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Forced responses: Jun 2020

Filed under: — group @ 11 June 2020

Open thread on climate solutions. Please try and stay within a mile or two of the overall topic.

378 Responses to “Forced responses: Jun 2020”

  1. 151
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Drought is over and snow has fallen. In South Africa:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpatuz_YWYg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW-LkZqMGmM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpvBOUZtOko

    And, FYI, they are testing a COVID vaccine in SA:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09PASKB3sgU

  2. 152

    Piotr gets it backward @129:

    What you and our Poet are talking about is …. the stability against auto-ignition – which is irrelevant to the energy storage: whatever energy you had to put to climb your activation “hill”

    Totally wrong.  The issue is what you have to put into your synfuel process vs. the energy of the fuel that comes out.  The extraordinary stability of methane comes at the cost of very high heat losses in formation, heat that might be usable but isn’t storable or transportable to any real degree.

    the reaction returns your activation energy in addition to the regular >800 kJ/mol of the long hill slope.

    The activation energy becomes waste heat when the fuel is synthesized, and you’re not getting it back.  Ever.  Every time you reduce entropy in a molecule you have to carry it off as some other product, usually waste heat.

  3. 153

    BPL goes ad-hominem @134:

    Yes, yes, all the deniers are repeating Shellenberger these days.

    They’re the most fervent advocates of EFFECTIVE action against climate change, and you’re calling them “deniers”?

    Of course, Shellenberger is incompetent when it comes to climate change.

    Every politician writing and voting on climate policy is far less competent than he.  Shellenberger is a specialist, just not a scientist.

    He’s a lobbyist for nuclear power

    Which is exactly what the world needs, as proven by the examples of France and Ontario which had their electric grids decarbonized by accident.  Advocating for that happy accident to be copied world-wide is just common sense.

  4. 154
    Al Bundy says:

    EP missed the point. I wasn’t dissing nukes. I like the tech and wish it were an objective topic. I was mocking your turning off your problem-solving circuitry with regard to salt intrusion from an upper reservoir.

    Bad sort of glitch. We all have it. I try to keep mine tightly ducttaped cuz, as you know
    Duct tape can’t cure stupidity
    But it can muffle the sound.

  5. 155
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian,
    No responsive??
    I answered by concurring with Kevin and adding my own little timetable
    But since you insist on less couth…
    Your definitions are batshit crazy and are preventing you from doing anything productive. This world will die. Before that time our mines will migrate from land to sea. You wanna pontificate about sustainable? Dig into mining the waters, the volcanoes, the midocean rifts.

    I ain’t heard nada about sustainable tech from you.

  6. 156
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: activation energy becomes waste heat when the fuel is synthesized, and you’re not getting it back. Ever.

    AB: Yeah, like the heat of vaporization with regard to water injection in engines. If significant amounts of the energy comes from the gasses inside then you end up with negative work. Ya gots to pay for any steam that comes out the tailpipe.

  7. 157
    Al Bundy says:

    Piotr,
    Your “stability” argument is specious. EP was speaking of fuels, not rocks. So our President, the stable genus (hasn’t evolved), is not a good example of “stable”.
    Just as laughable is to say that the only stable fuels (remember, you dissed EP’s FUEL comment) are carbon dioxide, water, and other such stable stuff.
    My opinion of you declined this week. Hopefully temporarily. Hopefully something’s going on in your life that will soon resolve.

  8. 158
    Al Bundy says:

    EP,
    Wartsila is a bad design. They use a kluge, a very low bore to stroke ratio in order to reduce thermal losses. Friction City. Can’t even use a regular piston rod. Needs a crosshatch yoke or whatever they’re called.
    And breathing through that narrow cylinder head is like you breathing through a straw.
    With the massive friction and the asthmatic breathing it’s no wonder they do (you said?) 500rpm.

    Took Old School to the extreme but nowadays engines with higher efficiency and power to weights are sitting on benches.

    And yes, fuel weight is hugely important only to aircraft, specifically long range flights.

    And the new engine version is about a week from getting to the attorney. A couple days later we’ll file it. It turned out sweeter and simpler than I could immag.. naw, one item on my wish list conflicted with another. Sigh.
    Anyway, I’m confident that it will break the 2/3 efficiency barrier while emitting nearly undetectable emissions (or, better yet, performing the detectable cleaning of non-pristine air).

  9. 159
    nigelj says:

    Killian @136

    “Detroit doesnt have nearly enough land to feed a population of 670,000 people.”

    “How would you know? Me? I lived there for three years and was deeply involved in all the various “justice” movements. Detroit is the one city in the world that very easily can feed itself…You will never learn to not speak in ignorance,”

    I already explained why Detroit cant feed itself @121: ” Detroit doesn’t have nearly enough land to feed a population of 670,000 people (its current population.) …A few allotments are admirable, but cant do this or even clome close….You need half a hectare to feed 1 person, and thats 335,000 hectares and Detroit only has 37,000 hectares (in total).”

    And of course most of this land is covered in buildings. Half a hectare of land per person is at the lower end of most estimates. I guess Detroit could perhaps provide one quarter of its own food, if you also used plenty of the buildings etc for hydroponics. I dont know how feasible that would be.

    But Detroit is a special case. Note that I said “And most cities don’t have cheap vacant land like Detroit. So urban farms are just playing around the edges of the issue and ultimately everything would have to be rebuilt (as smaller communities sprinkled amongst farms).”

    That’s ok, but what a huge project to undertake.

  10. 160
    nigelj says:

    Killian @144

    “nigelj: No modern technology is sustainable by this definition.”

    “Adam Lea: A bicycle made from wood comes very close.”

    Nigelj: Ok fine a wooden bicycle comes close to sustainable by Killians definition, but by modern technology I meant technology made from metals and plastics etcetera. That was the real point. This is not sustainable by your posted definition of “having to last humanity indefinitely” (forever).

    Of course I take your point that this doesn’t mean we cant use these materials, and we can compromise if we have to, but that we should use more sustainable products where possible. And I still prefer my definition of sustainable made previously that things just have to last a long time.

    But lets look at that bicycle. A wooden bicycle is pretty sustainable but why would you bother right now? Its not terribly good to ride, its time consuming to make (assuming low tech craft skills are used to maximise sustainability), and reserves of iron ore are vast, and we will not run out for millenia and the other materials used to make the steel are reasonably plentiful.

    The problem is really scare metals used for example in mass produced electronics, which I think suggests we should consider our business and entertainment needs more closely. So playing monopoly with a cardboard base and those little wooden houses might be preferable and more sustainable than buying the latest electronic game, and would conserve resources and make them spin out for longer. But best of luck convincing humanity of all that. People just seem too self centred and short term thinking to me.

    And if we run out of scare metals and oil etcetera it will happen fairly slowly, and we end up back as subsistence farmers. Is that all so bad?

    Granted manufacturing modern technology is harsh on the environment, but much progress has been made solving those problems. The real killers are loss of natural habitat for farming. And a lot of this problem is 7.6 billion people and counting.

    So yeah fine we should try to use sustainable products where we can and use high technology just when really needed, but if you are worried about resource scarcity, you better pray population growth stops and falls sooner rather than later, and before resource scarcity problems become really acute. And its a doable proposition that has a good change of gaining traction.

  11. 161
    Killian says:

    Al Bundy: K&N,
    Farming can be split in three

    No. It makes no sense to think this way or do this way. It’s antithetical to regenerative design which is wholly systemic and requires massively interconnected systems for resilience.

  12. 162
    Killian says:

    Re #141 Kevin McKinney said #123, Killian–

    106 Kevin McKinney: Nonresponsive.

    Word to the author: That you perceive requests for clarification as “nonresponsive”

    It was not perception: You did not answer the question.

    goes long way toward explaining why you don’t get more traction as a spokesman.

    Really? Because what I am doing in this series is something I have never done before. But you seem to have a crystal ball and understand what is coming.

    How nice for you.

    What is actually happening is you did not wish to exhibit patience and let the process play out. How is that my error or fault?

    You don’t know what’s coming, yet you judge me for that which you can’t possibly know?

    Would it really hurt just to answer the question?

    Hypocritical given you didn’t answer the question asked, don’t you think? Is it your habit, say, at a presentation where to interrupt the speaker with questions? You were told anything off-topic would be ignored. This is equivalent to a speaker asking you to hold questions till the end.

    Apparently your way in such a case is to say, “Fuck you! Answer my question, asshole!” No?

    We’re out of time. Act like it: Drop your ego out of the solutioneering.

  13. 163
    Killian says:

    Re #142 Kevin McKinney said 121, Nigel–

    Good points on urban farming, but what you’re showing is that Detroit almost certainly can’t be entirely *self-sufficient* in food.

    Showing? Claiming is showing? I LIVED there. I DID urban farming there. I was associated with a variety of urban farmers and participated in a city-wide urban farming network that sold produce at the farmer’s market.

    Given the green space in Detroit, which is massive – something like 100,000 empty lots – it would be hard for Detroit to NOT feed itself were it to choose to do so.

    Stop saying stupid shit, both of you.

    But yeah, if self-sufficiency in food is a criterion, then all cities would need to be abandoned as you say.

    Absurd Straw Man. This is typical nigel, and becoming ever more common with you.

  14. 164
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @153 responding to BPL.

    Oh come on you cant be serious. Shellenburger downplays the climate problem and promotes nuclear power, the former position detracts from his promotion of nuclear power, so the man cant think straight and will end up convincing nobody and we will stay burning fossil fuels.

    And his degree in peace studies is light weight, and so explains his inability to grasp the climate problem and solutions. Hes not the right person to be writing books on environmental issues. See also the UV thread.

  15. 165
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Cutting down forests for “bioenergy” just makes things worse.

    AB: So? Building unshielded nuclear reactors inside residences just makes things worse so all thoughts of nuclear energy must cease?

    Bioenergy is about removing the undergrowth and dead material that threatens forests, with the resulting ash put right back where it was harvested. It is an alternative to proscribed burn. Are you saying that proscribed burn is superior? Or that we should sit back and let Paradises burn?

    Or that asshats with clout don’t give a damn and will pay whatever loon with a degree it takes to convince enough folks that clear cutting is the same thing?

  16. 166
    Al Bundy says:

    EP,
    All that ‘gotta add tires to get it to burn’ crap (from the film we all discussed) is cuz live wood is wetter and big stuff dries slower. The waste heat from an incinerator is plenty to dessicate bioenergy feedstock..

    …and then there’s the unethical moonshiner’s path. I’ve praised that if-you’re-lucky-you’ll-go-blind-instead-of-die elixar before.

    If YOU were designing a bioenergy system would it be like the total garbage you describe? If not, you’re just lobotomizing your speech.

  17. 167
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: It’s antithetical to regenerative design which is
    AB: irrelevant since batshit crazy stuff ain’t a good lodestar.

    Purity codes are Religions. They hit allll the ‘right’ thought pathways and result in batshit crazy conclusions.

  18. 168
    Piotr says:

    E. Poet (152) “Piotr gets it backward @129”, “Totally wrong”, “The extraordinary stability of methane comes at the cost of very high heat losses in formation, heat that might be usable but isn’t storable or transportable to any real degree.”

    As somebody lectured others in this thread: “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” – our Poet uses scientifically sounding terms: “stability”, “heat of formation”, “waste heat”, “activation energy” – he just can’t make sense of them:

    1. The enthalpy of formation of CH4 is usually not the same as the enthalpy of reaction that led to formation of CH4 – these two are equal ONLY for one very specific reaction – one combining C and H in their native states.

    2. In any _other_ reaction resulting in formation of CH4 (e.g. CO2 +H2) would have DIFFERENT enthalpy of reaction, and you don’t know whether it will be “high” or “low” until you compute it using enthalpies of formation OF ALL products and ALL reactants
    – not as you -using ONLY 1 product (CH4)

    3. High entalpy of reaction in production of CH4 is GOOD for energy storage, not “serious downside” – because it means that you can store a lot of energy in 1 mol of CH4, and then you can then RELEASE large amount of energy in combustion of the same 1 mol of CH4. Which means CH4 it is a very GOOD storage medium (high energy-density storage).

    4. Energy of activation is NOT “waste heat” in the reactions whose goal is to produce heat. Let me explain using simple words even a Poet should understand:

    – let’s say you try generate electricity by igniting mixture of CH4 and O2 at 25C. It didn’t ignite. So you heat this gas mixture to your auto-ignition temp. 543C

    To do so you used X kJ/mol = your activation energy. The CH4 ignites and burns adding heat to the gasses already having temp. 543 C, NOT to gases with temp. 25C.
    Ergo the heating you did to go from 25C to 543C wasn’t “waste heat”, it is AS USABLE as the heat you are generating by burning CH4.

    So much for your proclamations: “The activation energy becomes waste heat when the fuel is synthesized, and you’re not getting it back.”

    Which also proves that you have no idea what “activation energy” means. In the context of your OWN arguemnt (autoignition temp. of CH4) – its the energy needed to warm THE ALREADY EXISTING CH4 to the point of ignition, NOT the energy needed to “synthesize” CH4, genius.

    If you don’t understand words – maybe you understand pictures:
    https://cdn.kastatic.org/ka-perseus-images/d5ff56983afc2916e9979c08d81323c331927cfb.png

    “reactants” are CH4 + 2O2. Activation energy is added to already EXISTING reactants, NOT as you claim, to “synthesize” them.

    So again – you are using words which meaning you don’t understand. All the while convinced about your intellectual superiority:

    – “And this ends the chemistry lesson”,
    – “BPL proved “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing @65””,
    – “BPL proves illiterate @82”,
    – “Lies Kevin McKinney @58””
    – “GFY”^* (c) Engineer Poet @23
    ^*[ that’s “Go fuck yourself”, right? – Piotr]

    For the long list of other falsifiable errors, misunderstandings, and logical lapses of our resident Poet – see (100)

    Piotr

  19. 169
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: was not perception: You did not answer the question.

    AB: sure he did. He said your minimum required performance for near-term humanity IS BATSHIT CRAZY.

    Killian: Really? Because what I am doing in this series is something I have never done before. But you seem to have a crystal ball and understand what is coming.

    How nice for you.

    What is actually happening is you did not wish to exhibit patience and let the process play out. How is that my error or fault?

    AB: Because you didn’t predicate with, “Let’s try something new”. Duh.

    What you just described is “setting a trap”. Not friendly. Hopefully unintentional, but even that brings up deeper questions about habitual behaviour…

  20. 170
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @146

    Yes wood pellets aren’t so great or carbon neutral because of all the processing and transport and the consequent high carbon footprint, but if forests are cut just into logs and burned locally they are carbon neutral or close to it. As is done in the third world.

    And it doesn’t matter if we lose a carbon sink cutting down forests, because new forests are planted fairly quickly. As long as the system is in balance like this short to medium term its fine. This is NOT the case with burning coal or gas.

    ——————-

    Engineer-Poet @149

    “Methanol is acceptable for ground transport. Maybe aviation can use liquid methane.”

    Ethanol is perfect for ground transport. The idea with electromethane is its cheap to produce using surplus renewables energy, and can be used as a storage medium for renewables intermittency issues, by burning it in gas fired plant. It can also be stored and transported using existing infrastructure. And used for home heating. You gotta see the big picture like this. Its not just about energy in and energy out.

  21. 171
    nigelj says:

    Engineer poet @149, oops I meant to say methanol is indeed great for ground transport. Just bought a pocket sized bottle of ethanol based hand sanitiser and I’m getting confused.

  22. 172
    Al Bundy says:

    On stability, hills, ski slopes, and EP’s teaching:

    So, going backwards, creating the fuel. Hopefully you find an old hidden pass around the hill, but barring that, of the ski slope’s worth of energy you expended, only the difference between the bottom of the hill and the bottom of the ski slope can be stored. You can use the heat right then and there, you can harvest it for storage at negligible efficiency, or you can dump it.

    So a stable fuel, one with a high hill, is inefficient to produce. Hmm, given this factoid I wonder if Nitroglycerin has energy storage possibilities… ;-)

  23. 173

    Al Bundy gets off-topic @156:

    Yeah, like the heat of vaporization with regard to water injection in engines.

    Water injection isn’t intended to increase thermal efficiency.  It’s used to increase power density under conditions of peak demand.  This also allows the use of a smaller, lighter, more-efficient engine for the REMAINDER of operating time.  That is not unlike the ethanol direct injection engine.

    I recall someone who built a 6-cycle engine.  The 5th and 6th strokes were steam expansion from water injection (replacing normal cooling) and steam exhaust.  I don’t know if the exhaust system was engineered to capture, condense and re-use water; I guess that a full implementation would have 2 exhaust valves and 2 exhaust manifolds.

    @159:

    Wartsila is a bad design. They use a kluge, a very low bore to stroke ratio in order to reduce thermal losses.

    That’s how you convert more heat to work.  Anything lost to the cylinder walls is LOST.

    And breathing through that narrow cylinder head is like you breathing through a straw.
    With the massive friction and the asthmatic breathing it’s no wonder they do (you said?) 500rpm.

    Try 120 RPM redline.  Those engines are direct-drive (reversible) and built for truly massive, low-speed propellers.  You have to admire them for operating at the limits of efficiency for diesel-cycle engines.

    They’re not what we need for the future, but they’re doing very well for the present.

  24. 174

    nigelj throws unreferenced claims at me @164:

    Oh come on you cant be serious. Shellenburger downplays the climate problem and promotes nuclear power

    I’m not following Shellenberger that closely.  WHERE has he downplayed the climate problem?  Quotes with links to sources or go home.

    And his degree in peace studies is light weight

    Well, duh. ALL degrees in “peace studies” (as well as all other “studies”) are lightweight.  That doesn’t mean that everyone bamboozled into going that way is a lightweight; some more capable students are inevitably going to latch onto actual clues.

    and so explains his inability to grasp the climate problem and solutions.

    Again, quote specifics and link to sources.

    I’ll take Shellenberger to task if you can show me that he’s come a-cropper.

  25. 175
    Piotr says:

    Al Bundy (157) >“Your “stability” argument is specious. EP was speaking of fuels, not rocks.
    The discussion is about “energy storage” – ergo: fuel AND products of their combustion. Nobody talked about “rocks”. But please do lecture others about speciousness of _their_ arguments.

    AB> So our President, the stable genus (hasn’t evolved), is not a good example of “stable”.

    That’s because he is not “fuel”, but … a “rock”? At least should help him in the inclusion into Mt. Rushmore.

    AB>Just as laughable is to say that the only stable fuels (remember, you dissed EP’s FUEL comment) are carbon dioxide, water, and other such stable stuff.

    Since the discussion is about energy storage using CH4, we dont discuss “fuels”, “rocks” or “Trump”, but the thermodynamics of the reaction:

    CH4 +2O2 CO2 + 2H2O:

    Definition: “Thermodynamic stability occurs when a system is in its lowest energy state”” Ergo, the right side (CO2+2H2O) has more than 800kJ/mol LESS energy than the left side. Ergo CO2 side is MUCH MORE thermodynamically stable than the CH4 side.

    Since I don’t know of any practical reaction that would allow extraction of energy from the right side – why would I call CO2 “FUEL” ????

    So your derision is based on your inability to understand a simple argument and a simple definition from Wikipedia.

    AB > My opinion of you declined this week. Hopefully temporarily. Hopefully something’s going on in your life that will soon resolve

    Sorry, I am only concerned about the opinions of people I respect. My respect for you declined this week. Hopefully temporarily. Hopefully something’s going on in your life that will soon resolve.

    “Al Bundy loses the thread” [E-P @77] ? :-)

    Piotr

  26. 176
    Piotr says:

    Poet (146): “Piotr trolls @104 The residence time of the surplus CO2 in the atmosphere is of order of 100 yrs.” A lot more than that, per Coursera. A substantial fraction of CO2 remains in the atmosphere for 1000 years and more.

    Piotr: Depends what you mean by substantial. If you mean efolding time scale then it is about 100 yrs (33% left after 100 yrs). At 1000 yrs it is 19% As per: http://www.acamedia.info/sciences/sciliterature/globalw/residence.htm

    Poet- The only way to remove it completely is by geoengineering processes such as enhanced weathering.

    Piotr: we are not taLking about removing every last % of surplus CO2. Anyway
    – the longer it takes the better for my argument (Long period means that both plant uptake of CO2 and CO2 burning happen affect the current atm pCO2

    Poet: “Piotr trolls @104 2. Burned biomass has taken up its CO2 from the MODERN atm. (during last 1 yr (crops) or during last several decades, i.e. 300 MLN years ago doesn’t affect in a any practical way the today’s pCO2. So no uptake of today’s CO2, but only emission when the coal is burned.
    Ergo you have to compare the NET emissions into the modern atmosphere
    Biomass ~= 0 lbCO2/MWh, coal =1712. lbCO2/MWh
    Any number divide by zero gives infinity. So burning biomass is “infinitely better” for atm. CO2 than burning coal. So no, coal is not “superior”

  27. 177
    Piotr says:

    Poet (146): “Piotr trolls @104”:1. The residence time of the surplus CO2 in the atmosphere is of order of 100 yrs”.
    A lot more than that, per Coursera. A substantial fraction of CO2 remains in the atmosphere for 1000 years and more

    Piotr: Depends what you mean by substantial. If you mean efolding time scale then it is about 100 yrs (33% left after 100 yrs). At 1000 yrs it is 19%. As per: :http://www.acamedia.info/sciences/sciliterature/globalw/residence.htm

    Poet- The only way to remove it completely is by geoengineering processes such as enhanced weathering.

    Piotr: the longer the surplus residence time – the better for my argument.

    Poet: When biomass adds 2423 lbCO2/MWh to the atmosphere while bituminous coal adds only 1712, it isn’t that coal is “superior”.

    Piotr: No, because your “2423 lbCO2/MWh” implicitly assumes that plants do not absorb CO2 during their growth. or at least that they have stopped doing so so far back in time that their past CO2 uptake left no impact on the current pCO2.

    Neither of these are true – the first because you can a create only as much CO2 as the plant accumulated during its lifetime. The second because restoration time scale is much longer than the average age of tree biomass.

    So the NET emission per kWh from biomass – is either a zero or only slightly above it.

    The NET emission per kWh from coal = 1712 lb CO2/ kWh (the uptake of CO2 happened so far back in time (>300 mln) that it has zero effect on the present day pCO2

    Any number divided by zero gives infinity. So burning biomass is “infinitely better” for atm. CO2 than burning coal. So no, coal is not “superior”.

    Piotr

  28. 178
    Raymond Ladbury says:

    EP@150 manages to be both utterly obtuse, pathetically gullible and astoundingly stupid all in one post.
    EP, you know how you are? Don’t be that way.

  29. 179
    zebra says:

    Essential Workers

    Amazing that the page is still getting filled up with the same endlessly repeated superficialities, when there is a fascinating “experiment” going on with the human social/economic ecosystem.

    A couple of people have mentioned how nice the sky is without the airplanes. But the question is, what would all the flight attendants do in the ‘sustainable’ future?

    I think people find looking objectively at how redundant each human being is, difficult,… because of course, it means that they themselves are completely irrelevant to the human condition.

    Reminds me of the question I asked last time: What are you trying to sustain?

    The world would probably get along just fine without all the air travel (and many other things, as we can see now) but both the flight attendants and the people working at Boeing would have to be scratching in the dirt to feed themselves, right?

    Here’s the question: If you don’t have a piece of dirt to scratch in, and I do, and I could produce a surplus (for me) of food, what exactly are you going to offer me in exchange for it? Why should I use my time and energy, and deplete my resource, when I have enough to live?

  30. 180

    E-P 147: That’s not going to happen. Cleantechnica is run by people who should be straitjackets.

    BPL: Another example of E-P’s clear, logical reasoning.

  31. 181

    E-P 150: It’s time for them all to be held liable for all libels, which would shut them all down.

    BPL: The first amendment applies to what the government can censor, not to what private platforms can censor. Read the damn thing.

  32. 182

    E-P 153: They’re the most fervent advocates of EFFECTIVE action against climate change, and you’re calling them “deniers”?

    BPL: When they say things like “Earth is NOT in the middle of its sixth great mass extinction,” then yes, obviously they ARE deniers.

  33. 183

    #162, Killian–

    Me: Would it really hurt just to answer the question?

    Killian: Hypocritical given you didn’t answer the question asked, don’t you think?

    No, I don’t. I think it is eminently reasonable to ask for clarification of terms before answering. But as you don’t seem to want to bother…

  34. 184

    #163, Killian–

    Given the green space in Detroit, which is massive – something like 100,000 empty lots – it would be hard for Detroit to NOT feed itself were it to choose to do so.

    Stop saying stupid shit, both of you.

    When nigel made his point about Detroit’s potential for self-sufficiency, I didn’t just take it for granted, partly because I knew about urban farming there. Indeed, that’s why I raised it as an example in the first place.

    No. I checked his figure for population–670,000.

    Correct, to a reasonable approximation.

    I checked his figure for area–37,000 hectares.

    Correct, to a reasonable approximation.

    I checked his figure for land typically needed to feed one person–half a hectare. It was the only one I really was skeptical of, and it’s the ‘squishiest.’ However, I was able to establish that, if not “correct”, it was at least an estimate that appeared reasonable. (The source I relied most on said 0.45 hectare per person.)

    So, by the most elementary and reliable logic, his contention is also correct, unless:

    1) Detroit’s population were to decrease drastically;
    2) Detroit’s area were to increase drastically, as by annexation, *without* however increasing population (which would mean, presumably, annexation followed by ‘civic cleansing’ of the surrounding suburbanites);
    3) The productivity of food production there were augmented by several multiples.

    It’s been clear that you aren’t skilled at quantitative reasoning, but I’d have thought you’d be able to follow that at least.

    So let’s try it your way, instead.

    Your 100,000 lots would each have to support 6.7 people on average, if Detroit were at current population levels. By the estimate of 0.45 acres per person, that’s 6.7 x 0.45 = ~3 hectares needed per lot.

    Now, what do you suppose the mean size of those lots actually is? A hectare is ~2.47 acres, or 10,000 square meters–i.e., a square lot 100 meters on a side. How many of those vacant Detroit lots do you think approach even a half hectare, let alone three?

    Says here:

    About 680,000 people live in the city — 1.2 million fewer than six decades ago. They’re not cramped for space: About 14,800 acres (5,990 hectares) of land in Detroit — 16.75% of the city’s 88,800 acres (35,940) — are considered vacant, according to Data Driven Detroit.

    The bigger answer is already contained in that quote–there’s ~5,990 hectares considered vacant, which would imply each hectare would need to support 112 people, if Detroit were to feed itself on just that land.

    But just to be thorough here, 5,990 hectares/100,000 lots = 0.0599 hectares.

    So, it’s not clear to me why you think nigel is the one saying “stupid” things here.

    Though it is clear to me whose manners are “shit.”

  35. 185
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @74

    “nigelj throws unreferenced claims at me @164….I’m not following Shellenberger that closely. WHERE has he downplayed the climate problem? Quotes with links to sources or go home.”

    I GAVE you a source. “This months UV thread”. Read comments 1,3,4,5,6,10,12,13. And Shellenburgers rant below:

    https://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2020/6/29/on-behalf-of-environmentalists-i-apologize-for-the-climate-scare

    Talk about needing spoon feeding! No seriously just kidding, we all miss things, but you will find it illuminating.

    And the point is Shellenburger has no climate related qualifications, just a peace studies diploma. Doesn’t mean hes automatically wrong, that would be an ad hom, but it suggests why he misinterprets the climate issue and some aspects of mitigation so badly.

  36. 186
    nigelj says:

    AB says @167 “Purity codes are Religions. They hit allll the ‘right’ thought pathways and result in batshit crazy conclusions.”

    Great quote. Seen it many times. However Killians ideas do have some flexibity, and do permit the use of non renewable resources, he just keeps forgetting to mention this so everyone misinterprets him over and over….sigh.

  37. 187
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @179

    “Amazing that the page is still getting filled up with the same endlessly repeated superficialities….”

    You are wrong, and you come across as a self absorbed. It so weakens everything else you say.

    “Here’s the question: If you don’t have a piece of dirt to scratch in, and I do, and I could produce a surplus (for me) of food, what exactly are you going to offer me in exchange for it? Why should I use my time and energy, and deplete my resource, when I have enough to live?”

    You have land but you will need other peoples goods and services. If you want to act like an utter prick and hoard gazillions of hectares of non productive land locking people out of the essentials the land will be taken by force. Unemployed flight attendants etcetera who still cant find jobs, is likely to lead to some form of UBI (universal basic income). This is WAY off topic. Lets get back to stuff related to the climate mitigation issue.

  38. 188
    nigelj says:

    Keven McKinney @184, thanks for that support. Was sweating a bit about the maths, hoped I hadn’t missed something obvious. People forget just how much land one person needs.

  39. 189
    nigelj says:

    So let’s explore whether renewable electricity generation can be made sustainable using Killians definition of sustainability at 102 “Able to be continued indefinitely without damaging the environment or depleting non-renewable resources. ” Clearly renewables cannot be fully sustainable because sooner or later we will run out of some of the required metals and resins etcetera. It will of course take quite some time if we recycle.

    But it would be an absurdity not to use any electricity, just because we will inevitably run out of some of the core non renewable materials one day, so we will have to compromise and use them anyway. But from the point of view of making these materials last as long as possible we could do some things as follows.

    We could make some of renewable electricity generation sustainable, like using wooden wind turbine blades as BPL mentioned, although that would have to be weighed up against costs and performance and whether things like fibreglass present any significant sustainability problems. Im inclined to think not. Ways have already been found to recycle fibreglass based blades. Maybe one day timber blades would make sense if supplies of fibreglass resins or other composites become expensive.

    We also have to consider that although timber is fantasically regenerative and sustainable forests are not infinite.

    Next the turbine generators obviously aren’t sustainable, so how do we minimise the need for these? Well you obviously make homes and office buildings as energy efficient as possible, use passive solar design, efficient lighting systems etcetera. These are standard things, but are under utilised design strategies in many places. But Norway has had dramatic success in energy efficiency showing whats possible. Household electricity use has reduced since the 1990s:

    https://www.odyssee-mure.eu/publications/efficiency-trends-policies-profiles/norway.html

    Next electric appliances use electricity that adds up in sum total and they use non renewable resources of their own. No household really needs multiple televisions for example, or to be extravagent, but I suspect its probably going to be difficult to expect people to give up on a whole lot of things they take for granted for a resource scarcity problem that is unlikely to affect them personally or even their children. The human brain is not hardwired to respond well to future threats as below:

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190304-human-evolution-means-we-can-tackle-climate-change

    So this is where I think minimilist living is unlikely to become the norm to the extent that may be ideally desirable. As such, we need to get the size of population down. This is doubly so, because there is not much point in reducing the need for electricity with a growing population cancelling this out. It is no coincidence that studies on sustainability and resource use generally say you have to reduce BOTH consumption AND population.

    Society will adapt to materials shortages and revert to a simpler life so it doesnt make sense to me for us to go overboard in terms of minimising our use of technology, but it does make sense to do conservation things that dont seriously compromise our standard of living.

  40. 190
    nigelj says:

    More on Norways energy efficiency:

    “The secret success of the reduction in the Norwegian electricity consumption”

    https://repository.tudelft.nl/islandora/object/uuid%3A3d8ccbf9-f786-45b3-820b-de0156e0f79c

  41. 191
    Killian says:

    Re #183 Kevin McKinney said Killian: Hypocritical given you didn’t answer the question asked, don’t you think?

    No, I don’t. I think it is eminently reasonable to ask for clarification of terms before answering.

    You’re lying. The terms needed no clarification. Ten years you’ve heard the same comments from me without variation regarding sustainability. Tell me, when have you ever told someone the question they asked was not worth you answering because, fuck, you just don’t like it?

    You are losing your ethics, Kevin, the longer and more deply you integrate yourself into the Peanut Gallery.

    You understood the question perfectly well. You aren’t willing to answer it. Man up and admit it.

  42. 192
    Killian says:

    184: I checked his figure for land typically needed to feed one person–half a hectare.

    Wrong. Check his sources. They are not regenerative systems, they are not from regenerative designers, they do not include full regenerative systems – and likely not even partial ones.

    GIGO.

    You’re becoming a good little regenerative systems denialist.

  43. 193
    Killian says:

    186 nigelj he just keeps forgetting to mention this so everyone misinterprets him over and over

    No, I keep trying to treat you all as adults. I will continue to. You all may surprise me and actually do it one day.

    Given you clearly DO have the context in your head, it’s petty as fuck to claim the obvious must be repeated ad nauseum. Worse, it’s a blatant excuse to avoid the issues.

    I have said for a long time people are asking the wrong questions for the wrong reasons and making deeply flawed analyses and policies based on deep ignorance.

    You can all remain in that state and part of that group of people that will not and cannot solve our problems because they refuse to listen, or you can AT LEAST listen once all the way through and THEN do as you will.

    As expected, the willingness to do that here on these pages is nearly zero thus far.

  44. 194
    Killian says:

    Phase II

    We previously established:

    Define “regenerative”: Able to be continued indefinitely without damaging the environment or depleting non-renewable resources while enhancing and improving ecosystem functioning and productivity (ecosystem services.)

    nigelj: No modern technology is sustainable by this definition.

    Adam Lea: A bicycle made from wood comes very close.

    The above having gone unchallenged, and being accurate, what are the implications for solving climate, resource and ecological problems? As well as sociopolitical and economic…

    That is, if almost everything “developed” and/or industrialized nations do is planet-killing, what direction to do we go in to solve these problems?

    Looked at from the opposite side, what *does* a regenerative society look like?

    (I.e., how do you create a regenerative society if you have no idea what one *is?*)

  45. 195
    Killian says:

    This is tge last dip into the rabbit hole of idiocy:

    nigelj and Kevin:

    What is the maximum weight (oversimplified, but accurate enough for BOE) of food production possible on

    * 1 acre

    * 1/2 acre

    * 1/2 acre

    * 1/10 acre

    vs. the weight needed per person?

  46. 196
    Killian O'Brien says:

    Oh, and you are both making a really huge error in your accounting. It’s really obvious. Think…

  47. 197

    Killian, #191–

    You’re lying. The terms needed no clarification…

    Ah, so now you know my mind so well that you can tell me whether I need clarification or not.

    This is the last response you will have from me, ever.

    (Comment brought to you courtesy of the letters “F” and “U.”)

  48. 198
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Water injection isn’t intended to increase thermal efficiency

    AB: yet…

    EP: I recall someone who built a 6-cycle engine.

    AB: Please attempt to at least give passing consideration to our relative engine knowledge. You’re spouting 20-year old stuff. The reason Crawley and the rest failed at simultaneous combined cycle is cuz they did it wrong. Done right, water injection is all about efficiency.

    The engine goes well. First draft of the patent text is done, as are a couple draft drawings. 2/3 efficiency here we come!

    And no, strokers USED to be a good way to decrease thermal loss. Wartsila was grand for Old School but it’s a dinosaur today

  49. 199
    nigelj says:

    Killian @92

    “184: I checked his figure for land typically needed to feed one person–half a hectare.”

    “Wrong. Check his sources. They are not regenerative systems, they are not from regenerative designers, they do not include full regenerative systems – and likely not even partial ones.”

    I did use a source relevant to standard industrial agriculture, which says you need 0.5 hectares to feed one person, with a moderately low meat diet. Certainly never suggested otherwise. Other estimates varied from 0.5 hectares to 1.5 hectares. I went with the lowest so I cant be accused of cherry picking a number that suits my approach.

    Killian has provided absolutely no evidence that “regenerative systems” would need significantly less land than 0.5 hectares per person. I posted independent research last year finding organic farming is 30% LESS productive than conventional industrial farming. This is the only material I could find that is related to regenerative systems. So you would need MORE land per person than 0.5 hectares. Some relevant material:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensavage/2015/10/09/the-organic-farming-yield-gap/#5bf9dce05e0e

    I did try to find some sources on regenerative agriculture. I found one completely unproven claim that you could feed 1 person using ‘permaculture’ and a vegetarian only diet with only approximately 0.05 hectares of land as below. This is the most favourable example form Killians point of view. Given the quantity of land in Detroit not covered in buildings, this would still not even come remotely close to Detroit being self sufficient in food, and it assumes a vegetarian diet. And the land required at 0.05 hectares is just someones unsubstantiated opinion.

    https://www.quora.com/Permaculture-What-is-the-minimum-amount-of-land-to-feed-a-family-of-4

    So I repeat what I originally contended. If we want walkable communities with people able to walk to their farms / allotments this isn’t really achievable within existing cities, not even Detroit. And making existing cities self sufficient in food is basically impossible. You would need to rebuild almost everything and sprinkle communities within existing farmland.

    But of course theres nothing wrong with Detroit using a little bit of vacant land to grow vegetables. And imho regenerative agriculture and organic farming has some merit. But because it can cause a drop in productivity we will need to compensate for this somehow, and its not something that could be introduced very rapidly. Phasing it in would help things adjust.

  50. 200
    nigelj says:

    Killian @195

    “This is tge last dip into the rabbit hole of idiocy:….nigelj and Kevin:….What is the maximum weight (oversimplified, but accurate enough for BOE) of food production possible on * 1 acre, * 1/2 acre, * 1/2 acre, * 1/10 acre, vs. the weight needed per person?”

    Killian hasnt actually done a calculation, so has demonstrated nothing. The number I found was you need 0.5 hectares to feed one person, using normal industrial agriculture with the land use maximised to what is realistically possible in terms of crop density / weight. Loading up the land with higher density cropping causes obvious problems and high fertiliser costs. regardless of how you farm it.

    And you would need to increase the weight of the crop by a factor of about 100 to feed Detroit going by my previous area calculations, a number that is clearly impossible.

    ————————-

    Killian O’Brien @196

    “Oh, and you are both making a really huge error in your accounting. It’s really obvious. Think…”

    Get this guy, bluffing as usual. He has nothing.

    It’s all commonsense. The reason we have farms in the hinterland is because cities dont have enough space to grow more than nominal amounts of food. Its sad that we need to spend time debating the obvious.