American factories contract sharply as trade wars hit them harder than China; Middle East tensions rise; China gets new SARS threat; Australia braces for 'day of hell'; UST 10yr yield at 1.80%; oil and gold jump; NZ$1 = 66.7 USc; TWI-5 = 71.5

American factories contract sharply as trade wars hit them harder than China; Middle East tensions rise; China gets new SARS threat; Australia braces for 'day of hell'; UST 10yr yield at 1.80%; oil and gold jump; NZ$1 = 66.7 USc; TWI-5 = 71.5
Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Good morning, wherever you are. Here's our summary of key economic events over the holiday break that affect New Zealand, with news climate, health, political and economic threats are all rising at the same time. New Zealand is an island of stability.

It is all about a sudden elevation of risk today as things spiral toward confrontations in the Middle East. Stock, bonds and commodities are all impacted.

The downer comes at a bad time for the US. The widely-watched ISM factory PMI fell sharply to its lowest level since mid 2009 recording a steep contraction in December and worse than expected. That is the fifth straight month on decline. New orders fell faster. The data suggests their GDP grew at only +1.3% pa in Q4, 2019, accentuating the economic decline. Given that China's factory PMI is expanding, it is clear that the US is not winning the tariff wars. And despite the Americans talking up the deal, the Chinese have been very mum on details and the timing of any signing, suggesting it is not as agreed as the Americans think it is

And a 50-state analysis shows that nine of them are expected to contract into recession in 2020, the most since the GFC. The most 'interesting' thing about those nine is that they are mostly in the Trump heartland.

American vehicle sales in 2019 look like they will just under 17 mln and that will be the lowest level since 2014.

Wall Street is down -0.7% in late Friday trading. That follows a mixed set of results in Europe, with Frankfurt and Brussels down, Paris and London up. Yesterday in Shanghai they ended flat, but Hong Kong and Tokyo both recorded declines.

In Canada, factories are slowing there too, but at least they are still expanding.

In China, not only are they contending with the ASF virus in their pig herd, a new SARS-like virus is spreading in humans and causing widespread unease.

In Hong Kong, protests continue, the latest by teachers pushing back at removal threats for participating in the demonstrations. All this is having a severe impact on the City's retail trade which was down by an eye-watering -23% in November year-on-year and similar to the sharp October decline.

In Australia, NSW and Victoria are bracing for "a day of hell" from bush fires. Their electricity grid is increasingly vulnerable. Sydney's water storage is now down to under 44% capacity. Soot pollution of the water supply is as much of a threat as fire to water pumping infrastructure.

The UST 10yr yield is down -8 bps the risk aversion at just under 1.80%. Their 2-10 curve has tightened up, now at +28 bps. Their 1-5 curve is much flatter at just +6 bps. And their 3m-10yr curve is moved the most, much narrower at +28 bps. The Aussie Govt 10yr is down -7 bps at 1.23%. The China Govt 10yr is unchanged at 3.19% holding its notable stability. And the NZ Govt 10 yr is also down, -7 bps lower at 1.59%.

And as you would expect, gold is much firmer today, up +US$25 from yesterday, now at US$1,550/oz, a reflection of the sudden risks in the Middle East.

US oil prices are more than +US$2 higher at just under US$63/bbl but the Brent benchmark is now sharply lower at just over US$68/bbl.

The Kiwi dollar hasn't been hit much at all, but it is marginally softer. It is now at 66.7 USc. On the cross rates we are unchanged at 95.8 AUc. Against the euro we are holding at 59.7 euro cents. That puts our TWI-5 at 71.5 and the same level as just before the holiday break started.

But bitcoin is up +5.8% from where we left it yesterday after the Middle East tensions, now at US$7,335. The bitcoin rate is charted in the exchange rate set below.

The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».

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Now USA heading for recession and Middle East on brink. So now we will see if NZ is as immune as some have alluded to

US is probably already in a recession thanks to an evil dictator, low immigration, stupid trade wars and getting rid of obamacare.

... really .. the US is in a recession due to the evil dictator ... who knew that Julie Ann Genter's influence spread that far .. .

Slow clapping...

NZ govt/PM no position or comment on Soleimani.

Can anyone find an official response, please post.

The Media is so full of contradiction that's it's hard to know if it was a great idea or the stupidest thing the USA ever did. All I know is that Persia is not part of the Arab world, Shiites are more moderate than Sunni Arabs. Southern Iraq is Shite, so it's natural to fall under Iranian control. Remember the Iran Iraq war where the USA supplied arms to both sides, the Iranian child soldiers and the cranage of Saddam and the poisonous gas attacks.

If anything I suspect the West should be more aligned with Persia than other countries in the middle east. Previous Western interference in Iran supporting the Shah, was an absolute disaster, the CIA attempt to disrupt the free election of Mossadegh that eventually handed the power back to the Mullahs all in the name of big oil.


And here a good, thou intense weekend read

Even if you can read the reviews


Does that mean the government supports by omission extraterritorial, extrajudicial assassination?

The longer nothing is said the funnier, (not humourous it feels). It debunks the fine leader narrative, quickly assumed in March.

Plus puts focus on the year of delivery or dithering.

Last week Beehive insiders told leading political journalists that the “Year of Delivery” promise was actually a spin-line produced on the fly by the PM’s top spin doctor to get his boss out of a tight situation when she needed something memorable to say at the start of 2019. The explanation from the Beehive was to convey that it’s not actually fair to hold the PM to account for a catchphrase that was never intended to be taken so seriously.

You certainly are fixated on NZ reaction to a assassination in Iraq? Perhaps give it a day or so while the smoke clears...the crickets on today go watch that.

I appreciate good governance and sound leadership is to be celebrated (civic and corporate).

I look around and am not seeing either, this is an opportunity for PM to reset, rather, the longer the linger, it seems to be calling the 'Fine Leader' she is, a hoax.

Like the Year of Delivery is also now called a hoax by its very authors - see the Guardian article.

Whatever Henry...bigger stuff going on right now than your issues with a women governing NZ.

... nice diversion ... but Henry's point is about the incompetence of our current leader . . nothing to do with her girlie bits ...

His issue, and many Nzers issue, is the current government incompetence not a gender issue. Maybe take off the red tinted glasses

No response from Boris either.. gee that's another incompetent leader...any word from Soyman?
Simon Bridges' controversial China visit was organised by Jian Yang, the National MP who admitted to training Chinese spies, official emails show. Bridges was criticised for praising the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in an interview on Chinese state television during the five-day trip in September

... curious to know why you think Boris is incompetent ... or at least , more so than anyone else...

I mean ... left or right of centre , there's some flawed leaders around ... apart from Taxcinda ... Putin , Ginsling , Trumpy ... Sco Mo ... True D'oh ...


I am curious to know why you think Boris is competent? This is a guy who was sacked twice for lying-not a great advert for either his character or his competence-he can't even lie competently. Then you add, 'or at least,more so than anyone else'. So in your book, competence equates to just not being more incompetent than anyone else. A curious definition, but then you think Trump is increasingly competent. He promised to bring well paid jobs back to the rust-belts. How many jobs have eventuated? Do you really believe that he is Making America Great Again? Do you know just how much time he spends playing golf?

Whats Boris got to do with the discussion??

Nah happy with the governance thanks..much better then Australia right now. We will see at the end of the year how many of your assumed NZs think the same as you?

If you are making comparison, remember in New Zealand, you can only vote for people in the NZ election. That's voting choice. However.

People also vote with their feet.

How many New Zealanders move to Australia for work and home.
Compared to
How many Australians move to New Zealand for work and home.

(Australians have better PR in NZ, than New Zealanders have in Ozz)

Regarding governance. Please read the Guardian article.

What words in the article give you good feelings about governance. What words make you happy about governance.

However as 2019 rolled on and key promises such as KiwiBuild’s 100,000 affordable houses, a capital gains tax and alleviating child poverty failed to eventuate, the “Year of Delivery” line became a stick with which to beat the government at every turn.

We have now learned that Ardern’s “Year of Delivery” promise was only ever a slick catchphrase dreamed up by a speechwriter, not Ardern herself.

Last week Beehive insiders told leading political journalists that the “Year of Delivery” promise was actually a spin-line produced on the fly by the PM’s top spin doctor to get his boss out of a tight situation when she needed something memorable to say at the start of 2019. The explanation from the Beehive was to convey that it’s not actually fair to hold the PM to account for a catchphrase that was never intended to be taken so seriously.

It is extraordinary that something presented as a solemn promise to the electorate is now being explained away as nothing more than a manufactured PR soundbite. But, in fact, this episode perfectly epitomises the year in politics – showing how PR has come to dominate.

Henry..move to Australia then...please

Blessed are those that make the most of both worlds.

Would you fit in Ozz style?, are you much of a projects guy, able to get stuff done, able to get along with a crew too.


The 9 minute mark plus is magic.

Another weird tangent but happy to sail you there Henry..are you a team to do turn up on the dog watch on time?

Read the Guardian article, thanks.

Hey does anyone know the existence of 1976 Executive Order 11905 which expressly prohibited assassinations abroad by USA government agencies. Or is that just applicable to the actual “leader” of a foreign country? Guess it didn’t stop Reagan having a go at Gaddafi either. I was in Malta that day. Bloody entertaining.

Would not seem to count drones

Aye scary, and when you read that you realise why the deep deep hatred of the USA is geographically vast and irreversible. Reminds me of reading about when the first imperialistic ventures under McKinley were underway, the US general in the Phillipines complaining, how many of these rebels do we have to kill before they understand we are here to help them.

You have to ask yourself why so many people hate the USA. It is not a normal way for people to behave and they generally don't get to that belief without a very good reasons. In the case of the Philippines, hardly surprising, they bought the country from the Spanish like it was some sort of chattel. How would you feel if they did that to us. Re the Middle East, they have been totally duplicitous and dishonest at just about every turn. That doesn't go down well in the Muslim culture, and isn't forgotten.

I think often intelligence communities do 'favours' for others. If the CIA wants someone dealt with then there are multiple avenues for them to work through and in the middle east Israel could be the first call with such a huge network and their belief that to kill first is best defence. There have been rumours that Kelly was taken out on a park bench by French DGSE, doing the work for Bair and his cohorts. Mind you after the Rainbow warrior it's hard to believe they had the ability.

It's a murky world is the intelligence one.

I think they have gotten around the Executive Order by redefining the term assassination.

You mean "terminate-with-extreme-prejudice".

... I wonder if Trumpy barks " you're fired " anytime US special forces kill some foreigner they deem to be " not in our interests " ....

Its Winnie.

Winnie as voice of the leader.

Peters released a statement on Sunday saying the developing situation was of "strong concern", days after US Present Donald Trump authorised the airstrike which killed the influential general.

Spengler gives a good overview:

US President Donald Trump’s decision to humiliate Iran with the assassination of a national hero on Jan. 2 is a calculated gamble and probably represents the best of a set of bad alternatives.

Trump inherited a weak hand after the George W. Bush Administration destroyed the century-old balance of power between Sunni and Shia in Western Asia, by replacing Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority regime with a sectarian Shia government allied to Iran. Bush’s belief in majority rule and nation-building, lauded by his neoconservative advisers, handed Iran an opportunity to dominate the region. Trump pushed back with economic sanctions, which have not dissuaded Iran from extending its reach.

Iran provoked the United States by attacking its embassy in Baghdad after the US launched airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. Iran’s attack on the embassy sought to humble the United States. Trump decided to escalate rather than matching Iran tit-for-tat. Both actions involved high-risk gambles, and require an explanation. Iran crossed a red line by backing a militia attack on the US embassy and Trump crossed a red line by killing General Qasem Soleimani. Nations don’t take actions of this sort capriciously.

I don't think Bush destroyed the balance of power, it's always been about oil. You could go back to Churchill and British Petroleum and it still wouldn't give an an answer to a complicated world ,divided by tribes, religions, resources and wonderful advanced ancient cultures disrupted by the Mongol empire.

Churchill, Fisher and even Hitler, got that it is energy we all need. That's why the US followed the Brits and the French into the Middle East. War - hence dominance hence the ability to grow and consume - is about bringing more energy to the battlefield, and it was obvious we were going to use more energy fighting over who gets to access the remaining stock.

But this is the double-or-quits end-game now. Not enough for everyone, so it's bluff and last-man-standing.

The problems are two - one is that the supply is finite and half has already been burnt. The other is that we evolved when the carbon was locked in-ground, and we are beginning to see that it is getting harder to survive as we let it out. Just physics, really. So even the last-man-standing is going to have existential troubles, as per across the Tasman.

One wonders at the shrills who deny all of this; do they have grandchildren?

Well I remember President Bush senior being interviewed (along with Thatcher & Gorbachev) and he stated categorically that he acted on advice and did not finish off & remove Hussein because it would have disrupted the balance of power in the ME. Of course leaving Hussein in place was a brutal catastrophe in the aftermath, for the Iraqis deemed to oppose Hussein. But it is worthwhile to reflect that the son ignored the father’s advice.

but the British with more knowledge and a deeper understanding of Iraq were pro finishing off Hussein which no doubt would have lead to better outcomes. Thatcher may have gone along with Bush against the wishes of advisors on middle east policy.

Yes sure was Brit territory alright. 1930s putting down the “insurrection”. Lots of Biggles stuff in the air too.

Lets get everything in correct perspective. The Muslims started it all by attempting to conquer Europe in the first place:

The Muslims had a go at "The Battle of Tours" in 732 and again at "The Siege of Vienna" in 1529 and the battle of Vienna in 1683:

They got a walloping in these battles. As a consequence of these attempts at conquest the Europeans haven't looked too kindly upon the Arabs ever since. The winning of the Battle of Vienna, particularly by the timely arrival of a Prussian army, utterly routed the Muslim army to such an extent that they were virtually destroyed forever as a threatening military force. In fact, this was where the dissolution of the Middle East from an empire into multiple unstable divided states began.

Go tell the Spartans.

Interesting to note that the Dems are putting out the same tired old lines regarding the hit'''American lives everywhere have been put at risk because of this action'''
Truth is that American lives especially of the military are in danger every day and have been forever.
Nothings changed.
Waiting for Russia to come out and condem it given their recent history involving the downing of Aircraft and the poisonings everywhere ncluding Russia itself.

This muslim poet was no threat to americans and wasn't responsible for burning the US embassy, his reasons for being in Baghdad were totally innocent such as shopping. Trump is litrally being Hitlar exterminating people, he needs to be stopped.

.. I know how to stop Trump .... how to stop him good and proper .... I have a fish curry , delicious ... but ... I shall plant it under the back seat of Trump's limo ... if he doesn't find it within a few days , it'll go off ...

The word assassin is of Iranian/muslim origin; murderers for hire who overplayed their hand by attempting to kill a mongol leader. The pissed off mongols applied the full force of their massive power against the assassin group and wiped them out. Soleimani appears not to have read his history.

... Soleimani is now a member of " the Dead Poets Society " ... hope he keeps a watchful eye out for Oscar Wilde , a lovely little writer but a bugger when he's pissed ....

The 'poet' Soleimani portrayed 'a paradise for mankind portrayed, of streams, beautiful nymphs and greeneries' ; regrettably not for the victims of his brutality, including hundreds of yank soldiers killed in Iraq by his Shiite militias, the thousands of Syrian civilians slaughtered by Assad under Soleimani's tutelage, nor the hundreds of anti Iran protestors he recently offed in Iraq. Tens of thousands have died at the blood soaked hands of this murderous fanatic.

The winners could be Russia and China, the old our enemies enemies are our friends stuff. The crazy thing is I don't understand the Wests paranoia with Russia or perhaps it's a USA centric issue. China I can understand as they have decimated so many jobs in the West and left us defenseless in a downturn, unable to compete in a globalised world of $2 an hour wages.

Trump and his regime have escalated global tension beyond what would have been believed possible three years ago. On the brink, let’s just hope he doesn’t blink, cause it’s too late to hesitate, he is well and truly into the breach.

I think how Iran reacts will determine whether this escalates.

Iran can never win any kind of conventional war against the US. They are left with picking up around the periphery, even China is not going to go head to head with it's main trading partner.
Iran must have an issue with groundswell support for change in the big cities, away from the fundamentalism and corruption.

I think that is an underlying and vital point. The colossal economic power of the USA cannot be disregarded. Eight US states in their own right with economies as large, or larger than, that of Russia. Is it the USA strategy then to economically squeeze Iran to the point of civil war? Heck what might fall out of that would make Libya & Syria look like The Riviera. And agree, while the carriers and subs and stealthers keep coming off the production line at the rate they are, the USA is unbeatable in an open conflict. Every other country knows that.

If Iran goes to war with the USA I doubt the Iranian leadership could find a place to hide. Also in the embassy holdup Jimmy Carter was seen as weak, the moment Regan got to power the Iranians folded, reports from inside Iran told us the Mullahs really believed Regan was going to wipe them from the face of the earth, so how do they view Trump? Personally I wouldn't push him I bet Israel is already whispering in his ear. Israel with substantial Nuclear capacity, in theory more effective than Chinas nuclear ability, lets hope we don't get to see it in practice. Israel has a kill them first policy.

Israel! Most certainly the ace in the hole. Would be both lever and fulcrum. Obvious why the USA has backed Israel heavily, since inception. Strategically, geographically and collectively one hugely potent land based aircraft carrier. Saudi too?

The weak presidents, thought by being accommodating they were perfect.
Carter, Obama.
They were not, the dirt bag leaders despised them for being weak, (their hugs were unwanted) and despots were lured into falsely thinking they were stronger/more powerful than really were.
Making eventual US action greater and costlier (life & $) than needed be.

Deterrents are an effective strategy.
Appeasement and apologist is not.

When you act like this you have to deal with the unknowns, the unknown unknowns. It wasn't that long ago that a young man called Gavrilo Princip got a chance due to a driver getting lost, to have a shot and kill Franz Ferdinand, the son of the man whom Franz Josef glacier was named. That bullet put the world on course for a war that tumbled out of control, the effects of which are still being felt 100 years later.
Those unknowns can be nasty things.

Yes. In this case we will learn more over the coming weeks, its not like this was the most loved man in Iran.

He arranged the killing of a number of Americans, do we know if any Australian and New Zealanders?

Sean Hannity, not everyones cup of tea, talking to some folk of interest.

Ironically it was that war, through the dawn of oil powered military mechanisation, that precipitated the realisation of the potential and extreme worth of the vast, and vast again, Middle East oil reserves. My how did the Western allies manipulate the borders and ruling royals post 1918 accordingly. Hence for example the creation of Kuwait. And here we are today, still seeing borders on a map for thousands of years of nomads and religious sects that previously fought one another over whatever and wherever they chose.

This is a parallel to the Tomahawk attack on the Syrian chemical weapon base. Out of the blue. See what I can do. I can easily do more. Trump has massive far reaching military capability at his quick disposal. And Trump is unpredictable. Dangerous to stay too long on the front foot, out in the open, against that sort of power.

Acting with unpredictability is a successful military and civilian strategy.

I'm pretty sure Israel will in this up to their necks. Don't forget that a bunch of terrorists from Saudi attacked the Twin towers and in retaliation the USA and its allies attacked Iraq who had nothing to do with it. Then they attacked Iraq again on the grounds they had weapons of mass destruction which also was untrue.
Then Libya was attacked why we still don't know, Syria another provoked war proved the power of Russia and gave Iran and Hamas valuable training in modern warfare.

Don't forget that after WW2 Israel was considered the UK's biggest terrorist threat. In 1946 every senior British cabinet minister received a letter bomb c/o Israeli independence fighters, many of whom went on to become ministers in future Israeli governments.

Weren't Libya trying to get free from the petrodollar when Gaddafi was killed. I think from memory they had been hoarding gold and looking to establish another currency.

Sounds a bit like the Paris Peace talks in 1972 to end the Vietnam war. Kissinger supposedly said Nixon is unpredictable to the Vietnamese (the implication being that Nixon was willing to use US air power to bomb North Vietnam into submission - Operation Linebacker 2) to put pressure on them to agree to the cease fire.

Excellent point BR. Great recall of relevant history.

The yanks had also pointedly not bombed ships bringing north vietnam's Russian military supplies into Haiphong harbour nor mined its entrances, anxious to avoid a confrontation with the USSR. That changed in may 1972 when the harbour was sealed off by US mines, significantly reducing the north's ability to continue the war.

Maybe true but the US / Nixon was desperate for a way out of the war - "peace with honor" was the phrase used I believe. The point I was trying to make was that the "unpredictable" strategy has been used before.

While the US military ability is massively in their favour - don't doubt the willingness of the Iranian leadership to spill Iranian and their puppet allies blood in a futile act of revenge. I would hope the Iranian leadership would have learnt a lesson - the US can and will retaliate ( it was a bit stupid for the General to be in Iraq where the US have "assets "that are capable of inflicting precision damage with the prospect of little blow-back from the local administration. It also shows the US is able to gather relevant intelligence and use it if they want). Hopefully all that will happen is Iran will posture, throw toys out of the cot , threaten retaliation but realise that it is futile - the US out played them on this one.

Iran - already enduring bloodily suppressed mass rioting over fuel price increases, an economy in desperate trouble as the cost of its proxy wars escalates, dependent on oil for 30% of its GDP and few other revenues to raise export cash and with, critically, a small number of highly vulnerable refineries. The thugs running the country have very limited response options without destroying themselves unless they can enlist Russian military help but given the so far fairly muted response from Moscow that seems unlikely.

I would think any country too dependent on China is vulnerable.

And as you would expect, gold is much firmer today, up +US$25 from yesterday, now at US$1,550/oz, a reflection of the sudden risks in the Middle East

Even though it sounds conspiratiorial to most people, the prices of gold and silver are probably among the most manipulated (and suppressed) on the planet. If JPM, etc didn't have their crooked web of paper all over it, I wonder what the "real price" of gold would be. Some have even suggested about 9x higher than the current price with silver potentially much higher.

If I may something positive, wonderful photo of one of many beautiful islands in the country we live in.

Reports out of various media outlets that i have read today would indicate that this guy was no hero.
Hated by many Iranians for kidnappings,murders and straight out thuggery.

The out pouring of grief is according to these sources is the state media following instructions with a rent a crowd.

The poor blighters in Australia, you have to feel so sorry for them.
I really would not be surprised if we are inundated with Australian immigrants trying to escape what looks like becoming the new situation normal and the economic consequences that must follow. We would be very wise to carefully review our immigration settings and develop contingency plans should this occur. Remember, if 5% of Australians want to move here, that equates to 1 million people or a 20% rise in our population. We have not got a hope in hell coping with that. We are falling well short copping with the 60-70,000 immigrants per year that are coming here now.

Let's welcome them

What a govt population plan for NZ with equivalent infrastructure planned accordingly - you must be dreaming.

... ahhhhhh.... but , Australians aren't like us ... they get things done ... they'd get the new infrastructure built lickety splick ...

If we'd put them in charge of the Christchurch rebuild it'd been finished years ago , under budget , quality materials , and lots of swimming pools and sports stadiums ...

David called it in '15: "Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of "misguided green ideology", vested interests, political failure and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned.

Victoria's "failed fire management policy" is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state's Inspector-General for Emergency Management.

And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 per cent of public land, "is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated."

He said forest fuel levels had climbed to their most dangerous level in thousands of years. "

Profile, here from yesterday some similar sentiments from different Australian sources.

Systems have been run into the ground, stripped of capacity.

From 10 years ago

"It was like the gates of hell. There is no other way to describe it."

Over the years, Australia has been hit with several deadly blazes. But the Black Saturday fires of 2009 were singular in their ferocity - equal to 1,500 atomic bombs.

“We’re all sort of old blokes now, there’s a couple of 70-year-olds among us. We’ll get out of Dodge. We’ve got one boat down by the river and there’s another bloke coming up the river with another boat if we need to bail.”

Edwards is the former station commander of the Shoalhaven fire station, and was back here from the Gold Coast visiting his friends.

This situation is “incomparable” to anything he saw in his 35 years as a professional firefighter and a lifetime being a “student of the weather” as a surfer, fisherman and diver.

“What’s causing climate change is for another day,” he says.

“They just have to admit that it’s changed dramatically and do something about it.

“I don’t know how you can have an opinion about science? How do you have an opinion about fact?”

The weather is entirely different than it used to be, just look at the lack of southerlies bringing rain this season, he says. Not to mention the wind behaviour in these fires. Across the firegrounds I’ve visited I’ve repeatedly heard about its unpredictability.

"is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated."

And he made this prediction in 2015, nek minute.....

Tesla exceed delivery expectations which sends the stock price up further - ~$440 per share, ~$80B market cap. Those shorts must be hurting.

We are beyond denying that we are a big enough force on this planet, to be making an impact.

Given that the status-quo was what we evolved in, any impact must be an alteration for the worse, in terms of our ability to exist.

It's not too hard to understand, is it?

Doesn't seem very scientific. I can think of impacts that make things better. Eradicating diseases, irrigation, draining swamps and so on.

Better for whom and for how long. "Draining swamps", *sigh*

Do you live in a cave PocketAces?

What you call ' swamps', Zachary, are actually important pieces of ecology. Sorta the kinda stuff we can't live without sorta.

Sigh. Do you think one species can exist alone? No fish left, no forest, no large animals, no wetlands?

Maybe we farm money? Yeah, that'll be it. Silly me. We can just buy life-supporting systems, all we need is the money.

And I suggest you read Jared Diamond's ' Collapse' - re Sumer and irrigation. Salt of the earth, they were. Fertile crescent, it was.

I found Diamond's 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' very simplistic and a poor read and actually chucked it out of my library so I am unlikely to read any of his other scribblings.

What you mean is that it didn't support your preconceptions, I suggest. Anyone who still wants to 'drain swamps' has a conceptual problem, before they pick up any book.

Ultimately, our arrogance was in thinking we were above the rules of ecology. We aren't, never were and never will be. But our arrogance is beginning to bite us in the bum.

Try Catton's Overshoot. I'd be interested to see what you though.


Wonderful. I was wiping away the tears of laughter as I went to fetch my copy of Diamond's book. According to Nature; "A book of remarkable scope...One of the most important readable works on the human past". But I have no doubt that Diamond will be devastated to learn of ZS's withering critique.

I wonder if you would care to expand on 'very simplistic' in language that we poor peasants can understand. Swamps, otherwise known as wetlands are actually enormously important ecologically, but humans rather like to drain them and then build houses on them. We are then surprised and appalled when they flood. If I am honest, I think you are an idiot.

Take a look at Qasem Soleimani (@Qasam_Soleimani):

So lame.

People should read Soleimani's Wikipedia page:

He even fought with the US against ISIS in 2015. An epic and brave warrior killed in a most cowardly way.

allegiances in the middle east are murky to say the least, sands shift continuously, that's how the USA often finds itself on the wrong side, again.

His manner of death not unlike many of his numerous victims given he was Irans leading IED exponent whose work resulted in hundreds of roadside bomb deaths. He was a soldier openly prosecuting brutal wars in multiple countries outside Iran and it's unsurprising he's died a soldiers death. 'Epic and brave' equally apply to many of history's monsters, the words don't denote moral legitimacy.


“American vehicle sales in 2019 look like they will just under 17 mln and that will be the lowest level since 2014.”

Final number not quite so gloomy as predicted:

DETROIT (AP) — New vehicle sales in the U.S. fell 1.3% last year, but the numbers still passed the healthy 17 million mark for the fifth straight year.
Automakers sold 17.05 million new cars, trucks and SUVs in 2019

Yes. Also important to remember that lending for auto sales in the U.S. is being compared to a subprime scenario. If it weren't sales would likely be lower.

Here is a thought experiment.

Just because Australia has property developers in every location, does it follow Australia should develope properties in every location.

Should there be a home amongst every gum tree.

Should there be a home amongst every gumtree, in a council/urban planning kinda way

Auckland has gone JAFFA colour.

The haze was so bad that a "high number" of worried Aucklanders had rung 111 to alert police. Police issued a statement asking people to keep the line clear for emergencies

The phenomenon could reduce temperatures as much as 4 to 5 degrees Celsius, WeatherWatch​ head forecaster Philip Duncan said, as he watched an even heavier plume approaching West Auckland in the mid-afternoon.

"We are concerned that the attitude from climate deniers that ‘this is normal’ and ‘nothing to see here’ means that we will continue to have that small number of government MPs with ideological beliefs and dented egos having too much say and too much influence.”

Ain't that the truth....

I think most of us recognise the fact that the climate changes, dig into any limestone bank around here and you can find fossils. Calling AGW sceptics climate deniers is just polarizing people.

Unless you can do something about coal fired generation in China and India then %79 of CO2 emissions are out of our control. Im highly sceptical of any government attempt to regulate to control something based on a belief, beliefs are buggers of things to change. We just end up with a polarized electorate, and those that get to pay will be seriously pissed, the costs will be passed on and we become less competitive as a country.

You can hide a lot of evil behind the global warming climate change agenda.

Sorry AJ, but being competitive as a country is no longer a valid metric.

D'you think Australia is better being competitive, or burning? This is just physics and biology now - money was always so far adrift of reality that it was bound to be dishonoured at some near-term point. Exponential growth within a bounded system always ceases faster than you realise.

But it's telling us that we're unsustainable in present form. That climate-forcing is just our exhaust-gases from our energy-use. There's 4.5 man/labour years in a barrel of oil - that's the only reason we can do so much, while not exerting ourselves. But to have our exhaust forcing the chemistry of the planet - that tells us we're using energy in an unmaintainable manner. By several orders of magnitude.

So your self-justification (for that is what it appears to be) is pointless, adaption to the inevitable paradigm-shift is the only valid move. And adaption says stop using fossil energy. Actually, on behalf of future generations, we should cease using completely. Of course, there would be no economy left anywhere - which is why I suggest ' competitive advantage' is pointless

I think that we have some serious issues to face up to but no one is going to like a cut to their standard of living, that's how you lose elections. Lets just stay in fairy land and keep halving interest rates forever that's possible right? That's present Gov't policy.
I am actually fairy sustainable and into regenerative agriculture. I'm hoping with a few tweaks to the system to get by with very few inputs and you should be able to keep getting roast lamb off me, it just might cost you more of your valuable time, thats until everyone revolts and freehold title goes out the door ,then you're going to starve, unless we start eating old people but they never taste as good as the young.

Yep, he's making my predictions look genius.

I have offered help to pdk, in that population control and support of china one child policies will win him no favour or support.
Women think his ideas terrible too.
The body of thinking he is working off is flawed. Has been for 200 years.

Society tapped into a one-off mother-lode, 200 years ago.

It was fossilised sunlight, from before humanoids had evolved. So their entire trajectory was in a global chemistry which didn't contain it.

But for 200 years, they drew down that one-off mother-lode, at exponentially-increasing rates. They went for the best, first,too.

Some, stupidly, looked at the increasing amounts of work being done, and projected the graphs upward forever.

Others, equally stupidly, though you could displace substantive portions of the biomass with just their own species, who somehow would be above things ecological. They are the ones who don't get the greenhouse effect - not because it isn't happening but because they don't want to know.

But it was a finite source. So regardless of rhetoric, physics and fact will prevail. That which is unsustainable, will not be/cannot be sustained.

Only the cranially-impaired look backwards to project forwards. On that basis, nobody would die......

I understand where you are coming from regards sustainability. It's the belief structures that surround AGW arguments that cause me concern. If you look at the middle east today you can see rigid belief structures at work.
We used to burn witches not that long ago, beliefs are very dangerous things if they get out of control , I suspect Climate change believers are heading that way at a gallop.
Trying to change someones belief is very difficult, an example would be the abortion debate, Im pro life, climate change believers think we need a lot less people in the world. I never argue with pro abortionists because it's a waste of time, sound familiar? The moment I say that I am pro life you get people judging you, that's why we can never say there will never be another world war.

Abortion is too late, and not many CC campaigners would tell you it is the right way to go. Not conceptualising in the first place, is the way to go, obviously.

You can't be pro unlimited-life on a finite planet, surely? Surely you understand stocking-rates?

destocking compromises peoples belief in the sanctity of life. You only have to look at the African population boom, the answer is education and higher standards of living better jobs, which require more resources. Without the higher education and resources they will keep having as many children s they can.

'On average, a Nigerian woman gives birth to 5.5 children. In the conservative, Muslim-majority north, the number goes up to eight children. This is clearly more than most women want, let alone can afford.'

It's a catch-22, AJ. There aren't the resources to pull the Third World up to our consumption-level, and there aren't the resources to keep global consumption at it's present level anyway. And while it would be nice to have the lead-time to reduce population via education, we're out of time by several orders of magnitude. This planet, long term, can sustain perhaps 2 billion at good peasant level, maybe one bilion at ours. So we are ALREADY overshot by orders of magnitude. The only reason we are chugging at all, currently, is increasing draw-down.

So it's really up to mother nature to make the call?

Notes on; Multiculualism, utopian pacifism and moral equivalence

Ultimately, nature will make the call through war, famine, disease or environmental destruction

... never a truer word said , AJ ... the problem is , there really is climate change ( always has been ) ... but that grumpy polarizing bears such as PDK make themselves and their message seem ghastly ... like a cross between Nazi Germany , a Kafka novel , and a George Orwellean scenario....

GBH - recently, I have had to point out complete falsehoods in your posts.

Could you perchance raise you game? As an opening gambit, perhaps try making your posterior emanations bear a closer resemblance to the truth? I know it'll be hard, but there, there, you have a lot of room to move....

OK , doomer ...

Grumpy polarizing bears come to mind Gummy. Dusty old has been bear.

I doubt anyone could deny climate change and the impact that it's having on the world. Go look out the window, especially if you're in Auckland. See that eerie orange cloudy sky (Not normal for this part of the world), that's the bush fire smoke drifting over from Australia.
Well at least Scott Morrison has been forced to eat his words but unfortunately it's too little too late. Apparently their National Aerial Firefighting Centre and the NSW Fire and Rescue, had applied for additional funding quite some time ago, only be be mostly ignored by their commonwealth government. Now they're having to send in the army to help fight the bush fires.
Article from The Guardian:

The climate is very complex, look how hard it is to create a weather forecast more than a week out let alone a month. Lets see how it pans out when people have to dig into their pockets for someone else's belief.

Yes our global climate is very complex and pouring tonnes of pollutants generated by factories, coal to car emissions is not help is it. So yes people are prepared to do something about it including digging in to their pockets. Take a look at the evidence:

those living in India and China are going to flick you the bird.
Most in India are more worried if they can prove citizenship and are frantically digging up grandparents social security details, where possible.

Well you can flick the bird back and avoid buying their tatty pollution generating products. There are alternative products that are far more environmentally friendly and much better for everyone's health. :)

but if you are on minimum wage and you need a new toaster...

The ability to breath is more important to most people than toast.

Food is pretty important too

How does that ensure they, in their home country take the steps you say are required.

What do you suggest are the steps required to engage with them, engage in their day to day lives, engage with how they see the world.

How will you make yourself relevant.

Avoid their products and they can't function it is as simple as that.

Understand that.

How do you get them to avoid the products they make.
How do you get other countries to also avoid their products.

With all their products avoided, what do they do next to keep and grow their income?


"How do you get them to avoid the products they make" Look for the label from where it was made.
"How do you get other countries to also avoid their products" Promote health and quality - it (the product) will last longer and is better for your health. Take flooring for example; one reason why people avoid cheaply made floors is due to toxins:

With all their products avoided, what do they do next to keep and grow their income? Buy property in another country

Choosing ethically sourced products is a luxury many can't afford

As the US has recently demonstrated, we will increasingly fight each other over ' what's left'.

That will overtake what this or that particular nation may or may not be doing, climate-wise. Ironically, the global scrap will use up more of the remaining resources, and add to the climate problem.

There probably isn't the compact energy available on the planet, for any hegemonic empire-type entity to prevail, although one may 'win' in the short term. By 2100, there will be 2-3 billion humans max, probably less, and they'll be living 'locally', at a much more resilient level of consumption (read: lower). Can't be any other way, unless of course we've totally wiped ourselves out. The Astronomer Royal gave us a 50/50 chance on that.....

OK gloomer .... OMG , what a pile of dreary drivel ...

.. anyone can make up some story about the future ... but that doesn't make it a fact .. . Just their story ...

Here's mine : by the year 2100 the world population will plateau around 10 or 12 billion lovely humans ... they'll be well educated , and very healthy .... the horrors of organized religion will be in decline, as will the horrors of Coca Cola and McDonalds ...

Any data, science, research to back up your prediction Gummy...just more of your name calling crap. PDK scenario is far closer to the truth than your fairytale. Are some of those billions living on Mars as well? Are there any animals left?

. . yup ... nae problem : over the past 200 years , science , technology and medicine have advanced the standard of living and longevity of most of the worlds population ... a fact .... inextinguishable ...
Another fact : across those same 2 centurions the Malthusians , Luddites , tin foil hat alarmists have consistently screamed and raved about our doom ... they have railed atop their ivory pulpits a verbal fire and brimstone apocalypse upon us , the " deniers " .. and they have been 100 % wrong ... time and again ... 200 years of getting it stoney cold wrong : Fact ! ...

... they should take a day off ... watch some old " Seinfeld " episodes .... cheer up a little...

He doesn't listen too good, does he?

You have to fall back on the indefensible 'it hasn't happened yet'. As already stated, by your flawed theory, you'd live forever because you haven't died yet. Why the need to hammer it? There has to be a vested interest - even if its just fear

... the difference between us is analogous to the carrot or stick approach to motivation ...

You clobber people , sledge and berate them that unless they change their ways , a certain gloom and doom scenario will be their future ... and you lay out your vision of those horrors ... including a few that are horrible " solutions " to solve a ghastly destruction of us all ...
Gummy puts up the carrot .. hey gang , we can have lush , abundant futures , health and great knowledge ... this is what we need to aim for ... sustainability , education , science , technology , many energy choices ...

What truth are you applying or referring to.
How can you be talking about a future truth.
Something that is true in the future.

I have a question, is you background arts or STEM?.
Have you experience in r&d.