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Unforced variations: Nov 2017

Filed under: — group @ 4 November 2017

This month’s open thread. Lawsuits about scientific disputes, the new Climate Science Special Report from the National Climate Assessment, and (imminently) the WMO State of the Climate statement for 2017.

342 Responses to “Unforced variations: Nov 2017”

  1. 301
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA,
    Your response is quite telling. Nowhere did I mention capitalism. YOU merely assume that because I point out flaws in our current economic system that I oppose markets, private ownership… I do not. However, I am not a great fan of -isms of any kind. Human institutions are flawed. They require vigilance and correction. In this view, I am no different from Adam Smith.

    The problem with capitalism is that the capital owning class has a vested interest in ensuring that technology does not advance sufficiently that it overtakes their capital and renders it worthless. This is not conducive to a healthy economy or society in the long run.
    The capital-owning class also has an incentive to pay as little into the maintenance of infrastructure as possible, transferring the burden onto the backs of workers (look no further than the tax bills advancing in Congress for an example). Similarly, if one can transfer the burden of externalities (e.g. pollution, depletion of finite resources) to someone else that increases your profits…at least until the system crashes.
    Gross inequality of wealth and income are just fine for the 0.01%, but it distorts the economy to the point where it doesn’t provide for the needs of significant proportions of the population.
    And for the capital owning class, automation is an advantage–no more pesky workers to pay and deal with. However, the workers might feel differently.

    Any -ism requires a corrective mechanism that can operate outside of the system.

    One could argue that the antebellum American South was a quintessential capitalist society. Kind of gives a new meaning to the term “human capital”.

  2. 302
    nigelj says:

    Killian @286

    “humanity used to live like that sharing and no private property”

    “You’re not paying attention. Sustainable societies never stopped. They still exist.”

    Yes a few still exist, hunter gatherers in the Amazon, Borneo, northern siberia, eskimo culture, etc. We all watch nature documentaries on these people Killian.

    The reason they are “sustainable” is small numbers, and low population density so they have negligible environmental impacts. Hunting bows and arrows and planting a few root crops have few environmental impacts.

    Killian the planet has a population of 7.6 billion. How do you seriously expect us to live like these cultures? Especially as you have specifically stated “you do not think population is much of a problem”?

    Go and become a hunter gatherer if you want. But in my experience idealists like you never walk the walk. Prove me wrong.

    You want to “simplify” although you never explain what this means or give examples. You never explain or list any of your much promoted “principles” and how they might apply to specific scenarios.

    I will explain my version of “simplify”: 1) deal with the climate problem with renewable energy etc 2)Better environmental laws 3) Reduce pollution 4) Reduce consumption a bit, and be less selfish and materialistic, but without causing more poverty or going back to peasant style culture 5) Reduce rates of population growth. This is a simple 5 point plan that will get humanity on the right path.

  3. 303
    nigelj says:

    Just a further comment on private versus collective ownership models (whether community, public, state etc). This is from both an environmental and economic perspective.

    The soviet union tried collective ownership on massive scale (state run) and the thing worked well for some decades but failed and stagnated. Part of the problem was dictatorial government that became lazy and unaccountable for the enterprises it organised.

    These collective factories and farms wrecked the environment as the state just didnt care and being a dictatorship couldn’t be held accountable by the public.

    However even collective, public or state ownership in democracies does run into problems. People do not always take care of property they don’t own, they become lazy, and state owned enterprises are sometimes inefficient. We all know the problems. Private ownership and competition counters these problems.

    Even “worker cooperatives” and the like run into problems. Its the bad human nature that lets these things down especially when organisations become large and anonymous.

    Where state owned enterprises and “public” ownership make sense is where its something clearly needed that the private sector doesn’t want to do, or maybe lacks capital, or where you want to ensure there’s easy access to services. There is a good economic and social case for public ownership of some assets, and successful examples are everywhere. State run healthcare works ok, partly because people involved are dedicated and passionate, something not as likely in large collective farms or factories.

    I’m not entirely convinced ownership is the real issue. I actually have no objection to various peoples ideas on collective ownership if they want to try them.It comes down to optimising the behaviour of groups of people whatever the ownership structure, which requires good management, good knowledge, rules, boundaries and laws. This doesn’t change regardless of the ownership structure.

    However its also interesting that mixed ownership models have often worked well overall, with evidence from northern europe.

  4. 304
    Mal Adapted says:

    Kevin McKinney:

    We seem all to be implicitly agreeing with Killian that “scale matters.”

    Perhaps our agreement was implicit (until your comment) because “scale matters” is a cosmic truism.

  5. 305
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA, carbon fee and dividend is not perfect, but is still a great idea overall. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    The price signal of higher petrol costs will be powerful, and I suggest would make millions consider electric cars. Granted, some of the money is likely to go into into booze or petrol, but fee and dividend will still push things in the right direction overall.

    Not all the dividend has to go back to the consumer, as some could subsidise renewable energy. The main issue is its still “revenue neutral” and can be arranged so it doesn’t go into the black hole of general government spending

    The point is do you have a better plan? Sceptics have attacked cap and trade, more simplistic carbon taxes that put all the tax back to government. Sceptics are never satisfied, but never present a workable idea of their own.

    We are governed by psychology, laws of economics. People are unlikely to buy electric cars if they are expensive, apart from a few enthusiastic greenies. Subsidise these cars just a little, and provide recharging stations, and the picture changes considerably.Remember the NASA space mission and satellite programme started with public money and is basically a government agency. Subsidies are sometimes appropriate.

  6. 306

    Nigel, #296–

    “Scale matters, but possibly not in the way Killian and yourself entirely think. Smaller farms with local or family ownership do appear more efficient, with even the UN promoting these. This is as opposed to huge farms with anonymous pension fund types of owners.”

    I don’t think Killian and I are necessarily on the same page about all the ‘hows’ of scale. I only observe that all of us seem to think that it is necessary to consider, even if there is debate about just how to interpret its impact upon sustainability.

    What I think I’ve heard Killian say on this–and this is my own interpretation in my own words, so I may receive correction–is that it is best to decide what I will here call ‘policy’ on the lowest possible spatial scale consistent with adequate management of the resource. That means that you can’t, for (fictional and slightly ludicrous but hopefully useful) example, have the city of Toledo, OH, deciding policy for the Great Lakes watershed as a whole.

    I suspect that this is a sound principle, but it is true that scale affects different parameters in different ways.

  7. 307
    Killian says:

    #298 nigelj craps his pants, saying Killian @287

    “#256 nigelStrawMan said Private ownership means people take care of resources better.”

    “Does he really think the U.S. has produced anywhere from 20% to 50% of the worlds’s resources?”Does he really believe the OECD doesn’t live off the lifeblood of the rest of the world? Does he really believe the OECD, and especially the U.S., has not off-shored the costs, all types, of our massive consumption?”

    So Killian accuses me of making a strawman argument

    There was no straw man claim in that quote.

    by my pointing out a simple fact totally relevant to the issues he raised.

    You never do this. You are the single least useful poster here. Why you are not banned is beyond me.

    He then seems to doubt the USA has huge economic output.

    Nothing I wrote comes close to this. I said the opposite: The U.S. strips the world of resources, using 4 – 5 times it’s population size would be fairly alotted. Huge production is huge consumption and huge waste, genius.

    He the changes subject to some bizarre statement about America using imported materials a huge “straw man”

    Jesus… Decompensating, I think. You use resources incorrectly, but even the way you use it requires the awareness that all goods, all things, come from the planet. There is nothing more relevant to “taking care of” resources than the effects on the planet and people of using them.

    That you see no connection says so much.

    of his own and utterly irrelevant to working out whether private ownership is more or less efficient than collective ownership.

    You went from “uses resources better” to efficiency, but I changed the subject by pointing out the full consumption process and results… of resources… not possessions? Hypocrite, or just that unintelligent? Hard to tell. Both, I suppose.

    Also ignoring that the USA export a lot of raw materials.

    Ignored? Really? Conclusion arrived at by what statement I made?

    He then says MY posts should be in borehole.

    This latest more than any other.

    I’m a critic of capitalism

    You are an apologist of it, and completely befuddled about it.

    demented ranting fool.

    Three more words you do not understand.

    so insulting

    Lying, misleading, name-calling, Straw Manning…. hypocrite. Get this: Citing your behavior for what it is is not an insult.

    eventually push everyone else down to their own sordid creepy level.

    You have been dishonest from the beginning. You needed no push.

    You area unintelligent, straight up. You have lied over and over, yet talk about issues of character. You argue purely by argumentation and assertion, and talk about the quality of the discussion.

    You claimed private ownership “takes care of resources” better. This is an insane claim. You might take care of your *possessions* well, but not resources. Claiming I am wrong becausdee you’re stupid is not a strong argument. The things owned by individuals start out as resources in the ground, from the planet. They come from other nations, which are most often denuded by this, despoiled by this, and the people who own those resources left poor and hungry. The U.S. uses four to five times it’s allotment of resources, creates the most waste, exports its pollution both at the beginning and end of the life cycle, yet you claim capitalism uses resources wisely.

    Disgusted with you.

  8. 308
    Killian says:

    #295 Mr. Know It All said 287 – K
    I think he means if you own a resource, you will treat that particular resource carefully. That is mostly true.

    No, it is not. Look around you. Were it true, there would not be pollution in every waterway, in the air, the ocean… everywhere. The world would not be full of plastic, the oceans full of carbon.

    Etc.

    Regardless, the context is about economic systems, capitalism, etc. Onwership guarantees nothing wtih regard to using things well, and one cannot separate local use and extraction, manufacturing, etc.

    It’s a ridiculous assertion, period.

  9. 309
    Killian says:

    #291 Ray Ladbury said Waa-waa-waa.

    Ray, I literally cannot remember you ever making a useful response to me. I suppose there must have been some seven or eight years ago, before The Peanut Gallery was overflowing with stupid, but, in all sincerity, i cannot remember a single one. This is no exception.

    Killian: “The answer is in the mirror. Sustainability is ultimately local.”

    Mr. KIA: “Exactly right. Everyone needs to stop saying “the government needs to do this or that”, and just do it themselves.”

    Except that we don’t live in self-sufficient little enclaves, but rather in a complex global web of commerce.

    That’s exactly why we need to steer people back to it. Capiche?

    Unless you want to go all Unabomber and eat food fertilized with your own crap, you are going to be consuming food from a grocery store

    Night soils. Look it up. More recently, humanure. And, yes, a necessary cycle that must be restored. More long term for most, stores, yes. Grocery stores like today are unsustainable and either they go or we do. You’re the one needing to deal with reality.

    fuel from a gas station (or wall outlet)

    Or, we create walkable communities and forego both, for the most part.

    Etc.

    You see, Ray, the discussion is not about greenwashing the present, but about building a different future. Catch up to the conversation.

    The problem is that the economy as it exists now…

    …is not the economy we will be living in. Keep up.

    doesn’t even provide an option to live sustainably–and the overwhelming majority of people will continue to consume as part of that economy.

    Cute trick once society crashes and everyone goes extinct from… not changing society to a sustainable mode.

    Moreover, there is no way a society of unabombers is going to produce enough food, etc. to sustain a population of 10 billion humans around mid century.

    False. True organic, i.e. regenerative, i.e. permaculture-based food production is equal to chem in production and exceeds chem in stressed conditions such as drought or saturation. We can produce at least enough for 12 billion regeneratively.

    Congratulations. You’ve solved the problem for a world that does not exist

    Actually, we have solved the problems of the current world, which are the elements of the future sustainable society we can, and must, create.

    But, Dear Ray, we already know we live in this society, so you have added exactly nothing to the conversation but rudeness.

    Your sarcasm is neither warranted nor useful.

  10. 310
    Killian says:

    #284 Barton Paul Levenson said KIA 273: Everyone needs to stop saying “the government needs to do this or that”, and just do it themselves.

    BPL: Right, you guys. Stop burning coal in 1-2 GWe electric power plants, and stop refining gasoline from oil. I know you’ve all got a refinery complex and a coal-fired power plant!

    See response to Ray. Same-same.

  11. 311
    Killian says:

    #297 nigelj said Ray Ladbury @291, exactly, I have told Killian this myself

    Which must make it so, I guess.

    We live in a complex society. Even if he is right in small, low tech, and local such a transition could take centuries

    Because you say so. Please explain how just stopping myriad unsustainable behaviors would somehow take centuries? Are you familiar with collapse in any way whatsoever? How about the Seneca Cliff? More importantly, just stop. How does that take centuries?

    What do we *need*? Water, food, stable body temp. You have so many gaps in your knowledge, awareness, understanding, analytical skills… It’s difficult to explain to you how many different ways you are wrong. How does it take centuries to develop a healthy garden, capture and store water? Your ignorance is vast.

    and is not of much use in resolving the big climate change threat.

    The only way to solve climate and avoid uncontrolled simplification is not much use in… solving climate and managing collapse?

    Oh, right. You said so.

    It also just doesn’t matter whether we conserve resources or not, because we will still use them up.

    Straw Man. Who said conserve? Sustainable means sustainable, and no system that uses up its resources is sustainable, so, no, we won’t “use them up.” You might. Your world might. A healthy one will not.

    We might as well use lithium for batteries, there’s no point leaving it in the ground.

    Too dumb to respond to.

    Then eventually we will recycle what we have

    Recycling uses resources. It does not solve the problem.

    and already we have the possibility of aluminium batteries as well.

    They don’t exist, but let’s count on them because… they mgiht exist and… aluminum is also finite, so no problem because in nigeljland, no resource is precious and all can be consumed as one wishes because… gosh, it’s there in the ground and… why leave it there!

    Of course we must reduce the huge levels of demand implicit in an exploding population by reducing rates of growth.

    LOL… still doesn’t understand growth. Oh, my. nigelj, my dearfriend, trusted colleague, master designer, exemplary economist, designer extraordinaire, let’s talk exponential function. Rule of 72, specifically. Aluminum up the ying-yang! Batteries forever!!! (We will conveniently not mention aluminum is not the only element in a battery, nor that the production process and waste are quite toxic.)

    Bauxite (source of aliminum oxide)

    We have less than 28 billion tons.
    In 2015 we extracted 274 million tons.
    In 2006 we extracted 221 million tons.
    Works out to a rough growth rate of 1.94%/yr.
    70/2.44 = @ 36 year doubling time.

    In @ 2051 we would be using @ 518 million tons a year. We would have consumed *all* bauxite @ 2070.

    Of course, in nigeljland none of this matters…

    You can repeat this little experiment with any non-renewable resource. This one little piece of information should be one of your most important tools, yet, I doubt you’ve ever made such a calculation WRT climate and resources.

    So, as I say, you understand little, but speak much. Reverse this and you might come to understand things as they actually are.

    We may also have to accept lower gdp growth, and it may not be a bad thing.

    May? Among those that understand climate and resources, this is not debated. In fact, that GDP is a ridiculous, meaningless measure is not debated.

    There is no may, only have to. You should understand this already, but…

  12. 312
    nigelj says:

    Killian @307, posts his usual page of ad hominems, personal abuse, denial , nonsense, fact free rhetoric, negativity, and delusions.

    One comment I must make:

    Nigelj “I’m a critic of capitalism”

    Killian “You are an apologist of it, and completely befuddled about it.”

    This response by Killian is just a complete lie, plain and simple. For example, just a few posts back I agreed with Nemesis lengthy critique of capitalism. I have made numerous criticisms of capitalist system on this website including in response to Killian.

    Just because I don’t utterly condemn capitalism, Killian thinks I’m an apologist. This is the same nonsense where people who don’t utterly condemn socialism, are called apologists for it.

    One can support an idea in part or in principle, and criticise aspects of the idea and implementation. This does not make you an apologist.

    I support the basic ideas of capitalism if you take standards definition as private ownership (private ownership of most things, because most capitalist countries also have some public ownership, which is fine and desirable). Private property and competition generates innovation and has some real benefits.

    I certainly don’t agree that capitalism is perfect, or gives people a right to pollute, or do anything they like as some appear to think, or that markets can be free of all controls. I do not like aspects of finance capitalism (the book other peoples money is relevant) and I do not like the behaviour of the banking sector related to the global financial crash. I also don’t think we can continue with the profit motive as the only, or main goal of corporate behaviour, it needs more layers. I have said some of these things already to Killian, and yet he calls me an apologist. Its just such crap.

  13. 313
    Mr. Know It All says:

    305 – nigelj

    “The point is do you have a better plan? Sceptics have attacked cap and trade, more simplistic carbon taxes that put all the tax back to government. Sceptics are never satisfied, but never present a workable idea of their own.”

    I do have a better plan. How is it better? It can be implemented within days from today – timing of CO2 reductions, we are told, is important, right? It requires no government involvement, no new taxes. It only involves the mirror. You know what to do. Stop using FFs. If all believers will do that, then mike’s daily CO2 readings will show a reduced rate of increase fairly quickly. Am I wrong? The problem with my plan? It requires you to make the lifestyle changes you want everyone else to make, but have not made yourself. That’s hard. It’s easier to blame others for the problem. Take out a loan from the 401K, install solar PV to run your home and charge your car – there may be subsidies for that. Can’t do that? Trade your FF car in for an electric one, or ride a bike or take public transport. No more big-screen TV or other power wasters. These aren’t particularly hard things to do, but change is hard. Buy food from a local farm co-op, if you have a yard, plant a garden, stop eating meat, turn down the T-stat, etc……..

  14. 314
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @306

    “is that it is best to decide what I will here call ‘policy’ on the lowest possible spatial scale consistent with adequate management of the resource. That means that you can’t, for (fictional and slightly ludicrous but hopefully useful) example, have the city of Toledo, OH, deciding policy for the Great Lakes watershed as a whole.”

    Broadly yes, but it depends what is meant by policy. In general local communities should decide local things. (I think killian says this)

    However policy has consequences that can be negative, and this is where regulations and laws come into being to deal with externalities and problems, and you also have also legal court processes. Should these be decided locally or at central government level? We in NZ currently have a nightmare system of fragmented local rules on water purity and fines and penalties, that isn’t working, and its being changed to a nationwide standard system. This appears sensible even although it removes a degree of local power.

    Local policy often affects many neighbours, and this inevitably leads to either complex agreements, or a need for a central power to resolve issues.

    I think its a tough issue to generalise about and some policy, and regulatory control systems seem to suit being a local responsibility, and some appear to suit more central or federal level control. It just cannot workably be all local, or all central because this just often doesn’t make sense. I hope this is all what you were concerned about. I live in NZ, but notice this issues in the war between whether the EPA should decide environmental policy or the states, or more local bodies. I’m not sure it can all be one or the other, or that there’s a simple answer much as we all probably wish there was. It’s better to do whats pragmatic in specific cases, central or local as appropriate. There will always be a tension between central and local responsibilities, but if you look at things practically rather than ideologically with too much paranoia about big government, the most sensible course of action is usually clear. Basically I think local is desirable as a general rule, but central is needed for some things. Structures of western society do seem to broadly follow this. Its a difficult balance to get right, but its possible, and civilisation building was never meant to be easy.

  15. 315
    patrick says:

    @295 Mr. Know It All > …a good chart… That’s not about the adoption curve. That’s a pie chart from 2013, and it was already behind the curve then.

    The global exponential growth of new zero-fuel no-carbon energy supply and smart grids makes that kind of chart out of date even when it’s new. Plus it’s not global and it’s from the Institute for Energy Research. IER is a disinformation mill on climate science, and its founder is a climate disinformateur, I think. Their chart functions as a proxy for climate denialism.

    https://www.desmogblog.com/search/google/robert%20bradley

    https://www.desmogblog.com/search/google/IER

    Chart (1st link, next) from a modeler of new energy adoption, to a few thoughts of his that converge with some expressed at RC, about cognitive bias and about agent-based vs equilibrium models in predictive modeling (3rd link).

    https://twitter.com/aukehoekstra?lang=en

    https://steinbuch.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/photovoltaic-growth-reality-versus-projections-of-the-international-energy-agency/

    https://steinbuch.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/better-predictions-in-renewable-energy/

  16. 316
    zebra says:

    Mal Adapted 304:

    “…“scale matters” is a cosmic truism.”

    Except of course, for cosmic truisms, eh.

    On a more formal note, from Wolfram:

    A fractal is an object or quantity that displays self-similarity, in a somewhat technical sense, on all scales. The object need not exhibit exactly the same structure at all scales, but the same “type” of structures must appear on all scales. A plot of the quantity on a log-log graph versus scale then gives a straight line, whose slope is said to be the fractal dimension. The prototypical example for a fractal is the length of a coastline measured with different length rulers. The shorter the ruler, the longer the length measured, a paradox known as the coastline paradox.

    So, for those of us who reflexively think quantitatively, from various foundations, the geographical organization of we humans looks an awful lot like one of those pretty pictures the math generates. Big cities, small cities, towns, villages, crossroad gas stations, whatever. Different scales, similar, but not identical, organization.

    And, the seemingly paradoxical statement..

    “As population decreases globally, population density increases locally.”

    …makes perfect sense.

    So, the question people seem to want to avoid is– why not just reduce the population, globally? Killian would be happy with the outcome, as would Scott Strough and the grass-fed crowd, KIA, and Nigel as well, if they are all sincere in what they claim to be their purpose.

    Still haven’t heard why it doesn’t work.

  17. 317
    zebra says:

    Expanding on my comment a bit, since it was perhaps too brief:

    Visualize different “spaces”… economic organization, social organization, political organization, technology… superimposed on the same “map”.

    Consider how these change with the decline in the population, as humanity organizes itself within the map of the resource space.

    Everything seems to move, in my projection, in the direction y’all seem to desire.

  18. 318
    Nemesis says:

    @Mr Know it all, #295

    ” 289 – Nemesis and 291 Ray L
    What system do you propose that is better than capitalism; and can you point to a nation under that system that people are moving to by the millions, like they are here in the USA?”

    You teached me to see clearly and to appreciate capitalism. Thank you. Like I said, I can afford capitalism, I love capitalism, I love to have more, more, more of it all. Capitalism is BEST, Capitalism is the winner, it will solve all our problems once and for all soon (are there any problems at all?!) :) The US is a wonderful country with a wonderful president :) Hail capitalism and the president of the US! I just lay back and enjoy the show, as I got nothing to lose :) Let me quote the wonderful Bill Gates once again, I love it:

    ” Capitalism has worked very well. Anyone who wants to move to North Korea is welcome.”

    – Bill Gates

    Cheers,
    Nemesis

  19. 319

    K 310: See response to Ray. Same-same.

    BPL: Yes, you continue to think the only solution is regressing ourselves to land-holding peasants, and have the delusion that you could feed 12 billion people that way. Population isn’t a problem, the government doesn’t have to do anything, just reform thyself! Forgive me if, like Ray, I’m not willing to buy your delusions.

  20. 320
    Killian says:

    #306 Kevin McKinney said Nigel, #296–

    “Scale matters, but possibly not in the way Killian and yourself entirely think.”

    I don’t think Killian and I are necessarily on the same page about all the ‘hows’ of scale…

    What I think I’ve heard Killian say on this… is that it is best to decide what I will here call ‘policy’ on the lowest possible spatial scale consistent with adequate management of the resource.

    Not entirely, but essentially. There are two issues, scale and who is affected. There are issues that have effects beyond borders, of whatever scale. If, for example, you could magically turn the American Southwest into a rain forest, it would affect weather and climate globally. We know this, so we should be wise enough to consider this in the design space and invite input from around the globe where any effects can be expected, to the best of our knowledge. Some knowledge and discernment is needed.

    But, yes, most problems should be fairly easily scaled to the level most appropriate. Some will be global no matter what. Consider some rare resources. They typically occur in limited places. Should only those places have use of them? Given market economies for growth/profit are likely impossible to retain, how do these get distributed? Should they at all? This likely needs to be something discussed at a global level. But a few neighbors can take care of the tree that fell across the road in the storm the night before.

    I suspect that this is a sound principle

    I am certain of it. Solving problems for the sole purpose of solving problems by the people most directly connected to that problem, on a needs basis, thus keeping desire out of the equation, is the only way sustainability can work for this many people.

    H-G groups need huge areas to live in, but we do not have those acres available as a global people. We must be essentially sedentary in terms of the form of our civilization until population changes allow other options. nigelj made the ridiculous Straw Man assertion we cannot live like H-G’s, as if it had been suggested we adopt such a life style, but he is correct, we cannot. There is not enough room. But we can scale down. We can copy their integration with Nature; we can make decisions in an egalitarian fashion; we can live within Nature’s means; we can choose to make no person our real, or energy, or any other type of slave, nor claim the power to direct them as we we wish; we can live in small communities, connected over both short and long distances; we can choose to be content; we can choose to share; we can choose to take the time to solve problems by taking the time *needed* to solve them best, not just well enough; and we can learn to understand that every decision is ultimately an ecological, not economic, decisions.

    That last point is largely why I both laugh at and get frustrated with all the boneheaded economic discussions here. If you are not starting your economics discussion at Nature and her principles, you are wasting your time.

  21. 321

    Maladapted said: “Perhaps our agreement was implicit (until your comment) because “scale matters” is a cosmic truism.”

    Quite possibly. Pointing out the obvious seems to be part of my karmic burden.

    However, I thought it was refreshing that there was some agreement on something.

  22. 322
  23. 323
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gee, Killian, First, I wasn’t really responding to you, but rather to Mr. KIA’s taking your quote out of context. Or are you really advocating everybody disbanding, intermarrying and moving into communes?

    But hey, I’ll play. Try saying something that isn’t just flat stupid, and I’ll try to say something useful in response. Or just continue viewing the world through your colon. That’s fine too.

  24. 324
    Hank Roberts says:

    > you have added exactly nothing to the conversation but rudeness.
    > Your sarcasm is neither warranted nor useful.

    PLEASE look into installing Killfile at RC. There’s way too much of this waste of attention.
    It would be most helpful to see a return to focus on climate science, without the pontification.

    Kill file – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_file
    A kill file (also killfile, bozo bin or twit list) is a per-user file used by some Usenet reading programs to discard articles matching some unwanted patterns of subject, author, or other header lines.

  25. 325
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    Let “them” burn it. For yourself, install grid-tied PV on your roof and go net zero. If all the believers do this, many of those coal burners will go away; charge your electric cars with your own PV, and many of those refineries will go away too.

    Mr. IAT again reveals his blindness to the drama of the commons. He’s ignorant of the free rider problem: ‘believers’, that is, all who recognize that Earth’s climate is a common pool resource, might voluntarily internalize their private marginal climate-change costs, yet he has no incentive to do so. Worse, his television assures him he’s a culture-war hero, supplying additional disincentive to decarbonize his life. He and his gullible ‘liberty-loving conservative’ fellows, in their illusory epic battle against ‘green, leftist liberals’, will go on burning fossil fuels at least as long as they’re cheaper than carbon-neutral alternatives. The aggregate socialized cost of AGW will mount in direct proportion.

    Mr. IAT further appears to dismiss the role of price-sensitive demand on the supply of substitute goods in a ‘free’ market. Does he not suppose that without higher prices for fossil fuels, limited consumer demand will provide little incentive for entrepreneurs to invest in alternative supplies, prices for alternatives won’t come down, and lots of coal burners and oil refineries will remain?

    He’s already made it clear he lacks confidence in the invisible hand of the market. Implicitly deprecating the virtue of thrift, he asked why, under CF&D-BAT, consumers would be more likely to reduce their fossil fuel consumption in anticipation of a higher net dividend, especially when the spirit of competition with other consumers is added. Is he glad to pay money to everyone who emits less fossil carbon than he does? Or has it simply escaped him that giving all taxpayers the same-size dividend, at monthly or longer intervals, decouples it from the price signal?

    However Mr. IAT labels his idiosyncratic ideology, he’s demonstrably not a ‘market-oriented conservative’. OTOH, he appears fanatically determined to defend his liberty to socialize all the private cost he can get away with. Does he think the US Constitution is a suicide pact?

  26. 326
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2017/11/29/climate-scientists-watch-their-words-hoping-to-stave-off-funding-cuts/

    … many scientists find themselves in an uncomfortable position. They are caught between environmental advocates looking to recruit allies and right-wing activists who demonize researchers and denigrate their work.

    “In the scientific community, we’re very cautious people,” says Katharine Hayhoe, the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech. “We tend to be quite averse to notoriety and conflict, so I absolutely have seen self-censorship among my colleagues. [They’ll say] ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t say it that way, because whatever funding organization or politician or agency won’t appreciate it.'”

    The NSF data appears to bear out the change in language. While the number of grants with the term “climate change” in the public summary has dropped, the number of grants with the terms “environmental change” or “extreme weather” has increased slightly. That suggests that, even if research topics remain the same, the words scientists use to describe them may change.

  27. 327
    Killian says:

    Re: Fee and Dividend (Tax and Dividend is prima facie stupid) and Renewables.”

    I wrote this in 2008 or 2009 as part of a blog post looking at nuclear vs. building out massively distributed, i.e.community-based wind and solar. At the time I suggested a government subsidy, but when I later heard Hansen talk about F&D, the two ideas seemed, and still seem, a perfect fit. Make the dividend tied to building out DIY, preferably, local wind and solar and (?) locally. There are other useful points about the economic boost, re-skilling, jump starting simplification, etc., etc., if you want to read the whole piece.

    If we add to this equation lifestyle changes of reducing, recycling, reusing and localization, all the more so.

    I would argue, in fact, that meeting the localization goal is more important because it deals with the real issue: consumption. A massive localization drive could achieve partial energy autonomy for every household in the US within a period of a few years, not decades. It would have the added benefit of *requiring* lifestyle changes with concomitant savings of energy by reducing use via the renewables and behavior changes. However, if we assume we have a 5 – 10 year period before the shit really hits the fan, then the current grid supplies the backbone as the new backbone is built out. Under this scenario, deprivation may be eliminated for some or all over that initial time span.

    Additional benefits occur from the localization of the household-based energy build out. In order to achieve this, there will be flexibility needed. Economies of scale interfere if we just assign a few companies to build all the windmills, heat pumps, solar panels, retrofitting materials for homes/apartments/businesses, etc, needed. No, the key to the plan is that it be localized solutions built out by local people wherever possible. This means, for example, the scavenging of materials needed everywhere and anywhere possible, rather than the manufacture of new materials. In the cities, we would likely need to commercialize the process a bit, but hopefully only to the level of resources. I imagine a return to the days of barn raising, but with windmills, etc.

    By making this a community-based process where community solutions are customized by the community with assistance from knowledgeable locals or other reference persons/professionals, we instantly integrate the whole system into a localized whole. This might have the added benefit or reducing the need for relocation. A localized solution of this magnitude would save incredible amounts of financial resources. Those resources might be applied to some of the macro level solutions (things other than backbone) that certain communities, such as cities in the southwest dealing with water shortages, might need.

    http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.kr/2008/03/build-out-grid-vs-household-towards.html

  28. 328
    Killian says:

    #302 nigelj said Yes a few still exist, hunter gatherers in the Amazon, Borneo, northern siberia, eskimo culture, etc. We all watch nature documentaries

    Yet, you learned nothing from the only sustainably managed cultures.

    The reason they are “sustainable” is small numbers, and low population density so they have negligible environmental impacts

    Population density alone does not create sustainability, so, again, you are incorrect. “A” reason they are sustainable is population. Do you think that is a default setting? H-G’s just have less sex? Sustainability is never accidental. Any system at virtually any density is unsustainable unless well managed.

    Hunting bows and arrows and planting a few root crops have few environmental impacts.

    Guess I missed that principle. Interesting given many think mankind either caused or were an important part of megafauna extinction.

    How do you seriously expect us to live like these cultures?

    Another lying Straw Man. Troll? Just unintelligent? Ah, can’t be the last because you have been corrected on this repeatedly. Liar it is.

    “you do not think population is much of a problem”?

    Never have. Around that text would have been further exposition, such as in the near term, at this time, interns of food production in that we can feed up to 12 billion…. etc. But, you are a dishonest person, so are comfortable cherry picking quotes.

    in my experience idealists like you never walk the walk. Prove me wrong.

    Says the biggest mouth on the site, though it is the least warranted. Love irony. Hypocrisy not so much.

    Sorry, prevaricatus Rex, I put my money where my knowledge is long before you started sliming this site.

    You wanat to “simplify” although you never explain what this means

    Lie.

    or give examples

    Lie.

    You never explain or list any of your much promoted “principles” and how they might apply to specific scenarios.

    Lie.

    Really, mods, this degree of latitude with outright lying does this site no good.

    I will explain my version of “simplify”:

    Like Trump will explain democracy, racism and social programs.

    deal with the climate problem with renewable energy etc

    You’re right. That is an amazing explanation of climate adaptation and mitigation. I am bowed.

    2)Better environmental laws

    Genius. They are always followed, after all. And, yes, you’re right, all we need is one law that says This is a better law! Follow it!.

    3) Reduce pollution

    Without reducing…. Anything! Those magic environmental laws, mygod, look at ’em fix everything! Keep consuming! Keep Capitalism alive!

    4) Reduce consumption a bit

    Ah. I mispoke. You figure one or two percent? Just recession level? After all, emissions only need to drop to zero, so 1 or 2% should do. You are brighter than the sun. Glorious.

    be less selfish and materialistic

    Your decree will surely make that happen. Seven . five billion Nice People, at your command, oh, wise one.

    but without causing more poverty or going back to peasant style culture

    Sure. Niceness always prevents poverty and loin cloths. Aboriginals are so mean, after all!

    5) Reduce rates of population growth.

    Boys over there, girls over there. No pattyfingers, now!

    This is a simple 5 point plan

    No, this is the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, Siddhartha, the Bible and The Odyssey, and more, all in one. An instant masterpiece.

  29. 329
    Killian says:

    Those were the days! Growing our garden, teaching permaculture, active in city planning, active in climate and social activism.

    Nah… never put my money where my beliefs are. Every cent of it. To go live in the middle of the epicenter of U.S. collapse and violent crime. For renewal.

    Nope.

    People like me just talk.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110112080352/http://pri-de.net/board/

    https://web.archive.org/web/20101103202148/http://www.pri-de.net:80/board

    https://web.archive.org/web/20130425220725/http://pri-de.blogspot.com/2010/03/pri-de-detroit-story.html

  30. 330
    pete best says:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5133897/Climate-skeptics-fire-new-paper.html

    Why cant scientists like John Christy lose their job over hatchet jobs such as this one or is it all just part of the academic system?

  31. 331
    MA Rodger says:

    HadCRUT has been posted for October with a temperature anomaly at +0.57ºC, slightly up on September but the pair of them are the lowest monthly anomalies of the year-to-date. (This roughly mirrors NOAA but GISS showed a rise for October and BEST showed a larger rise.) It is the 6th warmest October on the HadCRUT record (=4th in NOAA & 2nd in both GISS & BEST), sitting behind October 2015, 2014, 2005, 2003 & 2016. October 2017 is =75th warmest anomaly in the full HadCRUT all-month record (=57th in NOAA, =17th in GISS & 16th in BEST).
    The table below ranks years by the Jan-to-Oct average and for HadCRUT 2017 is now firmly set in third spot for the full year (for GISS & BEST it is second spot), requiring a Nov/Dec average above +1.09ºC top topple 2015 from second spot and below -0.01ºC to drop into 4th below 2014.

    …….. Jan-Oct Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.84ºC … … … +0.80ºC … … …1st
    2015 .. +0.73ºC … … … +0.76ºC … … …2nd
    2017 .. +0.70ºC
    2014 .. +0.58ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … …3rd
    2010 .. +0.58ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … …4th
    1998 .. +0.57ºC … … … +0.54ºC … … …6th
    2005 .. +0.55ºC … … … +0.55ºC … … …5th
    2002 .. +0.52ºC … … … +0.50ºC … … …11th
    2007 .. +0.52ºC … … … +0.49ºC … … …12th
    2003 .. +0.50ºC … … … +0.51ºC … … …8th
    2009 .. +0.50ºC … … … +0.51ºC … … …10th

  32. 332
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @316, I agree smaller global population is desirable, as I have said several times in case you haven’t noticed. This reduces environmental impacts and achieves some of the less obvious benefits you have outlined (or many of them, I still think there are a few dubious ones in there).

    In fact, the obvious shorter term goal is just to decrease the rates of population growth to zero. Then if it actually falls a bit in total that would be good. It would be interesting to contemplate some ideal number.

    However Killian definitely does not believe in smaller population, and has stated above he is quite comfortable with about 10 billion. This is what we are up against.

    It’s been a frightening exponential curve, but fortunately it appears rates of growth started slowing in the 1970’s approx. so the trend is at least improving slightly.

    Do you have any brilliant ideas about how to encourage all this apart from obvious one of promoting contraception?

  33. 333
    nigelj says:

    Know it all @313

    You ask “am I wrong”?

    You are half wrong. There are some things the government and corporations should both do to help solve the climate problem. There are some things individuals can do right now, regardless of government. Its not rocket science, its simple commonsense and basic economics that all parties have a part to play. As numerous other people have explained to you, with detailed reasons, numerous other extremely intelligent people.

  34. 334
    MA Rodger says:

    pete best @330.
    The Christy & McNider (2017) paper (titled ‘Satellite Bulk Tropospheric Temperatures as a Metric for Climate Sensitivity’) is stored in full here in a data vault on the planet Wattsupia.
    The problem with the likes of Christy is that he waves his glorious speculations at the public rather than his peers. And even though the Daily Rail article you link to describes Christy as a “notorious climate skeptic,” the average Daily Mail reader will read this as saying ‘honest scientist uncorrupted by fake science.’ (We can but assume the item covering the paper and posted on the planet Wattsupia 29 Nov is Willard Watts playing sock-puppet for Christy. It of course gives no hint of a problem with the paper.)
    Science-wise, there is nothing wrong with doing your best to wave your glorious speculations within the scientific community. If you are truly off the rails (as Christy & McNider likely are with this paper), your peers will demonstrate it and your reputation ratches down a few more points.
    (I would read the paper but I am somewhat busy waving my own glorious speculations [although mine are soundly-based on the evidence based]; waving at a bunch of climate deniers and arithmetic criminals who are trying to steal my town.)

  35. 335
    nigelj says:

    Killian @311

    “We live in a complex society. Even if he is right in small, low tech, and local such a transition could take centuries”

    “Because you say so. ”

    No it’s obvious. How many people do you think want to live like this? I would suggest about 1% of the population. Currently the entire world is moving in the other direction, towards prosperity and technology as fast as they can. It is going to take you a very long time to convince people otherwise if ever. Human nature has huge inertia.

    I agree we do need change, and can convince people to slowdown a bit, but not to the extent you imagine, which is why its important to do other things like reducing population growth as well. Refer my 5 point plan, which you cynically criticised in a shallow illogical way, then sarcastically said was brilliant.

    People don’t want to live like peasants or near peasants sharing property. What you suggest is something close to this. And as someone pointed out it will be a struggle even feeding 10 billion people with large numbers of low tech small farms. The optimal thing appears to be quite high tech medium size farms, Holland is a good example.

    And then we are reliant on complex interrelated infrastructure, supply chains, institutions, and so on. These things don’t change over night. Just you saying “stop” and expecting 5 billion people to own tiny plots of land shared by a few families is not an instant process, without absolute chaos, and doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway. It would be a slow process to organise even in a dictatorship and of course its a complete reversal of whats happening. Its more challenging and complex than giving up tobacco cold turkey.

    Your goals are sort of half right imho, but your commentary is just really naive at times. But if other people want to explain how I’m wrong, I’m listening.

    “We might as well use lithium for batteries, there’s no point leaving it in the ground”.

    “Too dumb to respond to.”

    Why? What is to be gained by leaving lithium in the ground? Nothing.

    We are of course using it fast, nobody denies there’s pressure on the resource ( and many others) and this will continue if we do nothing. But if we slow our use deliberately, future generations will use it anyway, and sooner or later we will have to recycle, and then eventually if that fails, we are left with very low levels of what new lithium the planet generates geologically. By then who the hell cares anyway? There’s just nothing to be gained by leaving lithium in the ground deliberately.

    Lithium is used in aircraft and batteries, but there are alternative products anyway. Its also used in medicine but in small quantities, and there will always be enough for this, and if resources get very low this use will be prioritised.

    If you are worried about using up lithium, the best thing is to slow rates of population growth. Yet you oppose this!

    And by the way aluminium batteries do exist. They are currently in prototype stage and genuinely looking promising.

    “Then eventually we will recycle what we have”

    “Recycling uses resources. It does not solve the problem.”

    In your prior post @327 above you were promoting recycling. Sigh, I just am lost for words.

  36. 336
    nigelj says:

    This caught my attention. Greenland is currently experiencing a heatwave. It appears its glacier is more susceptible than realised to undercutting from warm oceans, similar to The Antarctic situation as follows.

    https://thinkprogress.org/omg-heat-wave-scorches-greenland-up-to-54f-warmer-than-normal-9981de9c6a92/

  37. 337
    Killian says:

    #319 Barton Paul Levenson <bthrew some peanuts.

    BPL: Yes, you continue to think the only solution is regressing ourselves to land-holding peasants

    Straw Man. You, also, make virtually no attempt at veracity.

    and have the delusion that you could feed 12 billion people

    Not even hard to do. Waste stoppage alone gets us to 9 billion.

    Population isn’t a problem

    Another Straw Man.

    the government doesn’t have to do anything

    It would be great if it would. But what I have said is it can’t get us to sustainability. Another false statement.

    just reform thyself!

    Laughable. Never said anything remotely close to individuals reforming themselves.

    Seriously, why lie like this? You crack me up, peanut.

  38. 338
    Mal Adapted says:

    pete best:

    Why cant scientists like John Christy lose their job over hatchet jobs such as this one or is it all just part of the academic system?

    Well, the academic system did develop ‘tenure’ explicitly to protect faculty from political pressure, so they could feel free to pursue “that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.” Pursuant to the Koch’s Club’s long-term investment strategy, however, fewer and fewer academics have tenure. That’s not a good thing, IMO. And even if Christy could be made to fear for his job, it should be his academic colleagues’ responsibility to sanction him.

    In any case, do you really want to suppress the speech of a credentialed scientist? Let’s just be sure his factual claims are thoroughly discredited, then heap opprobrium on him publicly for refusing to acknowledge that. That’s more fun anyway 8^D!

  39. 339
    Thomas says:

    World’s first ‘solar powered’ electric train to start before xmas?

    “…An exciting world first, powering a train with solar power, day, night and in every type of weather.”
    https://www.echo.net.au/2017/11/train-hits-track-powered-solar/

    Byron Bay Railroad Company – Not For Profit
    http://byronbaytrain.com.au/

    the solar conversion components and how the system works.
    http://byronbaytrain.com.au/sustainability/

    (smile)

  40. 340
    Killian says:

    #312 nigelj said One comment I must make:

    Nigelj “I’m a critic of capitalism”

    Killian “You are an apologist of it, and completely befuddled about it.”

    This response by Killian is just a complete lie, plain and simple.

    Actually, this can’t be claimed to be a lie, befuddled one. One cannot lie via opinion, one can only lie about facts. If you were claiming I had fabricated a quote, you could call that a lie. You being an apologist is true, but dependent on opinion because of connotation. For example, the dictionary says you are:

    a·pol·o·gist əˈpäləjəst/ noun: apologist; plural noun: apologists

    a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial.

    Nothing about being an apologist means one cannot be critical of the thing being apologized for. However, it gets worse for you. Capitalism is:

    an economic, political, and social system in which property, business, and industry are privately owned, directed towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organizations and people

    And this you rah-rah for no matter how many times it is pointed out to you it is diametrically opposed to regenerative living and proper use of resources.

    See, you say so yourself: I support the basic ideas of capitalism if you take standards definition as private ownership (private ownership of most things

    because most capitalist countries also have some public ownership

    Bandwagon Fallacy

    which is fine and desirable

    Because you say so.

    Private property and competition generates innovation and has some real benefits.

    Private property generates innovation? You mean greed, I think. Competition has been shown over and over to be less effective than cooperation. Quit repeating what the TV tells you.

    http://www.charleswarner.us/articles/competit.htm

    I certainly don’t agree that capitalism is perfect, or gives people a right to pollute

    But competition inherently creates waste. It is far less efficient than cooperation and sharing cultures. Look at cell phones and cars. Do we need so many minor variations? No. It is wasteful and stupid.

    I have said some of these things already to Killian, and yet he calls me an apologist. Its just such crap.

    No, it’s truth. You do exactly what the dictionaries say you do. You are trying to say because you critique some aspects of economics, you do not cheer capitalism. Once again, you have no idea what you are talking about, even when it involves your own behavior.

  41. 341
    Thomas says:

    283 KIA “By my calcs, after 20 years, the fee will be $215/ton.” AND “They do not say why people who receive a dividend would suddenly decide to use renewable energy and demand low-carbon products.”

    Some people do make me wonder.

    The fee is to max@ $100/ton. the answer to “why” is that electricity via coal gas and transport using gasoline deisel gas etc will be much more expensive as well as any “good” made that uses a high energy component …. unless people switch to non-F&D energy sources.

    Isn’t that obvious? I’m not so sure now.
    (i still doubt it will/would work, but doesn’t matter, as we’ll never get to know, imho.)

  42. 342

    Nigel, #314–

    I think you gave insufficient weight to the proviso ‘consistent with adequate management’, as I see your points as compatible with my formulation. As Killian said, some things need to be addressed at planetary scale–hence, for example, my vociferous support of the Paris Accord.