Oil consumption growth

News Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump Recommended Links Energy Bookshelf Secular Stagnation Energy returned on energy invested (ERoEI) A note of ERoEI decline
MSM propagated myth about Saudis defending this market share Deflation of the USA shale oil bubble Oil glut fallacy Why Peak Oil Threatens the Casino Capitalism Media disinformation about Plato oil and Hubert peak Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  
Energy Geopolitics Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Russian Ukrainian Gas wars The fiasco of suburbia Fiat money, gold and petrodollar The Great Stagnation Big Fukushima Debate
Casino Capitalism Inflation, Deflation and Confiscation All wars are bankers wars Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System Financial Quotes Financial Humor Etc

Until recently the main source of consumption growth were China and India. The USA also increase consumption substantially due to low oil prices.

Earth population growth imply the growth of oil consumption.


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Dec 03, 2017] Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction by Ron Patterson

Notable quotes:
"... Carrying Capacity : Carrying capacity is a well-known ecological term that has an obvious and fairly intuitive meaning: "the maximum population size of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment". Unfortunately, that definition becomes more nebulous the closer you look at it – especially when we start talking about the planetary carrying capacity for humans. Ecologists claim that our numbers have already surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet, while others (notably economists and politicians ) claim we are nowhere near it yet! ..."
"... Overshoot : When a population surpasses its carrying capacity it enters a condition known as overshoot. Because carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population that an environment can maintain indefinitely, overshoot must by definition be temporary. Populations ..."
"... to (or below) the carrying capacity. How long they stay in overshoot depends on how many stored resources there are to support their inflated numbers. Resources may be food, but they may also be any resource that helps maintain their numbers. For ..."
"... one of the primary resources is energy, whether it is tapped as flows (sunlight, wind, biomass) or stocks (coal, oil, gas, uranium etc.). A species usually enters overshoot when it taps a particularly rich but exhaustible stock of a resource. Like oil, for instance ..."
"... The zoomass of wild vertebrates is now vanishingly small compared to the biomass of domestic animals. In 1900 there were some 1.6 billion large domesticated animals, including about 450 million head of cattle and water buffalo (HYDE 2011); a century later the count of large domestic animals had surpassed 4.3 billion, including 1.65 billion head of cattle and water buffalo and 900 million pigs (FAO 2011). Calculations using these head counts and average body weights (they have increased everywhere since 1900, but the differences between larger body masses in North America and Europe and lower weights elsewhere persist) yield estimates of at least 35 Mt C of domesticated zoomass in 1900 (more than three times the total of all wild land mammals) and at least 120 Mt C in the year 2000, a 3.5-fold increase in 100 years (and 25 times the total of wild mammalian zoomass). And cattle zoomass alone is now at least 250 times greater than the zoomass of all surviving African elephants, which in turn is less than 2 percent of the zoomass of Africa's nearly 300 million bovines (Table 2). ..."
"... Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction ..."
"... let go/ get out ..."
"... until which time as I say otherwise ..."
"... until which time as I or you opt out ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

11/29/2017 Notice: Please limit your comments below to the subject matter of this post only. There is a petroleum post above this one for all petroleum and natural gas posts and a non-petroleum post below this one for comments on all other matters.

First, let us define carrying capacity and overshoot. And none has done that better than Paul Chefurka .

Carrying Capacity : Carrying capacity is a well-known ecological term that has an obvious and fairly intuitive meaning: "the maximum population size of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment". Unfortunately, that definition becomes more nebulous the closer you look at it – especially when we start talking about the planetary carrying capacity for humans. Ecologists claim that our numbers have already surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet, while others (notably economists and politicians ) claim we are nowhere near it yet!

Overshoot : When a population surpasses its carrying capacity it enters a condition known as overshoot. Because carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population that an environment can maintain indefinitely, overshoot must by definition be temporary. Populations always decline to (or below) the carrying capacity. How long they stay in overshoot depends on how many stored resources there are to support their inflated numbers. Resources may be food, but they may also be any resource that helps maintain their numbers. For humans one of the primary resources is energy, whether it is tapped as flows (sunlight, wind, biomass) or stocks (coal, oil, gas, uranium etc.). A species usually enters overshoot when it taps a particularly rich but exhaustible stock of a resource. Like oil, for instance

When we talk about carrying capacity we need to define exactly who or what we are carrying. Are we talking about humans, all animals or what? Well, let's just talk about terrestrial vertebrate biomass.

Okay, Vaclav Smil and Paul Chefurka (and the estimates of most earth biologists) are correct, the long-term carrying capacity of terrestrial vertebrate biomass is a little over 200,000,000 tons. But how do we know that amount is correct? Easily, because that is what it was for millions of years before the advent of agriculture and other things brought about by modern day Homo sapiens.

Plant and animal species all struggle to survive. In doing so they have evolved to fill every available niche on earth. If a plant can grow in an area, any area, it will do so. If an animal can find a habitat in any area on earth, it will do so. At least since the mid-Triassic, about 225 million years ago, plants and animals have occupied every available niche on earth. If any animal overshot its habitat, dieoff would soon correct that situation. So for many millions of years, the terrestrial vertebrate biomass remained at about two hundred million tons, give or take. I say that because climate change, sea levels rising and falling, continental drift would cause the long-term carrying capacity to wax or wane. Also, the estimate is just that, an estimate. It could be slightly higher or lower. But the long-term carrying capacity of the earth always remained at one hundred percent of what it was possible to carry.

Then about 10,000 years ago man invented agriculture. At first, this only enabled a slight increase in population. Soon only plants that produced the most grain, fruit or tuber per plant, or per area of ground, was selected for replanting. Genetic engineering goes back thousands of years.

Then they discovered fertilizer. Animal and human waste could greatly increase plant production. Animals were domesticated and the plow was invented. More food per area of ground could be produced. Then chemical fertilizers were invented and the population floodgates were opened. At first phosphates from bird guano dramatically increased agricultural production but around the middle of the last century nitrate fertilizers from the Haber Bosch process enabled the green revolution and enabled the population to expand three fold.

It's mostly cows, then humans, then pigs then chickens then Interesting that the biomass of chickens is ovwe three times that of all the wild animals combined. If this chart does not shock you then you are totally unable to be shocked by anything concerning the earth's biosphere.

The world population is still expanding at an alarming rate. By 1989 the population was expanding by about 88 million people per year. Then by the year 2000 population growth had slowed to about 77 million per year. Then the slowdown stopped and started to increase again. it stands at about 79 million per year according to the US Census Bureau.

Now they are saying it will start to slow. But that slowdown has not yet started. True, the fertility rate has been dropping but that has been offset by the increase in population. The fertility rate is dropping but on more and more people.

Notice the U.S. Census Bureau starts the slowdown at almost the exact date this chart was drawn, August 2017. If they had drawn this chart in 1995, then no doubt they would have started their prediction of constant decline in 1995.

But I have no doubt that the population will start to decline. It must, it must because we are destroying the ability of the planet to feed all its people.

Paul Chefurka created the above graph in May 2011. I think he was a little off. He has the world population hitting almost 8 billion then starting to drop around 2030.

I am more inclined to agree with the U.S. Census Bureau who thinks the world population will hit 9.4 billion around 2050. Then I believe the population will start to fall. The rate of population decline and how far it will fall is hard to predict. That will depend on many things but primarily on if and when globalization collapses. The collapse of globalization will bring about civil strife, border wars, and famine around the world.

I want to call your attention to the green, wild animal, portion of the second graph at the top of this post. Notice the wild animal portion of the terrestrial vertebrate biomass, by 1900, had dropped to about 20% of its historical value. Then by 2000, it had dropped to half that amount. Then by 2050, we expect that 2000 value to be cut in half again.

By 2100, it will very likely all be gone. Well, almost all gone. There will still be plenty of rats and mice and perhaps a few other small vertebrates will still survive, but all the large megafauna, except humans, will be gone. Gone forever or at least for the next million years or so. It will take that long for new megafauna to evolve after the human population has been greatly reduced to a billion or even a few million people.

But the far distant future is of little concern to us now. The sad fact of the matter is your descendants will live in a world completely free of wild megafauna. There is no way to avoid that fact now, it is already too late to stop the destruction.

WHY?

Yes, why? Why are we destroying the earth's ecosystem? Why are we driving most all wild animals into extinction? Why have we dramatically overpopulated the planet with human beings? Why did all this happen? However, when you ask why, you are implying that all this had a cause, that someone or some group of people are to blame for this damn mess we have gotten ourselves into.

Was it the early farmers who invented agriculture. Or was it the early industrialists like James Watt or Thomas Edison? Or was it Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, are they the villains that got us into such a damn mess? No, it was none of these people. It was no one person or no group of people. It was not even any revolution like the industrial revolution, the medical revolution or the green revolution. There is no one to blame and there is nothing to blame.

Agriculture enabled the very small early population to expand. The industrial revolution and later the green revolution enabled more people to be fed. The medical revolution enabled more babies to survive and people to live much longer. Our population has exploded simply because it could. We have always lived to the limit of our existence and we always will. It was just human nature pure and simple.

Now many will say that we are now controlling our population, that we have learned how to limit our fertility rate. Well, yes and no. Reference the below chart and table that were produced by the Population Reference Bureau in 2012.

In the developed world, where most of the world's energy is consumed, we almost have zero population growth. But in the less developed world, the population is still growing.

Here is the perfect example of what is happening, what is still happening , in much of the world. Notice the difference in the infant mortality rate and the annual infant deaths. Most of the world's people are still living at the very limit of their existence.

<sarc>But not to worry. The death rate is rising, babies are dying, the population will soon start to fall in the undeveloped world. </sarc>

Note: The Paul Chefurka graphs in this post were created, primarily, with data from the research of Vaclav Smil and is published in this 24 page PDF file: Harvesting the Biosphere: The Human Impact . The file includes over 2 pages of notes and 4 pages of references where Smil sources and documents every stat he quotes. Below are a table and some text from the paper.

The zoomass of wild vertebrates is now vanishingly small compared to the biomass of domestic animals. In 1900 there were some 1.6 billion large domesticated animals, including about 450 million head of cattle and water buffalo (HYDE 2011); a century later the count of large domestic animals had surpassed 4.3 billion, including 1.65 billion head of cattle and water buffalo and 900 million pigs (FAO 2011). Calculations using these head counts and average body weights (they have increased everywhere since 1900, but the differences between larger body masses in North America and Europe and lower weights elsewhere persist) yield estimates of at least 35 Mt C of domesticated zoomass in 1900 (more than three times the total of all wild land mammals) and at least 120 Mt C in the year 2000, a 3.5-fold increase in 100 years (and 25 times the total of wild mammalian zoomass). And cattle zoomass alone is now at least 250 times greater than the zoomass of all surviving African elephants, which in turn is less than 2 percent of the zoomass of Africa's nearly 300 million bovines (Table 2).

Please comment below but only on the subject matter of this post.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Megafauna Extinction , Overpopulation , Overshoot , Peak Oil , Population Explosion , Species Extinction . Bookmark the permalink .

295 Responses to Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 8:23 am

Great summary. Mainly so I don't have to think about all the depressing aspects: do you not think if humans disappeared but even a few of our larger domesticated animals survived that evolution could go bonkers and we'd have new familes and species springing up all over in far less than a million years. After all homo sapiens are only a few hundred thousand years, and dogs (admittedly still technically wolves) only a few thousand. It would depend a bit whether we left much of the planet that was actually habitable of course – i.e. there'd need to be plenty of evolution pressure, but not too much. I guess your point would be we'd get new species but not the mega fauna, but I think there's evidence that isolated small islands can lead to either pygmy species or giants depending on the exact environment.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 9:28 am
George, I would have to start by saying that humans are not going to disappear. Other than extinction via natural disaster, like a giant meteorite hitting the earth, species are driven into extinction. That is they are outcompeted for territory and resources. Humans are the drivers of extinction, no species will drive us into extinction. We occupy every habitable niche on earth and will likely continue to do so even after our numbers have been dramatically reduced.

If we have a collapse of globalization, and I believe that is inevitable and will happen within the next one hundred years, then the human population will be devastated by civil strife, border wars, and famine. Seven to nine billion hungry people will be a disaster for all other animal life, domestic as well as wild. So I do not believe there will be enough domestic animal life to kick-start evolution of new wild species of megafauna. As I have said before, we will eat the songbirds out of the trees. So there sure as hell will not be any cows left.

Okay, so perhaps it will not take a million years for other large megafauna to evolve. Perhaps it will only be in the hundreds of thousands of years.

The Cunning Linguist says: 11/29/2017 at 10:18 am
So, after we eat the songbirds from the trees, what the hell will we eat then?

Is it not possible that the human species will drive itself to extinction because we are so successful at destroying the natural environment which we depend upon for our survival?

After industrial civilization collapses, the great human die-off will rapidly reduce human numbers by more than 90%. Life for the remaining humans will be extraordinarily hard. If the overall stress level is high enough, it will be very difficult for humans to raise enough offspring to reproductive age to maintain the species over time. Biologists call this pre-extinction phase die out. Once a species numbers fall below replacement level, they go extinct.

And what the hell do you mean: "If we have a collapse of globalization, and I believe that is inevitable and will happen within the next one hundred years "? Within the next 100 years? You are dreaming! We are in the early stages of apocalypse right now! Rapid die-off will begin within the next few years. 100 years from now, there will be no one alive who will remember it.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 10:44 am
Cunning said; "After industrial civilization collapses, the great human die-off will rapidly reduce human numbers by more than 90%." ..

..while what is left of nature will rapidly move into the niches vacated by species humans have wiped out. If (big if, maybe) there are remaining reproductively viable human populations, they will exploit those recovering niches at rates which will be far below the astounding rates of exploitation during the industrial age. Where humans have abandoned their schemes of destroying the natural world for their own purposes, nature, in some form, recovers quite quickly.

On the other hand, if global warming goes off the scale (ala Guy McPherson, et al), all bets are off. Everything larger than a shrew will be toast.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 10:59 am
Once a species numbers fall below replacement level, they go extinct.

The replacement level for animals in the wild and the replacement level for domestic animals are two different things entirely. For animals in the wild, the replacement level may be several hundred to several thousand. Animals in the wild have to find each other in order to reproduce. For domestic animals, the replacement level is two.

In this regard, we Homo sapiens are far more like domestic animals than wild animals. An example would be the Polynesians who migrated to distant islands in sailing outrigger canoes. Their numbers, in those canoes, likely numbered only a dozen or so. Yet huge numbers eventually sprang from tiny numbers.

Yes, stress during periods of great strife and famine will be great. Stress will likely take a great toll. But there will always be survivors. Everyone is not equally affected by stress. Some can overcome, some cannot. It is a little like a plague or disease. There are always some who are immune or otherwise escape the problem.

As for rapid die-off coming within a few years, yes that may happen but I doubt it. Humans societies are far more resilient than you might expect. For instance, look at Somalia, or Venezuela. Somalia, a failed state, has been in turmoil for decades yet no massive die-off has occurred. Venezuela is in a state of almost total anarchy, yet no massive die-off as of yet.

I believe the die-off will start within the next hundred years. Next week is within the next hundred years. But I doubt it will happen by then, or even within the next few years or so. In my opinion, it will take several decades for things to really fall apart.

The Cunning Linguist says: 11/29/2017 at 12:01 pm
Ron,

You said:
"But I doubt it will happen by then, or even within the next few years or so. In my opinion, it will take several decades for things to really fall apart."

What about Limits to Growth? That study forecast that real problems would begin in the first or second decade of the 21st century, in other words, now. Why is Limits to Growth wrong? How do we avoid sudden, catastrophic collapse once world economic growth comes to an end?

What about the fragile, debt ridden financial/credit/monetary system? Have you read the Korowicz paper? How will industrial civilization gradually unwind over many decades when the world economy freezes very suddenly and food stops arriving at the grocery stores? That should lead to a very rapid die-off as every city suddenly becomes uninhabitable.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 12:27 pm
What about Limits to Growth? That study forecast that real problems would begin in the first or second decade of the 21st century, in other words, now. Why is Limits to Growth wrong?

Hey, I have a copy of Limits to Growth right here in my hand. On what page do they predict catastrophic collapse before 2050. Help me out here but I just can't seem to find it.

As to real problems, hell yes, we are having real problems right now. We have been having real problems in Venezuela and a lot of other places. But there is a tremendous difference between real problems and catastrophic collapse.

And what about all the other terrible things you are say are happening right now. Hell yes, they are happening and they are terrible. But they have not yet led to catastrophic collapse. But it is very likely they will lead to collapse in three or four decades from now.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 12:37 pm
The LTG graphs appear to show economic and industrial peaks @2025-2030, if not sooner, dropping off quickly.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/9/1/1409550981593/cc68cfc8-072c-4e53-a741-b28c3d6bcea3-573×1020.jpeg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=1ec7d319d599211c6d4adb5d287cced8

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 12:59 pm
Ghung, what page is this on?
Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 1:17 pm
It's actually from a Guardian article, taken from Bardi's "The Limits to Growth Revisited". I don't know what page the original graph was on, but I have a copy of the original 1972 graph which shows the same curves, without the more recent data curves.

Guardian article "Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse" :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:17 pm
Ron – that graph is from the Graham Turner LtG update: http://sustainable.unimelb.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/MSSI-ResearchPaper-4_Turner_2014.pdf
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:32 pm
Shit? Is this real? I had no idea that we might be this close to collapse.

Nevertheless, I just can't believe we are that close. I think it will be at least 20 to 30 years from now.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:43 pm
It depends on what you call collapse. The UK and USA are both following the curve such that life expectancy is starting to decline. I think industrial productivity might be going the same way in UK, and definitely our health and old age care systems (which is one of the measures he uses for "services") are in decline (though the government always finds a way to massage the numbers so far). One of the authors of LtG has said that once one of the main curves is definitely through an extrema then the models probably don't work any more – which I took to mean possible accelerating chaos, but might mean something else.
Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:37 pm
Shit? Is this real? I had no idea that we might be this close to collapse.

Yep -- -
Population overshoot, ecocide, environmental destruction, deforestation, ocean acidification, mass loss of pollinators–
I could go on --

It doesn't take a weather man to tell which way the wind blows.

Alice Friedemann says: 11/29/2017 at 8:02 pm
This a unique, one-time only collapse because we never relied on fossil fuels in the past, and we certainly won't in the future. If you look at energyskeptic/3) Fast Crash, you'll see the many reasons I think collapse will unfold quickly. Turchin, who has looked at the patterns of collapse in civilizations going back to Mesopotamia, says it takes about 20 years on average. That is in line with Hook's estimate of a 6% exponential decline, which is the rate at which the 500 giant oil fields decline on average after peaking (something like 270 of them last I checked), all others (offshore, shale, smaller, and so on) decline much faster, hence Hooks estimate of an exponential increase of .0015 a year as non-giants increasingly contribute to what's left of production (giants are now 60% of world oil production). If Hook (2009) is right, that means we'll be down to 10% of what we produce after global peak production in 16 years. At that point, even if governments are rationing oil wisely to grow and distribute food, you're reaching the breaking point. Oil makes all other resources possible, so although many resources reaching their limits, the decline of oil will be the true beginning of the end. No more pumping water from the Ogallala 1,000 feet down, going 10,000 miles on factory farm fishing boats, and so on. Oil is masking how incredibly far we are over overshoot. Above all, 99% of the supply chain transport – trucks, rail, ships – depends on oil. 80% of communities in the U.S. depend entirely on oil, by far the least efficient mode of transportation of the three. Well, it is too big a topic to cover in a comment. I have a lot more to say in my book "When Trucks Stop Running".

Oh, and when I heard Dennis Meadows speak at the 2006 Pisa Italy ASPO conference, he said that if anything Limits to growth was head of schedule, with collapse starting as early as 2020. We'll see, too many factors. Also in the past, nations avoided collapse way past their carrying capacity by trading or conquering other nations, like the Roman Empire, which had to import food from Carthage and Egypt, no way to grow enough food in Italy.

Hook, M., Hirsch, R., Aleklett, K. June 2009. Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production. Energy Policy 37(6): 2262-2272
https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:225443/FULLTEXT01.pdf

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:14 am
Hi Alice,

I'm hoping to see more comments from you in the future, and not just in this one thread, lol.

It's very common for experts in any given field to presume there are none in other fields that are capable of solving the problems they see as civilization killers.

There are no guarantees of success, but success is possible when it comes to finding and implementing solutions to problems such as the eventual depletion of oil.

Once the shit starts hitting the fan pretty hard and fast in terms of declining oil supplies, both good and bad things will happen on a scale that will take the breath away.

The bad will unquestionably include economic collapse across large swathes of some and maybe most societies.

The good will come in the form of action on the part of awakened LEVIATHAN, the nation state. Those of us who cannot see that once LEVIATHAN stirs and focuses on such problems as we FORCED to deal with soon have little understanding of history , human nature, and technology.

Now WHETHER , or NOT, Leviathan, Uncle Sam, John BULL, the Russian BEAR, et al, can do enough to keep the wheels on and turning, instead of falling off, is an open question.

I believe they can, depending on how far gone things are once they begin to come to grips with the various troubles that will threaten their existence.

People CAN AND DO come together, and work together, sometimes. Consider the case of the USA. We were mostly all isolationists the day before Pearl Harbor, but within a couple of days after, we were all ready to to go flat out to murder our enemies on the grand scale, and DID.

Neither I nor anybody else can prove either way whether we WILL work together well enough to prevent outright collapse meaning we die hard deaths by the tens of millions even here in a country such as the USA.

There's no question that we CAN work together, once we realize we must. Whether we get started soon enough is probably going to determine just how bad things will get in economic terms.

But between what scientists and engineers can do for us, by way of providing us with better tools, and what we can collectively do for ourselves by way of collective action, there's a real possibility that some countries will pull thru ok, no longer sleek and lazy and fat and wasteful, but at least still functional, and with most of their populations still alive and leading a reasonably dignified life style.

I will have more to say about what Leviathan awakened, scared and enraged can do later on, way down thread someplace within the next few days, by relating some historical examples.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:22 pm
I too feel that one day the trucks will stop running. It will be a very interesting transition to observe. I imagine it will have a progression that goes something like this:
-trucks running will increase in cost as will the things that they are running about with inside them.
– trucks will run to less and less places.
-trucks will run to less and less places less frequently.
-trucks will run only very rarely and only for high priority reasons.
-trucks will stop running altogether.

As this process takes place I imagine there will be measures taken to fill some of the void, where and when it is possible to do so.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 12:57 pm
Ron – do you think humans will still be around in a million years or even a hundred thousand? If they are I think it will only be because they have made themselves irrelevant to the environment (i.e. small in numbers and having found a way to live sustainably) and other species will be evolving without too much human involvement.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:59 pm
Yes, George, I think humans will be around in a million years. Not nearly as many as are around today however. If I had to guess, and I do have to guess, then I would guess around 10 to 15 million humans would be around a million years from now. That would be one person alive then for every 500 alive today.

Of course, all fossil fuel would be gone and everyone would live off the land.

But if you doubt human survival, then just what do you think will wipe everyone out? What will bring the human population to zero?

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 2:26 pm
That sounds as good a guess as any. Part of my point was that they could only survive if they were not intrusive, and therefore would not be an impediment to evolution of other mega fauna. I think average species life time is estimated at around 1 to 2 million years, homo is a family rather than a species so the sapiens could go and something else come along, like we took out the Neanderthals. On the other hand if the bottlenecks get small enough in different locations we could just be whittled away by different causes.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 2:52 pm
I think average species life time is estimated at around 1 to 2 million years,

The point is George, Homo sapiens is not an average species. If we were an average species we would still be competing with other species for food and territory, losing some of those battles and winning others. But our numbers would be kept in check by our success and failure of that struggle, just like every other average species.

Our dominance has overwhelmed all other species. Like a plague, we are killing them all off. There is nothing average about us as a species.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 2:59 pm
Ok, but our numbers were kept in check and we were competing like that for almost all of our history, until the Holocene interglacial came along and we decided agriculture was a good idea, or maybe we had a go before and it never took in a less stable climate. But before that there is evidence of some pretty tight bottlenecks when we were almost gone either locally (e.g. in India) or globally. And things like the Roman empire collapse suggest we can forget any kind of technological advantages in a couple of generations.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 3:11 pm
You lost me. I don't understand your point.

But since our brains to a degree where we could create stone tools and use fire, our population has been on a slow increase, bottlenecks notwithstanding.

What has made us not average is our brains, our mental ability. That is the one thing that has given us a huge advantage over all other species.

We are smart enough to wrestle all the world from every other species that stood in our way. If another species had something that we wanted, including even their flesh, we got it. We are smart enough to dominate the world, but not smart enough to see that we are destroying it.

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 11:23 am
My point is that unless we find a niche in which we can exist sustainably despite our intelligence and ability to get whatever we want and dominate the world, then we won't survive very long, and may not even then.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:31 pm
Hi Ron,

I think some (you for example) are smart enough to see that we are destroying our World.

It may not be a majority view, though I think the numbers are increasing.

I would agree that we so far have not demonstrated that we are smart enough to change what we are doing (reduce the rate that we destroy the planet as rapidly as possible to zero (or negative, by which I mean restore the planet closer to a natural or sustainable state).

This may never be accomplished, but we cam move in that direction while reducing our numbers and our impact.

Des Carne says: 11/30/2017 at 1:02 pm
What it is about our brains that makes us not average is our capacity to deny reality. The mind over reality transition (Varki &Brower) is arguably what gave "sapiens" the advantage, successful but apparently impossible risk taking, to do away with neanderthalensis. In small scale hunter bands surrounded by magafaunal predators, denial of reality is a decided advantage, but in mass societies with the capacity to produce mass belief in non-realityy, it is the disadvantage that could do us in. Although not experimentally demonstrable, the idea that this mind over reality transition was an evolutionary event in the hominid genus 100-200 thousand years ago is a plausible explanation for sapiens' dramatic cortical development and the development or consolidation of female sexual selection, not present in our forebears or current great apes.

In a future world scratching a living as we did for most of our history as hunter-gatherer bands, but from a depleted world absent of any predators, we might evolve the ability to believe reality, without sacrificing cortical development. The first inhabitants of my country (Australia) managed to get by fot 60,000 years by killing off the megafauna. They were helped by climate change which dessicated the continent, but hung in there making it an extremely attractive aquisition by my ancestors when they came along.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:26 am
Hi Ron,

In broad terms, I agree with what you are saying here.

"Our dominance has overwhelmed all other species. Like a plague, we are killing them all off. There is nothing average about us as a species."

But we aren't doing any better than rats or fire ants, lol.

You're dead on about humanity not being an average species. We will be around at least until some other species capable of wiping us out evolves, and it's unlikely that we will ALLOW such a species to exist, unless it's a microbe and we can't wipe it out.

If chimps were to evolve just a little further along the lines of using tools and being able to communicate and work together, and started attacking humans, numerous humans armed only with primitive weapons such as fire and bows and arrows would kill every last chimp, and they wouldn't lose any time in doing so.

This brings up an interesting question. We know chimps use stone tools as hammers to break nuts, etc, , and that they fight ORGANIZED fights to the death sometimes.

Is there any evidence they are using stones as weapons . YET?

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:38 am
No, chimps do not use stones as weapons but they do use sticks to flail another chimp with.

Chimps will not evolve much further if any. Their numbers are dropping like a rock. They will all be gone in 20 or 30 years.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:27 pm
I once heard an interesting story about chimps. Might have been in one of Pinker's books, I can't recall.

If you hang a bunch of bananas from the ceiling that a chimp cannot reach and you leave an A-frame ladder laying on the ground the chimp will set the ladder upright and get the bananas.
If you do the same thing with 2 chimps and a ladder so heavy that one chimp alone cannot set it upright, but 2 chimps working together could set it upright, they'll never get on the same page, so to speak, and cooperate in setting up the ladder. They will both try individually and fail. The bananas will never be reached.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:46 pm
Hi Ron,

The charts in your post suggest about 1 billion might work, I would say 500 million would be my guess, not sure where you come up with 10 to 15 million.

Note that 500 million is roughly the World population in 1550 CE.

Just a different guess as I think a sustainable society could be reached by 2300 at these lower population levels, though perhaps fertility levels will remain below replacement over the long term so population will continually decline eventually some optimum will be determined and fewer than two children will not be encouraged.

Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 3:47 pm
Humans, that is Homo Sapiens per se, maybe not. Don't forget Cro-Magnons probably caused the extinction of Homo Neandertalis in about 40,000 years or so ago. Some other future species of the Genus Homo, very likely will be around for another million or so years. This is what I think they might look like. Maybe they will be called Homo technoligicus implantabilis, feel free to call them whatever you want. In any case resistance will be futile and you will be assimilated. 😉
Cheers!
.

robert wilson says: 12/01/2017 at 12:23 am
http://www.eindtijdinbeeld.nl/EiB-Bibliotheek/Boeken/The_Next_Million_Years__how_to_kill_off_excess_population___1953_.pdf
Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:18 pm
First of all, Ron, a species which destroys its own food supply or its own habitat *does* go extinct. They're currently referred to as "superpredators" -- it's happened repeatedly throughout history.

Second, regarding population growth, my primary charity for 20 years has promoted sex ed, access to contraceptions, and education of women worldwide. We know how to halt and reverse population growth in the "underdeveloped world". It's not difficult except for the religious groups which oppose contraception and oppose women's liberation.

Often the same religious groups who promote burning of fossil fuels. And deforestation.

Basically, whether humans survive depends on whether we defeat those groups, IMO.

Countries like Cuba which are very underdeveloped but essentially *lack* those religious groups (thank you Godless Communism!) they're doing OK on population stabilization.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:15 pm
Hi Nathaneal,

There are countries that are religious such as Iran that have seen rapid demographic transition (15 years for TFR to go from over 5 to under 2). Also non-communist nations such as South Korea saw rapid transitions.

I agree education and gender equality as well as access to modern contraception are helpful.

Electrification will also help.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:46 am
Thank you Dennis,

Religion has it's points, as Twain used to put it, both good and bad. Preachers and priests have a way of figuring out what is in their own best interests, short term, medium term, and long term.

There are some religions or cultures, which are not necessarily one and the same thing , that do encourage or more or less actually force women to bear lots of children.

I come from a culture that is very often ridiculed here in this forum, which doesn't bother me at all personally. It's ridiculed on such a broad scale that it's hard to find a public forum peopled with technically well educated people where ridicule isn't the NORM.

As religion goes, my own personal extended family is about as religious as they come in the USA. My nieces and nephews and third cousins, the children of my FIRST cousins, are having kids at less than the necessary 2.1 rate needed to maintain our blood lines, lol. My informal seat of the pants estimate is that the extended family birth rate is down to somewhere around one point five.

It's well known that the birth rate in some countries that are supposedly Catholic has fallen like a rock over the last couple of decades.

And while I can't prove it, it's my firm opinion that once the priesthood in any country comes to understand that it's own long term interests are best served by encouraging small families, small families WILL BE ENCOURAGED. That may not happen for another generation or so, and it may not happen at all in some countries, if there is no top down control of the culture and religion.

Priests and preachers don't exist to serve GOD, or any combinations of gods, etc. They exist because they have found a way to provide a secure and relatively easy way of living largely off the work of their followers.

This is not to say their followers don't get back as much or more as they contribute. Every society has to have leaders, and priests and preachers can be and have often been very effective leaders. Some of them are effective leaders today.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 5:41 pm
First of all, Ron, a species which destroys its own food supply or its own habitat *does* go extinct. They're currently referred to as "superpredators" -- it's happened repeatedly throughout history.

Really, I have never heard of that. The only superpredator I ever heard of are human beings. But if you can give an example of a species destroying its own food supply and habitat, please enlighten me.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:31 pm
Humans on Easter island is the only thing that comes to my mind when thinking of such an example. I'm no expert on Easter island, however I understand people there did not go extinct, and that there was a small group living there when the island was found by Europeans. Again, not terribly well informed about that particular bit of history.
Kathy C says: 12/02/2017 at 5:20 am
When things begin to collapse the grid infrastructure will collapse. Coal factories in China and elsewhere will shut down and dimming will end. James Hansen estimated that warming may be held back by 50% by dimming, so we can expect warming to shoot up. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130329_FaustianBargain.pdf

When the grid collapses the nuclear power plants will no longer be able to be cooled. We know what happens then. This article addresses that happening from solar flares or emp attack but of course the failure of the grid from civilization collapse would do the same thing http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/7301-400-chernobyls-solar-flares-electromagnetic-pulses-and-nuclear-armageddon

With collapses of civilization their will be no remediation of forest fires. Chemical and Nuclear Dumps will burn as well as the nuclear power plants that have gone Fukushima.

A very underappreciated study is that of decaying leaves around Chernobyl While horses and other wildlife might now roam around Chernobyl the implications of leaves not decaying is enormous. "However, there are even more fundamental issues going on in the environment. According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers -- organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay -- have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem."
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/forests-around-chernobyl-arent-decaying-properly-180950075/

To just state that humans wouldn't disappear is nothing more than an assertion, as is stating that they would certainly disappear. However what faces humans is much more daunting than just the chaos of civilization collapse. Those who survive everything else will have a hard time reproducing with all that radiation around https://chernobylguide.com/chernobyl_mutations/

Of course long before civilization collapses the countries of the world may well play out the scenario that Richard Heinberg describes – Last Man Standing. Sound like politics today?

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:34 pm
I suspect someone will bulldoze the nuclear power plants into the ocean before they let them melt down on land. Just a WAG.
Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 9:13 am
I posted this as a reply to a comment by GF a few threads back.

I highly recommend the following three ASU Origins Project debates and panel discussions to get a good feel for the big picture. It might take up a good four hours or so of your time. This isn't something suitable for sound bites. It involves a lot of in depth cross disciplinary knowledge.

https://origins.asu.edu/events/great-debate-transcending-our-origins-violence-humanity-and-future
Great Debate: Transcending Our Origins – Violence, Humanity, and the Future

https://origins.asu.edu/events/great-debate-extinctions-tragedy-opportunity
Great Debate: Extinctions – Tragedy to Opportunity

https://origins.asu.edu/events/conversation-inconvenient-truths-love-extinctions
Conversation: Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions

Maybe we are all royally fucked already but I also recommend E.O. Wilson's book 'Half Earth'.

Cheers!

Tom Welsh says: 11/29/2017 at 9:38 am
"Why did all this happen? However, when you ask why, you are implying that all this had a cause, that someone or some group of people are to blame for this damn mess we have gotten ourselves into".

I would like to suggest, respectfully, that this wording is the wrong way around. The essence of the problem is that no one has been in charge, no one has taken responsibility – and that is hardly changing at all.

The world is teeming with governments, corporations, NGOs, and "leaders" of all kinds. But what are all those leaders, and their estimable organizations, really trying to do? Some are aiming to earn as much money as possible. Others are trying amass as much power as possible. Most of their programmes have a lot to do with gaining more money and power – which become interchangeable at a certain point (as can be seen from a study of the US Congress, for example).

An intelligent alien visitor to our planet would reasonably conclude that, although individual humans are intelligent to various degrees, the human species as a whole is profoundly unintelligent. It has ample means of diagnosing what has happened, is happening, and will happen. Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 10:34 am
Tom, I think my wording was correct, you just did not quote all of my explanation. You wrote:

The essence of the problem is that no one has been in charge, no one has taken responsibility

No one can take responsibility because no one is in charge of the human race. And as far as being "profoundly unintelligent", I think that is an unfair charge. Having a blind spot in our DNA does not imply that we are unintelligent. The human race has never been faced with such a dilemma before. Our brains evolved to its present state during our hunter-gatherer days. We are molded by evolution to do everything possible to survive and reproduce. There is nothing in our DNA that tells us to protect the biosphere because the lives of our grandchildren depend upon it. So we don't.

What is happening is just human nature. That's all.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:20 pm
What is happening is just human nature.

Evolution has resulted in all species, including humans, having a biotic potential that is greater than the carrying capacity of the niches in which they live. Populations are limited by resource limits and predation, not by self restraint or mutual agreement.

It would have been very unusual, perhaps unique in evolutionary history, for humans to have deliberately limited our population, even though it might have been theoretically possible due to our 'intelligent' ability to foresee our probable future. Despite Malthus, Limits to Growth and many other warnings, no realistic attempt has been made to remain below carrying capacity.

As you note, a massive die-off is inevitable, the only real question is when. Like The Cunning Linguist, I personally think it will be whenever people lose confidence in the global monetary system, as in Korowicz's "Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion – a study in global systemic collapse". Once money stops flowing so does the food supply.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:10 pm
Hi Joe,

What would cause this rejection of the monetary system? I don't follow the argument. Everyone decides at once that money is no longer a reasonable medium of exchange. Didn't happen during any financial crisis so far, people couldn't access their money at Banks after the 1929 crash, but this was less of a problem in OECD nations during the GFC.

The ETP nonsense is just that, anyone who knows their thermodynamics knows that theory is full of holes.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/29/2017 at 9:29 pm
Didn't happen during any financial crisis so far

No, but we did come close in 2008. All sorts of debt instruments including commercial paper, CDOs (the root of the problem), many derivatives and letters of credit all froze up. Without prompt dramatic action by the central banks and the US Treasury, the financial system could have collapsed. Nobody knew who was solvent or insolvent, so the central banks had to backstop every financial institution. All this over some mortgage securities based on the US housing market.

Now imagine that growth has turned to continuous worldwide economic recession, the inevitable fate of the global market economy in the face of energy and resource depletion ( it will happen despite the stupidity of the Hill's Group). Unemployment increases year after year and tax revenues continuously fall. Every kind of debt instrument, from sovereign debt to mortgages, to municipal and corporate bonds is more and more likely never to be repaid. Defaults are increasing with greater and greater frequency. The equities of every company become suspect as more and more companies go under.

Sooner or later, a critical mass of people are going to realize that most debts can never be repaid and are therefore worthless as assets. Since almost all money is created from debt, almost all money becomes worthless.

The only thing that makes money work is confidence in its value. When confidence in money (debt repayment) fails, the monetary system fails and without a monetary system, the global market fails.

Billions of lives are dependent on that market functioning smoothly every day. When it fails to function, people will die. I fully expect to lose every financial asset I own at some point, that's why I am preparing to live without money. Unfortunately, most people in the developed world can't do that, though they should be trying to do so with utmost urgency.

I admit that if there were a concerted international effort to declare a debt jubilee and start all over with a new world currency, some form of monetary system might continue after the present one collapses, but I really doubt that creditor countries and debtor countries are going to cooperate with the rapidity and solidarity needed to manage such a transition.

And even though all the productive assets in the world would still continue to exist after a financial collapse, without a market to mediate their interconnected function, everything would grind to a halt. I don't see an international command economy taking over either. That would be harder than creating a whole new monetary system.

The global market economy is very complicated and very fragile. I certainly wouldn't trust my family's life to something that could collapse virtually overnight and neither should you.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:07 pm
Hi Joe,

There are a lot of if's in your scenario, any of which if broken makes the conclusion invalid.

I suppose it is possible that all of those things could happen, just as it is possible that a large asteroid will strike the planet.

I choose not to concern myself with very low probability events.

Pretty sure neither of us will convince the other. If you are convinced buy some good farm land and maybe gold, guns, lead, and gun powder.

Probably even better, find a nice community somewhere.

Note that as long as governments are willing to intervene in the economy when necessary, the system is much more resilient than you believe.

The biggest risk to the Global financial system would be free market fundamentalism where government intervention is never invoked.

I cannot imagine a continuous world wide economic recession, this is a fundamental flaw in your argument.

This assumes what you are trying to prove.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/30/2017 at 6:32 pm
I cannot imagine a continuous world wide economic recession, this is a fundamental flaw in your argument.

Well, I can't imagine how the global market economy and industrial civilization are going to have a steady state economy forever at present levels of production and affluence. Overshoot means eventual retrenchment and die-off.

Up-thread you estimated the carrying capacity of the earth at around 500 million people. You obviously expect to gracefully reach that level (in 2300!) through birth control while still maintaining current standards of living.

I expect that we will reach that population, or fewer, due to complications from resource-depletion-caused economic failure (famine, war, pandemic). There simply isn't enough energy available to make the transition you desire without also destroying the climate, even if there were the political will to do so, which there isn't.

I suggest looking at the history of the last 100 years to decide which future is more probable. Humanity has had the ability to create a high technology, steady-state civilization with sustainable population levels for over a century, but has failed to do so. There is still no evidence that we are serious about making the attempt now. I wonder why you can believe that such a thing will happen at a time when the resources to make it happen will be declining rapidly. Continuous world-wide recession is a certainty and unless you are very old, you will live to see it.

And as far as your suggestions for prepping go, my family has already got it's lifeboat ready in a rural tropical community. I've got the productive land, the community and the guns. I don't expect to rely on gold at all. To my mind, the best durable trade items are ammo, fishing equipment and livestock.

If raising my own food and living without money is necessary, I can do it. If your eco-modernist utopia magically appears, I won't be disappointed, or regret one iota of the 'unnecessary' preparations I will have made, but I prefer to err on the side of prudence.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 1:14 pm
Hi Joe,

I don't expect to live forever and as I said don't plan ahead for scenarios I believe have a very low probability of occurring. As fossil fuel resources become scarce they will become more expensive and we will use them more carefully (or efficiently). There has been no need to do so for the past 100 years as they have been relatively cheap and abundant. There will be enough energy from Wind, solar, hydro, and perhaps nuclear to make the transition, as fossil fuel becomes expensive these will be produced as they will become cheaper alternatives. Much of freight traffic can be moved to rail, which can be electrified, moving goods from rail to factory or store can be done on overhead wires on main roads with EV used for the last few miles.

Also keep in mind that fossil fuels by nature are quite inefficient in producing electricity with about 60% of the energy wasted, for heating systems compared to heat pumps there is also higher energy use. The transition to non-fossil fuels will result in about one third the energy use for the same exergy (or work and useful heat) provided.

I make no assumptions about living standards being maintained, perhaps the transition will be very difficult and living standards in the OECD will decrease while living standards in less developed nations increase. Note that declining population will reduce resource pressure and realization of resource limits (as will be clear from fossil fuel scarcity) by the majority of citizens may lead to changes in social behavior.

Also note that we have only been aware of the climate problem for about 38 years (using Charney report in 1979 as the starting point).

If fossil fuels are very limited (say 1200 Pg C emissions from 1800-2100) then climate change might be less of a problem, but this will still be adequate for a transition to non-fossil fuels. Even 1000 Pg of total carbon emissions from all anthropogenic sources (including fossil fuel, cement and land use change) may be adequate for an energy transition, though it will need to begin in earnest in the next 5 to 10 years, the sooner we begin the easier it will be to accomplish.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:51 am
"What is happening is just human nature. That's all."

EXACTLY.

I posted a long rant down thread trying to get this across to people who somehow think we are DEFECTIVE because we don't collectively behave more rationally, hoping to get it across in terms that are intelligible to those of us who have HEARD of evolution, but never actually studied it for more than an hour or two at the most.

alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 6:07 pm
Nonsense, this is just Libertarian propaganda, which is actually a fake religion invented by real estate investors in the fifties in a political catfight to avoid rent control legislation. It has now widen to some kind of pseudo-Darwinistic hocus pocus, but it ignores the obvious fact that we became the world's dominant species be collaboration and long term thinking.

We're doomed if we don't get along with each other, and lots of propaganda is pushing you to believe we never have or could, and never can or will. But that doesn't make it true.

Hickory says: 12/02/2017 at 12:02 am
aren't all religions fake (fabrications)?
Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:42 pm
That's a pretty narrow view of libertarianism.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism
What you say is perhaps relevant to contemporary versions of libertarianism in USA, however it goes back a bit further than the 50's.
It's worth noting there are left wing libertarian models also.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism
Phil Stevens says: 12/02/2017 at 2:56 pm
I'd like to question the assertion that no one is in charge of the human race. In "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States" (Yale, 2017), James C. Scott demonstrates fairly convincingly that humans actively avoided adopting grain-based agriculture because the labor:reward tradeoff was far less satisfactory than what could be obtained through hunting and gathering. The accumulation of surplus, and presumably the insurance a surplus would provide against yearly fluctuations in food supply, in other words, was an insufficient motivation for humans to give up hunting and gathering. As Scott documents quite clearly, this refusal to adopt agriculture as the basis of the human economy persisted for more than 5,000 years in Mesopotamia, and much longer elsewhere.

So what caused the shift? Alas, Scott fails to explore this in any detail. (Just one of the many weaknesses of the book, which nevertheless manages to make its central argument very well.)

I will speculate that what caused the change was the coming-together of a sufficiently large number (five? a dozen? who knows?) of individuals who lacked the ability to feel remorse, shame, or compassion, and who were motivated purely by a desire to enrich and empower themselves. Modern psychology calls these types psychopaths. I suggest that it was these individuals who, likely with help from others with the related disorder of sadism (see recent research on "the dark tetrad"), were first able to subjugate (Scott uses the very apposite term "domesticate") human communities and force them to labor on the land to produce a surplus, which of course then could be appropriated by the psychopaths and their henchmen.

I am not aware of anyone else who has advanced the notion that civilization was founded by psychopaths and sadists. But recent psychological research (popularized in books such as Babiak and Hare, "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work") suggest that psychopaths are four times more commonly represented in upper management than in the population as a whole, so it seems plausible to me, at least, that the project of civilization and its attendant destruction of the ecosphere has been, from its inception, forced upon humanity by a small minority.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 5:00 pm
Phil, thanks for a great post. I have no doubt that psychopaths have had a great influence on civilization. Many great leaders were no doubt psychopaths. Hitler and Stalin come to mind. However, not all of them were psychopaths. Rosevelt, Washington, Jefferson, and many other U.S. presidents were not psychopaths. Neither was Churchill or Gandhi.

However, your original sentence was: I'd like to question the assertion that no one is in charge of the human race. So I kept reading, waiting for you to tell us just who was in charge of the human race. Of course you did not do that.

Phil Stevens says: 12/03/2017 at 4:56 pm
Fair enough, Ron.

My short answer to your question would be to ask "Cui bono?" Doubtless not everyone who reaps the most benefit from the biocidal trajectory of late capitalism is dominated by one or more of the traits of the Dark Tetrad, of course. Some of us might even be able to argue plausibly that we were unaware of the consequences of our actions. But even though late capitalist society is sufficiently robust that it continues to work out its internal logic without a lot of direct guidance by the dark few, I doubt it would last long without their presence among the wealthy and powerful classes. If their interventions on behalf of the killing machine could be eliminated, my guess is that dismantling the machine would be a much easier project.

Ultimately, it's the ones in positions of power who manifest the traits of the Dark Tetrad whose interventions are critical to maintaining the status quo. If anyone can be said to rule the earth, it's them.

Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 12:24 pm
An intelligent alien visitor to our planet would reasonably conclude that, although individual humans are intelligent to various degrees, the human species as a whole is profoundly unintelligent. It has ample means of diagnosing what has happened, is happening, and will happen. Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces.

That is my view as well! Though some like E.O. Wilson argue that we have evolved into an eusocial species and can at least in theory function as a hive or termite mound. Where the collective intelligence emerges and even though the individual ants or bees are stupid the anthill is an entity unto itself is smart and knows how to defend itself. See also Douglas Hofstader and Daniel Dennett's book, 'The Mind's I', Chapter 11 titled Prelude Ant Fugue.
http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-11-prelude-ant-fugue.html

Also check out Curtis Marean's talk at the end of Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions from the link I provided above from the ASU origins debates. He specifically makes that analogy about aliens, in his talk.

Marean is a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the associate director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. He is interested in the relation between climate and environmental change and human evolution, both for its significance as a force driving past human evolution, and as a challenge to be faced in the near future. Curtis has focused his career on developing field and laboratory teams and methods that tap the synergy between the disciplines to bring new insights to old scientific problems. He has spent over 20 years doing fieldwork in Africa, and conducting laboratory work on the field-collected materials, with the goal of illuminating the final stages of human evolution – how modern humans became modern.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:04 am
" Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces."

Such an organ would be very costly, in terms of depriving humanity of the energy and resources devoted to it, depriving us of the use of these resources for other purposes.

Evolution doesn't create organs that will be useful in dealing with new circumstances, by plan, ahead of time, except by accident. It's just a "lucky accident" FOR US TODAY that our own ancestors evolved hands capable of grasping things such as branches .. which set the stage for us to be able later on to grasp a stone and use it as a hammer or weapon.

No planning is involved. NONE. Various deists who accept the reality of evolution but still believe in higher powers disagree of course.

I can't prove they are wrong. I don't believe anybody else can. All we can do is demonstrate that they have no evidence that such higher powers exist.

An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, lol.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:04 pm
I doubt if "intelligent" aliens are any different than we are – and therefore probably have a very short life expectancy should they ever get to an industrial age – evolution can only work from one generation to the next and is therefore incompatible with longer term planning for species longevity.
Steve says: 11/29/2017 at 2:25 pm
"It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on the Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing intelligence this is not correct. We have or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only." – Sir Fred Hoyle
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 3:19 pm
Thanks for posting this Hoyle quote Steve. I have read it before, many times. And the truth of it is so obvious. All the things that have enabled this wonderful abundant life will soon be gone. Then what?
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:02 pm
Hi Ron,

We recycle what we can, we use less of scarce resources as prices rise and we try to find substitutes for resources as they become scarce. Also population will fall as TFR falls (with a time lag due to population momentum) putting less pressure on resources.

None of this will be easy, and perhaps not possible, hard to predict the future.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 5:58 pm
Dennis, Hoyle here, is talking about long-term. Recycle or not, we will run out of all fossil fuels and eventually all metals. However, recyclig will help, in the short term anyway.

No, we cannot really predict the future. All we can do is look at what is happening right now and say: "If this continues ." And Dennis, it will continue. Human nature may be changed by evolution. But that will take many generations and tremendous evolutionary pressure. So right now, human nature being what it is, we can predict that collapse is just down the road. Just how far down the road is what we are trying to figure out right now.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 6:27 pm
Ron, if we look at the apparent numbers, say of many species, collapse appears already here, just that the shockwave hasn't hit yet. Remember, if you see an explosion in the distance, it takes awhile to hit.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 11:51 am
Hi Ron,

Yes some things will continue and others will not.

For example fossil fuel output has grown pretty steadily in absolute terms (about 163 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year from 1981 to 2016) and I expect that will change (it will not continue).

The total fertility ratio has decreased at about 1.38% per year from 1965 to 2015, but I expect this will continue until the World TFR approaches the high income nation average of about 1.75 (which would be reached in 2040 if the 1965-2015 rate of decrease continues).

There may be more fossil fuels available than either of us think, but if my medium scenarios are correct there may be enough fossil fuel to enable a transition to non-fossil fuel, then we just need to deal with other depleting resources.

Note that the fact that fossil fuels have peaked and declined (which should be apparent by 2035 at the latest), may enable people to realize that this will be true for every scarce resource and perhaps we will plan ahead and recycle, and use resources more efficiently.

Much of this is a matter of education.

Perhaps the meaning of soon we use differently.

When you say "will soon be gone." Can you define soon in years.

The sun will eventually destroy all life on Earth, but not "soon", as I define it. 🙂

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 12:10 pm
Well, perhaps I should not have said "gone". There will always be trace amounts of everything left. And nothing will suddenly disappear. There will be a decline curve for everything. But let's deal with the one with the least future abundance, oil. I believe we are at peak oil right, or very near it anyway. The bumpy plateau may last from 5 to 10 years. Then the decline curve will be much steeper than the ascent.

That's about the best answer I can ive you.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 1:26 pm
Hi Ron,

Let's assume for the moment you are correct and the peak is either now or next month and we remain on plateau for a year or two.

What happens to the price of oil?

Let's assume that you agree that unless there is a severe World recession in the next year or two that oil prices are likely to rise.

What happens it oil output if oil prices rise to say $100/b or more?

Eventually I expect output will reach a peak no matter how high oil prices rise, I just disagree it will be at the current level of output.

Can you define your limits for the "bumpy plateau" (high and low 12 month average output level)?

If the limits were 80 to 85 Mb/d, then we would agree and I would say we may be on a bumpy plateau between 80 and 85 Mb/d for 10 years or so.

I suspect you may expect output to remain below 81 or 82 Mb/d (World 12 month average C+C output).

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:01 pm
Dennis, you must be familiar with the phrase "You cannot get blood from a turnip". High prices will not create more oil in the ground. We will most definitely have higher prices but they will be high because we have reached the peak. So, $100 oil will not create a higher peak.

Just my guess but I believe the plateau will average less than 82 million bpd.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 10:37 am
Hi Ron,

So could you define your "bumpy plateau"?

Is it a trailing 12 month average of between 80 and 82 Mb/d?

I imagine we will break above 82 Mb/d in 2018 if oil prices are over $65/b (Brent in 2016$) for the annual average in 2016.

For the most recent 12 months (EIA data) ending August 2017 we are at 80.93 Mb/d.

In the low price environment since 2015 the trend in World output is an annual increase of 280 kb/d. This rate of increase is likely to double (at minimum) with oil prices over $80/b, which would bring us to 82 Mb/d by 2019 or 2020, perhaps this will be as high a output rises, but my guess is that there is a 50% probability that output will continue to rise above this and perhaps a 25% probability it may reach 85 Mb/d around 2025.

Ron Patterson says: 12/03/2017 at 2:49 pm
I thought I did that Dennis. I the bumpy plateau will average about 82 million barrels per day or less. There could be spikes and dips and it will last from 2 to as much as 10 years. But when it heads down, it will do so with a vengeance.
alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 6:11 pm
Blah, nobody needs coal or oil in the long run, and metal is never "gone" unless you shoot into space or a fission reactor.

For every obvious problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

-H. L- Mencken

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 7:03 pm
Jesus H. Fucking Christ, how fucking stupid can one person be?
OFM says: 11/29/2017 at 6:17 pm
Hi Steve,

I will have a lot to say later on tonight.

For now, all I have to say is that while Sir Fred forgot more about astronomy than I have or ever have even DREAMED of knowing, he didn't know shit from apple butter about biological evolution . not even as much as a good student in a good public high school after finishing one high school level course in biology.

"The chance that higher life forms might have emerged through evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein."

It's very common for people who are great experts, sometimes even renowned experts at the very peak of their professions, to make fools of themselves talking about subjects of which they know less than nothing.

Hoyle is the best single example I know of and the one I use most often to point out this very common shortcoming.

For what it's worth, he would be RIGHT if the problem were the one of having a gazillion monkeys typing at random and one of them eventually turning out Romeo and Juliet, correct to the last letter.

That involves getting every letter right in one try.

Evolution doesn't work that way. It's more like a poker game, in which you can discard cards you don't want, and keep the ones you do, until you have a GREAT hand.

In a real poker game, discarding is usually limited to two rounds, but in real life and evolution, the number of rounds is literally unlimited, the same as the number of generations. If you have two pairs, you can keep on discarding until EVENTUALLY , assuming all the discards go back into the deck, you have a full house. And given time enough, you could discard your pair, and eventually have four of a kind.

YOU DON'T usually throw away a pair of aces, lol, even in a game that allows you to ask for a redeal if you have no more than a pair.

Evolution is a blind, and runs on random chance, at the individual level and generational level, but at the species level, it's a blind BUILDER, one that generally retains what works from one generation to the next, and builds on it. Over time .. lots of time, usually.

But significant evolutionary change can happen in very quickly, in terms of evolutionary time. House flies evolved resistance to DDT within the space of a single generation of humans, lol.

Biologists work with time on roughly the same scale as geologists and astronomers, counting in billions of years. It's quite possible that life originated not too long after the first stars evolved to the point that the heavier elements were first created from lighter ones.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 6:47 pm

"I will have a lot to say later on tonight." ~ OFM

LOL

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:41 pm
Hoyle, IMHO, is a closet Cabbage for Christ.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 8:30 pm
Hightrekker's Alpine Garden of Eden Restaurant

~ Menu ~

• Talking Snake Au Jus (So fresh, you can almost hear it hissing!)
• BBQ Rib-Woman's Ribs
• Stuffed Cabbages for Christ
• Wing Pawn Garlic Prawns

Dessert:

• Apple Pie A La Mode (So sinful, one bite and you will be cast out of Eden, after you pay your bill.)
• Tree of Knowledge Crepe Flambé (Ask about our Summer Forest Fire special!)
• Adam's Fruit Cobbler

Drinks:

• The Blood of Christ
• Holy Water Cider
• Milk of Holy Cow

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:26 am
Yum!
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 8:10 pm
Stop the presses! I forgot the

• Cider-Marinated Free Range Chicken Wing Pawn Platter for Two

BTW, I just began my first ever apple cider home brew, Nov 30th . (I actually tried making sauerkraut ages ago.)
What I did was buy half a liter of fresh-pressed raw organic apple juice, and then added the peel of an organic apple to it for a wild yeast innoculation, and closed up top with a simple cellophane wrap and elastic with a toothpick-prick hole on top for ventilation

I used these instructions and accompanying YouTube video, Eat The Weeds, episode 9.

So now the bottle is just hanging out in one of my lower kitchen cupboards, and we'll see what happens. (Does it need light?)

I'll try to let POB know if it works and I get a good batch or if it throws a bad one and I have to start over. I am unsure what a good or bad batch is supposed to taste like, but I guess if it's tasty, then it's good.

Survivalist says: 12/01/2017 at 10:19 pm
My fav post that you made was a link to some great riot porn! Oh man that made my day 🙂
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/02/2017 at 8:30 pm
Hi Survivalist, glad you enjoyed it.
Frank Lopez's Sub.Media channel, (which is probably where I sourced the riot-porn-in-question from), its videos, have been picked up by PeakOil.com, incidentally.
I'll admit that some of the riot porn was a bit dubious with regard to its 'methodical randomness', but it could be from the younger 'anarchists' who may be still learning. That's perhaps also why some of the Antifa members have sometimes gotten criticized for their (apparent misplaced or misapplied) 'violence' tactics.

The image is of the cider in question– about one litre. With the unwashed organic apple peel in it as the only yeast 'starter', it's supposed to take 2 to 3 weeks to start bubbling. The pin you see is to pop the hole in the plastic when it starts doing so.

If it throws a good flavour, I intend on keeping the yeast, and innoculating some more juice but also some kind of straight-up water-and-honey or sugar mixture and see if I can get pure alcohol or 'mead' or something like that from it, using freeze distillation (a 'jack'). (And yes, I am aware of the methanol issue, but apparently, it is not a big deal at this scale/amount, although I'll recheck it to be sure.) (You can of course select the image for a larger image popup.)

If, when or as the 'trucks stop running', we may want– and have– to look into more local/home-brewing and other locally-/homemade things of course. So we might as well start sooner rather than later.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:52 pm
Once upon a time I provided health services to inmates in a prison. Generally speaking I liked the inmates better than the guards, who for the most part were men who had wanted to become cops but were too stupid to pass selection. I met some real brewmasters (inmates) working that gig. Good luck with the brew.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:00 pm
Interesting line of work, Survivalist, and thanks, fingers crossed
Paulo says: 11/29/2017 at 10:36 am
Up early today and lit the shop woodstove; just waiting for light to get on with my day which always starts (after chores) with my dog and I going for a walk.

Ron, I do not disagree with your post or comments, with the exception of when population will peak and the aspect/timing of social disruption?

On this morning wait for daylight I have been reading various blog sites with CNN ticking over in the background. Maybe it is the speed of the news cycle and my being used to the insanity of what is being reported, but today, after seeing the Trump tweets on Muslim Violence (film clips), the so-called tax plan, sexual misconducts, the recent reports on KSA, Yemen, Syria, and what is ramping up concerning North Korea, I think we are at a crux right now. I think there will be a Market collapse and war; perhaps global in scale. Further to that I don't see any desire or mechanism for defusing tensions or a way to recall the situation.

I am 62 and was a kid during a recent/last big social reset. I had older sibs and parents who moved us north to Canada in '68 because they had had enough. My WW2 veteran parents proclaimed they had seen enough to be afraid, and sold out to start over and build new lives. While I was thinking about it, and your post, I realized that in today's situation there are no simple answers and not really any places to run to. It seems different because of the population numbers and armaments, plus the willingness of people to pretend it's just 'tribal/crooked politics as usual'. Then, I thought about photographs and how a few catapulted us into rapid change last century. Certainly, the haunted faces of the Dust Bowl sparked a move towards reform. Images from the south and the stories of the KKK perhaps Rosa Parks herself helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement. For me, the image of the young lady holding the dead student at Kent State, (her anguish), the burning Monk and young girl coated with napalm coupled with the lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident pushed me into cynicism; so much that I was not surprised about the non-existent WMD of Iraq.

Perhaps it won't be an image, or story that we look back to as a turning point. Maybe it will be a tweet. Maybe it will be the Market collapse or a premptive attack on North Korea that sets everything in motion. I just think we are loaded and tamped down like a pipe bomb ready to blow.

I do not think we will continue to grow in population until 2050. I think it could start to unravel pretty fast and any day. I don't see any step back from war(s) in either the ME, or Korea.

From Wiki: (just one event that pales alongside today's triggers)
Kent State
"Just five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., against the war and the killing of unarmed student protesters. Ray Price, Nixon's chief speechwriter from 1969 to 1974, recalled the Washington demonstrations saying, "The city was an armed camp. The mobs were smashing windows, slashing tires, dragging parked cars into intersections, even throwing bedsprings off overpasses into the traffic down below. This was the quote, student protest. That's not student protest, that's civil war."[10] Not only was Nixon taken to Camp David for two days for his own protection, but Charles Colson (Counsel to President Nixon from 1969 to 1973) stated that the military was called up to protect the administration from the angry students; he recalled that "The 82nd Airborne was in the basement of the executive office building, so I went down just to talk to some of the guys and walk among them, and they're lying on the floor leaning on their packs and their helmets and their cartridge belts and their rifles cocked and you're thinking, 'This can't be the United States of America. This is not the greatest free democracy in the world. This is a nation at war with itself.'"

I apologize if this seems North American centric; and in blinders. I wish to reiterate that our population numbers, plus increasing divide and disparity, proliferation of weapons and intolerance, coupled with environmental degradation and Climate Change, makes this much much worse. It's a gun waiting for a trigger, imho.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 11:10 am
Yes, things are pretty bad. But things were bad during the Kent State/Nixon era. Yet we survived.

It has been my experience, following this biosphere destruction for many years now, that people who see and understand the destruction, almost always expect things to fall apart real soon. They never do.

I once spent several months as a stockbroker. One thing I learned during that period was a truth about insider traders. That is traders who trade the stock of the company they work for. They see things happening inside their company and expect it to cause great trouble or great profit. They are almost always right and almost always way too early with their predictions. Things just never seem to happen as fast as they expected.

We, you and I and a few others, are insiders to this problem that I have described in my above post. We know something terrible is going to happen. But most of us expect it to happen way before it actually will happen.

An example is "The Population Bomb" by Paul Ehrlich. I think he was spot on, but things just did not happen as fast as he expected. I hope to avoid his mistake.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 11:34 am
Yep, Ron, and we need to be careful about saying "this time is different". Perhaps we need a list of things that really are different this time.

One that should be obvious to anyone paying attention is that, in the late 60s, US debt to GDP was in the mid 30% range. It is now over 100% according to a number of sources. As Gail T. is wont to say, unservicable debt will likely be the trigger that results in a cascading failure of financial systems, and everything else is likely to follow. In short, our financial house of cards has grown three-fold in 50 years, as the global reserve currency is tagged to nothing.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 1:16 pm
Hi Ghung,

I think the debt problem is a little overblown.

Now people use debt differently sometimes implying "total debt" and sometimes "public debt" and sometimes "central government debt".

Which one are you talking about?

I don't read Tverberg's stuff.

Looking at your numbers and the link below

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

it seems you are talking about total US federal government debt.

Consider Japan

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/QJPGAN770A

They have been over 100% debt to GDP since 1999 and have been around 200% since 2014.

If Japan has collapsed, I missed it. 🙂

Note that I agree with the idea that when the US economy is doing well (which at present is the case), that paying down debt is a better idea than reducing taxes. I would raise taxes if anything ( a carbon tax would be ideal) and reduce the deficit to less than zero and pay down the debt.

Or just balance the budget and let economic growth reduce the debt to GDP ratio.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 1:28 pm
The figures I posted only include US government (National) debt. Total US debt (public+private) is, of course, much higher.

US National debt currently around $20.5 trillion.
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

US GDP for 2016 per the World Bank was $18,569,100.00
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD

As for Japan, most of what they owe is to themselves while they own a lot of that US debt, above. Japan also uses the carry trade to stay afloat.

I only posted this as being one of the things that is different about our situation ~50 years ago. People can make of it what they will. I personally think it is significant since the world runs on credit. No credit, no growth.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 4:49 pm
Hi Ghung,

Hard to imagine no credit.

Also in the 1960s there was less borrowing by the government (so less credit) and higher growth rates (at least in the US) than today.

In the old days there was concern the government would "crowd out" private debt, as if there was some fixed amount of debt the system could sustain and the system always remained at this maximum debt level.

Instead it seems the system had room for higher levels of debt as government debt as increased, but there is little evidence of "crowding out". There may be some maximum debt level that an economy can sustain and Japan may be there. Also note that 50 years ago debt was at fairly low levels, but in 1946 Debt to GDP was 118% of GDP, rapid economic growth from 1946 to 1974 reduced this debt to GDP to 31%, by 1992 it was at 61%, and in 2016 it was 105%.

Strange that the Republicans want to raise the debt higher by cutting taxes, this made sense when the economy was doing poorly during the Obama years and the aftermath of the GFC.

I agree debt could become a problem and would be worried if central government debt to GDP was 200% (as in Japan).

I also don't buy into the unfunded liabilities argument, laws change and governments don't always fulfill their promises, that is just a fact of life.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:17 am
Personally I believe Tverberg is a person who has discovered a niche she can exploit and is making a living out of it. I had the pleasure of seeing her make her canned presentation at a conference once, where all the presentations were repeated several times over for three days so the entire attending crowd could see them all.

If you ask her a real question, she seizes up like a deer in headlights. She knows some elementary level stuff that is worth some thought, in the case of people who know little or nothing about the overall economy and environment.

Her answer in the case of a real question is the same answer you get from a politician who doesn't WANT to answer. She just pretends you asked a DIFFERENT question, and provides a stock answer to THAT question.

She doesn't have anything to say worth listening to , in terms of the level of understanding of the contributing members of this forum.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:25 am
Being a Cabbage for Christ and a AGW Denier doesn't exactly lend credibility to her work.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 9:06 pm
She denies AGW?
doomphd says: 12/03/2017 at 4:18 am
She does not deny AGW. She just doesn't think the effects of AGW are going to be our biggest problem going forward, especially if we run low on fossil fuel flows in the near future.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:02 pm
Ok, thanks for the clarification.
Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
UK government debt to GDP was well over 400% for decades running; it was never a problem. Don't worry about it. Government debt is not really debt, it's actually money.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 4:54 pm
Hi Nathanael,

When was that?

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEBTTLGBA188A

Oh I see high debt but not 400%

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PSDOTUKA

It was over 160% from 1925 to 1952, maybe that's what you mean.

Paulo says: 11/29/2017 at 1:39 pm
Good point on the rate. I remember my grade 11 Social Studies teacher talking to me after class in 1972. One of our class texts was The Population Bomb. He expected to see, in his lifetime, a collapse of sorts. When I asked him to expand further he described small scale gardens/farms of no more the 2 acres. The primary machinery used would be walk-behind tractors.

I smiled at the memory when I bought my BCS walk-behind ten years ago. I smile every spring when I till the gardens. I still think he was right, just off on the timing (just like I was when I got out of stocks several years ago and put my money in term deposits.) 🙂

The older I get, the less I understand. I take comfort in knowing my Dad wouldn't get it, either.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:49 pm
I thought Ehrlich's book "The Dominant Animal"was fairly well measured, and generally in line with the post above (I haven't read the population bomb).
Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:44 pm
Ehrlich underestimated the Green Revolution and Haber/Bosch factor that was really upping food production at the time.
Ultimately, he will be proven right.
OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:39 am
I met Ehrlich personally when he visited Va Tech sometime around 1972. Visiting scholars often have smaller seminar meetings after making their presentation to the larger U community, which he did. Not many people attended the particular seminar I participated in , probably less than a couple of dozen. I was taking some ag courses there at the time, and enjoyed a long conversation with him.

You're dead on. He badly underestimated what we farmers could do, and are still doing, given the necessary industrial support system that keeps industrial level agriculture humming.

Sooner or later . We are going to have to deal with the Population Bomb. The resources we are devoting to industrial ag aren't going to last forever. Neither are nature's one time gifts of soil and water so long as we are in overshoot.

I was head over heels in love with a milk and corn fed girl from Ohio and we were about ready to join the Peace Corp or something along that line, and go someplace and save the people in some backwards community by teaching them how to farm the American way all day and enjoy each other all night of course.

But one of my crusty and profane old professors took me aside and asked me if I really wanted to go to XXXXX and teach starving people how to produce twice as much food so that twice as many of them would starve a generation down the road.

HE was right about the increase in production just resulting in more mouths to feed . back then. Since then, things have changed dramatically . in SOME countries.

There are good reasons to believe that birth rates may fall dramatically within the next decade or two in at least some of the countries that still have exploding populations. Maybe a few of them will manage to avoid starvation on the grand scale long enough for their populations to stabilize and decline.

It's too late for falling birth rates to prevent famine on the grand scale in a hell of a lot of places.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:54 am
Hi Old Farmer Mac,

Let's assume Ron's prediction of 2050 for a peak in World population at around 9 Billion is correct (this seems a very reasonable guess to me).

Also assume for the moment the grain is freely traded throughout the World with few barriers to trade (tariffs and outright bans).

Are you suggesting that it is likely that World food output will not be adequate to feed the World under this scenario?

Typically famine results from war and food supply not being able to be safely transported to those in need, at least in the past 50 years or so.

Do you expect this to change before 2070?

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 2:51 pm
Hi Dennis,

I'm going to answer twice, lol.

First off, do I think it's technically possible that we can feed a population that peaks around nine billion a few decades down the road?

This answer depends on how well energy supplies and the overall world economy holds up, with some wild cards thrown in relating to climate, depletion of certain critical resources such as fresh water and minerals such as easily mined phosphate rock, etc.

New technology and the reactions of the people to it will also play a big role.The role played by governments local to national to international will be critical, and huge, because only governments will have power enough to FORCE some changes that may and probably will be necessary.

Here are a few examples.

It may be necessary to force well to do people aka the middle classes, to give up eating red meat for the most part, so that grain ordinarily fed to cattle and hogs can be diverted to human consumption.

(I expect rich people will still be able to get a ribeye or pork chop any time by buying up ration tickets, or buying on the black market, or paying an exorbitant consumption tax, or any combination of these strategies.)

Fuels, especially motor fuels, may be tightly rationed, so that enough will be available to run farms and food processing and distribution industries.

Large numbers of people may be paid or coerced into going to work on farms or in community gardens or greenhouses.

A substantial fraction of the resources currently devoted to other needs or wants may have to be diverted to building sewage treatment infrastructure designed to capture and recycle the nutrients in human sewage.

I could go on all day.

Bottom line, I think that barring bad luck, it is technically possible that we can feed that many people that long, and for a while afterwards, as the population hopefully starts trending down.

As a practical matter, I don't think there WILL BE food enough for nine billion.

It's more likely in my opinion that some countries are going to come up desperately short of food, and be unable to beg, buy or steal it from other countries. Some people, and some countries, are likely to resort to taking food, and other resources of course by force from weaker neighbors .. maybe even "neighbors" on the far side of oceans.

I may be too pessimistic, but I'm one of the regulars here who think that climate change for the worse, much worse, is in the cards, and I spend a few hours every week reading history. Humans have always been ready to go to war, even without good reasons. A lot of people in desperate situations are going to see war as their best option, in my opinion, over the next half century.

Maybe my fellow Yankees will be willing to give up their burgers for beans so that kids in some far off country can eat. I'm not so sure we are compassionate enough to do so on the grand scale.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 11:25 am
Hi Hightrekker,

If total fertility ratios continue to fall (for the World they fell from 5 in 1965 to 2.5 in 2015) about a 1.38% per year, there may be no catastrophic collapse.

If that average rate should continue for 16 years then World TFR would be at 2 (below replacement level) by 2031. If the rate of decrease in TFR experienced from 1965 to 2015 continues for 35 years (to 2050), the TFR for the World would be 1.54 in 2050.

Based on UN data from 2015, 65% of the World's population had a weighted average TFR (weighted by population) of 2.05, but a more sophisticated calculation using estimates of the population of Women of child bearing age I have not done, I simply used total population to weight the TFR from each nation which implicitly assumes the age structure of each nation is identical which is clearly false.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 1:01 pm
Dennis-
We are adding 83 million per year to a already population in drastic overshoot.
The barn door is already open, and the horses are gone.
Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 1:17 pm
Exactly! That's been my point from the very beginning. It is already way too late to fix things.

We have a predicament that must be dealt with, not a problem that can be solved.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 7:41 pm
Bingo --
We have a winner!
alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 3:09 pm
Yeah, they shot white people. Can't have that. Nowadays the cops shoot three people on average every day in America. Nobody cares, life is cheap in America. Gun deaths are the price of freedom. Native Americans run about three times the risk of white folks, and black folks run about twice the risk.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 11:03 am
It is obvious that humans are the major drivers of extinction on the planet. We are in the Sixth Extinction event and we cause it directly and indirectly through our actions. the why is quite obvious, all species live to propagate and expand to their limits, our limits are global at this point and so are our effects. I don't see energy as much of a problem as there is plenty of it in various forms and we can obtain it if we want it. That however means continuing the high tech industrial form of civilization which we have embarked upon. Can that be made sustainable and much less harmful, even helpful? Of course it can, it's all about wise choices and thinking before we act instead of just going for profit.

The loss of vertebrates is just horrible but the loss of invertebrates will be the undoing of our farming and food production and much of the other life that depends upon them. The loss of insect life due to global human generated poisoning of the environment, especially food production areas, will unwind much of the food production.
As collapse starts, the chaos of riots and crime will rise sharply. All those mentally ill and drug addicted people will no longer have their chemicals, causing a trigger point of violence and chaotic actions.
However the major fast cause of loss of human life will be disease. People forget how it was just a few generations ago before antibiotics. Diseases will spread rapidly among the weak and starving, public sanitation will fail causing more disease to spread. Clean water supplies will become absent, compromised or even purposely wrecked. Hospitals will fail because of both being overrun and the power will fail plus supplies will fail. Disease will grow and spread among both people and their animals. It could take less than a generation to drastically reduce the population of the species, with the resulting loss of knowledge, technical ability and industrial ability the cascade will go further.
In the bad case scenarios much of the infrastructure will burn putting up a cloud of aerosols and GHG's as well as causing a large toxic pulse to the environment.

But on the other side humans are very inventive and determined to continue the system that supports a huge population. So we may expand this time forward for quite a while, but only through smart choices and changing how we do things such as agriculture, industry and technology. Smart choices, not choices just for profit.

Just one example of our innovative and creative ability.
From sand to soil in 7 hours
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stc5MUIloP0

SRSrocco says: 11/29/2017 at 11:17 am
NOT TO WORRY .

Humans need not worry about the Falling EROI, the Falling Carrying Capacity or the degradation of the environment. Those no longer matter now that BITCOIN is now trading over $11,000.

Technology will solve all our problems and Bitcoin will make us all wealthy once again.

steve

Doug Leighton says: 11/29/2017 at 11:21 am
Ron -- The full text of this paper in SCIENCE will cost you 15 bucks but in my opinion, is well worth it; below is the Abstract. Commenters are welcome to talk about educating women, etc. but its too late for Africa for the balance of this century. I have personally observed the situation in Central Africa where you can see a school each containing about 1,000 kids located at roughly one-kilometer intervals along all significant roads -- a lot of kids. Virtually all schools in Africa are run by churches (of all types), and you can guess what these guys are teaching about birth control: I've asked, and the answer is NOTHING. AFRICANS LOVE KIDS. And, health care has improved greatly over the past few decades meaning general health has been upgraded and infant mortality has been reduced greatly. In fact, I would say the bulk of the UN's efforts in Africa are directed towards improving general health at which they have been successful.

Sorry for the inarticulate ramble but this is a rather personal interest of mine partly because our family is supporting a young girl in Uganda who will soon become a medical doctor. I had promised to stop commenting on the Blog but the African over population crisis issue is one dear to my heart.

WORLD POPULATION STABILIZATION UNLIKELY THIS CENTURY

"The United Nations recently released population projections based on data until 2012 and a Bayesian probabilistic methodology. Analysis of these data reveals that, contrary to previous literature, the world population is unlikely to stop growing this century. There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100. This uncertainty is much smaller than the range from the traditional UN high and low variants. Much of the increase is expected to happen in Africa, in part due to higher fertility rates and a recent slowdown in the pace of fertility decline. Also, the ratio of working-age people to older people is likely to decline substantially in all countries, even those that currently have young populations."

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/346/6206/234

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 11:39 am
There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100.

I think you are about 237,500,000 too low with your estimate of world population. Well, that was as of a few minutes ago. It was 7,437,500,000 last time I checked.
World Population Clock

However, I think the UN is way off on their population projection. I believe that world population will reach 9 billion by 2050, just about a billion and a half above where it is now. However, I doubt it will ever go much above that. The UN, of course, is predicting no catastrophes. After all, that's not their job.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 3:11 pm
The UN systematically underestimates the fall in birth rate associated with better education for women and their access to health care and contraceptives.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 11:43 am
Here is the free pdf version of the paper"World population stabilization
unlikely this century".
https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~aldous/157/Papers/gerland.pdf
Doug Leighton says: 11/29/2017 at 11:57 am
Thanks Fish!
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 12:49 pm
Hi Doug and Gonefishing,

The article inked below is also of interest (chart from the PDF).

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378014001095?via%3Dihub

David Archibald says: 11/30/2017 at 2:06 am
My work suggests that the world runs out of more land that can be put under grain by 2035. This is mainly Brazil and Russia. Just about every country in Africa is importing grain now. Therefore most of their population growth has to be fed on imported grain. Most of the costs in producing grain are in energy so a rising oil price will have a leveraged effect on food prices.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 12:31 pm
Hi Doug,

Glad you decided to comment.

Yes Africa is indeed a problem as far as population growth. With education and improved access to health care and internet access on smart phones, African women may become empowered and decide to control their fertility using modern birth control. The transition to lower fertility can happen in a generation.

As an anecdotal example, my family and my wife's averaged a Total fertility ratio (TFR) of 5.5 for the two families (close to the average sub-Saharan TFR), the next generation of 11 children in total had a total of 6 children for a TFR of about 1.1.

Unscientific and likely too optimistic, but not that different from what occurred in the upper middle income nations of the World (population about 2.4 billion in 2015) where TFR decreased from 4.93 in 1975 to 1.93 in 2000 a period of 25 years.

It is the low income nations that have lagged in reducing TFR, economic development is a key ingredient to getting population under control. Easier to say than to accomplish.

The article below is hopeful

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/26/the-race-to-solar-power-africa

I saw something similar on PBS

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/in-remote-kenyan-villages-solar-startups-bring-light

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:10 pm
Dennis – I guess this site is rightfully energy-centric but what's your view on the other limits that are showing up like potable water, top soil, phosphorus?
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 1:40 pm
Hi George,

I think recycling human waste might help with top soil and phosphorus, though a Farmer would know more than me. I think recycling water from sewers can also be done and eventually the expansion of solar power may allow desalination of sea water.

In short, I think there are solutions to these issues, especially as we move to more sustainability (less beef production would help) and a peak in population as education levels improve would also help.

Some nations such as Iran have made amazing progress on their TFR, from 1990 to 2005 (15 years) the TFR fell from 5.62 to 1.97 and by 2015 it had fallen to 1.75.

African nations should find out what happened in Iran over that period and import some of the lessons learned.

Note that there are many examples of a rapid demographic transition, another is South Korea where total fertility ratio (TFR) decreased from 5.63 to 1.60 from 1965 to 1990 and in 2015 had fallen to 1.26.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 5:44 pm
Using South Korea as an example of increased sustainability (the point here?) is not helping your case much Dennis. As their TFR decreased, their consumption grew exponentially. Just since 1991:

https://i0.wp.com/www.eurasiareview.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/petroleum_consumption.png

Seems their per-capita energy use has skyrocketed in the last 60 years or so, and they now import most of their energy sources. They became 9th in CO2 emissions as of 2005. Looks like increased standards-of-living and declining birth rates are not much of a solution for reducing planetary impacts.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:40 am
Hi Ghung,

I agree. The point was that population growth can be reduced.

We need two things to happen, reduced use of fossil fuels (which peak fossil fuels will take care of by 2030) and reduced population (which peak population in 2050 to 2070 will take care of).

https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol28/39/28-39.pdf

Figure below is from page 1153 of the article linked above.

Note that in 2015 the TFR for South Korea was 1.26, if average life expectancy does not rise above 90 years and World TFR falls to 1.25 by 2100, then World Population falls from 8 billion to 2 billion in about 100 years. This reduces the use of resources and the pressure on other species.

Transition to wind and solar with pumped hydro, wind gas, and thermal storage backup can reduce carbon emissions and reforestation as population falls will help to absorb some of the carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon capture and storage of burned biofuels and cement that absorbs CO2 would be other options for reducing atmospheric CO2.

As fossil fuel peaks prices will rise and the transition to non-fossil fuel will speed up.

The process will be messy, but we are likely to muddle through as there is not much alternative (or not a better one as I see it.)

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:41 am
Forgot chart sorry

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 3:54 am
I think a common factor in all countries seeing large falls in birth rates is that they are preceded by large falls in death rates. This typically takes a couple of generations, which is one of the biggest causes of population overshoot. In Iran it was maybe a bit faster but not much – from above 20 per 1000 in the 50s and 12 in the eighties to around 4 now.
yvesT says: 11/30/2017 at 8:39 am
Regarding fertilizers, when you realize that there was a "human bones" market in the 19th century, and that for instance England "emptied" the catacombs in Sicily for that, or took back the soldiers bones from Waterloo, you get a sense of the urgency for fertilizer without phosphorus or natural gas based ones.
See for instance below :
"England is robbing all other countries of their fertility. Already in her eagerness for bones, she has turned up the battlefields of Leipsic, and Waterloo, and of Crimea; already from the catacombs of Sicily she has carried away skeletons of many successive generations. Annually she removes from the shores of other countries to her own the manorial equivalent of three million and a half of men Like a vampire she hangs from the neck of Europe."
https://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_04.html
Or below :
https://medium.com/study-of-history/the-bones-of-waterloo-a3beb35254a3

I had a better link regarding the bones from Sicily catacombs (many due to the plague epidemia I think), but cannot find it back.

yvesT says: 11/30/2017 at 10:21 am
Note : the above quotation is in fact from Justus Von Liebig (German chemist/agronomist), it also appears in below books :
https://books.google.fr/books?id=bnXXES5-LRcC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=fertilizer+sicily+catacombs&source=bl&ots=uWrEC04pcf&sig=zf_RNhU0HfM_aetTy6AkyHSpp3Q&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7m_v-uebXAhXF0aQKHR1ABOkQ6AEIXjAK#v=onepage&q=fertilizer%20sicily%20catacombs&f=false
or :
https://books.google.fr/books?id=VugoemP2th0C&pg=PA178&lpg=PA178&dq=justus+von+liebig+bones+sicily&source=bl&ots=M808Tc41C4&sig=D-NkZ4zpKOekifQQs-eJt4P7LsI&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwia1eiczObXAhUJF-wKHRITBM0Q6AEIRTAI#v=onepage&q=justus%20von%20liebig%20bones%20sicily&f=false

And this page above (from "Justus Von Liebig : the chemical gatekeeper" p 178) is also interesting on other aspects, suggesting Liebig would today address energy ..

Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:24 pm
The churches which promote childbearing must be destroyed. They are basically the enemies of humanity. Since they're losing in North America, Europe, South America, and most of Asia, they are targeting Africa.

(And *targeting* is the correct word -- they are deliberately sending missionaries to spread their sick, twisted doctrines and spending lots of money to do so.)

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 5:00 pm
If you read my story below, Food for the Poor is a religious group. In Jamaica I believe it is affiliated with Missionaries for the Poor , an international Catholic organisation. So while they are doing yeoman service in providing shelter for poor folks, they are doing diddly squat to encourage poor folks to stop creating more mouths to feed and bodies to clothe and shelter. Isn't that just dandy?

Incidentally here's a recent newspaper article from my neck of the woods:

Crime strangling growth – Youth unemployment in Caribbean highest in world, fuelling criminality

Youth unemployment in the Caribbean is said to be the highest in the world, and crime, partly fuelled by this high rate of joblessness, is a major obstacle to economic growth in the region, according to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF boss, who addressed the sixth High Level Caribbean Forum, held yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, said that crime imposed several economic costs such as public spending on security and the criminal justice system, as well as private spending on security. She also highlighted social costs arising from the loss of income owing to victimisation and incarceration.

Can anybody spot my comment? Hint: I used a pseudonym that should be familiar with everybody here.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:49 pm
Can we be so unpolitical correct to call for "A Pope onA Rope?"
Someone must draw a line in the sand- or should we all be under a religious spell?
Or do we want to break that spell?
Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:57 pm
"would you like to see the pope on the end of a rope do you think he's a fool"

https://youtu.be/OOCbrUTpukM

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 7:54 pm
This was discussed just this morning on NYC NPR, concerning homelessness and the housing provided for low income people. The gist of it was that although there were programs to help the people with food and housing, very little was really being done to solve the problems.
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 8:20 pm
"This uncertainty is much smaller than the range from the traditional UN high and low variants. Much of the increase is expected to happen in Africa, in part due to higher fertility rates and a recent slowdown in the pace of fertility decline. Also, the ratio of working-age people to older people is likely to decline substantially in all countries, even those that currently have young populations."

I have the impression that many of us myself included have an outdated and still colonialist view of African societies. I think changes happening in many parts of Africa will surprise us and technologically leapfrog over much of the built infrastructure of the OECD countries. I have seen it happen first hand in previously underprivileged parts of Brazil.

https://www.ted.com/talks/keller_rinaudo_how_we_re_using_drones_to_deliver_blood_and_save_lives#t-518345

How we're using drones to deliver blood and save lives

Keller Rinaudo wants everyone on earth to have access to basic health care, no matter how hard it is to reach them. With his start-up Zipline, he has created the world's first drone delivery system to operate at national scale, transporting blood and plasma to remote clinics in East Africa with a fleet of electric autonomous aircraft. Find out how Rinaudo and his team are working to transform health care logistics throughout the world -- and inspiring the next generation of engineers along the way.

BTW, I have a serious question! Does this kind of technology make the population crisis in Africa better or worse? Would like to hear some thoughts on the matter.

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 1:49 pm
It is uncanny how this lead post has come about just when I have been thinking about this subject recently. I am currently very depressed, to the point I suspect it may be clouding my better judgment with respect to various matters. This depression is partly caused by my views of the future of my little island in particular and the world in general. Let me try and illustrate how my thoughts have been brought into focus recently.

I travel around the city I live in, passing through all the different types of communities from time to time. We have pockets of extreme wealth as evidenced by palatial homes with swimming pools, tennis courts and all the creature comforts you would expect in the home of a wealthy first world resident. Leaving these pockets of extreme wealth, one doesn't have to drive for more than five minutes to reach pockets of extreme poverty, people who are so poor, they cannot pay rent and cannot envision ever buying a plot of land or a house, so they build structures on any piece of land that they can get away with. This type of activity extends across the island and there is no area that does not experience informal settlement (aka squatting). There is a political aspect to this, in that in an effort to garner the votes of the large voting block that poor people make up succesive governments have not discouraged squatting, to the point of encouraging it. See yesterday's cartoon in one of the local rags for a satirical perspective of the situation but, I digress.

I try to avoid too much contact with people outside my socioeconomic and educational class because it inevitably leads me to being depressed but, sometimes I end up in that exact situation. This past Monday night was one such case and it was my observations from Monday night that got me thinking about Peak Oil and carrying capacity and overshoot. I was invited to visit a gathering and told to bring drinks and that they were going to cook so, I decided not to eat a meal before leaving the city. It was a forty five minute drive, including a drive through late evening heavy traffic heading westward out of the city, past a big highway construction project being carried out by a Chinese (honest to God, from China) construction firm that has been active in the island for a number of years. On arriving at my destination I was told by my host that the gathering was at another house less than half a mile away.

This particular house was one of 39 houses made possible by the efforts of a couple from Grand Junction, Colorado (with pics) along with the local branch of Food For The Poor . I estimate that, these "houses" measure about 13ft. by 15 ft. inside and are supposed to include a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. The sister of my host was the recipient of this house, being qualified for the charity as a result of being unemployed with four children, one of whom was either newborn or yet to be born at the time the house was handed over to her. She was not yet thirty years old when her last child was born. Does anybody see where I am going with this yet?

Back to the gathering. On arriving at the house my host informed that no food had been cooked. By this time I was hungry and asked where was the nearest cook-shop where I could purchase a meal. I traveled with my host to Old Harbour, the nearest town apart from Spanish Town. I can only describe Spanish Town as an overpopulated, crime infested, thug controlled mess, that becomes a ghost town by midnight even though it is surprisingly busy by day. I asked my host if I should buy a meal for them also and they declined but, by the time we got back to the house, they declared that they were hungry and needed to get something to cook to go with the rice they had. So off we went to try and find a local shop that had what they wanted and was still open. First one was a 24 hour joint, built using an old cargo truck body but it didn't have all they wanted so it was off to another one that we managed to catch just as they were closing. We came away with a small packet of "veggie chunks" and some cooking oil. The little propane stove had been fired up and the rice was almost done so in less than fifteen minutes a meal of rice and veggie chunks was being served to four or five adults, one of whom had an infant, less than a year old, sharing the meal with her.

So let me weave together how all of this ties in with the subject of the lead post. First the "house" was only possible through the generosity of citizens of a first world, developed country. The materials that made the house (lumber corrugated, galvanized steel) are the products of extractive industries that rely heavily of FF, petroleum in particular. The soft drinks and alcohol that I brought to the gathering were manufactured, distributed and retailed in a system, heavily dependent on external energy. My vehicle runs of diesel. The rice for the meal I ate and the one at the house was imported from outside the island, again produced and delivered with lots of help from petroleum. The chicken I ate was locally produced with imported grain, a product of industrial scale agriculture, probably in the USA. Thankfully many of the chicken farmers are involved in a project that started with 15 kW systems at about 40 chicken farms and seems to be expanding. The veggie chunks are a meat substitute protein made from soy meal, again a product of industrial scale agriculture.

The cooking oil was probably one of soy, palm, canola, corn or coconut oil, produced at an industrial scale and imported to the island. Jamaica was once an exporter of coconut oil before the industry was decimated by a disease called lethal yellowing back in the early 70s. Virtually the entire population of coconut palms on the island was wiped out by this disease and even though efforts have been made to resuscitate the industry using disease resistant varieties, more than forty years on, the manufacture of coconut oil in Jamaica is a tiny cottage industry.

So here we have five or adults, two males and three females, one of which had four children with the other two having one each. There were other people at the gathering but as far as I am aware only two had jobs, the brother of my host who left before the meal and the woman with the infant who has a part time job selling lotto tickets. All of these people are living on the edge, heavily dependent on a system that is in danger of collapse for their very survival and they are far from alone. there are thousands of them if not hundreds of thousands on this island alone.

If for whatever reason industrial scale agriculture fails, the songbirds are going to be eaten out of the trees. I used to dissect rats in my sixth form (12 and 13th grade) biology classes and there ain't much meat on them but, if we get hungry enough maybe we'll turn on the rats. Without affordable propane, every tree and shrub will end up as firewood. This is the reason why I have an almost obsessive focus on renewable energy, solar in particular. It is my hope that the deployment of renewable energy can stay ahead of FF depletion long enough for global civilization to transition away from FF. It is my hope that our civilization, seeing itself on a real time, renewable energy budget, will begin to recognize the fragility of our situation. I have to ask Ron and others to forgive me as I continue to bring attention to the hopeful stories. It is the only way I can keep myself from sliding into depression and despair. It is the only way I can cope.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:07 pm
The Green Revolution in the 60s was supposed to solve all our problems, and it solved a lot of them, especially in Europe and Asia. It works well when you have a lot of water and farm intensively, but is destructive in semi-arid conditions and when used in extensive agriculture, like the American Midwest.

After the Green Revolution, Asia boomed and Africa fell behind, prompting racist theories. Geography and climate are more likely explanations. In India, for example, the more arid north did less well than the wetter south. The Chinese were the first to realize the problem, and started a new generation of re-greening projects to boost agricultural production.

Meanwhile bad farming practices continues to rapidly degrade wide stretches of North America and South America. I was reading recently about a county in SD that lost 19 inches (not feet!) of topsoil between 1960 and 2014. Many places in America simply abandoned farming, like New England and Appalachia. People blame red dirt and the crick risin' in Appalachia and glacial rocks in New England, but that wasn't a problem before soil degradation set in.

The Green Revolution focused on genetics and chemistry, which makes sense if applied correctly. Development economists were puzzled that Kenyan farmers were uninterested in high yield seeds, but the explanation as simple: They need a regular water supply, not better seeds. A lot of places in the world get 3-4 weeks of rain a years, and good seeds don't solve this problem. Pumping the water out of the aquifier isn't the solution either, just ask anyone in Antelope Valley CA, a former grassland turned desert by the alfalfa farmers.

My mother warned my to watch out for flash floods when camping in the desert. It took me decades to understand why flash floods are a particular problem in the desert: More or less by definition, deserts are places where there are flash floods. The flash floods are both cause and symptom of soil degradation. Deserts aren't places where there isn't enough water -- they are places where rainwater runs off the surface instead of seeping into the soil. Degraded soil can't absorb water fast enough, surface runoff degrades soil.

The problem with industrial agriculture is that it treats the great outdoors like a hydroponic farm -- it ignores soil ecology and just assumes the hydrology will work itself out.

A more modern approach starts with water and soil. It's spreading rapidly in Africa, for example with the sand dams in Kenya, the terracing in Ethiopia and Kenya, and the various planting pit (like zai and demi-lunes) in the Sahel and agroforestry (planting trees in fields, or crops in orchards) in a lot of arid places.

It's true that mankind is pushing the limits of what the current ecosystem can carry, but it's also true that the ecosystem could be much bigger than it currently is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtOBSmIBx1A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkq540gsq2M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nKc5wEjWrY

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
Meanwhile bad farming practices continues to rapidly degrade wide stretches of North America and South America. I was reading recently about a county in SD that lost 19 feet of topsoil between 1960 and 2014.

There is a serious problem with that statement. No place on earth has 19 feet of topsoil, not even 19 inches over an entire county.

Topsoil Wikipedia
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm). It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:30 pm
Inches I mean, not feet obviously.

EDIT: Here's a shot from Kalkriese, Germany where they are digging out a Roman-German battlefield. The artifacts are all found at or just below the border between the black topsoil and the red dirt underneath it -- that was 7 BC

https://www.landkreis-osnabrueck.de/sites/default/files/bildergalerie/k1600_grabung1016_1.jpg

http://www.kalkriese-varusschlacht.de/fileadmin/_processed_/csm_2015-02-16-Archaeologie_Schnitt_68a0493043.jpg

The archaeologists there told me the topsoil is about 1.5-2m deep, and was formed after the Romans left by later farming practices.

Ulenspiegel says: 11/30/2017 at 5:07 am
In the Kalkriese area, the farmers used sod planting ("Plaggendüngung"), i.e. they removed the top soil on large areas to improve the soil on their fields.

Therefore, Kalkriese is an example how NOT to do it.

alimbiquated says: 11/30/2017 at 5:35 am
I think the thickness of the topsoil in the area speaks for itself.

My point is that as Ron points out, there is a limited carrying capacity for the planet, but I don't really think we are there yet, because there are relatively simple methods available to make huge areas of the Earth's surface. Of course, even if it's possible, it isn't clear it will happen.

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 11:57 am
there are relatively simple methods available to make huge areas of the Earth's surface.

That seems to be an incomplete sentence. Make huge areas of the Earth's surface what ? Desert? We sure can do that. We are doing more of that every year. Scrubland? We are doing that also by cutting down the forest and trying to make farmland out of it. After a few years the land will row nothing of value. That's happening in the Amazon right now.

There is nothing we can do to increase human habitual area without reducing the wild habitual area. That is what my post is all about. We are destroying every wild thing by destroying their habitat, by taking their habitat for ourselves.

alimbiquated says: 11/30/2017 at 12:50 pm
productive.

Your last paragraph is not correct. Much of the world is desert, and that desert could be much more productive than it is, given the right agriculture methods.

Whether that will actually happen is another question of course.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
Just a line of rocks on contour works too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCSYqUiI41w

The chinese are a lot farther down ths road.

http://www.topguilintravel.com/images/longsheng-travel-bg.jpg

But the Ehtiopians are doing their best to imitate the chinese

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CVSiR0mWsAAxhqi.jpg

The Kenyns too.

http://c8.alamy.com/comp/B7P41Y/africa-kenya-matiliku-ukambani-makueni-district-fertile-farming-country-B7P41Y.jpg

This would be great in East Tennessee, but they get their corn in a jar, as the old song goes.

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 4:11 pm
That very same first world country that donated the materials has plenty of homeless and large amounts of poor. It also has large amounts of empty buildings and huge amounts of food waste, yet they do not take care of their own. That is even a sadder situation as people freeze to death, starve, and die of simple preventable health problems in one of the richest countries in the world. Basic needs are not met and the governing bodies are constantly fighting to reduce the paltry benefits that are given. It's a country full of hate for their own people and hate back at the haters.
TonyMax says: 11/29/2017 at 4:42 pm
There's no inherent evolutionary advantage to caring for people you have no relation to. That's the real reason why all of these 'safety net' programs you describe are hated in the general sense and under attack as time marches on.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 9:06 pm
Now Tony, we all know the public programs are under attack because of the greed and selfishness of people who already have too much money and stuff.
We all know it is the greed and the overconsumption that is causing the destruction of our environment and possibly the whole human race. That is a huge evolutionary disadvantage.
Helping, sharing and cooperating is the advantage. The selfish and greedy are like ticks sucking the world dry for their own personal benefit.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 2:51 pm
There's no inherent evolutionary advantage to caring for people you have no relation to.

That is absolute Bullshit!

http://www.sarahmathew.net/

Dr. Sarah Mathew

I study the evolution of human ultra-sociality and the role of culture in enabling it. I am especially interested in how humans evolved the capacity to cooperate with millions of genetically unrelated individuals, and how this links to the origins of moral sentiments, prosocial behavior, norms, and large-scale warfare. To address these issues, I combine formal modeling of the evolution of cooperation with fieldwork among the Turkana. The Turkana are an egalitarian pastoral society in East Africa who cooperate, including in costly inter-ethnic raids, with hundreds of other Turkana who are not kin nor close friends. Through systematic empirical studies in this unique ethnographic context, my research project here aims to provide a detailed understanding of the mechanisms underpinning cooperation and moral origins.

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:53 pm
evolutionary advantage of caring for others
About 232,000,000 results (0.58 seconds)
https://tinyurl.com/y7wv5sez

This information is not exactly carved in a stone tablet and hidden on the dark side of the moon.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 5:20 pm
Hi Ron,

I haven't read your good article just yet (although it is doubtful any of it will surprise me or add to what is already more or less understood), but just to mention that I recently listened to a podcast from Chris Martenson's site, Peak Prosperity, featuring William Rees from the University of BC

Two things about the podcast that stood out was that William was in fine form (articulate, clear, concise, passionate, 'deathly' serious, etc.); and the second was his mention of possibly fundamentally changing the natural system of Atlantic cod (fisheries), so that they may never recover. Not everything can simply reverse, and quickly enough, if they can, such as, say, with the depletion of the ozone layer, and when it involves all kinds of living systems– much, and the intricacies/complex interconnections, of which we are blissfully unaware of, despite some of our arrogant pretensions to the contrary (such as with regard to the avocation of most if not all forms of geoengineering)– it is very serious.

What concerns me also is how some people, such as on this site, can ostensibly claim a required greenwashed BAU from out of one side of their mouths, while on the other side, express grave concerns for the ecosystem. We cannot have it both ways.

To me, much greenwashed BAU is just swapping out different forms of rampant resource extraction, pollution and inequability for other forms.

The system, along with its 'power-politics', is still intact.

IOW, there is no real change.

Loren, assuming that's you, I am certain that radical decline, if not outright collapse, is already well underway, despite the obstinate mindlessness of some people. Just because some don't see something or want to see something doesn't mean it is not there.

My simple recommendation, especially for certain people WRT this deathwish-for-a-culture is to let go/ get out (and in the process, learn things like permaculture and local community resilience, and how our ancestors did some of it). Your comforts are much of an illusion (and predicated, for example, on natural draw-down).

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 6:46 pm
I knew you'd show up sooner or later and since you've always been critical of my support for renewables and EVs, let's bite.

"To me, much greenwashed BAU is just swapping out different forms of rampant resource extraction, pollution and inequability for other forms.

The system, along with its 'power-politics', is still intact.

IOW, there is no real change."

Are you saying that "there is no real change" going from corporate owned, centrally located, large scale, FF fired generators to small scale, individually or community owned, distributed renewable generators? If so, that's not what the FF and corporate generator class in Australia thinks. They have captured the Australian federal government and are fighting renewables as hard as they can.

Are you saying "there is no real change" going from ICE powered vehicles to EVs that, are perfectly happy to suck electrons from any source including renewable sources individually owned or owned by a co-op of which the vehicle owner is invested? That's not an opinion shared by the Koch brothers who are spending millions of dollars to try and paint EVs in a bad light in the eyes of the public.

Surely you realize that an individual with solar on their roof and an EV is giving a big middle finger to the status quo, including FF corporations and utilities who will no longer be able to feed at that individual's trough. In case you don't realize it, that is a very big disruption of "system, along with its 'power-politics'" and no, in case you haven't been listening, "The system, along with its 'power-politics'", will not be "still intact."

Now if you read my fairly long narrative further up, I hope the point I am trying to make does not escape you. That point is that there are millions, no lets make that billions of poor poorly educated folks who depend on things like industrial agriculture and the current status quo for the basic necessities of life, food, clothing and shelter. If the status quo collapses they are dead, let me say that again, dead! I'm all for dismantling the status quo and replacing it with something that is much kinder to all life on this pale blue dot we call home but, I shudder at the thought of millions or billions of human beings starving to death, just as I shudder at what we are doing to the biosphere. Can you see why I'm depressed right now?

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 7:59 pm
Alan,
This is my cameo appearance. LOL

There is no real change if we are still relying on the monstrosity that is the crony-capitalist plutarchy/government-big-biz symbiosis, such as for solar panels, etc. and/or what some misleadingly refer to as 'renewable'.

If you are in the biz– and I think you wrote hereon that you indeed are– then some might suggest, maybe even me, that you are, say, 'soft-shilling' and/or rationalizing for your product using POB as your platform, and maybe problematically skewing the narrative a little more towards a dystopic system that we should be getting the hell out of, while making preparations to do so, like learning how to do the basics in a local, resilient context so that we do not need industrial agro. The longer we rely on industrial anything– and as if it's somehow morally/ethically neutral– the harder/faster we will likely fall, maybe along something of a seneca curve.

We cannot eat solar panels and electricity is not a necessity, except to for the brainwashed and the brainwashers.
Attempting to play on people's heartstrings, such as about poor people in so-called undeveloped locales to sell a product they don't need and that would risk locking them– and others– into a certain ('Western') lifestyle, in some contexts, approaches contemptible, by the way.

You should already know how sociogeopoliticultural ideologies like Westernisation is foisted upon the global masses through physical, cultural, mental and intellectual colonialism, with the result often being wars and deaths to people and traditional ways of life. Just consider the Middle East right now. In the name of what? Oil and oligarchy?
You've said it yourself hereon that you have some kind of slavery in your family, yes? Well, many people are still slaves anyway, if with coats of white paint. Libya was in the news recently about that– slavery– incidentally.

If we want to do solar panels etc. the right, ethical ways, we need sea changes, such as that avoid slavery and privilege-by-gun, but I highly doubt we will manage them in time, and suspect that we are already long past that time.

That said, how do you feel now?

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 10:31 pm
I am not yet in the business of doing anything with solar PV so, as of right now I have no product that I am shilling for, soft or hard. I am in a business connected to entertainment if you must know. The entertainment business can by no means be classified as non-discretionary and recent technology has allowed far more people to compete with me so it will be necessary to get out of that at some point. How about viewing this as something I see as as worthwhile pursuit for the future of mankind, given my skill set and thus my advocating it as a worthwhile area for me to pursue a vocation in? I am not only advocating for solar PV because it's a field I can participate in but, because I think it can contribute a great deal to reductions in carbon emissions among other noble aspirations.

Are you going to start suggesting that I want to get into the business of manufacturing and selling EVs just because I am suggesting that large scale EV adoption would be a good thing? I ain't no Elon Musk if that's what your thinking. Now, if the shit hits the fan and motor fuels became really unobtainium, I might take a stab at an EV conversion business, a la Jack Rickard but, right now even Jack seems disillusioned with that pursuit, having posted only one new video since the middle of August and only two new blog posts since the last week of July. At any rate the necessary preconditions for such a business to be successful in an age of factory made EVs, do not exist.

I am with OFM on the point that some of your ideas for agriculture cannot adequately serve the needs of a rapidly growing population of 7.5 billion people. My dad who was a descendant of rebel runaway slaves, known in Jamaica as Maroons , was into agriculture and left me and my surviving sister a six acre homestead when he died. I can tell you agriculture ain't a walk in the park. It's damned hard work and carries all sorts of risks not faced by other pursuits (droughts, thieves, diseases pests etc.) . You seem to have some romantic view of agriculture that I do not share.

As for locking people in to a western lifestyle, that doesn't apply to Jamaica. The western lifestyle came with colonization and slavery. Do you think that people outside of the developed word should forgo electricity, computers, cell phones, the internet and other modern conveniences?

Despite all of that, the Caribbean has been bucking western culture for centuries. Trinidad and Tobago has their carnival and it's music and Jamaica has had as big an impact on western culture with our music (reggae and ska) as western culture has had on us. Even this past weekend, a dark skinned Jamaican woman sporting a huge afro, placed third in the Miss Universe pageant. The girl that won was from South Africa and could pass for Caucasian whether she is or not and I didn't see any other black women in the contest sporting an afro hairstyle (not that I watched it).

When it comes to some things, that train has already left the station. No point in romanticizing about what could have been. I'd rather focus on what small steps we can take to improve things in the here and now, while moving us to a more sustainable future. I will probably remain depressed until the new year. Probably more to with not having any immediate family around for "the festive season" than anything else. Maybe the new year will bring some good news on the renewable/sustainability front! That would cheer me up!

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:40 pm
Islandboy–
After being in Central America for quite a while, and that heavy Catholic noose around everyones neck, it was so liberating to get out to the islands.
Lets Party Mon!
islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 3:17 am
Now you're talking! We in the Caribbean know how to party! I wouldn't be surprised if we woke up the morning after the collapse and said, "Collapse? What collapse? We were too busy partying to notice" 😉

Having said that, Trinidad is heavily influenced by catholicism, their carnival being associated with the catholic observance of Lent. I don't see any evidence of the Trinis (as they are known in the islands) taking the admonitions of their various religious leaders too seriously. Hell! I've never been to Trinidad carnival but, I hear it's one wild party!

On the other hand, Trinidad should have some long term concerns about what they are going to do after Oil and Gas production fall below consumption and they have to start importing hydrocarbons. What if either prices are too high or supplies are limited? What if prices collapse due to lack of demand as Seba suggests will happen after EVS and solar begin to dominate transport and electricity generation?

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:22 am
So how is that wind farm coming along?

https://www.ustda.gov/news/press-releases/2017/ustda-advances-wind-power-generation-jamaica-through-us-solutions

islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 9:04 am
Way too early to say. The article dated October 4, 2017 says this:

"The feasibility study will evaluate the viability of installing the wind farm, which would represent one of the first offshore wind installations in Jamaica and the greater Caribbean region."

I expect the feasibility study is going to take months and I would expect them to do some detailed analysis of the offshore wind resource in the process. It is good that this study is being done so soon after two devastating hurricanes have hit the region. Should keep hurricanes very much in the picture.

Dated

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 11:01 am
Looking at some Caribbean buoy data it looks like wind would be a good source of power for the islands.
Beside the wind, the island has about 54 billion kwh/day of sunlight falling on it. That is more than ten times the total energy production per year for the island. Energy is not a problem, how the energy is generated is the problem.
Cover less than 0.1 percent of the island with solar panels and make up the difference with wind power.
islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 4:26 pm
I have done some numbers in terms of what it would take to power the island entirely with renewables, mostly solar. Not impossible but the technocrats, one of whom is a college classmate of mine, cannot wrap their head around 100% renewable electricity!

Incidentally, I came across a video presentation on Youtube (with a really annoying backing track) that at about 3 minutes in contains the following text:

"Seba's forecasts are predicated on the assumption that the cost of generating and storing electricity will continue to fall – to the point where just about all generation will be solar by 2030. But electricity production would only have to increase by 18 percent in the US to cope with a complete switch to EVs, he said"

That 18% figure squares quite nicely with some back of the envelope calculations I have done.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 4:36 pm
The choice is to transistion or fail.
OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 12:14 pm
I've made good friends with a couple of guys from Jamaica who have friends and family here that have managed to get their permanent paperwork taken care of.

Unfortunately it doesn't look as if they will ever be able to get permanent resident status. They're older guys, and about as mellow and fun people to be around as I have ever met. They come up for an extended family visit every fall, which just HAPPENS to be the time of year local farmers need a lot of extra help, lol.

As soon as I'm finished with family duties, I'm going down to spend a month with them. 😉

Will be spending some money on food and utilities and a few new nice things for them of course, because while they're friends, they're not well off.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:31 pm
Bottom line:
It is really hard to face the extinction of your species, no matter what reality presents to you.
GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:31 am
What has been highly disturbing is watching the natural world be run over and steadily destroyed.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 9:52 am
We cannot eat solar panels and electricity is not a necessity, except to for the brainwashed and the brainwashers.

Than do the world a favor and unplug yourself from all sources of electricity! At least we here won't have to read your fantasies!

BTW there are plenty of people who understand that the current capitalist system is not the answer, read Kate Raeworth's, Donut Economics for starters.

Modern humans could no more live without electricity in the 21st century than they could live without food and water. Try living without refrigeration in any city in the world. You would cause massive starvation in a few days. Try providing medical care to an urban population without electricity.

You have to be completely delusional to suggest that electricity is not a necessity!

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 9:48 pm
That's all irrelevant to my point which still stands– especially when the system is destroying our planet. We have lived with electricity for a relative split second of our existence as a species on this planet.
Besides, if we're not treating the planet properly, do we even deserve electricity and its conveniences? I think not.

And then there are assorted uses for electricity, some being more questionable as priorities than others.

Electric car versus fridge?

FWIW, I have personally lived without refrigeration for months in a major city, at least at home after shopping at the grocery store LOL, but also in the country– more hard-core.

If your local community especially is growing and processing its own food, then it's easy.

There's pickling, drying, fermenting, spicing/salting, alcohol, etc., and natural cool-storage, such as root cellars and simple cooling-by-evaporation systems.

There's also 'eating as you go'. Other animals do that, and I've never heard of an animal that needs a fridge or electricity, have you? Maybe your cat at home, but even Meow Mix can last outside the fridge, yes?

But some of us have to actually help make the changes, such as to the narrative, and limit the cling to some kinds of BAU narratives and fantasies.

Do it for Mother Earth, Fred. Or me. Or Harvey Weinstein or whoever/whatever motivates you. Coral.

Obviously, we can't just turn off the lights and fridges overnight, but there are plenty of ways to manage, maintain and consume food that don't require a fridge. So if we can't just turn off the lights and fridges overnight, maybe we should start talking more about how to live without them and/or with greater resilience.

But even if the juice stays on forevermore, some juiceless skills and knowledge are great to learn, have and apply.

BTW, I just watched this documentary on rare earths– the apparently highly-polluting stuff that's supposed to help power, until they run out, all these new and relatively-useless electrical gadgets now and in the future to get off of those other pollutants.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:53 pm
but just to mention that I recently listened to a podcast from Chris Martenson's site, Peak Prosperity, featuring William Rees from the University of BC

Highly recommended.
And I'm not a fan of some of Martenson's guests.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 8:09 pm
I came across the podcast indirectly via another site, but do sometimes run into Chris' material. He seems good at interviewing and is easy to follow in videos.
OFM says: 11/29/2017 at 7:59 pm
This post is going to be a gold mine for me, because it relates directly to so much of what I'm working on for publication in book form if I ever manage to finish it to my satisfaction. Here's hoping it attracts over a thousand comments, lol! I'm especially interested in comments that dispute my own, because those are the ones enable me to understand my own blind spots. 😉

Now so far, nobody has said anything about what I will refer to as the SECOND key fact that one must understand to understand evolution. Hoyle missed the first one altogether, making a total fool of himself, although he was a brilliant scientist, one of the top men in HIS field, his mistake being that he failed to understand that evolution BUILDS on it's PAST " accomplishments".

The second key fact I am hereby pointing out is that while evolution creates new life forms that reproduce to fill any and all available niches, there's no GUIDANCE involved, no overall PLAN, no GOD in charge, if you wish to put it that way.

Evolution is characterized in large part by parsimony, by being conservative in the use of resources. Animals that don't have use for claws don't have claws like tigers, lol, and animals that don't eat grass out in the fields don't have digestive systems like COWS. Evolution creates organisms that are "good at" taking advantage of whatever resources are available, WITHOUT REGARD ANY FUTURE CONSEQUENCES because there is NO LONG TERM PLAN. Behavioral BRAKES that aren't needed don't evolve, lol, and countless things that would be extremely useful, like eyes in the back of our heads, which would keep us from being attacked from the rear, don't often evolve either, because .. well because of more factors than I have any inclination to cover at this minute. Half of the SHORT answer is that eyes in the back of our heads would cost us more in terms of sacrificing something else than they would gain for us. The other half of the SHORT answer is that since pure chance plays such a big role . the odds are astronomically high against it happening anyway.

This a comment/ rant, not a BOOK. The BOOK is in the works, and will be available free to member of this forum who may want to read it and point out shortcomings in it before I publish it, most likely for free on the net. I'm not so arrogant as to think anybody will PAY for it, lol.

Dead ends, blind alleys, and death, at the individual level, and or at the species level, means absolutely NOTHING to "Mother Nature" because she is not sentient, she's not moral, she's not even ALIVE in the usual sense. She's just an artifact, a tool, that we naked apes have invented in our efforts to understand reality.

What I'm getting at, since She IS parsimonious, is that She does not provide brakes where none are needed.
Sometimes things do evolve that prove to be useful under new circumstances, but when this happens, it's just a lucky accident for the creature involved. If for instance a creature evolves a forelimb capable of grasping a branch, so that it can climb better, lol, later on the ability to GRASP something MAY come in very handy, because it sets the stage for that creature being able to grasp a stone which can be used as a tool or weapon. This does NOT mean the creature WILL eventually discover the use of tools and weapons. It DOES mean the probability of such evolution is vastly enhanced. There's NO PLANNING INVOLVED . except in the minds of deists who accept the reality of evolution while also retaining the concept of a God or gods or some guiding force of some sort.

IF the need arises for BRAKES, well then, die off, or even extinction, takes care of the problem. If a given species eats only a given plant, and that plant goes extinct, Mother Nature does not grieve for either the plant, nor the species that feeds exclusively upon it,which very likely also goes extinct. She doesn't even consciously keep score, as indifferently as a hired bookkeeper keeps books for a client he has never met and will never meet. She does however inadvertently create a RECORD of historical "scores" , which we can read. It's the fossil record.

It's rather amusing that professional biologists go around talking about human stupidity as if there is something inherently WRONG with people, as if we are collectively DEFECTIVE. We are what we are because we are final product ( up until today ) of our own evolutionary history. We're as " good " or "well designed "as we are evolved to be, like all other living creatures.

Engineers build in safety margins, and add features that may be useful, under certain circumstances, when they design things, because they DO work with and from PRECONCEIVED PLANS. Mother Nature doesn't make plans, she just deals and redeals the cards, over and over, and will continue to do so until all life on this planet perishes which won't be until the sun expands sufficiently to destroy the last vestiges of life on it.

We are NOT something different from the rest of biological creation, we do NOT operate under different rules, we aren't on some sort of fucking pedestal, separate from the rest of the biosphere. THAT whole crock of shit sort of thinking is one of the cornerstones of kinds of the thinking that some of the regulars here like to make fun of, such as religion, nationalism, racism, etc.

A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No.

We have succeeded,basically for no other reason that accident in the last analysis, to the point we compete mostly with each other, rather than other species.

The evolved PROGRAMS hard wired into our brains that drive our behavior DO NOT include much in the way of built in brakes, because BRAKES HAVE COSTS. If we over populate, if we use up critical resources on which we depend for our survival, and perish, there's NOBODY who gives a shit.. other than some of us who are aware of the fact that we ARE in overshoot. Mother Nature is INCAPABLE of giving a shit.

The whole fucking idea that we are SOMETHING SPECIAL was probably originated by the first priests and their allies. It's an idea that has little to do with any discussion based on real SCIENCE within the context of understanding our own overshoot .

Now none of this rant should be interpreted as indicating I don't know and understand that humans are tribal creatures, that we are social creatures, and that we survive and thrive because we DO live and work cooperatively. The thing is , we survive and thrive as COMPETING communities, tribes, and nations, rather than as a SINGLE global community. Wolf packs compete. Prides of lions compete. Bands of chimps compete. We humans compete with each other. Talking as if we are DEFECTIVE because we behave this way is a waste of time.

When the shit hits the fan hard enough and fast enough, we do sometimes cooperate with our former enemies, at least temporarily.Old enemies can be new allies.

It's at least THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE that we can cooperate as a SPECIES, at the global level, in order to solve some or maybe even most of the problems associated with our own overshoot. We have cooperated before at levels up to and including the global level. In WWII, most of the developed countries of the world were involved as partisans on one or the other side. We cooperate to some extent at the global level now, in economic terms, and in terms of our physical security, as for instance in arms control agreements.

But just because it's theoretically possible that we can cooperate at the species level globally doesn't mean it's going to happen. I don't think there's any real likelihood of it happening, although alliances consisting of the various major economic and military powers do exist and will continue to exist and some of these alliances will prove to be critically important in determining the course of future history.

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 9:17 pm
"A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No." Do you mean E. O. Wilson has his head up his ass?
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 6:17 am
Do you mean E. O. Wilson has his head up his ass?

Edward O. Wilson's New Take on Human Nature

The eminent biologist argues in a controversial new book that our Stone Age emotions are still at war with our high-tech sophistication

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/edward-o-wilsons-new-take-on-human-nature-

In his newly published The Social Conquest of the Earth -- the 27th book from this two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- Wilson argues the nest is central to understanding the ecological dominance not only of ants, but of human beings, too. Ants rule the microhabitats they occupy, consigning other insects and small animals to life at the margins; humans own the macroworld, Wilson says, which we have transformed so radically and rapidly that we now qualify as a kind of geological force. How did we and the ants gain our superpowers? By being super-cooperators, groupies of the group, willing to set aside our small, selfish desires and I-minded drive to join forces and seize opportunity as a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe. There are plenty of social animals in the world, animals that benefit by living in groups of greater or lesser cohesiveness. Very few species, however, have made the leap from merely social to eusocial, "eu-" meaning true. To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson's definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice "at least some of their personal interests to that of the group." It's tough to be a eusocialist. Wouldn't you rather just grab, gulp and go? Yet the payoffs of sustained cooperation can be huge. Eusociality, Wilson writes, "was one of the major innovations in the history of life," comparable to the conquest of land by aquatic animals, or the invention of wings or flowers. Eusociality, he argues, "created super­organisms, the next level of biological complexity above that of organisms." The spur to that exalted state, he says, was always a patch of prized real estate, a focal point luring group members back each day and pulling them closer together until finally they called it home. "All animal species that have achieved eusociality, without exception, at first built nests that they defended from enemies," Wilson writes. An anthill. A beehive. A crackling campfire around which the cave kids could play, the cave elders stay and the buffalo strips blacken all day. Trespassers, of course, would be stoned on sight.

As is evident by some of the comments on this thread, while the hive may be able to display collective intelligence, the individual ants can still be pretty dumb! Do check out the link I posted to 'The Mind's I' chapter 11 Prelude to Ant Fugue.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:16 am
If we can't cooperate globally then the idea of Half-Earth is a farce.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 9:18 am
The idea is still sound! If humans have not yet evolved to the point that they are able to include the whole globe as a part of their hive Well, that's a separate issue and may indeed mean that we are collectively fucked! Because not enough of us have reached that particular point in our evolution.

As George Carlin once said: "The Planet is fine, it's the people that are fucked"

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 12:18 pm
An idea is sound only if it can be implemented, otherwise it is just a bunch of sugars turned to heat and in this case trees turned to wastepaper.

My point was not that E.O. Wilson is wrong, but that he would not have presented such a point if he did not think it possible or even probable. It was OFM that was the one saying it was not possible, which is a rather narrow view of humanity. Humanity cooperates on large scale right now.

Looking at the update of Limits to Growth I get the feeling that the flattening out of some of the parameters (energy, industrial output) may be misinterpreted. The same thing would happen if an energy and industrial transistion were occurring.
The key question is what does a transistion look like initially?

A field to a forest transistion looks a lot like field, then some bushes with a few small trees, then eventually almost all trees. Originally the trees are hardly there at all and don't seem to be having much effect as their leaves smoother a lot of plant life around them and they take up more and more of the solar energy that used to reach the ground. It starts small then spreads to complete takeover.

An energy and industrial transistion goes hand in hand with a social/governmental transistion. It looks small and scattered at first but steadily fills in even despite the resistance of the legacy systems. Key to the fast takeover is the weakening of the previous growth and it's demise leaving easy space for the takeover.

For example, I have a kitchen ceiling light fixture. It has three bulb positions. I had replaced the three 60 watt incandescent bulbs years ago with a 100 watt CFL (running actual 25 watts).
Last night the CFL started flickering so I pulled it and it had burn marks on the base of the bulb. The CFL bulb has now been replaced by two 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs which together use only 16 watts and provide more light than the CFL.
Also the LED bulbs may never have to be replaced in my lifetime. 180 watts to 16 watts and no more replacement, that is high ground transistion! Now $4 replaces over $500 on the user end and eliminates large amounts of pollution.

The power cost and economics have overshadowed the legacy instrument in an inexorable way. The death of an individual instrument allowed the replacement by a superior one.
I think that effect has been happening all across the world in many areas of energy use and industrial process for decades. This effect may have been interpreted as a reduction in energy and industrial output while it is really mostly a transistion in process.

So how do we get a fast takeover? Strand and remove the old legacy assets and systems plus do not replace dead systems with the same system. The action is harsh, but that is how it is done.

I will know we are on the right course when I see those large glass buildings being stripped of their components, their glass re-used, their steel reused and recycled, their wiring removed as they are removed. Why and how do we put up R2 buildings that soak up huge amounts of energy for heating and cooling? They need to go now. Passenger vehicles that get less than 150 pMPG need to go now and no passenger vehicle that gets below 400 pMPG should be built ever again. There are many inefficient, harmful and problematical systems that could be removed and changed.

Trash the old ways now and insert better ways, ones that work longer with less harm. Make new systems that heal soil and nature in general. The collapse is occurring now, take advantage of it by putting in superior systems that allow E.O. Wilson's Half-Earth idea to flourish, not finish.

Personally, until a lot of the old stupid harmful systems are put aside we can't see clearly if a fast collapse is at hand or not. Maybe if we just stop following bad and stupid we can ease off our consumption of the planet and reverse some of the major problems we face. There may be no real need to go through a grand scale collapse and huge loss of species.

Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 2:40 pm
Yeah, I have to agree with most of what you said.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

― R. Buckminster Fuller

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 6:20 pm
""It was OFM that was the one saying it was not possible, which is a rather narrow view of humanity. "

BULLSHIT.

Here's what I actually said in a comment upthread. It was posted a day previous to your comment, lol.

"It's at least THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE that we can cooperate as a SPECIES, at the global level, in order to solve some or maybe even most of the problems associated with our own overshoot. We have cooperated before at levels up to and including the global level. In WWII, most of the developed countries of the world were involved as partisans on one or the other side. We cooperate to some extent at the global level now, in economic terms, and in terms of our physical security, as for instance in arms control agreements. "

Perhaps I ought to lecture you a little on the meaning of the word EXPECT within the context I used it, which I think is obvious enough to anybody who WANTS to understand. In this context, expect means (or not ) that cooperation will happen spontaneously, or with only moderate incentives.

I don't think global level cooperation will happen, IF it happens, until the incentives to cooperate are OBVIOUS and overwhelming, when it comes to really changing the way we do things. I don't think any competent biologist will argue with this position, speaking in the broadest terms, painting with the so called broad brush.

We do after all have a few thousand years of known history that indicates that we are as apt to fight as cooperate, lol.

When the shit hits the fan hard enough, id it also hits slowly enough for us wake up , I EXPECT ( PREDICT ) that WE WILL COOPERATE on the grand scale, at least up to the nation state level, in most nations, and frequently at the international level, and MAYBE even at the global level.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 3:40 pm
Hi GF,

I must admit I'm a little behind in reading E O Wilson, who is as capable a scientist as any in his field, and head and shoulders above almost all the rest, in my opinion. He's also one of the best writers ever in his field, probably THE best writer in biology in my personal opinion.

But so far as a I know, and I have read all of his older books, unless I'm mistaken, he would basically agree with me, because I am, as I interpret his work, AGREEING WITH HIM.

There's a HELL OF DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING people to cooperate on the grand scale, and believing they are capable of doing so.I believe we are capable of cooperating on the grand scale, given sufficient motivation to do so, and have said so already in this thread. I don't EXPECT us to cooperate with people we see as outsiders and enemies, but given new circumstances, new conditions, new problems, new fears, we can and sometimes do find new common ground, and make friends with former enemies.

I'm ready to bet the farm that I'm WITH E O WILSON, rather than AGAINST HIM.

Nuance matters.

To me at least, lol.

A couple of days back in another thread, you lectured me, telling me to THINK GLOBALLY, as if to imply I 'm unaware that most of the people in the world are still desperately poor. I have never said that most of humanity is well off. I have never IMPLIED that most of humanity is well off.

What I DID say, is that FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, quoting myself, that there is a sound case to be made for the trickle down effect, and that a substantial number of even very poor people humanity HAVE ALREADY benefited greatly from economic and technological progress.

Hundreds of millions of desperately poor people are benefiting today from progress made in fields ranging from public health to industrial agriculture to renewable energy , etc. Hundreds of millions of very poor people are making relatively fast economic progress by some measures, for instance in the rate at which they are able to make use of at least some electricity, even if it's only a single light powered by a battery recharged by a small solar panel.

The less you have, the greater the marginal value of anything new you are able to get.

Just one rechargeable light is worth a LOT to a person who has no other option than perhaps a candle or kerosene lamp or a home made torch.

Incidentally I can remember being told by my grand parents that back when they were kids, it wasn't at all usual to literally light a ( corn ) shuck to provide some light so as to make a quick run to the outdoor privy or take care of some other after dark chore. They had kerosene, but it was considered wasteful to use it unnecessarily.

Things can and do get better sometimes, even on the global scale, lol.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 4:51 pm
E.O. Wilson would not have written the book Half Earth if he did not think that people could and would cooperate on a grand scale. I don't think he was just blowing wind. Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others.

I have not read his latest book yet " The Social Conquest of Earth" which relates to this subject.

See mine and Fred's comments above.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 6:57 pm
" Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others."

Bullshit again. You're deliberately twisting my words into something I didn't say.

You brought up his name, and you have put words in his mouth, as well as mine, in a manner of speaking.

I will say it again. There's a DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING or PREDICTING cooperation between large and diverse groups of people EXCEPT when circumstances leave the various groups little or no choice, and they have COME TO UNDERSTAND that the only real option they have IS to cooperate.

ONCE various competing groups or societies come to understand that they have little or nothing in the way of viable choice other than cooperation, well then I PREDICT OR EXPECT them to cooperate.

I believe my position is entirely consistent with E O Wilson's thinking and beliefs, speaking in general terms.

If you want to play word games,I'm ready, because it's TRAINING as well as entertainment for me. I need all the practice I can get when it comes to making my arguments clear before I go out on my own with my own book and web site .. EVENTUALLY.

The audience here is sophisticated enough to understand nuance, lol.

Well, MOST of the audience here , anyway.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 7:11 pm
You ask for opposing opinions then you get nasty and personal and show no sign of wanting to learn or discuss anything, just shove your ideas. Since you apparently are not capable of dealing with opinions or thoughts other than your own, I will cease interacting with you. Plus you are always yelling in your comments, very rude.

Here is what you actually said ""A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No."

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 11:06 am
I want opposing opinions , and I'm always on the lookout for new facts. I do NOT want my words twisted into pretzels so that they appear to mean something diametrically opposite to what I actually said, by taking them out of context.

I think you are more interested in finding personal fault with me than you are in actually discussing facts, possibilities, and ideas.

I use a lot of caps, but seldom more than five or six words at a time, because caps are a lot quicker for me than taking time to use italics or bold.

I'm not presenting a paper for publication here, lol. I'm just participating in a conversation. If you want to take offense, feel free, it's still somewhat of a free country.

I

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:00 pm
" Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others."

Bullshit again. You're deliberately twisting my words into something I didn't say.

You brought up Wilson , and you have put words in his mouth, as well as mine, in a manner of speaking.

I will say it again.

There's a DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING or PREDICTING cooperation between large and diverse groups of people under ordinary circumstances versus under new and compelling circumstances.

IF AND WHEN circumstances leave various groups little or no choice other than cooperation, , and they have COME TO UNDERSTAND that the only real option they have IS cooperation , well then .

I expect or predict that such groups WILL cooperate, sometimes, maybe even almost every time.

I believe my position is entirely consistent with E O Wilson's thinking and beliefs, speaking in general terms.

The audience here is sophisticated enough to understand nuance, lol.

Well, MOST of the audience here , anyway.

Understanding is tough for those who prefer NOT to understand.

alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 4:15 pm
This is pretty much nonsense. People are very different than other animals because they get ideas in their head and follow them. That's the secret to our success -- we change our game plan all the time instead of being stuck in a single niche like most species. It's always hard to guess which ideas are going to work out, but societies choose -- so to speak -- whether to destroy themselves or not.

America has been choosing self destruction for several decades, and the eschatology our wacky creed planted in our minds seems very attractive, especially to old farts -- the alternative is to try something different.

Many societies have shown themselves to be resilient an sustainable. America has a colonial mentality that doesn't support that, even when it's obvious. My grandmother was born in Kansas and when she talked about the Dust Bowl she would shake her head and say, "I always told them not to cut down those cottonwoods -- they were the only thing keeping the farm from being blown away". Now they're depleting the aquifier in Kansas by planting maize for diesel. So the desert will continue to spread.

But the Japanese aren't like that at all. They've been planting trees for centuries. They don't have much choice, because the hills aren't very stable there. They'll get through.

And the Sahel Zone, the world's worst and poorest place, is changing as well. They've started replanting. A lot of them will survive.

Crazy hippies like this may do better than you think. Civilizations come and go, the species won't die for a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FHMNke5ppE

Root hog or die, as my father used to say. You can't imagine a world without Walmart, but it isn't the end of the world.

Another thought -- The Tasmanians. They were probably the wolrd's most primitive culture. They were cut off from the very old Australian mainland after the Ice Ages, and seems to have even forgotten fishhooks one of mankind's oldest technologies. But they had their ways, and they survived.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:29 pm
A panda who was "really, really, ridiculously good at sex" brought the species back from the brink of extinction, but things are still weird

https://boingboing.net/2017/11/29/panda-bangers.html

Hickory says: 11/29/2017 at 11:32 pm
thank you Ron for this posting. I am in complete agreement with you on this.
nothing more important. it is a bizarre and tragic spectacle to behold, and to participate in.
what a poor use of such an incredible biosphere.
Gene Orleans says: 11/29/2017 at 11:55 pm
Many people from the looks of it here try to deal with the crises we face as a species and civilization the same way as myself. I spend much time here in front of modern electronic gadgetry. It's useful in distracting the mind from a diseased dying world along with a way to pass the time while waiting on my Lord and Savior to return to cleanse all the wickedness Satan has saturated humans with. Yes this is truly a sick sad world we live in now. Matthew 13:38-40.
Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:51 am
It's useful in distracting the mind from a diseased dying world along with a way to pass the time while waiting on my Lord and Savior to return to cleanse all the wickedness Satan has saturated humans with.

You are likely to be waiting a very long time. Religious stupidity makes the problem worse, never better.

Watcher says: 11/29/2017 at 11:55 pm
Didn't know this was here.

1. Any quotes of someone's book on collapse and how collapse happens based on history . . . all worthless. There is no history.

2) There is no history because there has never been 7 billion before. There has never been collapse with nuclear weapons involved before. There has never been collapse with the maggot and fly total in the atmosphere from 6.5 billion corpses before.

3) Chinese oil consumption lags US per capita and they are striving mightily to correct that, as they should. When per capita consumption growth becomes difficult, they HAVE to take oil from someone else. That someone else's population starts to starve for lack of food production or transport. They object to the theft of "their" oil. War. They must. War or starve.

4) Consider Japan. Consider the relations between China and Japan. Japan cries out . . . you're taking this oil to improve your country's standard of living and you are starving our country to death to do this. How can you find morality in this? China will have no trouble whatsoever contriving morality in this.

5) Simply that. When there isn't enough to go around, no one will quietly accept inadequate amounts. Nor should they. All other stuff about global warming and debt and sacrificing lifestyle for someone else is just so much bizarre delusion. You got too little to live, you kill whoever took it.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 9:57 am
Hi Watcher,

If you were correct there would be constant World War, most humans realize that conflict does not always lead to a positive outcome.

In an anarchic world things might play out as you imagine, we don't live in such a World.

Most people will do all they can to prevent anarchy.

Watcher says: 11/30/2017 at 11:18 am
Ahh so only evil people resort to war.

Haven't you noticed only good guys win?

Survivalist says: 12/01/2017 at 8:33 am
'Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning' by Timothy Snyder is quite good. If you're not into the minutia of east European history circa WW2 then just cut to the conclusion. 'Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin' is good too.

Here's an interview with Timothy Snyder if you want to get a taste.
Will this be the catalyst for the next Holocaust?
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/12/09/what-will-cause-the-next-holocaust/

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 11:35 am
Almost anyone, I suppose, can call himself or herself an anarchist, if he or she believed that the society could be managed without the state. And by the state -- I don't mean the absence of any institutions, the absence of any form of social organisation -- the state really refers to a professional apparatus of people who are set aside to manage society, to preëmpt the control of society from the people. So that would include the military, judges, politicians, representatives who are paid for the express purpose of legislating, and then an executive body that is also set aside from society. So anarchists generally believe that, whether as groups or individuals, people should directly run society.
-Murray Bookchin

Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
-Edward Abbey

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 2:09 pm
Hi Hightrekker,

I define anarchy as without government.

Let's assume for a moment a World without any governments at all.

Let's also assume there at 7.4 billion people in the World.

I just don't see how that works. The World is not a perfect place, but it is far from clear that a World without any government(s) would be an improvement.

When some one comes up with a plan that is appealing to the majority of citizens in some nation, perhaps such a form of non-government will be instituted.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/02/2017 at 8:50 pm
Collapse Dynamics: Initial Conditions, Media Manipulation and The Short-Circuiting of Consensuality

Hi Dennis,

I see anarchy, if it is understood correctly, as potentially having government if it is optional/consensual/legitimate.

For example, if I want you to represent me until which time as I say otherwise , then you can if you wish .

I also see anarchy as potentially 'hierarchical', or at least pseudohierarchical, if it is chosen freely.

So, for example, if I want you to tie me to a bed and have your way with me as your 'slave' if you wish , until which time as I or you opt out , then that is still ok. (fans face with hand)

It is about consensuality and a large part of the whole idea behind media manipulation of the masses is to 'short-circuit' consensuality– IOW, to make the masses consent to what they might not have normally consented to.

At the moment, I do not consent, for example, to what we call 'government' to take my money, or 'skim my labor', such as in the form of taxation. It is an 'initial condition' (think the butterfly effect) that can cascade, and seems to have cascaded, over time into dangerous, 'hurricane', territory. I mention this angle also to hopefully appeal to your apparent understanding and appreciation of physics and physical dynamics over time.

Right now, there is software available, ostensibly to support government governing consensually, called Loomio . There are likely others as well.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 10:48 am
Hi Caelan,

See free rider problem. If taxes are not required, then very little is collected. So essentially, not taxes is roughly equal to no government.

How do legal agreements work in this no coercion society?

When there are disagreements how are they settled?

Come up with a system which works in a World with 7.5 billion and maybe someone will pay attention.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:42 pm
Hi Dennis,

Your assertion does not necessarily stand to reason and is just an assertion without support. I could flip/modify it this way:

If taxes were consensual, then people would likely feel a greater sense of belonging to their locales and how they are shaped and so give them freely and as they see fit.
Consensual tax collection could be viewed as part of the modus operandi of actual government, rather than as a kind of large-scale centralized armed coercive mob, such that it appears.

See also here . I'll paraphrase some of it for you (again)

" if economics is to become an instrument of freedom and prosperity instead of an instrument of statism, then there are certain fundamental fallacies that must be continually challenged and discredited. Chief among these is the persistent non sequitur from externality to coercion -- that is, the bogus conclusion that coercion is a proper means to solve problems involving economic externalities.

One of the most blatant examples of this non sequitur occurs in discussions of the 'free rider problem' and the alleged solution of government provision of so-called 'public goods'. This is a particularly insidious economic theory that bears a great deal of the responsibility of derailing economics into the ditch of statism." ~ Ben O'Neill

A system that works for many more people, rather than a handful of elites, would appear to be a system that truly echoes what the people actually want, rather than what they are forced to.

islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 5:08 am
On the matter of carrying capacity, I have a minor quibble with some of the ideas presented here. Let me start by outlining my understanding of what is being said about carrying capacity.

"So for many millions of years, the terrestrial vertebrate biomass remained at about two hundred million tons, give or take"

So that lays a base line for carrying capacity but, unnatural selection, the selection of higher output varieties of crops or genetic engineering of crops would have raised the carrying capacity and I suggest, that increased carrying capacity would be sustainable indefinitely. The use of fertilizer, primarily organic types, if done in a sustainable way and by that I mean, returning animal and human waste streams to the soil, would also result in a more or less permanent increase in carrying capacity. So far, I've outlined two methods that humans could have used to positively influence carrying capacity more or less permanently.

The big change in carrying capacity comes with the FF age and the industrial revolution, first with the advent of mechanization and then with the Haber-Bosch process. A quick Internet search to refresh my memory of what the Haber-Bosch process entails, reveals that it is the chemical synthesis of ammonia (NH3) from nitrogen and hydrogen. Herein lies the basis for the connection between the petroleum industry and fertilizer industries and by extension carrying capacity. However, if we have enough excess energy we can easily get nitrogen from the atmosphere and hydrogen from water though I'm not sure how well that would work at a industrial scale at a global level.

So between the manufacture of fertilizers and the use of diesel powered machinery in farming, we have seen a huge increase in the ability to produce food. Ostensibly this ability can only last as long as the NG used to obtain hydrogen at an industrial scale and the petroleum to fuel the farm machines. However, the University of Minnesota has a Wind to Nitrogen Fertilizer project that aims to use excess wind power to manufacture ammonia so, it may well be that, if sufficient amounts of renewable energy can be harnessed, the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizers could be extended way beyond the end of the petroleum age.

That is the basis for my minor quibble. Obviously, fossil hydrocarbons have allowed us to increase the carrying capacity of the planet in a way that can only last as long as the finite hydrocarbon reserves do. Might it not be the case that, a transition to renewable energy on a massive scale would allow a more or less sustainable increase in the carrying capacity of the planet above and beyond the 200 million tons of terrestrial vertebrate biomass that existed 10,000 years ago? I would argue that, from the standpoint of energy, renewable energy has the potential to yield a far more sustainable increase in carrying capacity than fossil energy has. What the level of that carrying capacity is would require a fair amount of academic research.

I fully concede that there are all sorts of other resource limits that will negatively affect carrying capacity. Maybe I'm just bargaining.

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:59 am
Islandboy, there is no doubt that the carrying capacity of human beings can be increased somewhat by the use of organic fertilizers. But it is chemical fertilizers that have very dramatically and very temporally increased our carrying capacity.

Of course when the carrying capacity of humans is increased the carrying capacity of wild species, especially megafauna is decreased.

That is one thing that just drives me up the wall. Everyone is concerned about the welfare of human beings. No one seems to give a rats ass about the welfare of all other species.

HuntingtonBeach says: 12/01/2017 at 2:58 am
Hi Ron, I hope your doing well. Thank you for a great post. It sure explains why Costco was so F'n busy last weekend.

"No one seems to give a rats ass about the welfare of all other species"

That's just not all true. I'm pretty sure GoneFishing cares about his dog a lot more than myself.

"the selection of higher output varieties of crops or genetic engineering of crops would have raised the carrying capacity and I suggest, that increased carrying capacity would be sustainable indefinitely"

I think you could include the knowledge of harvesting water and controlled irrigation also increasing sustainable capacity

James says: 11/30/2017 at 8:47 am
Humans evolved to become the equivalent of RNA in cells. We use tools and information, primarily in technological cells and use them with ATP equivalent fossil fuels to do work. Like organisms or cells in the ecosystem, human organizations seek to grow, profit and take market share – to further their existence.

The human brain is primarily a reward seeking organ as is most neural tissue in the ecosystem. Since humans are dissipative structures, not seeking rewards is the greatest threat they face. Most other threats, short of being chased by a pack of wild dogs, can be watered down and ignored since the brain must concentrate on getting resources and energy. Even though a human can think about things, it does not substitute for being greedy and gathering as much wealth as possible and reproducing prolifically. We're selected for doing that.

The natural greed which evolved because of natural scarcity in the ecosystem, did not wane as we evolved into a technological setting. There is no limit on our desires to be "rich" because we perceive associated advantages in survival and reproduction. Civilization is an explosive cancer that emerged from the ecosystem to consume and destroy the ecological body. Humans are the RNA that can't stop reproducing and stimulate the growth of new cells and distribution systems until the entire consumable earth is covered and the ecosystem dies or at least becomes much less complex.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:06 am
Hi James,

In many wealthy nations total fertility has fallen below the replacement level, in fact for about half the World's population TFR is below replacement (dividing things up by nation state). Generally it is higher income nations where this is the case and correlation between education level and total fertility is very strong.

These facts and the trend in Global education levels for women don't square very well with your theory.

As Ron has suggested, homo sapiens sapiens is not your average species.

James says: 11/30/2017 at 11:29 am
Even the education occurs in schools, the cellular equivalent of the nucleolus. Instead of pursuing the rewards of children, women are pursuing "wealth" created by the technological system. I'm not sure which one is most damaging.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 10:30 am
The natural greed which evolved because of natural scarcity in the ecosystem, did not wane as we evolved into a technological setting. There is no limit on our desires to be "rich" because we perceive associated advantages in survival and reproduction.

And out of which orifice did you pull all that BS out of?! Let me guess, you are of the Neo-Liberal Economist school of though, right? Try cracking a few tomes on human evolution and anthropology instead of failed 20th century memes about the nature of man and rationality of markets.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:49 am
Speaking of the rationality of markets:

Whitefish is halting Puerto Rico power repairs, claiming it's owed $83 million

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/20/us/puerto-rico-power-whitefish-halts-work/index.html

James says: 11/30/2017 at 11:34 am
You don't see any greed? None in the ecosystem? Why is everyone trying to accumulate more wealth? Why do all organisms struggle to eat and reproduce to the maximum? Look in the cell, it's all happened before, but mostly with sunshine at the base.

Why do we worship the likes of Warren Buffett?

Cooperation exists, but only to enhance competition against a similarly cooperating group.

Cats@Home says: 11/30/2017 at 1:25 pm
Warren Buffett seems like a good man but Jeff Bezos is the businessman I admire most right now.
Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 11:07 pm
The Creepy Religion That Explains All Of Trump's Actions.
"The Prosperity Gospel is quintessentially American. One journalist described it as the "religion of winning," so we have to assume Charlie Sheen is onboard too."
http://www.cracked.com/blog/trumps-bizarre-religion-weirder-than-scientology/
Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 3:22 pm
Blowing Up the Territory
Trump's biggest break came from the Democratic party. Booking Hillary Clinton as the good guy in this match was a colossal error, especially when the most improbable thing in all of politics was waiting in the wings: a legit babyface.

Bernie Sanders came off like Paddington Bear next to Hillary Clinton. Bernie was a nice old Jewish man from Vermont who legitimately meant well, and he got a real pop from his fans. He drew like crazy. Hell, even I sent him money, the first time I have ever contributed to a political campaign -- every time he got on TV and started shooting about marijuana smokers going to jail while Wall Street hoodlums were walking, I Paypaled him five bucks. I had waited my whole life to hear a politician cut a promo like that -- I think he eventually ended up with a Jackson from me, straight from my personal pot budget.

As a face, Clinton just had too much baggage, a lot of it achingly familiar: A partner known for predatory sexual behavior, wicked family ties to big business, an entitled daughter, a family charity fund loaded with foreign money, lies, flip flops. . . . What was good for the goose might have been tolerable for the gander, but all she really got was a cheap pop, and if she had any moral high ground at all, she lost it when former Democratic operative Donna Brazile, while working for CNN, leaked potential questions to the Clinton campaign before a debate with Sanders. That was cheating, behavior clearly unbecoming to a babyface. But more important was that she failed to deliver on the only thing that matters: she didn't draw. For a while it looked like there might be a "Dusty finish," a gimmick ending (named for Dusty Rhodes, the legendary wrestler and booker who invented it) in which one wrestler is declared the winner, only to have the decision reversed on a technicality -- for instance, interference from Russian hackers. This was a finish guaranteed to drive crowds insane, but Hillary couldn't put it over.

So who's the best worker? If we are using the Hulk Hogan index, it is indisputably Donald Trump. He won the election. He's the president.

But when it all comes tumbling down, be ready for a fresh wave of Trump-brand kayfabe -- transparently flawed in both conception and execution, except that he actually believes it. He'll ride off in his helicopter claiming that Washington was too dirty to clean up, that he tried but he couldn't drain the swamp, that they wouldn't accept the One Honest Man. He'll blame obstructionist Democrats for staging a witch hunt, and the Republicans for not having the guts to back him. In wrestling parlance this is called "blowing up the territory."

Pundits will argue: How much of it was real, how much reality show? How much was a put-on, how much of it was a guy legit skating at the edges of madness and dementia? Was it a work, a shoot, or a worked shoot? The only thing we can be sure of is that the secular writers will get it wrong. And, existentially, at least, Trump will still wear spandex when he mows the lawn. He can't help himself, that's just the kind of jerk he is.

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-art-of-the-heel-edison

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:40 pm
Organisms evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power. With greater power, there is greater opportunity to allocate energy to reproduction and survival, and therefore, an organism that captures and utilizes more energy than another organism in a population will have a fitness advantage.
Individual organisms cooperate to form social groups and generate more power. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.
"Politics" is power used by social organisms to control others. Not only are human groups never alone, they cannot control their neighbors' behavior. Each group must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will grow its numbers and attempt to take resources from them. Therefore, the best political tactic for groups to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth, but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off and take resources from others[5].
The inevitable "overshoot" eventually leads to decreasing power attainable for the group with lower-ranking members suffering first. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain it. Meanwhile, social conflict will intensify as available power continues to fall.
Eventually, members of the weakest group (high or low rank) are forced to "disperse."[6] Those members of the weak group who do not disperse are killed,[7] enslaved, or in modern times imprisoned. By most estimates, 10 to 20 percent of all the people who lived in Stone-Age societies died at the hands of other humans.[8] The process of overshoot, followed by forced dispersal, may be seen as a sort of repetitive pumping action -- a collective behavioral loop -- that drove humans into every inhabitable niche of our planet.
Here is a synopsis of the behavioral loop described above:
Step 1. Individuals and groups evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power, which requires over-reproduction and/or over-consumption of natural resources (overshoot), whenever systemic constraints allow it. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.
Step 2. Energy is always limited, and overshoot eventually leads to decreasing power available to some members of the group, with lower-ranking members suffering first.
Step 3. Diminishing power availability creates divisive subgroups within the original group. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals, who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain power.
Step 4. Violent social strife eventually occurs among subgroups who demand a greater share of the remaining power.
Step 5. The weakest subgroups (high or low rank) are either forced to disperse to a new territory, are killed, enslaved, or imprisoned.
Step 6. Go back to step 1.
The above loop was repeated countless thousands of times during the millions of years that we were evolving[9]. This behavior is inherent in the architecture of our minds -- is entrained in our biological material -- and will be repeated until we go extinct. Carrying capacity will decline[10] with each future iteration of the overshoot loop, and this will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.
http://www.dieoff.org
Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:50 pm
will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.

Such a optimist!

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:38 am
Megacancer?
Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:28 am
"There's no indication that we're going to do anything philosophically different," said Jim Blackburn, an environmental law professor at Rice University. "With a few modifications, it's business as usual."

As Houston rebuilds from the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, local officials plan to dredge waterways, build new reservoirs and a coastal barrier to protect against storms that experts say are growing in intensity due to a warming climate. They have asked Washington for $61 billion to pay for it all.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-harvey-floods/hurricane-harvey-makes-houston-reassess-growth-friendly-policies-idUSKBN1DU1KP?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:37 am
"Half the inhabitants of Melbourne have probably never seen something like this," Mr Williams said.

"This is a vast, intense, high impact event for this state."

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-weather-record-rainfall-and-flash-flooding-to-kick-off-summer-20171129-gzvk4s.html

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 11:40 am
Apart from our own actions there may be random events that can take us out. There's a report in the Times today of research into super-eruptions. The Toba explosion, 75,000 years ago, almost took out Homo sapiens. The latest research indicates such events (maybe not quite as bad) happen on average every 17,000 years instead of every few hundred thousand as previously thought, and we are currently in an unusually long hiatus from these.

The biggest explosion since "civilization" started was probably Krakatoa in the 6th century, which has been proposed as the beggining of the dark ages in Europe and the end of a couple of other civilizations, though there's a bit of controversy about that theory, but it was much milder than an explosion from one of the major calderas would be.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-volcanic-doom-is-closer-than-we-think-90c8d56gr

(paywall – but there might be some free articles per month available and the research is to be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters)

Sorry – probably the wrong thread.

Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 12:57 pm
Continuing from above (this mirrors my own experience in Central Africa where families currently seem to be averaging about four kids each):

POPULATION GROWTH IN AFRICA: GRASPING THE SCALE OF THE CHALLENGE

"In the past year (2016) the population of the African continent grew by 30 million. By the year 2050, annual increases will exceed 42 million people per year and total population will have doubled to 2.4 billion, according to the UN. This comes to 3.5 million more people per month, or 80 additional people per minute since the early 1990s, family planning programmes in Africa have not had the same attention (as Asia and Latin America), RESULTING IN SLOW, SOMETIMES NEGLIGIBLE, FERTILITY DECLINES. IN A HANDFUL OF COUNTRIES, PREVIOUS DECLINES HAVE STALLED ALTOGETHER AND ARE REVERSING."

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/jan/11/population-growth-in-africa-grasping-the-scale-of-the-challenge

Also,

WHY HAVE FOUR CHILDREN WHEN YOU COULD HAVE SEVEN? FAMILY PLANNING IN NIGER

" but Hamani is unusual in that three babies are enough for her. Despite having the highest fertility rate in the world, women and men alike in Niger say they want more children than they actually have – women want an average of nine, while men say they want 11."

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 5:08 pm
Sounds like an explosion that will lead to implosion and migration. Families used to be fairly large in the European and American regions not long ago. Some still are.
There are 27.7 million people in Uganda. But by 2025 the population will almost double to 56 million, close to that of Britain, which has a similar land mass. In 44 years its population will have grown by nearly as much as China's.
"You look at these numbers and think 'that's impossible'," said Carl Haub, senior demographer at the US-based Population Reference Bureau, whose latest global projections show Uganda as the fastest-growing country in the world. Midway through the 21st century, if current birthrates persist, Uganda will be the world's 12th most populous country with 130 million people – more than Russia or Japan.

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2006/sep/01/guardianweekly.guardianweekly1
Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 6:02 pm
"There are 27.7 million people in Uganda."

That sounds about right and from personal observation almost all 27.7 million of them are school kids who (currently) are quite well nourished and with decent health care. A big problem, as I see it, is that virtually all schools in Uganda are run by "Western" churches who seen determined to increase the size of their flock by NOT teaching their students about contraception and the benefits thereof: sound familiar?

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:36 pm
"In 2015, the median age of the population in Uganda was 15.8 years."
https://www.statista.com/statistics/447643/average-age-of-the-population-in-uganda/
George Kaplan says: 12/01/2017 at 1:48 am
Doug – like you I have some sponsorship in Africa – a general women's group rather than an individual. From their letters what they want is education (both formal for the children and also just tips on farming and running a business), enough money (very little) to start a business so they can feed their children, a way to manage HIV if they are infected (many still are) and peace and quiet. What they don't want is more children, forced marriage through kidnap, the return of their husbands to beat them up, interference from the elders (all men) in their business. Often they only realise these options are even possible after they have had contact with the groups set up by the charity.
Doug Leighton says: 12/01/2017 at 9:35 am
George – My African experiences are mainly restricted to Uganda (the pearl of Africa) where my family visit annually and have done so for almost 20 years; we love the country, the people, the wildlife. Its been a joy watching the girl we assisted progress from kindergarten to medical school; to meet and relate to her extended family who've become our close friends. The country (Uganda) and the people are currently doing well, very well indeed (unless you happen to be gay). Wildlife parks flourish and are well managed. My concerns relate to the future. There are too many kids. In my opinion, without reigning in population growth the country will face immense over-population problems in the future. I hope I'm wrong. Having said that, I agree with your comments -- all of them. And its true, woman's business groups are in many respects the future of Africa.

Cheers,

Rob Mielcarski says: 11/30/2017 at 4:00 pm
For anyone seeking a plausible scientific explanation for why:
– one species has a uniquely powerful brain
– why the brain of that species is capable of visiting the moon but incapable of understanding or acting on it's own overshoot
– why one small group of hominids exploded about 100,000 to take over the planet
– why religion emerged simultaneous with the behaviorally modern mind about 100,000 years ago
– and more big questions: https://un-denial.com/2017/06/25/why-my-interest-in-denial/

I find this theory by Ajit Varki and Danny Brower very satisfying.

https://un-denial.com/denial-2/theory-video/

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 4:08 pm
That's a smart site you have there. I read that book some time ago, it's interesting but I thought a bit of a just-so story, but that's maybe becasue the ideas woud be so hard to prove one way or the other. It's a pity Brower died before his ideas got out to more discussion.
Rob Mielcarski says: 12/01/2017 at 1:13 am
Your initial reaction to the theory is perfectly reasonable and common.

If you dig deeper and start connecting dots I think you may find it is the best available explanation for many big unanswered questions. The theory may not be correct but there are no known facts that slay it, nor any other equally elegant theories that fit the data better.

Varki acknowledges the difficulty of testing the theory, but does point to some promising avenues of research. Unfortunately Varki's speciality and day job is in a different domain so his theory is likely to sit on the shelf until some young scientist with a defective denial gene picks up the baton.

George Kaplan says: 12/01/2017 at 2:08 am
I did find it neat and convincing as you say, but that's the point of just-so stories, plus it's difficult to know where to go if it is correct, but I'm going to be visiting your site without question.
Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 7:39 pm
I suppose this 2014 piece is apropos,

WILL OVERPOPULATION LEAD TO PUBLIC HEALTH CATASTROPHE?

"Our new projections are probabilistic, and we find that there will probably be between 9.6 and 12.3 billion people in 2100," Prof. Raftery told Medical News Today. "This projection is based on a statistical model that uses all available past data on fertility and mortality from all countries in a systematic way, unlike previous projections that were based on expert assumptions."

"A key finding of the study is that the fertility rate in Africa is declining much more slowly than has been previously estimated, which Prof. Raftery tells us "has major long-term implications for population."

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284619.php?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Medical_News_Today_TrendMD_1

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 7:50 pm
Spain's water crisis deepens as Rio Tajo dries up

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/3.0.15/news/on-euro-weekly-news/spain-news-in-english/146617-spain-s-water-crisis-deepens

(haven't had a wing pawn global cooling update for a while)

http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/sahara-moving-north/43959

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 9:30 pm
Declining uncertainty in transient climate response as CO2 forcing dominates future climate change

https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo2371

( Nature Geoscience , not Watt Is My Head Doing Up My Ass?

Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 5:09 am
No discussion about human evolution or even biological evolution across all species can be considered complete without at least a basic understanding of the biochemical and molecular biological basis of CRIPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and gene drives.

Sam Harris' latest podcast has a discussion of this technology with Jennifer Doudna.

https://www.samharris.org/podcast

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jennifer Doudna about the gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9. They talk about the biology of gene editing, how specific tissues in the body can be targeted, the ethical implications of changing the human genome, the importance of curiosity-driven science, and other topics.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 8:56 am
E.O. Wilson
I have always been a great admirer of E.O Wilson. I have followed his work for years. I especially liked "Sociobiology" and "Consilience". I have followed his feud with Stephen J. Gould, Steven Rose, R.C. Lewontin, and Leon Kamin, (as reported by Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins). (I always came down on the side of Wilson et al.) And I am very proud to say he is a fellow Alabamian.

That being said, there are areas where I must disagree with him. For instance:

From Kirkus Reviews of "Half Earth":
In this final volume of his trilogy, Wilson (The Meaning of Human Existence, 2014, etc.) opens with a compelling proposal on how to slow current species extinction rates: set aside half of the planet (noncontiguously) as wilderness preserves free from human encroachment, a measure that the author claims would stabilize more than 80 percent of species.

Fred Magyar, above, quotes from Edward O. Wilson's New Take on Human Nature:
Wilson argues the nest is central to understanding the ecological dominance not only of ants, but of human beings, too ..

By being super-cooperators, groupies of the group, willing to set aside our small, selfish desires and I-minded drive to join forces and seize opportunity as a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe ..

To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson's definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice "at least some of their personal interests to that of the group." It's tough to be a eusocialist.

First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous. Which parts of the U.S. would we set aside, parts that make half the land area? Could we convince every African nation to do the same? Or Russia? Or China, South Korea or Japan?

Second, as much as I admire Wilson, I think he is just flat wrong on his new take on human nature. And I think Pinker and Dawkins would agree with that opinion. If you had read Pinker's " The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature ," and I have, you would know exactly what I mean. Our minds are not blank slates to be molded by society, to be made to behave like ants in a colony, like a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe. All those traits that Wilson says we must give up are in our genes, human nature.

I will not deny that humans can be ruled. An Iron Fist could compel us to behave in such a matter. But all such Iron Fists carry within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's just human nature.

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 10:49 am
Hi Ron,

After reading your eight fifty six am, I'm telling ya straight .. Between your ears, where you live intellectually, you are a TRUE conservative.

The people who we refer to today as conservatives, meaning those who inhabit the right wing politically, are not REAL conservatives, not according to my definition.

Don't forget that I am a follower of the Humpty Dumpty School of Linguistics. Words mean exactly what I intend them to mean, when I use them, rotfl.

To my way of thinking, the first and single most important qualification of a TRUE conservative is that he must have a sound grasp of human nature. You have it. You understand that we cooperate with friends, family, known community, and compete with outsiders .. and that when circumstances compel us to do so, we make friends or at least ally ourselves with former enemies or strangers, and work together .. but mostly only when we have little or no choice but to do so.

I'm just teasing you a little, not making fun of you. 😉

Decent people, left or right wing, want the same things, when you get down to the basics. Peace, dignified life, freedom from unnecessary worries, etc.

I haven't yet read Wilson's latest books. Hoping to get around to it, this winter.

We need to keep it in mind that just because somebody presents a grand plan in a book, and writes as if it might be possible to implement it, he does not necessarily believe there's a snowball's chance on a red hot stove that his plan will ever actually be implemented.

Such books are sometimes intended as sources of inspiration for a new generation of people following along in his footsteps .. and such a plan MIGHT be implemented . a few centuries down the road, lol. Stranger things have happened, historically.

Such a book can be the result of an old man's dreams being put in libraries so as to achieve a sort of immortality . Wilson had that already of course.

I reckon you're even older than I am, and here's wishing you the best at the personal level.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:09 am
To my way of thinking, the first and single most important qualification of a TRUE conservative is that he must have a sound grasp of human nature. You have it. You understand that we cooperate with friends, family, known community, and compete with outsiders .. and that when circumstances compel us to do so, we make friends or at least ally ourselves with former enemies or strangers, and work together .. but mostly only when we have little or no choice but to do so.

Sorry Mac, but I just don't get the connection. The definition you pen here could just as well be the definition of a True Liberal.

I am a conservative when it comes to conserving the environment, saving animal habitat and saving species from extinction. But those are qualities held by most liberals and not held by so-called conservatives. Right-wing Republicans call themselves conservatives.

So I just have to accept the lexicon as it exist today. I am a liberal, not a conservative.

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 11:01 pm
"Sorry Mac, but I just don't get the connection. The definition you pen here could just as well be the definition of a True Liberal."

You DO GET IT, Ron, except you haven't yet quite got around to thinking of labels as jokes or weapons . Labels are for partisans. Labels are clubs we use to pound each other into submission.

People with real working brains generally come to the same basic conclusions, regardless of the way they're labeled by themselves or others. There's usually more than one route by which we can travel and arrive at the truth.

You're a man willing to tell it like it is, as for instance when you have pointed out the realities of the way things work in some countries where you worked yourself. A partisan D just won't repeat that sort of stuff, true or not.

When you say you're a liberal, you're just labeling yourself. What you ARE is something else. You're a man with a working brain, a man who understands reality, a man who tells it like it is, as you perceive it to be.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:12 pm
You're a man with a working brain, a man who understands reality, a man who tells it like it is, as you perceive it to be.

You are a goddamn right man, and that means I am a liberal. 😉

OFM says: 12/02/2017 at 2:40 pm
Ah yes, but liberal is still just a label.

It is however true that the so called liberals are more often right by a substantial margin than the so called conservatives in terms of having objective facts on their side when considering issues such as the environment, public health, and many others.

But they're not always right. Sometimes the liberal camp seems to have it's head as far up its backside as the conservative camp.

The leaders of both camps seem to be more interested in having plenty of foot soldiers to serve as cannon fodder than they are in the actual welfare of the country.

I can provide as good arguments for any sort of truly sound public policy from a conservative pov as you can from a liberal pov.

To me this proves we both have working brains, and are capable of looking the truth in the eye, and publicly agreeing on what IS true, and what is not.

If we could free ourselves of goddamned infernal partisan politics and identity politics , based on our community cultures, we could make things happen politically.

If for instance we could put the question of subsidizing wind and solar power to a referendum, I could easily convince most of the so called conservatives I know that voting in favor of subsidies would be a GREAT BARGAIN for them, long term. Well, the ones with brains enough that they know a little about the business world anyway. That's at least half of them, and more than enough.

They won't ordinarily support subsidizing renewable energy as part of a package deal because they perceive the PACKAGE to be weighted in favor of their political and cultural enemies. Supporting renewable energy subsidies would mean voting for D's and they don't like the overall D agenda.

OFM says: 12/03/2017 at 5:49 pm
Back to you one more time Ron,

I'm not sure WHERE this comment will appear, but hopefully it will be below my two forty pm.

Allow me to approach this liberal/ conservative label thing from a different direction.

Suppose you meet a new person, and get to talking about oh let us say water pollution, and fishing, and having to spend your local tax money on a sophisticated water treatment plant, because there's too much of this or that and the other as well in the river that passes your town to drink the water, without spending a lot of money. .

If you NEVER MENTION anything that LABELS you as a liberal or conservative, you can talk meaningfully to just about anybody about this issue.

Identify yourself as a liberal, or a conservative, you more or less automatically blow your opportunity to say anything to your new POTENTIAL friend who thinks of himself as your opposite and enemy, politically, other than something he already knows and believes, even if what that something is factually incorrect.

Label yourself as a liberal, and the typical serious Christian voter in the state of Alabama automatically thinks of you as a murderer of yet to be born children. Forget labeling yourself, avoid it to the extent you can, and you have an EXCELLENT shot at talking to that voter about supporting only candidates who have a decent record of being respectful to women, immigrants, minorities, etc.

If I label myself as a conservative, I've automatically blown my chance to have a serious conversation with a liberal about the possibility of having some real choice in education . meaning breaking the teacher's unions and government's de facto monopoly control of our educational system.

You may not like this idea, but think about this how much better are your options NOW, given that we have email, fax, UPS, Fed Ex , etc, when it comes to getting a letter or package where it needs to go FOR SURE and RIGHT AWAY?

I have heard lots of liberals say that allowing any real choice in the schools would mean the end of any real opportunity for poor kids, inner city kids, etc, to get a decent education. Sometimes, in the same breath almost, I hear those same liberals admit that the public schools in lots of communities large and small are literal disaster areas, where hardly any of the kids learn anything. I used to know quite a few of this sort , back in my younger days, when I was living in the Fan and hanging out with the older ( grad students mostly ) kids at VCU having a good time, taking a course or two per semester to keep my grad student ID up to date. I spent about ten years there off and on.

Ya know WHAT? EVERY LAST COUPLE I knew among them moved out of town when their OWN kids got old enough to go to school.

Quite a few of them spent their careers as teachers, lol. And my guess is that not more than one out of ten of those couples ever moved to a place where the schools were the sort of hell holes we read about so often these days .. and that tenth couple of course had NO KIDS, lol.

Yet they almost universally believe in the de facto teacher / government educational monopoly as it exists today, as it totally ruins the prospects of millions of kids denying them, or more accurately, their parents, any real choice in the schools their kids attend. If liberal versus conservative comes into the conversation, it's OVER. The liberals aren't going to listen, any more than conservatives listen.

How many members of this forum think Roy Moore ought to be tarred and feathered ? How many have ever had the intellectual integrity to say the same thing about Bill Clinton?

Liberals are liberals, and conservatives are conservatives, and the gulf between can be as vast as the gulf between East and West. Communication is tough to impossible.

But if we avoid the labels . communication can happen.

Incidentally this rant does NOT mean I am a supporter of the Trump administration in general, or the Trump education department in particular. Nothing I know of concerning the Trump administration seems to be about the good of the COUNTRY or of the majority of the people of this country.

Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 11:04 am
First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous.

Even stopping the rape and scrape accelerating is highly unlikely.

This is total fantasy.
At best, the survivors (if any) on the other side of the wall we are about to crash into, will have enough wisdom and intelligence to embrace the condition they are in.

Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 11:19 am
First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous.

That isn't what he proposes even though it is the title of his book. May I suggest you read it! What he is really arguing for is more along the lines of a network of ecological corridors that might connect already existing nature preserves, parks and private property and therefore allow isolated pockets of natural ecosystems to be connected with others.

To be very clear, E.O. Wilson is not in any way naive about our predicament and says so.
That's not to say he has thrown in the towel, especially given that he is now in the later portion of his 80's. He apparently doesn't want to go down without a fight.

I have read his book twice already and have the Kindle version on my laptop. To be honest I'm not what anyone might call overly optimistic about the prospects of his proposals coming to pass. Having said that, I do admire his deep knowledge base about the natural world and have the greatest admiration for the man! More power to him for trying!

Cheers!

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 12:01 pm
Fred, I read Half Earth and have to agree with E.O. Wilson. I think my personal bias is toward nature, but that aside, humans can do what is needed. All the gadgetry in the world cannot replace a functioning ecosystem. Those functions are mandatory for the preservation of life on earth. We need to preserve, expand and enhance (if we get smart enough) natural ecosystems around the world.
Why not build armies? Armies called the United Conservation and Environmental Protection Corp, whose job is to protect and expand natural areas around the world. It would increase employment and be funded by monies that otherwise go to military purposes. This and other organizations could be doing things that make the people proud to be human, rather than just wheels and cogs in basically destructive system.

This is not naïve, this is just choices. Humans make choices, that is one of our inherent abilities. Our current state and appearance is due to a set of previous choices that have not quite worked out. We get stuck in old choices, time to make new ones.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 12:24 pm
I think my personal bias is toward nature, but that aside, humans can do what is needed.

Really now? If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. Species are going extinct at a rate as fast as the last great extinction 65 million years ago. And the extinction rate is accelerating. If humans can do what is needed it is goddamn time they got started.

Our current state and appearance is due to a set of previous choices that have not quite worked out. We get stuck in old choices, time to make new ones.

Those choices were made, and are being made, by 7 billion people. And yes, it is time those 7 billion people changed the way they are behaving, it is time they made different choices. But don't hold your breath.

I am sorry Fishing, but I just don't share your optimism.

Doug Leighton says: 12/01/2017 at 12:38 pm
Yup, reminds me of China, driving to a restaurant half way across Beijing with a car full of Chinese because they knew about a hot spot where some endangered species or other was on the menu: get it before you're too late. Life in the real world!

"Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural "background" rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we're now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century."

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 2:06 pm
"If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. "
"I am sorry Fishing, but I just don't share your optimism."

By destroying the environment we destroy ourselves. I think that will soon become quite apparent and then those who are already on track can leverage that.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 3:21 pm
As Charlie Brown would say: Good Grief!
Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 8:44 pm
Really now? If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. Species are going extinct at a rate as fast as the last great extinction 65 million years ago. And the extinction rate is accelerating. If humans can do what is needed it is goddamn time they got started.

Ok, let's assume for a moment using round numbers that there are currently 7.5 billion humans living on this tiny planet as I type these words. How many of those humans do you suppose are actually aware of the fact that we are probably in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? I'm going to go way out on a limb here and guess about a couple hundred thousand.

Now most of those couple hundred thousand are in shock and denial of reality. So there are maybe 100,000 humans who are aware and are actually starting to do something.

While that may sound like a minuscule amount I can cite data and research that shows that may be enough to really start to change the current paradigm in a big way.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:06 pm
As I quoted Charlie Brown above: Good Grief!
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 7:15 am
LOL!
.

Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 12:22 pm
Yea, the feud between Gould/Lewontin/Rose VS Wilson/Dawkins/Dennett has been interesting.
Being somewhat Marxist in my orientation, I was kinda presupposed to the Gould camp, but the Wilson/Dawkins have proven to ring much truer.
The Blank Slate puts the nails in the coffin for Marxist view of human nature, as Marx viewed it as totally a function of environment. Pinker buried that view.
Orr was always Gould and Lewontin's go to guy with media, as he had power in the NYT's and Boston Globe, and could often control reviews and and coverage.
It has been interesting.
Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 8:59 pm
http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html

I'm sure most here are familiar with what Carl Sagan said about our Pale Blue Dot

This excerpt from Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan's suggestion, by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. As the spacecraft left our planetary neighborhood for the fringes of the solar system, engineers turned it around for one last look at its home planet. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away, and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane, when it captured this portrait of our world. Caught in the center of scattered light rays (a result of taking the picture so close to the Sun), Earth appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size.

Now guess what?!

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/12/after-37-years-voyager-has-fired-up-its-trajectory-thrusters/

At present, the Voyager 1 spacecraft is 21 billion kilometers from Earth, or about 141 times the distance between the Earth and Sun. It has, in fact, moved beyond our Solar System into interstellar space. However, we can still communicate with Voyager across that distance.

This week, the scientists and engineers on the Voyager team did something very special. They commanded the spacecraft to fire a set of four trajectory thrusters for the first time in 37 years to determine their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses.

FURTHER READING
The Voyagers have reached an anniversary worth celebrating
After sending the commands on Tuesday, it took 19 hours and 35 minutes for the signal to reach Voyager. Then, the Earth-bound spacecraft team had to wait another 19 hours and 35 minutes to see if the spacecraft responded. It did. After nearly four decades of dormancy, the Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactured thrusters fired perfectly.

"The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test. The mood was one of relief, joy, and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all," said Todd Barber, a propulsion engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Humans can do some pretty incredible things!

Cheers!

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 10:03 pm
Yes, they can even teach their young to love the life of the planet and help keep it safe.
HuntingtonBeach says: 12/01/2017 at 10:59 pm
Not if your born in the South and damaged by religion
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 7:14 am
Well, E.O. Wilson was born in Alabama into an evangelical family. 😉
Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 11:14 am
So was I. Well, sort of. My dad was a Deacon in the Primitive Baptist Church but he was not a crusading evangelical.

I have told this story before but I will do it again here.

I was about 17 or so when I sidled up to my dad who was sitting in his easy chair. I asked: "Dad, how did them kangaroos get from Australia to over there where Noah's Ark was? And how did they get back?" Dad jumped up from his chair, stuck his finger right in my face and yelled: "Son, that is the word of God and that is not for you to question."

I never questioned my Dad again about religion.

HuntingtonBeach says: 12/02/2017 at 6:01 pm
It takes character and courage not act like sheep. My hat goes off to you. Ron, I'm sure you understood exactly what I meant by my earlier comment.
Hickory says: 12/02/2017 at 12:15 am
When countries begin to hit the wall economically ( as happened in Germany in the 1930's for example), the populace will often out of desperation (and ignorance of course) enable a dictator to come to power. This is with the false hope that grandiose promises of prosperity will be fulfilled.

This explains why Trump was elected, even though the American has yet to be tested by disruption, much.

As the world hits the wall of growth limits, the risk is for more and more leadership failures, the rise of warlords, the failure of functioning democracies.

Violent choices and dysfunctional government will serve to be a mechanism of population decline, ugly population decline. Current events can be seen through this lens as time unfolds.

Hard to watch.
May be better to have no TV.
The de-evolution will be televised, will be televised, will be televised

George Kaplan says: 12/02/2017 at 2:59 am
The general population in Germany did not really enable Hitler to come to power. He was appointed as a compomise by the two leading parties in an election who had split the main vote. They both thought he would make such a mess of it that they would sweep the board at the next election. As soon as he was appointed he started killing or imprisoning these smart opposition leaders, and there wasn't another clean election. It was more like an extended coupe, admittedly with a large number of supporters, often ex WW-I soldier thugs, in the general population.
OFM says: 12/02/2017 at 2:23 pm
George is in the bullseye about how Hitler came to power, considering he was painting fast with a broad brush in such a short comment. I have devoted many a long evening to reading the history of war in the twentieth century, so as to better understand the history of my time.

Wars are usually the result of politicians either wanting them, or being boxed into situations where they either can't avoid them or consider them the best of an assortment of bad options.

Hickory says: 12/03/2017 at 1:17 am
Point taken George. Despite that the general notion that as crunch time develops, there will be a trend towards extremist and totalitarian regimes throughout the world. Along with pockets of failed states, anarchy and warlords. 'Have nots' will take big risks.
GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 8:25 am
No devolution involved. Just human nature.
The loose knit groups with similar hates, anger and dislikes were temporarily brought together. It was an inverse election that utilized the negative and more volatile side of human nature. it only hangs together with constant stirring and occasional negative results (pound the enemy). Finger pointing and passing the buck is not enough, the groups start fracturing.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 9:43 am
Lose the Tee Vee -- -
The more you watch, the less you know.
HuntingtonBeach says: 12/02/2017 at 8:18 pm
The difference between the "Tee Vee" and the Internet is exposing your ignorance to the world
Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 1:36 pm
A question for Dennis Coyne, or any other cornucopian who believes renewable energy will save the world from economic collapse, at least for the next 200 years or so.

Dennis, I understand your very optimistic outlook for the welfare of future human populations. I don't agree with it but I understand your argument. But as I understand it, and please correct me if I am wrong, your entire argument deals with the human population of the earth. I don't remember reading your predicted outlook for the rest of the animal kingdom? Perhaps you did make one and I just missed it.

That being said, you have read my outlook many times. And it was all repeated in my post above. Do you agree or disagree? Just where do you see the large wild animal population in the year 2100? Please elaborate.

Edit: Dennis, I know you do not consider yourself a cornucopian, however, I was just comparing your outlook for the future of civilization to mine. And using that comparison?

islandboy says: 12/02/2017 at 2:36 pm
Nice! I was just thinking about a response to a comment following one of mine further up and this pops up, which dovetails nicely into what I've been thinking. In my comment I mention using wind power to make ammonia as a foundation for chemical nitrogen fertilizer and you (Ron) in you reply stated that, " But it is chemical fertilizers that have very dramatically and very temporally increased our carrying capacity." I don't know if you realized this but, that sort of was my point in that, the manufacture of ammonia and the resulting chemical fertilizer using excess wind (and/or solar) power might well result in a much extended (permanent) increase in carrying capacity by allowing us to continue the manufacture of chemical nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate if memory serves me right) in the absence of oil and NG.

This can be viewed as a downside to the ongoing exponential increasing capacity of renewable electricity generation. If renewables grow big enough fast enough, there will be incentives to use any excess to do things like manufacture fertilizer allowing mankind's expansion into wild habitats to continue. I think it is important that the existing population of the planet continues to have more or less adequate food supplies in order to avoid the sort of situation that exist in Haiti but, the real problem as I see it, is to get poor people in less developed countries to believe that they would be better off not having as many children. Based on utterances I have heard in my neck of the woods, as recently as last night, many of these people do not see any problem with having lots of kids. There seems to be an attitude abroad that there is a great big world out there, just ready for the taking. No limits. I wonder whatever gives people that idea?

I wanted to post some pictures of garbage, sitting in open storm water channels, just waiting for the next big shower of rain to be washed out of existence. At least that must be what the people who dump this stuff into the drains think. I have to wonder if they ever bother to think about where it's going to end up but, it seems to be a simple case of out of sight, out of mind. I guess some readers will have figured out that if you visit any area of the Jamaican coastline that does not have a regular, structured clean up crew, you will see where the trash ends up. I have seen it and it is depressing.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:18 pm
I don't know if you realized this but, that sort of was my point in that, the manufacture of ammonia and the resulting chemical fertilizer using excess wind (and/or solar) power might well result in a much extended (permanent) increase in carrying capacity by allowing us to continue the manufacture of chemical nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate if memory serves me right) in the absence of oil and NG.

Errr . I don't know if you realize it but you cannot make nitrogen fertilizer without natural gas . or some other source of hydrogen. Of course, you might get the hydrogen from water via electrolysis but that would be super expensive.

Fertilizer Made with Natural Gas Is Lifting Our World
Referred to by some as the most important technological advance of the 20th century .Between 3 and 5 percent of the world's annual natural gas production – roughly 1 to 2 percent of the world's annual energy supply – is converted using the process to produce more than 500 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer, which is believed to sustain about 40 percent of the world's 7 billion people. Approximately half of the protein in today's humans originated with nitrogen fixed through the Haber-Bosch process.

islandboy says: 12/02/2017 at 3:45 pm
"Of course, you might get the hydrogen from water via electrolysis but that would be super expensive."

Not if you are experiencing negative electricity prices as has happened when there's lots of wind and no demand or transmission capacity for the electricity being generated. I think OFM has alluded to this a few times in his ramblings, suggesting that hydrogen production via electrolysis or desalination might be useful ways of avoiding otherwise wasted electricity when the resource is available but, there is limited demand or transmission capacity.

If we ever get to the point where wind and solar generators are ubiquitous and abundant this could be a distinct possibility. In case you missed it in my earlier post here's The University of Minnesota's Wind to Nitrogen Fertilizer project :

We are pursuing a Grand Challenge – the challenge to feed the world while sustaining the environment. In the spirit of this grand challenge, a team of researchers across the University are pursuing an elegant concept in which wind energy, water, and air are used to produce nitrogen fertilizer.

WCROC energy from the windEnergy generated from the wind is used to separate hydrogen from water. Nitrogen is pulled from air. The hydrogen and nitrogen are then combined to form nitrogen fertilizer that nourishes the plants surrounding the farmer.

Next to water, nitrogen fertilizer is the most limiting nutrient for food production. Minnesota farmers import over $400 million of nitrogen fertilizer each year and are subjected to volatile price swings. Furthermore, nitrogen fertilizer is currently produced using fossil energy which contributes significantly to the carbon footprint of agricultural commodities.

and from https://www.siemens.co.uk/en/insights/potential-of-green-ammonia-as-fertiliser-and-electricity-storage.htm

"Green" ammonia demonstration programme:

Siemens is participating in an all electric ammonia synthesis and energy storage system demonstration programme at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford. The demonstrator, which will run until December 2017, is supported by Innovate UK. Collaborators include the University of Oxford, Cardiff University and the Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 2:59 pm
Hi Ron,

I do not know much about the subject so I should probably not offer an opinion, but because you asked

I agree that humans are the problem and believe that fewer humans (as in reduced population) will improve the situation. Will humans choose to protect some of the mega fauna, until population falls to a more sustainable level? I have no idea.

Is it possible? I would say yes.
High probability? My guess would be no (less than a 66% probability).

So I do not have a prediction for the Earth's megafauna in 2100, except to say I doubt your prediction that we will be reduced to rats and mice, etc. is correct. This is no doubt because I believe there will be a gradual transition to a more sustainable society. I believe some of the mega fauna might be preserved until human population falls to 1 billion or so (by 2150 to 2200). Most likely in North America, Scandanavia, and Siberia, and perhaps in the Himalaya and parts of South America. The rapid expansion of population in Africa makes it less likely the megafauna will survive there.

I am using the 40 kg cutoff for megafauna, though there are many definitions.

Note that some would consider cornucopian an insult.

Certainly I do not think fossil fuels are as abundant as those who believe scenarios such as the RCP8.5 scenario (with about 5000 Pg of carbon emissions) are plausible.

I also do not believe resources are unlimited or infinitely substitutable, which tends to be the cornucopian viewpoint. There is great need to utilize resources more efficiently and to recycle as much as possible (cradle to grave manufacturing should be required by law).

Now if you define cornucopian as someone who is less pessimistic than you, then I am by that definition a cornucopian. 🙂

I am certainly more optimistic than you, but if we all agreed there would be little to discuss.

Clearly the future is unclear.

The outlook for the wild megafauna is tragic and we should do what we can to preserve species diversity. Getting human population to peak and decline would improve the situation of other species, but I share your pessimism that this will be enough, I am just less pessimistic than you.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:53 pm
I believe some of the mega fauna might be preserved until human population falls to 1 billion or so (by 2150 to 2200).

Okay, let's do the math. It looks like the world will reach 9 billion people by 2050. Then if it were to fall to 1 billion by 2150, that would be a decline of 80,000,000 per year or 219,178 per day. That is deaths above births. That would be a catastrophic collapse by any stretch of the imagination. And of course, most of those deaths would be by starvation. And for sure, as I said before, we would eat the songbirds out of the trees.

Hell, if that scenario takes place, there will likely be no rats left. No, no, no, Dennis, please forgive me. You are definitely not a cornucopian. Oh God, how could I have been so wrong?

GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 4:19 pm
The most rapid population decreases have been from disease. A few bouts of virulent diseases in a world with little medical help and control could dramatically reduce population.

Population Collapse in Mexico (Down to about 5% in a century)

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 5:14 pm
Hi Ron,

See chart below. If total fertility ratio (TFR) falls to 1.5 by 2050 then population can fall from 9 billion to 4.5 billion by 2125 and to 2.25 billion by 2200 and to 1 billion by 2300, a fall in TFR to 1.25 (South Korea is about 1.26) would result in more rapid population decline. It is not clear how low TFR can go for the World, it was cut in half in 40 years, whether that can continue so that 1.27 is reached in 2055 is unknown. This scenario assumes life expectancy rises to no higher than 90 for the World.

Deaths would be natural rather than from starvation, this is just a matter of people choosing to have fewer children as is the case today in many East Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan and in many European nations as well.

Education for women and access to birth control and electrification (watch tv, instead of other forms of entertainment leading to increased family size), and empowerment of women in general will reduce population growth. Higher income also helps.

Chart from paper linked below

http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/10438/1/28-39.pdf

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:27 pm
Keeping things in perspective, why not go with the experts until they're proven wrong?

WORLD POPULATION LIKELY TO SURPASS 11 BILLION IN 2100

"American Statistical Association. "World population likely to surpass 11 billion in 2100: US population projected to grow by 40 percent over next 85 years."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150810110634.htm

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:36 pm
THERE'S A STRONG CHANCE THAT ONE-THIRD OF ALL PEOPLE WILL BE AFRICAN BY 2100

The combination of declining mortality and relatively high fertility is the driver of rapid population growth in Africa. Even if fertility would continue to decline, as assumed by the UN medium scenario, it will not bring down the growth rate in the near future, let alone halt population growth. This is because of "demographic inertia". And this is because Africa has a high proportion of young adults of reproductive age. Even if each one had very few children, the number of births would remain high.

http://theconversation.com/theres-a-strong-chance-that-one-third-of-all-people-will-be-african-by-2100-84576

Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 7:52 pm
We are all African– it's just some of us have been gone for a while.
(well if you are east of the Wallace Line, you are part Denisovan, and west, part Neanderthal and a species we haven't discovered yet)
Synapsid says: 12/03/2017 at 12:24 pm
Hightrekker,

The Neanderthals and Denisovans are of African descent too, so African we are.

It's turtles all the way down.

Doug Leighton says: 12/03/2017 at 12:47 pm
"It's turtles all the way down." LOL Exactly!
GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 9:22 pm
Here is how the year 2000 looked like to the people of 1900.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-boston-globe-of-1900-imagines-the-year-2000-97021464/

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 6:32 pm
Dennis, you are assuming that the population will alter their fertility rates to a lower value. Yes, that has already happened in developed countries. The fertility rates in undeveloped countries are still controlled by what their economy and environment will bear.

The vast majority of the human population lives in undeveloped countries. They will continue to push, push, push against the very limits of their existence. And that will still be the case 50 years from now, and 100 years from now, and 150 years from now.

There are reasons the fertility rate is dropping in developed countries. Female empowerment, contraception, and so on. There are entirely different reasons the fertility rate is dropping in undeveloped countries. Poor nutrition, almost no prenatal care and so on. Also, much higher infant death rate helps keep the population in check. Please check my chart above from the Population Reference Bureau.

I think that if you could just live just one year in Bangladesh, or the Congo, or Zimbabwe, or . you would have an entirely different outlook. You would be forced to take off those rose-colored glasses.

Again, check the Population Reference Bureau chart above.

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:38 pm
" if you could just live just one year in Bangladesh, or the Congo, or Zimbabwe, or . you would have an entirely different outlook. You would be forced to take off those rose-colored glasses."

Wouldn't take a year, one week would do it: even keeping the rose-colored glasses on. 🙂

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 9:07 pm
I spent a bit of time on leave in "Liberated Burma"/Karen State shortly after the fall of Manerplaw. A week would do it, however I was there for about 3 months. I haven't had a bad day since.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 10:03 pm
Got chased out of Myanmar by someone with a AK, lucky I wasn't a captive. Walked across from Masi.
It wasn't the best idea I've ever had.
Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 10:44 pm
I linked up with some folks in Mae Sot on the Thai side. It was well planned before hand. There's was a lot of back and forth across the border in those days. Did some long range mobile medical patrols in Karen and Karenni State. Got chased around by Tatmadaw/SLORC a bit. When I was 25 that was my idea of a good time. Yeah, kinda fucked I know.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 10:58 pm
Yea --
I was the only Farang around in Masi, and everyone else was going back and forth.
Very interesting place.
That was a long time ago, in a land far, far away.
It would be impossible in the homogeneous police state we are currently inhabiting.
Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 11:09 am
Hi Doug and Ron,

I spent about 5 months hitchhiking through North and West Africa in 1981-2. Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Gabon, Republic of Congo, and Zaire (as it was known in 1982).

The TFR of half the World's population as of 2015 is less than 2. The World TFR decreased from 5.02 in 1965 to 2.51 in 2015.

Different experts have different opinions

https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/11/population-paradigm-wolfgang-lutz-education-effect/

and

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Lutz

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/WorldPopulation/News/170109-GSDR.html

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 2:32 pm
The problem I see with fertility rates is the same problem I see with planting trees. Even though I support a foundation to plant trees I realize that future changes could allow people to wipe out those and other trees very quickly, thus rendering the effort useless. I also realize the preserved areas of nature and wilderness could quickly disappear or be irreparably harmed by government decree, war and material/food pressures.
The same goes with lower fertility rates. Since they are only based on decisions and not biological, the lower rates could reverse quite quickly. Just stress the population and see how fast it will change.
Once people realize that technological progress is an empty dead system that moves us to an empty dead world, birth rates will climb quickly.

Rather than adding to our knowledge, Tompkins argues computers and smartphones represent "deskilling devices; they make us dumber. We're immersed in a system that now requires the use of a cell phone just to get around, just to function and so the logic of that cell phone has been imposed on us.

"The computer is a mechanism for acceleration, it accelerates economic activity and this is eating up the world. It's eating up resources, it's processing, it's manufacturing, it's distributing, it's consuming. That's what the computer's real work does and it does that 24/7, 365 days a year, non-stop just to satisfy our own narrow needs."

Tompkins foresees a dark future dominated as he puts it by more ugliness, damaged landscapes, extinct species, extreme poverty, and lack of equity and says humanity faces a stark choice; either to transition now to a different system or face a painful collapse.

"The extinction crisis is the mother of all crises. There will be no society, there will be no economy, there will be no art and culture on a dead planet basically. We've stopped evolution."

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/technology-stopped-evolution-destroying-world

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 2:51 pm
Rather than adding to our knowledge, Tompkins argues computers and smartphones represent "deskilling devices; they make us dumber. We're immersed in a system that now requires the use of a cell phone just to get around, just to function and so the logic of that cell phone has been imposed on us.

So put the damn cell phones to better use. They can also make us smarter They can be used to track illegal logging in endangered rain forests. The fact that I have a device in my pocket that gives me access to all of human knowledge and access to GPS does not make me dumber.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=5Fju_wOaV3Y

When a tree calls for help | Topher White | TEDxCERN

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 3:35 pm
Really? You have cell service in the rain forests? I barely have cell service where I live and it disappears totally between the mountains near me. I don't need electronic mapping and GPS to get around so no problem for me.
Let the rest feel nervous as they get out of touch. For many it's a disaster if they lose their phones, fully dependent.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 5:26 pm
I don't need electronic mapping and GPS to get around so no problem for me.

I actually learned how to use a sextant and a compass but GPS is available so I admit that I do use it upon occasion.

In any case my point was that it is possible to use technology for purposes other than tweeting or posting selfies of oneself to Facebook every ten minutes.

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 8:44 pm
Fred, they are highly capable machines but just machines. How they are used is determined by the machine and the operator interface.
I could go on for hours how they have had very bad effects on personal time and personal interactions. For many people life is a series of texts and phone calls with real time life being the background now. Interruptions are the norm now. Sacrilege is when they have to turn them off.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 8:57 pm
You won't fix stupid no matter how hard you try

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cznepJAbyg

Texting and walking fails compilation

notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 9:56 pm
@Fred
I come close to nailing a textwalker or walkytalky nearly every time I am out on my bike. SOP, watch out for the buggers. It amazes me that people are unable to move about (foot, moto, car, bus, truck) without a phone in their hand.

NAOM

Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 3:13 pm
A question for Dennis Coyne, or any other cornucopian who believes renewable energy will save the world from economic collapse, at least for the next 200 years or so.

Ok, I'll take a nibble!

First of all, why do we have to accept the current definition of what the economy has to be? All of nature has existed on renewable energy since the beginning of life on this planet 3.8 billion years ago, so obviously the problem isn't renewable energy. If it were, life wouldn't even exist. The extractive, linear growth based neo liberal idea of the economy that we have come to accept as normal, is a relatively recent construct that was created by a small group of people at the beginning of the 20th century and it certainly is an aberration! Personally I don't think it is worth saving.

That economy will certainly collapse and no energy source can ever make it sustainable. Therefore it will by definition collapse. However there is nothing that says we need to continue on that path. There are indeed choices that people and societies can make. Even to the point of something that is considered radical and taboo like limiting population growth. (that is a separate dissertation from my point here)

With regards alternative economic thinking maybe start with Kate Raeworth. Not everyone in the world who has ideas that are out of the box are automatically naive cornucopians.

How to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. 45:00 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR1Wy7ZAgY0

What is the goal of economics? Does GDP really tell us all we need to know about a country's wealth and well-being? Our guest in this show argues that our economic system should be designed to meet everyone's needs, while living within the means of the planet.

Kate Raworth is the author of the acclaimed book 'Doughnut Economics', and she will join us in the studio for an exploration of a new 21st century economic model and why she believes so many economists have got it wrong for so long.

The implications of her Doughnut Economics are profound and and can be read and embraced as a roadmap for change not just by experts or economists, but by everyone! This is a chance to challenge her with your questions and critiques.

If you want to think a bit more about how ideas like E.O. Wilson's Half Earth might look here's a TED talk that touches on it.

Nature is everywhere -- we just need to learn to see it 16:00 minutes

https://www.ted.com/talks/emma_marris_nature_is_everywhere_we_just_need_to_learn_to_see_it#t-779393

How do you define "nature?" If we define it as that which is untouched by humans, then we won't have any left, says environmental writer Emma Marris. She urges us to consider a new definition of nature -- one that includes not only pristine wilderness but also the untended patches of plants growing in urban spaces -- and encourages us to bring our children out to touch and tinker with it, so that one day they might love and protect it.

Emma Marris is a writer focusing on environmental science, policy and culture, with an approach that she paints as being "more interested in finding and describing solutions than delineating problems, and more interested in joy than despair."

I agree with Gone Fishing, we do have choices! There are people all over the world who are making them.

david higham says: 12/03/2017 at 7:28 pm
Regarding the first paragraph of your reply. Conflating the functioning of ecosystems
using the renewable energy from the sun with the 'Renewable Energy' required by industrial civilisation is a common mistake. The energy from the sun is renewable.
The infrastructure required to collect and store that energy requires the mining of the
requisite minerals,transportation,smelting,manufacturing,installation. The energy
required for all of that is supplied by fossil fuels. All of that infrastructure,and all of the
rest of the human-constructed industrial world,has to be rebuilt. Solar panels last
about 25-30 years. Wind Turbines about 50 years. Our industrial constructed world
has an immense amount of embedded fossil fuel energy. The mineral density of many ores are declining now,which means that the energy required to extract a given amount of mineral is increasing. I haven't done much reading on this site. No doubt someone has posted this link before. It gives a good idea of the scale of the construction required.
Natural ecosystems are quite different. The energy collection occurs using biodegradable
and recyclable materials,without the energy input of fossil fuels.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil
notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 8:49 pm
You don't seem to have come across the concept of recycling.

NAOM

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 9:20 pm
This is just the typical FF anti-renewable blurb slightly rewritten. It has more holes in than Swiss cheese.
david higham says: 12/03/2017 at 9:50 pm
Have a read of the numbers in the link. All recycling requires energy. I don't know if anyone has done an analysis of the amount of energy
required,but it would be very large. It is also worth remembering that some of the minerals in that infrastructure are difficult to separate and
recycle.
notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 11:03 pm
Plenty of people have investigated recycling and are doing it. You obviously haven't. Even the Giga-Factory is building a recycling facility.

On the personal level, I have just replaced my washing machine and stove as the old ones were falling apart – literally. The stove is ready to go to the local recycler where it will be separated and then sent to be melted back to new steel. The washer will be checked over by a refurbisher who will decide if he can use it or it's parts and what is left will go to the recycler. Simple. All my waste metal goes to the recycler but, unfortunately, we have no glass recycling so that just has to go to land fill.

NAOM

Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 11:04 pm
Diet pills?
Kinda makes sense.

Elton John blares so loudly on Donald Trump's campaign plane that staffers can't hear themselves think. Press secretary Hope Hicks uses a steamer to press Trump's pants -- while he is still wearing them. Trump screams at his top aides, who are subjected to expletive-filled tirades in which they get their "face ripped off."

And Trump's appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald's, with a dinner order consisting of "two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."
[ ]

In another episode, Lewandowski describes how staffer Sam Nunberg was purposely left behind at a McDonald's because Nunberg's special-order burger was taking too long. "Leave him," Trump said. "Let's go." And they did.

Trump's fast-food diet is a theme. "On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke," the authors write.

The plane's cupboards were stacked with Vienna Fingers, potato chips, pretzels and many packages of Oreos because Trump, a renowned germaphobe, would not eat from a previously opened package.

The book notes that "the orchestrating and timing of Mr. Trump's meals was as important as any other aspect of his march to the presidency," and describes the elaborate efforts that Lewandowski and other top aides went through to carefully time their delivery of hot fast food to Trump's plane as he was departing his rallies.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.de/2017/12/hes-got-to-be-on-diet-pills.html

Hillary says: 12/03/2017 at 12:44 am
"two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."

Oh let there be a god

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 11:01 am
One of the biggest problems we face as population and industry grows is obtaining enough fresh water. Sure there is a lot of water on the planet, but it is mostly salty.

Marcia Barbosa talks about the many anomalies of water and how exploiting them with nano-tubes could help address the problem of freshwater shortages.

Marcia Barbosa has a PhD in physics from Brazil's Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, where she is now the director of its Physics Institute. She studies the complex structure of the water molecule, and has developed a series of models of its properties which may contribute to our understanding of how earthquakes occur, how proteins fold, and could play an important role in generating cleaner energy and treating diseases. She is actively involved in promoting Women in Physics and was named the 2013 L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards Laureate for Latin America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OLFwkfPxCg

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 11:36 am
Tks, GF!
LOL! I'm head over heels in love with her!
I kept imagining her giving her talk to this sound track 😉
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wunq6YlcSX0
Can you see all the dancers dressed as raindrops on a Samba Float in a Carnival Parade?
Doug Leighton says: 12/03/2017 at 4:36 pm
Fred – As you know my bag is astrophysics, with climate change denial being merely irritating BUT when I see science news headlines like the following then I really get pissed off, or feel sick. Who gives a shit if Earth can "carry" 7 or 9 or 11 billion people when dolphins & elephants are relegated to "bush meat" and when species are disappearing at increasingly alarming rates. You're probably the only one here qualified to assess this issue so please give us your thoughts.

CURRENT EXTINCTION RATE 10 TIMES WORSE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

"Life on earth is remarkably diverse. Globally, it is estimated that there are 8.7 million species living on our planet, excluding bacteria. Unfortunately, human activities are wiping out many species and it's been known for some time that we are increasing the rate of species extinction. But just how dire is the situation? According to a new study, it's 10 times worse than scientists previously thought with current extinction rates 1,000 times higher than natural background rates."

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/current-extinction-rate-10-times-worse-previously-thought/

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 5:37 pm
Doug, if you get a chance, watch the ASU Origins project debates to which I have posted links recently addressing the topic of extinction. This is a very serious cross disciplinary discussion and can't really be done justice in a quick response here. It probably necessitates a full post of similar length to Ron's.

Here is a very short teaser.

Origins Project Highlight: Elizabeth Kolbert on Climate Change & Mars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLusJDXY5SZhWUbALfqiDpk9NGmIoT4n48&v=zTXHcNNiPk4

Link to ASU Origins Project home page:
https://origins.asu.edu/

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 7:53 pm
I look on space habitats as being trapped inside a giant iron lung. Exploration is one thing, but actually thinking of Mars as a possible home for humans is just sad.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 8:19 pm
Couldn't agree more! And that's from someone who lived and worked in a hyperbaric chamber as a saturation diver on oil rigs. I'd say that is pretty close to living in an iron lung as well 😉

The part about going to Mars that has always bothered me is the radiation exposure.

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 9:17 pm
Plenty of dangerous and exciting exploring, work and research to do right here on Earth.

[Nov 10, 2017] 600,000 Bpd At Risk As Venezuela Delays The Inevitable by Nick Cunningham

Nov 10, 2017 | oilprice.com

For the oil markets, the implications are pretty significant. Venezuela has already lost an estimated 20,000 bpd each month for the past year, according to Reuters estimates. And in September, Venezuela's output plunged by more than 50,000 bpd compared to a month earlier. Production could fall by an additional 240,000 bpd in 2018, a decline made worse by U.S. sanctions.

But that isn't even the worst-case scenario. A default could set off a scramble to seize Venezuela's overseas assets. That could lead to much steeper production declines. One OPEC source told Reuters that they see a potential for production declines on the order of 300,000 to 600,000 bpd next year.

[Oct 29, 2017] One third of ECB bond buys were for bonds with negative yields. So those guys not only loaned money to the company, they paid the company interest for holding the bond.

Notable quotes:
"... And this is cool. As of July of last year, 35% of all ECB bond buys (aka lending to private companies with money from nothingness) were of individual bonds with -- get this -- negative yields. They not only loaned money to the company, they paid the company interest for holding the bond. ..."
"... And y'all think money is a meaningful metric for the overall circumstance of oil flow. hahahahahhaah How can it be? Schlumberger!!! Hell, they are funding US shale flow with money from nothingness. ..."
Oct 29, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher says: 10/27/2017 at 10:44 am

Not gonna scroll. Found some ECB corporate bond buys. Specific companies.

Daimler
Deutsche Bahn no idea what that is
BMW
Eni (!!!!!)
Air Liquide
Schlumberger (!!!!!)
Total (!!!!!)

The specific bond serial number (in the US it would be called CUSIP-like) of each purchase is known. The buy takes place on the secondary market. Much the same way the Fed never bought Treasury issuance direct from Treasury. There was always a go between -- which essentially means nothing. This was never discussed about Mort. Backed Securities. Bought them from who had them -- at about 1000X market price.

And this is cool. As of July of last year, 35% of all ECB bond buys (aka lending to private companies with money from nothingness) were of individual bonds with -- get this -- negative yields. They not only loaned money to the company, they paid the company interest for holding the bond.

And y'all think money is a meaningful metric for the overall circumstance of oil flow. hahahahahhaah How can it be? Schlumberger!!! Hell, they are funding US shale flow with money from nothingness.

[May 30, 2017] Looks like the Chinese have been filling their SPR over the last two years

May 30, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
George Kaplan says: 05/24/2017 at 9:57 am
There's a plausible sounding theory, even though posted on Zero Hedge, that the Chinese have been filling their SPR over the last two years, and that is about to stop. This would mostly account for why OECD storage levels only took about 35% of the supply-demand imbalance. If they do stop then about 1 mmbpd of demand would suddenly be lost, but it might also imply that the real economy demand growth in the period since January 2015 has only been half what it looks to have been. Taking account of the sudden drop and a slower growth in demand would mean a longer time would be needed to draw down OECD stocks. However if the China SPR scenario is correct then almost all the drawdown would come from OECD. By my reckoning this would push a balancing out to late 2018 (although by then we may be seeing some bigger supply drops as the pipeline for new project start-ups will be drying up). But if the balancing is pushed out then the chances of many FIDs this year or next will decline and the possibility of a sudden supply crunch in 2019 through 2022 would be greater. The green curve below gives possible drawdown under this scenario. The red one was a previous assumption that the OECD stocks would be drawn down at only about 35% of the imbalance (as happened when they were rising). I seemed a bit iffy when I fitted it that way, and I think the China SPR filling is a better explanation.

Watcher says: 05/24/2017 at 6:00 pm
SPRs in general try to have 90 days of domestic consumption in them. This was a standard put into place mostly in Europe. China has embraced it.

The US at 750ish million barrels and having a consumption (net of production) of about 11 million bpd (remember, this is real stuff . . . consumption, no refinery gain BS allowed) and so not quite 70 days domestic consumption.

China, at net consumption of about 7 million bpd X 90 needs an SPR of 630 million barrels. That's about what they have, but of course with 5% consumption growth they'll have to adjust up, but for now . . . all is well.

There probably is no flow in or out of China for SPR reasons. Already full. Have been for a while.

Dennis Coyne says: 05/25/2017 at 12:30 pm
Hi Watcher,

Crude inputs to refineries and blenders was 16.2 Mb/d for the 2016 average.

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pnp_inpt_dc_nus_mbblpd_a.htm

So 700/16.2 is 43 days for SPR alone. For commercial crude stocks plus SPR it is 1200 Mb so 1200/16.2=74 days.

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_stoc_wstk_dcu_nus_m.htm

George Kaplan says: 05/25/2017 at 2:29 pm
This is the chart Zero Hedge had, or linked to – the key is Xinhua CFC, who have Chinese data not otherwise available and charge a lot of money for it. I don't know how you'd go about checking if it's correct.

Energy News says: 05/26/2017 at 4:26 am
Hello, don't forget that Xinhua doesn't publish China's SPR figures. The SPR figure in the chart is an estimate based on (Production + Imports – Refinery Inputs). I'm not sure if all the teapots are included in the official refinery data.

I think Zero Hedge borrowed the chart from here:
Scotiabank pdf file: http://www.gbm.scotiabank.com/scpt/gbm/scotiaeconomics63/SCPI_2017-04-12.pdf

Latest figures from Xinhua news agency
2017-05-26 Chinese oil inventories month/month April changes: crude +1.64%, oil products -7.87% (gasoline -0.27%, diesel -14.4%) – OGP/BBG

Chart showing March

Energy News says: 05/26/2017 at 8:49 am
China's April diesel stocks fall for second straight month -Xinhua
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL4N1IS2EJ
George Kaplan says: 05/26/2017 at 1:54 pm
So are the numbers you are posting supporting or not the Zero Hedge theory and/or my projection based on it? And if not why?
Energy News says: 05/27/2017 at 1:34 pm
I guess that Chinese demand must be higher than estimated. Like this article was suggesting

Bloomberg – October 11th 2016
China's appetite for oil.
Fuel use grew by about 5 percent in the first half of 2016, according to China's biggest oil refiner, faster than the 0.4 percent derived from government data. That "official" number is clouded by rising gasoline exports - blends that don't show up in official figures, according to the International Energy Agency, Sinopec Group and Energy Aspects Ltd.
Chinese authorities are also having trouble tracking refinery activity because of the surge of processing by independent refiners, known as teapots, according to Energy Aspects' Meidan.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-10/gasoline-cocktails-mix-with-gaps-in-data-to-cloud-china-oil-view ?

[Apr 17, 2017] China crude oil imports increased to a record 9.21mb/day in March 2017 versus 8.32mb/day in February 2017

Apr 17, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
Energy News says: 04/15/2017 at 10:35 am
China crude oil imports increased to a record 9.21mb/day in March 2017 versus 8.32mb/day in February 2017 (7.33 barrels per ton conversion) – Chinese customs data. I guess China is still filling it's SPR.

Before I had read this I had been wondering why news articles were saying that world oil inventories had decreased a little. Inventories often build into April. Also news agencies estimates are still saying that OPEC oil exports are holding steady and have not decreased in line with their production cuts, I guess that they have been exporting from their inventories.

inventory declines, news clips

Reuters Apr 11, 2017 – Nordic bank SEB said global oil inventories in weekly data have dropped by 42 million barrels in the last four weeks.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-oil-opec-storage-idUKKBN17D1NH

Bloomberg 2017-04-04 – Since mid-February, between 10 million and 20 million barrels have left the Caribbean
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-03/oil-traders-said-to-drain-caribbean-hoards-as-opec-impact-hits

Clipper Data Apr 6, 2017 – This week we have seen Iranian barrels drop to 5 million barrels, while barrels offshore of United Arab Emirates have halved in the last week, dropping to just under 10 million barrels.
http://blog.clipperdata.com/floating-storage-holding-up-despite-iran-drop

[Feb 21, 2017] Chinese oil demand growth

Feb 21, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

Reuters calculated Chinese oil demand growth of 2.5% in 2016, based on official data-a three-year low-down from 3.1% in 2015."

> > > > > > > >

[Feb 12, 2017] Wall Street Pouring Money Back Into Oil And Gas

Feb 12, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Nick Cunningham via OilPrice.com, Despite the near record increase in U.S. oil inventories last week – an increase of 13.8 million barrels – oil prices traded up on February 8 and 9 as traders pinned their hopes on a surprise drawdown in gasoline stocks, which provided some evidence of stronger-than-expected demand. The abnormal crude stock increase took inventories close to 80-year record levels at 508 million barrels, and is another bit of damming evidence that should worry oil bulls. But the oil markets were not deterred. In fact, that has been a defining characteristic of the market in recent weeks – optimism even in the face of some pretty worrying signals about the trajectory of the market "adjustment" process. More signs of optimism abound. Wall Street is pouring the most money into oil and gas companies in the U.S. since at least 2000, according to Bloomberg. In January alone, drillers and oilfield service companies raised $6.64 billion in 13 different equity offerings. "The mood is absolutely different," Trey Stolz, an analyst at the investment banking firm Coker & Palmer Inc., told Bloomberg. "Go back to a year ago and the knife was still falling. But today, it feels much, much better."

[Jan 28, 2017] Crude Oil: So Much For That Rally by Johanna Bennett

Notable quotes:
"... Light, sweet crude for March delivery recently fell 90 cents, or 1.67%, to $52.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, brent, the global benchmark, dropped $1.02, or 1.8%, to $55.22 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. ..."
"... We believe the market will soon get the catalyst it has been waiting for to push higher – better inventory stats. Getting ahead of this catalyst is a good risk-reward proposition in our view. ..."
blogs.barrons.com
If you were hoping crude oil prices would end the week on a positive note after yesterday's rally, you're likely to be disappointed.

U.S. and brent crude futures fell Friday as worries about U.S. drilling activity once again weighed on the market following the release of data showing that the number of active rigs rose for a second consecutive week.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery recently fell 90 cents, or 1.67%, to $52.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, brent, the global benchmark, dropped $1.02, or 1.8%, to $55.22 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Crude prices have oscillated between gains and losses over the past several weeks as investor sentiment has shifted almost daily. OPEC and its allies have so far followed through on promised production cuts, yet fears linger that U.S. drilling will hurt efforts to curb global supply.

Crude prices settled Thursday at their highest prices in several weeks. But today's decline pushed futures contacts into the red for the week. If U.S. and brent crude contracts settle at current levels, prices will fall more than 0.6% for the week.

But Vikas Dwivedi and his team at Macquaire recommend increasing oil exposure, pointing to a tightening sour crude market and storage trends. But he warns that 2018 looks challenging.

We believe the market will soon get the catalyst it has been waiting for to push higher – better inventory stats. Getting ahead of this catalyst is a good risk-reward proposition in our view. However, we caution against turning a rally into a structural trade. Our balances indicate the market is oversupplied again in 2018. Key 2018 drivers include the return of approximately 1.2 MM BPD of post-deal (OPEC and NOPEC ex U.S.) supply and 0.6 MM BPD of U.S. supply growth + global.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR Energy ETF (XLE) fell 1.3% in recent market action, while the iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE) dropped 1.2%.

Elsewhere in the ETF realm, the United States Oil Fund (USO) declined almost 1.8% and the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN (OIL lost 2%. The U.S. Brent Oil Fund (BNO) also fell 2%.

[Jan 11, 2017] What percentage of US oil consumption is food transtoration

Jan 11, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 11:36 am
What % of US oil consumption is food transport? This got tricky quickly.

Average US person eats about 5.4 pounds of food a day. That's just the food. Average meal travels 1500 miles to reach your mouth.

First tricky item - packaging. It has to transport, too. Amazing variance on this. Glass jar of pickles vs paper around candy bars. The only estimate out there is numbers for municipal solid waste and estimates of % of that is food packaging. Year 2000 US waste generation 4.5 pounds/day/person, and growing. Probably over 6 by now based on the curve, but will use 5 lbs/day cuz round number.

31% of that is packaging and half of that number is food packaging. Some 2006 study. So 15% of 5 lbs a day is 0.75 pounds added to the 5.4 pounds of food is 6.15 pounds shipped a day per person.

For 1500 miles.

Eyeballing some charts looks like typical/average truck hauling weight for stuff hauled is 60,000 lbs. Typical diesel mileage 6 miles/gallon.

6.15 pounds X 320 million mouths = about 2 billion pounds of food moved each day
1500 miles / 6 = 250 gallons truck burned
2 billion lbs / 60,000 lbs = 33,333 truck trips X 250 gallons/truck trip = 198.4K bpd to move food.

Ain't much. Maybe there's an error in there. Top of my head . . . things not included, hauling spare parts for the food moving trucks, spare parts for the packaging gizmos, plastic packaging, agricultural consumption itself.

[Edit] Blurb says 17% of total US oil use is agricultural, up and downstream (fertilizer plus fuel). This would be far more than food transport.

Oldfarmermac says: 01/10/2017 at 12:26 pm
I am suspicious of that fifteen hundred mile figure, but it may be accurate. Or it may have assumed a life of it's own, after being tossed out by one or two people who really just guessed at it.

Most of the food that is produced in truly huge amounts, staple food, is shipped by water, and or by rail, if it travels a LONG way. A VERY limited amount of food, in relation to the total amount, is air freighted.

Here in the USA, it's not too likely that very much in the way of unprocessed or processed staple food is shipped more than a thousand miles by truck. Exceptions will be mostly fresh high retail value produce, shipped as directly and quickly as possible from grower to retailer.

The REAL food miles come at the very tail end of the distribution chain. I never owned an eighteen wheeler, but I did once own a C70 Chevy which would legally haul about sixteen thousand pounds of apples to market. The farthest local growers usually go with their own truck of this sort is about a hundred miles, one way. Thirty gallons of diesel would take me that far, and home again.

The people who actually bought my apples at retail, after they were picked up at the wholesale market and delivered around town in smaller trucks, usually bought no more than five pounds at a time.

I'm guessing, pulling numbers out of my hat, but I suppose a typical shoppers average grocery purchase weighs from about twenty five to thirty pounds, up to a hundred pounds,depending on family size, and is made on roughly a weekly basis, on average.

And I'm guessing that the average trip to the super market is at least six to ten miles, round trip. THAT's where the food miles really pile up. A liter of gasoline burnt to get fifty pounds home, the last five miles, times around a hundred million households, times fifty weeks, adds up. FAST.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 1:58 pm
Maybe. The pickle jar weighs a LOT and there's not much food weight part of that. The whole packaging thing is a significant thing, and that's another food item I didn't include, disposal of it.

I'm going to guess the 1500 mile thing came from the coasts' pop centers and their daily bread from Iowa and Nebraska. The various websites talking about this like to talk about a head of Imperial Valley California lettuce going to England. X calories burned for 1 or two calories delivered to the mouth. But that sort of thing definitely would drag the average up. 1500 miles maybe is legit.

I am surprised the total transport is south of 1 mbpd, if it truly is. As for shipping, I can't see Iowa bread going to NYC any way but by truck. Not going to fly it there. And the canals don't reach.

Everybody driving the last 5 miles to the store . . . maybe that really doesn't show in the diesel calc. Oh! Of course. The issue is not diesel. It's the 60,000 pounds per trip. A car is carrying the much lower weight per your estimate. Will redo.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 3:20 pm
14 billion pounds of food move the last 5 miles by car per week, probably at 150 lbs per weekly load (family of 4 at 6 lbs/day/mouth incl packaging)

14 billion / 150 lbs = 93 million car trips per week.

5 miles in a 25 mpg car is 0.2 gallons. X 93 million /7 and /42 = an additional 63,000 bpd from the car trips added to the trucks above. About 260K bpd for food transport.

Hmmm of course if it's 5 miles each way that's a X 2 on the 63K. And SUVs for that trip, not a Datsun. Might be up nudging 400K.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 8:07 pm
It occurs to me that Pepsi and Coke may not be food, and they are heavy.

I'm having problems with this 400ish K number because the famous 2004 pie chart of US oil consumption said 65% transportation, and of that 65% it was only 37% passenger cars, 18% heavy trucks and 27% light trucks (sums to 45%), and that was before SUVs (called light trucks) had swept up sales. Though F-150s may have arrived.

0.37 X 0.65 is only 24% of consumption. Trucks light and heavy rather more. So what are they hauling. Food as a daily consumable would seem to be the dominant hauled stuff, but apparently not.

Oldfarmermac says: 01/10/2017 at 5:18 pm
Most of the grain or flour that goes from the midwest to the northeast probably gets there by rail, where it will then be baked into bread, packaged, and shipped by truck to food distribution centers, or directly to supermarkets. But the distribution center food warehouse seems to rule these days, because it's better to load a truck up to the doors with a variety of stuff all destined for one address or maybe two or three, than it is to have a truck stop to deliver bread and nothing but bread to a bunch of different stores. That means a lot more total time and miles invested in stop and go driving, compared to the one stop load. That still happens, but not as often as in the past.

Grain is milled into flour near where it's grown, when possible, because this reduces total shipping costs, being that the weight and volume of flour is less than the weight of whole unprocessed grain, plus the tailings are used mostly in livestock rations, and customer for that product is most definitely NOT in NYC, lol.

Most of the cows,hogs and chickens we eat are raised in confinement, and are raised in the mid west and southeast, closer to the feed supply, and where land and water are cheaper, and neighbors less fussy, and mostly in localities where neighbors are relatively few in number.

Nobody's ever going to operate a modern supersize hog farm anywhere close to the BIG APPLE, 😉

clueless says: 01/10/2017 at 2:08 pm
Watcher's conclusion is probably right – not much fuel used to transport food compared to the total available. On the other hand, some random thoughts. 5.4 pounds/day/person is too high. Babies, young children, seniors, etc. Second, the 1500 miles is too high. Some of the basics make up a significant amount of the weight – like liquid milk, along with other dairy products, cheese and eggs. These products generally will never go 1500 miles. Vegetables, seafood, fruit, etc yes. But, chicken, pork and beef – I think that 1500 miles is too high.

OOPS! Of the 5.4 lbs, 30% – 40% is wasted.

Watcher says: 01/10/2017 at 3:16 pm
Pre oil, railroad cars had no refrigeration to speak of in summer months. That's where the term cattle car came from. Had to ship beef alive to the cities.

40-50% of a steer by weight is not edible.

Oldfarmermac says: 01/10/2017 at 6:04 pm
I am not at all sure just HOW much of a cow winds up as nekkid ape chow these days, but YOU most definitely don't WANT to know much about what goes into processed meat products, if you plan on eating them.

Fifty years ago when I had the "insider tour" of a huge and extremely famous hog slaugher plant that you get only by personal invitation from management,even back then, they bragged about selling everything but the squeal.

I'm pretty sure that well over fifty percent of the live weight of a cow winds up as nekkid ape chow these days, but how much over I can't say. Fifty to fifty five percent would be a reasonable guess. Farmers have been breeding cows for more milk and meat, and less waste, since the beginning. For the last seventy five years or so, this breeding has been based on high tech such as artificial insemination, a solid understanding of genetics, and very sharp pencils. So a typical cow TODAY is going to yield significantly more more than she did a decade or two back.

[Jan 08, 2017] Long carbon based energy perspectives

Jan 08, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
texas tea says: 01/05/2017 at 5:00 pm
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/01/05/energy-and-society-from-now-until-2040/

long carbon based energy

Key conclusions of the report:

Developing countries, like China and India are urbanizing and their populations are becoming more affluent, this will increase global energy demand 24% by 2040. This includes the ExxonMobil prediction that energy use efficiency will double (figure 4).

The world population will increase from 7.3 billion today to over 9 billion in 2040, with a much larger middle class population (defined as >$14,600 and <$29,200 yearly for a family of 4) using energy than today. World GDP will effectively double by 2040. Living standards will rise dramatically, especially in the developing world.

Natural gas consumption will increase 54 quadrillion BTUs by 2040. Nuclear and renewables will increase 24 and 20 quadrillion BTUs, respectively. The 2040 energy mix will remain about the same as today (figure 5 and Table 1).

Rising electricity demand will drive the growth in global energy between now and 2040. The increase in the number of homes with electricity, industrialization of the developing world and our increasingly digital and plugged-in lifestyles will drive this growth. Half of global electricity demand is from industrial activity; thus good jobs can be lost if electricity costs are too high. Jobs will move to locations where electricity is cheap, an example is the new Voestalpine steel plant in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Crude oil and natural gas will remain the world's primary energy source. Even in 2040 oil and natural gas will supply 57% of all energy demand, this is an increase from 56% today. Oil demand will grow 18% through 2040 and natural gas demand will grow 44%. The developing world will account for the largest increases. Unconventional ("fracked") oil and gas, oil ("tar") sands, and deep water oil production will account for over 25% of the liquid supply in 2040.
Carbon dioxide emissions will increase, at least until 2030."

[Jan 08, 2017] High taxes create a "tax shield". The price at the pump in Europe is approx one third oil and refining and two thirds tax and duty. Consumption is therefore less responsive to the international oil market price compared to the USA. Europeians also drive smaller and more fuel efficient cars.

Jan 08, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
High taxes create a "tax shield". The price at the pump in Europe is approx. 1/3 oil and refining and 2/3 tax and duty (see http://euanmearns.com/energy-prices-in-europe/ ). Consumption is therefore less responsive (inelastic) to the international oil market price compared to the USA. Also, Europeans have adapted to this over time and drive smaller and more fuel efficient cars.

Several oil producers have cut back on subsidies during the last couple of years. This should restrict domestic demand increase. Most oil exporters' oil consumption/capita will probably level off and never come close to the US figure. However, given the level of population growth and demographics (young people) in MENA their domestic consumption is unlikely to reduce significantly (slight increase seems more likely).

Watcher says: 01/04/2017 at 11:47 am
"Most oil exporters' oil consumption/capita will probably level off and never come close to the US figure."

US per capita consumption 0.061 bpd.

Exporters:

Canada 0.066
KSA 0.135
Kuwait 0.156
Qatar 0.145
UAE 0.09

The only major exporter not there is Russia at 0.02, but President Trump will help them increase. Not an exporter, but FYI Singapore is highest I've seen at 0.24.

Jeff says: 01/04/2017 at 2:58 pm
_most_ oil exporters.

In 2012 ( http://www.indexmundi.com/map/?v=91000 ): Ecuador (0.11), Libya (0.051), Kazakhstan (0.12), Iran (0.23), Iraq (0.22), Venezuela (0.27), Oman (0.46)

Watcher says: 01/04/2017 at 7:19 pm
mazama says Ecuador may drop to imports this year. They don't list any Libya exports. Kazakhstan and Iran are legit. And the bible doesn't track Iraq.
AlexS says: 01/04/2017 at 4:09 pm
"The only major exporter not there is Russia at 0.02, but President Trump will help them increase."

How? Will he help to increase car fleet in Russia? KSA and its neighbours use a lot of oil for electricity generation. Russia uses natural gas, nuclear, hydro and coal.

Watcher says: 01/04/2017 at 7:11 pm
How? Will he help to increase car fleet in Russia?

Precisely.

Chris says: 01/05/2017 at 12:58 pm

Just to add information, in Europe, taxes are split in two parts: excise (typically fixed amount) and VAT (variable amount). For gas in Belgium, excise are about 0.60 per litre or half the price of gas.

So price variations due to oil international prices are attenuated. Add to these that taxes decreases when oil price increase and increase when oil price decrease. This is a way to guarantee revenue for the State when oil prices decrease.

[Dec 26, 2016] Vehicle Sales Forecast: Sales Over 17 Million SAAR Again in December, On Track for Record Year in 2016

Dec 26, 2016 | www.calculatedriskblog.com
by Bill McBride on 12/26/2016 09:53:00 AM The automakers will report December vehicle sales on Wednesday, January 4th.

Note: There were 27 selling days in December 2016, down from 28 in December 2015.

From WardsAuto: December Light-Vehicle Sales to Push U.S. Market to New Record

December U.S. light-vehicle sales are forecast to finish strong enough for 2016 to top 2015's record 17.396 million units. However, actual volume largely will be determined by results in the final third of the month, because a major portion of December's deliveries typically occur after Christmas.

The forecast 17.7 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate is below November's 17.8 million, but above December 2015's 17.4 million.
...
Despite the drop in December's volume, total 2016 sales will end at 17.41 million units, barely edging out the all-time high set last year.
emphasis added

Here is a table (source: BEA) showing the 5 top years for light vehicle sales through November, and the top 5 full years. 2016 will probably finish in the top 3, and could be the best year ever - just beating last year.

Light Vehicle Sales, Top 5 Years and Through November
Through November Full Year
Year Sales (000s) Year Sales (000s)
1 2000 16,109 2015 17,396
2 2001 15,812 2000 17,350
3 2016 15,783 2001 17,122
4 2015 15,766 2005 16,948
5 1999 15,498 1999 16,894

[Dec 22, 2016] Oil Consumption Is Immune To A Transport Transformation

Notable quotes:
"... ...in 2016, 96 percent of all new vehicle sales featured a combustion engine. IHS Markit estimates the average vehicle life globally to be about 15 years, which means that the impact of new vehicle technologies is expected to take time to materially affect the vehicle fleet and overall fuel demand. ..."
oilprice.com

...in 2016, 96 percent of all new vehicle sales featured a combustion engine. IHS Markit estimates the average vehicle life globally to be about 15 years, which means that the impact of new vehicle technologies is expected to take time to materially affect the vehicle fleet and overall fuel demand.

[Dec 13, 2016] A Real Opportunity For An Oil Price Recovery

Dec 13, 2016 | oilprice.com
by Dan Dicker

Dec 11, 2016 | OilPrice.com


The OPEC production agreement, which we called correctly, has already helped hoist the profitable oil stocks we held, but what about 2017? One way I've looked at oil and oil stocks is by looking at the crude curve – the differentials between monthly contract prices. And a recent big move in the curve makes 2017 look very positive indeed.

I've seen all kinds of futures curves in my 30+ years of trading oil, and many analysts believe that the crude curve is really predictive of the future –but more often than not, it is merely an outline of what traders and hedgers are thinking.

here's a look at Thursday's curve:

... ... ...

These numbers represent an enormous change from the numbers we saw even two weeks ago, before the big OPEC deal in Vienna. Since 2014, we had been seeing a deep contango market, where oil prices in the future were a lot higher than where they were trading in the front (present) months. But what does a contango market mean?

Many like to look at contango markets as a signal of crude storage, and that has merit – but I like to look at the curve through the eyes of its participants: when the oil market is collapsing, as it has been since 2014, players in the futures markets know that the costs of oil recovery fall well above the trading price, and will buy future oil contracts banking on a recovery. This drives buying interest away from the present and into the future and creates our contango. This kind of market is dominated by the speculators, who are willing to buy (bet) on higher prices later on.

In contrast, the hedging players are in retreat in busting markets, dropping capex and working wells and trying merely to survive to see the next boom. It's when prices begin to recover and they gain confidence in future prices that they try to hedge and plan for the coming up-cycle. This is when speculators, if they are buying, are likely to move closer to the front months if they're buying while producers (commercials) are looking to sell futures 12-24 months out. Suddenly, you have a curve that is being more dominated by commercial players, selling back months and creating the backwardation we're starting to see right now.

You may remember that I was able to nearly predict this year's bottom in oil prices by looking for that flattening move of the crude curve in February. This latest move from a discount to a premium curve has moved more than two dollars in the last week alone. This gives me added confidence in oil prices for 2017:

Let's look, as a practical matter, why a premium (backwardated) market is absolutely REQUIRED to see a long-term recovery in oil.

Imagine you're a shale producer and you've seen prices move from $45 to $52. You've been waiting for a move like this to restart some non-core acreage that you could have working by the middle of 2017. With a deep contango market, you might have gotten $55 or even more for a hedged barrel of crude in June of 2017.

But you're not alone in looking to come out of your bunker, hedge some forward production and restart some idle wells – every other producer is trying to do the same thing. If all of you could depend on a future premium, every producer would hedge out new production and ultimately add to the gluts that have been already slow to disappear.

Related: The OPEC Effect? U.S. Rig Count Spikes Most In 31 Months

If you think about it, a premium market works to DISCOURAGE fast restarts and quick restoration of gluts that a two-year rebalancing process has only slowly managed to fix – and this is a good thing. Producers have to be wary of adding wells so quickly, even in a market that is clearly ready to again rise in price. In a truly backwardated market, the futures work to keep the rebalancing process on track and production increases slow. That governor on production is the key to keeping a rallying market strong, and the frantic addition of wells at a minimum.

The proof of all this is in the type of curves we see depending on how the markets are trading.

Now, take another look at the December-December spread chart I put up and you'll see that a Contango market was a critical component to the bull markets we saw in oil prior to 2014. Unless something very strange is happening, a Contango curve is indicative of a strong market, while a backwardated one indicates a market under pressure. It's something I've watched closely for more than 30 years to help me find major trends.

And convinces me today that oil will have a constructive 2017.

By Dan Dicker for Oilprice.com

[Dec 13, 2016] Both China and India experienced record crude oil demand in November

Dec 13, 2016 | peakoilbarrel.com
shallow sand, 12/13/2016 at 12:05 am
Read on CNBC that both China and India experienced record crude oil demand in November, 2016, with China up 3.4% yoy and India up 12.1% yoy.
Boomer II, 12/13/2016 at 12:28 am
"Read on CNBC that both China and India experienced record crude oil demand in November, 2016, with China up 3.4% yoy and India up 12.1% yoy."

I went looking for something about this and have found nothing on CNBC or anywhere else. Do you have a link?

Watcher, 12/13/2016 at 2:48 am
China's consumption growth was 5% last year. India 7%.

Of course it's growing, maybe even accelerating. Population does.

There really isn't much doubt how this ends, once ppl get past the pearl clutching.

likbez,, 12/13/2016 at 10:52 am
According to Yahoo ( http://finance.yahoo.com/news/iea-ups-oil-demand-forecast-095410829.html ):

IEA also upped its forecast for global oil demand for this year and next year due to revised estimates for Russian and Chinese demand. It saw growth of 1.4 mb/d for 2016, 120,000 barrels a day above the previous forecast. Growth in 2017 is now seen at 1.3 mb/d, an increase of 110,000 barrels a day from its previous estimate.

likbez, 12/13/2016 at 11:40 am

Realistically the only country that can substantially increase its oil production in 2017 in Libya. But that requires the end of the civil war in the country which is unlikely. Iran card was already played.

Iraq is producing without proper maintenance. At some point they might have substantial difficulties.

[Dec 13, 2016] IEA ups oil demand forecast for 2017, says next few weeks are 'crucial' for markets after OPEC deal

Notable quotes:
"... The IEA also upped its forecast for global oil demand for this year and next year due to revised estimates for Russian and Chinese demand. It saw growth of 1.4 mb/d for 2016, 120,000 barrels a day above the previous forecast. Growth in 2017 is now seen at 1.3 mb/d, an increase of 110,000 barrels a day from its previous estimate. ..."
finance.yahoo.com

...OPEC ... crude output in November was 34.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) - a record high - and 300,000 barrels a day higher than in October.

The IEA also upped its forecast for global oil demand for this year and next year due to revised estimates for Russian and Chinese demand. It saw growth of 1.4 mb/d for 2016, 120,000 barrels a day above the previous forecast. Growth in 2017 is now seen at 1.3 mb/d, an increase of 110,000 barrels a day from its previous estimate.

[Jul 19, 2016] Monday night the NDA announced they had blown up the 300,000 bpd export line in Nigeria

Notable quotes:
"... It took a while, but Exxon has decreed force majeure on Qua Iboe. That's the export terminal they have repeatedly said was not attacked first of this week. 300,000 bpd that will not be exported, for a while ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

dclonghorn , 07/13/2016 at 1:46 pm

Maybe my imagination has become to active, but I believe the story of the NDA attacking Mobile's Qua Iboe terminal should be getting more interest. Monday night the NDA announced they had blown up the 300,000 bpd export line. Exxon was quick to deny that an attack had taken place. Someone is lying and it is not clear who.
http://footprint2africa.com/nigeria-militants-exxonmobil-tug-words/

Although it seems almost inconcievable that Exxon would lie about this, there are a couple of things that make you consider the possibility. One is that in May there were reports of a militant strike on the facility, which was denied by Exxon. Shortly after that Exxon reported that a malfunctioning rig had caused damage to the facility, and it was shut down for a short while.

Another is that after the latest attack claimed, Shell reportedly shut in the trans-Niger pipeline, and there have been reports of oil companies evacuating 700 staff.

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/07/shell-shuts-trans-niger-pipeline-avengers-strikes/

http://www.news24.com.ng/National/News/militant-attacks-oil-companies-to-evacuate-over-700-staff-from-bayelsa-20160712

It remains unclear what the status is of the Qua Iboe terminal, and other facilities in Nigeria. But it is clear that they have some big problems.

dclonghorn , 07/15/2016 at 12:23 pm
It took a while, but Exxon has decreed force majeure on Qua Iboe. That's the export terminal they have repeatedly said was not attacked first of this week. 300,000 bpd that will not be exported, for a while

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20160715-irving-based-exxon-mobil-halts-shipments-from-nigeria-oil-rises-in-response.ece

[Jul 17, 2016] China, the worlds fourth-largest oil producer, pumped 5.6% less crude year-on-year in April

Notable quotes:
"... China, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, pumped 5.6% less crude year-on-year in April ..."
"... The Asian nation reduced oil output in May by 7.3% from a year ago ..."
"... In June alone, China pumped 8.9 percent less crude than a year earlier ..."
"... 8,9% in June and the decline just continue to increase!! Lets see what happens in the future, but right now it certainly looks like its collapsing. ..."
"... Some Chinese production is very expensive and they will get their oil from the least costly source. I know this because I've worked there with their senior resource people and had the discussion. Of course, China is facing serious oil depletion as well. ..."
"... In fact, China's production increased 62 kb/d in June vs. May to 4.03 mb/d. But y-o-y decline accelerated to 8.5% in June 2016 (not 8.9% as says Reuters article quoted by oilprice.com). June 2015 was the peak month for China's oil production (4.41 mb/d). ..."
"... China has seen in the past significant drops in monthly oil production, most likely related with maintenance. But this time is different. I agree with Ron that China has peaked. ..."
"... Ok good to know. But 8,5% is still huge. Looking at the graph I see that the number will continue to increase untill end of year unless production levels out or start to increase. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
FreddyW, 07/16/2016 at 9:42 am
Here is an update on Chinese oil production if you have not seen it already:

8,9% in June and the decline just continue to increase!! Lets see what happens in the future, but right now it certainly looks like its collapsing.

Doug Leighton, 07/16/2016 at 9:51 am

Some Chinese production is very expensive and they will get their oil from the least costly source. I know this because I've worked there with their senior resource people and had the discussion. Of course, China is facing serious oil depletion as well.
AlexS, 07/16/2016 at 10:17 am
In fact, China's production increased 62 kb/d in June vs. May to 4.03 mb/d. But y-o-y decline accelerated to 8.5% in June 2016 (not 8.9% as says Reuters article quoted by oilprice.com). June 2015 was the peak month for China's oil production (4.41 mb/d).

I am using original data from the National Bureau of Statistics and conversion factor of 7.3 barrels/ton

China oil production (kb/d) and year-on-year change

AlexS, 07/16/2016 at 10:35 am
China has seen in the past significant drops in monthly oil production, most likely related with maintenance.
But this time is different. I agree with Ron that China has peaked.

Dave P, 07/16/2016 at 6:01 pm
What's makes this time different for China? I'm curious to hear what you base your thoughts on (as you seem to have a good understanding of what's going on).
FreddyW, 07/16/2016 at 12:26 pm
Ok good to know. But 8,5% is still huge. Looking at the graph I see that the number will continue to increase untill end of year unless production levels out or start to increase.

[Jul 16, 2016] China's Oil Output Tanks , Hits 4 Year Low

Notable quotes:
"... In June alone, China pumped 8.9 percent less crude than a year earlier, with state-owned giants such as PetroChina and CNOOC shuttering unprofitable fields ..."
"... Crude oil imports in January-June jumped 14 percent, China's national Bureau of Statistics said ..."
Jul 15, 2016 | OilPrice.com

China's crude oil output over the first half of the year stood at 101.59 million metric tons, down 4.6 percent and the lowest six-month figure since 2012, Bloomberg reports. The decline reflects China's stated shift from an industry-focused economic model to a more service-oriented one. It is also related to a drive by the government to cut the country's environmental footprint, struggling with a reputation of China as one of the most polluted places on earth. Low oil prices were also a factor in the production trend.

In June alone, China pumped 8.9 percent less crude than a year earlier, with state-owned giants such as PetroChina and CNOOC shuttering unprofitable fields and turning to low-cost imports instead.

Crude oil imports in January-June jumped 14 percent, China's national Bureau of Statistics said, with June recording the weakest growth.

[Jul 04, 2016] The world is seeing ever-stronger competition for resources, and some players try to disregard all the rules

Notable quotes:
"... "The world is seeing ever-stronger competition for resources, and some players try to disregard all the rules, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said , adding that potential for conflict is growing worldwide. " ..."
"... If there was any doubt what Putin was thinking, I don't think there should be any more. ..."
"... "…If production falls under consumption (as opposed to demand) then the result is not a shrug and the price goes up. The result is someone doesn't get the oil they ordered…" ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

SatansBestFriend, 07/02/2016 at 8:35 pm

https://www.rt.com/news/348986-putin-resource-rivalry-rules/

Off topic, but definitely relevant.

If Ron's 2015 prediction is correct ( I think it is, and I never get this kind of stuff wrong … lol)
These are the types of articles we should be seeing.

"The world is seeing ever-stronger competition for resources, and some players try to disregard all the rules, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said , adding that potential for conflict is growing worldwide. "

If there was any doubt what Putin was thinking, I don't think there should be any more.

Even AlekS can't disagree with this.

Watcher , 07/03/2016 at 10:56 am
The new release of BPs data on oil statistics is getting too little focus.

Consumption globally was UP last year. 1.9%. 1.9ish million bpd.

Lotsa talk about global reductions in production . . . sometimes. Other times we hear about new records from someone.

But pay heed here. THERE IS NO DELAY IN THIS. If production falls under consumption (as opposed to demand) then the result is not a shrug and the price goes up. The result is someone doesn't get the oil they ordered.

Cushing has about 100 million barrels of capacity. If there were 1 million bpd shortfall on US imports, you got basically 3 months before . . . someone . . . some truck driver at a gas station . . . doesn't get the diesel he ordered. The SPR would be another few months, but tapping it for such an emergency would pretty much announce to the world . . . there ain't enough.

Petro , 07/03/2016 at 11:22 pm
"…If production falls under consumption (as opposed to demand) then the result is not a shrug and the price goes up. The result is someone doesn't get the oil they ordered…" ~Watcher

Bingo!

WWlll…here we come….

Be well,

Petro

[Jun 18, 2016] North Dakota down over 70K bpd in April

Notable quotes:
"... The production drop is 100% DEPLETION of existing wells. This is a critical distinction because if wells were shut, they could be turned back on. If wells deplete, generally, new ones must be drilled to replacement them, ..."
"... The reality is that the only way this production comes back (or stops decreasing) is the application of massive amounts of new capital, the redeployment of tens of thousands of service workers laid off during the crash, and billions of dollars of equipment. This is even more true internationally. As large mature projects deplete, of which there are thousands in decline, new large projects must be developed to replace them. ..."
"... The typical approach would be to shut in low rate high water cut producers, and any other wells that have been experiencing high costs. When prices rise and wells have been shut in for months they will have built up some pressure. And some of them will come in at 100 % water due to self injection. It can be a real crap shoot. ..."
Peak Oil Barrel
Brad B , 06/15/2016 at 12:23 pm
Just a note to correct a popular misconception; production DID NOT drop in Bakken due to SHUT IN wells. The production drop is 100% DEPLETION of existing wells. This is a critical distinction because if wells were shut, they could be turned back on. If wells deplete, generally, new ones must be drilled to replacement them, implying radically different time, service intensity and capital requirements. The popular press is ate up with the concept that when prices rise, all this production will magically reappear, once again swamping the market with excess supplies.

The reality is that the only way this production comes back (or stops decreasing) is the application of massive amounts of new capital, the redeployment of tens of thousands of service workers laid off during the crash, and billions of dollars of equipment. This is even more true internationally. As large mature projects deplete, of which there are thousands in decline, new large projects must be developed to replace them.

Ves , 06/15/2016 at 12:54 pm
"The production drop is 100% DEPLETION of existing wells. This is a critical distinction because if wells were shut, they could be turned back on."

Brad,
Yes. So essentially oil price does not matter at this point at the end of the game for these marginal and high depletion plays. Price could go even higher but drop in production will just continue.

Fernando Leanme , 06/16/2016 at 7:38 am
I think it's a mix. I've been in these circumstances before. The typical approach would be to shut in low rate high water cut producers, and any other wells that have been experiencing high costs. When prices rise and wells have been shut in for months they will have built up some pressure. And some of them will come in at 100 % water due to self injection. It can be a real crap shoot.

[Jun 15, 2016] Seasonal pattern of oil consumption -- going from Q2 to Q3 increases demand by about one and a half million barrels a day

Notable quotes:
"... Yes it is the normal cycle pattern, but going into Q3, we have been seeing draws over the last few weeks, and world S/D has been close to being balanced. ..."
"... It is normal for Q2 to have storage builds, and this year the builds were on the low side. ..."
"... The market is not expecting to see higher demand than supply, and the next step in prices may be soon than expected. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

R DesRoches , 06/13/2016 at 11:41 am

I know that this presentation is about production, but on the other side of production, that is demand, according to the IEA demand tables, going from Q2 to Q3 increases demand by about 1.5 million barrels a day.

There is also a additional small increase going from Q3 to Q4.

With supply decreasing and demand increasing looks like oil prices may be headed higher over the next six months.

The Alberta fires along with Nigeras problems came at the right time yo tighten things up a bit.

AlexS , 06/13/2016 at 12:08 pm
"according to the IEA demand tables, going from Q2 to Q3 increases demand by about 1.5 million barrels a day"

This is a normal seasonal pattern. Demand in Q3-4 is always higher than in Q1-2

R DesRoches , 06/13/2016 at 12:36 pm
Yes it is the normal cycle pattern, but going into Q3, we have been seeing draws over the last few weeks, and world S/D has been close to being balanced.

It is normal for Q2 to have storage builds, and this year the builds were on the low side.

The market is not expecting to see higher demand than supply, and the next step in prices may be soon than expected.

[Jun 15, 2016] Global oil demand remand very strong

Notable quotes:
"... Global demand is indeed strong. All key forecasting agencies are still projecting annual demand growth of 1.2mb/d, but it may surprise on the upside (~1.4mb/d). But supply/demand rebalancing is mainly due to declining non-OPEC output and supply outages. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS , 06/13/2016 at 12:46 pm
Global demand is indeed strong. All key forecasting agencies are still projecting annual demand growth of 1.2mb/d, but it may surprise on the upside (~1.4mb/d).
But supply/demand rebalancing is mainly due to declining non-OPEC output and supply outages.

Quarterly global oil demand (mb/d)
source: IEA Oil Market Report, May 2016

Reply

[Jun 15, 2016] China oil production decline is accelerating.

Notable quotes:
"... According to data from National Bureau of Statistics released today, oil output in May was down 7.3% from a year ago to 16.87 million metric tons (3.97 m/d, using 7.3 ton/barrel conversion factor). Daily output declined 1.6% from April and 10% from June 2015 peak of 4.41 mb/d. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

AlexS , 06/13/2016 at 12:05 pm

China oil production decline is accelerating.

According to data from National Bureau of Statistics released today, oil output in May was down 7.3% from a year ago to 16.87 million metric tons (3.97 m/d, using 7.3 ton/barrel conversion factor). Daily output declined 1.6% from April and 10% from June 2015 peak of 4.41 mb/d.

I think the decline is a result of both ageing onshore oil fields and reduced infill drilling due to lower upstream investments.

China oil production (kb/d) and year-on-year change (%)
source: National Bureau of Statistics

[Jun 11, 2016] Oil market is back in balance

peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS , 06/09/2016 at 5:39 am
John Kemp's new article in Reuters:

Oil market is back in balance
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-global-kemp-idUSKCN0YU04Z

[Jun 03, 2016] Oil prices crush lures US drivers back into gas guzzlers

peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS , 06/02/2016 at 6:40 pm
Interesting trends in transportation fuel demand:

OPEC's Cheap Oil Strategy Lures Drivers Back Into Gas Guzzlers

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-30/opec-s-cheap-oil-strategy-lures-drivers-back-into-gas-guzzlers

• Decade-long improvement in fuel efficiency in U.S. seen ending
• Light trucks, vans, SUVs account for 60% of U.S. vehicle sales

Last year, SUVs outsold any other type of passenger vehicle in Europe for the first time, according to auto industry consultants JATO Dynamics. The trend has continued in 2016, with demand for SUVs … accounting for a quarter of sales in the biggest European countries.
Europe is a mirror of what's happening across the world. From China to the U.S., drivers are buying bigger vehicles, while sales of fuel-efficient hybrids struggle.

[In the U.S.] the average car sold in April achieved a fuel economy of 25.2 miles per gallon, down from a peak of 25.8 set in August 2014, just before oil prices crashed, according to data from the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan. At current trends, this year will mark the first drop in average U.S. fuel economy since at least 2007, the data show.

"Fuel-economy improvement is really flatlining," said Sam Ori, executive director of theEnergy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. "The gains completely stopped right at the same time that oil prices started to decline."
Today in the U.S., light trucks, vans and SUVs account for 60 percent of total vehicle sales - a level only reached briefly in 2005, when Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, averaged $55 a barrel. It's now around $50. The International Energy Agency said in May that less-efficient vehicles, including four-wheel drives, "remain very much in vogue, a consequence of persistently lower retail pump prices."

In 2008, when oil prices averaged $100 a barrel, the share of gas guzzlers in U.S. total vehicles sales dropped at one point to just 43 percent.

With larger vehicles hitting the roads and Americans driving longer distances as the economy recovers, U.S. gasoline consumption is set to rise to a record in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration. U.S. gasoline demand will average 9.3 million barrels a day this year, surpassing the peak set in 2007, the EIA said in its most recent monthly report.

The EIA forecast U.S. drivers will enjoy the cheapest gasoline this driving season in 12 years.

In China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, drivers are also opting for larger vehicles as never before. While cheaper gasoline and diesel helps, analysts said it's higher incomes - and a desire to impress relatives and friends - that's driving the purchases. According to official data, vehicles such as light trucks and SUVs accounted for almost 35 percent of total Chinese passenger sales in April, up from 10 percent in 2010 and less than 5 percent a decade ago.

U.S. average sales-weighted fuel-economy rating

AlexS , 06/02/2016 at 6:44 pm
chart 2

GoneFishing , 06/02/2016 at 7:03 pm
You are right AlexS, Americans need to be more frugal and forward thinking.

My town wants to allow a gas station to be put in near the highway, there is a gas station a short drive away. Not only will the gas station be mere feet from a Category 1 trout stream, it will be almost at the level of the stream. The three large tanks will be actually buried in the aquifer for the town and have to be held down from floating. Everything runs off wells here, so contamination will effect much of the town and wreck the aquifer.

To top it all off, the land is now a ride-sharing lot, something that reduces fuel use and pollution as well as reduces the wear and tear on cars (slowing down the need for vehicle replacement and all the energy/pollution that involves).

There are gas stations just a few miles in either direction along the highway.

Sound dumb to you?

Lightsout , 06/02/2016 at 10:26 pm
I think the market share argument was always a smoke screen and this was always the Saudi's real intent.

[May 29, 2016] Sinking rig counts worldwide doesnt correspond to these fantastic planned oil production increases

Notable quotes:
"... Financialization is the lubricant that makes it possible to think of everything as an asset that could immediately be liquidated at near full value, including hypothetical growth options. When everything is fully financialized and real world frictions are removed, it will always make more sense to buy and sell the assets and their affiliated options that to actually invest and improve anything. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
Eulenspiegel , 05/19/2016 at 4:21 am
Sinking rig counts worldwide doesn't correspond to these fantastic planned production increases – if it was that easy to crank up production, why has everyone hasn't done it before?

And opening the chokes, damaging the oilfied only works short term before new infills / CO2 or other expensive stuff is neccessary.

likbez , 05/19/2016 at 10:07 am
Sinking rig counts worldwide doesn't correspond to these fantastic planned production increases – if it was that easy to crank up production, why has everyone hasn't done it before?

A relevant quote:

Financialization is the lubricant that makes it possible to think of everything as an asset that could immediately be liquidated at near full value, including hypothetical growth options. When everything is fully financialized and real world frictions are removed, it will always make more sense to buy and sell the assets and their affiliated options that to actually invest and improve anything.

This is one of the most straightforward ways to visualize how increased financialization can harm the economy. Although simply calling bankers parasites is arguably even more straightforward.

see also http://softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/index.shtml

Oldfarmermac , 05/19/2016 at 11:35 am
We may still have a choice of a prez candidate who is neither the property nor the owner of big business interests.

[May 20, 2016] The current oil price collapse was due to over-production, which was a result of a four times increase of capex over the previous 10 years and was a cyclical event,

Notable quotes:
"... I will tell you how "sane" companies react to down turns like we are going through. They batten down the hatches, cut costs to bare minimum. When prices recover, they do not immediately go great guns. They first get caught up on the maintenance that was delayed due to the downturn. Then, once that is done, they slowly begin to spend money on new wells. ..."
"... Early on, most companies were hoping for a quick recovery. 2015 persistent low prices, followed by the hammer of $20 oil in Q1 has really taken a toll, IMO. This is why we are now seeing many BK. Q1 knocked them out. ..."
"... What I think should worry many people is that those of us considered "marginal" are weathering this storm better than many of the large companies. We are operating stuff that the majors/large independent companies got rid of decades ago, that was deemed to be too costly for them to continue to operate. ..."
"... Now, those majors/large independents are finding there is almost nothing left of "cheap" to develop oil. Deep water, no. Shale, no. Tar sands, no. ..."
"... The shale companies are spending over $5 million per well to obtain 150-400K BO over a period of 20+ years. Folks, they have sold off assets all over the world to go after this stuff. That should be a big concern. ..."
"... In December 2008 oil price was $40. Shale started expansion around that time with the free money from the banks. Today in mid 2016 price of oil is $48 and it is evident that Shale is gradually closing the shop with just additional life-support from the banks to scrape the bottom of the barrel in the remaining sweet spots. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS , 05/20/2016 at 5:30 am

"In fact the price has collapsed hasn't it, in spite of steadily worsening EROI and now virtual cessation of exploration and development. Gail's explanation fits the evidence we have in front of us today. Simple EROI or depletion models don't so well. "

The 2014-16 price collapse was due to over-production, which was a result of a 4-fold increase in upstream capex over the previous 10 years. It's a cyclical event, like in 1982-86, 1998, 2001-02 and 2008-09. The global supply and demand are gradually rebalancing. Prices are already recovering (+80% since Fenruary lows) and will rise much further in the next several years due to the current sharp decrease in exploration and development spending.

shallow sand , 05/20/2016 at 8:25 am
AlexS.

I agree with you.

One point I would like to make is that, unlike in response to prior cyclical downturns, OPEC, thus far at least, has not cut production. I question if anyone has spare capacity, outside of that caused by war/political strife.

It took massive amounts of leverage for the US and Canada to ramp up production, along with a relatively stable oil price band of $85-$105.

It remains to be seen if that type of leverage will occur again in the immediate future.

I note, despite the price improvement, the rig count we all follow, North Dakota, is down to 24, with one still listed as stacking.

I will tell you how "sane" companies react to down turns like we are going through. They batten down the hatches, cut costs to bare minimum. When prices recover, they do not immediately go great guns. They first get caught up on the maintenance that was delayed due to the downturn. Then, once that is done, they slowly begin to spend money on new wells.

Early on, most companies were hoping for a quick recovery. 2015 persistent low prices, followed by the hammer of $20 oil in Q1 has really taken a toll, IMO. This is why we are now seeing many BK. Q1 knocked them out.

If OPEC's goal is to finish off US companies, they will figure out a way to keep a lid on prices this summer, and then drive prices back down into the $20s again. However, I am not sure if this can be accomplished, or if OPEC members can even handle that. Further, it is clear to me that Russia can ride out low prices better than most, but not $20s. The Q1 price collapse caused Russia to act.

We are still here, and cautiously optimistic, but it is a very, very cautious optimism.

What I think should worry many people is that those of us considered "marginal" are weathering this storm better than many of the large companies. We are operating stuff that the majors/large independent companies got rid of decades ago, that was deemed to be too costly for them to continue to operate.

Now, those majors/large independents are finding there is almost nothing left of "cheap" to develop oil. Deep water, no. Shale, no. Tar sands, no.

The shale companies are spending over $5 million per well to obtain 150-400K BO over a period of 20+ years. Folks, they have sold off assets all over the world to go after this stuff. That should be a big concern.

This point has been made here repeatedly. Despite this severe price downturn and the alleged glut, I think it is still true. There may be a lot of oil out there left to produce, but it will cost a lot per BO to get it out of the ground.

Dennis Coyne , 05/20/2016 at 9:58 am
Hi Shallow sand,

Agree with all you say.

A question:

You say:

…but it will cost a lot per BO to get it out of the ground.

Can you define "a lot" ?

I think $75/b (2015$) will allow a fair amount of oil to be produced profitably, but agree it will take 6 to 12 months before there will be much of a production increase (say 1 Mb/d Worldwide) in response to oil prices at $75/b. I imagine the slow response will result in a price spike to $100/b as supply starts to run short (probably in 2018).

Ves , 05/20/2016 at 10:52 am
Alex, SS,

In December 2008 oil price was $40. Shale started expansion around that time with the free money from the banks. Today in mid 2016 price of oil is $48 and it is evident that Shale is gradually closing the shop with just additional life-support from the banks to scrape the bottom of the barrel in the remaining sweet spots.

So the price in Shale case did not play ANY role. So where is that "cycle" that you see it? There is no cycle. Shale was drilled regardless of price to kick the can just for few years to mask over-leveraged economy.

Dennis Coyne , 05/20/2016 at 11:03 am
Hi Ves,

Prices did not remain between $40 and $48 per barrel.

The cycle is the large swings in the oil price from $40/b to $120/b to $30/b and now headed back up.

If you believe the change in the oil price does not make a difference, I would disagree.

Dennis Coyne , 05/20/2016 at 11:36 am
Also from Dec 2008 to March 2008 only 27 wells per month were added in the Bakken/Three Forks. Other LTO plays didn't really get going until 2010.

By August 2009 Brent was up to $72/b, from March 2009 to July 2009 the average wells added per month in the Bakken was 40 wells/month.

Also it was the high prices earlier in 2008 that got things started, oil prices were over $80/b from Oct 2007 to Sept 2008, the dip in oil prices was relatively brief, the oil price was under $60/b for only 7 months from Nov 2008 to May 2009. The oil industry takes some time to react to oil price changes. Chart with annual average Brent oil price in nominal dollars below. The price has been above $70/b for all but 2 years from 2007 to 2015 (2009 and 2015).

Ves , 05/20/2016 at 11:55 am
Hi Dennis,

There is no free market CYCLE if OPEC cuts 4.2mbd in January 2009 and then it does not cut single barrel in November 2014. Of course there is always a "cycle" in long term.

"Prices did not remain between $40 and $48 per barrel"

That just shows you that price points are irrelevant. In 2008 when price was $40 did Shale had crystal ball to know that price will go $100 in the next 6-7 years?
400 rigs that are drilling right now in US do they know where the price will be next year? Reply

[May 20, 2016] Hard Landing Coming Soon? Chinese Officials Set Off Red Alert on Debt, Urge Serious Measure to Contain It

Notable quotes:
"... Financial crises are always ultimately credit crises. Even when the proximate cause seems to be a stock market crash, the amount of damage done depends on how much leveraged speculation took place and how that affects critical lending and payment systems. Even though Japan's payment system was never at risk in the implosion of its colossal credit bubble, its banks and economy have been in a zombie state for a full quarter century. Japan's massive bubble took place through a mere 11 massive "city banks" and another three "long term credit banks". By contrast, China has a large shadow banking system. Just like our officialdom in 2007 and 2008, it's very unlikely that they have a good grasp of the extent and the interconnectedness of the risks. They may find out very soon. ..."
"... Remember the shoddy construction in schools – earthquake collapse. Then there is the bubble in unoccupied "ghost cities" that go on forever. ..."
"... Why did Xi burst the bubble. I had suspected the smog and pollution have done more damage in death and disability than admitted. I wonder if the population is even in decline not just the labor force. ..."
"... If China is suddenly officially ready to countenance a huge rise in unemployment, one presumes they have some plan to socialize the pain, to take care of the population. ..."
"... If this is true, what's in store may be something like IIRC Lambert proposed in comments the other day: nationalize the financial institution, file the Chinese equivalent of RICO charges, impound the wealth and tie the former elite up in jail/litigation for the next decade. ..."
"... "impound the wealth" –including all the wealth offshore? including the wealth Chinese oligarchs have invested in foreign real estate? Are Chinese oligarchs any more likely to go against their own class than Western oligarchs? ..."
"... I missed that Telegraph article – it really is quite alarming. I have to say though that anecdotally, my Chinese friends are no more pessimistic than usual, so I don't think that ordinary Chinese are feeling worried yet – property prices are still going up, which is reassuring to most middle class there, and there is no evidence I've heard of any panic in the various 'informal' or shadow investing markets (lots of Chinese run what amount to unofficial banks, borrowing and investing on behalf of friends). ..."
"... AEP suggests that Xi may not be the firm hand on the tiller that everyone assumes – his overt confidence may well be a front for some very confused ideas. I think there is increasing evidence that this may be the case. For all the sound and fury, there is little real evidence of reform from within. But I think the safe bet is that the CCP has enough of a firm hand that they can prevent an outright crash – much more likely is the sort of crippling slow motion collapse that we saw in Japan a quarter of a century ago. But the longer they insist on shovelling fuel on to the fire, the less likely that happens. As Pettis constantly points out, economists consistently underestimate the speed and severity of crashes. ..."
"... Given the huge amount of foreign investment in china and how much it is likely leveraged, the global financial system will collapse again triggering the collapse of many states. proposals of bailouts would be likely met with violent resistance, even revolution. far right politicians would seize power and, where they haven't been politically neutered, maybe some leftists would, too. were it to happen before november, we could welcome into office president trump in january. ..."
May 19, 2016 | nakedcapitalism.com

by Yves Smith

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has a must-read article on what may be the beginning of the end of the China-as-economic-wunderkind story. The reason for the hesitancy is that the lengthy article that appeared in early May on the front page of the house organ of the Politboro may either be an official declaration or an effort by a powerful minority to press for a meaningful, sustained effort to stop the growth in debt levels. Particularly since the global financial crisis, China has relied heavily on increases in private-sector debt to keep growth levels up. Mind you, borrowing to invest is not necessarily a bad idea if it goes into projects that are sufficiently productive. But as readers know well, China has had investment at an unprecedented proportion of GDP for years, and most of it has gone into assets created for speculation (housing that sits vacant and is seen by investors as an alternative to the stock market) or unproductive increases in industrial capacity. Consider this extract from a March article in the South China Morning Post:

At the peak of its cement production in 2014, China turned out more cement in just two years than the United States had produced in the previous century.

As the first chart shows, the trend finally topped out last year but it still indicates almost 30 times as much cement production in China as in the US, a much larger economy. Is this huge volume of cement really needed? Is this sustainable?

There is certainly an argument for more cement production in China than in the US, which has largely built its cities and its transport infrastructure. China is still in the process of doing so. Its cement requirements are thus proportionately much greater.

True, but 30 times as great with as much cement production in two years as the US recorded in 100 years? That's pushing things.

And while economic growth in China is faster than in the US, much of it represents just this pouring of cement. Fixed capital formation accounts for 45 per cent of gross domestic product, about twice the average of the rest of Asia, and higher multiples yet than the rest of the world.
This sort of excess crashes if demand turns sour. And it could take a lot more with it than just cement and steel plants

The story is told in many more sectors than just cement. The second chart shows you that China's steel production is topping out but is still running at five times the rate of all 28 countries in the European Union combined and almost 10 times steel production in the US.

This steel is still being used but there are reasons to doubt the continued demand. Car production last year of 12 million units, for instance, was three times the equivalent of domestic production in the US.

Yes, I know Americans are importing ever more cars as they begin to share the rest of the world's doubts about their own Chevrolets and Chryslers and, yes, car ownership ratios are still much higher in the US than in China, but three times as much car production in China as in the US still has a feeling of unreality. China is not rich enough yet to afford so large a car market.

AEP recaps the well-known-if-you've been-watching signs that China is in the advanced stages of a monster debt binge. The problem with bubbles, as anyone who has lived through them knows so well, is they typically run much further than clinical observers imagine possible. So the nay-sayers look like gloomy Gusses while the momentum traders party until the whole thing goes kaboom. AEP's danger signals, from his Telegraph account :

China's debt is approaching $30 trillion. The fresh credit alone created since 2007 is greater than the outstanding liabilities of the US, Japanese, German, and Indian commercial banking systems combined…

To put matters in context, leverage rose by roughly 50 percentage points of GDP in Japan before the Nikkei bubble burst in 1990, or in Korea before the East Asia crisis in 1998, or in the US before the subprime debacle. This gauge is an almost mechanical indicator of a future credit crisis.

As we all know, China is in a class of its own. Debt has risen by 120 to 140 percentage points. The scale of excess industrial capacity – and China's power and life and death over commodity markets – mean that any serious policy pivot by the Communist Party would set off an international earthquake.

Yet that is what at least an important group of the officialdom is prepared to do. The logic for a crackdown now is that delaying a day of reckoning will only make the inevitable contraction worse:

China watchers are still struggling to identify the author of an electrifying article in the People's Daily that declares war on debt and the "fantasy" of perpetual stimulus…

The 11,000 character text – citing an "authoritative person" – was given star-billing on the front page. It described leverage as the "original sin" from which all other risks emanate, with debt "growing like a tree in the air".

It warned of a "systemic financial crisis" and demanded a halt to the "old methods" of reflexive stimulus every time growth falters. "It is neither possible nor necessary to force economic growing by levering up," it said.

It called for root-and-branch reform of the SOE's – the redoubts of vested interests and the patronage machines of party bosses – with an assault on "zombie companies". Local governments were ordered to abandon their illusions and accept the inevitable slide in tax revenues, and the equally inevitable rise in unemployment.

If China does not bite the bullet now, the costs will be "much higher" in the future. "China's economic performance will not be U-shaped and definitely not V-shaped. It will be L-shaped," said the text. We have been warned.

The article also describes how China put its foot on the accelerator in recent quarters, so if this article represents a policy change, it would be a real gear shift:

The latest stop-go credit cycle began in mid-2015 and has since accelerated to an epic blow-off, with the M1 money supply now growing at 22.9pc, by the fastest pace since the post-Lehman blitz.

Wei Yao from Societe Generale estimates that total loans rose by $1.15 trillion in the first quarter, equivalent to 46pc of quarterly GDP. "This looks like an old-styled credit-backed investment-driven recovery, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the beginning of the 'four trillion stimulus' package in 2009. The consequence of that stimulus was inflation, asset bubbles and excess capacity," she said.

House sales rose 60pc in April, despite curbs to cool the bubble. New starts were up 26pc. Prices jumped 63pc in Shenzhen, 34pc in Shanghai, 20pc in Beijing, and 18pc in Hefei. Panic buying is spreading to the smaller Tier 3 and 4 cities with the greatest glut.

There is still some fiscal spending in the pipeline, so the robust times will continue at least through the summer. But liquidity is already starting to dry up despite all the money creation as investors are getting more and more evidence that the government will not rescue wealth management products (which are often invested in real estate projects sponsored by local government entities) or the bond issues of state owned enterprises (SOEs). Again from AEP's report :

Moody's warned this month that China's state-owned entities (SOEs) have alone racked up debts of 115pc of GDP, and a fifth may require restructuring. The defaults are already spreading up the ladder from local SOE's to the bigger state behemoths, once thought – wrongly – to have a sovereign guarantee…

The rot in the country's $7.7 trillion bond markets is metastasizing. Bo Zhuang from Trusted Sources said more than 100 firms cancelled or delayed bond issues in April due to widening credit spreads…

Ten companies have defaulted this year, with the shipbuilder Evergreen, Nanjing Yurun Foods, and the solar group Yingli Green Energy all in trouble this month. But what has really spooked markets is the suspension of nine bonds issued by the AA+ rated China Railways Materials, the first of the big central SOE's to signal default. "This has greatly weakened investors' long-standing expectation of implicit government support," he said.

Bo Zhuang said investors have poured money into bonds in the latest frenzy. The stock of corporate bonds has jumped by 78pc to $2.3 trillion over the last year. It is the epicentre of leverage through short-term 'repo' transactions, and it is now coming unstuck.

Financial crises are always ultimately credit crises. Even when the proximate cause seems to be a stock market crash, the amount of damage done depends on how much leveraged speculation took place and how that affects critical lending and payment systems. Even though Japan's payment system was never at risk in the implosion of its colossal credit bubble, its banks and economy have been in a zombie state for a full quarter century. Japan's massive bubble took place through a mere 11 massive "city banks" and another three "long term credit banks". By contrast, China has a large shadow banking system. Just like our officialdom in 2007 and 2008, it's very unlikely that they have a good grasp of the extent and the interconnectedness of the risks. They may find out very soon.

I urge you to read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's important article in full . Even with my extensive excerpts, there's a lot more unsettling information to ponder. PlutoniumKun , May 19, 2016 at 9:55 am

There is no evidence that cement is being stockpiled to my knowledge – its all being poured. The problem is that the construction projects just don't have a productive return any more.

However, there is a serious point to be made about concrete in China – it is generally low quality. This is ok for regular engineering, but for specialist needs, such as High Speed Rail, it seriously reduces the life span of the structure. I can't find a link to it now, but a few years ago an engineering journal was estimating that Chinas High Speed Rail network would have to reduce its speed limits by several mpg per year as the structures were degrading very rapidly. It estimated that in 20 years the HSR network would be no faster than a conventional railway network.

Minnie Mouse , May 19, 2016 at 10:43 am

Remember the shoddy construction in schools – earthquake collapse. Then there is the bubble in unoccupied "ghost cities" that go on forever.

David , May 19, 2016 at 9:35 am

Our imports from China fell big last month and the department stores that sell the junk are gone down even faster so if we lost half or 200 billion of their junk I an not sure it would be missed or replaced. I do think that this China implosion is important. I have some questions. China has a pork shortage and owns Smithfield but is not importing. Why?

Why did Xi burst the bubble. I had suspected the smog and pollution have done more damage in death and disability than admitted. I wonder if the population is even in decline not just the labor force.

Please keep covering whatever it is that is going on in China.

jsn , May 19, 2016 at 9:40 am

If China is suddenly officially ready to countenance a huge rise in unemployment, one presumes they have some plan to socialize the pain, to take care of the population.

If this is true, what's in store may be something like IIRC Lambert proposed in comments the other day: nationalize the financial institution, file the Chinese equivalent of RICO charges, impound the wealth and tie the former elite up in jail/litigation for the next decade.

I'm a hopeless optimist…

TheCatSaid , May 19, 2016 at 9:54 am

"impound the wealth" –including all the wealth offshore? including the wealth Chinese oligarchs have invested in foreign real estate? Are Chinese oligarchs any more likely to go against their own class than Western oligarchs?

PlutoniumKun , May 19, 2016 at 10:08 am

I missed that Telegraph article – it really is quite alarming. I have to say though that anecdotally, my Chinese friends are no more pessimistic than usual, so I don't think that ordinary Chinese are feeling worried yet – property prices are still going up, which is reassuring to most middle class there, and there is no evidence I've heard of any panic in the various 'informal' or shadow investing markets (lots of Chinese run what amount to unofficial banks, borrowing and investing on behalf of friends).

As one Chinese friend put it to me 'everyone in my town owes more money than they have to everyone else'. I've always suspected its the informal/shadow system that would show stress before the formal system. The only thing I do know is that a friend of mine who runs a business helping Chinese people move to Europe using 'investment' visas has found more and more people of very modest means attempting to do it – its not just the rich who are buying properties.

The usually reliable Michael Pettis also seems his usual gently bullish, but steady self, I'd expect him to write something if there was something nasty growing.

AEP suggests that Xi may not be the firm hand on the tiller that everyone assumes – his overt confidence may well be a front for some very confused ideas. I think there is increasing evidence that this may be the case. For all the sound and fury, there is little real evidence of reform from within. But I think the safe bet is that the CCP has enough of a firm hand that they can prevent an outright crash – much more likely is the sort of crippling slow motion collapse that we saw in Japan a quarter of a century ago. But the longer they insist on shovelling fuel on to the fire, the less likely that happens. As Pettis constantly points out, economists consistently underestimate the speed and severity of crashes.

vidimi , May 19, 2016 at 10:28 am

let's try to imagine the global impact of a Chinese implosion.

as china is the main source of global export demand, if they hit a brick wall it would devastate all but the most diversified or isolated economies. from Australia to Zaire, the impact would be devastating to employment.

Given the huge amount of foreign investment in china and how much it is likely leveraged, the global financial system will collapse again triggering the collapse of many states. proposals of bailouts would be likely met with violent resistance, even revolution. far right politicians would seize power and, where they haven't been politically neutered, maybe some leftists would, too. were it to happen before november, we could welcome into office president trump in january.

domestically, Chinese job losses would be enormous causing mass discontent and protests. indeed, the only thing to do with legions of disgruntled, unemployed, unmarried men would be to draft them into the army. but so much fodder requires cannons, and so, the likelihood of war would be very high.

it's interesting to think about.

[May 15, 2016] China oil production decline is accelerating

Notable quotes:
"... China, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, pumped 5.6 percent less crude year-on-year in April, official data showed, as oil firms struggled with cost pressures with crude prices hovering around $40 a barrel. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS , 05/14/2016 at 4:55 am
China oil production decline is accelerating:

China April crude oil output lowest since July 2013

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-oil-output-idUSKCN0Y5059

China, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, pumped 5.6 percent less crude year-on-year in April, official data showed, as oil firms struggled with cost pressures with crude prices hovering around $40 a barrel.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics released on Saturday showed China produced 16.59 million tonnes of crude oil last month, or about 4.04 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest rate since July 2013 on a daily basis.

Production in the first four months was down 2.7 percent over the same year-ago period to 68.14 million tonnes, or about 4.11 million bpd.

PetroChina, the country's top producer, recorded a 0.2 percent drop in oil and gas production in the first quarter and Sinopec scaled back domestic crude production by 10.35 percent in the same period, companies said in April.

Offshore specialist CNOOC Ltd, however, delivered a 5.1 percent rise in total net oil and gas production in the first quarter over a year ago, thanks to new Chinese offshore fields.

Natural gas output last month rose 5.6 percent on the year to 10.6 billion cubic meters, with production up 5.3 percent in the first four months, the data showed.

[May 15, 2016] China has reported April 2016 production at 4 mbpd. almost 6 percent decline year on year

peakoilbarrel.com
dclonghorn, 05/15/2016 at 7:24 pm
China has reported April 2016 production at 4.04 mbpd. A 5.6% decline year on year. It's down 380,000 bopd (8.6%) from the 4.42 mbpd JODI lists for June 2015.

http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/china-april-crude-oil-output-lowest-since-july-2013/

Depletion seems to be wining more and more.

[May 07, 2016] Is This The Biggest Red Herring In Oil Markets

Notable quotes:
"... Americans are driving more than ever before. Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reached an all-time high of 3.15 trillion miles in February 2016 (Figure 2). VMT have increased 97 billion miles per month (3 percent) since the beginning of 2015 and gasoline sales have increased 187 kbpd (2 percent). The rates of increase are not proportional. ..."
OilPrice.com

Americans are driving more than ever before. Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reached an all-time high of 3.15 trillion miles in February 2016 (Figure 2). VMT have increased 97 billion miles per month (3 percent) since the beginning of 2015 and gasoline sales have increased 187 kbpd (2 percent). The rates of increase are not proportional.

... ... ...

From April 2015 to March 2016, oil production decreased 660 kbpd (-7 percent) but net crude oil imports increased 800 kbpd (+10 percent) (Figure 5).

[May 05, 2016] Low oil prive forever regime in of the verge of breakdown

Notable quotes:
"... meaning Sechin ..."
"... "Mr Sechin warned last week that the current shale boom could be another "dotcom bubble" about to burst after drillers, loaded up on risky debt, and hedge funds piled in to make a quick buck over the last five years." Seems like he was prescient in that observation as well. ..."
"... The elephant in the room is the cost of production which for most countries including the USA and Canada is far higher then the current prices. That means that the wave of bankruptcies and drop in the USA production will continue unabated. The total loss might be above 1 Mb/d for the 2016. Canada also lost some production (currently 0.5 Mb/d due to fires) and needs about $80 for tar sand production to be profitable. Chances that oil price will reach this level in 2016 are slim, so the future of Canadian tar sand oil production is grim. ..."
"... Several oil producing countries are on the verge of bankruptcy (Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq). Saudi are losing around 100 billion a year in currency reserves while still playing a role of Trojan horse of the West in oil markets. ..."
"... This situation is unsustainable and speculator/HFT driven suppression of oil prices at some point might break and will be replaced by a new price boom. It in highly probable that the price of oil will reach, at least temporary, the level of $55 this year. ..."
"... But oil is a strategic product and high oil prices mean stagnation of Western economies. The key problem is that high oil prices threaten neoliberalism as a social system and derail neoliberal globalization. So they will be fought tooth and nail by the US and the EU elites. That's why agreement to freeze oil production by OPEN was derailed. Another victory of western diplomacy. ..."
naked capitalism

Is Gasoline Demand the Biggest Red Herring In Oil Markets naked capitalism

Jack Heape , May 5, 2016 at 8:41 am

Perhaps Igor Sechin is right (Sechin is head of the Russian energy company Rosneft and a close ally of Putin). In a Telegraph article on 2/2/15, discussing Sechin and the remarks he made at an oil consortium, the author comments that, "However, the real "haymaker" punch he ( meaning Sechin ) aimed at the global energy system came with the accusation that oil futures markets in London and New York, which set the price of the world's most vital energy commodity, are essentially being rigged by a feral cabal of speculators and traders." That would explain the obvious disconnect discussed by the author here concerning the red herrings put out by the oil sector. Interesting as well, in the article mentioned above the author also notes, "Mr Sechin warned last week that the current shale boom could be another "dotcom bubble" about to burst after drillers, loaded up on risky debt, and hedge funds piled in to make a quick buck over the last five years." Seems like he was prescient in that observation as well.

Jack Heape , May 5, 2016 at 8:43 am

The link to that article I mentioned is here .

tegnost , May 5, 2016 at 9:58 am

Berman implies as much, but puts a kinder spin on it
"The collective consciousness that drives the oil market is fed up with low oil prices"

Jim Haygood , May 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm

We're fed up, ain't gon' take it no mo.

June crude is up 2.5% to $44.87 today.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo … free money, free beer, free gasoline!

likbez , May 5, 2016 at 1:14 pm
The elephant in the room is the cost of production which for most countries including the USA and Canada is far higher then the current prices. That means that the wave of bankruptcies and drop in the USA production will continue unabated. The total loss might be above 1 Mb/d for the 2016. Canada also lost some production (currently 0.5 Mb/d due to fires) and needs about $80 for tar sand production to be profitable. Chances that oil price will reach this level in 2016 are slim, so the future of Canadian tar sand oil production is grim.

Several oil producing countries are on the verge of bankruptcy (Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq). Saudi are losing around 100 billion a year in currency reserves while still playing a role of Trojan horse of the West in oil markets.

This situation is unsustainable and speculator/HFT driven suppression of oil prices at some point might break and will be replaced by a new price boom. It in highly probable that the price of oil will reach, at least temporary, the level of $55 this year.

But oil is a strategic product and high oil prices mean stagnation of Western economies. The key problem is that high oil prices threaten neoliberalism as a social system and derail neoliberal globalization. So they will be fought tooth and nail by the US and the EU elites. That's why agreement to freeze oil production by OPEN was derailed. Another victory of western diplomacy.

Arthur Berman was a very keen observer of shale bubble in the USA until recently. Then something changed.

[May 05, 2016] Why the worst of the oil rout might already be behind us

Alberta Oil Magazine

The surplus in early 2016 was closer to about 500,000 b/d, he says, and should continue to fall. "The oversupply in the market is grossly overstated," King says.

A lag in output data is partly due to the high estimates, King says, and surpluses are likely to be much lower in the coming months as surplus numbers begin to catch up with the real decreases in supplies. "People are still suggesting it's one million or two million barrels per day-it's nothing even close to that."

FirstEnergy sees prices for West Texas Intermediate averaging $55 for 2017, then rising to $66.25 over 2018 and $74 in 2019, according to its quarterly market update. "In 2017 you'll start to see things look a little bit better," King said. "The market in our view is reaching a balanced position. Inventories are starting to roll over, demand is doing great and supplies are coming off-the three basics you need for better pricing."

Some analysts have suggested the gradual rise in WTI prices could trigger a simultaneous rise in U.S. shale oil production, which would ultimately offset any gains in prices. King said this scenario was unlikely, as many producers have already locked in their 2016 spending programs, and capital markets remain tight and the high-yield debt market continues to sputter.

[May 04, 2016] Of 72 percent of petroleum used is for transportation 63 percent is used by light duty vehicles

Notable quotes:
"... 72% of petroleum used is for transportation. 63% of that is light duty vehicles. So of 90mbod, 40 million barrels are subject to potential substitution by electric vehicles. The adoption curve need only stay ahead of the decline curve. ..."
"... As an ex Mack Trucks sales person. I always considered SUVs and pickups as light duty. I agree they will be electrified but it's going to take a little longer than passenger vehicles. Right now hybrids are much more feasible because of the more extreme workload they preform. Towing a 10k trailer a couple of hundred of miles is going to take a lot of juice. ..."
"... America already runs hybrid buses if you consider that electric. To get were the world needs to be, we're going to need a lot of f'n batteries. Once the world solves the battery issue, there is not much reason class 8's can't be electrified starting with local delivery trucks. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
05/02/2016 at 8:15 am

Differences of opinion are what make discussion interesting.

72% of petroleum used is for transportation. 63% of that is light duty vehicles. So of 90mbod, 40 million barrels are subject to potential substitution by electric vehicles. The adoption curve need only stay ahead of the decline curve.

Why worry about Caterpillars first when transportation is the biggest slice of the petroleum pie, and the most readily subject to supercession by other energy sources?

Transition may be improbable, but that's different than impossible.

Bob Nickson , 05/02/2016 at 9:06 am
Assuming that an ICE is 20% as efficient as an EV, which seems reasonable as one barrel of oil is energy equivalent to 1628.2kWh, and will produce 19 gallons of gasoline, and 12 gallons of diesel. Assuming 30 mpg economy for each, the barrel of oil provides 930 miles of travel, while 1628.2 kWh at 3mpkWh will provide 4,884 miles of travel.

So if the light duty transport fleet was replaced 100% with electric vehicles, 40.8 mbo/day would require 13.3 TWh of electric power substitution.

We have increased global annual renewable power production by 3,250 TWh's in the last decade, so to increase renewable power production by 2030 to produce 13TWh/day to offset 40.8 MBO/day used in the transportation sector would require that we accomplish in the next fifteen years what we have accomplished in the last ten (+3,250TWhp/decade).

As for the vehicles, all we must do is replace 100% of the light duty fleet with EV's in that same 15 years. Easy as pie, right? :-)

Nick G , 05/02/2016 at 1:31 pm
Heavy duty vehicle can be electrified too. SUVs and pickups are considered heavy duty.

Heck, Chinese buses are going heavily electric: there are projections that they'll be 100% electric in 10 years.

ChiefEngineer , 05/02/2016 at 2:17 pm
Hi Nick,

As an ex Mack Trucks sales person. I always considered SUVs and pickups as light duty. I agree they will be electrified but it's going to take a little longer than passenger vehicles. Right now hybrids are much more feasible because of the more extreme workload they preform. Towing a 10k trailer a couple of hundred of miles is going to take a lot of juice.

America already runs hybrid buses if you consider that electric. To get were the world needs to be, we're going to need a lot of f'n batteries. Once the world solves the battery issue, there is not much reason class 8's can't be electrified starting with local delivery trucks.

Cheers

[Apr 29, 2016] A Great Opportunity To Buy Oil For The Long Term by Dan Dicker

April 15, 2016 | OilPrice.com

the fundamentally unsustainable pricing that we've seen for much of 2016, particularly after the 2nd failed OPEC meeting, has been much more dependent upon speculative short positions in the market, particularly from algorithmic momentum funds. We could track the speculative short positions against the price of crude almost exactly as prices dropped below $40 the first time, with long positions decreasing to their lowest levels in five years as crude dropped under $30 a barrel.

[Apr 27, 2016] Sharp drop in the USA oil production is the harbinger of things to come globally

peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson , 04/26/2016 at 10:59 am

The EIA's Monthly Energy Review is out. US C+C production was down 74,000 bpd in March to 9,038,000 barrels per day.

 photo US CC Productin_zpsvliqvch3.jpg

likbez , 04/26/2016 at 1:37 pm
Ron,

Looks like you was right about timing of peak oil. The trend of production down is becoming more clear with each month. It might be disrupted by some noise (end of Libya civil war, etc), but still with no new major deposits discovered I do not see factors that can change it.

Dennis Coyne , 04/27/2016 at 10:52 am
Hi Likbez,

Higher oil prices might change things and that chart is US only.

IEA expects non-OPEC output to fall 750 kb/d in 2016, some of this may be made up by increases in Iranian, Iraqi, and Libyan output. On an annual basis 2016 may be pretty close to average annual output in 2015 for C+C. It will be interesting to see how things play out, I still like the plateau scenario which I will define as World C+C output remaining between 79 and 81 Mb/d on average for any 12 month period from now until 2025.

likbez , 04/27/2016 at 8:39 pm
Hi Dennis,

Higher oil prices might change things and that chart is US only.

I understand that the chart is the US only but it is the harbinger of things to come globally. As for higher oil prices, they need to get into $70-$80 range first where high cost oil projects including US LTO became profitable to change the current trend. Before that "recovery of oil prices" does not change much for non conventional oil producers. For some (for example the USA) conventional oil producers the lower range you provided before might be OK, but most oil producing countries with national oil companies could not balance budget below $90.

IMHO prices below $70-$80 mean for non conventional producers the continuation of "survival mode" or "extend and pretend". With the only difference that the dates of renewal of credit lines coming closer. And that magic range of prices $70-$80 probably will not be reached this year. So I would say your expectations are too optimistic.

When you cite IEA it make sense to provide some information of their track record of production forecasting accuracy during previous sharp reversals of oil prices trends. My impression is that they are way too "linear extrapolation" type of animal.

This conclusion strengthen considerably if we take into account that this is 50% propaganda agency which needs to support "low oil price forever" regime as a part of their institutional agenda. In other words this an agency that is serving G7 countries interested in low oil prices. That creates certain limits on what they can say so it is natural for them to try to downplay any possible drop in oil production. It would extremely stupid to expect from them any other behavior. So IMHO you can safely double their estimates in such cases.

Reality is pretty grim now for oil producers and you need to understand that a lot of skeletons in the closet (including financial skeletons) remain hidden. So actual situation can be much worse then we assume and another quarter of low prices by which I mean prices below which conventional oil production in the USA is unprofitable (let's say $55) might be the straw that broke the camel's back.

So there is a hope that neoliberals lose control over oil prices at some point.

I agree with you about wild cards like Iran and Libya. But the US is ambivalent about allowing Iran to recover oil production and there are moves directed at confiscation part of their "frozen" funds without which this is almost impossible with the current prices. But still we can expect that both of those cards be played to slow down price recovery (and ayatollahs proved to be extremely stupid, if you ask me; not much different from Wahhabis sheiks. why they did not cooperate with oil price freeze (for six months; only six months!) is beyond me. But even Iran ayatollahs arrogant stupidity can't change general trend, which is down.

Iraq can't meaningfully increase production right now as this is an almost bankrupt by civil war country and chances to restore peace this year are slim. Saudis and friends continue to finance Sunni insurgency. It was inertia from "good old times" that drove their production up in 2015. This is over.

Shale card was already played once (and it was played very well) but that's it. Now "carpet drilling" trick will not be repeated again even if price reach magic level of $80: unlimited financing of shale drilling is gone for good.

My impression is that there are powerful forces that are not interested in oil price recovery and do not care about negative long term consequences of waiting so much oil instead of extending conservation technologies.

Unless those forces (of neoliberalism) are somehow suppressed I doubt that prices can recover to the level that allow expansion of production. And in oil prices world the tail still wags the dog: Wall Street still determine oil prices in a sense that it is able vastly amplify the moves via HFT.

Also oil producers also now are disorganized mob unable to protect their own interests, so I would not expect meaningful actions from OPEC unless there is a coup d'état in KSA that removes the young gambler prince who almost halved country currency reserves.

[Apr 27, 2016] With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the worlds paper, a quarter of the worlds oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper

peakoilbarrel.com

Caelan MacIntyre ,

04/27/2016 at 5:25 am
" The scenarios most closely reflecting the reality of our world today are

…found in the third group of experiments (see the scenarios for an unequal society in section 5.3), where we introduced economic stratification. Under such conditions, we find that collapse is difficult to avoid , which helps to explain why economic stratification is one of the elements consistently found in past collapsed societies. Importantly, in the first of these unequal society scenarios, 5.3.1, the solution appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate () and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature. Despite appearing initially to be the same as the sustainable optimal solution obtained in the absence of Elites, economic stratification changes the final result: Elites' consumption keeps growing until the society collapses . The Mayan collapse -in which population never recovered even though nature did recover- is an example of a Type-L collapse, whereas the collapses in the Easter Island and the Fertile Crescent -where nature was depleted- are examples of a Type-N collapse.

In scenario 5.3.2, with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites. It is important to note that in both of these scenarios, the Elites -due to their wealth- do not suffer the detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners. This buffer of wealth allows Elites to continue 'business as usual' despite the impending catastrophe . It is likely that this is an important mechanism that would help explain how historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases). This buffer effect is further reinforced by the long, apparently sustainable trajectory prior to the beginning of the collapse. While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory 'so far' in support of doing nothing."

-------------–

"It is well known that Americans consume far more natural resources and live much less sustainably than people from any other large country of the world. 'A child born in the United States will create thirteen times as much ecological damage over the course of his or her lifetime than a child born in Brazil', reports the Sierra Club's Dave Tilford, adding that the average American will drain as many resources as 35 natives of India and consume 53 times more goods and services than someone from China.

Tilford cites a litany of sobering statistics showing just how profligate Americans have been in using and abusing natural resources. For example, between 1900 and 1989 U.S. population tripled while its use of raw materials grew by a factor of 17. ' With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world's paper, a quarter of the world's oil, 23 percent of the coal , 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper', he reports. 'Our per capita use of energy, metals, minerals, forest products, fish, grains, meat, and even fresh water dwarfs that of people living in the developing world.'.

He adds that… Americans account for only five percent of the world's population but create half of the globe's solid waste.

Americans' love of the private automobile constitutes a large part of their poor ranking . The National Geographic Society's annual Greendex analysis of global consumption habits finds that Americans are least likely of all people to use public transportation-only seven percent make use of transit options for daily commuting. Likewise, only one in three Americans walks or bikes to their destinations… the U.S. remains the per capita consumption leader for most resources.

Overall, National Geographic's Greendex found that American consumers rank last of 17 countries surveyed in regard to sustainable behavior. Furthermore, the study found that U.S. consumers are among the least likely to feel guilty about the impact they have on the environment…" ~ Scientific American

"The American way of life is not up for negotiation." ~ George Bush Sr.

R Walter , 04/27/2016 at 7:59 am
China uses a little more than forty percent of the world's coal.

The US uses about twelve percent of world coal production, not 23 percent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_coal_production

906 million tonnes for the US, China consumes 3.87 billion tonnes, total is 8.1 billion tonnes per year.

Jef , 04/27/2016 at 8:15 am
Yes but China is burning that coal to make all of the "stuff" that the US buys so you could argue that the US is consuming that coal. I may even be greater than 23%.
Ves , 04/27/2016 at 9:04 am
exactly Jef. this whole globalization is just a buzzword to hide what is really trashing the mother earth by the global 1%. Pointing fingers who trash more is illusion fed to us so we can chew on it and be distracted because the real game is played between 1% versus 99% no matter where they live.
Caelan MacIntyre , 04/27/2016 at 3:37 pm
You are definitely greater than 23%, except maybe with ethanol.

[Apr 26, 2016] Oil Bulls Plunge Into Market as U.S. Gasoline Demand Hits Record

Bloomberg

U.S. gasoline consumption, averaged over four weeks, rose 3.9 percent from a year earlier to 9.39 million barrels a day through April 15, Energy Information Administration data show. Demand this summer will increase 1.4 percent to a record, the EIA said April 12. Americans drove 232.2 billion vehicle miles in February, up 5.6 percent from a year earlier, Transportation Department data show.

"Gasoline demand is quite strong and that's all price driven," said Thomas Finlon, director of Energy Analytics Group LLC in Wellington, Florida. "Demand for gasoline should provide support for crude."

The average price of regular gasoline at the pump nationwide was $2.136 a gallon on Sunday, down 15 percent from a year earlier, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, a national federation of motor clubs.

Speculators' net-long position in WTI gained by 30,357 futures and options combined to 245,987, CFTC data show. Long positions, or bets that prices will rise, increased 4.8 percent, while shorts tumbled 19 percent.

In other markets, net bullish bets on Nymex gasoline climbed 15 percent to 23,357 contracts. Gasoline futures declined 3.5 percent in the period. Net bearish wagers on U.S. ultra low sulfur diesel decreased 11 percent to 7,773 contracts, the least since June as futures slipped 1 percent.

[Apr 25, 2016] China Stockpiling Oil At Highest Rate In Over A Decade

Teapot refiners continue to show ability to process additional volumes of oil, which suggest that a Chinese economy might be turning a corner
Notable quotes:
"... In the first quarter of this year China diverted about 787,000 barrels per day into its strategic stockpile, the highest rate since Bloomberg has been tracking the data in 2004. Overall, as of March, China was importing around 7.7 million barrels per day. ..."
"... These so-called "teapot refineries," with capacities of around 20,000 to 100,000 barrels of production per day, struggled under the old restrictions, producing at only 30 to 40 percent of capacity because of an inability to import oil. That has changed, and domestic refining production is set to rise, and with it, so are imports. ..."
OilPrice.com

In the first quarter of this year China diverted about 787,000 barrels per day into its strategic stockpile, the highest rate since Bloomberg has been tracking the data in 2004. Overall, as of March, China was importing around 7.7 million barrels per day.

... ... ...

Another source of additional demand comes from a policy change in the downstream sector. The central government recently loosened the rules on oil imports, allowing smaller refineries to import more crude oil. These so-called "teapot refineries," with capacities of around 20,000 to 100,000 barrels of production per day, struggled under the old restrictions, producing at only 30 to 40 percent of capacity because of an inability to import oil. That has changed, and domestic refining production is set to rise, and with it, so are imports.

[Apr 24, 2016] Irreversible Decline by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sidestepped the issue (of a US-Saudi plot) after a trip to Saudi Arabia in September. Asked if past discussions with Riyadh had touched on Russia's need for oil above $100 to balance its budget, he smiled and said: "They (Saudis) are very, very well aware of their ability to have an impact on global oil prices." ( Saudi oil policy uncertainty unleashes the conspiracy theorists , Reuters) ..."
"... Of course, they're in bed together. Saudi Arabia is a US client. It's not autonomous or sovereign in any meaningful way. It's a US protectorate, a satellite, a colony. They do what they're told. Period. True, the relationship is complex, but let's not be ridiculous. The Saudis are not calling the shots. The idea is absurd. Do you really think that Washington would let Riyadh fiddle prices in a way that destroyed critical US domestic energy industries, ravaged the junk bond market, and generated widespread financial instability without uttering a peep of protest on the matter? ..."
"... Dream on! If the US was unhappy with the Saudis, we'd all know about it in short-order because it would be raining Daisy Cutters from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, which is the way that Washington normally expresses its displeasure on such matters. The fact that Obama has not even alluded to the shocking plunge in prices just proves that the policy coincides with Washington's broader geopolitical strategy. ..."
"... It happened again in 1986, when Saudi Arabia-led OPEC allowed prices to drop precipitously, and then in 1990, when the Saudis sent prices plummeting as a way of taking out Russia, which was seen as a threat to their oil supremacy. In 1998, they succeeded. When the oil price was halved from $25 to $12, Russia defaulted on its debt. ..."
"... Bottom line: Falling oil prices and the plunging ruble are not some kind of free market accident brought on by oversupply and weak demand. That's baloney. They're part of a broader geopolitical strategy to strangle the Russian economy, topple Putin, and establish US hegemony across the Asian landmass. It's all part of Washington's plan to maintain its top-spot as the world's only superpower even though its economy is in irreversible decline. ..."
December 29, 2014 | www.counterpunch.org

"Saudi oil policy… has been subject to a great deal of wild and inaccurate conjecture in recent weeks. We do not seek to politicize oil… For us it's a question of supply and demand, it's purely business."

– Ali al Naimi, Saudi Oil Minister

"There is no conspiracy, there is no targeting of anyone. This is a market and it goes up and down."

– Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, United Arab Emirates' petroleum minister

"We all see the lowering of oil prices. There's lots of talk about what's causing it. Could it be an agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to punish Iran and affect the economies of Russia and Venezuela? It could."

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Are falling oil prices part of a US-Saudi plan to inflict economic damage on Russia, Iran and Venezuela?

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seems to think so. In a recent interview that appeared in Reuters, Maduro said he thought the United States and Saudi Arabia wanted to drive down oil prices "to harm Russia."

Bolivian President Evo Morales agrees with Maduro and told journalists at RT that: "The reduction in oil prices was provoked by the US as an attack on the economies of Venezuela and Russia. In the face of such economic and political attacks, the nations must be united."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the same thing,with a slightly different twist: "The main reason for (the oil price plunge) is a political conspiracy by certain countries against the interests of the region and the Islamic world … Iran and people of the region will not forget such … treachery against the interests of the Muslim world."

US-Saudi "treachery"? Is that what's really driving down oil prices?

Not according to Saudi Arabia's Petroleum Minister Ali al-Naimi. Al-Naimi has repeatedly denied claims that the kingdom is involved in a conspiracy. He says the tumbling prices are the result of "A lack of cooperation by non-OPEC production nations, along with the spread of misinformation and speculator's greed." In other words, everyone else is to blame except the country that has historically kept prices high by controlling output. That's a bit of a stretch, don't you think? Especially since–according to the Financial Times - OPEC's de facto leader has abandoned the cartel's "traditional strategy" and announced that it won't cut production even if prices drop to $20 per barrel.

Why? Why would the Saudis suddenly abandon a strategy that allowed them to rake in twice as much dough as they are today? Don't they like money anymore?

And why would al-Naimi be so eager to crash prices, send Middle East stock markets into freefall, increase the kingdom's budget deficits to a record-high 5 percent of GDP, and create widespread financial instability? Is grabbing "market share" really that important or is there something else going on here below the surface?

The Guardian's Larry Elliot thinks the US and Saudi Arabia are engaged a conspiracy to push down oil prices. He points to a September meeting between John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah where a deal was made to boost production in order to hurt Iran and Russia. Here's a clip from the article titled "Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia":

"…with the help of its Saudi ally, Washington is trying to drive down the oil price by flooding an already weak market with crude. As the Russians and the Iranians are heavily dependent on oil exports, the assumption is that they will become easier to deal with…

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.

The Saudis did something similar in the mid-1980s. Then, the geopolitical motivation for a move that sent the oil price to below $10 a barrel was to destabilize Saddam Hussein's regime. This time, according to Middle East specialists, the Saudis want to put pressure on Iran and to force Moscow to weaken its support for the Assad regime in Syria… (Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia, Guardian)

That's the gist of Elliot's theory, but is he right?

Vladimir Putin isn't so sure. Unlike Morales, Maduro and Rouhani, the Russian president has been reluctant to blame falling prices on US-Saudi collusion. In an article in Itar-Tass, Putin opined:

"There's a lot of talk around" in what concerns the causes for the slide of oil prices, he said at a major annual news conference. "Some people say there is conspiracy between Saudi Arabia and the US in order to punish Iran or to depress the Russian economy or to exert impact on Venezuela."

"It might be really so or might be different, or there might be the struggle of traditional producers of crude oil and shale oil," Putin said. "Given the current situation on the market the production of shale oil and gas has practically reached the level of zero operating costs." (Putin says oil market price conspiracy between Saudi Arabia and US not ruled out, Itar-Tass)

As always, Putin takes the most moderate position, that is, that Washington and the Saudis may be in cahoots, but that droopy prices might simply be a sign of over-supply and weakening demand. In other words, there could be a plot, but then again, maybe not. Putin is a man who avoids passing judgment without sufficient evidence.

The same can't be said of the Washington Post. In a recent article, WP journalist Chris Mooney dismisses anyone who thinks oil prices are the result of US-Saudi collaboration as "kooky conspiracy theorists". According to Mooney:

"The reasons for the sudden (price) swing are not particularly glamorous: They involve factors like supply and demand, oil companies having invested heavily in exploration several years ago to produce a glut of oil that has now hit the market - and then, perhaps, the "lack of cohesion" among the diverse members of OPEC." (Why there are so many kooky conspiracy theories about oil, Washington Post)

Oddly enough, Mooney disproves his own theory a few paragraphs later in the same piece when he says:

"Oil producers really do coordinate. And then, there's OPEC, which is widely referred to in the press as a "cartel," and which states up front that its mission is to "coordinate and unify the petroleum policies" of its 12 member countries…. Again, there's that veneer of plausibility to the idea of some grand oil related strategy." (WP)

Let me get this straight: One the one hand Mooney agrees that OPEC is a cartel that "coordinates and unify the petroleum policies", then on the other, he says that market fundamentals are at work. Can you see the disconnect? Cartels obstruct normal supply-demand dynamics by fixing prices, which Mooney seems to breezily ignore.

Also, he scoffs at the idea of "some grand oil related strategy" as if these cartel nations were philanthropic organizations operating in the service of humanity. Right. Someone needs to clue Mooney in on the fact that OPEC is not the Peace Corps. They are monopolizing amalgam of cutthroat extortionists whose only interest is maximizing profits while increasing their own political power. Surely, we can all agree on that fact.

What's really wrong with Mooney's article, is that he misses the point entirely. The debate is NOT between so-called "conspiracy theorists" and those who think market forces alone explain the falling prices. It's between the people who think that the Saudis decision to flood the market is driven by politics rather than a desire to grab "market share." That's where people disagree. No denies that there's manipulation; they merely disagree about the motive. This glaring fact seems to escape Mooney who is on a mission to discredit conspiracy theorists at all cost. Here's more:

(There's) "a long tradition of conspiracy theorists who have surmised that the world's great oil powers - whether countries or mega-corporations - are secretly pulling strings to shape world events."…

"A lot of conspiracy theories take as their premise that there's a small group of people who are plotting to control something, to control the government, the banking system, or the main energy source, and they are doing this to the disadvantage of everybody else," says University of California-Davis historian Kathy Olmsted, author of "Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11″. (Washington Post)

Got that? Now find me one person who doesn't think the world is run by a small group of rich, powerful people who operate in their own best interests? Here's more from the same article:

(Oil) "It's the perfect lever for shifting world events. If you were a mad secret society with world-dominating aspirations and lots of power, how would you tweak the world to create cascading outcomes that could topple governments and enrich some at the expense of others? It's hard to see a better lever than the price of oil, given its integral role in the world economy." (WP)

"A mad secret society"? Has Mooney noticed that - in the last decade and a half - the US has only invaded nations that have huge natural resources (mainly oil and natural gas) or the geography for critical pipeline routes? There's nothing particularly secret about it, is there?

The United States is not a "mad secret society with world-dominating aspirations". It's a empire with blatantly obvious "world-dominating aspirations" run by political puppets who do the work of wealthy elites and corporations. Any sentient being who's bright enough to browse the daily headlines can figure that one out.

Mooney's grand finale:

"So in sum, with a surprising and dramatic event like this year's oil price decline, it would be shocking if it did not generate conspiracy theories. Humans believe them all too easily. And they're a lot more colorful than a more technical (and accurate) story about supply and demand." (WP)

Ah, yes. Now I see. Those darn "humans". They're so weak-minded they'll believe anything you tell them, which is why they need someone as smart as Mooney tell them how the world really works.

Have you ever read such nonsense in your life? On top of that, he gets the whole story wrong. This isn't about market fundamentals. It's about manipulation. Are the Saudis manipulating supply to grab market share or for political reasons? THAT'S THE QUESTION. The fact that they ARE manipulating supply is not challenged by anyone including the uber-conservative Financial Times that deliberately pointed out that the Saudis had abandoned their traditional role of cutting supply to support prices. That's what a "swing state" does; it manipulates supply keep prices higher than they would be if market forces were allowed to operate unimpeded.

So what is the motive driving the policy; that's what we want to know?

Certainly there's a strong case to be made for market share. No one denies that. If the Saudis keep prices at rock bottom for a prolonged period of time, then a high percentage of the producers (that can't survive at prices below $70 per barrel) will default leaving OPEC with greater market share and more control over pricing.

So market share is certainly a factor. But is it the only factor?

Is it so far fetched to think that the United States–which in the last year has imposed harsh economic sanctions on Russia, made every effort to sabotage the South Stream pipeline, and toppled the government in Kiev so it could control the flow of Russian gas to countries in the EU–would coerce the Saudis into flooding the market with oil in order to decimate the Russian economy, savage the ruble, and create favorable conditions for regime change in Moscow? Is that so hard to believe?

Apparently New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman doesn't think so. Here's how he summed it up in a piece last month: "Is it just my imagination or is there a global oil war underway pitting the United States and Saudi Arabia on one side against Russia and Iran on the other?"

It sounds like Freidman has joined the conspiracy throng, doesn't it? And he's not alone either. This is from Alex Lantier at the World Socialist Web Site:

"While there are a host of global economic factors underlying the fall in oil prices, it is unquestionable that a major role in the commodity's staggering plunge is Washington's collaboration with OPEC and the Saudi monarchs in Riyadh to boost production and increase the glut on world oil markets.

As Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis last March, the Guardian wrote, "Angered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Saudis turned on the oil taps, driving down the global price of crude until it reached $20 a barrel (in today's prices) in the mid-1980s… [Today] the Saudis might be up for such a move-which would also boost global growth-in order to punish Putin over his support for the Assad regime in Syria. Has Washington floated this idea with Riyadh? It would be a surprise if it hasn't." (Alex Lantier, Imperialism and the ruble crisis, World Socialist Web Site)

And here's an intriguing clip from an article at Reuters that suggests the Obama administration is behind the present Saudi policy:

"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sidestepped the issue (of a US-Saudi plot) after a trip to Saudi Arabia in September. Asked if past discussions with Riyadh had touched on Russia's need for oil above $100 to balance its budget, he smiled and said: "They (Saudis) are very, very well aware of their ability to have an impact on global oil prices." (Saudi oil policy uncertainty unleashes the conspiracy theorists, Reuters)

Wink, wink.

Of course, they're in bed together. Saudi Arabia is a US client. It's not autonomous or sovereign in any meaningful way. It's a US protectorate, a satellite, a colony. They do what they're told. Period. True, the relationship is complex, but let's not be ridiculous. The Saudis are not calling the shots. The idea is absurd. Do you really think that Washington would let Riyadh fiddle prices in a way that destroyed critical US domestic energy industries, ravaged the junk bond market, and generated widespread financial instability without uttering a peep of protest on the matter?

Dream on! If the US was unhappy with the Saudis, we'd all know about it in short-order because it would be raining Daisy Cutters from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, which is the way that Washington normally expresses its displeasure on such matters. The fact that Obama has not even alluded to the shocking plunge in prices just proves that the policy coincides with Washington's broader geopolitical strategy.

And let's not forget that the Saudis have used oil as a political weapon before, many times before. Indeed, wreaking havoc is nothing new for our good buddies the Saudis. Check this out from Oil Price website:

"In 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat convinced Saudi King Faisal to cut production and raise prices, then to go as far as embargoing oil exports, all with the goal of punishing the United States for supporting Israel against the Arab states. It worked. The "oil price shock" quadrupled prices.

It happened again in 1986, when Saudi Arabia-led OPEC allowed prices to drop precipitously, and then in 1990, when the Saudis sent prices plummeting as a way of taking out Russia, which was seen as a threat to their oil supremacy. In 1998, they succeeded. When the oil price was halved from $25 to $12, Russia defaulted on its debt.

The Saudis and other OPEC members have, of course, used the oil price for the obverse effect, that is, suppressing production to keep prices artificially high and member states swimming in "petrodollars". In 2008, oil peaked at $147 a barrel." (Did The Saudis And The US Collude In Dropping Oil Prices?, Oil Price)

1973, 1986, 1990, 1998 and 2008.

So, according to the author, the Saudis have manipulated oil prices at least five times in the past to achieve their foreign policy objectives. But, if that's the case, then why does the media ridicule people who think the Saudis might be engaged in a similar strategy today?

Could it be that the media is trying to shape public opinion on the issue and, by doing so, actually contribute to the plunge in oil prices?

Bingo. Alert readers have probably noticed that the oil story has been splashed across the headlines for weeks even though the basic facts have not changed in the least. It's all a rehash of the same tedious story reprinted over and over again. But, why? Why does the public need to have the same "Saudis refuse to cut production" story driven into their consciousness day after day like they're part of some great collective brainwashing experiment? Could it be that every time the message is repeated, oil sells off, and prices go down? Is that it?

Precisely. For example, last week a refinery was attacked in Libya which pushed oil prices up almost immediately. Just hours later, however, another "Saudis refuse to cut production" story conveniently popped up in all the major US media which pushed prices in the direction the USG wants them to go, er, I mean, back down again.

This is how the media helps to reinforce government policy, by crafting a message that helps to push down prices and, thus, hurt "evil" Putin. (This is called "jawboning") Keep in mind, that OPEC doesn't meet again until June, 2015, so there's nothing new to report on production levels. But that doesn't mean we're not going to get regular updates on the "Saudis refuse to cut production" story. Oh, no. The media is going to keep beating that drum until Putin cries "Uncle" and submits to US directives. Either that, or the bond market is going to blow up and take the whole damn global financial system along with it. One way or another, something's got to give.

Bottom line: Falling oil prices and the plunging ruble are not some kind of free market accident brought on by oversupply and weak demand. That's baloney. They're part of a broader geopolitical strategy to strangle the Russian economy, topple Putin, and establish US hegemony across the Asian landmass. It's all part of Washington's plan to maintain its top-spot as the world's only superpower even though its economy is in irreversible decline.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

[Apr 23, 2016] This short term glut will probably accentuate the coming problems because it gives the impression that there is no peak oil

Notable quotes:
"... This short term glut will probably accentuate the coming problems because it gives the impression that there is no peak oil. People have trouble understanding that there are short-term cycles within a long-term cycle. This bad signal is giving us the impetus to continue investing in energy intensive projects instead of reshaping our economy. And this will make things even worse in 5-10 years. ..."
"... A country's most important asset is energy and historically, countries have never willingly cut total energy consumption. They might increase efficiencies but the total does not drop. This means that most countries, as long as there exist other sectors that can be squeezed, will continue to subsidize the energy sector squeezing out these sectors that are deemed less important or simply those with less clout. ..."
"... It is quite obvious that our lives are even more energy dependent than they were when this monetary cycle started in the early 70s. And our system is still based on growing this even more. With NIRP, we are getting very close to the end of this cycle. ..."
"... There is no glut. All the oil is being bought. The problem is that there in not yet enough of a shortage to drive the price up. A small distinction but huge ramifications if you understand it. And by the way higher prices is not a solution to what ails us. ..."
"... The author blames the oil patch bust on a geophysical crisis. There is some truth to this argument but by far the biggest driver of the bust is Fed policy. Artificially cheap debt financing led to overcapacity and a vicious cycle of continued overproduction as drillers desperately try to avoid defaulting. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Moneta , April 23, 2016 at 7:56 am

This short term glut will probably accentuate the coming problems because it gives the impression that there is no peak oil. People have trouble understanding that there are short-term cycles within a long-term cycle. This bad signal is giving us the impetus to continue investing in energy intensive projects instead of reshaping our economy. And this will make things even worse in 5-10 years.

If the total cost of extraction is more than 40$ and consumers are paying $40 or less, then somewhere along the way, someone is subsidizing the cost. It could be low tax rates, eZ money, growing deficits, underfunded pensions, underfunded restoration funds, etc.

A country's most important asset is energy and historically, countries have never willingly cut total energy consumption. They might increase efficiencies but the total does not drop. This means that most countries, as long as there exist other sectors that can be squeezed, will continue to subsidize the energy sector squeezing out these sectors that are deemed less important or simply those with less clout.

It is quite obvious that our lives are even more energy dependent than they were when this monetary cycle started in the early 70s. And our system is still based on growing this even more. With NIRP, we are getting very close to the end of this cycle.

Jef , April 23, 2016 at 10:19 am

There is no glut. All the oil is being bought. The problem is that there in not yet enough of a shortage to drive the price up. A small distinction but huge ramifications if you understand it. And by the way higher prices is not a solution to what ails us.

Fantastic tour de force article.

Eduardo Quince , April 23, 2016 at 11:23 am

The author blames the oil patch bust on a geophysical crisis. There is some truth to this argument but by far the biggest driver of the bust is Fed policy. Artificially cheap debt financing led to overcapacity and a vicious cycle of continued overproduction as drillers desperately try to avoid defaulting.

[Apr 17, 2016] The Telegraph has a story indicating Chinese oil imports are jumping from 6.7 million barrels per day in 2015 to 8 million barrels per day in 2016.

Notable quotes:
"... The Telegraph has a story indicating Chinese oil imports are jumping from 6.7 million barrels per day in 2015 to 8 million barrels per day in 2016. Estimated to be 10 million barrels per day in 2018. Barclays estimates. Chinese production is set to fall slightly in 2016. ..."
"... US production looks to fall to 8 million bopd by end of 2016. US oil demand is also rising. ..."
"... Yeah I'm biased. I'm sick of sub $40 in the field. We have been below $40 in the field since 7/15. Haven't seen above $55 in the field since 11/14. Havent seen these oil prices since 2003-2004. ..."
"... Oil is still very low, yet gasoline has popped up over $2. Low here was $1.29. ..."
"... Refining friends say US gasoline demand will be very high this summer. Their turnaround is winding down, they are going to refine a record number of barrels this year. Just observations. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
shallow sand , 04/16/2016 at 11:20 pm
The Telegraph has a story indicating Chinese oil imports are jumping from 6.7 million barrels per day in 2015 to 8 million barrels per day in 2016. Estimated to be 10 million barrels per day in 2018. Barclays estimates. Chinese production is set to fall slightly in 2016.

US production looks to fall to 8 million bopd by end of 2016. US oil demand is also rising.

Yeah I'm biased. I'm sick of sub $40 in the field. We have been below $40 in the field since 7/15. Haven't seen above $55 in the field since 11/14. Havent seen these oil prices since 2003-2004.

Great weather here today. People driving all over the place in our little burg. Didnt see one electric car today. Still know of one Tesla in town. There is, however, also one used Leaf. That is new in the past year. It is driven by a teenager to and from school. Her father has an F350 diesel, her mother has a Chevy Suburban. The Tesla owner also has two gasoline powered vehicles.

Oil is still very low, yet gasoline has popped up over $2. Low here was $1.29.

Refining friends say US gasoline demand will be very high this summer. Their turnaround is winding down, they are going to refine a record number of barrels this year. Just observations.

[Apr 17, 2016] Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has lowered crude output to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) from its normal production level of about 3 million bpd

Notable quotes:
"... This could be a really big deal. First sign that the people of the GCC are not going to take reduced living standards easily. ..."
"... Good! I will go with Ron. They are all maxed out anyway. If they had signed a freeze agreement, then everyone would say that the price is rigged and blame the oil companies. I am willing [lost my ass on a lot of oil stock investments] to just wait and see how everything plays out without artificial agreements, that, in my opinion, would have meant nothing. ..."
"... Clueless. I understand where you are coming from. Given early signs from Kuwait, there may be no need for a cut or freeze. Assuming Kuwait just went down about 2 million, wouldn't it be prudent for the rest to wait and see what happens? I think austerity in the kingdoms maybe is not going so smoothly? ..."
"... As for us, we are kind of like Russia, don't want to see another sub $30 test. Would like to get to $55-60 WTI and see how shale, tar sands, etc react. So, if freeze talk is why we had a bounce, and we drop back below $30 WTI, we wont be happy campers about no freeze deal. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Amatoori, 04/17/2016 at 11:58 am

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has lowered crude output to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) from its normal production level of about 3 million bpd, company spokesman Saad Al-Azmi said in a posting on the KOC Twitter account.

Now thats a cut to write home about. So not sure about that how much the "glut" is but if they take of 2mb/d does it mean we are below daily demand now.

Some talk about freeze – the are definitely not talking, :-)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/kuwait-oil-strike-idUKL5N17K0GX

JN2 , 04/17/2016 at 12:39 pm
Amatoori, due to a labor strike. You forgot to mention that. But with 2 mbpd less and Doha, tomorrow's markets should be interesting!
Amatoori , 04/17/2016 at 2:42 pm
Oh sorry. Just copied a slice of the article and missed that vital information. Anyway, let the market party start. It will definitely test the fundamentals of the oil market. Words vs. Supply
shallow sand , 04/17/2016 at 1:12 pm
This could be a really big deal. First sign that the people of the GCC are not going to take reduced living standards easily.
Doug Leighton , 04/17/2016 at 2:45 pm
DOHA OIL PRODUCERS MEETING ENDS WITHOUT AN AGREEMENT

"A summit in Doha between the world's largest oil producing countries ended without an agreement on Sunday, as country leaders failed to strike a deal to freeze output and boost sagging crude prices."

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/17/doha-oil-producers-meeting-ends-without-an-agreement.html

clueless , 04/17/2016 at 3:12 pm
Good! I will go with Ron. They are all maxed out anyway. If they had signed a freeze agreement, then everyone would say that the price is rigged and blame the oil companies. I am willing [lost my ass on a lot of oil stock investments] to just wait and see how everything plays out without artificial agreements, that, in my opinion, would have meant nothing.

I wonder if Shallow Sand agrees?

shallow sand , 04/17/2016 at 4:32 pm
Clueless. I understand where you are coming from. Given early signs from Kuwait, there may be no need for a cut or freeze. Assuming Kuwait just went down about 2 million, wouldn't it be prudent for the rest to wait and see what happens? I think austerity in the kingdoms maybe is not going so smoothly?

As for us, we are kind of like Russia, don't want to see another sub $30 test. Would like to get to $55-60 WTI and see how shale, tar sands, etc react. So, if freeze talk is why we had a bounce, and we drop back below $30 WTI, we wont be happy campers about no freeze deal.

In retrospect, costs got out of hand at $100 oil. Pretty much everything is cheaper now, except for electricity.

$55-60 WTI would be wonderful. It would better if the market achieves it than through a cut. However, history is that a cut is necessary to get the traders to dump their shorts.

There are a lot of John Kilduff's out there who are almost maniacal in their desire to drive WTI back below $26.

I long ago quit trying to figure out why oil trades like it does, or how it can get so high or low for periods of time.

I'd say the new Saudi prince who is apparently now in charge seems to be taking a different approach than his predecessors.

We will see.

[Apr 17, 2016] Oil producers fail to agree deal to freeze output after Saudi Arabia-Iran standoff

www.theguardian.com

A victory for the US diplomacy. Using KSA as a Trojan horse again and again.

The Guardian

The world's major oil producing nations failed to strike an agreement on Sunday night to freeze production, saying they needed more time to agree a deal to try to buoy the price of oil.

What producers had hoped would be the first deal in 15 years ran into difficulty after Saudi Arabia – the largest exporter of oil – demanded that Iran join an agreement to freeze output.

Iran has been reluctant to agree to hold back on oil production while it attempts to return its market share to pre-sanction levels.

The meeting in Doha had been called on Sunday for 18 countries to sign off on a deal that would helped to put a floor on the price of crude oil which, at $45 a barrel , has risen 60% from its lows in January.

But Reuters quoted sources saying that Saudi Arabia wanted all Opec members to attend talks, despite insisting earlier on excluding Iran, its political rival in the region, because Tehran had refused to freeze production.

If a deal cannot be struck soon, it is possible that recent rises in the price of oil will stall.

Economists at French bank Société Générale said: "When it comes to oil, the principle of Goldilocks applies in full. Too low a price raises fear of a vicious circle of default, spillover to bank balance sheets, eroding financial conditions and a new headwind for the real economy.

"Too high a price, on the other hand, erodes the welcome boost to purchasing power. But, if higher oil prices are driven by stronger demand, then this is good news."

They noted that a recent report by the International Energy Agency warned that a mere production freeze would have a limited effect on physical oil supply.

Even so, expectations had been high before the Sunday meeting that a deal could be struck between Opec and non-Opec oil producers to hold output at January's levels until October. Reuters was reporting that producers were instead agreeing to freeze oil production at "an agreeable level" as long as all Opec countries and major exporting nations participated.

"If there is no deal today, it will be more than just Iran that Saudi Arabia will be targeting. If there is no freeze, that would directly affect North American production going forward, perhaps something Saudis might like to see," Natixis oil analyst Abhishek Deshpande told Reuters.

!-- dashingwhitesergeant , 2016-04-18 01:58:05
Expect oil-prices to drop about $5/bbl tomorrow.

One of the factors discussed is Iran's determination, and its right, to produce more oil since sanctions were lifted.

Another factor is Saudi Arabia's determination to restrict Iran's oil production.

Now Iran is back in the market, why should Iran settle for a deal that means they are still, in effect, under sanctions - only now it's OPEC restrictions (that suit Saudi Arabia) as opposed to legal international (US, EU) sanctions.

One of the problems with the sanctions policy is that it gave Saudi Arabia more leverage in the oil-markets; and anything that's good for Saudi Arabia is bad for the world.

I would say that sanctions on Iran were unjustified to begin with. Anyway, now those sanctions are lifted it will be harder, and take longer, to bring the market into balance.

My solution would be to immediately put sanctions on Saudi Arabia.

majamer , 2016-04-18 00:54:51
The US foreign policies are irreversibly damaging the US economy. Giving Iran the upper hand in the Middle East, playing dirty games with the Saudis, lifting the ban on the US oil export, exposing the US dollar to high risk, etc. are all taking the oil prices for a wild ride and destabilizing the already fragile and flatulent US economy. Plunging oil prices are severely damaging the US banks, the financial backbone of US and global economies. Also, Saudi Arabia is the third largest US T-Bill holder, if its economy collapses it won't be alone in the global morgue!
Aspadana majamer , 2016-04-18 01:37:09

, Saudi Arabia is the third largest US T-Bill holder, if its economy collapses it won't be alone in the global morgue!

Well, guess we'll have to wait and see if those threats pay off ...or...The U.S. sees Saudi bet and raises ... ?

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/16/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-warns-ofeconomic-fallout-if-congress-passes-9-11-bill.html?_r=1

DogsLivesMatter Aspadana , 2016-04-18 01:51:54
Holy shite! There are now two countries in the Middle East that have the US by the balls. It's getting more interesting all the time.
SirWillis , 2016-04-18 00:43:26
Anyone excited about Russia's plan to start flooding the market with Gas? Should be a fun year. Not if you're a US fossil fuel company though.

Can the US economy survive? I hope so, I have three houses there.

Shatford Shatford , 2016-04-18 00:39:50
Sadly, oil is still a geopolitical tool after almost 100 years. I had hoped we would've moved on to the next best thing by now, like fusion batteries or some other sci-fi tech-tree advancement. Let a new line of oligarchs and dynastic families be born. The super-rich are the worst kind of burrowing tick there is.
SirWillis , 2016-04-18 00:38:28
It was pretty obvious Iran would never stand for this. Saudi keep pumping to hold their share of the market; Iran won't slow production until they are handed a bigger share of the market by OPEC (ie: Saudi). Saudi is basically in a stalemate with itself, and they are too greedy and too anti-Shia to see a way past that.
Aspadana , 2016-04-17 23:49:11
Excellent article from Rachel Marsden. Small but encompassing;
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201604121430--tms--amvoicesctnav-b20160412-20160412-column.html

Saudi Arabia is enjoying a series of new Chinese investment deals -- including a $2.5 billion deal to host a nuclear facility -- and has moved past Russia to become China's largest oil supplier. Meanwhile, the resulting crash in oil prices is taking a toll on the U.S. and Russia. There have been significant job losses in America's oil and gas sector, and Russia has had to smash the glass on its reserve funds in order to diversify its economy.

This sort of scenario was envisioned in a now-declassified CIA report from January 1999 that emphasized China's interest in Middle Eastern oil and the resulting development of ties that "could create bilateral tensions" and "increasingly challenge U.S. policy in regions in turmoil, such as the Middle East."

The Saudi-China alliance has the potential to undercut Russian and American interests. Saudi Arabia effectively leads OPEC, and its lucrative business dealings with China eliminate the incentive to increase oil prices

Magali Luna , 2016-04-17 23:44:17
Keep it in the ground. Gaia is ill so lets give her a chance to recover. I am sure SA, Iran, Russia, Venezuela et al can diversify their economies and ween themselves off oil. Anything else is just suicidal.
SirWillis Magali Luna , 2016-04-18 00:26:35
Easier said than done. Venezuela is on the verge of catastrophic failure of all its utilities due to corruption and intense mismanagement. The country is broke and it is utterly dependent on oil revenue. How do you diversify with no money?
Shatford Shatford SirWillis , 2016-04-18 00:41:26
Sling dope, like the rest of their South American governments.
SirWillis Shatford Shatford , 2016-04-18 00:55:45
To who? The US ain't importing no dope no more, y'know, like.
chovil , 2016-04-17 23:38:46
Iran has a lot of high quality very cheap oil. The extent of their oil reserves is currently unknown because nobody has been allowed in there, but we can assume they have a lot of oil, and without sanctions, they are just coming online, and they want market share. So no increase in the price of oil for a long time. It's the worse thing that could happen for a warming climate. You can expect oil to be really cheap for at least 50 years. Iran and OPEC, mostly Saudi Arabia have huge reserves. Neither one is going to blink. I've seen maps dating back thousands of years. Persian and Arabic cultures have always been at war, and that line between the two was decided a very long time ago. I could be wrong. Most of these people making decisions went to Cambridge or Oxford, but the green revolution is not going to happen any time soon. Everyone loves a Mercedes. They are very nice cars. And my children are getting an excellent education with the money I have.
Shatford Shatford chovil , 2016-04-18 00:43:43
I'm fine with oil being cheap. The suppression of its price is meant to alter the actions of Russia and Iran and anyone else who disagrees with western foreign policy.

If oil is cheap for long enough, those who fatten themselves on its profits may have to rethink their world views to a better alternative.

eclogite chovil , 2016-04-18 00:51:40
So, "excellent education" is leading us into this conundrum!?
Magali Luna Shatford Shatford , 2016-04-18 01:03:18
I think the Saudis disagree with a lot of western foreign policy but that doesn't stop them from extracting and being exposed to the slings and arrows of the market. Also, how would you like governments to alter the actions of other governments: force of arms?
Peter Bracken , 2016-04-17 23:36:47
Crude is currently over 5% down. Wait for a spike and then fill your boots.
sportman1 , 2016-04-17 23:35:33
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
mosquitohippy , 2016-04-17 23:21:51
Venezuela's world is getting tinier and tinier.
MacMeow , 2016-04-17 23:11:47

Remember when Saddam said he would trade oil in Euros ?

No

Remember when Qaddafi said he would trade oil in gold instead of dollars?

No

Shatford Shatford MacMeow , 2016-04-18 00:46:20
I think you meant to use the reply function to the post below yours instead of starting a new post.
MacMeow Shatford Shatford , 2016-04-18 00:59:19
I'm a free spirit.
Arweni , 2016-04-17 22:40:25
"Iran wants to recover tens of billions of dollars it is owed by India and other buyers of its oil in euros and is billing new crude sales in euros, too, looking to reduce its dependence on the U.S. dollar following last month's sanctions relief."
Remember when Saddam said he would trade oil in Euros ? He got murdered, invaded.

Remember when Qaddafi said he would trade oil in gold instead of dollars? He got invaded and murdered.

I would like to be a fly on the wall in the CFR think tank board room right now...

Iran will not be so easily invaded, murdered, or taken out by the west. They must use economics to do so. If I were a smart person, I could figure out the link between this play being made by the western owned Sauds, and the petro dollar which keeps the American dollar from crashing due to rampant inflation..

Good move by Iran, and they would only make if they knew Russia had their back. Which they do.

Any smart people here, to fill me in ?

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-iran-exclusive-idUSKCN0VE21S

dikcheney Arweni , 2016-04-17 23:34:41
I doubt anyone will chance invading Iran (other than the Saudis and they would be routed in the first week). Rather I view the low oil price as a major threat to the US Banksters as they have huge loans out on all those high cost oil deposits that are more difficult to extract. Those same banks are also exposed to the false promise of perpetual high cost coal. They are living in the carboniferous times and are doomed. Note last weeks sudden urgent pressure on the US banks to produce rational 'living wills' to manage collapse.

Iran is 'fortunate' in that it is not dependent on a high oil price plus its oil is relatively easy to extract. I say fortunate as it is not subject to a sudden depression in social expectation as its society is not artificially floating on oil as is Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, etc.

The Saudis cant resist insulting the shia faction of islam and simple mindedly ensured the OPEC failure by their inept equivocation of the Iranian invitation. (The Saudis managed over the last 25 years to extract the totality of their aquifer of some 20,000 years old water and they import much of their food as the water is way too deep now for economic extraction. The brief wheat export decades that diversified their economy is over).

The carbon economic concentration bodes ill for the global economy as the oil bubble has definitely burst and coal is in a landslide to hell and is taking the banksters with it.

SirWillis dikcheney , 2016-04-18 00:33:06
Hooray!
003003 , 2016-04-17 22:40:01
Saudi Arabia will need to complexify their economy, things like foreign tourism.
MacMeow 003003 , 2016-04-17 23:09:57
Camels and beheadings have always been a big drawcard.
LorenzoStDubois 003003 , 2016-04-17 23:18:20
Yeah, I can see the stag do market being a big earner for them.
SirWillis 003003 , 2016-04-18 00:34:57
They already do a pretty roaring trade on religion. Lucky that one of the Pillars of Islam is a holiday to Saudi.
LorenzoStDubois , 2016-04-17 22:27:36
The notion that Iran would possibly agree to a freeze which sees Saudi (and Russia) pumping at historically high levels while they are stuck with significant post-sanctions headroom is just bizarre. So bizarre, in fact, that you have to assume it's posturing with some different end in mind.

Or possibly desperation, I suppose. But even the Saudis can't be stupid enough to believe it's a realistically possible outcome.

Peter Bracken LorenzoStDubois , 2016-04-17 22:34:02
Exactly.

The hubris of last weeks rise in WTI and crude will evaporate tomorrow.

LorenzoStDubois Peter Bracken , 2016-04-17 23:09:17
It might fall tomorrow, but in the longer term, it's going to reach the point at which shale kicks in as a de facto cap on the manipulability of prices. ie probably about $60. It's just a question of what route it takes getting there.

The deeper problem the Saudis and Russians have though is that shale's break-even point is not fixed. And the current price collapse is accelerating the process of financial and technical innovation which moves it lower.

Basically, they can't kill shale; they can just make it temporarily uneconomic. And their capacity to do that is slowly shrinking. They might hope that they can use this experience, plus the implicit threat of another future price collapse, to deter people from investing in shale when it becomes marginally profitable again. But American capitalism doesn't really tend to work like that. And meanwhile, the technology advances.

Peter Bracken LorenzoStDubois , 2016-04-17 23:27:25
Smart post, Lorenzo. And I don't doubt the thrust of your analysis.

But I'm a day trader, not an investor. Which is why I'll never be rich.

Peter Bracken , 2016-04-17 22:09:50
Jesus. The Dollar is collapsing against the Yen. 105 is becoming a distinct possibility. And that equates to an SPX in the low 1600s.

Which is probably where it belongs.

Kiselev Peter Bracken , 2016-04-17 22:18:53
Well Perfect storm is already here...
I still bet that Global crisis will start at august ...as usual...
Peter Bracken Kiselev , 2016-04-17 22:25:30
Seasonally, perhaps not.

The Doha shenanigans are likely to provide an excuse for a broader sell-off.

I'm inclined to SHORT the rips in markets as April gives way to May.

Arweni Peter Bracken , 2016-04-17 22:41:33
petro dollar is soon ending. So then , will the American economy.
Foracivilizedworld , 2016-04-17 22:08:40
Saudi Arabia is acting as a spoiled child....
Peter Bracken Foracivilizedworld , 2016-04-17 22:19:13
No. it's acting rationally.

The agenda is to force US shale producers out of business. Trouble is, Iran is taking up the slack in any US fall in rig count.

Cheap oil is set to stay.

Arweni Foracivilizedworld , 2016-04-17 22:45:40
actually, they are a beheading, terroristic nation sending terrorist into syria to murder women, children and anyone else that actually lives there. ...They tried to ruin Russia by dropping their roil prices, yet end up being broke, and desparate now...

Nope, no children that I see. Only psychopaths.

Peter Bracken Arweni , 2016-04-17 23:31:50
Not going there, Arweni. Not on a makets thread.
KillerMarmot , 2016-04-17 22:08:34
I guess my Chevron stocks are taking a dive Monday morning then.
Kiselev KillerMarmot , 2016-04-17 22:13:20
I buy ETFs...They are more safe and balanced....
Peter Bracken , 2016-04-17 22:03:23
It's the effect on equities that now predominate.

They surged last week in hope of a deal. Carnage beckons in light of news out of Doha.

Triple750 , 2016-04-17 21:58:49
China is busy filling a massive strategic petroleum reserve and at low prices to prevent oil shock threats to themselves
50% increase in demand from China projected to 2018
Smart planning
SirWillis Triple750 , 2016-04-18 01:04:41
As long as that? I was under the impression that they would be nearly fully topped up as early as Q1-2017. Maybe it's wishful thinking as I just want to see Saudi tank - pun intended.
Kiselev , 2016-04-17 21:57:16
So Saudites play their game very well..
Up prices to 40 dollars to never give chances for hedge-fond money for shale oil..
And then wait then till dozens billions shale oil investments becomes dead in reality....

100 dollars in 2017??? Now i am no sure that it couldn`t be 150 dollars in 2017 year..

Imnotscared Kiselev , 2016-04-17 22:22:27
A post both banal and illiterate, a true pleasure.
Arweni Kiselev , 2016-04-17 22:47:35
You sure it is about money?

I do not think that is the case. It is about globalism. That is the major geo-political play behind everything happening in the middle east.

---------------
"Some even believe we [Rockefeller family] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - One World, if you will.If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it "
| David Rockefeller

""We're going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran" –General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO

"That is the phenomenon of the US. Since 1945 they've destroyed 73 countries and were directly involved in the deaths of 26 million people. It is a horror show. It just must stop!"
John Shipton, journalist and executive officer of Wiki Leaks.

DogsLivesMatter , 2016-04-17 21:48:50
Now, stupid question, but if the US's oil output is greater than Saudi Arabia why do they have to buy KSA oil?
Triple750 DogsLivesMatter , 2016-04-17 21:56:41
Not stupid
Crude varies a lot in its composition
I'm no expert but I believe some crude is best used for lubricants and heating oil and others for petrol and aviation fuel
It's a net swap going on
Kiselev Triple750 , 2016-04-17 22:00:28
IN USA answer is easy...They don`t produce enough oil...
Though yes...
Light oil is used mainly for petrol (because it is light)
and .....Heavy oil mainly for lubricants production..

Shale oil is light one..Thats why USA actually must to buy oil from Canada or Mexico or Venezuela..

DogsLivesMatter Triple750 , 2016-04-17 22:01:03
Thank you for your decent response.
MacMeow , 2016-04-17 21:42:33
Flogging a dead horse there oil boys, thrash around as much as you like but it's on its way out.
DogsLivesMatter MacMeow , 2016-04-17 21:50:21
WHEN???? I keep hearing that US oil output is now greater than the House of Saud so what gives?
MacMeow DogsLivesMatter , 2016-04-17 23:07:35
8:64 pm, The 7th of October, 2026.
DontRileMe , 2016-04-17 21:31:24
A $50 barrel of oil will cost around $250 at the pomp. About 60 to 70% of price difference is government tax. The other 30 to 40 percent is decided between oil companies, transportation, refining, middle men.....and finally the producing countries.

Reducing government taxes can definitely help .

GeeDeeSea DontRileMe , 2016-04-17 22:17:22
How much per gallon? How much per litre?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel_(unit)#Oil_barrel

Succe55 , 2016-04-17 21:23:06
Markets in the red tomorrow, who knew..
SirWillis Succe55 , 2016-04-18 01:16:05
Not to worry, some representative member of OPEC's, brother's, best-mate's, housemaid's, former lover's, step-sister's, pet rabbit, will hint that a deal can be reached with Iran, and oil prices will boom by 5% again baby! !--
whiskyeyes , 2016-04-17 21:06:36
I never thought I would ever say this but three cheers for Iran, who told the OPEC cartel to go stuff themselves.
Kiselev whiskyeyes , 2016-04-17 21:10:09
This is barely against OPEC...more shale oil companies will bankrupt...more money Iran will got in less then half -year..

Just business..

Kiselev , 2016-04-17 21:04:23

​Texas-based Energy XXI Ltd. filed for bankruptcy Thursday, becoming the latest heavily indebted oil-and-gas company to collapse amid volatile fuel prices.

The company sought chapter 11 protection after striking a tentative deal on the terms of a $1.45 billion debt-for-equity swap with a group of its bondholders.

U.S. shale oil producer Goodrich Petroleum Corp GDPM.PK said on Friday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a plan to eliminate $400 million in debt from its balance sheet while it rides out a slump in commodities markets.

Somebody will asks how many it is...1,85 billions...
There is one example....oh wait???!!!

Arweni Kiselev , 2016-04-17 23:12:12
So who is left to take over the oil business . Banks been eating each other for quite some time. This is in the nature of their kind of business.

Yet....

"heavily indebted oil-and-gas company"

I know who will end up owning everything...

""So no, it's not a hyperbole to say the Banking System is One. We're not overstating the case when we say it's just one massive cartel. That the banks own everything, including all the major industries. Oil, Weapons, Pharmaceuticals, Food, Telecom and IT, etc. It's all one massive monopoly. Controlled from the top down. "

'A total of 737 control 80% of it all"
The Money Power is real and these Swiss gentlemen have done us a favor by crunching the numbers."

Please Google "The network of global corporate control"
======

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)

"… our whole monetary system is dishonest, as it is debt-based… We did not vote for it. It grew upon us gradually but markedly since 1971 when the commodity-based system was abandoned." The Earl of Caithness, in a speech to the House of Lords, 1997

"The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests." The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863.

meanqueeny , 2016-04-17 20:58:36
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
DontRileMe , 2016-04-17 20:35:28
For many years Saudis played the world with their oil embargos. They plagued the world with their jihadists and terrorists. They feared Americans becoming independent of Saudi oil, so they devised devious ways of sabotaging American oil industry. But all their fiendish plans have failed and backfired. Now like spoiled brats, they're stumping their feet and angrily accuse others are of not play the game according to their rules! Mommy's boy is not getting his toys!
Kiselev DontRileMe , 2016-04-17 20:49:24
Like those plans you mean???

SandRidge Energy Inc (SDOC.PK) confirmed on Wednesday it has hired advisers to evaluate options including a bankruptcy filing, in what could be the most high-profile reorganization yet in U.S. shale oil industry.
Oklahoma City-based SandRidge, which reported a loss on Tuesday after delaying the filing, had about $3.63 billion in total debt as of Dec. 31.

Kiselev Kiselev , 2016-04-17 20:59:43
Somebody asks - how many it is - 3,63 billions..
There is one example ..All Russia`s crude oil export revenues in january 2016 are 4,1 billions..
But Russia has got it billions While USA will lose them..
MacMeow Kiselev , 2016-04-17 21:48:50
Russia is going down the drain.

To corrupt, to stupid.

the_thoughtful_one , 2016-04-17 20:31:25
Its not a free market is it. If it were then the price of oil would be at the cost of production/ transport etc plus profit margin of the cheapest producers. Once states are involved then it becomes political. No such thing as a free market any place any time any product. Its all deceipt.
KillerMarmot the_thoughtful_one , 2016-04-17 22:01:44

Its not a free market is it. If it were then the price of oil would be at the cost of production/ transport etc plus profit margin of the cheapest producers.

That is incorrect. In free markets, the profit markets of the cheapest producers makes no difference. Rather the profit margins of the most expensive (that is, the marginal) barrels of oil drive supply.

In the shorter run, the fact that it takes many years to explore and develop oilfields also comes into play. The industry can't turn on a dime.

SicknTired7 the_thoughtful_one , 2016-04-17 22:55:09
Agriculture isn't a free market either.
carlygirl , 2016-04-17 20:27:31
What a bunch of tossers, holding the world hostage and affecting millions of lives and jobs just because they're arguing about 'whose is bigger' - that's really all its about at the end of the day. Cripes you had them all in a room, a perfect chance to just gas them all and send a message that we don't bow down to religious crack pots.
Arweni , 2016-04-17 20:18:01
"after Saudi Arabia – the largest exporter of oil – demanded that Iran join an agreement to freeze output."

So Saudi Arabia, the nation which imports bodies and money in order to do terrorism in Syria, and is also the nation which is running out of oil.

And now Saudi Arabia wants Iran to agree to join an organization called OPEC, which is determined to help the west affect regime change in Syria, Iran, and Russia. Wants Iran to help ruin Russia economically, its only real ally on the planet :P


too effin funny....and not likely either.

Iranians can read just as well as non fluoridated north Americans can...

""We're going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran" –General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO

Kiselev Arweni , 2016-04-17 20:46:39
Iran already in OPEC!!!!
Saudites just asks them to do what they must to do...to cooperate..
Ashikaga Kiselev , 2016-04-17 21:49:30
No BS. Saudis are desperate and ignorant. If you stay patient, they will implode soon.
Arweni Kiselev , 2016-04-17 22:34:51
poorly worded. Kislev, sorry. Should have said...

SA wants IRAN to join other OPEC countries in destroying Russia...

Because not all of OPEC participates in that. Yet it is my understanding that SA is over 70% of OPEC production right now, and Iran is the next highest producer.

Iran would be suicidal to try and make a pact with the bankers. So would their religion, their NON usurious monetary system, and their leadership.

Remember when Saddam said he would trade oil in Euros ? He got murdered, invaded. Remember when Qaddafi said he would trade oil in gold instead of dollars?

He got invaded and murdered.

I would like to be a fly on the wall in the CFR think tank board room right now...

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-iran-exclusive-idUSKCN0VE21S

"Iran wants to recover tens of billions of dollars it is owed by India and other buyers of its oil in euros and is billing new crude sales in euros, too, looking to reduce its dependence on the U.S. dollar following last month's sanctions relief."
"

John Hunter , 2016-04-17 20:13:50
Fix the price of bread or milk then it is...

Price Collusion is a non-competitive agreement between rivals that attempts to disrupt the market's equilibrium. By collaborating with each other, rival firms look to alter the price of a good to their advantage.

Fix the price of oil well, that's how it works... Because if it's good for the banks it's good for you etc.

Not that I am a free market fan either.

KillerMarmot John Hunter , 2016-04-17 22:07:10

By collaborating with each other, rival firms look to alter the price of a good to their advantage.

We're not talking firms or bankers here but nations - Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, and so on.

Arweni KillerMarmot , 2016-04-17 22:54:47
bankers OWN your FIAT banking nation...They didn't own Iraq before they invaded it, and nor did they own Libya. They do now.

And guess who owns the oil companies ?

""So no, it's not a hyperbole to say the Banking System is One. We're not overstating the case when we say it's just one massive cartel. That the banks own everything, including all the major industries. Oil, Weapons, Pharmaceuticals, Food, Telecom and IT, etc. It's all one massive monopoly. Controlled from the top down. "

'A total of 737 control 80% of it all"

The Money Power is real and these Swiss gentlemen have done us a favor by crunching the numbers."

Please Google "The network of global corporate control"

=====

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the House of Rothschild.

=========
"Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talks of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile... Once a nation parts with the control of its credit, it matters not who makes the laws....Usury once in control will wreck the nation."

William Lyon MacKenzie King, former Prime Minister of Canada

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)

"… The modern theory of the perpetuation of debt has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating." -Thomas Jefferson


"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance." -James Madison

"The Government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity." -Abraham Lincoln

GeeDeeSea , 2016-04-17 20:00:06
Saudi Arabia wanted Iran excluded from the the meeting. But now Saudi Arabia is demanding that Iran join the agreement!

Saudi Arabia is sounding like a spoiled child.

Kiselev , 2016-04-17 19:59:56
Well this perfectly mean that we could face 100$ oil already in one-two years..
LorenzoStDubois Kiselev , 2016-04-17 22:33:09
That might be today's script from Kremlin HQ, but it's not going to happen.
bubbleballs , 2016-04-17 19:34:21
No real mention of the warmongers, America the UK and France!
France no longer getting it oil from Libya and America and the UK holding back on weapons for the Saudi's and hinting at Iranian sanctions.
Lets hope the Opec countries see sense and continue breaking the arc of crisis warmongers.
Keep pump the black gold guys sanity isn't that far away.
DubaiJonny bubbleballs , 2016-04-17 20:47:50
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
Arweni bubbleballs , 2016-04-17 23:04:40
""We're going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran" –General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia .
------------
"That is the phenomenon of the US. Since 1945 they've destroyed 73 countries and were directly involved in the deaths of 26 million people. It is a horror show. It just must stop!"

John Shipton, journalist and executive officer of Wiki Leaks.

=====

Seems to me, the silliness lays with you. And the barbarism lies with us...

"last month, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the "War on Terror" since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.

The 97-page report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning doctors' group"

"The PSR report is authored by an interdisciplinary team of leading public health experts, including Dr. Robert Gould, director of health professional outreach and education at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and Professor Tim Takaro of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University."

http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf

So here they are....and I have much respect for these folks. No one paid them to speak

========
"Johanna Congleton, MSPH, PhD, Maryland

Robert Dodge, MD, California

David Drake, DO, Iowa

Richard Gibson, CPA, Kansas

Steven Gilman, PMP, North Carolina

Robert Gould, MD, California; Past President; Co-chair, Leadership & Governance Committee

Ira Helfand, MD, Massachusetts; Chair, Security Committee

Katie Huffling, RN, MS, CNM, Maryland

Edward Ifft, PhD, Virginia

Andrew Jameton, PhD, Minnesota

Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, FACMI, Illinois

Alan H. Lockwood, M.D., F.A.A.N., New York; Co-chair, Environment & Health Committee

Alfred Meyer, New York; Chair, Radiation & Health Committee

Trish O'Day, MSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist-Community Health, Texas

Cindy Parker, MD, MPH, Maryland; Co-chair, Environment & Health Committee

John Rachow, MD, Iowa; Treasurer; Chair, Development Committee

Lynn Ringenberg, MD, FAAP, Florida; President

Karin Ringler, PhD, Wisconsin

Callum Rowe, California

Pouné Saberi, MD, MPH, Pennsylvania

Todd Sack, MD, FACP, Florida

Alli Stradiotto, Nebraska

Catherine Thomasson, MD,

Kami Veltri, MS-1, District of Columbia

Peter Wilk, MD, Maine; Co-chair, Leadership & Governance Committee

Lauren Zajac, MD, MPH, New York

YorenOfTheNorth , 2016-04-17 19:32:53
Broadly I'd say the Saudi's should get real and get used to making deals rather than commanding everyone else to obey.
John Ouimet , 2016-04-17 18:17:15
maybe they can make glass, or sell sand bags to low coastal regions flooding from risind oceans. If they don't find something there will be more wars, and more people crossing borders here and in Europe.
URFullofShit , 2016-04-17 17:50:58
I just hope they all understand that once their oil dries up and it will dry up sooner or later that all the money in the world they made from the world won't save their ass from the food shortage they'll have.
Because they can't grow crap in that sand and the world will stop sending all the food sent today because they charged so much for the precious product they have. Oh' it will be offered to them but at their prices.
I'd say $500 for a bag of apples sounds about right?
What goes around comes around OPEC...
TomRoche URFullofShit , 2016-04-17 19:26:34
But you forget: we have so much food precisely *because* of cheap fossil fuels, and "Saints" Fritz und Carl .[1">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Bosch#Legacy">Carl.[1] Ultimately--i.e., Real Soon Now--humanity must return to organic agriculture not because it's The Right Thing to Do, but because today's conventional agriculture relies on cheap energy and (especially in the central US) fossil water .[2] "Once their oil dries up" the Saudis won't be the only ones with a food shortage.

[1]: Not the first "Saints" of ambiguous character and works--Saint Augustine and Saint John Paul II come readily to mind.
[2]: Of course the latter relies on the former for its extraction.

bubbleballs URFullofShit , 2016-04-17 19:39:15
Saudi is already having problems with fresh water having drained many of their aquifers.
SicknTired7 URFullofShit , 2016-04-17 22:52:36
They own half of London, they won't be short of money.
djarvis77 , 2016-04-17 17:11:31
what happens if u.s. gets outta opec?
import only from our north american neighbors and doubles the price at the pump?
It really looks like china is hoarding oil federally, since oil isn't federalized in the u.s.; the people of the u.s. are being cheated massively by opec and their own oil companies.
Idk much about this topic, and it is very hard to find good info.
Lone Rider djarvis77 , 2016-04-17 17:38:56
US ISN'T A MEMBER OF OPEC!
jvillain djarvis77 , 2016-04-17 18:09:53
We will never know becuase that isn't what is happeneing. The US is trying to shut down oil non-American oil production in the Americas using climate change laws as the weopon. But those laws don't apply the the US allies in the Middle East. Or to put it another way North America is putting worker in the Americas out of work while ramping up the amount of oil from the ME. There is a reason the ME countries spend so much money on lobbying in the US.
DogsLivesMatter Lone Rider , 2016-04-17 22:06:54
But Chevron, Shell, BP, Texaco, Mobil, Esso and Gulf are all western companies so in that respect the USA is an OPEC member.
IranianSoldier , 2016-04-17 16:45:57
Iran can run Saudi into bankruptcy soon with war in Yemen and Syria draining Saudi money and resources. Iranian invented the chess!
bubbleballs IranianSoldier , 2016-04-17 19:43:52
No two Jewish Bitiish and Americans invented it, Bresenski and Lewis, its called the " arc of crisis" the arc from Pakistan to the Baltic in turmoil keeps the "commies" at bay, the reason for American and British involvement with Ukraine.
Hamed Abadi , 2016-04-17 16:33:39
sory i was trying to rply to somone else.
Hamed Abadi , 2016-04-17 16:32:40
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
joinupthedots , 2016-04-17 14:50:11
Saudi is heading for bankruptcy inside the next 36 months and is shitting itself.

Iran has 30 years of catch up to do.

Russia smells blood and is going after the kill.

Expect Saudi to disintegrate into civil war and Iran to become the swing producer in the next 36 months. Iran will be quite happy with 40USD barrel and Russia will suffer it but Saudi is dead in the water.

Sieggy joinupthedots , 2016-04-17 16:15:37
Couldn't happen to a nicer place. Except for Russia, maybe . . .
StevenShelwick joinupthedots , 2016-04-17 16:34:39
"Expect Saudi to disintegrate into civil war and Iran to become the swing producer in the next 36 months"

Wishful thinking. The Saudis can weather this, which is why they won't cut production.

All the Gulf states are run by obnoxious regimes. I hope the price of oil stays low for a lot longer and weakens them all.

jamiediamond007 StevenShelwick , 2016-04-17 17:26:06
In the UK context, a low oil price is good, it keeps costs down and the Scots in their place.
Michael Schwister , 2016-04-17 14:48:52
Tesla and other electric autos will look more attractive as opec tries to squeeze the world for high priced oil. Any producing Nations that haven't used their wealth to create a diverse economy for themselves will suffer from the collapse of the oil industry as we try to save the planet.
bubbleballs Michael Schwister , 2016-04-17 19:55:06
But electric cars are priced off the road, the huge taxes paid by us when oil prices were high hasn't led to Government making electric or any other environmentally power car cheaper, the answer is when they tried to put charging points in motorway service stations, BP said it wanted control of the pricing, in other words the oil companies want to keep control of their rip off prices and government is quite happy to let them as long as we continue to be ripped off by high taxes.
The world has to change, our dinosaur government need to die out quickly if the world is going to survive.
Foracivilizedworld , 2016-04-17 14:46:11
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
djarvis77 , 2016-04-17 14:36:01
This recent oil slump and opec meetings has really showed me how little i understand about the oil business.
Is the u.s. involved in the meeting at all, and if so who is the u.s. representative?
And where is oil federalized and where is it not? How can countries partaking in the free market system put a freeze on oil production?
And if somehow the free market american system can put a freeze on oil production how come they can't put a freeze on oil prices at the pump? And why would the free market system want anything to do with the federalized opec countries at all?
shiran djarvis77 , 2016-04-17 15:02:08

Is the u.s. involved in the meeting at all


Iunderstood that initially Saudi was interested in keeping the price low to combat US shale oil extraction which is more expensive, and which is making US almost self sufficient in oil. They appear to have overstretched their arm though and are almost going bust themselves.
BrapMobile djarvis77 , 2016-04-17 15:52:37
Basically, OPEC used to cut production to support global oil prices. However, every time they cut production, they would lose market share, so in effect, they were underwriting more expensive production elsewhere, notably US shale, Canadian tar sands and various deepwater projects.

In Nov 2014 they switched from a price supporting strategy to a market share strategy. They would no longer cut production to restrict supply and raise prices. They would produce at full tilt to damage the higher cost producers. Oil is not something that can be switched on and off quickly, so the present price collapse is the turbulence from that decision.

The more expensive oil producers have been a lot more resilient than OPEC thought they would be, via various financial instruments like hedging etc. It's taken longer than expected, but these protections are now starting to unwind, hence the delayed but increasing decline in US production etc.

With the collapse in future oil field project development, instability in many large producer countries, and little excess capacity on the supply side, I see a major oil shock coming in the next few years as current fields deplete and are not replaced. Global oil demand is actually still increasing year on year, and the supply side isnt keeping up at these prices.

shiran BrapMobile , 2016-04-17 16:11:37

Global oil demand is actually still increasing year on year,


But isn't that because its cheap? If and when prices start to rise, the increasing demand will slow. This has already happened in China where there is a drop in oil demand, albeit, still marginally higher than last year.
Ashikaga , 2016-04-17 12:59:12
Iran should double their production and bring their oil production to parity with Saudi, and then demand Saudis reduce their production and stop funding international terror.
laguerre Ashikaga , 2016-04-17 13:12:52
Yes, you're right. The Saudis do use their oil money for funding international terror. Even more, they use it for funding Islamic extremism, and have done so for forty years. Ever since the Belgian king asked them in 1976 to build and fund the new (at the time) central mosque in Brussels. That's why there are so many jihadis in Belgium.
SonOfRekab Ashikaga , 2016-04-17 13:38:33
Production costs are radically different for both countries.
When it comes to cheap oil, no country can compete with KSA and the emirates.
Whatever Iran is selling in today's prices, it is selling at a lost just to keep the industy alive.
the Saudis know this, and will do their very best to keep the prices at a place where Iran would not profit from them.
KSA can sell oil for 10$ a barrel and still see a profit.
BrapMobile SonOfRekab , 2016-04-17 14:15:34
And see their own economy collapse
MrConservative2016 , 2016-04-17 12:32:49
Good.

Hopefully oil prices will start falling again, squeezing Wahhabi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies.

Jeffrey Buderer MrConservative2016 , 2016-04-17 14:40:03
KSA is the heartland of radical Islam Oman UAE Bahrain Qatar all the outlying kingdoms seem more moderate than Saudi
YorenOfTheNorth MrConservative2016 , 2016-04-17 19:34:36
The regimes of Syria and Egypt being so much more noble.........
DogsLivesMatter YorenOfTheNorth , 2016-04-17 21:45:34
It's a bloody shame that Hollande and a group of businessmen are in Egypt right now. They are expected to close a 1 billion dollar deal.
Miogarar , 2016-04-17 12:32:39
Fossil fuel. Dirty smelly stuff. The Sun and wind and water is better. Let them squat on their oil and complain all they like. They have us over a barrel, as it stands. On the other hand, if we persued solar/wind/water we we be free of their nasty ways.
SonOfRekab Miogarar , 2016-04-17 13:39:49
My god, you are a genius, where have been all this time?
Miogarar SonOfRekab , 2016-04-17 13:55:15
Thanks! But it is really that simple. The dead hand of inertia is motivated by vested interests.
SonOfRekab Miogarar , 2016-04-17 14:07:37
No it isn't.

Those methods are still not cost effective enough to use on mass scale and provide 24/7 availability.

In Israel we had a few years where people actually got subsidies to build the solar panels on their roofs and were able to see access electricity into the grid, and still most people who did it say eventually they hardly broke even, and for the most part those were people with large properties or agricultural buildings with large roof areas.

If anything i would hope that the new research for 4th generation nuclear reactors finally produce s !--

laguerre , 2016-04-17 12:09:38
Perfectly reasonable position from Iran, I would say. Better that the Saudis cut back for a bit. The money only goes into the pockets of the Saudi royal family anyway, the wealthiest people in the world.
shiran laguerre , 2016-04-17 12:22:14
And Iranian money only goes to supporting international terror.
Realcfc98 shiran , 2016-04-17 12:50:40
Yeah that Saudi funded Wahhabi terrorism. That has gone global.
newbag shiran , 2016-04-17 12:56:19
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs

[Apr 13, 2016] The increase in Chinas oil imports

peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS , 04/13/2016 at 10:19 am
The increase in China's oil imports is due to several factors:

1/ Healthy demand growth, which is due to:

(a) stabilizing GDP growth

China's Exports Jump Most in a Year, Boosting Growth Outlook
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-13/china-s-exports-rebounded-in-march-boosting-growth-outlook

China's exports jumped 11.5%, the most in a year, and declines in imports narrowed to 7.6% , adding to evidence of stabilization in the world's second-biggest economy.

(b) continuing growth in vehicle sales, supporting strong growth in gasoline consumption

"Vehicle sales in China rose 8.8 percent in March from a year earlier to 2.4 million, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on Tuesday, supporting strong gasoline demand in the country."
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil-idUSKCN0X800I

Average oil demand in the world's second-largest crude consumer is expected to grow by 420,000 barrels a day this year, the bank [Standard Chartered] said, adding that apparent oil product demand expanded 6.2 percent last year to 9.4 million barrels a day. China will account for 37 percent of global demand growth this year, Standard Chartered estimates.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-25/china-seen-sustaining-strong-crude-imports-on-refining-reserves

2/ Falling domestic oil production (for the first time in many years)

"China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec Corp., plans to … cut crude production by 5% in 2016 as a result of cutting capital expenditures by 10.6% from 2015"
"Total upstream production last year fell 1.7% to 471.91 million barrels of oil equivalent, with crude output down 3.1%"
[ Hong Kong (Platts)–30 Mar 2016
http://www.platts.com/latest-news/oil/hongkong/chinas-sinopec-expects-steady-throughput-5-lower-27408416 ]

"PetroChina Co. sees oil and gas output falling the first time in 17 years as it shuts high-cost fields that have "no hope" of making profits at current prices."
"PetroChina forecasts crude production this year at 924.7 million barrels, down 4.9 percent."
"China's output in 2016 will decline as much as 5 percent from last year's record 4.3 million barrels a day, according to estimates last month from Nomura Holdings Inc. and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. That would be the first drop in seven years, and the biggest in records going back to 1990."

[ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-24/-no-hope-oil-fields-spur-1st-petrochina-output-cut-in-17-years ]

3/ Rising commercial and strategic inventories

China end-February commercial fuel stocks at four-year high
Mar 28, 2016
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-oil-stocks-idUSKCN0WU0P1

China Can't Resist $30 Oil
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-01/china-can-t-resist-30-oil-as-african-north-sea-cargoes-surge

4/ Permission to import crude oil by independent "teapot" refineries.

China teapot refiner oil buying spree creates tanker jam at Qingdao
Thu Apr 7, 2016
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-oil-tanker-traffic-idUSKCN0X419L

"A total of 27 independent refiners, known as teapots, have obtained or applied for crude-import quotas, totaling 89.5 million tons as of the end of February, Zhang Liucheng, chairman of China Teapot Alliance, said on March 31"
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-13/china-imports-record-crude-oil-as-higher-margins-boosts-buying

5/ Strong refining margins, which encourage increasing processing volumes and contribute to increasing oil product exports (which means that the increase in net imports was less than gross imports)

"China awarded additional 230,000 tons of oil product export quotas to teapot refineries in a second-batch allocation, according to ICIS China.
The teapot plants are very sensitive to refining margins and profitable oil processing in the first quarter certainly boosted their appetite for crude"
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-13/china-imports-record-crude-oil-as-higher-margins-boosts-buying

"Refining volumes will stay "robust" to satisfy growing gasoline and jet fuel demand in the world's largest automobile market, the bank [Standard Chartered] said. The country has boosted exports of diesel as slowing industrial production damps consumption."
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-25/china-seen-sustaining-strong-crude-imports-on-refining-reserves

[Apr 13, 2016] Maduro has been alleging that the US is seeking to scrap the OPEC freeze plan

peakoilbarrel.com

dclonghorn , 04/13/2016 at 4:28 pm

Schlumberger has announced that they will be reducing work in Venezuela because they have not been paid.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-12/schlumberger-to-pare-services-in-venezuela-on-lack-of-payments

They are owed almost a billion. I wonder how that works. They say if you owe a bank a million and can't pay, you have a problem. If you owe a billion, the bank has a problem. I wonder if they will actually pull out or be forced to continue to provide services to protect their receivables.

Maduro has been alleging that the US is seeking to scrap the OPEC freeze plan.

[Apr 09, 2016] Looks like China is importing a lot of oil

Notable quotes:
"... Looks like China is importing a lot of oil as there is also a traffic jam in Qingdao, China. ..."
"... A surge in oil buying by China's newest crude importers has created delays of up to a month for vessels to offload cargoes at Qingdao port, imposing costly fees and complicating efforts to sell to the world's hottest new buyers. ..."
"... China's independent refiners, freed of government constraints after securing permission to import just last year, have gorged on plentiful low-cost crude in 2016. This has created delays for tankers that have quadrupled to between 20 to 30 days at Qingdao port in Shandong province, the key import hub for the plants, known as teapots, according to port agents and ship-tracking data. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
daniel , 04/07/2016 at 12:53 pm
Am i just too dumb or does this article make no sense at all? http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Shocking-Photo-Nearly-30-Oil-Tankers-in-Traffic-Jam-Off-Iraqi-Coast.html

If everybody is overproducing why tie up your tankers like this. I could understand this jam in an offloadingpoint, but not at a loading point

aws. , 04/07/2016 at 9:09 pm
Contango
Heinrich Leopold , 04/08/2016 at 4:39 am
Daniel,

Looks like China is importing a lot of oil as there is also a traffic jam in Qingdao, China.

http://oilpro.com/links/detail/30965/photo-nearly-30-oil-tankers-traffic-jam-off-iraqi-coast

This is very good news for the Chinese and World economy.

Daniel , 04/08/2016 at 6:34 am
Indeed good news and a tanker jam which I can understand :-)
AlexS , 04/08/2016 at 8:30 am
China has recently allowed imports of crude oil by small independent "teapot" refineries. So tanker jams do not necessarily mean an increase in final demand.

From Reuters:

China teapot refiner oil buying spree creates tanker jam at Qingdao

Thu Apr 7, 2016
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-oil-tanker-traffic-idUSKCN0X419L

A surge in oil buying by China's newest crude importers has created delays of up to a month for vessels to offload cargoes at Qingdao port, imposing costly fees and complicating efforts to sell to the world's hottest new buyers.

China's independent refiners, freed of government constraints after securing permission to import just last year, have gorged on plentiful low-cost crude in 2016. This has created delays for tankers that have quadrupled to between 20 to 30 days at Qingdao port in Shandong province, the key import hub for the plants, known as teapots, according to port agents and ship-tracking data.

[Apr 01, 2016] Qatar says 12 countries confirmed for oil cap meeting bakken.com

bakken.com

Those confirmed so far are Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Nigeria, Algeria, Indonesia, Ecuador, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

[Mar 30, 2016] Investors see shale production falling and demand continuing to rise

The collapse in oil prices has demolished investment in new projects, the results of which will be felt in the 2018 to 2021 timeframe, due to multiyear lead times
www.yahoo.com
Oil prices have hovered at $40 per barrel for much of the last week, as the markets try to avoid falling back after the strong rally since February.

Investors see shale production falling and demand continuing to rise, which point to the ongoing oil market balancing.

But it is unclear at this point if the rally from $27 per barrel in February to today's price just below $40 per barrel is here to stay. Fundamentals, while trending in the right direction, are still weak.

[Mar 30, 2016] India consumed 4.2 million barrels per day in 2016, overtaking Japan as the world's third largest oil consumer

www.bloomberg.com

India consumed 4.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2016, overtaking Japan as the world's third largest oil consumer. The Indian government is hoping to incentivize domestic oil production to help meet rising demand.

[Mar 29, 2016] Looks like Libya' civil war is far from over

Notable quotes:
"... The problem for the international community is while destroying ISIS is their stated priority, both Libya's rival camps see each other as the greater threat. ISIS is a threat, but neither camp believes it is an existential threat, so the priority for both camps is fighting each other. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

likbez, 03/29/2016 at 10:51 pm

Looks like Libya' civil war is far from over. From Richard Galustian ( https://twitter.com/bd_richard )

The problem for the international community is while destroying ISIS is their stated priority, both Libya's rival camps see each other as the greater threat. ISIS is a threat, but neither camp believes it is an existential threat, so the priority for both camps is fighting each other.

[Mar 29, 2016] Government admits oil was the reason for war in Iraq

Notable quotes:
"... Iraq war and its aftermath failed to stop the beginning of peak oil in 2005 ..."
"... I think the Iraq war was instigated by an alliance of neocon/Israel lobby plus oil/service company and weapons complex interests. But the overriding interest seems to have been the neocon strategy to get the USA tangled in Middle East wars. This in turn would weaken Israel's enemies and increase animosity between the Muslim and Christian worlds. Such animosity plays very well if it leads to all out war between "the West" and Muslims. As long as the USA keeps behaving as an Israeli puppet the conflict will intensify. ..."
"... What I outlined above is a distilled version of writings/books by former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, former CIA operatives, and books such as "Fiasco" by Thomas E. Ricks. I've also incorporated recent material written about ISIS and its birthing at the US Army's Camp Bucca. ..."
crudeoilpeak.info
Matt Mushalik, 03/24/2016 at 3:37 pm
Tony Blair is right: without the Iraq war there would be no Islamic State
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/25/tony-blair-is-right-without-the-iraq-war-there-would-be-no-isis

16/3/2013
Iraq war and its aftermath failed to stop the beginning of peak oil in 2005
http://crudeoilpeak.info/iraq-war-and-its-aftermath-failed-to-stop-the-beginning-of-peak-oil-in-2005

Uploaded 5/7/2007
Government admits oil is the reason for war in Iraq
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7t_u641NyM Reply

Fernando Leanme , 03/25/2016 at 4:58 am
I think the Iraq war was instigated by an alliance of neocon/Israel lobby plus oil/service company and weapons complex interests. But the overriding interest seems to have been the neocon strategy to get the USA tangled in Middle East wars. This in turn would weaken Israel's enemies and increase animosity between the Muslim and Christian worlds. Such animosity plays very well if it leads to all out war between "the West" and Muslims. As long as the USA keeps behaving as an Israeli puppet the conflict will intensify.

What I outlined above is a distilled version of writings/books by former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, former CIA operatives, and books such as "Fiasco" by Thomas E. Ricks. I've also incorporated recent material written about ISIS and its birthing at the US Army's Camp Bucca.

[Mar 24, 2016] EIA reports that US production is down 30 thousand barrela a day

peakoilbarrel.com

Amatoori , 03/23/2016 at 1:26 pm

EIA weekly today, production down 30.000/day
Hello cliff!
http://ir.eia.gov/wpsr/overview.pdf
AlexS , 03/23/2016 at 7:03 pm
Production down 30 kb/d;
Total crude and product stocks up 6.9 million barrels (to new records);
Net crude imports up 691 kb/d in just one week (!) and 1.1 mb/d from a year ago.
Despite a glut in the local market, U.S. refiners and traders are rapidly increasing crude imports.

[Mar 22, 2016] Libya joins Iran in snubbing oil freeze source by Alex Lawler

A typical disinformation bunged with the obvious attempt to amplify differences within the OPEC. In spite of all this noise about oversupply i t will be difficult to return to the lows of the year. Oil prices have surged more than 50 percent from 12-year lows since the OPEC floated the idea of a production freeze, boosting Brent up from around $27 a barrel and U.S. crude from around $26. 15 oil-producing nations representing about 73% of oil production have agreed to take part.
Notable quotes:
"... Qatar, which has been organizing the meeting, has invited all 13 OPEC members and major outside producers. The talks are expected to widen February's initial output freeze deal by Qatar, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, plus non-OPEC Russia. ..."
"... Iran produced about 2.9 million bpd in January and officials are talking about adding a further 500,000 bpd to exports. So far though, Iran has sold only modest volumes to Europe after sanctions were removed. ..."
finance.yahoo.com

finance.yahoo.com (Reuters)

...Libya has made its wish to return to pre-conflict oil production rates clear since four countries reached a preliminary deal on freezing output in February. Other producers understand this, the delegate said. "They appreciate the situation we are in."

Qatar, which has been organizing the meeting, has invited all 13 OPEC members and major outside producers. The talks are expected to widen February's initial output freeze deal by Qatar, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, plus non-OPEC Russia.

The initiative has supported a rally in oil prices, which were about $41 a barrel on Tuesday, up from a 12-year low near $27 in January, despite doubts over whether the deal is enough to tackle excess supply in the market.

Iran has yet to say whether it will attend the meeting. But Iranian officials have made clear Tehran will not freeze output as it wants to raise exports following the lifting of Western sanctions in January.

The potential volume Libya and Iran could add to the market is significant. But conflict in Libya has slowed output to around 400,000 barrels per day since 2014, a fraction of the 1.6 million bpd it pumped before the 2011 civil war.

Iran produced about 2.9 million bpd in January and officials are talking about adding a further 500,000 bpd to exports. So far though, Iran has sold only modest volumes to Europe after sanctions were removed.

[Mar 21, 2016] IEA as the key player in staging oil price drop by creating a false impression of glut via manipulated statistics

Notable quotes:
"... Crude Mystery: Where Did 800,000 Barrels of Oil Go? Last year, there were 800,000 barrels of oil a day unaccounted for by the International Energy Agency, the energy monitor that puts together data on crude supply and demand. Where these barrels ended up, or if they even existed, is key to an oil market that remains under pressure from the glut in crude. ..."
"... "The most likely explanation for the majority of the missing barrels is simply that they do not exist," said Paul Horsnell, an oil analyst at Standard Chartered. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Sarko , 03/19/2016 at 3:13 pm

Nobody talk about this?

Crude Mystery: Where Did 800,000 Barrels of Oil Go? Last year, there were 800,000 barrels of oil a day unaccounted for by the International Energy Agency, the energy monitor that puts together data on crude supply and demand. Where these barrels ended up, or if they even existed, is key to an oil market that remains under pressure from the glut in crude.

Some analysts say the barrels may be in China. Others believe the barrels were created by flawed accounting and they don't actually exist. If they don't exist, then the oversupply that has driven crude prices to decade lows could be much smaller than estimated and prices could rebound faster.

Whatever the answer, the discrepancy underscores how oil prices flip around based on data that investors are often unsure of.

"The most likely explanation for the majority of the missing barrels is simply that they do not exist," said Paul Horsnell, an oil analyst at Standard Chartered.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/crude-mystery-where-did-800-000-barrels-of-oil-go-1458207004

[Mar 21, 2016] Overthrowing regime of Kaddafi was essentially color revolution financed by the West and Arab monarchies

Notable quotes:
"... It looks more like the chaos of a failed state rather than a popular uprising to remove an authoritarian government. The implication of this difference is that a return of Libyan oil production to prior levels is highly unlikely until there is a massive stabilization achieved, and I wouldn't be holding my breathe for that. ..."
"... The people are hungry and without hope as long as conditions remain the way they are so they riot to try to change them. It is, very likely, just the first stages of world collapse. ..."
"... Arab spring is a variant of a "color revolution". From Google search of the term: ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Hickory, 03/15/2016 at 11:13 am

Minor quibble Dennis. You commented- "Libya is struggling with their own Arab Spring" I think that characterization of what is going there on is off base.

It looks more like the chaos of a failed state rather than a popular uprising to remove an authoritarian government. The implication of this difference is that a return of Libyan oil production to prior levels is highly unlikely until there is a massive stabilization achieved, and I wouldn't be holding my breathe for that.

Ron Patterson , 03/15/2016 at 11:49 am
It's Ron, not Dennis. It all depends on your definition of "Arab Spring" And I see you have provided your own definition, "a popular uprising to remove an authoritarian government."

Definition of the Arab Spring Bold mine.

The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in early 2011. But their purpose, relative success and outcome remain hotly disputed in Arab countries, among foreign observers, and between world powers looking to cash in on the changing map of the Middle East….

But the events in the Middle East went in a less straightforward direction.

Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen entered an uncertain transition period, Syria and Libya were drawn into a civil conflict, while the wealthy monarchies in the Persian Gulf remained largely unshaken by the events. The use of the term the "Arab Spring" has since been criticized for being inaccurate and simplistic.

The Arabs themselves cannot agree on the definition of "Arab Spring". It is basically just an uprising of the general population protesting the hardships of their lives. I would say that the Arab Spring, in any country, is just the first stages of a failed state. I think there is no doubt that what is happening in Libya was caused by the same conditions that has caused similar uprisings throughout the Arab world. The people are hungry and without hope as long as conditions remain the way they are so they riot to try to change them. It is, very likely, just the first stages of world collapse.

Hickory , 03/15/2016 at 12:34 pm
Hi Ron. Good points made. Agreed.
likbez , 03/15/2016 at 5:33 pm
Ron,

Arab spring is a variant of a "color revolution". From Google search of the term:

[Mar 21, 2016] China Car Sales Suffer Biggest Crash On Record To Start 2016

www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/20/2016 - 21:15

The dream of transition to a 'consuming' economy just crashed into the wall of excess debt and leverage. 2016 has started with a 44% collapse in China passenger car sales . This is the biggest sequential crash and is 50% larger than any other plunge in history. Coming at a time when vehicle inventories are near record highs relative to sales, the world's automakers - all toeing the narrative line that growth will be from China - now face a harsh reality of massie mal-investment deja vu.

[Mar 20, 2016] Light tight oil is not your average crude oil

Notable quotes:
"... Light tight oil is not your average crude oil. I suspect it is clogging up US inventories after the import substitution phase ended and after some modifications to US refineries were completed. This glut created the perception in markets that there is a global glut (and contributed to bring down oil prices) while it is not ..."
"... Where actually is that much-hyped global oil glut? http://crudeoilpeak.info/where-actually-is-that-much-hyped-global-oil-glut ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Matt Mushalik , 03/20/2016 at 8:07 am

Light tight oil is not your average crude oil. I suspect it is clogging up US inventories after the import substitution phase ended and after some modifications to US refineries were completed. This glut created the perception in markets that there is a global glut (and contributed to bring down oil prices) while it is not

29/12/2015
Where actually is that much-hyped global oil glut? http://crudeoilpeak.info/where-actually-is-that-much-hyped-global-oil-glut

That shale oil surplus is the reason why the crude oil export ban was lifted but not much is exported. See slide 4 in Art Berman's latest presentation

http://www.artberman.com/wp-content/uploads/HGS-Presentation-14-MAR-2016.pdf

In fact crude imports went up again in the last months. Anyway, shale production has peaked now according to the latest drilling productivity report. The following 2014 report describes the mismatch between shale oil production and US refinery capabilities (slides 7-9)

http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/ee/3_Kah.pdf

[Mar 11, 2016] Peak Oil Review A Midweek Update - March 10

www.resilience.org

Chinese crude imports hit a record of 8 million b/d in February despite severe economic problems and contracting imports and exports. One reason for the surge may have been the extremely low oil prices in January which attracted more buying for strategic stocks and to refine for exports. China's small independent refiners were only recently allowed to import oil for their needs rather than procuring it domestically.

[Mar 10, 2016] ESAI Libyan production will not recover

Notable quotes:
"... All of this is to say that the level of effort and the focus of Western states in Libya, at least as regards ISIS, are on strict counterterrorism as opposed to creating conditions in which competing claimants to governing legitimacy can work out a compromise. In the meanwhile, the competing governing factions will have to defend themselves against not only other claimants to legitimacy but also ISIS and other smaller groups that have begun to attack Libyan oil production and export facilitates with increasing regularity. ..."
"... The recent attack in neighboring Tunisia also points to the problem of ISIS presence in Libya not only helping to continue the instability and political stalemate there but also spreading unrest further in Northern Africa. ..."
March 9, 2016 | bakken.com

Sarah Emerson, Managing Principal, Petroleum & Alternative Fuels | Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI)

... ... ...

While there are ongoing negotiations, or attempts at negotiations pushed by Washington and key European states, so far it does not look at all hopeful. In the meanwhile, the efforts of the West are focused on two issues. First is conducting strikes against ISIS leaders and key operatives who might be either planning on targeting Western targets or who might be consolidating control over parts of Libya. Second is keeping refugees from flowing into southern Europe (whether they are Libyans or Africans who are taking advantage of the lack of governance in Libya to launch from its shores).

News reports indicate that the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Italy all have Special Forces on the ground in Libya largely to support intelligence gathering and targeting ISIS cells or leaders. The recent U.S. airstrikes two weeks ago against ISIS leaders and a training camp in Libya may or may not reflect this small ground presence, but the attacks indicate that Washington is focusing on elements of the terrorist group that might be planning attacks on Western targets. The news information on the French aircraft carrier also hints that any strikes that Paris may carry out will be against those potentially plotting against French targets. All of this is to say that the level of effort and the focus of Western states in Libya, at least as regards ISIS, are on strict counterterrorism as opposed to creating conditions in which competing claimants to governing legitimacy can work out a compromise. In the meanwhile, the competing governing factions will have to defend themselves against not only other claimants to legitimacy but also ISIS and other smaller groups that have begun to attack Libyan oil production and export facilitates with increasing regularity.

The recent attack in neighboring Tunisia also points to the problem of ISIS presence in Libya not only helping to continue the instability and political stalemate there but also spreading unrest further in Northern Africa.

Sarah Emerson, Managing Principal, Petroleum & Alternative Fuels | Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI)

[Mar 10, 2016] resource nationalist are quickly running out of money

Notable quotes:
"... We all are living under neoliberalism , aren't we? And current fascinating developments with Bernie and Trump is nothing more than unorganized protest of shmucks against " masters of the universe " - neoliberal elite that captured Washington, DC (along with London, Paris, Berlin and other G7 capitals). And they still have quite strong fifth column in Moscow too (Yeltsin was their man) ..."
"... The revolt which BTW have little chances for success. As Orwell aptly stated, contrary to Marx delusions "the lower classes are never, even temporarily, successful in achieving their aims". ..."
"... The key idea of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up from shmucks to international (predominately financial) elite. So nobody care that either camel lovers or Putin lovers lose money on oil and that they are selling it below the cost. What is important that the "masters of the universe" became richer. And sustainability is provided by grabbing asset of distressed countries and companies when they go too deeply in debt slavery. So the key idea here is get those countries and companies "conditioned" enough to grab them on a cheap. In old days that was called "shock therapy" now it is called "disaster capitalism". ..."
"... Destabilization as in "drop of oil prices to unsustainable levels" can be extremely profitable (see The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. ). This is the way the neoliberalism enforces its Washington consensus rules on other countries, especially resource nationalists like Putin's Russia. ..."
"... This was not done in case of "shale bubble" and other countries were implicitly stimulated by it to rump up production as well as by regime of high oil prices and cheap Western credits. Now we have a real crisis when "resource nationalist" are quickly running out of money. If Washington is able to crush them, it is also will show the other countries who are trying to oppose neoliberal globalization "who is the boss". It is not accidental that all establishment candidates in the current presidential race are extremely, pathologically jingoistic and are ready to bomb yet another half-dozen of countries in short order after coming to power. In this sense differences between H, C and R are superficial. They all are servants of neoliberal oligarchy in Washington and Wall Street (for H in the opposite order). ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
likbez, 03/09/2016 at 6:59 pm
clueless,

Art Berman looks at the numbers and says oil should go back to $30, or even lower. It does take capitalism time to work.

This looks like too theoretical post well outside the scope of this blog, but still there are some basic facts that everybody needs to be aware of.

  1. We all are living under neoliberalism, aren't we? And current fascinating developments with Bernie and Trump is nothing more than unorganized protest of shmucks against "masters of the universe" - neoliberal elite that captured Washington, DC (along with London, Paris, Berlin and other G7 capitals). And they still have quite strong fifth column in Moscow too (Yeltsin was their man)

    The revolt which BTW have little chances for success. As Orwell aptly stated, contrary to Marx delusions "the lower classes are never, even temporarily, successful in achieving their aims".

  2. The key idea of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up from shmucks to international (predominately financial) elite. So nobody care that either camel lovers or Putin lovers lose money on oil and that they are selling it below the cost. What is important that the "masters of the universe" became richer. And sustainability is provided by grabbing asset of distressed countries and companies when they go too deeply in debt slavery. So the key idea here is get those countries and companies "conditioned" enough to grab them on a cheap. In old days that was called "shock therapy" now it is called "disaster capitalism".

  3. Destabilization as in "drop of oil prices to unsustainable levels" can be extremely profitable (see The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.). This is the way the neoliberalism enforces its Washington consensus rules on other countries, especially resource nationalists like Putin's Russia.

    The countries and companies in question were gently pushed to increase the production to the level that assured the crisis to happen. While this sounds like another conspiracy theory, and can well be such, the simple logic suggests that in XXI century the elite understands the natural dynamics of capital accumulation well enough to freeze too enthusiastic Ponzi schemers before they do the major damage, if they want it. At least suppress them enough to avoid "Minsky moment."

    This was not done in case of "shale bubble" and other countries were implicitly stimulated by it to rump up production as well as by regime of high oil prices and cheap Western credits. Now we have a real crisis when "resource nationalist" are quickly running out of money. If Washington is able to crush them, it is also will show the other countries who are trying to oppose neoliberal globalization "who is the boss". It is not accidental that all establishment candidates in the current presidential race are extremely, pathologically jingoistic and are ready to bomb yet another half-dozen of countries in short order after coming to power. In this sense differences between H, C and R are superficial. They all are servants of neoliberal oligarchy in Washington and Wall Street (for H in the opposite order).

    It can well be that US shale was a part this Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard " gambit and now is a pawn sacrificed in a wider geopolitical game.

[Mar 09, 2016] China oil consumption in 2016

peakoilbarrel.com
Heinrich Leopold , 03/08/2016 at 1:57 am
shallow sand,

China did increase its oil imports over the last few months to over 30 mill tons per month (see below chart). Together with natgas and cyclical hydrocarbon imports this adds up to 40 mill tons of hydrocarbons per month, which is around 10 mill barrels per day.

Slowly the fundamentals are building up for an oil price rise, although I think we will get a pullback over summer.

clueless , 03/08/2016 at 12:01 pm
"The data also showed China's February crude oil imports jumped 20 percent on year to their highest ever on a daily basis, driven by import quotas and stockpiling."

From a China article today.

Heinrich Leopold , 03/08/2016 at 12:35 pm
clueless,

In addition to the surge of oil imports, natgas is up year over year 100%, copper 50%, copper ore and extractives up 92%. The increase is all up in volume as imports in dollar terms are still very low due to low prices. However these numbers are huge as China is one of the largest importers in the world.

To me this looks like the early sign of a nascent commodity recovery.

AlexS , 03/08/2016 at 2:56 pm
3 main drivers of China's higher oil imports are:

1) state and commercial stockpiling
2) robust gasoline demand (not closely correlated with economic growth, as opposed to weak diesel demand).
3) rising fuel exports

"Fuel exports in February rose 71.8 percent on a daily basis compared to the same month last year, reaching 2.99 million tonnes, or 721,700 bpd, after hitting a record 975,500 bpd in December, as China continues to export more diesel amid weakening domestic demand for the industrial fuel."

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-trade-crude-idUSKCN0WA0A2

Synapsid , 03/08/2016 at 6:15 pm
Alex S,

"…as China continues to export more diesel amid weakening domestic demand for the industrial fuel."

Plus: There's increasing demand in China for gasoline as more cars are built and sold. More gasoline coming from refineries means more diesel coming from refineries, as they produce both.

The small "teapot" refineries are being given permission to import gasoline now, I believe, so that will help reduce overproduction of diesel, and the government has imposed a price floor too; that helps reduce the panic exporting.

Heinrich Leopold , 03/09/2016 at 12:56 am
AlexS,

The driving forces of Chinese oil imports are exploding car registrations:
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/car-registrations

The Chinese car market is much bigger than the US car market. And also growing much faster.

When a commodity cycle starts, metals (gold, silver, base metals…) are first to soar. Oil is actually the last to rise as oil in most cases brings a commodity cycle to its end due to higher inflation.

Yes, China exports diesel and gasoline, yet it also imports oil products of 2.66 mill tons per month.
http://info.hktdc.com/hktdc_offices/mi/ccs/index_static_type/ChemicalImport.htm

Net exports are close to zero.

There is little doubt that China is in the early stage of a massive upswing. Anyone who hopes for higher oil prices should hope also for a Chinese recovery. Oil prices will not go up without a Chinese recovery.

AlexS , 03/09/2016 at 3:01 am
Heinrich Leopold

Changes in China's imports and exports of crude and refined products are obviously important.

But what really matters for global supply/demand balance is
1)China's oil consumption.
2) China's oil production

China's demand for diesel, which is an indicator of economic activity, is weakening.

Demand for gasoline, which is an indicator of growing car ownership, is robust.

Overall, demand growth is slowing.

But this is partially offset by projected decline in oil production in 2016, the first in many years.

China: demand by product
source: IEA OMR Feb 2016

Enno , 03/09/2016 at 3:09 am
Thanks Alex. Indeed quite a reduction in growth compared with the last years.
Heinrich Leopold , 03/09/2016 at 3:19 am
AlexS,

As the demand growth in 2015 has been way underestimated in 2014, it is again underestimated for 2016.

The IEA numbers for 2016 are just an estimate and not yet a fact. Car registrations and import numbers reveal way higher numbers are likely for China in 2016.

A strong sign of a Chinese recovery is the recent strength of the yuan, record high of new loans (2500 bn yuan) and strong money suppley (+14%).

AlexS , 03/09/2016 at 6:14 am
Heinrich Leopold,

You are right, the IEA has significantly increased its estimate of China's oil demand for 2015.
Last year, incremental demand was actually higher that in the previous 4 years.
I also agree with you that IEA likely underestimates China's demand growth in 2016.
But this growth will still be slower than last year; it will not accelerate.
Growing imports reflect buying by the government and oil companies for stockpiling and increasing exports.

China's y-o-y oil demand growth, 2000-2016
source: IEA

AlexS , 03/09/2016 at 6:27 am
As I said above, there is also a serious structural shift in China's oil consumption.
It is now driven by gasoline, which is due to growing private car ownership.
By contrast, demand for diesel, which is mainly consumed in the industry and construction, has sharply decelerated.
And this seems to be a long-term trend, as China is gradually changing its economic model from export-oriented, based on heavy industries and construction, to a more focused on private consumption.

China: y-o-y growth in gasoline consumption
source: IEA

AlexS , 03/09/2016 at 6:30 am
China: y-o-y growth in diesel consumption
source: IEA

Dennis Coyne , 03/09/2016 at 7:40 am
Hi AlexS,

It is possible that diesel fuel is being used more efficiently by the Chinese economy. For example diesel is essentially the same as heating oil and as China develops less will be used for heating buildings as natural gas pipeline infrastructure expands, there might also be some switching to heat pumps for heating. These switches take time and there is a significant time lag between high oil prices (from 2011 to mid-2014) and when we see the long run demand effects.

Also the expansion of auto sales tends to increase employment and economic activity throughout the economy.

For these reasons I think a focus on total oil demand makes more sense than a focus on only diesel demand.

AlexS , 03/09/2016 at 12:01 pm
Dennis,

Yes, there is an effect of fuel substitution.
I'm not sure if a lot of diesel is used for heating in China (I think they are mostly using LPG, coal, firewood, etc.), but certainly there are sectors of the economy where it can be substituted or used more efficiently.

For example, in the 2000s, a lot of diesel and residual fuel was used for power generation, as despite a rapid growth in generation capacity China often experienced serious power shortages. In particular, that explains a spike in oil consumption in 2004. China now has sufficient generation capacity, so diesel use for power generation in the commercial and residential sectors is diminishing.

But more important is a structural shift in China's economy and energy consumption patterns. The country is undergoing a gradual transition to an economy oriented toward private consumption. The share of less energy-intensive sectors, such as services, in GDP is increasing. Fixed investment/GDP ratio is declining from 40-50% to more sustainable levels, which means relatively slower growth and less infrastructural developments. All this should lead to a less energy-intensive economy and relatively lesser use of industrial fuels, including diesel.

By contrast, gasoline demand is driven by rising living standards, growing middle class, and hence rapidly increasing car ownership. Gasoline consumption will continue to grow at a high rate, even though economic growth is slowing.

Dennis Coyne , 03/09/2016 at 3:28 pm
AlexS,

Nice analysis, agree 100%.

islandboy , 03/09/2016 at 8:20 am
Here's the deal. China may actually be the country where EVs take off in a big way first (if you leave Norway out of it). The following insideevs.com piece rates China as the number one EV market in the world. I don't understand the metrics used by the author for the countries below China on the list but, it is hard to deny that China is the fastest growing market for EVs or that the highest absolute numbers of EVs are being sold in China.

World's Top 7 Electric Vehicle Adoption Countries for 2015

1. China

up from #3; local sales 207,000, plus a lot more buses and commercial trucks. Claim to fame: easily overtook USA this year for the global volume title; increased 300% over 2014; most sales locally made by a diverse domestic industry; makes and deploys the vast majority of the world's EV Buses.

China has once again proven that despite its huge size, it can turn its economy and industry on a dime. They've been doing this every few years now, in a manner rivaling what the USSR and USA accomplished during World War II.

As always, when you crank out an omelette this big, eggs will break. Indeed, the sooty fallout of last decade's massive industrial push is one big reason why China is in such a hurry now to clean up its energy grid, and its car and bus fleet. Hopefully they are learning some lessons, and not just causing problems just as big downstream.

This concern is important. For example, in January Amnesty International published a meticulous report, showing that China's Huyaou Cobalt company buys cobalt mined off of Congolese child and slave labor. It then sells the cobalt directly or indirectly to Li-ion battery makers, including BYD and interestingly, Korean LG Chem and Samsung. This must stop.

That said.

It is simply mind-boggling, that in 2012 China had all of 3,000 EV sales. The US was already at 52,000 at the time. Three years later, they have apparently crossed 200,000 sales for the year, with 35,000 EV sold in December 2015 alone.

China To Increase Annual Purchase Ratio To 50% Electric Cars For Some Government Departments

he Chinese government intends to further augment plug-in electric vehicle sales by increasing purchases from various government departments.

The latest move sets buying guidelines of more than 50% of new purchases to be NEVs (New Energy Vehicles – electric or plug-in hybrid).

What this means for future gasoline consumption growth in China is anybody's guess but, it appears to me that EVs are in the early stages of an exponential growth phase.

[Mar 07, 2016] How Traders Benefit from the Crude Oil Contango Market - Market Realist by Gordon Kristopher

Feb 5, 2016 | marketrealist.com

contangoEnlarge Graph

Cost of storing crude oil

Crude oil traders like Vitol Group and BP (BP) take advantage of the broader contango market. These traders buy front-month crude oil futures contracts and take delivery upon their expiration. They store this crude oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, and then sell it at higher prices in six months. Industry surveys estimate that leasing costs at large tanks in Cushing were 25–35 cents per barrel per month compared to the 12-month contango price of $8.27 per barrel, as shown in the chart above. Thus, the storage cost of crude oil for 12 months could be $4.20 per barrel at most, keeping administrative fees and other pumping costs at $1 per barrel for 12 months. This means traders could make a profit of $3 per barrel.

Further, the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) estimates that storing crude oil in large oil tankers for several months is expensive. It estimates that the trade will be unviable until contango conditions reach $10–$12 per barrel. Citigroup suggests that if oil prices fall below $30 per barrel, it would be unviable to store crude oil at sea.

Effect on crude oil tankers

However, long-term oversupply and the broader contango market have benefited oil tankers like Nordic American Tankers (NAT), Teekay Tankers (TNK), Frontline (FRO), Euronav (EURN), DHT Holdings (DHT), and Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP).

The steep contango conditions in the ultra-low sulfur diesel market provide opportunity for contango traders and supertankers. Ultra-low sulfur diesel inventories in the United States have risen more than total motor gasoline inventories since the middle of June 2014.

ETFs and ETNs like the United States Oil Fund (USO), the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN (OIL), the VelocityShares 3X Long Crude Oil ETN (UWTI), and the ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (SCO) are also influenced by the rises and falls in crude oil prices.

In the next part of this series, we'll shift our focus to the US crude oil rig count.

[Mar 07, 2016] What is it like being an oil trader?

Notable quotes:
"... The trader's life is also made trickier by the volatility in the market, which has seen prices rise and fall by several dollars a barrel in a day. "Over the last two or three years we've seen a huge increase in volatility and that's probably due to moving more from a physical group of companies trading to a financial-based scenario," he says. ..."
"... "It's the momentum of these big hedge funds and financial institutions, which makes the market move by percentage points rather than the 30 or 40 cents you used to get three or four years ago." ..."
"... Those sudden, big movements make it difficult for traders to be off-duty. "You can never leave your position, even if technically you've left it, ie you've gone home," Ms Clubley says. ..."
www.bbc.com

24 February 2008 | BBC News


Oil traders never stop talking to each other. Oil traders have to weigh up a great deal of information


The most popular software among oil traders is not an oil trading package or even a news service such as Reuters - it is Yahoo Instant Messenger.

"Trading oil is about getting information and knowing where the market is," says Eivind Lie who runs the trading desk at the Norwegian oil company StatoilHydro's offices in London.

"So being a trader your life is pretty much either on Yahoo or on the telephone trying to get an overview of the market."

Keeping in touch

While people trading shares or currencies can get a lot of their information from analysts' notes and computerised trading systems, the oil trader still relies on chatting to a wide range of people, ranging from other traders to specialist oil trading journalists, to try to find out what is going on in the world.

Everything from war or natural disasters to more mundane events such as seasonal changes to temperatures or elections can affect oil prices, so for the traders it pays to be informed.

Richard Wickham, one of the crude oil traders at Statoil, makes his first call to the office on the way to the station after he has dropped his children off at the nursery.

Then as soon as he gets to the office he will read price reports and messages from Statoil staff who have been trading in the US and Asia and talk to the London-based analyst.

After that, the less formal process of talking to people really gets going.

"Collating information is more than half the job," Mr Wickham says.

"Executing trades is almost small in comparison - if you don't have the information you're blind," he says, staring at the four computer screens on his desk, which display a bewildering array of graphs, figures, reports and message windows.

There is little else on the desk besides family photographs and a strategically-placed Norwegian dictionary, for when he is trying to understand messages from the company's head office in Stavanger.

Distressed cargoes

Statoil is one of the world's largest exporters of oil and, with oil topping $100 a barrel on supply concerns, its products are in great demand.

Yet it has a relatively small trading desk in London, with just a handful of traders. "If it's a weak market then we have to go out and sell it more actively, if it's a strong market they come and buy it from us," Mr Lie says. Currently, demand is strong, though the traders are nevertheless on the phone, talking to other traders, analysts and brokers.

Everyone in the market for physical oil - as opposed to paper market traders, who do not want to end up owning any oil - is looking for that precious piece of information that will allow them to sell oil for more, or buy it for less.

"From our side, as the seller of oil, we want to get to know the buyer's position," Mr Lie says. "Are they short of oil, do they really need more?" The holy grail for buyers is to find a seller having difficulty selling a shipment. "If you get too close to the delivery date, when it's taken aboard a ship in the North Sea, and it's not sold, then the buyers know that we have what's called a 'distressed cargo', so they will try to get a cheap price for that," he adds.

Volatile market

It may be a good time to be a seller of oil, but the way oil is traded means it can still be nerve-wracking. "There are a lot of market price contracts where I would sell you oil today, but we price it the day the ship loads, which might be in three of four weeks time," says Sally Clubley, an independent oil consultant who trains oil traders.

"So we've done the deal today, but we don't know the price today and there's a lot of oil traded on that basis."

The trader's life is also made trickier by the volatility in the market, which has seen prices rise and fall by several dollars a barrel in a day. "Over the last two or three years we've seen a huge increase in volatility and that's probably due to moving more from a physical group of companies trading to a financial-based scenario," he says.

"It's the momentum of these big hedge funds and financial institutions, which makes the market move by percentage points rather than the 30 or 40 cents you used to get three or four years ago."

Those sudden, big movements make it difficult for traders to be off-duty. "You can never leave your position, even if technically you've left it, ie you've gone home," Ms Clubley says.

"It really is a 24-hour job because they don't trust anybody else with it."

Mr Lie agrees.

"I think some of the traders always carry their phones, even on vacations," he says. "It's a lifestyle more than a job so you have to enjoy it."

[Mar 07, 2016] US Oil Rig Count Points To A Sharp Decline In Production

Peak Oil Barrel
likbez, 03/06/2016 at 10:56 pm
Looks like the range of oil prices below $70 which represents the "death valley" for US LTO production also exists for UK North Sea fields.

Most fields might degrade at natural depletion rate already in 2016. Which is up to 22%.

Investment in the UK's embattled oil and gas industry is expected to fall by almost 90 per cent this year, raising urgent industry calls for the Government to reform its North Sea tax regime to safeguard the industry's future, reports

The Telegraph.

RT reports that if Brent price in 2016 stays in 0-70 range capex in the North Sea fields might be reduced by almost 90%.

According to the report of the British Association of oil and gas industry, with current prices, almost half of the oil fields in the UK produce oil at a loss.

Google translation of the RT article (abridged, and slightly edited) https://russian.rt.com/article/150621

The fall in oil prices has a negative impact on the UK economy. According to the report of the British Association of oil and gas industry, the country plans to reduce by 90% investments in the development of offshore fields in the North Sea. According to the expert in the field of oil industry of Mamdouh Salamah, for the United Kingdom will be cheaper to import crude, not to invest in new projects.

With current prices, almost half of the oil fields in the UK produce oil at a loss.

An expert in the field of oil industry Mamdouh Salama believes that in this situation for the United Kingdom would be more profitable to import oil, not to invest in new projects. According to him, for resumption of capital investments, the level of oil prices should be higher than $60-70 per barrel.

"Given the fall in oil prices it's more profitable for the UK to import crude oil and refine it locally, rather than invest in the North sea fields" said Salam.

[Mar 04, 2016] If the US Has Too Much Oil. So Why Are Imports Rising

Notable quotes:
"... Bullshit. Imports are rising because oil from shale is shitty shitty oil. It is barely better than condensate. ..."
"... Refineries dont make much money on very light crude, API 45. It doesnt produce a very high volume of fuels. It is feedstock material, and there is a limited market for feedstock. Much of US LTO production is greater than API 45. ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Zero Hedge

Despite domestic production declining and demand surging, the EIA reported oil inventories surge by more than 10 million barrels, or more than three times what was expected.

The 10.4 million barrel increase was mostly due to a near record increase in imports of 490,000 b/d (3.4 million barrels weekly) and an adjustment swing of 352,000 b/d (2.5 million barrels weekly) by the EIA. The latter has been a repeated pattern to exaggerate the levels of inventory, a pattern going back to 2015. Thus, over half of the said increase in inventory was driven by higher imports and an arbitrary adjustment that seems routine by the EIA. Domestic production actually fell by 25,000 B/D in the week ending on February 26. Also gasoline inventories fell 455,000 barrels, or nearly 5 percent, as capacity utilization rose 1 percent. Total gasoline supplied, which is a gauge of demand over last 4 weeks, has risen a whopping 7 percent.

Now the real question is with U.S. production declining and inventories at record levels, why are refiners still importing at such heights? The 8.2 million barrels per day imported in the week came very close to the record in December, missing by some few percentage points. U.S. commercial domestic crude oil stocks are now nearly 17 percent above last year levels. None of this adds up: We are producing less, inventories are rising, while demand is at records and yet we are using more imported oil?

SelfGov

Bullshit. Imports are rising because oil from shale is shitty shitty oil. It is barely better than condensate.
fiatmadness

And yet the US started exporting this month (Exxon to Sicilly)

Richard Head

US refiners are largely set up to process heavier crude than WTI.

gookempucky

Although raw shale oil can be immediately burnt as a fuel oil, many of its applications require that it be upgraded. The differing properties of the raw oils call for correspondingly various pre-treatments before it can be sent to a conventional oil refinery . [35]

Particulates in the raw oil clog downstream processes; sulfur and nitrogen create air pollution . Sulfur and nitrogen, along with the arsenic and iron that may be present, also destroy the catalysts used in refining. [36] [37] Olefins form insoluble sediments and cause instability. The oxygen within the oil, present at higher levels than in crude oil , lends itself to the formation of destructive free radicals . [32] Hydrodesulfurization and hydrodenitrogenation can address these problems and result in a product comparable to benchmark crude oil . [31] [32] [38] [39] Phenols can be first be removed by water extraction. [39] Upgrading shale oil into transport fuels requires adjusting hydrogen–carbon ratios by adding hydrogen ( hydrocracking ) or removing carbon ( coking ). [38] [39]

Shale oil produced by some technologies, such as the Kiviter process , can be used without further upgrading as an oil constituent and as a source of phenolic compounds . Distillate oils from the Kiviter process can also be used as diluents for petroleum-originated heavy oils and as an adhesive-enhancing additive in bituminous materials such as asphalt

johnnycanuck

Some possibilities.

shortonoil

Refineries don't make much money on very light crude, API >45. It doesn't produce a very high volume of fuels. It is feedstock material, and there is a limited market for feedstock. Much of US LTO production is greater than API 45.

http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/energy/images/eneene/...

http://www.thehillsgroup.org/

[Mar 03, 2016] The meeting of oil-producing countries will be held on March 20th in Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The meeting of oil-producing countries will be held on March 20th in Russia, the Minister of oil of Nigeria, Emmanuel Kachikwu, announced. According to him, it will be attended by representatives of countries who are OPEC members and countries that are not members in the organization. Mr. Kachikwu noted that producers seek to restore oil prices to $50 per barrel ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
Ves, 03/03/2016 at 8:36 am
SS,

here is some good news. You have heard it first from me here on POB 2 weeks ago. We are moving in direction of restoring the prices to acceptable level that major producers can live temporarily.

"The meeting of oil-producing countries will be held on March 20th in Russia, the Minister of oil of Nigeria, Emmanuel Kachikwu, announced. According to him, it will be attended by representatives of countries who are OPEC members and countries that are not members in the organization. Mr. Kachikwu noted that producers seek to restore oil prices to $50 per barrel."

[Mar 03, 2016] Russia can not replace the European customers but US neocons are trying to kick Russia out of Europe

Notable quotes:
"... Instead, it reprieved the fading remnants of the military-industrial-congressional complex, the neocon interventionist camp and Washingtons legions of cold war apparatchiks. All of the foregoing would have been otherwise consigned to the dust bin of history. ..."
"... The Saudis geopolitical goal is to contain the economic and political power of the kingdoms principal rival, Iran, a Shiite state, and close ally of Bashar Assad. The Saudi monarchy viewed the U.S.-sponsored Shiite takeover in Iraq (and, more recently, the termination of the Iran trade embargo) as a demotion to its regional power status and was already engaged in a proxy war against Tehran in Yemen, highlighted by the Saudi genocide against the Iranian backed Houthi tribe. ..."
"... But the Sunni kingdoms with vast petrodollars at stake wanted a much deeper involvement from America. On September 4, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional hearing that the Sunni kingdoms had offered to foot the bill for a U.S. invasion of Syria to oust Bashar Assad. In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing, the way weve done it previously in other places [Iraq], theyll carry the cost. Kerry reiterated the offer to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.): With respect to Arab countries offering to bear the costs of [an American invasion] to topple Assad, the answer is profoundly yes, they have. The offer is on the table. ..."
"... Gazproms gas exports to Europe – including Turkey – had increased to 158.6 billion cubic meters in 2015 with a 8.2 percent increase compared to 2014 ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
Longtimber , 03/02/2016 at 7:35 pm
Stockman's Tales of western intervention into the ME Oil Puzzle.
"The Trumpster Sends The GOP/Neocon Establishment To The Dumpster"
"And most certainly, this lamentable turn to the War Party's disastrous reign had nothing to do with oil security or economic prosperity in America. The cure for high oil is always and everywhere high oil prices, not the Fifth Fleet"

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-trumpster-sends-the-gopneocon-establishment-to-the-dumpster/

likbez , 03/02/2016 at 10:50 pm
Longtimber,

Thank you.

It goes all the way back to the collapse of the old Soviet Union and the elder Bush's historically foolish decision to invade the Persian Gulf in February 1991. The latter stopped dead in its tracks the first genuine opportunity for peace the people of the world had been afforded since August 1914.

Instead, it reprieved the fading remnants of the military-industrial-congressional complex, the neocon interventionist camp and Washington's legions of cold war apparatchiks. All of the foregoing would have been otherwise consigned to the dust bin of history.

Yet at that crucial inflection point there was absolutely nothing at stake with respect to the safety and security of the American people in the petty quarrel between Saddam Hussein and the Emir of Kuwait.

Compare with the recent article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in Politico:
http://www.politico.eu/article/why-the-arabs-dont-want-us-in-syria-mideast-conflict-oil-intervention/

Having alienated Iraq and Syria, Kim Roosevelt fled the Mideast to work as an executive for the oil industry that he had served so well during his public service career at the CIA. Roosevelt's replacement as CIA station chief, James Critchfield, attempted a failed assassination plot against the new Iraqi president using a toxic handkerchief, according to Weiner. Five years later, the CIA finally succeeded in deposing the Iraqi president and installing the Ba'ath Party in power in Iraq. A charismatic young murderer named Saddam Hussein was one of the distinguished leaders of the CIA's Ba'athist team.
… … …

The EU, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, was equally hungry for the pipeline, which would have given its members cheap energy and relief from Vladimir Putin's stifling economic and political leverage. Turkey, Russia's second largest gas customer, was particularly anxious to end its reliance on its ancient rival and to position itself as the lucrative transect hub for Asian fuels to EU markets. The Qatari pipeline would have benefited Saudi Arabia's conservative Sunni monarchy by giving it a foothold in Shia-dominated Syria. The Saudis' geopolitical goal is to contain the economic and political power of the kingdom's principal rival, Iran, a Shiite state, and close ally of Bashar Assad. The Saudi monarchy viewed the U.S.-sponsored Shiite takeover in Iraq (and, more recently, the termination of the Iran trade embargo) as a demotion to its regional power status and was already engaged in a proxy war against Tehran in Yemen, highlighted by the Saudi genocide against the Iranian backed Houthi tribe.

Of course, the Russians, who sell 70 percent of their gas exports to Europe, viewed the Qatar/Turkey pipeline as an existential threat. In Putin's view, the Qatar pipeline is a NATO plot to change the status quo, deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle the Russian economy and end Russian leverage in the European energy market. In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria "to protect the interests of our Russian ally."
… … …

But the Sunni kingdoms with vast petrodollars at stake wanted a much deeper involvement from America. On September 4, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional hearing that the Sunni kingdoms had offered to foot the bill for a U.S. invasion of Syria to oust Bashar Assad. "In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing, the way we've done it previously in other places [Iraq], they'll carry the cost." Kerry reiterated the offer to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.): "With respect to Arab countries offering to bear the costs of [an American invasion] to topple Assad, the answer is profoundly yes, they have. The offer is on the table."

Ulenspiegel , 03/03/2016 at 7:10 am
"The EU, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, was equally hungry for the pipeline, which would have given its members cheap energy and relief from Vladimir Putin's stifling economic and political leverage."

That is nonsense. The issue is that Russia has quite limited leverage: They can not replace the European customers on short notice – pipeline chain producer to certain customers – and they urgently need the income.

The more interesting question for Russia is how to cope with a customers who may reduce the demand for NG by 1% per year for the next few decades.

Ves , 03/03/2016 at 8:25 am
"The issue is that Russia has quite limited leverage: They can not replace the European customers on short notice"

Leverage is always mutual in the gas trade that involves long term contracts and long gas supply lines. It is like marriage :-)

"The more interesting question for Russia is how to cope with a customers who may reduce the demand for NG by 1% per year for the next few decades."

I am not sure that this is the case.

"Gazprom's gas exports to Europe – including Turkey – had increased to 158.6 billion cubic meters in 2015 with a 8.2 percent increase compared to 2014."

[Mar 02, 2016] Hedge funds turn bullish on Brent but not WTI by John Kemp

Reuters
Hedge funds and other money managers held a combined net long position in the three main crude oil futures and options contracts amounting to 383 million barrels on Feb. 23.

The combined net long position has increased in eight of the last 11 weeks from a recent low of 230 million barrels on Dec. 8. (tmsnrt.rs/1XUWJih)

But the increase in hedge fund and other money manager net long positions has been concentrated in Brent rather than WTI. (tmsnrt.rs/1XUWS5i)

The net long position in Brent futures and options traded on ICE Futures has jumped by more than 100 million barrels to 320 million barrels from 183 million barrels.

The net long position in WTI futures and options traded on ICE and the New York Mercantile Exchange has risen less than 20 million barrels to 63 million barrels from 47 million barrels. (tmsnrt.rs/1XUWVy1)

Extreme pessimism about the near-term outlook for prices, which reached its height in December and early January, seems to have dissipated a little.

There is more confidence that the long-awaited rebalancing of supply and demand is now underway in earnest which could help stabilize stockpiles and prices later in 2016.

U.S. shale producers seem to be finally cracking under the strain from low prices, with more than 100 oil drilling rigs idled over the past month, and many producers now openly talking about producing less in 2016.

[Mar 02, 2016] Why the next world war will be fought over food

peakoilbarrel.com
Jeffrey J. Brown, 12/22/2014 at 2:19 pm
A somewhat surprising article in Fortune:

Why the next world war will be fought over food
http://fortune.com/2014/12/21/why-the-next-world-war-will-be-fought-over-food/

[Feb 29, 2016] Based on old data of 2007 we use close to half of oil for passenger travel, and only 2 percent of oil for farm use

Notable quotes:
"... In the USA we use crude for various purposes. Based on old data of 2007 we use close to half for passenger travel, and only 2% for on farm use, for example. Probably hasn't changed much. How much of the passenger travel is important to GDP, or is "productive" vs "frivolous"? ..."
"... An even better question is how much of GDP itself is "productive" or "frivolous"? ..."
"... Households spent $306 billion on gasoline in 2015 which is ~1.7% of ~$18 trillion of GDP. If 2016 gasoline prices average $1.98 per gallon (EIA February STEO report), household spending on gasoline relative to total household spending will be the lowest in the 69 year history of the data set. ..."
"... Gasoline on its own it is pretty much useless unless you want just to start camp fire for marshmallows. If you want to include the true cost of using gasoline in the household you have to include the cost of vehicles that have never been higher in the history, you have to include the cost of insurance that is also marching higher every year. And let's not even go into ever increasing cost of building and maintaining each mile of highway network. So you have to look at built in price inflation in today's monetary system to realize the true costs. And anyway example that you provide for 2016 that "gasoline relative to total household spending will be the lowest in the 69 year history" is anomaly. Do you understand why it is anomaly? It is anomaly because at that price nobody in oil industry makes any profit. So you won't have this anomaly for very long. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
Hickory, 02/28/2016 at 11:47 am
In the USA we use crude for various purposes. Based on old data of 2007 we use close to half for passenger travel, and only 2% for on farm use, for example. Probably hasn't changed much. How much of the passenger travel is important to GDP, or is "productive" vs "frivolous"?

Here is the source article for this analysis

https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/newoilage.pdf

and an article which provides the data in pie chart form-
http://grist.org/article/how-we-can-end-our-addiction-to-oil/

Patrick R , 02/28/2016 at 8:16 pm
Thanks hickory, nice work.
likbez, 02/29/2016 at 12:07 am
Hickory,

An even better question is how much of GDP itself is "productive" or "frivolous"?

See http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Financial_skeptic/Casino_capitalism/Number_racket/gdp_is_a_questionable_measure_of_economic_growth.shtml

marmico, 02/29/2016 at 4:47 am
Households spent $306 billion on gasoline in 2015 which is ~1.7% of ~$18 trillion of GDP. If 2016 gasoline prices average $1.98 per gallon (EIA February STEO report), household spending on gasoline relative to total household spending will be the lowest in the 69 year history of the data set.

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=3CRQ

Ves, 02/29/2016 at 9:04 am
Gasoline on its own it is pretty much useless unless you want just to start camp fire for marshmallows. If you want to include the true cost of using gasoline in the household you have to include the cost of vehicles that have never been higher in the history, you have to include the cost of insurance that is also marching higher every year. And let's not even go into ever increasing cost of building and maintaining each mile of highway network. So you have to look at built in price inflation in today's monetary system to realize the true costs. And anyway example that you provide for 2016 that "gasoline relative to total household spending will be the lowest in the 69 year history" is anomaly. Do you understand why it is anomaly? It is anomaly because at that price nobody in oil industry makes any profit. So you won't have this anomaly for very long.

[Feb 28, 2016] China crude output in 2016 may decline by as much as 5 percent or 200 thousand bpd

Notable quotes:
"... Chinas output in 2016 will decline between 3 percent and 5 percent from last years record 4.3 million barrels a day, according to analysts from Nomura Holdings Inc. and Sanford C. Bernstein Co. That would be the first decline in seven years and the biggest drop in records going back to 1990. The country is the worlds fifth-largest producer and biggest consumer after the U.S. ..."
"... Fellow state-run energy giant China Petroleum Chemical, also known as Sinopec, said on Jan. 27 that oil and gas output in 2015 fell for the first time in 16 years as a slump in domestic crude production outweighed record volumes of natural gas ..."
"... While some Middle East suppliers can operate with oil at $25 a barrel, the break-even cost for Chinas Cnooc is closer to $41, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Gordon Kwan, who predicts the countrys domestic crude production will fall by 5 percent this year. ..."
"... The plateau, 2008 – 2014, was made possible by infill drilling. I suspect that the decline curve will be steeper than indicated in the above chart. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS, 02/28/2016 at 11:10 am
It seems that China's oil production will decline this year.

From Bloomberg:

China Oil Output Seen Cracking Under Pressure of Price Collapse

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-05/china-oil-output-seen-cracking-under-pressure-of-price-collapse

• Domestic production forecast to fall first time since 2009
• Crude output may decline by as much as 5 percent: Nomura

China's output in 2016 will decline between 3 percent and 5 percent from last year's record 4.3 million barrels a day, according to analysts from Nomura Holdings Inc. and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. That would be the first decline in seven years and the biggest drop in records going back to 1990. The country is the world's fifth-largest producer and biggest consumer after the U.S.

"We expect significant cuts in upstream production as the companies cut output at loss-making fields," said Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "Chinese explorers need to take more radical action to cut operating costs and increase efficiency."

CNPC plans to maintain crude output near 2015 levels, Deputy General Manager Wang Dongjin was quoted in a statement posted last month on the company's website. The country's biggest producer has only a "limited amount" of money to invest this year and will spend on oil and gas projects that improve efficiency or promote sales, Wang said.

Fellow state-run energy giant China Petroleum & Chemical, also known as Sinopec, said on Jan. 27 that oil and gas output in 2015 fell for the first time in 16 years as a slump in domestic crude production outweighed record volumes of natural gas.

Cnooc. Ltd., the country's biggest offshore crude explorer, said last month that output will fall this year, the first time in more than a decade, as it accelerates spending cuts.

While some Middle East suppliers can operate with oil at $25 a barrel, the break-even cost for China's Cnooc is closer to $41, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Gordon Kwan, who predicts the country's domestic crude production will fall by 5 percent this year.

China announced last month fuel prices won't be cut in line with crude as long as it trades below $40 a barrel. The National Development and Reform Commission said the floor is designed in part to shield domestic oil producers from the global price collapse.

"The policy is designed to provide explorers room to breathe," said Laban Yu, head of Asia oil and gas equities at Jefferies Group LLC in Hong Kong. "China cannot afford to shut down domestic production no matter how cheap crude gets."

dclonghorn says: 02/28/2016 at 1:17 pm

The articles I referred to above show a decline in actual Chinese production of 2.5 percent in one month. China produces around 4 million bopd, so it is a top producer. Any producing area can show a lot of variability from one month to another and production could rebound or have a small decline next month, however 2.5 percent decline in a month is big.

As a comparison, If the EIA came out with actual USA production falling 2.5 percent in January that would be a decline of around 230,000 barrels per day from December 2015. That's big!

On the other hand, Ron's historical production charts for China do show a lot of variation from one month to next. I don't know anything about xinhuanet which ran this report, or the National Development and Reform Commission which is supposedly reporting this information.

Javier , 02/28/2016 at 1:41 pm
So that's a 215 mbpd predicted reduction from the world's fourth producer.
Watcher , 02/28/2016 at 3:08 pm
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/crude-oil-production

Click on 5 Yrs. Looks like relentless increase in Chinese oil production since mid 2014 when price decline started and when oil was > $100. Apparently EIA data.

No reason this can't be so given they have their own central bank.

dclonghorn , 02/28/2016 at 3:16 pm
Nope, its an actual reported one month reduction of 2.5%. The data is in tons and I'm not sure how it would convert but it would probably be a little over 100,000 bopd.

My point was that rate of decline in the US would be about 230,000 bopd in a month, so it is a large percentage decline.

AlexS , 02/28/2016 at 3:37 pm
Changes of 2-4% in China's monthly oil production are not unusual. More important, if this marks a change in long-term trend.

China oil production kb/d
(converted from tons using 7,3 ratio)
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China

<