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Forced Responses: Aug 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 August 2020

This is the bimonthly thread on climate solutions. Climate Science discussions should go here.

324 Responses to “Forced Responses: Aug 2020”

  1. 1

    [edit – deleted post this was referring to]

  2. 2
    zebra says:

    Ray Ladbury #375 June FR,

    ” If we are going to develop a society that doesn’t rely on growth, we’d better understand the roles growth plays in our current society/economy.”

    Yes, exactly what I’m trying to do, Ray, with my model…it’s a classic technique in science, no?

    You keep saying there’s a problem with education/training of the young and caring for the elderly/infirm. And I’m saying there’s no necessary connection between those activities and “growth”.

    In my scenario of a stable population (assuming a relatively stable age distribution), some portion of the population would be employed taking care of the kids, and some portion taking care of the elderly and infirm. (And, obviously, we know that cross-generational interactions can be a part of that.) Where’s the need for “growth”??

    And I conclude from this that the role of growth in consumption we are experiencing in our current society has nothing to do with caring for children or the elderly. Rather, it is driven…both directly and indirectly…by growth of population.

    In order to consider the scenario of a declining population, we would have to be in agreement on this.

  3. 3
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Microwave pyrolysis as ‘bitcoin batteries’.

    There is an interesting report, No Time to Waste, about using energy from municipal waste over local heat networks, which has been endorsed by several UK politicians. I have written an article for my blog using it as a starting point.

    In researching this, I came across ‘Bitcoin Batteries’ which help with the problem of intermittency of renewable energy.

    Bitcoin mining uses large amounts of electricity to create new digital currency. This can cause large emissions of greenhouse gasses. The ‘battery’ idea is that bitcoin mining pays for extra renewable energy capacity. (e.g. more wind turbines in Texas) but only uses the capacity when it is not needed by the grid.

    I also found references to microwave pyrolysis, which uses microwave energy to extract chemicals from the waste (e.g. syngas & naphtha) leaving a residue of mostly carbon. Is anyone using this process in the same way as bitcoin batteries?

    P.S. This would work even better if the heat generated by the processing could feed into a local heat network.

  4. 4
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Zebra,
    The analog I would suggest to you is that of a family saving for a child’s college costs or saving for retirement. These tasks are MUCH more difficult if you do not have some form of compound interest (aka growth) or other asset which appreciates in value (aka growth). Failing that, savings can only grow linearly or increase as a result of someone else’s loss.

    I would suggest that your model may not be sufficiently detailed to see the issues that would be posed by a zero-growth–or for the next several decades at least, a negative-growth scenario.

  5. 5
    zebra says:

    #4 Ray Ladbury,

    Your description of this is very confusing to me.

    If an asset (e.g. a house, or some farmland) “appreciates in value”, how does that not result in “someone else’s (e.g. the eventual purchaser’s) loss”?

    It sounds a bit like you are proposing some kind of Ponzi scheme… which in a sense it is, of course, if the population keeps growing without an increase in resources. That’s the problem we are trying to solve, I thought?

  6. 6
    nigelj says:

    Ray Ladbury (and Zebra), maybe you guys are both missing the point a little bit. What I mean is both population growth and economic growth rates are ALREADY falling in many places, and it looks impossible to reverse this trend even if we wanted. And there is clear evidence falling growth creates problems, just look at Japan. No amount of speculative mental modelling and theorising will make that go away. Japan suggests its a serious problem but not catastrophic.

    Isnt it purely a case of how we mitigate those problems, what innovative solutions there might be? What are the options? Otherwise its wasted words.

    There are obvious possibilities in terms of fixing aged care until the system reaches some new form of equilibrium. The more perplexing problem you mention is the problem of falling growth sapping investment in new technology because of the lack of compounding interest , (obviously all of particular concern to you) . Its very hard for me to see an ideal answer to this problem. Governments could try to turbocharge investment by command and control mechanisms, but they bring their own set of problems. However it might be inevitable that this is tried, and quantitative easing is a form of this anyway.

    Rather it does suggest we better make the most of what economic growth is left in the system. It looks like some growth maybe 1-2% will continue for a considerable time all other things being equal. I had a look for something relevant, and this is relevant to investment and shareholder returns in a low growth economy:

    https://www.ipe.com/investing-in-a-slow-growth-world/10002009.article

    The following discusses the reasons slowing economic growth in the USA, and options including green growth, shifting from growth in resource intensive industries towards growth in other sectors, and de-growth. Its largely optimistic:

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/02/10/can-we-have-prosperity-without-growth

  7. 7
    nigelj says:

    Should say that population is falling in absolute terms in Japan and a few other places.

  8. 8
    Piotr says:

    nigelj(6):
    “both population growth and economic growth rates are ALREADY falling in many places, and it looks impossible to reverse this trend even if we wanted”

    I am not sure about “not being able to reverse” the drop in the population growth. This decrease seems to have happened only in affluent secularized countries and, for political reasons, in China. The great majority of people born today are born in the countries that are poor and/or religious. Slowing economic growth combined with continuing pop.growth would make them poorer, and more prone to religious fundamentalism – hence having even more children … so the population growth may decrease but only as a result of Malthusian cataclysm. I am not sure how much economy you may have after it …

  9. 9
    Killian says:

    zebra: the role of growth in consumption we are experiencing in our current society has nothing to do with caring for children or the elderly…

    In order to consider the scenario of a declining population, we would have to be in agreement on this.

    Once again, simplicity is the best of all solutions. There is no reason for “jobs” or people specified to be caregivers.

    Parenting: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/200907/play-makes-us-human-vi-hunter-gatherers-playful-parenting

    Jobs: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/200906/play-makes-us-human-ii-achieving-equality

    Before any Peanuts start yelling “CAVEMAN!”, please do be intelligent and honest to remember what you’ve been told dozens of times, if not hundreds: It is the patterns and principles you need to take note of. They can be applied to our lives without returning to H-G lifestyles.

    #4 Ray: If you insist on clinging to economics as a necessary part of society, you may as well give up now. The current ways of doing an economy are necessarily dependent on growth. Keen and Raworth can talk about recycling all they want, but there is absolutely no way to balance inputs and outputs in an ownership-based, i.e. any form of current economic systems, economic system. There is no way to control consumption.

    nigel: No amount of speculative mental modelling and theorising will make that go away.

    I already created such a model. You refuse to address it with any seriousness at all.

  10. 10
    Killian says:

    Alarmist. Extreme. Etc. Nope.

    Prescient.

    Limits to Growth, bio-diversity loss, ecosystem destruction, energy and resource limits…. We are bound to collapse even without climate. Climate just makes it existential.

    But, sure, keep calling the only pathway forward that addresses *everything* extreme, etc., instead of making an honest effort at understanding why anyone would present it in the first place.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

  11. 11

    The trend toward falling population (eventually) points up just how wrong Trump’s anti-immigration policy is. The ratio of workers to Social Security recipients is falling in the United States. A good way to shore it up would be to allow in more immigrants, most of whom are working age or children. Immigration would help the economy, not hurt it. Unfortunately, our present policy seems to be based more on race than on economics.

  12. 12
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Zebra,
    You seem to subscribe to the “Bigger Fool” theory of investing–where you hold an asset until a “bigger fool” comes along willing to pay more than you did. First, arguably, there is nothing wrong with such a transaction as long as both parties enter into it of their own volition. If someone is willing to pay you more for an asset, they may value it more. After all, there is no intrinsic value to an asset–only what someone will pay for it.

    Moreover, there are may ways for an asset to increase in value. Inflation is one, but if inflation applies across the board to all commodities, there is no real change, and if different assets inflate at different values, all you’ve done is shuffle the assets.

    More relevant, I could do something to add value to the asset–building a deck on a house or add a bathroom. I could acquire new machinery for a factory. I could improve existing machinery. I could purchase a property that I know will benefit from future development that makes it more desirable. In none of these cases has the eventual purchaser necessarily “lost” anything. Some of these activities consume additional resources, while some do not. In fact, if we increase efficiency (better tooling for the factory, access to a new mass transit line for housing), it may result in decreased consumption. However, our current economic system doesn’t really have the ability to distinguish between them. Money is not just money. As the saying goes, time is money, so vice versa. Money is resources. Money is a motivator. Money is security. Money is hope for the future. Money is a way of compensating or remediating past wrongs. Money is prestige. Money is a way of keeping score… All these things are money. They all have very different consequences and feasibilities if we are in a zero or negative growth economy. And via the medium of money they are fungible. Developing an economy that distinguishes between these different types and uses of money is going to be a challenge, in part because they have become so ingrained we just don’t think about the.

  13. 13
    Geoff Beacon says:

    nigelj #6

    1. Because the carbon intensity of production cannot be reduced fast enough economic growth is causing climate destruction.

    2. Much of our economic activity is making life less pleasant, especially using 70mph, 1.5 tonne cars as mass transport. As a start let’s cut damaging consumption by drastically reducing driving cars, flying in planes and eating beef.

    3. Our economic system is changing so that more product (much of it trash) is produced by less labour, making low wages even lower. We need to cut production of trash and climate destroying activities, but embrace ways to support everybody with a means of living not wholly dependent on wages.

    P.S. As almost every thinking person now knows, it the excess consumption of the affluent that is causing the problem. That’s most of us that read RealClimate.

  14. 14
    zebra says:

    Socialism, Fascism, Whatever,

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/02/opinion/utility-corruption-energy.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    At least it isn’t that crazy scheme where there is a z-grid and consumers get to choose the sources that best suit their needs, and suppliers would have to compete on reliability and price.

    That would really be terrible!

  15. 15
    b fagan says:

    I’d been asked on a previous thread what my goal was – when I’d posted the population group’s dismissal of “Planet of the Humans”. I’ve not had time to respond but “my goal” is a survivable future with increasing prosperity for developing nations and less energy intensity and emissions overall.

    A recent study in The Lancet emphasizes what many have said about addressing population growth: a) educate women and b) access to contraceptives.

    I saw it in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section where they immediately claimed it was reason for what they called “professional climate alarmists” to relax.

    Their reasoning was the typical absurd sleight of hand.
    1 – study says population might peak early and might even decline before 2100
    2 – all it takes is educating women and providing access to contraception
    3 – and GROWTH of course.
    4 – do not mention sources of energy for that growth!

    Ignored was the effect of greenhouse emissions, the risk to growth from all the baked-in increase of impacts. And, of course, while this piece claimed contraceptives were all we need to make climate change go away, another WSJ Opinion piece the same day called Planned Parenthood a liberal racist eugenics plot (because poor women, largely minorities, get their abortions there instead of at the fancier doctors wealthier American women use).

    The WSJ guy also didn’t want their typical readership to read this bit:

    “However, despite lower population, environmental and climate change might still have major and serious consequences in the intervening years unless preventive action and mitigation is vigorously pursued. Of note, the climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for the most part, have already used the Wittgenstein forecasts for population, which are much closer to those we have estimated in this study, and thus they do not fully reflect the UNPD view of continued population growth through the century.

    Anyway, here’s Lancet article, which I have not yet read.

    “Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study”

    “The global TFR in the reference scenario was forecasted to be 1·66 (95% UI 1·33–2·08) in 2100. In the reference scenario, the global population was projected to peak in 2064 at 9·73 billion (8·84–10·9) people and decline to 8·79 billion (6·83–11·8) in 2100. ”

    Open Access Published:July 14, 2020

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30677-2/fulltext

  16. 16
    nigelj says:

    This changes things quite a bit in respect of population and resource issues and climate impacts. A new peer reviewed study in the Lancet suggests population growth rate will fall faster than generally expected :

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30677-2/fulltext

    “In the reference scenario, the global population was projected to peak in 2064 at 9·73 billion (8·84–10·9) people and decline to 8·79 billion (6·83–11·8) in 2100. The reference projections for the five largest countries in 2100 were India (1·09 billion [0·72–1·71], Nigeria (791 million [594–1056]), China (732 million [456–1499]), the USA (336 million [248–456]), and Pakistan (248 million [151–427])…. 23 countries in the reference scenario, including Japan, Thailand, and Spain, were forecasted to have population declines greater than 50% from 2017 to 2100; ”

    (The current median estimate is 9.7 billion people by 2050 and 10.9 billion people by 2100 then static, from projections of population growth on wikipedia, so quite a difference.)

    ——————————–

    Something on zero emissions flying. An electric aircraft and the potential for hydrogen powered aircraft. Would the public be receptive to hydrogen powered aircraft?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/green-travel/300072296/zeroemission-flying-can-airplanes-go-green

  17. 17
    nigelj says:

    “Electricity ‘beamed’ to homes could do away with wire transmission cables”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/green-business/122266326/electricity-beamed-to-homes-could-do-away-with-wire-transmission-cables

    Does this really have potential? Costs? What does it do to birds?

  18. 18
  19. 19
    nigelj says:

    Piotr @8

    “Slowing economic growth combined with continuing pop.growth would make them (people in poor countries) poorer, and more prone to religious fundamentalism – hence having even more children … so the population growth may decrease but only as a result of Malthusian cataclysm”

    True hypothetically, and awful isnt it, but third world countries are still experiencing quite good economic growth and it might continue for a fair while until their internal consumer markets saturate. It’s mainly in the developed world and parts of the developing world where there’s a declining economic growth trend, apparently related to the increase in numbers of older people as pointed out in the link I posted.

    So hopefully places like Africa become wealthy ‘enough’ to experience the demographic transition of steeply declining population growth, and avoid the trap you describe. And once people have easy access to cheap contraceptives, they dont give them up easily even if religion is against them. Eg latin America even although its strongly Catholic.

    ———————————————-

    Geoff Beacon @13

    You list the problems caused by economic growth . You are not wrong, although some of those problems are not strictly directly growth related, for example our tendency to buy things we don’t really need is our personal choice, although along with a great deal of brain washing of the population by the marketing spin machine.

    And I was not promoting high growth at any cost if you thought that. I was just talking about trends and some of the problems of falling growth, in response to earlier conversations. In fact I think we just have to accept the reality of slower economic growth, and mitigate the problems it causes. “To every problem there is a solution”.

    ­—————–

    B Fagan @15.

    Looks like I quoted the same article on population. It’s good news in terms of resource problems, and useful to know, but even if that predicted trend eventuates, it will clearly not do anything to stop temperatures going over 2 degrees, because the absolute population decline starts much later this century. It would have more impact on higher scenarios. The climate denialists are grasping at straws as usual.

    ———————
    ­­­­­­­­

  20. 20
    nigelj says:

    A stable small global population would not have trouble looking after the elderly, whether its a conventional industrial sort of society or simpler and moderately lower tech. Indigenous societies seem to manage. The problem is the transition phase of a declining population where you get too many elderly people and too few young people to support them, both directly and economically.

    But this problem is offset because with automation there will be plenty of idle hands to do aged care work. And it does suggest there will be a relentless trend to more robots and automation. Lots of wealthy older people will be driving this. Not saying the robot society is ideal or even possible at huge scale, but there are just so many forces driving it, perhaps its unstoppable?

  21. 21
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra: At least it isn’t that crazy scheme where there is a z-grid and consumers get to choose the sources that best suit their needs, and suppliers would have to compete on reliability and price.

    That would really be terrible!

    AB: Correct. The zgrid uses individual blackouts and other physically damaging processes to function. Those other schemes look like accounting goop. Totally different animals it seems.

  22. 22
    Postkey says:

    The way to ‘add value’?
    “Economies that manage to focus credit creation on productive and sustainable use – i.e. not for consumption and asset transactions – are likely to achieve superior economic performance (high nominal GDP growth and comparatively low inflation, without asset price cycles and with financial system stability). As the World Bank (1993) indicated, and others have also found (Patrick, 1962; Wade, 1990; Werner, 2000a, b; Werner, 2003), at the heart of the East Asian economic miracle has been a process of guiding credit towards productive use and suppressing unproductive and unsustainable (hence systemically risky) use of credit. . . .
    Werner (1992, 1997, 2005, 2011b), using Japanese data, shows that credit for GDP transactions explains nominal GDP well over several decades, while alternative explanatory variables (including interest rates and money supply) are eliminated in a reduction from a general to the parsimonious specific model.” P23.
    https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/339271/1/Werner_IRFA_QTC_2012.pdf

  23. 23
    zebra says:

    #12 Ray Ladbury,

    Developing an economy that distinguishes between these different types and uses of money is going to be a challenge, in part because they have become so ingrained we just don’t think about them.

    Ray, show me how my model doesn’t solve that. Specifically, for the model.

    You obviously understand the principle of this approach; it’s how people have advanced science (particularly physics) over time; it’s how we got to our current climate models… people didn’t spend their time complaining how complicated it all is, they built their understanding of mechanisms through the application of fundamentals to more restricted ‘experiments’ with controlled variables.

    You can’t tell me my model is “too simple”; it’s my model. Just tell me why my model would not allow a human population to be “sustained” at a level of technology that would allow continued changes in the human condition. (Hopefully, positive changes, in the opinion of those future humans.)

    If you can’t show that it wouldn’t work, then we can come back to the present and use that understanding to deal with the current situation.

  24. 24

    K 9: there is absolutely no way to balance inputs and outputs in an ownership-based, i.e. any form of current economic systems, economic system.

    BPL: Prove it. Show your work.

  25. 25

    #8 Piotr–

    This decrease seems to have happened only in affluent secularized countries and, for political reasons, in China.

    Check the data I linked to @ #18. (One must scroll down to about the 9th header for the relevant maps.)

    The decline in growth is actually darn near secular. For an apposite example, take India–population growth is about half what it was in 1982. And interestingly, it’s not–barring the case of Japan–the most affluent countries shrinking the most, it’s basically Eastern Europe (formerly known as ‘the second world.’) The remaining strongholds of high population growth are all in sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East. On a global basis, the population growth rate has fallen by half since its peak ~50 years ago.

  26. 26
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Zebra@2: “And I conclude from this that the role of growth in consumption we are experiencing in our current society has nothing to do with caring for children or the elderly. Rather, it is driven…both directly and indirectly…by growth of population.”

    Not sure I agree here. If you look at investment, much of it is driven by pensions and 401Ks, which demand a rapid rate of growth in earnings as a condition for investing. Some is also driven by college savings accounts. Not only are these funds and investors demanding high return, the fact that they are doing so means that it is not enough to merely be profitable (as newspapers have been traditionally), but rather than one must be super-profitable or risk being taken over by vulture capitalists, who sacrifice quality and employees to reap short-term benefits. This is not a trivial driver of growth that can be neglected, and it is driven by demographics, but not by population growth.

  27. 27
    nigelj says:

    Promising looking applied science: “Fonterra turns to ‘Kowbucha’ as a possible methane-reducing probiotic for cows”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/122273090/fonterra-turns-to-kowbucha-as-a-possible-methanereducing-probiotic-for-cows

  28. 28

    [edit – Just stop.]

  29. 29
    Al Bundy says:

    Piotr: I am not sure about “not being able to reverse” the drop in the population growth. This decrease seems to have happened only in affluent secularized countries and, for political reasons, in China

    AB: Yeah. How about the competition in Palestine, with ultra-religious sects trying to breed their way to dominance? The two state solution is dead (or so they think – I’ve got a peace plan that would work) and the brutal oppression of natives by European colonialists can’t go on forever, so whichever side breeds the most wins. In the long run nothing else matters.

    Yeah, stupid as f…

  30. 30
    Al Bundy says:

    That got me thinking (dangerous AND odiferous).
    Oppressed people everywhere should take up the slogan, “A baby per year until we are free”.

    WAY scarier than “Black lives matter”, eh?

  31. 31
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Nigelj: Yes, energy can be sent wirelessly. This was essentially the scheme that Nikola Tesla envisioned near the beginning of the 20th century. The health effects depend on the frequency and energy density of the electromagnetic fields. It is possible to do safely.

  32. 32
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Nigelj: I am skeptical of prognostication wrt population growth in part, because peoples’ decisions on how many children to have depends in large part on a variety of factors–most notably, the infant mortality rate and the efforts we make to educate women and provide them with opportunities for meaningful employment outside of the home.
    If the global situation worsens due to climate change, resource depletion…, we may well see infant mortality, and therefore fertility rates, rise, resulting in a higher peak population and more environmental damage before things crash precipitously.

  33. 33
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian@9 I am afraid that economics is one area where we disagree. I contend that the fact that most economic studies are done poorly and ideologically motivated does not negate the reality of economics in the human world.

    Even the Chicago School types very occasionally discover an acorn of truth amidst the dross of ideological crap they spew.

    Behavioral economics has yielded some important insights, and Joe Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and Thomas Piketty have done some important work on inequality and inefficiency in the economy.

    A wise anthropologist once said, “What you believe is real is real in its consequences.” It pays to study economics even if only for that reason–it has consequences for peoples’ lives.

    My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Brazil during the summer of 1993. At that point, inflation was running 30% a month. There were people whose entire job was to go around the store and raise prices every day. The investment of choice for people who had money was to pay a bank to convert their Cruzados into dollars. They lost money on the process, but less than they would have lost to inflation. In Rio, if people found a coin or a small denomination bill in their pocket, they’d throw it over their shoulder into the gutter making a bilabial fricative sound.

    Then, overnight, the finance minister instituted the Real program. Cruzado notes exchanged for “Cruzeiros Reals” by lopping off the final 3 zeros on the value. Financial controls were instituted, and almost immediately, the hemorrhaging stopped. Money stayed in the country for investment. People saved. The economy grew. All. Because. People. Believed. Economics may all come down to belief and confidence in a world of finite resources, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Belief is powerful.

  34. 34
    Killian says:

    Every day the views of scientists come closer to my views. There is a reason for that. You all need to deal with reality:

    The report acknowledges current conservation strategies, such as the creation of protected areas, are well-intended but inadequate. Future forecasts indicate negative trends will continue in all scenarios except those that embrace radical change across society, politics, economics and technology.

    It says values and goals need to change across governments so local, national and international policymakers are aligned to tackle the underlying causes of planetary deterioration. This includes a shift in incentives, investments in green infrastructure, accounting for nature deterioration in international trade, addressing population growth and unequal levels of consumption, greater cooperation across sectors, new environmental laws and stronger enforcement.

    Greater support for indigenous communities and other forest dwellers and smallholders is also essential. Many of the last holdouts for nature are in areas managed by such groups, but even here, the pressures are beginning to take a toll, as wildlife declines along with knowledge of how to manage it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

  35. 35
    nigelj says:

    Postkey @22,

    Agreed largely. Where I live a lot of stimulatory money creation and the effects of low interest rates has just gone into hugely inflating the property market. Its just been a wealth transfer. Productivity growth which is needed for durable wealth creation has been sluggish.

    Asia does indeed force investment into productive areas. Sometimes they use government subsidies. They typically have time limits on government subsidies, and technocrats make decisions rather than politicians, all to avoid dependence and crony capitalism that happens when western countries attempt to use subsidies. This is all how the Asian Tiger economices got ahead.

    ———————————–

    Zebra @23

    “Just tell me why (responding to RL) my model would not allow a human population to be “sustained” at a level of technology that would allow continued changes in the human condition. (Hopefully, positive changes, in the opinion of those future humans.)”

    Well the model would do those things, but it’s a strawman statement, because its not the criticism put to you by Ray Ladbury. Framing, right?

    The evidence suggests countries with falling populations and stable populations do have some degree of economic problems and stagnation. Not massive, but significant enough. You are an eduated person, right so you know evidence trumps your mental gymnastics. It falls back on you to prove how your model would mitigate those problems. I agree smaller population is a good thing, but its silly to deny the problems.

    —————–

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    Engineer poet @29, mostly argues against immigration. But the weight of evidence is obvious. Countries with plenty of immigration have done well economically, in the main. America, Sweden, Canada, Australia and NZ for starters. Countries with closed borders or limited immigration less so, for example Japan has closed borders and has stagnated, although its tenatively opening those borders.

    Now this is not an argument for a completely open borders, because that can obviously overwhelm countries with huge numbers of people in a short time frame, and cause short term property price inflation and pressure on infrastructure as NZ has experienced. I suspect there would be an optimal immigration rate, and probably totally free markets are not a great idea. Immigration departments would want to deliberately target skills that are in short supply.

    ———————————

    Ray Ladbury @33, yeah a reverse demographic transition could indeed happen. Still its important to model the most likely future population trends to put into climate models that project warming scenarios isn’t it?

    ————————————-

    Killian @35, “Every day the views of scientists come closer to my views.” Yes it does in parts like conservation and indigenous peoples for example, maybe not so much supporting green growth (they presumably mean renewables and electric cars and so on ).

    But almost every statement in the copy and paste is also consistent with views I have posted on this website, even on this very thread, with the exception of the comments on indiginous peoples (although I agree with what they propose). I suspect the views align with most regular peoples views here. See what I’m saying?

    ————————————–

  37. 37
    nigelj says:

    Killian @35 and of course whether the scientists views in the Guardian continue to come even closer to your views is an unknown. Somehow I’m not so sure they will.

  38. 38
    Killian says:

    Embedded Energy.

    I suggest you learn the concept or you’ll never figure out sustainability.

    They say property owners should be incentivised to upgrade draughty buildings, not just knock them down.

    That is because so much carbon is emitted by creating the steel, cement and bricks for new buildings…

    …there was a lot of debate about whether …to demolish an old energy-hungry building and build a well-insulated replacement.

    But this is now widely considered a serious mistake because of the amount of carbon emitted during the construction…

    …estimates that 35% of the lifecycle carbon from a typical office development is emitted before the building is even opened… for residential premises is 51%.

    …it will be decades before some new buildings pay back their carbon debt by saving more emissions than they created – and these are decades when carbon must be sharply reduced.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/architects-urge-refurbishment-tax-breaks-235325307.html

  39. 39
    Killian says:

    24 Barton Levenson:

    K 9: there is absolutely no way to balance inputs and outputs in an ownership-based, i.e. any form of current economic systems, economic system.

    BPL: Prove it. Show your work.

    You are absolutely clueless on econ and sustainable systems and dont even see the need for balancing inputs and outputs. Why would I bother with you on this?

    Your post is purely argumentative: You have no way to disprove it.

    That said, I proved it in 2010. Ask Steve Keen.

  40. 40
    Killian says:

    34 Ray Ladbury: Killian@9 I am afraid that economics is one area where we disagree… Economics may all come down to belief and confidence in a world of finite resources, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Belief is powerful.

    Where do you claim we disagree because you state the obvious, and a point I have made: It’s voodoo. You just used different words. Belief is the basis of economics? When have I said otherwise? What is it you are trying to rebut?

    And if it is so that economics is essentially belief, then where is it written people cannot be made to believe a better form of economics?

  41. 41
    Killian says:

    As for BPL’s argumentative post asking for something massive economics models can’t do – and he knows it – there is not a sane economic model anywhere on the planet. And, no, Raworth’s is not. It’s just less crazy.

    There is a simple approach to addressing this point because what I stated is a prima facie reality.

    In 2010, Steve Keen had a model for balanced economics based on the current systems, but with Minsky as the core of the economics. It was supposed to be steady-state. He presented it at a LocalFutures conference. I watched his whole thing, very impressed, but then one thing caught my attention: He kept talking about profit. It was bloody obvious you can’t have profit in a steady-state economics system because profit would act as a leak on the system. It becomes wasted energy as profit is accumulated and not returned to the system. It is absolutely impossible to balance the energy in an economy that has profit built into it (and by extension, ownership).

    Of course, I told this to Steve. He, of course, ignored me. Over the years, I kept needling him about it. Steve, still got profit in your system? Profit is energy, keep bleeding the system, bad things happen! That’s not circular!

    A couple years ago Steve drops the fact his model was changed over to a thermodynamic model, not a financial one. Because resources.

    Oh, REEEEEEALLY? You mean, just like I’ve been saying all these years? Economics is nonsense, exists only as a subset of ecology, and as such cannot be the means to analyze ecology and resources because… it pretends they don’t exist and you simply can’t measure the energetics of,,,, the entire freaking planet? And only a nature-based system can possibly be sustainable? Well, Steve, glad you figured that out. Thermodynamics. Yup. Same reason no form of modern manufacturing is technically sustainable. Thermodynamics. Entropy.

    And that, ladies and gents, is all the evidence or proof you need, or can be given: Steve Keen couldn’t do it, and no trolling post from BPL is going to change that. If Steve Keen couldn’t prove me wrong, BPL sure as hell can’t!

    Unlike BPL, Steve Keen learned. Although he’s *still* working on that model… (There’s a reason for that. Any of you clever enough to figure out why he will never solve it?)

    You can find Steve on Twitter, BPL, if you seek further embarrassment.

  42. 42
    Mr. Know It All says:

    [edit – not here]

  43. 43

    E-P 29: Immigrants to the US have a very high rate of welfare dependency

    BPL: This is empirically wrong. Immigrants have a lower rate of welfare dependency than the rest of the population.

  44. 44
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Well, I am just shocked. EP’s racism and xenophobia extends to immigrants. This is my shocked face. Of course, researchers who make the case that immigrants are more likely to access public benefits than native born have to do some logical gymnastics that would make Simone Bile’s take notice.

    As this pamphlet shows, the reality is more complicated. And really, shouldn’t the goal be to help immigrants to become prosperous and productive as quickly as possible rather than to deprive them of all benefits?

    And if 50% of jobs disappear, it won’t be just immigrants who are hurting. Shouldn’t we be looking to create new jobs–maybe retooling our energy infrastructure.

    Oh, and EP, if you are going to get all your news from Faux News, you should know that the hydroxy-choroquine boner cream doesn’t work against COVID.

  45. 45
    Piotr says:

    Kevin McKinney (25): “On a global basis, the population growth rate has fallen by half since its peak ~50 years ago.”

    I didn’t contest this, I questioned whether this trend in growth rate “looks impossible to reverse even if we wanted”

    The difference between today and the 1960ies is that then the world population was dominated by wealthy and/or secular countries – US, Japan, Western Europe, Warsaw Pact, China), e.g.they made 10 out of 20 most populous countries:
    http://www.geoba.se/population.php?pc=world&type=028&year=1960&st=rank&asde=&page=1

    Today, they make only 5 out of 20 – with India catching up to China, Indonesia and Pakistan getting closer to the US, Bangladesh and Nigeria having overtaken Russia, Mexico overtaken Japan, and Iran, Vietnam, Congo etc. etc. overtaking Germany.

    So the global growth rate is no longer dominated by what happens in affluent and/or secular countries, but in poor and/or religious ones.

    The latter countries MIGHT ultimately get richer and less religious and reign in their population growth before they destroy the physical ability of their land to support them (and the more severe costs of the climate change kick in), but whether they will actually do it – is a matter of hope, not _certainty_ as nigel’s statement implied:
    “it looks impossible to reverse this trend even if we wanted”

  46. 46
    Piotr says:

    Nigel: “So hopefully places like Africa become wealthy ‘enough’ to experience the demographic transition of steeply declining population growth, and avoid the trap you describe.”

    _Hopefully_. If you said this, instead of the tone inevitability in your original post (6) “[population growth rates are ALREADY falling in many places, and it looks impossible to reverse this trend even if we wanted” – I would not have commented your post.

    Things may go the hopeful way or may not – depending on whether the poor countries can “outrun” the limitation of the resources, climate change and religious/cultural obstacles to reigning in population growth (limiting access to contraceptives and rights of women).

    The predictions of the stabilization of the Earth population following the demographic transition model:
    – assume that there is a environmental capacity to increase the affluence of a
    growing population until the total fertility rates (TFR) drop

    – ignore cultural/religious/political forces countering the expected TFR drop with increased affluence

    – and ignore mass economic migration – people from poor countries with high TFR – say Middle East, Africa, Central and South America – migrating for better life to the rich low TFR countries like the States of EU. If accepted – they increase the population in their host country – directly by adding new people in reproductive age and, indirectly, if not integrated -they stay in the ethnic ghettos – maintaining the culturally-dominated high TFR from home countries.
    Their home country will experience initial drop in population (individuals who emigrated), but in a longer time scale it may just mean more children to fill up the vacated space/resources.

    And since it is the more enterprising/affluent individuals that decide on the emigration, there may be less capacity in the poor countries to accomplish the transition from have-not to well-off, the very transition on which we pin our hopes of stabilizing world population.

  47. 47
    Piotr says:

    b fagan (15): “I saw it in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section where they immediately claimed [that prediction of po[pluation to stabilize before 2100) was reason for what they called “professional climate alarmists” to relax.”

    This WSJ author builds his patronizing comments on the implicit assumption that:
    – the current GHGs emissions are sustainable
    – the future MUCH LARGER* emissions will be sustainable as well

    * “MUCH larger” not only because there will be more of us (peak above 9 billion), but mainly because to reduce our population growth we would need to be become more affluent per capita (the demographic transition concept) and rich people emit much more (today’s Africa has 16% of the population and 4% of the CO2 emissions).

    Can we by pass it by increasing family planning and rights for women in poor countries, as the WS author seems to suggest? I am not sure how – how are you going to counter the traditional cultures and religions which are typically are centered around the man and establish the man’s value depending on the number of children he can father, other than saying that the “old ways” keep you poor, and that the wealth of the rich countries requires controlling of the population size?

    To sum up, the WJC opinion guy _in effect_ is saying: “we are going to increase the population to about 9 billion AND make sure that on average each person emits MUCH MORE GHGs gases, so … “relax” you “professional climate alarmists”.

  48. 48
    Piotr says:

    Killian (35):
    “Every day the views of scientists come closer to my views. There is a reason for that. You all need to deal with reality”

    Oh, the modesty!

    See also:
    “Each time I go: “Cock-a-doodle-doo!’ the Sun rises. There is a reason for that. You all need to deal with reality”

  49. 49
    Mr. Know It All says:

    27 – nigelj
    “Promising looking applied science: “Fonterra turns to ‘Kowbucha’ as a possible methane-reducing probiotic for cows”..”

    Thanks, that’s good information that NASA should know about:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WoM2bHfr48

    :)

  50. 50
    Postkey says:

    “The current ways of doing an economy are necessarily dependent on growth.”
    I would largely agree.

    Usually the ‘economists’ who use ‘macroeconomic models’ ‘believe’ that the solution to the current macroeconomic problem is the implementation of the ‘correct’ type of demand side policies. That is, how to increase income/output {‘growth’}.
    Increase M0, M2 or M3, cut r, or make it negative. Increase G and finance it by ‘borrowing’ from the central bank or by borrowing from the private sector. Or ensure that private credit is extended only for GDP transactions.
    All that is lacking is a ‘sufficient’ increase in aggregate demand!

    The neoclassical economists, who believe that income/output is ‘supply determined’, will argue that all that is required to generate a large increase the growth of the underlying productive potential of an economy is for taxes to be cut and more ‘competition’, etc be introduced!

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