Monday Message Board

Back again with 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

69 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. What percentage / $ value for carbon credits is needed to cover this? And are we capable of enacting such a recovery mechanism retrospectively?

    “Environmental cost of cryptocurrency mines

    “Monetary price of health and air quality impacts

    “The researchers estimate that in 2018, every $1 of Bitcoin value created was responsible for $.49 in health and climate damages in the United States.

    “Their data shows that at one point during 2018, the cost in damages that it took to create Bitcoin matched the value of the exchange itself.”

  2. Yes this is a very sad waste of energy this bitcoin. Because its not even a wealth creating currency. 100% backed silver would be a wealth-creating currency. And the cost of bringing the silver out of the ground would simply amortise the cost of bringing up other metals. So while the technology may be a good thing, bitcoin itself is very wasteful.

  3. Is it that there have been no comments on Crooked Timber for nearly a week? or is it that no comments have been approved for publication for nearly a week?

  4. THE apt phrase;
    “A cage goes in search of a bird”…

    “The cage of surveillance technology stalks the world, looking for birds to trap and monetise. And it cannot stop by itself. The surveillance cage is the original autonomous vehicle, driven by algorithms it doesn’t even control. So when we describe our data-driven world as ‘Kafka-esque’, we are speaking a deeper truth than we even guess.

    “Giovanni knew this. He knew that data is power and that the radical concentration of power in a tiny number of companies is not a technocratic concern for specialists but an existential issue for our species. Giovanni’s manifesto, Privacy 2030: A Vision for Europe, goes far beyond data protection.”

    “2030, A New Vision for Europe”
    1. Dovetail the EU digital priorities with the Green New Deal to support a programme for green digital transformation, with
    explicit common objectives of reducing inequality and safeguarding human rights for all, especially displaced persons in an era of climate emergency.
    2. Regularise a forum of civil liberties advocates, environmental scientists and the machine learning community to advise on EU funding of research and development into technology that empowers individuals and safeguards the environment.
    3. Impose a moratorium on dangerous technologies, like facial recognition and killer drones, and pivot deployment and export of surveillance away from human manipulation and toward European digital champions for sustainable development and the promotion of human rights.
    4. Enforce transparency of dominant tech companies so that production processes and data flows are traceable and visible for independent scrutiny.
    5. Use enforcement powers to prohibit harmful practices, including profiling and behavioural targeting of children and young people and for political purposes.
    6. Privacy 2030
    Begin to build a European digital commons, including through support for open-source tools and interoperability between platforms, a right to one’s own identity or identities, unlimited use of digital infrastructure in the EU, encrypted communications, and prohibition of behaviour tracking and censorship by dominant platforms.
    7. DPAs to pursue joint cases with competition and other authorities and contribute to design of carbon and digital taxation and reform of antitrust.
    8.Design a “data amnesty” programme for powerful tech companies to hand over data for deletion or processing in the public interest in exchange for forgiveness for likely past violations in accumulation and use of the data.
    9. EDPB and member authorities to becarbon neutral by 2030 and better reflect gender and ethnic composition of the people whose rights they safeguard.

    10. EDPB as the driving force supporting the Global Privacy Assembly in developing
    a common vision and agenda for sustainable privacy

    I wonder if Clare O’Niel has read this?

  5. Congratulations to Shorten for challenging the robodebt scheme which helped to scrap it. I hope to see more of these positive changes, but chances are low given Albanese is dead set on following the predictions that he will make ALP Another Liberal Party.

  6. This seems an interesting proposal Santos says it will store in depleted hydrocarbon deposits 20 million tonnes of CO2 annually for 50 years for $26 per tonne. Maybe CC&S is less dead than JQ has suggested it is:

    It’s a proposed deal. Sure it would cost the government $14 per tonne (the price of a carbon credit is $12) but surely worth considering. The carbon stored would be equivalent to all the carbon stored in the Amazon rainforests.

    There are profits to be made in solving urgent environmental problems. Good old capitalism.

  7. Harry Clarke,
    “good old capitalism.” A government scientist could also consider this proposal and if it is a good proposal a government minister could get it implemented. Private resources are not a prerequisit.

  8. “The company is proposing compressing CO2 and transporting it by pipe to underground reservoirs which held oil and gas in place for 85 million years.”

    Coal is a different matter. But the problem is that this is all nonsense. Oil and Gas are juvenile products of the earth. Were this not the case the oil and gas would never have gotten under so much pressure in the first place. And yes the conservation of energy and matter is a logical contradiction and completely impossible. Since were this the case there would be no energy or matter ever.

    The empirical proof is in every oil field in the world. They tap out pretty quickly but never completely. The pressure builds up again. Sure the oil depletes but it does so with a long tail. Not a bell curve as King Hubbert had suggested. Thats why the peak oil model was a good model but not quite right and the Professor’s intuition of plateau oil was a very good one.

    So the abandoned oil field builds up pressure again. Or alternatively the last nodding donkey never stops nodding. That oil field will not be abandoned forever. So this proposal is a big scam. Let us not subsidise rich slobs. Sooner or later the Chi-coms or some other deep pocket crowd will buy that field off Santos, and the money that was wasted in the first place, will be wasted even as CO2 alarmists would have it. Or the pressure will build up and the CO2 will be released by natural causes.

    The Amazon is no great shakes for carbon storage. In the tropics much if not most of the carbon is stored in the trees themselves. We can do better. In fact Australia is in a unique position to do so much better than anywhere else in the world. We have more resources to work with than the people of the Sahara. The carbon sequestration landscape par excellence is the Oak Savannah … But not necessarily based just around Oaks. Plenty of trees, plenty of grass, plenty of herbivores.

    But with water retention strategies we can do Savannah and Silvopasture so much better than before.

  9. Latest CoalWire (

    “An economic slowdown in India has had the dramatic knock-on effect of causing 13 per cent slump in electricity demand in October compared to the same period in 2018. Power demand has fallen in each of the last three months. [ …. ] Peak electricity demand was also down 5.5 per cent year on year. [ … ] Coal imports have also declined for each of the last three months, with volumes in October 16.9 per cent lower than the same time in 2018.”

    Good news, but we should not read too much into this cyclical downturn, apparently driven by falling car production as customers wait for cheaper EVs (a global trend). The linked Reuters piece has a good chart ( of Indian electricity consumption: noisy; on a growth trend; but decelerating.

    It’s striking that the decoupling forces (tertiarisation and technical efficiency) have outweighed the rising demand for electric gadgets (a/c, fridges, etc.) Indian and Chinese planners do not seem to accept this pattern and continue to assume ever-rising demand for electricity. In India this is already turning out a very expensive mistake.

  10. Lazards have released their13th annual survey of US generating costs by technology, and their 5th for storage (

    No surprises, but confirmation of the now familiar finding that “certain technologies (e.g., onshore wind and utility-scale solar), which became cost-competitive with conventional generation several years ago on a new-build basis, continue to maintain competitiveness with the marginal cost of existing conventional generation technologies.”

    I say “familiar”, but that’s to people like us. The myth of the high cost of renewables still holds sway on the illiterate right. To these, it’s worth emphasizing that Lazards are not a green lobby group but a large and cynical Wall Street investment bank. Warren Buffett will take their calls and has no reason to mislead them about his costs. Lazards have also been doing this for a long time now. The data – for the USA only – are as reliable as you can get. For the rest of the world, you have Bloomberg, IRENA, and Wood Mac: all telling the same story.

  11. Careful or we may aquire “political auto-immune disorder “.

    “To be clear: democracy involves ongoing and vigorous struggles for justice, autonomy, freedom, and equality. We have to work at democracy vigilantly. But when this becomes all that we ever do together, we render ourselves more vulnerable to belief polarization, and democracy comes undone. In the book, I describe this as a political auto-immune disorder that lies within the democratic ideal.”

    Robert B. Talisse book Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in its Place.

  12. Harry Clarke says:

    Good old capitalism… while CC&S kite-flyng Santos global owners spread a little Amazonian greenwash here they burn what’s left of the Amazon rainforests = a cover for continued fossil carbon extraction and burning and increasing ghg pollution, nil carbon pollution reduction, eventual loss of the Amazonian rainmaker but loads of taxpayer money schemed once more into Santos global owners’ pockets.

  13. Svante, No, they want to make money for their shareholders by offering a deal to the Federal Government that does what they know what they can do for a government that they think might have environmental objectives. Instead of blind left-wing bigotry, the deal should be considered.

    Santos is mainly developing gas deposits which are greenhouse gas more friendly than coal.

    Is Santos foreign-owned? I don’t think so given ownership restrictions. But I assume you are mouthing cliche here rather than pure left-wing bile that fails to even admit the possibility of a private sector contribution.

  14. Of course they are foreign owned as are the lucky to now be 20% “Australian” banks that back and profit from them. Ownership restrictions are triggered by moves on a sizeable share chunk by an obvious single or combined entity front.

  15. “Santos is mainly developing gas deposits which are greenhouse gas more friendly than coal.”

    According to Santos Creative Accounting, et al.

  16. Harry Clarke says “good old capitalism”. I guess his shares are going well for him. My son is also a capitalist. Sons always go against what that their father is. 🙂 I am an armchair socialist so my son has become an active share market investor. We get on on very well and have some interesting discussions. Surprisingly, there are considerable aspects of economic analysis where an old Marxian and a young millennial investor agree.

    One area of agreement between us that it is no longer worth being a worker in the current economy. Our reasons for arriving at that conclusion are partly different and partly overlap. In my case, I note that the previous accommodation between labor and capital in the West has broken down. That accommodation became clearest after the Great Depression and in the Keynesian ea. It permitted Western Workers to become the “aristocrats of labor” (Marxist term) on the back of colonialist and imperialist exploitation of the third world. There were enough profits for Western companies that they could afford to buy off Western labor unrest with a share of the pie. That accommodation is now breaking down (has been breaking down since the late 1970s really) and wages are mostly stagnant in real terms. Capitalists are taking the revenue increases from increased productivity (labor and automation) for themselves. Workers are once again being more and more heavily exploited.

    My son simply does the numbers (though he understands a lot of economic theory behind the numbers too). He notes how much commuting to work and paying high marginal rates of taxes plus HECs debt repayments costs him. He notes how much he can reduce these costs if he ceases full-time paid work as he has and lives more frugally and self-employs as a full-time micro-investor who does some software engineering contracting on the side. He can use all the tax law advantages for investors and the self-employed to his advantage. He cheerfully agrees with old Marxian dad that the whole system is heavily skewed against people who work and heavily skewed in favor of capitalists.

    We probably have different pictures of what this means for the future. We agree that what he is doing now is best for him. We might disagree on what this means overall for the good old world and good old capitalism. Suffice it to say, I think capitalism is programmed for endless growth, is now running up against real limits and is set for catastrophe. My son thinks capitalism can maybe adjust after a lot of damage is done and a painful adjustment period. We both agree that a lot of current neoliberal policies are unwise and indeed unempirical and that the current elites do not really know how to run even the the current system efficiently and properly. Simplistic belief in good old capitalism is in for a big shake-up.

  17. Its greenwashing and outrageous rent-seeking. Santos knows that oil and gas fields eventually build up pressure again. And when you temporarily get down to the bottom of the barrel, as it were, you push stuff down there in order to recover more oil. So the Sauds at one point were putting in sea water to get at more oil. But that damages the ultimate pool of oil. So these oil companies have tried other things. CO2 being one of them. So really all these guys are doing is more oil recovery with a 40 year delay, and being welfare queens to boot.

    You won’t get these fellows challenging the inherent contradiction of the conservation of matter. You won’t get them challenging the creation myth of the big bang. But these welfare queen aspirants have the experience on the ground. They know that the wells slowly replenish themselves and so in this context we are looking at an outrageous grift.

    Did we really think that Santos would take a hit? No they want the 14 dollars per tonne subsidy, money for nothing, and they want to take the time and use the CO2 to build the pressure back in the wells. Thats where this fake science emphasis on 85 million years is coming from. At least if you believe coal was once wood, there is a possibility there, and a pretty good cover story. There is no good wood rotting cover story when it comes to oil and gas.

  18. According to Global Energy Monitor (formerly Coalswarm), a non-profit group that monitors coal stations, China is building or about to start building 148GW of coal fired plants. This is more than the entire EU coal fleet (149GW).

  19. The question is whether these coal plants will burn more coal. India is littered with abandoned construction sites of coal power stations, and working ones running at a loss; the net annual increase in coal capacity is now a few GW a year. Is there any reason to think the future of Chinese coal will be any different? Ponder the implications of the Lazards finding: new renewables are becoming cheaper than running old coal plants, in the USA today, in China tomorrow.

  20. The question is whether these coal plants will burn more coal. India is littered with abandoned construction sites of coal power stations, and working ones running at a loss; the net annual increase in coal capacity is now a few GW a year. Is there any reason to think the future of Chinese coal will be any different?

    Ponder the implications of the Lazards finding: new renewables are becoming cheaper than running old coal plants, in the USA today, in China tomorrow.

  21. How much energy do we really need?
    November 18, 2019 Source:International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

    Summary:Two fundamental goals of humanity are to eradicate poverty and reduce climate change, and it is critical that the world knows whether achieving these goals will involve trade-offs. New research for the first time provides a basis to answer this question, including the tools needed to relate basic needs directly to resource use.

    “”We didn’t expect that the energy needs for a minimally decent life would be so modest, even for countries like India where large gaps exist. It was also a pleasant surprise that the most essential human needs related to health, nutrition, and education, are cheap in terms of energy. Along the way, we also found that measuring poverty in terms of these material deprivations far exceeds the World Bank’s definition of income poverty,” Rao elaborates.

    The findings further indicate that affluence, more than basic needs, drives energy demand, and that the bulk of future energy growth in these countries will likely serve the middle classes and affluent, even if governments prioritized poverty eradication. This suggests that close attention should be paid to lifestyles and how they evolve in developing countries.” (emphasis added)

  22. Science Daily. Thats a pretty patchy sort of rag I would say. Good to read perhaps. Not so good to believe. So for example they’ve framed this energy usage in terms of consumer needs. But to end poverty its producer energy that counts. But energy to the producers isn’t the only thing. We not only want the poor to aspire to first world wages. To have the good life you want to get closer to first world wages but stay closer to third world costs. So this is a complicated economic question. But science daily has all these deeply truncated and blinkered studies that produce sweeping claims ……. Science. They call this science. This aspergers approach to all things.

  23. Svante,
    Of course the middle class in developing countries like Iran, India, and Indonesia are going to strive to achieve all of the unneccessary and polluiting benifits that the middle class in the USA, Germany and Australia have. That is why nothing will succeed until we who live in those countries insist on giving those things up. Yet we can not give those things up with a plan of action directed by a central politcal authority which SYCHRONIZES the economic activities of population or else large numbers of people will die in the short run.
    To neo liberals (all $ of you)
    So no one can complain about the fact the alarmists such as myself are not burning our autos and going on a general strike because to win requires SYCHRONIZED action across a broad spectrum of activities. I do not feel like sacrificing myself and my family to do something that would not even be effective in combating something that I am opposed to. That is just plain stupid.
    Yes I admit that capitalism sychronizes activity easier and faster than socialsim does.
    The compairison between capitalism and socialism is the compairison between a simple virus and a complex multi celled organism.


  24. The words of the year or the phrase of the year! Oh. Its an expression.

    “The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression shown through usage evidence to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.

    “The Oxford Word of the Year 2019 is – climate emergency.

    “Climate emergency is defined as ‘a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.’

    “This year, heightened public awareness of climate science and the myriad implications for communities around the world has generated enormous discussion of what the UN Secretary-General has called ‘the defining issue of our time’.”

  25. “This year, heightened public awareness of climate science…”

    Thats just a sick joke. Like any misinformation campaign there is a scintilla of truth here or there to it. Like with the bushfires there is some truth there. But this is straight oligarchy rent-seeking and energy deprivation. Brought to you by the same network that gave us the disintegration of building 7.

    No-one ever used to call themselves climate scientists until all the money showed up. And the agents of all this disinformation were maths-boy 101 types and computer modellers. Paid full-time liars for the most part. When I showed up everyone was in a fear and trembling to ask questions. I mean the experts here. Experts in their own fields but weather and climate is so complicated its mutli-subject and nobody was across all subjects.

    Right now the soil scientists have as much to say about this as anyone else. And why not? Why would a stats-boy propagandist like “Stoat” have more useful information than a soil expert like Dr Walter Jehne? I am more familiar with these charlatans than most of you because I was arguing with them from 2005-2008. They got the jump on everyone but they were never committed scientists.

  26. Ok our esteemed colleague Juan Cole is reporting that the Iranian government has used live ammunition on people protesting the gasoline price increases in Iran and that this news is being blacked out.
    Here is the thing. I strongly endorse the Iranian actions. The actions of the Iranian securtiy services should serve as an example of what we are going to have to be capable of if it is neccessary.
    As it is said in Lebanon right now the whole corrupt WORLD elite has to go. (more accurately it has to be sacrificed)
    If we are to have change that we can believe in fossil fuel prices will have to rise rapidly. Of course the new leaders are going to have to be somewhat more clever about it. They are going to have alternatives in place first that allow people to survive with out an automobile. But if people protest anyways there needs to be enough people with enough resolve to put them in their place.
    Ok some people who think of themselves as ethical might say but wait a minute it is completely over the line to use live ammunition on unarmed protestors. YES I agree in most cases that would be true. And if it is a case that it is not true the government has to give a fair warning that live ammunition is going to be used. But we are in a war for survival just as the Iranian Mullahs are in a war for survival. When sacred values are at stake strong measures to defend them are justified.
    But is’nt freedom of speach and the right to protest a sacred value? Yes but these values can in some circumstances get trumped by other values. Of course the counter arguement would be that we can have both. But the counter arguement to that would be no in some circumstances you can not have both. The first most important thing to keep in mind is that making these decisions is not a science.
    The second most important thing to keep in mind is that I am the world’s most underrated real estate agent, and the world’s most talented artist, and I am a damned good strategist too.
    Large demonstrations are often the first step in a process of causeing a government to fall. All Iranians know that mass demonstrations where the first step of over throwing Prime Minister Mosaddegh. A process that has been well documented as a CIA operation. The CIA is probably not behind these demonstrations but it is not unreasonable for Iranian leaders to believe that they are considering the anomosity between the two governments.
    The leaders of a movement to bring change that can be believed in have to have the leaders of the Haitian (1803?) and the Cuban revolutions as their role models. They have to be capable of sliting the throats of those who threaten their goals or of disarming them with a good joke, what ever works better.

  27. Ikon, as you say “Simplistic belief in good old capitalism is in for a big shake-up.”

    Fable for the day:-
    The Fox Guarding the Hen House, The fox flashed it’s large cojones [ barrister ] The cojones for the fox tells the farmer [ ATO ] it is wrong to have a fence and farmers are not supposed to interfere with foxes going about their business.

    Take it away Chris Jordan…
     “So here’s one – so, they are actually going to have the gall to appear before an inquiry to say how bad we [ ATO ] are in terms of the way we handle disputes. The other side is the Court found it was the most disgraceful behaviour they’ve ever seen involving money‑laundering, tax fraud and insider trading of Australian shares. So, you know, sometimes there’s two sides to a story, and I can’t always tell the other side.”

    Jordan, Commissioner of Taxation v Second Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCA 1602 (27 September 2019)

    “The choice involves someone directly unsuitable for the task, such as choosing a bank robber to guard a bank. The idiom the fox guarding the hen house is also often used to describe someone who is put in charge of policing himself. ”

    JQ, tax thread? It is needed.

  28. GB – really sigh-tationfull…
    GB says”But science daily has all these deeply truncated and blinkered studies that produce sweeping claims ……. Science. They call this science. This aspergers approach to all things.”
    “Thats just a sick joke.”
    [See note below GB]

    Ikon & Ikon ‘s Son; please make and run this model with your Dad…

    “Why Global Warming Will Cross a Dangerous Threshold in 2036

    “Emitting carbon dioxide at current rates will soon push Earth’s temperature up by 2 degrees Celsius. Here’s how to make the calculation yourself

    “… to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, global warming will rise 2 degrees Celsius by 2036, crossing a threshold that many scientists think will hurt all aspects of human civilization: food, water, health, energy, economy and national security. In my article “False Hope” in the April 2014 Scientific American, I reveal dramatic curves that show why the world will reach this temperature limit so quickly, and also why the recent slowdown in the rate of temperature increase, if it continues, will only buy us another 10 years.

    “You can try this exercise yourself. The text below explains the variables and steps involved. You can download the climate data here and the model code here. And you can compare your results with mine, which are here. You can also change the variables to see what other future scenarios are possible. One note: the model runs on MatLab software, which can be obtained here.

    “We employed a simple zero-dimensional Energy Balance Model (“EBM”—see references 1 through 5 below) of the form

    C dT/dt = S(1-a)/4 + FGHG -A-B T + w(t)      

    to model the forced response of the climate to estimate natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing.”

    “All of the alternative choices described above were found to yield qualitatively similar results.”

    “We are seeing our predictions come true”, “As a scientist that is reassuring, but as a citizen of planet Earth, it is very distressing to see that as it means we have not taken the necessary action”.[99]”

    Note to G Bird. 
    Please, if you are going to comment on this – as we already know your conspiracies – do some research and change your mind OR quote or cite real information. But not the ones you have already alluded to. Not as per Sonderland ” I perceived what trump said…”. Which is what I do re climate science. I have not spoken with Mann, yet I percieve and act on such information. Mea culpa.

    If you GB, as I am unable to do – pull all data, incorporate into model, run thousands of sims, do stats, etc and converge on “were found to yield qualitatively similar results” – which I do not believe you are able to do – please find the data and science to post. Even tho I agree with biodynamics /water harvesting. It ain’t gonna fly. Siberia?

  29. Right. Your quotes all complete nonsense. No empirical basis whatsoever.

    The trillionaire networks backing Al Gore now seek to bypass factual scrutiny by organising local meetings. Wild claims are presented as fact to small groups of people. I went to such a meeting last night in a small uniting church.

    But this tolerance of large deserts and dried out lands is indeed a serious threat. We want to fill the land with water and carbon, as soon as we can.

  30. “Ok our esteemed colleague Juan Cole is reporting that the Iranian government has used live ammunition on people protesting the gasoline price increases in Iran and that this news is being blacked out.”

    We have heard stuff like this a lot before. Its usually turned out to be nonsense when the American wing of the Deep State has got it in for someone. Nonsense or a false flag attack. So the idea is to just consider it nonsense or Mossad (CIA, MI6) behaviour until the full facts are known.

  31. CK says, “Svante, Of course the middle class in developing countries like Iran, India, and Indonesia are going to strive to achieve all of the unneccessary and polluiting benifits that the middle class in the USA, Germany and Australia have… That is why nothing will succeed until we who live in those countries insist on giving those things up .. So no one can complain about the fact the alarmists such as myself are not burning our autos and going on a general strike ..”

    Sure, and “as the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, Kyoto and Paris “common but differentiated responsibilities” commonly referred to as CBDR) exempts developing countries (responsible for 65% of global emissions) from any obligation, legal or moral, to reduce those emissions now or in the future, any hopes of reducing emissions are most unlikely to be realised.” ..and ” 32 countries, including China, Hong Kong, Iran, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan, have higher per capita emissions than the EU. Yet these countries – accounting for 42% of global emissions – are exempt from any obligation (legal, moral or political) to reduce their emissions whereas the EU – accounting for only 9% of emissions – is not.”., and “developing countries are responsible for over 65% of global emissions (2016)… The USA and Europe are responsible for most remaining emissions. But, as that’s less than 25% of the global total, there’s little they can do, short of closing down their economies altogether, that could make a significant contribution to an overall reduction.” – Robin Guenier, TC

    Consumption of three-Is? Current population to ecological footprint overshoot: Iran 300%; India 257%; Indonesia 125%.

    Also see:
    Global Environmental Change Volume 52, September 2018, Pages 131-140

    From resource extraction to outflows of wastes and emissions: The socioeconomic metabolism of the global economy, 1900–2015 (and on to 2050)

    “…Based on these assumptions we calculated the demand for primary materials to provide food and feed, technical energy, to build up and renew stocks of manufactured capital and for other dissipative use, i.e. of global DE (global extraction). The results of this global convergence scenario exercise are presented in Fig. 5. While population is expected to increase by 34% from 2015 to 2050, the yearly demand for crops rises by 44% and that for forage by 95%, the extraction of fossil energy carriers increases by 90% and that of stock building materials even by 194%. Overall DE increases by 140% to around 218 Gt/yr in 2050, resulting in a cumulative extraction of 1000 Gt biomass and 4100 Gt fossil and mineral materials in 35 years. Our scenario yields a considerably larger demand for primary materials than previous scenario calculations estimated. A very rough scenario assuming a global convergence of metabolic rates at the level of industrialized countries in the year 2000 distinguishing a high and a low population density trajectory arrived at 140 Gt/yr for 2050 (UNEP, 2011). A more sophisticated business as usual scenario also based on a stock-flow modelling approach, but relying on monetary information on capital stock formation and assumptions on investments and resource intensities of capital stocks estimated global material demand in 2050 at 180 Gt/yr (Schandl et al., 2016).

    While the development of DE from 2015 to 2050 in the scenario (Fig. 5) seems like a continuation of historic trends, the scenario is not designed as a business as usual scenario, but assumes considerable change in metabolic dynamics, since it implies that stock growth comes to an abrupt halt in industrialized economies and further accelerates in the Global South. The assumed global convergence in global metabolic patterns results in a 2.4-fold increase of material extraction until 2050. The global metabolic rate doubles to 22 t/cap/yr, which is more than currently observed in most industrialized countries and far beyond the global target corridor of 6–8 t/cap/yr, which has been proposed by the International Resource Panel as a goal for 2050 in order to remain within a safe operating space (IRP, 2014). The largest part of the 218 Gt/yr of primary materials that would be extracted in 2050 is sand, gravel and rock. While these materials have a comparatively low relative impact on the environment, the sheer amount of annual extraction is worrisome, and increasingly caveats are raised concerning local scarcity, environmental and biodiversity impacts and social pressure related to their extraction (Gavriletea, 2017; Torres et al., 2017). Also pressure on global croplands, grasslands and forests would rise considerably by increasing biomass harvest by 66% (Haberl et al., 2007). The annual demand for fossil energy carriers would double; that of metals even triple, exceeding extraction rates considered sustainable (e.g., Henckens et al. (2014)). The outflow of wastes and emissions (DPO*) would double to around 112 Gt/yr, which is considerably less than inputs, due to the massive expansion of stocks of manufactured capital. Krausmann et al. (2017b) have estimated that such a development could drive up cumulative CO2 emissions by 53% to 542 Gt. This exceeds the remaining global carbon budget assumed to comply with a 50% probability that the 2 °C target can be met by 30–132% (IPCC, 2014). Not only the environmental but also social pressures associated with such a rise in material use are likely to exacerbate (Muradian et al., 2012). Overall, we do not consider this a very feasible scenario, unless the demand for primary materials and output of waste and emissions can be drastically reduced through e.g., ambitious resource efficiency measures, far reaching closing of material loops or increases in the service live-time and more intense use of stocks (Allwood et al., 2011; Hatfield-Dodds et al., 2017; UNEP, 2017). Finally, rather than convergence, as assumed in the scenario, we currently observe increasing inequality in resource use both across (Duro et al., 2018; Hubacek et al., 2017) and within countries (Wiedenhofer et al., 2017). The upward trend in global DE since 2002 results from infrastructure development and rising consumption in a few countries only and large fractions of the global population hardly participate in this development at all (Giljum et al., 2014).



  32. ” This exceeds the remaining global carbon budget assumed to comply with a 50% probability that the 2 °C target ”

    Once you get that far you know you are dealing with complete idiots. So the whole lot of this chain of foolery has to be scrubbed out of hand. Since if they can get something as simple as that wrong, then the rest of their judgement cannot be trusted. It may as well be the ravings of some drunken loon in a parody of a medieval village.

  33. Quote of the day, via CoaWire, from of the day, via CoaWire, from David Iakobachvili from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs:
    “We have to maximize our sales of gas, oil and coal as much as we can without stopping while there is still a buyer for it, and use that money to stimulate innovations in new technologies so we can keep up with other economies.”
    This guy is saying out loud what other owners of low-cost fossil energy assets must be thinking: take the money and run. At one level, the cynicism is obviously bad news for the climatde. But it’s even worse news for the owners of high-cost fossil assets and new projects, like Adani. The Russians are already planning to increase coal exports to the soon shrinking Asian import market.

    said David Iakobachvili from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

  34. Boring solar update: ACWA have been awarded a contract in Dubai for 900 MW of PV solar at just under 17c per kwh ( It’s not quite a record, but the lower Portuguese one was a complicated CfD that may allow the winners to sell their output spot at a higher price if they can get it. The Dubai award is a plain vanilla 25-year PPA, and the delivery date is 2021, so there’s not much betting on future drops in equipment prices.

    This looks to me to be a fair representation of the current costs of PV for a big project in a good location. There may be a concealed subsidy for grid connection and land, but desert can’t be worth much and the project extends an existing solar megapark, limiting the transmission costs. BTW, ACWA are also building a CSP plant on the same site – at 73c/kwh. CSP sadly continues to be uncompetitive, unless the storage component is particularly valuable.

  35. Consumption by affluent/wealthy classes in ‘developing’ countries is mostly responsible for 65% of global ghg emissions. They have reasons to greatly increase emissions, which they are intent on doing, with no binding commitment to reduce those emissions. Developed countries would have to close down their economies to a pre-industrial state to compensate. Not going to happen. The global below 2 °C carbon budget is therefore blown. The current alarming rate of direct extraction of all planetary resources and outflow of wastes will continue to accelerate particularly in ‘developing’ countries towards 2050. The global metabolic rate (extraction, consumption, waste) will unsustainably double towards 2050 to global levels above the unsustainable heights seen only in developed industrialised countries now. And so cumulative CO2 emissions by 2030 therefore will rise well above a target level that could allow a 50% chance of limiting global heating to 2 °C.

    So noone can (righteously) complain about the fact alarmists such as yourself are not burning your autos and going on a general strike. The effect on ghg emission rates of such a small number of cars off the global roads or a general strike would hardly be measurable as the overall rates and increases are so huge. A revolution may do it, but sufficent numbers of global middle class aspiring folks including those in ‘developing’ countries will come to that party way too late. A global economic depression? A global viral plague? That might lower the odds on busting the 2 °C budget, and increase global wages. Only a few years remain.

  36. “Consumption by affluent/wealthy classes in ‘developing’ countries is mostly responsible for 65% of global ghg emissions.”

    Now we are back to the one-eye blind practice of seeing energy consumption via consumer rather than industrial consumption.

    “The global below 2 °C carbon budget is therefore blown.”

    This is erroneous. This is idiocy. This is lies. It has no empirical foundation whatsoever. Try science.

  37. More on China’s headlong investment in coal;

    “if China continues to increase total coal power capacity through 2035, its coal power generation alone will be more than three times as large as the global limit on coal power use determined by the IPCC to keep warming well below 2°C.“

    Click to access Out-of-Step-English-final.pdf

  38. Cripes. There it all goes, up in smoke.

    “The continued growth of China’s coal fleet and consideration
    of plans to significantly raise the nation’s coal
    power cap show that while the country is often hailed
    as a clean energy leader, the momentum of coal power
    expansion has yet to be halted.” – p3,

    By mid-2019, however, analysis
    of satellite photos and permits shows nearly half of
    the restricted capacity actively under development or
    commissioned, including capacity that had been told
    to stop all development through 2020 …

    If China continues to increase total coal power capacity
    through 2035, its coal power generation alone will
    far exceed the total coal power generation allotted
    to the entire world to keep warming well below 2°C,
    according to reductions in coal power use outlined by
    the IPCC.- p5

  39. Guys,

    I suggest that everyone here relax a bit. Virtually all the problems of climate change, poverty and environmental destruction will be well on their way to being solved through simple technological advance in as little as the next 10 to 15 years. I fact I would suggest that recommending that governments ‘do something about it’ is probably the worst policy of all. Shades of pink batts etc.

    To take just one example, the world wide meat and dairy industry is blamed for huge amounts of environmental destruction and production of climate changing gases. The knee jerk reaction is to ‘do something about it’ – except no-one can agree just what to do. However RethinkX released a report recently stating that within 10 – 20 years the entire worldwide dairy and beef industry – followed soon after by the pork and chicken industries, will be completely wiped out by new technological processes of precision fermentation, that are just coming online.

  40. Dude that is just crazy-talk. The beef industry is needed to inter carbon. And we do know what to do. We have to inter water into the landscape, and then produce carbon-rich soil to follow that water. Precision fermentation isn’t going to put billions of tonnes of cow carbon into the soil. That black stuff in cow manure isn’t cow dye. Its carbon. Fermentation in a central spot with heaps of inputs is an energy intensive undertaking. The goal is to make agriculture produce, rather than consume energy. This is not a 15 year problem. Energy economics doesn’t work that way. This isn’t getting resolved until near the end of the century. Even then only if we stop whining about hydrocarbons and get on with soil production and nuclear.

  41. Oops. I wrote 17c per kwh for Dubai, should of course have been 1.7c, and 7.3c for the CSP. Typical wholesale electricity prices in many countries are around 5c per kwh.

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