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Forced Responses: Dec 2018

Filed under: — group @ 2 December 2018

A bimonthly thread for discussions on solutions and responses to climate change. For climate science topics, please comment on the Unforced Variations thread.

697 Responses to “Forced Responses: Dec 2018”

  1. 651
    alan2102 says:

    #612 Mr. Know It All 23 Jan 2019:
    “CO2 emissions by country – China is #1, over 2 x US emissions.”

    Yep. They are the biggest emitter. And look what they GET for it! With those emissions they are buying development and uplift-from-poverty for hundreds of millions, actually a billion. They are buying much more rapid conversion to renewables than anyone else on the planet, and greener infrastructure, transport and productive capacity to lift still more hundreds of millions across greater Eurasia, eventually in a sustainable way (which, being the vast project that it is, will take at least a half-century). Among other things. And what does the U.S. get for its emissions? Is the U.S. building out better and greener infrastructure? Abolishing poverty? Continuously improving labor’s share of the national income? And a hundred other things. Answer: no. What the U.S. “accomplishes” with its emissions is mostly negative.

    See my post #632, answer to James. Everything that happens, happens in context, and that context is essential for understanding. Apologists for capitalism MUST take things out of context (e.g. “look at China’s emissions! more than the U.S.!”) in order for their arguments to sound plausible. Same as the deliberately-ignored economic “externalities”, another way of saying “benefits (profits) taken out of the context essential for measuring the true costs of things”. Decontextualization is one of the main contributors to the ediface of lies that maintains BAU. Once the context is placed in the foreground, where it should be, then any idiot can see the insanity of the current order.

    “The biggest [CO2] decline came from the United States, mainly because of higher deployment of renewables.”

    Yes, renewables produced on someone else’s (China’s) CO2 “bill”. China now makes all the solar PV panels, and there’s still a lot of CO2 emissions involved in producing them, since we’re not far enough along in the renewables transition for renewables to be supplying a significant amount of power to produce renewables. Get it? So China gets “charged” for the CO2 emitted for production, so that other countries can look cleaner-than-they-are. Same thing has been going on for decades regarding production of all kinds of other stuff. We off-shored our dirty industries to China, so now China looks way dirtier than they actually are, as the products are being shipped back West. Again: CONTEXT. But don’t expect neoliberal mainstream media to mention it, because…. USA! USA! USA! WE’RE THE GREATEST!

  2. 652
    James says:

    Oh joy!

    https://www.universetoday.com/141220/astronomers-arent-pleased-about-a-russian-plan-to-put-billboards-in-space/

    “While the rest of us look up at the night sky, and wonder at what we’re seeing, ponder how it all fits together, and strain ourselves trying to understand how our origins are intertwined with all that we see, others don’t. They look up at the magnitude of the night sky and think none of these things. Instead they think, “Hmmm…that’s a big, empty billboard. How can I make money from it?” … Others are against billboards in space because of how unnatural it seems. Must every natural space be exploited in order to promote more products? Can’t some of nature be left to enjoy the way it is? Can’t we be left alone to ponder the night sky, without being subjected to advertising? … at some point, we have to put the brakes on. … The only thing worse than making your way to a natural place away from light pollution to enjoy the night sky and seeing a Kentucky Fried Chicken ad flying over-head, would be to see the same ad made into an unrecognizable, annoying jumble by the changing positions of the CubeSats.”

    With due respect to the trigger-happy experimenters among us, we desperately need a worldwide environmental ethic. Certain things should just be off limits, Period. Right now it’s the Wild West. Just doing stuff because we can. Sky’s the limit. The only parameter is your imagination. Treating the world like a giant supermarket, playground and test tube. I mean, come on, if you know that someday, if we are to survive, and we don’t want it to be on a ruined planet, there are changes we have to make, then by god, let’s make em, starting with respect.

  3. 653
    alan2102 says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7dVF9xylaw
    Greta Thunberg | Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019
    World Economic Forum
    Published on Jan 25, 2019

    Vegan Greta took the train (32 hours) to Davos, and is sleeping in a tent in 0-degree weather, while telling the assembled global elite that they are a bunch of shirkers and near-criminals:
    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/25/europe/greta-thunberg-davos-world-economic-forum-intl/index.html
    Teen activist tells Davos elite they’re to blame for climate crisis

    “I think it’s very insane and weird that people come here in private jets to discuss climate change. It’s not reasonable,” Thunberg said.

    Greta, btw, has Asperger’s syndrome, which notably predisposes the sufferer to always tell the truth.

  4. 654
    Killian says:

    Re #629 zebra said #621 Jan Sunner,

    Yes, you illustrate nicely what should be obvious to everyone, which is that there are limits to how much individual humans can consume

    Tell that to the rich.

    assuming that they are rational.

    But they aren’t. This failure is the basis of the stupidity of Economics, and your assertions below.

    it is downright blasphemous to point out that, with large amounts of land relative to the population, local, sustainable, agriculture is the (cover your ears, Killian et al) Rational Economic Capitalist Choice!

    Given *any* amount of land it’s the right choice for *anyone.*

    It would be absurd, for example, in a low population scenario, to invest in producing artificial fertilizer. And very likely, herbicides and pesticides as well, given the ability to diversify crops and locations and planting cycles.

    It is absurd in *any* scenario.

    And if we use the numbers suggested to understand how these binary choices work, we can then incorporate that understanding into shorter-term planning.

    Sadly, you do not understand what you are claiming to be revealing.

    But it does take away the need for moralizing and touting “the wisdom of ancients” to us scientifically inclined pragmatists.

    Childish, inaccurate, Straw Man.

  5. 655

    Texas continues to be a flagship state for the renewables revolution, despite its red-state politics, hitting nearly 20% wind share of total generation in 2018. Better yet, there’s a very impressive pipeline, not only of wind projects, but also solar, which is just starting to hit its stride in the Lone Star State. (Less than 2 GW capacity now, but 40 more in development.)

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/01/25/texas-grid-is-now-30-carbon-free-led-by-wind/

    (I would take issue with the lede line in the story, though: it claims that “Texas’ energy market is now 30% carbon-free and dominated by wind energy.” The numbers in the story make clear that the market is in fact “dominated” by gas at present–though they also suggest that that is likely to change fairly quickly. But at ~44% of actual generation, gas is clearly on top for the nonce.)

    Integration of wind energy hasn’t proven too problematic yet, although transmission capacity has had to be added for some projects. Good news, since ten years ago or less we were being assured that even 5% renewable penetration would explode the grid or something. And with the complementary characteristics of wind and solar, integration probably won’t be getting any harder for a while, especially since storage capacity is increasingly becoming part of the package as well (though present capacity is still very low.)

  6. 656
    alan2102 says:

    Greta Thunberg continued: delightful TED talk:

    https://www.ted.com/talks/greta_thunberg_school_strike_for_climate_save_the_world_by_changing_the_rules/

    “[Almost no one speaks] about the aspect of equity or climate justice, clearly stated everywhere in the Paris Agreement, which is absolutely necessary to make it work on a global scale. That means that rich countries need to get down to zero emissions within 6 to 12 years, with today’s emission speed. And that is so that people in poorer countries can have a chance to heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built, such as roads, schools, hospitals, clean drinking water, electricity, and so on. Because how can we expect countries like India or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we who already have everything don’t care even a second about it or our actual commitments to the Paris Agreement?”

    Again, for emphasis:

    “rich countries need to get down to zero emissions within 6 to 12 years…so that people in poorer countries can have a chance to heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built”

    Greta, you’re a budding Sinophile, third-worldist, anti-imperialist, (anti-climate-imperialist), and climate communist. Warm welcome and thanks to you, comrade! I would invite you to join us here on RC, but what you are doing is about 10,000X more important than writing posts here.

    It is China’s job to build out that infrastructure and to raise standards of living for billions, even if at high carbon cost. It is also China’s job to make the green transition as rapidly as possible, continue decreasing the carbon-intensity of its GDP, and so on. And, apparently, it is China’s job to do all this (i.e. to save the freaking planet, assuming it can be saved) with no substantial help from the West, and even in the face of resistance from the West, and even in the face of continued massive overconsumption in the West (the true immediate cause of the climate crisis), and even in the face of filthy lies (e.g. “ugly dictatorship”) from armies of Western liars. And it is expected that they do all this without complaint, and with no credit given when they succeed — that is, succeed in doing what the West, by any reasonable standard, was obliged to do decades ago.

    Of course, the infantile West will NOT get down to zero emissions, or even close, within 6 to 12 years, or even 30 years. And it will figure a way to blame the Chinese, or “overpopulation”, or Jill Stein, or desperate immigrants, or “cultural marxism”, or something, no matter how ridiculous… ANYTHING to avoid adult responsibility. The West could have, and should have, gotten down to zero emissions (or near) 10-20 years ago, and thereby set a shining example to the world — a shining example backed by econo/technologic advancement (e.g. solar pvs at ~$1/watt) that could easily be shared with the rest of the world, such that the essential lifting of billions out of poverty could have been done without great carbon cost as is now being incurred by China. Gigantic, world-historic opportunity lost, with a huge price to be paid for generations to come — mostly by non-Western poor people.

  7. 657
    Carrie says:

    Nothing to hear here.

    Greta Thunberg | Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7dVF9xylaw

    Let’s hear more from the Climate Scientists who are so articulate and knowledgeable. (sic)

  8. 658
    Al Bundy says:

    Why 1.5? Childbirth is painful. Kids are expensive and consume time and attention almost as greedily as they scarf sugar. Baby weight. Retirement would be nice. Yeah, you wanted the experience, but once is work enough (seriously, some folks end up with a kid like me!)

    A better question is how do they get women to agree to a second child?? (Pain is strange. If the last bit of pain is a bit less painful than the rest people remember that the pain wasn’t so bad.

  9. 659
    Killian says:

    Cross-posting this here for the mitigation/adaptation aspect of the information.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-018-0205-y

    Discuss.

  10. 660
    Killian says:

    Re #637 nigelj said Killian @625

    A high technology society with a steady state (zero growth economy) is possible, because Japan has been pretty close to this for the last 30 years (about 1% growth p/a).

    That is not what is meant by a steady-state economy, a la Daly, et al.

    Figure it out.

  11. 661
    zebra says:

    alan, Kevin, et al,

    Kevin, what’s “disappointing” is that the responses I’m getting are at a level of discourse I expect from the Denialists. From my 598:

    But you are simply ignoring what I have said multiple times, which is that the 300 million number is not a short-term goal, but a value that we use to begin to learn how population affects human-ecological interactions. (Which includes, obviously, socioeconomic and geopolitical structures.)

    I have suggested that many of the “problems” people would like to “solve” would not exist in such an environment, and so far nobody has disagreed…

    Note that what is in bold here was in bold when I first posted it, because I have been saying that over and over, but you and others continue to respond by saying “but you can’t achieve that number in the short term”.

    A real answer, rather than silly rhetorical games, would be to either agree or disagree with the substance– tell me how population does not affect whether we have grasslands, or affect whether drilling for oil in the Arctic would be a good investment, or how any of the other points I’ve raised in this regard are incorrect.

    If you-all don’t disagree, then say so, and we can proceed with some kind of quantitative reasoning. I didn’t say “electric cars don’t work”; I pointed out that the fact that electric cars are vastly superior is not sufficient to achieve the desired goal rapidly because of countervailing socioeconomic and geopolitical forces. (Those same forces will oppose reducing the rate of growth of population; even Glorious China is pushing for more babies, which makes one wonder about their supposed ecologically noble commitment to reducing consumption of resources.)

    And again, if the ultimate goal is to reduce harm to humans, tell me how even a small difference in the near-term eventual population numbers would not achieve that.

  12. 662
    Mal Adapted says:

    alan2102:

    “I think it’s very insane and weird that people come here in private jets to discuss climate change. It’s not reasonable,” Thunberg said.

    Greta, btw, has Asperger’s syndrome, which notably predisposes the sufferer to always tell the truth.“I think it’s very insane and weird that people come here in private jets to discuss climate change. It’s not reasonable,” Thunberg said.

    Moderately interesting about the Asperger’s. The truth itself predisposes most of us here, at least, to tell it as we know it. I don’t know that I’d focus so much on the air travel, as on the discussing climate change without making progress on actually reducing global emissions. I’d call that anti-reasonable.

    That said: go, Greta!

  13. 663
    alan2102 says:

    Scroll down to graph: “Annual EV Sales in China”, and note that sales have
    been doubling every year for five years:
    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/01/teslas-china-gigafactory-and-the-china-ev-market.html

    Can this rate of increase continue? For how long? A few more doublings, and Bloomberg’s projections will be blown out of the water as too conservative. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  14. 664
    alan2102 says:

    Japan’s recent rapid fertility and population decline, if they continue, appear to be due to factors other than the usual general development-related ones. Japan has tight immigration controls and, more important, a generation of young men afflicted with “Hikikomori” and “herbivorous” qualities, i.e. disinterest in sex, mates, and marriage, among other aspects of conventional life.

    This cannot be exported, unless Zebra has a brilliant suggestion about how to afflict a couple billion young men across Asia, Africa and elsewhere with Hikikomori, turning them into (rather pathetic, and tragic) Japan-style “herbivores”.

    Am I being too pessimistic? Maybe we CAN reduce global population by inducing mental illness in billions of men, turning them into psychologically impoverished half-men.* I promise to keep an open mind.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326426233_Modern-Day_Hermits_The_Significant_Impacts_of_Hikikomori_and_Other_Social_Groups_on_Japanese_Society_1
    Modern-Day Hermits: The Significant Impacts of Hikikomori and Other Social Groups on Japanese Society
    April 2018?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbivore_men
    Herbivore Men

    …………….

    * In saying this I am not saying that one must reproduce in order to be a healthy, complete man. The “impoverishment” to which I refer has to do with complete lack of interest in sex, mating and partnership — things which are, with rare exceptions, integral to being a happy fulfilled human.

  15. 665
    Al Bundy says:

    Alan, thanks. I always wondered why other people lie.
    ——

    Killian: That is not a steady state

    AB: Is the issue rigid definitions v flexible defs?

    Japan’s CO2 emissions declined 4.6% between 2005 and 2016. They have issues with excess housing.

    Obviously, a rigid definition of steady state can only be achieved by lobotomizing everyone at birth. Cuz the economy will expand through advances. Biotech, whether crispr tech or breeding skill, WILL increase the economy. Steady state is impossible unless it is defined so as to accommodate inventors. How does your preferred society handle people like me? (Hopefully better than USA style capitalism!). :-)

    Seriously, how will said society prevent technological advances, especially since the computers documenting everything are so ubiquitous at all scales?

  16. 666
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian, thanks for giving that 12 billion population limit for the society you’d like seen built.

    That’s really close to the number of non-desert-or-mountain 16 billion acres on Earth.

    I’ve done a lot of experiments in permaculture and dense gardening so I know that a small plot of land can feed a ton of people, so your number passes the initial sniff test.

    How is the population organized? Mostly farms and villages?

    How much land is reserved as wilderness? I imagine that wilderness would be as magnetic to some as thriving cities are today. Sure, harmony with, but people love visiting places where nobody lives.

    Which brings up transportation. How do people get to said places? How does a person in Canada get a banana? Gardens are great but even with a surplus of food I have always bought groceries.

    (And remember, tis unwise to insu..uh, tell the truth about the guy who’s tossing softballs)

  17. 667
    nigelj says:

    mike @648

    I hear you. I haven’t downgraded the usefulness of population growth, or I didn’t mean it to sound that way. I think getting population growth rates down and ultimately smaller global population is very important, both for the climate issue and general environmental issues.

    I just want to be clear that I think we have to be careful not to see reduced population growth as a magic easy answer to the climate problem, that could replace the need to transition to renewable energy and become the next denialist red herring! This is the point I was trying to make.

    I think the drive to renewable energy is the no. 1 priority, but getting population growth lower certainly comes a “close second”. There is no reason governments (and individuals) cant be doing both in parallel. I think population growth should be in the IPCC mitigation strategies, but I would guess they saw the issue as too “contentious”. You have any other theories on that?

    I’m becoming reluctantly resigned to emissions continuing beyond 2050. I hate saying this because it sounds pessimistic, but anyway assuming we got population growth rates down to a fertility rate of 1.5 globally over the next decade or two this would gain traction after about 2050 and have some very positive effects on reducing total emissions or at least stopping them being as high as they would have been.

    I agree totally with your suggestions on how to get rates of population growth down and your related comments. We can get fertility rates down with education on birth control, better healthcare and higher incomes, promoting contraceptives this is well known and established science / policy. Ultimately if we get fertility rates below around 2.0 population will eventually fall in absolute terms, and I think its feasible to get fertility rates under 2.0. Some countries already have. The natural demographic transition process will do this but will be slow, but we could speed it up with some improved government efforts to support better public healthcare, better education of women, and availability of contraceptives.

    Contraceptive availability is a huge factor. Some African countries have made contraceptives free or subsidised and this lead to a big drop in family size however these countries did also have good primary healthcare. But these are still poor countries so it suggests the two big factors are availability of contraceptives and good basic health care at community level (doesn’t need to be gold plated). Sorry I cant remember the exact article I read.

    There are other strategies. Singapore has used financial incentives to reduce family size.

    http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_2016-11-09_103740.htmlven

    Yes you are right better healthcare is hard work and costs money, but educating people on birth control and the advantages of smaller family size costs next to nothing, and subsidised contraceptives also costs very little. I wish governments would just do it, and individuals would also consider all these issues.

  18. 668
    Hank Roberts says:

    Author Charlie Stross:

    Here’s the thing: we are looking at an administration that is very clearly being operated on behalf of carbon extraction industries. Trump’s cabinet picks are almost all climate change deniers. While there are some questionable exceptions–Tillerson has apparently conceded some human link with climate change–even those who are “soft” on climate change existing at all stand to benefit from interests in the coal and oil industries.

    There is a huge asset bubble tied up in uncombustable fossil fuels–the carbon bubble. In addition, there is a base of approximately $70Tn ($70,000 billion–let that sink in for a moment) of installed infrastructure for processing fossil fuels and petrochemicals (with plastic and composite manufacturing being relatively small compared to packaging, shipping, and burning the stuff for energy).

    Meanwhile, rival power industries are coming on stream rapidly. Solar power and electric cars could halt growth in fossil fuel demand as soon as 2020. The cost of solar has fallen by 85% in the past 7 years: by 2035 electric vehicles could make up 35% of the road transport fleet, and two-thirds by 2050. These estimates are conservative, based on the assumption that breakthrough technologies will not emerge to permit photovoltaic cells and battery capacities vastly better (or cheaper) than today.

    It follows logically that if you have heavily invested in fossil fuels, time is running out to realize a return on your investment. Buying a US administration tailored to maximize ROI while fighting a rear-guard action against action on climate change and roll-out of a new, rival energy infrastructure is therefore rational (in business terms). …

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2017/02/some-notes-on-the-worst-case-s.html

  19. 669
    nigelj says:

    flxible @634, “I gave you one answer, did you consider it? There are a variety of other factors at play – the real question is why are you so obsessed with declining fertility being the solution to anything?”

    I cannot of course speak for zebra, and I don’t see lower fertility as a magic answer to things, however it would OBVIOUSLY help with climate mitigation and resource scarcity problems, and is both feasible and a relatively low cost strategy. I would suggest it is much easier than trying to get people to voluntarily reduce their consumption of resources and energy.

    So what is your objection to that?

    Of course an obvious strong case can be made for doing all these things in parallel.

  20. 670
    cody says:

    The following quotation begins Canadian physicist Shiella Jones group biography of the Twentieth Century’s pioneering creators of the Science of The Quantum:

    “Science … is part and parcel of our knowledge and obscures our insight only when it holds that the understanding given by it is the only kind there is.”

    I pass it along because 1 ever-troubling aspect, of what I refer to as “The Chant,” be it the CHANT of Rush Limbaugh’s Ditto-Heads, or the WUWT Crowd, or the perennial mumble of the ‘Dismissive Numerates’ (such as Lindzen, Curry, Michaels, Christie & the like); is ALSO practiced here. RC and its Creators may be as Pure as Snow, with their SCIENCE. (I have Full-On subscribed to their Physics & Chemistry since the Site was born.)

    But No One has come down from any Mount Arafat with God’s Inscription on Stone, as to what the “Correct” surface temperature for the 3rd Rock OUGHT to be. [We cannot be Both dependent upon one Helluvah Hyped Response to the Yucatan, Cretaceous-ending Meteorite, for our very existence, we Sapiens, and yet still maintain that All Earthly Temperatures are somehow, ALWAYS, Sacred. Unchanged.]

    One of the “Correct Planetary Thermostat Settings,” Contrarians, who has been outspoken upon this point is the Late Neil Armstrong’s nearly as Ice-Blooded, but Unquestionably NUMERATE Co-Pioneer of 1969: Dr. Buzz Aldrin.

    It might not be a bad idea, to invite him to Key Post his “Take.”

    Right Here.

  21. 671
    Killian says:

    Re #666 Al Bundy said ys:
    27 Jan 2019 at 3:14 PM

    Killian, thanks for giving that 12 billion population limit for the society you’d like seen built. It the society indicated by the carrying capacity of the planet under regenerative conditions.

    That’s really close to the number of non-desert-or-mountain 16 billion acres on Earth.

    Even worse, it’s the number before significant SLR, too.

    I’ve done a lot of experiments in permaculture and dense gardening so I know that a small plot of land can feed a ton of people, so your number passes the initial sniff test.

    Yes, yes, it does, BOTE though it is. However, I try to be careful to say FEED 12 billion. Giving that many a decent life is a bigger challenge. But that’s the entire point of permaculture: Design for needs. So, if we have the fortitude to follow the Cuban example and get by as best we can till we can get to abundance either through doing better or lower population, things might get a bit lean.

    I say only that we *can* sustain 12B, not that we should attempt it, let alone aspire to it. IOW, if population goes over 9B, but we go regenerative, things should work out.

    How is the population organized? Mostly farms and villages?

    Not even really farms. See Beltain Cottage and pre-Columbian Amazon. More like a planet garden. But, yes, the way most would think of it, farms, but really, food everywhere

    How much land is reserved as wilderness?

    All of it and none of it. Co-existence. Zones 6 and 7.

    I imagine that wilderness would be as magnetic to some as thriving cities are today. Sure, harmony with, but people love visiting places where nobody lives.

    The problem is cities are absolutely unsustainable. Much of those resources could be moved outward leaving cities far less dense with lots of green and hopefully food self-reliant. But, they could still serve as hubs of transport and low-intensity manufacturing. In a fully regenerative future, there is zero need for banking and so many of the paper/electronic industries of today. There’s little need for cities as they are today. Simplicity should be simple so self-reliance is the norm within the wider abundance of the bio-region and limited inter-bio-regional exchange.

    Which brings up transportation. How do people get to said places?

    As slowly as possible because nothing fast is sustainable. That said, we already have a whole lotta stuff. There’s no reason what is can’t be kept going till it becomes a drag on resources. There should be no new long-distance travel set up, imo, without damned good reason. Sustainability – permaculture – is based on local sufficiency. We should not all expect to live the same or eat the same, only that the consumption rates are similar dependent on the bio-region and population.

    How does a person in Canada get a banana?

    Build a walipini or eat something else?

    Gardens are great but even with a surplus of food I have always bought groceries.

    Nobody should expect to be self-sufficient, but self-reliant. The former isn’t really possible if we are to have any degree of complexity. Nobody is going to be a shoemaker, seamstress, great farmer, doctor, etc. ,etc. Same for food. Bio-diversity in the local food supply is one of the best ways to keep it healthy and keep people healthy. A number of or even many people in a given community should grow a given item, but nobody should be expected to grow all items.

    All this is endpoint, not transition.

  22. 672
    Al Bundy says:

    Cody, when somebody says, “Temperatures similar to those we evolved with and built our societies in during the Holocene really suck for thermophilic anaerobic bacteria. It would be good to increase surface temperatures drastically so as to expand their range a tad”, do you question the ” good”? Of course you’d respond incredulously about human value. Why should humans go extinct (or suffer) just to make things better for thermophilic bacteria (or malaria or the species that thrive in seriously hot deserts?

    So, Cody, you’ve been told when scientists estimate that the s hits the f (at 2C and 2100, no 1.5C and mid century, no 1C and and around the corner), and let you know via heavy caveat, “But all of our efforts have almost always come to the conclusion that we were too consecutive in our previous assessment.

    ” There’s a train coming” isn’t an argument about whether those real tracks you’re standing on are in the hypothetically best location.

  23. 673
    Killian says:

    Re #665 Al Bundy said Killian: That is not a steady state

    AB: Is the issue rigid definitions v flexible defs?

    It matters here. Figure it out.

    Steady state is impossible unless it is defined so as to accommodate inventors.

    If you’re not intending to be argumentative here, you’re coming very close. The answers to this are obvious. Give it a shot.

    Seriously, how will said society prevent technological advances

    Straw Man. Think, please.

  24. 674
    Al Bundy says:

    Cody,

    All local environments have species that reproduce rapidly via bazillions of offspring in the hopes that two survive. Others reproduce slowly, taking years to decades per generation (as opposed to hours or months.

    Enter a disturbance. Well, the slow reproducers get a couple of generations to evolve. But evolution isn’t “We need brighter noses, put firefly genes in reindeer”. Instead, there just happened to be a mutant reindeer named Rudolf. Otherwise, kids everywhere wouldn’t get the Christmas present of flying reindeer because they’d be extinct.

    How likely is it that a species survives so as to become a new species? Well, with perturbations 1/10 the rate of the current kick pretty much erased all species that used slow reproduction practices. (Hyperbole? Dunno, but rolling billions of dice repeatedly gives a species a better chance of randomly hitting another genetic island of stability that works with the new paradigm before the population hits zero.)

    So, it isn’t like ” losing 75% of mammals means we get to keep the ones we like. The opposite is true. Weeds, rats, disease… Yucky stuff wins during instability.

  25. 675
    nigelj says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/10/huge-reduction-in-meat-eating-essential-to-avoid-climate-breakdown.

    “Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses.

    The research also finds that enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades.

    Food production already causes great damage to the environment, via greenhouse gases from livestock, deforestation and water shortages from farming, and vast ocean dead zones from agricultural pollution. But without action, its impact will get far worse as the world population rises by 2.3 billion people by 2050 and global income triples, enabling more people to eat meat-rich western diets.Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth”

    Imo it may not be so difficult either. The suggested limit is about 600 grams meat and fish combined per week. I’m not a huge meat eater, and I average 1100 grams and could get that down to about 800 grams without much effort.

    I dont actually think a completely no meat diet makes all that much sense because some land should be in grasslands to maintain adequate biodiversity.

    Low meat diets have an obvious range of benefits for human health, the climate, more efficient use of scarce land resources for cropping, more area for forests, etc. It’s this combination that is so compelling and so powerful.

  26. 676
    nigelj says:

    Killian, ok zero growth economy and steady state economy are different concepts. Sometimes I mix the terms up, but Daly still believes in a zero growth economy as part of his theory, along with smaller population, lower inequality, lower consumption of resources, etc so lots of overlap with, or is the same as what I wrote. Its all here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steady-state_economy#Herman_Daly's_concept_of_a_steady-state_economy

    Daly is quite good overall. Yes he bases his prescriptions on a useful theory about solar energy inputs related to our extraction of resources, but his end policies are what I’m talking about.

    However imho reproductive licences and resource extraction licencing is in fantasy land in most countries apart from autocracies. We would need more realistic approaches, but there are many.

  27. 677
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy

    “So, it isn’t like ” losing 75% of mammals means we get to keep the ones we like. The opposite is true. Weeds, rats, disease… Yucky stuff wins during instability.”

    Numerically and by biomass, bacteria are the most successful organisms on Earth. Horseshoe crabs have survived for 450 million years. Hardy little characters!

  28. 678
    Mr. Know It All says:

    670 – cody
    “But No One has come down from any Mount Arafat with God’s Inscription on Stone, as to what the “Correct” surface temperature for the 3rd Rock OUGHT to be.”

    Oh yes, it is settled science; otherwise all discussion of AGW are a waste of time. The “correct” temperature is that which maintains current sea levels. The ocean is the earth’s thermometer. We want it to stay at 59 deg F – the temperature to which our civilization is adapted. Idea – we can convert deg F to deg C to deg K to deg R, etc so why not have a conversion for earth temperature to sea level? Cool. Masters thesis! :)

    659 – Killian
    “Discuss.”

    I read the abstract. Talked about the agriculture of folks who lived in the Eastern Amazon. Some of their descendants who moved south may be in this short video – looks like they have the energy to adopt the simple life. Buenos Aires:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHpClGAAvpg
    :)

  29. 679
    zebra says:

    #664 alan2102,

    http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/total-fertility-rate/

    A trivial bit of research shows that my evil cabal of Malthusians must have been spreading that Hikikomori virus pretty successfully after all.

    We got your Noble Kingdom of China, and Industrious Germany, and Virtuous Canada, and Ayatollah-Pure Iran, and…

    Or, maybe a little scientific reasoning tells us that some weird adolescent meme has little to do with anything, because, as I explained to flxible, individual males are irrelevant to reproduction. We see low TFR in very diverse cultures; I only listed a few.

    In Canada, in fact, you have what is probably a very similar male psychology expressing itself through mass killing of women. Interesting, eh.

  30. 680

    #661, zebra–

    Everybody gets that 300 million is not a short-term goal. Indeed, that was kind of the point, if you ask me.

    We have an immediate emissions crisis right now. It can’t be solved by attempting to manipulate population, period.

    So go ahead and muse about what you want 2150 to look like. I’m much more interested in what 2050 will look like, and in working to make it better.

  31. 681
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Cody@670
    Isn’t it funny how arguments that sound smart…aren’t? The argument that Earth has seen temperature extremes in the past is actually a pretty stupid argument, because these changes never occurred at a time when we have a complex, global civilization that must produce food, clothing, shelter… for over 7 billion people and climbing. The “right temperature” is the one that allows us to accomplish all of that without irreparably damaging the planet’s fragile ecosystems.

    Homo Sapiens have been around for 200 thousand years. Throughout most of that time, they barely survived in small, family-based, hunter-gatherer groups. Then, around 10000 years ago, you saw civilizations bloom independently over several regions of the globe. That time also coincides with a period of remarkable climatic stability. Smart people might ask if maybe the latter had something to do with the former.

    When you tell me that Neil Armstrong was a denialist, I am not impressed. Neil Armstrong was not an expert on climate or any other relevant field of science. This makes your citation a classic fallacy of appeal to authority (because your authority isn’t).

    Me, I’ll stick with people who actually understand this stuff.

  32. 682
    Mal Adapted says:

    Cody:

    But No One has come down from any Mount Arafat with God’s Inscription on Stone, as to what the “Correct” surface temperature for the 3rd Rock OUGHT to be. [We cannot be Both dependent upon one Helluvah Hyped Response to the Yucatan, Cretaceous-ending Meteorite, for our very existence, we Sapiens, and yet still maintain that All Earthly Temperatures are somehow, ALWAYS, Sacred. Unchanged.]

    The correct temperature is the one that doesn’t entail mass casualties. Of course there’s no ‘correct’, much less ‘sacred’ GMST. What matters to every human now living or yet to live, is that GMST has been stable within about 1 degree C since the tail of the mid-Holocene warm period, about 5,000 years ago: that is, since before ‘civilization’ arose. Throughout that time, populations expanded, contracted and migrated along with agricultural production, as optimal temperature and precipitation zones shifted within that range. Whereas since 1850, GMST has risen more than 1 degree C, and is now at its highest in at least 2000 years. Agricultural production is already being affected in areas that are warming up and/or drying out. Consider the hardship that’s already causing around the world (e.g. Syria). Until GMST stabilizes, the costs, in money and tragedy, of feeding 7.5 to 10 billion humans while the optimum zones for the world’s staple crops move around are open-ended.

    Consider also that those costs mostly result from the economically-driven, i.e. anthropogenic transfer of fossil carbon to the atmosphere. All magical thinking aside, wouldn’t we be well-advised to stop doing that, by switching to other energy sources?

  33. 683
    alan2102 says:

    #661 zebra 27 Jan 2019: “kevin and alan … you and others continue to respond by saying “but you can’t achieve that [drastically reduced population] number in the short term”.”

    I have never said “you can’t achieve that in the short term” (which is obvious, and thus unnecessary to say); I don’t think anyone else has, either. What we’ve said is that fertility control, and population reduction, is not a way to achieve climate progress in the short term, or even medium term. And that is a fact. We’ve also said that drastic population reduction is probably not possible even in the long term, though this is necessarily speculative. Why don’t you go back and read our posts, until you grasp what we are saying? There is no unclarity.

    Zebra: “even Glorious China is pushing for more babies, which makes one wonder about their supposed ecologically noble commitment to reducing consumption of resources.”

    They are committed to multiple things, not always perfectly compatible. There are conflicting priorities.

    China is facing a demographic problem with an aging population and insufficient numbers in the workforce to support them when they are too old to work. What do you propose? Do you have an idea for how they can deal with that problem — an idea equally as brilliant as your 300-million-global-pop proposal? Speaking of which, what IS your practical proposal for getting down to 300 million when societies must face the same dilemma that China is facing? i.e. an aging population with insufficient numbers in the workforce? Why do you never discuss this enormous practical problem?

    Zebra: “if the ultimate goal is to reduce harm to humans, tell me how even a small difference in the near-term eventual [sic] population numbers would not achieve that.”

    Um… “near-term eventual”?

    Well, let’s just drop that phrase and assume you mean “a small difference in population would reduce harm”. Yes, you’re probably right. Which is why I, and I’m sure Kevin, and Nigel, and everyone else in this convo supports sensible birth control and development policies that can lower fertility and, over a long time, put a cap on population growth, even moving it into negative growth. There’s no argument about that. What there is an argument about is this bizarre fantasy of a global population of 300 million. Would you please stop mentioning it? It makes you look foolish. If all you’re arguing for is sensible policies as mentioned, then there is no argument. We all agree.

  34. 684
    nigelj says:

    A more useful population number might be 2 billion by year 2300. If the world adopted a fertility rate of about 1.5 by the end of the next 1 – 2 decades, we would be on track for about 6 billion by 2100, and 2 billion by 2300 ( I ran this through a population calculator). This is an ambitious target, but I suggest it is not impossible, as some countries are already at 1.5.

    So it does have some climate benefits if we are still emitting after 2050, but I feel its clearly a secondary kind of tool. It’s of more relevance to resource scarcity and water pollution etc.

    Yes I know theres a problem with an aging population, a difficult one, but there are some ways of mitigating this as healthcare improves etc.

  35. 685
    Killian says:

    Homo Sapiens have been around for 200 thousand years. Throughout most of that time, they barely survived in small, family-based, hunter-gatherer groups. Then, around 10000 years ago, you saw civilizations bloom independently over several regions of the globe.

    “Bloom” apparently means “begin the process of destroying the ecosystem,” which apparently is surviving well – as opposed to the Eden-like ecosystems the “barely surviving” people lived in, some right up to this very moment.

    There is no excuse for the continued propaganda that life was always brutish and short before “modern” times.

    https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/pre-colonial-australia-natural-wilderness-or-gentleman-s-park

  36. 686
    Al Bundy says:

    Alan,
    If I were to plan for 160 hours of eldercare a week twenty years from now I’d surely not invest in five or six human babies that will cost a fortune to raise as opposed to banking a small fraction of the funds and then buying a robot in twenty years. There is no future worker shortage.

    Stop reproducing. Averaging one per woman late in life is a grand goal that would do an amazing amount of good. When population is shrinking ever so much stuff becomes easy to handle. Infrastructure (concrete), housing, vehicles, everything. That eroding carbon-spewing farm on marginal land? Not worth exploiting without all those hungry boys around.

  37. 687
    zebra says:

    #686 Al Bundy,

    Thanks Al. A clear, concise, and irrefutable summary.

    And you said the magic words: “when population is shrinking

    Also if it would increase at a slower rate, and when transitioning from growth to decline.

    All the stuff people here say they want to fix would improve in a non-linear fashion at various points along the curve. But, obviously, people are too uncomfortable with the topic to take the first step in quantitative reasoning, which is to look at clearly determinable outputs of an extreme value. (Which I’ve said over and over is what the 300 million represents.)

    BTW, what you said about TFR of 1 is interesting, in the sense that if there were some version of parthenogenesis, then a stable equilibrium (obviously with some variation around the value) would be automatic.

  38. 688

    #685, Killian–

    An interesting link, thanks.

    The topic paragraph:

    In The Biggest Estate, Gammage supports his thesis with exhaustive and compelling research from primary sources to prove that prior to British colonisation in 1788, Australia was an “unnatural” landscape, carefully and systematically managed by its traditional owners to ensure that “life was comfortable, people had plenty to eat, few hours of work each day, and much time for religion and recreation.”

    So, life was not ‘hard’.

    However, maintaining it was not ‘easy’:

    Revealing pre-colonial Australia as a landscape of grassy patches, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, Gammage’s groundbreaking book details how Aboriginal people followed an extraordinarily complex system of land management. This system used fire and the life cycles of native plants to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year, all based, says Marcia Langton, on an encyclopaedic knowledge of their environments, seasonal weather patterns and biota.

    I don’t point that out to dismiss, nor as criticism of the lifestyle. (I’ve spent my life trying to learn to do things I found hard, and it’s been pretty rewarding, overall.) It’s almost the reverse, really: FN people don’t get credit, very often, for possessing “an encyclopaedic knowledge of their environments, seasonal weather patterns and biota.” (And also how to operate within all of the above.)

    For most ‘moderns’, outside of our economic specialties, our lives systematically substitute technology for technique. Knowledge is rendered superfluous, provided one has the ‘coin of the realm’ (now, of course, mostly digitized). The whole point is that you don’t need to know much to make it work.

    I want folks who have broad and deep operational knowledge to get some respect, as apparently Gammage was arguing. But the corollary, I fear, is that transitioning back to “encyclopaedic knowledge” is apt to be harder than one might think. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be attempted; just that I think a rapid transition of society en masse to such a model is unlikely.

    I know, I’ve said this before. But that’s because nothing I’ve heard has offered a persuasive answer to the concern–hence, said concern is still active. How does a ‘city person’ become a functional ‘country person’–much less, a functional ‘quasi-First-Nations’ person? What I’ve heard real FN people say about the persistence of ‘mainstream’ values and ways of thinking on the part of members of the dominant culture, is not encouraging in this regard.

  39. 689
    zebra says:

    Some Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning Applied to Reducing CO2,

    Gavin tells us in a recent inline response that, ceteris paribus, a reduction of 80% of emissions would be necessary to stabilize atmospheric CO2; the energy in the system would continue to increase, but more slowly.

    Sounds like a good thing eh.

    So, first approximation, with per capita emission remaining the same, that condition could be achieved with a population of about 1.5 billion.

    But let’s say we explore zebra’s function T=f(P), where T represents human population’s (P) effects on climate, primarily CO2 of course. What kinds of numbers would we be dealing with?

    Since nobody disagrees with what I have said about my initial value of .3 billion– that CO2 would be negligible due to pragmatically induced changes in practices– we should probably feel confident that 1.5 would result in a very substantial reduction in CO2 emissions per capita. In addition, of course, there would be a very substantial increase in sequestration of CO2 because of substantial changes in agriculture and infrastructure– more grasslands, forests, and so on. That combination could well be sufficient to return the planet to pre-industrial levels of CO2 fairly rapidly.

    But, if that is the case, then we might well be able to achieve stable CO2 at a higher level of population– let’s say 3 billion– but take longer to actually reduce the CO2 level. Still, such a condition would almost certainly vastly reduce harm to humans (H) from whatever T, because populations could still adjust to local changes with much less conflict over water, arable land, and so on. [H=f(T,P)]

    So, the obvious question would be… how does the function function as we move closer to current P? It is worth remembering that it does not have a term for “ecological consciousness” at this point; the results follow from rational economic choice alone.

  40. 690
  41. 691
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel,
    Limited access to healthcare? Are you sure that’s not the USA? But yes, the biggest longevity increases have been in the first year, childbirth, and how long you get to spend dying.

    Zebra,

    China’s one-child policy gives us data to mine about seriously low fertility rates, especially since the rule was unevenly applied. Before the rule poor parents (he says with no data) might have five kids, have almost half their “investment” die, and then the “returns” are split three ways. Poor and staying that way.

    Compare that to the “little princes” problem that developed.

    Now, how much of the stuff Alan has noted about China is directly attributable to a period of very low fertility?

    The data is out there. I wonder who’s crunching it

  42. 692
    zebra says:

    #688 Kevin McKinney,

    “much time for religion and recreation”

    Ah, a world full of Trump voters, and Fundamentalists. (I include all cultures and religions throughout the world, not just USA).

    Having this “encyclopedic” knowledge is not a challenge at all, because it is rote learning/indoctrination.

    Living in a moribund culture is great if the Authoritarian upbringing “takes” and freezes your personality/psychology in that paradigm. But too bad if you are curious or creative, or unsatisfied with your assigned social status and occupation, which is often determined by birth.

    But, it would allow for having those 12+ billion “people”. Works for ants and termites.

  43. 693

    #690, nigel–

    Yes. Though–at the risk of stating the obvious– 1) the penalty of massive infant mortality is pretty tragic as a pure human cost, and 2) has serious consequences for reproductive norms such as total fertility, plus second-order consequences for social structures.

  44. 694
    Mal Adapted says:

    The nige:

    Hunter-gatherers live nearly as long as we do but with limited access to healthcare

    The essay at nigelj’s link endorses the quality-of-life argument for ‘civilization’, but points out the title fact, acknowledges that current Western life expectancy of 70+ years with morbidity compressed at the end is a very recent development, then concludes with the following:

    Everyone knows that neither group is experiencing optimum conditions for longevity. The top ten causes of death in wealthy countries are dominated by metabolic disorders and cancers. Nearly all of which have strong associations with the lower levels of physical activity in these countries. The multibillion pound healthcare industry that supports modern lifestyles only buys people in wealthy countries a few extra years.
    Hmm, it’s true that present-day mortality in the developed world is dominated by chronic, non-infectious health conditions having strong associations with reduced levels of physical activity, but those conditions also have strong associations with age. IOW, they kill more of us because infectious diseases, starvation and violence don’t kill us first!

    That’s a minor quibble, I suppose. A strong (IMHO) challenge to the author’s QoL claim, OTOH, was issued by Jared Diamond in a 1987 Discover magazine essay titled The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race. I came across it around 10 years later, and I’ve been skeptical of the Whig view of human history ever since.

  45. 695
  46. 696
    Hank Roberts says:

    Global Weirding

    More-Persistent Weak Stratospheric Polar Vortex States Linked to Cold Extremes

    Marlene Kretschmer
    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Earth System Analysis, and Department of Physics, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

    https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0259.1
    Final Form: 25 May 2017
    Published Online: 1 February 2018

  47. 697
    Killian says:

    Re #688 Kevin McKinney said #685

    “life was comfortable, people had plenty to eat, few hours of work each day, and much time for religion and recreation.”

    So, life was not ‘hard’.

    However, maintaining it was not ‘easy’

    Why do you focus on this? Why should useful work be easy? Why is that a criterion when you have large amounts of free time to rest? This is a moot point.

    Aboriginal people followed an extraordinarily complex system of land management. This system used fire and the life cycles of native plants to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year, all based, says Marcia Langton, on an encyclopaedic knowledge of their environments, seasonal weather patterns and biota.

    I don’t point that out to dismiss, nor as criticism of the lifestyle…

    For most ‘moderns’, outside of our economic specialties… you don’t need to know much to make it work.

    …transitioning back to “encyclopaedic knowledge” is apt to be harder than one might think.

    Harder than you think? I never thought it would be easy. One of my oft-repeated taglines is sustainability is simple, but not easy. You’ve seen it before. Since it’s already acknowledged, why are you raising it here? It’s obvious.

    I’m not saying it shouldn’t be attempted; just that I think a rapid transition of society en masse to such a model is unlikely.

    You realize we’re not H-G’s anymore, right? We can’t be. It takes too much space per person to even attempt it. So, no, we are not talking about an encyclopedic knowledge of Nature, just a functional knowledge of water management, farming, animal husbandry, carpentry, etc., and all the skills spread among the community. Redundancy is vital for resilience – as are our gardens so must be our communities – but it’s not the case we all need to be carpenters, all must farm, all must make shoes, etc. So, yes, the transition is more than manageable. In fact, what we need is not new skills as much as spreading skills that exist. We just need more people having useful skills, not all people having all skills as an aboriginal village would likely have.

    This is not a problem in any real sense once the choice is made. We do, after all, still have the internet, libraries, etc. Also, maybe you recall the Regenerative Community Incubator concept? This is exactly the reason for it: Reskilling and rapid transition to small communities. From the time you have the first one, in a perfect world where the incubator fully populates immediately and one year is enough time to apprentice each incubator core participant in several core skills, we go from 1 village to 1 million in about 20 years, give or take. How many do we need if small? Between 500,000 (pop. of 16k as in Cheran)and 36 million (pop. of 250), I’d guess. So, given exponents, year 21 or so sees 1M regenerative communities, 2M in 22, 4M in 23, 8M in 24, 16M in 25, 32M in 26. Let it take 3 years per iteration and we still get a regenerative planet this century. Heck, make it ten years per. That’s only 260 years to completely transform a planet of 9 billion people. Some here think we have that long (we don’t), so those numbers should be pretty comfortable for this crowd.

    What would actually happen, however, is that a few iterations of these incubators will coincide with the massive, pervasive entropy of rapid climate changes and resource descent so people will be seeking out this kind of solution themselves. I see a susseration of humanity into mostly self-organized regenerative communities with programs like RCI’s heelping inoculate the process and feed it as it grows.

    The Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm already is doing this work in a more amorphous, self-selecting short-term course.

    I know, I’ve said this before. But that’s because nothing I’ve heard has offered a persuasive answer

    I think there is an element of not wanting to be persuaded. Even outside an RCI process, reskilling is already underway and has been growing. Even here in Korea, there is already the realization a university education is not the ticket it once was, and more young people are choosing not to go despite the highly Confucian nature of the society and massive focus on (over)education.

    How does a ‘city person’ become a functional ‘country person’–much less, a functional ‘quasi-First-Nations’ person?

    A Straw Man, of course, even if not ill-intentioned. I don’t know if you just don’t see clearly or just don’t want to because I have never said anything like living a quasi-H-G/subsistence life or anything like it. So let’s be clear: We are talking about a world that has already turned it’s physical skin into embedded energy. There’s far more of it than we need. Shifting it around, yes, but we already have all this concrete, steel, etc. Should all big cities pull a Detroit and lose most of its residents? Yup. And take that stuff with you and rebuild/relocate to some empty space and spend the next decades creating a Beltaine Cottage-like paradise in and around your community. Rebuild the landscape around you. Be true stewards. Become like our H-G cousins in pattern, knowledge, awareness, community, not in lifestyle per se. Let the human Nature reestablish itself… with our help instead of hindrance.

    There is nothing preventing a pretty smooth transition. Were we really smart we would organize this whole thing on bio-regional bases. Really, just a little organizing.

    What I’ve heard real FN people say about the persistence of ‘mainstream’ values and ways of thinking on the part of members of the dominant culture, is not encouraging in this regard.

    But just like people saying “Can’t be done!” about climate, economics, etc., it’s already being done and can, in fact, be done. The key is, has anyone told The People this yet? No? Well, then, what do you expect?

    Just like Greta saying we gotta tell it like it is (where have we heard that before?!! ;-) ), we have to tell it like it is with the solutions… and where have we heard that before?

    How can anyone know if they have yet to be told? So, I’m telling you. Trying to tell them. Let’s go.