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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?
Harry Marks wrote:
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.

Look at the numbers. I am presenting two extreme scenarios to illustrate the policy contrast, recognising that the outcome will sit somewhere between these two.

The extreme case for Emission Reduction alone is that the world, not just the USA, makes a total switch to zero carbon energy by 2030 as proposed by the Green New Deal. And no forests burn down despite drought and warming. Meanwhile this whole agenda is vigorously opposed by the Republican Party and the world climate denial movement with its rich backers due to its perceived economic damage. The downside is that because of this partisan situation, the ER advocates oppose research on Carbon Removal, let alone Solar Radiation Management, because it would undermine political pressure to decarbonise the economy.

The end result, with no focus on Carbon Removal, is that total carbon in the air remains at about 700 billion tonnes (420 ppm) in 2030, with no prospect of rapid decline. The last time carbon was that high was about three million years ago, when the sea was about 50 feet higher and the temperature was several degrees warmer. Under this ER scenario the forcing is still in place in 2030 to restore that natural geophysical balance. There is no plan to cut that forcing and no way to know if the tipping points could come in years or decades.

The best case for Carbon Removal, assuming a Democrat President in 2020, is that the US government sets a moon shot vision for climate restoration, with an aspiration for Net Zero Global Emissions by 2030. This involves financial incentives for investment in CR, encouraging international cooperation on SRM as a primary strategy to build world peace and security, and allowing emissions to be subject to market forces. A wide range of CR technologies are tested, resulting in large scale deployment of CR technologies that remove 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon in 2021. This volume of removal increases by 15% per year. The fossil fuel industry and other climate-exposed industries are brought on board to deliver skills, funds and political backing. The market based policy means emissions continue at a rate of ten gigatonnes of carbon per year.

The result of this CR strategy is that in 2030 total carbon in the air is still around 720 billion tonnes, but the trajectory is completely different from the ER scenario. Under this CR path, by 2030 net emissions are rapidly falling, on a path to net zero by 2042, and critically, to subsequent negative net emissions. This direct cut of carbon in the air puts the planet on a path to climate restoration, with the CO2 level on track to fall to 280 ppm by 2065. Those dates would be later if CR growth is less than 15%, and sooner if the growth rate is higher.

The contrast between these scenarios is that Carbon Removal offers hope, inclusion, stability and growth, while the Emission Reduction path offers far less prospect of success. Even in the unlikely event that ER does succeed in its decarbonisation plan, it has no transition strategy to achieve climate restoration. While it is true that CR could prove unfeasible, the problem is that ER offers no prospect at all of climate restoration or stability. In this context, with scientists arguing that CR technologies could be deployed rapidly at scale if only there were political support, there is little downside for a rebalancing of climate policy to give much more emphasis to CR.

All this shows that ER alone is a futile strategy for addressing climate change, while CR alone offers strong hope to restore the climate. ER has many benefits, in pollution control, economic efficiency and technological innovation, but it is just wrong to pretend that it offers a path to the necessary goal of climate restoration.


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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
DWill wrote:
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?
Fair point, I did not express that clearly. The combination of emission reduction and carbon removal will restore the climate, but are not enough to stop dangerous tipping points, which requires solar radiation management. Within that climate restoration combination, carbon removal is far more important than emission reduction, but emission reduction does still contribute.

In the short term, over the next few decades, carbon removal and radiation management could fix the climate, even without severe cuts to emissions. That does not mean emission reduction does not help, except that the prevailing climate activist politics of emission reduction alone is very unhelpful. Over the longer term there are definite climate benefits from emission reduction, making it a necessary shift as part of the need to construct a circular economy.
DWill wrote:
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.
Yes, this is an important observation, that people psychologically prefer actions they can control, rather than analysis of what is actually needed to fix the problem. Governments see direct results from emission reduction in economic change, so they prefer that strategy, even though those results are miniscule against the scale of the climate problem. I am asking that people lift their heads above the parapet to take a strategic planetary view of the orders of magnitude involved in climate change. This shows, counter-intuitively, that the prevailing focus on cutting emissions could actually be counterproductive in terms of stopping global warming.
DWill wrote:
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.
Yes it is speculative, but it is essential to speculate about the future in order to generate a vision that will inspire action. My vision is of a high carbon world with universal economic abundance, shifting the carbon that is now warming the planet into the most useful stable places, such as soil, infrastructure, fish and sustainable energy production. Only such a high carbon world can protect global biodiversity and create a circular economy.
DWill wrote:
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.
This is another key point about climate psychology. The political climate activist movement has latched on to the only apparent effective method of campaigning, the popular front. This reduces policy to a lowest common denominator (ie a myth) with a worked-out demonology grounded in popular front traditions of class war.

As such, the collective support for emission reduction has a strongly religious flavour, even while claiming a basis in secular science. The unscientific fallacy at work here is the elision from the true statement that climate science is settled to the false statement that emission reduction can fix the climate.

The contrasting psychological basis for carbon removal sits more within existential philosophy, based on a rigorous factual analysis of the authentic situation. Carbon removal does involve a transformation of thinking, and that is much more complex and difficult to describe and convey to a mass audience than the simple agenda of emission reduction.

The very interesting thing here is how the religious dimension of climate activism has spawned the denialist backlash, which is grounded less in greed than in the true, if generally unconscious, observation that emission reduction can’t fix the climate.
DWill wrote:
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?
Carbon removal requires a research and development agenda based on public private partnership. Industries such as insurance and energy have a commercial interest in climate stability. Pension funds have a compelling interest to invest in climate R&D. The challenge is to tell the story of why such investment is needed. If carbon removal turns out to be profitable, we won't need to worry about the free rider problem.
DWill wrote:
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.
The Montreal Protocol was used as the model for the Paris Accord. The ozone success created the false impression that intergovernmental agreement on emission reduction could solve the climate problem, whereas what is needed is a return to first scientific principles to analyse the strategic problem.
DWill wrote:
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.
That argument about the loss of economic value of fossil fuels applies especially to coal. McKibben may be too optimistic about the speed of shift to electric cars powered by renewable energy.
DWill wrote:

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.
This is a really important observation that maintaining energy supply is a key agenda. My response is that the key problem is the speed of the various factors. The climate movement sees speeding up the renewable transition as key. My view is the transition to renewables will happen anyway with private investment, whereas the urgent need for public investment is in kickstarting carbon removal since that has much bigger public goods and security return on investment.

My prediction is that algae farming will eventually deliver on both carbon removal and renewable energy, but there are a bunch of political and technical hurdles to jump before that is proved, as NASA’s Jonathan Trent has discovered with his OMEGA project. It is a mystery to me why pension funds are not investing now in OMEGA.
DWill wrote:
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.
I believe we will find much bigger uses for plastic than we now have. For example, building microalgae farms at sea will require massive quantities of thick fabric for production, transport and storage. This fabric will eventually be sourced from the algae itself but in the meantime can come from petrochemicals. I also think it is possible to build underwater roads and offshore airports and dams out of plastic, but that is a very futuristic speculation. I was inspired by Terry Spragg’s waterbag concept to imagine that future shipping container traffic could use submarine plastic vessels.
DWill wrote:
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.
My interest is to develop a practical vision of a circular economy that has an acceptable transition path from the current linear model. There has to be a theory of change and program logic explaining how we get from here to there. In biochar, the vested interests of corporate agriculture appear to be stymieing progress, just as fossil fuel companies are hindering an energy transition. It may be that efforts to cooperate with the linear companies will generate circular models.


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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
I have made an effort to have constructive dialogue with Creationists many times. When they have become firmly embedded in an echo chamber social process, in which nothing the outsiders say counts for anything, and voodoo signs have been placed above all claims that the outsiders have anything worth listening to, then nothing I say makes any difference. I am very open to constructive dialogue with conservatives - a difference in values and in how the world is perceived is normal and healthy and, one might say, fecund. But when it reaches the trolling point, at which all that matters is feeling that one has scored a debate point because listening has been excluded, then I am under no moral obligation to pretend to have dialogue. In general, the people whose m.o. is to copy from some website have passed that point.

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
No, it really isn't. It is brewed from a hot mess of resentment, disappointment with the status ladder, inability to make peace in a family context, inability to come to grips with their own inner conflicts, and pleasure at thinking they have thwarted some distant, over-powerful interfering puppeteers in The Government. The pied pipers who lead these children into the cave, with recognizable names like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, are the ones who serve greed.
The notion that deep down these people want to prevent warming but just can't feel in their gut that UN strategies will achieve it is utter folly. What they want is to pretend to be right for a change, to be on top of things, and a radio ranter or nutjob website that will feed that craving will elicit their fawning obeisance. There was a time when the conservative establishment in America stood astride the country like a colossus, and they formulated sound policy to deal with global warming. But the insurgents had money to funnel into their bank accounts, and rage to fuel, and opted for burning it down. And now they are getting their wish.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
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.
I'm not addressing current thinking, I'm addressing your thinking. In your eagerness to make common cause with those intuitive geniuses, the climate deniers, you continually claim that government involvement is not needed. Oh, maybe for a moonshot, but not to actually meddle in economic incentives. {slaps forehead}. The same government action which you are eager to disparage when it favors Emissions Reduction is essentially a requirement for making your proposals for Carbon Removal (or anyone else's) fly. It is fascinating to watch you dance around that, one week extolling government dreams of glory and the next week stroking the people who think all things governmental are poisonous, but all it adds up to is inability to form a coherent view of how policy should work.
Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
I think I have made clear already how naive I think it is to trust your philosophical embedding to steer such a large-scale process. In the U.S. we have managed to have a few "social enterprises" of that scope, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority (and similar water management plans for electricity generation). They were successfully established on the rationale of transforming rural society on a basically self-financing basis. They were also part of a broad-based "liberal" effort to escape the Great Depression (back when liberals stood astride the country like a colossus) and philosophical objections to government action were easily swept aside.

If you had presented such a proposal in the days of Jim Baker and George Schultz they probably would have given you a fair hearing. Today, the piranhas would have all the meat off the bones of such an effort before it ever came alive. Not because they reflected and made a considered decision about what is good for the country, but because piranha power is the order of the day. One need only watch a month of the news to see how thoroughly the process of reflection and verification have been removed from public debate. For one party, only resentment and special interests matter to whatever the question is at hand, since the special interests provide the money to fuel the resentment, and that coalition is the basis of their tenure in office.

There were other efforts - the interstate highway system and the satellite network come to mind - but these have mainly only managed any scale because they could be packaged as necessary to defend against an external enemy. Incrementalist engineering collaborations, such as Wikipedia and the internet itself, might hold out some hope, but you can already see the piranhas settling in to tear the usefulness of the internet to shreds. When the profitability to keep building it began to depend on nefarious manipulations, they became the driving force to net-based business.

Essentially, what I am saying is that if you want to rely on public-spirited motivation, you will have to stop undercutting public-spirited motivation. Because what goes around comes around. Because Training Day - if you think your idealism is better than other idealism, there will be no idealists in your corner when the wolves gather.

Robert Tulip wrote:
As with other public good industries, strong government engagement will be essential.
It might be a good idea for you, or someone in the geoengineering community, to give this some thought. What other public good industries do you have in mind? How did it work? How would the differences between those and yours play out? Because those who ignore history have the privilege of re-living it.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Carbon mining/removal is justified by the security dimension of avoiding the economic and political collapse that drastic climate change would cause.
Yes, and that's certainly a powerful political force these days, or hadn't you noticed? Reflecting externalities to give a true picture of the cost and benefit removes the matter from the endless casting and re-casting of a policy issue. Might take some of the fun out of internet discussions, but to my mind fun is not the point. We already know it is a grave security threat, and the response is sort of "how many tanks do the scientists have?"
Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
I can tell you something far more straightforward than "adopting such a goal" which would activate that investment.

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
If it was a public enterprise I can imagine such a prevention. But your premise was that it would work based on profitability. In which case a public-spirited change of thinking is no more likely to stop a cooling overshoot than it was to stop our current warming overshoot. Your new version, in which a public enterprise raises capital from pension funds and whatnot but maintains its direction in the melded public/private interest might conceivably work, but you know very well the Reaganaut libertarian thinking of the current right wing would oppose such an enterprise, and seize the first available opportunity to privatize it (as the current administration proposed for infrastructure. Because toll roads are so much more joyful than paying taxes.)

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
I imply that humanity will continue to be as "depraved" as it is now. If you want the truth recognized, quit undermining the truth-tellers.

Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
Wait, you are saying that morality will be factored into business calculations voluntarily, despite the negative impact on profits? You don't get out much, do you? Can you point to a lot of businesses who have acted that way?

This is a threat which is, by definition, only stoppable through collective security. There is no gated community that can ignore Hothouse Earth and operate independently of the damage done to fellow humans.
Robert Tulip wrote:
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.
If you find a way to make carbon removal profitable, you will surely be forgiven for not also reformulating philosophy to make a new religious reformation. But at the rate you are going, your efforts along the second lines seem only to undermine the credibility of the policy shift needed for the first one.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
atr.org/Francis-Rooney-endorses-large-t ... crease?amp I’m not sure whether I trust Rooney or not. I do however know that he is getting a fair amount of pushback from the free market fundies who control local talk radio. When he first got elected as my district representative I attended a local townhall hosted by him. Climate change was a hot topic and I found it interesting and frustrating at the same time.
He didn’t accept at that time publicly that humans were/are responsible for global warming, Instead his claim was that earth was still exiting the last ice age. I couldn’t believe my ears. I’ve participated in surveys from his office and never fail to express how wrong his thinking is. I can not be the only one in my district who does this. But never the less he has moved in a direction that allows him to to come as close as a conservative can come to admitting the culpability of humans with respect to climate change.
He is managing to place the topic in the light of global pollution which is fine with me. On the surface he appears sincere, For me, I remain a skeptic of a republican who has so endearingly embraced what Harry calls “ Reaganaut libertarian thinking “(not nearly enough a pejorative) time will tell whether or not my skepticism is misplaced.
I should at a minimum applaud Rooney for having continued to research the issue and to have the guts to school dear leader and others in the NCR that the problem is real and that conservatives need to be onboard with their past traditions of conservation.
But as I said. I am a skeptic, I do not trust republicans anymore and don’t think I will for maybe the remainder of my life time. They are now the party of Trump and Trump is shit for brained.



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Intelligence Squared is sponsoring a debate on geoengineering tomorrow (Thursday) night. Apparently focusing mainly or entirely on radiation management (aerosols, etc.).



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Harry Marks wrote:
Intelligence Squared is sponsoring a debate on geoengineering tomorrow (Thursday) night. Apparently focusing mainly or entirely on radiation management (aerosols, etc.).

https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/d ... crazy-idea

Thanks Harry. I will be playing piano at our Good Friday church service when it is on, but it is live streamed and open to comments.

I am very familiar with the lead participants, Clive Hamilton, a foolish leftist Australian who is incapable of coherent risk analysis, and David Keith, a brilliant Harvard scientist who is the lead world advocate for stratospheric aerosol injection.

Chris has previously suggested Booktalk regulars go to the chat room here to comment while such debates are on. Sorry I can't be there, but should be interesting.

The basic fact that everyone should be aware of is that investigating geoengineering is far less risky than the current obtuse climate policy of putting all our eggs in the emission reduction basket.

:popcorn:


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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
The motion: Engineering Solar Radiation Is a Crazy Idea.
Spoiler Alert / Debate winner: Against the motion. 37% pre-debate 75% post-debate.

You can watch it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jclv4xO2q-8



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Post Re: Poll: What to do about climate change?
Good debate, well moderated (except for the moderator repeatedly saying "social radiation" toward the end). I didn't see that lopsided victory coming for the the side opposed. But thinking about it, their win might be mostly due to the extreme stance of the "for" side. If the main thing to decide when voting is whether the notion is crazy, it becomes relatively easy for voters to decide that, while a particular method of geoengineering might not be what we need to do, it's not irrational to investigate how we might do it.

Regarding the only thing being done currently to mitigate climate change--emissions reduction--there was no disagreement from the "against" side that that goal needs to be pursued agressively. That ER alone is not enough doesn't mean that we can possibly minimize the danger of climate change without such action.

I didn't note that the against side confronted the opponents with the question, "How do you propose to prevent drastic damage if not by some form of geoengineering?" The only alternative to geoengineering seems to be absorbing the serious damage, as it's well established that too much carbon is already up there. I would think that absorbing could be the best of the bad choices. The great challenge with it is that the global governance that was argued about in this debate would still be needed to bring in some kind of justice. A huge amount of aid will need to go to poorer nations to prevent them from suffering disproportionately.



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