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Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse 
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:

That clash of interest and ideology makes me think it is just as likely that climate change will be solved by the political right, presenting carbon removal and direct cooling as priorities over emission reduction. Cutting emissions involves social change, and that is far harder to engineer than technological interventions that prove profitable and safe, of which there are hopefully some in the pipeline.

Well, I don't know what the political right is like in other countries. Here, the right has given absolutely no signal that it even considers climate change something to be dealt with. It's hard to imagine the "right" kind of catastrophe happening to snap the right to attention, but that's what it would take. Not everyone on the right is as stupid on the issue as Donald Trump, but still, the shell of resistance is hard. So the left side still looks like the horse to bet on.

Looking at the Green New Deal: 100% renewable energy by 2035? Why even propose such an insane target? Even if the renewable part was dropped and carbon-free was substituted in order to include nuclear generating capacity, 100% non-carbon isn't feasible by then. Similarly, Robert, net zero emissions in 15 years by other means isn't going to happen. We forget how long it took for us to produce the current carbon levels. Fast-backwards isn't an available setting. We'll need to pour massive resources into the solution and still be looking at several generations to reach a partial fix.

I heard Jeremy Rifkin of The Third Industrial Revolution fame talking to a group of university students about getting to 100% renewable energy in two generations. That's still a massive effort but not as fantasy-based. No matter what technology is proposed to revolutionize the world's energy, there is a lack of realization of the degree of government control and coercion that would be needed for this "wartime" type of effort. I thought Charles Lane did an excellent job of pointing this out in his WAPO column.
https://www.omaha.com/opinion/charles-l ... 22458.html

Signs point to making the devil's bargain and reviving nuclear.



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Harry Marks, Robert Tulip
Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:50 pm
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Just saw this in my GreenBiz email. VERGE will now include a conference devoted to carbon removal. It's a sign that what Robert has been urging is beginning to happen. Companies are getting the math of climate change. In the list of methods and technologies, I note there is no mention of geoengineering, though that could be tucked behind a couple of categories. It's still a scary word for most people, including me I guess.

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/introd ... rge-carbon



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Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:25 am
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
Well, I don't know what the political right is like in other countries. Here, the right has given absolutely no signal that it even considers climate change something to be dealt with.
Hi DWill, I had been meaning to reply to this comment last week. You are correct that the political right has not engaged adequately on climate change. Denial is just a placeholder while they work out how to respond to the demands to decarbonise the economy. Given that the science of warming is clear, the pressing need is to engage the fossil fuel industries to clean up the mess they have made. I don’t think that means a carbon tax, but rather that these companies should invest in research and development of carbon removal technology, aiming for Net Zero By 2030, together with advocacy of polar cooling. These are the immediate planetary security tasks which can only be performed through the resources, skills and contacts of the fossil fuel industries.
DWill wrote:
It's hard to imagine the "right" kind of catastrophe happening to snap the right to attention, but that's what it would take.
The insect apocalypse should be enough of a canary in the coal mine to show we are in a situation like a canoe approaching a waterfall. It is not acceptable to wait for a planetary tipping point before stepping back from the precipice.
DWill wrote:
Not everyone on the right is as stupid on the issue as Donald Trump, but still, the shell of resistance is hard. So the left side still looks like the horse to bet on.
No, the left is not the horse to bet on, unless it can change its policy. Its proposals for decarbonisation won’t work. While they bicker about politics, the world is burning. The Green New Deal reflects how political ideology rather than scientific evidence has determined left wing policy about climate response. We need the fire brigade at the scene to douse the flames, with immediate emergency responses to cool the planet, working towards climate repair, restoration and security. That is something the political right could well be better at managing because of its better links to the industrial organisations in businesses like petrochemicals and insurance who will need to pay to mobilise quick responses.
DWill wrote:
Looking at the Green New Deal: 100% renewable energy by 2035? Why even propose such an insane target?
Exactly. There are several industrial sectors such as aviation where renewables appear impractical and too costly. The Green New Deal needs to take on the right wing concept of least cost abatement, using market systems to promote research and development of the best scientific methods to remove carbon from the air, and open a broader governmental review of solar radiation management, working with Harvard and Edinburgh Universities to test their respective proposals for stratospheric aerosol injection and marine cloud brightening.
DWill wrote:
Even if the renewable part was dropped and carbon-free was substituted in order to include nuclear generating capacity, 100% non-carbon isn't feasible by then.
With the BP Energy Outlook suggesting fossil fuels will still be around for decades, the effort to ban them faces an almighty conflict. Better to try the ju jitsu method, and take your opponent’s energy to use it in the direction you want. Prove the business case for carbon removal as a way to convert waste to asset.
DWill wrote:
Similarly, Robert, net zero emissions in 15 years by other means isn't going to happen. We forget how long it took for us to produce the current carbon levels. Fast-backwards isn't an available setting. We'll need to pour massive resources into the solution and still be looking at several generations to reach a partial fix.
There I disagree. I think that Moore’s Law will apply to carbon removal, enabling net zero by 2030, if the political will emerges.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Is there a climate establishment who resist climate restoration for specious reasons?

The situation is that UNFCCC leaders second guess the attitudes of nations through their tactic of not wanting to risk the inadequate Paris agreement by asking for more. With all due respect, that looks like a tactical blunder.

The success of Paris was getting the U.S. and China to get on board and agree that climate change is an issue needing to be addressed. Never mind that China was probably only hoping for a lot of business for their rare earths in making solar panels, at least they were agreeing to act and not just saying "you all made this problem, it isn't ours to fix."

What should have happened next was that countries develop a political infrastructure in favor of further progress, discovering leverage points that can accelerate the response at minimal cost. Instead, due to the Republican-bred Long Recession, we got Dear Leader turning the matter over to the fossil fuel industry. The one opportunity to use up excess business savings on worthwhile investment was squandered due to the narrow-mindedness of the American business community.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Apply Moore’s Law to Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and Solar Radiation Management (SRM) and such a result could be possible, once the animal spirits of investment are harnessed. That is the only way to avoid pessimistic scenarios about sea level rise and related climate impacts.
No other industry has had nearly the steepness or the sustained length of learning curve that Moore's Law named in semiconductors. We need the incentives for investors to go to work and disrupt the Koch brothers like they have disrupted the taxi industry and the retailing industry. But it won't come by way of dramatic efficiency gains. Breakthrough demonstration of new opportunities, probably yes. Huge scale investments in solar thermal, biochar and other new industries, probably yes. But if the process depends on selling investors on a learning curve like Moore's Law, it won't get off the ground.



Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:55 am
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
Well, I don't know what the political right is like in other countries. Here, the right has given absolutely no signal that it even considers climate change something to be dealt with. It's hard to imagine the "right" kind of catastrophe happening to snap the right to attention, but that's what it would take. Not everyone on the right is as stupid on the issue as Donald Trump, but still, the shell of resistance is hard. So the left side still looks like the horse to bet on.
Oddly enough, I'm betting on the center. The meshing grounds between environmental concern and concern for cost-benefit ratios is a fertile one, and real leaders could move forward in it if they take the initiative. While I may be disgusted by Robert's rhetoric, I would point out that he is looking at realistic answers to a deep and intractable problem.

DWill wrote:
Robert, net zero emissions in 15 years by other means isn't going to happen. We forget how long it took for us to produce the current carbon levels. Fast-backwards isn't an available setting. We'll need to pour massive resources into the solution and still be looking at several generations to reach a partial fix.
I suspect reputable energy economists would agree with you, but environmental economists, not so much. The latent demand for both carbon removal and substitution of more efficient energy is enormous. So far government incentives don't appear to have paid off well, for example in moving people to electric cars, but behind the scenes the progress addressing technological bottlenecks has been impressive. Now the problems mainly await large-scale capital investment, which the world sorely needs right now.
DWill wrote:
No matter what technology is proposed to revolutionize the world's energy, there is a lack of realization of the degree of government control and coercion that would be needed for this "wartime" type of effort.
Without McConnell's Dr. No approach to Obama solutions, command and coercion would not have been needed. We know from many other diversified pollution issues that incentives work fine and commercial operators are tremendously skilled at finding the most cost-effective fixes, once the incentives are in place. If you consider incentives to be control and coercion, then your point holds up, but micro-management is unnecessary.

I am not underestimating the complexity of carbon incentives. You can't give proper benefits for every tree planted and every cow fed seaweed. But approximations are far better than nothing, and approximations are do-able.

DWill wrote:
Signs point to making the devil's bargain and reviving nuclear.
Yes, I think that's correct. Both the need for base-load generating capacity and the ability to kick the waste-disposal problem down the road point to nuclear as an important part of the picture. If I had a hedge fund I would be quietly investing in the sector. But it will also mean beefing up the world's capacity to police nuclear safety and diversion of fuel to avoid the most serious potential side-effects.



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