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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
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Read about palm oil in NYT. We're in big trouble.

nytimes.com/2018/11/20/magazine/palm-oi ... e=Homepage


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Litwitlou wrote:
Read about palm oil in NYT. We're in big trouble.

nytimes.com/2018/11/20/magazine/palm-oi ... e=Homepage

Yes this is a very disturbing article, especially about how stupid global climate policies have led directly to the destruction of the magnificent biodiversity of tropical rainforests, due to the priority of politics over science.

I first became aware of how this monstrous global policy incentivises the climate apocalypse in Indonesia when I worked for the Forest Climate Initiative in the Australian Agency for International Development in 2007. The destruction of ecosystems by palm oil was a major factor in my advocacy of large scale ocean based algae production, as a climate restoration technology that aims to improve biodiversity rather than destroy it.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
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I first became aware of how this monstrous global policy incentivises the climate apocalypse in Indonesia when I worked for the Forest Climate Initiative in the Australian Agency for International Development in 2007. The destruction of ecosystems by palm oil was a major factor in my advocacy of large scale ocean based algae production, as a climate restoration technology that aims to improve biodiversity rather than destroy it.


Have you seen this advertisement?

nytimes.com/paidpost/exxonmobil/algae-m ... 0006080550


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Equally as discouraging, there is no end in sight to the rapid expansion of coal-fired plants, which are easily the greatest contributors to climate doom, while being essential to giving Asians a decent standard of living.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
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Climate change: CO2 emissions rising for first time in four years

Global efforts to tackle climate change are way off track says the UN, as it details the first rise in CO2 emissions in four years.


"The emissions gap report says that economic growth is responsible for a rise in 2017 while national efforts to cut carbon have faltered.
To meet the goals of the Paris climate pact, the study says it's crucial that global emissions peak by 2020.
But the analysis says that this is now not likely even by 2030.'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science_and_environment


Longing for the good old days when nuclear energy was the problem and we worried our kids might be born with gills and 12 toes.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
The palm oil story reminded me of my big worry about algae growth as a source of carbon fixing: without incentives to take into account externalities, it could make the problem worse. We need to know what natural growth is being displaced, and account for the impact of that, and we need to know what the algae is being used for, because if it drives down fossil fuel prices, by adding to fuel supplies, it can have follow-on effects inhibiting transition to other technologies.

There is no substitute for prices which reflect actual scarcity of the inputs, adjusted for the unmarketed impacts (external effects like GHG's).



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
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Study Warns of Cascading Health Risks From the Changing Climate

nytimes.com/2018/11/28/climate/climate- ... mp;ref=cta

The Lancet? That yellow rag full of fake news is an enemy of the people!


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Harry Marks wrote:
The palm oil story reminded me of my big worry about algae growth as a source of carbon fixing: without incentives to take into account externalities, it could make the problem worse.

The main difference in this comparison is that algae for carbon removal aims to improve biological productivity in the vast High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll regions that cover 60 million square kilometres of the world ocean, improving biodiversity, whereas palm oil is wreaking apocalyptic destruction on some of the most precious ecologies of our planet, sending rainforest species extinct.

The economic debate on externalities and incentives is central to developing a credible political and investment case for carbon removal technologies. Another word for externalities is side-effects. I just had an interesting conversation about side effects of carbon removal technology. Any ocean-based algae production method must focus on ecosystem alterations, weighing up all environmental consequences in assessment of safety and efficacy.

Assessing such ocean based climate restoration methods is like pharmaceutical trials. In medicine there are often situations where the benefits of a treatment significantly outweigh the risk and damage of side effects. High efficacy can outweigh safety problems, depending on the frequency and severity of the problems, to justify decisions to approve trials and subsequent deployment.

With ocean fertilization, adding iron might cause an overall increase in biodiversity and a net cooling impact. These possible protective effects should be weighed against a range of possible harms.

In drug trials, design of economic incentives is central through patenting of intellectual property, but overall the main incentive of the developer is to comply with the regulatory requirements in order to bring the product to market. The moral debate around climate puts some perverse incentives in place by comparison, with the overall leftist tenor of debate viewing patents with disdain, applying a moral theory sometimes called cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The context for algae is that political criticisms of climate restoration proposals, especially activist claims of moral hazard stopping emission reduction, appear to have stymied all field research into ocean fertilization in the current decade, so the market is highly distorted and gives incentives not to engage in research. There is a risk that hypothetical and real side effects can sometimes be exaggerated and distorted, overshadowing potential benefits. Very different incentives are needed, but as with patents, these are likely to be more in regulation than taxation.

Design of algae production may be able to minimise unwanted side effects, but discussion needs to ensure that isolated effects are not unduly generalized. Externalities from algae production using iron fertilization could potentially include production of toxic species, depletion of oceanic oxygen, and robbing of nutrients downstream from the location of iron fertilization. As well, there is debate on how long removed carbon would stay out of the air.

Geological data from the ice ages suggests these hypothesised effects might be very small. Advocates of field trials consider these hypothetical effects to be either too small or too long term to block the need for field research. It is difficult to make a cost-benefit analysis of such claims in the absence of major field trials, especially where the a political agenda is in play.

Many climate scientists oppose carbon removal because of the moral hazard argument that it would reduce political pressure to cut emissions, although the debate is shifting following major recent reports. In some cases the moral hazard line can lead to exaggeration of possible harm from technologies like algae farming.

Algae production using the iron salt aerosol process that I am advocating, of which more later, could potentially work with other cooling effects to become a cost-effective contribution to climate restoration. If it turns out to be the case that the price, speed and safety of this method are far better than anything else, the moral problem arises of what level of system disruption is acceptable, as long as such disruption is clearly outweighed by the benefits.
Harry Marks wrote:
We need to know what natural growth is being displaced, and account for the impact of that, and we need to know what the algae is being used for, because if it drives down fossil fuel prices, by adding to fuel supplies, it can have follow-on effects inhibiting transition to other technologies. There is no substitute for prices which reflect actual scarcity of the inputs, adjusted for the unmarketed impacts (external effects like GHG's).

On displacement of natural growth, one leading scientist presented a model at at the Canberra Negative Emissions conference suggesting that adding enough iron to the Southern Ocean to optimise plankton productivity there would slowly deplete the nutrient levels in tropical waters, the alleged 'downstream robbing' effect. It is far from clear if this model is accurate, in view of the immense quantities of nutrients in the deep ocean. The timeframes for such effects are measured in centuries or millennia. Immediate benefits, reducing the impact of global warming, may be judged to be worth the risk of uncertain long term disruption. But the situation now is that anxiety about such side effects completely outweighs political support for using such technological intervention to help stabilise the world climate.

If algae farms occupy 1% of the world ocean there would be local ecosystem disruption, but this could be justified by broader stabilisation.

Your point about price effects is a very good one. My view is that algae technologies such as iron salt aerosol will work in combination with marine permaculture to help create new carbon markets that will mean lower prices for fuel can be balanced by other large scale methods of carbon storage such as biochar, plastic and concrete.

My view is that it may even be possible to store algae in fabric containers on the bottom of the ocean, a carbon bank that could be rapidly built up to stabilise the air and regulate the climate, then gradually drawn down for fuel and other uses. The volume needed would be about twenty cubic kilometres per year, or 0.000002% of the world ocean.


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

I first became aware of how this monstrous global policy incentivises the climate apocalypse in Indonesia when I worked for the Forest Climate Initiative in the Australian Agency for International Development in 2007. The destruction of ecosystems by palm oil was a major factor in my advocacy of large scale ocean based algae production, as a climate restoration technology that aims to improve biodiversity rather than destroy it.


Have you seen this advertisement?

nytimes.com/paidpost/exxonmobil/algae-m ... 0006080550


Bill McKibben has a good article discussing Exxon and climate change in the latest New Yorker. McKibben is among the most articulate and perceptive preachers of the current apocalypse.

I don't know what to make of it, but all my efforts to speak with people in oil companies have come to nothing. By and large I think their algae work is greenwashing public relations.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Bill McKibben has a good article discussing Exxon and climate change in the latest New Yorker. McKibben is among the most articulate and perceptive preachers of the current apocalypse.

I don't know what to make of it, but all my efforts to speak with people in oil companies have come to nothing. By and large I think their algae work is greenwashing public relations.


That article is more frightening than anything Stephen King, or H.P. Lovecraft, or Adolph Hitler, or Friedrich Engels, or Karl Marx ever wrote.

The scariest part:


"Shortly before the I.P.C.C. report was published, Hurricane Michael, the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Florida Panhandle, inflicted thirty billion dollars’ worth of material damage and killed forty-five people. President Trump, who has argued that global warming is “a total, and very expensive, hoax,” visited Florida to survey the wreckage, but told reporters that the storm had not caused him to rethink his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords. He expressed no interest in the I.P. C.C. report beyond asking “who drew it.” (The answer is ninety-one researchers from forty countries.) He later claimed that his “natural instinct” for science made him confident that the climate would soon “change back.” A month later, Trump blamed the fires in California on “gross mismanagement of forests.”


I've now written 4 sentences in this space and deleted them all because, in Mr. Tulip's words, "I don't know what to make of it."


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
The first keynote address to the Canberra Negative Emissions Conference was by Dr Phillip Williamson, honorary reader at the University of East Anglia and science coordinator of the UK Greenhouse Gas Removal from the Atmosphere research programme. His recent paper, Thirteen Ocean Based Solutions for Tackling Climate Change, gives a sense of his views. He talked about the philosophical premises needed for greenhouse gas removal, emphasising transdisciplinary integration to shift to an active waste removal program.

The 60% increase in fossil fuel emissions since world leaders recognised the problem at the 1992 earth summit shows the scale of the problem. There has been no hiatus in man-caused ocean heat increase, measured at about 250 zettajoules in total, about 500 times annual human energy consumption.

The Paris goal of net zero emissions means that removals would equal emissions, since there are many factors, in fire, agriculture and other sectors where zero emissions won’t happen. But if you target removals equalling emissions, why not target removals exceeding emissions, as that is what is needed to achieve the warming targets?

Dr Williamson commented on policy semantics around geoengineering. I view such language games as irrelevant when they are just seen as exercises in turd-polishing, since people readily see through any attempt at concealing the intent of climate intervention. It is true that ideologues tend to be better at public relations than scientists, but I think the issues are more about strategic vision than semantics alone.

It is important to revise language from carbon dioxide removal to instead speak of greenhouse gas removal, or my preferred language of carbon removal, because methane (CH4) causes one sixth of radiative forcing.

Overall, the politics of carbon removal are difficult, with no public funds available for field tests. The current scientific consensus is that ocean iron fertilization is dubious, as indicated in Dr Williamson’s paper quoted above. A problem is that measuring ocean carbon uptake is very difficult, especially quantifying the permanence of storage in the plankton carbon cycle, regarding how much carbon sinks to the ocean floor and how much returns to the sky.

My view remains that the rejection of ocean iron fertilization can be overturned through use of iron salt aerosol, which combines OIF with a number of other (effective cooling effects).

A key theme raised by Dr Williamson is the view that it is better not to release carbon into the system now than to have to remove it later. My view is that not enough work has been done on the marginal comparisons between emission reduction and carbon removal, but then I am very optimistic about large scale rapid rollout of low cost carbon removal technology.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
A key theme raised by Dr Williamson is the view that it is better not to release carbon into the system now than to have to remove it later. My view is that not enough work has been done on the marginal comparisons between emission reduction and carbon removal, but then I am very optimistic about large scale rapid rollout of low cost carbon removal technology.

I have to think Williamson takes the most reasoned view, whereas a view based on optimism about the potential of carbon removal seems less reasoned. There is the additional consideration that it will make little sense to citizens if they are told that there is no need to work toward emissions reduction--continue on as before--yet a crisis-level need to invest in carbon removal exists. People will be able to understand that emissions reduction and carbon removal go hand in hand.

There appears to be no way of escaping the fact that economies need to be transformed if climate disaster is to be averted.



Last edited by DWill on Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
it will make little sense to citizens if they are told that there is no need to work toward emissions reduction--continue on as before--yet a crisis-level need to invest in carbon removal exists.
You are citing extreme situations, where the reality I was discussing is about defining choices at the margin where two options have similar price. I am not an economist, so sorry if my analysis is wrong.

The economic problem is one of marginal cost. Lets say we can remove carbon for $100/ton. That means if we have money to invest for climate restoration, and the marginal cost of a proposal achieves carbon removal for $200/ton, then that proposal does not make economic sense as a climate project, although it still might make sense for other reasons. Marginal cost analysis is about putting all activities into a common metric.

Considered on world scale, Business As Usual expects emissions of 60 gigatons of CO2 equivalent in 2030, and the Paris Accord plans to cut that by just 10% to 54 GT, leading to expected four degrees of warming this century unless both emission reduction and carbon removal can be ramped up fast. The reason the agreed Paris reductions are proportionately so small is that each extra gigaton achieved by emission reduction comes at a higher immediate price, both economically and politically. The low hanging fruit for wind and solar are nowhere near big enough to stabilise the climate.

If we could work out cost-effective methods to remove 100 GT per year, then emission reduction would be marginal to climate security. Emission reduction would then only be justified for pollution control and economic efficiency, and would make little difference to global warming. This is a hypothetical scenario, but it should be considered as part of a balanced climate strategy.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
it will make little sense to citizens if they are told that there is no need to work toward emissions reduction--continue on as before--yet a crisis-level need to invest in carbon removal exists.
You are citing extreme situations, where the reality I was discussing is about defining choices at the margin where two options have similar price. I am not an economist, so sorry if my analysis is wrong.

I don't know why you thought the statement was extreme; it could be that the way I put it wasn't clear. I'm less an economist than you are, so please excuse any fumbling.
Quote:
The economic problem is one of marginal cost. Lets say we can remove carbon for $100/ton. That means if we have money to invest for climate restoration, and the marginal cost of a proposal achieves carbon removal for $200/ton, then that proposal does not make economic sense as a climate project, although it still might make sense for other reasons. Marginal cost analysis is about putting all activities into a common metric.

The "other reasons" might include having sustainable energy after fossil fuels have either run out (as they will before very long) or have been shut off due to their polluting. By turning to every type of sustainable available, we take care of two priorities--having enough energy to avoid slipping into economic depression and putting brakes on warming. I accept that emissions reductions alone will not let us stay below 1.5 C increase, and I also accept that algae biofuel has the remarkable benefit of removing carbon while providing energy for industry, etc. But it would be very risky to put all the eggs in that one basket. Perhaps after 100 years or so, one source such as algae will have emerged as dominant, just as fossils fuels did at the start of the industrial revolution, but until that time we have to throw everything we have at the problem.
Quote:
If we could work out cost-effective methods to remove 100 GT per year, then emission reduction would be marginal to climate security. Emission reduction would then only be justified for pollution control and economic efficiency, and would make little difference to global warming. This is a hypothetical scenario, but it should be considered as part of a balanced climate strategy.

I'll stick to the point that steep emissions reduction would signify that we have replaced the old non-sustainable energy technologies. If removing 100 GT were economically feasible, we should certainly do it, but we'd still be left in an energy lurch if we did only that.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
.
.
The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?


nytimes.com/2018/11/27/magazine/insect- ... 1s2pL9Fp2x

Tel Megiddo (Hebrew: מגידו‬; Arabic: مجیدو‎, Tell al-Mutesellim, "The Tell of the Governor") is an ancient city whose remains form a tell (archaeological mound), situated in northern Israel near Kibbutz Megiddo, about 30 km south-east of Haifa. Megiddo is known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon.
(Wiki)


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