families being split, they are all coming together, against remain. fingers crossed.

    • I’ve sensed for some time now that “just get it done” has become a potentially decisive factor in a general election. This raises the issue of when/if an election will happen.

      As I’ve said many times before, a vital precondition for democracy is that losers accept the verdict of the voters. The fact that, this time, this hasn’t happened is a pretty damning indictment.

    • Direct democracy is always a double edged sword. In the Brexit case, the parliament has been given a clear mandate, and given it’s failure to approve May’s negotiated deal, it is now seen acting in bad faith. This will be damaging.

      As a swiss here is my POV : the Brexit vote was a mess from the get go. In Switzerland, citizen recieve an official bochure with the different arguements pro/cons and facts. If the stated figures are wrong, the vote may get cancelled and redone (it is happening for a vote about tax law at the very moment). If the people vote for a popular initiative (a proposed law brought forward by enough people), the parliment has a mandate to make it happen. If it proves impossible (for example, the voted law would be unconstitutional, or impossible to enforce), a referendum for abrogation will be conducted. The parliament has usually a bit of leeway in the how and when of the implementation. It could even try to vacate any substance to a popular vote if there is a majority for it (which happened a few times), but that would be a clear cause for a beefed up second initiative with far less leeway (by putting forward a completly unambiguous law article) for the parliament.

      In the case of Brexit, the question was really simple and non-ambiguous. UK’s Parliament is not doing it’s job. Or is it ? It seems to me that the UK has no clear framework on what is the true extent of parliament power is in such a case. Can it overide popular will if it deems it damagable to the country ? Can the excutive power bypass the parliament without judiciary fallouts ? It seems to me that the UK is using a sharp tool (direct democracy) without the framework or institutional structures to deal with it. This was bound to be a deep cut.

      Talking with French friends, a lot are seeing the UK as wanting it’s cake and eating it too (avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre) along with being rude and mostly negotiating alone, i.e. Government vs Parliament, but not with the EU. This is mostly seen as arrogant and a sign of incompetence.

      Seems to me that with the recession looming, the EU might be better off picking worse pains with a handy scapegoat than being seen as bowing down to the UK and ending up in recession anyway.

    • Indeed.

      It’s my understanding that Swiss democracy has continued to progress – I believe that, as recently as the 1970s, women couldn’t vote, and most Swiss MPs were on the payrolls of a small number of corporations.

      Britain is, at best, a partial democracy. The lower house is elected under a system (FPTP) which entrenches the power of the two largest parties, and prevents new parties from getting a foothold. The upper house is nominated. There is no written constitution which means, amongst other things,. that there is no US-style guarantee of free speech.

      Behind all this is “the establishment”. Its composition has changed over the decades, but its arrogance and self-interest have not. Recent years have seen disturbing increases in censorship and surveillance.

    • Indeed, the women vote came very late (quite a shame TBH), mainly because of need of a majority on a referendum vote by men… It seems that direct democracy tends to err on the conservative side. A lot of our MP have strong ties with the private sector/syndicates/NGOs, leading to regulatory capture headaches and conflict of interests. As an example one of our MP which is head of a major party is also the head of SwissOil… and opposes any kind of energy transition. Power is very decentralized which creates an other layer of interesting issues as well, such as social policy changing from town to town…

      It’s very messy in a sense. Direct democracy is anything but easy.

      The UK system seems equally wierd in its own peculiar way.

  11. ERoEI Alert
    Albert Bates has just posted an early look at his free Sunday blog for his subscribers. You will find the free version on Sunday at Peak Surfer. A dollar contributed through Patreon MAY get you a look today.

    The main points, in my mind:
    *Population is critical and must decline to about one billion by the end of the century
    *Link to this paper:
    Final use ERoEI is now down to 6 to 1. A decade ago a study of African subsistence hunters and gatherers found EOoEI of 10:1, and they were unable to sustain a civilization at that level. Partly because when times are hard, the ERoEI can fall rapidly. With Climate Change, we can expect more hard times.
    *The ERoEI of fossil fuels is likely to be the same as renewables in the near future…but much lower than fossil fuels have been in the recent past.
    *Men with vasectomies should go to the head of the line.

    The Nature paper tells you how to access the EIA data on which the paper was based. This is similar to Dr. Morgan’s ECoE, but may come from a different direction.

    Don Stewart
    PS. An explanation for the current ‘crazy’ global politics and monetary policies?

    • I don’t know much about Albert Bates, but I find the EROEI of 6 a bit hard to understand.

      My interpretation is that world EROEI is somewhere around 12-13 – and that’s quite bad enough. Complex Western economies probably require a minimum of about 20, and EMEs somewhere between 10 and 13.

      At 6, I suspect, the system would have collapsed. Even where we are, there’s clear risk of that happening..

    • The main points, in my mind:
      *Population is critical and must decline to about one billion by the end of the century

      Don, you are suggesting that some sort of genocide is required. I think you are A little overexcited and should consider other sides to this question.
      The quality of debate on this forum has declined markedly as the in-group has asserted itself, You have made ad hominem attacks on me for making alternative and perfectly reasoned arguments based upon data from um impeachable sources.

      The World does not have a resource problem it has a distribution management problem. The source of the problem is the Financialised nature of the highly centralised monetary system.
      The Problems are not related to “Fossil Fuels” and any of their by-products per se, all of those questions are manageable, Think Un – Leaded Petrol:

      Access to Resources is endorsed by the monetary hegemony of the PetroDollar, “It’s our currency but your problem”, John Connally. Shenanigans in Syria, Ukraine, Mynamar, Iran presently and previously in Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey.
      are all part of this Access to and not supply of petrochemical feedstocks.

      What Seeds analysis provides is a metric for distribution decisions and investment planning it does not portend to some sort of Doomsday eschatological green messiah prophecy replete with plagues of Locusts and Deluges.

      The human Family has all the tools it needs what it lacks is the cooperative models of Bi-Lateral Government diplomacy to facilitate the efficient un coerced operation of trade and exchange. Hegemonic geopolitical intrigue is the problem we face and not resource restraints or indeed basic failings in human nature.

      Essentially it boils down the question of World view and the balance of Love or Hate. Mars or Venus, Good and Evil. Free will or Determinism.

      Love Roger.

    • @Roger
      Albert Bates chose, about 50 years ago, to live in an Eco-Village. He is well-aware of both the plusses and the minuses of that lifestyle. He is also acutely aware of the necessity to produce an energy surplus in order to build infrastructure to produce more energy. The book he and Katharine Draper just published on Bio-Char used in a carbon cascade is Exhibit A.

      Albert simply observes that the last time humans lived on a solar budget, there were roughly a billion of us. Some other people have looked at the same question and come up with numbers from 500 million to 12 billion. The 12 billion involved a vast amount of terraforming the Earth to maximize soil and water and solar gain. The 500 million involved a very simple agrarian lifestyle with a resemblance to the way Albert actually lives in Tennessee. If you think the future is hunters and gatherers, then the number will be way smaller. The late Toby Hemenway promoted a ‘horticultural’ society more advanced that hunting and gathering but living on a solar budget…his number was 500 million.

      I recently published here a short review of how Nature selects from an over-abundance of candidates. There are other scenarios. A recent paper based on detailed genetic studies identifies a population bottleneck around 5,000 years ago where male dominated societies managed to decimate each other in warfare. The groups which survived were characterized by either female dominance or by gender equality. I have previously pointed out that the death of all the alpha males in a group of baboons in Africa led to a stable, female-dominated troop with low levels of violence.

      Roger, this is all about reality and choices.

      Don Stewart

    • Optimum population would reflect toxicity levels in humans matching the lowest known levels in the past millennia. Also, biodiversity (biota: flora, fauna, microbial…) should remain relatively stable. Genocide is a straw man. Women’s empowerment is known to reduce fecundity. Access to birth control improves the quality of life of parents and children ceteris paribus. Nutrition and education improve ceteris paribus.

      I posted this link in the recent past (I’m a newbie) . Humans are *not* exempt. https://www.ecologycenter.us/ecosystem-theory/the-maximum-power-principle.html

      Lastly, free will *is* suspect despite conscious experiences that ‘feel’ free. Our cumulative past (100% physical unless contrary evidence is proferred- which would likely win a Nobel) is heredity plus experience since conception. Decisions are made based upon that history. See Galen Strawson:

      Sir Martin Rees judges 50% chance humans go extinct this century. (past Pres. of The Royal Society, and Astronomer Royal) I reviewed his 2003 book for The UK journal Futures.
      He has a new one which is on my desk.

      IMHO, those believing that socio-economic engineering can cure a scale problem avoid the trends of biophysical decline of the finite “pie” while 80 million more slices are cut from it yearly. They ignore externalities (negative feedback.) The four horsemen ride faster each day despite the warm and fuzzy ideas of those like Stephen Pinker. I’ll wager anyone for charity on outcomes at:

    • Don,
      What you present is one version of Reality?
      What you present is one set of choices?
      The simple fact is that the jury is out as to what the facts are and which facts are of most importance, according to which priorities one adopts.
      Don, you make a lot of appeals to Authority but dismiss other authoritative but dissenting voices, Vaclav Smil of David Bellamy for instance bear close reading.
      Someone further up the thread asks about Kropotkin, Conquest of Bread and Mutual Aid are both worth reading. Kropotkin is very good in balancing out the Hobbesian Nature Red in Tooth and Claw Darwinist cultists with the aspects of Mutuality found abundantly in Nature.
      Of Course Mans ability to determine its own environment does provide a host of possibilities and thats where Free will comes in.
      For me Don your writing and preaching come across as rather arrogant. For all, I know you may be right but I see very little in the way of any acknowledgement that you might, in fact, be wrong, I seek counsel from cooler heads.
      Peoples Tastes vary and clearly, there is a taste for self-flagellation and contrition in this blog discussion these days.
      Seeds is great and as with many tools it will be employed wisely by some and not by others, There will, of course, be those who will insist on it being the only sort of possible tool, The Hammer.


    • “Lastly, free will *is* suspect ”
      @Steven B Kurtz
      As a Pelagian, I disagree.
      As a realist, it is a matter of faith and not of knowing one can not know the unknowable.

    • @Roger Had to look it up!
      Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid. This theological theory is named after the British monk Pelagius, although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name.Wikipedia
      Humans are the only species with notions of evil/good.Note that cultures disagree about what constitutes good/evil/. Sharia has honor killings, amputations, stonings…as good things!

      Many species [incl. us) exhibit emotions such as grief, joy, anger, sadness…This supports the explanation that evolution is responsible for them. The concepts of justice, fairness, etc are anthropogenic rationalizations of evolved behavior which supported feedback to individuals by the group/tribe/clan in moderating deviant behavior. Free will assertion is the allocation of responsibility to individuals by the group.

      I realize that philosophers like Strawson are in the minority. But so are skeptics/atheists like me. We are likely mutants! 😉

  12. @Dr. Morgan
    I am, of course, not the author of the study in Science and the earlier studies that the Science authors and Albert refer to. However, I will take a crack at the question of 12-13 vs. 6.

    The ERoEI of an oil well can be calculated in a number of different ways. One can calculate how much direct energy went into drilling and production of the well (hauling the water and sand and proppant and turning the drill bit and so forth. Or one can ‘load’ those costs with the cost of running the home office of the various companies involved. Or one can take some broad brush ‘loading factor’ of how much it takes to support the society which uses the oil.

    As I understand what the authors of the Science study did: They are looking at how much energy it costs to use the oil or gas or coal. For example, shale oil is useful to produce gasoline, which goes into an automobile which costs on average 30K dollars and gets 25 miles to the gallon and is driven an average of 15K miles per year on roads which cost X amount to build and Y amount to maintain and requires insurance which costs 1500 dollars per year and so forth. In other words, they are looking at how the particular society, over time, has evolved to actually use the fuel.

    When the Ellen MacArthur Foundation looked at automobile usage in Europe, they concluded that using the automobiles used 100 percent of the energy in the barrel of oil…there is no surplus left to fund the governments or support education, etc. Which implies that, given current usage characteristics in Europe, oil is NOT a source of Surplus Energy when burned in an automobile.

    As I understand it, the Science authors have delved into a database maintained by the EIA to determine how much Surplus Energy society has been able to generate each year on a historical basis for each fossil fuel, and has found that the ratio of Surplus has been declining steadily and is now at a level of 6. They also project that the ratio will continue to fall.

    Albert Bates is a lawyer by trade, and he has historically used one of his neighbors at The Farm in Tennessee to do his physical calculations. The neighbor recently died, and Albert has had to look for new people to crunch his numbers. But I think he understands the numbers surrounding Peak Oil well enough to understand the logic I laid out above. Albert is looking at a cross-over point of ERoEI of 3 for renewables and 3 for fossil fuels in the near future. Which implies that we cannot support our current style of civilization with either renewables OR fossil fuels. Albert reasons that the ERoEI of the renewables may increase a little with technological improvements, but fossil fuels will likely continue down even below 3 as deposits are depleted.

    Therefore, Albert sees three gigantic challenges:
    *Get populations into a steep decline (and he gives some calculations of what the current birth rates in Nigeria, coupled with increasing life span, will do to total population).
    *Convert from fossil fuels to renewables rapidly
    *Destroy our current fuel-use patterns and replace them with much less fuel dense patterns. (The example I have used on this blog rather frequently is looking at 30 year ago patterns in China: walking, bicycles, motorized carts, mopeds, heavy trucks for construction, etc.). So that the patterns of use in the OECD countries would look like the patterns of use in China from 30 years ago or perhaps a West African country right now. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation similarly looks at how fuel use for transporting people in Europe needs to evolve.
    *If you look at the list of references in the Science article, you see a lot of papers from people like Charlie Hall about how big the Surplus ratio needs to be in order to support a complex society. Apparently the narrowly defined ratio of African hunter-gatherers was found to be 10, but they could not support a complex society…everyone hunts and gathers, and they do not accumulate surpluses or use advanced tools and infrastructure. In good years (e.g., plenty of rain) they are the Original Leisure Society. But in bad years (e..g., drought), they work constantly to overcome the hostile environment and still have meager harvests. It is the bad years that prevent the evolution to a complex society. A parallel scenario for the US might be: if Miami is destroyed in a Category 5 hurricane, will be have enough Surplus Energy to rebuild it? If the answer is ‘No’, then Miami is doomed.
    *Albert has spent much of his adult life thinking about and living a life much less energy dense than most Americans (his air travel related to the Global Village Network and his work on Climate Change are ‘airplane intensive’, which he offsets by planting trees. But, of course, a society with a ratio of 3 won’t have airplanes. Albert doesn’t need airplanes when he is at home in Tennessee.

    I would just add this as my own observation. Taking the Science data as accurate, the data illustrate just what is so wrong about using GDP as a measure of anything other than the ability to pay debts. GDP goes up as efficiency goes down, and as debts increase. Your own work has peeled part of that onion by looking at Clean Prosperity net of debt. Apparently, the Science article peels some more of the onion to look in more detail at how we are using the fossil energy. The article may also estimate the ratio for renewables, or Albert may be getting those from some other source.

    I hope there is not too much misunderstanding on my part in the preceding.

    Don Stewart
    PS. B.W. Hill’s thermodynamic models also got at something like the Science numbers. Hill showed thermodynamic exhaustion right about now, given the society’s energy density as it has evolved over the last decades. Hill showed Peak Wealth just about now, with a rather sharp decline from here on out. Hill only looked at Oil, but he modeled the total society as ‘oil limited’.

    • Food
      As a related observation, I saw many people at the UN Conference the past week are now talking about ‘the food system’. They point out that studies have tended to look at ‘agriculture’ as defined by the farm gate, or ‘transportation’, or ‘manufacturing’, or ‘retail’. But if one looks at ‘getting food on the table’, then it costs 10 or 12 calories to deliver 1 calorie to the stomach. Food in the US is a huge energy sink. A society serious about Energy would not count the dollar cost of getting the calorie to the stomach as somehow ‘good’, and obsess about increases in that cost and targeting increased inflation as a national goal. When a hunter-gatherer in Africa kills a zebra and the band hauls it back to the village for a feast, they are expending perhaps 1 metabolic calorie but putting 10 calories in the stomachs. The GDP they generate is zero.

      Don Stewart

    • Exactly so. There are at least two reasons for knowing this.

      First, it depends on the nonsensical idea of “decoupling” growth from energy use, on which the literature is “a haystack without a needle” (EEB).

      Second, just look at how many politicians promise it.

    • Sustainable developpement is Hogwash (in the sense of being a utopian idea from the revolved past). There might have been a window of opportunity for it in the 70’s or 80’s, but the real focus now should be sustainable retreat (call it deglobalization if you will) and AGW adaptation readiness.

      IMO, there will be two types of countries : losers and failed states. Losers will be every country with a strong investment plan in RE, plus energy use reduction program plus AGW preparations and forward planed triage. Failed states will be countries insisting on extending BAU as long as possible until the Seneca cliff catches up with them.

      Once the transition period is over, a slow paced “Sustainable” developpement might become possible. Maybe. Let’s not forget that the available energy intensity sets the level of ressource extraction (depending on their concentration). Once energy becomes scarce, a lot of minerals will become harder to come by (too costly for the consumer).

    • Well said, Tel. Sale is likely right. The “world” doesn’t need saving as it will go on for tens of thousands of years with some number of us or without us.

  13. True: but no one is going to set up large-scale market gardens and small mixed family farms on the outskirts of prospering towns, like this one, from which much fresh produce for the town marketplace (we have one which is at least 900 yrs old here) could even be walked in with a wheelbarrow or hauled behind a bicycle, when more phoney GDP can be generated for the international boasting game league table with shoddy real estate developments using ultra-cheap debt. Not to mention Big Ag being one of the most powerful lobbies around.

    And as for addressing a sane programme of population reduction, the same pressures lead to pumping in as many useless large-family African and Asian migrants as possible so as to keep demand, and hence GDP, up (far more important than the cheap labour lamented by unions, aspect, as so many do not really work productively) – we see this throughout Western Europe now, and in the US of course, sourced in addition from Latin America. Brussels is trying to force this on the Eastern members, but they are sensibly resisting.

    What a spectacle! The wise man will just go and dig his own garden, enjoy the present hour, and hope the storm to come passes over – if not, it will at least have been a life well and sanely lived….

  14. I cannot see that advocating the reduction of the human population below 1 billion in any way implies ‘genocide’.

    Surely, we have to stop trying to justify and continue what is unsustainable.

    There are many ways there (I have little hope they will be taken, though) and those we fail to take ourselves voluntarily will be imposed upon us by Mother Nature, in one of her harsher – but perfectly just – moods…..

    Moreover, large numbers of human beings are not an absolute good: in times of great over-population and energy scarcity, human beings in dense populations become very stressed, neurotic and in effect almost useless to one another in the effort to live well.

    As the author Doris Lessing put it , we lose ‘SOWF’ -Substance of We-Feeling’. Look at life in Egypt today – everyone scamming everyone else just to survive another day. We can see something of this in Britain today as conditions worsen , although at a higher level of superficial prosperity.

    Only a too-dense, rigidly-controlled and hierarchy-bound society needs the Zen tea ceremony…..

    • I read the Golden Notebooks and other early writing, but not Shikasta. “they came on sources of intoxication, allow themselves intoxication.” has a similar psychedelic feeling.

  15. @Roger Lewis
    About the ‘war on carbon’. I didn’t read it all, but I imagine I am in agreement on at least some of what the article says. Bates’ book on biochar and carbon cascades is built on the notion that carbon is an extremely useful atom. All carbon farming techniques are based on the value of carbon. What is problematic is when we burn carbon in a ‘one and done’ method generating maximum entropy very quickly. What is also problematic is any scientific evidence (such as the Science paper) which indicates that our current OECD society can no longer profitably get to our most used sources of carbon…the fossil fuels. And when we use destructive methods of agriculture which take carbon out of the soil and put it in the air and water, it is problematic in a multitude of ways.

    So what are you accusing me of?
    Don Stewart

    • Don Both you and Xavier have a lot to say, at length and thats fine I read it and the links, That is not anywhere near the full picture and your COnclusions are in my opinion unsupported by evidence but are supported by a lot of emotional writings.
      Seeds is an empirical metric and the economy is an energy transformation machine. My own research and reading on these matters point to a future that can be wholly pleasant and fulfilling. Your own position as you set it out is that we have all been very naughty and are riding for a fall. There is evidence t support mans ability to do very stupid things and your worse fears may come to pass, the final blow will be nuclear and war based should it come by our own hand, should the solar system cast the first stone then of course we may go the way it is theorised that did for the dinosaurs.
      Meanwhile, I recommend Vaclavs smils paper on the carrying capacity of Mother earth which considers various positions.
      Renewables without the hot air by the late and greatly missed Prof. Sir , David MacKay is also very much worth reading./ Watching.

    • Roger,

      I humbly suggest that you and Smil are ignoring whole-system analyses of ecological systems including biodiversity, toxicity of the food-chain/water/air, fish stocks, deforestation, peak soil, aquifer depletion, waste sink shrinkage, etc. Adequate food is a necessary but insufficient component of sustainability.

    • @Steven B Kurtz
      Smil is a leading expert on the history of Energy and complex systems of society and what is called CIvilisation.
      Systems theory is the science of viable systems and the field of systems management posits the incorporation of feedback within the viable systems one wishes to manage.
      That problems and challenges exist is not in dispute, I do not claim to have all or indeed any of the Answers Professor Smil is more likely than I to have some of the better questions and strategies based upon his long and distinguished bibliography.
      This from 1995 lays out some limits at both ends of the spectrum.

      Click to access PDR1994.pdf

      some extracts from Smils last Book, I put on my Blog.


      Vaclav Smil does interdisciplinary research in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk assessment, and public policy. He has published 40 books and nearly 500 papers on these topics. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy). In 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the top 100 global thinkers and in 2013 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada. He has worked as a consultant for many US, EU and international institutions, has been an invited speaker in more than 400 conferences and workshops in the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa, and has lectured at many universities in North America, Europe and East Asia. His wife Eva is a physician and his son David is an organic chemist.

      For my own part, I am a humble philosopher and Poet.
      Lifes Energy Stream.

    • Roger
      I quoted Smil in my 2000 systems paper on overpopulation. He is indeed an expert on many things. However, the trends I mentioned are factual. To brush them aside is to judge the feedback unimportant. As I’ve written before, I’m ready to wager for charity on measurable outcomes at
      A division of the Long Now Foundation. (Stewart Brand & Kevin Kelly founders)
      Am only a retired dilettante trained in analytic philosophy, but have researched this for 3 decades or so.

    • http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

      Using this model we demonstrate first that, if raw energy
      inputs are included with capital and labor in a Cobb–Douglas or any other production function satisfying the Euler (constant returns) condition, the 100-year growth history of the US cannot be
      explained without introducing an exogenous ‘technical progress’ multiplier (the Solow residual) to
      explain most of the growth.
      Interesting eh?

    • @Roger
      Who are you trying to convince? Of course technology has been at work.

      Tim Garrett has done some work described here:

      At 12 minutes he begins to talk about the challenges of another doubling (a 2.3 percent per year growth rate for 30 years). He points out the reasons why he thinks that efficiency and renewables are part of the problem, not the solution (at the 17 minute mark). At 19:30, Garrett points out that Civilization is not made from energy, but from matter. At 21 minutes Garrett points out that from 1970 to 2000, the world was gradually decarbonizing. But beginning in 2000, and the start of renewables, we reversed the previous trend and began to generate more carbon dioxide per unit of output.

      The title of this YouTube is ‘No Way Out’.

      I recently just glanced at a headline where somebody said that ‘Greta Thunberg wants to keep 3rd World countries down and deny them the benefits of growth’. This is just character assassination. If you take Garrett’s explanation seriously, you conclude that if fossil fuels begin to decline, we will not be able to maintain the built civilization that exists in London and New York or even Mexico City. The built civilization in those cities will be a millstone around our necks. People will flee to some much more ‘primitive’ place where simple hand tools enable one to live off the land. The people who are already living in those ‘primitive’ places, or at least still remember how to live in those places, will have a strategic advantage.

      You can understand why Garrett is discouraged from opening his mouth and explaining the physics.

      Don Stewart

    • Don,
      I do not try to convince anyone of anything.
      I do not say anyone is wrong in the totality of any claims which they make including yourself.
      What I do ask for is the evidence and the reasoned arguments posited with the aid of those arguments and that data.
      These are very complex systems and the binary and proscriptive tone adopted by many who attach themselves to the tribal polarities generates more heat than light.
      The insistence that arguments have been carried by evidence when patently that is not the case are rather tedious. The CO2 arguments detract particularly from the environmental arguments and the arguments related to resource depletion and exhaustion of other organic systems.
      The criticisms I have of the intellectual dishonesty regularly displayed now in these discussions at Tims excellent blog here remain.
      Have a great Sunday.

    • @Roger

      Wilber, despite being brilliant in some areas, has for decades assumed that non-physical/energetic things exist. He is far from alone, as theologians and some philosophers have done so for millennia. As appealing as those positions are to Homo superstitious (estimated 80+%), there is zero shareable evidence for such stuff. The attempted ‘proofs’ I’ve seen are either circular or tautological. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/66/Circular-Reasoning.

      Similar techniques have been used by those claiming disembodied mind and panpsychism. An Australian author, Reg Morrison, has written about mysticism as an evolved trait which has outgrown its usefulness now that we’ve become too successful. (overshoot) See:

    • We do know of one non-physical, non-energetic thing that does exist – thought.

      Moreover, the idea that mysticism (or anything beyond the tangible) has been rendered obsolete by advances in our knowledge seems to put a lot of faith in the concept of ‘advance’.

      I’m not a subscriber to any established religion, but I certainly don’t dismiss the concept that there might be ‘something beyond us’. Perhaps the most rigorous philosophical investigation of this topic, carried out many years ago by a retired judge, concluded (a) that there probably is a driving intelligence behind the universe, but (b) that this is likely to bear no resemblance at all to the Deity postulated by religion. For one thing, this intelligence is likely to be subjective (akin to our subconscious minds), not objective (like our conscious minds). It might thus be likened to a “highest law of science”.

    • Tim,

      Energy is physical. If anyone can evidence non-caloric thought, a Nobel likely awaits!


  16. Mistakes by Don Stewart
    Rereading the Nature Energy abstract, I see I made a couple of mistakes:
    *The paper is in Nature, not Science.
    *The data are from the IEA, not the EIA.
    *They are calculating the EROI in terms of electricity and petrol.
    Regarding the second point, I stick to my story that a 6:1 ratio is not enough to support an industrial economy.

    I do not claim that a ratio of 6:1 won’t support a more basic economy…like the China of 30 years ago. However, the points about the hunters and gatherers needing more than 10:1 is certainly a caution. It could be true that a 6:1 ratio will support a steady state, low-tech economy, but will not support a rapidly growing economy which is industrializing.

    Here is the relevant language from Nature:
    “Under many scenarios, fossil fuels are projected to remain the dominant energy source until at least 2050. However, harder-to-reach fossil fuels require more energy to extract and, hence, are coming at an increasing ‘energy cost’. Associated declines in fossil fuel energy-return-on-investment ratios at first appear of little concern, given that published estimates for oil, coal and gas are typically above 25:1. However, such ratios are measured at the primary energy stage and should instead be estimated at the final stage where energy enters the economy (for example, electricity and petrol). Here, we calculate global time series (1995–2011) energy-return-on-investment ratios for fossil fuels at both primary and final energy stages. We concur with common primary-stage estimates (~30:1), but find very low ratios at the final stage: around 6:1 and declining. This implies that fossil fuel energy-return-on-investment ratios may be much closer to those of renewables than previously expected and that they could decline precipitously in the near future.”

    In summary, I believe that the current scramble for fossil fuels in the Middle East and the desperate monetary measures can be most simply explained as an attempt to come to grips with the aftermath of declining EROIs…but without major surgery on our means of production and lifestyle.

    But nobody needs to believe my explanations. The paper stands or falls on its own.

    Don Stewart

  17. Germany and Denmark have long been held up as examples that we should all follow in their transition to renewable energy. Yet as this article shows, they have some of the highest coal consumption for electricity production in Europe.


    In fact, Germany dominates Europe in absolute coal consumption due to its large size, high electricity consumption and high specific coal consumption. Its coal consumption was falling until 2009, but has been stable for the past decade as North Sea gas depletion has prompted the end of the dash for gas.

    The reason for Germany’s high coal use is simple: coal provides a relatively low cost backup power source for balancing the grid during lulls in renewable energy production. In the absence of cheap storage and thanks to its insane nuclear phase-out policy; Germany faces a Hobson’s choice between reliance on Russian gas in CCGTs, or continued consumption of coal as backup fuel in legacy plants. Denmark is small enough that it can afford to dump excess electricity on its neighbours. Germany is too large for that to be a big part of a solution. The result is a country that is failing to achieve CO2 emission reductions whilst suffering some of the highest electricity rates in Europe.

    My prediction is that the next recession is going to prompt a reckoning for Germany’s expensive experiment in energy transition and will prompt a rethink across the world. The world needs a clean, reliable and low-cost source of electricity that breaks it’s addiction to declining fossil fuels. And that source will not come from intermittent ambient energy sources.

    • A major problem that Germany faces is that it is being pressurized by the US to reject Russian gas in favour of exported Shale Gas from the US. Thing is Nordstream 2 is pretty much operational whereas terminals to export US shale gas to Europe are not. Shale Gas is, in any case, nothing more than the proverbial flash in the pan – massive depletion rates, shale gas companies paying to have the gas taken away on top of continual drilling costs. How, exactly, is that a business model?
      Bottom line is whether Europe is totally subservient to the USA. The cold, hard nosed business option for Germany is to go for the Russian gas through NordStream 2. If they reject that then we know that Europe has no spine

  18. WSJ on Return on Capital; the Nature paper projections of renewable and fossil parity

    “Exxon’s return on invested capital was 25% in 2011, and less than 10% last year, according to FactSet. Chevron’s metrics look similar.

    Meanwhile, some renewable-energy companies are starting to hit their stride. Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark has seen its ROIC go from negative-5% in 2011 to an average of 22% over the past five years. Canadian Solar , a big solar-panel manufacturer, posted an ROIC of almost 15% last year versus negative-16% in 2011.” [In an Art Berman tweet).

    One Swallow Does Not Make A Summer, but this recent data is consistent with the Nature paper…parity between fossil and renewable. What it doesn’t address is whether a society as complex as ours can survive with the parity being achieved. I argue that the financial and geopolitical and national political situation all argue that parity is not enough.

    Don Stewart

    • The fact that transition is imperative is nowhere better understood than it is here – others think it necessary to save the environment (which it is), but the SEEDS approach demonstrates that, without it, the economy is finished.

      What concerns me is that nowhere near enough commitment is being made. Actual investment is almost derisory compared with what is required. The same goes for the rate of capacity addition.

      Neither are governments prepared to do enough now. They’ll make promises for 2040 (etc), but they won’t limit engine sizes, mandate all-hybrid product slates or invest seriously in public transport.

    • Dear doc, lets assume political adventurism was there long before monetary adventurism.

      That would explain certain issues.

    • “Growth in our time”

      The problem is that current politics central tenet is that growth must go on, at any cost. Everytime someone articulate a somewhat effective measure with respect of the environnement/energy predicament we are facing, the answer is “But think of the jobs” or “But think about the economy”.

      Taxing Jet fuel same as gasoline : “But think of the jobs !”
      Mandatory raising building’s energy standards : “But think of the cost !”
      Limiting car engine size : “But think of the consumers liberty !”

      Only when the climate Chamberlains will be gone will change at the required pace and scale be possible. The question is : will it be before or after shit truely hit the fan ?

      Because as far as I see it, we are nowhere close to the level of mobilization required. In fact, we are not mobilizing shit.

  19. Germany must either seize Russian resources through waging war – this failed twice – or buy them: it’s existential for the German state.

    Curiously, Enoch Powell at the end of his life saw Russia as Britain’s ‘natural ally’, as a counterpoise to the excessive power of the EU. If only we could be wise enough to make peace with Russia instead of towing the US line.

  20. Interesting analysis of the French ‘Yellow Vests’ by social class and age on The Saker blog, by the Iranian journalist who writes there, worth a look maybe.

    He writes awful nonsense (to put it politely) about Iran though, being basically a state propagandist.

    An Iranian friend tells me that there is something of revolt going on there at the moment, at least in Teheran, with women defying the dress and moral code,and the mullahs powerless to control them because it is so widespread. She wore a scarf on her visit, playing safe, but was simply amazed by what she saw.

    She says that no one will really think of revolution ‘if they can dress as they like and hold hands and kiss in public’. So, the mullahs would actually be wise to liberalise, wouldn’t they?

    So there is some good news about!

  21. Looking At Half Full Glasses
    Since I have been accused of being dogmatically negative, I will try to respond very briefly. I like to look for analogies, rather than look ever more myopically at some particular subject such as negative interest rates and the collapse of the United States. Not that such subjects are unimportant…but I find a sense of perspective is helpful.

    I suggest that there is an analogue in the human body. We humans store energy in the liver and in fat. For example, you eat your lunch and then you don’t eat again for several hours. The energy from the calories at lunch will be stored and used for a number of hours. When someone goes on a fast, it may take a couple of days to exhaust what is stored in the liver. Storing too much results in insulin resistance and all the dire results of diabetes. Storing too little results in famine if food cannot be found within hours. We have a human scale fly-wheel.

    The heart, however, has only a minuscule storage capacity. If there is even a momentary disruption of energy to the heart, such as a disruption of oxygen flow, then the person may die very abruptly. That is why heart attack response by a medical team is a matter of seconds.

    The barrage of tweets from Trump and the actions of the ECB and the Bank of Japan are all supporting an economy which operates like the heart. People like Trump who have surfed on bankruptcies see nothing wrong with catching a wave. Those of us who remember the Depression are more respectful of organs which store and operate as flywheels…we want to save something that is real for a rainy day. Evolution selects for what has traditionally worked. Hearts work well in terms of the survival of the human race…but it is my liver which keep me alive. So it helps to be able to think at scale. (I’ll leave the reader to consider how the supply of electricity and drinkable water function.)

    The same is true of social behavior. As I alluded to above, there is genetic evidence (for example, we can determine whether both males and females had mobility between groups) for a wide-spread decimation of the human population through violence thousands of years ago. But the same evidence supports the notion that it was ‘male dominance’ that led to the decimation, and that societies which were more egalitarian did not suffer the spasm of violence. Could the next spasm of violence come in the context of an economy operating like a heart, with a very few individuals and institutions and countries in positions of unprecedented power?

    Wisdom may come from considering a range of scenarios and then sleeping on the question. I suggest that we sleep on it.

    Don Stewart

  22. Cabaret?
    The Duke student theater has chosen to perform the Broadway musical Cabaret for the third time in the last 15 years or so. (The show presents the contrast between the hedonistic, live for the moment patrons of the Kit Kat Klub in 1930’s Berlin with the disciplined vision of the Nazis…Elsie from Chelsea dying of ‘too much pills and liquor (the happiest corpse I’ve ever seen)…versus the ‘Stag in the Forest is Free’ by the cleanly dressed, family friendly Brownshirts).

    My question is: Why does this musical appeal to upper crust young people going to this elite University?

    Second question: I suggest that the show presents the difficulty of finding and following a path giving homeostasis…enough energy stored in the liver and fat, but not too much. Looking at the comments on various blogs (excluding this one), can you find evidence of that same difficulty today?

    Don Stewart

  23. test, seeing if I can post with a different email address,
    my usual email address now prompts me to sign into a wordpress account I did have but chose to delete.
    trying to escape a catch 22 situation!

    please disregard this post if it actually goes through!

    • A wordpress account is like crypto’s, bank accounts, IP adress, face recognition, Libra, apps etc.

      Stay away from it if possible

  24. Vaclav Smil
    “The economists will tell you we can decouple growth from material consumption, but that is total nonsense. The options are quite clear from the historical evidence. If you don’t manage decline, then you succumb to it and you are gone.”

    Don Stewart

  25. Pollard’s Laws and XR
    I suggest that you google that title and search on the blog

    I have recently been involved in giving some friendly advice to a younger person involved in a corporate response to the upwelling of concern, particularly among the young, about issues such as plastics. If you look at the current post on Energy Skeptic, you will find an article showing how thoroughly plastics have penetrated into the making of automobiles. You will understand that an electric automobile would be even heavier if plastics were not used, and the cruising range would be even more severely curtailed. Could the EV manufacturers make any intelligent response to the demand to reduce plastics?

    I also mentioned David Korowicz’ recent article on supply chains and the Brexit delusion that it can all be simply changed.

    Several CEOs have recently become alarmed and are sending word to their organizations to ‘do something’. My opinion is that they see some of the same signals that Dave Pollard is picking up on. It is possible that things really are changing…although Dave doubts that we will be able to deal with the complexity of a response as laid out by the EV example and David Korowicz calculation of all the connections which have to be altered. My friend has already begun to realize that their corporation is just a part of a very complex web of relationships which may be resistant to change.

    My advice to the individual was that corporations almost always turn to Greenwashing…because real change is so difficult. As Pollard points out, the usual way things change is collapse of the old and the rise of something to replace it. So a corporate person needs to keep their ear to the ground and see whether the CEOs are actually serious about change or are, instead, looking for a Greernwash solution.

    Don Stewart

  26. Don’t know how much it relates to the broader UK economy but there is definitely a property price slowdown underway in the South East of England. This might be tying in with a general UK economic slowdown that has been discussed in this website.

    • Well, given that prices are several times the long term average we have the makings of a possible price correction.

      Of course if the pound tanks we could end up with a huge hike in interest rates which might be interesting

  27. regarding certitude and competitive publishing of research.

    Don your physics professor is far from convincing in my opinion.
    It appears that others are equally unconvinced. Your Man does not start with setting out first principles he accepts the models that is a fall at the first hurdle. Posted to a Video Channel called Collapse Chronicles, not very level headed is it?

    Heres another paper on Ocean uptake of CO2.

    Roger Lewis There is no ‘evidence’ that the oceans can increase their ‘sink’ and perhaps you could explain why we see more warming at the poles than anywhere else?
    This paper downloadable here,
    Actually presents evidence that appears to show precisely that Earl. CO2 uptake by the Earth surface of 13.6±3.4 PgC / year. New report
    ´´5 2010). Our best data-driven bottom-up global estimate of NCE is -6.07±3.38 PgC / year. That means, that our data suggest a
    large net sink. However, the amount of C in the atmosphere is increasing by an estimated rate of 4.27±0.10 PgC / year.
    Combining both estimates, we obtain a C imbalance of 10.34±3.38 PgC / year (=NCE-CGR). Potential reasons for this
    mismatch are discussed in Section 4.
    Using the ensemble approach we obtain an uncertainty in NCE of ±3.38 PgC / year. With quadrature error accumulation“ Thats pause for thought surely?


    • Am I the only one that has noticed that “Rogers” posts take you to a site that demands that you accept cookies that may be doing anything to your computer. “Rogers” posts are spam. Also note, that “Roger” only posts when the post contains a link to his site.

  28. Reblogged this on Not The Grub Street Journal and commented:

    This is a great film full film on Bitchute. link above.


    The Lomborg Deception
    In 2010, Howard Friel wrote The Lomborg Deception, a book-length critique of Cool It, which traces Lomborg’s many references and tests their authority and substance. Friel has said he found “misrepresentation of academic research, misquotation of data, reliance on studies irrelevant to the author’s claims and citation of sources that seem not to exist”.[5]

    “ Friel’s conclusion, as per his book’s title, is that Lomborg is “a performance artist disguised as an academic.”
    I don’t want to be as trusting as the reviewers who praised Lomborg’s scholarship without (it seems) bothering to check his references, so rather than taking Friel at his word just as they took Lomborg at his, I’ve done my best to do that checking. Although Friel engages in some bothersome overkill, overall his analysis is compelling.

    — Sharon Begley, Newsweek[6][7]
    According to Lomborg, Friel’s book appears to be aimed primarily at the popular version of Cool It as opposed to the longer more thoroughly cited edition.[8]

    The political backlash to Lombergs excellent Book is repeated by the experiences of Roger Pelke Junior and Judy Curry.

    The extent of exaggeration and sheer aggressive bile aimed at Deniers is wholly up to the standards of the Salem Witch Hunts and the Spanish Inquisition, equally farcical and full of comedic potential as well I might add.

    Clive Spashes Work is also well worth looking at and it was nice to see a long article of his on Wrong Kind of Green the other week.

    The requirement for Growth in Financiaqlised Capitalism is due to Interest (Usury) and the way Money is created and what metrics it is assayed by are very important the work of Kreutz in the moiney Syndrome and of the late Magrit Kennedy is essential to understanding this point.
    My Dialogue with Clive Lord a Founding Member of the Green Party of England and Wales on Money , Usury and CItizens Basic Income.

  29. @Pintada
    on September 29, 2019 at 4:11 pm said:
    Am I the only one that has noticed that “Rogers” posts take you to a site that demands that you accept cookies that may be doing anything to your computer. “Rogers” posts are spam. Also note, that “Roger” only posts when the post contains a link to his site.

    The Site I post links too is my Blog, I have been reading and researching Climatology, Monetary reform and net neutrality for over 10 years and blogging since 2011, This way I can reference a long timeline that affords context to the questions discussed here on Tims Blog but across the Internet and in the academic literature.

    If you disagree with the sources quoted then please make those arguments, calling what you do not agree with Spam does not make it so.

  30. Regarding Cookies my blog is on the WordPress platform and comes under EU law as I live in Sweden, The Cookies are from WordPress in accordance with EU law, not of my Choice.

  31. A UK currency crisis which Dr Morgan has speculated about which would result in rising interest rates would surely cause a lot of problems for a country that has huge amounts of public and private debts like the uk. These debt levels would magnify the effects of a currency crisis i believe.

    • Another point to note is that the UK has financial assets – a measure of the size of a country’s financial system – of about 1330% of GDP. That equates to £27 trillion, double (in real terms) what it was in 2007, on the eve of the GFC.

      With another crisis seemingly inevitable, that exposure is the bomb hidden in the foundations.

  32. Seems to me, the UK don’t need none of them terrorist chaps, they’ve been and gone and done themselves in…..

    Truly appalling and disquieting figures.

    MP’s might do well to address that issue, instead of giving us Feeding Time at the Zoo impressions.

  33. Mind, God, the Universe, and Everything

    Can you imagine a God who created the universe and then did basically nothing for more than 10 billion years until finally his selected (or designed) creature appeared and then, finally, you yourself came into being and this God was very concerned about your well-being?

    The fact that most of us cannot imagine such a God does not prove the God does not exist. What it probably signifies is that we cannot imagine it because our experience is so radically different from what the science tells us happened.

    I’ll speculate that one factor in the placebo response (which is a tough standard to try to beat with pharmaceuticals) is that by thinking something we actually prompt movement in the body which helps to heal whatever it was that ailed us.

    I’ll also speculate that Tim Garrett is correct to indicate that the built environment is very important. (Whether his specific equations are the best possible, I won’t speculate.). IF the energy which makes the current environment habitable for humans changes, then the built environment may no longer be habitable…London and Paris and New York and Tokyo may be worse than useless. Nuclear power plants may be toxic waste sites. Etc.

    The pleasure I got this morning seeing babies and toddlers and proud new parents and puppies I remember strongly. Albert Bates’ arithmetic about population growth is something I have never felt with the same force. Which will guide my actions?

    As for money, I think it was Mae West who said ‘I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor…Rich is best’. So the abstraction of money is actually the memory of a feeling in the body.

    Which explains why psychologists look to anticipated emotions as the strongest predictors of behavior. And, if someone can suspend their disbelief, makes the God story in the first paragraph so attractive…but perhaps a poor guide to reality.

    For now, quantum mechanics makes the most precise predictions we know about. But…nobody really believes it, do they?

    Don Stewart

  34. Pingback: A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.On Bail Outs Brexit and Exorbitant Privilege. Eschatology, when the shit hits the fan? – Not The Grub Street Journal

  35. Pingback: Redefining Fiscal Conservatism. The Terra/Energy Based Fiscal Unit. Föres and Lagom White Paper, Boundary Conditions for a Fiscal Conservatism based upon Circular Economics. PART ONE Scope. – Not The Grub Street Journal

  36. Pingback: Why are we here, An essay provoked by Golem XIv´s David Malones latest Documentary Series. – Not The Grub Street Journal

  37. Pingback: Renewables,EROI Why Money Doesn´t cut it when making Energy Investment Decisions! – Not The Grub Street Journal

  38. BBC news has reported the Government’s plans to spend £25bn on upgrading some major roads (I guess best forget about much needed local transport needs)

    The Guardian reports on Phillip Hammond exposing Hedge fund supporters of no deal Brexit who have been both shorting the pound and certain companies who will be badly affected by a no deal.

    These Hedge funds have political connections to Johnson.

  39. Interesting that the crown Prince of Saudis Arabia has admitted some responsibility for the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi on CBS news.

    Nothing to do with the fact that he’s worried about Iran I guess and wants more help.

  40. I have a question about historical currency crisis or collapse both in general terms and specifically in regards to the GBP £.

    If I could frame my question in terms of that famous quote from Ernest Hemingway in his, “The Sun Also Rises”.

    “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly”

    Tim has been writing about the gradually for the GBP £ for some time, but does history give any guidance about what to look for just before the “suddenly” part?

    • Goldman Sachs this am on WSJ site Marketwatch:

      Markets are pricing in an increased chance of Britain reaching a deal with the European Union to exit the region in an agreed manner by the end of the month, even if it’s not immediately obvious how such a deal could come off.

      Economists at Goldman Sachs say there’s a 60% chance of a Brexit deal, so the bank’s strategists examined what would happen to U.K. financial assets in such a scenario.

      The pound GBPUSD, +0.1139% , they say, would push the pound to $1.30, versus $1.2319 on Monday.

      It would also be a boost for U.K.-listed companies exposed to the domestic market vs. the broader internationally-oriented FTSE 100. The Goldman team found each one-percentage-point rise in sterling translates into a a one-percentage-point outperformance of its basket of U.K. domestic stocks relative to the FTSE 100 UKX, -0.40% .

      The FTSE 100’s sales exposure to the U.K. was just 26% in 2017, compared with 51% for the midcap FTSE 250 MCX, +0.10% .

      There would be a broader tailwind, too. Goldman’s economists say that by the end of 2020 a quarter of the cumulative GDP shortfall associated with the Brexit vote could be reversed with an agreed deal.

    • For an historical perspective on the value of the GBP this report from the HoC is a must read:
      And to extend the period covered from 1750-2011 up to 2019 then this site can be used by altering the start year:
      For me the big take-outs are the impacts from wars – France plus America, the Napoleonic war, the Great War and the Second World War. Also the appreciation of the currency during the Victorian era and the slow motion collapse in the value of the pound following the introduction of Keynesianism.

  41. Tipping points can occur when human opinions erupt emotionally. If that is spurt after a long trend in a direction, it usually marks the end of the move rather than the beginning. Note that the speculators have been trend following for much of the move, and the only way they can ring the register is by closing out their positions. (by a reverse trade)

    See the below tweet from just now. I see zero bulls in Sterling, which means everyone is on the same side of the boat.
    Sajid Javid was asked: “How much will No-Deal Brexit cost the country?”, his response: “No one really knows”…

    He is the Chancellor of the Exchequer! Why doesn’t he know? or does he, but it would be too damaging to say?


  42. Why Thinking Is Not Enough; Addition to the book by Tversky

    The Brain Uses Filters, not a Spotlight
    There’s an obvious weakness in the brain’s strategy of tossing out sensory information this way, though — namely, the danger that the jettisoned perceptions might be unexpectedly important.
    (Which suggests to me the value of a blog like Dr. Morgan’s)

    When people think about the searchlight of attention, Fiebelkorn says, they think of it as a steady, continuously shining beam that illuminates where an animal should direct its cognitive resources. But “what my research shows is that that’s not true,” he said. “Instead it seems that the spotlight is blinking.”

    Conscious experience must be tightly linked to actions.

    “Perception serves action, because we have to represent the world in order to act in it,” said Heleen Slagter, a cognitive scientist at VU University Amsterdam. “How we learn to perceive the world around us is very much through action.” The high level of interconnection with the cortex suggests that, even beyond attention, “these subcortical structures play a much more important role in higher-order cognition than I think is often considered.”

    My opinion: the daunting task of initiating change, in oneself and even more in someone else or the public at large, is that our behavior is highly influenced by our memory of similar past experiences and projections into the future. We summarize experiences by making emotions and feeling them. If a person, for example, experiences a feeling of freedom getting behind the wheel of a car, then tryng to persuade them that taking the bus is what everyone needs to do to save the planet by giving them statistics probably won’t be successful. One has to give them pleasurable experiences deriving from a bus or walking When Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes his wonderful life as a man with enough money able to practice the fine art of the flaneur in Manhattan, don’t you want to take a walk with him? When the newly-wed village girl, lost and walking in circles in Woody Allen’s movie about Rome, goes to bed with a famous movie star but ends up having sex with a real life professional thief, don’t you form the impression that Rome is a city with a million stories just waiting to happen…rather than a pile of people who are obstructing your goal to drive your car somewhere else?

    • Boccaccio and Chaucer wouldn’t have had much copy if everyone had been commuters, driving. about in cars. Shakespeare clearly got around a bit, too. evesdropping and chatting in taverns.

      Pretty hard to make buses desirable, they just are awful in every way: and we musn’t forget the safety factor – it simply feels safer to be in your own vehicle, no chance of being followed off the bus by a creep or murderer. And it is, perhaps perversely, a barrier against daily ghastliness and over-crowding.

      Trains can have a certain glamour, even if primitive. But not the 7.45 commuter train from Sevenoaks to Blackfriars.

      A start might be to ban car ads associating cars with untamed wildernesses, freedom and sexiness – not the daily experience of most drivers! The idea that it is an automatic rite of passage for youth does seem to be dying though – due to being broke?

      Ads constantly set up false mental pathways.

    • Personally I usually enjoy a bus journey, especially a Country Bus.

      I dont understand the prejudice against them

  43. I don’t see any previous reference to the Gresham College discussion for which the livestream has just ended. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thfQ3kyiyTI
    Three experts join Jacqueline McGlade to discuss whether we still have a chance to avoid a climate catastrophe.

    A lecture by Jacqueline McGlade, Frank Jackson Foundation Professor of the Environment; Professor Vicky Pope, Met Office and UCL; Dr Damien Short, University of London; Professor Geoffrey Beattie, Edge Hill University

    Does the team here agree or disagree with the points made?

    • No time at present to watch the whole thing, but I was amused to see near the end one of the last members of the audience asking a question observe that the whole lecture had taken place without any mention of population issues. This happens again and again…….

    • This is relevant:
      Note his specific reference to overpopulation.



      21st century crucial for humanity and the planet: Sir Martin Rees
      Published September 29, 2019

      Earth has been around for about 45 million centuries but, according to astrophysicist and author Sir Martin Rees, the century we’re living in is different in a crucial way. For the first time, a single species – our own – carries the future of the planet in its hands. The choices we make in the next few decades could lead to dramatically different outcomes for our descendants and the rest of life on Earth.

      Sir Martin is Britain’s astronomer royal, former director of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge and an expert in phenomena related to the origin and evolution of the universe. In his latest book, On the Future, he considers a more immediate matter: the potential of science and technology to make the world a better place – or a more dangerous one. He spoke to The Globe and Mail ahead of his public talks this week at the University of Toronto and the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ont.

      What concerns you when you consider the future course of this century?

      There are two types of threats. One is the threat that we are imposing collectively because the world’s population is higher than ever and we are, each of us, more demanding of energy and resources and possibly pushing the planetary environment and climate over tipping points. A second is that we are in a situation when individuals are so empowered by technology that even a few people can have an effect that could cascade globally. So I think we are vulnerable.

      If today’s challenges are unique, what needs to be different about our response?

      At the political level, there’s probably a need for more international organizations to cope with new challenges related to energy, climate, monitoring the web and so on. Of course, the problem is to motivate politicians to use some of their goodwill and capital to make hard trade-offs on issues which are long term and where the main beneficiaries may be people who live decades in the future and in distant parts of the world.

      As a student in the 1960s, you participated in demonstrations for nuclear disarmament, just as students today are demanding action on climate change. Do you think this kind of activism makes a difference?

      Public campaigning is very important because politicians care about what’s in their inbox and what’s in the press. They will do the right thing if they don’t fear losing votes by so doing. The climate campaigns, I think, can make a difference because they can help change attitudes – for example, by making waste less acceptable.

      Does it worry you when politicians appear to gain traction by retreating from global thinking?

      It does, and that’s why I’m pessimistic that international actions along the lines of the Paris climate agreement are really doing enough. I think the answer is to enhance the rate of research and development into more forms of clean energy. For example, we need to make renewable energy cheap enough to allow people in the developing world to leapfrog directly to it instead of to coal, just as they’ve leapfrogged to mobile phones. What happens in this century depends on our wisely applying technology, but also on our decisions being informed by a set a values which science by itself can’t provide.

      Do you think we need a common value system in order for humanity to survive?

      I think we need peaceful co-existence between different value systems. But one would hope that with a greater awareness of other parts of the world, there will be certain common attributes of all value systems that can help us relate as human beings.

      Why should people pay attention to science?

      Science is part of our culture and it’s the one truly global culture which straddles all boundaries of nationality and faith. But also, so many of the decisions that have to be made have a scientific element, whether it’s in the area of health, climate, energy … all these things. In order for citizens to be able to vote responsibly, they have to have an awareness of science, and enough of a feeling for numbers not to be bamboozled.

      How does being an astronomer affect your thinking on the future?

      There’s one perspective astronomers have which others may not, and that is an awareness of a long future. Most educated people know that we’re the outcome of about four billion years of evolution, from the first primordial life to the biosphere of which we’re a part. But I think many people nonetheless think that in some sense we’re the culmination of it all. Astronomers know that the sun is less than halfway through its life. And so we realize that humans are maybe at a halfway stage, and that any creatures witnessing the sun’s demise will be as different from us as we are from slime mould.

      This interview has been edited and condensed.

    • Tim, Never a problem to edit, format. If I had your e-address I could send a bit more stuff which you could decide upon. I see many relevant items daily, but don’t want to overload the blog.


  44. Tim Garrett: Why Use Physics to Describe Economics

    As I remarked earlier, I think Garrett has some important insights. I also think that the ECoE insight of Dr. Morgan is important. I’m not sure how to fit all the pieces together. But I suspect that Fritjof Capra’s observation that ‘capitalism produces products but what it markets is relationships’ has some relevance. Most of us buy a car not because we just want to collect cars, but because a car lets us establish relationships with other people and with the broader environment that we think we could not otherwise enjoy. The example of Woody Allen’s movie about Rome gets at the same point: the ancient city of Rome is alive with relationship potential.

    John Schlesinger’s movie Cold Comfort Farm features Kate Beckinsale arriving at an in-bred farm and opening the doors and windows to all sorts of relationships with the wide world. (I think the movie is better than the novel.)

    Garrett is essentially defining ‘civilization’ as the infrastructure (including human capacities) which makes the relationships possible, and energy as the fuel which is required to make it happen. Broadly speaking, human history has been one of finding new sources of fuel coupled with advances in the design of the infrastructure….with some hiccups along the way. Because the trajectory was basically upward, the new could be built on top of the old. Very old buildings are still useful. The same may not be true in decline. Glass walled skyscrapers may just be a hazard in a world with declining fuel. And urbanites may be ill-equipped to deal with the subsistence life that Garrett describes from his days in the South Seas.

    The linkage I see between Morgan and Garrett is that the 7 watts Garrett determines empirically may become 10 watts or 15 watts if we have a rising ECoE. In other words, 7 watts of fuel will keep us going today, but it may take 15 watts in the future to both produce the watts and also power the relationships. Exactly how the GDP is counted (since producing the fuel counts as GDP, but fuel is not ‘civilization’ by Garrett’s definition) will affect the official statistics, but is not the most relevant factor in terms of lived experience. It is also possible that visionaries and hard experience will teach us the value of relationships which require fewer watts to sustain. But it seems as if the chains around our necks called debt are delusions which must vanish.

    Don Stewart

  45. A Sobering Message from Paul Chefurka
    Go to the Energy Skeptic blog by Alice Friedemann for a brief introduction by Alice to a brief and to the point essay by Paul.

    “Those who are fully aware of the trap also understand that we now need it to survive; that leaving it (if that were even possible) would be as fatal as staying inside. We are victims of what complex systems scientists call “path dependence” – where we came from and how we got here puts strict limits on what is now possible for us to do.

    One of the things we can’t do is simply open the door and leave. Even the fact that our carbon-barred prison is now on fire can’t change the cold equations. We are condemned to wait here until the walls burn down, when a few soot-blackened survivors may stumble out into the blasted and barren landscape left behind by our self-absorbed construction project.”

    I would like to add my 2 cents worth:
    *The claim that most of the people alive today owe their existence to the food production made possible by industrial agriculture does not bear close scrutiny. It’s the same as saying that the increase in life expectancy is due to pharmaceuticals. Over the last 100 years, life expectancy has increased by less than 4 years…except that a lot fewer children are dying under the age of 2. Infant mortality is more a function of public health than anything else. And if we look carefully at the 4 years, much of it is spent in misery. No question that public health has done wonders…pharmaceuticals not so much. Similar situation with industrial agriculture. It has an enormous power to create junk food and antibiotic resistance…but we could live better without those two products. Industrial agriculture has lower productivity per unit of land than labor intensive methods.
    *I don’t think Dr. Morgan has shared his urgent predictions of the ECoE of fossil fuels. But he HAS been warning us that fossil fuels are leaving us, rather than us leaving them. There are smart people who think that we will burn every BTU of fossil fuels we can get our hands on, and smart people who think that we are at the limit of consumption because of the cost of the fuels and the infrastructure needed to use them. I tend to think that the big consumers, such as the US, will be forced down the scale toward consumption patterns more like India. Whether such forcing results in an internal collapse in the US, or ignites a global war as the US attempts to preserve its privileges, or we really do burn the furniture trying to heat the house, I don’t know.
    *I believe that a rational society at this point would be redesigning the food system, including dealing with terraforming the land with excavators and such machinery as long as we have them, and promoting more carbon in the soil to help with fertility which obviates the need for all the fertilizers and pesticides and which stores a lot more water in the ground. I have no illusions that all 7.7 billion would survive the transition. And debts won’t be paid.

    Don Stewart

    • rogerlewis: You’ve got chutzpah posting that video of denier propaganda. I stopped watching at 1:20 when “The Heartland Institutute” quoting Richard Lindzen showed up. Seriously?

    • louploup2 Your religious rhetoric is quite telling. On AGW CO2 Hypothesis it is falsified, a busted flush, a hackneyed old meme from eugenicist maniacs, cooked up by an anti-human misanthropic group of megalomaniac psycho paths. In your eyes that maybe makes me a denier. The word denier is to me obnoxious and smacks of the hard of thinking nonsense spouted by Climate religion fanatics. Glad we cleared that up.

    • I’m curious; why do you follow and spend time commenting on ‘surplus energy economics’? Tim Morgan’s work represents a similar approach to reality that you seem incapable of with respect to climate science—critical thinking. Another aspect of Dr. Morgan’s work that I suspect you are oblivious to is the application of the laws of thermodynamics to analyses of energy and economic systems. These come into focus around the closely interrelated ecological and economic crises, which linked by energy use. This post (# 155) as well #27 and #73 touch on the significance of thermodynamics in that regard.

      As is typical with climate deniers, when called out you have nothing coherent to say, retreating to name calling. Conclusion: Now I know how much weight to give your comments critiquing others.

    • I select the “Notify me of new comments via email” and “Notify me of new posts via email” options when posting in order to follow discussions in the comments by e-mail. This allows me to delete comments from commenters in whom I am not interested without reading them.

    • @Loup I have been reading Tims blog for quite a few years I am a keen scholar on Monetary reform and share the criticisms of Frederick Soddy as relates to usury and money creation. Soddy you will know wasa Nobel prize-winning Chemist.
      I understand the science perfectly well and what’s more Loup I am an expert on FFT analysis and as such understand the climate models as well as most Climat physicists, most of the bed wetting climate advocates failed long division in high school. That’s the real problem I have a mathematics-based analytical degree designate BSc, I am a Chartered surveyor by profession but have not practised since I sold a company and retired when I was in my late 30’s I am now in my mid 50’s.
      When I say the AGW CO2 Hypothesis is falsified I use those words in the sense of scientific falsification ( Popper). So Loup you see it is possible to agree on some things with other people for different reasons I admire Tims work and see Seeds as an excellent tool heading towards the implementation of Wes Freeberg’s Quanta Big apple plan. I have also played with Garvin Boyle models from Orrery Software, and enjoyed a correspondence with him,



      It’s difficult to know where to start as your comment is actually breathtakingly superficial, suffice to say I have been studying this area of political economy and science seriously for over 10 years full time. My Blog sets out what I have been up to and exactly who I am. WHo you are and how seriously and deeply you have delved into Energy Economics is not known to me.
      Hope that helps-.

    • Will!(!): I’m aware of that feature. I am genuinely interested in what most people have to say. When people post content that I find offensive I sometimes choose to respond. (I also post to the conversation when I think I actually have something positive to add.) I don’t believe rogerlewis had previously posted on this thread, so I had no idea what he was posting in response to Don Stewart until I looked at the video, at which point I discovered incredibly ignorant AGW denier content.

      My instinct about rogerlewis based on his linked video was accurate in light of his response. A good part of the reason we’re in such a pickle is the tendency by many people to avoid conflict—fear of challenging the naked emperor or something. AGW denialism at the level of hostile and destructive anti-intellectualism expressed by rogerlewis should not go unchallenged on a site that is dedicated to critical thinking about the existential crises we are facing.

    • I posted this on Roger’s blog (use his link). The reference to Lietaer is that Roger used his work on money as support for his position on non-physical reality.


      You’ve not evidenced anything non-physical. Finding supportive writers is easy! 80+% of humans are superstitious or mystical to some degree. That and $3 will get you on the metro or bus!

      I interacted with Lietaer for over two decades. We even skyped accidentally when his grand-daughter punched my number. 😉 We agreed on a lot, but not on demurrage, a term for negative interest rate currencies which encourages spending it ASAP. His view was that it stimulated the economy.

      My view was that the by-product was the usage of more energy and other resources, and the production of more waste. He didn’t disagree, as he was being anthropocentric and thinking short term. In fact he described another alternative to credit based fiat:

      Lastly, neither you nor I can easily alter our views, except via new inputs which persuade us that our current positions are not the best given current evidence. See Strawson:


    • On ‘climate change’, I support those who contend that environment-conscious action is imperative.

      First, the science on this seems pretty persuasive.

      Second, there seem to be observable signs, glacier melting being just one example amongst many.

      Third, and even without the climate change science itself, other effects of FF use – such as deaths caused by pollution – surely need to be tackled.

      On Greta Thunberg, I don;t doubt that lobbying has coalesced around her, and I accept that there may an element of professionalism in this campaign. But I think it has to be accepted that those taking the opposite view are well-organised and well-funded.

      On the whole, I welcome the energy and commitment that Greta and youngsters generally have brought to this debate. This doesn’t mean that I agree with everything that they advocate. But they do offer a refreshing challenge to the greenwash, and the lack of immediate action, so characteristic of the authorities on this issue..

    • “My instinct about rogerlewis based on his linked video was accurate in light of his response.” Toby as a Lawyer one might have thought you would perhaps have read a little more deeply into what I have posted and the interactions that I have made with Dr. Morgan and others on this Blog.
      Some Robert Burns perhaps.

      Toby, If I might say your attitude is precisely why Hilary Clinton Lost in 2016 anyone who disagrees with you is a “Deplorable”.

    • rogerlewis: While you were able to figure out my identity (calling me by first name), your knowledge of my level of technical proficiency in the areas of climate science and political-economics (and history) is superficial. You’ll understand my scientific and political-economic orientation more if you look at my linkedin page (which I basically use an my on-line resume).

      As an environmental advocate and policy analyst since the late 1970s I have been reading and applying the “best available science” to natural resource management issues for decades. Initially I was focused primarily on forestry and related issues—water quality, land use, fisheries. I have been studying AGW since it came to my attention as a crucial aspect of sustainability some time in the 1980s.

      I initially pointed out that your initial reference to a video that relied on The Heartland Institute and Richard Lindzen indicated fealty to the world of fossil fuel industry funded climate change denial. You might be offended by that term (“denial”) but it applies. E.g.: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/06032017/climate-change-denial-scientists-richard-lindzen-mit-donald-trump The same holds true, and more so, for the Heartland Institute: https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/08/11/heartland-deniers-deflated-climate-reality (line in opening paragraph: “most people with basic education, common sense, and a lack of financial interest in the fossil fuel industry accept what scientists worldwide have proven through decades of research…”)

      Your posts (and web pages) are evidence of an incredible lack of knowledge and insight about climate science. Getting into a lengthy exchange with you on this blog—focused on economics, not science—would be huge waste of my time and Dr. Morgan’s patience. Cheers and carry on; this is my last post in this exchange.

    • louploup2 Your own blog suggests the google search to point at your Fields of professional endeavour and political
      Hello world!
      October 7, 2009
      “My web presence is extensive, consisting largely of blog entries, newspaper coverage of matters I’ve been involved in, minutes and news of various organizations I’m part of, and legal cases where I’ve been counsel. You will find my basic resume at LinkedIn (but you have to dig up my name first). Try looking for lawyer 8318 in Washington State”.
      I have of course taken a look.
      Regarding your characterisation of my own positions, these are superficial.
      I suggest that your own reasoning is akin to Sham reasoning as given in Pierces quote.

      CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE: ´´In order to reason well …. it is absolutely necessary to possess … such virtues as intellectual honesty and sincerity and a real love of truth (2.82). The cause [of the success of scientificinquirers] has been that the motive which has carried them to the laboratory and the field has been a craving to know how things really were … (1-34).[Genuine inquiry consists I in diligent inquiry into truth for truth’s sake(1.44), … in actually drawing the bow upon truth with intentness in the eye, with energy in the arm (1.235). [When] it is no longer the reasoning which determines what the conclusion shall be, but … the conclusion which determines what the reasoning shall be … this is sham reasoning…. The effect of this shamming is that men come to look upon reasoning as mainly decorative…´´. http://web.ncf.ca/ag659/308/Peirce-Rorty-Haack.pdfPierces seminal essay How to make our ideas clear is also a great starting off point for embracing such truth as we might be fortunate enough to encounter in our allotted time on this blue marble suspended in eternity.http://www.peirce.org/writings/p119.html

      Take a look at these two debates 10 years apart.

      regarding the scientific ins and outs, I rest mainly at the feet of my Tutor Claes Johnson Professor of Applied Mathys at KIT.


      And recommend Dr Geoffrey Glassmans Rocket Scientists journal. as a good introduction to CLimate Science and the IPCC


      You will find the PDF I put together including the various contexts missing from most Alarmist and Neo-Liberal/Neo-Con Narratives.


      Regarding Michael Mann and Admiral Titley heres my Analysis of Titley’s whopper.

      There are others which help with funny greek squiggles.

      More than happy to discuss these matters live on a Skype Livestream.

      Heres my Dialogue with a Monetarist.

      And a Long Discussion with David Malone who is a friend and who I supported in his Bid for the Leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales.

      0.00 Introduction.

      00.15 Chapter 1. Biography Question.

      00.41Chapter 2. Education Grammar School, Move to USA, Private School, Swarthmore College, BioAnthropology.

      04.59 Chapter 3. Leaving University, Teaching East Orange, Newark New Jersey, Alpine Tunnelling France, Researcher BBC Antenna.

      10.50 Chapter 4. The Documentary Years 1995- now, Icon Earth, Sneaking Politics into Science, The Horizon at 30, The Far Side.

      20.31 Chapter 5. The Financial Crisis 2008, Lehmans Collapses, Comments BTL on the Guardian, The Debt Generation, Meet the Golem XIV Blog.

      34.02 Chapter 6. The Golem XIV Community, MMT and Positive money, More on BLT Comments.

      38.04 Chapter 7. The Green Party, Leadership, Election 2017 Campaign, Manifesto, Binary Discussion, Climate Mc Carthyism.

      39.54 7.1 Policy EC661 Money Creation (Magic Money Tree)

      41.18 7.2 Should the Snap 2017 Election have been a surprise to GPEX.

      42.23 7.3 Bartley/Lucas Focus. Anti Brexit, Pro-Immigration, Anti-Racist, Identity Politics.

      43.05 7.4 Labour and Corbyn, Austerity owned by Labour 2017, Banks, Solvency and the 2008 Crash.

      48.13 7.5 Brexit and the 2015 Green Manifesto Promise.

      54.36 7.6 Righteous Intolerance, Political Discourse, Burning the deniers, Binary Climate Mc Carthyism.

      1.02.46 Chapter 8. Does the Pope wear a funny hat, That’s enough about Climate What about the Environment? Can the Greens Count and do Economic Policy?

      1.04.18 8.1. Fracking

      1.07.43 Chapter 9. What is the Green Party For, Proportional Representation, Low turn out in its own Leadership Elections at Green Party?

      1.22.56 Chapter 10, Proportional Representation and Fringe Views. UKIP´s 66 seats under PR 2015 and is Nigel Farage a Racist, Tommy Robinson, The EDL and Dishonest Media manipulated legends. Geo-Politics Syria, Israel, Saudi, Qatar and All that.

    • @loupaLoupa

      Same message as to Steven. I have added my response to my Blog as a seperate post.
      on October 4, 2019 at 8:17 pm said:
      The Threading is pretty sketchy on WordPress here and not made easier by posts not being sanctioned when in response to ongoing discussion Tim?

    • To repeat, lots of links to the same external blog and all requiring approval, get a bit tedious. Maybe there’s some technical glitch causing this?

    • Tim, there are a lot of very long posts on this Blog, responding to them briefly is not always possible. Posting Links to other sites is something which I always find helpful from other posters and in terms of LinkBacks they are the manna of Web SEO.
      Perhaps this from Chomsky regarding concision applys to the unconventional and minority positions which I often find myself in sympathy with.

      If you choose to impose a post length limit and also link limit I could understand that but moderation and rules generally cause a headache for the Host and I respect your wishes. I abide by the adage Your House your rules, should the rules be applied unfairly my choice would be mine whether to continue to post or not. I am a grown man and I have thick skin. I choose to post here because I find I learn a fair bit and because as you know I do think Seeds is an excellent econometric tool.
      For my own part, I do not censor or censure anyone I respect the Arguments and the arguers but will always make my own arguments and clarify my own positions such as they are and such as they exist.
      As I say your house your rules, if I do not like it I will quietly leave, it would not stop me lurking and having a good read there is too much of quality and informed debate to cut noses off to spite faces as it were. I have no reason to or wish to leave at this point, I only regret any discomfort and inconvenience you have been caused.

Comments are closed.