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Poll: What to do about climate change? 

What are the top priorities for climate change?
No action needed 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Cut Emissions 29%  29%  [ 6 ]
Tax Carbon 14%  14%  [ 3 ]
Remove Carbon Dioxide from Atmosphere 29%  29%  [ 6 ]
Manage Solar Radiation 10%  10%  [ 2 ]
Reduce Personal Carbon Footprint 14%  14%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 21

Poll: What to do about climate change? 
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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
DWill wrote:
I voted for reduce emissions and remove carbon. It's hard to argue that Robert isn't right that without that we won't reach the goals of Paris.
Reducing emissions and removing carbon are necessary but not sufficient, as I explain in my analogy above drawn from Leonardo Da Vinci of Gaia as facing impending cardiac arrest.
DWill wrote:
The problem with this combo, I suppose, is that it might confuse the public. If we're going to remove the carbon, then do we even need to reduce emissions? Of course, we do.
This is actually a very complex political and technical argument. Logically, with world emissions at 10 gigatonnes of carbon per year (GTC/Y), if we work out how to remove 20 GTC/Y then we can keep adding ten and still make progress toward climate restoration. I suspect that level of emissions will not continue though.

Bill McKibben argues in this superb new free access NYRB piece, A Future without Fossil Fuels technology is fast making fossil fuels obsolete. That makes me think the public investment focus should be on reflecting sunlight and removing carbon as a security agenda, leaving the rise of renewables to market forces.
DWill wrote:
It's a two-pronged attack. Relying only on CR would be just as futile as relying only on reduction.
No, that is not right. CR could potentially scale up to removal of 80 GTC/Y, enabling return to Holocene stability, whereas at best emission reduction can scale up to about two or three GTC/Y in the next few years, given the inertia in the fossil system. They are orders of magnitude different in effect.
DWill wrote:
The point I see as crucial but don't often see recognized, is that zero-emission energy is a necessary goal because it may be only for the next 80 years that we have anything to burn!
It might even emerge that fossil fuels are more valuable as petrochemicals than as fuel, which will make burning them uneconomic, even leaving aside the warming effect.
DWill wrote:
Circular economy is getting to be a big deal. Maybe if Jay Inslee can get himself elected president, we'll all get a better idea of how we can help.
Inslee said "we have to have a candidate who will make climate change and building a clean energy economy a central focus, an organizing principle for the American people and we need a president who will do the same. I am excited about this because, as I have traveled the country, I hear people waiting for the bugle call from the White House. We heard it from Kennedy when he said we are going to go to the moon. We need a similar bugle call to the American people on this."

The 'bugle call' we need today is net zero by 2030, expanding global carbon removal to the same scale as total emissions. That will basically achieve a circular economy. In my view the most interesting circular economy idea is biochar, storing carbon in soil as fertilizer, and getting the carbon from algae.


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Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:19 am
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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Robert Tulip wrote:
Logically, with world emissions at 10 gigatonnes of carbon per year (GTC/Y), if we work out how to remove 20 GTC/Y then we can keep adding ten and still make progress toward climate restoration. I suspect that level of emissions will not continue though.
I have a question. You are relying on commercial profits to create a Carbon Removal industry. But in light of the way renewable technology has surged, and can now undersell fossil fuel plants (as explained in the McKibben essay) by a factor of 1/2, might we not see a repeat of the same phenomenon for biochar? In particular, if profits lead to 80 GTC/Y of removal, is there not a danger of excess decarbonization? There is no more reason for the biochar industry to worry about such a danger than for the Koch brothers to worry about global warming.

Of course there would be some negative feedback as CO2 got less common in the atmosphere. But it is hard to imagine such a deficit seriously impacting the profitability once the basic concept was proven and the technical issues solved. I imagine you can see where I am going with this question. Something you consider a blessing, and rightly so, if it can solve the problem of GHG overhang, could turn into a problem precisely because it was responding to profit without any reflection of the external costs it might create.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Bill McKibben argues in this superb new free access NYRB piece, A Future without Fossil Fuels, technology is fast making fossil fuels obsolete.
It is indeed an impressive piece of reporting. The foreseeable effect on development of the poor countries is enormous, and the financial impacts are looming large already. His review of the way the financial effects work is deft and insightful, although he probably should have taken account of the financial overexposure of US banks to fracking speculation.
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/arti ... l-tremors/
https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/04/18/f ... ing-bubble
https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/21/investin ... index.html
I would quibble with one point. He argues that assets which cannot pay for their investment cost will continue operating because of bank pressures. This misses the point. The company might write down the value of a coal plant made obsolescent by solar, right down to zero, but that doesn't mean that the operating costs of continuing to burn fossil fuels (whose prices have also been driven down by the same forces) is not worthwhile. Once the capital cost is sunk, it doesn't factor in the the calculation as to how to generate the electricity. The power company at that point is comparing operating costs alone for fossil fuel against capital plus operating costs of bringing solar online.
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
It's a two-pronged attack. Relying only on CR would be just as futile as relying only on reduction.
No, that is not right. CR could potentially scale up to removal of 80 GTC/Y, enabling return to Holocene stability, whereas at best emission reduction can scale up to about two or three GTC/Y in the next few years, given the inertia in the fossil system. They are orders of magnitude different in effect.
Well, but to repeat a point I have made before, this premise assumes its conclusion. Both need to be pursued, with incentives to reflect true system costs and benefits, because what CR could potentially do is still a hope, without any basis for claiming all the uncertainty is under control.



Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:20 pm
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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Robert Tulip wrote:
Reducing emissions and removing carbon are necessary but not sufficient, as I explain in my analogy above drawn from Leonardo Da Vinci of Gaia as facing impending cardiac arrest.

Wait, I thought that carbon removal was pretty much your answer to the problem, with emission reduction being not even really necessary. What am I missing?
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
The problem with this combo, I suppose, is that it might confuse the public. If we're going to remove the carbon, then do we even need to reduce emissions? Of course, we do.
This is actually a very complex political and technical argument. Logically, with world emissions at 10 gigatonnes of carbon per year (GTC/Y), if we work out how to remove 20 GTC/Y then we can keep adding ten and still make progress toward climate restoration. I suspect that level of emissions will not continue though.

Isn't there something about reducing emissions that makes it a more practical goal for local, state, even national governments? That quality doesn't speak to the effectiveness of ER in achieving the needing lower carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, but it does explain why it has been the go-to solution, as contrasted with public investment in carbon removal installations. Well, I know you say that CR can offset its costs by selling the carbon removed, but that has to be seen as speculative at this point. The collective "we" is a valuable element in the battle. It's there to some degree regarding emissions reduction campaigns, but it's absent when it comes to CR. Even after the technology to remove carbon at scale has arrived, what country is going to undertake the expense of erecting it, when the costs will be borne by that country but the rest of countries would be free riders?
Quote:
Bill McKibben argues in this superb new free access NYRB piece, A Future without Fossil Fuels technology is fast making fossil fuels obsolete. That makes me think the public investment focus should be on reflecting sunlight and removing carbon as a security agenda, leaving the rise of renewables to market forces.

Again, the problem of the world acting together on the security issue. The treaty on chlorofluorocarbons would seem to be a possible model, but climate change action requires so much more than switching to different refrigerants did with regard to the ozone hole. But I agree that McKibben makes a good case that we won't need to actually face peak oil before oil peaks as the stuff we use to run the economy.
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
It's a two-pronged attack. Relying only on CR would be just as futile as relying only on reduction.
No, that is not right. CR could potentially scale up to removal of 80 GTC/Y, enabling return to Holocene stability, whereas at best emission reduction can scale up to about two or three GTC/Y in the next few years, given the inertia in the fossil system. They are orders of magnitude different in effect.

I mean that emissions reduction is what we get as we are switching to renewables, as in any scenario we must. Say we did shovel all our effort into CR. If we decarbonized the atmosphere, great, but we'd soon not have enough energy to have much of an economy (because then we'd face peak oil). So I think you are also assuming that we'd be massively investing in ocean algae farming as the big renewable that would also remove carbon. The possible barriers to that happening are many, but I don't mean to poo-poo it.
Robert tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
The point I see as crucial but don't often see recognized, is that zero-emission energy is a necessary goal because it may be only for the next 80 years that we have anything to burn!
It might even emerge that fossil fuels are more valuable as petrochemicals than as fuel, which will make burning them uneconomic, even leaving aside the warming effect.

No doubt fossil fuels will continue to be valuable for making plastic. It was interesting for me to learn that with a relatively small amount of hydrocarbons, we can make all the plastic we're likely to need, especially as we engineer plastics that can be infinitely recycled. We now divert about 8% of oil production to petrochemicals.
Quote:
The 'bugle call' we need today is net zero by 2030, expanding global carbon removal to the same scale as total emissions. That will basically achieve a circular economy. In my view the most interesting circular economy idea is biochar, storing carbon in soil as fertilizer, and getting the carbon from algae.

Circular economy means all sorts of other things, of course, and perceived usefulness doesn't always translate to economic value. I hope that for biochar, it will. Before you started talking about it, I wasn't aware of biochar or its potential.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
geo wrote:
If we are to find solutions to climate change, I agree we will need something like a Great Awakening.
The Gaian Great Awakening needed today is a reconciliation of science and religion, recognising that life is intimately connected to the emerging order of the cosmos, placing culture within nature. My view is that humanity is on a disorderly trajectory towards collapse, due to systemic errors in prevailing thought. We face a psychology of chaos, with supernatural religious belief creating mass delusion, enabling a path of fantasy, and yet modern science lacks the story to change direction.

Changing this trajectory requires a new paradigm. The fact that we do not have a coherent public conversation about climate change is evidence of the inability to overcome the extreme tribal polarisation of political worldviews. A new Great Awakening will need to draw in elements from the different sides, accepting the Christian mythos while entirely rebasing it in the modern ethical framework of evidence and logic.
geo wrote:
Being aware of our own personal footprint might help us see the larger context of climate change.
The context of climate change is the problem of how to switch from disorderly chaos to a vision of scientific order as the basis of planetary civilization. My view on how Christianity can assist that process draws from the myth of the last judgement, the idea from Matthew 25:31-44 that providing food, drink, health, freedom, friendship, material conditions and solidarity is the entire basis of human salvation. This is a transformative vision of the purpose of religion that intimately links to personal climate footprint as the empirical measure of existential reality.

The connection to the larger context of climate change reflects the hierarchy of needs, that we need a sociology before we can construct a cosmology. In this way of seeing things, the sociology is the material basis of salvation, while the cosmology is about the planetary trajectory, seeing the earth in astronomical terms as a circular economy, grounded in the orbital systems that provide the long term basis for natural climate change.

This cohesive vision connects the personal to the cosmic through the alarming observation that we are all in this together and the current trends are very bad. In natural climate change seen in the geological record, feedback amplifiers far tinier than fossil fuel emissions have produced planetary effects vastly bigger than the warming we have seen to date, so we need to get real about practical geoengineering as the only basis to stabilise the planetary economy.
geo wrote:
It's interesting to see how recycling has become so widespread in the last ten years or so. Most of us who dutifully separate our garbage from our recycling might consider that our parents and grandparents probably produced vastly less garbage than we do today.
Recycling is essentially a religious ethical habit, grounded in the sense that waste is evil, with the circular economy faith that we have a moral duty to convert all our waste to assets.
geo wrote:
Almost everything we buy today is encased in plastic. We are somewhat blind to how much consumerism has taken over our lives. I don't pretend to know the answers, but perhaps the bigger movement arises from a grass roots which arises from a sense of personal awareness and responsibility.
There is a cascading perception of duty. Our sense of personal duty in reducing waste at home generates a psychology and politics and philosophy that asks why and how our society can have such a wasteful mentality as to treat the air as an open sewer, with heedless indifference to the good of the future. The best line in the Bible on this whole observation of planetary duty is from the Apocalypse, that the wrath of God is against those who destroy the earth. (Rev 11:18)


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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
DWill wrote:
I might question whether the analogy with religious revivalism in the 19th Century really leads to any kind of action model for fighting climate change. What matters is only that we stop a certain behavior, i.e., using the atmosphere as a waste sink.
All intentional action is based on thought. Our conscious intentions are formed in language, creating a story about what is real and valuable. Only by changing this story can we change the actions that it causes. Philosophy is the basis of politics. A new enlightenment, a synthesis of faith and reason, is the only thing that will generate the public conversations on strategies for our common planetary future.
DWill wrote:
It's hard for me to see how heightened consciousness can be a lever for accomplishing that task. Are there any historical instances we can cite of such psychological events making the kind of difference we need?
Well, Keynes did say ‘Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.’

That is a cynical cautionary economist view on the unconscious relation between thought and action, which also indicates the psychological basis of sound action in correct thought. My view is that the biggest challenge, while avoiding what Keynes called frenzy, is to distil an ethical theory of reality from systematic philosophy.

Speaking of historical instances of the influence of theory, the entire history of socialism is an effort to implement Marx’s theory of class war, while Adam Smith’s theory of market forces helped enable the immense prosperity generated by modern capitalism. My view is that placing both those ideas within the larger framework provided by Christian theology is essential to generate the needed reforms of climate policy. I am not suggesting the traditional form of Christian revival, but rather a complete transformation of the nature of faith to reconcile with reason.
DWill wrote:
Looking at my own situation, what would an awakening of consciousness look like? I can't picture it, but how would it change anything, anyway, unless as a result of it I renounced just about every advantage I have? Just by being a North American with a middle-class income, a house, two cars, traveling by air occasionally, etc., my footprint is at least twice the world average. Am I going to drop out of all of that? No, I don't think so. All the people in my life would be upset, for one thing, but I also would find it very difficult to do. And it would not feel virtuous, rather desperate instead.
Middle class Americans are actually in the top 1% of world income. In 2013 the world median income was $8 per day. So “twice the world average” would still leave you rather desperate. But that is okay, if you can use your privileged situation to develop ideas about how to transform the earth, for example through industrial systems that transform waste into assets. Vows of poverty are self-indulgent against that planetary metric. New ideas can only come from people with the time and freedom and ability and resources to develop them.
DWill wrote:
So the radical restructuring of economic life that many people are talking about, some of it under the heading of circular economy, is about all I can see as a possibility, and even that faces long odds. It's likely that "people like me" will need to become the exception before very long, resist that reality though I will. There is some hope in the changing expectations of the youngest adults, who care less about owning things than my generation did, cars and houses, for example. Whether that lesser interest is enough to start to make a major difference, I don't know.
A friend recently pointed out to me that annual economic growth of 3% would lift consumption by 18 times over a century. He argued that was unimaginable on a world scale. My view is that if we think of production in terms of energy, such a massive increase in wealth is ecologically possible, and could actually provide the basis to protect biodiversity and regulate planetary temperature, enabling total recycling of everything to maximise value.

Remember the sun pumps out two billion times as much energy as hits the earth, and the ocean has more than a billion cubic kilometres of water, so the potential scale of future energy use is huge.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Harry Marks wrote:
I voted for a carbon tax because it brings all the others in its wake.
A carbon tax addresses future emissions but does little about the committed warming from past emissions. Questions about a carbon tax include the speed of its effect on temperature, and the risk, shared with all climate measures, of political delay. Committed warming is already big, and can only be removed by the combination of solar reflection and carbon removal. Taxing carbon does nothing to remove the four Hiroshima bomb equivalents per second of heat that we have been adding to the planet, but only stops future heat. Getting rid of that timebomb of stored heat requires geoengineering. Unfortunately, the USA has just vetoed UN analysis of geoengineering status.
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert makes a cogent argument that removing carbon is needed, but a reasonable carbon tax will create incentives to remove carbon, and thus, as usual in economic policy, recognizing reality in the form of prices will motivate many smart and effective people in a way that central decisions will not.
I would like to see carbon taxes introduced alongside what you call central decisions. Using the moon shot and atom bomb models, governments have a key role in directly mobilising resources to prevent warming as a security emergency. The oil and gas industry has to be forced to invest in carbon removal and direct cooling, and it is likely that such investment could only occur as a deductible against a carbon tax.
Harry Marks wrote:
Likewise, many environmentalists argue that we need to learn to be at one with our environment and quit with the extractive mentality. All well and good, I say, but until the revolution has come, do we have to have a scorched earth as the price for people's slow response?
The idea of atoning for sin by ending an extractive mentality is far too superficial. It is true that the attitude that assumes resources are infinite is morally evil, and has no place in the circular economy of the future in which all waste must be seen as the basis of new assets. However, the transformation of metal from ore to technology is the basis of civilized wealth, and ongoing investment is necessary for metal exploration and extraction, if not for fossil fuel exploration.
Harry Marks wrote:
The pent-up destruction is already almost unbearable, and if we recognize that it will be twice as bad by the time it is undeniable and obviously urgent, then putting our faith in a radical change in culture just looks like eco-cide.
In fact, the pent-up destruction caused by committed warming is already incompatible with ongoing global stability, so must be defused as a matter of urgent priority. This destruction is already scientifically undeniable, so there is no excuse for delay on geoengineering, which is the only way to defuse it.

Your point about “faith in a radical change in culture” is highly complex. Geoengineering research and development can proceed in a way that is decoupled from any radical social change, addressing climate as a purely technical problem. However, the barriers to approving such technical investment are cultural, and will only be overcome through political analysis, including discussion of radical change in culture.

Emission reduction equally involves a faith in a radical change in culture, with the dubious assumption that social engineering is easier than mechanical engineering. I would like to see real engineers tasked to get on with research on saving the planet with all technical options properly addressed, without holding that process hostage to any social theories.
Harry Marks wrote:
We have a lot of experience to show that corporate capitalism can work wonders to clean the environment, but will only do so if the incentives are present. Yet so far we have done close to zilch to provide such incentives.
Failure to agree on climate action illustrates how the emission reduction hypothesis of decarbonisation involves dubious political assumptions which have generated a massive backlash including the election of Trump. I think it is essential to partly separate climate politics from hostility to conservative social and economic values, in order to work in partnership with corporate capitalism, aiming for a bipartisan approach. That may involve an easing of pressure for emission reduction, if it can be proven that carbon removal does the same job better. Carbon tax can be minimised through a shift of corporate investment focus to geoengineering deployment. I see that as the model to provide market incentives to fix the climate.
Harry Marks wrote:
Why waste breath haranguing individuals to change their wicked ways when the really efficient changes require large-scale coordinated technical efforts, rather than goodness of consumers' hearts? (Invisible hand, and all that.)
There is an element of walking and chewing gum here. Debate about social values for a circular economy can occur alongside the industrial investment that will actually fix the climate.
Harry Marks wrote:
Among the many forecastable effects of incentives would be serious efforts to remove carbon, and probably some pretty efficient measures to use it commercially.
Very true. I continue to advocate what I call the Seven F benefits of large scale ocean based algae production – food, fuel, feed, fertilizer, fish, forests and fabric - aiming to make carbon removal the major new profitable industry of this century. All these products and more involve converting carbon from waste to asset. A high carbon economy can set a trajectory to regulate planetary temperature by mining carbon from the air.

The Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Guy Debelle, gave quite a good speech last week on recognising climate trends - Climate Change and the Economy.


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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
IMHO....the whole climate change fiasco is a hoax. Of course the climate changes. It's been changing since the dawn of creation. You would think that during the ice age if man were capable, I guess he would have tried to prevent the ice age, but it seems we turned out alright without man's shenanigans. From the words of a very interesting article:

Similarly, people are manipulated and deceived regarding dire climate change/global warming reports.
This hysteria and apocalyptic fear mongering reminds many of the 1970 Earth Day predictions that fizzled like a firecracker:
-End of civilization in 15-30 years
-100-200 million deaths to starvation yearly for 10 years
-A new ice age by 2000


Here are Al Gore's prediction that flopped!
1. Rising Sea Levels – inaccurate and misleading. Al was even discovered
purchasing a beachfront mansion!
2. Increased Tornadoes – declining for decades.
3. New Ice Age in Europe – they’ve been spared; it never happened.
4. South Sahara Drying Up – completely untrue.
5. Massive Flooding in China and India – again didn’t happen.
6. Melting Arctic – false – 2015 represents the largest refreezing in years.
7. Polar Bear Extinction – actually they are increasing!
8. Temperature Increases Due to CO2 – no significant rising for over 18 years.
9. Katrina a Foreshadow of the Future – false – past 10 years, no F3 hurricanes; “longest drought ever!”
10. The Earth Would be in a “True Planetary Emergency” Within a Decade Unless Drastic Action Taken to Reduce Greenhouse Gasses – never happened.


Do I believe that we should be doing things to help our most important asset the earth? Of course! I recycle, only use biodegradable plastic, luckily I'm in an area where I rarely (if ever) have to drive, and so on. BUT...the earth is a living entity that makes "natural" shifts that man can do nothing about. I can imagine if humankind could they would get rid of the sun and replace it with a huge LED light. The climate change hysteria is simply another way to control the masses and charge a new tax "a carbon footprint tax." The best thing to to is prepare, but change it....I don't think so. Just my opinion....!

A new map emerged showing how today's countries looked 300 million years ago when they were locked in one giant land mass:

Image
The landmass of the earth will change again. Who knows where Japan, New York, or Australia will be geographically in 100-1000 years? One thing is for sure. "Everything will change, nothing stays the same. The young become the old, and mysteries eventually do unfold" Enjoy your life! :RockOn:



Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:35 am
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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
geo wrote:
Mary Midgley, a British philosopher, saw the Gaia "theory" as a useful myth for our times.
Midgely’s 2001 article ‘Gaia – The Next Big Idea’ is available at demos.co.uk. She explores how reverence for the Earth as sacred, as a self-organising system maintaining conditions in which life can exist, is a new holistic mental model for our place in the world, overcoming the pervasive way of thinking which separates us from the world, and different parts of the world from each other.

This new thinking should be central to climate policy. However, the way this Gaia line of thought is derided and mocked by the mainstream mentality that is destroying the earth directly demonstrates the stumbling block preventing climate action.

The modern detached fragmented vision of the scientific and commercial individual finds the integration of the Gaia theory unacceptably mystical. Yet such an integrated vision is required to understand the science of homeostasis, the ability of complex systems to maintain stability. Just as health of the human body must be diagnosed at the level of the organism, so too must the planet be studied as a unitary whole.

That planetary perspective means to live as a part of nature, not apart from nature, a paradigm shift that is still only gradually percolating through prevailing thought, and whose implications for climate and commerce are still weakly understood.

Wholistic thinking is a theme that I wrote about in my Masters Thesis, where I argued that the Cartesian mentality of western science is intrinsically defective in its failure to see things in a relational way, its inability to think about how everything is linked to everything else.

Midgely notes that this conceptual gulf appears in the abusive attitude of science towards wholistic thinking. She sees the idea of Gaia as not only useful but as scientifically necessary. She poses the problem of Gaian thinking as “the increasingly urgent question of intrinsic value. We must learn how to value various aspects of our environment, how to structure social relationships and institutions so that we value social and spiritual life, as well as the natural world, alongside commercial and economic aspects.”
Harry Marks wrote:
Like most mythos, [the Gaia theory] is not a description or an explanation but rather a motivational narrative.
On the contrary, Lovelock presents planetary homeostasis, the scientific basis of the Gaia theory, as a descriptive explanation of how global systems have maintained stability. You are right that the importance is motivational, but this simply shows how the myth of Gaia as earth goddess bases its theory of value on facts.

Linking to the theme here of how to maintain climate stability, the geoengineering view is Gaian in seeing warming as a chemical imbalance of the biosphere that can be remedied to some extent by addition of sulphur, iron and salt to the air where these are deficient for planetary health. Geoengineering, as a sound philosophy, must extend the core Gaian principle that life regulates the composition of the atmosphere to maintain dynamic stability through the use of technological methods.

Midgely observes that coal, oil and chalk are storehouses of carbon removed from the air by life, and that biofeedback stopped the earth from heating up as the sun heated over the last billion years. The implication now for climate science is that these biofeedback principles must now be employed with technological acceleration to use living systems to store carbon to prevent dangerous warming.
Harry Marks wrote:
If people can see themselves as part of an adjustment process that all of nature shares, they may be influenced both to think less extractively toward nature and to feel more reflective and capable about formulating a conscious, deliberate response.
This concept of extractive thinking is deeply embedded in Western culture, and especially in the American pioneer mentality of the endless frontier. The Biblical tradition of imagining God as a personal supernatural creator who blesses human dominion over the earth has the perverse consequence of justifying the extractive mentality of alienation from the earth.

By seeing spirit as superior to nature, and by imagining that our real heavenly home in the afterlife is infinite and eternal, superior to the finite temporal conditions of life on earth, traditional religion supports the wide and easy path of destruction. That is not to attack religion as such, only to say religion should return to its authentic origins, for example by thinking scientifically about what the hard and narrow path of salvation proposed in the Bible might mean in evolutionary terms.

We are now riding the tiger of extraction, constantly extracting more to sustain prosperity. Carbon removal as a climate response offers the key way to shift from the destruction inherent in extractive thinking, repurposing carbon dioxide from waste to asset to enable a circular economy with enduring value.
Harry Marks wrote:
I rather suspect most mythos narratives for our time will have to combine some element of scientific understanding with some way of helping us feel good about being part of larger mechanisms of causality.
Now Harry you are making me think I should add a seventh category to the poll, to say the top climate priority is a change of thinking. How I see what you call a mythos narrative as emerging now is to make science the foundation, and to build upon scientific knowledge a systematic story of meaning that is grounded in religious tradition, looking especially at the Christian Gospel story to see Jesus Christ as an authentic existential hero presenting the path to a transformed and evolved consciousness.
Harry Marks wrote:
A simple example might be rejecting the use of genetic modification for purposes of enhancement of the powers of biologically normal people (which the college admissions scandal does not give a lot of hope for – but at least the value will be part of some mythic narrative).
There are so many sick values that our consumer society endorses – envy, vanity, inequality, appearance, fantasy, exclusion. This gene tampering example you give supports the model of a tiny elite locking themselves away from the suffering masses. I simply do not think such a mentality will remain politically feasible.
Harry Marks wrote:
If people get used to monitoring their own footprint, then it will be much more meaningful to them if their power company does something to substantially reduce that footprint.
We are shifting towards a planetary moral vision in which waste is seen as a primary sin, so people do see the end results of their actions as morally relevant. Monitoring your personal ecological footprint involves minimising waste, supporting the vision of the circular economy, where all waste is transformed to asset. That can only transform our theory of value as governments move to regulate corporate activity to ensure that externalities are incorporated into profit and loss results.

By the way, I had a chat with my astronomer friends about my previous comment about the sun pumping out two billion times more energy than hits the earth, and this has actually been quite extensively studied by no less than Freeman Dyson, hence the Dyson Sphere.


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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
PJPross wrote:
IMHO....the whole climate change fiasco is a hoax. Of course the climate changes. It's been changing since the dawn of creation. You would think that during the ice age if man were capable, I guess he would have tried to prevent the ice age, but it seems we turned out alright without man's shenanigans.

Well, that's wishful thinking for you. Man's shenanigans won't have any impact. Why? because, well, because, well, because that would be no fun at all, and anyway bad things happen randomly so this must be just random.

We have a single prediction about the effect of rising CO2, with no basis for thinking the opposite might be the result and plenty of verification both in the lab and in the atmosphere. We have several specific implications which have been verified, including the cooling of the upper atmosphere (because re-radiation is impeded by GHG's) and the largest warming effect coming at night, when sunlight is not impacting the atmosphere. And we have the gradual but extremely persistent result of rising temperatures occurring as predicted. The fact that not every prediction has been exactly realized in the center of the uncertainty bands is taken as essential refutation by those who would, for whatever reason, deny the process. No scientists take such motivated reasoning seriously.


PJPross wrote:
From the words of a very interesting article:

[b]Similarly, people are manipulated and deceived regarding dire climate change/global warming reports.
This hysteria and apocalyptic fear mongering reminds many of the 1970 Earth Day predictions that fizzled like a firecracker:
-End of civilization in 15-30 years
I see. A. Some environmentalists make apocalyptic predictions that turn out not to be based in a very accurate picture of things, so B. All apocalyptic predictions by environmentalists must be hysterical, unscientific and useless. It would be smarter to address the specifics, which numerous analysts did with the predictions you cite. Within just a few years people had very strong reason to doubt every one of the predictions you cite, but the same has not been true of global warming and climate change. In fact not a single scientific alternative has been proposed that comes even close to explaining the facts we have, which are within the uncertainty bands laid out from the beginning of the climate modeling that verified the process.

PJPross wrote:
1. Rising Sea Levels – inaccurate and misleading. Al was even discovered
purchasing a beachfront mansion!
Tell it to the government of Mauritius or the Mayor of Miami. High tide floods are coming up from the ground in these and other places where they were unknown 50 years ago.

PJPross wrote:
2. Increased Tornadoes – declining for decades.
I'm not aware of this claim nor of evidence that tornadoes have been declining. A quick tour of Google sources reported several studies finding tornado activity rising or inconclusive, but none finding that they are falling. And the most recent was:
https://news.uchicago.edu/story/large-s ... tudy-finds
PJPross wrote:
3. New Ice Age in Europe – they’ve been spared; it never happened.
That's a fictional prediction. The prediction of increased spread of the polar vortex, so an increase in freezing days during winter, has in fact been confirmed. Given that it is counterintuitive but predicted by climate modeling, ordinary people should sit up and take notice. But what fun would that be?
PJPross wrote:
4. South Sahara Drying Up – completely untrue.
Having just spent 3 years in West Africa, I can tell you that people in the vulnerable Sahel region at the Southern border of the Sahara are quite aware that they are facing increasing drought. You can examine data on the World Bank site,
https://climateknowledgeportal.worldban ... historical
It requires "explore further" to get the historical comparisons, but I looked at just two countries, Somalia and Mali, and the rainfall looks about the same but the temperature is higher, comparing the recent data (1991-2016) to the long-term average, (1901-2016). Ask any farmer what the result of that would be.
PJPross wrote:
5. Massive Flooding in China and India – again didn’t happen.
Again I am unfamiliar either with this forecast or with the data, but there have been plenty of devastating floods in China and India in the last 30 years.
PJPross wrote:
6. Melting Arctic – false – 2015 represents the largest refreezing in years.
This is totally a lie. The melting of the Artic ice is clear and clearly documented. The largest refreezing may be true, since it started from a lower base of end-summer ice, and the sea temperatures have not changed even by as much as the air temperatures, but it does not in any way refute the retreat of the Arctic ice in summers.

PJPross wrote:
8. Temperature Increases Due to CO2 – no significant rising for over 18 years.
Don't you love weasel words like "significant"? Even in the middle of the "pause" the temperatures were rising, and now the pause is over (one can guess the approximate date of your "interesting article" from that claim) and the temperatures are rising fairly rapidly again. As Robert has recently documented here, the temperatures observed are completely out of any range of previous fluctuations on such a brief time scale. There is no forcing function other than human-generated GHG which can plausibly come close to explaining the data.
PJPross wrote:
9. Katrina a Foreshadow of the Future – false – past 10 years, no F3 hurricanes; “longest drought ever!”
Might check that again. Does "Harvey" mean anything to you? Have you heard what hit Puerto Rico last year? [Edit for accuracy: 2017]. If you really want to understand the world, check out what the weather has been doing in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala in the last 10 years, and then see if you can connect the dots to desperate peasants heading north.
PJPross wrote:
10. The Earth Would be in a “True Planetary Emergency” Within a Decade Unless Drastic Action Taken to Reduce Greenhouse Gasses – never happened.
Again I am not familiar with that prediction, but the GHG induced drought in Syria was a strong contributing factor to the Civil War there, whose refugees have driven the political upheaval in Europe. As the Middle East and Indian Ocean continue to get hotter each year, you can expect more desperation-driven conflict and more ostrich behavior in the rich countries blaming it all on "those people".
PJPross wrote:
The climate change hysteria is simply another way to control the masses and charge a new tax "a carbon footprint tax." The best thing to to is prepare, but change it....I don't think so. Just my opinion....!
Unfortunately for all of us, the physical processes of the earth don't care a bit about your opinion (or mine). You can spout paranoia about "controlling the masses" for as long as Exxon tells you to, but it isn't going to get those temperatures back down.

PJPross wrote:
A new map emerged showing how today's countries looked 300 million years ago
Who knows where Japan, New York, or Australia will be geographically in 100-1000 years?
Please try to pay attention to the difference in time scale.

PJPross wrote:
Enjoy your life!
Enjoy your trolling. But don't expect to be taken seriously by those who really do care about Planet A.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Harry Marks wrote:
Quote:
Enjoy your trolling. But don't expect to be taken seriously by those who really do care about Planet A.

:calmdown: :yourpoint: ...Unfortunately for you, your diatribe doesn't change the "truth" that climate change is a hoax and simply another way to try and control the populace. What's more, if you take caring about the planet seriously then you would realize that the earth will continue on its course despite man's approval or disapproval and there's little you or anyone else can do about it. Which basically reveals how vulnerable we (regardless of the relentless bravado) are against "nature." Each of us are just passing through this earth and none of us will live to see the dramatic transformation of the earth that it performs "organically." The "hoaxers" always predict decades for these earthly changes to manifest in order to keep the masses under control. As I wrote, the earth's changes are organic and the transformations occurring now started 100s of years ago.

Climate change loonies also believe that carbon dioxide is bad for the planet and will make everything die. If you check the process of photosynthesis you will see how it works. Photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide to create energy, metabolic energy for plants. It's their food! I mean why are leaves green? Because leaves contain chlorophyll which is used for photosynthesis. Why is the grass green? Yet, the leftist-climate change believers say that there is not enough rain forest anymore but claim carbon dioxide is bad. So, if lefties want more rain forest why are these delusional individuals at war with carbon dioxide? The rain forest needs more carbon dioxide in order to flourish. You see how backward thinking deranged climate change believers are? Or, maybe you don't as you are one of them!

Should we stop using so much plastic?....YES. Should we cut down on gas emissions?...YES. Should we take better care of the Fukushima nuclear waste that is destroying the Pacific Ocean?...YES. However, even if these things weren't happening, the earth goes through a "natural" rebirth...Get It? In other words, if we discontinue the pollution we are causing now, it will make a difference as the earth has the ability to rejuvenate. But it won't change the earth's natural course of metamorphoses. In your zeal to try and prove a point, you totally "missed the point." Man didn't create this world and if you truly care about the planet you will work on the delusions going on in your head. You probably believe the earth is flat and that the "New Green Plan" from the asinine Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is brilliant! :laugh: As you are the REAL troll here, I'm sure you can't comprehend my words. Anyway, have a nice day. I'm not going back-and-forth with you. "I don't have to argue truth....I live it." GOOD BYE :bye:



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
I might question whether the analogy with religious revivalism in the 19th Century really leads to any kind of action model for fighting climate change. What matters is only that we stop a certain behavior, i.e., using the atmosphere as a waste sink.
All intentional action is based on thought. Our conscious intentions are formed in language, creating a story about what is real and valuable. Only by changing this story can we change the actions that it causes. Philosophy is the basis of politics. A new enlightenment, a synthesis of faith and reason, is the only thing that will generate the public conversations on strategies for our common planetary future.

My comment regarded calling for a revolution in consciousness, or something similar, which is grandiose, simply put. The Enlightenment also doesn't offer much of a model for duplication to apply to a specific problem, since it was slow and diffuse. "Synthesis of faith and reason," your formula for a second Enlightenment, is mushy and will only result in salon-type discussion, while on the ground little happens. "Intentional action" is often delayed and obscured by "thought."
robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
It's hard for me to see how heightened consciousness can be a lever for accomplishing that task. Are there any historical instances we can cite of such psychological events making the kind of difference we need?
Well, Keynes did say ‘Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.’

While Keynes' statement may seem relevant, doesn't it mostly explain how far off the rails the programs of intellectuals go, in the hands of "practical men"? Keynes doesn't instill much faith in the instrumental use of whatever the academic scribblers put out.
Quote:
That is a cynical cautionary economist view on the unconscious relation between thought and action, which also indicates the psychological basis of sound action in correct thought. My view is that the biggest challenge, while avoiding what Keynes called frenzy, is to distil an ethical theory of reality from systematic philosophy.

But I'm hearing in this a rather outmoded confidence in the influence of "correct thought," which has to go up against more powerful drives and emotions. The Platonic image of reason as the charioteer has been pretty well pushed out of the way by modern cognitive research.
Quote:
Speaking of historical instances of the influence of theory, the entire history of socialism is an effort to implement Marx’s theory of class war, while Adam Smith’s theory of market forces helped enable the immense prosperity generated by modern capitalism. My view is that placing both those ideas within the larger framework provided by Christian theology is essential to generate the needed reforms of climate policy. I am not suggesting the traditional form of Christian revival, but rather a complete transformation of the nature of faith to reconcile with reason.

Again, with due respect, this seems a grandiose undertaking that also entirely lacks a fulcrum. Hadn't we better do something without impossible preliminaries?
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
Looking at my own situation, what would an awakening of consciousness look like? I can't picture it, but how would it change anything, anyway, unless as a result of it I renounced just about every advantage I have? Just by being a North American with a middle-class income, a house, two cars, traveling by air occasionally, etc., my footprint is at least twice the world average. Am I going to drop out of all of that? No, I don't think so. All the people in my life would be upset, for one thing, but I also would find it very difficult to do. And it would not feel virtuous, rather desperate instead.
Middle class Americans are actually in the top 1% of world income. In 2013 the world median income was $8 per day. So “twice the world average” would still leave you rather desperate. But that is okay, if you can use your privileged situation to develop ideas about how to transform the earth, for example through industrial systems that transform waste into assets. Vows of poverty are self-indulgent against that planetary metric. New ideas can only come from people with the time and freedom and ability and resources to develop them.

I was referring to footprint rather than income, but yes, I'm sure that a billion or two people would love to half of what I've been able to accumulate merely by good fortune. Having a lot, both in personal material terms and in benign socal conditions, induces us to devise ways to rationalize uncomfortable thoughts. The best way to do this is abundance thinking, whereby everyone else can have as much, too. That won't be sustainable. I hope that an evolution is underway toward redefining wealth in non-material terms, putting Adam Smith in the rearview mirror.
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
So the radical restructuring of economic life that many people are talking about, some of it under the heading of circular economy, is about all I can see as a possibility, and even that faces long odds. It's likely that "people like me" will need to become the exception before very long, resist that reality though I will. There is some hope in the changing expectations of the youngest adults, who care less about owning things than my generation did, cars and houses, for example. Whether that lesser interest is enough to start to make a major difference, I don't know.
A friend recently pointed out to me that annual economic growth of 3% would lift consumption by 18 times over a century. He argued that was unimaginable on a world scale. My view is that if we think of production in terms of energy, such a massive increase in wealth is ecologically possible, and could actually provide the basis to protect biodiversity and regulate planetary temperature, enabling total recycling of everything to maximise value.
Remember the sun pumps out two billion times as much energy as hits the earth, and the ocean has more than a billion cubic kilometres of water, so the potential scale of future energy use is huge.

Of course, I think your friend is exactly right. I cannot understand why we'd want to flirt with disaster in case abundance philosophy is a delusion (which is my strong feeling). Having nearly unlimited energy at our disposal, far from saving the planet, will only further enable our consumption of it. Currently we have an opportunity to use circular economy to help (and only help) stabilize the planet. What will industry and business intend to use it for? To grow the economy as much as we want, stars in our eyes. No doubt the economy does need to grow, just to raise all the sinking boats and accommodate the increasing demand of population (until population stabilizes). Sadly, we lack a way to funnel wealth from growth to those who need it most. Since 1973, the average house size in the U.S. has increased by 62%, even as families have become smaller. Insatiability seems to be the human disease.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
DWill wrote:
"Intentional action" is often delayed and obscured by "thought."
Paralysis of analysis.
DWill wrote:
It's hard for me to see how heightened consciousness can be a lever for accomplishing that task. Are there any historical instances we can cite of such psychological events making the kind of difference we need?
The transition to smaller families is a fascinating case. It had three distinct roots. France was the first country to see significant falling birthrates, probably due to the ravages of the Wars for the Republic, including Napoleon's adventures. The young men weren't there, so the young women delayed childbirth. Presumably without great regret, and with a feeling among many of them that they were taking control of their destiny. The second root was the Dissenter Sects of England and America. Among Quakers especially, women simply applied themselves to other matters. The third was the general "blue-stocking" culture of New England, where we find Louisa May Alcott and Emily Dickinson. The rewards of thought and creativity outmatched the appeal of traditional marriage, and the educated women who did get married often had only one or two children. Sound familiar?

Was it a change in consciousness? I would argue it was a change in opportunities, with a change in consciousness tagging along for the ride. Life could be re-oriented, education could be widespread, many women could savor civilization in a way that their previous roles had not really permitted. There were intellectual leaders, like Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, but the big changes just don't look like women hearing a clarion call and jumping on a bandwagon, but rather like a myriad of individuals seeing the shape of their own opportunities and how they match a different narrative.

I suspect the Gaia revolution will look a lot like that. The opportunities to really accomplish things are quickly moving beyond "Move Fast, Break Things" to marriages of data with dreams. I have seen the future, in the Denver School of Science and Technology, which is a rapidly expanding model based on monitoring how students are progressing and fixing problems before they de-rail the students. Similar to the innovations in health maintenance, which make interventions that will pay off for the insurance company such as eliminating carpet edges that cause falls by the elderly, these involve intervening at points of vulnerability to add value. There are similar developments in home improvement, which are unfortunately moving toward centralization to make it pay, and probably farming will be the next venue to really open up to the process of small-scale empowerment based on understanding-driven service delivery.

Understanding-driven service delivery can enable people to set "carbon footprint" targets and move toward them rapidly and persistently. And as it becomes more and more an expectation and a real process for ordinary society, people will adopt it. Call that a change in consciousness if you want, but intentional action is what it will look like. But one big question is how to pay for it. The fall in renewables prices is part of the answer, and it may be enough. But explicit carbon penalties (and rewards for removal) would accelerate the process dramatically.

DWill wrote:
But I'm hearing in this a rather outmoded confidence in the influence of "correct thought," which has to go up against more powerful drives and emotions. The Platonic image of reason as the charioteer has been pretty well pushed out of the way by modern cognitive research.
Well, I salute your healthy skepticism, but surely one has to ask if any other kind of thought has more influence. Sure, we are always struggling to overcome knee-jerk, chaotic emotions. And problems that are systemic, rather than personal, are uniquely resistant to answers on the basis of reason. But at some point, in the face of Easter Island cataclysms, we opt for thought.

DWill wrote:
Looking at my own situation, what would an awakening of consciousness look like? I can't picture it, but how would it change anything, anyway, unless as a result of it I renounced just about every advantage I have? Just by being a North American with a middle-class income, a house, two cars, traveling by air occasionally, etc., my footprint is at least twice the world average. Am I going to drop out of all of that? No, I don't think so. All the people in my life would be upset, for one thing, but I also would find it very difficult to do. And it would not feel virtuous, rather desperate instead.
Yet, if you found yourself able to join gardening clubs which flourish online rather than driving to each others' gardens, or to satisfy your wanderlust with group projects inventorying wildlife in the Appalachians, rather than flying to faraway beaches, or deriving your sense of achievement from the people in your locality who know they can count on you in tough times rather than from the feel of accelerating a BMW, you might find your footprint changing without much sense of sacrifice. And if software developers knew they could make money by matching you with young people in need of mentoring, the GDP might benefit from your shifting priorities.

And, for my most important point, if industrial-scale enterprise could substitute low-footprint versions such as electric cars and renewables for your high footprint versions, you would feel good at almost no sacrifice. The same could go for specializing public spaces rather than people competing for larger private housing spaces in which various specialized locations sit mostly unused. The day of consuming "because we can" is fast approaching obsolescence.
Robert Tulip wrote:
New ideas can only come from people with the time and freedom and ability and resources to develop them.
I would alter that slightly to point out that people enmeshed in community will be the ones to find understanding-driven service delivery. Imagine a world in which the success rate of marriage counseling doubles. Does anyone doubt that that would add serious value? Yet it needn't drive up the ecological footprint at all.
DWill wrote:
Having a lot, both in personal material terms and in benign social conditions, induces us to devise ways to rationalize uncomfortable thoughts. The best way to do this is abundance thinking, whereby everyone else can have as much, too. That won't be sustainable. I hope that an evolution is underway toward redefining wealth in non-material terms, putting Adam Smith in the rearview mirror.
I rather think it is Malthus that you want to see the back of. As a technical matter, I think material abundance is possible for all 11 billion of the stabilized human race. But that is not incompatible with coming to understand wealth in non-material terms. A column in the NY Times today observed that we may have passed "peak auto" as private car ownership fell last year.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/opin ... -lyft.html
Google informs me this meme, the passing of private car ownership, has been kicking around for at least a couple of years. Nice to see the numbers backing it up.
Robert Tulip wrote:
A friend recently pointed out to me that annual economic growth of 3% would lift consumption by 18 times over a century. He argued that was unimaginable on a world scale. My view is that if we think of production in terms of energy, such a massive increase in wealth is ecologically possible, and could actually provide the basis to protect biodiversity and regulate planetary temperature, enabling total recycling of everything to maximise value.
But doing more of the same, only more efficiently, is only part of the process. Already countries like Mexico and Thailand are shifting toward thinking in terms of material quality rather than more quantity. The potential in the realm of quality of life may not look like 3% more per year of "production" but I have a feeling we won't care.

DWill wrote:
Since 1973, the average house size in the U.S. has increased by 62%, even as families have become smaller. Insatiability seems to be the human disease.
Insatiability is part of the human condition, but does not always look like Malthus, or Erlich, or other prognosticators have envisioned it. Societies can grow up, and to a remarkable extent have already.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
PJPross wrote:
climate change is a hoax and simply another way to try and control the populace.
Although I am a warmist myself, I strongly sympathise with the psychology of suspicion involved in this line from PJPross. Sixty million Americans, including many of the richest and most powerful people on our planet, voted for Donald Trump on the basis of this rejection of the liberal agenda. It should not simply be dismissed as a lunatic conspiracy theory.

However, the real hoax is not that the planet is warming due to human emissions, but that cutting those emissions is the only way to deal with it. We don’t fix sewage by making people shit less. Equally, we won’t fix the climate by making people use less energy, but rather by cleaning up the waste products.

The policy of emission reduction wrongly puts inter-government agreement and government taxation at the centre of the response to climate change. It is very easy from a conservative perspective to assume that this “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” attitude looks like a commie plot, a hoax whose real effect and agenda will be to expand the intrusion of government into personal liberty.

Conservatives just don’t trust the elites who claim that their proposed response to climate, cutting emissions, is just as settled as climate science. The progressive elite climate policy comes as part of a liberal package together with social and economic and security policies. The conservative psychology is highly suspicious of big government and social engineering. This outlook then transfers tosuspicion of the climate policy presented by the Paris Accord.

The psychology here is a clash of primary assumptions about the world, between the progressive idea that government is central and the conservative idea that government is dangerous. In any event, the conservative idea that government is dangerous and should be limited is powerful enough to severely delay progressive government efforts to decarbonise the world economy.

The main thing that has made me sympathetic to the “hoax” suspicions is that advocates of decarbonisation have mostly failed to engage with analysis of how far decarbonisation can actually stabilise the climate. Full implementation of Paris Accord agreements would only slow the pace of CO2 increase by 10%, from an estimated 60 gigatonnes per year by 2030 to 54 gigatonnes. Stopping dangerous warming needs to totally reverse the CO2 direction from increase to decrease, due to committed warming from past emissions, while also directly cooling the air, but decarbonisation is marginal to those tasks.

The focus of political energy needs to shift to how to remove carbon from the air. Instead of trying to accelerate emission reduction, governments need to create a business enabling environment for carbon removal technology. As McKibben argues, emission reduction will happen anyway due to market forces.

Overall, this political sociology leads me to see geoengineering using carbon removal and managing solar radiation as the top climate priorities. Emission reduction and carbon taxation are nice to have, but they won't stop warming. Geoengineering methods are far more efficient and effective, and can be supported by conservatives while decarbonisation faces entrenched economic opposition. Political bickering to insist decarbonisation is the only way is likely to only result in delay and disagreement, so other approaches should be pursued at the same time.

I take the line that the most important climate challenge is getting conservatives to accept that geoengineering should be studied. At the moment, geoengineering is caught up in the whole conservative suspicion of big government, but it should not be, because it is a way to engage big business productively and quickly on climate restoration.

That involves the libertarian view that capitalist ingenuity should be the priority, with the main role of government just providing a legal framework to enable private investment, in this case in carbon removal technology. Even within this framework, governments have a primary regulatory role to ensure that any proposed methods are safe and effective, on the model of drug approval. A key point here is that geoengineering can work in cooperation with the fossil fuel industry, whereas current decarbonisation policies are all about generating political conflict against these powerful corporations.


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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Robert Tulip wrote:
PJPross wrote:
climate change is a hoax and simply another way to try and control the populace.
Although I am a warmist myself, I strongly sympathise with the psychology of suspicion involved in this line from PJPross. Sixty million Americans, including many of the richest and most powerful people on our planet, voted for Donald Trump on the basis of this rejection of the liberal agenda. It should not simply be dismissed as a lunatic conspiracy theory.
Dismissed or not, you should be ashamed of yourself for giving aid and comfort to the lunatic conspiracy theory.

Robert Tulip wrote:
However, the real hoax is not that the planet is warming due to human emissions, but that cutting those emissions is the only way to deal with it.

Robert Tulip wrote:
we won’t fix the climate by making people use less energy, but rather by cleaning up the waste products.
I'm not aware of anything ever being fixed by distorting its price from true effects on overall scarcity (except possibly by making education free, which one can argue simply rewards it for its true but uncompensated effects on overall scarcity. If you are going to make a case that energy use is like education, you have a tough row to hoe. More like excreting, I'd say.) Keeping fossil fuel use artificially cheap has gotten us where we are. You should be ashamed of yourself for advocating for a continuation.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The policy of emission reduction wrongly puts inter-government agreement and government taxation at the centre of the response to climate change. It is very easy from a conservative perspective to assume that this “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” attitude looks like a commie plot, a hoax whose real effect and agenda will be to expand the intrusion of government into personal liberty.
This Hayekian distortion of policy on externalities was not convincing to Milton Friedman, or any other responsible conservative. Why would you want to get in bed with the hacks and the paranoiacs?

Robert Tulip wrote:
Conservatives just don’t trust the elites who claim that their proposed response to climate, cutting emissions, is just as settled as climate science. The progressive elite climate policy comes as part of a liberal package together with social and economic and security policies.
People who interpret the world to conservatives have adopted the rhetoric of anti-elitism while serving their corporate paymasters. Those who sought to be responsible were quite able to separate claims about policy options from "liberal packages" but then got blind-sided by Talk Radio disrupters bankrolled by truly warped, anti-human, anti-culture billionaires.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The conservative psychology is highly suspicious of big government and social engineering. This outlook then transfers to suspicion of the climate policy presented by the Paris Accord.
When suspicion is a personality, the people who jump to take advantage of it and manipulate the paranoia have dived into the sociopathy with complete moral disorientation. Rupert Murdoch is no better than Joseph Goebbels - he's just a parasite more effective at maintaining a live host rather than killing it off.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The psychology here is a clash of primary assumptions about the world, between the progressive idea that government is central and the conservative idea that government is dangerous. In any event, the conservative idea that government is dangerous and should be limited is powerful enough to severely delay progressive government efforts to decarbonise the world economy.
Only when enabled by determined misrepresentation for profit. There are certainly reasonable cases to be made that government is dangerous. Milton Friedman ran a television show making that case week after week for many years. That did not stop him from backing taxes or subsidies to rectify externality problems.

When you try to erase the distinction between lying about the facts and disagreeing about policy, you contribute to the perfidy of the manipulators.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The main thing that has made me sympathetic to the “hoax” suspicions is that advocates of decarbonisation have mostly failed to engage with analysis of how far decarbonisation can actually stabilise the climate. Full implementation of Paris Accord agreements would only slow the pace of CO2 increase by 10%, from an estimated 60 gigatonnes per year by 2030 to 54 gigatonnes. Stopping dangerous warming needs to totally reverse the CO2 direction from increase to decrease, due to committed warming from past emissions, while also directly cooling the air, but decarbonisation is marginal to those tasks.
You continue to use the Paris Accords as a stand-in for efforts to address emissions, as if no other version of emissions reduction is relevant. At the same time you compare it to an engineering calculation of what might be possible in the way of carbon reduction. This is transparently distortionary, and you should not expect to be taken seriously by policy-makers when your discussion follows such a tendentious rut.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The focus of political energy needs to shift to how to remove carbon from the air. Instead of trying to accelerate emission reduction, governments need to create a business enabling environment for carbon removal technology. As McKibben argues, emission reduction will happen anyway due to market forces.
Nobody seriously believes that incentives for emissions reduction have played no role in the evolution of renewable technology. The corollary is immediate: appropriate incentives would have accelerated that evolution even more. The moon-shot mustering of forces that you frequently argue for is arranged naturally by an appropriate incentive.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Geoengineering methods are far more efficient and effective,
This may be true, but frankly we don't know that.
Robert Tulip wrote:
and can be supported by conservatives while decarbonisation faces entrenched economic opposition.
Not on the basis of sound policy analysis. Conservatives already supported decarbonisation, and the entrenched economic opposition was able to buy off actual policy makers, not because of ideological considerations but from sheer venality. Your argument basically comes down to the notion that no special interests will have a reason to oppose ocean fertilization and biochar production, but of course you know that is not true. I'm not sure what gives you the confidence to claim that the special interest thumb will stay off your scale, but I find it worryingly naive.

Robert Tulip wrote:
other approaches should be pursued at the same time.
Sure, but on the basis of sound policy considerations, not as a kind of end run around corruption. The corruption will still be there, and you will have been in the position of linking arms with it.

Robert Tulip wrote:
I take the line that the most important climate challenge is getting conservatives to accept that geoengineering should be studied. At the moment, geoengineering is caught up in the whole conservative suspicion of big government, but it should not be, because it is a way to engage big business productively and quickly on climate restoration.
There are myriads of ways to engage big business productively on the issue, some of which are geoengineering. Geoengineering just happens to be yours. And yet you find yourself surprised that anti-government rhetoric is employed against your proposal, as if somehow rationality would be restored to a debate that "conservatives" turned into a Rupert Murdoch narrative and an entire wing of politics climbed into bed with.

Robert Tulip wrote:
That involves the libertarian view that capitalist ingenuity should be the priority, with the main role of government just providing a legal framework to enable private investment, in this case in carbon removal technology.
Last I heard you recognized that the funding you considered necessary was not going to be forth-coming from commercial interests. Are you now putting your faith in property rights to help them see the light? {Slaps forehead. Shakes head. Shakes head again.}

Robert Tulip wrote:
current decarbonisation policies are all about generating political conflict against these powerful corporations.
That is an amoral case of character assassination. You know very well that decarbonisation policies and motivation are about doing the right thing. They may be misguided, but they are not sell-out shills.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Harry, I will come back to respond to your last comment in detail, but for now I just want to say you react badly to the idea of constructive dialogue with conservatives, whereas I am saying that such dialogue will be essential to make progress on climate policy. My view is not about accepting the paranoid delusions of right wing nutjobs, but just seeing that those delusions may have a basis that involves more than just greed. That basis is the visceral recognition that the current UN emission reduction strategies cannot achieve their objectives of preventing warming.

Here are some responses to your earlier comments.
Harry Marks wrote:
You are relying on commercial profits to create a Carbon Removal industry. But in light of the way renewable technology has surged, and can now undersell fossil fuel plants (as explained in the McKibben essay) by a factor of 1/2, might we not see a repeat of the same phenomenon for biochar? In particular, if profits lead to 80 GTC/Y of removal, is there not a danger of excess decarbonization? There is no more reason for the biochar industry to worry about such a danger than for the Koch brothers to worry about global warming.
Interesting questions, but carbon removal is not just about relying on commercial profits, and also not just about biochar. The idea that carbon mining could become profitable is far from current thinking on carbon dioxide removal, which assumes someone will be forced to pay to store CO2 as a useless waste product. My view that CO2 can be converted from waste to asset at mega scale using methods such as biochar is something that is embedded in a philosophy of respect for nature. It would only occur within the framework of a social enterprise, using profits for public goods, reinvesting revenues to achieve rapid sustainability at scale, with the direct purpose of climate restoration.

As with other public good industries, strong government engagement will be essential. Carbon mining/removal is justified by the security dimension of avoiding the economic and political collapse that drastic climate change would cause. Governments need to move away from the current parlous attitude of effectively banning primary geoengineering research, and adopt a strategic vision of climate restoration. Adopting such a goal would enable pension fund investment on the scale now devoted to fracking, which has been highly deceptive about its economics and its climate impact.

Peter Fiekowsky, head of the Healthy Climate Alliance, argues that the current Paris Accord strategy of decarbonisation alone is dissuading investment in carbon removal, by setting the two rival climate strategies at loggerheads and marginalising carbon removal. Hopefully the UN Climate Restoration Summit scheduled for this September will help reverse this attitude. Nature just published an excellent comment from the carbon dioxide removal leader Dr Greg Rau, calling for urgent recognition that more carbon removal methods are needed, pointing out that the trajectory of such a new technology field can rapidly change as innovative ideas emerge.

The potential profitability of carbon removal is rarely discussed. My reading suggests its prospects are high, once methods are developed to make useful carbon commodities at scale (fuel, food, feed, fertilizer, fabric, forests, fish). Like the internet, electronics and renewable energy, carbon removal needs public investment and regulatory frameworks to generate the conditions for commercial funding.

My speculation that carbon removal could become profitable is not widely accepted by climate scientists, who work more on the assumption that carbon removal is only viable on the basis of carbon pricing for geosequestration of CO2. For example, Direct Air Capture may be able to remove CO2 for a cost of between $50 and $500 per tonne, a price that would rapidly fall as Moore’s Law of exponential ingenuity takes effect. Investment in DAC is already happening with Canadian company Climate Engineering announcing funding of $68 million and a range of venture capital interest emerging.

My suggestion for a profitable carbon mining enterprise involves industrial algae production on millions of square kilometres of the world ocean, but that idea faces numerous obstacles. The regulatory framework to enable it has not yet even been imagined, and the science on its feasibility is only rudimentary. My view is that such a scale of operation will be needed to stop going over the climate precipice, cooling the planet and removing carbon at the required scale and speed, aiming for net zero by 2030.

The combination of the profit motive and the benefits of climate stability will incentivise pension fund and insurance investment to scale up carbon mining, even if dividends are not paid for decades. My calculation is that industry growth of 20% per year will be needed to prevent dangerous climate change, meaning the wealth will be in equity rather than profit. Even if 7F markets for carbon at the gigatonne scale are slow to emerge, an interim strategy could be to store algae in vast fabric sacks on the ocean floor, banking its contained carbon to build the cities and soils of the future.

On the risk you mention of carbon mining creating a new ice age through a cooling overshoot, the change of thinking required to dodge the bullet of global warming would prevent that from happening. The situation now is that CO2 is at 410 ppm and rising fast, headed for a hothouse. Stopping that increase and then cutting to the stable level of 280 ppm will involve a shuddering transformation of how humans relate to the planet, including the basic political recognition that atmospheric chemistry management is a primary planetary security problem. Such a security framework would prevent the heedless overshoot that you describe, as it would involve strong global investment in monitoring and regulating atmospheric composition.

Harry Marks wrote:
Of course there would be some negative feedback as CO2 got less common in the atmosphere. But it is hard to imagine such a deficit seriously impacting the profitability once the basic concept was proven and the technical issues solved. I imagine you can see where I am going with this question. Something you consider a blessing, and rightly so, if it can solve the problem of GHG overhang, could turn into a problem precisely because it was responding to profit without any reflection of the external costs it might create.
Yes, I get your point, which I think implies that humanity may be so congenitally depraved that coordination to use our brains to evolve beyond the current extinction risk point may prove impossible. The simple answer here is that once we have converted the 630 billion tonnes of carbon we have added to the air into useful commodities, any need for more carbon can readily be met from coal, rather than from the air.

Despite the serious current risk to our survival as a species, I am optimistic that collective humanity will be able to overcome the current error of discounting externalities in approving business investment proposals. In the future our current disregard for managing the planetary climate will be seen as a moral evil as bad as or worse than slavery, nuclear war, terrorism and the holocaust.

My view is that the slowly dawning recognition that culture exists inside nature involves a philosophical paradigm shift at the scale of a new religious reformation. That is why I think it is essential to place the discussion of climate science and technology within a theological framework as a basis for global ethical regulation of the climate, to generate a new political consensus that would enable enduring global stability and abundance.


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