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Unforced variations: July 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2017

So, big news this week: The latest update to the RSS lower troposphere temperatures (Zeke at Carbon Brief, J. Climate paper) and, of course, more chatter about the red team/blue team concept. Comments?

397 Responses to “Unforced variations: July 2017”

  1. 251
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian #158: “In what fantasy world is it possible to make tractors forever on a limited planet?”

    Al: True. Once the crust stops moving there won’t be new supplies of minerals which are necessary for pretty much everything both natural and man made. Of course, that scenario will lose out to solar engulfment, and going back to Flintstonemobiles won’t prevent either, so all you’re actually saying is that eventually the Earth is toast.

    —-

    Adam Lea: If I own a car but only use it a couple of times a month, say, driving 2-3000 miles per year, and use a bicycle and train for all feasible/local journeys, how much carbon am I saving?

    Al: Actually, you’ve just described a situation where the EV is most likely worse than any ICE vehicle. EVs burn electrons and degrade batteries 24/7.

  2. 252
    Nemesis says:

    Let me say it again in one single sentence:

    No chance, to change climatical/ecological politics without changing the economical system and vice versa, no way. Monetary profit is not sustainable.

  3. 253
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @240

    “Problem with EVs in the US is high cost and low range.”

    The cost doesn’t actually seem that high in the US. Take a typical example. The nissan leaf sells for $26,000 with subsidy, $30,000 unsubsidised.

    The toyota corolla is a similar sort of hatchback, but petrol powered and sells for between about $18,000 – $26,000 depending on model. The honda civic varies from $18,000 – $33,000 depending on model, say average price of $ 25,000 but it is larger than the leaf.

    I don’t call that a massive difference for the majority of people. I concede it may be an issue for some low income people.

    Here are the prices of all electric vehicles in America if you are interested:

    https://evobsession.com/electric-cars-2014-list/

    Range is fine for around town. If you are doing a very long trip there’s nothing wrong with hiring a car. Many people only do the occasional long trip. Eventually there will be enough charging stations.

    “If the batteries are allowed to get cold in winter, range plummets.”

    Its not so much this. Range can drop, because heaters can drain the battery.Some people apparently warm the car up before leaving home on cold mornings.

    I think it’s about plusses and minuses, because no form of transport is going to be perfect. However overall I think electric has some real advantages.

  4. 254
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @251, yes exactly, eventually the planet will be toast whatever humans do. Going back to hand tools and subsistence living etc cannot stop the inevitable, so it’s pointless.

    The only thing that makes sense is to ensure we are safe in the medium term while we figure out what is really happening, and whether other planets might be colonised.

    This is not an excuse to pollute and waste. It simply means lets set some practical rules and objectives, rather than panic and going back to sack cloth by tomorrow lunchtime. Regenerative agriculture should however have a role to play in principle.

  5. 255
    nigelj says:

    Nemisis @252,

    “no chance, to change climatical/ecological politics without changing the economical system and vice versa, no way. Monetary profit is not sustainable.”

    Making profits is based on taking out loans which involves creating money, and has been a big factor in the economic success of the western world.

    However this is all an exercise based on confidence and faith. It all assumes enough economic growth to pay back the loans. This is getting harder, and debt is building up, mostly pushed onto the governments books.

    But you have to provide a better alternative system, and how it would work. Communism didn’t work.

    I can believe capitalism can work, but it needs to evolve and be better disciplined. We need to go back to stricter controls on some aspects of financial markets, and better environmental rules. Of course this is politically all difficult to achieve, but a totally new system would also be politically difficult to achieve.

    Of course the current system could end up collapsing, and change could thus be forced on us by circumstances.

  6. 256
    Killian says:

    Al Bundy is a relatively brainless. Absolutely clueless about resources, limits, rates of use, and the exponential function.

  7. 257
    Killian says:

    248
    alan2102 said Because only an adherent of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, with zero concept of sustainability, could possibly support those goals: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and so on. Er… right?

    Poor alan, if these gov’ts wanted these things, they would have done them already, beause they are easy to achieve. Are you so foolish as to believe this is what the wealthy and powerful actually want? Moreso, that last thing on your list? That’s the cause of the subject of his blog. How intelligent to further pursue sui-genoc-ecocidal policies.

    What affordable energy, or do you think it accidental utilities are driving home solar out of the market, as well as home wind? You think that’s to relieve poverty?

    But let’s take just a minute to recognize your comprehensive misunderstanding of the historical moment: With resources depleted, in some cases, up to 90% already, growth is the solution.

    You don’t belong in this conversation.

    Welcome to the Gallery, Peanut.

  8. 258
    Nemesis says:

    @nigelj, #255

    “However this is all an exercise based on confidence and faith. It all assumes enough economic growth to pay back the loans. This is getting harder, and debt is building up, mostly pushed onto the governments books.”

    Recently, the global loans are more than 200 TRILLION Dollars and counting. It’s like a suicide bombing. Yes, ectually credit=credo (latin) means “faith”, not reason, not science. People tend to forget that. You can study economics and make your degree on economics, but in the end, at the Wall Street, in the church of capitalism, it’s all about gambling and faith. Capitalist gamblers got faith, lots of credo. Capitalism is a religion, not science. Adam Smith and such were religious, christian people and they based their money-“science” on faith, not on reason. The economic, pyramidal, verikal system is literally godgiven from that point of view. Capitalism has it’s roots in christian religion. Look at the one dollar bill:

    “In god we trust.”

    Says it all. But it will not work that way, I am afraid. Infinite growth (of debt in the end) is the only way, to sustain the credo system, but there can’t be infinite growth on a finite planet. That’s a scientific fact, but not an economic fact. In the economic world, infinite growth is no problem, as long, as you have faith, credo, credit, money. The very core of the economic system is magical, religios, magick, hokuspokus and the polticians and bankers and such are priests. This is serious, it’s not a joke. It sucks out the entire planet, it’s like a desease, a fever, these capitalist priests don’t pray “climate change” and they don’t hug trees, they pray “more, more, more Money!” and hug colored paper and round metal. That’s a problem. Regulation? A well, I hear that for decades now, like I hear “co2 reduction” all the time.

    ” But you have to provide a better alternative system, and how it would work. Communism didn’t work.”

    I am no communist, I am anarchist, a one man party. I see it this way:

    My solution would be to distribute goods horizontally, not vertically. Pyramidal, vertical distribution means, everyone tries as hard as he can to earn as much money as he can, while consuming as much, as he can. This way is the way capitalism loves, it is the capitalist way. But: If 7.5 Billion people (and counting) follow that road, we are done within a few decades, with or without climate change. So we’d have to distribute goods in a horizontal, sharing way, that means, everyone reduces individual, egoistic consumption for the common good.

    Call it whatever you like, sharing in a horizontal way ist the only sustainable way. There is no infinite growth on a finite planet.

  9. 259
    alan2102 says:

    Has there been any discussion here of Project Drawdown? If so, I apologize for the redundancy (and I invite the moderators to DELETE THIS POST).

    vis:

    http://www.drawdown.org
    Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. Our organization did not make or devise the plan—we found the plan because it already exists. We gathered a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change. What was uncovered is a path forward that can roll back global warming within thirty years. It shows that humanity has the means at hand. Nothing new needs to be invented. The solutions are in place and in action. Our work is to accelerate the knowledge and growth of what is possible. We chose the name Drawdown because if we do not name the goal, we are unlikely to achieve it.
    …………
    Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.

    Top solutions, ranked by Drawdown, a very interesting list! —

    http://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank
    1 Refrigerant Management
    2 Wind Turbines (Onshore)
    3 Reduced Food Waste
    4 Plant-Rich Diet
    5 Tropical Forests
    6 Educating Girls
    7 Family Planning
    8 Solar Farms
    9 Silvopasture
    10 Rooftop Solar
    11 Regenerative Agriculture
    12 Temperate Forests
    13 Peatlands
    14 Tropical Staple Trees
    15 Afforestation
    16 Conservation Agriculture
    17 Tree Intercropping
    18 Geothermal
    19 Managed Grazing
    20 Nuclear
    21 Clean Cookstoves
    22 Wind Turbines (Offshore)
    23 Farmland Restoration
    24 Improved Rice Cultivation
    25 Concentrated Solar

  10. 260
    alan2102 says:

    killian #257: “if these gov’ts wanted these things, they would have done them already, beause they are easy to achieve. Are you so foolish as to believe this is what the wealthy and powerful actually want?”

    Who said anything about what the wealthy and powerful want? I quoted from the United Nations SDGs. The U.N. is not wealthy, and they certainly are not powerful. They are attempting, mostly unsuccessfully, to take a global leadership role. The only reason they came up at all is because you, initially, threw a slur in my direction pertaining to the SDGs, as though they were foolish, ill-advised, or some such. I should have ignored the slur, but I didn’t. So here we are.

    As for the rest of your post: Killian, are you drinking heavily? I ask because your writing is incoherent and slurred, as though written by someone intoxicated. Here, read for yourself:

    “Moreso, that last thing on your list? That’s the cause of the subject of his blog.”

    What?! What the hell are you talking about? WHOSE blog? The “cause of the subject”?

    Continuing:

    “How intelligent to further pursue sui-genoc-ecocidal policies. What affordable energy, or do you think it accidental utilities are driving home solar out of the market, as well as home wind? You think that’s to relieve poverty?”

    What?! What the hell are you talking (rambling) about?

    Sober up, please, or else I’ll have to conclude you don’t belong in this conversation.

  11. 261
    Scott Strough says:

    Yes Alan Project drawdown is a lot like I have been saying all along:

    If you want to lose weight, Eat less, move more.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKs0oEIVOck

    If you want to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, reduce emissions, increase sequestration in the soil.

    Once you are balanced, all is good! Really is that simple, but people hem and haw.

    Executive summary:

    Yes we can reverse Global Warming. https://www.quora.com/Can-we-reverse-global-warming/answer/Scott-Strough

    It does not require huge tax increases or expensive untested risky technologies.

    It will require a three pronged approach worldwide.

    1)Reduce fossil fuel use by replacing energy needs with as many feasible renewables as current technology allows.
    2)Change Agricultural methods to high yielding regenerative models of production made possible by recent biological & agricultural science advancements.
    3)Large scale ecosystem recovery projects similar to the Loess Plateau project, National Parks like Yellowstone etc. where appropriate and applicable.

  12. 262
    alan2102 says:

    nigelj #255: “Communism didn’t work.”

    Beg to differ. And I understand that this is a big thorny topic that could go on at great length, so I hereby promise that this will be both my first and last comment on the subject (for at least a month or two). No matter what fiery replies this post may generate, I promise not to respond to any of them. I’ve said my piece. For now at least.

    Now then:

    The idea that “communism didn’t work” is the product of many decades of persistent propaganda, most of it originating with the CIA and other fascist-sympathetic elements. The volume of lies, distortions and exaggerations that have been published is quite amazing. Again, this is not the place to discuss it in detail. I will simply mention a few facts, give a few links, and leave it at that.

    Before their respective revolutions, Russia and China were awful feudal backwaters with very large populations of peasants and desperately-poor people. Life expectancy was ~35, with all that that implies: dirt poverty, filth, malnourishment, no medical care, no public health infrastructure, illiteracy, etc., etc. After the revolutions, dramatic changes were made over a few decades. Public health infrastructure was installed. Free medical care was provided. Malnourishment was wiped out or dramatically curtailed. Illiteracy was nearly wiped out. And so on. The result was that life expectancies — as a result of DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE GREAT MAJORITY OF PEOPLE — nearly doubled in under 30 years, a fantastic achievement. The reason I used upper-case for most of the previous sentence is that it is easy to look at life-expectancy as a dry, abstract statistic and miss the fact that it represents a very great deal in terms of quality of life for hundreds of millions of people, especially in the circumstances about which I write. We’re talking about masses of people formerly living lives of misery, but being lifted in a most wonderful way to not just much longer lives, but much much better lives.

    On that basis alone, communism could rightly be said to be a great success — perhaps the most brilliant success of all history, in terms of lives dramatically improved and lengthened, both. And the success continues to this day, in China, what with poverty having been cut drastically in recent decades, well on its way to total extinction, while at the same time a large middle class has emerged and the country generally has vaulted itself into wealth and modernity in record time — far faster than the capitalist nations. The nature of China’s current system is debatable, but I suggest before you draw a conclusion that you take a look at Jeff Brown’s recently-published book “China is Communist, Dammit!”.

    In contrast, when “market reforms” (recrudescent capitalism) were forced on Russia in the 1990s, social pathology came back with a vengeance; alcoholism, suicide and disease soared; life expectancy plunged shockingly, etc. And in places like India, that never had socialism at all, poverty is still rampant, and excess mortality relative to China (according to Amartya Sen’s careful India-China comparison) has run 4 million per year for the past 50 years! That’s the result of unregulated or poorly-regulated capitalism: massive death, amounting to genocide in terms of numbers. It is even starting to happen in the U.S. in spite of our exorbitant privileges; see Case/Deaton and others, showing large mortality increases among lower SES people in recent decades. Note also our now-declining (!) (as of 2016) life expectancy, after years of stagnation. This will intensify, in the coming years, until the pressures force some sort of resolve.

    The phrase “communism didn’t work” could be accepted, I think, with qualification. Communism certainly did NOT work for the wealthy oligarchs, the plutocrats, the greedy psychopaths whose mission in life seems to be consolidation of wealth and power at the expense of everyone and everything, not least the planet itself. It didn’t work for THEM worth a darn. Are you sad?

    ……………………..

    http://gowans.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/we-lived-better-then/
    “Where Reds have prevailed, the outcome has been far-reaching material gains for the bulk of the population: full employment, free health care, free education through university, free and subsidized child care, cheap living accommodations and inexpensive public transportation. Life expectancy has soared, illiteracy has been wiped out, and homelessness, unemployment and economic insecurity have been abolished. Racial strife and ethnic tensions have been reduced to almost the vanishing point. And inequalities in wealth, income, opportunity, and education have been greatly reduced. Where Reds have been overthrown, mass unemployment, underdevelopment, hunger, disease, illiteracy, homelessness, and racial conflict have recrudesced, as the estates, holdings and privileges of former fat cats have been restored. Communists produced gains in the interest of all humanity, achieved in the face of very trying conditions, including the unceasing hostility of the West and the unremitting efforts of the former exploiters to restore the status quo ante. What the Reds achieved surpassed anything achieved by social democratic struggle in the West, where the advantages of being more advanced industrially, made the promises of socialism all the more readily achievable – and to a far greater degree than could be achieved elsewhere in the world. Hidden, or at best, acknowledged but quickly brushed aside as matters of little significance, these are achievements that have been too long ignored in the West – and greatly missed in the countries where they were reversed in the interests of restoring the wealth and privileges of a minority.”

    see also:

    http://gowans.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/seven-myths-about-the-ussr/
    Seven Myths about the USSR

    http://gowans.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/socialism's-agenda-time/
    Socialism’s Agenda Time

    http://gowans.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/social-democracy-soviet-socialism-and-the-bottom-99-percent/
    Social Democracy, Soviet Socialism and the Bottom 99 Percent

  13. 263
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://link.washingtonpost.com/view/54c1de083b35d0671a9238a2610c5.ida/942a04a2

    Washington Post
    Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:56 PM

    Trump just nominated a climate change skeptic to USDA’s top science post

    The President has nominated Sam Clovis, a former college professor and talk radio host who’s questioned climate change, to the Agriculture Department’s top scientific post….

    By Juliet Eilperin and Chris Mooney

  14. 264
    nigelj says:

    Alan2102 @262

    Thank’s for the detailed comments! I will make a brief reply, but probably wont engage more either, for at least about a month.

    I agree before communism Russia was a fairly backward, poor, peasant sort of economy, notwithstanding there was some progress was made by people like Peter the Great etc, and the working classes were treated very badly after WW1, which was the fundamental reason society rebelled, and communism gained traction.

    A lot of progress was made under communism in the early years with rapid industrialisation, good economic growth, improved living standards, free health care etc, until about the 1960’s when things stagnated. And many people also suffered to achieve these goals with forced collectivisation etc. Obviously there were also terrible human rights abuses, and enforced slave labour, etc read the Gulag Archipelago.

    This is all just my potted history of Russia. Russia 101.

    Basically central planning can work well for short periods, and is used in most war time situations to varying degrees, but becomes stagnant and lazy over time, and this is what happened to The Soviet Union. The fact that the whole country was run by an unelected military dictatorship meant it became even more lazy and corrupted.

    So it didn’t really work in my opinion in the long run.

    Likewise total state ownership can become stagnant and lazy, and there’s no real reason for it as markets work well enough for many things. It was a bad answer to genuine problems of oppression.

    However there’s absolutely nothing wrong with certain aspects of central planning where free markets don’t do a good job. This is why governments provide or at least plan roading networks for example. And governments should have environmental rules and so forth.

    And there’s nothing wrong with state ownership of some things, like basic education services, again where free markets don’t work so well, and don’t provide wide enough access for everyone, or private capital is scarce, etc,etc. However it all needs good democratic government, so there are incentives for governments to perform well, least they be voted out. Clearly many countries do all this quite well.

    Markets work well for many things, because of competition, and decentralised decision making, but not everything.

    That’s my take on the situation anyway.

    Oh yes I almost forgot. Russia’s liberalisation under Gorbachov and the other guy who drank too much, white hair, good sense of humour, cant recall his name, Boris something. Well liberalisation had it’s good and bad side.

    People gained some worthwhile freedoms and private property, but many publicly owned assets were stripped and / or handed to the favoured elite etc.Is oligarchs the correct term? Russia’s version of robber barons?

    Putin is far from an ideal sort of leader and has no respect for human rights or developing the economy properly, not that Russians seem to care.

  15. 265
    nigelj says:

    Nemisis @258

    Thanks. Yes global debt is huge, and based on expectations of 3% gdp growth or more in western countries, when 2% looks like the new normal for the short to medium term future. I think there will be growing private sector bankruptcies, and governments may end up writing off debt. Its all going to be a problem.

    And yes infinite growth in a finite world is not possible. We are not at those sorts of constraints or limits yet, but are starting to feel some of the problems, especially environmentally as well as fiscally.

    Its probably possible to modify capitalism, reduce excessive money growth,etc,etc to reduce the overall debt issue and profit gone mad problems, in the medium term, but I don’t know the long term solution. Maybe things just have to be slowly ramped down, and maybe this is all inevitable anyway. Lower growth rates may be the new normal, and perfectly fine.

    However I feel sympathy for poor people in developing countries, and they will want high growth for obvious reasons. Who would blame them? Of course different countries are moving at different rates and are at different stages.

    It’s heartening that global poverty and third world poverty has reduced rather significantly in the last 20 years. It’s more lower skilled workers in western countries now missing out.

    Your horizontal structure is interesting, and I see what you are getting at in general terms. The book Post capitalism by Paul Mason discusses this idea. I don’t know how your version would work in detail, and you have to explain that.

    However human society is based on hierarchies. Humans are followers or leaders. This is one problem with horizontal structures.

    I favour a soft edged more responsible version of capitalism myself. It’s one possible solution.

    Right now influential people have made a fortune in a fossil fuel world, and are desperately holding onto that, and have a big influence on public policy, so there’s big conflicts between this and a more responsible capitalism. However the public is restless with brexit and trump, and while they may have backed the wrong horses, there’s a restless mood, and so things could improve to more publicly accountable institutions, or then again it could all slip away. Lots of people are easily manipulated, and sucked in by authoritarian blowhards.

  16. 266
    Thomas says:

    259 alan2102, re Drawdown. Neat. THX, I’ll take a good long look through that.

  17. 267
    Thomas says:

    246 etc Nemesis, you’re on a roll. :)

    One day your time will come, whether you’ll live long enough to see it yourself who knows, but it won’t be pretty leading up to it. The writing is on the wall. I think *this issue* you’re pushing has been an issue since our ancestors came down from the trees and stood up on our back legs…. at least definitely since the Romans thought they ruled the known world.

    It’s a tough nut to crack.

  18. 268
    zebra says:

    Nemesis,

    Humans are monkeys. If you can’t accept that, you belong with the Creationists and other science deniers. There has never been some golden-age human society where the ills you attribute to “capitalism”, whatever that means to you, did not exist to some degree.

    That’s because it is in our nature to be concerned about our status within the group, and it is in our nature to be comfortable in a hierarchical structure, and it is in our nature to treat other groups as “lesser”. Those are potentials we all have at birth, because we are monkeys.

    Can we transcend those innate characteristics to some degree? Sure, but it takes a lot of spiritual/social work, which you apparently haven’t done. Here you are, railing against “verticality”, and yet it seems you are also implying how much “better” you are, because you are a poor boy who rides a bike. Go figure.

    As to your misconceptions about how the world works: Look, we can print all the paper money we want, and it has little effect on the environment beyond cutting down some trees for the paper. I said earlier you wrongly conflate “capitalism” with “free markets” (as classically defined). You also wrongly conflate “capitalism” with resource extraction/consumption.

    There actually are solutions, along the lines that nigel and alan are suggesting, but they are not instant gratification handwaves about “horizontal distribution”. Teslas for 7.5 billion people? No, but how about distributed solar electricity for the parts of the world where women can’t get an education and free themselves from carrying water and babies, because that’s the only way to survive? That takes “capital”, but the return on investment is enormous, in terms of the environment. One of many examples.

    You view these issues from a position of privilege– you have paved roads on which to ride your bike, and having children is not essential because you don’t have to subsistence farm, and there is some kind of social support for old age. Try broadening your horizons with a little more education, so your can be less like a monkey.

  19. 269
    Nemesis says:

    There have been very good things in communism and there have been terrible crimes too. The same goes for capitalism. The thing is:

    Communism is dead, while capitalism is still alive, for now.

    I just wonder, how capitalism will perform the miracle of infinite growth on a finite planet^^ The outcome will be very, very… uhm, funny? Painful? Desastrous? How will the outcome be? I can wait 8-)

  20. 270
    zebra says:

    Scott Stough 250,

    If you want people to listen to you, you have to be able to articulate and defend your position in real time. I’m not going to waste more time reading more incoherent propaganda.

    Somehow, there is enough food being produced in the USA to allow for enormous waste and an ever more obese population, as well as for international trade to occur and for famine relief when needed. Someone is doing it and making money doing it, or it wouldn’t be happening.

    And you aren’t willing to be specific about the supposed inequities that victimize this nebulous group of oh-so-virtuous yeoman farmers you keep talking about. As far as I can tell, it’s all about wanting to feed at the public trough but pretend that you aren’t getting welfare like those “others”. This is a common Right-Wing behavior.

  21. 271

    N 258: Capitalism is a religion, not science.

    BPL: No, it’s a way of organizing an economy.

    N: Adam Smith and such were religious, christian people and they based their money-“science” on faith, not on reason.

    BPL: I take it you’ve never actually read Smith.

  22. 272

    nigelj #255: “Communism didn’t work.”

    alan: Beg to differ

    BPL: I estimate that Stalin was responsible for 80 million state executions, Mao for 60 million, 2 million for the Kims, and perhaps a million for Mengistu Haili Mariam and Fidel Castro put together. It didn’t “work” for the victims. Sure, communism made industrial nations out of agricultural nations, but I don’t think the price was worth paying. There were other ways to develop. The Communists used sheer brute force, and some of us don’t view that as a respectable way to behave.

  23. 273

    a: when “market reforms” (recrudescent capitalism) were forced on Russia in the 1990s, social pathology came back with a vengeance; alcoholism, suicide and disease soared; life expectancy plunged shockingly, etc.

    BPL: Ask someone who actually lived there. Those pathologies were already present. They didn’t suddenly come back because the Russians freed up some farmland.

  24. 274

    alan keeps babbling on: Communism certainly did NOT work for the wealthy oligarchs, the plutocrats, the greedy psychopaths whose mission in life seems to be consolidation of wealth and power at the expense of everyone and everything, not least the planet itself. It didn’t work for THEM worth a darn. Are you sad?

    BPL: I’m sad for the 5-7 million who died in the Holodomor, the 9 million who died in mass transportation of whole ethnic groups to Siberia by cattle car during World War II, the 19 million killed in the purges, and the tens of millions who died in the GULAG, including relatives of mine. If you defend Stalin, in my mind you are no better than someone who defends Hitler–and for the same reason. As a woman said who had been in Hitler’s camps _and_ the GULAG, “Weisst du, Stalin, das ist Hitler plus Asien.”

  25. 275

    zebra 268: Humans are monkeys. If you can’t accept that, you belong with the Creationists and other science deniers.

    BPL: Humans are not monkeys. Monkeys have tails, and other genetic and morphological differences that make them very far from human. If you want to say monkeys and humans evolved from a common ancestor, fine, I agree. But to call humans monkeys–and then assert that anyone who disagrees is a Creationist–is a major logic fail. To be precise, it’s the fallacy of bifurcation, or the unnecessary either-or choice.

  26. 276
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @ 268, we seem to see this much the same. Humans are indeed monkeys and status conscious. Leaders and followers. This can be modified, but not instantly changed. I think we have to work with human nature and knock off the rough edges.

    Revolutionary idealist ideas have their place, but need testing, like various countries are trialing a universal basic income. You don’t want to rush into full scale massive reform that could backfire like communism.

    However one thing you said. “You also wrongly conflate “capitalism” with resource extraction/consumption.”

    Capitalism is pretty tied to resource extraction consumption in a historical sense. Private capital, profit motives, desire for market dominance are all features of capitalism in a loose historical sense, and all lead to maximum resource extraction.

    But these things can all be reduced / controlled with market rules and boundaries and standing up against excessive monopoly power. This is intelligent capitalism. Or capitalism with a human face.The world has to learn this or face some rather grim alternatives of economic breakdown and chaos, revolution by a disgruntled public, or serious environmental disasters.

  27. 277
    nigelj says:

    Just to keep Barton P Levenson happy, humans have some “similar” characteristics to monkeys, like hierarchies etc.

  28. 278
    Nemesis says:

    @zebra, #266

    “Humans are monkeys. If you can’t accept that, you belong with the Creationists and other science deniers… You view these issues from a position of privilege… Try broadening your horizons with a little more education, so your can be less like a monkey.”

    Well, is that ad hominem or just your way to educate monkeys? I tell you about my “privileged position”:

    I was born in the monkey ghetto and I still live there, uh uh. So I always love to get some education from some higher beings like you. Just go on, I am starting to be amused, in some sense, so please, go on…

  29. 279
    Nemesis says:

    I saw human beings on planet earth, but zebra said “monkeys”.

    Will the monkeys in chief save the planet of apes? Sure, because they are well educated monkeys, unlike me, I am just an uneducated ghetto monkey, but zebra and the well educated monkeys in chief will Save The Planet Of Apes…

    Don’t miss the next episode on Real Climate, uh uh!

  30. 280
    Nemesis says:

    Now I got it, bling!:

    It’s all monkey business.

    Thanks, zebra, makes perfekt sense.

  31. 281
    Scott Strough says:

    Zebra,
    So census stats are propaganda?
    https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/
    Billions in subsidies are propaganda?
    https://www.obpa.usda.gov/budsum/fy17budsum.pdf
    Buffer stock schemes are propaganda?
    https://www.rma.usda.gov/policies/2017policy.html
    The land degradation is propaganda?
    https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/use/?cid=nrcs142p2_054028

    Every last thing I said about the USDA is what the USDA says about itself. In fact every one of those policies, though obscenely destructive taken in the long term, each had strong advocacy at one point in time for why it should be considered beneficial to manipulate agriculture in this way. And the fact there is still a corn glut many times larger than even possible for every man woman and child on the planet to possibly eat is still used as an argument to continue these destructive policies. Don’t confuse your own personal naivety with me attempting to propagandize. I simply stated what the playing field is right now.

    Furthermore, I also am not playing the victim here either, I am simply explaining why it will be free to change policies. This requires no costly subsidies to sequester carbon in the soil and mitigate global warming because the billions in subsidies right now are specifically designed in such a way promote types of agriculture that cause AGW. So we don’t need to promote regenerative ag, just stop promoting industrialized ag. The market will quickly adjust to the most efficient and economically sound models of production. So this 1/2 of the mitigation problem should actually yield net profits, not costs.

    And no Zebra, this is not the website or format to debate real time. Posts are moderated and delayed by days. A real time discussion can’t be made here.

  32. 282
    Nemesis says:

    @zebra

    ““Humans are monkeys. If you can’t accept that, you belong with the Creationists and other science deniers… ”

    You write my name and “creationist” in one senctence? That really hurts my sinister soul, because creationists are christians, but I am no christian, I am an Anarchist and Nonebeliever. Listen:

    I said, capitalism is rooted in christianity, wich is rooted in Rome. Do you know that guy?:

    http://www.coinarchives.com/0a03d78c978b0a4e12bc2a3f5faa4078/img/kunker/193/image00490.jpg

    https://divusjulius.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/liberalia2010/

    This is Julius Caesar, the roman emperor, cruzifed on a piece of metal, a coin, sweet money :-) I love that coin, it speaks a lot, about christian religion and money, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. It shows the blueprint for sweet baby jesus, the later jesus christ, who was also cruzified, but on wood, not on metal, as I was told. Now, what about capitalism? In short:

    “It was the church more than any other agency… that put in place what Weber called the preconditions of capitalism: the rule of law and a bureaucracy for resolving disputes rationally; a specialized and mobile labor force; the institutional permanence that allows for transgenerational investment and sustained intellectual and physical efforts, together with the accumulation of long-term capital; and a zest for discovery, enterprise, wealth creation, and new undertakings.”

    https://acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-10-number-3/how-christianity-created-capitalism

    You can’t study capitalism without studing christianity and vice versa.

    “Put God to work for you and maximize your potential in our divinely ordered capitalist system.”

    — Norman Vincent Peale ( Norman Vincent Peale (May 31, 1898 – December 24, 1993) was an American minister and author known for his work in popularizing the concept of positive thinking… – Source: wiki)

    We got lots and lots of positive thinking, so I can’t wait to see god’s capitalist monkey business fulfilled.

    Sincerely yours,
    Nemesis

  33. 283
    Andrew says:

    Re: #252 Nemesis

    “Let me say it again in one single sentence:

    No chance, to change climatical/ecological politics without changing the economical system and vice versa, no way. Monetary profit is not sustainable.”

    I count two sentences there.

    Also, that seems childish and slightly hypocrite. “I demand that capitalism be replaced by something else before I take action to mitigate climate change, and before I recognize that others are taking such action. And yes, I live (and earn a living or depend on somebody who does) in a capitalist country and am using a computer manufactured by the capitalist system, just like anybody else I am communicating with.”

    Not very effective. Do you expect to be taken seriously?

  34. 284
    zebra says:

    Nigelj 276,

    It is just as necessary that we agree on terminology in discussing these issues as it is in doing climate science. Money, debt, growth, capitalism, free markets, and so on… if these are just thrown around rhetorically, the discussion is empty. So, I am trying to get to some clarification.

    In my understanding, if the society operates on the assumption that paper money denotes value, and can be exchanged for value, that is sufficient to have “capitalism”, because one can accumulate wealth, and “invest” it in the hope of increasing it.

    It is possible for this to happen within the realm of labor exchange, where you save money earned by labor and then become an employer, profiting from the difference between what the employee earns and what the business takes in. “Capital” in this case is a means of including the time axis in the market, as opposed to being constrained to contemporaneous barter.

    I pay you a little less now so you can eat, but it is less than you could earn directly from the customer if you didn’t need the money right away. I “profit” from that difference.

    My point, obviously, is that this doesn’t require resource extraction/consumption, and there is no resource ownership, which is the real issue, involved.

    I have to go to work at this point but I will expand on this later or respond to your response depending on how the moderation goes.

  35. 285
    alan2102 says:

    zebra #268:
    “Humans are monkeys … it is in our nature to be concerned about our status within the group, and it is in our nature to be comfortable in a hierarchical structure, and it is in our nature to treat other groups as “lesser””

    Read Kropotkin, Mutual Aid. And other works along the same lines. It is dangerous to rush to conclusions about “human nature”.

    https://anarchistnews.org/content/kropotkins-mutual-aid-introduction
    “Kropotkin’s work must be seen…as an attempt to refute, with hard evidence, the cultural assumptions at the heart of the Darwinism of his day. In its most extreme form, this became “Social Darwinism” which (like much of sociobiology today) proceeds by first projecting the dominant ideas of current society onto nature (often unconsciously, so that scientists mistakenly consider the ideas in question as both “normal” and “natural”). Anarchist Murray Bookchin referred to this as “the subtle projection of historically conditioned human values” onto nature rather than “scientific objectivity.” Then the theories of nature produced in this manner are transferred back onto society and history, being used to “prove” that the principles of capitalism (hierarchy, authority, competition, etc.) are eternal laws, which are then appealed to as a justification for the status quo! “What this procedure does accomplish,” noted Bookchin, “is reinforce human social hierarchies by justifying the command of men and women as innate features of the ‘natural order.’ Human domination is thereby transcribed into the genetic code as biologically immutable.” Amazingly, there are many supposedly intelligent people who take this sleight-of-hand seriously.”

  36. 286
    zebra says:

    Continuing my comment responding to Nigelj 276:

    The point is that “free” (competitive, internalized) markets are aided by capitalism (wealth operating in the time domain) in optimizing the use of resources. We could not have applied science and “research and development” if there were no investment funding, for example. And even “pure” research depends on accumulated wealth.

    So, I object to this false equivalence between Elon Musk and the Koch brothers that some here claim when I say we have a choice between the two paradigms.

    When people talk about “growth” in a finite resource environment, it is usually something of a circular claim. What exactly is the metric by which you measure growth? Why does it have to depend on finite resources? Who says it has to be “more of the same”?

    I don’t think you and I are really in disagreement here; I’m just trying as always to challenge the co-opting of language and framing by the usual and unusual suspects.

  37. 287
    zebra says:

    alan2102 285,

    I am disappointed that you engage in a strawman with a cherry-picked quote. What you left out:

    That’s because it is in our nature to be concerned about our status within the group, and it is in our nature to be comfortable in a hierarchical structure, and it is in our nature to treat other groups as “lesser”. Those are potentials we all have at birth, because we are monkeys.

    Can we transcend those innate characteristics to some degree? Sure, but it takes a lot of spiritual/social work,

    .

    This is science, current science, not the product of the vast conspiracy fantasy you reference.

    Whether someone grows up to be an archetypal Authoritarian Personality is determined by nurture, not nature, to be sure. But the potential is there in all of us, and it develops to one degree or another.

    Also, it is nonsensical to suggest that the elements don’t exist in nature; our very close relatives, chimpanzees,

    -have wealth inequity: Alpha gets the choice of food and females and grooming
    -have a pecking order: the classic corporate kiss-up kick-down
    -hoard resources (territory)
    -see those with a different group identity as “less than” to the extent that they will commit genocide…

    and all this without the influence of Giant Corporations, or The Elders of Zion, or evil Fiat Currency.

    The fault, as they say, lies in ourselves (and our parents, and schools, and chance experiences.) Anarchists are no less monkeys than anyone else; they have their group identity, and they have their internal status competitions, just like the suits.

  38. 288
    Nemesis says:

    @BPL, #271

    ” N: Adam Smith and such were religious, christian people and they based their money-“science” on faith, not on reason.

    BPL: I take it you’ve never actually read Smith.”

    Well, have you? Adam Smith founded his economics on “The Invisible Hand of the Great Architekt”. Now, who could that be? Let’s see, what Smith wrote in his own words:

    ” The administration of the great system of the universe, however, the care of the universal happiness of all rational and sensible beings, is the business of God and not of man. To man is allotted a much humbler department, but one much more suitable to the weakness of his powers, and to the narrowness of his comprehension; the care of his own happiness, of that of his family, his friends, his country: that he is occupied in contemplating the more sublime, can never be an excuse for his neglecting the more humble department.”

    Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

    ” The rich … consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species. When Providence divided the earth among a few lordly masters, it neither forgot nor abandoned those who seemed to have been left out in the partition. These last too enjoy their share of all that it produces. In what constitutes the real happiness of human life, they are in no respect inferior to those who would seem so much above them. In ease of body and peace of mind, all the different ranks of life are nearly upon a level, and the beggar, who suns himself by the side of the highway, possesses that security which kings are fighting for.”

    Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

    Sweet, enlightening words of providence, rich and poor and “the invisible hand of the Great Architect/Director”. Make of it, what ever you prefer. If you are interested in the religious background of Adam Smith and his economics, go here eg:

    https://www.ac.edu.au/news/school-professional-studies-news/2013/nov/07/theology-of-adam-smith-part-i/

  39. 289
    Nemesis says:

    @Andrew, #283

    “Re: #252 Nemesis

    “Let me say it again in one single sentence:

    No chance, to change climatical/ecological politics without changing the economical system and vice versa, no way. Monetary profit is not sustainable.”

    I count two sentences there.”

    Oh thank you so much, because I have learned how to count up to 2 now, thanks to you, education me in mathematics!

  40. 290
    Nemesis says:

    @Alan2102, #285

    Great, enlightening comment! Thanks a lot for pointing to Kropotkin and thank you very much for the quote, summing up things perfectly!

  41. 291
    Mal Adapted says:

    alan201:

    It is dangerous to rush to conclusions about “human nature”.

    That’s hardly controversial, but your source for the following loses all credibility at the outset:

    Darwinism” which (like much of sociobiology today) proceeds by first projecting the dominant ideas of current society onto nature (often unconsciously, so that scientists mistakenly consider the ideas in question as both “normal” and “natural”).

    …as that is an absurd strawman caricature of ‘sociobiology’, and the cited opinions of Murray Bookchin are pure post-modern deconstructionism, nothing but omphaloskepsis. Bookchin leaves no room for anything at all to be empirically verifiable, thus making impossible technology, scientific medicine, and other phenomena like ‘Green Revolutions’ that have dramatically visible consequences for Earth’s human population. I refute it thus!

    While scientists may resolve not to fool themselves, we all know (hoo boy) how hard that is, and that we are not always successful. Be that as it may, the only thing that gives Science its epistemic authority is that it’s demonstrably not all in our heads! Contra Nemesis, I’m afraid alan2012’s comment leaves us knowing less than we did before he made it.

  42. 292
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @284

    Yes I agree clear definitions are incredibly important. Take a term like neoliberalism and nobody agrees what it means. This is where the trouble starts.

    “In my understanding, if the society operates on the assumption that paper money denotes value, and can be exchanged for value, that is sufficient to have “capitalism”, because one can accumulate wealth, and “invest” it in the hope of increasing it.”

    But communist societies also have paper money. Paper money is very useful to capitalism but not a defining factor. It would however be very hard going without paper money.

    I think I go with the traditional sort of definition of capitalism as in private ownership, freedom to invest, etc. In fact you are basically right in emphasising freedom to invest is a key component of capitalism. I don’t think its sufficient by itself but its a huge key component.

    “It is possible for this to happen within the realm of labor exchange,….”

    Yes I’m finding everything following this hard to understand. And I know its a time thing so not blaming you.

    However I do agree capitalism definitely doesn’t have to require resource extraction. I was merely noting it has been the result in the past.

  43. 293
    nigelj says:

    Alan 2012 @285

    Fair comments. In fact human and ape societies both have evidence of both competitive, hierarchical behaviour, and more cooperative, egalitarian behaviour. It’s complicated. Evolution is messy.

    Just bought an interesting book on human behaviour, “Behave, by Robert Sapolsky, the biology of humans at our best and worst”.

  44. 294
    Mal Adapted says:

    Anticipating a fair criticism of my previous comment, I recommend Reinventing Nature: Responses To Postmodern Deconstruction, 1995, edited by Michael E. Soulé and Gary Lease, published by Island Press.

    I couldn’t quite remember the title, so I just spent 20 minutes fruitlessly searching for my copy, then resorted to looking up some keywords I remembered on the web. I’m now contemplating leaving all my bound books in my current house the next time I move 8^(.

  45. 295
    Thomas says:

    Following comments on EV and batteries, Taiwan scientists have perhaps made a significant breakthrough in Battery science/technology. I think this emphasizes how difficult it is for people to keep “up-to-date” with new science based developments that may make a huge positive contribution to agw/cc/energy issues if able to be deployed globally. eg hardly anyone pays attention to the ABC Radio Science Show … These links go to audio reports.

    22 July 2017 Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute, or ITRI where research is producing promising results in new lighting, carbon dioxide capture from the production of cement, and new battery technologies. Their batteries use aluminium (and Graphite) rather than lithium, offering a range of advantages.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/promising-results-from-new-taiwanese-energy-technologies/8731076

    Alt approach – But a new development — tiny internal pulleys inside batteries — could revolutionise both electronics and transport.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/science-with-chris-smith:-battery-life/8730266

  46. 296
    Thomas says:

    285 alan2102 and humans are monkeys …. fwiw Jane Goodall always rolls her eyes when people try to compare human norms with apes social norms etc etc etc. I think I’m right to put her views as “totally different” and “incomparable”.

  47. 297
    Thomas says:

    “276 nigelj says: 21 Jul 2017 at 4:58 PM
    Zebra @ 268, we seem to see this much the same. Humans are indeed monkeys and status conscious. Leaders and followers.”

    Guys please, do check back in with logical fallacy basics. Bees are status conscious, have leaders and followers and ‘lazy males’ too. As do ants. Lions. Jackals. Feral Dogs. :)

    Dig down into BPLs tip and the creationists faux comparison – “To be precise, it’s the fallacy of bifurcation, or the unnecessary either-or choice.”
    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/94/False-Dilemma

    I think you’re doing a thelma and louise. :-)

  48. 298
    Thomas says:

    282 Nemesis still on a roll. :-)
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/06/nyregion/donald-trump-marble-collegiate-church-norman-vincent-peale.html

    and history
    https://www.challies.com/articles/the-false-teachers-norman-vincent-peale/

    The history of money, lending, usury, ‘the catholic church’ as well the religious splits of Protestantism and the latter new thought / puritan overtones primarily evolving across US history and culture is a fascinating subject. Norman Vincent Peale was indeed a player and political activist like so many others of his ilk. Such things are deeply embedded (and yet mostly unrecognised) in western/US cultures and world views.

    It’s a long bow to draw a connection, but imho there are profound connections between modern day agw/cc denials, the US based political shenanigans and religious cultures that formed those hard set “world views”.

    eg. Is there an atheist/agnostic CC denier to be found anywhere in public or in politics?

  49. 299
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @97, ok I admit “humans are monkeys” was a poor analogy or generalisation, but the obvious point was humans are hardwired with certain tendencies, like hierachies and pecking orders the same a animals. We also both have deep seated egalitarian tendencies.

    This has all evolved within us at a genetic level to some extent, a combination of nature / nurture and cultural memes. Evolution is messy.

    You cant just turn these things on or off. They can probably be slowly modified. I would hope we emphasise the egalitarian instinct a little.

    This is all pertinent to possible strategies on climate change. Some things are possible given human nature, some much harder going.

  50. 300
    Nemesis says:

    ” Humans are indeed monkeys”

    Com on, that’s a complete contradictio in adiecto. You might say “monkeys are monkeys” or “humans are humans”, but you get into big trouble, saying “humans are monkeys” or saying “monkeys are humans” or “chairs are tables” or “flowers are tress” ect. Just say:

    WE ARE MONKEYS and I am ready to agree.

    What do you mean by “human” anyway? Do we need that at all? Let’s get rid of it. If a chimpanzee would ask you, what you are, what what would you answer? That you are a human monkey or a monkeyish human or what? Com on. Btw:

    Does a monkey know, that he is a monkey?