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Forced Responses: Jan 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2018

This is a new class of open thread for discussions of climate solutions, mitigation and adaptation. As always, please be respectful of other commentators and try to avoid using repetition to make your points. Discussions related to the physical Earth System should be on the Unforced Variations threads.

601 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jan 2018”

  1. 151
    Thomas says:

    Killian, several times here I requested the RC gurus invite Kevin Anderson to write a series of guest posts. It never happened.

    I thought it would have been a great opportunity for resident scientists and other Guest scientists to closely review KAs claims / ideas / methodology against complex scientific papers and test how close his assertions were and how well founded his ideas met with factual observations and know-how.

    Alas, never happened.

  2. 152
    Thomas says:

    134 Philippe Chantreau says: “A Know It All that is reminiscent of the Know Nothing. How fitting…”

    He’s just distressed because those evil ‘lefties’ have taken over his precious DoD and his head cannot cope with that at all.

    Original report The 20-page “2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap” is now removed …. Mr KIA ie Mr Killed In Action, is much relieved about that. Climate Change is no longer a problem, woo hoo!

    Now the only problem is how to get billions of ‘leftists’ locked up in Gulags, Prisons and Sheltered Workshops, while he and his ilk try to work out a better ‘Final Solution’. ;-)

  3. 153
    Thomas says:

    122 Chris Machens, thx for the answers, sorry but unfortunately I still do not get it, nor how it works, or what makes it different/better. No worries. thx anyway.

  4. 154
    Thomas says:

    125 Ray Ladbury

    the first step in solving any problem is ……………… ?

  5. 155
    Thomas says:


  6. 156
  7. 157
    Killian says:

    I have tried to make others here aware our “nature” is not selfish and competitive, but cooperative. This is a prima facie argument, not a hippie-dippy idea, basedon a very simple fact: Tribal First Nations living in intact ancient ways live this way.

    I have also oft mentioned the Caral-Supe site of the Norte Chico civilization in Peru who were building pyramids around the same time as the Egyptians. Caral shows zero evidence of warfare or violence despite it’s being by far the most advanced early civilization in the Americas.

    Here we have a different approach to this issue, but the same conclusion.

  8. 158
    Thomas says:

    85 etc. Scott E Strough and Land Use Changes/Drivers and Reversing those drivers.

    You may find this paper , and especially the papers (know-how) it relies upon to calculate the impact of land use changes on global temps a useful measuring stick to highlight.

    eg Table 1. Contribution to total temperature change between 1800 and 2005 from each type of emissions. The total warming from CO2 emissions represents the sum of all individual country contributions, estimated based on the climate response to cumulative emissions. The total warming from methane, nitrous oxide and aerosol emissions were each estimated from climate model simulations driven by historical forcing pathways for each gas, and were allocated to individual countries as described in section 2.
    Category of emissions Warming (°C)
    Fossil fuel CO2 0.5
    Land-use CO2 0.25
    Methane 0.25
    Nitrous Oxide 0.09
    Aerosols −0.4
    Total warming 0.7

    The amount of land use co2 contribution is 50% of the total amount of fossil fuel co2.

    Surely it is patently obvious that anything which can help to reverse that ongoing Land Use driver, or return it back into a modern day CO2 Sink is a rational logically good thing to be working on.

    Logically it would also be somewhat a Double return for the “effort” involved – cutting ff use only cuts it, for it doesn’t create a ff emissions sink. Adding renewable energy still has a positive ff use impact, for rewnewables are not a sick, but an offsetting.

    Stopping forest destruction reduces ongoing Land Use contribution, but anything that can restore the balance of Land Use activities which becomes both stopping additional CO2 contribution and simultaneously switches Land Use back into a sink will have a DOUBLE impact on “reducing net emissions”.

    Like buy a big mac and get one free offer.

    Seems to me that cherry-picked, narrowly framed criticisms by the likes of by West and Briske are totally missing the point by totally ignoring the fact that Land Use changes have contributed to HALF the historical CO2 emissions of Fossil Fuel Use…. as well as the capacity of Land Sequestration globally and therefore the massive impact it can have by reversing those Drivers back into a sink.

    Be that by restoring global forests as net sinks or restoring the agricultural/pastoral land itself back to a net sink again.

    Smart people would be cheering any positive work in this area and not defaulting to be knee-jerk critics of it and refusing to even look into it properly and HOLISTICALLY while using BASIC MATHS and current scientific Knowledge.

    But here we are anyway. I’m not surprised one bit. Disappointed and angry about it sure, but it’s unfortunately very understandable. people aren’t that smart basically. And generally waaaaay too lazy and self-indulgent.
    Scientists are people too. Kinda goes with the territory. :-)

  9. 159
    Thomas says:

    While Trump keeps talking poop, the real world keeps moving on …. eg

    First HTR-PM vessel head in place

    04 January 2018

    The pressure vessel head has been installed at one of the two high-temperature gas-cooled reactor units that make up the demonstration HTR-PM plant under construction at Shidaowan in China’s Shandong province.

    “This is the first installation of the pressure vessel cover of the world’s first Gen IV reactor, indicating that the internal installation of the reactor pressure vessel has been completed before the closure,” CNI23 noted.

    The demonstration HTR-PM is expected to be connected to the grid and start electricity generation this year.


    Construction of China’s 600 MWe demonstration fast reactor at Xiapu, Fujian province, has officially begun with the pouring of the first concrete for the reactor’s basemat. The reactor is scheduled to begin commercial operation by 2023.

    Based on this, a 600 MWe design – the CFR-600 – was developed by the China Institute of Atomic Energy. The Xiapu reactor will be a demonstration of that sodium-cooled pool-type fast reactor design. This will have an output of 1500 MW thermal power and 600 MW electric power. The reactor will use mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel with 100 GWd/t burnup, and will feature two coolant loops producing steam at 480°C. Later fuel will be metal with burnup of 100-120 GWd/t. The reactor will have active and passive shutdown systems and passive decay heat removal.

  10. 160
    Adam Lea says:

    130: “It is truly staggering that mankind, who pride ourselves as supreme beings with covenant over nature and all life forms have lost our own instinct for long term survivability.”

    Mankind is driven by instincts and cognitive biases that evolved millions of years ago. These instincts worked well for survival in that era when the world was a very different place, and we were living essentially like any other wild animal, but they are hopeless for dealing with the problems of complex globally integrated societies that exist today. One of the primnary problems is people value the here and now over the future, they choose to smoke, drink, and eat fatty sugary food because it gives them gratification now. The consequences happen in the future which is out of sight out of mind. That is the same problem you have with the climate change issue. The activities which contribute most to CO2 emissions and degradation and depletion of natural resources also go towards providing the things that people value highly, things which they get instant gratification from. What might happen as a result in the future is out of sight out of mind, yeah whatever, it will be someone elses problem, I’ll be dead so I don’t care. We have to think about how (if possible) to get around this cognitive bias.

    “There’s a two-year-old in the back of our minds that’s still there that we’ve learned to overrule that wants to have their one marshmallow now rather than wait for two marshmallows. Very few people on this planet want to destroy planet earth. It’s just that our other agendas get in the way of things that might have a longer time horizon.”

  11. 161
    Thomas says:

    Killian, for ur class, An agricultural insurgency (radio audio)

    Charles Massey has been gathering stories from farmers around Australia about farmers who are increasing their productivity, ironically often by doing less. This segment was originally broadcast on 24 October 2017.


    Call of the Reed Warbler
    Charles Massy
    University of Queensland Press


    one thing that might grab your attetion half way through is when he speaks about carbon sequestration in agricultrual pastoral soils in Australia. Saying the maths suggests that selecting only 15% of the land surface in australia, and then increasing the soil carbon by a mere 1% (or was it 1% per annum over x period) that this would sequester an amount of CO2 emmissions equivalent to all of Australia’s carbon emissions since white settlement.

    Would you like me to repeat that again?

    Well anyone interested can listen to the half hour program and decide.

  12. 162
  13. 163
    Thomas says:

    Enough of me, enough of Mr KIA too, what do American’s actually think these days?

    Here’s one, Cornel West via TG

    [who says] The undeniable collapse of integrity, honesty and decency in our public and private life has fueled even more racial hatred and contempt.

    The rule of Big Money and its attendant culture of cupidity and mendacity has so poisoned our hearts, minds and souls that a dominant self-righteous neoliberal soulcraft of smartness, dollars and bombs thrives with little opposition.

    The escalating military overreach abroad, the corruption of political and financial elites at home, and the market-driven culture of mass distractions on the internet, TV, and radio push toward an inescapable imperial meltdown, in which chauvinistic nationalism, plutocratic policies and spectatorial cynicism run amok.

    Our last and only hope is prophetic fightback – a moral and spiritual awakening that puts a premium on courageous truth telling and exemplary action by individuals and communities.

    […] The pervasive violence in our domestic lives and military policies abroad are inseparable from the profit-driven marketization of our spiritually impoverished capitalist civilization. And our civilization rests upon an American empire in decline and decay.

    Imperial meltdown is at the center of our catastrophic times. Our ecological catastrophe is real. The Anthropocene epoch engulfs us. Human practices –especially big business and big military operations – now so deeply influence the Earth’s atmosphere that extinctions loom large. [end quotes]

    Too critical? Catastrophising too much? Just another ‘commie/leftist’? Insufficent refs from credible scientific papers to make such ‘claims’ about ecological catastrophe and extinctions?

    What would Climate Feedback make of it? Discuss.

  14. 164
    Mr. Know It All says:

    160 – Adam
    “Mankind is driven by instincts and cognitive biases that evolved millions of years ago. These instincts worked well for survival in that era when the world was a very different place, and we were living essentially like any other wild animal, but they are hopeless for dealing with the problems of complex globally integrated societies that exist today.”

    For most of the history of mankind, short term survival was their #1 concern. Today, for 1/2 the population of the world (mostly those in shi+hole nations), nothing has changed.

  15. 165
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @146

    “–I’m skeptical about the role of labor as discussed, particular in the McKinsey piece. Labor is less and less a determinant of prices, and capital costs more and more. That seems likely to continue as automation, AI and robotics proceed to develop. I wonder if anyone really has a handle on this?”

    Good point. Of course like so many things its about the timing. I can see rapid progress with Artificial intelligence, because we are talking mass produced computer chips once you get the breakthroughs, but much slower progress with robotics replacing human labour intensive jobs because of the complexity and expense of human like robots. However the point is some forces are driving growth down while others work to preserve and enhance growth. Yet the net pressure appears downwards.

    (It’s also like like Zebras suggestion that falling population will reduce consumption more than in just a linear way. This is true, but robotics will act against this trend.)

    “–I’m also skeptical about the notion that declining growth rate projects automatically to ZEG……”

    Half agree. I can see economic growth falling to about 1%, in a sort of decelerating curve approaching a limit over the next 100 years. Growth is being forced that way by productivity issues, but is unlikely to hit zero. If we want growth lower, it would have to be forced politically, or alternatively people are going to have to undergo some lifestyle evolution towards less materialism. I can see this happening to some degree, but not as much as Killian thinks. Or my inner sceptic says this.

    But remember longer term, perhaps next century, resource scarcity and it’s costs may push economic growth to zero or below, and what bothers me is this sort of unplanned, forced fall will be painful to manage. But humanity does not excel at managing and controlling situations, or preventing problems, or early intervention.

    “–I’m puzzled by the notion that plastics can’t be recycled.”

    My bad. I chopped off part of the quote. Most plastics can only be recycled a few times apparently before they degrade significantly. But of course resource scarcity may force us to develop plastics that can be recyled many times.

    “–I’m not that interested, personally, in the question of long-term resource sustainability….. ”

    I have liked pondering long term issues even as a child. I read Future Shock By A Toffler when very young. But I would agree thinking long term is somewhat academic, and can become meaningless. It’s about avoiding doing obviously “stupid stuff” medium term.

    Yes battery technology could be unimaginable even within decades. While I think technology can be “over hyped” sometimes, there are so many promising battery technologies that we can afford to be a little optimistic, and they are just the ones we know of right now!

  16. 166
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @143

    Did you feel better after that bitter and twisted political rant?

    “They don’t teach science – they indoctrinate – they “tell” the students they are destroying the planet. The students wouldn’t know CO2 from dirt. ;)”

    Perhaps because most humans are damaging the planet. Perhaps you didn’t do science at school, but students probably know more about CO2 than some of the commentators on this website (A McDonald for example)

  17. 167
    Mr. Know It All says:

    [edit – can people please keep focused on something vaguely climate related?]

  18. 168
    Scott E Strough says:

    Thanks for the great post Lewis.

    I would like to expand on your discussion of what you call the strategy of Emissions Control + Carbon Recovery + Albedo Restoration. I agree entirely with your criticisms of the current way in which the majority of people working on these have proceeded. CCS and BeCCS are both dead ends for carbon recovery for exactly the reasons you describe.

    I will make a case for BCCS instead. However, first things first is to describe what exactly is BCCS as it is not intuitive, nor a well know portion of the carbon cycles.

    Does a grassland continue to sequester carbon continuously or does it get saturated with carbon and reach an equilibrium?


    The reason is because there are two pathways for that carbon that gets fixed by photosynthesis. One pathway is called the short cycle and it includes both biomass and labile carbon decomposing in the soil. In a grassland this saturates rather quickly and reaches equilibrium with the decay releasing as much as added.

    However, there is another biochemical pathway for carbon in a grassland that does not stop building. It is called the Liquid Carbon Pathway which builds soil through symbiosis with AMF and creates what we call a Mollic Epipedon.

    “The thickness and high soil organic carbon (SOC) contents of the mollic epipedon mean that these soils have sequestered large amounts of C over long periods of time.”

    “Under appropriate conditions, 40%-60% of carbon fixed in green leaves can be transferred to soil and rapidly humified, resulting in rates of soil carbon sequestration in the order of five to 20 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year”

    Liquid carbon pathway unrecognised

    I can’t really say it goes forever. That’s a long time. But it does continue into deep geological time. Long enough. This is why it is the grasslands and not the forests that are responsible for climatic cooling.

    Cenozoic Expansion of Grasslands and Climatic Cooling

    Currently the loss of grasslands worldwide is increasing even more rapidly than deforestation. It is a major portion of the causes of both the increases in emissions and the loss of the capability to mitigate emissions. Yes forest do contain more biomass and need to be restored too. But grasslands have much lower albedo than forests and sequester in the soil much more “long cycle” carbon. This is by far the more important biome to focus our efforts on.

  19. 169
    zebra says:

    Kevin M 145,

    I think you are being a bit rhetorical at this point.

    I’ve defined mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability (the goals).
    I’ve given my timeline.

    (You may have missed my comments, but I don’t spam so it shouldn’t be difficult to find them.)

    But so far you have not explained with any clarity what you mean by “the carbon crisis”, except in this apparently circular argument:

    “If.” It won’t happen in the next 20 years, barring complete social collapse and mass die-off, or systematic genocide, so *as solution to the carbon crisis*, it doesn’t cut it.

    So, we are back to “washing your hands of it”. I’ve said many times, and surely my past comments support this… I am certainly as big a fan of RE and EV and efficiency as you are. I believe that they have achieved a certain momentum based on their own merits.

    So, what exactly has to happen in the next 20 years, in your view, to solve the “carbon crisis”? And what would count as “solving the carbon crisis”?

    *LNC: Liquidation of Natural Capital. I stole that from one of the regulars but I can’t remember who. A nice way to encompass CO2 and other environmental effects.

  20. 170
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA: “Actually it’s longer than that. At least since the 60s, schools have been indoctrinating students with leftist ideas, and more recently, dumbing them down using common core math so they cannot understand math – leftists in the USA have produced entire generations if idiots that can’t write, read, or think – and every one of them who made it to voting age voted for Hillary.”

    JESUS WEPT! You are one stupid tool. Have you even seen the inside of a classroom in the last 20 years? Have you even read the frigging common core curriculum? Do you even understand what it is?

    As to the distortion of politics and the economy… gee when was America growing faster 1954 to 1970 or since the Republicans have been in control?

    Here’s a thought. Maybe try a news source other than Breitbart or Faux News

  21. 171

    Made a quick rough video

    Energy consumption Bitcoin vs Banking System

  22. 172
    nigelj says:

    Killian @157

    Humans are indeed cooperative by nature. Our entire economy is based on people working together in groups, ie cooperating. Humans are social, tribal creatures by nature, and this is the key underlying fact in any discussion.

    Its generally understood that hunter gatherers were cooperative and egalitarian, and competitiveness and inequality developed with the development of farming. However the cooperative spirit manifested mostly within the tribe rather than between tribes.

    However while modern day humans cooperate, and have an egalitarian instinct, they are also competitive, self interested, and can be aggressive. The aggression manifests most strongly towards alien groups, unfortunately.

    So our human nature is complicated, whether its genetically based, or learned.

    Aggression and self interest is not going away, because its so deeply embedded in humanity, and it can only be managed, minimised and controlled. Competition in business does this provided there are rules of the game to stop competition becoming destructive. We have harnessed competitiveness between firms to make the economy efficient.Humans compete in sports and in their jobs.

    It seems to me society on the evidence is slowly evolving to accentuate peacefulness, cooperation and egalitarianism, while ensuring competitiveness, selfishness and aggression is managed contained and utilised in a productive way.

    For evidence the book “The Moral Arc” by M Shermer. He argues morality is improving.

    But this is all happening in a very slow, and imperfect way, with backwards steps, and inadequate rules and people not always held properly to account for bad behaviour. It would be great to make the process happen faster.

    Unfortunately the current business and political climate of neoliberalism favours laissez faire deregulated capitalism, promoting predatory behaviour and self regulation of firms. While we don’t want over government, this deregulated approach doesn’t always work or make sense, and makes it extremely hard to implement environmental policies at government level. However we can only fight this, and promote awareness of the tragedy of the commons problem, and the legitimacy of environmental rules and policies at state level as the most workable solution, along with use of the courts where appropriate.

    All societies need environmental rules, regardless of whether that are sovereign nation states, or small independent localised sustainable communities. There is no escaping systems of rules. Rules communicate important information to people.

    Regarding aggression and selfisness. Was hunter gatherer culture war like? The following is of interest:

    key points:

    “A study of tribal societies that live by hunting and foraging has found that war is an alien concept and not, as some academics have suggested, an innate feature of so-called “primitive people”.

    “Most hunter-gatherer killing results from flared tempers and personal feuds rather than group conflicts”

    However “Several archaeologists and anthropologists now argue that violence was much more pervasive in hunter-gatherer society than in more recent eras.”

    “From the Kung in the Kalahari to the Inuit in the Arctic and the aborigines in Australia, two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of almost constant tribal warfare, and nearly 90% go to war at least once a year. ”

    “Depending on which journals you’ve picked up in recent months, early humans were either peace-loving softies or war-mongering buffoons.Which theory is to be believed?A little bit of both, says one archaeologist, who warns against making generalizations when it comes to our long and varied prehistory.” – I say yes to this conclusion.

  23. 173


    The study from Washington State University finds that methane, which is at least 34 times more potent than another greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, makes up 80% of the emissions from water storage reservoirs created by dams.

  24. 174
    nigelj says:

    Killian @136

    “Yes, we know some things are recyclable. Endlessly? Not so much.”

    Just posting a simple denial doesn’t do much. You post no sources.

    I gave you several sources that say metals can be endlessly recycled. The only issue is small amounts of waste that can be minimised.

    “Didn’t know there were all-metal energy systems”.

    I agree renewable energy generation and electric cars uses “other materials” but metals are the main thing. Plastics and the like can only be recycled a couple of times, but the raw materials are abundant. If we used oil and coal for plastics rather than burning them, supplies would last for many centuries.

    I look hard at issues and I’m a born sceptic of absolutely everything. My parents called me a doubting thomas when I was about 12 years old.

    However after a close look at both sides of the debate, I think we have a dangerous climate change problem, and also a serious resource limits problem. But it’s important in respect of the resource problem, to quantify just how much, and what effects it will have on humanity, and therefore the appropriate responses.

    I agree we should cut consumption deliberately, but not so much that it hurts people more than resource scarcity will.

    I think you have the right general philosophy, simplicity and some reduced consumption etc, but its a question of how far to go with it, and being clever with it. I still think we should preserve sensible technology as much as we can and more than you appear to promote, while eliminating the crap. Therefore it becomes a complex issue, and there’s no escaping the complexity.

    I think its possibly a case of promoting more self evaluation of lives and general sustainability and people will make their own choices on what things to cut out of their lives. This can be done in the education system and already is a little.

    Everyone wants a simple answer when none exists. We cant escape a multi faceted approach.

    If we reduce C02 emissions, reduce population growth, and reduce some level of materials consumption as much as practically feasible, this could get humanity through the worst of the climate and resource limits problems. All three goals are equally difficult, both at personal levels and a political level. Relying on just one approach is highly unlikely to work so commonsense suggests we promote all three.

  25. 175
    wili says:

    Killian, could you please provide a link to the Kevin Anderson presentation you refer to at #99 and #100. I’m a big fan, and I’d hate to miss a good one by him. I just couldn’t find the link anywhere on the page, but I often can’t see what’s right in front of me :-/ Thanks ahead of time.

    Nigel, do you really think there is nothing at all wrong with neo-classical economic theory? Have you read any Herman Daly (or many others I could list if you are interested)?

    Not saying that absolutely all economics is voodoo, but a lot of the standard stuff still taught in most schools is based on…shaky ground, to put it mildly.

  26. 176
    Thomas says:

    Study finds that global warming exacerbates refugee crises

    Higher temperatures increase the number of people seeking asylum in the EU



  27. 177
    Richard Creager says:

    Thomas 148
    Re: my “flippant comment” @ 134, re: Killian 91, re:77, re:73; I’ll work on “thinking properly”. But as a lay-lurker here for the science, it’s often hard not to jump in and tweak Killian in his hubris, given the way it flaps in the wind.

  28. 178
    Killian says:

    #123 Chris Machens said Yes, we also seek experts in sustainability or any related design/management process.

    Chris, thanks for responding. Looking at your White Paper, I’m afraid the prognosis grim: Your goal is the modern world greenwashed. That is hardly impressive given what we know about the roles of technology and complexity in collapse and sustainability. Simply put, your WP shows almost zero understanding of the situation. At every turn, technology. It does mention bio-char and unnamed bio-energy, but anyone paying attention knows bio-fuels, e.g., suck, that the use of plant matter for fuels and feed have a huge negative impact. Etc.

    Then we have a top-heavy management. Why not a co-op?

    In the current incarnation, I actually hope you fail rather than drain off talent, time, energy and funds from things that actually move us toward regenerative conditions because you are far too wide of the mark.

  29. 179
    Dan DaSilva says:

    Mr. Know It All #9
    Yeah that simple minded explanation ought to work, seems to work here.

  30. 180
    Killian says:

    Resources? Meh… think l’lltake a nap under this here tree.

    * Finite vs. Renewable
    * Recyclibg vs. Losses
    * Rates of use

  31. 181
    Killian says:

    #177 Richard Creager said it’s often hard not to jump in and tweak Killian in his hubris, given the way it flaps in the wind.

    Your very first post was an attack on others. Virtually every post since the same. You speak of hubris?

    Your ideology and bias drives you to waste your time and everyone else’s. I post on issues. You post on me. You, sir, are useless and a fool.

    But, yes, to the fool, knowledge is hubris.

  32. 182
    Mr. Know It All says:

    166 – nigelj
    “Did you feel better after that bitter and twisted political rant?”…and “Perhaps because most humans are damaging the planet. Perhaps you didn’t do science at school, but students probably know more about CO2 than some of the commentators on this website (A McDonald for example)”

    My comment was a reply to 119, point by point. School children don’t need to be indoctrinated about global warming, a phenomenon that less than 1% of adults understand, and which no children understand. I try to avoid insulting other commenters unlike your comment about A McDonald, so tell me who made the more bitter comment – you or me?

    [edit – there is nothing as tedious as people whining when tedious comments get deleted. Get over yourself]

  33. 183
    Killian says:

    #174 nigelj said Killian @136

    “Yes, we know some things are recyclable. Endlessly? Not so much.”

    Just posting a simple denial doesn’t do much. You post no sources.

    Do you need an explanation of why the sun seems to rise and set, too?

    As I have said: You do not belong in the conversation. And, I am not the only person to have made this point on these pages, so why do you only attack my comment with your ignorance?

    To make sure you understand my point above, let me say if you do not understand why there are losses in production, you’re ignorant to a degree that makes your commenting here an absurdity.

  34. 184
    nigelj says:

    wili @175

    “Nigel, do you really think there is nothing at all wrong with neo-classical economic theory?” (sometimes called neoliberalism)

    I think neo classical theory is flawed in several respects. It takes ideas of deregulation, privatisation, flat taxes, and pushes them much too far.

    However I support private ownership in a general way, free trade and reasonably open immigration. So its hard to generalise.

    Its also politicians that tend to push certain things too far, to further self interest agendas, more so than economists.

    Thanks for the reference to Herman Daly. He appears to promote steady state economies. I have had a quick read and am sympathetic to his views.

    Its fair to say economics generally assumes economic growth is a good thing, but then so do most people. I don’t think the economics profession has got to grips with the growth and resource scarcity issues very well, and politicians certainly haven’t.

  35. 185
    nigelj says:

    Killian @180

    Regarding limited reserves of Cobalt. Its really a question of what is an appropriate rate of use of cobalt. Massive population and economic growth would send prices very high and push recycling beyond the limits and cause stress. But there’s also no point simply not making batteries and not using cobalt. So we are stuck navigating a middle course somehow.

    (And just an aside. No doubt America will find a “convenient reason” to interfere in the Congo’s politics, and to try to monopolise the cobalt resource)

  36. 186
    Tony Weddle says:

    Wili, I think Killian was referring to this presentation by Kevin Anderson.

  37. 187
    nigelj says:

    Killian @183

    “To make sure you understand my point above, let me say if you do not understand why there are losses in production, you’re ignorant to a degree that makes your commenting here an absurdity.”

    I realise this. I already said in my comment above: “The only issue is small amounts of waste that can be minimised.” So I have no idea what you are saying. Maybe we were just talking at cross purposes, forget about it.

  38. 188
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @182

    “My comment was a reply to 119, point by point.”

    It was still a political rant, and you started the political rant with your original comment about “children getting indoctrinated!”

    I would suggest you are hugely over stating so called indoctrination, and I would say when it does happen, both conservatives and liberals can be guilty of pushing what are essentially beliefs onto children at times. I’m not going to get into it further because its way OT.

    “School children don’t need to be indoctrinated about global warming,”

    They aren’t indoctrinated. Indoctrination is a term used for brainwashing people with beliefs, like creationism or capitalism or socialism.

    Climate change is established science, so it should be taught, just like any other branch of science. The fact you don’t agree with it is too bad.

    “Climate change, a phenomenon that less than 1% of adults understand, and which no children understand.”

    How do you know less than 1% of adults understand it? The basics are no more complex than any other science. I would think given most adults pass school level science they would understand at least the greenhouse effect, and that thermometers measure temperatures.

    And of course school children wont understand – which is why they are taught!

    ” I try to avoid insulting other commenters unlike your comment about A McDonald, ”

    Yes you are polite, and I respect that quite a lot. However I didn’t insult A McDonald. I simply pointed out he doesn’t seem to understand how CO2 works and remember this: you just said “less than 1% of adults understand climate change”

  39. 189
    Mr. Know It All says:

    180 – Killian
    Good article on the limited supply of cobalt for batteries. Thanks. I did find this a tad weird: “The African nation produces more than 60 percent of the world’s cobalt, a fifth of which is drawn out by artisanal miners who work with their hands — some of whom are children.” As if there’s something wrong with working with your hands? I get the concern on the child labor thing, but if they have no opportunities to go to school, etc, then perhaps the mine work is their best option. What do people expect in shi+hole nations, anyway? Based on a wikipedia article, it appears the mining work is a net positive for those who do it:

    Business opportunity: I’m guessing someone could start a movement to shame the users of EVs over the mining issue, and might make a good living at it. Wonder how much I could get in donations this year? ;)

    If more reserves aren’t discovered, then this from the article will be one possible solution: “Carmakers expect to gradually move to batteries that use less cobalt.” Of course, if that means lower range then fewer folks will want EVs.

    In 2016, in the USA, 17.6 million cars and trucks were sold – only 159,000 were EVs, not even 1% of the total. Thus, lack of cobalt should not be a big problem here. I’m guessing the profit motive will encourage more discoveries of cobalt reserves, just like it has for over 100 years with all other mineral resources.

  40. 190

    Zebra, #169–

    “So, what exactly has to happen in the next 20 years, in your view, to solve the “carbon crisis”? And what would count as “solving the carbon crisis”?”

    Net zero carbon emissions.

  41. 191
    Killian says:

    #185 nigelj said there’s also no point simply not making batteries and not using cobalt.

    Dear god…

    Yes, there is. We call it sustainability or regenerative communities or… etc. You continually discuss points in isolation, not holistically and not wholistically. If you build batteries, you destroy Nature. If you build batteries people don’t change their habits, and you destroy Nature. If you build batteries, people make new things that use batteries, and you destroy Nature. If you build batteries.

    If you can keep using cobalt, it means you are still smelting new ore. Which means you are still destroying Nature. And means you are still growing.


  42. 192

    Regarding the much-hyped “cobalt crisis”, it’s not going to be a limiting factor for EV batteries, period.

    Why not? Well, because:

    IOW, a considerable portion of EVs being built right now don’t even use cobalt.

    That’s the short answer. The somewhat longer one (mostly additional context) follows.

    BYD–whose iron-phosphate battery chemistry is linked above–is arguably the leading Chinese auto manufacturer of EVs, and has been in the battery business since the 1990s. They are aiming at production levels in the area of 800,000 vehicles in the next few years.

    In 2016, NEVs–“New Energy Vehicles”, meaning plug-in hybrids and pure EVs–sold something on the order of 400,000 units in China; I didn’t find numbers for BYD specifically, but based on their share in July, 2016, it would have been around half the market.

    All of which is to make two basic points.

    One, non-cobalt LI tech is out there in the marketplace in (relatively) large numbers now. Should cobalt be a serious constraint on the growth of Tesla and others using it, then BYD will be licking their chops.

    Two, BYD will probably be licking their chops anyway; it’s pretty obvious that they, and their sponsors in the Chinese government, envision a replication of the path trod by the Chinese solar PV industry–that is to say, the path to commercial world domination. While we in the US whinge about government “picking winners”, the Chinese government just goes ahead and picks them. It’s not always the best path to corporate efficiency–China by all accounts has its share of bloated and complacent state enterprises–but when management remains hungry the ability to scale that’s afforded those ‘winners’ is hard to match anywhere else.

    So my guess is that if this was the first time you heard of BYD, it won’t be the last.

  43. 193
    Killian says:

    #175 wili said Killian, could you please provide a link to the Kevin Anderson presentation you refer to at #99 and #100.

    Was in… a Spanish-speaking country… maybe Venezuela? About 45 or so minutes long. I think it was in one of Thomas’ posts, actually.

  44. 194
    alan2102 says:

    #170 Ray Ladbury 15 Jan 2018 at 9:03 AM:
    “Mr. KIA: … You are one stupid tool.”

    You got that right, Ray. But Mr KIA is helpful to have around because he represents vast numbers of Americans who are idiots, perhaps scores of millions. This is the dismal reality of life in the USA at this time, and we ought not forget it. Good to have an occasional reminder in the form of Mr KIA’s moronic posts.

    (PS: The booboisie’s crowning achievement: our current POTUS!)

  45. 195
    Thomas says:

    something new
    Job: Climate-change specialist
    Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) Canada, a not-for-profit environmental human-resources organization.

    “This is not someone who’s trying to be on the barricade arguing how people need to change their lifestyles,” Mr. Nilsen said. “This is a highly scientific role trying to understand patterns, predict outcomes and guide decision making.”

  46. 196
    Thomas says:

    and another regional anecdote about climate change, migration and exacerbated conflicts, this time Nigeria.

    “Finally, the climate science of the past and present effect of climate modes modulating regional rainfall in the Northern most parts of Nigeria points to a return of severe droughts in about 15 years. If we fail to act now by including the capacity to respond to changing climate in any solution, a new wave of herdsmen will move south in search of green pasture by 2032.

    “This should be a concern to every Nigerian currently throwing punches without articulating a clear solution to the farmers-herdsmen bloodbath. An understanding of the element of climate change that contributes to the southward migration of herdsmen will hopefully add renewed urgency and result in a holistic approach on how we respond to the menace.”

  47. 197
    Thomas says:

    January 17, 2018 by Alexis Blue, University of Arizona
    “People who worry about animals and nature tend to have a more planetary outlook and think of bigger picture issues,” Helm said. “For them, the global phenomenon of climate change very clearly affects these bigger picture environmental things, so they have the most pronounced worry, because they already see it everywhere. We already talk about extinction of species and know it’s happening. For people who are predominantly altruistically concerned or egoistically concerned about their own health, or maybe their own financial future, climate change does not hit home yet.”

    Read more at:

  48. 198
    Adam Lea says:

    164: The half of the worlds population you refer too are not the primary cause of the anthropogenic CC problem. It is the wealthy other half that are the problem, and are also the same group which don’t need to be hardwired to instincts developed thousands of years ago, and which ought to be able to use intelligence (what the human species supposedly prides itself on) to override instinct and cognitive biases, when it can be objectively demonstrated that such instincts and biases are encouraging destructive behaviour.

  49. 199
    nigelj says:

    Mr Know it all @189

    Reserves of cobalt quoted are only for convenional mines. Seawater also contains vast reserves of minerals as below.

    “Altogether, there are some 50 quadrillion tons (that is, 50 000 000 000 000 000 t) of minerals and metals dissolved in all the world’s seas and oceans. ”

    This includes cobalt, although only in the billions of tons. KM wrote a good post on mining sea water. Resource scarcity is a big problem, but the media tend to over hype it, and you need to look carefully to discern whats really going on.

  50. 200
    nigelj says:

    Killian @191

    “If you build batteries, you destroy Nature.”

    I see it more as transforming nature. We breathe air, we transform nature, we kill animals or plants, we transform nature, etc,etc.

    There’s a difference between transforming nature, and destroying nature and making the planet uninhabitable and a waste land.

    Holistic thinking? This is good, provided the holistic thinking is extremely robustly thought through. There are many gurus preaching various types of holistic thinking. All needs to be examined with some level of scepticism, as well as optimistic encouragement when appropriate.