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JimD

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BAU until they peel my cold dead hands from it
« on: January 09, 2015, 05:36:02 PM »
I make no secret that I consider Green BAU to have no better prospects for saving us from catastrophic climate change than the standard fossil industry based Black BAU.  I base this partly on the fact that the future world envisioned by the proponents of Green BAU is a world almost identical to what we have today - just powered by renewable's and a world full of a couple of billion ev's.  Such a world, even if it was a possible one, would clearly not be close to carbon neutral so climate change would continue to worsen.  But there is a bigger reason.  Green BAU accepts the main positions of Black BAU and thus serves to perpetrate its evils.  Increasing energy use, consumption, rising affluence, and a rapidly growing population.

So where are we in this tragic tableau?  We have a rise of political conservatism in a number of key countries, pending global financial problems which make it far more difficult to make large scale structural changes, a requirement to make cultural changes and, on top of that, we see a growing push by the global fossil fuel industry to protect its turf. 

It should be clear to anyone that, given the worlds current political and economic situation, it is impossible to make any kind of rapid technological conversion on a significant scale along the lines of the Green BAU technologies proposed.  Large scale renewables are destined to be a niche component of the overall global energy infrastructure for at least 2-3 more decades.  And this is the exact plan that the global fossil fuel industry has in mind.  The two forms of BAU work hand in glove with each other as the growth of renewables actually helps keep the fossil fuel industry viable by filling in a little of the gaps in the energy infrastructure which would exist without that renewable input.

The below really brings home how desperate the situation has become.  If we follow the fossil fuel industry plan, or assist it by pushing alternative technologies which support our current civilizational structure and way of life, we have no chance.  On that comment I offer below an very good article on how deep and focused the fossil fuel industry is on protecting its turf. 

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/michael-klare-big-oil-responding-anti-carbon-movement.html

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Michael Klare: How Big Oil Is Responding to the Anti-Carbon Movement

Yves here. It should be no surprise that Big Oil is not about to go down without a big fight. And they continue to copy from the playbook used by Big Tobacco. Behind the scenes, they go to great lengths to trying to undermine the already strong and ever-increasing evidence of the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, including openly offering bribes to scientists to attack the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. In addition, frontally, they try to present their products and their social role as positive.

By Michael T. Klare, a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left.  A documentary movie version of his book Blood and Oil is available from the Media Education Foundation. Originally published at TomDispatch

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...Around the world, carbon-based fuels are under attack......All this has been accompanied by what might be viewed as a moral assault on the very act of extracting carbon-based fuels from the earth, in which the major oil, gas, and coal companies find themselves portrayed as the enemies of humankind.

Under such pressures, you might assume that Big Energy would react defensively, perhaps apologizing for its role in spurring climate change while assuming a leadership position in planning for the transition to a post-carbon economy.  But you would be wrong: instead of retreating, the major companies have gone on the offensive, extolling their contributions to human progress and minimizing the potential for renewables to replace fossil fuels in just about any imaginable future.

That the big carbon outfits would seek to perpetuate their privileged market position in the global economy is, of course, hardly surprising..........Still, these companies are not just employing conventional legal and corporate tactics to protect their position, they’re mounting a moral assault of their own, claiming that fossil fuels are an essential factor in eradicating poverty and achieving a decent life on this planet

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Improbable as such claims may seem, they are being echoed by powerful officials around the world .........Count on one thing: this crew of fossil fuel enthusiasts is intent on ensuring that any path to a carbon-free future will, at best, be long and arduous.  While you’re at it, add top Congressional leaders to this crew, since many of the Republican victors in the 2014 midterm election are from oil and coal-producing states and regularly laud carbon production for its contribution to local prosperity, while pocketing contributions by Big Oil and other energy firms.

Unless directly challenged, this pro-carbon offensive – backed by copious Big Energy advertising – is likely to attract at least as much favor as the claims of anti-carbon activists. ...

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Once upon a time, the giant carbon companies like Exxon sought to deflect these attacks by denying the very existence of climate change or the role of humans in causing it — or at least by raising the banner of “uncertainty” about the science behind it. They also financed the efforts of rogue scientists to throw doubt on global warming.  While denialism still figures in the propaganda of some carbon companies, they have now largely chosen to embrace another strategy: extolling the benefits of fossil fuels and highlighting their contributions to human wellbeing and progress.

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If a climate movement is going to challenge the energy powers of this planet effectively, it’s crucial to grasp the vision into which Big Energy is undoubtedly planning to sink incredible resources and which, across much of the planet, will become a living, breathing argument for ignoring the catastrophic warming of the planet.  They present it, of course, as a glowing dreamscape of a glorious future .

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No Growth Without Us

The cornerstone of the Exxon report is its claims that ever-increasing supplies of energy are needed to sustain economic growth and ensure human betterment, and that fossil fuels alone exist in sufficient quantity (and at affordable enough prices) to satisfy rising international demand........“Over the next few decades, population and income growth — and an unprecedented expansion of the global middle class — are expected to create new demands for energy.”

Some of this added energy, Exxon acknowledges, will come from nuclear and renewable energy.  Most, however, will have to come from fossil fuels.  All told, the Outlook estimates, the world will need 35% more energy in 2040 than it does today.  That would mean adding an additional 191 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) to global supplies over and above the 526 quadrillion BTUs consumed in 2010.  A small percentage of those added BTUs, about 12%, will come from renewables, but the vast majority — estimated by Exxon at 67% — will be provided by fossil fuels.

Without fossil fuels, this argument holds, there can be no economic growth.

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Here’s how Exxon CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson puts it: “Energy is fundamental to economic growth, and oil is fundamental because to this point in time, we have not found, through technology or other means, another fuel that can substitute for the role that oil plays in transportation, not just passenger, individual transportation, but commercial transportation, jet fuel, marine, all the ways in which we use oil as a fuel to move people and things about this planet.”

Natural gas is equally essential, Tillerson argues, because it is the world’s fastest-growing source of energy and a key ingredient in electric power generation. Nor will coal be left out of the mix.  It, too, will play an important role in promoting economic growth, largely by facilitating a rapid increase in global electricity supplies.  Despite all the concern over coal’s contributions to both urban pollution and climate change, Exxon predicts that it will remain “the No. 1 fuel for power generation” in 2040.

Yes, other sources of energy will play a role in helping to satisfying global needs, but without carbon-based fuels, Exxon insists, economic growth will screech to a halt and the world’s poor and disadvantaged will stay immersed in poverty......

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If there is one overarching theme to the new Exxon ethos, it is that we are witnessing the emergence of a new global middle class with glittering possibilities and that this expanding multitude, constituting perhaps one-half of the world’s population by 2040, will require ever greater quantities of oil, coal, and natural gas if it is to have any hope of achieving its true potential.

Citing data from the Brookings Institution, the company notes that the number of people who earn enough to be considered members of that global middle class will jump from approximately 1.9 billion in 2010 to 4.7 billion in 2030 — representing what it calls “the largest collective increase in living standards in history.” 


The article is long and there is a lot more there.  But this is to be taken very seriously.  BAU is part of human nature and the tendency to continue down well worn paths is almost impossible to break from.  Any form of BAU perpetuates a continuation of the the status quo.  The future envisioned by the key leaders and spokesmen for BAU leads unerringly to utter catastrophe.

If we do not break from this historical approach to doing things we cannot avoid such a catastrophe.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 11:01:40 AM by Neven »
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Laurent

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wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2015, 08:12:28 PM »
"BAU is part of human nature and the tendency to continue down well worn paths is almost impossible to break from."

The thing is that BAU/Modernity is all about NOT continuing down well-worn paths. It is fundamentally disruptive of traditional lifestyles that people have lived within for millennia. Even for those inside it, it requires constantly fundamentally changing how you live. Computers have gone from something that only businesses and NASA used to something every person must have (or have access to). More recently the same thing has happened with cell phones and now smart phones. These have deeply altered how we live our daily lives and how we interact (or don't) with others.

I'm not really disagreeing with you. It is the dependency on high levels of energy use and on high levels of complexity that is the 'path' that we don't seem to be able to break from.

Yet, ironically, that very path is enormously and constantly and deeply disruptive to many of our most fundamental daily habits.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 05:29:33 PM »
"BAU is part of human nature and the tendency to continue down well worn paths is almost impossible to break from."

The thing is that BAU/Modernity is all about NOT continuing down well-worn paths. It is fundamentally disruptive of traditional lifestyles that people have lived within for millennia. Even for those inside it, it requires constantly fundamentally changing how you live. Computers have gone from something that only businesses and NASA used to something every person must have (or have access to). More recently the same thing has happened with cell phones and now smart phones. These have deeply altered how we live our daily lives and how we interact (or don't) with others.

I'm not really disagreeing with you. It is the dependency on high levels of energy use and on high levels of complexity that is the 'path' that we don't seem to be able to break from.

Yet, ironically, that very path is enormously and constantly and deeply disruptive to many of our most fundamental daily habits.

Hmm...no I think we do disagree Wili.

Traditional lifestyles are not examples of good BAU and ours of bad BAU.  And our BAU did not disrupt their kind.  They are the same kind of BAU.  Just applied in different circumstances and ending up with very different results. 

Our current civilizational structure is familiar and seems to work well in a short terms sense.  Just as the traditional lifestyles lived by indigenous peoples for millenia.  But those people arrived at their BAU via the same process we did.  Using the same evolutionary developed decision making processes.  We are the same people they were and use the same methods they used.  It is just that times have changed and our methods of making decisions have not.  Thus we walk the road to Hell.

When indigenous cultures made the mistakes we are now repeating they did it in a world in which they could only exceed their carrying capacity in a local region.  Thus when collapse happened to them (which it often did) the global system was not materially impacted and their survivors could regroup in place and/or migrate to another local.  We of course cannot do that as our unfolding collapse is a global one.  Plus we now have the greatest challenge in human history to deal with - climate change.

Even if climate change did not exist this collapse would be an epic one due to the all encompassing nature of this one.  The only option in our case is going to be to regroup in place and/or slaughter ones neighbors to take from them.  A common process in collapses throughout history.  But a BAU one.  It is what we have always done and our decision making nature drives us in that direction - I heard it in a conversation yesterday.  And it would work - after a fashion.  Collapse is never pretty as history has shown us.

Thus we follow our traditional BAU decision making processes.  We are making our decisions as we always have.  Via short-term flight or fight synapses.  Right into the teeth of climate change.  Lemmings jumping off a cliff is what we are today.  Or bacteria growing uncontrollably in a petri dish.  Because we are incapable of thinking in a rational long-term sense and over riding our short-term BAU thought processes.  Thus we get black BAU from those who's wiring is so strong that they cannot even acknowledge a long-term threat and green BAU from those who recognize the threat, but for whom the short-term benefits still out weigh the long-term pain.  Discounting the future for the present.  Traditional BAU thinking.

What is required is to break from our hard wired traditional approach and to adopt a rational decision making process and then to DO SOMETHING instead of continuing to sit on our thumbs (as pleasurable as it might be).

It is the siren song we face
The song of doom
It draws us
to the maw of the beast
We thirst for it
Still
As we always have
It sits in our darkest place
and waits to come forward
when we are weakest
It promises salvation
and redemption
It delivers suffering
loving release
oblivion


We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 10:11:25 PM »
It sounds to me as if you are saying everything is always BAU no matter what, and by that definition, then, yes, all cultures are BAU.

Then presumably you are not proposing anything other than BAU since there is no 'not-BAU'?

Perhaps you just mean to point out how utterly stuck we are, which I would tend to agree with.

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2015, 04:17:48 PM »
It sounds to me as if you are saying everything is always BAU no matter what, and by that definition, then, yes, all cultures are BAU.

Then presumably you are not proposing anything other than BAU since there is no 'not-BAU'?

Perhaps you just mean to point out how utterly stuck we are, which I would tend to agree with.

Well we are utterly stuck, but...

Naw, I guess I am just being inarticulate.

Choosing to follow a business as usual path is a sign of following the same methodology of thought processes.  Evolution has hard wired us for a methodology for making decisions just like it has for all animals.  Endless numbers of studies have shown that even the most rational of people make almost all of their decisions subconsciously  -  and then rationalize their decisions.  This, of course, applies to both you and I.   Someone could argue, and the rational person could not deny the possibility, that no matter how logical and rational my arguments might seem to be, I like everyone else came to them via some subconscious process and then spent a lot of time coming up with good arguments as to why they are accurate assessments of the situation.

It seems quite clear to me that looking back in time there has never been a true break in the past with our hardwired methodology of decision making.  Neither with indigenous cultures nor with our 'modern' cultures.  Our subconscious decides, using a host of poorly understood or unknown triggers related to what is threatening to or of benefit to that tribal group our subconscious has decided is 'ours' (me, my family, my village - and fuck everyone else) and then acts.  Rationalizing things later.

Evidence that we have broken from the BAU paths and entered a period of rational decision making would be a rapid instituting of all the changes that you and I have talked about the last 10 years which were essential if we wanted to avoid or mitigate catastrophic collapse.   I do not see that happening.  I see BAU.

Humanity seems absolutely bent on doing exactly what we have done all the way up to this time.  A rational person would be hard put to come up with a logical thought process which could get us to change.  It is not in our nature to do things this way.  To break the BAU process.

We will likely only react when our basic wiring is triggered by tangible threats which we can use our sixth sense to taste and which will then trigger dramatic action.  This is a BAU process of course but action will come from it.  Both in the right direction and in really ugly directions I expect.  But I am pretty certain that this point will not happen for a number of decades and thus I tear at the structure of our basic decision making process.  In vain most likely.

You can see from this that while the rational part of my brain has come to the conclusion there is almost no chance we start behaving rationally the subconscious part is still for some reason holding out hope.  Otherwise why would I still spend hours a day in fruitless efforts to get people to step outside their fears and to think through the whole mess and decide to change directions.

I'll keep banging them up side the head if you do.  Pain is the best way to trigger action I think.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2015, 09:35:32 PM »
"I'll keep banging them up side the head if you do.  Pain is the best way to trigger action I think."

Yes, let's keep banging away. No telling what might shake loose!
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2015, 12:51:26 AM »
This is a somewhat recent essay by Richard Heinberg that doesn't seem to be quite 'Green BAU' but isn't quite 'total collapse is inevitable' either.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-01-21/our-renewable-future

A particularly relevant passage:

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some solar and wind advocates apparently believe it makes good strategic sense to claim that a renewable future will deliver comfort, convenience, jobs, and growth—an extension of the oil-fueled 20th century, but now energized by wind and solar electrons. Regardless of whether it’s true, it is a message that appeals to a broad swath of the public. Yet most serious renewable energy scientists and analysts acknowledge that the energy transition will require changes throughout society. [...]

Here in the US, though, it is common to find passionate but poorly informed climate activists who loudly proclaim that the transition can be easily and fully accomplished at no net cost. Again, this may be an effective message for rallying troops, but it ends up denying oxygen to energy conservation efforts, which are just as important.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 04:38:25 PM »
This is a somewhat recent essay by Richard Heinberg that doesn't seem to be quite 'Green BAU' but isn't quite 'total collapse is inevitable' either.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-01-21/our-renewable-future

A particularly relevant passage:

Quote
some solar and wind advocates apparently believe it makes good strategic sense to claim that a renewable future will deliver comfort, convenience, jobs, and growth—an extension of the oil-fueled 20th century, but now energized by wind and solar electrons. Regardless of whether it’s true, it is a message that appeals to a broad swath of the public. Yet most serious renewable energy scientists and analysts acknowledge that the energy transition will require changes throughout society. [...]

Here in the US, though, it is common to find passionate but poorly informed climate activists who loudly proclaim that the transition can be easily and fully accomplished at no net cost. Again, this may be an effective message for rallying troops, but it ends up denying oxygen to energy conservation efforts, which are just as important.

The lobby advocating large scale renewables as a solution is using the same tactics and methods of misinformation as the fossil industry does when they promote the darker forms of BAU.  Green BAU is a gigantic business industry all on its own and anything they say needs to pass the smell test just like we have learned to use on the rest of big business.  Green BAU is synonymous with industrial organic agriculture.  It is marketing based and seeks primarily profits.  Being sustainable and capable of delivering its promise's is not to be discussed.

This is the core of my argument against following these Green BAU paths.  There are plenty of fact based scientific works which have looked at what is possible.  It is just not possible to deliver on the promise's being made.  This puts them in the same camp as the rest of the BAU people. 

It is highly unlikely we can even approach zero carbon emissions for many decades - if ever as this goal runs counter to having an advanced civilization which consists of a large population.  Out GOALs must be oriented around what is possible.  Wishful thinking, of the kind I rail against all the time, gets us nowhere - even if it makes some people sleep better at night - they can turn the light on I guess if they are so scared - a renewable light of course.

What I want is to pursue policies which will give us a chance of 'having' some form of advanced civilization a couple of hundred years from now.  In order to provide that chance we have to make huge changes NOW.  The scale of advanced civilization we have now well exceeds the limits of what advancing climate change and dwindling global carrying capacity will allow.  We are way into overshoot and there are going to be dramatic reductions across the board in terms of our total population and said carrying capacity.  But the issues is how big of reductions and how fast they come.

Dramatic change NOW means far less pain later and a greater carrying capacity IF we approach this situation intelligently.  Manage a quick decline in population, reduce affluence in the rich countries, slow economic growth, increase efficiency everywhere, eliminate the use of fossil fuels (especially coal), systematically eliminate globalization, park the planes, park the cars, end tourism, grow some of your own food, etc, etc.  If we do this we can make it through the bottleneck,which is inevitable at this point, with much better civilizational prospects.

However, if we continue to pursue this competition between Black BAU and Green BAU we get nowhere.  The fundamental vision of these heavily marketed approaches is the same.  That is their joint vision is a world just like the one we live in today.  Vast consumerism, vast wealth, rising affluence, etc.  It does not take much thought to see where this leads.  It leads to much higher emissions and much lower carrying capacity.  It is suicidal.  It is brain dead stupid.  (I have no doubt we will follow that siren song ... it is what we do). It means collapse will be much harder and more vicious.  It means the bottom will be much further down the curves and far fewer will survive.  It is an unconsciously cruel approach to take.  Utterly selfish and certainly immoral.

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 04:50:58 PM »
"What I want is to pursue policies which will give us a chance of 'having' some form of advanced civilization a couple of hundred years from now."

Yeah, that's what Heinberg seems to be aiming for, too. But without the usual claims of the BAU folks, by some definitions, at least.

Anyway, he's a major thinker in the field, and I would be very interested in your assessment of his whole article, here, if you can spare a few minutes.

Note in the section I quoted from above that the crucial sentence is: "Yet most serious renewable energy scientists and analysts acknowledge that the energy transition will require changes throughout society."

Specifically, he's saying that everyone (especially the global wealthy) needs to figure out how to use a lot less energy. He's using a bit softer language than you, but I get the impression that much of what he is actually saying you would agree with. But I don't want to pre-suppose, so again, I'd love to get your bead on it (partly to see if we like and dislike the same parts).

.....

If you haven't seen it yet, you may be interested in the following graph that shows that the most suicidal "Representative Concentration Path," RCP 8.5, includes the most renewables of any of the paths.



http://www.skepticalscience.com/rcp.php?t=3

I don't know how much clearer a case could be made that developing massive amounts of renewables, by itself, does essentially nothing to prevent the worst levels of GW from coming about.

Some may be necessary to preserve some minimum semblance of civilization. But renewables by themselves are certainly not sufficient for even reducing the risk of the very worst outcomes.

(The huge dependence on 'bioenergy' in RC 2.6 is...troubling, to say the least, too. Presumably that mostly means bio-fuels, which have proven to be mostly a fiasco...To paraphrase the bard: How are we utterly F'd; Let me count the ways...)



« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 04:59:24 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

viddaloo

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2015, 05:31:43 PM »
systematically eliminate globalization, park the planes, park the cars, end tourism,

End of Sport.

I don't really believe in any claims that climate is taken seriously before we see the end of the Premier League, NHL, NBL etc. We need all that attention and focus to be on fighting climate catastrophe, not on eating chips and drinking beer watching a ball being tossed about.

We also need the muscles of all those young athletes to build barriers, walls, dikes etc, + clean up oil spills, dismantle oil rigs, make safe flats for homeless people out of the old air planes, and countless other tasks. How about sending all Premier League footballers to the Amazon to stop logging? For a decade? Just do it!, as Nike suggests.

Quote
You can see from this that while the rational part of my brain has come to the conclusion there is almost no chance we start behaving rationally the subconscious part is still for some reason holding out hope.

Exact same thing here. Heart and mind. It's hard wrapping your head around the very rational conclusion that we are toast, to quote a manic youtube preacher, and your heart will always keep looking for a way out, which I guess is good. Spirit of Life. But as long as rush hour in this city looks exactly like it did when I first moved here decades ago, only with more and bigger cars, I don't think we can make it. I don't even think we'll be able to explain the slowest half why there is something wrong with what they do every day. They will say the paid for the petrol and have every right to drive as much as they want. Which, I must say, is a fair point. A rational society wouldn't allow that stuff, only in an irrational society will it be a question of whether you paid for gas or not.

Cross–country skiers on every roadblock explaining Norwegian drivers why they can just forget about it? We need more athletes out on the streets, and armed, to stop rogue drivers with guns.
[]

wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2015, 09:51:09 PM »
Vid--amen.

Jim, here's another article you might find interesting--a bit more hard hitting that the Heinberg piece:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/15588-power-shift-away-from-green-illusions

Power Shift Away From Green Illusions
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2015, 08:18:26 PM »
wili

As you have likely picked up on I am a very strong advocate for the de-growth movement.

I think your two articles should be required reading for anyone who wants to comment on the subjects of energy and climate change.

I took the first article and transferred it over to the topic "Why Some Deny and Other Fail to Act" to continue a conversation with sigmetnow.  As I said to him regarding that article..

Quote
It provides what I think is a clear explanation why most of the approaches you advocate just will not work.  A must read for any of the BAU folks.

As you read this I want you to keep in mind a few points which the author largely left out of this article.  All of them are strong negative feedbacks which inevitably lead to a more 'harsh' conclusion.  In other words this piece, while very good at demolishing the BAU positions, is far from fully realistic.  Those points are rapid population growth, diminishing global carrying capacity, and the detrimental effects of rapid climate change.  The situation is much worse than he states (And he does know this, but is trying to make his points gently and gradually.  I am past that.). 

To a lessor, but still substantial, amount the same can be said about the article of the interview with Zehner.  I respect both Heinberg and Zehner for their efforts and being somewhat out in front on these issues.  But things are much worse than they state.

Time is of the essence here.  The date when we could have started and succeeded at a gradual civilizational changeover was around 1975.  And we knew it then and started and just flat failed.   But that is water under the bridge and we don't get a do over.  We have to accept the current situation and take the actions required to avoid as much of the coming catastrophe as we can.  Black and Green BAU does not get us there.  We need to change our approach dramatically and right now.  That is a lot to ask, but for those who hold out any realistic hope that is all there is.  We must accept reality and deal with it.  Now. Not piecemeal over several decades.  Each day we wait the amount of effort needed will grow and the scale of collapse will worsen.

I am at a never ending amazement of the seemingly utter lack of imagination of the BAU folks and their willingness to ignore reality and the facts.  Such behavior proves beyond any shadow of doubt how truly we adhere to our basic animal nature and how far from being rational creatures we are.  It still remains to be proven if we are smarter than yeast.
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wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2015, 10:20:39 PM »
I'm glad you found them interesting. I thought you might.

Good point about timing. People should be running through the street with their hair on fire at this point demanding immediate action to make whatever desperate measures are necessary to at least give us some slightest breath of a chance of avoiding the very worst and fastest consequences.

The one argument that both of these articles make that doesn't strike me as their strongest is saying that renewables are dependent on ffs. By itself this seems to me to be both kind of a non-sequitur and almost tautologically obvious. We are still deep inside a very fundamentally ff-based industrial economy, so how could they be anything else?

A more accurate and useful version of the point is that, even with a vast WWII-like development of renewables, we would need to at this point would require either a ff outlay beyond what we really can 'afford' or a shutting down of nearly every other use of electricity to use nearly all currently produced renewables to be used almost exclusively to produce more renewables capacity.

As I have said often, rapidly reducing our energy requirements to a fifth or so of their current levels, especially in the 'developed' world, would put us in a position that renewables could start to handle most of the remaining energy requirement.

Such a drastic reduction (drastic by most peoples estimation--catastrophic AGW is of course a MUCH more drastic path to follow), however accomplished, is the only way I can see to bring down ff use at the anywhere close to the rate necessary to give us even a long-shot chance of zooming rapidly far above 2 degrees C.


« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 10:27:18 PM by wili »
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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2015, 12:51:02 AM »
BAU

This is really ugly.

This why capitalism will not work for the future.

This is why coal is the enemy of the human race.

Quote
None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use...

Here’s how those costs break down:

The majority of unpriced natural capital costs are from greenhouse gas emissions (38%), followed by water use (25%), land use (24%), air pollution (7%), land and water pollution (5%), and waste (1%).

So how much is that costing us? Trucost’s headline results are fairly stunning.

First, the total unpriced natural capital consumed by the more than 1,000 “global primary production and primary processing region-sectors” amounts to $7.3 trillion a year — 13 percent of 2009 global GDP....

Second, surprising no one, coal is the enemy of the human race....

Trucost’s third big finding is the coup de grace. Of the top 20 region-sectors ranked by environmental impacts, none would be profitable if environmental costs were fully integrated. Ponder that for a moment: None of the world’s top industrial sectors would be profitable if they were paying their full freight. Zero.

What’s needed is not just better accounting but a new global industrial system, a new way of providing for human well being, and fast. That means a revolution.


It bears repeating the last quote:  What’s needed is not just better accounting but a new global industrial system, a new way of providing for human well being, and fast. That means a revolution. 

Change.. a complete overhaul...right now.

http://grist.org/business-technology/none-of-the-worlds-top-industries-would-be-profitable-if-they-paid-for-the-natural-capital-they-use/
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AbruptSLR

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2015, 05:42:49 PM »
The linked article by Naomi Klein indicates that BAU (green or otherwise) will not adequately address our current climate challenge (see extract), and that our current rigged-global-capitalistic system must change rapidly or we will all face the threat of significant climate consequences (assuming that a desperate implementation of geoengineering in a few decades time isn't a BAU salvation).

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/08/how-will-everything-change-under-climate-change


Extract: "All this means that the usual free market assurances – A techno-fix is around the corner! Dirty development is just a phase on the way to a clean environment, look at 19th-century London! – simply don’t add up. We don’t have a century to spare for China and India to move past their Dickensian phases. Because of our lost decades, it is time to turn this around now. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it possible without challenging the fundamental logic of deregulated capitalism? Not a chance."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2015, 08:50:47 PM »
I'm coming to this discussion late, been gone for a couple of months.  Perhaps someone can tell me what "green BAU" is?

The usual green business I see is rapidly falling wind and solar prices, installation rates falling, efficiencies being discovered and implemented.  If we assume green business will continue accelerating our move off fossil fuels then we can easily hit the "40% to 70% reduction from 2005 levels of CO2 emission by 2050" target.

Are other people looking at usual green business as stagnant?



Neven

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2015, 09:07:41 PM »
I'm coming to this discussion late, been gone for a couple of months.  Perhaps someone can tell me what "green BAU" is?

Hi, Bob, and welcome back.

I can't speak for others, but this is my take on the definition of Green BAU: Nothing really changes except the way that energy is generated. GDP growth is still the be all and end all of human society. Consumer culture doesn't really change, except that products are now 'green'.  The power structure remains the same, literally and figuratively, with the bulk of energy being produced by megaprojects instead of distributed sources run by individuals or small groups. With this power structure unchanged, the increase in inequality continues, with more and more owned by less and less people.

So to me Green BAU is a bit of greenwash and a lot of greenifiying of inherently unsustainable practices (such as consumer culture). It's fighting symptoms without trying to solve the root cause of the predicament, leading to even more complexity, making society more vulnerable to all kinds of other stresses tied to the neoclassical economic concept of infinite growth.
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Neven

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2015, 09:24:06 PM »
Naomi Klein explains it really very well:

Quote
With hindsight, it’s hard to see how it could have turned out otherwise. The twin signatures of this era have been the mass export of products across vast distances (relentlessly burning carbon all the way), and the import of a uniquely wasteful model of production, consumption, and agriculture to every corner of the world (also based on the profligate burning of fossil fuels). Put differently, the liberation of world markets, a process powered by the liberation of unprecedented amounts of fossil fuels from the earth, has dramatically sped up the same process that is liberating Arctic ice from existence.

As a result, we now find ourselves in a very difficult and slightly ironic position. Because of those decades of hardcore emitting, exactly when we were supposed to be cutting back, the things we must do to avoid catastrophic warming are no longer just in conflict with the particular strain of deregulated capitalism that triumphed in the 1980s. They are now in conflict with the fundamental imperative at the heart of our economic model: grow or die.

(...)

What those numbers mean is that our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.

Fortunately, it is eminently possible to transform our economy so that it is less resource-intensive, and to do it in ways that are equitable, with the most vulnerable protected and the most responsible bearing the bulk of the burden. Low-carbon sectors of our economies can be encouraged to expand and create jobs, while high-carbon sectors are encouraged to contract. The problem, however, is that this scale of economic planning and management is entirely outside the boundaries of our reigning ideology. The only kind of contraction our current system can manage is a brutal crash, in which the most vulnerable will suffer most of all.

(...)

The challenge, then, is not simply that we need to spend a lot of money and change a lot of policies; it’s that we need to think differently, radically differently, for those changes to be remotely possible. A worldview will need to rise to the fore that sees nature, other nations, and our own neighbours not as adversaries, but rather as partners in a grand project of mutual reinvention.

(...)

In short, we have reached what some activists have started calling “Decade Zero” of the climate crisis: we either change now or we lose our chance. All this means that the usual free market assurances – A techno-fix is around the corner! Dirty development is just a phase on the way to a clean environment, look at 19th-century London! – simply don’t add up. We don’t have a century to spare for China and India to move past their Dickensian phases. Because of our lost decades, it is time to turn this around now. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it possible without challenging the fundamental logic of deregulated capitalism? Not a chance.

(...)

Because, underneath all of this is the real truth we have been avoiding: climate change isn’t an “issue” to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes. It is a civilisational wake-up call. A powerful message – spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions – telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.

The whole piece is well worth reading.
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Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2015, 10:20:33 PM »
We end up back at the same point at which some opine that "we are doomed" unless we stop growth and others hold that we can allow growth as long as the inputs are sustainable.

Here, as I see it, are our three options:

1) No growth
2) Growth with sustainable inputs
3) Growth without regard to sustainability

My opinion is that #3 is the road we cannot go down. 

Option #1 would obviously help us to limit climate change, but IMHO, it is unreasonable.  There is no feasible way to stop human desire for growth.  Placing our efforts on #1 would simply doom us to seeing #3 followed.

IMHO those who strongly advocate for #2 are getting in the way of actually getting something done.  They are supplying talking points to the deniers/fossil fuel industry.  "Those greenies want to stop progress and destroy our economy...."

The message should be, IMHO, "You can have your big house and drive your car as long as your house and car are build and powered sustainably.  And here are some ways to do that...."

Neven

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2015, 11:01:33 PM »
Quote
The message should be, IMHO, "You can have your big house and drive your car as long as your house and car are build and powered sustainably.  And here are some ways to do that...."

Well, Bob, it looks like we agree on what Green BAU is. ;D

It's the system we have now, except that it's green. And sustainability can be achieved without systemic changes.

Quote
Here, as I see it, are our three options:

1) No growth
2) Growth with sustainable inputs
3) Growth without regard to sustainability

May I add to that 4) A new definition of growth?

Quote
The message should be, IMHO, "You can have your big house and drive your car as long as your house and car are build and powered sustainably.  And here are some ways to do that...."

Well, I don't know about driving, but I'm in the process of building an eco-house, and I can tell you it's nigh impossible.

Perhaps by combining it with lots of gardening and only driving my car when absolutely necessary, and getting other people in my community involved, I can somehow make a positive impact. But this will have me stepping so far outside of the reigning paradigm, that if a critical mass of people would do it, it would no longer be BAU, either green or black.  This would mean that the economy under the current definition would crash.

In other words, me and all those other people would be doing the wrong thing. We should actually be taking out credits, work like crazy, and buy green stuff only, hopefully aided by lots of conscious advertisements telling us what to buy.

How could this ever work? It's a contradiction in terms or some such. Better change the system so that people can improve their lives and change culture.
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JimD

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2015, 11:22:08 PM »
It is amazing how facts just are always trying to get in the way of fantasies isn't it?

This..

Quote
The message should be, IMHO, "You can have your big house and drive your car as long as your house and car are build and powered sustainably.  And here are some ways to do that...."

is the definition of Green BAU insanity.  There is absolutely NOTHING sustainable about your big house being able to be built sustainablly nor your technology.  There is a definition of what sustainable means.  Your approach is absolutely on your path number 3.


Did you actually read what you just wrote?

Quote
Here, as I see it, are our three options:

1) No growth...

Option #1 would obviously help us to limit climate change, but IMHO, it is unreasonable...

2) Growth with sustainable inputs...

IMHO those who strongly advocate for #2 are getting in the way of actually getting something done.  They are supplying talking points to the deniers/fossil fuel industry...

3) Growth without regard to sustainability...

My opinion is that #3 is the road we cannot go down.

So, of your 3 possible options you state that all of them are the wrong approach.

Ok that is good as it is true that none of them will work at all.  Part of the problem here is that those are not the only options and in fact options 2 and 3 are really the same thing as there is no such thing as sustainability along with growth.  Facts are facts after all.  But then why do you come up with something as crazy sounding as this..

Quote
The message should be, IMHO, "You can have your big house and drive your car as long as your house and car are build and powered sustainably.  And here are some ways to do that...."

This is the exact definition of the proponents of Green BAU and it is the path of either your option 2 or 3 above.  It is not just an impossible solution to our problems it is simply suicidal.

If we want to have any chance of dealing with collapse as well as mitigating and adapting to climate change we have to undergo a process of degrowth, of population reduction, reduced consumption, reduced affluence, etc.  Not no growth, and for God's sake absolutely not any kind of growth at all.  This stuff is not that hard to understand.

Rather than spout this kind of nonsense how about reading up on the links in Neven's post and studying the scale of the issues here.  BAU as you propose is just insane.  Your approach is not one towards a solution nor does it hold out any hope. 

Hope and the possibility of success are found not in ignoring the facts as you seem bent on doing, but in accepting and understanding what those facts imply...and require.  We must dramatically change the way we live or we cannot solve these problems. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2015, 11:25:49 PM »
OK, we agree that green BAU is accelerating and replacing fossil fuels.  And finding alternatives for non-sustainable inputs.

Good.

Obviously that it a process in progress with some yet unsolved problems and a lot of work to be done.

Quote
Perhaps by combining it with lots of gardening and only driving my car when absolutely necessary, and getting other people in my community involved, I can somehow make a positive impact. But this will have me stepping so far outside of the reigning paradigm, that if a critical mass of people would do it, it would no longer be BAU, either green or black.  This would mean that the economy under the current definition would crash.

If the food you, your family, and others eats is grown in sustainable way, no fossil fuel inputs and in a way that maintains the usability of the land, that is something we can live with going forward.

If the car you and others drive is manufactured from sustainable inputs and powered by renewable energy then that is also something we can live with going forward.

The solution is not that you, personally, do something different from what we are now doing and attempt to get others around you to change.  We've been trying that for a few decades and it has not been working.

The solution, IMHO, is that we change what is available to purchase in our grocery stores and car dealerships as well as the power on our grids.  If the options available are green/sustainable then the choices people make will be green/sustainable.


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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2015, 11:27:37 PM »
Bob, welcome back

I will try to give you an alternative perspective:

1)   Investing in energy efficiency is essentially a global de-growth strategy we should follow
2)   Building resilient and sustainable energy production systems from the bottom up is clearly not the same as the “Green Growth” paradigm we are discussing in this thread
3)   Growing your national  GDP through events like Katrina, Andrew, Sandy... seems like an unsustainable growth path in many ways

Your BAU approach is understandable, if you are affluent and able to leave the ASIB for a few months and take a spin in your new Tesla...


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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2015, 11:34:20 PM »
Quote
We must dramatically change the way we live or we cannot solve these problems

Yes, we must change the way we live or we cannot solve these problems.  We totally agree on that.  Now, the question is "How do we make these changes?"

You think we stand a chance in hell by convincing people to live in tiny houses and not drive cars (assuming those are some of the changes needed)?

That is the route to total failure.  We 'greens' have tried to get that message for a few decades and it has not changed things to an appreciable amount.

But we are being successful in changing the way people live by giving them acceptable options which do not change their quality of life in any appreciable manner. 

LEDs/CLFs are replacing incandescent bulbs.

Refrigerators, appliances, electronic devices, and automobiles are becoming more efficient.

Each year our grids are powered by a larger percentage of wind, solar and other renewables.

None of those advancements have required the general public to "wear hair shirts". 


Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2015, 11:47:56 PM »
Bob, welcome back

I will try to give you an alternative perspective:

1)   Investing in energy efficiency is essentially a global de-growth strategy we should follow
2)   Building from the bottom up is clearly not the same as the “Green Growth” paradigm we are discussing in this thread
3)   Growing your national  GDP through events like Katrina, Andrew, Sandy... seems like an unsustainable growth path in many ways


1) Investing in efficiency is not a de-growth strategy.  In fact, efficiency frees up money that can be spent on other things. 

People in places such as Hawaii and Australia who pay huge kWh prices for electricity will use their utility bill savings to buy something else. 

2) If you aren't discussing  resilient and sustainable energy production systems as part of Green Growth then you are leaving out a very important part of Green Growth. 

The developing world will use more energy going forward regardless of what we want.  The developed world seems to be slowing down and might drop a bit in energy use.  It is of foremost importance that our new energy production be sustainable just as our existing fossil fuel energy production be replaced with sustainable production.

3) I don't know how to respond to that statement.  Disasters are things we must deal with and climate change may increase their frequency. 

Quote
Your BAU approach is understandable, if you are affluent and able to leave the ASIB for a few months and take a spin in your new Tesla...

People are going to drive cars of some sort.  Do you think there's a way to prevent that from happening?

EVs will become more affordable.  EV prices should drop to or below the cost of a same-model ICEV.  New technology is almost always expensive and affordable by only a few.  As production ramps up prices drop.  Look back at computers, cell phones, digital cameras, flat screen TVs, solar panels, etc.


Neven

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2015, 11:51:07 PM »
Did you actually read what you just wrote?

Quote
Here, as I see it, are our three options:

1) No growth...

Option #1 would obviously help us to limit climate change, but IMHO, it is unreasonable...

2) Growth with sustainable inputs...

IMHO those who strongly advocate for #2 are getting in the way of actually getting something done.  They are supplying talking points to the deniers/fossil fuel industry...

3) Growth without regard to sustainability...

My opinion is that #3 is the road we cannot go down.

I believe Bob meant to write 'those who strongly advocate for #1'.

OK, we agree that green BAU is accelerating and replacing fossil fuels.  And finding alternatives for non-sustainable inputs.

No, fossil fuels are being replaced by renewables. BAU is staying the same, it only changes colour (in theory).

Quote
If the food you, your family, and others eats is grown in sustainable way, no fossil fuel inputs and in a way that maintains the usability of the land, that is something we can live with going forward.

No, we can't. If a critical mass of people would be doing this, the economy would go down the drain. Under the current definition. The system absolutely demands that people stay wholly dependent on it. That's how power works. The system is as it is because it serves a very small elite.

If people would liberate themselves from this cycle of debt and consumption, not just by greenifiying their BAU lifestyles, but change those lifestyles, the economy would truly crash. And so the system needs to change to accommodate meaningful changes on the individual level.

Quote
The solution is not that you, personally, do something different from what we are now doing and attempt to get others around you to change.  We've been trying that for a few decades and it has not been working.

Perhaps because the problems were always in the future, but now they are here? Maybe that changes the equation?

Quote
The solution, IMHO, is that we change what is available to purchase in our grocery stores and car dealerships as well as the power on our grids.  If the options available are green/sustainable then the choices people make will be green/sustainable.

The lackeys of the elite, perhaps. Not 10 billion people. We are lying to the poor in developing countries, Bob.
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Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2015, 12:05:47 AM »
Quote
No, we can't. If a critical mass of people would be doing this, the economy would go down the drain. Under the current definition. The system absolutely demands that people stay wholly dependent on it. That's how power works. The system is as it is because it serves a very small elite.

If people would liberate themselves from this cycle of debt and consumption, not just by greenifiying their BAU lifestyles, but change those lifestyles, the economy would truly crash. And so the system needs to change to accommodate meaningful changes on the individual level.

If people power their TVs using renewable energy from the grids then our economies would go down the grid?

If people drive cars made from sustainable materials and powered by renewable energy then our economies would go down the drain?

If people ate food grown without fossil fuel inputs then our economies would go down the drain?

No.  Some companies that do not evolve would go down the drain.  Other companies would grow and replace them.

Are some people over borrowed?  Sure.  But others aren't.  That's something we aren't going to change nor really need to change.  Some people will borrow themselves into bankruptcy and others will be the frugal neighbor next door who dies a millionaire.

Are some countries doing the same?  Sure.  Greece has borrowed too much and is failing to collect enough taxes from its citizens. 

The US has debt but it really is nothing more than "making payments".  We build infrastructure not with cash on hand but by borrowing that money.  We've put ourselves in a bad spot with our oil wars but we'll pay that off.

There is a limit to growth but we are nowhere close to reaching that limit.  We need to change the way we do things, move to sustainable practices, but we can continue to improve the lives of those who need more to eat, better housing and better medical care. 

We badly need to deal with the concentration of wealth, but that is an issue separate from growth or sustainability.

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2015, 12:38:36 AM »
We badly need to deal with the concentration of wealth, but that is an issue separate from growth or sustainability.

How can the concentration of wealth be separated from anything if the whole system is geared towards it? The whole definition of GDP growth serves that purpose. People owning TVs, cars and other consumer products serve that purpose. How can you make such a system sustainable? Shouldn't you change the system to make solutions like renewables more viable?
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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2015, 12:51:25 AM »
Quote
How can the concentration of wealth be separated from anything if the whole system is geared towards it?

How? 

The way we have done that in the past in the US is by increasing taxes on the wealthiest and establishing reasonable minimum wage guidelines.

During FDR's tenure we created the great American middle class.  During Reagan's tenure we began destroying it.  Now we have to change direction again.

This is an issue we are staring to work our way thorough in the US.  The extreme wealth of the wealthy is becoming common knowledge as well as the stagnation of middle class incomes. 

Companies are starting to understand that passing too much of their earnings to their owners and not paying their employees enough destroys their customer base. 

It is not a problem which will be solved overnight. 

And it is a problem different from the use of fossil fuels for energy along with the use on non-sustainable feedstock for industry. 

We can have extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands or much wider distribution of wealth regardless of whether our grids run off coal or wind and our cars off oil or electricity.

AbruptSLR

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2015, 01:15:35 AM »
Until we can develop a better socio-economic system, I recommend that we improve the dysfunctional capitalistic one that the world is currently dominated by, as many countries a possible implementing progressive Carbon Fee & Dividend & Tariff plans, as soon as practicable
First, one must realize that not putting a price (at the consumption end) on carbon is theft and it benefits the emitted to the dis-benefit of everyone else, and makes our current international deregulated capitalistic system dysfunctional.  Second, adding a dividend (mostly to the citizens of the consuming nation but also some fraction to international people most impacted by carbon emissions), not only makes a carbon fee politically doable (acceptable) but also helps to redistribute wealth from the wealthy to the average person.  Third, the implementation of a tariff on goods imported from any country not implementing the carbon fee, would effectively stop cheaters.
Lastly, the attached job growth projections for the following program, so that a country can still have job growth under a Carbon Fee & Dividend & Tariff plan:

http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300404/planId/2802

Also, numerous discussions on the topic of a Carbon fee and Dividend plan including those in the following links:
http://www.mediafire.com/view/5f3j6rq78mfmr6a/FeeAndDividend.CliveEllsworth.July2014.pdf
http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/20140724_Australia.pdf
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/d-r-tucker/is-anyone-listening-to-ir_b_6396864.html

« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 07:30:40 PM by AbruptSLR »
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Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2015, 01:46:25 AM »
Perhaps it's time to leave this anti-capitalism behind.  We have no other viable ideas of how things might work.  How about we simply acknowledge that capitalism is with us and get on with things?

Getting on requires that we first recognize that unregulated capitalism almost certainly would result in disaster.  Anyone who has played a game of Monopoly to its end or read any economic history must realize that.  If one or a few come to control too much we start a slide into a dysfunctional economic state.

Then, once we accept that capitalism is our future, we can get to work figuring out what regulations we need and what regulations might not be in our best interest.


Neven

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2015, 01:50:04 AM »
Agreed. That's changing the system, enabling solutions to become meaningful.
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wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2015, 03:25:22 AM »
I think we're really talking about two different things.

Most of us are talking about what kind of average life style may actually have a chance of being sustainable, while BW is talking about what might be the best sales pitch to convince the average person to start taking steps in something like that direction.

This became clear to me from this quote of Bob's: "You think we stand a chance in hell by convincing people to live in tiny houses and not drive cars (assuming those are some of the changes needed)?

That is the route to total failure."

So maybe there should be two different threads--What does long-term sustainability look like; and, What messaging and strategies are most likely going to get us there.

There's still plenty there to disagree about, but it might clarify what exactly we're disagreeing on and why.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2015, 03:56:50 AM »
Quote
So maybe there should be two different threads--What does long-term sustainability look like; and, What messaging and strategies are most likely going to get us there.

Long-term sustainability looks to me like people living in houses/buildings built out of sustainable materials, wearing clothes made from sustainable materials, driving cars or riding public transportation made from sustainable materials.  And everything powered by renewable energy.

How we get there is via a gradual transition away from non-sustainable inputs.  The most important issue at the moment, IMO, is to get fossil fuels out of our energy mix. 

Some of the non-sustainable inputs will be automatically replaced.  As supplies dwindle their cost will increase which will cause manufacturers to look for sustainable alternatives.

What we need to do on a societal level is to adequately fund the research that will help us find solutions and to use regulations and incentives to accelerate change.

Perhaps the issue that needs to be discussed is what we, as individuals, can do to move things along.



wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #35 on: March 09, 2015, 04:08:57 AM »
"gradual" may be one of the places where you are going to find some disagreement.

'Gradual' may have worked twenty, years ago or so, but we are now passing tipping points rather rapidly.

"Gradual" may be more salable than immediate and massive reductions. But most here, and frankly the best science, would agree with the likes of K. Anderson and J. Hanson that it is immediate, large reductions that are called for if we want to have anything like a remote chance of preserving anything like a livable planet for future generations (and many of the current ones).
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #36 on: March 09, 2015, 05:29:06 AM »
IIRC the IIPC says that if we reduce CO2 levels 40% to 70% from 2005 levels by 2050 we have a decent chance of avoiding a 2C increase.

2050 is 35 years away.  Reaching 40% would mean peaking and then dropping CO2 just over 1% per year.  To reach 70% would mean a 2% reduction.  Those are "gradual" as opposed to "abrupt".

How would describe your versions of gradual and abrupt?
--

Remember, the US and Europe have already peaked and have been dropping.  It looks like China might have peaked, it will take a couple more years to be sure, but they definitely seem to be plateauing at worse.

oren

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2015, 11:33:25 AM »
I strongly agree with Bob that nothing except the gradual switch to sustainable inputs while maintaining an affluent lifestyle will ever stand a chance of convincing the masses, the leaders, elected politicians etc. And capitalism / individualism / whatever you name it is here to stay until things get much further on the way to collapse.
On the other hand, I strongly believe that moving along at the current "gradual" pace will cause a massive overshoot. In our system, price sets everything. If I can pay for petrol, I will drive. If I can pay for the electricity, I will turn the air-conditioner on. As long as energy prices stay mild, BAU will continue unabated. Even if one country moves away from fossils, it just means the rest "enjoy" them for cheaper. So the only thing that cause a massive shift away from fossil fuels is a massive global price rise. Waiting for this to happen naturally due to dwindling supplies will doom us, as enough reserves have already been discovered to toast the planet. So governments must step in.

Unfortunately, this brings about massive resistance, meaning no sane politician will ever do it. And it has the side effects of causing recessions, and massive investments in more fossil fuels which brings their prices back down temporarily (e.g. fracking), which is the worst thing to happen. And money printing which in general brings forward more consumption from the future. All of these just make the problem worse.
The only viable way to avoid this is to tax fossil fuels (carbon) to their true cost, while subsidizing all sustainable products reflecting their true savings. This brings about a neutral effect on the economy, while encouraging people to move away from fossil fuels using the current economic system. Therefore, I've become a strong believer in a carbon fee and dividend plan as promoted by ASLR. IF it can be applied globally and actually work (a big if indeed), the gradient of this "gradual" conversion will be much steeper, so that we can stand a fighting chance.

Instead of outlawing tourism as Jim suggests, this might for example cause a "natural" shift from long-haul flights to electric rail transit based on wind and solar. Or a shift from gas guzzlers to EVs. Not because the governments forces you, but because it makes more sense to you on the individual level. Will it be quick enough? Will it be sharp enough in terms of total reduction? Can it be applied globally to avoid consumption moving elsewhere? Can a bureaucracy oversee such a scheme effectively? Will politicians sign off on it? All big questions. But as we hasten towards collapse like the bunch of lemmings we are, this seems like the only feasible way of even trying to avoid it.

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2015, 02:51:26 PM »
Quote from: naomi
climate change isn’t an “issue” to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes. It is a civilisational wake-up call. A powerful message – spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions – telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.

She's right when she tells us what Climate Changes isn't (who wouldn't be?): It is not an “issue” to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes.

But when she moves on to what it *is*, we're moving into the bovine excrement. It's not a 'wake-up call', not something you order in a hotel lobby in order to get to your meeting on time the next morning. It's not a 'powerful message', it is Death. Finito. Game Over. The End.
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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2015, 05:30:42 PM »
When we lack the fortitude to look facts in the face or lack the imagination to envision difficult solutions we always fall back  on the BAU solutions being followed.

Gradual does not work in our circumstances for many reasons which I have spelled out in detail over and over again for years now. There is no point in repeating them again here because it is clear that those proposing the gradual approach are incapable of seeing the facts   We are in the realm here of Upton Sinclair, the BAUers cannot bring themselves to understand the facts because they would have to change their way of life if they recognize them.  It is simple and basic human nature that is the problem here.

The deniers and delayers like BW will sacrifice us all and our chance of having a future due to this weakness.  It is not surprising as it is what humans always do, it is certainly reprehensible, morally bankrupt and doubly tragic.  But the David Koch's and BW's make up the vast majority of the population and that  will determine our course as always. 

oren

You know as well as I do that what you propose has zero chance of working in our culture and world.  It is an idealistic wish, but reality says other things will happen.  Global governance is what is required to make it happen and that is not a possibility.  Everyone knows (even if they won't say it) that what is required is dramatic and immediate change.  This change requires that we deliberately overcome the decision tendencies of our basic nature (delay and gradualism) and act rationally upon the facts.  The delayers cannot imagine doing this so they fight it with all their might.  But just because they lack imagination does not mean that it is not possible.  It is and it leads to a solution which is viable.  Their approach does not lead to a solution so there is no rational reason to pursue it.



We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

AbruptSLR

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2015, 06:23:38 PM »
I do not believe that a Carbon-Fee & Dividend-Tariff, CF & DT would need to be implemented by any international agency (the UN or otherwise), and all the plans that I linked to were for USA plans only.  A USA lead CF & DT, would: (a) reduce needless consumption in the US (thus reducing the 30% of worldwide goods that we consume); (b) encourage other countries to develop a similar program or face tariffs if they want to provide goods to the US with high fossil fuel content; otherwise they could provide such high fossil fuel content goods to China; and (c) the dividend could offset US income tax which might leave money available for foreign aid and development of sustainable energy.  The linked article discusses why Republicans will fight cumbersome regulations, but may support a Carbon Fee & Dividend plan; which then could be scaled up to other countries (see extract).   

http://californiacarbon.info/2015/03/09/opinion-fee-dividend-better-cap-trade-fighting-climate-change/


Extract: "The complexity of cap and trade is also a barrier to scaling up the program without reducing its effectiveness. Getting the details wrong can mean the difference between success and failure. The European Union’s program is a case in point: It hasn’t adequately reduced emissions partly because the cap was set too high and attempts to remedy the problem haven’t worked yet.
There is no time for that sort of trial and error if we are to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. Instead, we need a price on carbon that we know will work and that can be implemented effectively and quickly.
There is a simple solution that will bring down emissions quickly without increasing the size of government, and without cumbersome regulation, both of which are anathema to Republicans. It’s called a carbon “fee and dividend” plan.
It works like this: A fee is placed on carbon-based fuels at the source (well, mine, port of entry). This fee would start at $15 per ton of CO2 emitted and increase steadily and predictably each year by $10. Within a decade, clean energy would be cheaper than fossil fuels, giving entrepreneurs and investors an incentive to back clean energy sources.
All the revenue realized from the fees would be evenly distributed to all Americans to help pay for increased costs of goods and services. And while cap and trade puts more of the burden of increased costs on lower-income Americans who spend a greater share of their income on energy, fee and dividend protects the less well-to-do. Because they use less energy on an absolute basis, their equal dividend share will more than cover their added costs.
Fee and dividend would also include a border adjustment, so that importers from countries that do not adopt similar carbon pricing would pay their fees at our border. Economically, this ensures a level playing field for U.S. companies. On the emissions side, it ensures that secondary consumption is accounted for, and encourages all countries to place similar fees on carbon.
Fee and dividend is a policy that climate scientists and economists agree is a good first step to reduce catastrophic effects of climate change. California would benefit because the rapid decrease in emissions would be good for the state’s pollution problem and would make costly future AB 32 regulations unnecessary.
And it scales easily. As more nations adopt the system, worldwide demand will bring green technologies to mass market faster, driving down costs and making the transition to a green economy easier for everyone.
But the biggest advantage of enacting carbon fee and dividend is that it’s the quickest way to bring down emissions so we can stabilize, then start restoring, our climate for our grandchildren."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2015, 07:18:26 PM »
Quote
On the other hand, I strongly believe that moving along at the current "gradual" pace will cause a massive overshoot. In our system, price sets everything. If I can pay for petrol, I will drive. If I can pay for the electricity, I will turn the air-conditioner on. As long as energy prices stay mild, BAU will continue unabated. Even if one country moves away from fossils, it just means the rest "enjoy" them for cheaper. So the only thing that cause a massive shift away from fossil fuels is a massive global price rise.

Obviously our current "gradual" rate is not adequate for us to hit something like a 70% decrease in CO2 by 2050.  But I don't think everything is getting factored into people's thinking.

Renewables are becoming cheap.  Just plain cheap. 

Utility solar should soon be about $1/watt in the US.  We've got farms being built today for under $1.50/watt.  Onshore wind is cheap and getting cheaper.

In 2013 the US consumed 1,585,998,000,000 kWh of electricity generated with coal.

A 1 kW solar panel array would cost $1,000 (assuming a 20% CF) would produce 1,752 kWh per year.

(1kW * 24 * 365 * .2 = 1,752 kWh)

It would take 905,250,000 1 kW arrays to replace the electricity produced by coal. The cost at $1/watt would be $905,250,000,000.

Spread out over 20 years this would be $45,262,500,000 per year. $45.3 billion per year.

It's hard to calculate what the US spends for coal each year because the price of Appalachian coal is between $55 and $60 per ton. Powder River coal is selling for about $12 per ton. I don't know the percentage of each used.

In 2013 the US consumed 858,400,000 tons of coal for electricity production.

At $12 that would be $10.3 billion.

At $55 that would be $47.2 billion.

The external cost of burning coal runs between $140 billion and $242 billion per year for health costs alone. Environmental and climate change costs are not included in that range.

$45.3 billion per year for 20 years would eliminate coal consumption. We'd save between $10.3 billion and $47.2 billion on coal purchases plus between $140 billion and $242 billion on health care for decades to come.

Taking the lowest numbers $10.3 billion + $140 billion, that's 3.3x the needed investment in solar farms on an annual basis.

Wind, with it's higher CF should be as cheap or cheaper than solar.  It's going to be a race to see which can get below 3 cents per kWh first.

Almost all countries are concerned about climate change. Few will greatly increase their use of fossil fuels, even if the price is low.  At $12/ton coal is not competitive.  Neither is $2/gallon gasoline.

Electricity consumption will likely rise in many countries.  It may fall a little in a few thanks to efficiency.  It really doesn't matter if people want to use more electricity as long as it's from renewable sources. 

Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2015, 07:23:06 PM »
Quote
The deniers and delayers like BW will sacrifice us all and our chance of having a future due to this weakness.

I'm going to try to pretend that the BW in your comment is not me.

If I don't then I think I would use language that would get me banned from this site.

To think that I'm either a denier or a delayer is absurd.  What I'm attempting to do is to describe workable solutions.

Transforming our grid overnight is not possible.

Crashing our civilizations is not acceptable.

Laurent

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2015, 08:42:42 PM »

wili

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2015, 09:26:11 PM »
"Transforming our grid overnight is not possible.

Crashing our civilizations is not acceptable."

Acceptable to whom?

But really, neither of these is necessary, imho. What is needed, and what has been called for by Heinberg and others is a rapid 'power down.'

But ultimately the whole discussion falls down if we are starting from different premises.

Jim and I and a number of others see what we are facing as an immediate, existential crisis. In such situations, it is important to identify what is necessary to do to have even a chance of getting through. Then figuring out a path to get there is a separate issue.

If you start out by deciding what is a 'reasonable'  path and then adjust the level of perceived crises to fit it, then you are having a very different kind of conversation. It is, in fact,  a conversation notably similar to what is practiced by those who choose to deny AGW completely because they look ahead to the solutions they think may be necessary to address it, then working backwards, decide AGW either just can't exist or can't be bad enough to require the policies they anticipate might be needed.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #45 on: March 09, 2015, 09:30:01 PM »
Tell you what, Wili, why don't you tell us how rapidly we need to cut CO2 emissions and show us a reliable source for that number?

Perhaps Jim would also give us his number and source?

viddaloo

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2015, 09:46:27 PM »
Tell you what, Wili, why don't you tell us how rapidly we need to cut CO2 emissions and show us a reliable source for that number?

Perhaps Jim would also give us his number and source?

I recently read 1975.

I've been thinking the 1980s, but it may have been as early as the mid–seventies. That's when we should have cut drastically or at least started a gradual cutback of FFs.
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Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2015, 10:16:00 PM »
Tell you what, Wili, why don't you tell us how rapidly we need to cut CO2 emissions and show us a reliable source for that number?

Perhaps Jim would also give us his number and source?

I recently read 1975.

I've been thinking the 1980s, but it may have been as early as the mid–seventies. That's when we should have cut drastically or at least started a gradual cutback of FFs.

Thank you for sharing Vid, but it's totally irrelevant.

viddaloo

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2015, 10:36:20 PM »
You're welcome, Bob.

BTW, I forgot the source:

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Bob Wallace

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Re: BAU until they peal my cold dead hands from it
« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2015, 11:21:57 PM »
Still irrelevant.

Unless you have a time machine and can go back and change things.

We are where we are.  We have a choice of doing nothing and crashing or figuring out what needs to be done and do it to the best of our ability.