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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
2040 Movie Review

(See here for a version of this review with links)

Damon Gameau is the writer, director, narrator, genius and star of his superb new movie 2040. Constantly friendly, engaging and upbeat, Damon enlists his sweet four-year old daughter Velvet as his model for the comparison between life in 2019 and 2040, with his innovative positive vision of how our world could be transformed over the next two decades to produce sustained abundance and peace, especially through innovative methods to stop climate change. The principle is to examine the best ideas of today to see how scaling them up can address the massive risks facing our planet, flicking between the present and the imagined future.

Damon’s last movie was That Sugar Film, in which he humorously confronted the sugar-industrial complex by switching for a month to a diet of processed “health food” that is high in sugar. The rapid collapse of his health, measured under careful medical supervision, proved how corrupted our advertising standards are when such a dangerous poison as sugar can be marketed as benign on a mass scale. Sugar causes our planetary epidemics of obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer, co-opting our incompetent political systems using the powers of money and instinct.

2040 uses similar analysis to attack the fossil fuel-industrial complex, showing the scale of deception and propaganda involved in maintaining our current energy system with its trajectory to conflict and collapse. Despite this scene setting, the main focus of the movie is positive, on new alternative ideas that offer practical solutions to primary global problems such as climate change, with the philosophy that a solution must be emerging before a problem can be solved.

The two big ideas explored on climate are soil and seaweed. A farmer, Fraser Pogue, tells the story of how industrial agriculture left him with fields with no worms, and how that scared him into adopting regenerative farming methods that can shift massive amounts of carbon from the air to the soil while delivering higher yields and fertile soil and retaining water.

The most important story in 2040 is Marine Permaculture. Brian Von Herzen is the brilliant genius inventor of methods to grow giant kelp on industrial scale in the world ocean to shift carbon out of the air and reduce ocean acidity while solving problems of food, fertilizer and fuel. Damon interviews Brian at his pilot kelp farm, and provides clear simple depiction of suitable places around the world where permaculture arrays could be deployed, such as in the Bay of Bengal and off the coast of East Africa.

The big theme here is carbon dioxide removal, that we need to work out how to remove more carbon from the air than we add, and how this requires practical profitable strategies that work with mother nature rather than against her, using the vast area, nutrients and energy resources of the world ocean. Seaweed forests are the fastest growing trees in the world. The proposed permaculture system will pump nutrients from the deep ocean to create biomass on a scale large enough to help achieve global carbon neutrality by 2040 while feeding ten billion people and starting a path to draw down excess CO2. Marine permaculture should be the start of a pioneering frontier use of the world ocean to restore climate and biodiversity, catalysing investment from governments and the private sector.

Damon Gameau is a card. He films his interview with Paul Hawken, author of the important climate restoration book Drawdown, apparently sitting high on top of a wind turbine, enough to give the viewers a highly disturbing case of vertigo. And his other expert speakers in the movie, such as Tony Seba, Kate Raworth, Eric Tonesmeier and Colin Seis, pop up as midgets sitting on tree branches or with other computer generated imagery, keeping their serious stories entertaining. Other innovative ideas covered include autonomous electric cars and decentralised solar power grids, showing an optimistic vision for how technology can transform our world for the better, through bottom up rather than top down solutions.

2040 is a conversation starter, with potential to help tip us over the edge into recognition of the need for global climate action, recognising that emission reduction is nowhere near enough. A theme I am eager to discuss in this context, having worked on carbon removal ideas for over a decade, is that methods of confrontation in climate politics pose unacceptable risks of proving too small and slow. Climate analysts need to do much more tactical and strategic work on political economy, philosophy and theory of change, for example recognising the urgency of solar radiation management, and the potential for carbon dioxide removal to enable a slower path to decarbonisation than some climate models suggest.

I would like to see the fossil fuel industries engage constructively on ways to transform their business models, but that seems to be a very difficult task. 2040 only mentions Exxon to demonise them for funding the Heartland Institute, showing how badly world politics are now polarised. The difficult but essential question is whether entry points can be found so forces of destruction can be converted into forces for good, for example through tax rebates for investment in carbon removal technology. We need to encourage an end to climate denial and more discussion of climate security problems in the media, while recognising that speeding up the decarbonisation of the economy is likely to only be a small factor in stabilising the climate compared to geoengineering methods.

Rather than using political confrontation, effective solutions often involve dialogue and reconciliation. A provocative theme I would throw into the 2040 mix is religion – opening discussion about how the seemingly obsolete patterns of thought involved in supernatural fantasy could actually still have some power to save us. Old ideas like the Christian myth of the apocalypse could be reconciled with modern scientific understanding to generate political will for action on climate change, building on religious values of faith, love, forgiveness and hope.

2040 is a visionary movie of hope and action. But the fact is, as a review in The Conversation notes, we are in a dire climate emergency, consumed by a vast and fearful blindness that seems unwilling to respond to the danger. The great ideas offered in 2040 may not be enough to solve the strategic security and stability situation facing our fragile planetary home. 2040 offers a framework of thinking, a starting point on this journey of transformation, a recognition that despite our flaws, humanity has the potential to rebuild the earth and restore the climate, finding the courage and honesty to evolve into a stable and sustainable global civilization.

Robert Tulip


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Here are my notes for a talk I will give next Saturday to the Australian Student Christian Movement.

Climate change, global warming and the Christian response
• The dangers of global warming are far worse than usually discussed.
o Human industry has added more than 630 billion tonnes of carbon to the air, totally destabilising the planetary climate
o The resulting dangerous warming effects are interacting with each other, amplifying the speed and impact of climate change in accelerating feedbacks
o The Arctic Sea is melting, turning the North Pole from white to black, from a reflector of sunlight to an absorber of heat
o Hotter drier weather is changing forests and soils from carbon sinks to carbon sources

• Warming creates high risk of conflict and of the collapse of human and natural systems
o Political and economic structures are fragile and vulnerable to pressures of warming such as crop failure, sea level rise, storms, drought, migration and ecosystem extinctions
o Unforeseen tipping points could cause sudden irreversible change
o The biggest security risk for the planet is a phase shift to a hothouse earth.

• Current policies offer no prospect of addressing these threats
o The UN discussion of holding warming to 1.5°C is grossly inadequate
o Emission reduction only delays dangerous tipping points but does not prevent them
o Emission reduction is important for economic reform and for pollution control but does little to stop climate change

• Need to refute the widely believed myth that decarbonisation is enough to stop warming
o The world economy now adds 10 gigatonnes of carbon to the air every year
o The rate of emission increase is growing by about 4% per year
o Paris Accord commitments would only slow the annual increase of emissions by 2030 by 10%, from 16 GT under Business As Usual to about 14.5 GT.
o Decarbonisation is unlikely - political, financial and social support for fossil fuel systems means efforts to shut them down will face conflict, expense and delay

• The only ways to stop warming are to directly cool the air and physically remove carbon dioxide
o Technological responses (geoengineering) require urgent field testing
o Public climate investment should be based on expected impact on radiative forcing

• Debate on these difficult topics requires new integrated strategic thinking
o Religious ideas can play an essential role in galvanising public debate and understanding
o A reformed scientific Christianity offers hope for a strategic paradigm shift
o Christian themes of reconciliation, love, transformation, truth and justice should be at the core of climate debate

• We are in an apocalyptic situation. That means eschatology (end times thinking) should be studied as part of an ethical and cosmological framework for addressing climate change
o Shift away from supernatural myths to science based approach, respecting Biblical texts
o Revise the apocalyptic mythology of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ against a modern scientific analysis, to discuss what it would mean for Christ to rule the world
o Key theme “the wrath of God is against those who destroy the earth” (Rev 11:18)
o Biblical vision of a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1) requires a scientific approach to ecological management of the planet
o Climate emergency as basis for a natural ecological reformation of Christian theology
o Compatible with the ‘terrestrial cosmology’ emerging from study of long term climate

• Hypothesis – find new framework against planetary glaciation cycle of about 24,000 years
o This cycle shows a current turning point in the underlying natural planetary climate trend from cooling to warming, heavily masked by anthropogenic effects
o A new Christian theology can be based on the astronomical framework of the orbital drivers of climate change, making all things new (Rev 21:5)
o Integrating theology of Second Coming with orbital climate framework
o Basis for cultural trajectory shift from descent to ascent
o Speculative basis for new scientific approach to Christian theology
o This natural framework for cultural evolution has a remarkable correlation with the Biblical mythology of fall and redemption

• The problem is that our world is dominated by obsolete mentalities
o Failure to recognise danger of climate change shows alienation of culture from nature
o Current global trajectory is toward collapse and conflict
o Need to see spirit as part of natural planetary whole, against long millennial time frame
o Cannot continue to ignore danger of high CO2 level

• Strategic thinking on mindset essential for cultural and political change
o Need to open broad dialogue about Christian ideas such as salvation, heaven, hell, divine grace and providence, placing Bible in scientific framework
o Transform thinking about religious myth to make sense for modern secular logic
o Recognise emotional power of story of Jesus as basis for new vision
o Christian ideas can underpin the paradigm shift needed to reverse climate change

• 2 Peter 3: 4-13 can be read as a realistic Christian framework for today’s needed scientific response to global warming
o “They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? ...” the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. … the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment... Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Just one comment. Eschatology does not necessarily mean "end times thinking" though people tend to think of it that way. The prophecies of restoration and of new earth, with a new kingdom, were often poetic expressions of God's will (on earth, as it is in heaven). The question being asked is whether we can take on board both what we are doing to the vulnerable and what needs to be done to protect them. And of course, "the vulnerable" includes all of us in the not-too-distant future.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Harry Marks wrote:
Just one comment. Eschatology does not necessarily mean "end times thinking" though people tend to think of it that way. The prophecies of restoration and of new earth, with a new kingdom, were often poetic expressions of God's will (on earth, as it is in heaven). The question being asked is whether we can take on board both what we are doing to the vulnerable and what needs to be done to protect them. And of course, "the vulnerable" includes all of us in the not-too-distant future.

Good point. Generally this difference of opinion on eschatology is a key marker for the division between liberal and conservative Christianity, with liberals supporting poetic interpretation while conservatives take the story of the Second Coming more literally. I am proposing an entirely new approach that combines elements of liberal and conservative Christianity, based on my scientific hypothesis that precession provided the intellectual framework for the original construction of the Jesus story.

The direct correlation between end times thinking and what the Gospel authors could understand of astronomy, seen in the precession of the equinox, shows that my hypothesis equating the Second Coming of Jesus Christ with the dawn of the Age of Aquarius is an entirely possible and coherent way to explain the extant texts.

“End of the world” is a KJV mistranslation of the Bible phrase “end of the age”, an event that should therefore be interpreted in terms of transformation rather than destruction. The Biblical concept of the end of the age is most elegantly explained to originally mean the end of the observable zodiac age of Pisces.

On this model the age transition can be understood as a comprehensive cultural paradigm shift, partly explained in Matthew 25:31ff where the division between saved and damned is presented solely in terms of performance of works of mercy and solidarity. The New Age imagined in the Bible is therefore one where social policy focuses on protection of the vulnerable, which I argue involves a context of a scientific social shift to base cultural priorities on knowledge rather than belief.

My view is that this cultural paradigm shift, combining astronomy, religion and politics, is necessary to produce the upheaval in thinking needed for a proper discussion of climate change.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
You have a hard row to hoe, here, Robert. Geoengineering is scary to people, sort of like genetic engineering and nuclear power are scary. I don't know what could ever make people comfortable with it, short of some demonstration of its need that all could see close up and not duck. I can't see where a religious framework would make acceptance any more likely. But I hope your audience is receptive, at least.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
You have a hard row to hoe, here, Robert. Geoengineering is scary to people, sort of like genetic engineering and nuclear power are scary. I don't know what could ever make people comfortable with it, short of some demonstration of its need that all could see close up and not duck. I can't see where a religious framework would make acceptance any more likely. But I hope your audience is receptive, at least.

True that this is a hard and scary argument, but the underlying problem is that without geoengineering the planet is on a trajectory to unavoidable dangerous warming, with the collapse of civilization into war and poverty and mass extinction of species. It is a stark existential reality.

Fixing the climate requires removal of about 20 gigatonnes of carbon every year, together with direct cooling measures, to head away from the precipice of a phase shift into a hothouse earth.

Total emissions are now ten GTC per year. Current emission reduction plans would see emissions increase to about 15 GTC over the next decade, as I explained above. So we have a gap of about 35 GTC (15 + 20) between current plans and what is needed. Emission reduction might fill about 2-5 GTC of that gap, but the rest can only be filled by geoengineering methods.

The fact that people have been indoctrinated to believe that geoengineering is not necessary is a gross scandal of public stupidity, a derogation of planetary security responsibility, and a recipe for mass extinction, collapse of planetary biodiversity and the human economy, and a hellish future of conflict and division.

The psychology here seems to be that humans deserve an apocalyptic planetary collapse and should do nothing to prevent it. I reject such thinking. The need to inject religion into the debate is due to the fact that Christianity presents the rule of Christ as the only hope for the world. To me that makes perfect sense as a way to explain the fall from grace into corruption as our basic existential situation, integrating morality and science in a way that is entirely compatible with the underlying message of ancient wisdom and the current need for climate action.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
Geoengineering is scary to people, sort of like genetic engineering and nuclear power are scary. I don't know what could ever make people comfortable with it,

True that this is a hard and scary argument, but the underlying problem is that without geoengineering the planet is on a trajectory to unavoidable dangerous warming, with the collapse of civilization into war and poverty and mass extinction of species. It is a stark existential reality.
We have reason to believe that much of India will be uninhabitable in 20 years. Oh, well, what's a billion people? We have more where they came from.

War and migration? Just random events. The rising temperatures and increasing crop failures caused by exactly the predicted temperature rises surely could not be affecting human behavior, now could they? The thing to do is police the borders. And when we are done turning back the Central Americans, we will turn back 4 meters of rise in the ocean, cause we are a can-do culture. The only thing we can't do is admit inconvenient facts.

It is ironic that the environmental left, after decades of decrying the ass*olery of the right for resisting necessity, is now in the position of resisting the necessity of geoengineering. We have already flooded New Orleans, lived through California's deadliest fire (so far), seen a record heat wave in France, and used up the water supplies of Cape Town and of Chennai (Madras). Was the trailer too tame? You're going to love the movie. But hey, environmentalists can console themselves that they took the morally pure stand.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Harry Marks wrote:
when we are done turning back the Central Americans, we will turn back 4 meters of rise in the ocean, cause we are a can-do culture. The only thing we can't do is admit inconvenient facts.

Hi Harry, the bitter irony in your comment here well reflects the “President Canute” apocalyptic fantasy whereby untrue beliefs are accepted instead of true knowledge.
Harry Marks wrote:
Was the trailer too tame? You're going to love the movie. But hey, environmentalists can console themselves that they took the morally pure stand.

This widespread environmentalist idea that decarbonisation through a war on fossil fuels is somehow “morally pure” reflects the asinine quality of prevailing climate analysis, its indifference to actual impact.

The underlying communist logic behind the decarbonisation agenda is that poor people are good and rich people are bad. Environmentalism therefore represents a mutation of the old meme that an alliance of the poor against the rich is the only moral path in politics, even if actual rich and poor people don’t line up with the ideology. There are so many holes in that environmental psychology that it requires a religious dogmatism to maintain it, but its superficial emotional force is largely impervious to reason.

I am trying here to analyse the climate situation on the basis of rational philosophy. That is a difficult thing to do, since people are highly resistant to having their assumptions questioned. If readers find any comments of mine dubious, by all means say so. I am eager to explore any points that seem unclear.


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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
The underlying communist logic behind the decarbonisation agenda is that poor people are good and rich people are bad. Environmentalism therefore represents a mutation of the old meme that an alliance of the poor against the rich is the only moral path in politics, even if actual rich and poor people don’t line up with the ideology. There are so many holes in that environmental psychology that it requires a religious dogmatism to maintain it, but its superficial emotional force is largely impervious to reason.

I am trying here to analyse the climate situation on the basis of rational philosophy. That is a difficult thing to do, since people are highly resistant to having their assumptions questioned. If readers find any comments of mine dubious, by all means say so. I am eager to explore any points that seem unclear.
Well, 'communist logic' is one point unclear to me. You don't mean whatever might be going on in the few nominally communist nations, I take it. Maybe you mean that there is some Marxist thinking remaining on the left, even among millionaire Democrat politicians. Possibly. But for me it's worth keeping in mind that a leftist agenda regarding world government has to take hold if we are to geo-engineer. Real "Star Trek" stuff, but on an accelerated basis.



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Post Re: Dispatches from the Front Line of the Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
'communist logic' is one point unclear to me. You don't mean whatever might be going on in the few nominally communist nations, I take it.
I have been a staunch anti-communist since I visited Seoul and Pyongyang thirty years ago in July 1989, representing the World Student Christian Federation at the North Korean World Festival of Youth and Students, just after the Tian An Men massacre and before the fall of the Berlin Wall. My previous leftist sentiments were destroyed by comparing the free dynamism of South Korea with the stagnant autocracy of North Korea.

So my language about communism may seem excessive, as it is coloured by this ‘end of history’ optimism about neo-liberal economics from 1989. Even so, I have adopted the economic thinking of the Austrian economics of Hayek and von Mises, and even to some extent Ayn Rand, in recognition that free market growth is the only way to create the wealth that can reduce poverty, and that state power can be a pernicious cancer.

Communist logic is the view that poverty can be reduced by using the power of the state to redistribute wealth, ignoring the perverse incentives and effects created by that policy. To some extent communist logic may be needed and justified, as in progressive tax systems. But I still think it is important to note the communist origins of progressive thinking, with the dangers of excessive reliance on the state.

With climate change, communist logic is the idea that a political attack on the capitalist system and its representatives is the only way to fix the problem. That seems to me central to decarbonisation arguments, with the UN Secretary General the cheerleader. Communist logic rejects geoengineering precisely because it enables the capitalist system to prosper.
DWill wrote:
Maybe you mean that there is some Marxist thinking remaining on the left, even among millionaire Democrat politicians.

Climate response has a major problem with public trust. There is a widespread suspicion that advocates of emission reduction are socialists masquerading as environmentalists, as former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. This concern is a severe stumbling block for climate action. It enables a range of conspiratorial memes about the real motives of climate activists, as to whether their main agenda is social justice through big government and high taxes. Are they just using public fears about global warming to achieve these concealed socialist political goals, since they know that arguing their real views will be unelectable?

I have a lot of sympathy for this conservative critique, which is why I pitch climate change as a planetary security problem that can only be fixed in alliance with the fossil fuel industry and other capitalist industries such as insurance and agriculture who will be badly affected by global warming. That makes me unpopular in climate circles that assume a ‘popular front’ leftist political strategy, when I point out their emission reduction strategy cannot work.

Energy companies are mostly adamantly opposed to increasing their prices through carbon taxes, despite their lip service to that model. So I propose geoengineering as a way to address climate change that does not harm their economic interests. That leaves emission reduction as a small factor in climate response, maybe 10% of the required 35 GTC removal needed each year.
DWill wrote:
it's worth keeping in mind that a leftist agenda regarding world government has to take hold if we are to geo-engineer. Real "Star Trek" stuff, but on an accelerated basis.
No, not at all. Geoengineering can be managed through cooperation between national governments, scientific institutions, private sector partners and international agencies, with no increase in power of international agencies.

I completely get your suspicion about a world government agenda. This fear is widely held and reasonable. To my analysis the fear of world government is something that applies much worse to the non-feasible model of addressing climate change through carbon pricing, whereas geoengineering can be designed to minimise this problem. The need to prevent the upward creep of government size is a major reason that I am opposed to carbon pricing, even though taxing carbon has economic benefits. It is more important to get the political right on board by rejecting the tax and spend logic of the left.

The main area where debate is needed against the political right is on security, given how military spending has become a form of corrupt corporate welfare without a clear security rationale, while the climate security emergency gets ignored. Geoengineering offers a path to international cooperation that can be a major force for world peace.


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