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Forced Responses: Jan 2021

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2021

A new open thread for climate solutions in the new year (and the soon-to-be new US administration actions). As for the climate science open threads, please try to renew your commitment to constructive dialog that prioritises light over heat (like LED bulbs for instance!). Thanks!

632 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jan 2021”

  1. 301
    David B. Benson says:

    Rationally, consider
    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html?amp
    to note just how very safe nuclear power production is.

  2. 302
    Killian says:

    293
    Piotr says:

    I never said only the rich countries in any way shape or form. You’re chasing your tail.

    You said 70-80, I have long said 80-90.

    You’re barking pedantic words into the wind.

    This is why I am now going to only very selectively respond to you. It is literally pointless to engage you.

  3. 303
    Killian says:

    295:

    I think he understood you correctly. “I don’t think” is meaningless. I don’t recall you supporting this argument in the last 3 years.

    How can you possibly know whether we have time for incrementalism?

    I present this view from a different source:

    https://www.sciencealert.com/humanity-is-hurtling-into-a-ghastly-future-it-doesn-t-comprehend-scientists-warn

    “The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms – including humanity – is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts,” the researchers, led by global ecologist Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University in Australia, explain in their paper.

    “The mainstream is having difficulty grasping the magnitude of this loss, despite the steady erosion of the fabric of human civilisation.”

    Sure. That sounds *very* middle roady to me…. Not.

    “Our message might not be popular, and indeed is frightening,” … “But scientists must be candid and accurate if humanity is to understand the enormity of the challenges we face.”

    According to the team’s research… the central problems we face are economic and political systems centred around unsustainable human consumption and population growth at the expense of all else.

    So…. I have said we need new politics, new economics… and have provided a new model for that… but you, nigel on the internet, know better than those scientists do. We don’t need rapid, large changes, we need baby steps.

    Perhaps you should read the paper the article is based on.

    “These convenient fuels have allowed us to decouple human demand from biological regeneration: 85 percent of commercial energy, 65 percent of fibres, and most plastics are now produced from fossil fuels.”

    Hmmm… so, when we need simplicity to get off of FF’s…

    In the long term, the authors say we are looking at a “ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health, and climate-disruption upheavals (including looming massive migrations) and resource conflicts”, if we are unable to change the course of human society in a direction that prevent extinctions and restore ecosystems.

    Sooo… change everything. But, sure, let’s just stabilize CO2 by 2050 while continuing to consume more than the Earth can provide because, hey, it’s all about CO2! That’s the only problem that matters in the next 30 years!

    /sarc

    “While there have been more recent calls for the scientific community in particular to be more vocal about their warnings to humanity, these have been insufficiently foreboding to match the scale of the crisis,” the scientists conclude.

    “It is therefore incumbent on experts in any discipline that deals with the future of the biosphere and human well-being to eschew reticence, avoid sugar-coating the overwhelming challenges ahead and ‘tell it like it is’. Anything else is misleading at best, or negligent and potentially lethal for the human enterprise at worst.”

    Anywho…

  4. 304

    @283:

    Right, people don’t move in and out of Colorado or the other cities mentioned. You didn’t control for permanent residency, did you?

    I didn’t do the studies, period.  You can look them up yourself… if you care about evidence-based policy.  After being rebuffed repeatedly when I give you hard information, I increasingly get the idea that you are only here to try to score points.

    @284:

    Dueling studies. Let’s see, 8 plants workers contaminated at the Manhattan Project

    Aaaaand… he moves the goalposts.  From “fatalities”, he switches to “contaminated”.

    I’ll give you another of those things you hate, a fact.  In the days shortly after the Tohoku quake and tsunami, three workers were sent into the basement of one of the Fukushima Dai’ichi turbine halls.  They found themselves wading in water which had a substantial concentration of beta-emitters, and received “beta burns” on their feet and legs.  No doubt they were contaminated too.

    All three of them recovered completely.

    How many wind power workers have been contaminated with radioactive material?

    How many wind and solar workers have fallen to their deaths?  LOTS.  https://html.duckduckgo.com/html?q=wind%20farm%20fatal%20fall

    Then there are the dead ones: 4 at the Manhattan Project, 1 at Los Alamos in 1958, 3 at SL-1 in 1961…

    Did it ever occur to you that those are all MILITARY installations, the first two completely unrelated to nuclear electric generation?

    Do you care?  I doubt you do.  If you think you can score a point, you’ll use it.

  5. 305

    Piotr Trela @290:

    – What said the brochure for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, USSR, before the “unplanned release” ?

    Alex, I’ll take: “They Learned Nothing From History” for $200.

    Oh, but you are so grievously wrong there.  The 0.04/TWh number obviously assumes on the order of 4000 fatalities from Chernobyl.  That figure is based on huge assumptions for which there is NO evidence.  The confirmed fatality figure from Chernobyl is closer to 60.  That reduces the fatality rate looking BACKWARDS at more like 0.0006/TWh.  Since the RBMK design is no longer being built and everyone is now on notice to avoid the circumstances which made Chernobyl a household name, the fatality rate looking FORWARD is difficult to distinguish from zero.

    We literally have no safer electric power than from nuclear energy.

  6. 306

    Linley@296:

    I noted in comment 276 it was mentioned that it requires 10 times the concrete and steel per unit of energy for a wind farm than a nuclear plant. I think I have seen this figure before. If electricity generation is based around wind and solar then there also needs to be batteries and/or hydrogen generation etc, so even more materials.

    With all these materials it seems logical that a lot of energy will be needed to mine, smelt, process, transport, manufacture, construct, maintain, dispose and recycle.

    This was addressed in some depth during the days of The Oil Drum, under the topic of “EROE” (energy return on energy).  You are correct that it receives short shrift in appraisals of “renewable economies”, particularly the on-going expenditures required to replace the “renewable” wind and solar generators as they reach end of life.

    Yet, when I read studies of how a country’s energy profile may look in the future I have never seen an increase in energy needs to run the energy systems. I did see one figure that 7% of the energy in the US is currently used to build and run the energy systems. Intuitively then, 10 (or more) times the materials suggests 10 (or more) times the energy to build and run. This would suggest an increase in total energy needs in the US of 50 to 100 %.

    You are correct.  There’s a rough maximum of 1/7 expenditure of energy to produce energy to support an industrial economy.  More than that, and the whole system collapses including the supply chain to produce more energy.

    I know what I have said is ridiculously simplistic but it is hard to believe that the energy needs to build and run all this material can be ignored.

    No it can’t legitimately… but “renewablistas” do.

    That’s just one of the bones I have to pick with them.

  7. 307
    zebra says:

    Linley #276,

    Take a look at my comment #270.

    All the comments since then are just repeating the same pointless arguments that we have been seeing for decades now. People are pretending that they are engineers working for the Electricity Monopoly Czar Dictator, who will pick their pet solution, and give them a pat on the head and a bonus.

    But that’s not how the world works. Decisions are made at different levels, and in different regions or countries, all with different factors affecting the outcome.

    At this point, we have the technology to allow a true free market to sort out all these questions. If you need more energy to do A compared to B, that would show up in the cost of A, and people will choose accordingly. So, in my example at #270, people where I live could well be willing to change the energy mix in a way that would help the local economy, even if it cost a bit more… or not.

    But that will not be decided by people on comment threads posting the same little non-sequitur factoids, back and forth, over and over.

  8. 308

    @298:

    As far as strategies go, I have my thoughts. But I doubt there’s anything remarkable or surprising about them. I think we should:

    –Accelerate the decarbonization of the grid, primarily through accelerated deployment of RE and energy storage
    –Decarbonize agriculture
    –Electrify transport to the extent possible, and find non-fossil solutions where electrification isn’t practical
    –Increase energy and material use efficiency
    –Structure financial incentives around decarbonization (eg, carbon taxes and the like)
    –Reduce barriers to decarbonization around the world, whether social or financial
    –End the culture of disposability and consumerism

    You pretty much read my mind here, with one single exception:  “through accelerated deployment of RE and energy storage

    The experience of El Hierro shows that this is far more difficult, expensive and troublesome than the advocates claim.  Even if you can get reasonably cheap storage, it’s going to become cost-effective for storage of a day or two long before it becomes cost-effective for storage of weeks and months.  Further, we can’t wait; if ANYTHING is important, decarbonizing NOW is important.

    The very first thing we should do is place a moratorium on the closure of nuclear power plants.  Flat-out PROHIBIT it.  I’d suggest criminal sanctions on EVERYONE associated with anti-nuclear groups or parties, but that might be a bridge too far.

  9. 309
    Engineer-Poet says:

    @299:

    I think that if we were to try to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions by relying purely on massive (eg 70 – 90 %) reductions in consumption this would be crippling on low and middle income people and resisted by high income people. I think this is all virtually self evident.

    You’ve got that right.

    The more emissions-free energy we have, the less we have to worry about cutting consumption because it’s not the consumption that matters to the environment, it’s the emissions.  It lets us have our cake and eat it too.

  10. 310

    @300:

    Nuclear energy would need it storage too. The demand for power vary quite considerably during 24-hrs, and between days of the week and between seasons.

    France does quite nicely without storage, using “gray” control rods to modulate the power output of its nuclear fleet.  I think this is pretty darn silly because there is almost always something you can do with “excess” electric power, especially if it comes at zero marginal cost.  Dumping nuclear electricity to make process heat at Total refineries would be a far better use of it than turning plants down to “save” uranium that’s going to be tossed out at a given calendar date anyway.

    Damn, if we only had some power source, which produced more energy during day and was especially effective in summer … ;-)

    Damn, if we only had some power source which produced energy 24/7 and was especially effective when it’s cold out.

    I can already see our Poet countering: screw the fish!

    Nah, that’s what fan-driven cooling towers and emergency wells are for.  You could actually make this part of an integrated energy system.  In the summer, you pump cold groundwater and use warm cooling water to warm up the aquifers under cities.  In the winter, you pull out the stored heat with ground-source heat pumps.  Two birds, one stone.

  11. 311
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @284 — “1 at Los Alamos in 1958”

    Please supply a reference. I lived in Los Alamos then and I heard nothing. So I doubt the veracity.

  12. 312
    nigelj says:

    Killian @303, I’m not going to get into a discussion on this, because we will just crash into each other. I’m not blaming anyone, and its solvable and I can see you are committed to that, but I think a very decent cooling off period would be helpful.

    I just want to clarify a couple of things for the record so nobody misunderstands me. I have never denied that climate change could be an existential threat in a general sense, for example a localised existential threat to some communities, or playing havoc with infrastructure, and there’s an obvious existential threat to at least some plant and animal species. I have simply stated that I’m sceptical of claims climate change would cause “human extinction”, which has a clear dictionary definition of wiping out every last human being, or that it would wipe out half of humanity.

    And I tend to break complex problems in to component parts and deal with those, then examine the interrelationships to see if more work is needed. So I think that some aspects of the environmental problems are ok with an incremental approach, and others need a more rapid approach, the later includes the insect decline problem. Again I don’t want to debate the details and philosophy further with you right now. I’m just pointing out that whether incrementalism is appropriate might depend a lot on the specifics.

  13. 313
    Piotr says:

    Engineer-Poet (305): “Oh, but you are so grievously wrong there. The 0.04/TWh number obviously assumes on the order of 4000 fatalities from Chernobyl. ”

    An interesting choice of words: “Oh, but you are so grievously wrong”; “obviously“, given that … 2 days earlier YOU HAD NO IDEA HOW THE NUMBER YOUR BROUGHT UP was calculated, and when asked about it – you … speculated that YOUR NUMBER may have been an “error” and the correct number of deaths(?) should have be “indistinguishable from zero”?

    so grievously wrong there“, eh?

    ===
    Piotr (272): “For this number [(0.04 deaths/TWh)] how many deaths after Chernobyl did you assume?

    Engineer-Poet (276):
    I didn’t. I got that number from Next Big Future, and no source was cited.

    However, the number probably assumes LNT, which is an error. The USA generated 809 TWh from nuclear power in 2019, so 0.04 fatalities per TWh means we should have seen about 32. The actual number is indistinguishable from zero.
    ===

  14. 314
    William B Jackson says:

    #306 Your special pleading is based on information supplied by the Soviet Union and its successor state, I find those sources less than reliable.

  15. 315
    Piotr says:

    Piotr (300) “Nuclear energy would need it storage too. The demand for power vary quite considerably during 24-hrs, and between days of the week and between seasons.”

    Engineer-Poet (305) “ France does quite nicely without storage, using “gray” control rods to modulate the power output of its nuclear fleet.

    You really should read the next sentence before deleting it, for it anticipated your answer: Piotr(300) “[…]So unless you have built large overgeneration (which is a form of expensive material-waste and fuel-waste)”

    See? Since you gray rods REDUCE your power output, this means that you have built “overgeneration (which is a form of expensive material-waste and fuel-waste)”.

    Piotr: Damn, if we only had some power source, which produced more energy during day and was especially effective in summer … ;-)

    Damn, if we only had some power source which produced energy 24/7 and was especially effective when it’s cold out.

    Again, if you only read before deleting. Here is the deleted by you preceding paragraph:

    >>> Looking at https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=42915 it seems that daily peak-low are about 20% of average load in January and 60% in July. The demand is the highest during day and then drops at night.”

    So in the US – being “cold out” since the maximum demand there is typiclaly lower than even the lowest demand in summer see the figure link above

    And if the world is supposed to go nuclear – the vast majority of the new nuke plants will be in the countries where it is also the heat, not the cold that cuases the highest demand. EVEN MORE SO in the future – you know “Global Warming”, higher probability of heat waves and droughts?

    So my quip: “ Damn, if we only had some power source, which produced more energy during day and was especially effective in summer … ;-)
    was supported by data https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=42915
    yours wasn’t. And irony works only you get your facts right. Otherwise it blows up in your face.

    > Nah, that’s what fan-driven cooling towers and emergency wells are for.

    Strangely enough, France, a poster girl of nuclear power didn’t have it and had to shut down 4 reactors instead (see the quote in my previous post).

    And while this may look like a great solution on paper to amateur enthusiasts of nuclear energy – those who actually work in it – do not seem to be as enthusiastic.
    I qoute:

    “Hardly any US generating capacity uses dry cooling, and in the UK it has been ruled out as impractical and unreliable (in hot weather) for new nuclear plants. A 2009 US DOE study says they are three to four times more expensive than a recirculating wet cooling system. All US new plant licence applications have rejected dry cooling as infeasible for the site or unacceptable because of lost electrical generating efficiency and significantly higher capital and operating costs. For large units there are also safety implications relating to removal of decay heat after an emergency shutdown with loss of power.[…] It is unlikely that large nuclear plants will adopt dry cooling in the foreseeable future”

    That must be from some website of ignorant “renewablistas” [(c) E.Poet:]

    https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/cooling-power-plants.aspx

  16. 316
    prl says:

    294
    nigelj @294 I cant find any evidence it was a revenue neutral carbon tax and dividend scheme, in any way, shape, or form. However I don’t have all day and stand to be corrected, if someone can provide a link.

    It was originally intended to be a cap and trade system, but the reason that it was changed to a carbon tax was that the Gillard government relied on support of the Greens to pass bills through the Senate, if the Coalition voted against them there. The Greens forced the scheme to be re-drafted as a carbon tax, so to get something through she broke her campaign promise of “no carbon tax”. IMO it was a difference without a distinction, but that probably wasn’t a widely held view in Australia.

    That situation meant that in the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition successfully ran “Axe the Tax” as one of their campaign slogans, though the win was quite likely more due to the political instability inside the Labor party (3 Prime Ministers Rudd/Gillard/Rudd in 6 years) than the Coalition campaign.

    On revenue neutrality, the numbers I found in this Hoover Institution report (in an unnumbered table in p11, from Australian Government figures), show that from FY 2021/13 to FY 2014/15, the carbon tax was slightly revenue negative, and the compensatory payments and related tax reductions were on average about 4.5% more than the carbon tax revenue.

    But as I said in my OP, it was in a form that didn’t patch Piotr’s “get a carbon tax refund in the mail” model.

  17. 317
    prl says:

    David B. Benson @311
    Barton Paul Levenson @284 — “1 at Los Alamos in 1958”

    Please supply a reference. I lived in Los Alamos then and I heard nothing. So I doubt the veracity.

    I’d guess the Cecil Kelley criticality accident, 30 Dec 1958. It was a fission accident, but not a nuclear reactor accident.

    Also, I don’t think that the Winscale fire (10 Oct 1957) has been mentioned. Estimated 100-240 cancer deaths in the long run. It was a fire in a graphite-moderated nuclear reactor core.

  18. 318
    David B. Benson says:

    Chernobyl: How Bad Was It?
    https://news.mit.edu/2019/chernobyl-manual-for-survival-book-0306
    Great review.

    Despite Chernobyl, nuclear power remains one of the safest means of generating electricity; see my prior link on deaths per TWh.

  19. 319
    Piotr says:

    Killian (303) I never said only the rich countries in any way shape or form. You’re chasing your tail

    Sure, you ONLY said “ nations” instead of “countries“, I quote:

    K: I have said for ten years: 90% reduction in consumption for the highest-consuming classes, and, globally, that roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations.

    Countries, nations – Huuuge difference ;-). Probably therefore IPCC-required GHGs statistics are reported by … “nations“, NOT by “countries”, right ? ;-)
    But please, do lecture _me_:
    You’re barking pedantic words into the wind. Killian”

    Killian(303): “You said 70-80%, I have long said 80-90%.

    because I was kind to your thesis – I have run my calculations for YOUR lower end (“80%“) and for YOUR mid-point (“85%“), showing in BOTH cases that you CAN’T GET THERE with cuts ONLY to “highest-consumption classes/nations”.
    For the 85% emission cut you would have to cut not only 90% of consump. of Europe N. America and Oceania, BUT ALSO 82.5% (sic!) cut in consumption in Africa, Latin America and Asia (details of the calculations in (297)).

    But if you want, sure – we can do the calculations for 90% global GHG cuts. Since you stated that it has to be done ONLY through “90% reduction in consumption for the highest-consuming classes/nations”, then it WOULD IMPLY that the “the highest-consuming classes/nations” emit …100% of global GHGS, and the rest of the world – produce a grand total of …0% GHGs:

    (rich:) 90%cut*100% of global emissions + (the rest of the world:) 0%cut *0% of global emissions

    If I used 90% number earlier on – I would have been accused of using reductio ad absurdum on you:

    – You are saying that Killian assumed WHAT? That many billions of people, EVERYBODY OUTSIDE the highest-consuming classes/nations” produce a total of … ZERO GHGs??? You must be crazy – the Killian we know and respect would NEVER make such a booboo. And even if he did – he would have the guts to admit it.

  20. 320
    Killian says:

    312 nigelj:
    23 Jan 2021 at 4:55 PM

    Killian @303, I’m not going to get into a discussion on this, because we will just crash into each other.

    False. You need to explain, clearly, why when scientists are saying we’re in deep trouble, the risks are worse than even many scientists realize, you *still* advocate incrementalism.

    I’m not blaming anyone, and its solvable and I can see you are committed to that, but I think a very decent cooling off period would be helpful.

    This is not even an issue. I said nothing rude or disrespectful. This is a case of your own head worms coming into play.

    I just want to clarify a couple of things for the record so nobody misunderstands me. I have never denied that climate change could be an existential threat in a general sense, for example a localised existential threat to some communities… I’m sceptical of claims climate change would cause “human extinction”, which has a clear dictionary definition of wiping out every last human being, or that it would wipe out half of humanity.

    You have never supported that with anything other than, “I think.” That is the issue here.

    I think that some aspects of the environmental problems are ok with an incremental approach, and others need a more rapid approach

    This has no merit: The ecosystem is a system, not separate, independent parts.

    I’m just pointing out that whether incrementalism is appropriate might depend a lot on the specifics.

    Not in the way you stated above; that’s just a clear lack of understanding how the ecosystem functions, and, more importantly, the **causes** are all the same: Abuse of resources. Therefore, the solutions cannot be separated.

  21. 321
    Killian says:

    307 zebra:
    23 Jan 2021 at 6:50 AM

    At this point, we have the technology to allow a true free market to sort out all these questions.

    1. Free markets have nothing to do with technological levels.

    2. Free markets in a Capitalist system. (I include any economic system with private ownership because definition:

    capitalism

    : an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods

    This is an element of virtually every “modern” economy on the planet at this point, even in China.

    by investments that are determined by private decision

    Ditto.

    and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market)

    The big Lie: There are no free markets, only manipulated markets for the benefit of those with the most money and power.

    The only free markets are Commons, and tragedies of Commons only occur where ownership, aka competition, exists, which means they were never a true Commons in the first place. Only in a true Commons are resources distributed to all for all. Only within a commons can sustainable use of resources be achieved because all other forms of economies allow competition and hoarding (ownership/wealth.)

  22. 322
    Killian says:

    Oops:

    2. Free markets in a Capitalist system do not and will not ever exist. Regulation is necessary to keep them even slightly resembling equitable use of resources.

  23. 323

    Piotr @313:

    An interesting choice of words: “Oh, but you are so grievously wrong”; “obviously“, given that … 2 days earlier YOU HAD NO IDEA HOW THE NUMBER YOUR BROUGHT UP was calculated

    I still don’t.  Since I wrote that post, I did some calculations of my own and made inferences therefrom.  I STILL have no idea how the people who came up with that figure ran their numbers, but the number itself allows some educated guesses about their methodology.

    when asked about it – you … speculated that YOUR NUMBER may have been an “error” and the correct number of deaths(?) should have be “indistinguishable from zero”?

    That would be the result of applying the 0.04/TWh number to the USA.  It’s way too high.

  24. 324
    Killian says:

    298 Kevin McKinney:
    22 Jan 2021 at 11:40 PM

    Killian, #281–

    No, I’m not advocating an “incremental” approach. I’m advocating for doing as much mitigation as possible, as quickly as possible–not waiting for an awakening that may not come until far too late.

    What “awakening” are you on about? I’ve never spoken of any awakening and certainly never have I said to wait for one. In fact, exactly the opposite: I have suggested the Regenerative Community Incubator approach as a (relatively) rapid approach to massive change, but in the best-case scenario, that’s 20 years and in no way involves waiting for anything in any way, shape, or form.

    I’ll wait for your explanation before responding to your list.

  25. 325
    Killian says:

    299 nigelj:
    22 Jan 2021 at 11:46 PM

    I think that if we were to try to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions by relying purely on massive (eg 70 – 90 %) reductions in consumption this would be crippling on low and middle income people

    Do you think this could happen without their buy-in? That it would be, or could be, imposed? How many times have I told you sustainability is ultimately local? How many times have I told you the change can only be bottom-up and that it is literally impossible for it to be top-down?

    As you say, you break things into pieces to understand them. I suggest that is exactly why you do not: You don’t put them back together again so you can see the both the trees and the forest.

    and resisted by high income people.

    Certainly. And? That will never change, so it is moot as a reason things cannot change; it’s a feature of change that devolves power and resource allocation.

    I think this is all virtually self evident.

    No, as regards the first point, it’s your misunderstanding of the full context.

    Want to disagree? Show me a plan on how you convince people to make truly massive cuts to consumption.

    I already have. Context. Repeatedly.

    Telling them climate change is a really, really, serious issue… we could run out of resources

    Why do you leave off my actual core arguments?

    its a relatively distant problem unlikely to impact them much personally

    Is it? Recent links to this forum suggest that is almost certainly false.

  26. 326
    nigelj says:

    Killian @320, I can only repeat what I’ve said before. Im only going to be enaging with you sparingly and briefly, for a while anyway. Its not simply a case of tone. Its all got repetitive, and I have some other stuff to deal with right now. I can respond to whom I like for whatever reasons, something you yourself were saying recently, in respect of either AB or Piotr.

    I will go over a couple of things very briefly since you seem so determined: Ive already expressed my views on incrementalism regarding climate change, namely that the Paris goals and IPCC mitigation strategies seem appropriate to me. I dont want to be repeating myself. Of course we need to be rigourous implementing those and we are falling well short. But that begs the question: if we cant even match those goals how would we achieve your more ambitious goals?

    If you believe climate change could cause several billions of people to die this century or next century, you would need to explain a mechanism. You need to prove such a claim. I dont have to prove your claim wrong. I can see perhaps millions of people dying in the tropics due to high heat / high humidity combination but its hard to see increased mortaility in cold countries. The research Ive seen suggests mild to moderate negative effects on food production but nothing consistent with billions dying.

    If you want to include ecosystem destruction from things like over population and over use of pesticides and toxic pollution, etecetera then that is an additional threat that looks like it would run into the millions this century but not billions. Again you would have to show me a precise mechanism. Of course whether its millions or billions we have serious problems that do demand concerted action.

    I do look at the system as a whole, and I agree its all about the abuse of resources, but its also useful to break it down into component parts to look at more specific solutions. Obviously the immediate thing we could do to improve the insect decline problem would be to mandate a limit on the use of pesticides, just to stop the carnage.

    And I get it. You see all environmental aspects being interrelated and simplification as a system wide change that would solve, or greatly help solve ALL the environmental problems. I dont dispute there is cleverness in the concept, but Ive outlined some problems with it at a functional level and in terms of trying to convince the public, and I dont want to be repeating it all YET AGAIN.

    I think the practical solution is to be focusing more on a few core issues like eliminating waste, zero emissions energy, trying to bend capitalism into a more environmentally friendly shape, and population issues. This will not stop all environmental destruction but it would greatly reduce it and I believe it would stop some human extinction level event. Achieving even these gaols will be a daunting challenge.

  27. 327
    mike says:

    at K at 303: exactly right.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcosc.2020.615419/full

    “we contend that only a realistic appreciation of the colossal challenges facing the international community might allow it to chart a less-ravaged future. While there have been more recent calls for the scientific community in particular to be more vocal about their warnings to humanity (Ripple et al., 2017; Cavicchioli et al., 2019; Gardner and Wordley, 2019), these have been insufficiently foreboding to match the scale of the crisis. Given the existence of a human “optimism bias” that triggers some to underestimate the severity of a crisis and ignore expert warnings, a good communication strategy must ideally undercut this bias without inducing disproportionate feelings of fear and despair (Pyke, 2017; Van Bavel et al., 2020).”

    The optimism bias of folks who think incrementalism is going to deliver us from evil would be comic if were not also so tragic and superficial. I think there is a solution to this challenge that would reduce the impact and extent of an extinction event, but I think the power of comfortable and shallow misunderstanding of our plight is hard to exaggerate.

    Here’s a little more from Bradshaw, Ehrlich et al: “The gravity of the situation requires fundamental changes to global capitalism, education, and equality, which include inter alia the abolition of perpetual economic growth, properly pricing externalities, a rapid exit from fossil-fuel use, strict regulation of markets and property acquisition, reigning in corporate lobbying, and the empowerment of women. These choices will necessarily entail difficult conversations about population growth and the necessity of dwindling but more equitable standards of living.”

    Leadership that could/would overcome the lethargy and intellectual laziness of the incrementalists is a very heavy lift. I wish you well and I appreciate that we share a foreboding that is closer to the scale of the crisis that some others here. That is also a heavy thing to carry around. Be well, stay well,

    Mike

  28. 328

    BPL: Then there are the dead ones: 4 at the Manhattan Project, 1 at Los Alamos in 1958, 3 at SL-1 in 1961…

    E-P 304: Did it ever occur to you that those are all MILITARY installations, the first two completely unrelated to nuclear electric generation?

    BPL: Sure, if you cherry-pick the military ones only, as you just did. And who the hell cares if they were military reactors rather than civilian reactors? You expect civilian plant workers to have MORE discipline than the military?

    Nuclear reactor safety depends on no one ever making a mistake. That’s not how real life works.

  29. 329

    E-P 305: The 0.04/TWh number obviously assumes on the order of 4000 fatalities from Chernobyl.

    BPL: There is nothing obvious about it. Don’t just make stuff up.

  30. 330

    E-P 308: I’d suggest criminal sanctions on EVERYONE associated with anti-nuclear groups or parties

    BPL: Fascist is as fascist does.

  31. 331

    DAB 311: I doubt the veracity.

    BPL: Lutins, Allen 2006. “U.S. Nuclear Accidents.” http://www.lutins.org/nukes.html, accessed 3/02/2007.

  32. 332
    Killian says:

    Read this, the entire post and thread, for insight into what is foundational in human societies.

  33. 333
    nigelj says:

    Free markets is a peculiar and unhelpful term because no market is completely free from some level of community or government control, or regulation, except in the fevered imagination of the laissez faire Ayn Rand acolytes, but even those markets are not really free from all control. The term free market appears to have originated with Adam Smith and his opposition to protectionist trade, and his enthusiasm for competition and private ownership, but I think he opposed monopolies. And ironically to stop monopolies forming requires government anti trust laws imposed on the market so is it really a totally free market? This is why I think the term free market is a bit unhelpful.

    However a useful definition of “free markets” might be free from protectionist trade and free from monopolies as much as possible, and free from government price controls, but allowing governments to regulate matters relating to health and safety and the environment. Just my opinion of course. Wikipedia is really good on the idea of free markets.

    For me the idea of markets (free or otherwise) conjures up images of some level of private ownership, buying and selling, and trading, and competition. For some reason the middle eastern Bazaar comes to mind. Ancient indigenous cultures centred around a common ownership of the resource base appeared to not do much buying and selling and trading so did they really even have markets? Let alone free markets? And are they completely free societies? It doesn’t appear so, because they have cultural rules transmitted by word of mouth on how their economies are run. But the term free societies is another term open to interpretation. No society is completely free, because they all impose rules on their members. The idea of a free society inevitably is just that certain specific freedoms are protected not that people are free to do anything they like, otherwise there would be anarchy and only loose alliances based on limited mutual agreements on an individual level.

  34. 334
    nigelj says:

    prl @316, thanks for filling in the history, and yes it as a difference without a distinction, and as you say this was maybe not a widely held view. It also makes me wonder if there was some misogyny going on. Julia Gillard seemed like a good leader overall.

  35. 335

    BPL @328:

    Did it ever occur to you that those are all MILITARY installations, the first two completely unrelated to nuclear electric generation?

    Sure, if you cherry-pick the military ones only, as you just did. And who the hell cares if they were military reactors rather than civilian reactors? You expect civilian plant workers to have MORE discipline than the military?

    Separating civilian from military, wartime from peacetime and sites without reactors from the rest, is anything BUT arbitrary.  FFS, SL-1 had a single control rod that was operated BY HAND.  The incident occurred when someone tried to free it from its sticking condition, and withdrew it way too far.  He basically reproduced the test-to-destruction of BWRX.

    Despite this, only the people who were either at or immediately responded to the scene were seriously harmed.

    Nuclear reactor safety depends on no one ever making a mistake. That’s not how real life works.

    Oh, FFS again.  Lots of mistakes were made in things like TMI Unit 2 (which had a predecessor almost-accident I can’t find right now), Fermi 1, Davis-Besse… the list goes on.  NO public health consequences from ANY of them.  Now contrast the quantifiable health damage from fossil fuels and the projected damage from climate change.  NO. COMPARISON.

    @329:

    There is nothing obvious about it. Don’t just make stuff up.

    It’s obvious if you have half a brain.  World nuclear electric generation is on the order of 3-4X American generation.  That means world-wide annual fatalities would have to be rougly 90 to 130.  That is NOT occurring (the official fatality count from the Fukushima Dai’ichi meltdowns is 1) so to account for 0.04/TWh would require something like 4000 fatalities over 40 years.  The only possible contributor to such a high number is Chernobyl, and far higher than the total which can be confirmed by direct evidence.

    I’m sorry that you have less than half a brain, but that’s your problem, not mine.  My problem is being unable to keep you confined to the loony bin where you belong.

  36. 336
    Piotr says:

    Piotr (313): “An interesting choice of words: “Oh, but you are so grievously wrong”; “obviously“, given that … 2 days earlier YOU HAD NO IDEA HOW THE NUMBER YOU BROUGHT UP was calculated”

    E-P(323) “ I still don’t. I STILL have no idea how the people who came up with that figure ran their numbers

    Shouldn’t you have, since:
    1) it is the number YOU have brought up
    2) to support YOUR argument
    3) and you ALREADY implied that you KNOW what it assumes, in fact, what it “ obviously assumes“,
    4) and based on this obviousness – you wrote patronizingly:
    E-P(305) “ Oh, but you are so grievously wrong there. The 0.04/TWh number obviously assumes on the order of 4000 fatalities from Chernobyl.

    The tone should reflect the strength of the argument: for me, the strength of the claim is limited be the strength of the evidence. For you, it seems the opposite:
    the more fuzzy the evidence (“I STILL have no idea how the people who came up with that figure ran their numbers“), the …more patronizing you are to others:
    Oh, but you are so grievously wrong there. The 0.04/TWh number obviously assumes

    I would have thought a “Poet” would have a better ear for his own language. But I guess he is are credible as a “Poet”, as he is as an “Engineer”^*


    ^* E-P repeatedly was dismissing the potential of hydro to provide BACKUP during periods when demand exceed supply, by pointing that hydro provided only several % of the N.America’s … BASELOAD. I said that providing BACKUP, and providing BASELOAD, are two different things. E-P falsified this argument with “GFY” (“Go Fuck Yourself” to those not fluent in the engineering lingo). You may check it for yourself in (7) in http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2020/12/forced-responses-dec-2020/

  37. 337
    Killian says:

    The info below is cross-posted from UV. I’d really like to see this broken down a bit in five- or ten-year increments to get a sense of the acceleration.

    Upshot is, and I want to reiterate that with no hysteresis in the system, we can only expect an exponential rise, at best, and more likely a parabolic rise. Prof below says accelerating in worst-case range.

    Hold on to your sanguinity, folks, because it will not be lasting much longer, relatively speaking. Maybe…. five years? While you do increments, Nature is picking up speed.

    For perspective, the signs of ASI loss first showed up @ 1953, almost 70 years ago. We are 7 decades into measurable effects from CC/GW, not just 20 or 30 years. That is, we are well into an accelerating cycle.

    Hey! Some science!

    Earth: Help me, I’m meeeeeltiiiiiing!

    Scientists led by the University found that the rate of ice loss from the Earth has increased markedly within the past three decades, from 0.8 trillion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 1.3 trillion tonnes per year by 2017.

    “The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios.”

    DR THOMAS SLATER, CENTRE FOR POLAR OBSERVATION AND MODELLING

    Press Release:

    http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/4756/global_ice_loss_increases_at_record_rate
    Review Article:

    https://www.the-cryosphere.net/about/news_and_press/2021-01-25_review-article-earths-ice-imbalance.html

  38. 338
    Killian says:

    Re 332 Killian says:
    24 Jan 2021 at 11:15 AM

    Read this, the entire post and thread, for insight into what is foundational in human societies.

    This was supposed to be: https://www.facebook.com/KillianKOB/posts/10158576733135549:6

    A key point: “No hunter-gatherers have fixed sex roles.”

    I reinforce with this reposted essay: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/freedom-learn/201105/how-hunter-gatherers-maintained-their-egalitarian-ways

    HINT: This is very important WRT sustainable human systems.

  39. 339
    Killian says:

    327 mike:
    24 Jan 2021 at 3:23 AM

    at K at 303: exactly right.

    The optimism bias of folks who think incrementalism is going to deliver us from evil would be comic if were not also so tragic and superficial.

    It is a form of denialism. I have made the long-tail risk argument over and over. Notice nobody ever addresses it no matter how many times I point it out?

    The question is simple: If things are going as fast as I think they are, if we are headed to decade and sub-decade doubling times for various rates of change, how does one justify merely getting to CO2-e neutral by 2050?

    I think there is a solution to this challenge that would reduce the impact and extent of an extinction event, but I think the power of comfortable and shallow misunderstanding of our plight is hard to exaggerate.

    Absolutely. Receding horizons is part of the problem because people don’t realize how much has already been damaged. Discounting the future is what you are talking about, and it’s an even bigger problem. But the core is denial of the risks.

    Here’s a little more from Bradshaw, Ehrlich et al: “The gravity of the situation requires fundamental changes to global capitalism, education, and equality, which include inter alia the abolition of perpetual economic growth, properly pricing externalities, a rapid exit from fossil-fuel use, strict regulation of markets and property acquisition, reigning in corporate lobbying, and the empowerment of women. These choices will necessarily entail difficult conversations about population growth and the necessity of dwindling but more equitable standards of living.”

    I was going to include that, but thought it would come off as a little too on-the-nose as a “told you so” sort of allusion.

    Leadership that could/would overcome the lethargy and intellectual laziness of the incrementalists is a very heavy lift.

    Look at Biden, talking about growth as if it weren’t utter insanity.

    The changes will never come from gov’t. Look to ideas like Regenerative Governance, groups like Via Campesina and Global Ecovillage Network, permaculturists, etc.

    I wish you well and I appreciate that we share a foreboding that is closer to the scale of the crisis that some others here. That is also a heavy thing to carry around. Be well, stay well,

    Same to you.

  40. 340

    #324, Killian–

    What “awakening” are you on about? I’ve never spoken of any awakening and certainly never have I said to wait for one.

    No, you didn’t, but there was discussion on the thread of the fact that currently, very few folks are ready for radical simplification of their lives. Since significantly cutting emissions by such means would imply wholesale adoption, it follows that we would need many, many people to change their minds and also learn the requisite skills. For succinctness, I referred to this as an “awakening.”

    In fact, exactly the opposite: I have suggested the Regenerative Community Incubator approach as a (relatively) rapid approach to massive change, but in the best-case scenario, that’s 20 years and in no way involves waiting for anything in any way, shape, or form.

    Well, apparently it involves 20 years to ramp up, then. Which is precisely why I suggest we energetically undertake measures such as I specified in the meantime. I like your RCI suggestion, or at least the sound of it, but I think if we did nothing else in the meantime, we’d be putting ourselves in a much worse place cumulative emissions-wise.

  41. 341
    Killian says:

    340 Kevin McKinney:
    25 Jan 2021 at 11:58 AM

    Well, apparently it involves 20 years to ramp up, then. Which is precisely why I suggest we energetically undertake measures such as I specified in the meantime.

    1. But none of this occurs in a vacuum. That is for the specific creation of new communities/transformation of existing communities which in no way limits the general simplification of all existing high-consumption communities.

    Have you read Retrosuburbia?

    2. It certainly does not stand in the way of changing all agriculture over to regenerative, which already has a good head of steam.

    3. When you build out infrastructure, you ensure the existence of the system dependent on that infrastructure for the lifetime of that infrastructure. By massively building out so-called renewables (I am not against “renewables”, I am against over-building them and the lying name; call them solar and wind *technologies* – which are in no way renewable), the consumption-crazy social structure they are meant to keep running will do exactly that, keep running, and keep digging the hole deeper and deeper. (It is not enough to do what is good, we must also stop enabling what is bad.)

    This is a basic fact of industrialization and economic thinking that is not considered on this board at all. (Again, I wish every person had spent some years on The Oil Drum!) In a nutshell, if you build it, it will persist. This is one of the core arguments against EV’s, too, and any other unsustainable, tech-based response – and especially carbon capture.

  42. 342
    Killian says:

    Last add on MMT, for now. From a Twitter thread:

    Twitterer: Sure… MMT is just a convenient PR operation to justify a new experiment, focusing on making asset holders much richer…nothing else But you would need to have a brain to understand how it works Now, get lost

    Me: MMT making asset holders richer is incorrect. It makes support for a strong social safety net possible, e.g. high minimum wage, UBI, infrastructure repair (though that’s definitely a double-edged sword.) Whoever you’re listening to on MMT is wrong.

    Twitterer: haha…Sorry. MMT is all about making asset holders rich …Nothing else The rest is only PR …

    Me: Yet you cite no source or example. You are completely incorrect. It’s nothing more than a more realistic understanding of how money, government debt, and taxes function. By showing gov’t spending is not an automatic rise in inflation, taxes are money destruction, not a source of funding, taxes are the key to controlling inflation, and gov’t debt is necessary to fund new spending, MMT reveals the lie social programs are not “affordable” and that the choices in the US to maintain abject poverty, massive debt to become educated, virtually no social safety nets compared to Europe, [etc.,] are all literally political policy, not a fiscal necessity.

    @ProfSteveKeen Am I getting anything wrong here?

    Steve Keen: Apart from trying to convince someone who doesn’t want to be confused by the facts, no.

  43. 343
    nigelj says:

    From 327, “Here’s a little more from Bradshaw, Ehrlich et al: “The gravity of the situation requires fundamental changes to global capitalism, education, and equality, which include inter alia the abolition of perpetual economic growth, properly pricing externalities, a rapid exit from fossil-fuel use, strict regulation of markets and property acquisition, reigning in corporate lobbying, and the empowerment of women. These choices will necessarily entail difficult conversations about population growth and the necessity of dwindling but more equitable standards of living.”

    Not much different in general substance from what I wrote : ” Ive already expressed my views on incrementalism regarding climate change, namely that the Paris goals and IPCC mitigation strategies seem appropriate to me…. Of course we need to be rigorous implementing those and we are falling well short…..I think the practical solution is to be focusing more on a few core issues like eliminating waste, zero emissions energy, trying to bend capitalism into a more environmentally friendly shape, and population issues….However a useful definition of “free markets” might be free from protectionist trade and free from monopolies as much as possible, and free from government price controls, but allowing governments to regulate matters relating to health and safety and the environment. ”

    I’ve mentioned the problems of corporate lobbying many times on this website along with promoting pricing externalities (a carbon price or carbon tax) and I have always promoted strict regulation. So all I ask is please READ carefully!

  44. 344
    prl says:

    nigelj @334 re Gillard Labor government in Australia: It also makes me wonder if there was some misogyny going on. Julia Gillard seemed like a good leader overall.

    There was a great deal of misogyny directed at Julia Gillard while she was Prime Minister, especially in the Murdoch press and by right-wing radio commentators.

    Her “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man; I will not…..If he [Abbott] wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.” speech is probably one of the more memorable political speeches in Australia in my recollection.

    Tony Abbott, to whom the opening remark was addressed, was the then Leader of the Opposition, later to replace Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister. Continuing the previous Labor with their own leaders, Abbott was replaced by his party by Malcolm Turnbull, who was then replaced by the party by the current PM, Scott Morrison.

    But I fear we’re wandering a bit off topic.

  45. 345
    prl says:

    Does anyone have a source for the 0.04 deaths/TWh figure for nuclear power?

    Reference 95 Brian Wang (16 March 2011). “Deaths from electricity generation” in the Wikipedia Nuclear safety and security gives the 0.04 deaths/TWh without obvious citation.

    However the Wang blog post links to another blog post by the same author, “Deaths per TWH by energy source“. In the subsection/link “Deaths statistics from the fuel chain for coal and nuclear” in that post points to a PDF on the IAEA web site, but the link is broken.

    However, that section contains what I guess is a table from the linked PDF, which actually contains 6 different death rates from 3 different cited papers. The two death rate types are Public Fatalities and Occupational fatalities.

    The Occupational Fatalities are (deaths/TWh):
    Ball 1994: 0.02-0.09
    ExternE 1995: 0.04
    Dreicer et al 1995: 0.02

    The Public Fatalities are (deaths/TWh):
    Ball 1994: 0.01-1.23
    ExternE 1995: 0.65
    Dreicer et al 1995: 0.62

    The ExternE value seems to be taken from a Polish Government Web page (hosted on manhaz.cyf.gov.pl), but once more, the link is broken.

    Anyway, the blog post uses, without explanation, the 0.04 deaths/TWh value, which matches the ExternE occupational death rate.

    I’d have thought that it would be the public death rate (or the sum of the two) that should have been used.

    The cited sources are also 25 years out of date (and their data possibly even more so). They probably include data from Chernobyl (1986), but certainly not from Fukushima (2011).

    I’d be interested if someone, especially the person who introduced the number, could find a clearer origin for the number, because the public death rate in the list above seems to be about 15 times the cited 0.04 deaths/TWh.

  46. 346

    E-P 335: NO public health consequences from ANY of them.

    BPL: Just because the specific cancer deaths can’t be trace to the accidents doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

    E-P: Now contrast the quantifiable health damage from fossil fuels and the projected damage from climate change.

    BPL: Except that we were talking about nuclear versus renewables, not nuclear versus fossil fuels. Way to move the goalposts.

  47. 347
    mike says:

    at K, KM, SA, AB and the others here who like/want to have a fruitful and polite discussion rooted in the facts on the ground:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/25/us-returns-to-global-climate-arena-with-call-to-act-on-emergency?utm_campaign=Carbon%20Brief%20Daily%20Briefing&utm_content=20210126&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20Daily

    “Kerry said the climate was a top priority for Biden. “We have a president now, thank God, who leads and tells the truth … and he knows that we have to mobilise in unprecedented ways to meet this challenge that is fast accelerating, and we have limited time to get it under control,” he said.

    He said the US was working on a national plan, known as a nationally determined contribution to be submitted to the UN under the Paris agreement, for emissions reductions to 2030. That would be published “as soon as practicable”, he promised.”

    I think Biden/Kerry are talking the talk here. Net zero by 2030 would be a significant and meaningful accomplishment. Just talking about Net Zero by 2030 sweeps away the silly and ineffective discussion of net zero by 2050 that some folks prefer.

    I did a quick scan deeper into the links of this article and didn’t find an actual quote from Kerry about net zero by 2030. If you spot anything in the news feeds that gets the quotes and any particulars on how Kerry/Biden think this might be done, please share the links and particulars.

    Maybe we can steer the discussion here into some more productive channels by having nothing to do with the vitriol and pablum. The endless back and forth just wastes our time. Ignore that stuff and let’s have a discussion about what is happening. Let’s ignore the folks who simply express their opinion without any links, especially if their opinions are the most mainstream ideas that can be imagined. Waste of electrons.

    How does Kerry/Biden think this can/will happen? That’s an interesting discussion. Even if they miss by 5 years, it would be startling and welcome progress on a wicked problem with existential repercussions.

    Cheers

    Mike

  48. 348
    mike says:

    at K at 342: YES, what Prof Keen said, it’s a mistake or waste of time to attempt to convince a person who doesn’t want to be confused by facts about MMT. I think we can have a civil and productive conversation about many things here, but this will be more likely if we ignore the bumpkin input and not get dragged into any vitriolic back and forth.

    We are all bumpkins on occasion, we can redeem ourselves and can be welcomed back to a polite and productive conversation when we bring something to the discussion. Our deeply held beliefs about any particular topic add little to the discussion absent some links, or studies, etc.

    Cheers

    Mike

  49. 349
    mike says:

    at K and KM at 341: I think this might become a demonstration of resilience where the long term solution that K visualized might provide a bit of resilience during the time that it takes to develop.

    I think there is nothing keeping us from politicking for big picture global solutions (think net zero by 2030) at the same time that we engage in/report on/promote various resilience projects.

    K – can you say more about the infrastructure of EV and other unsustainable technology. I need a little context for that paragraph.

    I will do a quick search on retrosuburbia and study up a little bit.

    I am recovering from a total knee replacement and I find myself with a little more computer time than I normally have for what I hope turns out to be a short recovery period.

    Cheers

    Mike

  50. 350
    mike says:

    at K: you says “Look at Biden, talking about growth as if it weren’t utter insanity.

    The changes will never come from gov’t. Look to ideas like Regenerative Governance, groups like Via Campesina and Global Ecovillage Network, permaculturists, etc.”

    yes, yes. quite silly and ridiculous to hear important/influential global leaders demonstrate that they have no idea that we need to have a come to jesus moment with the necessity and usefulness of growth. I don’t think it means that changes will never come gov’t, but may mean that positive changes from gov’t will be poorly understood by the gov’t architects of governance. I think we need to get something of value from as many corners as possible to build resilience and the infrastructure of sustainability even though the ‘leaders’ who facilitate this stuff have great misunderstandings about the situation we are in and the path out of it and how their “leadership” will produce meaningful results.

    So, I just ignore the Biden stupidity on growth and attend to his statements and ideas on achieving net zero by 2030 instead.

    Cheers

    Mike