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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
DWill wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
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 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.
I have been shifting my view on the balance between emission reduction and carbon removal. This question is not just about economics and science but is deeply political, with implications for who can be the most useful allies in the task of fixing the climate, and what the likely political reaction is to various scenarios. I have probably myself been fumbling around in exploratory thinking too, as it seems to me essential to mobilise the resources, skills and contacts of the fossil fuel industry for climate restoration. All such political analysis is speculating in the absence of hard data, so should be seen in that light of scenario comparison.

What I reacted to as extreme was your “no need to work toward emissions reduction” example. I may have given the impression I supported that position, but I don’t. There is no question emission reduction is essential for pollution control and economic efficiency, since there are many activities where renewables are better than fossil fuels.

Politically, emission reduction is even more important as a way to pressure the fossil fuel industries to cooperate in carbon removal. There is an uneasy compromise involved here in negotiating a path forward. The only way fossil fuel companies can protect their business model will be to invest in research and development of carbon removal technology, shifting into the new economy. Business As Usual (BAU) is not feasible, given the security and humanitarian implications of conflict from climate change in a world that is adding 60 GT of CO2e to the air every year. The only thing to incentivise private investment in carbon removal is the threat of heavy carbon taxes, so this threat should be on the table.

Looking again at the numbers, the ‘net zero emissions’ goal promoted by the UN would require chopping 60 gigatons (GT) of CO2 equivalent emissions per year by 2030, but would still cause dangerous heating due to the committed warming from past emissions.

The goal for climate stability in my view should be to reduce the amount of CO2e in the air by 100 GT every year. That would reduce the risk that committed warming could suddenly cause the planet to cross an unforeseen dangerous tipping point into a hothouse earth. Only large net negative emissions at this scale can enable return over the next century to the carbon level that has given us stable sea level for all human history since the stone age, while also giving some hope to end the current biocide of the sixth extinction. The overall goal is to remove 6000 GT, which at this rate would take 60 years.

One scenario for a net -100 GT annual target for climate stability is 140 GT of carbon removal (CR) balancing 40 GT of ongoing emissions. That involves emission reductions (ER) of 20 GT compared to the BAU plan of 60 GT. That number is triple the commitments agreed at Paris, which are already politically difficult and unlikely. A compromise target might be to aim for the Paris goal of 54 GT ongoing emissions balanced by 154 GT of carbon removal.

Where the political alarm comes from in these scenarios, feeding the tactic of climate denial, is the unrealistic idea that net zero could result from say 50 GT emissions reduction and only 10 GT carbon removal. That mix, cutting annual emissions by 80% to only 10 GT, would generate heavy economic damage and political conflict, and is prompted by the false but highly popular idea that maximising emission reduction is key to climate stability.

The unrealistic nature of such large emission reductions is illustrated by marginal cost analysis. Compare marginal cases for net zero emissions such as 50GT ER + 10 GT CR against 49 GT ER + 11 GT CR. It is likely in this case to cost less overall to increase removal by one GT using carbon removal rather than emission reduction.

The optimal mix is where the marginal costs of a gigaton of ER and CR are equal. My view is that the likely balance will prove to be nowhere near the current 50 ER + 10 CR scenario, but is likely to be more like 10 ER + 50 CR. Of course, the underlying problem is whether 50 CR, let alone 150 CR, will be feasible.
DWill wrote:
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.
If the carbon emitted by fossil fuels is mined to grow algae, it could be possible to develop a circular economy where the algae is burnt as fuel and the emitted carbon is again used as algae feedstock, together with nutrients from the deep ocean. That could make the existing fossil fuel infrastructure including internal combustion engines and coal fired power stations completely sustainable.
DWill wrote:
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.
That is excellent analysis, but the ‘eggs in one basket’ problem at the moment is a sole reliance on emission reduction. UN policy expressed in the Paris Accord restricts carbon removal to a possible contribution many decades in the future. That restriction seems to be due mainly to politics, and an undue scepticism about the potential for technological innovation to make carbon removal safe and cheap.
DWill wrote:
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.
An energy lurch is unlikely. Large scale carbon removal will only happen as part of a broad shift to new thinking, which would necessarily include recognition of the immense social and economic benefits of abundant secure low cost energy supply, within a well-regulated climate and a market economy.

Looking at the history of aviation over the last century for comparison, we are now at Kitty Hawk stage for carbon removal. We can expect carbon removal to rapidly grow to the equivalent of today’s mass transit aviation system, recognising the centrality of regulating atmospheric carbon for economic stability and political security.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
I suspect things are oversimplified at this level, but I like the sound of "High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll regions". The Green Revolution that allowed humanity to go from 3 billion to today's, what, 7 1/2 billion population, was mostly about enriching the soil with the nutrients that plants were most able to transform into high value grain for us. That can be criticized for its side effects, but the liberation from poverty looks pretty good.

But how does more algae and higher oceanic productivity translate to improved biodiversity? Pardon my slow brain, but it sounds like monoculture, which rarely if ever improves biodiversity.

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
Yes, I think this is fair. Smart people should be looking at the potential downsides, but we are not required to avoid every possible harmful side-effect. In general we can manage the most severe side effects with regulation, and price in the most pervasive and decentralized.

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
Although this mainly strikes me as ideological blather, I do want to note that there is something odd about thinking that systemic issues can be addressed with patents. The problem to be managed is not scarcity of energy - we already know what to do about that. The problem is the limited capacity of the environment to tolerate GHGs and the lack of incentive to respond to that. It seems that at minimum there must be carbon offsets to provide any incentive for addressing systemic side-effects.

Instead you seem to be proposing that we deliberately produce stuff that happens to have good side-effects, and that the potential for these to be profitable will so far outweigh the bad side-effects of fossil fuel use that there will never be any need for prices to reflect those bad side-effects. While of course this is possible, and it would have justified government investment in renewables, hybrid cars, and other energy-saving technologies, the potential seems to me to be just as real for another industry to grow up and become an entrenched special interest before we learn what its systemic effects are. Then it will do like the Koch Brothers done.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Design of algae production may be able to minimise unwanted side effects, but discussion needs to ensure that isolated effects are not unduly generalized.

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.
Managing political symbolism is certainly one of the weaknesses of the public sphere, analyzed by cogent if nefarious researchers such as James Buchanan. If I may say so, your own symbolic rhetoric, treating response to the public needs as some sort of leftist plot to dislodge capitalism, is unlikely to improve this environment. Especially after Oreskes and Conway's Merchants of Doubt, most scientists are likely to respond with hackles up and long-term suspicion. They have heard that line before.

Robert Tulip wrote:
adding enough iron to the Southern Ocean to optimise plankton productivity there ((might)) 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.
I suspect that's the main thing we need to know about it for now. Kicking the can down the road is worth a lot right now.

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
But as I continue to point out, if we get the pricing right, the private sector will finance it.

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
Yes, and if you draw to an inside straight you might get lucky, too.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
I don't know what to make of it,


Litwitlou wrote:
"I don't know what to make of it."


Me neither. I am also horrified. I can't think of any issue in my life which has left me nearly so dumbfounded about my fellow human beings. I feel as if there is a wave of people killing their children sweeping the country. Do people feel no love and concern for their progeny? I can't get my head around it.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
That is excellent analysis, but the ‘eggs in one basket’ problem at the moment is a sole reliance on emission reduction. UN policy expressed in the Paris Accord restricts carbon removal to a possible contribution many decades in the future. That restriction seems to be due mainly to politics, and an undue scepticism about the potential for technological innovation to make carbon removal safe and cheap.

Many thanks for your reply. I think what those in my category (interested and concerned but not well-versed in the science) need some assurance of is that carbon removal can become the main highway to climate restoration. We just need to grasp how, when we release energy through burning, it's not bye-bye forever to the carbon that has risen. The job of putting that troublesome genie back in the bottle appears much more daunting than not letting it out in the first place. I'm talking about being able to remove enough of it to make a real difference. Of course, relying on ER, as you've been saying all along, will mean accepting quite a high temperature increase and trying to live with it. And the outlook now is not so good for even a slight warming reduction through ER alone. So the role of ER would seem to be to make the task of CR more expedient by limiting what needs to be removed before we can see a reduction. That's still the view that makes sense to me.

Probably the alternative energy source with the biggest push behind it now is solar. That gets personal with me. In our rural paradise just west of the Shenandoah Mountains, two proposals are pending for the construction of solar "farms" totaling over 900 acres. The power produced, enough to supply 25,000 homes at peak output, would go to the northern Virginia suburbs 75 miles east. Sentiment is running strongly against approval, but the board of supervisors still might allow it on the basis of property owners' right to dispose of their land as they choose. This area relies on agriculture and tourism for what small prosperity it has, and these solar facilities don't fit with that. What is my obligation in this case, really? I don't want these installations, but can I hide my head in the sand in view of the enormous challenge of both combating climate change and finding alternate energy sources? It would seem irresponsible to claim that since emissions removal is our best means of achieving at least one of those goals, I 'm justified to oppose having massive solar fields in my backyard.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
The Canberra Negative Emissions Conference Organisers have requested circulation of the following draft communique.

Quote:
Communique to government departments and relevant stakeholders on Negative Emissions
Negative Emissions will be needed if we are to limit warming to 2°C or below. There is an urgent need for a national assessment to explore the potential of Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs) in the Australian context. This assessment should explore the effectiveness of different approaches, the potential for environmental co-benefits, risk assessments, economic opportunities, governance and legal frameworks, industry engagement, and social licence.
On October 30 and 31, 2018, the “Negative Emissions Conference: Integrating Industry, Technology and Society for Carbon Drawdown” was held at the Shine Dome, Canberra. It focussed the attention of the Australian policy, industry and academic communities on the need to explore and develop a new suite of approaches that contribute to efforts to address climate change: methods for enhancing the removal greenhouse gases from the atmosphere – also termed Negative Emissions.
Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs) are approaches that seek to remove greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere or exhaust streams.1 These strategies are sometimes referred to as Carbon Dioxide Removal or CDR.
1 Negative Emissions Technologies are sometimes referred to as Carbon Dioxide Removal or “CDR” and are often discussed as part of a larger set of climate intervention or remediation strategies often referred to as “geoengineering.” Geoengineering also includes strategies to counteract climate change by reflecting sunlight back into space through the use of sulphate aerosols injected into the stratosphere, “space mirrors” in orbit, or simply creating reflective surfaces such as white roofs. E.g. https://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/2012/04/ops1/
A key message from the Conference is that:
“Even rapid decarbonization through emissions reduction will not be sufficient to stabilize climate at the global temperature thresholds of the Paris Agreement. To limit warming at 2 degrees or less requires NETs to draw down past and future emissions and store this carbon in land, ocean, and geological reservoirs. Our conference highlighted the urgency, global extent and potential cost of this challenge, but also revealed the opportunity to develop solutions that bring benefits to society, natural resources, ecosystems and the economy. Investments in the rapidly-emerging NETs sector have the potential to give Australia significant economic advantages, and Australia - through technological advances - can in turn provide leadership in addressing climate change.”
Background
The (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement, explicitly stated that global warming, currently ~0.8°C, should be limited to well-below 2oC and efforts should be taken to limit warming to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement adopts a goal of “net zero emissions globally in the second half of the 21st Century” by achieving a balance between emissions sources and carbon sinks in the second half of this century. The agreement also calls upon parties to “take action to conserve and enhance as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases.” The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5oC report and 5th Assessment Report highlighted that nearly all of the model simulation pathways used to inform development of the Paris Targets included NETs at scales far greater than currently deployed or allowed for under current policy settings. Furthermore, without NETs it would be virtually impossible to reach the Paris Target even if the Nationally Determined Contributions (from the Paris Agreement) were achieved.
In order for negative emissions to represent a significant ‘partnership’ with ongoing emissions reductions initiatives they would have to be deployed at unprecedented scales. Recent studies have highlighted that current NETs, despite their potential, are as yet, not sufficiently mature to be implemented at scale. Key questions exist around the efficacy and scalability of proposed NETs, their impact on the ecosystem services provided by land and ocean, human societies, strategies for adapting to a changing climate, and their governance.
Presently, Australia’s CO2 emissions comprise 3 roughly equal components: 1) electricity generation; 2) industry and direct combustion; and 3) transport, waste and agriculture/land use change. While the
growth of renewable electricity is reducing Australia’s electricity-sector CO2 emissions, other sectors such as transport and agriculture sectors not readily offset by renewables. These emissions – for example aircraft flights - can only be offset through Negative Emissions.
Presentations at the Conference highlighted the urgent need for national and international consideration and dialogue around existing negative emission methods, testing of new technologies, and an upscaling of R&D on still-unproven technologies.
In Australia, CO2 drawdown and storage is now achieved through the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which funds methods such as native vegetation regrowth and reforestation. Near-term gains in CO2 drawdown could be achieved through scaling up the methods supported in the ERF. Emissions reductions would need to be partnered with negative emissions to meet the Paris targets. NETs comprise that enhance already naturally-occurring processes and those that would apply technological approaches to NET. Land-based NETs include biochar soil enhancement, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and enhanced weathering of silicate rocks. Marine approaches discussed at the Conference include: ocean alkalinisation and ‘blue’ carbon sequestration in salt marshes, mangroves, and seagrass beds. Direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere with carbon storage (DAC) is another emerging technology, though at present it is associated with high costs.

ENVIRONMENTAL CO-BENEFITS
Clearly an assessment is urgently needed to gain understanding of suitable options for Australia, the potential efficacy of those options, and pathways for large-scale and cost-effective implementation.
EMISSIONS REDUCTION & NEGATIVE EMISSIONS
Key to this assessment is the requirement for an interdisciplinary and policy-oriented approach that examines the capacity to upscale negative emissions technologies from laboratories and model simulations to landscapes, seascapes and geologic reservoirs.

CLIMATE BENEFITS
As important as the technological issues covered by the Conference are, there are social issues raised by the prospect of NET, and several speakers focused on the social aspects of NET and the need to first obtain a social license to operate. To deploy NETs at the scales envisioned would require acceptance by industries and communities whose economic activities, environments and amenities may be affected by large-scale deployment of NETs.
Global and national governance and regulatory frameworks suited to the characteristics and risks of global-scale climate intervention are essential for implementation of NETs at the scales required. How would carbon injected into the deep ocean be tracked and “credited” in a context of multiple groups carrying out the activities? Who would be responsible for detrimental side-effects where tracking the sources of multiple interventions is difficult? Would communities’ objections to local large-scale NET deployment be overruled in the interest of maintaining a safe global climate?
Along with these challenges, economic opportunities presented by NETs were also discussed at the Conference. For example, CCS requires the skills and technologies already present in the petroleum industry. Similarly, enhanced weathering would require the expertise of the mining and agricultural sectors, that together could provide negative emissions along with environmental co-benefits (soil fertilisation).
A further Conference is planned for mid-2019 in Canberra to explore how best to develop such a national assessment with policy, industry and academics.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Speaking of a climate apocalypse, it is useful to consider how this modern concept compares to traditional apocalyptic theories. The Bible contains a number of statements that enable comparison between the scientific predictions of future planetary damage from global warming and the supernatural mythology of Armageddon.

I read these mythological writings in the Bible not as miraculous prophecy but rather as containing a deeply perceptive ecological vision of the consequences of human alienation from nature. Taking from these writings only what is compatible with scientific knowledge and an ecological ethic, it is helpful to use Biblical texts to place climate change in a cultural context with a strong traditional social purchase, amplifying the ethical message of the urgency of climate action.

Against this naturalistic reading, the Christian ideas of redemption, transformation and atonement are about reconciling culture and nature, religion and science, faith and reason, humanity and the earth. Salvation essentially means survival and flourishing of humanity on our planet, while damnation means the risk of collapse and extinction. The central concept of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ marks a paradigm shift from a trajectory of destruction to a path of planetary repair, a recognition that the task for humanity is to transform our broken planet into an orderly reflection of the natural heavens, as indicated in the Lord’s Prayer, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This theme of nature as the framework for salvation is reinforced in Revelation 11:18 which describes the wrath of God as the time for destroying those who destroy the earth. That means that the evil agents of the apocalypse in the Biblical vision are the human forces working to destroy the earth.

A key to reinterpreting Christianity as a natural philosophy is to see how the original good intent was corrupted by the co-option of Christianity as a security doctrine for the Roman Empire. The subsequent corrupting theme of the union of church and state with its alienated mythological dogmas entrenched the destructive separation of spirit from nature.

The ‘end of the world’ concept in Christianity is based on a mistranslation in the King James Bible, which wrongly sets the Greek word ‘aeon’ as ‘world’, when in fact aeon means age. So the religious idea of a supernatural intervention to destroy the earth at Judgement Day involves a misunderstanding, as does the rapture concept of the faithful all leaving the earth. The real meaning is a change of thinking in a new age. A big surprise about doomsday in the Bible is that Matthew 25:31-46 defines salvation as only for those who perform works of mercy, with no reference to orthodox belief.

In addition to the point above about the ecological wrath of God as an intuition of climate change as the context of the apocalypse, there are several more Biblical lines that support a naturalistic Gaian reading of the apocalypse against the reality of climate change. The prominent myth in Christianity of a fiery end to the age is expressed in 2 Peter 3:6 gave rise to the line from the Negro Spiritual O Mary Don’t You Weep ‘no more water but fire next time’, suggesting that the next global catastrophe after Noah’s Flood will involve fire.

In the Gospels, Luke 21:25 predicts the apocalypse as a time when nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Reading these texts in a climate change context is not to suggest that ancient prophets predicted the modern situation, with intensification of hurricanes and potential for sea level rise, but rather to see that the overall context of apocalyptic prediction of social collapse and transformation was grounded in perception of nature.

I remain firmly of the view that a reformation of Christianity to reconcile with science will be a major essential factor in successfully preventing climate change, due to the capacity of religious language to speak simply and powerfully to a large audience, telling a meaningful explanatory story. Such a scientific reformation can imagine Jesus Christ as global mediator, preparing the way toward a future where the core Christian values of love and truth will become the basis of social organisation, in what the Bible calls a new heaven and new earth.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
In order for negative emissions to represent a significant ‘partnership’ with ongoing emissions reductions initiatives they would have to be deployed at unprecedented scales. Recent studies have highlighted that current NETs, despite their potential, are as yet, not sufficiently mature to bon e implemented at scale. Key questions exist around the efficacy and scalability of proposed NETs, their impact on the ecosystem services provided by land and ocean, human societies, strategies for adapting to a changing climate, and their governance.

First, thanks for your excellent reporting on this significant conference, which I'm afraid might highlight a relative backwardness on the part of the U.S. government. The passage above stood out as a realistic assessment of the magnitude and complexity of the task. We wouldn't expect any of this to be easily done, and it's wise not to mislead on the difficulty factor.

This is another part that caught my eye. It seems obvious to me now, but I hadn't considered that current industries will need to lead the way, adapting their expertise to the new goals, rather than to expect entirely new industries to emerge.
Quote:
Along with these challenges, economic opportunities presented by NETs were also discussed at the Conference. For example, CCS requires the skills and technologies already present in the petroleum industry. Similarly, enhanced weathering would require the expertise of the mining and agricultural sectors, that together could provide negative emissions along with environmental co-benefits (soil fertilisation).



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
First, thanks for your excellent reporting on this significant conference, which I'm afraid might highlight a relative backwardness on the part of the U.S. government.

Well said. I appreciate hearing what things are being discussed and in what way.

DWill wrote:
current industries will need to lead the way, adapting their expertise to the new goals, rather than to expect entirely new industries to emerge.
It's a part of the way things are done these days, with good sides and bad sides resulting. Many firms try to define themselves more broadly to leverage their understanding of related parts of an industry. The good side, it seems to me, is that they understand the market and what can be sold as production from the algae. The downside is that they might have to undercut their own sales of fossil fuels to promote alternatives properly.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Against this naturalistic reading, the Christian ideas of redemption, transformation and atonement are about reconciling culture and nature, religion and science, faith and reason, humanity and the earth. Salvation essentially means survival and flourishing of humanity on our planet, while damnation means the risk of collapse and extinction.


My mapping of the issues would be in terms of the mindlessness of competition for imperial domination at the time of Caesar, which for the most part undercut material progress, indicating that we need to give thought to the mindlessness of today's economic expansion and look to social connection as the better path to go down.

When one way of doing social relations gains the capability to make others irrelevant, then mindlessness will inevitably proceed to convert society to that process. Imperialism was one example. Whoever was most successful at making it work would succeed, but more importantly it demanded that everything in society come under its sway so that no free cities or independent villagers could survive.

It's questionable whether consumerist capitalism has the same inexorable momentum, but it does tend to be able to outbid alternatives for the resources. Socially, though, it pushes aside neighborliness by promoting obsession with status. If it succeeds in this, then at the same time it has persuaded individual voters that they must fight for their little bit of status, and not give up any for the sake of the public good.

Orderliness seems to me to inhere in a return to neighborliness and a willingness to back off from stress and relentless pressure to allow breathing room for defense of the planet. To let system effects impinge on the mindless struggle that people treat as inevitable, and to call forth a mindful response.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The ‘end of the world’ concept in Christianity is based on a mistranslation in the King James Bible, which wrongly sets the Greek word ‘aeon’ as ‘world’, when in fact aeon means age. So the religious idea of a supernatural intervention to destroy the earth at Judgement Day involves a misunderstanding, as does the rapture concept of the faithful all leaving the earth. The real meaning is a change of thinking in a new age.
This improvement of translation seems to be getting a lot of attention these days. A fair share of the revision seems to be in the direction of conceiving of the end of the age as a change in thinking, or at least of social organization.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
The apocalyptic nature of the climate problem is proved by news of how the world is going in precisely the opposite direction from what is needed.

Cars and coal help drive 'strong' CO2 rise in 2018.

New data published on current trends shows a booming global market for cars helped drive CO2 emissions to an all-time high in 2018. The main factor in the near 3% rise has been coal use in China. Carbon emissions from cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes continue to rise around the planet. Renewables are growing, but nowhere near as fast as the CO2 rise.

The research by the Global Carbon Project (GCP), says this year's emission rise of 2.7% is much bigger than 2017's 1.6% increase, consolidating the increase from the flat CO2 emission total since 2014.

Meanwhile, President Macron of France stood like King Canute against the steady increase in use of cars. The centrality of oil, coal and steel to economic growth shows incentives for increasing carbon emissions are unstoppable.

Saving the climate by cutting emissions is as futile as removing sewage by cutting defecation. The model of emission reduction can't deliver climate security, and should be replaced by a practical sanitarian model focused on carbon removal.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:54 pm
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
John Ridley of Ocean Nourishment Corporation was the next speaker at the Canberra Negative Emissions Conference. He explained how links between food security, climate security and ocean acidification could be addressed through marine carbon farming. The ONC proposal is to add macronutrients to the 60% of the world ocean that is deficient in nitrogen, as explained by Daniel Harrison in his 2017 article Global negative emissions capacity of ocean macronutrient fertilization. A problem for this work is that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, protecting the oceans, is interpreted by opponents as defining efforts to use the oceans for carbon removal as marine pollution.

The ONC aim is to increase the carbon cycle to export carbon to the deep. A site selection study was done on Australia’s North West Shelf in 2011, aiming to help make natural gas carbon neutral, potentially working with the new Shell Prelude floating gas extractor, but lack of fiscal incentives has made this unviable to date.


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Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:24 pm
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
We've been unintentionally geo-engineering the planet for millenia. The way to look at these proposals to repair climate is, I suppose, as intentional forms of the same geo-engineering. Still, it's going to be a difficult leap psychologically. What gives us the right to manipulate nature to this extreme? To escape the dilemma, we should ask what now gives us the right to radically alter climate by doing essentially nothing to reduce the temperature of the greenhouse.



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Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:58 am
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Saving the climate by cutting emissions is as futile as removing sewage by cutting defecation.
That analogy might be worth something if there was no choice about technology to be used powering space heating, transport and manufacturing. Defecation is a one-for-one result of eating. By contrast there are many options for converting energy sources into usable power, prominently including technologies like insulation for reducing power requirements. We could have eliminated fossil fuel burning completely by now if we had set out to do so in 1992. We could certainly have contained it within tolerable limits at an affordable cost.

Use of this kind of either/or rhetoric just discredits your cause.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The model of emission reduction can't deliver climate security, and should be replaced by a practical sanitarian model focused on carbon removal.
Because only one "model" is allowed at a time? This flies in the face of everything we know about production.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
Probably the alternative energy source with the biggest push behind it now is solar. That gets personal with me. In our rural paradise just west of the Shenandoah Mountains, two proposals are pending for the construction of solar "farms" totaling over 900 acres. The power produced, enough to supply 25,000 homes at peak output, would go to the northern Virginia suburbs 75 miles east.
It's funny, isn't it, that people are used to taking local side-effects seriously, but want to leave global, systemic side-effects for someone else to worry about.

DWill wrote:
Sentiment is running strongly against approval, but the board of supervisors still might allow it on the basis of property owners' right to dispose of their land as they choose. This area relies on agriculture and tourism for what small prosperity it has, and these solar facilities don't fit with that.
I suspect that in a normal administration, money could be found to leverage tourism that takes advantage of the solar investment. From Washingtonians coming (in school buses?) to look at where their power comes from, to a "Green Community" with borrowable bikes for exploring the area and locovore restaurants to advertise the farming community, to museums underlining the solar options currently transforming the African countryside, (which all the AID folks at Rosslyn, VA might be willing to provide technical assistance for), this could be turned into positive side-effects rather than negative. But it takes vision and planning and some talks to Congresspeople and bankers.

Of course there is some question whether people coming to see where Stonewall Jackson and Jeb Stuart did their things would be put off by all the modern, climate-centered stuff. But somehow I don't think it needs to be either-or. They both enjoy a good bed and breakfast or an arts fair.



Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:14 am
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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
This latest short article in Nature is bad news. Global warming will happen faster than we think says the speed of warming is due to accelerate, crossing dangerous future thresholds a decade earlier than previously predicted. That means we are headed into a climate apocalypse. My only quibble with the chart below is the line "if emissions go unchecked", since it is more scientifically feasible for cooling to be delivered by carbon removal than by emission reduction. Image


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:13 pm
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