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Forced Responses: Feb 2019

Filed under: — group @ 1 February 2019

A bimonthly thread on societal responses to climate change. Note that there is another open thread for climate science topics. Please stick to specifics as opposed to arguments about ethics, politics or morality in general.

493 Responses to “Forced Responses: Feb 2019”

  1. 451
    alan2102 says:

    404 Carrie 11 Mar 2019:
    “MMT – could it actually be Magical Monetary Theory? I believe it is.
    Col. Lawrence Wilkerson:
    “Has America Lost its Way? Leadership in Times of Crisis?”- 21 Feb 2019
    https://youtu.be/n1uz8DV561A?t=1684
    28:00 quoting:
    [snip]
    “we are at the point of the Imperial overstretch that in my mind at
    any moment could bring this Empire down.””

    Maybe not “any moment”, but some time a decade or three out.

    Wilkerson’s analysis is generally excellent and everyone could benefit from watching a few hours of his vids on youtube. But he misses it a few times in these passages quoted by Carrie.

    “The sooner people everywhere finally realise the United States of America is nobodies friend and a friend to no one, only then can rational action to solve and minimize the climate crisis begin to happen.”

    Does effective climate action have to await everyone everywhere agreeing that the U.S. is no one’s friend? Almost everyone already agrees with that, and we’re still having trouble.

    The U.S. is already a global pariah, and that is what will eventually bring down the empire and the dollar with it, but it will take a few decades, and climate action surely cannot wait.

    ………………………..

    A few comments on the significance of MMT for the Green New Deal, climate remediation, and the future of the U.S.:

    First, MMT is a useful description of monetary reality which obtains as long as the empire remains intact, which will likely be for the next few decades. That’s all it is: a description of reality; it is not a program; it is not something that we decide to “do”, or that we can decide to not do. It just IS — like the laws of physics, which also describe reality. Yes, I know, the laws of physics are much more well-established than MMT; that’s not the point. The point is that they both purport to describe reality. Further, just like the principles of physics, MMT principles can be used for good purposes, as well as ill. They are morally neutral. So far, they’ve been used mostly for ill. That can change. And that brings us to the Green New Deal.

    The Green New Deal, if it were to get traction, would be the greatest initiative of this century, even outstripping China’s Belt and Road. Apart from reforming the world’s worst climate offender itself, it would — by turning the world’s laggard into the world’s leader — galvanize global action and probably unleash unprecedented progress. But if the GND is to happen, MMT will be the guiding monetary principle. It can’t NOT be. The expenditures required are vast and have to come from somewhere; it will not be taxes. The money must be printed. No big deal. We’ve been doing this for many decades, so it is just BAU. (Which is really the whole point of MMT: “this is no big deal, just BAU; we’ve been doing this all along — printing money to cover expenditures — so instead of pretending otherwise, and pretending that we can balance the budget (we can’t), let’s just be honest about it and talk about it candidly, OK?”) The difference is that this time the money will be INVESTED in useful, beneficial, life-enhancing (and indeed planet-saving) technology and infrastructure, rather than being thrown down destructive ratholes like the military-industrial complex, the fossil-industrial complex, the prison-industrial-complex, the retail-industrial complex, and so many more.

    And there is even a possibility — a very exciting possibility — that the GND, combined with broad climate and social justice awareness, could kick off the winding-down of empire and the great DE-military-industrialization and conversion back to normal/peacetime economy that we’ve been needing for 70 years! i.e. stepping back to sanity! Seymour Melman would be proud. This is an aspect of the GND that no one, not even the GND originators, have discussed, but it is of great potential significance: no less than the economic, political and moral salvation of the U.S.

    This is coming at a critical time. Consider that we probably have only a few good strong-dollar decades left (decades during which the dollar has great purchasing power); I am guessing 20-30 years. Chris Hedges says 10 years, 20 at most; I think he is a tad pessimistic (or optimistic, depending on your angle of view), but I could be wrong:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCDd3VoAFUs
    Chris Hedges – The American Empire Will Collapse Within a Decade,
    Two at Most (11-19-18)

    Anyway, given that we have a fair strong-dollar interval remaining (however long it may be), what should we spend the money on? F-111 fighter-bombers? Aircraft carriers? Prisons? Luxury high-rise condos? OR: walkable urban areas, renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure of all kinds? This is a critical question. Think about it, please. If we spend the money on bombers, then when the big dollar devaluation comes, we will (having pissed away all of our money on useless crap) be reduced to third-world status quickly and there will be no recovery for generations. We could spend the money on bombers AND renewable energy, and when the devaluation comes, we would be in bad shape, but not AS bad. And so on. My point is: it matters what we spend the money on. The more we throw money into destructive ratholes, the worse will be our future. The more we invest our money in life and health, the better will be our future. Does this point of view need defending?

  2. 452
    Killian says:

    Re #440 nigelj regurgitated Article on ecological economics:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_economics

    Article on neoclassical economics.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoclassical_economics

    I think…
    Zero growth systems are possible and not inconsistent with free markets.

    He thinks again.

    He shouldn’t think in public.

    I attended a conference at which Steve Keen presented in 2010. His presentation included a model of a steady-state economy. That, in itself, was a hell of an achievement in terms of academic and economics skills. Problem? It included profit. Now, Steve is pretty damned smart fellow. But Steve, whom I like and admire and still poke at from time to time, knows a lot. But he doesn’t know what I know. His economics are enough for him.

    But they are not enough for the world. And so I am reminded of the quote from Einstein that the same thinking that got you in will not get you out, and Stever is still, at the end of the day, an economist. So Steve can make believe one can perfectly match profit as an output to other inputs. That is, for Steve’s model to work it means all profit must be perfectly balanced by spending. (One or two of you smarties out there may see what’s coming next…) Except, that’s not what happens with profit. Profit is hoarded to create wealth, or to expand at the expense of those competing against you.

    It should be as obvious as the sun in the sky on a cloudless summer day that it absolutely *must* be impossible to balance profit-taking and spending such that nobody ends up poor and dead from starvation.

    Steve’s model is wrong because Steve does not start from the real world, he starts from economics. And that brings us to regurgitation.

    When I saw Steve’s model, it took a bit to take it in. I was a bit of an economics neophyte back then. But one thing stood out: That profit. I told Steve his model could not work for that simple reason. Profit is energy *taken from the system.* It cannot possibly be balanced because it is wealth/energy *removed from circulation.*

    Steve said of course it can balance. Look at my perfectly functioning model. (Steve may still say this. He hasn’t responded to that specific poke recently. :-) ) But my perfectly reality-based mind said, dude, people are people. Theoretically, yes, you could balance the outputs and inputs of 7 to 9 billion, or more, but in reality, no way in hell. I guarantee you I am correct in this. Ergo, doughnut economics and steady-state economics are just a slower form of exercise because none of their proponents are willing to start from where a permaculturist must start: Nature.

    You tell me something will work that is against Nature’s principles, I will tell you just how great a fool you are. Well, Steve is no fool, but he’s very, very wrong.

    Now, we get thus regurgitation thing going where, as I stated recently, articles are read and regurgitated and it’s as if this profundity appeared out of nowhere! I read articles! Now I know things! Now I can do profundity stuff!

    Sigh… no… So you now think you know something secret and only for your eyes, eh? You think! Therefore you is! Therefore this Great Knowledge now is!

    The difference between regurgitation and independent thought? When Steve said we can have Capitalism and Profit, I said at the time, even without fully understanding his model or economics, bull! Because I knew things that made that logically impossible. Because I am not bound belief system. What is different is regurgitation chooses from among the options.

    For this particular regurgitator, it used to be Capitalism! Now it’s, Modified Capitalism! Applaud the shift. It shows some sentience. But don’t forget it’s regurgitation, not independent thinking.

    If this is too much like incremental change and you want a completely new and different system, its going to have to avoid looking like communism

    Where’s your cite on that?

    and it has to have wide appeal.

    Would that be among early adopters or later adopters? ( Snigger… :-))) )

  3. 453
    mike says:

    to Doc at 450: quite right. I am definitely talking about “first worlders” and I will suggest that the most severe cuts need to happen with the really rich folks as Kevin Anderson describes them on the video posted upstream on this thread.

    “at 33:40 “if we forced the top 10% income folks to live within the CO2 footprint of the average EU citizen, that would cut emissions by a third. Emissions are hugely skewed to that particular group. That particular group is the policy makers, the business leaders, heads of NGOs, frequent flyers…”

    Imagine a really severe carbon tax on the top 10% income folks that could only be offset by investment credits in green energy. It’s easy to imagine, but would be difficult to enact.

    Knock down global emissions by a third by asking/demanding (because power concedes nothing without a demand) that the top 10 income earners have to live comfortable, but less remarkable lives. Imagine that.

    My sense on the gnarly problem that you describe is a second step issue that arises out of the hard work and opportunities that would arise in a omprehensive switch away from CO2 emitting systems to green systems. The first world would create economies of scale through the transition that would reduce the per unit cost of appropriate technology and then, we have to address the problem of providing that technology to human beings who made the mistake of being born outside the first world. I think Paris mentions a need for equity. I think we have to “gift” that technology to the gnarly world folks who have a tiny CO2 footprint today, but want to live better.

    Can we do this? Sure. Will we do it? I doubt it. Entrenched interests and “knowledgeable” folks who are unable to see through the romantic illusions set out by the alliance of economics and brown industry will make it very difficult for a consensus to arise that profound change is required.

    Hard times. Ask the farmers in the midwest who have lost so much in this year’s flooding.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  4. 454
  5. 455
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=706499110

    New Climate Books Stress We Are Already Far Down The Road To A Different Earth

    By Adam Frank

    NPR.org, March 25, 2019 · It was a telling moment: David Wallace-Wells, author of the new book The Uninhabitable Earth, was making an appearance on MSNBC’s talk show Morning Joe. He took viewers through scientific projections for drowned cities, death by heat stroke and a massive, endless refugee crisis — due to climate change. As the interview closed, one of the show’s hosts, Willie Geist, looked to Wallace-Wells and said, “Let’s end on some hope.”…

  6. 456
  7. 457
    nigelj says:

    Alan @451, good copy and paste, except its confusing money creation and MMT. MMT is about deficit financing, so governments borrowing funds on the open market. Money creation is when the reserve bank creates money through extending loans to private banks, quantitiative easing, or the like.

    I don’t like deficit financing unless its during recessions, because it just creates huge government debts. Money creation is ok in certain circumstances, when resources are plentiful and idle, and inflation is low, and right now this more or less applies to America. It would be one way of financing the GND.

    Perhaps I’m nit picking. But economics is important.

  8. 458
    nigelj says:

    Kevin Anderson “at 33:40 “if we forced the top 10% income folks to live within the CO2 footprint of the average EU citizen, that would cut emissions by a third. Emissions are hugely skewed to that particular group. That particular group is the policy makers, the business leaders, heads of NGOs, frequent flyers…”

    True, however cutting electricity use is hard. Many wealthy households use electricty quite efficiently, and not super excessively. It will be even harder for middle and working classes to reduce use of electricity very much. The reasons should be obvious.

    You are just going to have to build a lot of renewable electricity generation, and there’s no escaping it. Thus it’s a question of funding.Kevin Anderson says building new electricity generation looks feasible even in a short time frame.

    Keven said transport is the sector that gives us real challenges because of trying to quickly convert the entire car fleet to electrics, how you deal with aircraft fuels etc. However it is clearly possible for the top 10% to cut flying quite significantly and use more public transport. So could the middle 50%.

  9. 459
    Carrie says:

    451 alan2102 says:
    [snip]
    “we are at the point of the Imperial overstretch that in my mind at any moment could bring this Empire down.””

    Maybe not “any moment”, but some time a decade or three out.

    How about 2020-2022 then? That’s sometime a decade or three out. It fits! :-)

  10. 460
    Killian says:

    Simplicity, it’s nothing new, but it’s something to achieve.

    https://medium.com/@albertbates/black-hawks-11-percent-solution-albert-bates-on-patreon-69712bc461d5

    With bio-regional management via a fractal strata of scale-determined problem-solving along permacultural design processes, the future can be cool. Literally.

    http://planetshifter.com/uploads/imagecache/standard/Killian's%20Model%20505_4.jpg

  11. 461

    K 452: Profit is energy *taken from the system.* It cannot possibly be balanced because it is wealth/energy *removed from circulation.*

    BPL: Profit is the return on capital. Like wages, interest, and rent, it is a form of income. It’s in no way remarkably unlike the others.

  12. 462
    Killian says:

    Re #456 it was said Here are a couple of articles that describe how zero growth is possible in a free market capitalist system

    But it can’t, so it doesn’t matter how many articles, books, professors, specialists, dogs, cats or Captain Americas you ask. First Principles. If you always seek profit, you know someone else ends up with less. You imbalance the system.

    Gift economies are an economics system that does work. Commons also. But not with Capitalism, and not with the financial system we have.

    Interest, my dears, was once considered evil. Still is by some. For good reason. Profit acts exactly like interest. Both flow money to those who already have it and away from those who don’t have so much and often need more. Ipso facto, it doesn’t matter what any article, theorist, god, God or Dog tells you. Think for yourself first. If you need help, look to others after. If there is dissonance, be honest about whether it is your thinking or others’ that is out of whack. Start with Nature to figure that out.

    Profit, interest, ownership all require or engender growth. The planet is finite. Dr. Albert Bartlett wondered whether we are smarter than yeast. Apparently not.

    The only ways around this are magic (nope), Dog (nope), or, as I have repeatedly suggested, mining the solar system, and/or… drumroll… simplicity.

    It’s OK to be a worker bee. It is, in fact, vital that many are. There is no disrespect in this. However, pretending to be a queen when one is a worker is disruptive to the colony.

    https://medium.com/@albertbates/black-hawks-11-percent-solution-albert-bates-on-patreon-69712bc461d5

  13. 463
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian: “Profit is energy *taken from the system.* It cannot possibly be balanced because it is wealth/energy *removed from circulation.*”

    What the everlasting fuck? Dude, this is time-cube level gibberish–so bad it’s not even wrong. Maybe before rejecting economics, you might devote, say, 10 minutes to trying to understand it. This right here makes it clear you haven’t.

  14. 464
    nigelj says:

    “we are at the point of the Imperial overstretch that in my mind at any moment could bring this Empire down.””

    You can’t kill weeds.

  15. 465
    nigelj says:

    “Profit, interest, ownership all require or engender growth.”

    In the crudest sense in a free market / private ownership society people buy and sell things and make a profit sometimes. The economy obviously does not have to grow for this to happen. It does not need more goods. However its fair to say people who want to make a profit may want more growth because it increases opportunities.

    Profit and growth are different things. It’s not that hard to have a profit based economy with zero growth as the articles I posted showed. Reserve Banks could also stop growth tomorrow just by raising interest rates sufficiently. Japan is a profit driven society which has had close to zero growth for decades. Resource limits could ultimately make growth go negative even as people still make profits in various other ways. Although decreasing resources would limit the “opportunities” to make a profit.

    I don’t see profit as a dirty word. I do see the inequality it can promote as a problem, but that can be solved with wealth redistribution. Alternatively a sharing economy based around shared ownership and non for profit institutions and some limits on differences in income does the same thing in another way because its still a form of wealth redistribution.

    The given fact is that some people are more productive than others, creating a surplus, no matter what type of society they live in, so its always a question of how to handle the surplus they create. How much goes into redistribution, how much into investment for the future? How much is theirs and how much should they be made to share. It’s a choice all societies have to face.

    Interest rates do not directly relate to growth. They are related to an exchange of wealth, however they certainly suggest the real problem as follows. The problem is more our the fractional reserve banking. So loans are made on the basis of an ability to grow a business so this is a powerful incentive to increase economic growth. If you want zero growth or steady state growth, this puts the entire banking system and debt finance system into question I think.

  16. 466
    Phil L says:

    Here’s an article that I think makes a solid contribution to the “forest products for mitigation of climate change” discussion. It has a European focus but some mention of North American wood use.

    Citation
    Ramage, M., Burridge, H., Busse-Wicher, M., Fereday, G., Reynolds, T., Shah, D., Wu, G., et al. (2017). The wood from the trees: The use of timber in construction. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 68 (Part 1), 333-359. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2016.09.107

    Abstract
    Trees, and their derivative products, have been used by societies around the world for thousands of years. Contemporary construction of tall buildings from timber, in whole or in part, suggests a growing interest in the potential for building with wood at a scale not previously attainable. As wood is the only significant building material that is grown, we have a natural inclination that building in wood is good for the environment. But under what conditions is this really the case? The environmental benefits of using timber are not straightforward; although it is a natural product, a large amount of energy is used to dry and process it. Much of this can come from the biomass of the tree itself, but that requires investment in plant, which is not always possible in an industry that is widely distributed among many small producers. And what should we build with wood? Are skyscrapers in timber a good use of this natural resource, or are there other aspects of civil and structural engineering, or large-scale infrastructure, that would be a better use of wood? Here, we consider a holistic picture ranging in scale from the science of the cell wall to the engineering and global policies that could maximise forestry and timber construction as a boon to both people and the planet.

  17. 467
    Killian says:

    Barton Paul Levenson said
    K 452: Profit is energy *taken from the system.* It cannot possibly be balanced because it is wealth/energy *removed from circulation.*

    BPL: Profit is the return on capital. Like wages, interest, and rent, it is a form of income. It’s in no way remarkably unlike the others.

    Not true. Income need not grow and can be non-monetary. Not worth discussing, tho, as your comment is essentially exactly the problem in a nutshell.

    #simplicity
    #Commons

  18. 468
    zebra says:

    #461 BPL,

    You are usually a good source of (reality-based, as opposed to grandiose, made-up,) economic terminology explanations but here you are being a little sloppy.

    That these things are “sources of income” is irrelevant; they all have particular characteristics that define them, and within economics there can be sub-divisions of those.

    Rent and Economic Profit are similar in being decoupled from wealth (value) creation, despite probably involving some capital investment. Hence my constant (not very successful) effort to remind people that Elon Musk /= Koch Bros, despite the fact that they are both Filthy Rich Capitalists.

    In my “Futurist future”, with a low population relative to resources, and high technology, there is still a risk of some kinds of rent-seeking, but it could be easily corrected. That is much more difficult when there is resource scarcity distorting economic transactions.

  19. 469
    Nemesis says:

    Some ultimate Forced Response:

    What if the key actors in climate heating are cows, pigs and chickens?^^:

    http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf

    Bon appetit 8)

    You think, you need all that meat, milk, egg and fish shit and the bestial animal torture and massive climate and ecological impact that comes with it? Think again:

    Frank Medrano, born 20 of may, 1958 (60 years young, muhahaha), VEGAN bodyweight workout master:

    https://youtu.be/gMGMLAVcDkk

    Frank Medrano is a Fitness Model, Calisthenics Expert, Entrepreneur, Personal Trainer and an Activist born on May 20, 1958… https://csuitemind.com/biography/show/frank-medrano/

    Btw, I’m vegan myself, 54 years young, I work out 3 times a week and I’m fitter than 99% of the population, muhahaha 8)

    Want to learn about the hidden connections between the food industry and the medical system and what it does to your very own HEALTH?:

    ” What The Health”

    https://youtu.be/Sl-d60l28y0

    So, let’s get the real hard climate and health facts:

    Go vegan.

  20. 470
    mike says:

    for Nigel: “Mike @431, ok lets assume a 15 year time frame to stop 80% of emissions. (I hope I have interpreted you correctly). The thing that stands out is a lot of existing electricity generation capacity would have to be replaced before its useby date. In contrast the Paris goals of 2050 allows more orderly retirement of capacity.None of this looks impossible, but its worth mentioning.”

    You have understood me correctly. We are at roughly 410 ppm in the atmosphere and Tamino converts the remaining carbon budget into CO2 ppm and says that number is 25 new ppm in the atmosphere at which point we blow by our 1.5 to 2.0 degree artificial ceiling set out in the Paris Agreement. Gavin says if/when we cut current level of emissions by 80% to something around 2 GtC, we will stop the rise of CO2 in ocean and atmosphere. CO2 is rising at a rate of about 2.4 ppm at the moment.

    So, at the end of 2019, we will be looking at a baseline number 412.4
    at the end of 2020, we will be looking at 414.8
    end of 2021 we will be looking at 417.2
    2022 will be 419.6
    2023 will be 422
    2024 will be 424.4
    2025 will be 426.8
    2026 will be 429.2
    2027 will be 431.6
    2028 will be 433.8
    2029 will be 436.2

    That is the trajectory over the next ten years if we could reduce the rise in emissions to zero.

    What if we made a significant change in our behavior and could start reducing the annual rate of increase by 0.1 ppm per year? Here’s what I get with that fall in emissions and accumulations:

    Let’s project such a thing and see how the numbers work:
    2019 we are at 412.4 (2.4 increase)
    2020 we are at 414.5 (2.3 increase)
    2021 we are at 416.7 (2.2 increase)
    2022 we are at 418.8 (2.1 increase)
    2023 we are at 420.8 (2.0 increase)
    2024 we are at 422.7 1.9 increase
    2025 we are at 425.5 1.8 increase
    2026 we are 427.2 1.7 increase
    2027 428.8 1.6 increase
    2028 430.3 1.5 increase
    2029 431.7 1.4 increase
    2030 433 1.3 increase
    2031 434.2 1.2 increase
    2032 435.3 1.1 increase

    we are out of time in 2032 and we have hit the 435 ceiling. If we had steady rate of reduction in CO2 increase we would need another ten years to get to 0 emission increase at which time we would be around 440. So, a decrease of 0.1 ppm per year blows by the 435 ceiling but gets us to a Gavin’s no new increase in atmospheric accumulation in about 18 years.

    Nigel – show me any numeric projection on a year by year basis that gives us more than 15 years to achieve the cuts that Gavin lays out. Do you have anything to suggest that we can make a longer time frame work?

    Cheers

    Mike

  21. 471
  22. 472
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://www.fifty.vc/

    Fifty Years is an entrepreneur-run early stage venture fund based in San Francisco. We invest in companies that inspire. Specifically, we fund companies that, if successful, will be both massively profitable and make a serious dent in achieving one of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  23. 473
    Hank Roberts says:

    From the “50 years” program list:

    CARBON IMPACT.TECH SYMPOSIUM

    Our first solution seminar focuses on solutions around carbon sequestration and carbon removal. Carbon Impact.tech Symposium will take place on Thursday, March 28th, between 4pm – 8pm in San Francisco. The event will showcase the state of the technologies for profitable carbon removal and provide an overview of the status quo of carbon solutions, followed by lightning talks of entrepreneurs working with carbon solutions and investors funding the development of the field.

  24. 474
    Killian says:

    Re #463 Ray Ladbury said Killian: “Profit is energy *taken from the system.* It cannot possibly be balanced because it is wealth/energy *removed from circulation.*”

    What the everlasting fuck? Dude, this is time-cube level gibberish–so bad it’s not even wrong. Maybe before rejecting economics, you might devote, say, 10 minutes to trying to understand it. This right here makes it clear you haven’t.

    Ray, I know you have said you *enjoy* insulting people, which says far too much of your character, but can you please not be hypocritical? To call my post gibberish when it is factually correct (I could have written twice as much and been more accurate, but that would not have changed the meaning in any meaningful way) and then offer nothing but insults with exactly zero useful, germane content is a perfect example of gibberish in the sense it’s just words with no real use or meaning. profit/money/wealth as energy is not a new idea and is not even mine. it is, however, in the economic sense, accurate. I suspect the problem is your own stuck-in-the-box thinking and faith in economics as something worthy of our time.

    Do better, dude. If you have something germane to say, say it. It may even have been interesting.

  25. 475

    The latest on LCOE for renewable energy and storage:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/03/28/battery-offshore-wind-costs-plummet-threaten-oil-gas/

    …the highlight was the dramatic price decline for lithium-ion batteries which, when co-located with solar or wind projects, are starting to compete — in many markets, and without subsidy — with coal- and gas-fired generation projects for the provision of “dispatchable power” (power which can be delivered whenever and as necessary).

    “Solar PV and onshore wind have won the race to be the cheapest sources of new ‘bulk generation’ in most countries, but the encroachment of clean technologies is now going well beyond that, threatening the balancing role that gas-fired plant operators, in particular, have been hoping to play,” explained Tifenn Brandily, energy economics analyst at BNEF.

    It’s also heartening to see the continual decline in offshore wind costs, and what was once seen as an expensive generation technology is benefiting from the same economies of scale which have supported the solar and onshore wind industries, with benchmark LCoE falling to below $100/MWh as compared to $220/MWh just five years ago.

    “The low prices promised by offshore wind tenders throughout Europe are now materializing, with several high-profile projects reaching financial close in recent months,” said Giannakopoulou. “Its cost decline in the last six months is the sharpest we have seen for any technology.”

  26. 476
    nigelj says:

    Mike @470,

    Thank’s for the comments and useful tables of numbers, but I just don’t think your maths and reasoning makes sense on this one. There’s nothing in Gavins comments to suggest we have to get so close to zero emissions in 15 years. You haven’t demonstrated why you think its “reasonable” to suggest 15 years.

    There’s nothing in Taminos numbers to suggest 15 years. They are a marker of an atmospheric limit, and I don’t see where he is saying this changes the emissions calculations , time frames and quantities in the Paris Accord. Perhaps I have missed something if you can post it.

    However I totally agree with your obvious general concerns that we are not doing nearly enough to mitigate climate change, and not nearly fast enough. For example we have the UN report saying we need to change the Paris target to 1.5 degrees which means we make larger emissions cuts over the next 15 years than for 2 degrees, as below. The GND appears fine tuned towards this thinking. I go along with this 1.5 degree goal.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

    Having said all that, I can only repeat what I have already said. Assuming we were to try to achieve either your stated goal of 15 years, or alternatively the steeper cuts over the first 15 years promoted by the 1.5 degrees scenario, this suggests certain things about the economics. A carbon tax would be harsh on consumers in such a short time frame and the alternative of a government infrastructure spend (as promoted in the GND) is probably less harsh and more suited to a short time frame or steep cuts. People don’t like taxes (even with a dividend) so a government infrastructure spend might be more attractive to the public.

    However sadly the Senate has not supported the GND. To me politicians are the real sticking point in the climate issue in America. Polls in America show the public want more done about climate change and politicians particularly the GOP aren’t listening to the public. I assume its due to the power of corporate lobby groups which are dictating policy. They have almost become the real government! Until this changes, or politicians stand up to lobby groups, it doesn’t look too hopeful.

  27. 477
    nigelj says:

    It appears to me that the right wing turn profit into a god, and the left wing turn profit into a demon. Surely it is just a tool, and it can be used for good or bad. Eliminating profit would be crazy and is like smashing machines because they take away jobs. Profit is also recirculated as below:

    https://www.tutor2u.net/business/reference/finance-how-is-profit-used-by-a-business

  28. 478

    Back in December we were talking about EV sales and whether or not there was a pathway to decarbonization of the global light vehicle fleet by mid-century.

    Well, to update, the 2018 numbers are in. You can slice and dice them several different ways, but to me it appears that the growth model I ran in the linked comment was definitely on the conservative side: annual growth is much greater, and it looks to me as if ‘year 1’ is probably going to arrive rather sooner than I thought.

    http://www.ev-volumes.com/news/global-ev-sales-for-2018/

  29. 479
    nigelj says:

    The reason for strong growth in electric car sales in Norway and China appears to be government incentives. Norway’s government has reductions to various vehicle taxes and free recharging stations etcetera. This is now being phased down now a pattern has developed and the cars have improved enough to need less support.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_Norway

    China has a system of state subsidies to reduce purchase prices, and is introducing some sort of cap and trade system that will make it very difficult for manufacturers of ICE vehicles.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46745472

    Last week I watched numerous television advertisements for ICE vehicles but I did not see one electric vehicle or hybrid. Governments should try to persuade car manufacturers have a proportion of advertising time allocated to electric vehicles and hybrids. It’s one of the simplest, lowest cost things they could do.

  30. 480
  31. 481
    John Pollack says:

    Mr. KIA @Unforced Variations 190 –
    I’m moving to this thread because this has virtually nothing to do with climate science, but relates to climate solutions.

    In this case, you were either asleep in thermodynamics, or more likely never took in a class, let alone a course. The same applies to Mr. Larsen and his guest.

    Thermodynamics guarantees that any process that extracts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converts it to carbon (i.e. coal) for sequestration will require more energy than you would get from burning the coal to produce the carbon dioxide.

    You and any others who are dazzled by the prospect of capturing carbon from this “electrochemical process” should note that there is no discussion about how much energy the process requires, period. There is no comparison between how much energy is required to run the process, and how much energy you could get from burning the coal that made the carbon dioxide (and perhaps the electricity to run the process) in the first place. If you could develop any process that would require less energy to extract the CO2 from the air (or flue gas, whatever) and convert it to carbon than you would get from burning the carbon, you would have, in effect, invented a perpetual motion machine. In simpler terms, you’re assuming that you can invent a process that allows you to eat your cake and still have it. It’s no green conspiracy to say it can’t happen that way. It’s science.

    There is one aspect of this issue that AOC and others might be interested in. Since it will always take more energy to capture the CO2 and put it into storage than was obtained by burning the fossil fuels, it’s also going to cost money to do so. If it is done effectively, it will have to be done at a large scale. There will be no profit in doing so, and thus it will require a societal diversion of surplus from other areas to deal with the problem. That requires big government, and some form of redistribution, which you might refer to as socialism.

  32. 482
    Hank Roberts says:

    […] The reason for increased hay fever when spring arrives early seems to be related to pollen exposure. An earlier onset of spring means trees flower sooner and create a longer season for tree pollen, which is the major source of spring seasonal allergens. But a very late onset of spring may mean many species of trees simultaneously burst in bloom, blasting allergy suffers with a high concentration of pollen for a shorter duration.

    Journal Reference:
    Amir Sapkota, et. al. Associations between alteration in plant phenology
    and hay fever prevalence among US adults: Implication for changing
    climate.
    PLOS ONE, 2019; 14 (3): e0212010
    DOI: [3]10.1371/journal.pone.0212010

  33. 483
    Killian says:

    Re #475 Eliminating profit would be crazy

    As ever, your assertion without even a supporting argument or logical construction.

    and is like smashing machines because they take away jobs.

    There is no correlation, no analogy between the two. 1. Profit, according to its acolytes, creates jobs. Machines are *always* intended to reduce manpower. 2. Taking away profit is an unavoidable necessity as it fuels growth and consumption, regardless of what even ecological economists say, while destroying machines was a choice made to preserve jobs to protect families. Your attempt to make it sound like some crazed, anti-machine protest is noted, and is again found to be disgusting, as all dishonesty is. Having machines *could* create better lives for workers by reducing the hours they need to work and increasing profit for the company that could be paid to the employees to give them both more time and more money, both of which would be expected to increase consumption, thus enriching companies more.

    You, as ever, have failed to illustrate you understand a damned thing.

  34. 484
    Killian says:

    Re #469 Nemesis said Go vegan.

    If you want to kill off humanity, sure, go vegan.

    1. Entire societies would be destroyed by going vegan.

    2. Going vegan while only a couple percent of non-subsistence ag is anything approaching regenerative (“organic” is not regenerative) would expand the use of chemicals massively across a larger swath of the planet destroying the soils of the planet in the process.

    3. Going regenerative in all areas of agriculture eliminates all the problems vegans *supposedly* care about wrt climate, thus eliminates the supposed need to go vegan.

    4. Ergo, veganism is ideology and belief, not a sound, objective policy suggestion or else they’d be massive regenerative ag supporters and stop trying to destroy whole societies and most soils of the planet.

  35. 485
    Killian says:

    Re #466 Phil L said Here’s an article that I think makes a solid contribution to the “forest products for mitigation of climate change” discussion. It has a European focus but some mention of North American wood use.

    Rather incredible their end of life option in terms of simply disposing of used wood did not include using it as mulch/compost. And rather ridiculous.

  36. 486
    Phil L says:

    Killian at # 485 – their end of life options did not consist of “simply disposing of used wood”. The report’s Section 8.3 (End-of-life scenarios for wood) mentions “Aiming to a prolonged service lifespan, the European Parliament has established a cascade use principle for wood, which suggests wood be used in the following order of priority: wood-based products, re-use, recycling, bioenergy, and disposal.” Mulch/compost would fit under the recycling category. I agree that it would have been nice if they had explicitly mentioned mulch/compost, but I wouldn’t call the omission ridiculous.

  37. 487
    zebra says:

    #478 Kevin McKinney,

    A good example of providing data without clearly articulating what question is being answered.

    If we are concerned with reducing net emissions from the transportation sector, then those numbers are essentially meaningless.

    If the question is whether future per-capita (capita being vehicles, not people) emissions may be reduced because China is promoting EV for new purchases, then it is certainly a positive trend. But, it can certainly be offset on the net numbers by trends like increased sales of SUV and pickups in the USA. And, obviously, the electricity source has to be taken into account as well.

    The global fleet is increasing. The US fleet isn’t going away.

  38. 488
    Nemesis says:

    @Killian, #485

    Aaaahahaha, I didn’t expect that kinda reply from YOU :’D Anyway, someone replied at least :)) Either you are kidding me or you are just plain…

    EAT whatever shit you like to eat, I don’t care about your body, but I care A LOT about MY precious body. Do some homework and you will find out, what anmimal shit does to your body and what it does to the climate and to the environment and to the market in the socalled 2. and 3. world and what all that sick animal torture (for funny money only^^) does to your Karma. I don’t drive a car, I don’t fly AND I don’t consume animal shit.

    Btw, your 2. point is just plain stupid :’D Have you ever considered what all these livestock animals eat?! Guess what:

    They eat TONS of VEGAN shit, not meat and shit. You need way, way more plant food for livestock than for vegan human beings, so you need way more pesticides, you get way more cut down forests, way more soil destruction and environmental destruction and climate heating (like gigantic masses of methane coming out of livestock every day^^) :’D

    … I’m sure you are kidding me :’D

  39. 489
    nigelj says:

    Killian @483, removing profit is not an essential condition of zero economic growth. Growth actually falls in recessions even as many companies continue to be profitable. This example alone suffices but there are others.

    People are very unlikely to give up on making a profit. Nearly everyone likes to make money and get ahead. Distant resource problems are not particularly immediate in their lives.

    You need to be more realistic in your goals and expectations of people.

    Just because someone writes some theory about profit being like taking energy out of the system doesn’t make it so. Profits are recirculated in multiple ways in dividends to shareholders, higher wages, investment in plant and equipment, more money banked so turned into loans, etcetera so profits are simply recirculated. The exception is leaving money in a suitcase under the bed, but not many people do this.

    People might accept a phase down to zero economic growth, as most people can probably see the problem side of growth, but even this will be difficult to acheive. But its worth promoting which is why I promote it.

  40. 490
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian,
    So, evidently, you are not going to take me up on my suggestion to learn a little bit about economics so that you do not spew such utter stupidity. Also, apparently, you felt the same about thermodynamics. All I can say is that your attitude explains your ignorance. [Doctors Dunning and Kruger, please come to a white paging telephone.]

    Yes, it is true that there is economic research out there that is utter rubbish. However, there is also research out there that is quite illuminating. Your lack the discernment to distinguish between the two would be remediable. Your arrogant refusal to see the need to do so…maybe not.

    Ponder one question: If you remove profit as an incentive, then how do you decide which strategy to implement? Command economy? Because that’s always worked out so well in the past. Amirite? Maybe, just maybe, what is needed is better accounting of all costs coupled with the profit motive (which is innate to human nature) to incentivize proper decision making? Nah! That’s just crazy talk!

    Oh, and by the way: I knew Al Bartlett quite well. I first heard his talk, “Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis” in high school. By the time I attended grad school, he was Emeritus but still quite active, and I had several conversations with him. If he’d heard your ignorant spew about economics, he would have laughed his ass off.

  41. 491
    Killian says:

    Re #488 Nemesis said @Killian, #485

    It was #484.

    Aaaahahaha, I didn’t expect that kinda reply from YOU

    Polite, logical, systemic, accurate? Strange. You should as it is my habit.

    Either you are kidding me or you are just plain…

    See that little rudeness there? That’s defensiveness and/or zealotry creating anger.

    EAT whatever shit you like to eat

    I do. I hope for the day all food production is regenerative, reverent. It will likely mean less animal proteins, but it will never mean none for the vast majority.

    There don’t seem to be too many vegan permaculturists bc we understand what Nature does is my theory.

    what it does to the climate

    Regenerative? It gets us back under 300ppm. CAFO? We’re all screwed.

    You skipped right over this, as every vegan fanatic does. You know why the Plains had meters-deep high-carbon soils 500 years ago? Buffalo and other large herbivores eating grasses, and carnivores keeping them moving.

    I don’t drive a car

    Me, neither.

    I don’t fly

    Still gotta jump continents every few years, but hope my next is my last.

    AND I don’t consume animal shit.

    I don’t either. I do eat animal products. Do you hate lions, too? Do you feel good about thinking yourself so separated and “above” the animals? Yeah… watch that karma…

    Btw, your 2. point is just plain stupid

    No, it’s intelligent. All meat eating needing to replaced with farming would spread Monsanto’s poison over a hell of a lot more acres.

    Have you ever considered what all these livestock animals eat?!

    I’ve never noted you to be dishonest before. It’s the zealotry, I suppose. Why pretend as if I did not say ALl agriculture, including any animal ag, must become regenerative?

    Guess what:

    They eat TONS of VEGAN shit, not meat and shit. You need way, way more plant food for livestock than for vegan human beings, so you need way more pesticides, you get way more cut down forests, way more soil destruction and environmental destruction and climate heating

    You ignoring the acreage increases needed to cover meat production elimination. A lot of meat production is done on non-arable locations, e.g.

    like gigantic masses of methane coming out of livestock every day

    Which is reversed with regenerative animal protein production. We draw down carbon.

  42. 492
    Killian says:

    Re #486 Phil L said disposal. That is what I referred to.

    Mulch/compost would fit under the recycling category.

    That’s an assumption. I don’t think it crossed their minds.

    I agree that it would have been nice if they had explicitly mentioned mulch/compost, but I wouldn’t call the omission ridiculous.

    Then you and I have quite different views of not doing regenerative.

  43. 493
    alan2102 says:

    #457 nigelj 25 Mar 2019:

    “Alan @451, good copy and paste”

    ? I wrote the whole post. Not too shabby considering my room-temp I.Q.

    “except its confusing money creation and MMT. MMT is about deficit financing, so governments borrowing funds on the open market.”

    Sorry, man, but I don’t know what you’re talking about. You seem to have gotten things things turned upside-down. MMT is ALL ABOUT money creation to finance stuff, INSTEAD OF borrowing. MMT opposes the conventional view that government spending must be funded by debt and taxes. Read the Wikipedia entry on MMT. Read anything about MMT.

    MMT says, of money-printing: “we’re already doing a lot of this, and it has not harmed us, even though most of the mainstream community scolds us for doing it. Let’s drop the moralistic nonsense around it; let’s not be afraid to do more of it in a measured, sober way.” I say: maybe, yes, if it can be put to good use, and as long as the dollar’s purchasing power holds up, which should be another decade or three.