RealClimate logo


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. 151
    Mr. Know It All says:

    137 – David Benson
    “A wide variety of materials exhibit radiative cooling:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03911-8
    all at about 100 w/m^2. Is this enough for geoengineering a cooler planet?”

    It’s promising technology, and it is this type of innovation (and more like it) that will pull our butts up of the hot sand of AGW; not the top-down centralized control by the iron fist of government that Biden/Harris and AOC want. ;)

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/centrally-planned-economy.asp

    I’d like some of the super-cool stuff to cover my car, the south side of my house, the roof, etc. :) There is also a transparent nano-technology coating that you can apply to windows that works similar to the materials described in your nature article. Not cheap last I checked, but the price should come down.

  2. 152

    KIA 138: In other climate news, cold records in Oregon are falling faster than the thermometer in the coming ice age.

    BPL: Idiot boy will never learn the difference between weather and climate.

  3. 153
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA: “The real question, the inconvenient question for Kevin and others, is “How did the earth suddenly warm and end the ice age?” ”

    Oh, ferchrissake. We’ve been over this endless times. Ice age cycles are driven by small, but long-term changes in insolation of both hemispheres due to perturbations in Earth’s tilt axis and orbit around the sun. CO2 acts as a feedback that accelerates these changes.

    Folks, don’t listen to Faux News–your brain can really get stuck like that. Mr. KIA is a cautionary tale.

  4. 154
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Zebra, Dear, the grown ups are talking. It is not up to me to rectify your feeble imagination. If you don’t see the value of additive manufacturing, ignore it. But you might consider that parts for all of the things you mention can be build using AM, and once demand for those things is filled, one can make something else. And considerably more easily and economically than you can retool a factory to make something new.

    Perhaps the problem you face in trying to understand these things is your utter ignorance of how anything real works. Maybe work on that and get back to us.

  5. 155
    Dan says:

    re:138.
    “In other climate news, cold records in Oregon are falling faster than the thermometer in the coming ice age.”

    Wow, it is amazing how many lies you can put in one sentence while flaunting your gross scientific ignorance. A. It is not “climate news”, junior. It is “weather news”. B. The “coming ice age” is as disingenuous as you can get.

    Someone utterly failed to teach you about critical thinking. Most likely when you were brought up. Quite seriously. You have no ability to access information and learn about it. You only regurgitate misinformation from others simply because you want to believe it.

  6. 156
    nigelj says:

    Killian @150

    “Of course you don’t.”

    What has that comment got to do with what I said, which was to suggest that once we get beyond the most essential of needs like food, sheter and clothing it seems hard to differentiate between needs and wants. Anyone disagree? (Or what do people think?).

    You have added nothing.

    “So, stop telling others what is or is not possible;”

    I have never once said what is possible and not possible. I’ve explained what is happening and what has happened, and what I think is most likely to happen, and what I think is unlikely to happen and why, which suggests where we might best put our energy.

    “what you have quite explicitly stated you have absolutely no idea.

    Bullshit. I fully understand what is possible. Almost anything is “possible” including things you have stated. That doesnt make it all useful, likely, or practical, or preferable.

  7. 157
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @139, thanks, and I largely agree with your assessment. Basically Killian and others want to minimise building new energy grids out of concerns about resource scarcity, and seem to have very optimistic views about how fast humanity can change its lifestyles and levels of consumption, and I am a bit more pessimistic. I think change in lifestyles and consumption levels is certainly possible, and we are not 100% ruled by instincts at all, but instincts and other psychological impediments does mean change is sometimes slower than what we want. I have said this before. As such I think prime focus has to be on a new energy grid, and we also encourage reducing consumption as a secondary thing. I think its possibly better to actually focus on reducing waste because this helps reduce consumption without sounding as challenging.

    My comment about squirrels hoarding things was simplifed to make the point that its challenging, not to suggest we are totally hostage to our instincts. We have this constant battle between our instincts and the front thinking, analytical part of the brain. Its messy, but that is evolution for you, so its not entirely surprising either. Hopefully sanity and the solutions and political choices you mention prevail. Thank’s for the references, its my kind of stuff. I might get back on some of your other points.

  8. 158
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @151

    “Is this enough for geoengineering a cooler planet?…….It’s promising technology, and it is this type of innovation (and more like it) that will pull our butts up of the hot sand of AGW; not the top-down centralized control by the iron fist of government that Biden/Harris and AOC want. ;)”

    But hang on. You keep telling us theres no warming, or minimal warming, and some place has just had a very cold winter, now you are telling us we have “the hot sand of agw”. Which is it?

    It also escapes you that “geoengineering a cooler planet” would probably require the greatest top down centralised planning in human history! And frankly geoengineering is a very bad idea, a last resort throw of the dice that could go very wrong.

    Sorry I shoudn’t feed the troll but its a bit of fun, and its important to point out the many absurd inconsistencies in their statements, and the lack of understanding of what they propose.

  9. 159
    zebra says:

    Ray Ladbury #154,

    I think that, like various trolls here, you are the one who doesn’t understand how real things work in a particular field, and you are not willing to back up your assertions with anything but hand-waving. You just have a distorted view of basic economics.

    Printing parts, as I said originally, has the potential to reduce material requirements and energy use somewhat. You might make an ICE, for example, that was lighter and used less material and required less machining. But so what?

    -How does that change the demand for automobiles?
    -Why would the automobiles last longer?
    -Why would people not keep a car for 3 to 7 years and then trade it in for “the newest model”, just like they do now?
    -And why would the manufacturer change the design of the engine anyway? Just because they could??

    I’m guessing you will have no answers, because it doesn’t fit the fantasy-economics to which you seem attached.

    I would even argue, that in the real world, the ability to easily have a new design (e.g. for objects that could be printed completely) would make it more likely that they would be made more disposable…consider the world of clothing and fashion, even now.

  10. 160
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA: “What kind of forces would be involved in changing the orbit of a ball of rock 8,000 miles in diameter orbiting the sun at ~67,000 miles/hour? ”

    And Jesus wept.

    Dude, I really don’t know whether a steady diet of Faux News and Breitfart has left your brain so riddled with holes that you cannot understand things, but on the off chance you retain some cognitive capabilities, or if you don’t, for the edification of others, here goes.

    The basic answer to your question is “steady forces”. A steady force, acting over a long period of time can have a large effect. Remember, that we are talking about forces acting over tens to hundreds of thousands of years.

    As another example: one of the potential defenses being considered against asteroids impinging on Earth orbit is to “paint” the asteroid in such a way that it absorbs solar radiation more on one side than the other. Light has momentum, so this can deflect the asteroid sufficiently to miss Earth.

    Moral: The fact that you don’t understand a complicated system doesn’t mean that the experts whose day job it is to understand it are as ignorant as you.

  11. 161

    nigel, killian, mal–

    I’m inclined to think that needs and wants are not so easy to distinguish sometimes. There’s Maslow’s model, the simplest version of which is a pyramid with the following tiers:

    –self-actualization
    –esteem
    –love, belonging
    –security
    –physiological

    https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

    It’s a pyramid, because each layer rests upon the foundational premise that the underlying needs have been met. Conversely, if you are in physiological need, everything above that becomes a “want” (if it’s considered at all).

    I think it’s objectively true that society today does a better job than ever before in human history of meeting physiological and security needs, and probably ditto up the ladder at least some way. (Of course, as we mostly know here, it’s built on an unsustainable foundation that’s urgently in need–there’s that word again!–of fundamental rebuilding.)

    So, if needs versus wants is our criterion, how do we deal with its relativity across social conditions (and indeed, across history)

    It’s obvious at least that equity is a big deal here: it’s neither just nor sustainable that some are working on physiology while others get to work on self-actualization with never a care nor second thought. (Cf., “first-world problems.”)

  12. 162
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @139 following on from my previous reply, I agree about the tragedy of the commons problem and it being very central to the climate issue. My understanding is tragedy of the commons problems can be fixed in various ways including the courts, government rules and regulations, government subsidies, mediation, things like carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes. Any of these mechanisms can work other than to say resolving problems with court action is never ideal and puts the odds in favour of the big guys and the lawyers.

    I think regulations and taxes have sometimes been over done in some areas of the economy and this has made people reluctant to accept environmental regulations or taxes, and this is frustrating because its very hard to resolve tragedy of the commons problems without some form of government involvement, the mutually agreed coercion of saving ourselves from ourselves. However history shows that when death is staring us in the face governments do act strongly and people are largely prepared to accept considerable government rules, eg covid 19 restrictions.

    But with the climate problem imminent death is not staring us in the face. Its more of a serious but complex slow motion train wreck with the greatest impact on the younger generation and very uneven impacts globally, worst obviously in the tropics. While I think promoting a carbon tax and / or system of regulatory controls and subsidies is essential, it is clearly proving to be hard work with only a small number of countries making much progress. Perhaps more effort should be put into promoting the more general benefits of low carbon footprints and renewable energy. Scaremongering has its place if evidence based, but hasn’t motivated sufficient action. Would an approach emphasising the wider positive benefits work better, or at least help?

  13. 163
    mike says:

    Nigel: please choose your words carefully and be consistent. That makes it easier to interact and communicate with you.

    I have no idea what this means from 142: just a clarification. I said “All I said was it looks like its going to be a slow process transitioning to a new system and to widely reduced levels of per capita consumption, for the practical, technical and psychological reasons I stated.” I didn’t use the exact words slow process in in the comment you referred to, but I’ve said it many times on this website.”

    I think it makes sense to just be accurate and keep it simple. Going to absolutes like “all I said was….” or ““Nobody will want to do reduce their materialism unless they see other people doing it and as a result nothing changes.” are inherently inaccurate. The conversation will proceed better if we all choose our words carefully and avoid stating things in terms that are simply inaccurate or untrue.

    “All I said…” strikes me as rhetoric, not genuine good faith communication. It is quite different from a statement that starts “What I meant to say was…”

    Communicating complex ideas accurately can be difficult. Choosing our words carefully and making accurate statements might help communication and understanding proceed more efficiently.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  14. 164
    Al Bundy says:

    NigelJ: Sorry I shoudn’t feed the troll but its a bit of fun, and its important to point out the many absurd inconsistencies in their statements, and the lack of understanding of what they propose.

    AB: It ain’t “feeding the trolls” but “mutual masturbation”. You get off on the fight. They do the same from the opposite direction.

    Own up to YOUR filthy mind.

  15. 165
    Al Bundy says:

    To all the “heroes” who “fight the good fight” by spouting at denialists on comment boards:

    Comment boards do NO good. Yes, one can emulate a denialist by crafting a possible scenario where one (irrelevant) human is slightly moved by your “brilliance”, but any thinking human can see that participation in comment threads is a distraction that delays actual physical progress.

    DO SOMETHING REAL. This site is a pressure release, a bit of fun, a distraction. Which is grand as long as you don’t let your focus get distracted, too.

    So do what you do FOR REAL. And play here. But don’t fool yourself. This site is for your benefit, not for you to shower the world with your “contribution to humanity”.

  16. 166
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Zebra, OK, so that whooshing sound was the point going well over your head.

    Point by point:

    1) Much of current manufacturing is set up to make the same damned thing over and over and over again to minimize per-unit cost.
    2) Eventually demand for whatever the factory is making saturates unless the damned thing wears out before that happens.
    3) This is wasteful, even if there is recycling, because recycling rarely is 100% effective and rarely pays for itself.
    4) Additive manufacturing means that the factory does not need to make the same damned thing all the time. When demand saturates, they can make something else. No need to make a crappy product that breaks just so they can stay in business.
    5) Additive manufacturing favors modular assemblies, allowing “upgrades” as technology improves without scrapping the entire product.
    6) Additive manufacturing would allow local, small scale enterprises to be viable and this would allow customization as long as the modules meet interface requirements. Imagine local businesses making product to order, perhaps paying a royalty to, e.g. a car manufacturer for the basic design and interface schematics. Far fewer huge factories. People able to live where they want. Revitalized local (especially rural) economies.
    7) This would of course not be something viable in a field where progress is extremely rapid (computers, electronics), but in most fields, progress is pretty slow–e.g. refrigerators–just think if we didn’t have to recycle and reprocess refrigerants every 10 years.

    That is where I am going with this–can the flexibility afforded by additive manufacturing play a role in development of sustainable economies?

  17. 167

    Additive manufacturing is slow, and therefore costly in machine time; they take hours to make anything of significant size.  Have you ever been in a real manufacturing plant?  I spent 2 months in an appliance plant a while back.  The presses there could stamp out a piece of an appliance housing every few seconds.  Then overhead conveyors took the raw metal through the paint plant.  Same thing with the injection-molded pieces; one every minute or so, and these were a couple of feet in the largest dimension.

    You can’t beat those economies of scale with additive manufacturing.  If it takes 10,000 AM machines to do what a single press, injection molder and casting plant can do, you’re going to lose every time.  The problems with AM are the same reason that mass production of standardized products beat hand manufacture back in the 19th century.

    Reliance on AM means collapse of industrial civilization, as the 3D printers won’t be able to so much as maintain their supply chains.

  18. 168
    zebra says:

    Ray Ladbury #166,

    Look, I know you are smarter than the trolls like Victor, but your thinking in this particular field…economics, business models…is just as confused as Victor’s thinking about physics. It’s not that I don’t understand what you are suggesting; it’s that you have your facts, principles, and reasoning wrong, so you reach incorrect conclusions.

    As I predicted, you offered no answers to my very basic questions about a real-world example of an ICE at #159. How is making it with AM different in a business sense than using casting and machining and assembly?

    If I have a profitable business model making engines that wear out and need maintenance and replacement parts, why would I change that, just because I use AM? The AM might save me labor costs, so I would make even more profit, and my business model would keep right on ticking. Sweet! No way I would abandon it.

    Please, explain why I’m wrong.

  19. 169
    nigelj says:

    mike @163,

    I think you are a good guy, but your response is tiresome, patronising, and avoids addressing any of the key issues I mentioned. Instead you nit pick over style. For example when somebody says “nobody is going to do xyz” it is just shorthand that means “most people are unlikely to do xyz”. If you dont understand this, that says more about you than me.

    I think I was clear enough, not perfect but ok. Nobody else complained about that comment. You also complain you don’t understand MAR at times, despite his meticulous writing, and I dont have a problem understanding him, so perhaps the problem understanding is yours. Its an internet blog so people often rush things so you have to think hard and read between the lines a bit.

  20. 170
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @164, I don’t know that I equate the adrenalin rush of a battle with denialists with mutual masturbation as such, but I fully concede my mind ain’t the cleanest :)

  21. 171
    nigelj says:

    Ray Ladbury @166 on additive manufacturing. I largely agree with Rays points and I agree the flexibility of additive manufacturing can help sustainablity. Although I think its unlikely additive manufacturing would completely displace mass production for everything especially totally standard items because additive manufacturing is costly for such things. But this leaves much scope for additive manufacturing, and time might change all this.

    Firms doing additive manufacturing tend to be small, and so might be more likely to brand themselves as providing longer lasting products to differentiate themselves from each other and mass producers. This then puts pressure on everyone to do the same.

    As to this objection by Z: “I would even argue, that in the real world, the ability to easily have a new design (e.g. for objects that could be printed completely) would make it more likely that they would be made more disposable…consider the world of clothing and fashion, even now.”

    Not significant. We are talking about a small minority of people with money to burn on replacing things constantly at their whim, and a limited range of products where fashion is paramount like clothing. They can do this now because there’s huge choice of fashion products. Its hard to see how additive manufacturing would make the situation worse or significantly worse. I would say most people want most things to last longer than they currently do and this would outweigh the point Z makes. I keep most thing until they self destruct, even although I could afford to replace them sooner. They all do the basic job just fine, and newer versions mostly only add small improvements.

    I’m going to post this link again for peoples interest, in case it got missed:

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

  22. 172
    mike says:

    at Al Bundy: I agree. The squabbling is generally a waste of time. There is some chance of genuine, thoughtful communication in a spot like this, but it can easily be buried under the squabbling and baiting that often takes place. The worst folks here (we all know who they are) should simply be ignored or dismissed with a pat on the head. It makes little sense to me to engage with those folks in lengthy back and forth because they are not interested in learning anything or sharing anything true and meaningful, they are just here to get attention.

    I appreciate those of you who comment and engage in good faith at least most of the time.

    A lot of this would not happen if the site was moderated in a sensible manner, but it is not. The scientists are too busy to take the time playing whack-a-troll. I get that.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  23. 173
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @165, I believe if we leave incorrect assertions go unchallenged they will gain traction with the public. Plenty of people read the big media websites and comments sections, given the numbers of comments.

    On most websites I tend to keep responses to denialists very short, polite, facts based with just one link to relevant science, all for obvious reasons. I get carried away here because its good entertainment and I find other peoples responses interesting. You might feel your time is better spent on other things and that’s fine as well.

  24. 174

    One other thing about AM:  it tends to leave porosity in the product.  This will create stress risers inside the product itself where it can’t be ameliorated with after-the-fact processing like shot peening, and the fatigue life will be reduced.

    If you’re concerned about closing the cycle on materials, AM is not the solution.  Polyethylene is more renewable than most materials as it can be made from ethanol (dehydrate to ethylene, then polymerize) and magnesium is indefinitely renewable as what corrodes finds its way back to the oceans where it came from in the first place.

  25. 175
    nigelj says:

    Mike and anyone interested, what I’m getting at is this in summary form. I certainly think we have a range of serious environmental and socioeconomic problems, and possible answers include systems change and changes to our our values and lifestyles, and to reduce our consumption of energy, technology and other resources and building new energy sources. Its probably going to require a combination of these things but we need to be realistic on the issues.

    “But” change has to be well considered and rational. I have reduced my red meat consumption for example, because there are several good reasons to do this that create an overwhelming case for it. Another example is Im less convinced we should be trying to create communities that have common ownership of the means of production, given how many times this has been tried and failed.

    And there are all sorts of practical and psychologcal impediments to change that need to inform how we prioritise things. For example I think building a new energy grid is feasible and likely to be less painful and resisted than expecting people make truly huge lifestyle changes. This is why I get annoyed with people like Michael Moore who say renewable energy is a capitalist scam and we can mostly just fix the climate problem with reduced use of energy and lower population growth. I just think hes being naive and delusional.Of course even a new energy grid faces obstacles but perhaps less than what Moore proposes.

    Of course it’s not an either / or thing. Mitigating climate change requires a range of responses including consumption patterns and new energy grids, but I think its useful to be clear on priorities.

    Some impediments to change include:

    1) Humans are wired up psychologically to respond best to short term threats not longer term threats like climate change as below. This is a tough impediment but climate change is becoming more acutely obvious and this may help overcome this impediment, I hope.

    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5530483

    2) Sadly to say many people are selfish and greedy and we cant change that just by snapping our fingers. Its probably a longer term project. Unfortunately neoliberal economics has created an excuse for greed, however the good thing is that neoliberal economics is being questioned.

    3) There is often unrealistic technical hype around what will be possible with energy efficiency. We cant count on it as a get out of jail free card.

    4) There is a thing called something like the first mover problem. I cant find a reference, but it says with things like climate change people largely don’t want to to reduce their carbon footprints, because they dont think it would individually make a difference, and they dont want to make changes until they see other people making changes, so nothing changes. Now this does not mean nothing will ever change, and things do reach tipping points, but it tends to slow change down I think. For this reason its really important explain how every little bit does help, and to also push for things like carbon taxes because they force everyone to make changes in rough unison, and to push for things like the GND because this is more of a system wide change in a technical sense.

    I also think if we spread understanding of these sorts of psychological impediments it may help us overcome them. We are not total slaves to them but we cant combat them if we dont acknowledge they exist.

    Hope that is all bit clearer.

  26. 176
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel: I believe if we leave incorrect assertions go unchallenged they will gain traction with the public. Plenty of people read the big media websites and comments sections, given the numbers of comments.

    AB: This ain’t one of “the big media websites”.

    Again, what good does it do to zombify a denialist comment here (and only here)? If nobody responds it scrolls on by and dies. But nooooo, folks have to resurrect it over and over and over. Geez, Vic and KIA get pages of “discussion” out of any old pseudo-hypothesis.

  27. 177
    S.B. Ripman says:

    This quote from a financial publication should be kept in mind when the discussion touches upon the feasibility of converting our world into a simpler place that uses less power:

    “… simply put, when it comes to middle class consumption, there’s China and the rest of the world. According to Brookings Institution, Chinese middle class consumers are on track to spend $7.3 trillion in 2020, head and shoulders above the U.S. ($4.7 trillion). Total household spending in the U.S., of course, is higher than in China because U.S. households are richer (higher per capita incomes) although the sheer number of Chinese consumers makes its market size larger—much larger. To this point, in 2006, China’s middle class was estimated to number 90 million people. But after adding an average of 60 million people to its middle class every year since then, China’s middle class now numbers roughly 750 million people. By 2027, according to Brookings, an estimated 1.2 billion Chinese will be considered middle class—a staggering consuming cohort.”

  28. 178
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: You can’t beat those economies of scale with additive manufacturing.

    EP:Reliance on AM means collapse of industrial civilization, as the 3D printers won’t be able to so much as maintain their supply chains.

    AB: Big Corp builds 3D printers, along with all the big stuff and the complicated bits that go into other stuff.

    Consumer Jill wants a new widget. She looks at the available designs and sees that the superior design will take her printer an extra half hour to make.
    Most Jills will pick the better design. Wouldn’t you?

    Yeah, printed stuff isn’t going to be as strong as forged materially, but it allows organic design. When material strength “wins” BigCorp can make it. When “organic” wins your printer does it while you’re off playing.

  29. 179
    Al Bundy says:

    Recycling hydrocarbons is probably foolish, other than rather specific cases. Trucks carrying bottles of air?! Gathering and sorting paper, only to have part of a pizza box ruin the result? Adding more bleach and whatnot to revirginize the pulp?

    With proper facilities the stuff can all be burned for power.
    Virgin material to consumer use to power beats the current “burn virgin material for power” paradigm. Heck, it can be non-polluting (require staged combustion interleaved with a 3-way cat – burn a bit rich, catalyze NOX, add secondary air, catalyze CO and UHC) and sustainable (Nigel’s definition).

    Heck, crappy paper towels increase their energy content when cleaning up. Saves water, energy, and time while mitigating water pollution that can result from cleaning with cloth. The above-described burn will get well over 3000F. Whatever toxin was wiped up will be broken down (other than toxic atoms). Hmm, what are some heat-resistant toxins?

  30. 180
    Al Bundy says:

    To clarify:

    burn a bit rich, extract energy to drop temperature enough to prevent further nitrogen ionization, catalyze NOX, add secondary air, catalyze CO and UHC, extract energy to below 100C with an ammonia bottoming cycle, producing water.

  31. 181
    Al Bundy says:

    Engine news:

    I had accepted a design that would need a lot of balancing and I was struggling with the piping to externals when I noticed that swapping the pre-compression and re-expansion cylinders’ locations makes for a well-balanced design (but not as ‘almost perfect’ a V6).

    It also solved the plumbing issues and provides two widely-spaced intake ports, making for easy induction tuning. Easier valvetrain and thermal regulation, too.

    The above were the engine’s biggest remaining imperfections. Wonder what I’ll obsess about now?

    And who was the idiot who designed it backwards?! That moron ought to be f…

    Oops.

    Uh, ‘forgiven’.

    Anyway, that means a new set of drawings. This process sure takes a lot of time, especially when so much of the day is dedicated to the critical job of squabbling on the internet.

  32. 182
    Al Bundy says:

    BPL,

    I thought your wording was funny, invoking God instead of, say, “for the love of God”.

    But Georgia could get us to the magical 50 Senators (plus one Kamala) via two run-off elections.. Maybe your call for a miracle helped!

    Imagine, the world’s fate resting on a single state (my old hometown is Atlanta). Think there will be any ads?

  33. 183
    mike says:

    October 18 – 24, 2020 411.52 ppm
    October 18 – 24, 2019 408.73 ppm
    October 18 – 24, 2010 387.54 ppm

    I think I can present that in an accurate shorthand way as increase of approximately 2.4 ppm over the past ten years and increase of approximately 2.8 ppm over the past year.

    We need to flatten this curve. I think we should be talking about flattening this curve in a robust conversation that emphasizes that our individual choices about consumption that generate emissions are important and should be reduced. Positive change can come from a top down process like governmental regulation or through a bottom up, grassroots movement to reduce emissions. Discussion of why people won’t change their habits is a waste of time and contributes to the tragedy of the commons.

    If you think that things can’t change suddenly, please think back to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. I hope that something like this happens with rapacious capitalism, but I don’t know if that will come to pass. I sincerely hope it does even though that kind of change is not painless.

    Speak clearly and accurately about what we need to do and why we need to do it. That’s what I am thinking about and interested in. I appreciate the folks here whose comments avoid the back and forth.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  34. 184
    Killian says:

    177 S.B. Ripman: This quote from a financial publication should be kept in mind when the discussion touches upon the feasibility of converting our world into a simpler place that uses less power

    Like saying the Ku Klux Klan should be kept in mind when determining future political moves. Just as relevant.

    Pick a random data point and claim it is important without the context of risks and consequences? Meaningless.

  35. 185
    Killian says:

    176 Al Bundy: Vic and KIA get pages of “discussion” out of any old pseudo-hypothesis.

    It’s been years and years, actually, yet the peanuts keep being fed to the denialephants.

  36. 186
    Killian says:

    175: “But” change has to be well considered and rational

    Really? I’m pretty fucking sure it was shown not long after the voyage of the Beagle that it must be ADAPTIVE.

    S.T.F.U.

    You are doing harm to our collective future.

  37. 187
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @174 you are probably right. It looks to me like AM is mostly a solution for certain types of product where you want small runs of specialist custom made products like prosthetic limbs, or specialist biological applications where time is not of the essence. This could change or grow but we dont know. But RLs only assertion was that AM might reduce built in obsolescence and thus help sustainability. I cant see why that wouldn’t be true.

  38. 188
    Killian says:

    164 Al Bundy: NigelJ: Sorry I shoudn’t feed the troll but its a bit of fun, and its important to point out the many absurd inconsistencies in their statements, and the lack of understanding of what they propose.

    AB: It ain’t “feeding the trolls” but “mutual masturbation”. You get off on the fight. They do the same from the opposite direction.

    Own up to YOUR filthy mind.

    Yes. Nigel, will have, of course, taken this as a personal attack rather than the general observation it actually is, but what can one do when others simply do not *want* to understand?

  39. 189
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @176

    “Again, what good does it do to zombify a denialist comment here (and only here)? If nobody responds it scrolls on by and dies. But nooooo, folks have to resurrect it over and over and over. Geez, Vic and KIA get pages of “discussion” out of any old pseudo-hypothesis.”

    Ha ha. Yes it does get like that. However I don’t think discussion with denialists matters much on this website or does any harm, because I doubt vast hordes of the general public read the comments, so the exposure of their nonsense doesn’t do any harm. I actually find the replies to denialists from experts quite informative and the whole thing entertaining. That has value. I’m just interested in the issues, and I cant see anything wrong with that, or to constantly need to be in “solutions mode”. And I do think nonsense should be rebutted, even if just with a short rebuttal. And I type fast and I don’t devote as much time as you might think I do.

    And I’m more cautious on other websites where lots of people read the comments. I’ve walked into the trap where I’ve posted a lengthy rebuttal, and you get some paid denialist who then fights back with huge pages of drivel that would normally get banned for spamming, but because its a “reply” to someone, the website feels obligated to post it. And then I reply again, and on the zombie walks, multiplying like a virus in the process. For this reason I mostly now keep my rebuttals on other websites very short with a link to the crucial information, and I mostly don’t respond to replies.

    I do think its also important to point out to the public in rebuttals that the denialism is based largely on various logical fallacies. Sometimes people get bogged down in the nuances of the science rather than pointing the logical fallacies out.

  40. 190
    Mal Adapted says:

    Kevin McKinney:

    If my model of “profit” is accepted, the “surplus” is the subjective difference between the value to trader A of the item he offered versus the item he received. The ‘surplus’ in that sense is the whole point of *any* trade, and doesn’t slip in at some point in history, because it’s been there all along.

    More clear thinking from Mr. McKinney, too.

    nigelj also gives a good account of himself:

    But I was really just saying very early examples of trade probably didnt involve any notions of making a profit as such, and perhaps K is right to that extent. It was probably a more naive transaction of swapping things based around different groups having different resources or skills. Whether this is based on needs or wants is clearly immaterial. Its just a process.

    But society has clearly transitioned long ago to a profit making model, and this has been a cultural evolution and as such its not going to be easy or quick unwinding this embedded process. Not for profit organisations do exist, but have not taken over. And I think the difference between a naive form of trade and making a profit is actually a very fine line.

    To an evolutionary biologist, the distinction between needs and wants is indeed immaterial. So is the distinction between naive and calculated profit-making. Behavior in Homo sapiens, both selfish and altruistic, arose by genetic and cultural evolution. The distinction between those two forms of evolution are also blurred in this context, except perhaps for their different timescales. Nonetheless, as Nigel suggests, it’s all a process. From genetic and cultural forebears, our social behavior and its cognitive engine evolved toward mutualistic exchange of goods (including group members) locally surplus to the requirements of a foraging lifestyle, along with raiding and asymmetric exploitation between kin-groups, et alia. AFAICT, the scholarly discipline of Economics examines human behaviors associated with intraspecific resource competition as natural phenomena, amenable to investigation by science. The discipline arose, like the so-called Natural Sciences, as a cultural adaptation for apprehending the universe without fooling ourselves. One limitation of science is that artificial distinctions must be subjectively made and collectively shared, or nothing can be said. That’s merely a methodological necessity, though: I, for one, think it unlikely the universe is actually (i.e. ontologically) divided into departments. Yet I submit that global population growth following the advent of science in the mid-17th century, is sufficient evidence of its adaptive value.

    Economists can draw on material evidence from the fossil and archaeological record. Trade appears to have originated no later than 300 kya. The shift from barter to money is attested by 9500 year old clay tokens. By that time, cultural evolution had been accelerated by the invention of agriculture, which led to controllable surplus food in some places and surplus population in others; walled settlements appeared shortly thereafter. Profit arose with division of labor, also enabled by regular food surpluses: By specializing in trade, some individuals acquired capital, i.e. surplus under their control, to exchange for their own necessities and then some. I’m not aware of evidence that successful early traders curbed their appetites if they could afford not to. The profitability of trade in commodities no doubt improved when draft animals were domesticated. Once that trade became regular enough, it’s widely believed the development of trade tokens led to the earliest alphabets. The rest is history: Another acceleration in the accumulation and transmission of culture, and a rich source of additional data, however “fuzzy”, for Economics.

    The conclusions of Economics are IMO relatively tentative, due to our stubborn insistence on fooling ourselves about our own behavior. As with other sciences, however, the peer community of publishing economists collectively curates the corpus of justified knowledge. I’m an evolutionary biologist by avocation, not an economist, and I don’t know any more than they do. I merely wish to avail myself of the best (i.e. least bad) way to understand how things got the way they are, for better or worse. By instinct and/or training, I’m disposed to give more authority to recognized experts than to random Internet avatars. That’s basic scientific meta-literacy. OTOH, let’s all keep in mind there’s little enough contribution by widely recognized economists on this thread. In general, RC’s scope seems not to overlap Economics much. Of course every blog has to draw the line somewhere 8^D! Nonetheless, it limits the progress we can make together, on the designated topic of this thread. For one thing, we don’t have a common vocabulary ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

  41. 191

    Consumer Jill wants a new widget. She looks at the available designs and sees that the superior design will take her printer an extra half hour to make.

    More like, Jill sees a $345 price tag for the custom article and decides that the mass-produced one for $39.99 is just fine.

    3D-printed stuff is for very limited production runs and prestige articles.

  42. 192
    nigelj says:

    Killian @186

    “175: “But” change has to be well considered and rational”

    “Really? I’m pretty fucking sure it was shown not long after the voyage of the Beagle that it must be ADAPTIVE……You are doing harm to our collective future.”

    How can change that is rational and well considered by a bad thing? And where did I say change should not also be adaptive?

    Take your damn hostility to some other website. People don’t want it here.

    ————————

    Killian @188

    “Own up to YOUR filthy mind.”

    “Yes. Nigel, will have, of course, taken this as a personal attack rather than the general observation it actually is, but what can one do when others simply do not *want* to understand?”

    You couldn’t be more wrong. “This was my response @170 “Al Bundy @164, “I don’t know that I equate the adrenalin rush of a battle with denialists with mutual masturbation as such, but I fully concede my mind ain’t the cleanest :)” Clearly I didnt feel under personal attack.

    As to people not wanting to understand, I suggest have a look in a mirror.

  43. 193
    nigelj says:

    Just reading Mal Adapted’s comment @190 on the evolution of trade etcetera, two of the best related books I’ve read over the last couple of years are “The Human Past”, by Chris Scarre, which is a basic anthropology text beautifully illustrated, and “Sapens: A Brief History of Humankind”, by Yuval Noah Harari, eye opening, erudite, witty and utterly compelling.

  44. 194
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Zebra, So, just curious. Are you trying to be obtuse, or is that all just raw, natural talent?

    The whole point of moving to AM is that you don’t HAVE TO make engines/engine parts. You can make pretty much whatever you want, subject to the constraints of the materials your 3D printer can use. What would drive you to make other things? Well, how about when your customer realizes that they can have a car that lasts for 30 + years, rather than 10 years. Now they can get said car from your, or they can get it from your competitor. And if they like the service/product you provide, they can come back to you in a year and order a refrigerator. And YOU can make it for them.

    EP: “3D-printed stuff is for very limited production runs and prestige articles.”

    And a printing press is way too expensive to use for any but the most popular books like the Bible or the latest bawdy tales. And there is no way whale oil will ever be replace for household illumination.

    Ladies and Gentlemen: We are not looking for “the solution”. “The solution” does not exist. We are looking for solutions, for things that make the situation better, that buy us time, and we’ve reached the point where we cannot afford to be picky.

  45. 195
    mike says:

    Here is a thought from Ursula le Guin: “Capitalism’s growth imperative stands radically at odds with ecology’s imperative of interdependence and limit. These two imperatives can no longer co-exist with each other. Either we establish an ecological society, or society will go under for everyone.”

    I am inclined to agree with Ms. Guin. The evidence that capitalism’s growth is undermining the livability and carrying capacity of the planet is pretty to see now and it becomes harder to not see every year now as the impacts of global warming build.

    Abrupt change does happen. It is very hard to predict, but when a human institution is sufficiently over-leveraged, it may collapse. The obvious examples of abrupt change in human societies in my lifetime that come to mind are the end of apartheid in South Africa and the collapse of the Soviet Union and fall of the Berlin Wall. If a person said in 1990 that they thought the Soviet Union would just collapse, that person would have seemed pretty out of touch. And yet, that is what happened in 1991. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_the_Soviet_Union

    I think for the reasons that le Guin states, it is possible that capitalism (as we know it) in its current high level of consumption and waste stream and its failure to value the natural world accurately is an over-leveraging of the institution that increases the chance of abrupt change. Change might come in small incremental steps, but I think the level of change that is going to be needed to stabilize the natural world is likely to be greater than our species can manage through managed incremental change. Things like recycling, improving efficiency, changing fuel sources, etc. are likely to only produce managed incremental change at a level that will not grealy reduce the risk of abrupt change on a level similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union or end of apartheid.

    Many conventional thinkers, utilizing conventional wisdom, will simply not be able to spot the possibility of abrupt change, or collapse. Folks like Killian can see it and are thinking about and proposing radical change that could be managed by our species if it can overcome its own conventional wisdom, but the pushback that arises toward Killian’s ideas from conventional thinkers are likely to prevent large scale implementation of radical change ideas. I think that’s just the way it is. Those of us who believe in radical change may best use our time and energies living the ideas we have almost like a demonstration project of other ways of being human on the planet. In that regard, I do quite a lot of urban permaculture gardening/farming and am seeking continuous quality improvement on the small piece of the earth where I enjoy some dominion and control.

    To the naysayers and conventional thinkers, I say, hey, open your mind a tiny bit and attempt to grasp how completely conventional wisdom fails during abrupt change and collapse episodes. It is probably a good thing to cultivate a little humility and doubt about things, especially when you think that you know how everything really works, when you propose that the limitations imposed by conventional wisdom are like laws of nature. Lots of things I thought were absolutely true during my lifetime have turned out to be conditionally true, and even untrue when conditions change sufficiently.

    The idea of forced variations as a means to change the trajectory of environmental collapse is all about holding onto your conventional wisdom just a little less tightly. It’s a goldilocks thing, I think it makes sense not to hold too loosely or too tightly, we seek that just right level of holding on to “truths.”

    I encourage you all to live the way you want to live for the reasons that are important to you and to step back a bit whenever you have an impulse to tell others that they should live and think as you do.

    I use CO2 accumulation the atmosphere as a yardstick to track in a very loose manner how we are doing with the causes and responses to the sixth great extinction event. How are we doing? I am sorry to report, I think not too good. Very little change at the level needed to alter the extinction event.

    Last Week October 18 – 24, 2020 411.52 ppm
    1 Year Ago October 18 – 24, 2019 408.73 ppm

    Cheers

    Mike

  46. 196
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: 3D-printed stuff is for very limited production runs and prestige articles.

    AB: Yep so far. Fortunately, Jill owns the ‘factory’ and only needs way limited runs.

    Generally speaking, better-designed stuff contains a similar amount of raw material as poorly-designed stuff. Add 25% for increased sturdiness. So the cost difference is 25%, not 1000%. If Jill is shopping a non-free design then yes, she will pay more for the better data file, but the market won’t bear more than a similar mark up for intellectual property. I maintain that 25% is a way better estimate for maximum (reasonable) difference in cost to Jill. Plus, the baseline is far lower. Raw material, a bit of electricity, and wear and tear are pennies instead of dollars. When it literally only costs a dollar more to go first class folks go first class.

    Oh, and “organic” beats “material strength” in lots of places. Look up 3D printed pistons.

  47. 197
    nigelj says:

    Mike @183 says “If you think that things can’t change suddenly, please think back to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. I hope that something like this happens with rapacious capitalism, but I don’t know if that will come to pass. I sincerely hope it does even though that kind of change is not painless.”

    Yes Mike is right that clearly change can be sudden. I never said it couldn’t be sudden, and history is what it is. I just said that desired change tends to often be slowed down by various psychological and practical forces, and awareness of these might help us combat the same forces. I said “Now this does not mean nothing will ever change, and things do reach TIPPING POINTS but it tends to slow change down I think”

    The collapse of the Soviet Union is a good example of the system getting stressed and people wanting change for years, and eventually it all reached a tipping point and the system collapsed suddenly. Capitalism could be the same it could reach a tipping point. There’s a desire to change it with some people and it could grow to a tipping point and change could be dramatic and sudden, although I think its massive hubris to think we know what the real outcome will be.

    I fall into the camp that wants capitalism to change, but with maintaining largely private ownership of the means of production, and some form of free market. If that’s seen as not being sustainable for all eternity, I don’t really care. I’m interested in us making big improvements to sustainability, and making sure we maintain the biosphere intact and functioning, but I am not one of these people who think the human footprint is evil and the planet is better off without us. But we could think about ensuring that more of the resource base stays in public or community ownership. There are some obvious justifications for this. And having public health systems make a lot of sense to me.

    Coming back to the Soviet Union, this experiment with collective ownership was a disaster, so it makes me very cautious about trying more experiments with collective, shared, public, or community ownership, regardless of how they are structured or what goals they have. Einstein said something like “don’t keep on doing the same thing and expecting different results”. Shared ownership works in hunter gather culture, but their circumstances and population sizes are so different from modern humans that the comparison seems meaningless. But a modern shared ownership system might possibly work, and obviously can’t be ruled out.

    “Speak clearly and accurately about what we need to do and why we need to do it. That’s what I am thinking about and interested in”

    It’s pretty simple. I’ve said it a dozen times. We need to build a new zero carbon energy grid as a priority, and do what we can to reduce our carbon footprints and energy use as a secondary goal. This is the mainstream position and I can’t see a compelling reason why it is wrong. I think Its absurd to place too much faith in masses of people making truly huge voluntary reductions in reducing energy use. It’s even more absurd to have to explain why and it still wouldn’t entirely fix the problem anyway. I see the priority as systems change of the energy grid with reducing carbon footprints etcetera as a close second and people should do as much as they can. Every bit does help, and even saving a fraction of a degree could be the difference between orderly change and racing past a critical tipping point.

    We should push for carbon taxes, because these push us all to change. But in America taxes are despised, so you guys should probably put your energy into promoting the GND. Getting population growth to slow is also helpful, but it can only achieve so much, and is generally happening anway, and I mostly avoid discussion of it on websites, because the denialists grab onto it as an easy and singular solution.

    The reasons are obvious. If climate warming gets over 2 degrees we are in huge trouble for many generations to come. Even 2 degrees will create problems, and we cannot wait for warming to reach that level before acting. Scaling things up takes time, so we must start now and start robustly. Or our goose will be cooked as the old saying goes, or more accurately, very over cooked.

  48. 198
    Mal Adapted says:

    Halle-freaking-lujah: BIDEN BEATS TRUMP! This particular national nightmare is over; now we “just” have to face our national responsibility for climate change. Today’s outcome feels to me like a step forward for my country. OTOH, so did Obama’s, and Bill Clinton’s. Of course our votes must always be decisions on the margin, and our victories neither complete nor permanent. But that’s enough negativity for now. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:24 KJV) 8^D!

  49. 199
    zebra says:

    Ray Ladbury #194,

    ” Well, how about when your customer realizes that they can have a car that lasts for 30 + years, rather than 10 years. Now they can get said car from your, or they can get it from your competitor.”

    Ray, you just keep repeating the same crazy statements, even when I have already asked you to explain them. How about you read my questions and try to answer them in concrete terms.

    Why???? can they have a car that lasts 30+ years instead of 10????

    What does AM have to do with how long the car lasts??????

    Are you suggesting that a printed engine block is somehow not subject to the same wear and tear as a conventional one? Can you offer some actual physics/engineering/material science justification for that?

  50. 200

    MA 199,

    Unfortunately, the Republicans will likely control the senate, which means four more years of inaction.

Leave a Reply

Comment policy. Please note that if your comment repeats a point you have already made, or is abusive, or is the nth comment you have posted in a very short amount of time, please reflect on the whether you are using your time online to maximum efficiency. Thanks.