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Forced Responses: Jul 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2018

Open thread for climate policy and responses.

282 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jul 2018”

  1. 201
    Killian says:

    Re #189 alan2102 said 177 Killian 24 Jul 2018 at 2:55 AM: “You do not understand permaculture. There is no such thing as a “permaculture operation.” Permaculture is a process, not an outcome.”

    A permaculture operation, IN operation, is a process, not an outcome.

    There is no permaculture process in the sense you mean it. There is a permaculture *design* process. So if one wants to talk about a permaculture process one can only refer to design/planning. There are myriad techniques, but none of them are permaculture. They are used by people within permaculturally designed spaces. What is used, technique, method or thing, in a garden designed using the permaculture process has nothing to do with permaculture itself. And vice-versa. Anything you find in a permaculturally designed garden you can find in gardens all over the world.

    You did say “permacultural,” but that doesn’t fix the problem because you were comparing two different *farming* operations, and you just cannot – rather, should not – call a farm a permaculture farm or permacultural farm. There is nothing you can point to on said farm(s) and exclaim, “There’s my permaculture… thing!”

    Permaculturally designed is accurate. Perhaps that is what you meant. But, hey, most permies make the same mistake.

    But you go off the rails with the rest:

    K: “Modern agriculture is incredibly complex, involving many millions of items in a long, global chain of interactions and the lifecycles and footprints of all those items. A million permies growing regenerative gardens is magnitudes simpler.”

    Why do you say that? You are suggesting that millions of people take up this practice, and each of them shoulder the task of detailed learning and practice, probably consuming hours every day. In essence: distributing operations that were centralized, and greatly increasing the human cognitive and physical intensity (human time and effort required) to accomplish the same things. How is that simpler?

    The problem here seems to be your do not understand complexity. It was hard for me, too. The first time I really thought about the *definition* of the word and what it really meant was in 2010 at a conference where Joseph Tainter was presenting on his theory of collapse. I spoke to him face-to-face, yet it still took some thinking to sort out the difference between parts and complexity. I thought my duckies and fish were a damned good analogy, but it got us nowhere. OK…

    A farm relying on complex machinery and producing products needing complex manufacture sold into a global marketplace is incredibly complex. A farm designed using the permaculture design process will be, by definition, simple. The number of people using permaculture is irrelevant to the question of complexity. But your centralized farm is utterly unsustainable, so moot in the first place. But if one chooses to do moot things, well, then…

    A combine is an incredibly complex machine made of thousands of parts, I’d guess, hundreds at least, made in hundreds of different factories that are themselves incredibly complex, made of thousands upon thousands of individual parts all manufactured in other factories and shipped who knows how many miles from who knows how many locations in who knows how many countries… and those parts are also likely made in dozens or hundreds of factories in dozens of countries, all shipped who knows how many miles…

    And that’s just the combine. Get the point?

    Instead of having a (relative) few specialists

    Fragile. All eggs, one basket.

    and a (relatively) centralized bureaucracy

    Oh, jesus…

    OK…. we’re just going to stop here before Hulk smash!

    To deal with the rest of this is to explain to you the design of a regenerative future, which is something you clearly are not ready for since you don’t understand what complexity is, think super-fragile systems are preferable to highly resilient ones, and apparently have zero interest in sustainable futures.

    Please note, I *only* addressed the issue of complexity. From there you proceeded to assume you need to teach a permaculture teacher and designer about **resilience.** In fact, a guy who founded the Permaculture and **Resilience** Initiative.

    :-)) (<— Gotta laugh to keep from crying, so to speak. Rather, to hold one's tongue.)

    But let me address this: (i.e. everything has to be duplicated at each household or location, which is extremely inefficient). Again, how is that simpler?

    Umm… you don't need anything more than is already found on any farm. And I mean a small, family farm, not a mega-tech behemoth. Simple, remember?

    Modern agriculture is not all that complex. There are no “millions of items” in “long, global chains of interactions”.

    Oh, yes there are. Your claim is bizarrely, obviously, absurdly false.

    I think you have in mind globalization and the movement of agricultural commodities and inputs under the global neoliberal regime, not modern ag itself, or *per se*.

    Nope.

    Modern ag actually has an urgent need to become more complex, in the sense of making much better use of the flood of relevant information being published on technological improvements. This would necessarily involve more education-oriented infrastructure (more and better extension services), some more specialists, etc.; i.e. more complexity, more overhead. But complexity/overhead very well spent, I would argue.

    You might be a little bit off your rocker.

    Hundreds of millions of permies growing hundreds of millions of different gardens of unique design? Magnitudes more complex than modern ag.

    No. You don’t understand the nature of complexity. The design result is not the key, it is the process, and that is the same anywhere and everywhere. One process. One set of principles. People all doing similar things, not radically different things, including building community, not working in an office doing nothing relevant to humanity, etc.

    Modern ag frees up millions of people from each having to think about a zillion little things pertaining to their personal survival and food supply.

    And you think that’s a good thing when it demonstrably is not. Where is all the leisure time for modern, industrialized humans? Good god… No money, starve. Millions, constantly hungry, because of the system you not only support, but are cheerleading for.

    Yeah, done with this. I’m gonna gag.

    I addressed only complexity, nothing more, nothing less. And the next time you want to lecture someone on resilience, something else you clearly do not understand, make sure it is not a permaculture designer, particularly one who has a developed a model for regenerative management of human affairs.

    If I had wanted to point out the fragility of your proposed future vs the antifragile nature of mine, I would have done that. To coin a phrase, the absence of utterance is not evidence of absence of knowledge.

  2. 202
    Al Bundy says:

    Moved from AMOC with apologies for commenting on the wrong thread. Oops.

    Hank,

    Yes, supernormal stimulus applies. The metric (money) replaces reality. Excess fossil fuel reserves are a good example. They’re a Cuckoo egg/chick that has no value in reality for the bird. But since the metric is all that matters, people are still searching for more unburnable reserves. A total waste of effort except for…

    Kevin,

    Yes, “He who dies with the most toys wins”, even if they are worth less than the paper (or electrons) they’re recorded with.

    Mal,

    No, it is not rational. When one has all the resources they and all their loved ones and their loved ones’ future loved ones can possibly use, then maintaining the overall environment is sane. For example, most superwealthy would rather that their grandchildren not live on a devastated planet. They’d rather that the trees on their estate not die. (Here in Omaha about 20% of the evergreens are totally dead and others aren’t feeling so hot – uh, I suppose I mean “cool”) They’d like their grandchildren to be able to watch their grandchildren play outside in summer. They’d like them to see wild elephants. They’d like… but they’re eliminating that possibility because they’re stuck on the issues that Hank and Kevin expressed.

    Tis insane. Like my brother. His only concern is making life as unfair as possible to the benefit of his progeny. That all the things he loves, like scuba diving gorgeous reefs, won’t be available for his progeny just doesn’t register.

  3. 203
    Scott E Strough says:

    @ Nigel,
    You said, “I’m not seeing anyone articulate a different solution to carbon taxes and why it would be better / easier.”

    Excuse me? I believe I have actually, and with multiple citations and real world examples from around the world. better / easier / cheaper / more profitable … win / win / win / win for everybody inclusive of everything in the entire biosphere. You can’t do better. (that’s a challenge, not a boast)

    In fact I spent so much time on these posts I originally made for Real climate, I combined them into a full white paper. and then I posted the essay at Quora.

    Scott Strough’s answer to Can we reverse global warming?
    https://www.quora.com/Can-we-reverse-global-warming/answers/34310028

    This way no one could come here to RealClimate and claim what you just did! There are options that could include a tax scheme, but it certainly is not required!

    What is required as minimum to reverse AGW?

    1)Reduce fossil fuel use by replacing energy needs with as many feasible renewables as current technology allows.

    2)Change Agricultural methods to high yielding regenerative models of production made possible by recent biological & agricultural science advancements.

    3)Large scale ecosystem recovery projects similar to the Loess Plateau project, National Parks like Yellowstone etc. where appropriate and applicable.

    the only one that doesn’t generate its own profits is the third, and even that can sometimes be profitable too. So carbon taxes are not required, but are an option if the above changes happen too slowly.

  4. 204
    alan2102 says:

    180 zebra 24 Jul 2018: “#164 alan2102, OK– so, the former mechanic or former taxi driver can be “imaginative” while starving to death?”

    You quote my remark about “imagination” out of context. You spoke of the unemployment caused by automation, and then you said “OK then…what’s a human to do?” — which I took to mean what is a human to do with their time, NOT what is a human to do to make a living. Hence I replied: “Do you mean, how will we spend our days, having been freed of all drudgery and repetitive and boring tasks? [Clarifying what I took your meaning to be.] Somehow I don’t see that as a problem. It is only a problem for those with crippled imaginations.” Obviously I was not referring to a situation in which mass unemployment was to go socially uncompensated, with resulting mass misery; and yet, you responded to me as though that WAS what I was referring to. Why did you do that?

  5. 205

    A very interesting ‘response’ on several counts, IMO:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/31/the-tesla-grid-controller-debuts-helping-samoa-toward-100-renewable-electricity-goal/

    A few of them:

    1) Transformation of a diesel-fueled power grid to potentially 100% renewable;
    2) Saving a bunch of money in addition to avoiding emissions, in American Samoa and beyond;
    3) High current levels of RE penetration in American Samoa, and the consequent need for grid management;
    4) Tesla’s ongoing and (relatively) quiet emergence as energy company, not ‘just’ a car company.

  6. 206
    Ron R. says:

    So, the news lately is that there’s not enough carbon dioxide on Mars to terraform it. Only like 1/50th the amount necessary, says NASA. Elon Musk disagrees and says there is. He said, she said, though I’d trust NASA’s word a lot more. Musk’s is obviously conflicted.

    Here’s a thought, Musk is a creative guy, what if he could build machines that can remove our unwanted atmospheric carbon, super-condense it, deliver it to Mars and release it there? If it could be done, he would go down in history as the guy who helped save one world while building another.

    Thus, maybe money could be doled out to him with this objective in mind (not that he really needs it. Anyone who has the cash to build underground freeways has money to burn).

    Question for the climate mathematicians out there: My knee jerk belief is that we generate way more than enough carbon on earth to carbonize Mars if it could be taken from our atmosphere. Is that true? If not, then perhaps we could supplement that with our reserves of fossil fuels. That would certainly make Big Energy happy I suspect. Only this time heating the world would be a good thing. So perhaps the first thing Musk could concentrate on would be terraforming, rather than his cart before the horse plan to colonize.

    One possible risk, though, might be that some impatient Mars preferring people might want to spend Earth’s living resources, such as forests etc., or non-living resources the living Earth depends on, to supply Mars. To put a stake in the heart of a living world to try to build a dead one. So I’d propose a clause that whatever resources are used, Earth is not harmed in any way, and that it’s survival is Paramount in any action taken. Thoughts?

  7. 207
    Killian says:

    A little reality check for our ecomodernists/technocopians, et al. Basically all but a couple who post here:

    Neither then nor now has the national or world power structure acknowledged that deep reductions in human resource use and economic activity, but with sufficiency for all, are necessary. Instead, the most popular proposed “solutions” would double down on human ingenuity and market forces, the two factors that have been central to creating our predicament in the first place.

    …The most difficult sector in which to apply the entrepreneur’s limit-busting strategy is agriculture. Georgescu-Roegen stressed that because of its seasonality, its intimate dependence on diffuse, intermittent solar energy and ecospheric processes, and its immunity to continuous assembly-line-style organization, crop agriculture, unlike industrial production, can’t be juiced up by adding more capital, labor, shifts, floorspace, computing power, or time-and-motion studies [2]. The net production from farming has lagged even in the fossil-fuel era, thanks to ecological limits. On the farm, there’s no Moore’s Law or anything close to it.

    A corollary is that if humanity is successfully weaned from fossil fuels, the economy as a whole will necessarily become intimately dependent on more diffuse energy sources and on ecospheric processes. In other words, all economic production will necessarily become tightly bound by the same limitations that farmers, especially pre-fossil-fuel farmers have always faced.

    https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-08-01/an-engineer-an-economist-and-an-ecomodernist-walk-into-a-bar-and-order-a-free-lunch/

  8. 208
    Carrie says:

    “What was your nobel prize in again? :) ”

    For Nobility! :)

    “You are obviously not interested in discussion, unless everyone agrees with you …”

    Nigel, that’s not true. I engaged in a “discussion” earlier and I ended my involvement up front. I made my comments and was very open and honest about them. Even though I expected many or most would disagree with me here I stated them anyway in that ‘discussion.’ On other topics I also have had disagreeable discussions. So again, Nigel, you’re wrong.

    As seems all too obvious (to me at least) some people here could not accept that for what it was and needed to switch the topic of discussion onto to me instead – style over substance. This is what happens here all the time – silly people turn it all into personal issues while making inappropriate unnecessary demands of others. This may be why so many participants are attracted to arguing with deniers – they’re addicted to arguing about people? Not my cup of tea sorry though I can play that game when I’m bored due to the lack of substance. I’ve had enough of arguing for arguments sake and am way over nitpicking.

    If you wish to promote the ideas and potential behind ‘CF&D/BAT’ then go right ahead. You don’t need me to do that. Pretend I am not here. I may as well not be.

  9. 209
    Carrie says:

    South Korea sets all-time record high temperature amid deadly heat wave
    https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/south-korea-sets-all-time-record-high-temperature-amid-deadly-heat-wave/70005657

    Dying people and their loved ones don’t really care what the latest data on avg global mean temps say. Averages are useful but they do not tell the whole truth about reality.

  10. 210
    patrick says:

    @201 Kevin McKinney: That example is so good it’s almost a paradigm, showing the convergence of the micro-circuit and the mega-circuit, I think.

  11. 211

    Killian, #207–

    Thanks for that. But you won’t be surprised to read that I’m not convinced–although I do absolutely agree that we must come to practical terms with the reality that infinite growth–certainly in terms of energy use and material throughput, and possibly also in practical economic terms more broadly writ–is an absurd fantasy. And, I’d add, a fantasy that is far too often taken as not only a reality, but as an axiom.

    Two points. First, I think it’s pretty clear that population trends point to ‘peak humanity’ within a century or so, even ignoring probable increases in mortality rates due to climate change and other systemic environmental problems. That also implies ‘peak food’–and there is a ton of room in the food system for increased efficiency, provided that the goal of ‘sufficiency for all’ is adopted, or at least acknowledged as an important priority. (Not the case currently, IMO, though you can find advocates for it.) So food demand is going to stop growing either way.

    Second, IMO the “corollary” is just wrong. While renewable energy is indeed diffuse on the ‘front end’, it is quite susceptible to concentration by various means, particularly relative to tasks in hand. (For example, LI battery tech does not yet approach the energy density of fossil fuels, but has become quite adequate for most transportation needs today, and is closing in on the remaining ones with surprising rapidity.) And the supply of energy, though finite, is more than potentially adequate to power considerable increases in agricultural output. Once again, as with the question of food supply, there is great scope for energy efficiency in agricultural reform.

    The trouble is apt to be in the political/social realm, if current realities are any guide.

  12. 212
    Al Bundy says:

    AB: SIPs (structural insulated panels)
    Killian: Utterly unsustainable.

    AB: Of course they’re sustainable. They use foam insulation, which can be made from biomass and sandwich it between engineered wood sheets, which can be made from wood chips. Are you saying that no man-made tool or product beyond a stick sharpened with a stone is sustainable by definition? Are the Amish at the “correct” level of modernity? Seriously, what’s allowed to exist within your definition of “sustainable”? Are plants excluded because eventually the sun will burn them up? How many billions of years of no-advancement must we prepare for immediately?

    My opinion? Unsustainability is only a problem if it isn’t abandoned before the resource runs out. This is a different issue than damage caused by using the resource. In other words, if fossil fuel were harmless then burning it today would be harmless as long as a transition to a different resource is planned and executed by the time fossil fuels run out. The road to sustainability is a journey.

    Anyway, here’s the first four googles on biofoam:

    https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2016/acs-presspac-july-13-2016/making-a-multi-use-stiff-carbon-foam-using-bread.html

    https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/downloads/development-bio-based-inexpensive-noncorrosive-nonflammable-phenolic-foam

    https://phys.org/news/2016-04-recyclable-sugar-derived-foama-renewable-alternative.html

    https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170066893

    Killian: what is rust?

    AB: The absolute best iron ore imaginable. I suppose you’ll lose a couple flakes here and there, but seriously, you’re turning a gnat into a thousand blue whales.

    Killian: what else is in that special wood… and is any of it, or the process, sustainable and non-toxic?

    AB: for this discussion it doesn’t matter if it’s non-toxic. But hey, Elmer’s wood glue is non-toxic and sustainable so it’s up to you to show that chipboard can only be made using fatally toxic and planet-killing materials cuz prima facie SIPs can be made sustainably. Whether they are made that way today is completely irrelevant. (Or is food is unsustainable because it is currently grown in an unsustainable fashion?)

    —–

    MA Roger, thanks for the attempt to clear the confusion. It’s still fuzzy. We’ll see where it goes. And, “stupid people who struggle with the scientific to-&-fro, folk like…” is out of line. Remember, snarkiness is against the social norms we’re trying to establish. (Of course, you’re free to include or exclude yourself in “we”)

    —-

    Nigel: “The gigantic carbon sink below New Zealand that is the Southern Ocean might come to quicken the effects of climate change, due to a worrying feedback loop just identified by scientists.”

    AB: AH HA! I always knew it was the Kiwis fault!

  13. 213
    zebra says:

    #204 alan2102,

    You spoke of the unemployment caused by automation, and then you said “OK then…what’s a human to do?” — which I took to mean what is a human to do with their time, NOT what is a human to do to make a living.

    Why did you do that?

    You aren’t making sense at all. Of course I’m talking about employment– people get paid because they are doing something that they wouldn’t do otherwise, in the vast majority of cases. Otherwise we call it a hobby, and people spend the money they earn working to do it.

    But probably you are just trying to avoid the substance of what I said.

  14. 214
    Al Bundy says:

    Mal:we shouldn’t suppose the shrewd businesspeople of the Koch club don’t know what they’re doing.

    AB: Yes, though there are several rationales:
    It’s fake news.
    It’s natural and humanity (except me) is puny.
    It’s a cycle.
    It’s good because warmth and CO2 are beneficial.
    It’s good because it will eradicate inferiors, especially those not in my group.
    I’ll be dead by the time it gets bad so I don’t care.
    I and those I associate with will do just fine. We have ours, you go get your own.

    and the newest one:
    The planet is toast but there is nothing we can do about it so live it up!

    I’m reading “How to Fly a Horse”, which is a good book about creativity. It speaks about certainty being a roadblock. When you are certain, you are blind. One example is h pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers. Somebody long ago said that the acidity of the stomach ensures that it is sterile. The concept took hold and folks took it as a given. When a researcher found h pylori and proved its existence, nobody believed him. It took him forever and a day to get people to “see” what was totally obvious. Once the paradigm shifted everybody looked at their old scans and yep, twas blatantly obvious that the stomach is not sterile. It’s like a guy in a gorilla suit walking through a basketball passing exercise unseen even though he literally waves at the viewer.

    An interesting test was a clown on a unicycle. Folks noticed him when they walked past him unless they were talking on a cell phone. That’s why it’s dangerous to talk on a cell while driving. Your brain edits out almost all visual data prior to your consciousness, and when you’re interested in counting basketballs or talking on a cell clowns and gorillas get edited out before you even see them. Way smart system, but it does lead to climate catastrophe.

    The solution comes from zen masters: “Have a beginner’s mind”. In other words, have the expertise of a master but don’t use it to edit out clowns. The ol’ EV v biofuel non-debate applies. Yesterday I looked up the 2014 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid carbon emissions per mile to see an apples to apples comparison. In EV mode carbon emissions are 14% higher in low (USA) carbon grids, 62% in medium, and are an astounding 115% higher than a regular Prius in high carbon grids.

    And that is using ancient engine technology. With a modern engine the liquid fuel advantage would have been astronomical. But lots of folks here are certain that EVs are the ONLY answer. That even though battery packs have bazillions of parts the EV has fewer parts. Uh, if a battery pack is one part then an engine is one part.

    Certainty is certainly the enemy.

    (CO2 data from Prius and Prius plug in wiki pages. And, of course, the EV’s CO2 emissions during construction are far far far higher.)

  15. 215
    alan2102 says:

    195 Carrie says: 30 Jul 2018: “166 alan2102: We’re starting to agree on things?! Who’d a thunk it? … Alan, we already agreed on hundreds of things especially Values but you chose not to notice or care because we disagreed about one aspect of tech about one issue you were not as well informed about as I was in regards latest cutting edge R&D and operating tech. Instead of listening properly and hearing what I was saying……” snip

    I love you too, Carrie.

  16. 216
    alan2102 says:

    213 zebra says: 2 Aug 2018 at 12:44 PM

    #204 alan2102 “You spoke of the unemployment caused by automation, and then you said “OK then…what’s a human to do?” — which I took to mean what is a human to do with their time, NOT what is a human to do to make a living.”

    Zebra: “Why did you do that? You aren’t making sense at all. Of course I’m talking about employment”

    No, not “of course”. There were two possible meanings. You chose not to specify which you had in mind, so I picked the one I thought most likely. I thought it most likely in part because of the words you selected elsewhere in that (or an adjacent) post, to the effect of “what are we to DO with all those people?” — which sounded to me like “what are those people to occupy themselves with”? It certainly is not a question of materially maintaining them, since there is plenty of stuff for that.

    I guess I was wrong. But it was your responsibility to make clear what you have in mind, not mine.

    I raise this is because it is a pattern in your posts that I recall from long ago. Often, you do not make yourself clear, leaving it to the reader to guess. Please make yourself clear. It makes communication so much smoother. It is easy, too.

  17. 217
    patrick says:

    #210 Correction: I’m responding to Kevin McKinney’s #205–not #201. It’s about the grid controller.

  18. 218
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @202

    Regarding this question of why the already wealthy strive for ever more wealth. I think it’s partly about status seeking and enhancing power, which are strong human instincts in some people at least, maybe so called alpha males. Buying multiple homes is almost like an animal marking its territory.

    I think part of its an insurance policy for economic security, where they feel that someone might steal part of their wealth, so they want ever more in some bizarre exercise that has no end. Its like squirrels hoarding nuts to get through winter conscious of other squirrels trying to steal them. Poor people have nothing to loose, so they don’t worry.

    We are genetically programmed for all these things by evolution. This doesn’t excuse hoarding and selfishness or make it inevitable behaviour, but it’s important to understand the origins I think. Endless millions doesnt bring significantly more happiness if any, according to psychological research. We also have powerful sharing and egalitarian instincts.

  19. 219
    nigelj says:

    Killian @201,

    You criticise the complexity of the manufacturing and distribution process for a combine harvestor, but it’s no different for tractors or diesal generatoes, or solar panels, or any machinery beyond simple hand tools that can be made by an individual, or maybe a couple of individuals. So unless you are promoting a culture limited to a few basic hand tools, you are in favour of complexity.

    Theres no simple way of making tractors or solar panels that would make sense. If we make all the parts using craft skills, that would be a pretty time consuming and frustrating process.

    I think all we can really do is reduce our use of technology, so we go from many large factories down to a few large factories. This reduction in scale of use has to happen ultimately because you are right there will not be enough raw materials for a growing population, but as to the ideal balance, we will be doing well to nudge people in the right direction as best we can. When I look at America right now its not going to be an easy task.

    And remember being “self sufficient” requires a huge range of skills so isn’t as simple as you appear to think.

    In fact I dont see why a complex or industrialised process is unsustainable, or how you would define at what point complexity becomes unsustainable. It depends more on the inputs and outputs of materials.

    Yes corporate agriculture has some serious downsides and family farms work better according to various studies. But many family farms are quite large centralised sorts of operations.

  20. 220
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @217, New Zealand has been using a wood sandwich construction with polystyrene insulating core for decades as below, invented by Lockwood homes. I agree its sustainable in the sense most people would use (perhaps not Killian).

    https://www.lockwood.co.nz/About-us/See-our-building-system

    There’s also steel wall framing, but clearly this is not particularly sustainable long term. Brick masonry and mud brick and straw bale are possibly more sustainable and rely more on large labour inputs in the case of the later two options.

  21. 221
    Carrie says:

    212 Al Bundy
    MA Roger, thanks for the attempt to clear the confusion. It’s still fuzzy. We’ll see where it goes. And, “stupid people who struggle with the scientific to-&-fro, folk like…” is out of line. Remember, snarkiness is against the social norms we’re trying to establish. (Of course, you’re free to include or exclude yourself in “we”)

    He cannot help it. Tis built into his “neural pathways” as hard as concrete. :)

    It’s very inconvenient truths when ‘a nobody’ who is paying attention to the ‘observations’ and the ‘data’ beat people like MARodger to the punch when their ‘math’ (which is the only thing they know) doesn’t keep up with the real world.

    135 Carrie says:
    10 Jul 2018 at 10:04 PM
    Recent topics here have been on SLR projections & coin tosses; proven increasing CO2 growth vs unfounded/false skyrocketeering claims; climate sensitivity – what is it?; nth hemi heat waves now; ongoing higher global temps despite short term math; extreme weather events; bigger droughts; wild fires; WAIS loss; but have overlooked recent flooding rains eg Thailand and Japan and the hurricane shooting up the US east coast.

    Citation to LONG post with refs:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/07/unforced-variations-july-2018/comment-page-3/#comment-707792

    171 Carrie says:
    14 Jul 2018 at 11:54 PM
    Heatwave sees record high temperatures around world this week From Europe to Africa, extreme and widespread heat raises climate concerns in hottest La Niña year to date on record
    https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/13/heatwave-sees-record-high-temperatures-set-around-world-this-week
    Yawn all this boring data showing up is such an inconvenient truth. :-)

    Citation :-)
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/07/unforced-variations-july-2018/comment-page-4/#comment-708041

    And the big button pusher comment:
    192 Carrie says:
    17 Jul 2018 at 1:08 AM
    Is all of Sweden really at +5 to +10C above the 1961-2000 average for July (summertime) this year? Sweden doesn’t seem to be a major exception to the rest of the Nth hemisphere either.
    Citation :-)
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/07/unforced-variations-july-2018/comment-page-4/#comment-708153

    As I posted earlier: Being right too soon is socially unacceptable!

    Of course you will not see MARodger taking on a real climate scientist like a M Mann who said THREE WEEKS after my “citations” above:

    Extreme weather has struck across Europe, from the Arctic Circle to Greece, and across the world, from North America to Japan.

    “This is the face of climate change,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, and one the world’s most eminent climate scientists. “We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change.”

    “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” he told the Guardian. “We are seeing them play out in real time and what is happening this summer is a perfect example of that.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/27/extreme-global-weather-climate-change-michael-mann

    Being right too soon is socially unacceptable! (smile)

    There’s a reason why people like MA Rodger focus on “climate deniers” online – they are really easy to beat in pseudo-intelligent arguments not grounded in reality. :-)

    Remember that MARodger is merely an “engineer” – you know, like the engineers who redesigned the original blueprints for the Titantic because the owner of White Star Lines asked them to. One snark deserves another – because usually it’s the only thing Snarkers understand about Life. At your service.

  22. 222
    Killian says:

    Re #209 Carrie said South Korea sets all-time record high temperature amid deadly heat wave

    Yes, everyone is very excited at the opportunity to set a new record! We’re really enjoying the summer here!

    Not.

    Mind you, I have lived in the Mojave and Florida, so this is actually not new to me, but to Koreans its, “Oh, my! New Record!”

    How do we transition when so many would die without AC?

  23. 223
    Killian says:

    Re #212 Al Bundy said AB: SIPs (structural insulated panels)
    Killian: Utterly unsustainable.

    AB: Of course they’re sustainable. They use foam insulation, which can be made from biomass and sandwich it between engineered wood sheets

    LOL…. love people (seemingly 98% of people opening their mouths to speak) who will tell you – with a straight face – that you can “make” them sustainably because [unsustainable process.]

    First, for the millionth time, the manufacturing must also be sustainable. It is not. But, hey, you think profit-driven govt is fine, etc., so no surprise.

    I didn’t read the rest because if the initial premise is crap, what follows is pointless.

    Consider not speaking on sustainability until you understand it.

  24. 224
    Killian says:

    AB: The absolute best iron ore imaginable. I suppose you’ll lose a couple flakes here and there, but seriously, you’re turning a gnat into a thousand blue whales.

    No, your choosing to ignore the point.

    Killian: what else is in that special wood… and is any of it, or the process, sustainable and non-toxic?

    AB: for this discussion it doesn’t matter if it’s non-toxic.

    It ALWAYS matters, else this discussion has zero usefulness.

    But hey, Elmer’s wood glue is non-toxic

    Says who? Drink a cup, get back to me.

    Look, your a Capitalist technocopian. We have nothing in common and arguing with you is pointless. Get back to me if you ever feel you have come to understand what sustainable, better, regenerative, really means. Right now, you have absolutely no idea.

  25. 225
    nigelj says:

    https://insightmaker.com/insight/1954/The-World3-Model-A-Detailed-World-Forecaster

    The world 3 model is a computer simulation of interactions between population growth, food production, industrial growth, non renewable resources and pollution. This website graphs typical scenarios, and allows you to play with some of the variables.

  26. 226
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: Consider not speaking on sustainability until you understand it.

    AB: I know FAR more about sustainability than you.

    AB: But hey, Elmer’s wood glue is non-toxic

    Killian: Says who? Drink a cup, get back to me.

    http://elmers.com/about/why-elmers/wood-glue/
    “Elmer’s Wood Glue… …Non-Toxic Formula”

    AB: Consider not speaking stuff until you understand something.

    Killian: Look, your [sic] a Capitalist technocopian.

    AB: LOLOL!!! You’re blind if you think I’m a capitalist. Seriously blind. NOBODY here thinks I abide capitalism. Note that Zebra spoke of my alleged hatred of capitalists a few days ago.

    Killian: We have nothing in common and arguing with you is pointless.

    AB: True. I dislike arguments and have pointed out to you and others that shooting down initial comments instead of IMPROVING the comment is counterproductive. So, instead of saying “Utterly unsustainable” use your minuscule knowledge about sustainability to IMPROVE the comment. I develop solutions. You argue via knee-jerk idioticisms, like the one above about Elmer’s glue.

    Killian: Get back to me if you ever feel you have come to understand what sustainable, better, regenerative, really means.

    AB: I’ve done it many times. ONCE AGAIN:

    Since metals are “not sustainable”, tell us, in Killian’s Super Sustainability World, what tools are allowed? Again, is ANY tool consisting of ANYTHING except wood, mud, stone, etc that is made by hand using nothing but wood, stone, mud, etc allowed in your uniperverse?

    I’m sick and tired of you CROWING about sustainability while NEVER EVER EVER saying what tools are allowed in a “Killisustainable” system.

    Quit crowing and denigrating and start conversing. Unlike you, I listen and attempt to improve what the other person is saying while accepting THEIR point of view. For example, I gave my opinion above, that the road to sustainability is a journey (that might take a thousand years or more), and that there is NOTHING inherently better about (and lots that is inferior in) adopting 100% sustainable systems immediately, with the example that the fact that there is less oil underground is not harmful. But note that I did NOT reject your whims but am engaging with you productively (though, as Carrie observed, snark begets snarkiness — oh, by the way, Carrie, congrats on your Nobel Prize in Nobility). The first step is to tell us all what tools are allowed.

    ——

    nigelj: So unless you are promoting a culture limited to a few basic hand tools, you are in favour of complexity.

    AB: I think he’s advocating Modern Paleolithic where, for example, a shovel would not be allowed because it contains metal. So no, no hand tools beyond sticks and stones. Of course, I’m just guessing since he always crows and never shows.

    nigelj: There’s also steel wall framing, but clearly this is not particularly sustainable long term. Brick masonry and mud brick and straw bale are possibly more sustainable and rely more on large labour inputs in the case of the later two options.

    AB: There’s a awful lot of iron in the Earth’s crust, volcanoes and rifts exist, and metals are recyclable with very low losses, so I’m not sure you’re correct about steel, though, of course, until humans start recovering resources (reduce, reuse, recycle)… (and yes, straw bale construction is a cool concept)

  27. 227
    Carrie says:

    fwiw regenerative agriculture may be too late to make a difference?

    New evidence supports earlier findings that continued global warming increases bacteria and fungi actively in the soil which in turn leads to the increased release for CO₂ from organics in the soil:

    Title: “Warmer soil releasing more carbon, worsening climate change”

    https://apnews.com/36dc726138144232b23ff0361c284bb9/Warmer-soil-releasing-more-carbon,-worsening-climate-change

    There’s a been a lot of research in the topic of soil carbon which doesn’t make the press as a big deal. China is very concerned about such issues and has done a lot of work on it. It’s a side issue I have a peak at occasionally, you may like to do the same.

  28. 228
    nigelj says:

    Killian @224

    Wood laminate construction is not so bad and actually goes back centuries, and it is not a capitalist thing, and natural glues are a very old invention and are not significantly environmentally toxic.

    I’m not persuaded factory made wood sandwich panels are unsustainable. I would say we need to avoid cutting down excessive trees, so should be looking at wider forms of construction as well, and wood construction should perhaps be limited.

    But instead of arguing that wood panels are unsustainable, perhaps explain what house constuction you deem “is” sustainable?

    I have already stated a few forms of construction that seem sustainable to me, without being pedantic about the issue.

    And if you are arguing that factories are unsustainable, you severely limit things to a peasant level economy where individuals make a few hand made hammers and saws and the like. Anything more requires some form of factory, even if its a small factory.

    Or perhaps you believe “small factories” are sustainable? If so can you please clarify.

    Personally I have no problem with factories, and I think it’s more of a question of materials selection, and levels of energy use, and producing only products that have serious value, as opposed to appliances that save relatively small ammounts of labour. This will be inevitable eventually anyway.

  29. 229
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @226

    “I think he’s advocating Modern Paleolithic where, for example, a shovel would not be allowed because it contains metal. So no, no hand tools beyond sticks and stones. Of course, I’m just guessing since he always crows and never shows.”

    Yes exactly. Sigh.

    Regarding steel, I think really long term like millenia! But yes, we have no immediate problem with steel, and it can be recycled easily, and much already is. I watched a programme on TV about recycling one of those huge north sea oil rigs. Totally incredible.

    But other metals are in relatively limited supply, and we are using them at a prodigous rate, which will lead to real shortages, even with recycling. Population and economic growth both have to slow right down and probably fall. Sooner or later, in a planned way, or more painful way.

  30. 230

    #210, 217, Patrick–

    Thanks in turn. I knew what you meant.

    And yeah, I too think it’s rather fascinating–the shape of things to come, perhaps. Hopefully.

    Just repeating the original link for any interested parties who missed it the first time:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/31/the-tesla-grid-controller-debuts-helping-samoa-toward-100-renewable-electricity-goal/

  31. 231
    Killian says:

    Re #226 Al Bundy said Killian: Consider not speaking on sustainability until you understand it.

    AB: I know FAR more about sustainability than you.

    You have demonstrated zero understanding. You support non-sustainable energy as both renewable and sustainable. You support economic systems that cannot be made regenerative. You support govt systems that funtion on none of the principles of regenerative systems.

    You are a liar, deluded, both or worse.

    AB: True. I dislike arguments and have pointed out to you and others that shooting down initial comments instead of IMPROVING the comment is counterproductive.

    Do you understand the meaning of hypocrisy? You posted, quoted above, the equivalent of, “Uh-uh! Your momma!”

    Killian: Get back to me if you ever feel you have come to understand what sustainable, better, regenerative, really means.

    AB: I’ve done it many times.

    You have never done so in any exchange with me. Please post a link to such bc everything you have ever exchanged with me indicates an incredibly poor understanding of the term. E.g., nuclear. Solar. Wind. Gov’t is important to sustainable systems…

    Since metals are “not sustainable”, tell us, in Killian’s Super Sustainability World, what tools are allowed? Again, is ANY tool consisting of ANYTHING except wood, mud, stone, etc that is made by hand using nothing but wood, stone, mud, etc allowed in your uniperverse?

    You have no idea how utterly stupid a question this is. It’s value is in exposing the foolishness and arrogance of what you said above, but more so in revealing how much you rely on fallacy. That is a Straw Man. I have never, in my life, said we should not use tools. Nor have I ever said we should not recycle. Nor have I said we cannot recycle. I am, in fact, on record repeatedly on this forum as pointing out we NEED to recycle.

    But you are either not very intelligent or reacting in ego, so completely forget the long-standing context I have set. This results in incredibly unintelligent comments like the one quoted above. God, how many times I have heard the utterly stupid, “Nobody will go back to being cavemen!!!” yet here, in all it’s inglorious absurdity, we see it again.

    Unlike you, I listen

    Self-delusion. The first comments you made to me this year were little chihuahua, ankle-biting, personal horse manure.

    You are far from being mature enough to self-assess, and further from understanding these issues.

    Buh-bye, because no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes.

  32. 232
    Hank Roberts says:

    > metals

    Remember, once you get to low Earth orbit, you’re halfway to anything.

    https://www.space.com/40272-metal-asteroid-psyche-nasa-mission-video.html

    “…

    Partner Series

    An ambitious mission to a “world made of metal” will help scientists better understand how Earth and other rocky planets evolved, according to a new video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    The Psyche mission will depart Earth in 2022. The original plan called for a launch in 2023, but NASA moved up the timeline to save on cost and arrive at the asteroid sooner. Under the new plan, the spacecraft will pick up speed with a Mars flyby and arrive at the asteroid, also called Psyche, in early 2026.

    Observations from Earth hint that the 124-mile-wide (200 kilometers) world is 95 percent metal, just like the core of a rocky planet….

    … Psyche has a unique history. Scientists suspect the Massachusetts-size world is the core of a planetesimal, or a small body that could have accreted with other worlds of its type to form a planet. But as Psyche formed, it may have crashed into other bodies that stripped away its rocky mantle instead, scientists say. All that’s left today is the tiny metallic core.”
    =================

    Unsustainable of course, a 200km ball of metal would be mined out in a few centuries …

  33. 233
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigelj,
    Yes, other metals and resources are more of an issue than iron. Even now the US is getting worried that rare earths are in short supply and China is the most willing to toxify itself via their production.

    However, mining will probably transition to landfills. After all, other than fusing and fissioning atoms it is impossible to reduce the supply. One can only make it more diffuse, distant, or contaminated.
    —-

    Killian,
    You have always said that mining is unsustainable. Iron comes from mines. Shovels are made from iron.

    Again, tell us what tools and processes are allowed. Stop evading the question. A decade of dancing is enough. Converse productively. (Note that Nigel actually sighed)

    I’m not a liar, nor stupid, nor hypocritical. I’m frustrated by your refusal to engage productively. You’ll find that if you start conversing instead of crowing while withholding that things will get far better.

    So. We’ll start small: is mining acceptable?

  34. 234
    Killian says:

    nigelj: So unless you are promoting a culture limited to a few basic hand tools, you are in favour of complexity.

    AB: I think he’s advocating Modern Paleolithic where, for example, a shovel would not be allowed because it contains metal. So no, no hand tools beyond sticks and stones. Of course, I’m just guessing since he always crows and never shows.

    Stupidly pointless lying. Why? First, negligentj, you also do not understand complexity. Please, go read Tainter if you haven’t. If you have, you failed to understand; go read it again. Ships existed long before modern machinery. highly functional buildings for myriad climates, too. And many other things. Fire and a big hammer can forge any metal.

    Dumb. Just incredibly, irresponsibly dumb. And how much stuff have we already extracted? Because I am honest with people about what is or isn’t sustainable means I accept no use of metals? That’s a fallacy and intentionally lying to the readers here for I have never said such. Not one time.

    You two cannot accept the limits of your knowledge, and perhaps your intellects given this garbage, so attack with ad hom bull and lies. Shame on you.

    Absent Deduction, I have so many times described what I see the future as this blatant lie will leave readers of this forum chuckling. Outright lying should not be allowed on this forum. Hopefully your lies will be boreholed.

    Disgustingly unprofessional, unethical behavior by both of you. These are important issues and the readers and users of this forum deserve better.

    I am utterly disugusted you have reverted to this perverse behavior.

  35. 235
    nigelj says:

    Killian @231

    Can you please define “sustainable energy” in specific and prescriptive terms so we have something to consider ? Is it fossil fuel power? (of course it better not be) Nuclear power? Wind power? Solar power? Water paddle power? Geothermal power etc. What?

    If its none of these, what is it you expect people to do?

    This is what I think. It’s easy for me because I dont try to be rigid in terms of definitions of sustainablity or get locked into philosophically rigid approaches. Our best course of action is wind and solar power and geothermal if you have those resources, but yes Im with you to the extent we are going to ultimately have to minimise use, and have more efficient appliances, etcetera. But I suspect you are unlikely to be able to get people to radically reduce their energy use if it causes pain. We will have to encourage efficiency.

    You have said use of metals is not sustainable, but now concede we should use metals. This is confusing for me.

    This is what I think. Metals are not a sustainable resource, strictly speaking, unless used at the natural rate the planet creates them through geological processes, which is so slow to be of little use. Therefore we are forced to use metals anyway, unless we regress to a peasant economy, so we just have to live with this philosophically, and try not to waste them and over indulge, and we have to try to reduce use to the things that really add genuine value to our lives.

    That is probably the best we can hope for because I doubt people will make huge sacrifices beyond that. They like their “lattes” too much. Better pray we can also bend the population growth curve down “asap”.

  36. 236
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigelj,
    You spoke of population decline. I’ve always thought of it with a question, “How would you like your grandchildren to live?

    This changes the focus. You see, folks generally think in terms of mere survival as being good enough for Others, but MY grandchildren should live at least as well as the wealthy do today.

    Uh, since your grandchildren are average, then EVERYBODY’S grandchildren should have fantastic lives.

    So, how many people can the planet support in the fashion folks desire? My guess is between a hundred million and a billion.

    China’s one child rule was crude, but it aimed in the right direction. The West’s policy of subsidizing parents is counterproductive. Instead, support children’s development. School, nutrition, etc, instead of tax breaks for the parents. We need to discourage procreation so that future generations can live very well and quite sustainably.

    Though, of course, the 600pound gorilla is lifespan. If we figure out how to extend lives for millennia instead of decades, we’re gonna need a completely new environmental paradigm.

  37. 237
    alan2102 says:

    231 Killian 5 Aug 2018 at 8:02 AM — “I have never, in my life, said we should not use tools.”

    Well, that’s the problem right there.

    So-called “permaculture” advocates embrace tools such as steel sickles, levels, knives, hoes, machetes and so on. These are not made from renewable materials, thus are not sustainable. Their continued use is causing a relentless drawdown of irreplaceable natural resources, impelling us to overshoot and collapse. We must recognize that our only hope is to abandon all such unsustainable practices.

    That is why I cannot, in good conscience, endorse “permaculture”.

    .

    .

    .

    … Yes, I’m kidding. But, to those of you trying to elicit from Killian a thoughtful, coherent and intellectually-defendable definition of anything — including “sustainable” — rots of ruck! You’ll need it.

  38. 238
    alan2102 says:

    Question for the group: I was scrolling through the January 2018 Forced Responses, and as I reached the end, I wanted to go to February. But I could not find it, and it seems not to exist. I did lots of searching, pretty smart searching if I do say so, but nothing. My last search was this:

    inurl:”Forced-Responses” site:realclimate.org

    … which yielded FOUR hits:

    Forced Responses: Jul 2018 « RealClimate
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/…/forced-responses…/comment-page-2...

    Forced Responses: May 2018 « RealClimate
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/05/forced-responses-may-2018/

    Forced responses: Mar 2018 « RealClimate
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/…/forced-responses…/comment-page-3...

    Forced Responses: Jan 2018 « RealClimate
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/01/forced-responses-jan-2018/

    ….. note that the hits are every other month: January, March, May, July
    (skipping every other month).

    What happened to Forced Responses for February, April, June? They appear not to exist. What am I missing?

    Thanks.

    [Response: they are bimonthly – gavin]

  39. 239
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra on automation,

    You made me think of folks who go through the manned checkout line so as to give someone a job. I shake my head. Why on Earth not pay that person to just stay home, paint, write, invent, create?

    MakeWork is fake work that consumes resources and spews carbon with no benefit. Instead, people should get an income before employment (including those who choose to work). Imagine all the paperwork, bureaucracy, and cost of qualifying that would eliminate. Productivity has increased by a factor of four in the last few decades and median income has not risen at all because the productivity goes into squabbling, fighting, killing, and the wealthy’s pocket.

    —–

    Killian,

    Asking you to finally answer basic questions is neither ad hom nor personal attack. OTOH, your name calling and constant insults (read your last post while changing the names from “NegligentJ” to “NegligentK” and see if you comprehend how you sound)

    So, continuing with pulling teeth, (so far this conversation has been more productive than I could hope and exactly on your part as nasty as I would have bet your life on)…

    So, yes, lots of metals are already mined. Are you saying that that’s enough until the end of time, given good stewardship? If so, that leaves a few problems. What do we do once the currently scavangable metals oxidise? To quote you, “What is rust?”

    Less pressing is,
    What do we do after the end of time (defined as when the Earth bakes)? It’s going to take a lot of metal and knowledge to get off this rock.

    So, it seems that I was correct that you advocate Modern Paleolithic with the goal being the extinction of homo sapiens as soon as this planet bakes, but with the addition of scavenging in a primitive fashion. A campfire or a primitive kiln and a hammer an anvil are the highest technologies you advocate, or do you go higher?

    And on NegligentJ’s housing query,
    Sod houses, adobe houses, log cabins, perhaps with a couple of nails?

    This puzzles me because all the above options are available to you. Take the one you love out in the wilderness and just do it. Seriously, if you truly advocate such a life it’s rather easy to achieve.

    Then in five years, if you survive, come back and tell us whether your stance has changed. (And please expand the allowable technologies above, now. I’m sure I’ve missed much, such as clothing. Primitive looms? Have fun mastering cloth making. It’s way complicated. Or will you wear animal skins?

    Transportation?
    Horses I’m guessing, along with handmade boats. Sails are difficult to make by hand…

    Communication? Retention of knowledge?

    Paleolife (or preindustrial agrarian life) was complicated..

  40. 240
    Al Bundy says:

    Alan,

    Yes,Killian has no concept of sustainability, as evidenced by his insistence that rust precludes sustainability EXCEPT in his system, where rust isn’t allowed to form.

    Me? I’ve spent my life investigating sustainable systems. I built a test structure at 7500ft in the headwaters of the Rio Grande. Lots of sun, wind, and cold. I learned a lot and then transformed a cheap tract house in an Atlanta suburb into a pseudo mansion that heated itself with an attached greenhouse that fed warmth into the slab floor via solar powered exhaust fans (there’s nothing like plucking your veggies in February while basking in bright warmth.) I super insulated the house so the first floor needed a single duct for cooling and the whole structure barely used the smallest and most efficient AC unit I could find. Mostly, it used a whole house exhaust fan to cool at night and a large rockbed to provide the thermal mass to carry the house through the day.

    Given my intense focus and research it is either painful or hilarious to have a know nothing just-eliminate-technology sort crow about a “sustainable” system that can’t last beyond a hundred or three years because of rust.

    And, of course, there’s my engine (that I’m down in the weeds of engineering while trying to get it drawn and sent off to Scott Strough), my tires that will reduce rolling friction by 50%, my suspension that will provide a yank tank smooth ride with race car handling, and a body style that will reduce air resistance by 50% while increasing interior volume and essentially eliminating death and nearly eliminating injury and vehicle damage during collisions.

    And the solution to wildfires and biofuel.

    And kudos to Scott for letting me know that my solution for agriculture was already invented in Australia. They call it “pasture cropping”.

    Oh, and Killian might be interested in the solution to candles (since only that incredibly inefficient light source + lanterns fits in his scheme). I call it the angled candle. It is shaped like a fat short pencil that’s stuck in a base at an angle. The flame eats one side of the candle and the user rotates the candle so as to sculpt the wax artistically. You end up with a flashlight sort of beam and wicked cool scenes. There’s two types of wax for an oil and water effect as well as a lantern effect. The end result is that there’s no waste. You can burn it down to a nothing. Of course, it’s still an incredibly inefficient light source compared to an LED. (Don’t tell Killian)

  41. 241
    nigelj says:

    Killian @234

    “Ships existed long before modern machinery. highly functional buildings for myriad climates, too. And many other things. Fire and a big hammer can forge any metal.”

    So in other words we are expected to build sail boats out of hand made tools and very, very simple machines like the ancient Greeks for example. This is pretty much peasant culture (unless you are one of the wealthy ruling elite). This is a harsh life by any measure.

    So you have abandoned your previous claims that you are not promoting a peasant culture?

    Whatever intellectual case you make for all this, and its possible to make a case of a sort, it doesnt look like it would be willingly adopted by many people. I think we are likely to have to settle with something more realistic that accepts modern industrial processes, but carried it in a much more environmentally friendly way, and restricted to manufacturing the essentials. This will probably be the first option tried I suspect. What comes after this is another matter and depends on multiple factors.

    I also dont recall myself or AB making any ad hominem attacks on you. Can you please refer to any post where I have called you an idiot or liar?

  42. 242
    Killian says:

    237 alan2102 said 231 Killian 5 Aug 2018 at 8:02 AM — “I have never, in my life, said we should not use tools.”

    Well, that’s the problem right there.

    Only for a fool. We have extracted for more than we will likely ever need living comfortable, rewarding regenerative lives.

    And what is all the crowing about how recyclable metals are? The plow breaks, there’s more wood to be had, a smith to heat and reform the metal. If that community chooses to go to that level of simplicity. Hopefully, most do.

    I have made no contradiction of things I have said before – including looking at mining off-world if necessary in the far future.

    You can’t keep up. Move over to the slow lane.

  43. 243
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @233

    “However, mining will probably transition to landfills. After all, other than fusing and fissioning atoms it is impossible to reduce the supply. One can only make it more diffuse, distant, or contaminated.”

    Yes mining old landfills is inevitable sooner or later, however the problem is some metal will be so widely dispersed as to be unrecoverable and theres also some loss during recycling procedures that will be unrecoverable. This means that even the most frugal and low technology culture will eventually run out of some metals over millenia time scales. I guess we will just have to mine the asteroids. I wonder if humanity would even survive that many thousands of years, given the number of risks this planet faces, like being hit by an asteroid.

    So for me its more of a pragmatic sort of thing, where we keep things going as long as we reasonably can. I don’t want to see the next generation and their children left with a destroyed and hugely depleted earth, or forced to severely ration what is left, so I see an argument for 1) bending down the population growth curve down as soon as possible, because theres no real downside to this, and 2) this generation should live more frugally, but there are limits I think too how much people will do this. People like their comforts too much.

    But make no mistake, if we do nothing to change present growth trajectories, resource scarcity will force them down painfully anyway until an equilbrium is reached at lower consumption of resources and smaller population. It’s a good exercise to mentally imagine the most probable worst case scenarios.

    “I’m not a liar, nor stupid, nor hypocritical.”

    You most certainly aren’t those things. Dont worry, Killian has accused me of worse.

    He took great offence when I suggested he was essentially promoting we live in a form of peasant culture, yet in his comments above he talks of “Ships existed long before modern machinery. highly functional buildings for myriad climates, too. And many other things. Fire and a big hammer can forge any metal.” Now in other words he is describing that we build old fashioned saling ships, with a few hand tools and very simple machines somewhat like the ancient Greeks. What is this if its not a peasant culture? Its certainly a harsh life.

    I don’t think humanity is going to willingly adopt that form of life, and it seems more probable we will adopt an industrial culture that is easier on the environment etcetera and smaller scale.

  44. 244
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @236

    “So, how many people can the planet support in the fashion folks desire? My guess is between a hundred million and a billion.”

    I made some guesses on this website about 6 months ago as it happens. I thought about 2 billion. It’s a case of having small enough numbers to achieve a decent standard of living, and large enough numbers to achieve reasonable economies of scale, all weighed againt what planetary resources we have.

    It’s also set against a context where middle range estimates put global population at about 10 billion by 2100 before they stabilise and start falling slowly.

    The issue is that many estimates suggest current rates of resource use will lead to shortages within 50 – 100 years. These are all pessimistic headline grabbing things, and based on known reserves and current costs, however theres clearly still a big problem over 100 years plus time scales.

    It suggests to me we need to get the population growth curve to bend down “asap” and that this will probably never happen as fast as would be ideal, thus necessitating lower and ultimately zero economic growth as well. But as I said previously people are unlikely to willingly reduce their standard of living too much, because they like their comforts. Its about the “art of the possible”

    “China’s one child rule was crude, but it aimed in the right direction. The West’s policy of subsidizing parents is counterproductive. Instead, support children’s development. School, nutrition, etc, instead of tax breaks for the parents. We need to discourage procreation so that future generations can live very well and quite sustainably.”

    I agree totally. We have this government programme in NZ called “working for families” so the bigger your family the bigger the state subsidy you get. Its good in terms of helping young families and combatting inequality, but terrible in the sense it encourages large families. This could be solved by limiting it to just two children, or as you say targetting assistance better.

    We could do tons of things to encourage smaller families, but the religious lobby sometimes gets in the way. Of course force or coercion are abhorrent, so this is why I think its still going to be a slow process. But theres no real downside to smaller population, within reason, while persuading people to reduce levels of consumption is a far more challenging proposition.

    I think people can be persuaded to live in smaller homes etc and we already see this “tiny house” movement etc, but people may want technology as a form of compensation for living in small apartments, like the Japanese lifestyle for example. I’m just saying imho people have enough altruism and environmental sense to be moderately frugal for the sake of future generations, but there are probably limits. It seems unlikely many would elect to adopt harsh changes. And while having millions of dollars doesn’t buy ever greater happiness, its not wrong to want a reasonably materially comfortable life.

  45. 245
    zebra says:

    #236 Al Bundy,

    Spot on. But, for most people engaged in the “debate”, such a rational approach takes away all the fun.

    Pick a number in your range (say 300 million) and most of the issues discussed just…go away.

    And, of course, there is a proven way to achieve this that doesn’t require lots of moralistic hectoring. Start the process, and it will be self-sustaining. Consider that China is now in the situation of encouraging births. How is that possible? Anyone?

    BTW, increasing lifespan (at realistic rates) is not really such a problem. The system can adapt, particularly as genetics advances.

  46. 246
    zebra says:

    #239 Al Bundy,

    I just saw this after posting my response to your #236. Here I disagree because we don’t have a surplus of resources relative to global population.

    This unemployed person is still consuming resources and producing CO2, and, in the current social milieu, neither he/she nor the community at large benefits. More likely than “creative” activity would be screen-time and ingesting various mind-numbing chemicals.

    As I tried to explain to alan2102 (is that you as well?), surplus people serve one purpose– a large enough population makes it possible to defend whatever resources the group does have. Jobs, however un- or counter- productive they might be, promote the social constructs that serve that end.

    In the 300 million scenario that I suggested in my #245, there would be “spare time” because any enterprise needs some degree of reserve capacity. Potential cannon fodder, not so much.

  47. 247
    alan2102 says:

    “[Response: they are bimonthly – gavin]”

    So I see, now. Sorry for the stupid question.

  48. 248
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel, excellent points. I’ve got nothing to add.

    —-

    Zebra, no, I’ not a liar, a cheat, or a duplicate. I’m just me and I’m adamantly honest. So much so that I’ll suffer damage and death for the sake of honesty.

    My point was that a typical human is quickly becoming a net loss economically speaking. Humans require health care, sleep, and vacations. AI driven robots are 24/7 on the job. From an economic standpoint, humans are soon to be worth $0/hour, given benefits. Your point is well taken, and I extrapolate, we’ve got to figure out how to get humanity to use all their time in a non destructive fashion. But one thing is clear: the answer is not doing what AI robots will do light years better than humans in the very near future.

    ——

    And this site has improved immensely in the last few weeks. I salute you all.

  49. 249
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @239, Im having a sense of deja vu. I asked Killian the same questions and said much the same things about a year ago! Suffice to say, I did not get a good reception either!

    His basic philosophical ideas are not all wrong, but I agree when people don’t get specific and talk in riddles and generalities, and become ad hom, its all very frustrating and pointless, and goes nowhere. I do not claim to always be right, and I don’t hide behind rhetoric.

  50. 250
    nigelj says:

    Killian says “I have made no contradiction of things I have said before – including looking at mining off-world if necessary in the far future.”

    So Killian proposes a peasant style culture of hand tools and simple medieval period machines (going by his general comments which are somewhat vague) surviving a few thosand years, then this culture somehow builds huge high tech space ships to transfer minerals back to earth.

    I don’t think this would work on numerous levels. I think we need a better plan.

    I thought he talked about maintaining a “technology backbone?” This was a potentially sensible and useful idea, but remains undefined. And as they say the devil is in the detail (Al Bundy grasps this oh so well).

    What is a technology backbone? How does one maintain this and clip it onto a peasant culture? How does one ensure it innovates and moves forwards, because space travel will certainly require this? And stagnation tends to equal decay.

    You could have factories under some command and control system as a subset of a decentalised, village style agrarian economy, but this sounds like modern day India, and its a hopeless shambles. Now no doubt Killian and his band of merry followers would do a much better job, but would society as a whole where the average IQ is 100, and motivations are more sporadic? I think its a problem.

    Personally I remain open minded, but the more plausible pathway looks like a market economy that operates with much smarter and more environmentally conscious rules and objectives, and where the infuence of rogue elephants like the Koch brothers is somehow neutralised. This will require a lot of improved awareness from society, but I see no alternative. Circumstances will force this anyway, so its a case of when, not if.

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