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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.

462 Responses to “Forced Responses: Feb 2019”

  1. 401
    nigelj says:

    Regarding the article critical of the Green New Deal:

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2019/03/06/the-green-deal-is-hopium/

    I think it makes some good points, but is mostly far too pessimistic and exaggerated, and lacks knowledge of whats happening with resources and technology.

    The article includes claims that lithium battery technology is at or near the limits of development. It clearly depends on how we define this, but solid state lithium is currently under development. The more important point is there are at least 10 other battery technologies under early stage development, and with excellent feasibility as below, and many of them use relatively abundant materials:

    https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2019/01/10-disruptive-battery-technologies-trying-to-compete-with-lithium-ion/

    Then the article talks about problems with mineral scaricty. Clearly there is a problem, but most of the media statements about 50 or 100 years of some mineral being left are based on known reserves of land based reserves at todays prices. This ignores potential future discoveries and higher priced reserves. It also ignores the literally trillions and trillions of tons of a vast range of minerals dissolved in sea water, and able to be commerically extracted as below.

    http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/over-40-minerals-and-metals-contained-in-seawater-their-extraction-likely-to-increase-in-the-future-2016-04-01

    Obviously we should not waste these materials, but there does appear to be enough for a renewable energy build at good scale, and many centuries of use yet.

    As to the articles claims that humanity should immediately stop using fossil fuels tomorrow, should all live like sub saharan africans (by choice) and stop having children (or something like that) this is just ridiculous, cynical over the top unrealistic gobshite. There is however an obvious realistic possibility of getting population growth well down and possibly falling over the next century or two, and economic growth clearly has to stop sooner or later.

  2. 402
    Killian says:

    Re #401 nigelj said Regarding the article critical of the Green New Deal:

    I think it makes some good points, but is mostly far too pessimistic and exaggerated

    We are back to nigelj ver. 1: Completely misrepresenting what is in that article. I’m only going to deal with one of the mistakes (or was it?) you made, then do something more productive with my day, like scratch my butt.

    But one example of your… lack of accuracy, to put it more kindly:
    As to the articles claims that humanity… should all live like sub saharan africans (by choice)”

    Here is what the article actually says:

    “If we leave matters to Mother Nature

    That kind of statement is called a conditional… because it has conditions. To ignore the conditional and claim the writer says “we should all live like sub saharan Africans (by choice)” is dishonest rhetoric.

    The writer also says:

    – assuming no energy breakthrough arrives to save the day –

    giving us the other half of the conditional. He then gives us the “then”:

    then the collapse of the environment just as our critical infrastructure fails is going to result in a massive cull of the human population via some combination of war, plague and starvation.

    Everybody else reading this blog will recognize the common “IF A (we don’t act fast enough/effectively) AND IF B (there is no energy breakthrough), THEN C (Uh-oh!)” construction.

    For the record, “IF A AND IF B, THEN C” does not equal “should” in any universe.

    The writer continues with what amounts to ELSE:

    We might mitigate this, however, by embarking upon a managed de-growth that begins with a radical shrinking of our material consumption to bring us (in the developed economies) to the standard of living of sub-Saharan Africa.”

    This else is not very radical. This is Lagos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagos#/media/File:Lagos.png

    This is Nairobi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nairobi#/media/File:Nairobi_Montage_A.jpg

    What happened, of course, is nigelj instantly thought of living like the pre-contact Sa’an or something. Because bias. What the writer meant is the per capita consumption of sub-Saharan Africa. Just as European consumption is half of the U.S., that of sub-Saharan Africa is a fraction of Europe’s.

    Meh…

  3. 403
    Killian says:

    Re #391 John Kelly said One last thing. The idea that we have to (we don’t), or will (a fantasy), transform society away from materialism and capitalism, is an example of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

    No, it’s an example of you not understanding the math, nothing more. This is not a matter of dueling theories, it’s a matter of one person understanding the math and the other not. It is blazingly clear the resources do not exist for what you suggest.

    My own proposed pathway has nothing to do with what I want and everything to do with a sober look at the facts and seeing the math provides but one pathway. How can the impossible be the good and the necessary the enemy of it?

    No, you just haven’t accepted the math yet, or haven’t done it yet.

    Here’s your test: Take the top twenty most-used physical resources and run consumption curves for all of them.

    Here are a few to get you started:

    Bauxite (aluminum): Gone by the end of this century.
    Water: Already in short supply.
    Phosphorus: Gone by end of the century.
    Light Sweet Crude: Already declining.

    Enemy of the good, my ass. That’s actually backwards. The good (GND) is the enemy of the necessary.

  4. 404
    Carrie says:

    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:

    “I mean give me any Empire you want they
    couldn’t survive. Where is it written in
    grant that the American Empire is? For it
    isn’t. No one I can find anyway. It isn’t
    forever so that Warfare State is
    bleeding the Empire at a rate and a
    price right now that one he wonders that
    coincidental with that time when there’s
    no federal discretionary spending we
    aren’t going to really take it I mean
    take it badly.

    One US Senator said to me “You haven’t
    heard about Modern Monetary Theory?”
    What’s that mean? Well he then said
    what Dick Cheney said when his own
    budget director, George Bush’s budget
    director asked you if you wanted to
    increase the Deficit by so much as we
    were discussing the War in Iraq.
    Deficits don’t matter Ronald Reagun
    proved that said Dick Cheney.

    Well, there’s new Modern Monetary Theory
    says that so what as long as you have a
    very powerful military and you are the
    last safe haven for investment.
    Then
    Saudi money, trying to use money whatever
    it has no other place to go it’s still
    going to come here there’s still about
    our Treasuries no just on if we’re going
    to be able to do whatever we’re going to
    do in the world and the dollar gives us
    that power we can print money and until
    the cows come home – this is a new theory
    of Washington.

    And I understand there’s a difference
    between running your family and the
    budget for your family and a budget for
    your nation, you know I’m not that stupid.

    I’m not an economic expert, finance expert
    but I’m familiar with some of the
    arguments of people like Alexander Hamilton
    and others. But it just don’t fit well with me
    that we can run up deficits to the point
    that they just can keep going forever
    and they don’t matter.

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

    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 minimise the climate crisis begin to happen. And I really mean begin, as in start to occur.

    The first step entails dropping the delusions, dismissing the lies, dumping the deceit and deceptions and facing reality square on with reason and logical and true facts. The time for myths and mythical thinking has long past.

  5. 405
    nigelj says:

    Killian @402, imho the article critical of the GND is mostly complete nonsense, and any one can see that. I gave it a one minute scan because that’s all it was worth. The material on lifestyles and population is all just nonsense that was barely worth a mention. Simply put the writer is hugely exaggerating about climate change, simply to make a case for equally ridiculous exaggerated solutions relating to consumption and population control. His/ her reasoning is also woefully deficient at almost every point.

    The statements on battery technology caught my eye, so this warranted a comment. The writer complains about lithium battery technology wont save us, and is maxed out, but he doesn’t really understand the development process of lithium technology, and conveniently left out numerous other battery technologies either through ignorance, or to make his ridiculous case that the GND is not technologically feasible. The writer also has no grasp of the actual reserves of materials on the planet.

    The writer appears to complain of a lack of technology to combat climate change when we have a whole suite of proven solutions from wind power, solar power, geothermal etc and numerous battery technologies, so the writer is just talking nonsense basically. We don’t need some miracle breakthrough, although it would be nice. The writer seems to think we wont have enough resources, but we are not quite as short of resources as the writer things as I showed. Of course its a challenge to scale all this up, but the process has at least started in some countries. Costs of mitigating climate change are put by economists at approx. 2% of global gdp (eg the Stern Report and many others), far less than was spent on the war effort during WW2.

    I strongly suggest its the writer of the article who is hugely misleading and on virtually every point he makes. But make of the article whatever you want.

  6. 406
    nigelj says:

    “Phosphorus: Gone by end of the century.”

    This claim (looks like the typical claims made in the mass media) is simply incorrect and a gross simplification. Known reserves at today’s prices and rates of use would last 260 years as below. Obviously less will remain if rates of use increase above currently.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_phosphorus#Estimates_of_world_phosphate_reserves

    But all this still excludes known reserves of phosphorous at higher prices, and the realistic possibility of at least some more future discoveries, and the billions of tons of phosphorous in sea water. So there is clearly a lot more than 100 years left, even at significantly higher than current rates of use.

    And phosphorous is not critical for electricity generation and batteries etcetera. It’s mostly used for fertilisers, with some used for steel, and as supplies reduce steel would probably be prioritised.

    Of course there is a phosphorous issue, but the media post exaggerated or misleading claims about how little is left. That’s what the media to they exaggerate.

  7. 407
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Wow, over in Crank Shaft, bob is on fire. Quite possibly literally, since I don’t see how he comes up with this crap unless his brains are fried.

  8. 408
    Carrie says:

    402 Killian, because of your comment I decided to read the article. In full. I’ve probably forgotten over half of it already and I did not follow the refs.

    I suppose the article is ‘debatable’ but then some people would debate which cockroach was going to get to the top of the wall first. Argument in and of itself does not make it contentious or one side being as good as the other.

    I note your ‘tame’ but well reasoned response, but I surely question why you even bother? Bricks do not understand reality even when they represent the majority of participants on this group. A group that thinks it’s funny and worthwhile to poke crazed deniers with a stick by a “scientist” creating a whole new thread for them. As if it matters. Delusion is clearly contagious. But why can’t I get the idea of the 1930s German, Polish, French and Dutch Jews out of my mind? Weird.

  9. 409
    nigelj says:

    “Bauxite (aluminum): Gone by the end of this century.

    Not correct, and only gives half the story about aluminium. Here is some information on reserves, with relevant context:

    https://www.hydro.com/en/about-aluminium/Aluminium-life-cycle/Bauxite-mining/

    About 7 percent of the earth’s crust is aluminium ( ie trillions of trillions of tons), making it the third-most abundant element after oxygen and silicon.

    Aluminium production starts with the raw material bauxite. Known reserves of bauxite are around 29 billion metric tons. At the current rate of extraction, these reserves will last more than 100 years. When we include undiscovered bauxite resources, this number is estimated at 55-75 billion metric tons.This extends the time perspective to 250-340 years.

    The aluminium industry is also preparing to use ores other than bauxite in the future. Research to develop extraction processes from other minerals is ongoing, and in the future we envision using more recycled metal, from buildings, for example.

  10. 410
    nigelj says:

    “Light Sweet Crude: Already declining.”

    It is most likely declining as below, but this is an obvious argument in favour of the GND.

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

  11. 411
    nigelj says:

    Resource limits are obviously a looming problem, so any GND has to try to recognise this. The most obvious simple answer is to drastically reduce our consumption in the near term to conserve things, but I think its unrealistic to expect people to do this. History has been going in the opposite direction towards greater consumption, and people associate consumption with better quality of life. This is sensible, at least until consumption becomes some form of over consumption.

    The most realistic looking answer is probably trying to only buy things that save significant labour, wasting less, zero gdp growth, recycling, combined with smaller population etc, so a range of things building over time. Messy and complicated and challenging, but realistically possible because its doable without causing a lot of pain.

    A famous quote is applicable ” for every complex human problem, there is a solution that is neat, simple and wrong (attributed to Mencken).

  12. 412
    Killian says:

    nigel, you realize you’re responding to my posts out of pique and ignorance, right?

    One simple point: The rate of phosphorus use cannot possibly stay flat. in fact, even saying “at current rates of use” is flashing red light saying, “”Nothing to see here, folks! Move along! Mooooove along!” (One of my fondest wishes for humanity is that every single one of us would read the entirety of the archives of The Oil Drum. It would alleviate so much of the time wasting, poor decisions, quackery, etc. One hell of an education.) 1. 1.5 billion, or more, yet to come. 2. From 2006 to 2016 phosphate production (or was it consumption? Production, I think) went from 160 to 260 million tons, but in your world we can just assume it’s going to stop there rather than keep growing at an avg of 10m tons/yr?

    Meh…

    You’re wasting your time, mine and whomever read your posts. If you make an honest effort, I’ll give you a full response, but those were weak efforts, at best.

    And, please, stop responding to every issue raised on these fora. Give it a damned rest.

  13. 413
    David B. Benson says:

    Double the amount of trees in the world by planting 3 trillion more. That would help.

  14. 414
    nigelj says:

    Killian @412

    “nigel, you realize you’re responding to my posts out of pique and ignorance, right?”

    No I’m not responding out of pique or ignorance. I just dont like exaggerated claims and bad numbers. I’m not accusing you, because I think you have just picked up on some numbers quoted by others who haven’t done their homework properly. You have taken their numbers at face value. These sorts of numbers matter as well.

    “One simple point: The rate of phosphorus use cannot possibly stay flat.”

    We all know rates of use will most probably increase, because there is population pressure and higher consumption is likely in some countries. This is obvious and didn’t need saying. Please note that I said “Obviously less will remain if rates of use increase above currently” so I’m well aware of this problem.

    Notice I then also said ” So there is clearly a lot more than 100 years left, even at significantly higher than current rates of use.” And when looking at the total recoverable resource its obvious many centuries of supply are left even at significantly higher use than currently. Of course there isn’t 1000 years left, that is obvious

    This is important because it means we have a window of opportunity to deal with the problem with population policies rather than contemplate drastic reductions in per capita consumption. And expecting people to make huge voluntary reductions in consumption is expecting the near impossible, given our history is towards more consumption, and the resource problem is perceived as a distant threat that lacks urgency.

    However zero economic growth would at least cap increases in consumption (in conjunction with getting population growth to stop) and looks like a realstic policy medium term. And apparently a lot of fertiliser gets over used so there are opportunities to waste less. So as you can see I have considered a vast range of issues, even although I have only devoted minutes to it.

  15. 415
    Killian says:

    Re #414 nigelj said Killian @412

    “nigel, you realize you’re responding to my posts out of pique and ignorance, right?”

    No I’m not responding out of pique or ignorance. I just dont like exaggerated claims and bad numbers.

    And how would you know, speaking from ignorance? An issue is raised, you run and read an article to tell you what to think, come back here and regurgitate it. You don’t do analysis, you do regurgitation. That does not move the conversation forward in any way.

    Further, your response to pretty much any reality-based analysis is to claim it is exaggerated, extreme, etc., yet you have inexorably aped those same positions moving ever further in the direction of the supposedly extreme.

    And, yes, you are. Look at the language you used in the post I responded to. It was pejorative.

    Again, I’ll wait for someone with some gravitas to take up my invitation rather than read any of your newer posts or even the rest of the one quoted above.

    It’s just not worth my time. I know what I will find: Poor analysis, broken logic, a biased starting point, and a lack of understanding of the system as a whole.

    Seriously, please, if you have no deep or new understanding on a particular post, don’t respond. Your posting numbers are the very definition of skyrocketty, particularly with regard to S:N ratio.

  16. 416
    Killian says:

    Re #513 David B. Benson said Double the amount of trees in the world by planting 3 trillion more. That would help.

    Yes. People are trying. However, how they are planted matters. WRT reforestation, some research suggests forests regrow faster *without* our help, though it would seem logical the extent, location and manner of deforestation makes this a little more complex than just “leave it alone.” Then, again, it might not.

    WRT aforestation, much of that can and should be in the form of Food Forestation in and around human settlements as part of the Zone 5 to 7, the latter being where our human Nature blends with Mother Nature.

    Some attention must also be given to weather patterns and how rainfall would be affected. Forests create rain if big enough, but they also shift weather patterns. These issues require close cooperation, the like of which can only be achieved by something like Regenerative Governance.

  17. 417
    Hank Roberts says:

    Wpuld you guys who spend so much energy sniping at each other please put some of that energy into contributing to what we know, rather than pounding on your opinions of each other?

    For instance, someone could track down where “bob” is getting his wacko physics — the climate conspiracy theorists are worth investigating to see how many are bots or trolls rather than people.

  18. 418
    nigelj says:

    Hank Roberts @417, “Wpuld you guys who spend so much energy sniping at each other please put some of that energy into contributing to what we know, rather than pounding on your opinions of each other?”

    I’m not sniping, and I have posted links to what we know @ 406, 409, 410, etc. So please don’t include me in your description.

  19. 419
    nigelj says:

    Killian @415

    “It’s just not worth my time. I know what I will find…, a biased starting point…

    No I think you have the biased starting point on this particular issue. Go back to what I have said. You post quotes that we only have 100 years of certain minerals left (with no links to your source material) that are simply incorrect. In fact the data suggests we have 3 or 4 centuries, even at higher than current rates of use, albeit it will probably be more expensive to extract. I have given source material.

    Since you get the basic numbers wrong, your conclusions are wrong. So instead of needing your proposed huge short term reductions in use of resources, its obvious that a more appropriate and also realistically achievable response is to get population growth down, and cap economic growth, and with some more modest and achievable reductions in per capita consumption of resources.

    This is interesting on zero economic growth:

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/12/why-growth-cant-be-green/

    I’m not criticising everything you say. Smart people modify their ideas as necessary.

  20. 420
    nigelj says:

    Hank Roberts “For instance, someone could track down where “bob” is getting his wacko physics — the climate conspiracy theorists are worth investigating to see how many are bots or trolls rather than people.”

    I actually think “bob” is possibly the source of these crazy ideas. Some people have vivid inventive imaginations and are a bit manic, and can create crazy ideas, comedians for example. Of course something is driving it all, probably some deep dislike of agw theory for whatever motive. But bob overplays his crazy ideas and can safely be ignored.

  21. 421
    David B. Benson says:

    Killian @416 — Consider “Irrigated Afforestation of the Sahara desert and the Australian outback to …” by Ornstein et al. The pdf is freely available via a link at the end of the abstract.

  22. 422
    Carrie says:

    417 Hank Roberts says:

    For instance, someone could track down where “bob” is getting his wacko physics — the climate conspiracy theorists are worth investigating to see how many are bots or trolls rather than people.

    Seriously? Not my problem not anyoen’s problem here. What rational logical reason could anyone come up with to go wasting their time pondering such useless investigations? I’ll tell you Hank – None!

    There is one problem here – that Bob’s posts are being posted here to begin with. The owners/moderators are seriously muddled in their thinking. That’s a fact and is undeniable.

    PS here’s a hint anyway … Bob has all the signs for the Bob from WUWT who has been posting “articles” for years. Whether it is or isn’t makes no difference to anything.

    STOP GETTING DISTRACTED YOURSELF. Better still send Gavin an email begging hi to stop being such a dill by giving this oxygen to such idiots like Bob?

    NO ONE NEEDS TO SEE IT OR HEAR IT. NO ONE!

    Least of all here. And yes I am yelling! Another failed attempt to break through the delusions and illogic.

  23. 423
    Carrie says:

    A Future Without Fossil Fuels?
    Bill McKibben
    April 4, 2019 Issue

    2020 Vision: Why You Should See the Fossil Fuel Peak Coming
    a report by Kingsmill Bond
    41 pp., September 2018, available at carbontracker.org

    A New World: The Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation
    a report by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation
    88 pp., January 2019, available at irena.org

    In countries like the US or Canada, the political power of the fossil fuel industry is still considerable. Barack Obama boasted to a Texas audience last year that during his administration the US had passed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the biggest producer of hydrocarbons; even the progressive Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau recently spent billions in tax dollars to finance a pipeline designed to increase exports from the country’s environmentally ruinous tar sands.

    That’s why the most important aspect of the decline of fossil fuel companies might be a corresponding decline in their political influence. The coal, oil, and gas industries have been the architects of the disinformation campaigns that kept us from responding earlier to scientists’ warnings about climate change, and they are using every trick they know to keep us from making a quick transition. History indicates that “the oil majors—and those who invest in them—will…bribe and fund Trump-type candidates and use their money in any other way” to slow down change, Carlota Perez said.

    But change is here. […]

    Yet overall the benefits would be immeasurable. Imagine a world in which the tortured politics of the Middle East weren’t magnified in importance by the value of the hydrocarbons beneath its sands. And imagine a world in which the greatest driver of climate change—the unrelenting political power of the fossil-fuel industry—had begun to shrink.

    The question, of course, is whether we can reach that new world in time.

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/04/04/future-without-fossil-fuels

    My personal prognosis is No, we cannot! And will not. Too many liars, too many under the influence of their life-long social conditioning, and far too many cowards I’m afraid.

  24. 424
    Killian says:

    Re #421 David B. Benson said Killian @416 — Consider “Irrigated Afforestation of the Sahara desert and the Australian outback to …” by Ornstein et al. The pdf is freely available via a link at the end of the abstract.

    Not exactly what we should be shooting for. See the most recent “Greening the Desert” vids for a closer approximation. However, if you could do that irrigation sustainably, then maybe. Otherwise what we want to do is use water that exists and falls within the area to irrigate. If we need to bring the water in from elsewhere, we need to consider the given location either 1. must have a lower population or 2. no population.

  25. 425
    Killian says:

    Re #419 nigelj said Killian @415

    “It’s just not worth my time. I know what I will find…, a biased starting point…

    No I think you have the biased starting point on this particular issue

    Do you even realize how often you start a comment with “I think” or “I believe”?? Guess what? Those are not scientific points.

    I am a **permaculturist**, while you are just… you. I actually **know** shit about things, you just *think* things about things.

    Get it?

    By definition, a permaculturist *never* starts from bias. By. Definition. Get it? Because we begin with NO ASSUMPTIONS. We *do not* impose solutions. We observe. We assess. We analyze. And only then do we design.

    I can’T start from bias because… I am no longer like you, and you are a child in these things and still do not realize you need to shut up and learn.

    Hank, I am not sniping. In the last week or two I have tried to deal with nigel in the hopes his shift in positions equaled a change in mentality. I’m trying to not give up on this guy, but it’s really effing hard. I don’t thing the mentality has shifted at all, unfortunatley.

  26. 426
    nigelj says:

    Killian @425, that is all totally beside the point I was really making, namely the fact you are quoting bad information on mineral resources, so your conclusions are inevitably going to be wrong. I hope you reconsider, and don’t go into denial :)

  27. 427
    nigelj says:

    Killian @425

    “Do you (nigelj) even realize how often you start a comment with “I think” or “I believe”?? Guess what? Those are not scientific points.”

    At least I back up my points with an explanatiopn of why. And perhaps you should remember the following: Killian @40 on febuary UV….I’m pretty sure the science says loss accelerates over time ….I’m thinking you don’t except in EN times, which this is not… ..Killian @30 on febuary FR…I suspect the Amazonian societies of today regressed somewhat after first contact and 90% or more …Like most change, I suspect it was highly variable as ….Why do I say this?…. (etcetera through multiple posts almost ad infinitum)

    Meant with a bit of humour. We all forget…

  28. 428
    Erica says:

    It’s not that complicated when acting from first principles

    https://urplay.se/program/205843-ur-samtiden-baltic-sea-future-stabilitet-eller-kaos-vagval-for-klimatet

    Hur ska vi klara klimatmålen i Parisavtalet när vi på 28 år inte har lyckats minska utsläppen av koldioxid överhuvudtaget? Enligt Kevin Anderson, professor i klimatledarskap vid Uppsala universitet och University of Manchester, beror misslyckandet på att världens ledare har valt att tro på romantiska illusioner. Han berättar om vad som verkligen måste göras för att minska utsläppen och säkra planeten för kommande generationer. Inspelat på Stockholmsmässan den 9 mars 2018. Arrangör: Stockholms universitet, Stockholms stad och

  29. 429
    David B. Benson says:

    Killian @424 — By actually reading the paper one discovers that the authors propose obtaining the irrigation water via desalination. Presumably powered by solar methods, possibly supplimented by nuclear power plants.

  30. 430
    mike says:

    Some folks with limited scope of vision worry about how will fund critical, essential infrastructure and societal change like the Green New Deal even though those same folks will claim to embrace the infrastructure and societal change when pressed. It’s just a symptom/presentation of vision limited by ideology or something of that kind.

    Anyway… in a wholistic vein, Ellen Brown has an article in TruthDig about accomplishing a twofer: establishing public banking and using the wealth generated by public banking to fund the Green New Deal. I hardly think this is the only way to fund the GND, but it’s a twofer since it provides funding for infrastructure and creates societal change in fundamental financial institutions.

    We can afford to do anything we have to do. Don’t get bogged down with the small thinkers, share the big ideas, the big visions and give the folks behind them your time, attention and energy.

    Cheers

    Mike

  31. 431
    mike says:

    I am thinking about what a reasonable and implemented plan to stop global warming would look like as defined and measured within the frame of measurement of atmospheric CO2.

    I start from the premise that Tamino has calculated/translated the carbon budget into an atmospheric accumulation of no more than 435 ppm CO2.

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/time-is-short-for-the-carbon-budget/#more-10530

    I am also assuming Gavin’s calculation that a reduction of annual CO2 emissions is correct: “To maintain CO2 concentrations at a stable level, you could only emit what was effectively being balanced by long-term sinks. On the hundred-year scale, that is basically only the deep ocean, and the current sequestration there is about 2 GtC/yr. Given we are putting out ~10 GtC/yr, that means you’d have to cut emissions by 80% to stabilise CO2 (which is not the same as stabilising temperature – that would continue to rise, though more slowly). ”

    I think Tamino’s number gives us a time frame of about 10 years on a bau trajectory before we blow by the 435 ppm target, so I think might make sense to put a time frame of 15 years on the process to get to the balanced emission/sequestration point and to achieve that balance at or below the 435 ppm target.

    As a first step in what might be a productive discussion about imagining what a plan to stop might look like, we would have to agree that those two premises are correct because they give us a pretty clear idea of the headroom we have with the 435 ppm ceiling and an equally clear target about getting emissions to balance with sequestration (currently about 2 GtC/yr) and that the time frame of 15 years is reasonable.

    If you want to take part in some productive back and forth to visualize what successful implementation of balanced emissions and sequestration within a certain time frame and within a clearly defined CO2 accumulation limit would look like, speak up if you think if either Tamino or Gavin have things really wrong and whether the 15 year time frame is reasonable.

    Let’s just start with a caution that the usual suspects who live to dispute basic science and physics should be ignored. Arguing with them is a waste of time. They are not serious and don’t deserve our attention.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  32. 432
    nigelj says:

    The Keven Anderson video posted @428 was well worth a listen. I think he talks a lot of sense.

    He is critical of BECCS negative emissions technology. I think it looks like fantasy land stuff. To work it needs the land area of two Indias to be devoted to fast growing crops to be used as fuel, and this doesn’t look remotely viable. Some of the other problems below:

    https://theconversation.com/bioenergy-carbon-capture-climate-snake-oil-or-the-1-5-degree-panacea-105041

    Direct air capture has more merit (working prototypes have been built) but the costs will clearly be substantial, and we just don’t know for sure if it would work at huge scale. It’s not safe to place huge reliance on this technology, and its not fair to dump this problem on future generations. At best it looks like it would be a partial solution to the problems that sits aside other solutions and in no way can it replace development of renewable energy. Some industry references of interest, but probably containing some level of ‘optimism’:

    https://carbonengineering.com/about-dac/

    https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/09/11/1568996/0/en/Direct-Air-Capture-Prototype-to-be-Revealed-at-Global-Climate-Action-Summit-by-the-Healthy-Climate-Alliance.html

    Keven promotes a combination of technology based renewable energy, and cuts to personal carbon budgets such as flying less and getting public transport where possible and rules requiring more energy efficient appliances. I have always promoted the same. Without renewable energy cuts to personal carbon budgets would have to be too severe to be realistic. Relying totally on technological fixes doesn’t look viable in the time frames we have. So we have to do both. Now.

  33. 433
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=705191851

    The truth isn’t changing all the time. But one reason for the fluctuations is that scientists have a hard time handling the uncertainty that’s inherent in all studies. There’s a new push to address this shortcoming in a widely used – and abused – scientific method.

    Scientists and statisticians are putting forth a bold idea: Ban the very concept of “statistical significance.”

    We hear that phrase all the time in relation to scientific studies. Critics, who are numerous, say that declaring a result to be statistically significant or not essentially forces complicated questions to be answered as true or false.

    “The world is much more uncertain than that,” says Nicole Lazar, a professor of statistics at the University of Georgia. She is involved in the latest push to ban the use of the term “statistical significance.”

    An entire issue of the journal The American Statistician
    https://amstat.tandfonline.com/toc/utas20/current
    is devoted to this question, with 43 articles and a 17,500-word editorial that Lazar co-authored. …

  34. 434
    mike says:

    from Truthdig:

    As David Wallace-Wells observes in his haunting “The Uninhabitable Earth,” we are not witnessing a “new normal” but something far more terrifying: “That is, the end of normal; never normal again.”

    “We have already exited the state of environmental conditions that allowed the human animal to evolve in the first place, in an unsure and unplanned bet on just what that animal can endure,” he writes. “The climate system that raised us, and raised everything we now know as a human culture and civilization, is now, like a parent, dead.”

    Since its publication last month, Wallace-Wells’ book has drawn comparisons to Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” and with good reason. Both explore the unique havoc we are wreaking on the environment, through carbon emissions in the former and our use of pesticides in the latter. And both are before-and-after publications that demand urgent government action—or so one hopes in the case of “The Uninhabitable Earth.”

    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-future-of-climate-authoritarianism-is-now/

    I think these might be the good old days. Live it up! We have the opportunity to alter the trajectory of climate change, but I don’t know if we will take the actions needed to significantly alter a disastrous trajectory. Humans are willing to do almost anything to address this problem as long as it doesn’t require that we change the way we live.

    Cheers

  35. 435
    nigelj says:

    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.

    This is my opinion. We have some alternative funding approaches. The carbon fee and dividend idea would push the big emitters to reduce emissions, avoids governments taking on debt, and looks to be more politically viable than some other schemes. Such taxes are generally started small and ramped up over time, but given the 15 year deadlines it would have to be ramped up very quickly, and even then it’s hard to know if it would meet such a tough deadline, because its a complex tax with a dividend component.

    The other alternative is government funded infrastructure projects (more or less the GND idea). This can be funded in different ways and applied virtually immediately, with very little ramping up so it suits a short time frame, but putting huge resources into such infrastructure short term would mean other areas of the economy must slow down significantly. There would therefore be some change of societies priorities and some risk of inflation, but no reason for it to be high level inflation. But anyway all that is the price we end up paying to fix the climate problem.

    The way I see it is carbon fee and dividend suits slightly longer time frames like 30 – 40 years, and more direct government interventions become necessary the shorter the time frame like 15 years. The longer we dither around with mitigation as we have been doing, the more something like a government infrastructure spend becomes the only real option.

    There are many ways of funding government infrastructure projects including tax increases, spending cuts in other areas of government spending, deficit financing, some form of federal reserve mony creation, the public bank idea you mentioned, and others. All have their advantages and disadvantages, but given inflation is fairly low some form of money creation is a possibility.

    You have to also think about what is most politically viable, so what would politicians and the public be most likely to support. Democrats won’t want social programmes cut to fund such a infrastructure spend ( and neither would I) and republicans wont want military spending cut. Some form of compromise is always possible, but it looks like a durable consensus would be hard work in America.

    Tax increases on the wealthy might work, but would just be cancelled by a republican administration. This again makes some alternative funding mechanism more attractive, whether it be money creation, or a public bank or deficit financing, however deficits are already quite high in America and some other countries, so this option is not the greatest.

  36. 436
    mike says:

    from the Kevin Anderson video linked at 428. He quotes, as an important matter, from the Pope’s encyclical on climate change that when solutions are proposed that “the alliance of technology and economics ends up side-lining anything unrelated to its immediate interests… whereas any genuine attempt to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusions” so Kevin says at 4:25 “so any time you try to say we need to make some big social change, oh, that’s impossible, that’s not going to work. So any thing that really is very significant, we put in the romantic illusion box that we musn’t open.”

    but what are the real romantic illusions?

    “a belief in naive and ephemeral text book economics. the world does not work in the way that we teach economics students at university. Nothing like it.”

    “a deliberate neglect of time. climate change is a cumulative problem, it’s not a problem that you can wait until you’ve got some great invention in 2030 or 2040, you have to solve it today.”

    “an implicit belief that nature follows our rules and it doesn’t. and I think that’s a hard one to swallow because that starts to say, we have to do things very differently.”

    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…

    Equity frame: do some basic math. Most of the 7.5 billion have little scope to reduce emissions. 35:32

    Climate change is system change. 36:50 Profound changes. No more flying or very, very, very little. Smaller houses, smaller cars. no more over-consumption. No second homes or third homes.

    at 37:40 we need an economics that fits for purpose. Our current marginal neo-classical economics has to do with small changes. That’s the theoretical foundation for it. we are looking at systems level changes. That form of economics tells us nothing about systems level changes. So perhaps ecological economics or other forms of economics need to be used. Where are the solutions to be found? In the box of romantic illusions. That’s where we have to dig. Dramatic changes or climate chaos.

    That’s what I got out of the video. Here’s another link to Kevin Anderson’s talk to the Baltic Sea nations: https://urplay.se/program/205843-ur-samtiden-baltic-sea-future-stabilitet-eller-kaos-vagval-for-klimatet

    It’s weird, that nowhere in the talk did Kevin Anderson talk about how we would fund the changes that he thinks we have to make. He did say clearly that neo-classical economics is a framework for minor adjustments and tells us nothing about how to manage systems level change. He did mention something that sounds odd, ecological economics, that might allow us to do systems level change. Here’s a link to a video on ecological economics:
    https://youtu.be/d05jEprJxtE

    Cheers

    Mike

    good talk by KA.

  37. 437
    zebra says:

    #433 Hank Roberts,

    Thanks. A very important discussion, which I think relates to the whole “scientists communicating with the public” question on climate.

    Statistics isn’t physics, and physics isn’t statistics. (Probably true for all math as well, as the old philosophical musing goes.)

    What has seemed lacking to me is that when we report some attribution, based on a statistical analysis of the data, we fail to emphasize how our confidence is enhanced because the result is consistent with the underlying physical mechanism. (And in some cases, saying “we can’t attribute” because of p-value not being quite enough is just silly.)

    It’s getting better in some reporting that I’ve seen, but still often as a passing sentence rather than a paragraph; the latter should be a minimum to my mind.

  38. 438
    Hank Roberts says:

    “If you have to ask how much it will cost, you can’t afford it.”

    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=cost+of+fighting+World+War+2

  39. 439
    mike says:

    nigel at 435 says: “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.”

    We do not have to replace the existing electricity generation to get to 80% emission cuts, we have to retire the existing electricity generation infrastructure that does not allow us to stay under 435 ppm. We can hope for replacement, but the truth is that we may need to learn to do with less. Maybe a lot less. We have to accept and make significant changes in the way we live to hit the goal of staying under 435 ppm. We will hit 435 ppm in about ten years at current rates of accumulation and there is no sign that the current rate of emission GROWTH has changed. Growth was about 2% for 2017. We grew emissions by 2% in one year when we need to hit an 80% reduction in emissions within fifteen years to stay under 435 ppm. Tamino says 435 ppm is the ceiling to stay under the 2 degree increase. You can attempt to ignore the fact that we are at 410 plus and rising at more than 2 ppm per year, but you are engaging in what KA calls the (deliberate) neglect of time. In your case, I don’t think it’s deliberate, I think you have fallen for the romantic illusions that KA describes.

    Could we wait to 2050 to hit this target? Yes, we could try that. It won’t work as KA notesIs there anyway that we Does that make sense as a time frame based on the Paris Agreement?

    Let’s listen to what Kevin Anderson had to say about the extended time frame contained in the Paris Agreement: (5:15) “climate change is a cumulative problem, it’s not a problem you can wait until you’ve got some great invention in 2030 or 2040 you have to solve it today. So, I think we deliberately neglect the time dimension of climate change. And actually that is our biggest threat when it comes to addressing the Paris Agreement.”

    You appear to really embrace the issue that the Pope raised and that KA referred to: the alliance of technology and economics ends up sidelining anything unrelated to its immediate interests. start listening around 3:40 for that

    “any genuine attempt to introduce change is viewed as a romantic illusion, it’s put in the romantic illusion box. Oh, that’s impossible, that not going to work”

    The basic physics of greenhouse gases do not allow us to fudge the accumulation numbers. We have about 25 ppm to spend before we hit the 435 ceiling. We are rising at over 2 ppm per year. do the math. We have ten years at current rates of emission. To reduce the emissions at a rate that gets us carbon neutral at or before we blow by 435ppm means we have to accomplish major, major changes in the next ten years. We can’t be derailed by concerns about replacement of infrastructure before its useby date. That is exactly the alliance of technology and economics sidelining anything that does not serve its immediate interests.

    Facts are stubborn things. We are at roughly 410 ppm. We are raising the atmospheric accumulation number by over 2 ppm per year and that number has continued to rise. 435 ppm is our ceiling to stay under the 2 degree temp rise target. I am struggling to figure out how to factor in a “useby date” or other economic and technological frame of reference that changes these stubborn facts.

    Alternative facts are in vogue. I recognize that, but I don’t think is has any particular validity except as a point of debate in the culture wars.

    Cheers

    Mike

    Mike

  40. 440
    nigelj says:

    Article on ecological economics:

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

    It has some useful ideas and links to related material. Note particularly the section on allocation of resources and the graph of gdp growth is great.

    Article on neoclassical economics.

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

    Quick summary. Neoclassical economics is essentially free markets allocating resources. Economists generally accept the state has a role to fix market failures, and this leads to environmental rules and bodies like the EPA. So far, so good. However environmental rules struggle to fully control a system based on infinite growth (required to repay debt interest) and the profit motive.

    I think one solution would be more non for profit companies especially in environmentally sensitive areas. It also suggests to me that business is better funded with share capital than bonds or debt. This doesnt fully solve the underlying issues but might be preferable.

    Zero growth systems are possible and not inconsistent with free markets. But its going to be hard convincing the public.

    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, and it has to have wide appeal.

  41. 441
    nigelj says:

    Mike @439, you made some good points, but I did not say the 15 year time frame is too short and that Paris is preferable. I simply said 15 years would require a lot of infrastructure be replaced – and it clearly would, but that it’s not impossible. This in turn suggests we would need something more like a government infrastructure spend than a carbon tax. That was all I really said.

    Yes alternatively people could in theory get by with using a lot less electicity, but how realisic do you think that is? I can’t see people radically cutting electricity use. They are not going to go cold, and not everyone can afford things like heat pumps or adding more insulation (unless they were governmnet subsidised?). I think we would get maybe a 25% reduction so it’s ideally going to require in America retiring a lot of coal fired plant fairly fast, building a lot more renewable generation capacity, and developing electric cars at warp speed.

    I don’t think this would be impossible, looking at the scale of change during WW2. I hate war, but it did demonstrate how fast things can change when there is a will.

    Other reductions to carbon footprints look easier than reducing electricity use as I stated somewhere above. For example making more use of public transport, flying less, and eating less meat. Still that is a lot of different things that all have to fall into place, so I’m a bit gloomy about it today. I guess we have to just hope for the best.

  42. 442
    Killian says:

    Re #429 David B. Benson said Killian @424 — By actually reading the paper one discovers that the authors propose obtaining the irrigation water via desalination. Presumably powered by solar methods, possibly supplimented by nuclear power plants.

    And by actually reading my comment, one discovers I said sustainably. When it comes to deserts, or any location, actually, the trick is not to bring water in, it is to maximize the water you get. The Sahara, however, does have huge aquifers under it. Like all aquifers today, using it will deplete it. However, if you green what you can and get infiltration, you could figure out a balance point for maintaining the aquifer by using it to green areas that then infiltrate more, move to the next, etc., because if you design well, you can stop using the aquifer.

    Better, overall, to just use the rain and condensation.

  43. 443
    Killian says:

    Re #428 Erica said It’s not that complicated when acting from first principles
    True. I agree. However, while Anderson is the most clear-eyed and full-throated climate scientist on the realities of system change, he’s not discussing First Principles in that talk, so your comment may confuse some.

  44. 444
    Killian says:

    Re #430 mike said Some folks with limited scope of vision worry about how will fund critical, essential infrastructure and societal change like the Green New Deal even though those same folks will claim to embrace the infrastructure and societal change when pressed. It’s just a symptom/presentation of vision limited by ideology or something of that kind.

    Anyway… in a wholistic vein, Ellen Brown has an article in TruthDig about accomplishing a twofer: establishing public banking and using the wealth generated by public banking to fund the Green New Deal. I hardly think this is the only way to fund the GND, but it’s a twofer since it provides funding for infrastructure and creates societal change in fundamental financial institutions.

    We can afford to do anything we have to do. Don’t get bogged down with the small thinkers, share the big ideas, the big visions and give the folks behind them your time, attention and energy.

    Cheers

    Mike

    We could end banking tomorrow, end money, declare global jubilee, and absolutely nothing would have to change. On the flip side, everything *could* then change with no barriers. Money and finance *are* the primary barriers.

    Declare a global commons tomorrow, we can begin drawing down carbon almost immediately.

  45. 445
    Nemesis says:

    Some beautiful Forced Response:

    ” 21.3.2019 – Fossil fuel financing on upward trajectory with trillions invested since 2015

    While some lenders and financiers have signaled plans to stop funding polluting power stations, a new report shows that 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing the fossil fuel industry as a whole since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Big U.S. banks led by JPMorgan have invested most heavily…”

    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/21/fossil-fuel-financing-on-upward-trajectory-with-trillions-invested-since-2015/

    I love capitalism charging me with inexhaustible optimism :)) Walk on, walk on, beautiful sacrosanct capitalism will solve all problems ultimately and quickly once and for all :))

  46. 446
    Killian says:

    Re #433, #437,

    In my opinion, it might be a good change, but it’s a bit horse-out-of-the-barn. We’ve finally hit the turning point on public awareness, so the power of denial will be declining, perhaps exponentially.

  47. 447
    alan2102 says:

    #385 zebra 7 Mar 2019:
    “your response to what I said had nothing to do with what I said”

    That characterizes most of what you write, to me at least. I describe MMT, mostly in neutral terms, and you reply that it is “YOUR [alan’s] monetary utopia”. I reply that it is neither mine nor a utopia (and it is most certainly neither of those things!), and you do not respond at all. I refer to certain manifestly evil actions as “Satanic”, and you assume — without basis — that I therefore think of myself as somehow pure, without sin; the (absurd) assumption is that anyone who finds fault must therefore believe himself to be faultless. There are many other examples.

    Is there any point in trying to converse with you?

  48. 448
    alan2102 says:

    438 Hank Roberts 22 Mar 2019:
    “If you have to ask how much it will cost, you can’t afford it.”
    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=cost+of+fighting+World+War+2

    ……………….

    In 1939, U.S. defense/military spending was 1.9 billion dollars, within a total federal budget of 9.3 billion dollars.

    In 1944, defense/military was 86 billion dollars, within a total of 100 billion dollars.

  49. 449
    nigelj says:

    Project Drawdown is a comprehensive list of potential climate change solutions. Article and video below. I came across this recently. It’s pretty interesting, and has some incredibly surprising findings. Probably old news to some people here, but perhaps not all.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2019/03/22/this-list-of-climate-change-solutions-may-be-key-to-reversing-it/#6830ac4a4401

    Key points: “Brilliant” is the word one source used to describe Project Drawdown’s ranked list of 100 climate change solutions, begging the meta question, should the list be on the list.

    Having a variety of climate change solution options is only useful if everyone who should know they exist does know, making a credible list of climate solutions potentially as important as the solutions on the list.

    In 2017, Project Drawdown, published the New York Times bestseller Drawdown, edited by the founder, Paul Hawken, 72. (Be sure to watch the full interview with Hawken in the player at the top of the article.)”

    List of solutions, including gigatonnes of CO2 reduced from 2020 – 2050, and both net costs and long term costs / savings:

    https://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank

  50. 450

    Mike, #439–

    We do not have to replace the existing electricity generation to get to 80% emission cuts, we have to retire the existing electricity generation infrastructure that does not allow us to stay under 435 ppm. We can hope for replacement, but the truth is that we may need to learn to do with less.

    We, kimo sabe?” –Tonto

    The problem with that is that ‘we’–meaning, more or less, what used to be called “First Worlders”–aren’t where the gnarliest heart of the problem is. Our lives are structured in a pretty wasteful fashion, and even so electric demand keeps growing more slowly than forecasts make it. So it may be–heck, I believe–that ‘we’ can live as well as or better than we do now on much less energy. (Particularly in North America and Australia.)

    But there is no way in hell that that is going to happen in the developing world, not with nearly a billion people still lacking access to electricity and nearly two thirds of those living in sub-Saharan Africa (also the hot spot for population growth.)

    https://www.iea.org/sdg/

    So those places are about not so much about ‘replacing’ infrastructure, but rather building it. (I guess that’s a ‘prospective replacement’–an eviction of FF from the infrastructure pipeline.)

    Plus, decarbonizing transport will mean electrical demand, and transport is a big part of the problem we’re facing. We need to replace gasmobiles with (mostly) EVs, and they need to be charged. No sense doing that with FF, obviously.

    So, yeah, I think we’re going to be retiring FF generation capacity before its sell-by date. The lucky thing about that, though, is that it’s already happening because RE is starting to undercut even existing plant on cost. If you lose money running a coal-fired generation plant, compared with building a brand-new solar farm, you don’t much care about the ‘sell-by date.’ And we’re seeing that happening now. (I’ve previously posted some examples here.)

    That’s not to say that we’re all good, of course. RE adoption rates are still a fraction of what they need to be, given the realities we see today (some of which you discussed above.) It is true, though, that it’s a fraction *much* larger and hence closer to adequate than anyone–well, almost anyone–could have dreamed ten years ago.

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