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Forced responses: Mar 2018

Filed under: — gavin @ 1 March 2018

This month’s open thread on responses to climate change (politics, adaptation, mitigation etc.). Please stay focused on the overall topic. Digressions into the nature and history of communism/feudal societies/anarchistic utopias are off topic and won’t be posted. Thanks. The open thread for climate science topics is here.

345 Responses to “Forced responses: Mar 2018”

  1. 201
    nigelj says:

    Greg Simpson @198

    Thank’s for the comment, but did you actually read a thing I said? I strongly promoted renewable energy, whether wind, solar etc. I couldnt agree more with you.

    Except to say nuclear energy has a lot of well known problems, and is not a terribly viable option in its current form. It is very slow to build, a real problem given Paris Accord targets.

    Mineral resources are definitely finite. You surely realise this? Iron is abundant but copper, zinc and cobalt are not as abundant.

    Of course we can recycle metals, but there is always some waste in the process. And current population trends will put huge stress on the available stockpile.

    However because of this overall picture of limited resources and high population growth and gdp growth, we risk a painful crash leaving limited resources for a huge population. So humanity would be well advised to reduce consumption and slow population growth to prudent levels more deliberately, to avoid a painful crash. Im simply suggesting a more moderate reduction than Killian.

    I agree we need laws and procedures for the transition. Achieving this will be very challenging, but I think it will be forced as circumstances worsen. “Necessity is the mother of invention”. We simply have to have stronger environmental laws, and politicians that dont understand this need to get out of the way.

  2. 202

    Killian, #199–

    I could go point by point, but the result would be quite tiresome. The main burden of what I said has to do with understanding the simplification proposition. You say it doesn’t matter, and I get your logic: the parameters are what they are, and since they are (putatively) the parameters for survival, the rest doesn’t matter.

    However, if you or I or anyone is faced with a decision requiring some commitment on our part, what is the first thing we want? Generally, to understand what we are getting and what we are going to be required to give. That’s what I’m asking in regard to your vision of a regenerative future. I consider the following exchange:

    Kevin: …what that actually implies for people’s lives?

    Killian: C’mon… you know the answer already: Irrelevant.

    And what I hear there is that we aren’t going to hear what we would be ‘signing up for.’

    The corollary to me is, people aren’t *going* to sign up, for the most part. If you want them to commit, they need to know what that commitment means.

    Finally:

    And what does that ignore? First of all, how do you lengthen the runway for simplicity with something that would take longer than simplicity? This makes no sense.

    I think you are assuming what you want to prove here. I’ve advanced reasons why I doubt your timeline; you haven’t accepted those arguments, nor have you convinced me that my concerns weren’t well-founded. I doubt further debate will change that.

    Secondly, what do *your* suggestions ignore? Continued over-consumption enabled by enoughism-inducing do-dads; opportunity costs of wasted resources; zero change to the system; no actual solutions…

    No, because simplification advocates such as yourself would, presumably, be doing their educating and developing and organizing the whole time. And people such as myself working on measures for direct mitigation of emissions would in fact be changing the system in meaningful ways. IMO.

  3. 203
    Hank Roberts says:

    A leftover Obama-years forest industry giveaway turns up in the new budget bill

    … had significant bipartisan support, an amendment declaring that electricity produced by burning trees and other biomass is carbon-neutral. And even that scientifically dubious effort to resolve a controversy over climate policy by legislative fiat was scaled back; the original version would have made the change permanent, but the final version lasts only a year, and environmentalists vowed to fight the forestry industry to get rid of it in 2019.
    “It remains a terrible precedent for Congress to codify fake science in the budget, but at least the language is not set in stone,” says Laura Haight, a senior policy adviser for the Partnership for Policy Integrity.

    That’s from: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/23/heres-whats-in-the-budget-bill-nobodys-bothered-to-read-217701

  4. 204
    Hank Roberts says:

    Is there a way to hide those “AddThis” icons for linking to Facebook, Twitter, print, email, etcetera that have started showing up on all the RC pages?
    https://scontent-sjc3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/p206x206/29511086_1650270558396088_2134136382714185127_n.png?_nc_cat=0&oh=fbb42c7a5317ad8659f2f86dc5c24a89&oe=5B3A7D1C

  5. 205
    nigelj says:

    Killian @199 and Keven McKinney

    “but then the question will arise as to what that actually implies for people’s lives?””C’mon… you know the answer already: Irrelevant. One question is germane: What is a sustainable lifestyle given the resource base? It doesn’t matter what less carbon means because it is the same parameter, what *can* we use?”

    Good question, but there is no lifestyle at any population level, and at any level of consumption, that is permanently sustainable forever on this planet. This is because we will run out of mineral resources eventually over millenia time frames no matter how prudently we ration them, and recycle whats left (although this will hugely prolong their life).

    The question of sustainability is therefore about what we can “reasonably” do and is going to require a lot of commonsense. The question we have to answer is how much do we ration mineral and other resources in the present to give future generations the best chances of maintaining technology for a long time? Wrecking our quality of life in this generation with drastic rationing does not make sense, if it just gives small advantage to more distant future generations.

    This is especially the case, as reduced population size will take the pressure off the resource base, and will ultimately have to be the main weapon against resource problems, because the logic is compelling. It will be easier to convince people to have small families than make 90% reductions in energy use I would say.

    “And what does that ignore? First of all, how do you lengthen the runway for simplicity with something that would take longer than simplicity? This makes no sense.”

    To stop civilisation crashing during the transition, and people dying perhaps?

    “Secondly, what do *your* suggestions ignore? Continued over-consumption enabled by enoughism-inducing do-dads; opportunity costs of wasted resources; zero change to the system; no actual solutions; collapse unrelated to climate; whether we have already run out of time, etc.”

    I disagree in part. KM’s suggestions do not ignore or promote those things from what I have read, and neither do I. Its commonsense that we to reduce use of silly gadgets but there’s a big difference between this and 90% reductions in use of minerals or energy. And what is your definition of silly gadgets?

    Wheres your proof we have run out of time? You want us to run away and hide because there’s possibly a monster out there somewhere, just to be “safe”? We simply have to settle on some time frames as being the most plausible. Humanity needs that definition, or it just runs around in a panic.

    “it’s a much easier ‘ask’ in terms of immediate behavioral change. Many times it’s wise to take the low-hanging fruit.Only if you know how much time you have and how severe the consequences will be. You know neither.”

    I disagree. You always start with the easiest things to reduce, this is frigging commonsense. You build from there using the knowledge you have gained in the process.

    “How do we ever get to that tipping point with people like you telling everyone EVs, e.g., are a great idea rather than telling them they are mirage and chasing that proverbial mirage across the proverbial desert of consumption may lead to extinction?”

    You provide no mechanism that shows how electric vehicles and the like could lead to human extinction. Such a claim is also highly implausible. Resource depletion seems more likely to just push up prices and reduce quality of life very long term and is something very hard to completely avoid.All we can do is avoid the worst of it by being moderately prudent in the present.

    The genuine possibilities for human extinction would be a massive asteriod impact or krakatoa size volcano perhaps, or a severely polluted environment, or some sort of catastrophic decline in food production, if we so over farmed the planet it truly wrecked the soils (I’m reasonably confident humanity has just enough brains to avoid this last one). Another insidious risk is decline of bee populations and so on.

    But you don’t solve pollution problems by drastically reducing per capita consumption, there are smarter ways.

  6. 206
    Killian says:

    #198 Greg Simpson,

    I suggest you take a look at how systems work, particularly the myth you are suggesting we all follow, though you don’t name it directly, endless substitution. Every finite resource will be used up someday. Someday might be far away for some, but there is no way to use them forever without using them up. And, the number of resources already in serious decline is not one or two. Do some more research.

    Every time you start dragging out a new resource – rather resources – to replace a disappearing one, you are destroying more of the environment. And see Liebig’s Law. I will repeat: Collapse is coming even without climate. This is not a one-issue problem, which is why I refer to it as The Perfect Storm.

    This isn’t doomsaying. That’s a childish misrepresentation because this is all based in facts. The numbers are out there. You can claim we can just start tearing the world up for more aluminum, but you have to also admit you are going to further destroy the ecology if you do. You ignored this.

    Your comments have no real validity and I hope none are mislead by them.

    The researchers created a Periodic Table of Risk. To make the table, the team took into account each of 62 metals that we use today, including each element’s scarcity, concentration in one nation, and the difficulty of finding suitable replacements. The resulting graphic shows elements that are at greatest risk in red and at lowest risk in blue.

    https://inhabitat.com/this-periodic-table-shows-which-of-earths-elements-are-at-risk-for-depletion/

    Note that this is already three years old.

    Extinctions:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180321121558.htm

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180313225505.htm

    Make no mistake, bio-diversity is a major component of climate.

  7. 207
    nigelj says:

    Killian @199 says “How do we ever get to that tipping point with people like you telling everyone EVs, e.g., are a great idea rather than telling them they are mirage and chasing that proverbial mirage across the proverbial desert of consumption may lead to extinction?”

    It’s really important that these sorts of claims be challenged, because they just aren’t defensible. There’s enough lithium in known reserves at current prices for at least one billion electric cars, as in the following article below.

    https://www.quora.com/Is-there-enough-lithium-in-the-world-to-replace-all-petroleum-cars-with-battery-electric-vehicles

    Lithium can be recycled, and so there’s probably enough lithium for hundreds or thousands of years of electric cars if its not wasted. This is before we even consider lithium yet to be discovered, more efficient lithium batteries, aluminium batteries, and the new carbon batteries being experimented with.

    Yes other metals amd materials are used in automobiles, but the same basic principles apply.

    Therefore its absurd to suggest electric vehicles are somehow a path to extinction, or are not viable, or sustainable (recognising that lithium is of course finite ultimately). We should of course use it sensibly, but to not use it for electic cars, or severely ration the material is nonsensical.

  8. 208

    Why can’t we focus on environmental education for kids in a fun way?

  9. 209
    Bob Pincaro says:

    Have the list moderators considered a monthly word limit so that the forced and unforced discussions don’t become the personal debate boards of a couple of people as they are now?

  10. 210
    Al Bundy says:

    On carbon neutral heating:
    Waste heat is a good source. If you use grid electricity and natural gas, a generator can provide carbon neutral hot water and space heating (depending on your account ting, eh?) This technique is popular in Europe. An equator-facing greenhouse is a grand technique. Add thermal mass (water, adobe, etc) and you solve both healthy food and carbon.

    The political solutions I prefer include a change to banking regulations: simply include expected energy costs in the calculations for loan qualifying. Similarly, rentals should be required to include expected utility use, thus aligning landlord and tenant interests towards efficiency.

    Cap and trade is a horrible technique that encourages gaming – no, requires gaming. Plus, it eliminates certainty. Cap and trade won’t discourage buying a gas guzzler or inefficient house, but a consumer who KNOWS gas will be taxed at $10/gallon in a few years will also know her gas guzzling purchase will be worthless quickly.

    Hmm, it seems Killian has gotten himself a second handle. Congrats, dude!

  11. 211

    Killian, #199–

    You ask:

    How do we ever get to that tipping point with people like you telling everyone EVs, e.g., are a great idea rather than telling them they are mirage and chasing that proverbial mirage across the proverbial desert of consumption may lead to extinction?

    I’m going to take that as a serious question. I think the main component is that folks like you should keep working and demonstrating, both theoretically and practically (in what we laughingly call the ‘real world’), that your claims are sound. More briefly, you keep showing–not just telling–that you have a real alternative that can accomplish what you believe it can. And, of course, you work to implement the diffusion of regenerative knowledge and skill at the most rapid possible pace.

    Secondarily, I don’t accept the premises of your question, the most fundamental one being that there is no difference between a complex society powered largely by carbon-free energy sources on one hand, and BAU on the other. (Or, to use your language, I don’t agree that ‘drop in’ measures to mitigate emissions over the next two decades are a ‘mirage.’)

    Yes, I have heard your points about Jevon’s paradox, and about the long-term sustainability issues based on resource finitude, and the concept that simplification renders needless other solutions. Correspondingly, I’ve made my points about the learning curve of reskilling and the resources I believe are needed to do it, about the timeline issue in which we risk climate tipping points preceding perception/comprehension tipping points, and my concerns around social structure, justice and security. I’m not so sure they’ve really been understood, but they’ve certainly been addressed, at least at the rhetorical level. (To be clear, I mean “rhetorical’ in the technical, not the pejorative, sense. IOW, I’m acknowledging that counterarguments have been made.)

    But we’re probably going to have to agree to disagree, for the time being at least. Repetition, IMO, is not going to help now.

    Finally, let me remark that your hoped-for ‘come to Jesus’ moment is predicated on the widespread comprehension of the risk climate-change extinction. I can understand the desirability from that point of view of countering the sort of techno-optimism that asserts (as for instance Al Gore does) that mitigation is a relatively simple fix, which once accomplished will allow us to live happily ever after, never missing a latte (to use your metaphor from comments past).

    But asserting the uselessness of every possible interim measure (‘interim’, presuming your model is correct) is a very different order of beast, and comes with its own moral hazard. As I see it, precisely the uncertainty of timelines and outcomes is reason for taking the low-hanging fruit *now*–and not, as you suggest, for ignoring it in the belief that only a ‘home run’ will do. Sometimes it’s better to play for the tie and get to extra innings, rather than to strike out swinging for the fences. (Particularly, if I may stretch the metaphor, when the batter in the box is much better at ‘small ball’–which I think characterizes humanity en masse.)

  12. 212
    SystemicCausation says:

    Behind all the technical wizardry at Cambridge Analytica, the algorithms and the psychometric warfare, simplistic campaign messages were designed to stoke confusion and dumb down complex issues. The thread that runs from the tobacco industry’s years of amoral misinformation, through the climate wars, to Cambridge Analytica’s turbocharged fake news is as obvious as it is utterly dispiriting. Lobbyist dirty tricks, puppet candidates, plausible deniability, a willingness to make common cause with petrostate authoritarians, it is all achingly familiar to anyone who has spent any time around climate skeptic campaigns or the murkier end of the global energy industry.

    As the DeSmog website documented last week, it even turns out that several key characters in both scandals are precisely the same people. It’s a small world. A small world that is getting hotter with each decade.

    https://www.greenbiz.com/article/cambridge-analytica-facebook-and-climate-change-angle

    Web of Power: Cambridge Analytica and the Climate Science Denial Network Lobbying for Brexit and Trump
    https://www.desmog.uk/2018/03/21/web-power-how-cambridge-analytica-sits-heart-brexit-trump-and-climate-science-denial?amp&__twitter_impression=true

    People hate being told they are wrong. They do not want to hear it. So they shut it down if they have the power to influence or do so themselves.

    On the other hand people go ballistic when they are publicly proven wrong and gullible by the biggest story about media manipulation by oligarchs and politicians in decades.

    When that happens they will just ignore it and you. Guaranteed.

  13. 213
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigelj et al,
    A 25% reduction in emissions is not even remotely linked to a reduction in GNC (gross national cost). For example, take a bathroom fan: one can buy a noisy fan for twenty USDollars that consumes perhaps 90 watts, or one for $100 that consumes 9 watts and is silent. Similarly, a sanely built house will generate more short-term GDP (aka GNC) while dropping emissions Killianesquely. Amory Lovins is a good resource.

  14. 214
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra,
    While that would be true if humans weren’t affected by the blue goose pink goose effect, in the real world your hypothesis leads to serial conflict. Heck, look at the US, where the definition of blue goose (Caucasian) has shrunk to exclude Caucasians of Hispanic origin.

    Nigelj,
    The difference is that Killian is TRYING to disrupt the system in a way that leaves the biosphere functioning and you’re trying to steer the system slowly in a way that would almost assuredly nuke the biosphere. A 25% reduction in emissions by the developed world accompanied by the inevitable leveling of emissions (read massive increases) in the third world spells disaster. Or were you proposing that the third world decrease emissions by 25%, too?

    Me, I suggest repurposing the Offense/Imperialism budget by selecting the most peaceful and educated developing nation or area(Cuba? Puerto Rico?) and leapfrogging it into a society we’d be envious of. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Leave the nutcase countries alone.

    Or eliminate corporate taxes and raise the income tax on income above what’s reasonable to 90%, along with redefining income to mean income regardless of whether it’s unrealized capital gains, inheritance, or earned
    Eliminating the ability to build a genetic dynasty is crucial.

    Or just reintroduce smallpox and other such things, eh?

    BTW Killian, “lengthen the runway” by definition means taking longer to get aloft.

  15. 215

    AB 214: I suggest repurposing the Offense/Imperialism budget by selecting the most peaceful and educated developing nation or area(Cuba?

    BPL: Cuba, which sends soldiers all over the world? This must be some new definition of “peaceful” I’ve never heard before.

  16. 216
    Killian says:

    #211 Kevin McKinney said I’m going to take that as a serious question.

    Jesus… you just can’t help yourself… Anywho…

    Killian, #199– You ask: How do we ever get to that tipping point with people like you telling everyone EVs, e.g., are a great idea rather than telling them they are mirage and chasing that proverbial mirage across the proverbial desert of consumption may lead to extinction?

    Secondarily, I don’t accept the premises of your question, the most fundamental one being that there is no difference between a complex society powered largely by carbon-free energy sources on one hand, and BAU on the other.

    Strictly speaking, no, but in end result? Almost certainly. 1. These bridge strategies are not being sold as bridges, they are being sold as solutions. That makes them mirages. Heck, even you don’t accept the degree of simplicity I have shown is needed as a legitimate goal, and you are likely among the proverbial 1% in terms of climate awareness, no?

    (Or, to use your language, I don’t agree that ‘drop in’ measures to mitigate emissions over the next two decades are a ‘mirage.’)

    Of course they are. But you are confusing yourself and/or forgetting other elements, such as the point I made above. I have never said these techs are inherently mirages, I have said they are bridges to be applied, on a limited basis, under the concepts of appropriate technology and leveraging the future with embedded energy.

    I have said all this before. You seem to have forgotten it. Just to be clear, what makes it all a mirage is the snow job: Green tech saves us! Don’t, change, just change your car and your coal plants!

    I can count on one finger the average number of times a week (a month?) I read of resources in any climate-related article or paper.

    Correspondingly, I’ve made my points about the learning curve of reskilling and the resources I believe are needed to do it, about the timeline issue in which we risk climate tipping points preceding perception/comprehension tipping points, and my concerns around social structure, justice and security.

    Yes. And I have refuted them. You keep saying in-system sociopolitical change can get there faster than whole system change, even when the incrementalist approaches you espouse don’t solve our problems in any way.

    I have tried, and apparently failed, to point out there are no practical reasons for re-skilling to take longer than a decade, only sociopolitical reasons. But you face the same problem, yet somehow think it is a bigger challenge for me than for you. This makes little sense because for global buy-in for your proposed steps to happen, the degree of awareness would be the same as for my proposals to be accepted. If people “get” existential threat, they will not, at that point, be interested in non- or partial solutions. Thus… Once they “get it”, the faster option is simplicity, and by a wide margin.

    I’m not so sure they’ve really been understood, but they’ve certainly been addressed

    I would not concern myself, were I you, with stepping beyond my analytical and rhetorical level, Kevin. Enough insults for one post.

    But we’re probably going to have to agree to disagree, for the time being at least. Repetition, IMO, is not going to help now.

    Perhaps. But only one of us actually knows regenerative design, yet it is the non-designer thinking they are leading the discussion and not being understood. Just sayin’.

    Finally, let me remark that your hoped-for ‘come to Jesus’ moment is predicated on the widespread comprehension of the risk climate-change extinction.

    This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of my entire world view and presentation here and elsewhere. This may seem a ticky-tacky point to make, but it is vital as it aligns with the thinking that is found in First Principles analysis. There is nothing hoped for. That is imposing wishes and hopes on design. There is only what is. I do not have a proverbial dog in the fight other than what analysis leads me to.

    That is, I do not hope for anything, I am simply analyzing what the “space” is telling me to design. As I have said, I think success is unlikely, at best. There’s an awful lot of stupid out there, and a lot of complexity people cannot see through, and… and… and…

    I can’t help thinking you will have a different relationship with my words once you “get” this.

    I can understand the desirability from that point of view of countering the sort of techno-optimism that…

    But asserting the uselessness of every possible interim measure (‘interim’, presuming your model is correct) is a very different order of beast, and comes with its own moral hazard.

    Yet, that is not what I have done. This was already addressed above.

    As I see it, precisely the uncertainty of timelines and outcomes is reason for taking the low-hanging fruit *now*–and not, as you suggest, for ignoring it in the belief that only a ‘home run’ will do.

    Yeah, not what I have ever said. I have, actually, and repeatedly, talked about the usefulness of bridge tech, leveraging the embedded energy, etc. You’re just not keeping all the issues aligned in your head.

    Sometimes it’s better to play for the tie and get to extra innings, rather than to strike out swinging for the fences.

    Not this time. But bridge tech and leveraging have always been part of the solutions I have suggested. I have taken pains to point out they are not solutions, but have never said they have no role to play. Where I have said building them out is useless is where doing so has been presented as a massive replacement of FFs and otherwise BAU and/or as THE solutions.

    ======

    #205 nigelj said …there is no lifestyle at any population level, and at any level of consumption, that is permanently sustainable forever on this planet.

    False.

    This is because we will run out of mineral resources eventually over millenia time frames no matter how prudently we ration them

    Wholly dependent on what one uses. What you mean is, “Given the lifestyle I insist on…”

    The question of sustainability is therefore about what we can “reasonably” do

    Wrong. The question remains what is sustainable. That doesn’t change because you either cannot see it or cannot accept it.

    False premises makes the rest not worth reading, so I didn’t.

    ========

    #207

    You. Just. Never. Get. It.

    Lithium… I never even mentioned lithium… And why would I need to? How many parts in any given car? How many different resources? How much infrastructure… and all those parts… and resources…

    1 billion cars!!!!!!! GREAT! 16 years’ worth.

    Woo-freakin-hoo…

    Other resources… endless!!! substitution!!!

    Yeah…. no. Did you check the first link in #206?

    Some people just do not, and will not ever, “get it.”

    ========

    #210/214: Wrong on first, and the second was used correctly.

    Note: Two off-topic, pointless, comments; both intending to insult.

    Time to start keeping score.

  17. 217
    Killian says:

    #202 Kevin McKinney said Killian, #199–

    I could go point by point, but the result would be quite tiresome. The main burden of what I said has to do with understanding the simplification proposition. You say it doesn’t matter

    Not what I said. You are taking out of context.

    However, if you or I or anyone is faced with a decision requiring some commitment on our part, what is the first thing we want? Generally, to understand what we are getting and what we are going to be required to give. That’s what I’m asking in regard to your vision of a regenerative future.

    And you have been told. You just don’t like the answer, so develop the pretense it hasn’t been stated.

    Kevin: …what that actually implies for people’s lives?

    Killian: C’mon… you know the answer already: Irrelevant.

    Again, out of context.

    And what I hear there is that we aren’t going to hear what we would be ‘signing up for.’

    No, you hear what you want to hear and have cherry-picked this entire post to feed an agenda… or truly did not “get” what you read. I think you don’t like the answer: A lot less than you have now, but only you and yours can determine what that means. We can teach you how to determine that, but cannot do it for you.

    The corollary to me is, people aren’t *going* to sign up, for the most part.

    They are not signing up for incrementalism, either. So…?

    If you want them to commit, they need to know what that commitment means.

    Then they will have to learn, which is something you have so far refused to do. You think you can understand what I suggest here without expanding your knowledge base beyond what I can provide here. You cannot. I have given you more than enough to get the gist, however, and you fail even at that. Horses to water…

    And what does that ignore? First of all, how do you lengthen the runway for simplicity with something that would take longer than simplicity? This makes no sense.

    I think you are assuming what you want to prove here.

    I am? Good lord, you do not know homestead creation, you do not operate from First Principles, you do not know permaculture design, you do not even begin to accept simplicity, but I am the one seeing what I want to see?

    I’ve advanced reasons why I doubt your timeline; you haven’t accepted those arguments

    Because they are nonsense. They amount to nothing more than, “Because.” I am not exaggerating. You have offered no germane reason that does not apply even more so to your own suggested pathways.

    nor have you convinced me that my concerns weren’t well-founded. I doubt further debate will change that.

    Indeed. If you cannot understand doing 90% less takes less time than rebuilding existing energy systems, and everything else, and building out non-existent energy systems for 4/5 of the planet, you are unreachable.

    Secondly, what do *your* suggestions ignore? Continued over-consumption enabled by enoughism-inducing do-dads; opportunity costs of wasted resources; zero change to the system; no actual solutions…

    No, because simplification advocates such as yourself would, presumably, be doing their educating and developing and organizing the whole time.

    In your system? Your system thinks our system is a bunch of crap. Why would it be co-existing? I am the one saying they co-exist for a time, not you.

    And people such as myself working on measures for direct mitigation

    Odd. Do you think not producing GHG’s is not direct mitigation? Or that sequestering in soils or plants is not direct mitigation?

  18. 218
    Hank Roberts says:

    Expecting a reduction of the human ecological footprint?

    vaccinated populations have, over time, become inherently less resistant genetically to the bugs that vaccines protect them against. We’ve outsourced our immune response to the pharmaceutical industry.

    Tl;dr? We’ve been making the disease stronger while making ourselves weaker at the same time. It’s the spruce budworm all over again.

    And now, like the spruce budworm, we don’t dare stop vaccinating. We’ve built such a tough suite of microbial motherfuckers that if we ever take our foot off the gas, they’ll tear through us like a brush fire….

    http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=7917

  19. 219
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @213 and 214

    I did NOT refer to a 25% reduction in EMISSIONS. I was referring entirely to how much we should reduce our general energy use (regardless of type of energy) and general use of materials to help both the climate issue, and resource scarcity issues.

    Imho emissions need to be 100% reduced to zero by 2050.

    I agree taxes should include income and capital gains, fwiw. I believe in a fair society as much as possible.

  20. 220
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @213 and 214

    I just want to add that we want to eliminate use of fossil fuels for electricity and cars by 2050, but it would still help that we reduce our use of electricity by 25% even if its all renewable electricity. This has an obvious range of benefits for the environment in terms of resource use of metals and so on. Its entirely feasible without significant pain.

  21. 221
    Greg Simpson says:

    Nigelj: Mineral resources are definitely finite. You surely realise this? Iron is abundant but copper, zinc and cobalt are not as abundant.

    Aluminum is a good substitute for copper.

    Zinc is mostly used for galvanizing other metals. We don’t use a lot, there is plenty of it, and it’s non-essential.

    Cobalt is more difficult, but if we have to do without as much as we are using now I’m sure we’ll manage.

    The real problems are the very rare elements, like the platinum group, and the rare but highly sought after elements, like indium. Allocating them is what markets are for. We can live with much reduced usage of them if necessary.

    We aren’t supposed to discuss nuclear, but it works now and with more research and development it could do much more. No one technology is essential for success, though.

    Of course, exponential population growth cannot be sustained, but the trend is looking good enough for now.

  22. 222
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Greg Simpson: “…Cobalt is more difficult, but if we have to do without as much as we are using now I’m sure we’ll manage.”

    Spoken like a man who hasn’t bothered to look into the situation.

    Phosphorus?

  23. 223
    SystemicCausation says:

    Why Climate Change Skeptics Are Backing Geoengineering

    Still, Keith said he is unnerved by climate change skeptics’ recent embrace of geoengineering.

    “In some ways,” Keith said at a conference last fall, “the thing we fear the most is a tweet from Trump, saying, ‘Solar geoengineering solves everything! It’s great! We don’t need to bother to cut emissions.’”

    https://www.wired.com/story/why-climate-change-skeptics-are-backing-geoengineering/

    “Hint hint”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ewn29w-9I&feature=youtu.be&t=33m40s

  24. 224

    Killian, #217–

    Killian, I told you why I have problems with your agenda. If you wish to denigrate my intentions and capabilities yet again as a result, all I can tell you is that that is extremely unlikely to convince me of anything.

    Well, anything you *want* to convince me of. Nor is it likely, IMO, to convince third-party readers.

    But I’ll be interested to read your further (substantive) comments. You have some worthwhile things to say when you stay away from the personal stuff. Who knows? You might even answer some of my concerns in a way that penetrates my ‘foggy and malicious brain.’

  25. 225

    Killian, #216–

    OK, a couple of specifics I want to address:

    I have tried… to point out there are no practical reasons for re-skilling to take longer than a decade, only sociopolitical reasons.

    Well, you *asserted* that. I’ve been in the education business most of my life, one way or another, and my experience leads me to believe that a decade would be extremely optimistic under any circumstance–and doubly so, when advocates don’t grasp that financing would indeed be necessary in some form or fashion. (For example, and leaving aside any resources for the ‘educators’ in the process, serious training programs require time of the students–time that they cannot devote to earning their living. That’s why scholarships and student loan programs exist, of course. That doesn’t go away just because the desired end state you propose involves a radical restructuring of our economic lives and thinking.)

    But you face the same problem, yet somehow think it is a bigger challenge for me than for you. This makes little sense because for global buy-in for your proposed steps to happen, the degree of awareness would be the same as for my proposals to be accepted.

    Yes, I very much do think it’s a bigger challenge for you. You are asking for a bottom-to-top remaking of the lifestyles of billions of people, and not only lifestyles but personal identities and world-views. (“In the old days I was a hot-shot stockbroker, earning millions each year…”)

    That’s the point of ‘drop-in’ solutions: they require less systematic change, and therefore orders of magnitude less persuasion/motivation. Which is why I advocate doing ‘drop-in mitigation’ *now*, while we await/work on increased recognition of the peril that exists.

    If people “get” existential threat, they will not, at that point, be interested in non- or partial solutions. Thus… Once they “get it”, the faster option is simplicity, and by a wide margin.

    Again, the argument is about what is done prior to the ‘existential climate epiphany’. If no- or low-regrets mitigation is done prior to that, it will:

    1) Put us in a better practical position when the penny does drop, and possibly
    2) Prepare the ground for more radical lifestyle changes (ie., act as ‘confidence-building measures’), thus putting us in a better psychological position as well,
    3) And ‘lengthen the runway’ for simplicity, since if it is at all effective, it will push back the advent of uncontrollable feedback runaways.*

    *I.e., the process described by Mark Lynas, whereby warming of, say, 2 C creates a further commitment to higher levels of warming regardless of human emissions as a result of forced changes to ‘natural’ carbon sinks and sources.

  26. 226
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigelj, thanks for the clarification. Now I’m wondering what the 25% reduction’s purpose is. After all, consumption itself can be completely benign. For example, one could double one’s consumption by buying signatures or music downloads (or whatever) and not affect diddly in the real world
    The virtualization of expenditures…

    BPL, perhaps a good point, perhaps not. I was speaking of the Cuba with a better healthcare system (rated by results) than the US and sends doctors around the world. And, of course, I used question marks to show that Puerto Rico and Cuba were just two of perhaps hundreds of possibilities. In the future, please respond with productive comments about my posts’ substance, instead of searching for irrelevant minutia to slam. Why didn’t you comment on Puerto Rico or give YOUR suggestion for a candidate?

    Personally, I’ve considered contests, where potential areas would compete to clean up their societies and…

  27. 227
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigelj, thanks for the clarification. Now I’m finally getting it. 25% reduction in energy use. Duh, I’m such an idiot (aka human)

    For further clarification, what about developing and/or expanding societies? Nigeria would certainly implode/explode…

  28. 228
    nigelj says:

    Greg Simpson @221, I generally agree with all your points on metals, substitutes, and market forces etcetera. And humanity is innovative.

    Half the copper used is already recycled many times over.

    However current economic and population growth rates will still put enormous pressure on stockpiles of materials, and are simply ultimately not sustainable. It seems prudent that we deliberately reduce rates of population growth at the very least before it becomes a huge problem. It may also be prudent to reduce wasteful consumption. Tell me if you disagree and why.

  29. 229
    nigelj says:

    Killian @216,

    A simple question. What is the general public more likely to do over the next 30 years aproximately? Is it your radical 90% reductions in personal use of energy and metals etc, or the development of renewable energy and a more modest reduction in personal consumption?

    It’s obviously the later solution, and if you cant figure that out…

  30. 230
    Hank Roberts says:

    Solar geoengineering solves everything!

    Including giving fossil electricity a competitive advantage, reducing sunlight levels a few percent, and so degrading the performance of solar panels. You want competitive advantage? Contribute to your local politician.

    That “best things in life are free” shit was so 20th Century. Marketz rule ….

  31. 231
    nigelj says:

    Killian @216, yes I had a read of your link on metals at risk and in short supply etc, and the periodic table analysis and its interesting.

    And yes some metals are more abundant than others etc. And some metals critical for electronics are less abundant and in the “wrong” countries” and its all problematic.

    However these assessments are generally pessimistic, if you read more widely. They tend to be on known reserves of minerals mined at todays prices. There are reserves at higher extraction costs, and also vast reserves in sea water to consider.

    And the article YOU referenced also said “The larger point for the study’s authors is to underscore the need for greater electronics recycling programs as well as a change in thinking about design.”

    You consistently dismiss recycling for reasons I simply cannot fathom.

    I noticed the article did not suggest a 90% reductions in use of metals you favour. This is drastic and its hard for me to see it being a proportionate and well considered response to the problem, and its hard to see people buying into it in massive numbers. Or put it this way, we would need to work up to it very gradually.

    Imho the prudent short to medium term response is to reduce our use by about 25% in the medium term, stop population growth, recycle more, and waste less. This maintains a reasonable level of technology and quality of life in our generation, while giving future generations a few more years of use of the stockpile of available materials. Its a sensibe trade off if you like, and appears to be something people might accept.

    You have not convinced me otherwise.

  32. 232
    Greg Simpson says:

    Ray Ladbury, how many of these questions do I have to answer? They are nonetheless easy.

    Cobalt is just as abundant as lithium, but it is harder to mine. The price may go up, but not to infinity. Batteries are a big user of cobalt, but that is likely to change. Sodium sulfur is being used for many large fixed batteries, and works just as well as cobalt based batteries. Lithium sulfur is promising for cars, but isn’t quite there yet. The other main use of cobalt is in high strength materials. If they are important enough we can continue to use cobalt, otherwise there are acceptable but lower performing substitutes

    The Earth’s crust is 0.1% phosphorus. It may take substantially more energy to refine it than we’re used to, but I don’t see how we can run out. In the long run there is an abundance of energy.

  33. 233
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @27, you are not an idiot. The trouble is you have entered an ongoing conversation half way through, and its easy to missinterpret things.

    However the basic issue is that resources are essentially finite, and our high rates of consumption and population growth are going through them fast, and its a case of what a sensible response is. Killian thinks we should reduce use of minerals and energy by 90%, and this is better than scaling up renewable energy.

    I tend to think a 25% reduction in use of metals would make more sense, and it would make sense to apply the same to energy use (even if its all “renewable”). And I favour renewable energy.

    You ask about countries like Nigeria? I would never expect poor countries to reduce current consumption 25%, or reduce their economic growth. We have to accept they will have some economic growth for the medium term and help them with well targeted foreign aid as best we can.

    The reason Cuba sends doctors overseas is to earn american dollars and gain freinds. It’s not really a humanitarian thing.

    Cuba do have quite a good public health system, that does put Americas private system to shame in some respects. But Cubas old fashioned communism is antiquated and nothing to be proud of.

  34. 234
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney

    “Yes, I very much do think it’s a bigger challenge for you. You are asking for a bottom-to-top remaking of the lifestyles of billions of people, and not only lifestyles but personal identities and world-views. (“In the old days I was a hot-shot stockbroker, earning millions each year…”)”

    Nice summary. Imho it’s all possible in some form, but is highly likely to be a slow process at best, and means we simply have to prioritise renewable energy in the short term. It’s so obvious, how often do we have to say it?

  35. 235
    nigelj says:

    According to the link posted above @233, the climate sceptics are embracing solar geoengineering because its relatively cheap, and doesn’t impose so called government regulations. And so we can apparently continue to burn fossil fuels forever and ever is some sort of free ride nirvana.

    High risk environmental madness, imprudent cost cutting, and reveals the real motivations are ideologically driven thinking, and with no appreciation we will run out of fossil fuels in 50 – 150 years so are only delaying the inevitable.

  36. 236
    Greg Simpson says:

    Nigelj: It seems prudent that we deliberately reduce rates of population growth at the very least before it becomes a huge problem.

    Presently, the developed world has stopped growing, although it will take a while for the death rate to catch up. If we can spread prosperity to the developing world I see every hope that the same will happen there. If, after trying hard to use persuasion, the population is still growing in parts of the world we may need to use coercion. If that happens I greatly fear the consequences would be a fertility war. That is something that I think should be avoided as long as possible.

    The USA is a major impediment because of the widespread dislike of abortion. That needs to change somehow.

  37. 237
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Greg Simpson,
    Yes, and Earth as a whole has plenty of platinum to meet all of our needs, but unfortunately, it’s mostly in the core. Phosphorus is being depleted at an alarming rate from soils, and without it we starve. At the same time, it is washing into waterways and causing algal blooms. The fact that it is present in nature doesn’t mean it’s accessible. It doesn’t mean it is where you want it or that you can put it where you want it.

    You need to keep answering questions until you realize that merely regurgitating glibertarian talking points is not answering the question.

  38. 238
    Killian says:

    #232, et al., Greg Simpson

    Seems to know minerals exist, but has shown little sense of how they are used. A few things:

    * Existence vs. access
    * Rates of Use (even for renewables, i.e. water crises all over the planet)
    * Complexity on top of complexity to make use of harder and harder to extract minerals
    * Econological damage

    So far, you are sounding like a denialist justifying changing nothing or a Capitalist justifying destruction.

  39. 239
    Killian says:

    #225 Kevin McKinney said Killian, #216–

    I have tried… to point out there are no practical reasons for re-skilling to take longer than a decade, only sociopolitical reasons.

    Well, you *asserted* that.

    Every forward-looking comment is an assertion. Stop this sort of nonsense.

    I’ve been in the education business most of my life

    Join the club.

    one way or another, and my experience leads me to believe that a decade would be extremely optimistic under any circumstance

    Did your education include modal verbs? Could does not = will. I was making a point, which you missed. I am saying there are REAL limits to your choices: Stuff can only be built so fast. There are virtually no limits to the speed at which simplification *can* be done (vs. *will* be done.)

    THUS…

    the wiser choice is the one without real-world limits, or at least fewer of them.

    –and doubly so, when advocates don’t grasp that financing would indeed be necessary in some form or fashion.

    Bite me, maybe? What advocates? God, I tire of the insipid little jabs you throw out due to your own ignorance.

    You don’t re-skill people who are not READY to re-skill. This is a self-selecting cohort. They will re-skill themselves or re-skill with others who are and will do so in non-traditional ways… because the system will be shutting down and the new will be being built. Those building will be doing the re-skilling. Certainly a bunch of immoral putzes will try to turn some of this into dollars, but so what?

    Stop insulting me because of your ignorance and lack of vision. Go educate yourself on the things you need to know to understand this conversation. I can only take you so far on this forum.

    But you face the same problem, yet somehow think it is a bigger challenge for me than for you.

    Yes, I very much do think it’s a bigger challenge for you. You are asking for a bottom-to-top remaking of the lifestyles

    So are you, or you are a fool. The only difference is you are advocating foolishly wasting resources and, most dangerously, time not solving the problem. You think you are buying tie, but tell me, does that not depend on *having time to buy?*

    You consistently leave the risk assessment out of your thinking. It causes you to suggest we risk extinction because, oh my!, change is hard. Goodness…

    That’s the point of ‘drop-in’ solutions

    There is no such thing.

    they require less systematic change, and therefore orders of magnitude less persuasion/motivation.

    You are advocating suicidal thinking.

    Which is why I advocate doing ‘drop-in mitigation’ *now*, while we await/work on increased recognition of the peril that exists.

    Or…… you can actually be changing the system. Please explicate why communities going regenerative NOW is such a horrid idea for you, eh?

    Great googly moogly!

    Let me ‘splain ya:

    What you advocate ****is already happening.**** You do not need to convince anyone. It is the default mode. Thus, all these months – years? – all you have done is advocate that we *only* do that, in effect, rather than realizing the truth of the preceding statement and that the *change* that is needed is greater emphasis on actual sustainable communities.

    If people “get” existential threat, they will not, at that point, be interested in non- or partial solutions. Thus… Once they “get it”, the faster option is simplicity, and by a wide margin.

    Again, the argument is about what is done prior to the ‘existential climate epiphany’.

    Balderdash. You calim to understand how tipping points, social tipping points, work, how education works, and then lay that egg?

    If no- or low-regrets mitigation

    Word salad.

    it will

    1) Put us in a better practical position when the penny does drop, and possibly

    Yeah… right… and I have NEVER talked out bridge tech, leveraging, blah, blah, blah… Why can you not keep all this in your head when you post? As I said before, your are advocating for *what is already happening* and not realizing that you are advocating bridges and leveraging. So we go round and round.

    2) Prepare the ground for more radical lifestyle changes

    You and nigel like that word. It’s bullcrap. Stop using it. It’s a lie.

    (ie., act as ‘confidence-building measures’), thus putting us in a better psychological position as well

    This is a groundless assertion. Solar panels and EVs are nearly as far from simplicity as BAU.

    3) And ‘lengthen the runway’ for simplicity

    No, it won’t. Emissions ***rose*** in 2017… and will do so in the future. Y’all just do not get how the system works, it’s very nature. Last time I saw the stat on efficiency, it was 30% improvement from 1980 to around 2005 or maybe as far as 2010, but I think it was pre-2008, but FF use had increased.

    Y’all just. don’t, get, it.

    I.e., the process described by Mark Lynas, whereby warming of, say, 2 C creates a further commitment to higher levels of warming regardless of human emissions as a result of forced changes to ‘natural’ carbon sinks and sources.

    Mark Lynas does not know what I know, and neither do you.

    =======

    #226 Al Bundy said After all, consumption itself can be completely benign.

    Yes, but not if it is high tech.

    one could double one’s consumption by buying signatures or music downloads (or whatever) and not affect diddly in the real world

    This is false to a “the Earth is flat” degree: The internet and electronics are both massive sources of waste and consumption.

    #231 nigelj says You consistently dismiss recycling for reasons I simply cannot fathom.

    For reasons I simply cannot fathom, you continue to make false statements on thing I have clarified over and over and over.

    I have never dismissed recycling. As I have said to you repeatedly and Kevin repeatedly, and again to him and now to you today: Bride tech, appropriate tech, embedded energy.

    You do not appear to be “getting” what those terms mean and/or imply despite the repetition.

    To be absolutely clear, I have said recycling is ***unsustainable.*** I have never said we should not recycle anything. I have said moving to regenerative systems makes recycling of only minimal need. For you it is a central aspect of your “plan,” and that is why you are mistaken; you want to keep BAU going as long as you can rather than challenge people to do what is necessary.

    You have not convinced me otherwise.

    I never will. But I have never seen my role as convincing anyone. I share so that others may know and choose to do, but solely with the understanding I have found a preexisting member of the choir. I am not in the business of building the choir.

    Perhaps the acidified oceans will convince you, or the plummeting wildlife, or… But it seems you, like Kevin, are utterly unwilling to factor tipping points and risk assessment into your thinking. You acknowledge they exist, but they do not show up in your rubrics, and thus you fail.

  40. 240

    And the latest Gallup poll on climate change opinion in America:

    http://news.gallup.com/poll/231530/global-warming-concern-steady-despite-partisan-shifts.aspx

    One headline result is a new record-high number of respondents expecting climate change to be a serious threat in their lifetime: 45%

    But overall, the picture doesn’t differ greatly from last year’s survey, though partisan polarization is now even more marked a year into the Age of Trump.

  41. 241

    Nigelj, #234–

    It’s so obvious, how often do we have to say it?

    Good question, but probably “Less often than we actually do.” :-/

  42. 242
    Greg Simpson says:

    Ray Ladbury, we have plenty of phosphorus. That’s not going to change. It might take a little more energy to get but that’s hardly noticeable.

    The real problem with phosphorus is that we’re using too much. Not that we’ll run out, but it’s poisoning the environment. As an example, we have to change the way we handle pig farm waste.

  43. 243
    Killian says:

    #241 Kevin McKinney said Nigelj, #234–

    It’s so obvious, how often do we have to say it?

    Good question, but probably “Less often than we actually do.” :-/

    Assuming you know more than the expert in a field you are not expert in is a dangerous game to play. Some would say foolish. It is possible, but it is also relatively rare, so the chance you are those people… is quite small. The fact is, you just don’t get it.

  44. 244
    Killian says:

    #241

    To be more explicit, I have said many, many times that since we have enough energy supply to meet that 90% threshold, we should be very careful about over-building energy infrastructure. Part of the reason is consumption tends to rise to capacity, which is why efficiency never overcomes growth.

    So, how many times do I have to repeat this before **you** get it?

    Note: Neither of you have ever said anything I didn’t “get,” so bear that in mind: Disagreement does not equal lack of understanding. On the other hand, both of you seem unable to properly assess any of this regardless how many times the logic is laid out. But, you have your little echo chamber of two reinforcing your ignorance.

    Careful. You have a chance to learn. I quite literally am more expert in these issues than you are.

  45. 245
    sidd says:

    Re: phosphorous, manure

    Agreed that phosphorous runoff is the bigger present problem than shortage. Chesapeake watershed initiative wants close documentation on manure, to the point where you record hauling a trailerload of horseshit from the neighbour farm. Mississippi watershed is going the same way, but a much bigger job there. Then you got the algae in the lakes and ponds.

    sidd

  46. 246
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Greg Simpson: “we have plenty of phosphorus.”

    Who are “we”? Where do “we” have the phosphorus?

    Minable phosphate deposits exist in just 4 countries.

    And of course, you could also look at aquifer depletion.

    These are not renewable resources. When they are gone, they are gone.

  47. 247
    flxible says:

    “Who are “we”? Where do “we” have the phosphorus?”

    “We” are all of us that eat, “we” have it coming out our butts, and mostly in the US that’s discarded as “waste”.

    Composting, especially food waste composting and biosolids can supply the phosphate needed to grow the majority of your own food supply – industrial ag can learn to change its wasteful ways.

  48. 248
    trent1492 says:

    I got a question about January 20, 2018, post on Models and Observations. The reported satellite temperature anomaly is rather lower than the surface stations reports. Is that because the graph is looking at temps higher in the troposphere? I have had a Denier tell me that it is only 0.125C per decade. Thanks!

  49. 249
    nigelj says:

    https://thinkprogress.org/solar-wind-power-prices-are-beating-natural-gas-c9912054400c/

    “Stunning drops in solar, wind costs mean economic case for coal, gas is ‘crumbling’”

    “Since 2010, the prices for lithium-ion batteries — crucial to energy storage — have plummeted a stunning 79 percent (see chart).”

    (I posted this on UV by mistake, sorry)

  50. 250
    nigelj says:

    Regarding reserves of Phosphorous:

    We have the pessimists and doomy gloomy people like Killian and Ray Ladbury, and the eternal optimists and unrealistic dreamers like Greg Simpson, and Mike the lone voice of reason.

    This is the situation: From Peak Phosphorous on wikipedia, there are 260 years of known reserves left at current market prices and rates of use. This figure is disputed as being too optimistic, however its a starting point for discussion.

    The following is my view. So lets say we use phosphorous with growing rates of per capita use and growing population and no recycling we might only have 100 years or so left or less!This is of course seriously concerning.

    If we froze rates of per capita use of phosphorous, and froze population growth within the next 20 years, its pretty self evident that stockpiles would last about 260 years at current or “near current prices”. However its unlikely population growth will stop until 2100 so reserves may be less than 260 years.

    If we did all this, and also recycled carefully and wasted less, reserves could be extended further to possibly thousands of years. The wikipedia article has some fascinating information on recycling programmes and conservation programmes that reduce wasteful use. But there will still be some waste of course.

    You could also reduce current per capita use of phosphorous (and other minerals of course), but there are limits before you damage quality of life, and come up against at least some people resisting this.

    The big problem is by the time market forces send price signals that supplies are being pushed to the limits, supplies will be severely depleted (research modelling has been done on this). This creates a huge problem of a 10 billion population with limited reserves left.

    Therefore imho society has to deliberately reduce population growth as quickly as possible by way of education and incentives, rates of use of resources need to be frozen in many cases, and and deliberately require recycling and not just throwing materials away in ways where they cant be recovered. This is going to require quite a change in how we do things, but appears possible to me.

    The same principles apply for many other minerals and metals etc.

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