Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

68 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Another milestone in the marathon:
    ‘In Europe, renewables have produced more [electrical] energy than fossil fuels in the first and second quarter of 2019.”
    For some unexplained reason, the consultants responsible for this estimate expect fossil fuels to bounce back in the second half, following past experience. It’s a peculiar pattern, as the two halves of the year are pretty symmetrical climatically; excess a/c load in Q3 is balanced by excess heating load in Q1. And more new renewables become available each year in the second half as coal plants slowly close.

    I should have written “triathlon” not “marathon” as a simile for the transition. Electricity is just the swimming leg, to be followed by decarbonisation of transport, industry and heating (the bike leg) and finally massive sequestration to get us back to 350 ppm (the final run). JQ practices the right sport.

  2. Carbon pricing
    Nifty charts on the state of play in this pdf from the World Bank: *****
    The World Bank has its faults, but being a bureaucracy it has staying power. They have been steadily pushing carbon pricing for years, with more success than burnt-fingered Australians might think.

  3. UBI support + good advice from Miltin Friedman -“to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”.

    “Good New Idea
    John Lanchester makes the case for Universal Basic Income

    …”…we will need to have some different, better ideas; we will need to have some ideas about shared responsibility, shared security and shared prosperity. The left will need a new toolkit. It will need to have done its intellectual prep. That, more than anything, is what this new wave of work on UBI represents. Milton Friedman wasn’t right about everything, but he knew more than anyone in modern political economics what it takes to change an intellectual climate. He worked out how to make a new idea take shape first as something thinkable, and then as a specific policy. He said that the crucial step was to be ready:

    “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”

    The list of progressive alternatives which currently fit that description is one item long: universal basic income.”

  4. “We need to be at 270 ppm by 2013.” – Curt Kastens.

    Cleverly and humorously put Curt, but very few get that. Others seem to think we can go to 500 or 600 ppm (or more) and come back from that level. Not on this planet and there is no planet B.

  5. We don’t want to come back from 600 ppm. We want to go to 700 ppm so that if it drops suddenly it doesn’t drop past 600 ppm. We have deserts to green and a planet to save. We don’t want to dilly dally with CO2 deficiencies.

    Would it be easier to get rid of all the bare soil in South Australia with 360 ppm or with 630 ppm?

  6. If you are looking for a different risky and speculative Aussie megaproject, there’s a new contender:
    “The Northern Territory Government has granted Major Project status to Sun Cable’s proposed Australia-Singapore Power Link (ASPL). The $20 billion venture involves a 10 gigawatt solar farm with 20-30 gigawatt hours of battery storage to be built near Tennant Creek. It’s intended the energy generated by the facility will supply Darwin and Singapore; the latter via a 3,800 kilometre high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable.”
    The distance from Africa to Brazil across the Atlantic is considerably less (2,600 km). Ammonia tankers might be cheaper.

  7. Graeme Bird,
    On the last planet that I lived on water was all that a desert needed to turn green. Of course i only lived there temporarily so my perception of the importance of water could have been skewed. (It is a long story) (The best place to start the long story is on some steps going up and down a hillside behind the schoolhaus in the neighborhood of Marienberg in the German City of Übach-Palenberg. That schoolhaous has science been closed down,)

  8. Curt:
    The actual CO2 concentration in 2013 was 400 ppm, as you probably know. 270 ppm is the estimated pre-industrial concentration, good to say 1850.

    You have then three possible settings for your time machine. One is to go back to 1850, make yourself world dictator, and halt the Industrial Revolution. The other is somewhat more economical: to go back to 1750 with an AR-15 and prevent the Industrial Revolution by killing James Watt, Abraham Darby, Richard Arkwright and a hundred other inventors and capitalists who got it going on the back of coal. The third is to back only to 1980, make yourself world dictator again, and engage in a crash 33-year programme of decarbonisation. You will have to go nuclear for electricity, standardising on the then current French designs and not allowing anybody to change them. P2G was feasible then so transport will have to switch to renewable gas. The net sequestration can be done from reafforestation, always feasible. You can find the money from the huge savings in military expenditure that world dictatorship allows (***

    Do let us know how you get on.

  9. A man was walking his dog. It could have been any dog. But it was not any dog. The dog was a German Shepard -Siberian Husky mix that had been found under an overhang of the rubble of a West Wall bunker along the German Belgian border in the Hürtigen forest. The people who found the dog, estimated to be 12 months old at the time, brought it the Aachen Animal Shelter. The dog did not have a dog tag or an implanted chip identifing the owner so it was put up for adoption………………………………

  10. James Wimberely,
    I have developed a slightly different plan. I do not have everything worked out yet. It depends on whether I would go back in time like the Terminator did or if I would be born naturally in the 1870s.
    Going with the natural birth plan I would need to be born (naturally as a male as we have to assume that I am going back in time on this planet) in Vienna or Budapest or Prague in to a Catholic German speaking family that was high enough up the economic ladder so that I could get a university science degree. After graduation I would get a job at the Patent office in Switzerland. I would of course have to learn about the dangers burnng fossil fuels at some point and decide to make preventing the burning of large quantities of fossil fuels my lifes work.
    Now to make this long story short somehow I would have to come to the attention of about 5 or 6 people depending on what the decade is. If we are talking 1900 to 1914 it would be the leader of the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Austro-Ungarn, Russia, Japan, and Turkey. Remember Turkey controlled the territory that had all the oil at that point.
    But if we are talking after 1918 then it would be Stalin, Hitler, Roosevelt, Tojo, the leader of the UK and the leader of France.
    If we are talking early 20th century I think if I could have made a name for myself by being the first to use Einsteins scientific observations to propose nuclear fission and even better yet nuclear fussion power that would give me the crediblity to have doors opened in to the rooms of world leaders at that time. But even better yet I would hope that I would have learned about the potential of solar power. Manuel Garcia Jr. has pointed out that this technology was known about prior to the 20th century.
    So my sales pitch would trash fossil fuels and highlight the benifits of solar with the possibitly of fission and fussion in the future once scientists know more.
    Of course I recognize that there was also intense military compition among nations at that time. Such a short sighted mindset would of course hinder my mission. So an even earlier mission might be neccessary to change the outcome of the war of the Franco-Prussian War. I would propose that the the war end not with a German takeover of Alsace-Lorraine but with a buffer state being created between France and Germany that would cover the territory between the Rhein and the Mosel. This buffer state would not be allowed to have an army. But the French would be able to set up a line of observation posts along the Rhein that would be connected by telegraph (or telephone) back to France and the Prussians (Germans) would be able to set up a line of observation posts along the Mosel being connected by telegraph back to Germany. The education system in this new nation would be manditory and bilingual. If the residents of this new nation wanted for some strange reason to become mercinaries, they would be allowed to join either the German or French army. But no firearms other than pistols and double barrel breach loading shotguns and rifles would be allowed inside the borders of the buffer state.
    World War One happened because all of the political and military leaders of Europe thought that it not a queston of whether or not there will be another war but only When there will be another war. By creating an unaligned nuetral buffer state between France and Germany the whole way of thinking would have been altered.
    But that change creates a set of new problems itself. If the Europeans did not destroy themselves fighting among themselves thier empires could have continued on for a much longer period of time.
    That would require another secret mission going back in time to bring colonial expoitation to an end.
    I have a plan for that too. After all hind sight is 20-20, if you learn the right lessons. You learn the right lessons not only by knowing the facts but by being able to prioritize the faces.
    I kind of drifted off the subject of preventing global warming. If nothing had changed by the 1930s I think that the key to preventing catasrophe would be influencing Hitler and Stalin. I think the key to doing that would by joining a communist party at a young age and then going under cover and joining the Nazi party shortly after its formation. That way one would have the opportunity of having an influence on both Hitler and Stalin. The very speculative hope would be that if Hitler and Stalin were exposed to different ideas than they were exposed to they would have been different people. That might have prevented the second world war and started a world wide movement to reduce fossil fuel use as early as the 1930s.
    Of course I do not think that we could have prevented the use of any fossil fuels. At a minimum they would have been needed to create a large initial supply of solar panels which implies the railrays to bring together to the coal and iron and silicon at factories created by fossil fuels to make the solar panels. We must also figure that if people had done that they would see it as a temporary strategy until nuclear fission or fussion power could be brought online.
    May you have Sweet dreams of sweet corn. No I did not mispell that.

  11. I just remembered that there is something more contemporary that I wanted to bring up here on the message board. Work began in Germany today on dredging the Elbe river to create a deeper wider shipping channel to the port of Hamburg which like Portland Oregon and London is quite some distance from the Ocean.
    The report that I heard said that this was neccessary to keep Hamburg comptitive with Roterdam and Antwerp. The thing I find troubling about this is that Europeans are supposed to be thinking like Europeans and not as Germans or French or Dutch any moer. If the leaders of Germany were thinking like Europeans they would say, OK Roterdam and Antwerp have ecological advantages as a port over Hamburg. We should take full advantage of those ecological advantages. If we Germans do nothing then we will lose some business to Roterdam and Atwerp. But at some point those ports will be operating at capacity. At that point without having diverted even one cent of resources and without causing any environmental damage to the flora and fauna along and in the Elbe Hamburg will gain the overflow business back to Hamburg.
    And that is just looking at things from INSIDE of the box. If you step outside of the matrix lots of other considerations could come in to consideration.

  12. Just in case you run into Sky News or Fox…

    SOURCE: Jyrki Kauppinen, Paul Joseph Watson, Pekka Malmi, Fox News, Sky News Australia,, Zero Hedge, 11 July 2019   

    “During the last hundred years the temperature is increased about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C.”


  13. James you are basing your historical CO2 levels on ice core data. You cannot rely on a single proxy to stand in for an unknown data set. You need three proxies minimum. Plus we have the measured reading for 1850. Ice core data understates CO2 levels. It understates the measured historical levels and it tends to average them as well. On the other hand from memory the middle of the 19th century was a time of low CO2 levels and hence coincided with some rather famous agricultural catastrophes.

    You are basing your current CO2 levels on a crowd who are known for rigging the data. The reality is that unstressed plant life gains from higher CO2 levels, all the way up to 600 ppm. And stressed plant life does better with higher levels and the benefits don’t start levelling off until about 1500 ppm. So really we ought to choose about 700 ppm as our ultimate goal and go about weaning off hydrocarbons in a patient and multi-generational fashion. Not in a “ho ho the market will take care of everything” glibbertarian fashion. I’m not advocating that. I’m saying lets go about it slowly, systematically, holistically, comprehensively. And lets get it right. So that we have sustainable energy coming out of our ears.

  14. Graeme Bird: Curt’s rewrite of history needs not only the time machine but the Pied Piper’s magic flute (an improved version of the beta versions Magneto sold to Trump and Johnson) to make him world dictator. It looks as if he will need to go back to the store to acquire a continent-scale nonsense suppressor.

  15. James,
    I am a big brother and the world certianly needs one at this time. The kurrent crap of world leader’s clearly need a nanny like me, or one that at least thinks like me, to place them all in straight jackets and place them on a iceberg where they can cool way way down.
    Recent elections in the Ukraine prove that my sense of humor more than qualifies me for the job.

  16. If this is the state of the climate debate then we are in complete trouble. Curt made an amusing and ironic statement about how we needed to be at 270 ppm by 2013. Now, I’m not sure if others here understand irony but he clearly meant we are in overshoot of a safe level and still heading the wrong way. However, since he made that statement, Curt has gone off on a florid and fantastical tangent.

    Meanwhile, Graeme Bird has clearly been reading denialist web sites and regales us with all kinds of anti-science and obfuscatory nonsense about the benignity of high CO2 levels for current biomes. James Wimberley (and Graeme Bird) continue to believe that climate change is a simple, linear, gradual process and that we have all the time in the world to slowly change outputs.

    Maybe people could try reading some generalist descriptions of genuine science. Would that be too much ask?

  17. Perhaps Curt is a bot with near turing test powers! Deep fake video and mow deep fake speech.

    OpenAI is self sensoring as they think it will create not fake mews but fake online identities.

    “Why didn’t OpenAI release the “Unicorn” version of its AI storytelling software?

    “GPT-2 is OpenAI’s language model that produces astonishingly lucid text responses to short text inputs. ”

    “In the video above, Rob Miles of the University of Nottingham, talks about why OpenAI made the decision not to release the full-powered version. Miles says the real risk of releasing GPT-2 is not how it makes it cheap to churn out fake news stories, instead, he says the danger is that GPT-2 has the potential to cheaply create lots of  fake users (i.e., bots) that can escape detection by the algorithms and humans that social media platforms use to detect them. ”

  18. Australian “one step from autonomous” weapons system. Just automate the little red button.

    “”The EOS Remote Weapons System (RWS) is a collection of sensors and a swivelling mount set around a small cannon, heavy machine gun or missile launcher.

    The system is affixed to a military vehicle or a naval vessel and fired remotely.

    ‘Deeply troubling’ connection to Yemen

    The EOS Remote Weapons System (RWS) is a collection of sensors and a swivelling mount set around a small cannon, heavy machine gun or missile launcher.

    The system is affixed to a military vehicle or a naval vessel and fired remotely.”

  19. KT 2,
    Why are you talking about me like I am not present?
    I have gone off on a targent. So what? Do you think that there is something better or bigger that I should and could be doing?

  20. And check your browser extensions too…

    “I found your data. It’s for sale.

    “As many as 4 million people have Web browser extensions that sell their every click. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    “I’ve watched you check in for a flight and seen your doctor refilling a prescription.

    “I’ve peeked inside corporate networks at reports on faulty rockets. If I wanted, I could’ve even opened a tax return you only shared with your accountant.

    “I found your data because it’s for sale online. Even more terrifying: It’s happening because of software you probably installed yourself.”…

  21. The problem for agriculture is that for-profit farming is very like insurance – it’s a high-capital (hence high debt) variable income business that relies on a statistical average of results to maintain viability (“of every five years, one very bad, one bad, two average, one very good”). Global warming shifts the averages – mostly in a bad direction (less frequent and more intense rainfall, longer droughts and so on). People hang on, with help from subsidies and off-farm income, until the weather dice roll really badly. Then they quit.

    We’ve been patching this over with larger farms, but these are even higher capital and more debt-dependent and also accelerate the environmental effects (bigger dams, less groundwater, more pumps, larger fields with greater topsoil loss, more land-clearing, more fertiliser so more algal blooms….).

    At some point we break agriculture. It wlll not be pretty, or gradual.

  22. Heat sensitive / river flow sensitive – nuclear power in france goes awol when air temperature reaches 39C and river flow around 0.5m height.

    “5 Golfech nuclear power plant
    Two reactors shut down in an effort to limit the heating of water used to keep reactors cool”

    “The French energy company EDF said it was shutting down two reactors at its Golfech nuclear power plant in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne region in order to limit the heating of water used to keep the reactors cool. ”

    The reactors …”get water from the Garonne River, only using water to compensate for evaporation; the cooling loop is closed and water is never released back into the river.” [ where does used water go? ]

    “In 2002 the plant produced nearly half of the electricity used in the area. It employs nearly 700 full-time workers.”

    I am not fluent in french yet it seems flood levels are lower last 100 yrs and river has a 650 cubic metre average discharge. With river level currently at 0.5m high I assume the current flow rate in the Garonne River is NOT providing enough flow to provide for even a closed loop cooling system. A worry. If the Pyrenees has a drought or ala MDBasin they sell water downstream, the plant will become stranded by low river flows.

    I hope they reached break even as the plant was proposed in 1967, announced in 1978, construction began in 1982 and completed 9yrs later in 1991.

    Golfech nuclear power plant Annual net output 17,992 GW·h
    California – 2018 Total System Electric Generation in Gigawatt Hours
    Solar – 27,265
    Wind – 14,078

    The comparison with California shows Golfech nuclear power plant is able to be retired. Soon.

    700 workers jobs need to be replaced as well as the reactors.

    I am unable to find figures at this time for construct / operate large scale renewable generation projects. This report has both rooftop and large scale figures together.

    “Across the period 2014-2030, over 80% of full-time employment created by 50RE is additional to the economy.”

    …”In contrast to the automotive or steel industries, the expected loss of jobs in the coal-based electricity sector will not just be compensated by jobs in renewable electricity related jobs, but additional jobs will be created.” pg39

    Witness Sundrop Farms in Whyalla. …” Sundrop Farms is using solar thermal power to both heat and cool 20 hectares of greenhouses, and to produce fresh water (from desalinated sea water) for growing 15,000 tonnes of truss-tomatoes annually. ”

    France and nuclear lovers take note.

  23. I’ll put this forward as an unproven hypothesis. If we:

    a) halved the size of the beef industry in Australia

    b) halved the size of the sugar industry in Australia

    c) halved the size of coal mining and electrical generation in Australia

    There’d be more than enough water to sustain and grow the rest of our agriculture, including cotton, and repair and rebuild our water catchments.

    The carrying capacity of Australia would increase by 20 million humans.

  24. A lot of the cattle industry up north use water from the artesian basin which is, apparently, holding up. It’s the lack of feed that is the issue, as is the MDB.

  25. Peter Thomson,

    I agree. At some point we break agriculture… we also break irrigation water supply, industrial water supply and potable water supply. There are many more breakages we could list but these alone are enough to guarantee mass human die-offs.

    Your point that it is not gradual is also spot on. The destabilization and collapse of large systems reaches catastrophic collapse points. To split straws, collapse is gradual at first but rapid and catastrophic in the end. As in the dialogue from Hemingway’s novel, “The Sun Also Rises”:

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

    People on an exponential trend to catastrophe judge by past experience. The change for the last few years, or even decades, was relatively gradual in their perception. They presume gradual change is the norm for all eras. It is the whole gradualism / catastrophism debate. Modern science is coming down on the side of an understanding which includes both gradualism and punctuated equilibria and catastrophic events as part of the overall picture of emergence and evolution in human and natural history.

    The economy is a complex adaptive open system far from thermodynamic equilibrium in an environment with which it exchanges energy and matter. Some (not all) conventional economists don’t understand, or conveniently forget, this basis fact based on the fundamental laws of nature. This happens due to the ontological disconnect of their discipline from the processes of real systems. The ontological disconnect leads to a logical, empirical and scientific disconnect.

  26. rog, regarding the Murray Darling Basin, according to this:

    Pastures and cereals for grazing + hay and silage consume 2.2 ML of water in the Murray Darling Basin.

    That’s 2/3 of total water used for pasturing Australia wide.

    And 1/4 of total water consumed for agriculture in the MDB.

  27. “Meanwhile, Graeme Bird has clearly been reading denialist web sites and regales us with all kinds of anti-science and obfuscatory nonsense about the benignity of high CO2 levels for current biomes.”

    Who are you anonymous? Show your face. I looked into this matter very closely between 2005-2008. With a lot more mental power then you will ever have. I contributed at the top levels at this debate. For example I was the first person to link the viscosity of water (more viscous when cold) to the 30 year oceanic cycles that affect climate so much. I was the first person to link the The Stefan-Boltzmann law to a whole string of ideas to do with climate. Anything I didn’t find out then wasn’t worth finding out and nothing has changed in the interim unless you come up with a scoop? You have a scoop for me? I’m Rip Van Winkle, you have a scoop for me?

    Basically we are dealing with a situation where none of us have the data. But if we take a holistic attitude our differences can be reconciled from a POLICY point of view. But there are two things I find that are unacceptable. 1. Ceding our decision-making to a foreign oligarchy and 2. Building on rigged data.

    You don’t have unrigged data. Neither do I. And if you had the correct data it would be a simple matter of me asking you for evidence, you don’t have it, and that should be the end of the matter.

    But if you are worried about our hydro-carbon industry, choose higher coal royalties, permaculture and 12 feet of dark rich soil everywhere and I’ll back you. What is the matter with that? The policy is always the same no matter how ignorant you are of the science. Permaculture is always the answer, doesn’t matter what the question is.

    Rich dark soil stops flooding. Rich dark soil stops drought. Water retention landscapes do the same. The policy solutions are simple, doesn’t matter the complexity of the problem, or the scientific disputes at the base of these solutions.

  28. Static. Static. Static thinking. Not holistic. Not picking on you Nick. But I’ll quote you to make my point. I could have quoted someone else.

    “Pastures and cereals for grazing + hay and silage consume 2.2 ML of water in the Murray Darling Basin.”

    Forget about that. If you practice polyculture, permaculture and silvopasture, every element in the ecology of the farm adds to the water, the fertilisation, and the energy of the system. Water consumption in some area or some industry or other, is dependent largely on the amount of water these people had available to them, as an historical matter. Had any of them had less water available, they would have found a method of farming that led to less water consumption.

    Bring the TIME FACTOR back into your models.

  29. “Pastures and cereals for grazing + hay and silage consume 2.2 ML of water in the Murray Darling Basin.”

    Graham, I’m not really sure what’s wrong with that quote, other than it would have been more precise to write “consumed 2.2 ML of water during 2017/2018”.

    It’s enough to show for instance that farming animals in the Murray Darling Basin consumed more water than all Australian households put together.

    I have no real issue with a lot of what you’re saying. As per my original comment, it’s crucial more farmers switch from animal farming to cropping. As I understand it, which is not very much at all, they’re doing this already, and will continue to do it out of economic necessity as climate change worsens. Farming cattle is only going to become more expensive. As rog said, the problem is feeding them.

    I don’t enough biological science to agree or disagree with what you’re saying about high C02 levels. As I understand it, higher CO2 levels cause faster plant growth, but less nutritional value. So not really a good thing across the board as far as food production for humans goes.

    For rebuilding arid heavily degraded environments and producing tough weedy undergrowth that will one day become rich top soil – maybe. But that’s one potential positive versus countless negatives (extinction of pollinating insect species etc).

    In any case, growing more crops for food, and farming less animals (like 1-2 million less cattle slaughtered a year) can only improvement the environment, reduce our water issues, and hugely reduce GHG emissions.

  30. BTW, I became interested in all this while attending John’s book launch in Melbourne the other night. It was a really pleasant evening, and I enjoyed the crowd and briefly meeting John and saying hi.

    When I got there, a couple of agricultural economists came across to introduce themselves. I’d brought a friend who I thought would be interested in John’s book. One of the economists, possibly in his mid 70s or so, asked him, “So what do you do?”. “I work in the field of AI” replied my friend. Without missing a beat, he said “Ah! Artificial Insemination, me too”. Which was the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time 🙂

    Anyway, it was great to talk to them about some of these issues and learn a few things.

    Some kind of Agrarian Greens Party would be great in this country and possibly fill an important gap. Focusing on rural and regional seats, older in age and relevant knowledge and experience, and distinct from ‘the city greens and their issues’.

  31. No i am not going to write an alternative history novel because I am no more capable of writing an alternative history novel than I am capable of swimming between Australia and New Zealand.
    I can write non fiction. I can also get to the bottom of things. When these to talents are combined the result is:

    The Evoluiton of Human Economics:
    (Not to be Confused with The History of Economic Thought)
    Chapter One:
    Hot Legs
    Chapter Two:
    Chapter Three:
    Chapter Four:
    Chapter Five:
    Chapter Six:
    Nuclear Fizzion
    Chapter Seven
    More Oil (mixed with a bit of wind and solar)
    Chapter Eight
    The end

    Everything else is just entertainment.

    Chapter Seven is still in draft form. Depending on how chapter seven ends a prequel to the Evolution of Human Economics might be written if there is enough popular demand. A prequel might create the economic conditions for a sequel.

    I offer this book for free to humnanity. Humanity will no doubt not except it even at that really good price. Humanity will no doubt see no value to the work. Marxist will say that it did not take physical human labor to produce. Inteelcetuals will say that it lacks footnotes. Then they will say even if we over look the footnotes it lacks sufficient detail to be useful.

    The reality is that it lacks sufficient detail for intellectuals to make money by teaching it to those who think that intellectuals have something of value that youth should be willing to pay for.

    I think the importance of the work is that it highlights that collectively speaking human talents are pretty much limited to tool making.

    Of course I do not claim that this bobok should get a Pulitzer Prize or even a Grammy because many other people have recognized that essential truth long before I was even born.

  32. Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fat Wa number something or other
    1. When the political leadership of a country becomes as obnoxious as many of the world’s governments in the world are today, especially the USAY YEA, as they say in Amerika, it is the duty of all news organizations NOT to report anything that these government officials say. Unless it is to ridicule what they say. Under such circumstances the population of a nation should be cut off from the corrupting influence of its leaders.
    I can imagine the news editors saying, WTF that means that we would have the obligation to determine which leaders are obnoxious and which ones are not. It is not our job to make such a determination.

    To that I reply Bullshit. How the hell hard is it to be able to determine that the thoughts about things from someone like Ikonoclast are worth repeating and spreading where as the thoughts of some like Trump or Clinton, along with their European partners, or their sometimes equally obnoxious adversaries. should not be heard outside of their own heads.
    That could be taken as implied criticism of Assad or Khameni or Maduro, or Putin. It is kind of implied criticism of Khameni.
    First of all no nation needs to be lead by one person, especially for life. Second of all, while being a theolgian should not automatically disqualify someone from serving on a Central Committee such positions should primarily be held by people with a backgrounds in military affairs, science, and art in acsending order of importance.

    As a point of clarification, I am the only person authorized to issue a Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fatwah.

    As a second point of clarification I can still do business with with those who follow the advice of Mohammad rather than Thomas Paine and Buddha as long as ancient ethical boundaries that are shared by all are respected.

  33. I was anticipating how those people who run MSM news departments would repspond to my fatwa.
    I suspect that they would say, Look we do OWN the news department. If we do not do what are bosses, the owners want, we will be fired.
    My response would be big fragging deal. First of all, anyone who has reached the levels of the economic pyramid that you have is not going to suffer if they get fired. Second of you have the power to hire your subordinates. You can hire people who would support you in a show down with your owners.
    Third of all, if by chance you and your subordinates should get fired you have plenty of time to work out a plan of how you can sabotage the company on your way out. The fact that you made it this far proves that you are not an idiot. The fact the you have played the role that you have in our planets rush towards extinction proves that you have delegated your thinking to psycopaths or sociopaths.
    In the USA supporting the Democratic Party leadership is just as morally degenerate as supporting the Republican leaders. At a time when the US government is blatently trying to determine the future of Venezeula to bitch about the extra ordinarily trivial involvement of Russia in the 2016 US elections is massivly hypocritcal, not to mention the role that US has played in other nations elections around the world and even in the outright engineering the overthrow of governments that they do not like.
    He or she who does not HATE HATE HATE what American has become has slid in to sociopathic behavoir less justifiable than the behavior of the Nazis due to the fact that the strategic position of the USA makes the sociopathic behavior of its society a much more aggrevating circumstance.

    One thing that I will say about Australia. Due to its arid climate, I do think that it is for now perfectly reasonable to promote limits on immigration to Australia. If Australia had enough excess sustainable energy that it could distill seawater in to fresh water at a substantial rate then that reason would disappear.
    The difficult question for both Australia and Europe is how to limit immigration with out using barbaric tactics. If becomming barbarians is the cost for limiting immigration I would prefer to open the gates.
    The industrialized world bears more than its share of responsiblity for the mess that the world is in.
    The citizens of the industrialized world should be the first die as a result of its consequences not the last. Some critcs might suggest that means that I should committ suicide. I will cross that bridge after I have achieved revenge on those that I think deserve it the most.

  34. Blog post on the continuing nuclear fantasy, this time from Kevin Drum: ****
    The content will be familiar to regular followers of JQ (with h/t on the timing issue), and I claim no originality in the argument. Just to note how reluctant the zombie is to accept its fate.

  35. A wonderful interview with Marcia Langton

    [audio src="" /]

  36. One other short thing to bring up. If we have overshot our carbon budget we need to get that level down ASAP. There is a lot of evidence that we HAVE overshot our carbon budget. It seem to me to be a decision of wisdom to assume that we have overshot our carbon budget. YES, 6 meters of black earth helps reduce sequester carbon. But it does not do the planet any good if the gains made by advanced industrial countries is off set by the strivings of non industrial countries to achieve the same standard of living that we in the west have enjoyed for decades.
    The fact is that there are only two possible paths to human survival past this century if not 2050.
    That is that there has to be a lot fewer people. Or everyone has to be collectively speaking a lot poorer.
    Any economists that tries to deny this is delaying the world’s people from making the proper decision.
    The wrong decision is to have a major (nuclear) war to rapidly reduce the world’s population.
    The wrong decision is to wage a string of wars under false pretences to impoverish much of the world’s population.
    That only leaves putting the breaks on industrialization. The less developed world is certianly not going to renounce the desire to industrialize unless those in the industrialized world totally renounce the comforts that they have grown accustomed to and take a vow of poverty. There is no way in hell that the people of the industrialized world are going to volunteer to take a vow of poverty. I can safely say as a sociologist that the vast majority of the people in the world would rather accept the lies of psycopaths right up until the whole system collapses than to deliberately collapse the system ahead of time.
    At this point in time only a feared and also respected team of leaders each one like a cross between Ghengis Khan and Albert Einstein who have the backing of a large military force is capable of making the proper decision on behalf of humanity. Only such a team could have a chance of coercing the populations of the industrialized world in to behaving in a manner that gives humanity a CHANCE to survive with dignity. This team of leaders will certianly will not be able to give humanity a guarrantee.
    But I wonder, can anyone, even Einstein, come up with a plan to put the breaks on industrialization without causing mass chaos, even mass starvation? The confederate slaveholders did not want to free their slaves, or pay them a reasonable wage because then they feared that they would not be able to pay their debts which would cause them to go bankrupt which could cause them to starve.
    Our 21st century slaves are machines. If they no longer serve us how will we pay our debts? How will we feed ourselves? Are there people of integrety who are capable of figuring this out?
    Unless there are some who demonstrate their character by removing the psycopaths that currently run the world from power the answer is clearly no. But removing the psycopaths from power would in compairison be a piece of cake compaired to solving the world’s sustainablity problems.

  37. Play Social Economics Sports “Not Much Different” Game.

    Big Market – 450m people. year-on-year growth of +15.0%.

    Please sir, may we have Sesports as in Social Economic Sports. 450m people tuning the “not much different”** future?

    ** [ Your last answer JQ re, as tom switzer put it …if a socialist pm in next 10 yrs what will Australia look like… you casually said “not much different”, and in an even tone delivered the points re less hours etc so denying Josh and Tom a real leverage point.

    Pity your “not much different” point – ! after agreement of definitions ! – wasn’t the starting point of a dialogue / conversation. ]

    “Newzoo, 2019 marks a major milestone for the global e-sports market,

    “The result: 2019 will be the first billion-dollar year for esports, a market that will continue to attract brands across all industries.”

    “Global Esports Viewers Will Total 453.8 Million This Year

    The global esports audience will grow to 453.8 million worldwide in 2019, a year-on-year growth of +15.0%. This audience will consist of 201.2 million Esports Enthusiasts (+16.3% year-on-year growth) and 252.6 million Occasional Viewers(+14.0% year-on-year growth). As the esports market matures and the number of local events, leagues, and media rights deals increases, we anticipate the average revenue per fan to grow to $6.02 by 2022.  

    China Overtakes Western Europe’s Revenues

    China will generate revenues of $210.3 million in 2019, overtaking Western Europe as the second-largest region in terms of revenues”…

  38. Here is a reprint of a very good comment from the Bill Mitchell website.

    Friday, July 26, 2019 at 18:20
    ‘This’ is ‘the point’?
    ‘Nor is there a green new deal route out of this problem. As a recent letter to the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, authored by Natural History Museum Head of Earth Sciences Prof Richard Herrington et al., warns:
    “To replace all UK-based vehicles today with electric vehicles (not including the LGV and HGV fleets), assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation NMC 811 batteries, would take 207,900 tonnes cobalt, 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate (LCE), at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium, in addition to 2,362,500 tonnes copper. This represents, just under two times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production during 2018. Even ensuring the annual supply of electric vehicles only, from 2035 as pledged, will require the UK to annually import the equivalent of the entire annual cobalt needs of European industry…
    “There are serious implications for the electrical power generation in the UK needed to recharge these vehicles. Using figures published for current EVs (Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe), driving 252.5 billion miles uses at least 63 TWh of power. This will demand a 20% increase in UK generated electricity.
    “Challenges of using ‘green energy’ to power electric cars: If wind farms are chosen to generate the power for the projected two billion cars at UK average usage, this requires the equivalent of a further years’ worth of total global copper supply and 10 years’ worth of global neodymium and dysprosium production to build the windfarms.
    “Solar power is also problematic – it is also resource hungry; all the photovoltaic systems currently on the market are reliant on one or more raw materials classed as “critical” or “near critical” by the EU and/ or US Department of Energy (high purity silicon, indium, tellurium, gallium) because of their natural scarcity or their recovery as minor-by-products of other commodities. With a capacity factor of only ~10%, the UK would require ~72GW of photovoltaic input to fuel the EV fleet; over five times the current installed capacity. If CdTe-type photovoltaic power is used, that would consume over thirty years of current annual tellurium supply.
    “Both these wind turbine and solar generation options for the added electrical power generation capacity have substantial demands for steel, aluminium, cement and glass.”
    Put simply, there is not enough Planet Earth left for us to grow our way to sustainability.’
    From The consciousnessofsheep.

  39. “I have no real issue with a lot of what you’re saying. As per my original comment, it’s crucial more farmers switch from animal farming to cropping.”

    Thats wrong-way Corrigan right there. Good soil comes out of the backside of a herbivore. Its crucial that we get rid of tilling monocultural crops and bring animals in as part of any system. No land should ever be animal free at least for part of the year. Monocultural crops, using annuals and bare soil in-between the crops, this is the road to desertification, bad food, ill-health and, since you guys are worried about it, the release of CO2 into the environment.

    Perennials and animals taken together, with no-till farming, and shaping the land for water retention is how we get CO2 internment into the soil. You will never have to worry about the hydro-carbon industry if we have agricultural reform. Not at least until soil development is tapped out. If you think CO2 is a problem then agricultural reform can kick that problem down the road long enough to have all our alternative energy sources in place.

    But on the other hand renewables are getting a bad name, because they are BIG RENEWABLES and not coming out of small renewables success. They are subsidised renewables rather than competitive renewables.

    Sepp Holzer created a permanent spring out of dry land. He sculptured out banks and terraces and planted trees. He put a kink in the bottom third terrace and stuck gravel and a pipe in the kink. The trees collect the water even when there is no rain and he developed a spring that gives 5 litres of water a minute that can now be used on this dry farm. To set up a house and to have natural irrigation below that house. By natural irrigation I mean the water is infiltrated under the surface and into the soil so that its available even in a drought.

    If you develop a similar system where there is natural rainfall, with trees on the banks, grasses and dams on the terraces, then you’ll eventually wind up with the water you need for hydro-power, and you’ll have the waste wood you need for biofuel. We want to take a whole-of-land approach to energy production. But in this scenario the soil development comes first. Exporting energy off the land comes later. And thats how it should work in the macro sense as well. Or else we are taking subsidy money for stand-alone purposes. Whereas we ought to be stacking functions on every inch of agricultural land.

    Now it seems you are going on the thesis of all agricultural energy only coming from photosynthesis. So thats just one small sliver of the light spectrum, involving UV light. Thats an outdated view. I think that all life-forms are pulling energy from much more of the light spectrum, and particularly red and infrared. Not just UV. And we take energy from the earths electric field as well. So animals, soil life, and plants are complementary in taking energy from the environment. Its not that energy pyramid with the apex predator on top, as we once thought.

    As it turns out the seeds of the destruction of a civilisation come from the first act of that civilisation which is to eliminate the apex predators. This causes the herbivores to spread out, to stop bunching for mutual protection. When the herbivores stop bunching the soil starts degrading, so this begins the historical process by which the civilisation eventually has to fall.

  40. Imagine under the system of banks and terraces as described above. Wind power (not three blade ugly useless wind power, but more enlightened versions) can pump water back uphill, intermittently from the lowest water feature to the highest dam on the property.

    Part of this setup requires a money, banking and tax system that tools up the sole traders to the gills. And maybe government policy that provides zero interest loans for socially strategic purposes.

  41. Graham, Sepp Holzer appears to recommend a maximum of 1-5 pigs per acre.

    How many beef cattle does he recommend per acre?

  42. I think you are putting words in Sepps mouth. If he said such a thing it would be a highly caveated statement. He works with many different types of animals and the idea of just having one species on the one property makes no sense in the context of the operations he runs.

    In terms of pastured animals you really ought to be talking about a flerd …. A flock and a herd combined. If you have a silvopasture outfit in Australia it makes sense to have camels as part of the flerd, because they can reach up to leaves and things. a few goats can eat things the cows and sheep won’t eat .. The sheep will eat broad-leafed plants that in other contexts might be seen to be weeds, and the couple of horses will eat the forbs plants. If you had that “banks and terraces” scenario I described above, the pigs with the rings in their noses could even be there with the others, and the fruit would fall off the trees, roll down the hill and into piggies mouth. Which would be a beautiful thing.

    These animals are taking all manner of plants and converting them into the best and really the only sustainable fertilisers. Five days later the chickens ought to be sent through to eat all the larvae.

    Now as for flerd or cattle NUMBERS the idea is to crowd them tight together. Move them once a day if your on well developed land with lush grasses, but at least three times a day on marginal land. You would then leave that paddock alone for maybe 60 days. So moving three times a day means you really want 180+ paddocks. 200 paddocks so that you don’t have to bail hay for the winter. But in practice people are using portable electric fences. Because almost no-one has that many paddocks.

    Now here is the take-home story as to numbers. If you follow this procedure, you will always improve the land even if you have too many animals. But if you have too many animals you are hurting the animals. They will struggle. They will fail to reproduce. They may be distressed. But under the above scenario your land will continue to improve even with too many animals. So no-one can say what numbers you will settle on. If the grass is seven feet high, green and you have all this rainfall obviously thats a radically different scenario from the South Australian outback where it may rain twice a year if you are lucky.

    In summary its a strange question you are asking.

  43. Graeme: “your land will continue to improve even with too many animals”

    From the book:

    Sepp Holzer: “I did most of my cattle breeding at the beginning of the 90s, when I kept a mixed herd of around 50 wild cattle in a 25-hectare paddock.”

    That’s less than 1 per acre. He goes on to state that anything much beyond this should be considered over-breeding, and will devastate the soil and vegetation, no matter how much you shift them around.

    Sepp Holzer: “When keeping pigs outdoors it is vital to take soil conditions and any hilly areas into account. The land must not become overused. It is important to ensure a correct stocking rate and that the pigs do not graze for too long. Continually observing the development of the pig population and the pasture areas will make it easy to prevent any damage from being caused.”

    In short, he would say you’re talking rubbish.

  44. No you are just talking nonsense. Idiocy. His farm that he inherited from his father was a steep hillside farm in the Austrian Alps that has an average yearly temperature in the single digits. He’s got four hectares of water, not all that many fenced paddocks, and trees everywhere. He sells crayfish, other fish, fruit for schnapps, he’s got all kinds of animals including Scottish highlanders which are smaller cattle, that browse somewhat like goats …… Which works well with his tree-based arrangement. Particularly as he doesn’t prune the lower branches of his baby trees so they often grow up more like bushes and their trunks are protected from the browsers.

    You cannot prescribe from his place and take it everywhere. What sort of a moron are you? You are just cherry-picking for quotes without any understanding at all. Quote-mining moron. Clearly your problem is your low IQ.

    Since he doesn’t have many fenced paddocks he’s in no way a mob-grazer. Thats the logic on how his farm is based. His farm is more tree than animal based. Yes its true that if you are not bunching your animals you must under-stock your animals. Thats the whole point of mob-grazing is your capacity to bunch them. You are clearly a dummy, because if you know nothing at all about a subject, the idea is to ask intelligent questions.

    Lets go over it again and again and again, because you are in the drooling special class seats. If you cannot bunch your animals you are in the situation of the civilisation that has killed off its apex predators. All the herbivores spread out and will damage your soil. Leastways if you are overstocked.

    Go back and read and read and read again what I have written until some small part of it penetrates through your thick skull. Since Sepp is not a mob-grazer, and does not have a large number of paddocks he’s speaking from that perspective.

    Have you got it yet? Have you got it? Have you absorbed some of what I’ve been saying yet dummy? Or are we going to have to go over and over and over it again, just to come up so hard against your flat learning curves?

  45. “Sepp Holzer: “I did most of my cattle breeding at the beginning of the 90s, when I kept a mixed herd of around 50 wild cattle in a 25-hectare paddock.”

    You get it? He’s not got 200 paddocks. He’s keeping them wild in one very large paddock and basing his act around trees. Thats a situation which must be understocked. Do you get it yet dummy? Thats nothing to do with what I’m talking about with bunched grazing. Thats not the situation at all. Do you see 200 paddocks in that situation dope? No you don’t. His Kramertehoff is only about 160 acres. With a single 25 hectare paddock thats got to be his largest and one of his few paddocks. So he’s not even bunching them a little bit.

    Why try and quote-mine when you are totally clueless about anything to do with this subject?

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