Unforced variations: Oct 2022 7 Oct 2022 by group This month’s open thread on climate-related topics (sorry for the slight delay in setting it up). As usual, try to limit yourself to one comment a day, don’t be unnecessarily aggressive and try to be substantive.
81 Responses to "Unforced variations: Oct 2022"
I lived where Hurricane Ian made landfall until last year , tropical storm high water having already introduced itself under my door, but some of my neighbors remained averse to recognizing the rising tide of sea level evidence on their doorstep:
Am I missing something here? I always thought wattsupwiththat was a denialist site, but this post could have come from Peter Sinclair.
Ray Ladburyh says
Note the first 2 letters are double v, not w. It is a satirical site run bu Russell.
Bob Loblaw says
Russell’s site starts with two Vs, not a W, and is certainly not the site you are thinking of.
Geoff Miell says
Yep. The post referenced by Russell is NOT from the website Watts Up With That?. Check URLs.
Per NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer, Florida’s Gasparilla Island looks to be very vulnerable to sea level rise (SLR), with large portions likely inundated at 1.2 m SLR.
In 2019, Professor Eric Rignot suggested SLR is currently on a trajectory of “…a rate of one metre per century…” but he also said the paleo-records suggest SLR could possibly be even faster.
More hurricanes like “Ian” will likely render places like Gasparilla Island unliveable much sooner.
Look carefully at the URL. It starts with “v v” (without the space), not with “w”. Its a site that takes on the “wattsup” site.
MA Rodger says
There are some similarities between the rogue planetoid Wattsupia (aka a website that styles itself Watts Up With That? – ‘The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change’) and the satirical website The Climate Wars – ‘Idiocy, Inanity, Ideology & Intelligence in Contemporary Climate Discourse’. In part, this is apparently intentional as ‘Climate Wars’ employs the URL vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com (with a double v rather than the letter double-u) but there is also some commonality of items posted which often cover the same subject matter which is not is not intentional. This commonality of subject matter** is because the rogue planetoid Wattsupia is itself a laughing stock. (**For instance there is the comedic/deluded contrarian Willie Soon whose grandiloquent pronouncements on climatology are laughably bad.)
Kevin McKinney says
Ah! Yes, you are missing something. That wasn’t “wattsupwiththat,” but rather “vvattsupwiththat.” Two ‘v’s.
It’s Russell’s parody project.
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
Just an inane parody site, it’s not WattsUpWithThat but V:VattsUpWithThat — note the double V instead of W. Used to spend a lot of time mocking the denialists but now find it more interesting concentrating on the climate science research itself.
Russell Seitz says
Paul, my idea of concentrating on climate research is to publish it in Nature or Climatic Change
Meanwhile , back at The Climate Wars, the Great Race has begun !
Thanks all. (Mutter, mutter, I knew I needed a trip to SpecSavers . . .)
@ all and everyone
So Unforced variations is back again.
I whish you all Goldener October on behalf of our local situation. Ye southerners will have a similar phaenomenal springtime.
Here in the Oslofjord the potatoes should be taken up before 10 oct, and the bearch leaves, that are best local indicator, fall between 10 and 20 Oct.
Video from London, Ukraina, and from New England over there in Then States show that the red maple leaves are parallel all the way with us.
Leaves have fallen one and a half week earlier in Finmark as usual.
There is snow and blue temperatures on the tops in southern Norway. But it comes and goes before it settles.
We shall have very fine weather next week for scraping the boat.
There has been no night frost at all until now, here, and that is abnormal.
If by “phenomenal” you mean widespread flooding on the east coast of Australia, then yes, that’s already started and is expected to continue through the rest of spring and summer. More that the usual number of tropical cyclones are also expected in northern Australia in the coming summer.
Adam Lea says
“More that the usual number of tropical cyclones are also expected in northern Australia in the coming summer.”
That is what often happens during a La Nina which is what we have now.
Yes, and the east coast flooding, too.
This was posted in response to Kevin in the previous UV but was lost in the transition:
Kevin, I suggest you actually read the wiki-p article you cited about “consumerism”. It tells us that status-seeking is the motivator for it, and, as I pointed out, status in the hierarchy is the prime mover in Authoritarian psychology.
So you, and others, are indeed deflecting or wishful-thinking; humans aren’t being tricked into some unnatural behavior, status is a natural goal in humans and similar animals.
What sets humans apart is the (potential) motivation to understand and influence the material world, whether through science and engineering, (which may lead to a more comfortable existence), or art and design, which can result in enhanced sensory experience.
Why don’t you pronounce your moral judgement on this:
I have a favorite cup that I use all the time for my coffee, and my wife has one for her tea. That’s all we need, really. But we also have display shelves with a variety of hand-made cups and mugs. So, is this an example of
-“consumerism”, which is destroying the environment by using materials and energy to produce them, or is it
-“community”, where we are supporting and celebrating the individuals who created them?
For us, we don’t need the status of ownership… we create things in other materials, and get our ego-boost from doing that well. But, not being subsistence farmers, we too use materials and energy and technology.
So which is it?
I would also suggest that you review your understanding of human history. Most societies have been autocratic in some form; they were “communities”, but with great inequities and suffering for many individuals. When you improve the material conditions, things get better because there is opportunity for education and individualism and creativity… for an Enlightenment, as they say. It’s not a perfect world, but it does provide a counterbalance to the hierarchy imposed by simple violence, which is the norm when control of scarce resources is all-important within the society.
“status is a natural goal in humans and similar animals.”
This is basically wrong. 300,ooo years of egalitarianism indicate quite clearly the *norm” is sharing and equality. You are basing your analysis on the most anomalous period in human history, the one in which we have likely destroyed the ecosystem’s ability to continue to support us, to judge what is “natural.”
You’re wrong because GIGO.
Kevin McKinney says
Nope. Yes, there is an innate drive toward status-seeking in humans (as in a great many social species.) However, that this is implicit in the mechanism underlying consumerism does NOT mean that consumerism is “natural” or inevitable. There are many other ways that status can be manifest in human societies; in some societies or subsets thereof, it has been giving away possessions (“potlatch” in the Pacific Northwest indigenous cultures), or eschewing them altogether (various ascetic sects in many times and places) that has been most admired. So clearly your contention is a classic “pars pro toto,” and fails.
Consumerism is a specific ideology arising in the 20th century, which promotes the consumption of material goods as a source of both personal satisfaction and civic virtue. It’s not mere status seeking; it’s not mere enjoyment of this or that bauble; it’s not mere non-functional decorative art; and it’s not mere “marketing.” (Though, TBF, modern marketing in all its multi-billion dollar ‘glory’ is certainly a central mechanism for consumerism as we know it.)
As to whether you and your wife are indulging in rampant consumerism or not with all those mugs, I’m really not interesting in making myself your moral arbiter. Are they bringing you joy–as Marie Kondo would ask? If so, far be it from me to condemn. And if you are buying them to support and celebrate the makers, what’s wrong with that? (Though presumably, you could do even more in that regard by giving away said mugs, rather than keeping them unused in a display case? Just wondering…after all, at some point you’ll need to do that or else go for the ‘bigger display case.’)
Your snark about “reviewing human history*–yeah, that ought to be good for an afternoon’s reading, right?–is strawman. I did not suggest that community is a panacea, or that there can never be any community outside of Utopia. I did, and do, claim that consumerism tends to undercut community. It does so more or less intentionally by advancing consumption as a primary good; for, if it is to be that, then community can be at best secondary. And in practice, community is from a hard consumerist perspective actually deleterious, because sharing of resources undercuts the need to buy, buy, buy.
Neither do I disparage the importance of improving the material conditions of human societies. As Dr. Maslow pointed out, needs form into hierarchies, with the meeting of the basic ones acting as prerequisites (to some degree, at least) for enabling higher needs to be addressed. So meeting needs at those basic levels should always have priority. However, consumerism errs by in effect by attempting to keep us all ‘stuck’ at lower levels on the hierarchy of needs long after those actual needs have been met.
For those unfamiliar, here’s a simple version of Maslow’s pyramid:
Note that consumption is primarily suited to address levels 1 & 2 (physiological & safety), with the status piece coming in on level 4 (social respect). (And of course, advertising often addresses level 3 needs (intimacy, friendship), albeit essentially via bait and switch.) Community is actually our most powerful tool for addressing level 1 & 2 needs (division of labor, economic efficiency, technological achievement are all inherently social), but it is WRT levels 3, 4 & 5 (IMO) that they really become predominant.
Speaking of strawmen….
“…does not mean that consumerism is “natural” or inevitable.”
And who said that it (whatever it is) was?
And speaking of logical fallacies and rhetorical superficiality in general, the point of my question was to demonstrate that you are using this term “consumerism” much the way the other guys use “socialism” and “communism” and other pejorative terms… a catchall without any clear definition or testable characterization.
And you did indeed demonstrate that through your evasive answer.
But you have provided a great topic with which we can examine this issue… potlatch. For those unfamiliar with the term (my bolds):
Huh. So, here we all are trying to save the environment, and Kevin valorizes cutting down trees to make boxes and canoes, and then burning them so some rich guy can have that status thing. Who knew?
Kevin, how is potlatch not fitting your definition:
“Consumerism is a specific ideology ….., which promotes the consumption of material goods as a source of both personal satisfaction and civic virtue.” ??
The funny thing is, this potlatch is a useful illustration of the z-hypothesis which I have mentioned previously. Putting aside the status and inequity part, and slavery involved, there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as you have a stable population with an abundance of resources.
That was exactly the condition under which the practice occurred… within the societies, there was sufficient food, and there were lots of trees. So, perhaps what makes it a “civic virtue” is that people were employed making canoes and boxes, and after the potlatch where they were burned, they could start all over again, and exercise their creativity and desire to make even better ones, that people could admire/enjoy before their destruction.
This last brings us back to our modern situation, where, unfortunately, resources are scarce relative to the population, and their exploitation degrades the environment. But consumption is a necessary condition in order to keep people employed. What exactly is the alternative??
I could go on, but here’s another thing to illustrate how meaningless terms like “consumerism” really are:
Kevin McKinney says
Well, if that wasn’t the implication of your linkage of consumerism to the wider phenomenon of status-seeking–which you implied to be universal, or nearly so–then it’s very hard to know what you meant at all–if anything.
Because it potlatch is not about the consumption of those goods–barring the (AIUI) relatively unusual case of the destruction of said goods–but about their redistribution to the community. (You’ll note that this is the primary focus in your source: “Historically, the potlatch functioned to redistribute wealth…”) The recipients of the “firearms, blankets, clothing, carved cedar boxes, canoes, food and prestige items” employed them. If we presume they were not needed by the giver, then their utility was *increased,” not destroyed. As to the social good served, I would suggest that it was social solidarity: simultaneously, the hierarchy is affirmed while material inequity is ameliorated somewhat. (And everyone has a good time together.) It wasn’t the employment of artisans, as you suggest, because there was no separate artisan class. Those societies weren’t characterized by a fully-developed system of specialization (though doubtless some individuals were better artisans at this craft or that.)
By contrast, consumerism as practiced today seeks to maximize throughput in order to maximize profit regardless of actual need or utility. To do this, it invests billions of dollars annually to attempt to create demand. Are we to believe that this effort is entirely unsuccessful? (And even if that were the case, the effort involved has a considerable carbon footprint on its own.)
If you reject all descriptions, definitions and clarifications of a thing, you are hardly entitled to complain that the primary term for that thing is “meaningless”; it is you who is choosing to make it so. But fortunately, only for yourself.
Kevin, it just seems that you are making up a story, and the words you are using to tell it as well.
You have wealthy individuals paying people (artisans or not), and perhaps using slaves, to cut down trees and produce products (or exchange them for other environmentally damaging products like copper), and then distributing them with the result of:
“The potlatch conferred status and rank upon individuals, kin groups and clans, and established claims to names, powers and rights to hunting and fishing territories.”
Sounds a lot like “profit” to me. And “capitalism” in the sense of owning the means of production, as well as the obvious investment in production.
And when you say “regardless of need or utility”, this is again meaningless. What in the world do “need” and “utility” mean… whatever Kevin decides? How do you know the recipients of the potlatch gifts “needed” them, or what their “utility” was? Who decides what people “need” today??
You are trying to create this moralistic fantasy, while ignoring the underlying reality of resource availability relative to the population, given the existing technology at the time.
You want to believe that there were no Potlatch Oligarchs, creating “social solidarity” in their clans, just like we see today with the MAGA types (all over the world, unfortunately). Not a rational belief.
The difference, as I said, and you are unwilling to acknowledge, is that those PNW groups had abundant resources and were militarily dominant, able to exploit others through slavery, and maintain that resource base.
The difference, as I said, between their consumption and ours, is that the amount of salmon they could catch, and trees they could cut down, was not going to destroy their particular ecosystem. That’s it; that’s the difference, not some imagined Kumbaya eco-frugality and egalitarian communalism.
And you didn’t answer the most important question that I asked. What’s your plan to now employ the people who are producing all that stuff which (according to Almighty Kevin) has no utility, and nobody needs?
In my view there is nothing fundamentally wrong about what Kevin is saying.
While “consumerism” is hard to define quantitatively, it exists as a thing where people have wealth well beyond essential needs to survive and its tied up to demonstrating status. Just because we cant write a mathematical equation to define it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Its the same for capitalism and free markets terms zebra is quite fond of using.
Whether consumerism a good thing or a bad thing is another issue, but someone who owns half a dozen houses left empty most of the time may be depriving other people of a place to live. This becomes a problem because at the very least it can lead to a situation people that are deprived of the basics resort to crime, or attempt to destroy the current political or economic system through some form of revolution. Instability like that leads to lot of collateral damage.
Obviously its not practical for everyone to be equally wealthy, but there is a point where excessive personal wealth becomes problematic. Its hard to define that point, but it clearly exists!
Kevins potlatch example isn’t the best example to have used, because its a complicated tradition, but I would say the underlying point Kevin is making is that modern humans hoard ever increasing quantities of personal wealth as a show of status especially the leaders of society do this, and this level of consumerism can create some problems, while the North American indigenous Indian peoples leaders praticed wealth redistribution, rather than excessive hoarding of wealth, and as a way of demonstrating status.
Oddly enough some modern wealthy people who are philanthropists do a similar thing. But not all do.
Sure Zebra is right consumerism doesn’t matter much in a small global population / abundant resources world BUT WE ARE NOT IN THAT WORLD, and it will take centuries to get there. If we don’t get our act together, there might not be much of a planet left for a small population world to inherit.
That said, I believe utopian dreams of financial or social egalitarianism and perfect equality are unrealistic as well. Even the North American indigenous peoples didn’t have that (Potlatch on wikipedia),
I believe our job is to promote things that are practical, like for example a moderate level of wealth taxes that can be used for productive purposes, and helping reduce poverty, and the circular economy idea where we recycle things and so reduce the need for opening more mines. Even that faces huge obstacles, but at least its a possibility..
Kevin McKinney says
This is exactly the sort of pointless tendentiousness that unfortunately characterizes much of your discourse, Zebra.
Do you you? Evidence, please? Remember, the Haida (for example) were hunter-gatherers. No money to pay with, and AFAICT no ‘idle class’ such as you seem to be imagining.
Pretty sure other folks knew perfectly well what I meant. But here’s some help for you:
I rather think that it’s Zebra who is guilty of “deciding” what terms mean (or don’t).
Again, the words “pointless tendentiousness” come to mind. But they don’t tell the whole story, since deciding what a “need” is is not easy logically, practically, or politically. But if we chose to ‘reason together’ instead of bickering about it, who knows what might not happen?
So, I ask all and sundry quite seriously: what makes a “need?” And especially, “What makes a need in the context of a developing social and ecological crisis?” Also, “What social level should the word “need” apply to? Purely individual? Mostly communal? Something else?”
No, that’s your fantasy of what I’m trying to do. And it’s only sustainable by your utter refusal to actually consider what I’m saying and to criticize/respond in good faith. I’m trying to consider what a sustainable culture would and should look like in the future. I say that it would not be characterized by consumerism as we know it (however fuzzily) today, for the IMO excellent reason that consumerism is designed to increase the throughput of materials and energy. So far, to the best of my recollection, you’ve said exactly nothing that addresses that contention.
More fantasy. I don’t give a damn whether there were “Potlatch Oligarchs” or not. See above paragraph.
More fantasy. And to put it firmly to bed, let me hereby formally acknowledge that, yes, “those PNW groups had abundant resources and were militarily dominant, able to exploit others through slavery, and maintain that resource base.”
I really have to wonder if you think you’re arguing with Killian here; he’s the guy who argues for the ethical superiority of hunter-gatherer society, not me. That said, he’s probably much less wrong than you are when you imagine “Potlatch oligarchs” “paying” artisans who do nothing but carve canoes, or ceremonial cedar boxes. Consider this:
That’s from the same source–for convenience:
Again, I don’t think you know who you are arguing with here (though this time maybe you imagine someone more like poor Macias, who thinks he has it all figured out). This whole thread began with me *suggesting* some ideas, hoping for a sensible conversation about what a sustainable future would actually look like. (Hey, at least we agree it wouldn’t include “Potlatch oligarchs.”)
However, while my basic stance is one of learning and exploration, not dictating to you or anybody else What The World Should Be, I’m not too shy to float a proposal. So, if you ask what I would recommend replacing putative unemployed people’s livelihoods with, should consumerism somehow end tomorrow, I’d say “Re-train them to do things urgently needed, such as increasing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the like.” Surely some of the skills would transfer, at least.
Kevin McKinney says
I’ve got a reply to Zebra submitted which I would have expected to show up by now–I hope it will still come through moderation!
In the meantime, thanks to Nigel for considering the merits of the critique of consumerism which I put forward. A couple of comments.
First, regarding Nigel’s summation of my proposition:
Yes and no. That is, modern humans do “hoard ever increasing quantities” of stuff. I think that’s pretty much indisputable. And I’d agree that in part it is connected to status seeking (or status maintaining, as suggested by that classic phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”). But there are a couple of qualifications to that picture.
One is that in a consumerist paradigm buying, not hoarding per se, is the key behavior. As long as folks keep buying, the machine runs. There are ways to make money in either of the two possible post-acquisition outcomes: new purchases and/or how-to-declutter-your-life how-tos (plus, of course, related reality shows) on one hand, the exploding storage industry on the other (also associated with related reality shows, actually.)
The second is that in what I see as the dominant consumerist cultural frame, buying is experienced as an emotional gratification–very often, an assuagement of, or consolation for, the emotional difficulties of contemporary life. (As suggested by another cliche of more recent vintage: “retail therapy.”) Sure, status may be part of it. But most of us know we’re never going to “keep up with” the Kardashians and their ilk–and we’re increasingly unlikely to really know who the Joneses are, and what they possess (or don’t). But shopping-as-opium-of-the-masses allows for the maintenance of volume of production–never mind whether the need is real or not. (Yes, defining “need” poses very significant difficulties, but I don’t want to derail the ongoing point to consider that one.)
Nigel raised another point:
I certainly agree. Perfection, thy name is not “humanity.” In fact, IMO perfection is an incoherent idea: any system complex enough to be really interesting will not be susceptible to teleological evaluation–and perfection, I think, requires an implicit teleology. (That is, a thing must be “perfect” in relation to a purpose of some sort. But can such a thing as a living organism, or a society, ever be “perfect” for “its own purposes”?)
Be that as it may, I’m interested in a pragmatically workable cultural frame, not a utopia. So, what modes of keeping up with the Joneses might entertain, amuse, or console us without maximizing the consumption of energy and material? Put another way, what might help us to shift from valuing maximized consumption to valuing maximized utility? (And yes, here we come once again to difficult questions of definition–which once again I am going to boldly leave aside for the moment.)
Kevin McKinney says
Upon reflection, I’m not so sure that this contention of Zebra’s is true:
This Brittanica link is intriguing, as it offers up quick overviews of not only the Haida, but many other tribal cultures in the Pacific Northwest region, such as the Tlingit and Salish:
(At least, it did for me, and I hope will for you if you are interested in following up.)
While I’m guessing a largely non-metallic culture inhabiting a temperate rainforest zone was probably not in danger of exhausting the supply of cedar, the salmon runs may be another story. I don’t know if this has been rigorously evaluated anywhere, but I can’t help but wonder if the generally warlike character of these cultures (including a strong strain of slave-taking) isn’t in part an adaptation to keep population down. (C.f. the Amazonian Yanomami, and the controversy over the role of, and impetus toward, violence in their culture.)
After all, the carrying capacity of land appears to be much lower for a non-technological society. The Haida, Tlingit, Salish et al., may perhaps not have been that far below it?
We call consumerism like you describe “retail therapy”. Consumers and business have become co-dependent on it. Perhaps it will change, but the utility, addiction and perceived need for ‘stuff’ are quite strong, and these realities cannot be ignored. I cant see it changing a whole lot.
The one thing that might happen is more people living in smaller homes, because its just a compromise over space, and has various benefits. And its important, because building homes uses a lot of resources of all types. This is what a sustainable future might start to look like. Im talking about a practical sustainable future that recognises the realities of human nature, not a utopia.
“Consumerism is a specific ideology arising in the 20ieth century, which promotes the consumption of material goods as a source of both personal satisfication and civil virtus….”
Say, did you never read or lern about “orgies” in the old Imperial Roma?
I believe the term you are looking for which relates to today in some ways is ‘panem et circenses’.
The “normal” pattern of how human society functions might actually be hierarchies and status seeking. Refer to this research ” As the Stanford study reveals, hierarchy is innate, it’s in our DNA, while egalitarianism is a learned way of being…….”
And alpha males appear to be born as alpha males. And it also appears most animals have hierarchical behaviour so its normal in the natural world as a whole. So egalitarian hunter gatherer behaviour in humans might be a learned behaviour, a deviation from the norm, and a deviation from our innate tendency towards hierarchies.
But it shows egalitarianism is possible, at least in certain circumstances or simple cultures. We know humans changed to hierarchical organisation with farming and industrial civilsation which is not surprising because hierarchies suit the organising of complex societies. Theres a big literature on this.
So if hierarchies and the associated status seeking are intrinsically linked to modern affluent society, it might prove very difficult to change this dramatically. It might be more possible to encourage non materialistic forms of status seeking.
Typical. Take research from 6 years ago to try to deny more recent scholarship.
That study is flatly wrong: DNA has more to tell us about behavior than… behavior? Good christ….
Killian, it’s really obvious humans are inherently hierarchical leaning and status conscious. You dont even need a scientific study, but I gave you one and you haven’t provided any details about the studies you say show otherwise.
Not sure what this means :”That study is flatly wrong: DNA has more to tell us about behavior than… behavior? Good christ….” It sounds suspiciously like a strawman. Can anyone else explain what he means?
Of course we know humans are also capable of egalitarian behaviour, which is not surprising because the one thing about the evolutionary process is the vast range of different behavious it generates. And behaviour is a function of genes plus environment and can be innate or learned, In other words its complicated.
Marriage in western society has become a bit more egalitarian and less hierarchical, and racism has decreased (and all thankfully,)but even small changes have taken many decades.
So what do you do with people like Trumps supporters who are very status conscious and tribal leaning, and who are a large number, depressingly. A point Zebra made I think. Imho it will need a miracle, or the sky falling in to change these guys.
I lean a little bit towards egalitarianism, instinctively, but I recognise its probably out of a natural dislike about being bossed around, and I recognise egalitarianism not a panacea or workable in all situations, and changes in these sorts of things seem to take a long time.
macias shurly says
@nigelj says: – ” And alpha males appear to be born as alpha males…it’s in our DNA.
ms: — Jesus ! – Then let a biologist explain to you that genetic research emerged from the theory of evolution (e.g. Charles Darwin).
A. — Evolution = ability to reproduce + variation + selection
B. — Survival of the fittest
DNA is the blueprint or resulting morphology of an individual. With DNA, nature can operate as a kind of natural selection. People use this knowledge to e.g. identify the fastest horses, the biggest tomatoes,…etc. to breed. An alpha stallion as leader of a herd of horses exists in nature. A tomato may grow faster and larger than others because it too is competing for space, food and light.
But is it therefore an alpha tomato?
However, you should not confuse DNA-directed morphology with alpha psychology, which humans acquire, if at all, only after many years of conditioning, education and upbringing.
A good example of an alpha male would certainly be Putin. A heap of cells at birth who poops in his diapers – his parents raised him to be a backyard truant thug before he became a secret service agent. There he learned to deceive, manipulate, lie and murder. He has learned that all he has to do is surround himself with fast alpha horses, alpha cars, and alpha weapons for stupid people to mistake himself for a god-given alpha leader. From my point of view he is a stunner.
Real alpha people who serve humanity through their thinking and creative actions are more likely to be found in culture, science, religion and literature. People like me, who can quickly conjure up a new, alternative climate protection concept out of their pockets, are certainly one of them.
And if you want to become a creative alpha male yourself, it’s not that difficult.
The above formula of Ch. Darwin (A.) is suitable for any form of evolution and development.
Everything is finally in steady movement, development and change.
I use it as a work imperative for my paintings and therefore declare my “alpha art” to be a religion.
The climate, the earth, Nigelj and the universe are also developing. Everything, everywhere in every second – even abstract things like ideas and dreams. And when you have understood and internalized the respective evolution, development and movement – you can work like a little god and alpha-troubleshoter in almost any buisness.
Ray Ladbury says
You have to love it when amateur psychologists take complex behaviors of the most complex social mammal that have evolved over millennia and reduce them to genetics and Psych-Today apologetics.
To suggest that consumerism is an inevitable consequence of humans’ quest for status is an overreach worthy of a Monty Python skit. The merest glance at what confers status in different human societies belies any such effort. The same US society that produced the Coal Rollers also produced Prius drivers who brag about getting over 130 mpg.
I don’t know that anyone suggested that “consumerism” is an inevitable consequence of anything.
For my part, I’m still waiting to hear a definition of the term from the people who are using it. Wiki-p says:
“The term consumerism has several definitions. These definitions may not be related to each other and confusingly, they conflict with each other. ”
People with a scientific orientation should not have to be told that definition-debates are what clever kids do in middle school. To have a serious discussion rather than pejorative rhetorical wordplay, everyone has to be speaking the same language. I’m always willing to work with other people’s definitions if they are definitive and consistent and testable.
Kevin McKinney says
That doesn’t appear to be what the historical record shows.
MS, your comments on alpha males do sound plausible. I might have been confusing alpha males with something else. But it doesn’t change the fact that modern humans have strong hierarchical and status seeking tendencies, and some of this appears to be very deeply seated and in our DNA (putting it very simply for the sake of brevity) as per the link I posted above. So its going to be hard shifting those sorts of mindsets assuming we wanted to.. Robert Sapolsky has a good book on how biology shapes human behavior called Behave. Not saying its 100% correct, but is a good overview of the state of knowledge. FWIW I think Putin is an evil sort of character.
Adam Lea says
Interesting all this talk of consumption and status seeking, I can’t relate to it myself although I am just one of millions in my country. I don’t buy things for status, I buy things out of necessity (perceived or real) at the time or to increase quality of life. I don’t get this idea of buying stuff to try and impress people, sounds very superficial to me. Mind you, my lack of enthusiasm for status might be a contributing factor towards my complete lack of success in romance and why I will almost certainly never have the opportunity to pass my genes on.
MA Rodger says
GISTEMP has posted the numbers for LOTI, the Sept anomaly of +0.88ºC being down on August’s +0.94ºC anomaly, previous 2022 anomalies sitting +0.83ºC to +1.05ºC and averaging +0.91ºC. Sept 2022 is the 5th warmest Sept in the GISTEMP record behind 2020 (+0.99ºC), 2019, 2021 & 2016 and ahead of 2014, 2015, 2018, 2017, 2013 & 2012 (+0.72ºC).
The first 9 months of 2022 sit in 5th place behind 2016. 2020, 2019 & 2017 (as per the ERA5 SAT reanalysis) with the potential for the full 2022 calendar year’s promotion to 4th (requiring Oct-Dec to average above +0.95ºC) or demotion to 6th (Oct-Dec below +0.86ºC) still there (both of which look unlikely in ERA5).
When shall the drunken sailors learn things?
We take research from 3-4000 years ago, pi, and Tangens to the angle Alpha in rational numeral proportions and discuss that in successive doubbling and halving, and mention a few sacred prime numbers to it also.
And suggest Pnevma and Evreka. and even Logos.
And the Killians discuss the magnitude of his partys 5 years plans for things to become obsolete on scolarly level………. and calls upon good jesus to the defence of his bloody manners.
Shush. the only drunk here is you and your incoherent posts. If you want to behave like a child constantly picking fights over nothing, go climb in a sandbox. We’re all tired of your nonsense, one would certinly hope. I have been for a long time already. Move along.
A quite much too large AURA, as we can see and feel.
But that is actually some of the syndrom.
Thus I may have to suggest further cental stimulants but I do not know their secret code names that he might understand over there in the states. But he is what they call “an altered consciousness” in any case.
Mr. Know It All says
Greta is pro-nuclear power for now:
In other news, watch out for the big snow storm coming soon to the midwest and eastern part of the USA:
Good news is they are making ice up north:
Kevin McKinney says
Well, duh! Of course keeping nuclear power online is preferable to burning more coal!
It’s almost like you think nuclear plants are completely immune to tsunamis and negligence/incompetence (to name 2 or 3 relatively recent events). Oh, and I’m also sure those downwind of Zaporizhzhia are completely pro-nuke at the present time! ANY war is going to end up involving reactor sites. They are simply too strategic to ignore.
Personally, I’m in favor of power sources that are incapable of long term regional damage even in principle regardless of “safety probabilities”. Even dams can be problematic in this regard in terms of short term regional damage, but at least you can bury the dead without radiation suits in the case of dam failure.
Your reality obviously varies.
MA Rodger says
While the concept of net zero emissions by 2050 is now widely understood, the need to see emissions halved by 2030 is not (and 2030 worryingly just seven years away) and when I have pointed to the scale of net negative emissions post-2050 to audiences, it appears to come as a total surprise, even for those actively campaigning for cuts in our present emissions.
So it is good to see this Royal Society Policy Briefing ‘Locked away – geological carbon storage’ published today, even if it doesn’t look to the requirement for net negative emissions lasting long after AD2100. (The intro webpage is here
Barton Paul Levenson says
Gavin et al.,
Have you seen this apparently peer-reviewed bit of idiocy?
barn E. rubble says
RE: “peer-reviewed bit of idiocy”
So peer-review is idiocy? Or only when you don’t like the content?
You go ahead and be impressed by the “gravity” of an article published in a very obscure journal which doesn’t specialize in publishing climate articles. This journal has a citation factor of 1.7 meaning that the average article there receives less than 2 citations in the 2 years after publication and an impact factor of .6! Evidently no one cares much about what’s published there much.
I note as well, the article ends by saying: “In a forthcoming publication a full treatment of nu-dependent scattering and earth albedo will be presented. These terms dramatically alter the conclusion reached here,” so I guess no one can conclude anything from this work yet!
This trick has a long history among denialists, propagandists, and cranks. (Once in a while you find a gem…Cantor’s end run around German journals controlled by Kroenecker and his disciples comes to mind. But the point of gems is they are quite rare.)
Ray Ladbury says
Peer review can be done badly. I consider peer review to be an indication that the reviewers thought a paper might be of interest and at least to them was not obviously incorrect. If the reviewers are not expert in the subject matter of the paper, they may be wrong on that count.
Peer review is a difficult and onerous task. In my own field, I can count on getting pretty much any paper that deals with statistics or has complex math. As such papers have been on the increase, I’ve seen a lot more requests of late and cannot field all of them. In that case, the paper may go to another researcher who is not as math/stats oriented.
Peer review is not a guarantee that a paper is not crap. Nor is it meant to be. Sometimes crap can be interesting.
Barton Paul Levenson says
Or this one? How do things like this get into print?
Steven Emmerson says
@BPL “Natural Science” is published by Scientific Research Publishing, who’s Wikipedia article, , has this:
barn E. rubble says
RE: “. . . who’s Wikipedia article . . .”
Not disagreeing with your actual point, but
barn E. rubble says
RE: “How do things like this get into print?”
Peer-review. Did you read it? What’s your issue? Better, what’s your counter point?
Barton Paul Levenson says
BER: Did you read it? What’s your issue?
BPL: Um, the fact that I’m a climate scientist and the article is pushing transparently arrant nonsense?
Since pre-industrial times, which WMO sets at around the year 1750, CO2 concentrations in the air have increased by nearly 50% to 415.7 parts per million, with the U.S., China and Europe responsible for the bulk of emissions. Methane is up 162% to 1,908 parts per billion, and nitrous oxide — whose human-made sources are things like biomass burning, industrial processes and fertilizer use — is up about one-quarter to 334.5 parts per million.
Earlier on Wednesday the U.N’s climate office said current pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions put the planet on course to blow past the limit for global warming countries agreed to in the 2015 Paris climate accord.
Kevin M, multiple comments,
Kevin, you are doing exactly what I described… engaging in a definition debate. This is not how we solve problems, whether it is physical “engineering” or cultural “engineering”. You don’t need the word need.
I’ve pointed out for some time now that if you have a stable population with abundant resources, most of the problems we are having go away. That applies even in our modern technological culture that is capable of utilizing materials outside the organic ecosystem. And where your thinking does indeed coincide with Killian’s is that you can’t accept that this would happen through economic logic and self-interest, without a detailed moralistic framework.
So, I’ve answered the question of how a sustainable culture might exist, if that is actually your question.
If your question is “how can we instantly stop climate change”, my answer is that you can’t, and again, as I’ve pointed out in the past, the best realistic scenario would be to emphasize bending the population curve as rapidly as possible along with enabling the energy transition. I’m thinking in term of future generations of humans, not today’s children and grandchildren and greats…. for them, it is almost certainly going to really suck. And they may make it through, but there’s no guarantee even of that.
Being righteously indignant about this pejorative hand-wavy concept of “consumerism” is both naive and perhaps counterproductive. Think about China. They had to have a draconian one-child policy not that long ago, but now, as the population has prospered and consumed more per capita, the government is desperately trying to increase the fertility rate.
If you don’t get what that means in terms of the forces opposing what you (we) are hoping to accomplish for the environment, you need to do some more rational analysis.
Zebra criticises Kevin for “debating definitions” when Zebra has multiple times complained definitions are often vague and need clarification. How does Zebra expect definitions to be clarified if not by debating and discussing them? He’s contradicting himself.
Sure zebra is right the global population is causing negative environmental impacts due it its huge size and a smaller global population world would have a smaller environmental footprint, and solve several problems. However its not a panacea, and it looks like a smaller population world is inevitable anyway in research I’ve seen. So why does zebra endlessly repeat it all?
Right now high levels of per capita consumption are adding disproportionately to species extinctions, climate change, and pollution and resource consumption. On business as usual per capita consumption patterns we could have a dystopian future of a wrecked planet with a few small pockets of small population high technology communities scratching out an existence.
Zebra doesn’t seem to think we can do anything about reducing levels of per capita consumption. Sure its difficult because of the system dependency, lifestyle and underlying psychological issues that are very hard to change, but In New Zealand there is signs of movement emerging towards people living in smaller homes with fewer possessions, and wanting more leisure time, and based on engaging in low consumption activities. Its only a tiny thing right now, but it could grow. Its practical and every little bit helps.
However it seems unlikely to me that people would voluntarily give up on appliances we take for granted these days. But other changes may be possible as mentioned. The trouble is all the simplistic rhetoric about population versus per capita consumption hides the details in the mix and what sorts of changes might be possible.
And adoption of renewables at scale will be challenging, and might force us to get by with less energy – which will indirectly reduce per capita consumption levels by default.
It’s more nuanced than Zebra thinks.
Kevin McKinney says
Yes, thanks for noting that I’m not the one instigating (or wanting) the “definitional debate,” Nigel. I was going to let that go, but you are absolutely correct.
You’re also correct that social change is difficult and often dislocating. (Indeed, much of the world is experiencing that today, albeit in not so benign forms.) It is also difficult to imagine ahead of time, which is part of why I think the effort to imagine it proactively is potentially valuable.
On the other hand, I think you may be underestimating the the potential for social change. After all, social change is just as inevitable as it is difficult. The question for me is, to what extent can we *direct* change, as opposed to passively suffering it, as we have for most of our history as a species?
Kevin, I do acknowledge there have been huge social changes in society especially recently. There becomes a mood for change and things reach tipping points.
But I feel the consumerism thing is more about economics. I just look at this as being different to the driving factors behind social issues. For example we need to consume to survive, so its very much about how much and what we consume. With social changes its often more about whether a behaviour is acceptable.
As per comments elsewhere I think humans are addicted to materialism and so by definition it will be hard changing that. And as I’ve stated elsewhere, there appear to be forms of consumption that are likely to change, but some that just aren’t. This is messy, but it seems like the reality. to me.
And in case you missed a previous comment I agree about the shopping addiction thing and its reasons. We call it “retail therapy”. People are really starting to talk about this more recently. That’s a good sign.
I’m not quite sure what you mean by “The question for me is, to what extent can we *direct* change, as opposed to passively suffering it, as we have for most of our history as a species?”
It seems most social changes have been directed by people in society having an influence on others and on our governments. Sometimes the issues end up as public referenda. I suppose some social changes are the consequences of other things.
Kevin, I have posted a couple of times at least a definition of “definition debate” from someone involved in formal debating… can’t find it right now, but the gist is that if everyone doesn’t agree on the language, then it is just an exercise in rhetoric. Words are associated with values… consumerism = bad, need = good, and so on, but since the terms are whatever you want them to mean, you might as well be saying “x is bad” rather than “x is consumerism”.
This should be pretty obvious to people with a science background. An official body can have a discussion about terminology or terms of art, and reach a consensus for the usage based on utility. That’s happened multiple times in physics, as I’m sure you know.
But for this venue and the issue at hand, as I said, you are free to define your terms as you like, as long as those definitions don’t themselves depend on undefined terms and are useless as metrics. I’m not disagreeing about what the word “should” mean at all.
It’s easy enough to say that humans “need” food and water in order to be alive. We can even quantify it, in calories and chemistry and liters and so on. Beyond that, what is the point other than rhetoric? Do people “need” wood-frame houses in the suburbs? Do they “need” musical instruments? How do you quantify any of it?
Ray Ladbury says
Zebra, Probably consumerism is like pornography–one knows it when one sees it. Certainly, modern capitalist societies encourage citizens to consume more than they need, going so far in a few ludicrous cases as to equate shopping with one’s patriotic duty. I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that this was not a normal thing for paleolithic man.
Where I think you do have something is in your emphasis on the role plenty and scarcity play in capitalist societies. I’ve noticed that whenever citizens get a little too progressive, suddenly the economy goes in the shitter. Now this hurts rich folks, but it hurts the poor and middle class a lot more, and it gets them back in line voting for the party that is actively trying to kill them most of the time and kill off the planet the rest of the time.
Well, Ray, you actually are getting close, but you have to read/think a little more carefully, and, sorry, be more precise in language.
Scarcity v plenty is what determines the social construct. You use the term “capitalism” when you really mean the current condition of authoritarian, hierarchical inequity. But as I think I’ve pointed out in the past, if you reduce the population relative to the resources, people become more valuable and so less subservient.
Have you not been paying attention recently, where the employees have gained power relative to the employers? Did you not notice that where the level of inequity has not diminished is in housing and fuel… the landlords and land-owners have the upper hand even more, the oil-igarchs’ monopoly is raking in even more profits. Why?
Did anyone take a minute to think about what I said about China? Why would the government want to reverse the population decline, which they so recently encouraged?
So the pornography thing is not an answer, and you don’t get to decide what people “need” any more than Kevin does. “Society” may encourage “consumption” for completely different reasons.
The reason I mentioned previously was to employ people, because the alternative to people making stuff and exchanging it is to have them killing and eating each other. Do you have a different one?
The reason to encourage people to consume certain resources is because those resources can be (and are) controlled (“owned”), which is what enables the hierarchical power structure.
Just curious, have any of you people heard of Henry George? I’m not a groupie like some, particularly because he was somewhat a Cornucopian, but the fundamental principles seem pretty solid.
My way of applying them to achieve the goal is different, because I think the authoritarian monkey-nature of a large part of the population is difficult to overcome at this point. But the fact that rational economically secure people (see, again, China) naturally reduce their fertility rates is a way forward.
Kevin McKinney says
Leaving aside the grotesque misreadings of my words (let alone motivations and attitudes), the only ‘answer’ I see in anything you’ve said is that we should be a smaller population.
Possibly that’s coming–but it’s not a policy answer. Mass psychological conversion would be more probable.
Can anyone help me interpret the energy budget diagram here?
I see 358.2 LW absorbed in the turbulent mixed layer, and 340.3 downward LW.
This is a discontinuity of 17.9 Wm-2.
Can anyone provide physical observation of this discontinuity? A tower site or something which demonstrates it to exist?
Where there is a net 17.9 Wm-2 flux of radiation into the atmosphere from the surface? Seem strange to me. The boundary layer is dominated by turbulent diffusion of mass, heat, and momentum. It’s pretty well mixed.
That is quite a large discontinuity.
The 398.2 emitted from the surface seems pretty hot too. 398.2 – window 40.1 gives the 358.2 atmosphere absorbed.
To close the discontinuity of 17.9 Wm-2 into a more physically realistic value (at least to me) seems to be 398.2 – 17.9 giving a surface emitted flux of 380.3.
Now sorting out the surface budget:
Net Radiation = Net SW + LW down – LW up = roughly LE + H
163.2 + 340.3 – 398.2 = 86.4 + 18.4
Net radiation = 105.3 = LE + H
What of a more reasonable mixed layer surface flux of 380.3 ??
163.2 + 340.3 – 380.3 = Net radiation = LE + H
123.2 = Net Radiation = LE + H
Do you see, that LE + H might be underestimated by 123.2 – 105.3 = 17.9?
Is it possible the latent and sensible flux values have been under estimated at the surface, by 17.9 Wm-2? That seems significant.
I again am interested to see evidence of this discontinuity of 17.9 Wm-2 between atmospheric absorbed and back radiation. I am not usually convinced by theoretical derivation, so if you know of any observation studies let me know.
I can give you an easiest matematical explaination. at least:
Durch nichts trägt sich die Mangel an matematischer Bildung deutlicher zur Schau
wie durch masslosse Genauigkeit in den Rechenschaften.
( = AMEN!)
JCM, why do you think the up-directed radiation from the surface and the down-directed radiation from the atmosphere should be the same?
The radiation from the sun intersecting the planet should equal the radiation that is emitted to space in order for the characteristics of the climate system to remain constant. That is a consequence of the principle of conservation of energy. (The small imbalance shown of .6W/m^2 is what is causing climate change)
But energy within the system can exist in different forms… as radiation, as sensible heat, and as latent heat. You seem to be confusing the two situations.
“why do you think the up-directed radiation from the surface and the down-directed radiation from the atmosphere should be the same”
call it a hunch. not trivial. I want to know what the discontinuity means, and/or if it really exists. Not yet answered.
The same balance is visible from the surface following the arrows as advised by BPL
Net Solar + Back Radiation – Atmosphere Absorbed – Window – Turbulent flux of H & LE = 0
163.3 + (340.3 – 358.2) – 40.1 – (36.8 + 86.4) = surface balance
163.3 + (-17.9) – 40.1 – (104.8) = +0.5
The brackets are introduced to highlight my areas of interest.
Assuming the values are well constrained:
What is the meaning of the (-17.9)? How is it differentiated from the window (-40.1) by an observer at the surface?
Is there a rationale why the +0.5 can’t originate from a perturbation to turbulent flux. It seems rather small compared to the uncertainties in quantifying LE.
Barton Paul Levenson says
A bit of good news:
Adam Lea says
“Oxy is also counting on the sale of “net-zero oil” that it plans to produce by injecting more CO2 into oil reservoirs than is emitted by the process of extracting and burning the oil. The process, called enhanced oil recovery, pushes out more oil from reservoirs than other techniques.”
Is that really physically viable or is it just greenwashing?
Barton Paul Levenson says
Obviously Oxy has ulterior motives, but we can use their technology even while making all efforts to shut down their fossil fuel production.
MA Rodger says
Crude oil has an SG of roughly 0.8 and said to be roughly 85% carbon. So to pump the CO2 generated by all that carbon in extracted oil back down the hole would be pumping [0.85 x 3.664 =] 3.1t of CO2 replacing 1.0t oil in a space of [1/0.8 =] 1.25m^3, so the CO2 would require to have an SG of 2.5.
Air has an SG of 0.001225 but pure CO2 at 1bar would be [44/28 =] 0.002. So the CO2 would require compressing to [2.5/0.002 =] 1,250bar or 18.000psi, which probably enough to do more than “blow the bloody doors off.” (This dirtyoldoildrum.com webpage uses an example of 3,000psi as something bad to encounter.)
However, it may be that all this CO2 is being sequestered down “Blue Peter” wells, that is “here’s one we emptied earlier.”
My take on this blather by Occidental Petroleum Corp CEO is that it is premium-quality unrefined bullshit. Note the comment “Ultimately, I believe that putting COO2 (sic) in a saline reservoir is a waste of a valuable product. It’s something we should not do on a large scale. It’s missing an opportunity to produce net-zero oil.” And the partner Carbon Engineering Ltd make no mention of “net-zero oil” in their description of the project. Previous discussion here at RC of this bunch showed the carbon capture would require 75% of the energy released from the CO2 creation, a consideration to add into the “net-zero oil” concept.
Barton Paul Levenson says
JCM: I see 358.2 LW absorbed in the turbulent mixed layer, and 340.3 downward LW. . . . This is a discontinuity of 17.9 Wm-2. . . . Can anyone provide physical observation of this discontinuity? A tower site or something which demonstrates it to exist?
BPL: You’re not adding up all the inputs and outputs. Nothing is out of balance. You’re isolating the radiative part only, in one direction, and assuming it means there’s a discontinuity. Count up how many arrows are going into the atmosphere and how many are coming out.
JCM: The 398.2 emitted from the surface seems pretty hot too.
BPL: The 398.2 is biased upwards because it’s a three dimensional figure compressed into one. Hot areas cluster around the equator, and energy is emitted as the fourth power of temperature, so the equator gets over-represented compared to the poles.
“Hot areas cluster around the equator,”
Perhaps the downward LW should exhibit this biasing behavior too near the surface. This may eliminate the discontinuity, with implications for interpreting surface budgets using such diagrams i.e. net radiation, LE + H. I do not know how downward LW is observed, so I presume it is derived from residuals in a global average sense. This may bias the figure if the surface emission is a spatially distributed T^4 value, and back radiation is not.
what are measures of subsidence in areas affected by Ian? sea level is a relative thing.
Sea level is rising faster than land is subsiding most places,
“Well, Ray, you actually are getting close, but you have to read/think a little more carefully, and, sorry, be more precise in language.
That comes across as very hypocritical and condescending. Maybe its to provoke a response but its vomit inducing. If you want a debate / discussion just ask a question.
“But as I think I’ve pointed out in the past, if you reduce the population relative to the resources, people become more valuable and so less subservient.”
Ok, but it will take centuries to get to a significantly smaller population world. Centuries of high per capita consumption causing problems. Our job is to focus on what we can do to reduce per capita consumption, difficult though that is. And we probably wont make a massive difference to be honest. We might just stop it getting worse.
Population might take care of itself through processes already well advanced (demographic transition, falling costs of contraceptives). However the sticking point might be Islamic societies which tend to favour large families, and how does Zebra think we can change THAT? So we better also think about per capita consumption levels.
“The landlords and land-owners have the upper hand even more, the oil-igarchs’ monopoly is raking in even more profits. Why?”
Um, might it be because governments dont stand up to these people?
“So the pornography thing is not an answer, and you don’t get to decide what people “need” any more than Kevin does. “Society” may encourage “consumption” for completely different reasons.”
I understood the pornography analogy. Some things defy precise definitions but there are still real. Wikipedia has a minimal definition of Consumerism: “Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services”. Oxford Dictionary: “Consumerism is the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.”
I understand this, but I would break it down further into manifesting as a collection of behavious including: : 1) Retail therapy to make us feel good and distract from problems in our lives 2)Consumption primarily to signal high status 3) Consumption that adds very litttle value to our lives. 4) Hoarding of goods that are seldom if ever used, unless its something like food for possible emergencies 5) throwing out products in the garbage that still work just fine. Waste in other words. 6) Consumption that wrecks our health.
The reason to do that is it starts to show which parts of consumerism are a bad thing and might be capable of being changed.
The wants and needs discussion seems a bit pointless to me. I agree with Zebra on that. Firstly because all we need to survive is very basic food, shelter and clothing, but that would mean living like a paleolithic human, and nobody is seriously suggesting that. So we are legitimising consuming above basic needs to survive, yet we have to somehow keep that within planetary boundaries as much as possible, and not go over board with consumption (ideally). We can only resolve that by being quite specific about what products are ok to own and also considering how amenable people would be to such changes in their lives.
Secondly our cities are so detached from our farmland that a modern transport system has become a basic need, at least in the short to medium term! In other words many things can be defined as needs! Making the discussion about needs difficult and hard to get agreement on. You have to approach consumption issues with different language, more like my 6 points about consumerism. Some of which Kevin mentioned as well.
“The reason I mentioned previously was to employ people, because the alternative to people making stuff and exchanging it is to have them killing and eating each other. Do you have a different one?”
Many goods are now made by robots in automated factories anyway. So Zebras point is moot. People will either have to find employment in the services sector or we will end up needing a UBI (universal wage). However this is a longer term issue. The real problem that Ive mentioned before is what happens if consumption levels drop very fast? Because this could cause mass unemployment because the system would not have time to adjust. And shortages of basic transportation systems would cause a disaster. So its probably ideal if consumption falls gradually.
And secondly if consumption levels fell too far, it would become painful and unhealthy. We have to be careful we dont trigger something like that.
“The reason to encourage people to consume certain resources is because those resources can be (and are) controlled (“owned”), which is what enables the hierarchical power structure.”
This is what we have all been saying anyway. Its about status and hierarchies. But there are hierarchies and then there are hierarchies. There is scope to encourage responsibly behaved hierarchies is there not?
“Just curious, have any of you people heard of Henry George?”
Not me, but wikipedia says: “He inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism, the belief that people should own the value they produce themselves, but that the economic value of land (including natural resources) should belong equally to all members of society. George famously argued that a single tax on land values would create a more productive and just society.”
All good ideas, but how do you make that happen? It does not look easy to convince the public for obvious reasons. And it would not stop the monopolists and oligarchs buying up all the houses.
“My way of applying them to achieve the goal is different, because I think the authoritarian monkey-nature of a large part of the population is difficult to overcome at this point.”
Zebra is right about this. It’s certainly is hard to overcome. However I would suggest such people as “Trumps Base” are perhaps 25% of the population, so we can achieve something while ignoring them.
I’m not too optimistic that we can adequately solve the climate and other environmental problems, but I’m interested in trying to identify things that can be changed. Not much point expending energy on promoting unrealistic utopias.
Kevin McKinney says
Good comments, but I have to comment on this:
This tacitly sweeps the question of just who “we” are under a categorical rug–the apparent assumption that “we” consists entirely of medically-robust individuals. I’m now of an age where basically every near-contemporary I know is taking some form of prescription medication on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Some, to be sure, are more about supporting health than sustaining life, but surely a good fraction falls into the latter category. Nor is there a shortage of younger individuals who depend upon their ‘meds’ just to survive. (Diabetics, to name one class; HIV-infected, to name another.)
So, do those cohorts get to define their “needs,” too? I’d hope so, but the discourse on these threads–not just Nigel–has somehow mostly failed to consider the question.
Silvia Leahu-Aluas says
Climate emergency signs: hurricanes that are supercharged by global heating.
It means we are on the trajectory towards the extinction of our species and millions others who share the only planet, we know of or will ever know, where life exists. We are not doing anything significant enough to stop and reverse this trend.
Political solution: vote for elected officials who act on science, support the common good and legislate to solve the climate emergency in all its aspects (biospheric, social, ethical, economic).
Laws are not sufficient, but are necessary. H.R. 5376 (Inflation Reduction Act of 2022) is a benchmark law, providing the single largest investment in climate and energy in American history.
Challenge: vote for rational, competent and caring people in every election and for every elected position, at every level. People who worked hard for decades and voted to enact H.R. 5376.
Let’s get to vote!
Note: Reposted from my LinkedIn account, if I may.
Barry E Finch says
I’m not seeing how an increase in hurricane strength leads to extinction of human species and I’m not seeing how extinction of human species leads to extinction of other species. My understanding is that extinction of human species leads to increase in the numbers of most non-human species except cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, coffee beans and highly-specialized grains. Can you provide the train of circumstances that causes an increase in hurricane strength to lead to extinction of the species that you are thinking of ?
Barry E Finch says
JCM “Can anyone help me interpret the energy budget diagram here?”. There’s no reason why LWR would balance itself. In July 2021 I attempted to open discussion of the “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s troposphere being described abysmally incorrectly all over the Internet, including by a young climate scientist, being described as the surface warming itself by absorbing some part then “re-emitting” 50% of that LWR back to surface (a load of old rubbish) but Realclimate censored my comment because it interfered with whatever rational discourse was happening then. You’ve likely read an incorrect description of the “greenhouse effect” (because they all are except Andrew Dessler) and been misled. There are solids & liquids throughout Earth below its surface that manufacture and absorb radiation and some escapes when it’s emitted in the top ~10 microns for water and less for solids because it can travel that far without being absorbed. There’s also solids & liquids throughout Earth’s atmosphere (mostly lower atmosphere) that must do the exact same thing because they are the exact same thing. When they collide they might vibrate and might emit. There’s also infrared-active gases throughout Earth’s atmosphere that do the same. The upshot of all this (ignoring Earth’s interior below its solid-liquid surface) is that solids & liquids across Earth’s surface emit LWR up by an amount that’s proportional by some formula to its temperature averaged over a workable area for averaging to be accurate enough for a useful quantity (4 decimal digits, whatever) and solids, liquids & infrared-active gases throughout Earth’s atmosphere in the parts where they exist (mostly troposphere) emit LWR up out of its top and down out of its bottom (I think that’s OK for decorum here) by an amount that’s proportional by some formula to its temperature averaged over a workable volume for averaging to be accurate enough for a useful quantity (4 decimal digits, whatever). This is a brief comment but because the upper part of troposphere is colder than the lower part of troposphere therefore less LWR that’s manufactured in troposphere escapes out the top than escapes out the bottom (199.8 including adjustment above troposphere vs 340.3 according to NASA energy budget diagram) and because troposphere is ~80% of all atmosphere (and almost all of its water & ice) it dominates in this effect over the stratosphere and higher, and that’s the so-called “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s troposphere. If the 199.8 and 340.3 were instead 270.05 each (or whatever equal amounts) there would be no “greenhouse effect” for Earth. The reason why this utterly-simple, correct description above versus the abysmally incorrectly descriptions all over the Internet about “re-emitting 50%” is important is because …… the correct science enables the latent heat, sensible heat and SWR radiation absorbed into atmosphere in energy budget diagram to be converted to LWR, which it is. Otherwise, the latent heat, sensible heat and SWR radiation absorbed into atmosphere in energy budget diagram would build up until the end of Earth because it isn’t leaving to surface or space. Your confusion is because you attempted to separate LWR energy from the latent heat, sensible heat and SWR radiation absorbed into atmosphere and that’s incorrect physics because heat (using the definition as the forms of kinetic energy) is transmutable BOTH WAYS to-from LWR via the vibrating-molecule interim energy storage.