The Decline of Fossil Fuels and Limits of Renewable Energy

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  • #89225 Reply

      “there is a war between elites in the face of the imminent scenario of collapse —in reality it is several collapses and a chain reaction. On one side are the national-populist elites. On the other, the “globalists”. And both have declared war on each other and at the same time, they have silently declared war on us, the people.
      [ … ]
      I suspect that the covidian event was buying time. And the current state of war as a result of NATO actions, together with Spain’s change of position in relation to the Sahara (goodbye gas from Algeria), and the blowing up of the Baltic gas pipelines, all this is a controlled demolition of what that was already destined to fall.
      { … ]
      Purpose? Authoritarian, controlled and forced degrowth.”

      Thanks for your thoughts, Oscar. So “the elites have silently declared war on us, the people”, and a worldwide pandemic and a war were engineered to buy time for the masterplan, all to further the authoritarian objective of controlled degrowth? In light of the above, can you explain how, in your view, you manage to evade the label “conspiracy theorist”?

      #89234 Reply

        I have not said that they created the pandemic. But it is evident that it has been instrumentalized, as the fight against terrorism has also been instrumentalized for a couple of decades.

        If you keep putting things in my mouth that I haven’t said, I better shut up guys; I already went through that and it denotes little understanding on your part or bad faith.

        On the other hand, if you see in basic facts about how the world works (global power elite, already solidly referenced in another thread) as a conspiracy theory, you are closer to those theorists than I am, since you see in facts well established by sociology a “conspiracy”, and therefore sociologists and social psychologists become conspiracy theorists.

        What an oversimplification you have marked yourself, friend. I will not enter the rag like other times.

        The entire sociology is a conspiracy theory. And the social psychology of power, too. Of course. And then the “denialists” are others, when you are the standard-bearers of reason who deny well-established facts in the social sciences for centuries in the case of the elites, 70 years in the case of the power elite on a national scale and two or three decades in the case of the Transnational Capitalist Class.

        You are the ones who see conspiracies in that.

        And you are the ones who deny reality.

        I don’t care what label you put on me… the label gives an account of who puts it, not who is labeled.

        #89236 Reply

          Ok, that reaction seems a bit more extreme than I was expecting. You will note I didn’t say anything about denialism there, and I don’t know why I’m being lumped into a group (“You are the ones who deny reality”) in such an extreme proposition. Could you be “putting words in my mouth that I haven’t said”? (Touché, my friend!) There’s no need to fling around such wild accusations. If we’re going to discuss, why not do so calmly, without over-reacting. You are not my enemy, and I’m not trying to chase you away. I have many questions about your thinking, and I want you to explain more, not less.

          I didn’t see any hostility in my last message – in fact, I thought I phrased it rather politely – but maybe it was the paraphrasing that you found insulting rather than the implications. So let’s take it more slowly. I quoted you at length for people to make up their own minds on the basis of your actual words and compare my reading of that quote with their own. But we can leave out my (mis-)reading of it, if it complicates things.

          “On one side are the national-populist elites. On the other, the “globalists”. And both have declared war on each other and at the same time, they have silently declared war on us, the people.”

          That excerpt seems sufficient to qualify as a conspiracy theory, at least according to the common understanding of the term. The “silently declared war on us, the people” is a bit of a giveaway. And the longer elaboration of your ideas gives substance to that statement. Let’s remain fully aware “conspiracy theorist” is a pejorative label, and labels are often misused. But I wondered how you would square it with what you said in another thread:

          “Certainly the unproven and often simplistic hypotheses of reality defended by “conspiracy theorists” are a burden for individuals who try to do our best by seriously and rigorously investigating the entrails of the beast for the sake of that knowledge can be be used by activists in a transversal way. By the way, the “conspiracy theorists” are extremely useful for the System, because in addition to moving a lot of money, they hinder our investigative work and keep us entertained by attacking and defending each other…”

          There is at least a shadow of a possible contradiction there, and I’m interested in finding out how you would resolve it. I’m not saying you can’t, or that you’re being hypocritical. I’m saying I’d like to know, in order to follow your logic better. It looks to me (you may disagee, and can correct me – calmly, I hope) that the distinction rests on the “unproven” element, and the nature of exactly what has been proven. A lot seems to turn on that. You are certain that the existence of these groups of elites has been proven in sociology – and, importantly, that they engage in deceptive behaviour to manipulate the public to destructive ends – and you’ve kindly offered references for people to learn more about it. Thank you. I’d like to follow those up when time allows, along with reading other material on the same topic.

          The main misgiving I have at the moment is that I believe it’s quite rare for there to be such certainty in academia – especially in the social sciences and sociology, which are heavily reliant on competing theoretical constructs and differing methodologies. If someone else managed to find other academic references which say there is no such consensus in sociology, or even that it isn’t the dominant view, or that there is counterevidence, that could give us some reason to reflect and proceed more carefully. I’m not prejudging this or dismissing your view here; I’m merely suggesting that readers (such as me) should consult more widely to satisfy themselves before following the rest of your logic to its conclusions. I recall you offered advice in a similar vein: the spirit of open minds and enquiry. I hope that isn’t perceived as a hostile engagement. It’s meant to be in the spirit of joint enquiry and pedagogy.

          #89245 Reply

            I think the assumption of there being “two sides” among the richest and most powerful (the “elites”) is an oversimplification. Most who get to be rich and powerful do so through intense competition; there are also elements of luck and nepotism, but I would expect competitiveness to be the critical attribute because it is proactive and consistent, whereas nepotism relies on a one-off accident of birth, and luck, by its nature, is inconsistent.

            Among the highly competitive, membership of any side will be a marriage of convenience, subject to divorce and/or play-acting, in response to circumstances.

            Elite awareness of of humanity’s and the biosphere’s predicament is a different matter. I suspect that many of the elite are so preoccupied with acquisition of wealth and power that they are indifferent to such concerns, or consider them irrelevant. They can’t imagine that money would become worthless should physical resources run short, since they have never experienced a lack of resources. Money has always secured resources for them, so they assume it always will.

            Never underestimate the delusion of humans; the majority of humans throughout history have held the most preposterous, counter-factual beliefs, such as that embalming a corpse might bring about its immortality, or that their hero rose from the dead after being executed. Being powerful is no guarantee of being rational; quite the opposite.

            #89246 Reply

              “the majority of humans throughout history have held the most preposterous, counter-factual beliefs”

              Just look at the current fetish for “the market” and the supposedly supreme importance of money. Money is purely a human construct; it could disappear entirely in an instant yet there would be just as much physical wealth as before. Yet “recessions” somehow make physical resources unavailable. This is clearly some mass delusion; money affects behaviour, and behaviour makes physical resources unavailable. Yet people won’t behave in the necessary manners unless influenced to do so by money.

              #89250 Reply

                If I have overreacted, I apologize. The reason is that I am a human being, I have feelings as well as reason, and in other threads I have been personally attacked with users saying a lot of nonsense (you can see it in the blocked thread).

                Veteran users of these forums, as well as moderators, seem especially obsessed with conspiracy theories. Their paranoid style looking for conspiracy theories in any contribution to the forum has a lot in common with conspiracy theorists. Extremes meet.

                If you want to follow my reasoning and logic, and solve my apparent contradictions, I think that in several threads and posts the necessary arguments and sources are provided to do so. Since you have shown that you have read me, I will not return to the same things.

                And if for whatever reason you consider that my contributions are not useful or following the general tone of the forum, you feel more comfortable labeling me as a conspiracy theorist, that’s fine.

                I think the real topic of the forum ends up being just a compulsive search for conspiracy theories anywhere.

                I think we can all spend that time on more useful things. I have also said it in another thread.

                I also said that the motto of this forum seems to be “seek but do not find”.

                I have neither time nor energy to debate in forums questions that have to be discussed academically and, effectively, scientifically or journalistically solvent. And I’m going to it.

                Thank you for giving me a voice in this forum and I’m sorry I didn’t explain myself well (language is a problem, and the very nature of an Internet forum makes certain debates very difficult).

                And please, a very serious suggestion… you can take it or leave it. Work on the obsessive search for conspiracy theories or make it clear to new users that the common denominator of all threads is to find conspiracy theories and refute them, and if there are none, words will be distorted, invented and then “debunked”.

                And above all, “seek but do not find”. “Let’s keep going around in circles or let others get into the rag”.

                You will have one less conspiracy theorist in the forum. Congratulations guys.

                I have a book to write. You keep looking or making conspiracy theorists at your convenience.

                And if I’m wrong in my perception of these forums, I apologize again. I’m sorry I didn’t make myself understood. Ignore me in that case and move on! There is so much to do outside of these forums! Good luck to all. 🙂

                Thanks again for your contributions. I’ve learned quite a bit about some issues here, and also about the human condition —including myself.

                Best regards,

                César (aka Oscar)

                #89312 Reply

                  Natasha, here’s what I wrote to my MP, back in January of this year I think:
                  – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

                  Dear Kemi Badenoch,

                  please forward this to appropriate ministers. Please note that all evidence I link to originates from expert sources. These are merely examples; I could have cited many more.

                  You’re presumably aware of the uprising in Kazakhstan, provoked partly by a doubling of the price of liquefied gas, which is used by many in Kazakhstan as vehicle fuel. Yet Kazakhstan is a major producer of hydrocarbons; Kazakh oil and gas account for nearly 60% of the GDP of Central Asia. Here are Kazakh oil workers joining the protests:

                  Javier Blas on Twitter (link).

                  From the same Twitter stream (Javier Blas, Bloomberg energy correspondent), on Jan 4 2022 OPEC agreed to increase oil production by 400,000 barrels per day, but have achieved only 90,000. Notably, Libya and Nigeria have been unable even to maintain production – wonderful that Mr Cameron burned so much fuel as he turned Libya into an al Qaeda wasteland and “got rid of a nasty dictator”, eh?

                  Manufacturing is shutting down due to high energy costs; eleven consortia of European manufacturers call for urgent government intervention:

                  Javier Blas on Twitter again (link).

                  “Alcoa to halt aluminium production at a Spanish plant for two years, the latest casualty of soaring energy prices in Europe”:

                  Bloomberg (link).

                  Emissions continue to rise as countries resort to coal – less energy, but more emissions; the worst of both worlds.

                  Gas supply is being propped up by US fracking:

                  Javier Blas again (link).

                  but that won’t last long; most fracking projects are already in terminal decline due to depletion – take a look at the graphic of drilling traces in the Bakken core area:

                  Richard Heinberg (link).

                  War, of course, is the most fuel intensive of all human activities, so please don’t write back blaming “Putin”, which seems to be the trite answer to almost everything these days. Decades of superpower confrontation to control hydrocarbon deposits has exacerbated our predicament enormously. The problem is clearly international, extending far beyond restricted Russian gas supplies to Germany. The problem is depletion of finite resources upon which the world has been encouraged to become overly dependent:

                  Russian Gas amid Market Tightness –

                  Civilisation itself is in grave danger. Hydrocarbons need to be internationally rationed, now! They needed to be rationed two decades ago, but the dominant ideology has been growth, growth, growth; “leave it to the market”. Just as with the climate and ecological crisis, the longer that governments abdicate their responsibilities to humanity as a whole, the less options will remain and the worse it’ll play out, depletion and emissions alike. Hydrocarbons can no longer be squandered frivolously; their use needs to be ramped down under international agreement before they crash into physical limits, and their prices require international regulation so that the manufacturing upon which civilisation depends has predictable energy costs.

                  Yours sincerely,
                  Clark Killick

                  #89313 Reply

                    Kemi Badenoch wrote back saying that rationing was “inappropriate” and the government had everything under control.

                    Yeah, right!

                    #89363 Reply

                      Thanks Oscar for introducing “collapsology”. These links offer similar insights and proposals for answering ‘what can we do?’ questions.


                      I’ve concluded that since its a biological fact that ~2% of us are irredeemably born PSYCHOPATHIC the future is for certain chaos. There will be no sharing of diminishing resources because – the so-called ‘elites’ / ‘oligarchs’ / ‘billionaires’ / ‘politicians’ – are ALL irredeemably PSYCHOPATHIC.

                      Until this overriding ‘problem’ is ‘solved’ by end of this century likely less than ~1 billion humans will be left alive with a standard of living same as before the fossil fuel age i.e. back to the ~1750s at best.

                      And thanks Clark for sharing what you wrote to the MP – no surprises in ‘its’ non-response.

                      Next election the best I can think of doing is to campaign for and vote for ‘None of Above’ :

                      #89421 Reply


                        “I’ve concluded that since its a biological fact that about 2 percent of us are irredeemably born PSYCHOPATHIC the future is for certain chaos.”

                        Could this be amenable to systemic change? I see psychopathy as a result of biological diversity and thus inevitable, but I can’t think of any reason that it must dominate human affairs, no more than any other extremity of human attributes. It seems likely to me that societal norms, peer pressure, law, democracy etc. all developed to regulate extremities of behaviour, even to direct them to socially advantageous ends. Various societies across history display a broad range in their degree of large scale psychopathy, from very tolerant societies to colonialist and fascist, yet their biological distributions presumably remain similar. The Nazi death cult of 1940s Germany is barely imaginable from German society just twenty years earlier; one generation is insufficient time for a biological transformation. This suggests that societal dynamics determine which of the various behavioural tendencies get expressed.

                        #89523 Reply

                          Clark yes, psychopathy is “a result of biological diversity and thus inevitable” however, the psychological definition of psychopathy describes people who are driven to “dominate human affairs” this is why psychopathy is uniquely different to all other extremities of human attributes.

                          Further, mainstream (i.e. neoclassical) economics embeds psychopathy as its main theoretical construct, the so-called ‘rational actor’ who ‘maximises’ their consumption of goods and services to manipulate price$ in an alleged world where only competition exists, with altruism and community propagandised – gaslighted – out of existence. Once again the very definition of psychopathy.

                          Why, now that global resources are running out, do we still allow psychopaths to conduct such a uniquely dangerous destruction dance?

                          #89525 Reply

                            Natasha, I think of the progression of human history as like a sawtooth wave pattern. The forces of greed, psychopathy etc. continually drive a slow increase in exploitation and oppression. The majority are pretty peace-loving and just want to get on with living their lives, so rather than oppose this increase they put up with it and evade it as best they can, adapting as it gets worse.

                            The oppression gradually grows, making more and more people sufficiently angry that they’d be prepared to take action, but in their society, shaped and propagandised as it is by psychopathy, they feel isolated and powerless. But they do start talking, writing graffiti, expressing themselves in song, art and literature, and in modern times, posting their thoughts and feelings on the Web. Some people start to organise, but there still isn’t a critical mass…

                            Then some trigger event occurs and people start to rebel.

                            Rebellion can and does take many forms, and some of the most powerful are simple non-cooperation with the psychopathic power structures, for instance withdrawal of labour ie. going on strike. It is no surprise that the power structures’ propaganda always stresses the most violent forms of rebellion; this is clearly a ploy to deter the peace-loving majority from joining in. Non-violent disobedience is depicted as violent:

                            Sky News – Kay Burley Tries To Bait Mick Lynch! YouTube, Aug 2022

                            Oliver Clegg with Inaya Folarin Iman & Tom Harwood | GB News | YouTuve, 19 October 2022 | Just Stop Oil

                            But it only ever buys the psychopathy a little more time; the pressure for change has become unstoppable. We are very close to that point now:

                            Huge UK public support for direct action to protect environment – poll – 66% of people back nonviolent action:

                            The Guardian, 24 Oct 2022

                            Direct action not ruled out by conservation groups over environment policies – BBC, 12 October 2022

                            “The National Trust, RSPB and Wildlife Trusts said they could urge millions of members to take to the streets in demonstrations. […] The combined membership of the three organisations is eight million. According to the RSPB, its members have sent 106,000 emails to MPs in two weeks.”

                            #89575 Reply

                              An utterly insightful speech about the climate crisis from LBC’s James O’Brien:

                              Title: James O’Brien: Why does Just Stop Oil get more attention than an ‘apocalyptic UN warning’? | LBC

                              YouTube, 9 November 2022 (9m 9s)

                              A video by Bloomberg’s Javier Blas on Europe’s energy crisis; at 01:34 citing Michael Liebreich, senior correspondent BloombergNEF:

                              Quote – “The old pattern of responding to every fossil fuel crisis with a grab for more fossil fuels is simply not tenable any more. If there is to be a silver lining from this terrible, traumatic year here in Europe, it is that it has reset the energy debate forever.”

                              Title: Europe’s Energy Nightmare Has Only Just Begun

                              YouTube, 9 November 2022 (16m 50s)

                              I honestly can’t see a way out of this without huge, immediate reduction in energy demand. We must live much more simply or vast numbers will perish, whether by freezing to death, starvation, flooding, or heatwaves. Economic growth in the rich economies has not merely become physically impossible; economic contraction is now physically unavoidable. All humanity will do much better if we in the rich nations accept this, and relinquish our wealth gracefully. The alternative is unthinkable.

                              #89576 Reply

                                We have to face the facts – there is no more road to kick the can down. And the can’s fucked too.

                                #89578 Reply

                                  “I honestly can’t see a way out of this without huge, immediate reduction in energy demand.”

                                  And that’s just not going to happen, even when there are catastrophic climate and humanitarian disasters. Look at the reaction to JSO protesters in recent weeks. Although not a source of credible reference, Dan Brown’s character in his 2013 novel, Inferno – Bertrand Zobrist – argued that the only way to solve the problem was a reduction in the global population from circa 8 billion to less than 1 billion. His virus caused sterility in 96% of those infected – so it wasn’t an immediate solution, but one that limited population growth in the future. I do wonder sometimes if SARS-CoV-2 was released deliberately as a depopulation solution – we still don’t know what the medium to long-term impacts will be, but the neurogenic changes in the brains of most victims are not dissimilar to those of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Seventy years ago most homes had coal fires, not gas, but they didn’t burn all the time. Hot water by electric immersion and few households had motor cars. International air travel wasn’t accessible to most. The global population was just over 3 billion. More than double the population, its energy consumption – and waste – we have created an impossible situation.

                                  Zobrist’s question: If you could press a button which killed 90% of people randomly in a short time, would you do it? Most people would say: No.

                                  But if you knew that unless you did, humanity and many other species would not be able to survive on this planet, would you change your mind? As you said, we’ve run out of road.

                                  #89600 Reply

                                    “Look at the reaction to JSO protesters in recent weeks.”

                                    When I look at Twitter, it’s 80% criticism (mostly shallow, nasty and personal) and 20% support. But when I talk to the public it’s more support than criticism, and at least one Just Stop Oil activist says the same.

                                    On-line influence campaigns? There’s a common assumption that only security services run influence campaigns, and furthermore that it’s only the UK and USA at it. But for over a decade we’ve known that commercial astroturfing exists, submitting paid-for reviews of books and products on Amazon, Trip Advisor etc. It was Alisher Usmanov’s lawyers Schillings and his “reputation management” agency that sanitised his Wikipedia page – I unwittingly prompted a Wikipedia investigation which uncovered that.

                                    Maybe someone should apply Craig’s How To Spot A Twitter Troll to Just Stop Oil’s detractors.

                                    #89601 Reply

                                      “And that’s just not going to happen”

                                      It did in World War Two; the government imposed rationing: of food, fuel and other essentials. And the people accepted it because they knew it was necessary.

                                      People do love their children. In an emergency, most parents would go short of food themselves to feed their children – humanity would probably have died out if we didn’t have that instinct: ie. the parents who don’t put their kids first lose their descendents, so such traits are rare in the modern population. When people understand that there really is a crisis they will make the necessary sacrifices. The sooner they understand, the less extreme the crisis will peak out at.

                                      #89602 Reply

                                        “The sooner they understand, the less extreme the crisis will peak out at.”

                                        I’m sure this is the crux of the problem. We had thirty years of organised, well-funded denial from the fossil fuel companies, and the idea that this wouldn’t become a crisis for centuries. Now we have soft denial: “oh, a degree or two warmer would probably be quite nice”. That’s why I opened a thread on the subject.

                                        #89609 Reply

                                          Yeah, maybe humanity could survive the changes in the climate if they organised and planned for it. But there’s still beachside properties going up and nuclear power stations to build, despite acknowledgement that rising sea levels will redefine the coastline dramatically. We couldn’t organise our own funeral properly.

                                          But what’s likely to finish us off is everything else – the pollution of our water and air, meddling in things we really shouldn’t like genetic engineering of viruses and other pathogens, our propensity for war – take your pick; our stupidity knows no bounds.

                                          #89611 Reply

                                            People are capable of incredible things at times. And remember that it’s only a minority making such a mess of things; there are still huge swathes of people just getting on with a low impact way of living that they’ve been practising for centuries. Maybe just a few organisational systems need tweaking and the problems can all be quite quickly sorted out; after all, the current problems didn’t take very long to create.

                                            China has just had the longest, most widespread and most intense heatwave in all human existence. China is highly centralised; that entire vast nation could quite suddenly change course, like it did for covid.

                                            #89612 Reply

                                              “We couldn’t organise our own funeral properly.”

                                              That made me laugh. We’re currently failing to organise our own funeral quite spectacularly.

                                              #89615 Reply

                                                Incredible things and exquisite beauty. And our history tells us we’re innovative and resilient in the face of overwhelming odds of adversity. But the opposite also rings true – we’re not all the same, some are diametrically opposite in their behaviour. It may be a minority causing the greatest amount of damage but it’s a lot of fucking damage. Read recently about the wealthiest 10% being responsible for a significant % of pollution and emissions – but it’s a no brainer really. The problem is persuading the selfish to do the opposite of what they think is their right.

                                                There’s a lot not to like about China, but you’re correct in that they can effect rapid change should that be the policy. In some respects moving back to a low impact society wouldn’t be a huge change for many Chinese people – they have only just begun to move into the way of life we see in the West, whereas in the UK & USA – the oligarch controlled government and media would oppose anything that challenged the status quo.

                                                The greatest change usually comes after a major disaster or war – when humanity has been cowed into submission and has to start again. Perhaps the virus may yet provide that opportunity, because we sure don’t seem able to grasp it.

                                                #89619 Reply

                                                  This Medialens article is a pretty comprehensive explanation why we’re fucked.

                                                  #89783 Reply

                                                    The “Just Stop Oil” campaign is an invitation to answer Zobrist’s question affirmatively: If you could press a button which killed 90% of people randomly in a short time, would you do it?

                                                    The “Just Stop Oil” campaign is thus deeply dishonest, since they do not point out that if 8 billion people were to stop using fossil fuels 7 billion would be dead within a week or three and those surviving would be forced to go back to living standards of the 1750s burning non existent wood and grass.


                                                    Please list anything you use daily in the modern world that does not have fossil fuels embedded in them.

                                                    #89784 Reply

                                                      Natasha, most people don’t really know about hydrocarbon depletion, and those that do don’t really understand, eg. even Lapsed Agnostic quoted the global “proven reserves” without realising that “50 years at current consumption rates” really amounts to “well over half has already gone”, and that therefore, due to Huppert’s production curve, it has now become inevitable that production will decline.

                                                      Due to the hopelessly incompetent ‘news’ media, most people think that the global fuel shortage is merely caused by “Putin”. In fact, Russian oil production is only 2% down on what it was this time last year (link).

                                                      I must point out that Just Stop Oil isn’t demanding that oil be instantly stopped; the organisation’s demand is specifically: no new UK fossil fuel licenses or exploration. This is consistent with IPCC and International Energy Agency statements about the need to limit global heating, to avoid climate tipping points.

                                                      I know quite a lot of people in Just Stop Oil, and a few weeks ago I played host to over a dozen of them for five days while their court cases were held in Chelmsford. Over half of them were under 30 years old; brave, intelligent young people trying to secure a liveable future for themselves. They are not dishonest people. Neither are the founders, whom I have also met. However, they are focussed on the climate emergency rather than fuel depletion.

                                                      Nafeez Ahmed is one of the few people who understand that humanity is in a deadly double bind. As the fuels deplete their EROEI falls, exacerbating global heating with higher emissions per unit of energy. Their availability also falls, as does the rate at which they can be extracted. At the same time, demand for energy increases, both to build the necessary new renewable energy infrastructure, and to cope with and adapt to the ravages of global heating.

                                                      Personally, if I was benevolent dictator of the world, I’d impose fossil fuel rationing now, if not ten or twenty years ago. All this war, private transport and rampant consumerism we see; it’s all squandering a critical and diminishing resource.

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