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Unforced Variations: Dec 2017

Filed under: — group @ 3 December 2017

Last open-thread of the year. Tips for new books for people to read over the holidays? Highlights of Fall AGU (Dec 11-15, New Orleans)? Requests for what should be in the end of year updates? Try to be nice.

91 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Dec 2017”

  1. 51
    Killian says:

    37 nigelj said Killian wanted a discussion on steady state economies

    No, I didn’t. I said please *stop* the blather on economics, but *if* you are going to continue, then do so discussing something more germane.

    Wow. Just… wow.

  2. 52
    Killian says:

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

    40 nigelj said Killian, since …you have rubbished my commentary on GDP growth In the USA relentlessly falling

    No… I have rubbished you on growth. I haven’t given a rat’s butt about it falling or not and have not addressed that.

    So the problem you people see of high growth

    Yeah… no. I have said growth. Period. Higher is just that much worse. The bauxite example, boy wonder, was under 2% a year. We still ran out this century.

  3. 53
    Killian says:

    Regarding the secret of life, thanks for all the fish, above, I mangled one paragraph rather badly in my haste:

    As you can see, your ownership is good” and “Capitalism is good” mantras are basically B.S., as is your GDP assertion, nigel. What should be prima facie at this point for any human being continues to allude you two.

    Should read:

    As you can see, your “ownership is good” and “Capitalism is good” mantras are basically B.S., as is your GDP assertion, nigel. What should be prima facie at this point for any human being continues to elude you two.

  4. 54
    zebra says:

    nigel,

    You are not a quantitative thinker. That doesn’t make you a bad person, and it doesn’t mean that you are not intelligent; it just means that you are typical– people develop the skill the same as any other, by practice, and most people have little occasion to do so.

    You said “looking at equations over the holidays doesn’t light my fire”, correct? But, you are talking to someone who has books with equations on the nightstand next to the bed, because I enjoy reading them, even though I only use simple math now in my work.

    So, when I gave my analysis, I was trying to demonstrate for you what “designing from first principles” would really be like, contrary to the nonsense we get from Mr. K. Unfortunately, you can’t get past offering “your guesstimate” or “your intuition”, about some arbitrary number, as if anyone cares.

    Nobody cares, nigel. What people care about is the question you and K keep dodging, instead engaging in excessive repetitive comments, excessive repetitive verbiage, and schoolyard insults.

    That question is: Why? Clearly articulated goals, clearly articulated and defended methods for achieving them.

    As I’ve said before, if you guys want to continue spamming the comments that’s your business and the moderator’s. If you want to critique my position, you need to rise to the level.

  5. 55

    KIA–

    “Thomas who apparently thought the US form of government was oligarchy.”

    I’m very sorry to say that, from a functional point of view, I think so, too.

    Our institutions are in many ways still those of a democratic republic, but if we don’t respond to the political and social challenges we fact in a constructive and determined manner, that will cease to be the case, and oligarchy will be enshrined in our institutions and culture as well as functional political control.

  6. 56

    Emerson–

    “Can someone post a short explanation of why Killian is the subject of so much discussion so I don’t have to trace back through many, many postings.”

    The short answer is “the conflict cycle.” Killian stokes conflict by insulting people and accusing them of lying; they respond with anger as well, and off we go. Been there and done that, myself.

    A slightly longer answer is that Killian is the primary local representative of a school of thought that has been called ‘simple living’; Killian himself generally says ‘simplification’. It’s a radical rejection of current paradigms of economy and politics in order to create a sustainable way of life–one that is need-based, not desire-based. This ruffles feathers, including mine, because it leads Killian to depreciate measures conventionally thought to be beneficial in addressing the climate crisis.

    The ones that bother me the most are the rejection various types of political actions–which I see as essential to moving what Killian calls the ‘established paradigm’ toward a low-emission future–and of ‘green tech’ such as renewable energy–which I see as the current best hope toward the same end.

    (Since, as I see it, there is no realistic hope of decarbonizing the power grid inside 20 years with nuclear, and no realistic hope of decreasing demand *to the extent necessary* within that same time frame. Admittedly, we are still about a factor of 10 behind where we need to be with RE, but on the other hand, the economics are moving rapidly in the right direction, such that we may already have passed a ‘tipping point’ in their adoption–though that is a lot harder to judge prospectively than retrospectively.)

    Anyway, the point is that Killian represents a challenging point of view.

    FWIW, I agree with Nigel that we need economic growth in the medium term–and that it needs to be greater in developing and less in developed nations. With global inequities that are so enormous as they are today, there can be no peace and no justice unless there is a prospect of addressing them, which means addressing poverty in developing nations. And in the developed world, the transition to green tech also demands some economic growth: after all, while in some cases it is now cheaper to replace an undepreciated coal plant with a wind farm, overall we are talking about an accelerated replacement cycle for large chunks of the entire economy.

    However, I’m equally clear that growth in the present mold cannot continue. I think that Killian vastly underestimates the difficulties his project entails, and consequently advocates for too short a time scale to it. (In fact, I think that in some respects it is not workable at all–or at least, is not directly accessible from our current historical state. I’m thinking foremost of military security; Killian envisages a completely peaceful society, if I have his thought right, and such a thing at best would take a lot of historical development to realize. Sadly.)

    But energy growth simply cannot continue indefinitely. That’s not a matter of opinion; it’s easily susceptible to proof by reductio ad absurdam:

    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/

    It’s a little harder to say whether economic growth can continue in some form or fashion. In theory there is currently no bound on better ways of doing things with the same amount of energy. Nor is it easy to show that intangible ‘products’ such as more efficient software, better financial mechanisms or new works of art can’t, in theory, create value without increasing energy use. (Indeed, the software case might *decrease* it.) But it seems pretty intuitively clear that at the very least, economic growth in a zero-energy growth world is apt to look pretty different than in our world today–and probably a big part of ‘different’ would be ‘much smaller.’

    So, big picture, Killian is right–if not about all the specifics of the solution, then at least about the contours of the problem. Which is why I wish he’d stick to that, leaving the ‘you lie’ crap aside. When he does, he’s raising questions that need to be raised. IMHO.

  7. 57
    mike says:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24672.epdf?referrer_access_token=fYNRkalnPflazlfVCo2PWdRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0M9MNvZLfp8n-6pkVINMq-6NzXnNACAiz2kolAtVg3Y-h0at7mDHlQSF0McjGJkmp4nqDrcWEQGbEni58B-3Lf7JFzi7VYWHXX4Fbymq0ZbuoChvkLMauyKSyCT51Ng6zweDbOx0CkkxwmU7RrwcO6KiZGeYO2-eQ8fBQRCWSB7ePY7tzve70GrckgMS4Y18vYj9HrOdi3a6uPQD1JuHPcNAcH9M_LNP0Bd_aGsbkka-UiJybAKHBgPkXz06nECqvkteviQ9HF44ZiJ4-H4W8EcPzPJ__KuT6_ccGAR5JMK8KovuxPhpphz4LQVRG-1DUyywx6fmCJO-LMVinMA7EHW6tIpJUHd4DGWLxUj1-lWHVaPiFoU5GeUHb145vat3rQ%3D&tracking_referrer=www.washingtonpost.com

    ugly, long link. Here is the WAPO cliff notes:

    The most accurate climate change models predict the most alarming consequences, study finds

    The study adds to a growing body of bad news about how human activity is changing the planet’s climate and how dire those changes will be in the future.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/12/06/the-most-accurate-climate-change-models-predict-the-most-alarming-consequences-study-claims/?utm_term=.aa3e72c3d2e5&wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

    CO2? Under 2 ppm increase in yoy comparison for last month! Time to celebrate?

    November CO2

    November 2017: 405.14 ppm
    November 2016: 403.53 ppm

    a lot of personal stuff to scroll through the past couple months. Can we all take a deep breath?

    Warm regards

    Mike

  8. 58
    Killian says:

    Civilization 2.0

    I have some differences of opinion with Albert on some specifics – particularly the nature of economics in the future – but otherwise find this quite accurate analysis.

    I suspect Albert is a true genius. Don’t dismiss him for his “hippie” credentials. He’s an inventor and lawyer, too.

    https://medium.com/@gaiaeducation/civilization-2-0-34f9f850183d

    It seems altogether obvious that it would involve some combination of bioregionalism, permaculture, and ecovillage design science. Frankly, I cannot imagine any alternative excluding those strategies that would remain viable for very long.

    There were many roads here that entered into the interior of the land, very fine highways. Inland from the river at a distance of 30 leagues more or less there could be seen some very large cities that glistened in white and besides this, the land is as fertile and as normal in appearance as our Spain.

    That passage could as well describe the vista that stretches now in front of us; the path we can take if we so choose: ecovillages, co-housing communities and other forms of living communally, practicing sustainable and regenerative, bioregionalist agriculture, in a permacultural landscape of cultivated ecologies, in millennial balance with the orbit and precession of Earth.

  9. 59
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Here is a book I bought last Christmas and has lasted me all year:
    Hay, W. W. (2016) Experimenting on a Small Planet: A History of Scientific Discoveries, a Future of Climate Change and Global Warming, 2nd ed. 2016 edition. New York, NY, Springer.
    An enjoyable read!

  10. 60
    Thomas says:

    re Kevin ,… “So, big picture, Killian is right…”

    Yep. Sure is!

    But he’ll still nitpick me over minor irrelevancies of prose. :-)

  11. 61
    Thomas says:

    48 nigelj says re quoting “Their findings suggest that the models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on average, may be underestimating future warming.”

    UM, sorry, but wasn’t this a known “science based fact” over a decade ago?

    I mean no where in the IPCC reports do their “projections/trajectories” include any calculation for the known “climate feedbacks” they know will occur but had difficulty in setting timing or extent of those?

    feedbacks is just one known example fo how the IPCC reports have underestimated now “current” and “future” warming and impacts of CC.

    If the majority of every day citizens do not know this then “houston we have an even bigger problem”

  12. 62
    nigelj says:

    Killian @51

    “37 nigelj said Killian wanted a discussion on steady state economies”

    No, I didn’t. I said please *stop* the blather on economics, but *if* you are going to continue, then do so discussing something more germane.”

    “Wow. Just… wow.”

    Killian gave a list of things to discuss including steady state economics and donut economics at post 3.

    So what he writes is just crap and pedantry, wasting space.

    See a councilor or something Killian. You obviously have issues. I have tried to be nice and respectful in the past, but its getting tiresome even trying.

    I do think we need to reduce consumption, just not as much as you think or in the ways you think. That’s all. I’m entitled to my point of view, and it makes more sense than your idiotic ranting.

  13. 63
    Thomas says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/07/california-wildfires-winds-pose-extreme-danger-in-los-angeles

    I heard a scientist/weather bureau chap on NPR today speaking about the blocking systems in the pacific, the santa anna and that it’s now ‘winter’ and calling it “the new normal” …. ie new normal climate, i think.

    Given the canadian fires of recent years, and last months nth california fires, the way these current fires are being described is earily similar to what happened in VIc, South Aust., and Canberra and NSW in 2009.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Saturday_bushfires

    Temps as high as 50C (122F) degrees and “By mid-morning Saturday, hot northwesterly winds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) hit the state, accompanied by extremely high temperatures and extremely low humidity…”

    The bushfires of Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, caused the death of 173 people. Black Saturday wrote itself into Victoria’s history with record-breaking weather conditions and bushfires of a scale and ferocity that tested human endurance.

    AND …. a permanent national centre for bushfire research is needed with reasonable surety of long-term funding. in developing the model for such a body, governments should consider incorporating the following features:

    pure and applied research as well as long-term research projects


    strong governance arrangements—including research independence


    the location of the research centre, preferably in Victoria


    a balanced focus that includes physical, biological and social research


    links with teaching and promotion of graduate scholarships


    cross-institutional and jurisdictional collaboration


    international collaboration and sharing of knowledge


    the research priorities highlighted in evidence before the Commission.
    http://royalcommission.vic.gov.au/finaldocuments/summary/PF/VBRC_Summary_PF.pdf

  14. 64
    nigelj says:

    zebra @54

    “You are not a quantitative thinker.”

    Thanks so much for your “opinion”. I think I do ok quantitatively, although I’m not a maths expert or enthusiast if that’s what you mean. I have given numbers on what growth and population makes sense to me, and why, and a graph of gdp growth in america, yet you ignore this, and I also explained the process of refining these numbers. I have also explained the areas I’m uncertain. It would need a lot of calculation to go further, I might have a try over xmas.

    In comparison the only quantitiative thinking you have done is to claim America should have a population of ten million, without any explanation how you arrive at that figure. Your double standards are breathtaking.

    (Im not questioning your quantitative abilities, they are no doubt very good, just what you have posted. I can only comment on what you post.)

    I will leave other commentators to review our postings and decide for themselves if Im being fair.

    “You said “looking at equations over the holidays doesn’t light my fire”, correct? But, you are talking to someone who has books with equations on the nightstand next to the bed,”

    Oh for goodness sake, that doesnt mean I don’t like equations. It was a humourous quip. While Im not a maths enthusiast, I have done some basic university maths, science, etc. Let me give you some advice my friend, find a sense of humour. But I have total respect for serious science / maths nerds.

    “That question is: Why? Clearly articulated goals, clearly articulated and defended methods for achieving them.”

    You have done none of this as to how you think we should reach your population goals. I dont have the time, and your extreme population reduction is never going to happen in enough time to help with climate change, so for me its rather off topic. Before you missquote me, I do think smaller population is a good idea and your insight on smaller population is good.

    What I’m interested in mainly is climate science, and how we deal with dangerous climate change, and reasonably closely related issues. I’m interested in the big picture, the philosophy, possibly because I have a very eclectic university background with a bit of everything for a couple of years!I think we need a simple 5 point global plan, because people respond to simple plans and correct plans.

    Your approach is to narrowly consider population in detail in terms of falling absolute numbers, and that’s ok but it doesn’t mean I have to focus on that issue. It also is getting off topic, and has little to do with the climate issue as it will take so long it can’t help. So if anyone is spamming this website you are with your off topic obsessions.

    Here is my plan since you asked. This is in respect of the climate issue but I think it can extent longer term into general environmentalism and economics. We need to:

    1) Reduce emissions with all the tools available, especially renewable energy
    2) Reduce consumption (but not to Killians extent, more like 25% in developed countries)
    3) Reduce pollution and accept environmental law is not big government, or the end of personal freedom, but orthodox economics.
    4) Move to permaculture (but with technology)
    5) Stop population growth asap. That is enough to worry about as a first step.

    Many of these things have already been quantified by various people. I assume you have heard of the paris accord.

    I have explained some ideas that would achieve these various things, but if you want to ignore what I write I cannot help that. Im interested in the overall philosophy of environmentalism (so is Killian we just disagree on some things).

    The point is when I try to think of the key things we should do as a species, it comes down to that list as the most concise yet complete way of looking at it. Its just something that interests me and people like BPL, if it doesn’t interest you fair enough. Im not forcing you to read anything.

  15. 65
    Susan Anderson says:

    @Mike currently #57 (and anyone interested):

    for shorter links, simply delete everything after and including the “?”

    Like this: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24672.epdf

  16. 66
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @56

    I think you are right that this consumption, technology and lifestyle debate is all a time frame issue. We may be forced by circumstances over several centuries to adopt Killians simple life, although he underestimates what recycling can do, but the real question is what do we no now over the next 20 – 50 years?

    For example, I cannot see enough people choosing the simple life over the next 20 – 50 years to stop dangerous climate change. And de-urbanisation would be slow.

    I cannot see much to be gained by just panic, and leave minerals in the ground, which would make renewable energy impossible. Future generations will use them anyway, and eventually we will still have to recycle, innovate and / or reduce consumption.

    Of course we should reduce consumption now to a reasonable extent, especially the more obvious crap we consume. To keep zebra happy I would say a number of 25% on average but not as much as Killian appears to be suggesting (if anyone can work out what he is saying?). There are many reasons to reduce consumption, that creates a good overall case. Even wasting less would achieve a lot.

    Tell me if you think Im wrong.

  17. 67
    nigelj says:

    “That passage could as well describe the vista that stretches now in front of us; the path we can take if we so choose: ecovillages, co-housing communities and other forms of living communally, practicing sustainable and regenerative, bioregionalist agriculture, in a permacultural landscape of cultivated ecologies, in millennial balance with the orbit and precession of Earth.”

    Very nice. Makes some sense. However for example China has just relocated about half a billion people over a period of decades into urban high rise apartments, all relying on centralised technology systems. Moving them all back to purpose made passive solar houses in little idyllic clusters, with farms around, is going to take come convincing people, and would take decades to centuries. It should also be pointed out China is pressed for sufficient land for low rise living.

    So I have no idea what its got to do with stopping dangerous climate change.

    Right now we have to make highrise apartments and larger scale farms etc more efficient and less polluting and force it legislatively if needed.

  18. 68
    Mr. Know It All says:

    44 – Thomas

    Killian said aboriginals were the only societies that lived sustainably. I wondered when I read that if he meant Australian aboriginals or all indigenous people around the world (we call them Indians or Native Americans here in North America). I asked about abos – short for aboriginals. I did not know the term was derogatory – no racism intended in any way – just my ignorance on the local Aussie racist lingo. I checked and the term is derogatory at least in Australia – I’d heard it used in movies – perhaps the Crocodile Dundee or Quigley movies – had no idea it was derogatory. My apologies if I offended anyone. Apparently in the past the term was acceptable; don’t know when the change occurred:

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/abo

  19. 69
    zebra says:

    Kevin McKinney #56,

    A well articulated (as usual) explanation for Emerson about “the contours”. But, you are failing to establish clear parameters about which issues and what timeline. Conflation, all the way down… which is nigel’s problem as well as Killian’s.

    We have the goals:

    -Mitigation: Reduce those effects of humans on the environment that negatively impact humans.

    -Adaptation: Reduce the negative effects on humans of those environmental changes which we (inevitably) will not be able to mitigate.

    -Sustainability: Keep a human population in existence as long as possible.

    Sure, we may, in the next 50 years, make a dent in the CO2 burden through targeted actions. Or, we may not, because those who oppose such actions are willing to use extreme measures to prevent them or blunt their effect. Either way, all the other problems of consumption and conflict and environmental degradation remain.

    So, if we are looking for the most effective and achievable political actions to accomplish all three, then an effort to reduce the human population is at the top of the list. Starting as soon as possible, because even the most optimistic projection of the current trajectory puts humans…in two or three hundred years…in a situation that satisfies neither Killian’s nor nigel’s purported ideal.

    All of these nice ideas…reduction of militarism, and local control, and sharing, and regenerative farming, yadda yadda…are what would happen inevitably and naturally as the supply of resources moves to exceed the demand.

    “It’s the topology, stupid.”

  20. 70
    MA Rodger says:

    PeacefulJeff @43,
    Concerning the themal inertia of the climate system, it shouldn’t be considered in isolation as there is other stuff going on that effects the progress of AGW. And the biggest bit of that stuff is, of course, our emissions of GHGs. Further, because we are talking thermal inertia, that is emissions both past & present.
    As inertia significantly delays the AGW resulting from our emissions, you say “30-50 years” before, we could perhaps look to see how much AGW we have added in the last 40-years (about half of it) and conclude that about half of the total of AGW is still in the pipeline. And slightly out-of-date, this New Scientist article seems to say just that. It considers a scenario where atmospheric levels of GHG are held at the levels of the year 2000.

    ” But even this optimistic scenario predicts that global temperatures would continue to rise by between 0.4°C and 0.6°C over the next century. That increase is comparable to the increase in global temperature during the 20th century of about 0.6°C. A second, independent study using a simpler climate model by Tom Wigley, another climatologist at NCAR, paints the same bleak picture.”

    However, this is not the full optimistic story and the message ‘temperature rise will double even if we immediately stop emitting’ is certainly overly pesimistic.
    If we do cut our emissions promptly but realistically, (say as per RCP2.6 which sees GHG emissions [eg CO2] cut from a peak in 2020 to zero by 2080), the models suggest (see IPCC AR5 Fig SPM-07a) a rising global temperature up to the 2040s where it then levels off 0.5°C above our mid-2010s temperatures. That is the same rise as that quoted the New Scientist article and this despite those extra 21st century emissions.
    The AR5 graph of course actually shows 0.75°C warming over the full 21st century. And the reason those 21st century emissions fail to make much of an impression on global temperature is because the atmospheric levels of GHG begin to decline when our emissions are cut (the cut required depending on the gas in question). Under RCP2.6 the force of AGW peaks in 2040 and begins to show a modest decline, this decline giving a cooling that balances with the tag end of the warming resulting from the AGW of the preceding decades.

  21. 71
    Thomas says:

    57 mike, been 406 – 407s ppm since Nov 21 though. Only 2 months of an 8 month cycle of increases. Seems on track to become 212+ ppm by June. Unlikely to help the situation.

    In recent news again the health of the GBR Dec 8th 2017: “I think the Great Barrier Reef could be entirely dead within 15 years,” Dr Veron said.

    “All it needs is a succession of bleaching events like we’ve had in the past couple of years and we won’t have a Great Barrier Reef.”

    He said that was the worst-case scenario, if nothing urgent was done to address global ocean warming.

    “What’s much more likely is progressive deterioration,” he said.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-07/great-barrier-reef-research-group-confident-new-coral-species/9232608

    Audio: 19 Oct 2016 Coral biologist Charlie Veron: the rise and fall of the Great Barrier Reef “He says twin threats caused by humans, accelerated climate change and ocean acidification, have put the reef on the brink of complete collapse.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/conversations-charlie-veron-corals/7927724

    Ocean Acidification – The BIG global warming story (13/09/2007)
    Dr Charlie Veron: It is the most serious problem of climate change. It is the big one.
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s2029333.htm

    Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO44JlAElXM

    2014 In clear and direct language, one of the world’s leading coral scientists, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, presents his scientific findings that show how increasing C02 levels are pushing the world’s coral reefs to the brink of extinction.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtZwDf6Pkdk

    The GBR is around 15,000 years old now. Partly the result of stable sea levels over time.

  22. 72

    #58, Killian–

    Thanks for the link. Processing.

    Notable quote:

    “The challenge is to reform an economy based on exponential growth so that it functions well in an unrelenting pattern of decline and descent, a pattern that is at odds with our evolutionary experience and perhaps even our biological meta-program.”

  23. 73

    Kevin-san,

    Killian is right that we have to stop economic growth sooner or later, preferably sooner. He is wrong that A) we have to do so by all becoming small farmers, B) that if that were desirable we could do so easily, C) that economics is not science, D) that it doesn’t help to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, E) that government policies are irrelevant, and most of all, that F) what he says is clear, but everybody is either too stupid and lazy to get it or is deliberately lying about it.

    That population growth and new-resource-use have to stop (and, in the long run, reverse) to save the planet is trivial and no tribute to K’s alleged genius. So I tend not to give him any points at all.

  24. 74

    #57, Mike–

    Thanks for the link to the Brown & Caldeira paper. It’s difficult but rewarding. I understood quite a bit–but it’s harder to tell how much I *didn’t* understand!

    Wonder if any of our contributors has a take on it that they’d like to share?

    …it is sometimes argued that the severity of model- projected
    global warming can be taken less seriously on the grounds that
    models fail to simulate the current climate sufficiently accurately.
    Our study confirms important model-observation discrepancies,
    indicating ample room for model improvement. However, we do not
    find that model errors can be taken as evidence that global warming
    is over-projected by climate models. On the contrary, our results
    add to a broadening collection of research indicating that models that simulate today’s climate best tend to be the models that project
    the most global warming over the remainder of the twenty-first
    century.

  25. 75

    Cross-posted (to Open Mind) the Brown & Caldeira Nature paper that Mike linked above @ #57, using this TinyURL:

    https://tinyurl.com/Brown-Caldeira17ModObsStudy

    Just in case anyone else wants to share it somewhere…

  26. 76
    Fid says:

    Has anyone seen a full analysis of

    Satellite Bulk Tropospheric Temperatures as a Metric for Climate Sensitivity
    John R. Christy and Richard T. McNider
    Asia-Pac. J. Atmos. Sci., 53(4), 511-518, 2017

    I know Santer et al. 2017 addresses a lot of the issues, but I’m looking for a more direct critique.

    Thanks.

  27. 77
    Mo'Handy says:

    Folks, I’m not sure whether it matters to you, but I’ve gone from being a daily lurker on RC to more like monthly. That’s because between the sterling contributions of Killian, nigelj, and Thomas, I’m only reading about one article in five. It’s pretty easy to scan the comments to avoid wasting time on the garbage.

  28. 78
    Thomas says:

    Stefan put it really well back in Sept. quoting:

    Does it all matter?

    We still live in a world on a path to 3 or 4 °C global warming, waiting to finally turn the tide of rising emissions.

    At this point, debating whether we have 0.2 °C more or less to go until we reach 1.5 °C is an academic discussion at best, a distraction at worst.

    The big issue is that we need to see falling emissions globally very very soon if we even want to stay well below 2 °C.

    That was agreed as the weaker goal in Paris in a consensus by 195 nations.

    It is high time that everyone backs this up with actions, not just words.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2017/09/is-there-really-still-a-chance-for-staying-below-1-5-c-global-warming/

    Anecdotally in recent times even those people who are reasonably knowledgeable and 100% behind positive action to rapidly reduce ghg emissions and pro-AGW/CC science do not get the above. They actually do not know what the ‘science’ is actually saying consistently.

    one person said: “The GBR isn’t as badly affected as people think. Only 10% of the GBR is actually dead from coral bleaching.”

    I replied, “Oh so only 10% of it is dead, and that’s the good news?” :-)

    They got quite agro when I stated that “if” nothing changes and changes fast globally then the GBR will be totally gone by 2050.

    Anyway, imho, the majority of people who are engaged in the issue of agw/cc do not get it … yet.

    My instincts tell me they never will get it until it’s way too late. But I’d like to be wrong on that point. :-)

  29. 79
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @69

    Smaller global population makes total sense as an ultimate goal, and will hugely help sustainability over long term time frames. Your detailed reasoning makes sense.

    The problem is we have a dangerous climate change problem over 50 year approx time frame of Paris accord and its hard to see how we could get population small enough fast enough to make much difference.

    Even if everyone stopped having children, that would not be enough for climate change problem, and how would you make such things happen? Its just not plausible.

    You can use the force of law for things like carbon taxes. Using the force of law to force very small families is a big step and looks even harder than carbon taxes.

    There are some obvious things that would help, like free contraception, and promoting that small families have economic advantages, and are ethically ok. Beyond this I don’t know and you certainly haven’t said what.

    I would love to be proven wrong.

    I think we are stuck with trying to push a bit of everything, so smaller population, renewable energy, a bit less consumption, permaculture, and so on. I’m not sure that there is one single leading priority, they are all equally important and required in parallel.

  30. 80
    nigelj says:

    Some holiday reading. The following is the parable of the ox

    https://www.ft.com/content/bfb7e6b8-d57b-11e1-af40-00144feabdc0

    I got it originally from the book “other peoples money, by John Key” a criticism of the parasitical finance sector.

    Believe me its brilliant, and witty. Not exactly climate stuff, more about financial computer modelling, but one of those rare gems of brilliance.

  31. 81
    Killian says:

    My experience on this site:

    ~2009: Generally polite conversations.

    2010~2016: Peanuttles throwing peanuts from the Peanut Gallery regardless of what I posted. Crazy! Alarmist! Luddite!

    2017: Killian is right, but somehow still doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Gotta admit, that’s progress!

    Keep up the good work, peanuts. Maybe soon the Peanut Gallery will be filled with those who cannot do any better, who cannot learn.

  32. 82
    Killian says:

    Nigel, people can read. Your constant cherry picking of my comments to set up your distortions is too much.

    You may have noticed my interactions with BPL, et al., aka The Peanut Gallery, are short and sweet, if they happen at all. They were long ago understood to be uninterested in dialogue. If what is posted is not in line with their thinking, they are aggressively rude. Like you, they are not above a distortion or outright lie. There is zero utility in engaging with them.

    Your endless, yes, lies, make working with you pointless.

    To wit:

    Killian said Please, no more economics.

    This is the primary, first order, request. It is no way equal to

    Killian asked for…

    At least, no more capitalism rah-rah.

    This is the first If statement. At least here is equal to “but if (you do…)”

    It requests no more Capitalism cheerleading IF you’re going to continue…

    If you want to talk economics, do some sane economics, like RBE, Donut, Circular, Steady-State.

    Here the If, then construction is fully stated. If you choose to ignore the *actual* request to stop discussing economics, then here is a suggested set of topics that actually have some utility. (Their current iterations are still embedded in Capitalism, so don’t go far enough to achieve sustainability, so I am not an advocate of any, but suggest them for consideration because they will lead a skilled analyst closer to what sustainable exchange will is.)

    These at least approach sustainability as a goal.

    This is, as alluded above, the “because.”

    You are neither ready for these conversations nor an honest conversationalist.

    Congratulations, you have graduated to full membership in the Peanut Gallery. The peanuts are free. Throw as many as you like; I like peanuts.

  33. 83
    Killian says:

    #Re 56 Kevin McKinney said Emerson–

    “Can someone post a short explanation of why Killian is the subject of so much discussion so I don’t have to trace back through many, many postings.”

    The short answer is “the conflict cycle.” Killian stokes conflict by insulting people and accusing them of lying; they respond with anger as well, and off we go. Been there and done that, myself.

    I see no reason to let insults go unanswered so long as actual dialogue is going on. Once it’s not, who cares? Send ’em off to the Peanut Gallery.

    If you let people settle into that pattern, they tend to stay there. That said, much comes from a non-PC definition and view of “insults.” Most of what people consider to be insults from me – cue nigelj – are not. Whatevs. I simply choose not to pretend I didn’t notice when people are lying and insulting..

    I found what follows the silliness above rather insightful, if imperfect. Onward.

    A slightly longer answer is that Killian is the primary local representative of a school of thought that has been called ‘simple living’; Killian himself generally says ‘simplification’. It’s a radical rejection of current paradigms of economy and politics in order to create a sustainable way of life–one that is need-based, not desire-based.

    No, I am not. I am no fan, for the most part, even though I recognize it as a healthier, happier way to live, who needs healthy and happy? Meh.

    Simple living is an ~ism, and ~ology, a belief. Meh. Simplicity is both a process and a condition. It’s not a way of life, it’s a necessary adaptation to maintain life. I’d much rather have my own computer, a mansion, a Lear jet, etc., but those things are killing the planet. I have said all this before, Kevin. I shouldn’t be needing to repeat it here.

    This ruffles feathers, including mine, because it leads Killian to depreciate measures conventionally thought to be beneficial in addressing the climate crisis.

    You had it right in the first two clauses. It ruffles feathers for *most* because they simply are not ready for the dramatic changes, they don’t like feeling responsible for killing the planet, they don’t like thinking they are the solution because why can’t someone else be the solutioner, etc.

    That is, what you say beginning at “because” directly contradicts the idea they can greenswash the present and arrive at sustainability. Me telling them there is no cake scares the hell out of them.

    Depreciate is the wrong word. I do not do that. It’s analysis, nothing more. I used to love wind generators and solar panels, but then I realized they only kick the can down the road, and I’m a pragmatist. If you’re going to deal with the problem, then solve the damned thing! What’s the point of setting yourself up to solve it twice? Those technologies are unsustainable. This is not a controversial statement to those who understand resource constraints. It’s two-foot-nose-on-your-face obvious to us.

    Can they be bridge techs? Sure. If you have time. Do we have time? No way to know. Risk is extinction. Worth the risk of appeasing soft Homo Comfortus rather than acting as quickly as possible to avoid extinction? No.

    Ipso facto…

    The ones that bother me the most are the rejection various types of political actions–which I see as essential to moving what Killian calls the ‘established paradigm’ toward a low-emission future

    I don’t reject them. I wish they could work. Wave a wand and make our politicians not selfish oligarchic fools, I’m on board. But I don’t see people putting all their political effort into flipping Congress to a supermajority aligned against TeaPublicans and Trump. I see little but fearmongering and whining about Trump. Flip Congress, Trump becomes a near non-issue.

    But politics is stupid.

    More importantly, I look at First Principles. What is politics? The wielding of power for self, primarily. What are pol parties? Wielding of wealth for power of your political cronies and economic “class” against the best interests of the nation and the people (this is treason) and the planet (ecocide, crimes against humanity.) Why? The nature of the beast. Politics and government require the ponzi scheme to exist. Without growth, the economy dies. Without the economic power, the gov’t and parties die. They will not, under any circumstances, commit suicide. They will not, cannot, lead us to sustainability because sustainability requires sharing decision making and resources.

    and of ‘green tech’ such as renewable energy–which I see as the current best hope toward the same end.

    Being unsustainable, they simply are not a solution. In fact, they have the same kind of effect as efficiency as stated by Jeavons’ Paradox. So-called renewables allow the rate of consumption to remain high for decades. That’s likely suicidal because there are going to be no tech saviors due to Jeavons’, resource limits, scaling, etc.

    Simplification, however, solves all the problems of climate, resource limits, and inequalities while leading to happier, smarter, healthier people. Occam’s and the Precautionary Principle both apply here.

    (Since, as I see it, there is no realistic hope of decarbonizing the power grid inside 20 years [by]… decreasing demand *to the extent necessary* within that same time frame.

    Why? Have you tried telling people they’re gonna die, or they can simplify? What does it require? Just stopping. Simplicity takes so much less than the current paradigm!

    Admittedly, we are still about a factor of 10 behind where we need to be with RE, but on the other hand, the economics are moving rapidly in the right direction, such that we may already have passed a ‘tipping point’ in their adoption–though that is a lot harder to judge prospectively than retrospectively.)

    Might have. How? Time needed? Besides, RE is not far enough. It *may* buy some time, but I doubt it. Growth is like that. Bartlett showed that effectively.

    Anyway, the point is that Killian represents a challenging point of view.

    In a nutshell. Truth hurts. It’s scary.

    FWIW, I agree with Nigel that we need economic growth in the medium term

    What is it you think is worth the risk of extinction?

    and that it needs to be greater in developing and less in developed nations.

    Why do you need growth in either? The great irony of simplification is economically undeveloped areas have little change to make compared to economically abusive nations. Many areas of the globe could and should go back to what they were doing before Europeans took over. Greater technology, recover of ancient TEK, using the embedded energy available can lead to an extremely fast adjustment for such areas. It’s the economically “developed” nations that are really in for some surprises.

    With global inequities that are so enormous as they are today, there can be no peace and no justice unless there is a prospect of addressing them, which means addressing poverty in developing nations.

    Poverty and inequality are meaningless terms in a Commons. Simplicity is how you address them. There is no other way.

    And in the developed world, the transition to green tech also demands some economic growth: after all, while in some cases it is now cheaper to replace an undepreciated coal plant with a wind farm, overall we are talking about an accelerated replacement cycle for large chunks of the entire economy.

    Why waste those resources when what is already built suffices for a simplified U.S.?

    However, I’m equally clear that growth in the present mold cannot continue. I think that Killian vastly underestimates the difficulties his project entails

    I’m the only one who has any idea what simplification as I talk about it really is, so how can you know it better than I? Given I have shown the ability to address complex issues in novel ways, how in the world do you come to this conclusion? See, this sort of thing, while not an insult, is insulting. I don’t understand my own conceptual model? Sheesh…

    You are making two major errors here. First, assuming I don’t know what we have not discussed. Assumptions are stupid. Don’t do stupid. Second, you are forgetting key design principles: Design in place’ let the design emerge. In point of fact, I don’t need to know exactly what simplification means because that emerges in each location differently than any other location. But I have one thing you do not, a model for managing all this: Regenerative Governance. This provides for the decision making processes we need for simplification. Finally, I have repeatedly stated we use some of those precious resources unsustainably to keep the medical field intact (but different), to keep a much smaller, but bio-regional and global transport network intact, and to keep the internet intact, particularly for sharing knowledge.

    These three things will greatly limit negative effects of simplification.

    and consequently advocates for too short a time scale to it.

    This is nonsensical; nobody knows the time frame, yet you are claiming to know the time frame is long enough to ignore my advice. That is piss-poor risk analysis. Second, I **advocate for** nothing. Please give us ten thousand years to change! I merely acknowledge that things are changing so fast the likelihood of a massive jump or step change in the climate is virtually certain. The recent sea level research from off the Texas coast reaffirmed what I have been insulted for claiming for years: Decadal time scales can see massive climate change. Your assumption should always be you have a decade. Anything else is the equivalent of hoping the bullet headed for your temple will deflect somehow.

    (In fact, I think that in some respects it is not workable at all

    Yet, you know people are already living simply in many different ways.

    or at least, is not directly accessible from our current historical state.

    Of course it is. What prevents doing less? Perhaps you mean via, which is true, which is why I agree with Buckminster Fuller: Build a better one.

    I’m thinking foremost of military security

    All humans are in the same boat. A war to rid the world of billions would destroy the world they want to retain for themselves. There is one way forward: Cooperation. Getting people to understand this is the key. Besides, take the worst rate of deaths in human war history and extrapolate out. It takes hundreds of years to kill off all those people. Too late!

    Killian envisages a completely peaceful society

    When did I say peaceful? Never, I’m thinking. People are people and people largely suck. That’s why egalitarian is needed: To squelch the idiots ASAP and give them little or not ability to grab power.

    if I have his thought right, and such a thing at best would take a lot of historical development to realize. Sadly.

    You’re not thinking holistically nor wholistically here. IF we start with growing awareness we all die or we cooperate to achieve sustainability and simplicity, then you have already set the conditions for openness to everything else. Once people get it’s mere problem solving, not religion, not politics, not ideology, but merely decision making, all this becomes much easier and should change along an exponential curve.

    It’s a little harder to say whether economic growth can continue in some form or fashion.

    No, it’s not. Economics is voodoo, Commonses don’t use economic theory, and any net growth is suicidal.

    In theory there is currently no bound on better ways of doing things with the same amount of energy.

    Nonsense.

    So, big picture, Killian is right–if not about all the specifics of the solution, then at least about the contours of the problem.

    Both. Everything I propose is in line with survivial. Virtually nothing you propose is. What I propose satisfies regenerative principles, none of what you propose does.

    Which is why I wish he’d stick to that, leaving the ‘you lie’ crap aside. When he does, he’s raising questions that need to be raised.

    I cannot stand a liar. Good to see you see, if through a glass darkly.

    Perhaps we can get back to being allies.

    Re #60 Thomas said re Kevin ,… “So, big picture, Killian is right…”

    Yep. Sure is!

    But he’ll still nitpick me over minor irrelevancies of prose. :-)

    It’s not nitpicking. Those few of us with the right story to tell need to be speaking to the widest possible audience.

    It’s important, else I’d not give a rat’s butt.

  34. 84
    zebra says:

    BPL #72,

    “That population growth and new-resource-use have to stop (and, in the long run, reverse) to save the planet is trivial”

    I give nigel a hard time about quantitative thinking, so to be fair…

    I’m not asking for a number, like “what do you mean by ‘long run’ “. But, if we know this must happen, what possible reason is there not to undertake it right now? Aren’t we talking about a continuous function?

    There’s no such thing (nigel, take note) as a cause that will stop population growth but not cause it to decline. (Unless your utopia includes direct government control of individual reproduction, which I’m sure it doesn’t.)

    We know that certain conditions (specifically, of individual choice) lead to TFR below replacement. So, until we approach the constraints that I have enumerated…

    1. Sufficient numbers to maintain genetic diversity.
    2. Sufficient numbers to maintain specialization (that is, a technological culture where everyone isn’t a small farmer)…

    there’s no reason to not go all out for reduction.

    As I said just above to KM and have supported previously, all the good stuff, like minimized liquidation of natural capital, follows.

  35. 85
    Hank Roberts says:

    and most of all, that F) what he says is clear, but everybody is either too stupid and lazy to get it or is deliberately lying about it.

    Hey, that tactic worked for “45” …

  36. 86

    Barton, #73–

    I’ve made many of those points myself, as you may recall. In fact, I made D) and E) pretty explicitly in the same comment you were replying to. So you needn’t worry that I’ve suddenly turned into a Killian acolyte.

    But I’m very interested in the question of what a sustainable society would really look like. And Killian pushes that question persistently and provocatively, which makes him a good gadfly for a highly necessary inquiry–even a better one, given more devotion to the relevant topic and less to emotional reactivity. IMO.

    Turning to zebra’s comment: thanks, zebra, for the compliment, and no, I wasn’t conflating things, just trying to be relatively succinct. So let me expand a bit.

    I think the ‘3 goals’ of mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability are well-stated.

    I’d differ about population, though, not in the sense that you’re wrong about its importance, but that I think that, in fact, we ‘started’ on it about 35 or 40 years ago. And, despite the fact that population has continued to increase, it’s actually not a bad start, given the ‘growth momentum’ that was built into historical cultures and into the demographic structure. (Forgive me pontificating a bit here; I suspect that a lot of this is well-known to most of us. But I want to make my premises clear.)

    Population growth rates have plummeted since 1970, so much so that places like Japan have a problem with a ‘greying population.’ Quite a few European nations are experiencing negative population growth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_population_planning#/media/File:World_population_growth_rate_1950%E2%80%932050.svg

    It’s unclear, I think, how much of the change is due to policy and how much, social evolution driven by technological and economic change.

    Which, of course, is not to say that all is well with the world. We still have pockets of high fertility, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, and it’s not clear that the ‘demographic transition’ is necessarily irreversible. So we need to keep working. I’d take the most effective actions to be the implementation and determined support of measures like the UN sustainable development goals:

    http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

    (I’m linking these as illustrative, not necessarily ideal–so if you wish to criticize them, have at it, but don’t assume I’m propagandizing for them in their entirety.)

    But the main point here is that population has a lot of inertia. An illustrative BOTE calculation: If we approximate global population now to 7.5 billion, and assume a crude mortality rate of about 8 per thousand, then about 60 million people die each year. If the birth rate were magically to drop to 0 tomorrow, and if the absolute number of people dying each year magically stayed the same, then we’d be extinct in 125 years. (That’s about a human lifetime, which perhaps gives a little reassurance that maybe the extreme crudity of this calculation doesn’t render it totally pointless.)

    That also means that in just 20 years, the population would still be well over 6 billion. But that’s probably also just about the most optimistic time frame that we have to get to net zero emissions.

    My conclusions:

    !) Population reduction sufficient to address the mitigation goal can only be achieved by massive increases in the global death rate–reducing the birth rate even to zero is not adequate. Put bluntly, the only way to use population control to mitigate emissions is genocide on an unimaginable scale.

    Clearly, that is ‘not on’–at least, ‘not on’ as a goal anyone is going to sign on for. It might be an eventuality in the event of civilizational collapse; unleash all the Apocalyptic horsemen and the global population could come down really fast. Too bad about the collateral damage to the rest of the biosphere, though.

    2) If population reduction cannot address the carbon crisis, it still remains important for the eventual hoped-for establishment of a reasonably sustainable human civilization.

    3) Addressing the carbon crisis, therefore, is primarily a question of sociology, economics and technology, broadly defined. We have to come up with some combination of demand reduction, efficiency, and substitution that will bring emissions down fast. Killian thinks that can only happen by abandoning the current paradigm; I think that abandoning it can’t happen that fast (except by a catastrophic process as hinted at above, and even that isn’t likely to end up as well as he envisions, IMO). Fundamental changes tend to be hard, and to require a hell of a lot of work. They also incur the mmost opposition (a factor alluded to in zebra’s comment).

    Just what *might* work fast enough is the question that interests me the most.

    4) I support substitution strategies, including rapid deployment of RE and electrification of transportation, because there is the real potential for rapid emissions reductions in the near term. Ditto for measures that are perhaps better categorized as ‘efficiency’–under which I would place agricultural reforms/transformations such as we’ve discussed here.

    5) All of this, as Ray Ladbury has pointed out, implies economic growth over decades–which is, of course problematic in terms of emissions. (That’s another reason for pushing hard on the substitution front.) That means that we need demand reduction, too; I can’t prove it (and it’s probably not provable by anything like current modeling capabilities, IMO), but multiple folks here and elsewhere have pointed out that the whole world is unlikely to be able to live as we do now–not even an ecologically ‘sanitized’ version of it.

    So we’ve got to discern and progressively begin to realize more sustainable models for society as a whole. “Disposalism” must surely go; more than one commentator here would say capitalism does, too. (I’m more agnostic on that, mostly because I think that ‘capitalism’ as a real-world phenomenon is much less well-defined than textbook definitions actually capture, but also because I’m frankly fairly ignorant on the topic.)

    But whatever the specifics, to realize them intentionally we must first imagine them. Hence my appetite for visions of the ‘contours of the solution’.

  37. 87
    MA Rodger says:

    Fid @76,
    An analysis that extracts the imprint of Sol, Vol & ENSO from temperature series has been done before, usually using Multiple Regression Analysis (eg Foster & Rahmstorf 2011) which examines GISS, NOAA, HadCRUT & RSS as well as UAH). Why Christy & McNader decide to dream up their own method is an interesting thought (and using SST & Vol but no Sol). It does seem to allow them the luxury of taking off a fair amount of trend to leave a wonderously small result.
    Thus they convert a TLT record with a trend of +0.155 K/decade into an adjusted one with a +0.096 K/decade trend. But just a little look at the data and you may note the very ends (Years 1979 & year 2017) have no net adjustments and taking the difference of their unadjusted averages and dividing by the decades between, we arrive at a trend of +0.153 K/decade. And if we use RSS TLT data instead of the dubious TLT output from UAH, a similar calculation yields +0.205 K/decade.
    Of course, the ‘+0.096 K/decade trend’ is not the entirety of Christy & McNader (2017) (which for some reason resides in a vault on the planet Wattsupia), but suggesting their adjusted trend could be over 100% out does make a bit of a mess of their eventual bold conclusions.

  38. 88
    nigelj says:

    Zebra

    You talked about dealing with climate change and other problems with a much smaller population, and America having a very small population of maybe 10 million. I agree its desirable and extremely important to at least consider these scenarios

    IMO this is how it could be quantified. I’m assuming we are talking about optimal population size for millenia. We can work back from that if you want to something more practical.

    Optimal population size would have to consider a) resource use that is sustainable and b) pollution that is at sustainable levels (obviously very low) and other factors but those are the big ones.

    Calculating this is mega difficult. However we know environmental pressures became unsustainable at least early last century when Americas population was about 70 million people. We know that hunter gatherer populations appear sustainable with numbers of a couple of million. Its tricky to know because some hunter gatherers put quite a lot of pressure on native species and it easy to idealise about these cultures as if they were perfect.

    Therefore the optimal population in America is somewhere between say a couple of million and say 50 million. This is all still a guess really, but its likely to be somewhere there.

    But you also have to consider the ability to recycle materials, and how many people are required to sustain a decent level of technology and a viable society, and finally what level of lifestyle you are prepared to live with. A truly sustainable eternal nirvana might be at shockingly low levels of consumption.

    My guess is maybe 50 million is optimal level that balances all these things pragmatically. 10 million seems too low to sustain enough scale and technology, but I’m open minded about all numbers.

    I know countries that are small trade and build an interconnected global society but its hard to consider all this, so I’m thinking mainly of America as one country as a starting point.

    If you have a better idea PLEASE DO SO and don’t accuse me of not at least attempting to quantify it.

    And to reinforce an earlier comment lower population can only be part of the climate change problem because its a slow thing to reduce population, and climate problem mainly requires reduction of fossil fuel burning.

  39. 89
    nigelj says:

    BPL @73 all your points A-E make sense. However stopping growth sooner rather than later is so simplistic. Don’t you think we have to consider the different circumstances of developed countries and developing countries, and also consider what forms of growth are ok environmentally (and in other ways), and what forms aren’t?

    Some of the most seriously concerning forms of growth are fossil fuel use, nitrate fertilisers, pesticides, and heavy polluting industry.We are fortunate to have less damaging alternatives that may permit growth but at lower rates (eg renewable energy and permaculture).

    Some industrial polluting output could be much better mitigated just with technical fixes, rather than reducing quantity of industry, if only there were better laws forcing this.

    The next problem is the rate we are using up mineral reserves. But the question of how much we should slow down is complicated to assess especially as dealing with climate change requires renewable energy etc as the main practical option. Consumption would have to be phased down slowly.

    I think two things have to change 1) overall rates of growth have to slow medium term but not stop 2) the composition of that growth has to change, and outputs must be better controlled.

    Any thoughts?

  40. 90
    nigelj says:

    Zebra, you asked me for my “vision” or design for future society, in environmental and general terms.

    I’m reluctant, because of the failed visions of communism, and equally dubious ultra free market Ayn Randian visions. And because of the troubles you get with crystalising Killians sorts of plans, which suggests he might be right to talk more about principles, rather than plans as such.

    But here goes anyway, very briefly:

    Over long term time scales I see a smaller global population of maybe 3 billions, living in cities but with low rise passive solar design homes and offices. Clearly smaller population is more sustainable and means we don’t have to cut consumption per capita as much. But several billions would maintain a decent level of technology and trade.

    I see people consuming less rubbish than today, and in modest size homes, but still a high technology society of reasonable consumption levels as opposed to a peasant economy. I see smaller scale regenerative farming but combined with maybe laboratory creation of foods.

    I see democratic government, but with more direct voter participation in specific decision making, and a strong rule of law especially environmental law. I see a strong focus on human rights and tolerance of people who are different, but not tolerance of behaviour that damages others peoples well being.

    I see an economy of private ownership, (although this is not absolutely essential, and certainly doesn’t have to apply to all assets), and general market style economy. I see an economy of zero growth overall but with some areas growing within this and some shrinking. Its more about specific growth and its implications, and quality growth that doesn’t wreck the environment rather than a precise level of growth.

    But as I say plans are one thing, and its possibly better to just get things pointing in a sane direction.

  41. 91
    Thomas says:

    The Guardian is reporting about “the new normal” ?

    “California governor Jerry Brown on Saturday saw for himself the “existential consequences” of huge and deadly wildfires in the state.

    ‘It was an inferno’: southern Californians left dumbstruck by week of wildfire hell

    He did so having told network TV that Donald Trump did not appreciate that actions such as withdrawing the US from the Paris climate deal might contribute to more such devastating events.

    Firefighters continued to battle six wind-whipped blazes that authorities said on Sunday have destroyed more than 1,000 homes and other buildings. The fires have also forced more than 200,000 people to flee and choked the air across much of the region.

    Forecasters predicted wind gusts to become more intense by Saturday night, challenging the 8,700 firefighters who have been battling the blazes for five days.

    Brown surveyed damage from the Thomas Fire and met emergency management officials and residents.

    “This is the new normal,” he said. “We’re about ready to have firefighting at Christmas. This is very odd and unusual.” “

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/09/california-wildfires-jerry-brown-trump-paris

    interesting ‘phraseology’ there imo.

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