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Unforced variations: Mar 2014

Filed under: — group @ 3 March 2014

This month’s open thread.


679 Responses to “Unforced variations: Mar 2014”

  1. 601
    Killian says:

    DIOGENES said Killian #577,

    “Fact is, you point to a burning house, people act. You get on the radio and say Japan has attacked, the country willingly goes to war and sacrifices comfort and convenience to do so. The problem is we are afraid to acknowledge we are at the point that FDR was in Dec. 1941: It’s time to go to war. We need a global war-level footing and attitude.”

    Here’s the problem as I see it. We need true sustainability to avoid the impending catastrophe. What is sustainability? It starts with living in a climate suitable to our nature/structure. The polar bear lives in polar regions, not in the tropics, because it is built/structured for cold weather. Similar for species that live in the tropics. We believe it’s our right to live in any type of climate, and generate all the myriad types of structures and heating/cooling systems required to keep us alive in those inherently inhospitable climates.

    We cannot define sustainability as living where natural for humans. There is no such place. Every place requires some effort to obtain food, water and manage body temps. What matters is that the input/output loops are closed. That’s probably the best way to define sustainability: Living so that the input/output loops are closed. That said, it is possible to have regenerative systems in the sense that our intelligence allows us to note what nature does, then help it do it a little better, thus getting more out than nature would of its own accord. That is what permaculturists actually design for.

    Sustainability requires obtaining resources locally, depositing wastes locally, and recycling as much of the waste as possible.

    Closing those loops is actually necessary to claim sustainability, so all outputs must be inputs somewhere else. This is why a simple thought experiment is all one needs to understand many of these issues.Nuclear? What do you do with the waste? Where are the resources to build entirely new fleets of nuclear, globally, every half century? Nuclear is not a solution, and it does not require a single minute of discussion about dangers, economics, ideology or what have you. It fails on resource use and unsustainable outputs. Discussing anything else is a waste of time. (Not starting a debate, so nobody answer on this… it’s about issues of sustainable design only.) There will be some very long loops, however.

    It also means using the minimal resources required for survival.

    I prefer “to meet needs,” but yes. Bearing in mind the ability to create abundance however, within limits of sustainability… which would be “excess” or “waste” if beyond those limits.

    The above mode of living necessary to avoid catastrophe bears no relation to how we live now (essentially, the polar opposite of the above), or how we want to live. Look at the major climate advocacy blogs: RC and CP. The main discussions revolve around how to keep doing what we’re doing but using low-carbon and higher efficiency technologies. Low carbon energy sources are a necessary condition of sustainability, but do not even begin to approach a sufficient condition. Unfortunately, if one reads through the posts on these blogs, transitioning to low carbon is the be all and end all of what we need.

    Yes. I type, “Efficiency does not = sustaianbility” a lot. I try to remind people their one area of concern is not enough to create sustainable solutions so they need to study resource depletion (all of them, not just fuels and energy), climate, sustainable governance, and the nature of collapse. They ignore me, yet, it is because I have studied all this and more that I can make some of the predictions and scenarios I do.

    Because of the above, the message of yours I quoted has no audience, perceptive and accurate though it may be.

    It’s a statement that creates it’s own audience, just as FDR did. Compared to even two years ago, there is massively more awareness than there was on every part of the collapse problem. Think of post-2007 as the period of wobbles before the bifurcation and the bifurcation now being in progress.

    Show me one group who wants to hear the message that we need to change course radically, and take great strides toward sustainability.

    Nobody wants to. I don’t want to. The only reason one would willingly do this outside of a collapse scenario is to improve happiness quotients, but that is a real esoteric sell. I come back to it over and over and over and over: Speaking in a PC style about all this was and is a waste of time. What changed people’s minds significantly? First, An Inconvenient Truth, then the denial machaine, then a hurricane in NY then three eyars of freaky weather all over the globe.

    Did talk? Nope. Did polite rebuttals of disgusting, slanderous, defaming lies? Nope. Real stuff did.

    So let’s get real.

    Do the people who post on RC and CP want to hear that message? Read their comments: switch to low carbon ASAP; that will solve all our problems. No mention of sustainability. Yes, it will solve the financial problems of the low carbon technology investors, creating some of the greatest Windfalls the world has ever known. It will do little to avoid the impending disaster.

    :-)

    Yes! We have had the renewables are sustainable debate. They’re not. Not even a little. They are more efficient and less impacting, but nowhere near sustainable. But since they are allowed to say “renewable” when they should be saying more efficient or less impacting, it’s a Big Lie being quite successful. If it can’t be done from now till the sun gobbles the planet, it’s not sustainable, it’s just slightly less suicidal.

    It is the very thing itself that is the message: Collapse is here. We are well into a series of bifurcations that will end with some degree of damage to our planet and ourselves if we don’t change very quickly. BUT, we can return to the level of weather and climate that allowed us to create what we have. We CAN live quite comfortably, but it will be much simpler. You will likely be very content… eventually. At least, future generations will. We can *probably* keep communications and medical technologies going well enough to keep things interesting. But mostly, we need to simplify. The good news is, societies and cultures that live this way are happier, healthier than we are and have a lot more fun… even when working. And a lot more free time.

    With IPCC V finally telling it like it is just enough that people are recognizing that is what it is doing, we may have our final tipping point to change. One indication is, I used to be the only person I knew who speaks like I do. Now,I’m bumping into a few people, like yourself, who really see the whole picture. That must mean something.

    Good news? I believe I read somewhere quit recently that the US now gets 10% of its energy from wind, water, sun. That’s the level of consumption we have to get down to, so… yay! People think we need all this energy for the transition. Nope. We have all the energy we need, and far more, because we don’t need to create new systems, we need to simply stop using what we have. Simplification is…. simple.

  2. 602
    Killian says:

    Killian #577,

    “They are freaked out when they hear extreme truths *if* they are not also told how to fix the problem.”

    I will guarantee you they will be ‘freaked out’ when they hear what the required ‘fix’ to the problem is.

    Yup. Among this learned group, “I’d rather we all die than live that way!” is not uncommon. But remember, the freakout is largely due to people not understanding what life in that solution would actually be like… at least, once stabilized.

    You’re making the assumption that the desire for survival and longevity trumps all.

    Huh? Why would you assume that? I’m assuming nothing. However, throughout history we have examples of peoples rising tothe occasion. I’ve never said it is likely we will respond. In fact, the opposite. And I have posted here many times over the years about discounting the future, etc. Don’t be confused about simplicity vs. likelihood.

    Back in the mid-50s, there used to be the adage: Better Dead than Red! Narrowly, it meant that it was better to be dead than live under Communism. More broadly, it reflected a truism that many people place more importance on other values than life itself.

    1. That’s an ideological approach to an issue. I’ve stated many, many, many times you cannot, literally cannot, get to sustainability via ideology. 2. Precisely why I advocate a design principles-based approach to informing, educating and doing.

    bThe population at large understands what will be required to halt in some way the inexorable advance of climate change.

    No, they really don’t. The “greens” don’t. The scientists don’t. Hansen advocates natural sequestration, then falls far short with his analysis, and talks not at all about lifestyle changes, etc. Some people just can’t conceive of a massive correction to the system, though they see them all the time in the form of famine, market crashes, etc., and there is a long history of societies crashing.

    My guess is that the majority of the world’s population have no interest in surrendering all the ‘benefits’ of modern technology and resource exploitation for extended survival. This is confirmed by the continued climate-destroying actions of any group category we can identify. Even the polls, which require zero commitment of action, can’t get the non-binding statements of support from the pollees!

    That’s the difference between climate change action and Pearl Harbor or the house on fire. Pearl Harbor or the house on fire offered the threat of taking away what we have, and for that people were willing to fight and take other actions. Real climate change action requires VOLUNTARILY GIVING UP WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE, just the opposite of Pearl Harbor or the house on fire, and that’s the last thing we the people want to do!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 12 Apr 2014 @ 8:30 AM

    I think you’re letting go of the facts: Simplify or face the possibility of extinction or near extinction. That’s hardly voluntary. You are correct: they are being misled. On the one hand by the deniers, who should be taken to courts as Micheal Mann is demonstrating, and on the other by the technocopian folk who have so much faith in tech and progress and have probably never read Tainter or Diamond.

    Still, we have to try to wake them up. I said in 2007 and say to day: Say it hard, give ‘em solutions. Seems even the IPCC finally is getting that.

    Kraken? Let’s build that bridge!

  3. 603
    Killian says:

    So, tell me, Coach, how do we tell the global citizenry their house is on fire, and we need to get the ppms down to ~300-or else?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 13 Apr 2014 @ 9:31 AM

    A: There’s a Kraken! Let’s build a bridge!

    B: But, how?

    C: Err… the bamboo!

    B: Who knows how?

    A: I’ve built small ones in my garden, “D” is an engineer, and the internet still works. YouTube!

    A-Z: But how will we live?

    A: How will you live in the belly of a kraken?

    A-Z: Good point.

  4. 604
    Killian says:

    Killian (#957),

    You are quite mistaken about prosperity being a fiction when renewables are adopted. While The Oil Drum folks get quite a lot backwards, they are not incorrect when looking at how energy returned divided energy invested affects economic prospects. Already this ratio is high for thin film solar panels (about 30) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032112006478 and is anticipated to climb as improved silicon refining methods reduce energy inputs for conventional panels. In the case of silicon, this ratio could end up in the hundreds as reannealing cosmic ray damage gives extended life to this technology. It is pretty much all upside from here on out, modulo the cost of climate damage should we delay.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 Apr 2014 @ 1:44 PM

    Dear Mr. Dudley, please explore the difference between efficiency and sustainability. Also, neo-economics is a fiction and has no part in discussing sustainability except in the transition phase, and even then only if we are rather stupid. EROEI, yes. EROI, no. Did I mention prosperity? Not on this thread, so what are you on about? However, since you raised the issue, “economic prosperity” is a misnomer. There is no such thing. As we have seen, the true cost accounting of “wealth” leads to the conclusion it is really just sui-genocide. However, regenerative prosperity, or having a comfortable home, warm/cool clothes, plenty of food and good people to share it all with? That’s so very doable.

  5. 605
    Chris Dudley says:

    Kilian (#607),

    Sorry, I badly mangled the post number I was responding to. It was #594, not #957. Here is where you trivialize prosperity:

    “At first glance, it appears that we can effectively retain our present modus operandi and save the biosphere at the same time, sort of like the ‘prosperity’ fiction we hear on RC many times.”

    Regarding efficiency: that is concept that can be pretty effectively quantified and measured. For example, nuclear power plants use their fuel inefficiently with the consequence that their thermal pollution can be overwhelming to river ecosystems. Natural gas power plants use their fuel efficiently and can be dry cooled.

    Regarding sustainability: that is a useful normative concept which, as Bill McDonough points out, should not be considered a goal since that would be dehumanizing. The sustainability concept is most useful in the negative: Attempting to run a marathon at a sprint pace is unsustainable for example. It does not imply anything wrong with sprinting, it just shows a limit to how much can be done in a particular context. McDonough points to fecundity as a useful tonic to too much engrossment in sustainability thinking.

  6. 606
    Killian says:

    Regarding sustainability: that is a useful normative concept which, as Bill McDonough points out, should not be considered a goal since that would be dehumanizing.

    Staying alive should not be a goal. Got it. Dying is *not* dehumanizing. Got it. Near-extinction or extinction are *not* to be avoided. Got it. Choosing collapse is a *worthy* goal. Choosing extinction, near-extinction is a laudable plan. Staying alive is for sissies. Got it.

    Whomever Bill is, he would do well to stop speaking publicly.

  7. 607
    JimD says:

    Glen at 599

    Let’s be serious. You can’t actually believe what you wrote.

    Chris at 598

    Interesting points. Some I might question and others I think should be. But Hall is the expert and one needs to find out why he thinks they should be counted. No, I have not yet read the book but I do intend to at some point.

    But part of the point of looking into Hall’s numbers is that he is known for doing a very through job of it. I have followed his work for some years and I am not aware of any bias of his towards any industry. Rather than say he has included a lot of stuff that others do not normally include, and indicate by that statement that he has done the calculation wrong, it might be better to ask why the others did not include everything they could think of. This is the effect of the real world over theory. You can decide to include, or not, anything you want, and justify it anyway you want, when you are talking theory. But that is not possible in the real world as everything counts and you do not have the option of just deciding to ignore something that you don’t like. One has to deal with reality. Thus the common theme between theory and the real world where actual results never quite match up to what we might think they are going to because it is so difficult to figure everything out ahead of time.

    It will be interesting to see whether other experts on such calculations can poke any real holes in Hall’s work. Probably a few. But it is also unlikely that there will be large ones. And then let’s see where some other real world data lands when it is calculated in the same rigorous manner.

    There is no free lunch as they say and we need to keep that in mind when very high numbers are tossed around. Someone is normally selling something when that happens. We see the same type of very high EROEI numbers when the ardent advocates of nuclear power get going.

  8. 608
    sidd says:

    I have made some contour maps of NE Greenland surface and bedrock from the Bamber(2013) data. They are at

    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland-2013/convel.html

    together with a comparison to the Rignot(2012) velocity map.

    It is very interesting , how the concavities in the contours map to the ice velocity. I may do a regression at some point. Another interesting thing is the bedrock trough leading north, which does not seem to be reflected in the surface data.

    For an overview based on the Bamber data

    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland-2013/

    sidd

  9. 609
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#606),

    Yes, I recall that you are unfamiliar with the most important literature in your area of expertise. http://www.mcdonough.com/speaking-writing/cradle-to-cradle/#.U00_JR6An0o

  10. 610
    Chris Dudley says:

    Jim #907),

    I wonder if a “build-a-better-mousetrap” fence would be useful. If transmission has been built to a power plant, isn’t that the world beating a path to its door, not energy invested in producing power? It turns out that utility scale renewables plus transmission are the lowest cost way forward for the US. http://www.rmi.org/reinventingfire and it does take “extra” transmission to bring that about. But the Pacific Intertie is over 40 year old and isn’t going anywhere. Surely the amount of energy it has carried and will carry makes its energy investment round off error.

  11. 611
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter,

    You might want to raise your fossil fuel use projections for decades from now. From today’s CP:

    “In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Japan shut down a good deal of its nuclear reactors — and it looks like coal may be replacing them.

    Before the 2011 accident, in which a tidal wave caused three of the six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to go into meltdown, Japan only got 62 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels. Nuclear power made up the vast majority of the rest.

    Since then, environmentalists’ hopes that the Japanese government would use the incident as an opportunity to move to renewables have not panned out. According to Bloomberg, coal and liquified natural gas rose in fiscal year 2012 to make up 90 percent of Japan’s electricity generation. And on April 11, the Japanese cabinet approved a new energy plan that designates coal as an important long-term energy source, giving it the same prominence as nuclear in Japan’s energy strategy. The new plan sets no specific goals for electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.”

  12. 612
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #601,

    “Because of the above, the message of yours I quoted has no audience, perceptive and accurate though it may be.

    It’s a statement that creates its own audience, just as FDR did. Compared to even two years ago, there is massively more awareness than there was on every part of the collapse problem. Think of post-2007 as the period of wobbles before the bifurcation and the bifurcation now being in progress.”

    Well, if we have massively more awareness, how do you explain the two polls I addressed in #223, 233? I concluded:

    “So, in both cases, concern peaked about six years ago, and has been dropping since. Consider the significance of these results. All the Gallup Poll is doing is asking whether people WORRY about this problem. The Poll doesn’t ask whether the people would be willing to pay higher costs, or give up non-essential travel, or give up meat; it asks about the minimal commitment possible, do they even worry. AND ABOUT HALF SAID ESSENTIALLY NO!! The Poll doesn’t ask about specific actions they are taking for the problem, such as changing personal habits, joining organizations, attending meetings, etc. And, it certainly doesn’t ask them for a financial commitment to help solve the problem.

    I suspect that if any of these more serious commitments were in the Poll questions, then the number of supporters would have plummeted to rock bottom. This essentially closes the loop that we have been observing with our own eyes. Very few politicians supporting any meaningful legislation on climate change, limited discussion in the Press and political debates, projections for increasing fossil fuel use as far out as the eye can see, etc.”

    Or, maybe you don’t see an inconsistency. Maybe you believe we can decouple ‘awareness’ from ‘concern’ or ‘action’ or ‘activism’. If so, what’s the point of increased climate change awareness if it doesn’t link strongly to activism at some level, given where we are on the road to biosphere oblivion? Here’s the truth, Killian. Very few people across this planet care sufficiently about climate change to take or support any meaningful action today. By the time that climate change has progressed sufficiently to make them sit up and take notice, it will be far to late for meaningful action to stop the onrushing train.

  13. 613
    JimD says:

    Chris

    I am not familiar with the Pacific Intertie so I can’t comment on where to assign the energy invested in its construction.

    Transmission issues are huge today. Not just for the proposed buildout of renewables, which would require many new lines and a much smarter grid, but also just because the grid is old and badly needs upgrading regardless of what energy path we pursue. The grid does not last forever and upgrades and maintenance costs are part of what we invest in them and have to count in any EROEI calculation. Once a part of the grid is moving renewably generated power then part of the costs for it must be assigned appropriately. It obviously gets to be a headache.

    Your statement…”If transmission has been built to a power plant, isn’t that the world beating a path to its door, not energy invested in producing power?” conflates two things which are different. Neither is unimportant and neither stands alone as the real world is all factors interacting with each other.

    Without a doubt the energy invested in all the aspects of building a transmission system must be assigned in the EROEI calculations as part of the costs of obtaining the power produced. The other part of your statement falls into the realm of economics and refers to Demand for the service (power in this case).

    So one ends up with one factor driven by data which provides a window to evaluate the process scientifically and another factor which helps from a social needs based perspective. There are of course many other factors involved in any real world decision that we are ignoring right now.

    I would caution about using one’s gut reaction (common sense) to assume the energy investment on something is just round off error. A close examination will many times come up with the opposite answer. I would note that if we let the fossil and nuclear power industries not count their externalized costs they come up with much higher EROEI’s than is realistic. The impact of burning coal and slowly killing a lot of people and animals, not to mention destroying our climate, is a real cost of producing that power. It is normally not counted in many EROEI calculations. But it is a real cost. Decommissioning nuclear power plants, cleaning up nuclear accidents and maintaining spent nuclear fuel are also real costs and should be counted in the EROEI calculations for nuclear power. This lowers their numbers dramatically.

    We clearly cannot continue BAU. Well we can and probably will – but we shouldn’t. The main point of what I was digging at in my original post is that we have almost certainly taken advantage of the highest EROEI energy sources which were an option to us by using the fossil fuels. What follows will have lower numbers and we will not be able in the future to continue the approaches to running civilization we have followed in the past. Those who try and leave an impression that everything is hunky dory and all we have to do is follow them down the yellow brick road need to be held at a long arm’s length. They are most likely manipulating us and have some kind of unspoken agenda. There is no free lunch. Our long-term prospects are not good at all, success in dealing with AGW is far from certain, and we could easily makes things far worse by not thinking through our decisions.

    And then there is sustainability……

  14. 614
    Edward Greisch says:

    [OT – you know the rules]

  15. 615
    DIOGENES says:

    JimD #613,

    “Those who try and leave an impression that everything is hunky dory and all we have to do is follow them down the yellow brick road need to be held at a long arm’s length. They are most likely manipulating us and have some kind of unspoken agenda.”

    Truer words were never spoken. You bet they have an agenda, and it’s not for our benefit. They are today’s version of Tokyo Rose, preaching that personal hardship and sacrifice are unnecessary to avoid the impending climate catastrophe. Their message of ‘prosperity’ and continued growth is no more credible than the words of Tokyo Rose preaching surrender seven decades ago. Would the American media of the early 1940s have allowed Tokyo Rose and her brethren to broadcast their disinformation to the public? Why, then, do the climate advocacy blogs let these Tokyo Roses of climate change amelioration broadcast their unending misleading propaganda to an audience hungry for the truth? We are in a similar wartime situation today, and we need to close ranks globally in order to have any chance of ‘victory’. The climate advocacy blogs need to take a stand and stop promulgating this false information.

  16. 616
    Chris Dudley says:

    Jim (#613),

    I guess the Pacific Intertie turns out to be a good example to show you why our EROEI glory days are just beginning. So, lets take oil to start. Oil started out nice, go out an shoot a gopher and you end up with a gusher and a mansion in Beverly Hills. But too much of a good thing caused a market distortion through the formation of an international cartel, and now artificially high prices are introducing very energy intensive oil into the supply chain. By the time all the tar sand and oil shale is used up, we’ll see an overall EROEI for oil around 3 or so. A finite resource can look good to start, but dependence and desperation can make it a dog in the end.

    The Pacific Intertie, on the other hand, supplies LA with renewable energy from Washington State. That supply is not finite. And, while it may be needful to repair a pylon from time to time, the initial energy investment in the Pacific Intertie divides a number similar to infinity. Similarly, for the silicon used in Spain, the energy invested in purification stays invested as minor future energy expenditures are put into recycling. Over time, the initial investment divides and energy return similar to infinity. Reconditioning a wind turbine takes little energy compared to making it initially, but over time, that is the only important energy investment because it is the only one that scales with ongoing return.

    Renewables thus far exceed the EROEI of any finite resource.

    Notice also that this is very very dangerous for climate. That EROEI similar to infinity that renewables possess makes cooking oil out of oil shale formations a completely reasonable thing to undertake. It is an energy transformation that would produce liquid fuels at a lower energy cost than, for example, the Navy’s new fuel-from-seawater technology. If the TOD mindset that only recognizes fossil fuels as having viable EROEI were correct, we’d grind to a halt before releasing all available fossil carbon. We might avoid the truly crazy scenarios that Jim Hansen has explored. But, renewable energy makes those scenarios plausible.

    Now, you will notice that EROEI has become a slippery number is a new way now. You might want to put up a fence saying we’ll only consider energy returned to the generation that made the initial investment. And, that might be a useful thing to do when considering the likelihood that an investment will be made. That consideration suggests that the utility of an EROEI calculation depends on context and perhaps various kinds of fences should be standardized to make calculations for different applications. Hall’s contribution then would be exploring the territory over which fences might be erected rather than producing EROEI estimates that have practical utility.

  17. 617
    DIOGENES says:

    Chuck Hughes #114 Unforced variations: Apr 2014,

    “Factoring in politics, human nature and the rest, what is the most likely outcome for the planet? Is 2C out of the question? Are we looking at 4C as the most likely probability? Is it going to be worse than that?”

    Wrong question! We don’t take actions based on ‘most likely’ outcome. We take actions based on worst case with finite probability. Consider your own case. What’s most likely? You get up tomorrow morning, drive twenty miles to work, work eight hours, then drive twenty miles back home. That’s most likely. However, when you buy car insurance, you insure against the unlikely (but very low probability) case that you will run a stop sign, ram into a van loaded with passengers, and cause serious injury to half of them. You want to insure that you don’t go broke in that very unlikely case. So it should be with climate change.

    What are analogous cases in climate temperature increase projections? In April 2012, DJ Rowlands, from Oxford, published an article in Nature Geoscience that concluded, in part: “We find that model versions that reproduce observed surface temperature changes over the past 50 years show global-mean temperature increases of 1.4-3 K by 2050, relative to 1961-1990, under a mid-range forcing scenario”. Two months later, in Nature, June 2012, Maslin and Austin stated, in part: “Dan Rowlands of the University of Oxford, UK, and his colleagues have run one complex model through thousands of simulations, rather than the handful of runs that can usually be managed with available computing time. Although their average results matched well with IPCC projections, more extreme results, including warming of up to 4 °C by 2050, seemed just as likely.” To repeat their last concept: “more extreme results, including warming of up to 4 °C by 2050, SEEMED JUST AS LIKELY.”

    Think about that. The Rowlands model did not include any carbon feedbacks, yet two noted experts concluded that up to 4 C by 2050 seemed just as likely as the IPCC projections. With carbon feedbacks, one can only imagine what temperature increases are possible BY 2050, LET ALONE 2100!!! If there were such a commodity as climate change insurance, those are types of temperatures against which we should be insuring, not he ‘most likely’ IPCC projections.

  18. 618
    Killian says:

    Jim, the EROEI concept is fundamentally flawed.

    Measuring the amount of energy needed to generate energy is flawed? How else do we figure out net energy?

    Most implementations assume that all forms of energy are of equal utility, which is absurd.

    They do? Not in my experience. Economic measures do, some governmental counting does, bot anyone actually talking about EROEI *can’t* be because it does not count resources, it counts energy. Counting barrels of gas as a barrel like oil is a barrel is fundamentally flawed if talking about the energy it provides, but people who are in any way activists about energy or peak oil or what have you don’t do this.

    Regardless, the contention EROEI is flawed because people either don’t use it or misuse it is ridiculous. That’s like saying the universe if flawed because people used to think the sun orbited Earth.

    Comment by GlenFergus — 13 Apr 2014 @ 9:41 PM

  19. 619
    Killian says:

    Killian (#606),

    Yes, I recall that you are unfamiliar with the most important literature in your area of expertise. http://www.mcdonough.com/speaking-writing/cradle-to-cradle/#.U00_JR6An0o

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Apr 2014 @ 9:19 AM

    Dear Mr. Dudley, first, IF this fellow said sustainability is dehumanizing, then he’s said something ridiculous, prima facia. That he wrote a book and says some intelligent things others have already said, and more effectively, does not make him a god, nor correct in all things. I am not convinced he said what you think he said given some of the thing *you* say, but it is unimportant either way.

    The idea of systems having no waste and being designed that way has been around a very long time. It has most effectively been said, imo, by Holmgren and Mollison some 35 years ago when they said, simply, every output must be an input to some other element. Every element must support two or more functions. I.e., there is no waste, and make systems both efficient and resilient.

    These are two of my favorite design principles because doing these two things alone gets you a huge portion of the way to a sustainable system. Now, to further educate, the idea of systems being regenerative, i.e. abundant, als ocomes from the same source. The principle is, “Obtain a yield.” Seems simple enough, but it’s important in distinguishing sustainable from regenerative. However, the layperson only knows what “sustainable” means, and so we talk this way most of the time, using the two words interchangeably. McDonough should know this, and so should you.

    McDonough appears to be a technocopian sort, though, believing we can overcome problems with technical design. Yes, he correctly applies the principles of no waste and gaining a yield, but he incorrectly ignores the principle of natural solutions first and foremost. Natural > mechanical > technical, in that hierarchy of emphasis. Thus, our first response should not be technical solutions that increase complexity, but natural solutions that reduce it.

    As you can see, rather than being “one of the most important,” it is flawed and derivative. Others said it first, and said it better. I’m sure there excellent ideas for specific things that one can do contained in this book, and so there has value, but the important part of the message is old news, and wrong in some respects. At least so far as I can tell thus far.

    You see, sustainable/regenerative is *simple.* Any discussion of it that moves away from that fact is a discussion that likely has little merit. We face not just issues of climate, resource consumption and economics, but also complexity. Do keep all four in mind at all times.

    BTW, the most important literature on the subject was and remains “Permaculture A Designers Manual.” It could use revision given its age for the science and knowledge bases have increased considerably, but it gets the gist and by far most of the facts right. In design principles and process terms, it’s flawless.

    We appear to be allies overall, so please stop being rude.

  20. 620
    Killian says:

    Jim #907), I wonder if a “build-a-better-mousetrap” fence would be useful. If transmission has been built to a power plant, isn’t that the world beating a path to its door, not energy invested in producing power? It turns out that utility scale renewables plus transmission are the lowest cost way forward for the US. http://www.rmi.org/reinventingfire and it does take “extra” transmission to bring that about. But the Pacific Intertie is over 40 year old and isn’t going anywhere. Surely the amount of energy it has carried and will carry makes its energy investment round off error.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Apr 2014 @ 9:58 AM

    We face little difficulty in knowing what to design, and partly that applies to what kind of grid we need. However, what we don’t need and don’t want is a massive patchwork of utility-scale energy production. How do we know this? Do we need scientific studies and such? Well, they can help, but they currently do not reflect sustainable i.e. regenerative design principles, so are limited in their usefulness. The first instinct is to do efficiency. The problem with that?

    That’s not how nature does it. Not only does our science tell us highly efficient systems are more prone to breaking down and catastrophic failure, so does Nature. Referring to principles previously discussed, we can see that a balance of efficiency and resilience is needed for healthy, adaptive systems, and the emphasis should be on resilience rather than efficiency. I wrote of this grid issue in an essay on nuclear power vs. a distributed grid of “renewable” energy on A Perfect Storm Cometh back in ’08 or ’09 or so.

    I’ve no opinion at this time on a globally networked system, but I have zero doubt about massively distributed, localized energy being the final solution in order to meet the design principles by which we might avoid collapse (as oppsoed to simplification…. or controlled collapse.)

  21. 621
    Killian says:

    612 DIOGENES says: Killian #601,

    “Because of the above, the message of yours I quoted has no audience, perceptive and accurate though it may be.

    It’s a statement that creates its own audience, just as FDR did. Compared to even two years ago, there is massively more awareness than there was on every part of the collapse problem. Think of post-2007 as the period of wobbles before the bifurcation and the bifurcation now being in progress.”

    Well, if we have massively more awareness, how do you explain the two polls I addressed in #223, 233?

    I don’t care about them because, greater awareness does not = accurate awareness. Very well-informed people are making bass ackwards suggestions of what to do because they have awareness, but not insight, or perhaps, enough knowledge, what have you. What we do have is enough awareness to already past a social tipping point. The problems are several, but the key one is the flat out lying going on. Less that, I trust we’d have acted far more widely and cohesively long ago.

    But, that is the world we live in, so rather than worrying about changing minds, we would be far more efficient in activating minds already changed.

    Very few people across this planet care sufficiently about climate change to take or support any meaningful action today.

    And how many have been told, unflinchingly, without hedging or scientific reticence attached, what is really likely to happen by a source *they* consider credible? Less than 1%?

    Even with IPCC V we are not telling them the whole story because it’s… science. And science is always behind observations, and both are always going to rely on risk assessment in policy-making/planning for any forward-looking actions.

    IPCC V is just out. Let’s not assume how wide its impact will be just yet.

    By the time that climate change has progressed sufficiently to make them sit up and take notice, it will be far to late for meaningful action to stop the onrushing train.

    So I’ve been saying for years, and why I *used* to spend much energy combating denial. I wasn’t heard and so nothing even beginning to approach a widespread legal effort has been forthcoming, though there is some action with the defamation side of things, thank goodness.

    The president never got up and spent a 1 to 3 hours a night for a week broadcasting on all frequencies and laying out the facts of climate/collapse, as I suggested.

    But, hey, the problem is no longer numbers. We have enough. Some say only about 1/3 were in support of our own civil war with England, but we created a new nation. How small a fraction did anything about civil rights or suffrage?

    We have the numbers, we don’t have the actions. And, we need different kinds of actions than ever before. We are time limited, response limited, resource limited. We can’t do decades or centuries of civil disobedience, public discourse, etc., this time.

    Answer? Opt out. Grow a garden. Build a community. Get carbon negative.

  22. 622
    Killian says:

    Dan D said some things.

    This:

    success in dealing with AGW

    equals this:

    And then there is sustainability……

    so the “and then” there is inaccurate. And this:

    we could easily makes things far worse by not thinking through our decisions

    should be stated thus:

    we will definitely makes things far worse by not thinking through our decisions.

    This is demonstrate by a few early decisions: The Green “Revolution” that killed the soils of the planet, and still is; the Great Fracking which is doing nothing to ease the GHG emissions burden, but has driven land use, food prices and other problems; and electric cars, which are doing pretty much nothing to affect climate change but are lengthening the likely period of time for which we hold desperately to our car-driven culture.

  23. 623
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#698),

    I’m glad you are beginning to turn your attention to McDonough. You will learn much to your advantage. Regarding sustainability’s dehumanizing aspect, it is this: it is boring. There is not enough in it to challenge the human spirit and thus it cannot be sustained. Rather a nice recursive loop there, no? You’ll understand more listening to this:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Monticello-Dialogues-McDonough-Conversation/dp/0781307325

  24. 624
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#619),

    Sorry, more post number mangling in that last reply. So, now it is also time to read Lovins. He points out that while utility scale renewables plus transmission are the cheapest way forward, they are not the most inherently reliable way forward and greater emphasis on local generation avoids a number of issues with transmission.

  25. 625
    DIOGENES says:

    For the Windfall proponents and their resident front-men, who like to provide us with glowing reports of renewables expansion, here’s a look at what the real world has to offer. We may end up viewing the EIA as conservative when it comes to fossil fuel use projections!

    http://insideclimatenews.org/slideshow/chinas-coal-bases-tour-largest-fossil-fuel-development-project-world
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20140213/chinas-plan-clean-air-cities-will-doom-climate-scientists-say

  26. 626
    Killian says:

    Chris Dudley said Killian (#698), I’m glad you are beginning to turn your attention to McDonough. You will learn much to your advantage.

    No, I won’t. You don’t get that sustainable design is beyond where you are with McDonough, not behind it. Perhaps if he rewrote his book now that might be different, but as it stands, his basic assumptions invalidate his conclusions. You seem to be ignoring the fact what McDonough said was said better long before he said it.

    Regarding sustainability’s dehumanizing aspect, it is this: it is boring. There is not enough in it to challenge the human spirit and thus it cannot be sustained.

    Societies where the brain is engaged constantly, where human interaction dominates vs. isolated individuals engaged in disembodied communication about things that matter not at all wrt getting from birth to death, these are dehumanizing and this that we have now is enriching? I suppose that is well-reflected in the U.S.’s exceptionally poor academic performance an massive dropout rate despite our access to so much stimuli?

    Perhaps McDonough is a robot character escaped from an Asimov book. Or, perhaps he and you merely need to read Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel and note what he observes with regard to the intelligence of the aboriginal folks he spent much time with.

    Rather a nice recursive loop there, no?

    I’d say a null set. I speak as someone with 14 or 15 years as an educator.

  27. 627
    Killian says:

    You want me to read Lovins because he said something I wrote an essay on in 2008, likely before he figured out massively distributed energy is the way forward? Do you just not read what is posted? Sorry, but I’ve known of Lovins for a long time and determined most of what he says can be safely dismissed because, like McDonough, it is based in a technocopian fantasy that requires us to ignore that resources are limited and accept that long-debunked idea of endless substitution.

    When you start from a whacked premise due to an ideological stance, or a mere refusal to give up the good life, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, you’re still going to end up in the weeds. An uneducated person with a correct premise will get closer to a valid solution than a genius with an incorrect premise.

    Lovins is the mad scientist you call when you have a very specific problem to solve. You do not ask him to design a community for you. A least, not until he understands the systemic issues better.

  28. 628
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#625, 626),

    I think you are becoming a sort of parody. Claiming to have “beaten Lovins” to decentralization in the very early year of 2008 is quite rich. Your claim about the uneducated, while not completely impossible, is very very rare. Usually those who persist in their ignorance, despite having some talent, end up reinventing the wheel, as you are apparently unaware you have done. Little helpful contribution comes from that sort of exercise.

    Really, it does not hurt to read a book, and I’m sure your library can get you either one.

  29. 629
    GlenFergus says:

    Killian, you appear to be the perfect example. Reassure me. At high school or freshman college you studied a subject called thermodynamics. So you understand that, though they carry the same units (BTU or joules or kWh), heat and work are different. And you can expound at length on how to characterise their interplay. You understand that the ability of a unit of heat to do a unit of work depends fundamentally on relative temperature. Good.

    So tell me, this thing called net energy, is that net heat or net work, or a mish-mash of the two? And if heat, at what temperature? The 600°C of a coal-fired boiler or the 1600°C of a gas turbine? Makes a big difference.

    In many years of following the peak oilers I’ve found North Americans in particular often think it’s heat energy that matters (perhaps from those huge heating bills). In fact industrial society is built on the other thing — it’s mechanical work that moves people and goods, turns machines (including fraccing pumps and PV factory clean rooms), and, as a direct surrogate called electricity, powers households, factories, cities.

    But not even all work is equal. Work from a mobile source, like a liquid fueled engine or a lithium battery, is much more valuable than work from a stationary engine to which a task must be brought. So it seems there might just be a little more to it than a one-number EROEI, however calculated.

  30. 630
    Killian says:

    628 Chris Dudley says Killian (#625, 626),

    Claiming to have “beaten Lovins” to decentralization in the very early year of 2008 is quite rich.

    Actually, I didn’t use the declarative, so read more carefully. Regardless of when he did, and I’ve not see him write or speak on it yet,I did in 2008. I had already pointed this forum to that fact. Thus, for you to point me to Lovins to learn something I had already said I’d figured out was childish and patronizing.

    The actual point, you know, those salient bits you habitually ignore?, was that I wrote on massively distributed energy systems in 2008. When Lovins got to it was not a salient aspect of my post, which is why I used a qualifying word in that sentence. Speak a’ d’ English?

    Your claim about the uneducated, while not completely impossible, is very very rare.

    And, Captain Obvious? It’s been seven years of it for me, so far, so you’ll have to deal with it or just stop engaging.

  31. 631
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #621,

    “But, hey, the problem is no longer numbers. We have enough. Some say only about 1/3 were in support of our own civil war with England, but we created a new nation. How small a fraction did anything about civil rights or suffrage?

    We have the numbers, we don’t have the actions. And, we need different kinds of actions than ever before. We are time limited, response limited, resource limited. We can’t do decades or centuries of civil disobedience, public discourse, etc., this time.”

    You are letting your ideology cloud the facts. We don’t have the numbers and we don’t have the actions. I referenced the results of an Australian poll and the Gallup Poll in #233, and showed the similarity as follows:

    “So, in both cases, concern peaked about six years ago, and has been dropping since. Consider the significance of these results. All the Gallup Poll is doing is asking whether people WORRY about this problem. The Poll doesn’t ask whether the people would be willing to pay higher costs, or give up non-essential travel, or give up meat; it asks about the minimal commitment possible, do they even worry. AND ABOUT HALF SAID ESSENTIALLY NO!! The Poll doesn’t ask about specific actions they are taking for the problem, such as changing personal habits, joining organizations, attending meetings, etc. And, it certainly doesn’t ask them for a financial commitment to help solve the problem.

    I suspect that if any of these more serious commitments were in the Poll questions, then the number of supporters would have plummeted to rock bottom. This essentially closes the loop that we have been observing with our own eyes. Very few politicians supporting any meaningful legislation on climate change, limited discussion in the Press and political debates, projections for increasing fossil fuel use as far out as the eye can see, etc.”

    The respondees are not even willing to take the minimal step of showing support on a poll; how willing do you think they would be to convert to sustainable living? There’s no magic here; people are not willing to give up this wasteful lifestyle to save the biosphere. Plain and simple! Even on this so-called climate advocacy blog, how many people are clamoring for the actions necessary to save the biosphere? Most of what I have seen proposed, especially by the ‘tag team’, is Koch-Brothers-Lite. No different from the prosperity projections the Koch Brothers and Rex Tillerson make, with the exception that low carbon is substituted for high carbon.

  32. 632
    Hank Roberts says:

    Sometimes an idea is just an idea, not a unique discovery.

    “Vulnerability to faults is an unintended side effect of highly centralized technologies” (Lovins and Lovins, 1982).

    “The dominance of a single energy source and centralized power generation are highly susceptible to disruption, failure and even sabotage with severe consequences economically and socially,
    as articulated clearly and convincingly by Lovins and Lovins, 1982 and Lovins and …” (Diversification and localization of energy systems for sustainable development and energy security
    X Li – Energy Policy, 2005 – Elsevier) (Cited by 74)

    “When you start from a whacked premise, … it doesn’t matter how smart you are” — Killian, 2014

  33. 633
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #621,

    “But, hey, the problem is no longer numbers. We have enough. Some say only about 1/3 were in support of our own civil war with England, but we created a new nation. How small a fraction did anything about civil rights or suffrage?”

    You are conflating numbers with motivation. Those who participated in the American Revolution or the Civil Rights movement were willing to surrender their lives to achieve the objectives. Where is that fervor among the climate activists? Their version of a cannonade is a series of Tweets expressing their support for Al Gore!

    The types of people we need as climate activists if we are to have any hope of avoiding the Apocalypse were described by Tennyson 150 years ago, and they ring true today:

    Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    “Charge for the guns!” he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismay’d?
    Not tho’ the soldier knew
    Someone had blunder’d:
    THEIRS NOT TO MAKE REPLY,
    THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY,
    THEIRS BUT TO DO AND DIE:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley’d and thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.

    Flash’d all their sabres bare,
    Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wonder’d:
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right thro’ the line they broke;
    Cossack and Russian
    Reel’d from the sabre stroke
    Shatter’d and sunder’d.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volley’d and thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro’ the jaws of Death
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.

    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honor the charge they made,
    Honor the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred.

  34. 634
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#630),

    My suggestion was helpful. Lovins has things figured out much more completely than you do. You could learn something. Positive contributions are made from the shoulders of giants. Don’t begrudge them their existence.

  35. 635
    Killian says:

    DIOGENES said Killian #621,

    “But, hey, the problem is no longer numbers. We have enough. Some say only about 1/3 were in support of our own civil war with England, but we created a new nation. How small a fraction did anything about civil rights or suffrage?

    We have the numbers, we don’t have the actions. And, we need different kinds of actions than ever before. We are time limited, response limited, resource limited. We can’t do decades or centuries of civil disobedience, public discourse, etc., this time.”

    You are letting your ideology cloud the facts. We don’t have the numbers and we don’t have the actions.

    What ideology? There is no ideology involved in these comments. I provided factual examples that reflect nothing of my opinion. There are multiple lines of thought on social change tipping points, and all those numbers are in the 50% range or less, most less. We absolutely do have the numbers.

    I referenced the results of an Australian poll and the Gallup Poll in #233

    I don’t care about those polls; they aren’t asking a germane question. Show me one that asks, “Since we are in the 6th Great Extinction, and that will involve either extinction or near-extinction for humans, also, are you willing to live a much simpler lifestyle to avoid the 6th Great Extinction?”

    Yup, show me a poll that actually frames the question correctly and then I’ll pay attention to it.

    Even on this so-called climate advocacy blog, how many people are clamoring for the actions necessary to save the biosphere? Most of what I have seen proposed, especially by the ‘tag team’, is Koch-Brothers-Lite. No different from the prosperity projections the Koch Brothers and Rex Tillerson make, with the exception that low carbon is substituted for high carbon.

    Yes, people are still uneducated/clueless/hopelessly hopeful/technocopianly disinclined/ideologically opposed/financially disincentivized, etc., to do what needs doing. That doesn’t change the fact the *numbers are there.* What is missing is the right framing overall. We’ve tried the PC approach, how about we now just tell the truth? We’re facing extinction or near-extinction; it’s avoidable. You wanna help or not?

    You can’t get the right answer if not asking the right question. E.g., I said from the start we needed to prosecute climate denialists because they were literally committing crimes against humanity and, imo, treason. While no study has been done, I’d say Michael Mann’s thus-far-successful legal actions have helped to mute the nature and form of denial attacks. More of the same would almost certainly drive that more. An actual Hague prosecution for CAH, even more so. Take away their ability to lie, you take away their impact. Instead, the response was to be oh so polite and batter them with facts. How’d that work out? The question was, how do we get moving forward on Climate Change? The correct answer was, shut down the denial machine.

    Oops.

    Anywho… thanks for belittling my response to you as ideological. Massive insult, that. Shows serious ignorance of who I am and what I do. Not surprising, just unfortunate and disappointing. For future reference, everything I do and say is based in a principles-based response to the issues we face for the precise reasons that ideology creates problems rather than solves them, and the solutions lie within application of those principles.

  36. 636
    Killian says:

    Hank said, Sometimes an idea is just an idea, not a unique discovery.

    While I came to this conclusion of my own accord, I never said it was unique. Speak a’ d’ English? What was unique was my plan for achieving it.

    grid vs household

    NOTE: People, please read what people write, not what you want to read into it. Every “conflict” I’ve had here in the last week flowed directly from people failing to do this, causing me to repeat what I’d already clearly stated.

  37. 637
    Killian says:

    Hank said, Sometimes an idea is just an idea, not a unique discovery.

    While I came to this conclusion of my own accord, I never said it was a unique idea. Speak a’ d’ English? Try not to engage in your knee-jerk patronizing responses to me, Hank.

    What was, and remains, unique was my plan for achieving it.

    grid vs household

  38. 638
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #634,

    “Take away their ability to lie, you take away their impact. Instead, the response was to be oh so polite and batter them with facts. How’d that work out? The question was, how do we get moving forward on Climate Change? The correct answer was, shut down the denial machine.”

    You have no idea what the correct answer was, or is. To get the correct answer, you would have to run the experiment with the denial campaign and without the denial campaign. My guess is that if the Koch Brothers and their pals had not invested one cent in a denial campaign, the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ results would have not been much different. Down deep, extremely few want to make the sacrifices required to avoid the Apocalypse. It’s not the framing of the question that’s the problem, it’s the motivation of the majority of the citizens on the planet that’s the problem.

    Let’s take a specific example, the readers and posters on this blog. Between RC and CP they have more than enough information about the seriousness of the problem. How many of them have expressed the willingness to do what is necessary to avoid the Apocalypse. The vast majority of the posters want continued ‘prosperity’ (in the conventional sense) and growth. Hardship and sacrifice; give me a break! So, even here, at climate amelioration Ground Zero, we don’t see the willingness to do much more than continue our morbid consumption, using low carbon instead of high carbon technology. What can you expect from the public at large?

  39. 639
    Killian says:

    DIOGENES said Killian #634, You have no idea what the correct answer was, or is.

    Logically incorrect. Of course I do. I can’t prove it, but I know. Every hypothesis is exactly this. Some get proved, some don’t. You can call my statement an opinion I can’t prove, but to tell me I can’t know is ridiculous. I absolutely do know, and can prove, everyone here and elsewhere counseling calm, polite speech were wrong, that’s for sure.

    What’s baffling is you pick on this unimportant nit about what we did or didn’t do over the last 40 years. Who cares? Shall we focus on more forward-looking issues? But remember, I “couldn’t know” the crash of ’08 was coming, that Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic would all be melting much faster than thought, that we’d have new record low ASI in 2012, but not in 2013, either. But I did. There’s a difference between knowing and proving. You should avoid telling people what they can’t know.

    To get the correct answer, you would have to run the experiment…

    No, I’d have to do that to prove it, not to know it.

    with the denial campaign and without the denial campaign. My guess is that if the Koch Brothers and their pals had not invested one cent in a denial campaign, the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ results would have not been much different.

    So, I can express my opinion if I frame it as a guess? Too bad. I’m not guessing, I’m certain. By your logic I can’t “know” simplification is required, but I do. Prove me wrong.

    Down deep, extremely few want to make the sacrifices required to avoid the Apocalypse. It’s not the framing of the question that’s the problem, it’s the motivation of the majority of the citizens

    What they know and understand affects their motivation. Take a poll re: involvement in WWII on December 6th, then again on Dec. 8th. What you know matters, and we aren’t telling them what we know. Or, to use language you want to approve for me to use, apparently, the risk assessment makes it foolish to not simplify. People need to know that. They need to know that even solar and wind are unsustainable as yet. They need to know the likelihood is far too high for an existential threat for us not to act drastically.

    They don’t know that, and those polls are useless in judging willingness to act because they did not ask useful questions. And, yes, the primary reason they do not know is the denial industry. Before the climate denial industry, people trusted scientists. Interesting, on issues *not* climate or evolution, they still do.

    What does that tell you?

    Let’s take a specific example, the readers and posters on this blog. Between RC and CP they have more than enough information about the seriousness of the problem. How many of them have expressed the willingness to do what is necessary to avoid the Apocalypse.

    I disagree. Have you read Archer on Methane? Good lord! I’d think I should never let it worry my little head ever again reading his stuff. Hope to heck he’s right, but goodness me, I’ve a very bad feeling he isn’t. And, no, lots of people do not accept the idea collapse can happen at all. Even here.

    But all this misses the point. You said such and such polls said, so that shows what people really think. I said the poll question was incorrect. This is true in either an environment where people are knowledgeable and one where the question is purely hypothetical, so for the purposes of this debate between us, the framing of the question is vital, and it did not ask the correct question.

    If you want to know how people will respond to an existential threat, you have to frame it as an existential threat. You can’t expect them to suppose that a question framed as less than existential actually is asking an existential threat question. It’s just… silly.

    The vast majority of the posters want continued ‘prosperity’ (in the conventional sense) and growth.

    Of course they do! So do I! Too danged bad! Can’t have it! Get over it! The science is in: we’re using to o many resources across the board and risk altering the ecosystem so badly the 6th Great Extinction rolls on till it takes us with it. I literally would not be surprised to wake up tomorrow to read in the paper the oceans were turning pink, so bend over and kiss our hineys g’bye.

    Hardship and sacrifice; give me a break! So, even here, at climate amelioration Ground Zero

    This blog is not ground zero. Do an informal poll and see how many actually accept, and fully understand, the issue is not just climate, but energy, resources, governance, scale and organization of society… No, many still do not accept and/or understand these things. Still, you have to frame the question correctly to get the answer to fit the problem – even if they think it’s just an abstract question.

    IF you accepted we are in the process of the 6th Great Extinction, and the collapse of society by 2100, would you be willing to live like the 1800’s, but with some tech conveniences, if it would prevent the extinction of humanity and the collapse of society?

    That is a question worth asking that will actually get to the info you want: faced with an existential risk, but with solutions available, are you willing to live vastly differently?

    Dude, have you not noticed most of the people we should consider allies don’t believe collapse and extinction are real risks? Or, at least, do, but think their technofreaky dreams will save us all? LOL… try getting anyone here to admit solar and wind are still currently unsustainable! Even though that is blindingly obvious, the argument rages on if you put forth this fact.

    No, the soft serve ain’t getting it done. Ask a real question, I’ll pay attention to the response.

  40. 640
    Killian says:

    Chris Dudley said Killian (#630), My suggestion was helpful.

    Dude, admit you were being patronizing and move on. You specifically suggested Lovins regarding the issue of distributed systems. Let it go; don’t try to justify the error.

    Lovins has things figured out much more completely than you do.

    This is incorrect. When your basic premises violate the principles of natural design, you’ve got precious little figured out about creating a sustainable world. It doesn’t matter how brilliant he is (not being debated), or how many gadgets he invents if he is making a core error in premise.

    His premise is just plain wrong: we can’t solve this via tech. period. It’s basic thermodynamics, physics, logic and violates, simplest of all, the design principles culled from Nature, herself.

    I don’t need to learn much of anything from Lovins because the solutions don’t require any of his gadgetry. Remember: Simple.

    Positive contributions are made from the shoulders of giants.

    We need better giants.

    Don’t begrudge them their existence.

    If we achieve WARP drive, Lovins will be the first guy I’ll look to to help design a Jetsonian future, but as for straw bale homes, walipinis, organic food production, community kitchens with cob ovens, etc.? I’ve got that covered, thanks.

    To be completely clear, and redundant, we need no more tech than we have today to simplify to a regenerative future. Not even a little. That’s what you don’t get. You’re still looking for answers we’ve had for decades. It’s time to do it. We already know how. Now, go read Tainter.

    reCAPTCHA pulls a funny: nutholo arrange.

  41. 641
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 18 Apr 2014 @ 4:46 PM

    You said- “Down deep, extremely few want to make the sacrifices required to avoid the Apocalypse” and- “How many of them have expressed the willingness to do what is necessary to avoid the Apocalypse. The vast majority of the posters want continued ‘prosperity’ (in the conventional sense) and growth. Hardship and sacrifice; give me a break!”

    Absolutely amazing! You refuse to answer any questions about what you are currently sacrificing, as a good example, or exactly what you expect others to sacrifice to avoid APOCALYPSE. As a member of the, so called, “tag team,” I have explained, multiple times how I am carbon negative and how I have, as a result, reaped major (intangible) “windfalls” from this.

    Steve

  42. 642
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #641,

    “Absolutely amazing! You refuse to answer any questions about what you are currently sacrificing, as a good example, or exactly what you expect others to sacrifice to avoid APOCALYPSE. As a member of the, so called, “tag team,” I have explained, multiple times how I am carbon negative and how I have, as a result, reaped major (intangible) “windfalls” from this.”

    I could care less about what you purport to ‘sacrifice’ or not ‘sacrifice’. What I really care about are your ideas to avoid the impending climate Apocalypse. From what you have posted, you have ZERO ideas that will come anywhere near the targets required to avoid the Apocalypse. And, that statement holds doubly true for the other members of the ‘tag team’.

  43. 643
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #639,

    “This blog is not ground zero. Do an informal poll and see how many actually accept, and fully understand, the issue is not just climate, but energy, resources, governance, scale and organization of society… No, many still do not accept and/or understand these things.”

    The point I am making is that the posters on this site have access to the requisite information. They are not the ones who you believe have been subject to this vast denial campaign, and who have succumbed to it. And, still, they do not buy into the hardships and deprivations required to avoid the impending climate Apocalypse.

    The poll respondees were asked the simplest of questions, with no commitment required, and half weren’t even willing to say they were concerned about climate change. If you frame it in terms of the Sixth Extinction…; Give me a Break. They’ll slam the door in your face!

    “Have you read Archer on Methane? Good lord! I’d think I should never let it worry my little head ever again reading his stuff. Hope to heck he’s right, but goodness me, I’ve a very bad feeling he isn’t”

    Now, you’re getting into the real purpose of this site; keep the readership from being too hard on the Administration for lack of leadership on climate change. Concerned about rapid methane release; well, we’ll just post an article by Archer assuring us the release will be chronic occurring over centuries. Nothing to see here; just keep moving. And, above all, don’t post any articles to the contrary, by Wadhams, Shakhova, or Semelitov. Concerned about appropriate temperature targets to avoid the impending climate Apocalypse; well, we’ll just post an article by Knopf stating “many of these issues cannot be answered solely by science, such as the question of a temperature level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. Nothing to see here; just move right along. And, above all, don’t post any articles to the contrary, by Hansen, Anderson, or Spratt. And, so it goes.

  44. 644
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#640),

    “We need better giants.”

    Now that sounds like the beginning of a worthy ambition, but while you stumble around blindfolded, below knee level, you’re not going to be achieving much in that direction. Read a book or two.

  45. 645
    Walter says:

    Killian kicks ass. Tells it like it is ….

  46. 646
    Sean says:

    What Diogenes says about you know who …. “you have ZERO ideas”

    Agree 100% …. great to see the new voices showing up. Especially the Russians and Europeans who were cruising thru wuwrc

    Here’s a few thoughts:
    Jef ” want to accomplish anything positive then let’s admit the truth and work from there”

    Carlos: re WG3 “There appears problem in the analysis” [ you betcha there is !!! ]

    William E Rees ““…just a .06% loss..”” oh yeah! and William kicks ass like Killian does. Keep it coming!!!

    Edward: ” being soft on unworkable ideas” addressing RC owners

    drTskoul: ” can have BAU like emissions under a growth collapse scenario ” yee ha another truth teller .. please make more than ONE comment

    and Jef again: “GDP is a meaningless measurement for assesing the future impacts of FF reduction. GDP itself is pretty meaningless” and
    ” This report looks like something my son could have put together playing SimCity. It has no grip on reality.”

    Oh yeah baby! That’s correct Jef …. they never removed what Tol left behind either. Finally a few home truths bubble up from the still brackish waters. Where’s Micheal Mann?

    Bruno Latour – The Affects of Capitalism http://youtu.be/8i-ZKfShovs?t=12m48s Should also be sub-titled with the Effects of Cognitive Dissonance too.

    He addresses the insanity of Australia’s current ‘political’climate science and economics SPIN CYCLE position first, we bough those denialist myths from the USA establishment.
    The Reality of Freedom for the 99% http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-16/national-press-club-tony-sheldon/5394944

    Please remember every second of every day that the richest 85 people on this planet have more wealth more income the poorest 3.5 BILLION people, or half the Planet…. for those who still are, please stop kidding yourself!

    THINK GLOBALLY …. ACT LOCALLY …. STOP deceiving yourself all will be fine or that the great USA will save the world. It isn’t 1942 anymore.. it’s 2014 folks.

    Yes, where is Michael Mann …. ???

  47. 647
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 20 Apr 2014 @ 4:51 PM

    As per usual, you are unable to answer a simple question. Why? You are not doing anything but just want to talk the talk without any knowledge of what is required by individuals, families, and communities in order to solve global warming and move toward sustainability. This is shameful ignorance.

    I disagree with Killian on several large issues, but where he has it right in my not so ignorant estimation, is that the problem starts at home. This means you, your family, your neighbors, and your community. I learned what I know about reducing my carbon footprint from family, neighbors, and my community, and am passing it on by my knowledge and example. My community has a big local sustainability movement with several groups working on local production of food and fuels and we have a yearly, well attended, Not So Simple Living Fair that consists of presentations and workshops (it used to be called the Simple Living Fair but the name was changed because living simple requires a lot of knowledge). If you don’t know what the endpoint of the elimination of fossil energy is to families you don’t have a clue.

    Steve

  48. 648
    Killian says:

    643 DIOGENES said

    Killian #639,

    “This blog is not ground zero. Do an informal poll and see how many actually accept, and fully understand, the issue is not just climate, but energy, resources, governance, scale and organization of society… No, many still do not accept and/or understand these things.”

    The point I am making is that the posters on this site have access to the requisite information. They are not the ones who you believe have been subject to this vast denial campaign, and who have succumbed to it. And, still, they do not buy into the hardships and deprivations required to avoid the impending climate Apocalypse.

    Not quite true. It’s not just denial, it’s a lack of knowledge, it’s biases, etc. Back in 2007/2008 when I was saying pretty much the sorts of things I say now, I was almost totally ignored. Tolerated might be the correct term. Well, now there is wider acceptance of the things I say, and I know a lot more on the solutions side than I did then, but the reality that the climate people kinda dismiss the TEOTWAWKI climate people, and both sorts of climate people tend to dismiss the straight collapse people, and everybody ignores the resources/collapse people, and all these people kinda ignore each other to one degree or another… that continues. Not as badly as 6, 7 years ago, but still pretty bad.

    And the efficiency/tehcnocopians? They ignore everybody else.

    Fun! Here, it’s the Alphabetistas that reign, mostly. Cite your sources! What sources? You aren’t even interested in funding research into truly sustainable design! Right?

    No, lot’s of compartmentalization here still. Show of hands, who here believes that if we had no climate issue we’d still be facing collapse?

    The poll respondees were asked the simplest of questions, with no commitment required, and half weren’t even willing to say they were concerned about climate change. If you frame it in terms of the Sixth Extinction…; Give me a Break. They’ll slam the door in your face!

    Yup. Have heard that excuse since 2006. Didn’t accept it then, don’t accept it now. Since Rachel Carson, it’s been 99.9% slow pitch lobs. Time for some fastballs.

  49. 649

    There is no contest, computer Meteorological models forecast thousands times a day, and are greatly successful for the short term. Long range climate models are equally often accurate, but not for sea ice. The interim period, the next few months, computer models have the greatest shortcomings, it is a void of filled with failures. Some say flip a coin and get the same result. However, those humans who try, the few who learn from their mistakes, those who study the pulse of the weather world every day, those who read the science at Real Climate, those who try, are better than a coin! Perhaps the models will catch up with us one day. I use a refraction method to help refine a projection read all about it http://eh2r.blogspot.ca/ .

  50. 650
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #647,

    “I disagree with Killian on several large issues, but where he has it right in my not so ignorant estimation, is that the problem starts at home.”

    Sorry, ‘cherry-picking’ doesn’t work with me. Killian makes that statement as part of the much larger context of moving rapidly towards sustainability. In parallel, he offers targets toward which we should aim, like GHG ppms in the near 300 region. He is not shamelessly promoting Windfalls for the renewables investors, as you and the rest of the ‘tag team’ do incessantly, without any mention of quantitative targets. Fundamentally, his approach is not very different from mine, and the reception to the implementation of either approach among the global population will not be very different. I have provided the principles of sustainability (as I define them) multiple times, but will repeat once more.

    *Live in a climate compatible with one’s physical makeup

    *Obtain resources locally; deposit wastes locally

    *Use minimal resources necessary for survival

    That’s it. That’s how every other species lives, except us. That’s the meaning of sustainability.

    Forty years ago, when we had a reasonable amount of carbon budget remaining, we could have made a transition toward this desirable end state with relatively little pain and suffering. That era is past. We have run out of carbon budget. If the biosphere can be saved at this point even in theory, and my doubts on this increase every day, the efforts required will be of a heroic nature. There is no avoiding the pain and suffering required at this late date.


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