Minerals

A Spaceship called Eschatology

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on Resource Crisis on September 29, 2014

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This article appeared on “Virgin.com” on Aug 12, 2014.

Image from NASA

“Eschatology” is a Greek word meaning “the science of the end.” In ancient times, it used to be popular with theologians, but today it seems to have picked up interest to describe various kinds of catastrophes which could happen in the future. Things like giant asteroids falling on the Earth or, in the far future, the sun becoming so bright that it will cause the oceans to evaporate and wipe out all life.
Now, if eschatology means big, rapid and irreversible changes, you could argue that we’re going through a full-fledged eschatological event right now. It is a mineral eschatology caused by humans. Gigantic amounts of minerals have been extracted, processed, and dispersed in the atmosphere, in the oceans, and in the ground. It took hundreds of millions of years to create the ores we have destroyed in a few centuries. Hundreds of millions of years will be needed to recreate them – if indeed that will ever happen. The Earth is not any more what it used to be when humans first appeared on it, and it will never be the same again.It looks like we’ve built a spaceship called eschatology that’s transporting us to an alien planet on a one-way trip. A planet hotter than the one we are used to living on because of the greenhouse gases generated by the mining and the burning of fossil carbon. A planet with many characteristics we might find very unpleasant: from the flooding caused by the melting of land glaciers, to the persistent pollution caused by the heavy metals and radioactive minerals we’ve dispersed everywhere. But perhaps the greatest difference is that in this new planet we won’t find any more of the rich mineral ores which have provided us with energy and resources we used to build our industrial civilization.We may be able to adapt to a hotter planet, although that could mean enormous suffering for humankind. Within limits, we can also clean up the pollution we have generated. But how to live in a planet without cheap mineral resources?

It is true that minerals are never destroyed – so they will still be there and, in part, could be recovered from industrial waste. But, in the long run, in order to keep mining we would need to mine the undifferentiated crust, and that would be unthinkably expensive in term of the energy required. To say nothing of the disaster it would be in terms of pollution. The essence of the eschatological event we are living in is that the time of mining is almost over, at least in the form we have known it for centuries. That is, from miners with their picks and helmets in deep underground tunnels.But if eschatology means the end of something, it may also mean the beginning of something else. If mining is heading to an end, we can still have minerals if we are willing to change the wasteful and inefficient ways we’ve been using to get them. We must close the exploitation cycle, and completely recycle what we use. It is possible, but it needs energy – much more than we needed to mine pristine ores. This energy cannot come from fossil carbon: that would simply accelerate depletion and worsen the climate problem. We need clean and inexhaustible energy: mainly sun and wind.It is unlikely that this energy will ever be so cheap and abundant as the energy that was provided by fossil fuels at the beginning of their exploitation cycle; so, we’ll need to use it wisely. We’ll need to be much more efficient than we are today: we’ll need to create more durable industrial products, use energy carefully and substitute rare minerals with ones more common in the Earth’s crust.

Clean energy, recycling, and efficiency. This set of strategies is our ticket for survival in this interplanetary trip. In the end, spaceship Eschatology could give us a chance to abandon the ever-growing and never happy civilization of today and create a new civilization which could have enough wisdom to live and prosper on what is available and no more.
– Ugo Bardi is Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Florence and author of Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014). 

The Invasion of the Resource Zombies

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on Resource Crisis on May 6, 2014

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You probably heard that new ideas are “are born as heresies and die as superstitions”. But it can be worse than that: there are ideas which simply refuse to die and, like zombies, continue forever haunting the human mindscape. One of these ideas is that the problem with mineral resources consists in “running out” of something. A typical manifestation of this zombie-idea is a recent article by Matt Ridley which appeared on “The Wall Street” journal with the title “The World’s Resources Aren’t Running Out

I can hardly imagine a more unhelpful article than this one: it contains all the platitudes typical of this field, including the almost obligatory smear at the Club of Rome on the basis of the idea that “The Limits to Growth” study of 1972 had predicted that by now we should have run out of mineral resources (and, of course, we didn’t). Pure legend; that study never said anything like that. It is just another zombie-idea haunting the human mindscape.

But, apart from platitudes and legends, the article by Matt Ridley is wrong because it is based on a classic strawman: the one that says that we should worry about “running out” of mineral resources. It is not so. Let me say it emphatically, assuredly, and unequivocally: we are NOT running out of anything. That’s not the problem; the real problem with resources is diminishing economic returns. It means that we have extracted the “easy” (i.e. inexpensive) resources and that now we are forced to extract from “difficult” (i.e. more expensive) resources. Let me show you what’s happening with an example: the case of silver extraction.

This image, from the blog “SRSrocco Report,” says it all. In less than 10 years, the yield of silver extraction went down to nearly half of what it was at the beginning. That is, we need today to process almost twice as much rock than it took 10 years ago to extract the same amount of silver. And, of course, processing rock is expensive. We are not running out of silver: production has remained more or less constant over the past decade, but extracting it costs more. This is just an example; as I discuss in my recent book “Extracted“, all mineral resources are showing the same problem: diminishing yields of extraction.

Now, you can rhapsodize about new technologies as much as you want (and as Matt Ridley does in his article) but there is a real problem here. To extract minerals, you need to drill, lift and, grind rock and that takes energy and resources (read: money). Technology can make many things, for instance wonderful smartphones, but you can’t grind rock with smartphones. Technology, just like almost everything else, suffers of the problem of diminishing returns (I discuss this point in detail in a recent article of mine).

So, there is a reason for the increasing prices of all mineral commodities – it is diminishing economic returns. Unfortunately, however, some minds tend to be infected by the virus of the resource zombie that tells us that there is nothing to worry about. But there is a lot to be worried about: if something costs more, then you may not be able to afford it. In such case, you might as well say that it is not there (or even that you “ran out” of it).

So, it is not a good idea to sit back and hope that the wonders of technology will free us from resource depletion: no problem can ever be solved if you refuse to admit that it exists. Then you can find solutions in the form of higher efficiency, substitution, recycling and more. It can be done, but we need money, planning, and sacrifices. More than all, we need to shoot the resource zombie in the head and recognize the problem in order to act on it.

H/T SRSrocco report

Mineral depletion: where do we stand?

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

Published on Cassandra’s Legacy on November 20, 2013

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This is a written version of the talk that I gave in Stuttgart on Nov 12th for the “Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Congress“. It is not a transcription of my speech, but a version written from memory that maintains the gist of what I said

Ladies and gentlemen, first of all I would like to thank the organizers of this meeting because it is a pleasure and a honor to be here today. It is a pleasure, mainly, to see that the local government of Baden-Wurttemberg is taking seriously the problem of mineral depletion and its environmental consequences, and that so much high quality work is being done on this subject.

This said, I have 20 minutes to tell you how we stand in terms of worldwide mining trends. As you may imagine, it is not an easy task. The world’s mineral industry is an unbelievably huge machine that extracts all kinds of minerals and processes billions of tons of materials. If we look at the data of the United States Geological service, the USGS, we find a listing of about 90 mineral commodities; but each commodity includes several varieties of the same, or related, compounds. So, it is really a complicated story to tell.

Nevertheless, myself and 16 coworkers set up to try to analyze the situation with a book that we titled “Plundering the Planet“. It is a study that was sponsored by the Club of Rome. It is, actually, the 33rd report to the Club. Here is the cover of the book we published on this subject:

Of course, this study doesn’t claim to be a complete survey of what’s being done in the world’s mineral industry, otherwise we would have had to put together an encyclopedia in 24 volumes or more. But I think that at least we were able to catch the main trends and, here, I can summarize the main results for you.

So, where do we stand in terms of mining? Or, asking the question explicitly: are we going to run out of something? And, if so, when?

At this point, the typical answer that you can find on the web or in most studies on the subject is a list of the available reserves of this or that mineral. Allow me to tell you that once you enter in this kind of evaluation, you enter a true minefield. The concept of “reserve” is a curious beast, a sort of chameleon that changes color depending on where it stands. Reserves are, by definition, mineral deposits that can be extracted, but what will actually be extracted depends on what you need and on what you can afford. As you may imagine, these concepts vary a lot with the vagaries of the economy. So, if you want to estimate for how long a certain mineral resource will be extracted at reasonable costs – which is what we are interested in – well, it is another matter. Forecasting production on the basis of the available reserve is an activity prone to mistakes; even large ones.

So, let me take a different view of the situation. I’ll not be listing reserves, here, but I’ll show you mainly historical production data and price trends. From that, we’ll see if we can say something about the future.

First of all, where do we stand in terms of overall mineral production? Let me show you the most recent aggregated data available, from USGS.

(Rogich, D.G., and Matos, G.R., 2008, The global flows of metals and minerals: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1355, 11 p., available only online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2008/1355/.

This image comes from a 2008 paper and is updated to 2005. From then, the trends haven’t changed that much. As you see, we are still growing in terms of total amounts produced. We have been moving billions of tons of materials during the past century and we are continuing to do so. In particular, construction materials, for instance cement, keep growing: it is a nearly exponential trend that shows no sign of abating. But, we can’t live of cement, alone and I think you are more interested in the trends relative to fossil fuels – surely crucial for not just for the economy, but for our physical survival. So, let me show you some recent data.

Clearly, we don’t seem to be running out of fossil fuels, at least as long as we measure production in terms of tonnage (Mtoe stands for “million tons of oil equivalent). But note some trends: natural gas, and especially coal, are both rapidly growing – this is a bad thing, especially for coal, because coal’s emissions of greenhouse gases are the largest of the three for the same amount of energy produced. Even natural gas, which is sometimes touted as a “clean” (or even “green”) fuel also emits greenhouse gases and the problem of methane losses during extraction may make it as polluting as coal.

Notice also how the production of crude oil has been basically static during the past 7-8 years. That’s important because crude oil is a crucial commodity for our transportation system and the fact that it has not been growing is telling us something. You have surely heard of the “new oil” story and how new technologies have revolutionized oil production giving to us a new age of abundance. Well, from these data it seems that, at best, these technologies have been able to avoid decline; not more. One reason is because these technologies have been used only in the United States; maybe they’ll spread. But it is also true that after the great boom of “fracking” of the past few years, there are already signs of impending decline in the US. It is a fact, in any case, that the faster you extract it, the faster you run out of it.

There are further problems that this aggregated figure hides. One is that we should consider not just the total oil produced, but the oil produced per person. Here it is, in a graphic courtesy of Jean Laherrere.

You see, here, that if we consider the increase in population, the actual availability of crude oil per person has been declining after a peak reached in the early 1970s. It was the time of the great oil crisis that, apparently, never truly ended.

And you should also consider that, in Europe, we are all consumers of oil, not producers, so what we are interesting in is not really how much oil is produced in total, but how much oil we can import from producing countries. That depends, of course, on their internal consumption. Here, I could show you some data which indicate that several producers have big problems with their internal consumption increasing and that makes difficult for them not just increasing their oil exports but even in exporting any oil. But let me not go into the details.

These data show you that we are not running out of fossil fuels, not at all, but also that things are not easy. What’s happening is that the industry needs to use more and more expensive technologies in order just to avoid a decline in production. And if we are spending more to produce oil, it means that prices must be rising; of course nobody ever would sell oil at a loss. So, here are the data for “Brent” oil, one of the industrial standards of oil.

Image by Ugo Bardi from EIA data

So, you can clearly see a rising trend here. It is not speculation. It is difficult to think that someone could speculate on a market of several trillion dollars per year but, even so, speculation is usually short lived. Here, we have an increasing price trend that started with the turn of the century and it is still ongoing.

We can justify these prices considering actual data on how much extracting oil costs. This is a difficult evaluation, of course, but it appears that the most expensive oil on the market, the so-called “marginal barrel”, doesn’t cost less than about 80 dollars. It is so expensive because it comes from remote fields, it requires deep drilling, it is high viscosity oil, contaminated oil, all sorts of factors that contribute to high costs.  These costs can be measured in terms of energy needed to lift, purify, refine, etc. You can print as much money as you want, but that won’t help you in lifting oil out of the ground. For that, you need energy

And, please, note another important point. The prices of oil (and its cost), at present do not include pollution costs. When you buy gasoline for your car, you are not paying for the costs of global warming. And I don’t have to tell you that, as we are discovering in this moment, after the tragedy of the Philippines, these costs are very high and that someone has to pay for them – sooner or later. To clean up the mess we ourselves are creating, we need energy.

Now, there is an interesting conclusion, here. It is that if we want to keep production at these levels, we must accept these prices. Prices are an indicator that says that energy and material resources must be channeled to the oil industry in order to make it able to keep production at the present levels. If we want to reduce prices, then we must accept a reduced production. And if we’ll see a reduction in oil prices in the near future (which seems to be the recent trend) we’ll see also production going down. This is the situation: surely not one of abundance even though, as I said, we are not running out of oil.

There would be a lot more to say about fossil fuels, obviously, but let me stop here. As I said, my idea was to give you some general idea of how the world’s mineral industry is performing, so let me give you another example: copper. Here are the productive trends.

Now, copper is another critical commodity for the world’s industry and I think this figure provides some food for thought for all of us. You see that production is growing – even here we can say that we are not running out of anything. But the growth is slowing down. Copper production is not continuing the exponential growth it had been following in earlier times. What’s happening? Let’s give a look to the price trends.

As you see, copper prices have been following the same pattern we saw for crude oil. And that’s not surprising: in order to extract copper, you need oil. It is a general rule that in order to extract anything – even oil – you need energy in one form or another. It is known that the extractive industry is a voracious consumer of energy. The quantitative estimates are variable, but we can say that perhaps about 10% of the total primary energy produced in the world is used for the extraction of minerals. Of this energy, a large fraction, (about 35% according to some estimates) is in the form of diesel fuel for mining machines; for bulldozers and the like. So, no wonder that a rise in oil prices has caused a rise in the price of most minerals.

There is also another problem and it is that not only the energy needed to extract copper is more expensive. It is also that it is becoming gradually more expensive to extract copper because the energy needed is increasing. It is a general problem: for any mineral, the high grade ores are the first to be extracted. But, as you run out of high grade ores, you must move to lower grade ores and processing lower grade ores is more expensive. That’s the main effect of depletion. As I said, we are not running out of minerals; but we can say that we are running out of cheap minerals.

Now, I could tell you a lot more, but let me say that there are still some minerals that show a healthy growing trend, one is aluminum, for instance. That’s due to the fact that high grade aluminum ores are still abundant and also that aluminum extraction requires a lot of electric energy and that energy is often generated by renewables, hydropower, for instance. So, aluminum is not subjected to the same problem of copper and other metals.

So, the production of some commodities is still increasing; what we can say in terms of a general rule is that we have a general problem of rising prices. Evidently, extraction costs are increasing everywhere and for all mineral commodities. Here are some data for an average of a few of them (incidentally, showing to you the difference that inflation makes; it is there, but it doesn’t change the fact that there has been a huge increase in prices, recently):

Average price index for aluminum, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, nickel, silver, tin and zinc (adapted from a graphic reported by Bertram et al., Resource Policy, 36(2011)315)

Let me show you just a final example. The situation seems to be especially difficult for rare and expensive commodities and you surely have heard of the problem of rare earths; important minerals for applications in electronics. Here are the productive trends.

Production has not been increasing for at least five years and it is clear that there is a problem, here, even though the trends are not so clear as in other cases. About price trends, rare earths are a relatively small market and so what has been happening is a huge speculation phenomenon that caused prices to skyrocket. But, then, the bubble burst up and prices came down again in recent years. But not to the initial values, before speculation. Rare earth prices remain today about a factor 5 higher than they were 5-10 years ago.

We know is that the main producer of rare earths in the world is China and during the past few years China’s production has been going down. Some people have said that China wants to use rare earths as a commercial weapon, but I think that is not the case. The fact is that mining rare earths is expensive and polluting and the Chinese government has been trying to clean up the operation. And that is expensive. As I said earlier on, pollution costs are an integral part of the cost of mining, even though that is not usually taken into account.

So, let me summarize the situation in just a few lines:


1. Overall mineral production still on the increase

2. Per capita production static or decreasing

3. Costs of production everywhere increasing

4. Pollution damage also increasing

All that is not surprising, actually it was expected. I said that “The Plundered Planet”, is a report to the Club of Rome and you probably know the Club in reason of their first report, the one that was published in 1972 under the title “The Limits to Growth”. It was a set of scenarios for the future that took into account mineral scarcity as one of the main parameters. The calculations have been redone and updated; here is the latest version of the main results, from the 2004 version

From “The Limits to Growth, the 30-year update” by D. Meadows et al.

Without going into the details of how the trajectory of the world’s economy is modeled in this study, let me just say that it is based on physical factors – the main one being the increasing cost of extraction of mineral resources. This increasing costs was supposed to grow proportionally to the amount extracted. And you see, in the figure, how the curve for “resources” goes down with time, but also that troubles start much before running out of anything. It is because the high costs of extraction (and also the cost of pollution) are weighing down the economy, so much that it becomes impossible to keep industrial and agricultural production growing.

Now, the above shouldn’t be taken as a prophecy; not at all. It was just one of the many possible trajectories that the world’s economy could have taken. But, unfortunately, it looks like we have been following a trajectory close to this model. For instance, it seems clear that, as we approach the peak of industrial production that the model predicts, we are having problems in maintaining the growth of industrial production as we would like it to do. Here are some data for the industrial production in Europe (sorry that this image has labels in Italian, but I think you can understand it anyway):

Here, you see that after the crisis of 2008 there has been a certain return in industrial production. Germany almost managed to go back to the pre-2008 levels, but most European countries couldn’t do that. So, I think this image tells us that the 2008 crisis wasn’t just a financial crisis. It was something deeper and more structural. We can’t say for sure that it is the start of that general decline of the worldwide industrial production that the scenario I showed to you sees for some moment around 2020; but it could be.

In any case, we clearly have big problems related to the high prices of mineral commodities which ar deeply affecting the economies of the world. Let me show you some data for Italy and Germany

As you see, we are dealing with huge sums spent for importing mineral commodities- several tens of billions of Euros. About the data above, note that we have the data for the imports of fossil fuels only, but to that we should add the cost of importing all the other mineral commodity. For Italy, I can tell you that it almost doubles the total: in 2012 the net balance amounted to some 113 billion Euros that Italy spent and that represents about 7.5% of Italy’s GDP. I think that you should consider a similar fraction for Germany. Huge sums, as I said.

Now, consider that all these commodities have shown an increase in price of a factor that goes in the range of 3 to 5. You see that in the past few years, the added burden on the economies of countries which import mineral commodities has amounted to at least a few points of their GDP. Now, this is a heavy burden: we are talking of something of the order of 70 billion euros extra to pay for Italy alone – that can’t fail to have an effect. And, as you surely know, it wasn’t a good effect. The Italian economy is in deep trouble and I think that these extra costs are a major factor in the problem.

Germany survived increasing commodity prices better than Italy because the burden is lower in relative terms. This is because Germany produces some of its energy from domestic sources: coal and nuclear (which Italy doesn’t have) and has also done a remarkable effort in renewable energy; which is also a domestic source. The difference is clear: here are some data (source: World Bank, elaborated by Google):

You see the difference in the graph and, if you happen to live and work in Italy, you feel the difference yourself. Germany has more or less recovered from the 2008 crisis, Italy hasn’t. And I think that Italy’s near complete dependency on imported mineral commodities is the crucial factor that makes the difference.

So, it is time now to recap and to conclude: clearly we have a problem here; and it is a big problem. But not one that’s impossible to solve if we recognize it before it is too late. The solution lies, mainly, in the concept of “circular economy” that we are examining in this congress. And we know what that means: recycling, reusing, and being more efficient. But let me tell you one thing that I learned living in Italy: in order move towards a circular economy, you need resources and energy. Recycling has an energy cost, reusing does too – because you have to re-design practically everything. And even being more efficient has a cost: I see that in my job, which involves helping companies to make better products. Right now, Italian companies can’t afford being efficient. It looks like a contradiction in terms, but think about that: they are fighting for survival;  how can they invest in higher efficiency if the rewards for this will come only years in the future?

In short, if we don’t have energy we can’t do anything. If we have energy, we can recycle, we can reuse, we can be efficient and we can keep mining the resources which are still there, while we gradually move towards a circular (or “closed”) economy.

This is the fundamental point, but it also has to be said in the right way, because it can be misunderstood and has been misunderstood. We need energy, but of the right kind: non polluting and not subjected to depletion. It should be clear that fossil fuels are not a solution: they can’t solve the depletion problem, they can only worsen it. The faster you extract them, the faster you run out of them. And I can’t stress enough that the problem we face is not just depletion, it is pollution in terms of climate change. The climate problem may be much more difficult and intractable than depletion.

So, the right word about energy is “renewable”. And we can use the German term “energiewende” to indicate the energy transition. In the figure below, I am reporting some words by the British economist William Stanley Jevons, slightly modified (he was talking about “coal” rather than about “energy”; but the sense is the same)

So, we know what we have to do. But are we doing it? I am afraid that we aren’t, at least not fast enough worldwide. Let me show you some data:

You see that the investments for fossil fuels dwarf those for renewable energy. Think of how much money is spent just to maintain more or less constant the production of fuels! And if you look at more general sectors, investments in sustainability compared to investments for infrastructure related to fossil fuels, you’ll see that the trend is the same. Much more is spent to maintain business as usual – a society based on fossil fuels – than it is spent to create the energiewende, the transition to a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable society.

Note also a worrisome trend: investments in renewable energy went down in 2012 in comparison to 2011. Unfortunately, that points at the fact that when there is competition for scarce resources, the strongest competitor wins. And the fossil fuel industry is gigantic; with revenues in the range of several trillions of dollars per year for oil and gas alone. If the economic crisis continues, it is possible that we’ll see the support for renewables shrink, while we’ll see even more frantic and desperate efforts to pour everything we have into the fossil fuel industry in order to squeeze the last drops of fossil fuels out of the ground.

Why are we doing this? Who has decided to invest these huge sums for perpetuating an activity that is doing us gigantic damage and that we’ll have to abandon anyway in a not too remote future?

I think we can say that it is us; most of us, at least. It is because we have been seeking for short term profits in our investments and – if we remain within that paradigm – we’ll keep digging fossil fuels until we destroy our civilization and wreck the whole ecosystem.

On the other hand, it is also true that paradigm shift do exist. If we look at the figure above, we can see things in a more optimistic way. Think of how fast renewable energy – and sustainability in general – has been growing. Today we manage to spend some 250 billion dollars per year on renewable energy alone. Twenty years ago, it was almost nothing in comparison. So, that has been a remarkable progress that can make us optimistic for the future.

In the end, the way we spend our remaining resources is our decision. A decision that we make as professionals, as political leaders, as citizens of Europe, as citizens of the world, as human beings. And it is not impossible to take wise decisions if we just move our horizon a little farther than that of immediate financial returns.

To conclude, I would like to thank the whole staff of the Club of Rome for having made this report possible. 

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The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

A Window Into Our World By Cognitive Dissonance   Every year during the early spring awakening I qui [...]

Deaf, Dumb and Blind Who Is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong - Conservative or Liberal Extremists? [...]

The Apology: From baby boomers to the handicapped generations. by David Holmgren Re-posted from Holm [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-13http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-12http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

The Dark Cloud"Skynet needs to send a terminator back to 1984 and take out Mark Zuckerberg’s mom before he ca [...]

Accelerating Climate Solutions"When politicians set a lofty goal like zero emissions, engineers scramble." In 1834, Alex [...]

Roots"A foray into genealogy prompts some observations about the Anthropocene." Last week, an h [...]

The Hawkwood Elephant"Large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions. They require only small-scale solut [...]

How the gourd killed the whale"It was a dried gourd that brought whales to the edge of extinction in the 19th Century. " [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Why has it taken so long for the climate movement to accomplish so little? And how can we do better [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Our problem is inadequate demand to keep prices up. Slashing personal consumption doesn't help. [...]

The economy needs someone who is not afraid of lots and lots of debt (which, of course, will be defa [...]

ah... nostalgia... BURN MORE COAL... brings back fond memories of Fast Eddy and 2018... [...]

I guess it hasn't mattered for many years... under Obama, the national debt went up $8 trillion [...]

I for one, wouldn't agree with him. Firstly, I think we should be totally unconcerned about wha [...]

Hi Steve. I recently found what I believe is a little gem, and I'm quite confident you'd a [...]

The Federal Reserve is thinking about capping yields? I don't know how long TPTB can keep this [...]

As some one who has spent years trying to figure out what the limits to growth are. let me say that [...]

Peak oil definitely happened for gods sake. Just because it isn't mad max right now is no indic [...]

@Volvo - KMO says he made some life choices he regrets. Not sure what they were. And I don't th [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

An urban heat island (UHI) is a phenomenon that shows a higher temperature in urban areas compared t [...]

Passive microclimate frames are exhibition enclosures able to modify their internal climate in order [...]

European climate change objectives aim to reduce CO2 emissions, promote the spread of renewable ener [...]

Urban territorial expansion generated in the last decades has brought a series of consequences, such [...]

Institutions matter because they are instrumental in systematically adapting to global climate chang [...]