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Forced Responses: Oct 2020

Filed under: — group @ 10 October 2020

Bimonthly open thread for discussing climate policy and solutions. Climate science discussion should go here.

413 Responses to “Forced Responses: Oct 2020”

  1. 51

    Bloviated Killian @42:

    A simple solution for ALL humans is to simply dress differently, change fuels

    Change fuels to what?  Made how?  With what infrastructure requiring its own embodied energy to construct?

    If you’re talking carbon-neutral fuels you are talking biomass.  There just isn’t enough net primary productivity to meet more than a small fraction of even minimal human energy needs.  This is why the world needs nuclear energy, and lots of it; it is the only source that is both clean and scalable to the required degree.

  2. 52

    Bill Henderson misses the point @48:

    you guys are neolib entrapped in energy – 100% renewables or nuclear – when the real problem is urgent emission reduction.

    Well, duh.  Why do you think I’ve been talking up PHEVs for the better part of 20 years on my own blog alone (and much longer before that)?  Because switching most vehicular energy consumption from liquid motor fuels to whatever powers the grid allows you to slash emissions quickly via a shift to gas-fired CCGTs in the short term, nuclear in the longer term.  Getting 50% or more in the next 10 years with a pathway to zero is one of the best options we have.

  3. 53
    mike says:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/solar-energy-perovskite-discovery-cell-efficiency-b1157130.html?utm_campaign=Carbon%20Brief%20Daily%20Briefing&utm_content=20201020&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

    “Scientists have solved a fundamental problem that had prevented a “miracle material” from being used in next-generation solar cells.

    The breakthrough paves the way for the widely acclaimed mineral perovskite to transform the solar industry through cheaper and more efficient photovoltaics, according to researchers in Australia who made the discovery.

    The energy future is green and largely non-nuclear. This solar development sounds promising.

  4. 54
    zebra says:

    Silvia L-A #45,

    Again, “debate”, as I define it, requires some proposition. So, for example, we could debate this proposition:

    The ‘Green New Deal’ can be passed legislatively by President Joe Biden and 52 Democratic Senators, and whatever the actual detailed legislation says, it will not be challenged in court and delayed for years, and reversed when the majority changes, nor probably be gutted by the 6-3 SCOTUS.

    Which side of that debate would you like to take?

    Now, I have, for decades, proposed to those promoting nuclear electricity generation, that we debate the following proposition:

    The US Federal Government will follow the only successful example of converting the vast majority of generation to nuclear (France), by nationalizing the electricity sector as a true Socialist enterprise. It will then make the decisions on pricing, siting, and waste disposal, overriding any State and local opposition. This, as above, will not be tied up for years in the courts, or subject to the political leanings of SCOTUS.

    So, I am an equal-opportunity pragmatist. I’m interested in actual solutions, not in hearing the endless, repetitive recitation of talking points and factoids that you people have memorized.

    But from my experience over time, realistic “debate” is very unlikely to happen in this kind of venue. People want to fantasize that they have the ear of those all-powerful space aliens, and somehow their ‘solution’ will be imposed on the universe.

  5. 55
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: I wish I could put you in my shoes for a week so you could see just how much I’ve earned the right.

    AB: No matter how dorky, one’s claim to fame can always be topped.

    “Shoes”?

    (But thanks for the insight)

  6. 56

    mike writes @53:

    The energy future is green and largely non-nuclear.

    If so, it won’t be because of perovskites.  It’ll be because of cheap, long-lived energy storage (and it’ll have to be VERY cheap because “renewables” have deficits on seasonal scales).  And the irony is that advantages will come to nuclear power first, because you can use smaller and cheaper storage systems.

  7. 57
    Killian says:

    Just one of the reasons simplicity and potential rates of simplification over time are abjectly misunderstood.

    https://twitter.com/Garama3CLtd/status/1317026159654244354?s=19

  8. 58
    Killian says:

    Dear Mike,

    Sorry, no free lunches.

    In contrast to CdTe, hybrid perovskites are very unstable and easily degrade to rather soluble compounds of Pb or Sn with KSP=4.4×10−9, which significantly increases their potential bioavailability[68] and hazard for human health, as confirmed by recent toxicological studies.[69][70]. Although the 50 % lethal dose of lead [LD50(Pb)] is less than 5 mg per kg of body weight, health issues arise at much lower exposure levels. Young children absorb 4–5 times as much lead as adults and are most susceptible to the adverse effects of lead.[71] In 2003, a maximum blood Pb level (BLL) of 5 μg/dL was imposed by the World Health Organization,[71] which corresponds to the amount of Pb contained in only 5×5 mm2 of the perovskite solar module. Furthermore, the BLL of 5 μg/dL was revoked in 2010 after the discovery of decreased intelligence and behavioral difficulties in children exposed to even lower values.

    Wiki

  9. 59
    David B. Benson says:

    Silvia Leahu-Aluas @45 — That is prejudice on your part. First read the World Nuclear Association website before claiming lack of objectivity.

    By the way, citing Mark Jacobson @ Stanford indicates even further naivete on your part. Links to reliable sources can be found via
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/board/4/energy

  10. 60
    nigelj says:

    Killian @42

    “Why do you keep repeating this stupid goddamned lie? What huge changes to physical infrastructure? You’re an idiot. A lying idiot……”

    “No lies at all. Here are a just a few examples that you have talked about on these pages: 1)Converting the worlds cities to become walkable communities”

    “How does this involve wholesale change? It does not. Unintelligent assumption. Repurposing to simplicity is not like changing a meatpacking plant into a car manufacturing plant. It’s SIMPLICITY. Something you make no effort to understand the implications of. Many cities are already walkable with nothing more than a change of consumption. In Korea, you can buy everything you need within your neighborhood. Many cities never became the suburbian nightmares of the Anglo idiots.”

    Killian, your philosophy is broadly sound in principle, if badly stained by calling people idiots, but we are not talking about Korea. We are talking about western cities that are built differently so will need a lot of physical transformation. We are not talking just about what you can buy. My understanding is the idea of walkable communities is being near your place of work, to miminise use of transport, so this will obviously need considerable rebuilding work to make it work ideally well. That’s virtually all I said about it.

    Walkable communities (or something reasonably approaching this) are a worthy, useful long term project, so the energy reductions its gives will not be large enough and quick enough to be a significant factor in stopping warming geting over 2 degrees. This is one reason why I tend to accept we are going to have to scale up renewables quite substantially and as fast as we can be 2050, although obviously walkable communities will at least reduce energy requirements a bit. Its going to help but is not a big part of the solution. The maths is intuitively obvious.

    “2) replacing highrise buildings with low rise, eco friendly communities, and”

    “I have not said this. “Replacing” is wrong. However, it is not so difficult to use the resources from one building to build another. However, given the new buildings, if even needed (which is another assumption that will often be wrong), should be built from local renewable materials, there will often be no need to transfer materials at all. These are choices that CAN be made, not MUST be made. Design is ALWAYS local. You like to ignore that. Well, you just have no goddamned clue, but can’t prevent your mouth from spewing bullshit.”

    Killian, all this sounds fine but adds up to a huge rebuilding project, which is what I said in the first place! As for walkable communities, it will be too slow to have much impact on solving the climate problem, etcetera.

    “3) replacing or extensively modifying the worlds buildings to become passive solar. (Currently almost none are passive solar).”

    “This is not something that must happen immediately. We have far more energy being produced than we need as we simplify. We can shut down all FF energy production and be fine. Without changing every building, or even a significant portion.”

    Yes passive solar buildings don’t have to happen immediately, but that reduces their impacts on the climate problem, which is why I think we need quite a lot of renewable energy.

    I don’t believe we can shut down fossil fuel production, AND rely on your very minimal construction of renewables and be fine and stop warming getting over 2 degrees. We would need truly huge energy efficiencies and we don’t know how to do that technically, and people are unlikely to be prepared to be cold in winter or go without too much air conditioning in summer. So again, I think we are reliant on scaling up renewables fairly substantially. I think its plausible that we will make SOME energy efficiencies, along the lines you suggest, so this would help miminimise the amount of renewables required, but I think that is the best we can realistically hope for.

  11. 61
    nigelj says:

    Killian @42 (part two).

    “I have said many, many times that I am almost always talking about the endpoint, not the transition. Those are two different conversations, but since none of you have the slightest damn clue what a regenerative future will and must look like, that is what I talk about because you CANNOT create a regenerative future without knowing what it is.”

    It’s not clear what you mean by endpoint and transitions. However I think that some sort of endpoint consisting of more sustainable living, and more sustainably built cities, combined with more prudent consumption of modern technology, makes sense but is going to be quite a long term project, so hence it is a wedge measure in terms of solving the climate problem and not a substitute for a reasonably sized renewable energy grid medium term. Obviously this plan includes several of your ideas. Im just picking the ones that I think have the most validity.

    I’m more focused on what we can realistically do to stop warming getting above 2 degrees. It looks like the most plausible solution is scaling up renewables ( and some nuclear if appropriate), some realistically achievable energy efficiencies and lifestyle changes, and negative emissions strategies and restraining population growth, and even this all faces huge political and psychological hurdles (like Zebra mentioned) that have slowed it down. But I think your simplification scheme faces even bigger political and psychological and practical hurdles taken as a whole and these are obvious and self evident.

    “All those unsustainable buildings are ALREADY BUILT. Embedded energy. The decision to change or alter them is LOCAL and would be happening over anything from a few years to as long as people choose. A simple solution for ALL humans is to simply dress differently, change fuels, live differently to not need energy or alteration. To over-simplify the response to those three things, and LIE that it entails wholesale change “of the world’s cities” just shows the depth of your utter ignorance.”

    Yes its embedded energy, and we don’t have to rush to rebuild all that, just try to make it a bit more efficient with better insultation etcetera, but even that is quite a big task. I doubt that those other things will be more than a small part of solving the climate problem. I’ve tried wearing very bulky clothes in multiple layers around the home, and I still feel cold, because one is not moving very much. So I’m not going to waste my time promoting it. Changing fuels is not the same thing as making energy efficiencies, and if you are talking timber we would rapidly exhaust the worlds timber reserves plus what EP said.

    “You have discussed these things numerous times all over this website.”

    “Yet you have learned nothing and insist on lies of ommission, mischaracterization, distortion, hyperbole…. and on and on.”

    No I haven’t done that. I’ve always tried to be accurate and I’ve asked your for better definitions. You have got the wrong person here with these accusations. People rarely accuse me of lies or mischaracterisations, so its far more likely that you are imagining or misinterpreting things.

    “This is all obviously a huge project that requires a lot of rebuilding work, and new building work, so it will take many decades towards a century to fully scale it up.’

    “There is no “scaling up.” It’s scaling down. That’s why you don’t get it. All these years, you still understand exactly nothing.”

    Scaling down still involves a lot of rebuilding work, for example smaller houses, smaller cars, different types of housing, substituting bicycles for cars, substituting timber for steel cladding or structure, and whatever. It wont happen quickly.

    “This project is orders of magnitude harder than building solar and wind farms.”

    “Bullshit. Stupid. Building completely new infrastructure from resources taken from the planet is easier than repurposing, recycling, simply doing much less? This is the product of your fear of simplicity.”

    Building new cities of whatever nature ( as a long term project) is obviously a much larger task than building wind and solar farms. That is all I said. And eventually we will need to do a lot of rebuilding work to create truly sustainable communities.

    Making doing with less is a completely separate issue to anything I raised. But I agree it could be done reasonably quickly. Defining how much less is quite important, because it defines quality of life, and how much energy infrastructure we need. You have to be realistic about what change people are likely to embrace.

    “Not saying its a bad idea, and obviously we can make a start in small ways, just that it wont be easy or quick, so can only be a small wedge measure in fixing the climate problem.”

    “Wrong. Every community can shift to DIY water, food and energy in almost no time whatsoever. You don’t need a new building if you can simply wear more clothes. You don’t need a new building if you use the concept of, e.g., a winter apartment and use a fraction of your large space instead.”

    Covered in previous comments. And yes maybe you can use less space, but you need to remember most people do not live in large apartments, so there is only so much they can do, and cramming people together creates big psychological and practical problems.

    “If utilities are made Commons, everyone gets energy and the consumption level can be reduced dramatically as community-centered decisions on use are made and cooperation increases exponentially. E.g.”

    You don’t explain the mechanism that allegedly leads from common ownership, to reducing consumption and I certainly don’t see one. Communist countries like the USSR tried common ownership, and their consumption went up almost exponentially. I don’t see much connection between the ownership structure and consumption patterns, although I think there’s a strong case for some things to be in common ownership, call it a commons if you want, on the basis of ensuring everyone has good access to the basics of life. So I would include the mineral resource base and utilities like water and power and the hospital system in common ownership. The mineral resource base is already typically in public ownership. Governments just sell extraction licenses.

    “You are not only ignorant of what is needed, but willfully so, yet WILL NOT close your damned mouth. Propagandist.”

    I have my own ideas of what is needed and realistically possible, which is a lighter weight version of your simplification plan, plus scaling up renewable energy. It may be boring and unoriginal but its plausible in an imperfect world. It appears to be shared by quite a few other people here, so why pick on me? Ironically I’ve actually given you more support than the likes of zebra, BPL, and EP and possibly AB, who have been largely dismissive. These are smart guys so maybe you should listen to them a bit more.

    “Your problem is you fool yourself about how quick or easily things can be done.”

    “Your problem is the refusal to learn, to use your head, an absolute lack of creativity and imagination, absolute ignorance of your own ignorance, an unending need to run your mouth on every topic raised on this forum despite having expertise in none and nothing useful to say on any, and an unswaying willingness to Trump every issue.”

    All I said is your simplification project is unlikely to be as quick as you think, taken as a whole. You have not been able to rebut this. Some parts could be quick but many would not be quick.

    I have a design degree related to infrastructure ( I dont wish to be specific) , and I also did psychology, maths and physical geography at university and this is actually all quite relevant. However I think a persons contribution should stand on what they say, not their qualifications, which doesn’t prove the validity of what they say, so I’m not expanding further and I’m amazed you resort to such rhetoric.

    “Worst of all, you have no interest or willingness in understanding the risk, what you have a choice about and what you don’t. You think you can impose your measly little mind on the reality of Nature. No matter how many times I say simplicity is a necessity, not a choice, you keep talking about what you WANT.”

    Pretty much a complete falsehood. I have posted plenty of material showing I understand the climate risk is high, including the low probability but severely damaging long tail of risk. I don’t repeat risks that are obvious to everyone here. I have posted material that human consumption could seriously destabilise the biosphere, something Ive been aware of for decades.

    I think the mineral resource scarcity issue is a serious problem, and best mitigated by getting the size of population down, and making energy efficiencies and being a bit more frugal with consumption and all sooner rather than later. This will make resources spin out for longer. Nobody really needs huge televisions and to be driving large SUV’s and so on. I don’t own these things as a matter of personal choice, not a lack of money as such. But its a question of where you draw the line on consumption, otherwise we just destroy our material quality of life to just delay inevitable future shortages, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    The mineral scarcity issue is not an extinction level event and there are vast reserves dissolved in sea water. It doesn’t come close to over consuming the biosphere and wiping out biodiversity, our fundamental source of food.

    What people want is actually quite important. Otherwise we just become like robots, just existing.

    “Why will people alter their lives? Because they have no choice.”

    Yes circumstances will force change, but we are not talking about that. We are talking about making proactive, voluntary choices around lifestyles and levels of consumption, and how far we should sensibly go with that, and how far people are likely to go. I’m not going to waste my time promoting things I feel are unlikely to ever happen, and I’m sceptical about shared ownership system of the means of production. But I do think things like passive solar housing, regenerative farming, and less materialism and over consumption have a very viable future.

  12. 62

    Nigel, bit of reader service:  <blockquote> blocks or even bold or italic is a LOT easier for readers to follow than mere quote marks.

  13. 63
    nigelj says:

    Killian @58

    “Dear Mike….Sorry, no free lunches…..In contrast to CdTe, hybrid perovskites are very unstable and easily degrade to rather soluble compounds of Pb or Sn with KSP=4.4×10−9, which significantly increases their potential bioavailability[68] and hazard for human health, as confirmed by recent toxicological studies….”

    Ok, but the experts do actually seem to be aware of these challenges and have some proposed solutions:

    https://www.intechopen.com/books/recent-development-in-optoelectronic-devices/perovskite-solar-cells-the-challenging-issues-for-stable-power-conversion-efficiency

    “(Abstract) Despite the advanced processing advantages for low cost, flexible and highly efficient solar cells, the technology is still facing the challenges with regard to the stability of materials in terms of moisture, thermal, light and oxygen atmosphere. The recent discovery of lead halide perovskite has increased a surge of interest in the field of photovoltaics. The chapter highlights some ways that can improve the stability and reducing the toxicity without compromising the efficiency of perovskite. Most of the part includes the review on the actual knowledge and cutting edge research results of high efficiency perovskites. It further describes the materials (Oxides and hybrid halides) that can be used for real time solar cell applications.”

    While I dislike over hyping of breakthrough technologies, it does seem that humans are very clever at solving all these kinds of implementation problems. Its almost like magic. Sadly to say, humans are not so good with the messy socio economic stuff.

  14. 64

    An interesting ‘bottom up’–i.e., need-based–analysis of what is possible (though not necessarily *how* it might be possible).

    Bottom line:

    We find that global final energy consumption in 2050 could be reduced to the levels of the 1960s, despite a population three times larger. However, such a world requires a massive rollout of advanced technologies across all sectors, as well as radical demand-side changes to reduce consumption – regardless of income – to levels of sufficiency. Sufficiency is, however, far more materially generous in our model than what those opposed to strong reductions in consumption often assume.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378020307512?via%3Dihub

    Fun excerpt:

    …the current work offers a response to the clichéd populist objection that environmentalists are proposing that we return to living in caves. With tongue firmly in cheek, the response roughly goes ‘Yes, perhaps, but these caves have highly-efficient facilities for cooking, storing food and washing clothes; low-energy lighting throughout; 50 L of clean water supplied per day per person, with 15 L heated to a comfortable bathing temperature; they maintain an air temperature of around 20 °C throughout the year, irrespective of geography; have a computer with access to global ICT networks; are linked to extensive transport networks providing ~5000–15,000 km of mobility per person each year via various modes; and are also served by substantially larger caves where universal healthcare is available and others that provide education for everyone between 5 and 19 years old.’ And at the same time, it is possible that the amount of people’s lives that must be spent working would be substantially reduced.

  15. 65

    DBB 47: The director of the World Nuclear Association recently stated an expectation of 10–20% of electricity generation from nuclear power plants.

    BPL: Yeah. Right.

  16. 66

    E-P 51: the world needs nuclear energy, and lots of it; it is the only source that is both clean and scalable to the required degree.

    BPL: And it’s bright, shiny, and gives off warmth and generosity!

  17. 67
    Al Bundy says:

    The New York Times published a poll split by age, race, etc. Incredibly, 57% of white folks are voting for Trump. That’s a whole lot of stupid (actually brainwashing). Makes me doubt EP’s master race thing.

  18. 68

    Don’t get into politics here, Al.

  19. 69
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @65 — The 10–20% estimate is world-wide, not for the USA with the many prejudiced regarding and ignorant about nuclear power plants.

  20. 70
  21. 71
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @64, thanks for that interesting research paper on what might be possible with energy efficiencies. It sounds good, but the trouble with more energy efficient technologies is they tend to be expensive, for example heat pumps, so the transformation of society they talk about could be a slow process. So we are very reliant on building a lot of new clean energy as fast as possible. Such huge advances in energy efficiency could substantially reduce the need for future generations of renewable energy, for example next century.

  22. 72
    David B. Benson says:

    Merra @70 — Those ingenious radiative cooling panels do work. Still overly pricey for most.

  23. 73
    Killian says:

    70 Meera: Is this too good to be true?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2020/10/07/radiative-cooling-climate-change/?arc404=true

    For now. And maybe always. It’s extremely – sorry – cool (I’d love to have some for my roof and windows in the summer!) and scientifically exciting, but there is nothing on the article that would indicate it could be in any way sustainable. Given that, it may have use as a niche, Bridge or Appropriate Technology, but it will almost certainly be more limited than the article would have us believe. but, hey. that’s what cheerleading is for, to get people excited, not to get them thinking.

  24. 74
    Killian says:

    60 nigelj says Killian @42

    “Why do you keep repeating this stupid goddamned lie? What huge changes to physical infrastructure? You’re an idiot. A lying idiot……”

    “No lies at all. Here are a just a few examples that you have talked about on these pages: 1)Converting the worlds cities to become walkable communities”

    “How does this involve wholesale change? It does not. Unintelligent assumption. Repurposing to simplicity is not like changing a meatpacking plant into a car manufacturing plant. It’s SIMPLICITY. Something you make no effort to understand the implications of. Many cities are already walkable with nothing more than a change of consumption. In Korea, you can buy everything you need within your neighborhood. Many cities never became the suburbian nightmares of the Anglo idiots.”

    Killian, your philosophy is broadly sound in principle

    My philosophy? It’s like talking to Trump. Literally. Never, and I do mean never, gets anything right. Philosophy…. Jesus wept (because he’d be too polite to LOL.)

    Sorry, but I have a policy of stopping at the stupid, so that’s as far as I got.

  25. 75
    Al Bundy says:

    EP,
    Yawn. 2020 is all about the intersection of science and politics.
    Yeah, the Logical Nazis, who surely still can claim to be right, as you stridently do and I don’t disregard out of hand,

    But this fight is about billionaires, who would call you a slur regardless of your skin.

    Friggin hell, dude.

  26. 76
    Al Bundy says:

    NigelJ: It sounds good, but the trouble with more energy efficient technologies is they tend to be expensive, for example heat pumps,…

    AB: Nope. You’re making the mistake of assuming that accounting mistakes are inevitable.

    Take product 1. It costs $10,000,which comes to, say, $100/month to finance. It costs $200/month in fuel to operate.

    Take product 2. It costs $20,000, which comes to, say, $200/month to finance. It costs $50/month in fuel to operate.

    A sane financial system would say, “Sorry, but you can only afford product 2, as product 1 is too expensive.

    But our system says, “you can only afford product 1”.

    Operating costs MUST be included in loan considerations.

    There ya go. Simple. Easy. Free.
    Kinda a DUH! solution, eh,?

  27. 77
    Killian says:

    48 Bill Henderson: Haven’t been back in awhile but you guys are neolib entrapped in energy – 100% renewables or nuclear – when the real problem is urgent emission reduction.

    Two new resources for understanding our climate mitigation predicament:

    Dr. Emily Grossman’s Net one pager: Emergency on Planet Earth
    https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-truth/the-emergency/

    A good dip-in might be the current science concerning carbon budgets and steep emission curves:
    https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-truth/the-emergency/part-6/#What-are-governments-%E2%80%98supposed%E2%80%99-to-be-doing-to-address-the-climate-crisis

    and Climate Reality Check 2020 from Aus’s David Spratt
    https://www.climaterealitycheck.net/

    Bill,

    All nice, but none fully germane. Without the context of regenerative or not, these discussions are pointless. It’s like deciding to teach English with no understanding of acquisition, or planning a city without asking what do people need. You end up with a hodgepodge of good and bad ideas, often in conflict, always wasteful of time and resources overall, and functionality that cannot be sustained over a given time frame T.

    I tried to, after more than ten years of prompting people here to do so of their own accord, have that conversation: What is regenerative (fka sustainability)?

    The violence of the response was telling. The fear is palpable. And this is a forum *dedicated to* that very issue. Imagine, then, how hard for Joe/Jane Q. Public when even the supposed “activists” are afraid of the conversation.

    ***Perhaps you’d be interested in that conversation?***

  28. 78
    Killian says:

    64 Kevin McKinney: An interesting ‘bottom up’–i.e., need-based–analysis of what is possible (though not necessarily *how* it might be possible).

    I have said virtually the same (simplicity can/will be comfortable, better) for over ten years. Here. To you. To everyone. Hmmmm….

    The reason they don’t say how? They don’t know. It’s a model. Models are not real world. They take resources in aggregate, leaving the reality of resource *need* in place out of the equation because… they can do no better. This is why such models are essentially irrelevant: They do not include actual, real use of resources, thus cannot actually model anything. Thermodynamics is great for establishing general flows, but cannot be applied to place, this should *only* be used to show some broad sense of resource availability and nothing more.

    This applies to Raworth’s and Keen’s efforts to cling to economics as a basis of managing things. Keen’s model *cannot* correctly/effectively model steady-state economics, even after his switch to thermodynamics vs profit, because it cannot get down to the micro level of actual use of resources by people.

  29. 79
    Killian says:

    Re McKinney: In countries that are today’s highest per-capita consumers, cuts of ~95% appear possible while still providing decent living standards to all.

    No shit? Huh. Where have you heard this before? How do you feel about wasting ten years of Earth’s time because you just don’t like the person saying something?

    Well, on the positive side, you *wonderful, intelligent, fair-minded gentlepersons* (a-hem) will listen to not-me people.

    But, then, since this is what *I* have already told you, you all are quite likely to reject it out of hand as you have for the last ten years.

    And, again, they don’t tell you how because they do not know how. Design is place-based. Regenerative systems are ultimately local (nested over bio-regions, and even some inter-bio-regional activity).

    The only people that know *your* solution are the people where you are. I and others can tell you techniques, methods, approaches, skills, technologies, etc., but only YOU and yours can figure out the solutions where you are in 1. your home 2. your immediate community (neighborhood/small town) 3. your wider community (city/region/area) and 4. bio-region.

    I’ve never said this before, though, right? I never told you all how to frame regenerative systems, right? But I have. Over and over and over. The problem? If one does not understand, and does not *want* to understand, what simplicity is, they will not see it when in front of their noses.

    Simplicity is…. absurdly simple. It does not require complex, encyclopedic expansion. The opposite. But the complexity of the world you have all grown into makes it impossible for you to recognize that simplicity is, exactly, simple. You *have* been told *exactly* how to do it more times than I can possibly remember.

    You all quite simply do not recognize what has been presented to you as viable because you cannot yet comprehend what regenerative *is*, how it *functions*, and thus, how you can achieve it. Yet, you have been told. You cannot or will not conceive of a different kind of economics (nonenomics, if you will), a different kind of governance, a different kind of social contract. This is difficult, I understand. But you are *all* quite violent about it and have been for 7 years while gaslighting me about *responding* to the violence.

    Step past it. See the ideas, not the person. Start responding rather than attacking. Question, but don’t dismiss. This is for you to learn, not to teach. You cannot be the teacher before first being the student. The litmus test is simple: Can you describe a functional regenerative community?

    The answer to that is no.

    So here we have VIPersons saying a 95% reduction in advanced/industrial nations is possible *with* comfort. I have said such nations face a 90% reduction for a very long time here. And even after multiple papers suggest the same or similar, still my comments are denigrated, dismissed, laughed at.

    Still laughing?

    Please listen. There is a pathway, but you must learn the true nature of simplicity/regenerative systems/fair governance/social equity.

    I’ve been telling you. Hear and listen.

    Please.

  30. 80
    Killian says:

    Despite the human capacity to adapt to unfortunate circumstances, few argue against the idea that society should be structured such that basic human needs are universally met so far as possible. This is where eudaimonic conceptions of well-being enter, which underpin prominent capabilities- and needs-based-approaches (Fanning and O’neill, 2019, O’neill, 2008). Broadly, these focus on providing people with the capabilities required for flourishing – physical health and safety; clean air and water and adequate nutrition; social and political participation; autonomy (so far as it’s possible; Greene and Cohen, 2004) cultivated through education and cognitive understanding; time and space for imagination and social play (Lamb and Steinberger, 2017, Gough, 2015). ****[All of the previous: O’Brien, K., Regenerative Governance, 2011.]**** The argument that such basic needs are universal and independent of cultural context, rests on the distinction between needs and need satisfiers. Needs are universal; satisfiers culturally specific (Doyal and Gough, 1991).

    Needs-based approaches along these lines have recently been used as a basis for developing a framework to decouple energy-use from human well-being (Brand-Correa and Steinberger, 2017). ****[Preceded by O’Brien, K., Regenerative Governance, 2011.]****

  31. 81
  32. 82
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @76,

    Good point, but the how often does that maths apply in the real world? The slow uptake of heat pumps suggests it might not apply to heat pumps. Or perhaps people dont know how to do the maths, or are too lazy to do the maths. The only point I was really making was that this sort of transformational change of radically increased energy efficiency will most likely be a slow process for all sorts of reasons, so its not some sort of get out of jail free card with the climate problem, like Michael Moore argued in his movie opposing renewable energy, because such technology is allegedly just “a capitalist scam” for the rich to make money.

    ——————————

    Killian @75

    “Killian, your philosophy is broadly sound in principle..”

    “My philosophy? It’s like talking to Trump. Literally. Never, and I do mean never, gets anything right. Philosophy…. Jesus wept (because he’d be too polite to LOL.)”

    Get this Killian guy. I compliment him, and he takes offence. He nit picks about me using shorthand term about saying “his philosophy”. I mean is it actually possible to be more silly and self defeating than all that? Anyone have an example?

    “Sorry, but I have a policy of stopping at the stupid, so that’s as far as I got.”

    Oh yes this gives Killian a perfect excuse of avoiding dealing with difficult material. And he clearly really, genuinely thinks nobody else notices any of this sophistry! Ha ha ha.

    ————————

    Killian @79, the research paper Kevin posted was pretty much pure speculation and wishful thinking about the future. It was all based on assumptions we would behave in various ways and develop fantastically efficient technologies. Its about as credible as the predictions economists make.

  33. 83
  34. 84
    nigelj says:

    Killian @77 &79 seems to think pointing out the numerous problems in his “simplification” plan equals being afraid of the idea, and not understanding sustainability. Yeah. Right. (sarc)

  35. 85
    nigelj says:

    Killian @80 says:

    “Despite the human capacity to adapt to unfortunate circumstances, few argue against the idea that society should be structured such that basic human needs are universally met so far as possible……Broadly, these focus on providing people with the capabilities required for flourishing – physical health and safety; clean air and water and adequate nutrition; social and political participation; autonomy (so far as it’s possible; Greene and Cohen, 2004) cultivated through education and cognitive understanding; time and space for imagination and social play (Lamb and Steinberger, 2017, Gough, 2015). ****[All of the previous: O’Brien, K., Regenerative Governance, 2011.]…”

    Recognising and priortising basic needs like this is important, and so is structuring society to ensure people have basic needs met, but its obvious stuff, like saying the sky is blue. It amazes me that people pay social scientists to state the obvious. Maslows paper on the hierarchy of basic human needs is more nuanced, and is dated 1943, and socialism was designed to ensure everyones basic needs were met and dates back over a century. This is all before Killian was born, but I suppose he will still try and find some way of taking credit for being first :)

    Likewise prioritising energy use for basic needs is equally obvious stuff. Most people do actually manage to put food on the table and heat the home before they waste energy on travel, or whatever other energy intensive indulgence or “want”. Or they should be doing this. Honestly, sometimes the socioeconomic sciences are just laughable.

    But who is going to “structure”society to prioritise basic needs? In fact many western democracies already ensure everyones basic needs are met because people work, and if unemployed they generally get governmnet assistance, and a universal wage is being considered (I guess Killian will take credit for thinking of that first as well, along with democracy and sliced bread.)

    We do not actually need to massively restructure society to achieve what is largely already being achieved. The exception is the USA, which has bizarre extremes of income, a terrible social security system and people driven to live in tent cities. However there are some other people that are so hopeless with money or they are just takers, so you probably can’t save them from themselves. You can give people food and clothing but some will still trade it for god knows what rubbish.

  36. 86
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: No shit? Huh. Where have you heard this before? How do you feel about wasting ten years of Earth’s time because you just don’t like the person saying something?

    AB: No, Kevin just posted something that concurs with what Nigel has been saying for ten years. You’ve been pontificating about how 95% is complete failure.

  37. 87

    Making an exception…

    Killian, #79–

    There is a pathway, but you must learn the true nature of simplicity/regenerative systems/fair governance/social equity.

    I’ve been telling you. Hear and listen.

    I spent years “listening.” Never did hear anything that really clarified in anything like concrete terms what this “pathway” would be, nor where it would actually lead. And the descriptions of the “where” did not seem to me to be very internally consistent.

    Now, the paper I cited did not offer anything by way of pathway to achieve the stated goal, either.

    However, it *did* offer a pretty concrete take on what a (materially) “decent life” might entail, and what that would cost. That’s what I thought interesting, and potentially helpful. Killian, if you can emulate that in some fashion and find a way to communicate with some specificity, I would be glad to listen to those ideas. (But I’m sure not wading through paragraphs and paragraphs of vituperation and ego, which is candidly–and sadly–most of what I see from you.)

  38. 88
    Guest (O.) says:

    Extraordinary human energy consumption and resultant geological impacts beginning around 1950 CE initiated the proposed Anthropocene Epoch

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-020-00029-y

  39. 89
    nigelj says:

    Lifestyle changes versus system change. One persons view:

    https://theclimatelemon.com/individual-collective-fixing-climate-change/

    “I think this neatly gets to the crux of something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Individual climate action vs collective climate action. Lifestyle change vs system change…..Our individual choices do matter…..(But) Firstly, we don’t have time to persuade every person to change their lifestyle. And secondly, even if somehow we miraculously did convince everyone, even that still wouldn’t be enough to solve climate change…..Climate change is a systemic global issue and we need collective action by multiple institutions to tackle it.”

  40. 90
    Mr. Know It All says:

    FYI:
    Heads up for severe weather in vast areas of the western USA. If you are traveling in this area you should be aware of possible winter-like conditions. Over 18 inches of snow has fallen in Colorado, Idaho expected to break cold records set in 1919, temperatures of -15F are expected in Wyoming, and it is frigid here in the normally balmy Pacific Northwest.

    Heavy snow in Colorado:
    https://www.denverpost.com/2020/10/25/colorado-snow-totals-october-25-sunday/

    Record Low temps expected in Boise:
    https://www.kivitv.com/homepage-showcase/todays-forecast

    Lows of minus 5F to minus 15F in Wyoming with highs in the teens Monday:
    https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=special%20weather%20statement

    11 degrees F currently in Denver, with a low of 9F tonight:
    https://www.wunderground.com/severe/us/co/denver

    Normally balmy Portland to experience temperatures as low as 22F tonight:
    https://www.wunderground.com/severe/us/or/portland

    Many of these temperatures will seem much worse due to windy conditions. Be careful out there if you have to be in these areas.

  41. 91
    Killian says:

    Re 80:

    It should be noted needs-based design is a central aspect of permaculture and as a regenerative practitioner, has become central to all my problem-solving. More importantly, after developing the Regenerative Governance model, I became increasingly aware of the needs-based management of resources of regenerative (aka aboriginal.)

    There is absolutely nothing that argues against need-based design of nature-based human systems except selfishness and greed.

  42. 92
    Violet Wagner says:

    First I apologize to the non-US readers. The portion of the discussion below is based on US data and facts.
    The needs based society idea is similar to Marxism in terms of theory. Marxism theory states that everyone will work to their ability and receive based on needs. The needs based society also in theory has similar aspirations. The theory doesn’t fit human desires. Who determines the “needs” vs wants? Are doctors, teachers, (any profession); and hospitals, buildings, and machines true needs? Is transportation a need? All were brought on by man’s desire to improve our living conditions. Teaching, designing, building, feeding, all require energy. Our consumption of energy is a physical requirement of are advancement.
    On the energy consumption side, I agree that sustainable is better. However, fossil fuels provide a basis for cost effect energy and human advancement.
    A simple look at Global Warming and the use of fossil fuels.
    We’ve heard that global warming started with the Industrial Revolution. But, is that accurate? Well, No. Actually the earth has been getting warmer for the last 11,000 years, since the end of the last ice age. Evidence of this is found in the receding of the glaciers. Remember that during the last ice age that glaciers carved out the Great Lakes. That means that the glaciers expanded past the south end of Lake Michigan. Based on rock, gravel, and sand deposits, the glaciers extended to around the 41st parallel. Over the course of the 11,000 years the glaciers receded from approximately the 41st parallel to their current location, approximately the 66th parallel. This receding was and continues because of the Earth’s warming. The general warming over this period has been around 10 Centigrade degrees or 18 Fahrenheit degrees.
    Until approximately the year 1800, which is the center of the Industrial Revolution period, man generated a minuscule amount of CO2 . The population of the US that year was around 5.31 million. There were no cars, no electric power plants (1st was in 1882), no oil wells (1st was in 1859), and no natural gas wells (1st was in 1821). This means that man generated CO2 had no impact on the earth’s warming for the first 10,780 years that the earth was getting warmer. Simply put , man’s CO2 emissions could not be the cause of the warming during this 10,780 year period.
    Why did the earth get warmer? And, why does it continue to get warmer?
    Let’s first talk about Greenhouse gases. My guess is that most of the people calling for reductions of 80, 90 or 100% of Greenhouse gases don’t know the definition of a Greenhouse gas. So, let’s define a greenhouse gas; “a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation”, with the radiation coming primarily from the sun.
    What is the most prevalent Greenhouse gas? It represents 90% of the volume of all greenhouse gases. It’s not CO2 , its H20; water vapor. Surprised? I was too until I did some research. Remember the water cycle from grade school; it rains, the rain water flows back to the ocean, it evaporates, rises in the atmosphere, cools, forms water droplets (clouds), and then in rains or snows. Other gases, of which CO2 (about 8% of greenhouse gas) is one of several, make up the remaining 10%. Note that about 90% of the CO2 in the atmosphere is from natural causes. That gives us about 10% of 8% or about 0.8% of CO2 that is man generated. The people calling for reductions of 80, 90 or 100% of Greenhouse gases are, well, ignorant. . If all man generated CO2 emissions were eliminated, we would have a 0.8% impact on the warming of the earth.
    Ok, let’s get back to the questions. Why did the earth get warmer? And, why does it continue to get warmer?
    The theory that holds the most water (couldn’t resist) is that the sun was and still is getting brighter, little by little.
    As the sun gets brighter, it generates more infrared energy. This increased infrared energy hits the earth and its atmosphere. Remember the earth’s surface is 2/3 water. The more infrared energy that hits the surface water the more it heats up and more water vapor is put into the atmosphere. Simply stated, as the sun gets brighter more water vapor is produced. More water vapor absorbs more infrared energy, and the earth gets warmer.
    I agree that improvements to reduce pollution of all kinds is important and we should do what is prudent to reduce CO2 emissions. But generating false fear and forcing reductions at all cost is dangerous, costly, harmful, and frankly stupid.
    Violet Wagner.

  43. 93
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian, and whoever else wants to chime in. One of the aspects of modern manufacturing that makes it difficult to reach sustainability is that economies of scale favor production of lots of cheap, short-lived goods that must be replaced on a regular basis. If a business is to remain in business, it has to count on obsolescence to regularly renew demand for a product it is geared to turn out repetitively and cheaply. This is pretty much the opposite of what we want. Ideally, you’d buy a product once and hand it down to your progeny for generations.

    Can a shift toward additive manufacturing, where a business can “retool” on a dime to make whatever is needed, help to resolve this?

  44. 94
    jgnfld says:

    @81 EP

    I wonder how often World Nuclear News operated by the World Nuclear Association has published peer reviewed, independent analyses looking at ALL the current data objectively as opposed to with regard to their nuclear constituents?

  45. 95

    @94:  You can always follow links to the source.

  46. 96

    #92, Violet Wagner–

    Wrong on several fronts.

    1) Actually the earth has been getting warmer for the last 11,000 years, since the end of the last ice age.

    No, it hasn’t. The height of postglacial warmth (until recently, that is) was about 8,000 years back, give or take:

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

    2) …the most prevalent Greenhouse gas […is] H20; water vapor. Surprised?

    No-one here is surprised that water vapor is an important GHG, unless maybe there is a first-time reader dropping by (in which case, “Welcome!”)

    We all know this. We mostly know something else, too, but in that regard I’ll just let the American Chemical Society do their thing in expounding on the topic:

    It’s true that water vapor is the largest contributor to the Earth’s greenhouse effect. On average, it probably accounts for about 60% of the warming effect. However, water vapor does not control the Earth’s temperature, but is instead controlled by the temperature. This is because the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere limits the maximum amount of water vapor the atmosphere can contain.

    There is of course more, which you can read here:

    https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/climatescience/climatesciencenarratives/its-water-vapor-not-the-co2.html

    3) Why did the earth get warmer? And, why does it continue to get warmer? The theory that holds the most water (couldn’t resist) is that the sun was and still is getting brighter, little by little.

    Except it *doesn’t* hold water, or at least not on relevant timescales. This diagram pretty much says all that you need to know:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_activity_and_climate#/media/File:Solar_irradiance_and_temperature_1880-2018.jpeg

    Clearly, over the last 50 years, increasing solar radiation can’t have caused the observed warming, because there was no increase. In fact, solar output ended up *falling* a smidge (though with intervening ups and downs), even as the temperature rose fairly consistently.

    As the article puts it:

    Patterns of solar irradiance and solar variation has [sic] been a main driver of climate change over the millennia to gigayears of the geologic time scale, but its role in the recent warming has been found to be insignificant.

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

  47. 97
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Violet Wagner,
    Your utterly ignorant and evidence-free opinion is duly noted. B-Bye, troll.

  48. 98

    Ray, #93–

    …economies of scale favor production of lots of cheap, short-lived goods that must be replaced on a regular basis. If a business is to remain in business, it has to count on obsolescence to regularly renew demand for a product it is geared to turn out repetitively and cheaply. This is pretty much the opposite of what we want.

    Yes, that’s a penetrating observation. It’s why I keep saying that consumerism as we know it has to die. As I understand Killian, and presumably those sharing his views, more or less, that’s also, partly at least, why profit has to go away. It’s simply not sustainable–if I understand correctly what he has said on numerous occasions.

    The problem for me is that trading seems to have been something people always did, and they presumably did it in order to profit. (Profit is by definition what happens when you exchange something less valued for something more valued, no? And, as side note, if there is such a thing as a ‘win-win’ deal, which I believe there to be, then one might guess that conservations laws do not apply to wealth per se. Money might be a different critter in that regarc–or not.) So I can’t feel too sanguine about ending the profit motive. (Though perhaps Killian would accept non-monetary profit? I’ll have to let him speak for himself on that.)

    But Ray has another thought:

    Can a shift toward additive manufacturing, where a business can “retool” on a dime to make whatever is needed, help to resolve this?

    Well, I don’t know if it can or not. It seems like a potentially helpful development, but is it sufficiently transformative? Or might it be part of an economic/technological/political ‘ecosystem’ in which we also have shifted economic incentives in some way–taxing emissions, perhaps? Drastically increasing disposal fees over time? Creating longevity prizes for design? Using data analytics to reward consumers with tax credits for keeping old devices in service after a statistically-determined service window?

    Or do we ban persuasive advertising altogether, allowing only factual, attribute-based informational advertising that exists just to let consumers find what they actually need? That would have to be a slowly-phased-in measure; it wouldn’t do to eliminate 0.45% of all US jobs too suddenly! Plus, what would we do as a culture if shopping as a major focus of life were utterly eliminated?

    Questions, questions!

  49. 99
    nigelj says:

    Violet Wagner @92,

    “Who determines the “needs” vs wants? Are doctors, teachers, (any profession); and hospitals, buildings, and machines true needs? Is transportation a need? All were brought on by man’s desire to improve our living conditions…..”

    Fair point. We can say that food, basic shelter and clothing and medicine are the essential needs, because we die without them, but beyond that needs and wants seem to exist on a spectrum, where its very hard to differentiate them. I think its pointless trying. Its better to talk about waste, and reducing waste, for example thinking of RL’s comment, built in obsolescence is wasteful. Its probably easier to define waste.

    Unfortunately your understanding of climate science is not good. Changes in the sun are not causing our recent changing climate. While climates have changed before due to changes in solar activity, the general solar changes are too weak to explain the level of the recent warming period and the solar trend from the 1980s – 2020 has been flat overall so cannot be a causative factor in the recent warming period.

    Water vapour is also not primarily responsible for the recent warming period. While water vapour in the atmosphere has been increasing in recent decades, so is partly responsible for the recent warming, its only increasing because of the greenhouse effect warming the oceans. There is plenty of commentary on this easily googled. Stick to websites like NASA who know what they are talking about.

  50. 100
    nigelj says:

    Ray Ladbury @93

    “One of the aspects of modern manufacturing that makes it difficult to reach sustainability is that economies of scale favor production of lots of cheap, short-lived goods that must be replaced on a regular basis…..”

    Agreed, but the following article suggests a big part of the reason for built in obsolescence was a deliberate strategy by manufacturers to find ways of getting the consumer to pay more, using the early electric light bulb as an example, even before mass production really scaled up.

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20160612-heres-the-truth-about-the-planned-obsolescence-of-tech

    “Can a shift toward additive manufacturing, where a business can “retool” on a dime to make whatever is needed, help to resolve this?”

    So the use of 3D printing would reduce the mass production component, but would manufacturers still use built in obsolescence just because they ‘can’ and it makes them money, like with the lightbulb?

    However its possible for very small firms to offer 3D printing, so you could get more customer choice, and they could brand themselves as offering long lasting products to get business. Built in obsolescence is worst with monopolies and duopolies, for obvious reasons.

    And how bad is built in obsolescence? The article does highlight some benefits related to the fast moving field of electronics. However this doesn’t seem relevant to just wanting a hammer or saw that lasts more than five years before it breaks!

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