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TerryM

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What particularly causes "The Crash"
« on: February 10, 2014, 10:08:48 PM »
Yesterday I stopped and considered what it would take to change the BAU road that we're on. I and several others have been considering various solutions that might work after collapse, but I at least have spent far less time trying to understand how this would come about.
I've taken the perspective that as long as the grid is up and juice is flowing we're more or less in the same situation as we're in at present. With electricity being generated and transmitted things might get very bad, but not on an apocalyptic level.
Locally most of my power is hydro from Niagara Falls, it's not difficult to keep a facility like this running even if the economy simply melted away. Troops could be sent in, farmers crops could be commandeered to feed them and the juice would keep flowing. The only thing that shuts down the facility is armed conflict & I think this is true for most locales.
The three threats I've identified are Nuclear War, Conventional War and Civil War. Everything else can be managed by the power structures now in place - I think. If rising waters take out Miami and New York the financial losses would be immense, but the stock market moves to Detroit, waterfront villas open in Kansas and nothing much really changes.
TPTB have tools for keeping civilians in place that older cultures could only dream of, so civil war isn't too likely even when things are really bad. The US is so well armed that it would be national suicide for anyone to attack with conventional forces & that leaves only nukes - suicidal, but capable of causing huge destruction on this continent.
Bangladesh, The Maldives, perhaps some of the countries around the Mediterranean will be wiped out, but other than reading about it in Yahoo News, the powered elite aren't going to be terribly concerned. If Australia were to lose 90% of her population the remainder would be brewing their tea in electric kettles & cranking the AC up high.
I had worried about collapse within decades, but having thought a little more I don't think we'll lose power in the west for a millenia, no matter what happens in other regions.
If I've missed something, let me know.
Terry

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 10:28:39 PM »
I had worried about collapse within decades, but having thought a little more I don't think we'll lose power in the west for a millenia, no matter what happens in other regions.
If I've missed something, let me know.

There are some lucky regions that are both far more than self sufficient in both food and energy (two of the key pre-requisites for operating modern - or any advanced - civilisation).

If you can truly find no external dependencies that give critical dependencies on long and fragile global supply chains, that is a very good thing. To come to that conclusion will however require a bit more thought than a few minutes - for example - look at the disruption in computer hard disk supply by floods in Thailand a few years ago. So it's hard to see how you would expect to avoid substantial regression and loss of technology even in a best case scenario (there are countless other examples of things you wouldn't have as everywhere else collapsed).

In the end though the key vulnerability in such places is quite simply - other people. If most places no longer have power and sanitised water and distributed and refrigerated food - do you really think people won't try to move to the few places that do and that might be theoretically viable? History teaches us that mass migration is driven by combinations of push and pull factors - and that would be a pretty damn strong push and pull, if you consider what is happening in other regions in the process.

Accordingly, you only get to be especially optimistic about such prospects if you can either see how such a place could be defended against such large movements of people - and I might add - most of them probably non-violent. They would be families with children, people desperate for a chance to work, to have clean water, education, etc. - they would not mostly be violent sociopathic warlords and their gangs (those come later).

Alternatively, find a suitable climatically stable island and put it all there. That might work OK if you tick enough self sufficient boxes in terms of technology, materials and knowledge.

Am I missing something?

TerryM

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 11:06:19 PM »
ccg
Thanks for the feedback.
My contention is that the bulk of the Western World can be sustained, though at a possibly much lower population. Here in Canada our only traditional enemy has been the folk just south of our border.
If the US finds no need to attack the border it is difficult to imagine any other grouping that could make it to our shores in number. It's certainly conceivable that the economy could tank and that Guatemalan coffee might leave the shelves, but unless attacked by the US it's difficult to see how major difficulties would arise. Even if the US did take over, it would be a more or less bloodless conflict since "Resistance Is Futile" & while the Americans might take what they needed they would leave the power on.
My region's stability is predicated on the stability of the US so I'd thought about what could bring down that nation & from what I can see they're fairly stable. The stock market might crash, gunboat diplomacy may be needed to keep the trade routes open, it's even possible that some states might successfully succeed, but unless there is a property destroying war on this continent, there is sufficient to keep some form of BAU running even in the face of the worst climate disasters that I can imagine.
I think most of Europe is in a similar situation, but I'm not as familiar with things on that side of the pond.
Terry

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 11:45:47 PM »
I agree with JimD that our Achilles Heel is agriculture (only on a contracted schedule). I think that if climate whacks out sufficiently, you may get your crash, even here in North America, Terry. Hungry people don't show up to keep the power on--too busy scrounging for their families. We are running a fun little experiment with weather and agriculture in California currently.  ;)

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 12:22:26 AM »
I think most of Europe is in a similar situation, but I'm not as familiar with things on that side of the pond.

No, I think Europe is much more fragile than north America/Canada. Firstly there are very significant external resource dependencies for energy (oil, if not also coal and gas) and food production (not in direct production, but Europe imports most of it's phosphate from Africa and energy anywhere it can find it). Furthermore Europe is in closer proximity to areas from which large migrations could happen, although the Mediterranean no doubt slows the influx from Africa. Whether or not it will do so as efficiently if the southern European nations fail is another question though (note the increase once Libya experienced turmoil and the friendly regime that was holding back migrants stopped doing so).

The biggest near future threats I can see to the US are ones of it's own making - inequality and international conflict. In terms of wealth, land, resources - it seems the Us ought to be able to continue to operate on a somewhat diminished basis (no projecting power globally any more, but at least keeping things ticking over internally). However when the society insists on impoverishing and ever greater number of people in the name of the tiny wealthy portion at the top and making their life harder and harder - stresses build up within a society.

Plus there is the matter of the southern border (manageable one suspects) and the outside chance that if China fell factions there might consider nuking the US out of spite. China seems vulnerable notwithstanding their proactive stance and aggressive expansion.

Oh, and therein lies a vulnerability for both the US and Canada - China is largely the worlds factory now. Can you build infrastructure fast enough to get that stuff (and the resources required for it) back in house if collapse happens relatively rapidly there? People might think China only produces cheap worthless tat but I think if you dig deeper you will find a lot of even the better end of the western brands now primarily produce their goods there. The manufacturing base is hollowed out and gone domestically. To rebuild it would require substantial investment (in a time of collapsing economies and increasing damage to modern infrastructure?) and time. If you are trying to repair a modern piece of equipment - not designed for easy maintenance as a general rule (as manufacturers like to protect their position) the whole piece can become useless for want of one part or piece of information that you cannot access.

I would argue that the loss of knowledge and population even in the developed nations you think might make it (even if you were correct) would still be deep enough to constitute a collapse - just a slower and gentle one than happens in other nations with less favourable positions. Maybe the collapse floor could be higher there - but we'll see...

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 12:46:27 AM »
Good points. Last I checked (but I'd be happy to be corrected), no one was making something as basic as shoes in the US any more. All sorts of things become very difficult when you no longer have remotely reliable shoes to do them in.
"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."

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 11:24:05 AM »
Yesterday I stopped and considered what it would take to change the BAU road that we're on. I and several others have been considering various solutions that might work after collapse, but I at least have spent far less time trying to understand how this would come about.
I've taken the perspective that as long as the grid is up and juice is flowing we're more or less in the same situation as we're in at present. With electricity being generated and transmitted things might get very bad, but not on an apocalyptic level.
Locally most of my power is hydro from Niagara Falls, it's not difficult to keep a facility like this running even if the economy simply melted away. Troops could be sent in, farmers crops could be commandeered to feed them and the juice would keep flowing. The only thing that shuts down the facility is armed conflict & I think this is true for most locales.
The three threats I've identified are Nuclear War, Conventional War and Civil War. Everything else can be managed by the power structures now in place - I think. If rising waters take out Miami and New York the financial losses would be immense, but the stock market moves to Detroit, waterfront villas open in Kansas and nothing much really changes.
TPTB have tools for keeping civilians in place that older cultures could only dream of, so civil war isn't too likely even when things are really bad. The US is so well armed that it would be national suicide for anyone to attack with conventional forces & that leaves only nukes - suicidal, but capable of causing huge destruction on this continent.
Bangladesh, The Maldives, perhaps some of the countries around the Mediterranean will be wiped out, but other than reading about it in Yahoo News, the powered elite aren't going to be terribly concerned. If Australia were to lose 90% of her population the remainder would be brewing their tea in electric kettles & cranking the AC up high.
I had worried about collapse within decades, but having thought a little more I don't think we'll lose power in the west for a millenia, no matter what happens in other regions.
If I've missed something, let me know.
Terry
TerryM, I agree with you. Unless ~50% of population would decide that riot/revolution would be a nice idea, systems would stay stable. And since there is no good reason for the poeple to shoot themselfes in their feet they probably would prefer not to do so. So, if we can prevent nuclear war collapse of most regions is unlikely. Parallel, we see allready a lot of poeple stepping out of the growth-fiction in developed countries ~ I would guess about 10% here. They know that money is not related to happyness and they do not contribute much to growth anymore. Just look at the "lame old countries" - their economic numbers may be looking bad because there is not much growth, but it could be a good sign that they are well beyond growth allready and doing fine.

Another argument for your prediction is, that ageing societies will probably act even more cautiously than today. In regions allready beyond population peak (Japan reached peak 40 years ago, most countries in Europe as well as Russia and China, too) the societies get older - if you have 50% of poeple older than 50 years riots are unlikely. The amount of space is increasing and the need for robbery is reduced. Those countries will not help to collapse and their number is increasing automatically by spreading education.

But for some regions that is not true yet. Africa will be in trouble. Ok - some countries nearly made it there (Ethiopia  e.g. - who did think they would stop population growth one generation ago?!). But Nigeria will grow (6 childs per couple, 25% of women never saw a school...) - in future there will be a country with population similar to US and with 50% of poeple 15 years or younger. That will be a dangerous country. It will collapse soon and/or poeple will move somewhere else. The changing environment will force them to act and the low education will result in not so reasonable action...

To save our old butts we should go there soon and teach their girls to read and write and calculate.

JimD

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2014, 07:32:14 PM »
Terry

You really seem to have two issues to your topic.  What precipitates collapse and where.  And when do the impacts of collapse take effect and how.  Hmmm...I guess that is actually three or four then.

As ritter pointed out, and I still stand by it, I think that the key precipitator of collapse will be the lack of the industrial food system to any longer be capable of producing sufficient food to prevent significant famines around the globe.  As pointed out many times I think that occurs circa 2050.  I do not believe that there is any other systemic failure mode which can actually trigger collapse all on its own, but there are certainly others which can impact the food production system and move the date of its collapse forward or backward in time.  Another good candidate for problems which could have that impact are another significant crash of the financial/banking system which knocks the supports out from under the capitalist system and crashes international trade.  I think that nuclear war or global war are highly unlikely to end up having a causative effect on collapse.  Afterwards all bets are off of course.  AGW will be the main driver leading to the failure of the food production system in my opinion followed by the horrible impact of the rising population.  Rising population prevents green solutions from working as they just go to provide for added capacity and do not end up reducing carbon emissions.  Peak Oil will not have any significant impact for several decades other than the declining EROEI will continue to make it increasingly difficult to reengineer less carbon intensive solutions.  It takes lots of cheap energy to rebuild infrastructure and energy is going to get more expensive as time goes on.

Once we reach the point that we do not produce enough food to feed everyone famine is inevitable of course, but the problem of famine arises much sooner than that.   Producing countries will start to hoard as supplies get very tight.  Other countries which normally are not in the market for supplies will start buying to create a national food reserve.  So even before we cross the yield line there  will be famines as poor places get priced out of the market and aid supplies disappear.  Survival of the fittest.

The only thing we could do at this point in time which would really move the date of collapse further into the future would be to dramatically reduce population.  I think we can agree that this will not happen for a variety of reasons.  Absent that the rising population will prevent any other solution from having much impact on extending out the time to collapse.   I do not think that there is any prospect to avoiding collapse, just the timing and severity of it.

So, where does collapse start since we have covered the what starts it part.  This is pretty straightforward in many respects.  All one has to do is look to the places which are heavily dependent on food imports and/or are subject to the early and most severe impacts of AGW.  Bangladesh will certainly be one of the places to go early.  Egypt imports most of its food.  Many places in Africa will see famines again and little will be done for them a few decades from now.  A few decades from now India will be in real trouble due to water supply problems and famine will reappear there.  There is potential in China for the same situation as in India but they, at least for a time, will have the wealth to purchase supplies.  Thus as times get hard for the developing, overpopulated and poorer countries which cannot produce all of their own food and will need to purchase some of it they will be running into having to compete with countries like China and India for the dwindling supplies.  They will lose and they will starve because they will not have the power to force others to give them supplies.  In other words, as always, the weak go first.   Crop yields will decline first in the places which hit the higher temperatures first.  So the low latitudes are in trouble.  They also have water problems that will get worse and no wealth to change that dynamic in any meaningful way.

So collapse is a ripple effect.  Some places which have resources that the wealthy countries need will be able to trade for food supplies for a time that will probably end when the wealthy countries no longer have excess to send them.  Then the wealthy will just take what they need and not pay for it. 

The high latitude countries are in much better shape regarding crop yields and also due to possessing better more fertile land so it will take a lot longer for AGW impacts to bring them down.  Thus the US and Canada are pretty secure, and we also have the advantage of relatively low population density levels and the most ideally suited land mass in the world.  Europe not so much and it will be having big problems much sooner than we do.  They will  be impacted not only by a lack of enough fertile land, but by vast immigration that will be very hard to prevent, a very high population density, and the crumbling global financial/trade system will hit them very hard.

But the first big country which I think will fail will be India.  In addition to the problems which they will have internally due to dropping crop yields and a rising population they are going to be hit with the first mass migration of the age of collapse.  Bangladesh is coming to live with them eventually.  On the other side of the country Pakistan is another early candidate for collapse of food production and this will also place heavy pressure on India.  Bangladesh and Pakistan have no other directions to migrate.  India, of course, just will not allow this to happen.  If they want to survive they must not allow that migration to happen.  This is when war and genocide will rear its ugly head.  Nuclear war at this point is not at all out of the question.  I expect when this circumstance occurs, not if, that hundreds of millions will die.

The international industrial system which supports the rich and wealthy countries will not survive past this point. North America and Europe will have to reindustrialize to take account of the loss of the Asian manufacturing capabilities which are occurring and will be occurring.  This will knock out from underneath them all of the which provide wealth to most of the Asian countries, thus contributing to their more rapid decline.  No one will be coming to help them. Without big exports to earn dollars for purchasing oil and other essentials there will be big economic declines all over the place and the large populations living in places where they cannot produce sufficient food will have to see big population declines.  There has to be a big drop off in the very complex technologies as the global trade system declines and ones loses manufacturing capabilities and access to strategic resources over time.  But those who are in strong positions will be able to stair step down that ladder for some time and maintain significant capabilities.

North America and other places like New Zealand, Australia, Northern Europe (for a time), most of South America will last much longer, but at a different standard of living.  More 1950ish or 1920ish.

Europe will eventually face stark choices due to the pressure of mass migrations in their direction.  The flames of southern Europe will light the night skies for them and will set them on an old course eventually.  AGW is going to devastate the Mediterranean region and there will be relentless migration pressures from Africa and the middle east to deal with.  These effects will collapse the south eventually and force them north.  We already know what the Russians will do about that as well as the Balkan countries as much as they are capable.  What will the rest of them eventually choose to do? 

North America as you indicated is a pretty capable place and uniquely positioned in a strategic sense.  If we reduced our lifestyle (and we won't have a choice) we could actually survive on our section of the earth with our population intact for a long time.  As long as we are willing (and we will be) to go out in the world and take any resources we need to maintain ourselves.  We have been doing it in a empire/colonial fashion for some time now and I see no reason why we would not continue along those lines.  We will work with others who are in fortunate situations, like those mentioned above, and run a diminished but viable version of our current civilization until we are eventually caught up in the creeping effects of AGW ourselves.  Significant enclaves will last for a very long time as the global population dwindles and places continue to drop off the screen.  In those places which do drop off there will still be a lot of people living but at largely preindustrial levels and providing their own food.  Sort of the world of the 1800 for most and the world of 1950 for some.

Where are we all in 2100?  Wild guess.  Optimistic projection - a population of 3-4 billion.  Sounds like a lot but imagine the carnage to get there.   Pessimistic projection - 2 billion if the nuclear options get exercised it will drag things down much faster.

2300?  Optimistic projection about 1-1.5 billion as the final dustups between the bottleneck of 2100 survivors works things out, the full on effects of AGW have really settled in by then, vast regions of food production will have been eliminated, and use of cheap fossil fuels will no longer be providing any boost to populations.  I sort of expect the bottom to be sometime around this point in time. Pessimistic projection - 500 million (actually the best number to achieve for long term survival and regenerating a sophisticated civilization).  There will still be significant levels of government wielding pretty substantial technologies even then.  While most people will live pretty near subsistence levels there will be wealthy rulers who have access to pretty modern capabilities and all current knowledge will still exist and be known to a select few, though our actual capabilities will be much less.  There is no reason I can think of to come to the conclusion that modern light weaponry will no longer exist in significant quantities as well as limited amounts of armor, aircraft, and naval vessels for deployment by the rulers as they see fit.

Obviously this was knocked off from the top of my head and there are certainly some holes in it and gotcha's I missed.  I welcome some push back so that we can mull it over a bunch and see what it looks like then.  I find this kind of speculation very intellectually stimulating as it brings to the fore one's blind spots and preconceived notions.
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ritter

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 08:03:47 PM »
Nice analysis, as usual, JimD.

My only real gripe with it is that climate change is a big wildcard and will be compounded by declining energy. If rain/drought becomes erratic enough (and it's looking to be a real possibility), even the US and Canada will have real troubles feeding ourselves. Thus my date is prior to yours and inclusive of North America. Unfortunately, it appears that pain and suffering will come regardless of "when."

TerryM

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2014, 08:38:44 PM »
Thanks so much for the interest shown. I'm off for the PM but will post when I've had time to mull over some of the input you've provided.
Terry

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 04:21:58 AM »
Some additional thoughts on this subject have occurred to me.

Natural catastrophic events have great potential to impact what happens when and where.  I am not talking about events like we are always talking such as hurricanes, which have the AGW signature on them now, or other extreme weather events as I consider them part of the effects of AGW going forward.

I am talking about the Black Swan or semi-Blank Swan type of events.  A great example of a recent one is the Japan earthquake and tsunami.  An event with big impact and lingering effects.  Hard to recover from and as we go forward in time such events will eventually not be dealt with much at all as we will not be able any longer to afford to fix them.  Depending on where they happen they could dramatically worsen our situation. 

While I do not know that much about potential places where big impact natural events could happen outside the US I do know of some potential ones here in the US.  Sort of semi Swans in categorization.  To list a few which easily could occur which would be devastating to the US.  We have been reading for several decades that we are overdue for very large earthquakes near LA and SF.  I read recently that a quake above 7.5 is considered almost certain near LA in the next 30 years.  Similar things are said about near SF.  We can thus expect one of them to happen before collapse (by my timeline).  The scale of damage which would be done at either location will most likely not ever be fixable and will permanently degrade a very populated and economically important part of the US.  Mount Rainer in Washington state is way overdue for its next periodic event which consists of pyroclastic flows which sweep all the river valleys coming off the mountain.  Such flows have reached almost to Seattle in the past.  Such an event would devastate a large area permanently.  We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Central Valley of California is turned into a lake by giant floods on average about every 100 years.  The last time was 150 years ago.  Extremely big floods (much bigger than in 1861) have occurred there and in the rest of the southwest on average every 200 years and it has been 400 years since the last one of those. 

I am sure other places have similar risks facing them.  Plus there are just the true Black Swan (i.e unknown risks) events which are certain to happen over the next 30 years.  Some of them will cause great destruction and will permanently degrade our ability to maintain our complex civilization.  All these types of events will push us toward collapse that much quicker.   There is just not enough cheap energy any more to recover from such types of things.
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

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 07:40:40 AM »
Hi Terry,

There's an interesting study from DOE in the '80s that you might want to read: (notice that one of the author's is Joe Romm)

NUCLEAR CRASH: The U.S. Economy After Small Nuclear Attacks. M. Anjali Sastry. Joseph J. Romm. Kosta Tsipis. Program in Science and Technology for International Security. June, 1987

This paper discusses what is likely to happen in a intermediate case, short of total irrecoverable damage. The emphasis is on the break down of the economic system into regional areas, w/o much outside assistance or communication.

Focus on reading the scenario called the "Counter-Energy Attack". It assumes a massive loss of fossil fuel infrastructure occurs, and of course there is no readily available alternative source of energy.

Overall, an excellent primer to the issues you are exploring.

Cheers!
Lodger
Cheers!
Lodger

TerryM

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 07:23:31 PM »
Lodger !!!
Great to here from you after so long!
Confess to just reading the intro & conclusion. The print gave me a headache. I don't doubt that we'll experience any number of the Black Swan events that Jim mentions in his post, nor that agriculture, energy and even governmental structures will change in the next 50 to 100 years, but I don't equate that with a global crash.
It's arguable I suppose that we might regress some, but during my lifetime we've regressed in some areas while progressing in others & some countries made great gains while others barely held on. The countries that declined mostly fell victim to war & I think that will hold, even in the face of severe climate change.
If the US bifurcated into Blue and Red countries and it Canada divided into The West, Quebec & The Rest, all of these entities would remain as civilized enclaves. Some with poorer prospects than at present and a few with possibly better expectations. Within Nations I think that Cuba has shown that even the most economically debilitating situations can be dealt with as long as no one is bombing things.
While the top three methods of losing civilization on my original list were Nuclear War, Conventional War and Civil War, the next in line was Pandemic. A fast occurring disease that caught everyone unaware could cause the survivors to be left without the means or knowledge needed to return to BAU.
I don't see the gradual steps down that some have spoken of. I do see huge regional inequalities looming that dwarf those we now experience, but as long as the US has it's military it will take what it thinks it needs to placate the populace. If the South Eastern States reach wet bulb temperatures that make them unlivable I'd venture that Ontario might become the 51st State regardless of how we Ontarian's feel about the prospects.
My snow shoes have been waiting patiently in the hall closet for some years & I'm going to heed the call and tramp around in some fresh powder just outside town so won't be back for a while.
Terry

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 09:24:26 PM »
This may be more appropriate in the Population - Enemy topic,
but I think the data supports TerryM

Yesterday I stopped and considered what it would take to change the BAU road that we're on. I and several others have been considering various solutions that might work after collapse, but I at least have spent far less time trying to understand how this would come about.
I've taken the perspective that as long as the grid is up and juice is flowing we're more or less in the same situation as we're in at present. With electricity being generated and transmitted things might get very bad, but not on an apocalyptic level.
~ - - ~
Terry, why we would not have a downturn - slowdown instead of a collapse?

Those who guarantee you a collapse may also have a spaceship waiting for them on the dark side of a comet.

"things might get very bad, but not on an apocalyptic level"
AGREE somewhat. Would prefer diminished vs. bad.

Take a tip from SATire about education of females bringing the birthrate down.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2004
http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange2/WorldPop2300final.pdf

In these projections, world population peaks at 9.22 in 2075.  Population therefore grows slightly beyond the level of 8.92 billion projected for 2050 in the 2002 Revision, on which these projections are based.  However, after reaching its maximum, world population declines slightly and then resumes increasing, slowly to reach a level of 8.97 billion by 2300, not much different from the projected 2050 figure.

With long-range total fertility 0.3 children above replacement, projected world population in 2300 is four times as large as the main projection; with total fertility 0.2 children below replacement, world population in 2300 is one-quarter of the main projection.

2013 'revision'
http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/documents/news/2013/KEY%20FINDINGS%20WPP2012_FINAL-2.pdf
According to the 2012 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections,  the world population of 7.2 billion in mid-2013 is projected to increase by almost one billion people  within the next twelve years, reaching 8.1 billion in 2025, and to further increase to 9.6 billion in 2050  and 10.9 billion by 2100 (figure 1). These results are based on the medium-variant projection, which  assumes a decline of fertility for countries where large families are still prevalent as well as a slight  increase of fertility in several countries with fewer than two children per woman on average.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.85 children per woman is usually accepted as the level replacement rate.

A wise old man, not my father, once told me (understand he got it from a statistician)
"The Figures Don't Lie, but Liars Figure"

If the "low variant" is obtained, sometime after the turn of the next century, "22nd",  (2100) or about the middle, then probably only 5 billion mouths to feed. 

Will we make it through the next 125 years?  I say yes.

JimD

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2014, 05:44:32 AM »
Well I guess one can get any answer they want just by choosing another definition for collapse.  All of a sudden it becomes a slow-down?

There is a constant in all discussions about this difficult subject.  It does not take much thought about all of the various key factors pushing civilization along its destructive path to come close to the realization that the situation is critical.  A great many people when faced with a problem which is extremely frightening and apparently implacable immediately back away from reality and resort to fantasy thinking modes.  This type of thinking takes many forms.  One of the most common, of course, is just flat denial (I am not pointing that finger at any one here, but we all experience them every day).  Another very common one takes the form of "choosing a future and working towards it is always the most effective strategy" (borrowed from a blog post at treehugger).  I am pointing fingers on this one.  The problem with this approach as another blogger (Dave Cohen) pointed out is that that it begs the question of what is the goal of the strategy?  If one chooses a future to work towards that is incompatible with solving that critical situation mentioned above does it have a point?  He uses harsher language.

We dream great dreams us humans.  But we tend to ignore problems.  Dreams cannot be achieved unless problems are solved.  What are our problems?

Carbon emissions (and eventually triggered methane emissions) are going to destroy our planet's ability to support vast numbers of us humans in the not too distant future.

Every human living in any kind of formal civilizational structure bears responsibility for emitting excess carbon.  We are not and never will again be hunter-gatherers who were carbon neutral (though those nasty boys did exterminate a lot of animals).   All forms of industrial civilization emit vast quantities of carbon. Civilization is not sustainable.  We can only get along here long term if we get a lot closer to being carbon neutral and then try and figure something clever out.

Not one proposed approach to this problem comes even close to being carbon neutral.  Not solar, wind, any green technology, not organic farming, nothing.  Building things, cities, factories, solar panels, electric cars, windmills, all have big impacts.

If everyone on Earth lived with a carbon emission equal to the average African (which will just not happen) it would still result in significant Gtons of carbon emissions and a rising ppm.  We are quite likely to add more than 2 billion more people to the current total by mid-century (no one is going to agree not to do this).  If all 9.5 billion of them lived like Africans (which is not going to happen) they would be producing 25% more carbon than if we were living that way today.  We are on a path which will result in carbon emissions likely being higher than 20 Gtons until we blow the engine (we are in the mid30's now and still climbing) in another 30-40 years.  There is no fixing carbon emissions with a growing population.

We have a financial system committed to growth and a rising consumption of resources.  Rising population and rising affluence equals growing carbon emissions.  We are attempting to do this while experiencing significantly declining EROEI on our energy sources.  This results in the requirement to boost fossil energy extraction to overcome the declining EROEI and results in increased carbon emissions.  Vicious cycle.

One could go through a host of other contributing factors like access to water, ocean food production, land food production, ongoing extinction, drought, ocean acidification, just plain pollution, and many others which are rapidly worsening and have a strong negative impact on our ability to address this problem.

But critical on top of all of the ideas of trying to fix things is the factor of how much time do we have left?  The real answer is of course none.  It passed. 

We talk all the time about what the status of the climate is going to be in 2100.  What have we already dialed in that nothing can be done about.  Does anyone here think we will not cruise right on past 400ppm and not be talking about 435ppm by 2030?  What does that dial in?  By 2050 we are what?  When does the methane kick in, because it will eventually happen you know.

It just does not work out.  The civilization we are have today and are trying to grow cannot go on in the face of what is coming and no known technology can make a dent in that point. 

So it does not matter if it is called a collapse, a slowdown, a stair step down or if we even give it a name.  It can't continue and it won't.  We won't make it to 2100 looking anything like we do now. 
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

JackTaylor

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2014, 04:00:25 PM »
Well I guess one can get any answer they want just by choosing another definition for collapse.  All of a sudden it becomes a slow-down?
Fortunately people are allowed to state individual opinions.
I happen to somewhat agree with TerryM,
"With electricity being generated and transmitted things might get very bad, but not on an apocalyptic level."
of note: notice where he says "things might" ?maybe I'm more in agreement with him than what I give myself credit for?

Also, when we see the General Convention of the Sierra Club adopting a platform plank to petition Monsanto - Bayer - Dow - Cargill ,,,etc.... to provide more "Genetic Modified for Drought Resistant Grain Seed Strains" then what ....
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Yea, I have seen with mine own eyes the proof of CC. We have reasons to call it Anthropogenic Warming.
At my latitude/elevation (Greenville, SC USA = 34.8997oN) in the 1950's there was a little competition between country school kids to bring the first bouquet of Daffodil's - or - 'Jonquils' to school, hopefully around Valentines Day - the middle of February -
last I year I posted Daffodil's were budding in late December and blooming by the middle of January, whew, very early in the season;

Next, something that can be used to criticize me with:
I want to know if Daffodil's will go dormant long enough each winter to thrive or will I have to replant each year with bulbs imported from Northern Michigan?

Does alligator meat really taste similar to chicken?  When will they be farmed around Akimiski Island in the lower reaches of James Bay of Hudson Bay?

Perhaps I should pressure TerryM to notify me when it gets too warm to grow Rapeseed for (lear) Canola Oil in Canada.

Regardless of ones personal stance on Nuclear Power Electrical Generation,
I'm with TerryM - until the grid "falls down" we'll use it.
At what what price is yet to be determined.

=================================================================

**Let's be careful about implying other posters have delusions of fantasy or have a certain level of knowledge without a close examination of their background.  No need for others to have thoughts of NOT discussing, or being reluctant, because of thinly disguised ad hominem statements. **

JimD

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2014, 04:59:16 PM »
Jack

Quote
**Let's be careful about implying other posters have delusions of fantasy or have a certain level of knowledge without a close examination of their background.  No need for others to have thoughts of NOT discussing, or being reluctant, because of thinly disguised ad hominem  statements. **

I completely reject this statement.  I am backing up what I am saying with extensive amounts of data, logic and reasoning.  If I am wrong refute it.  That is the point of discussions with differing viewpoints.  If one can't refute a position contrary to one's own with without resorting to implying that the other is arguing unfairly then it is basically the same as admitting the other is correct.

I have repeatedly pointed out over and over again big holes in the all of the BAU approaches, green or otherwise, and no one addresses or refutes those points in any substantial manner.  The most common response is some form of magical thinking which leaps to an imagined solution that is divorced from the reality of our situation and what can be accomplished.  Would it make what I am saying less annoying if I said the responses are not logical?

In my response I barely even scratched the totality of the myriad problems we face and their positive feedback effects on each other.  Everyone here has access to the dozens of topics and thousands of posts on those items.  One can't take that data and the trends in the data and look forward and not be able to eliminate the vast majority of what might have once been possible approaches.  I participated in the 1st Earth Day demonstrations/celebrations when I was young because I was very concerned already about the negative trends in the environment and with pollution.  While no one had heard of global warming or peak oil then the trends we could see clearly led to eventual disaster.  Many people are still pursuing options today which were good ideas back then, but which in the meantime have been overtaken by events and are no longer viable in any sense.  We could spend a lot of time here going over many of them, but I think that point is clear.  As time passes and no meaningful action occurs once viable options become unviable due to time, energy, wealth, human nature constraints. 

Our only options at any given point in time are those which are still viable.  Advocating approaches which are no longer viable, or even in some cases never were, not only does not accomplish anything it raises the difficulty in pursuing still viable options.  This is what I am poking pretty hard at.

I strongly suggest everyone go to the Topic on climate stabilization wedges and read up on it a bunch.  That work is probably the best high level work that has ever been done on how we could actually get to a solution. It is dated and not mentioned much anymore for the very reason that it has largely been overtaken by events.  We did not start soon enough to make it work.  It encompasses all of the various kinds of BAU solutions and many most have not thought of and describes the level of resources and time required to execute in order to bring carbon emissions under control.  It is astonishing and clearly well beyond what we have the capability to execute.  Such solutions are no longer viable.  So what is?
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

Bruce Steele

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2014, 05:46:15 PM »
JackTaylor,  I thought JimD's reference to dreams may have been in response to my obviously emotional comments( poem )on another thread yesterday. Don't really know but the propensity for humans to dream in tough spots seems universal. Not much to be made of it and we can accept or reject another mans need for escape.
 At the other end of this spectrum some of us can not avert our gaze from the maw. We get nicknames like " grim Steele "( an old nickname from fishing days) and find no problem with shouldering the public distaste for
" negativity ". Best to develop some tough skin and accept that some people think we are waiting for spaceships.
 JimD does have a dead serious point about how individual carbon footprints at 5, 10, or 20 tons of Co2 are killing this planet. He is also correct in his assessment that even 1 ton per human multiplied by 8 or 9 billion still leaves us in a crash trajectory abet a slower pace. Like you said however , as long as someone is pumping power into the grid we will keep up our 5-20 ton individual footprints and in the process take out most of the worlds coral reefs within 40 years. Plenty more to add to that list and if that's fear mongering so be it . While I am on the subject how does crash work out for all those coral species? Most of us won't feel a thing and the grid will hum on into the night.
 
   

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2014, 07:21:42 PM »
JackTaylor,  I thought JimD's reference to dreams may have been in response to my obviously emotional comments( poem )on another thread yesterday.
Bruce, I do not recall JimD describing your thoughts (poem) as fantasy, iirc it was another poster, and not me.

I do not subscribe to "all forums must be adversarial with ad hominem injections"
and when I see instances of it I will try to make a note of it.  That's tough. If JimD wants to have fun that way, that's the way it will be. But expect comments to made of it.

Neither do I subscribe to "diplomatic negotiation will solve all things."
Neither will B-&-B.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To address your ending question:
While I am on the subject how does crash work out for all those coral species? Most of us won't feel a thing and the grid will hum on into the night.
I'll feel it in a very disappointing way. If loss of coral (bottom of the food chain) drives the price of seafood (wild ocean species) beyond my meager means, I'll eat more southern farmed catfish, maybe some Northern Atlantic farmed Coho Salmon.

If the grid does not hum into the night? I expect, not necessarily in order - take your pick - add your own;

1. anarchy
2. extreme crime increase
3. rebellion - revolution
4. extreme unemployment
5. starvation
6. a self appointed messiah on every corner
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.


Bruce Steele

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2014, 08:18:13 PM »
JackTaylor, The spaceships line was some sort of response , a quid pro quo if you'd like but  a dodge from the numbers that JimD uses to project where we are headed. I like diplomacy and I have spent enough time in public venues to value such efforts. Not saying it always works.
 Dumb question maybe but what is B-&-B?  Google didn't help me.

My point about coral was that "crash" ( ours ) is either a negative, as represented in the 1-10 list you started, or a godsend depending on your perspective . From the perspective of the coral I doubt any of those 1-6 options would be a bad thing. I don't know if you follow my "carbon cycle " page but I think we are messing with the carbon trigger that will eventuate large extinctions. How that effects my meal choices is the last of my concerns. Unless you live a very long life it likely won't effect your meal choices either. I do not really like a very strict anthropocentric  viewpoint whether that is in right wing or left wing politics, I have seen both. For thirty years I have tried to manage fisheries with a goal to improve conditions for the fish as a primary goal and human economics as a secondary one. Doesn't make me popular but it at least makes my decision matrix easier to handle.   
 

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2014, 08:27:23 PM »
I'll feel it in a very disappointing way. If loss of coral (bottom of the food chain) drives the price of seafood (wild ocean species) beyond my meager means, I'll eat more southern farmed catfish, maybe some Northern Atlantic farmed Coho Salmon.

Maybe you will, maybe for a while - but a billion people depend upon the sea for their protein. Between stock destruction from western factory fishing boats and the ongoing (and well advanced death of the coral), most people won't get to eat the southern farmed catfish or the salmon. Even you won't for that much longer in the big picture view.

What drove the fishermen off Somalia to piracy?

How many other poor nations live near to global trade routes and could apply the same logic?

The simple cost of moving resources around rises as you need more firepower to defend the trade routes - and that in turns prices out the less essential/valuable commodities, adding another drag factor to the global economy.

In the end there is a lot of interconnectedness and interdependency in both the natural and human worlds, people tend to overlook this and fail to appreciate the connections until too late. Of course, I can't pretend myself to be aware of a significant portion of these connections - as often they only become clear when they are demonstrated. Predictable surprises.

While north America might be capable theoretically of continuing operations for quite a while longer than most places - I do not believe the leadership or cultural capability exists to roll with the punches there. Modern capitalism dies with the global economy - how then can that region (even though it possesses the resources to last a while longer) continue to operate? How will it get from where it is now to where it would need to be? It is so heavily entrenched in the modes of behaviour that lead to these problems, depends upon them, even.

JackTaylor

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2014, 09:31:10 PM »
JackTaylor, The spaceships line was some sort of response , a quid pro quo if you'd like but  a dodge from the numbers that JimD uses to project where we are headed. I like diplomacy and I have spent enough time in public venues to value such efforts. Not saying it always works.
 Dumb question maybe but what is B-&-B?  Google didn't help me.

My point about coral was that "crash" ( ours ) is either a negative, as represented in the 1-10 list you started, or a godsend depending on your perspective . From the perspective of the coral I doubt any of those 1-6 options would be a bad thing. I don't know if you follow my "carbon cycle " page but I think we are messing with the carbon trigger that will eventuate large extinctions. How that effects my meal choices is the last of my concerns. Unless you live a very long life it likely won't effect your meal choices either. I do not really like a very strict anthropocentric  viewpoint whether that is in right wing or left wing politics, I have seen both. For thirty years I have tried to manage fisheries with a goal to improve conditions for the fish as a primary goal and human economics as a secondary one. Doesn't make me popular but it at least makes my decision matrix easier to handle.
The spaceship line was much more than a quid pro quo and I have no objections to your noting it. Now, who did I specifically address it to or about which poster?

Is "a self appointed messiah on every corner" specifically addressed to another poster on this forum.

My 6 options with more fill in the blanks was not about the coral,
but about "If the grid does not hum into the night?"

If I improperly divorced the meaning you perhaps attach to (or combine) the corals and the grid, how would you suggest I relate the two, other than in general they're - we're all interconnected?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have no doubt things are going to go downhill because of CO2 induced AGW.

BTW, I still agree with TerryM in original post
"With electricity being generated and transmitted things might get very bad, but not on an apocalyptic level."
Am I on the wrong bandwagon?



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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2014, 09:45:13 PM »
BTW, I still agree with TerryM in original post
"With electricity being generated and transmitted things might get very bad, but not on an apocalyptic level."
Am I on the wrong bandwagon?

Did anyone actually disagree with that statement though?

I don't disagree with it - I just have a different view on how long electricity will continue to be generated and transmitted over national grids for (TerryM seemed to think it would continue to be so indefinitely, and of that I am far from sure - I think there are numerous ways that can cease to be true).

JackTaylor

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2014, 10:12:46 PM »
Maybe you will, maybe for a while - but a billion people depend upon the sea for their protein. Between stock destruction from western factory fishing boats and the ongoing (and well advanced death of the coral), most people won't get to eat the southern farmed catfish or the salmon. Even you won't for that much longer in the big picture view.
Now this is where it has to be driven home.  As I see it and understand it (and know in my heart) unless it hits hard with that billion people (and another billion or more) in a very personal way, and I repeat, in a Very personal way there will have to be an apocalyptic or if you prefer catastrophic event wiping out in excess of a billion people.  A few or several million lost will be newsworthy, but until it really touches home  ?  ?   ?   ?  for example say to 3 to 4 billion people I'll continue to put my money where my mouth is food wise and with financial contributions to environmental - climate promoting - related organizations.

Unless it can be made personally disturbing enough to cause actions ?   ?   ?   ?   ?

SATire

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2014, 12:16:57 AM »
JimD, maybe I am wrong (our usual language problem?). I can read a lot of frustation in your comments and sometimes I feel you would adress me - but maybe I am just to full of myself.

I understand that it is a frustrating experience to do precise analysis of various literature and blogs and trying to prevent collapse since the 1970s in vain. Furthermore I have the feeling (and I could be totally wrong here again), that fighting for the future is especially difficult at a place, were sometimes marketing and presentation are rated over sense and understanding and were serious poeple must be fundamental and not doubtful. From abroad I see fights between liberals and tea-party, religion and freedom, deniers and prophets of doom. It must be very difficult in such an environment to come to agreements and to start long work with unclear outcome and to get all the poeple one needs to get the work done.

It must be strange to discuss things like "BAU" and "collapse" with poeple who made the experience that a lot of different things work well in small scale and are getting slowly mainstream and that the only thing missing is to scale that. And if you are living in a world of competition and fights of wings it must sound silly to read about "getting the poeple in the boat" and "not to chase away poeple by fear". Since your place is an important one and we often feel the influences pouring into our societies I hope that you understand and can find a way to agreements. The imminent collapse is not by accident but because we produce it - so it is up to us to not produce it. "Us" is a lot of us - no individuum can do all the work allone and nobody needs a to be a hero for that task. We need a lot of different capabilities and experiences to perform the work.

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2014, 03:44:47 AM »
FWIW I think the loss of permanent ice in the Arctic will be more catastrophic than most believe & feel that it may occur as rapidly as within the next few years. S&S didn't borrow the most expensive icebreaker in the world to go on a joyride. The free methane under the permafrost beneath the ESAS is escaping at rates some orders of magnitude higher than had been assumed & once the Arctic Ocean isn't restricted to temperatures very close to the freezing point of saltwater, things go downhill - fast.
But it won't turn off the grid.
If Canada can't farm rapeseed, they'll grow sunflowers. If restaurants can't serve Uni, they'll serve Asari - and they'll be serving them under electric lights. As long as I can plug in my toothbrush we don't have a collapse.
It's illegal to feed the homeless in Las Vegas. Arizona's xenophobic policies are mocked - and copied. Sweden curtailed immigration.
Policies that I've decried my whole life are becoming more popular as TPTB decide to pull up the drawbridge. Those on the outside may die rapidly enough that the population explosion becomes the population crash - but the turbines keep spinning & BAU continues down an even darker path.
The homeless won't overthrow Las Vegas. Mexicans won't repatriate Arizona and Europe will do it's damnedest to bar the doors.
If internecine wars break out the victors won't pull the plug.
Western Powers are virtually unassailable. When it's decided that"others' are a drain on resources instead of groups to be exploited, they will fall by the wayside. Remember the fate of the impoverished WWI Vets who march on Washington - Paton's first tank charge was against homeless Vets.
Bangladesh will sink beneath the waves & we will have rock concerts to commemorate their passing. The "Inland Empire" (California) will revert to desert & millions will dune buggy through the ghost towns but nothing other than WAR will turn off the grid & as long as I flip a switch to soar up 18 floors & lock my door by waving my "fob', there has been no crash.
Terry.

JackTaylor

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2014, 04:49:15 AM »
FWIW I think the loss of permanent ice in the Arctic will be more catastrophic than most believe & feel that it may occur as rapidly as within the next few years. S&S didn't borrow the most expensive icebreaker in the world to go on a joyride. The free methane under the permafrost beneath the ESAS is escaping at rates some orders of magnitude higher than had been assumed & once the Arctic Ocean isn't restricted to temperatures very close to the freezing point of saltwater, things go downhill - fast.
But it won't turn off the grid.
If Canada can't farm rapeseed, they'll grow sunflowers. If restaurants can't serve Uni, they'll serve Asari - and they'll be serving them under electric lights. As long as I can plug in my toothbrush we don't have a collapse.
It's illegal to feed the homeless in Las Vegas. Arizona's xenophobic policies are mocked - and copied. Sweden curtailed immigration.
Policies that I've decried my whole life are becoming more popular as TPTB decide to pull up the drawbridge. Those on the outside may die rapidly enough that the population explosion becomes the population crash - but the turbines keep spinning & BAU continues down an even darker path.
The homeless won't overthrow Las Vegas. Mexicans won't repatriate Arizona and Europe will do it's damnedest to bar the doors.
If internecine wars break out the victors won't pull the plug.
Western Powers are virtually unassailable. When it's decided that"others' are a drain on resources instead of groups to be exploited, they will fall by the wayside. Remember the fate of the impoverished WWI Vets who march on Washington - Patton's first tank charge was against homeless Vets.
Bangladesh will sink beneath the waves & we will have rock concerts to commemorate their passing. The "Inland Empire" (California) will revert to desert & millions will dune buggy through the ghost towns but nothing other than WAR will turn off the grid & as long as I flip a switch to soar up 18 floors & lock my door by waving my "fob', there has been no crash.
Terry.

Agree. There will be suffering, perhaps by the billions.  But that does not turn off the grid. Nor stop business.
(TIC)
That Asari, if possible I would prefer it "manhattan style."
With my meager means I doubt I'll ever again frequent a restaurant serving "caviar sushi" so doubt I would miss the Uni.
R,
JackT

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2014, 05:21:26 AM »
The "Inland Empire" (California) will revert to desert & millions will dune buggy through the ghost towns but nothing other than WAR will turn off the grid & as long as I flip a switch to soar up 18 floors & lock my door by waving my "fob', there has been no crash.

I dunno, what do you think about intermittent black outs? Obviously we aren't going to go from near continuous power to losing the grid in one move - but you could expect to see increasing problems delivering power in the interim.

We're already seeing elements of this - many types of power station require prodigious amounts of water and infrastructure isn't really being renewed fast enough to operate indefinitely. Then you have direct climatic impacts on the power infrastructure, for instance heat above design parameters can cause problems distributing electricity (line sag, overloaded and overheating transformer stations, etc).

The UK is a great example of this - a country that has gone from having a healthy surplus capacity to marginal capacity - an aging fleet of old coal burners and precious little investment in new power plants. What price the grid if the money isn't there to keep it working?

While I'd tend to agree one hasn't really collapsed while the grid remains coherently functioning, I think the grid is more fragile than you might think - especially extrapolating into the future.

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-13971005

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=14911

http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2013/february/uk-energy-security-will-carry-a-price-warns-ofgem-chief/

One of the problems with a modern grid is that while it's a great way of distributing the power, if demand goes too high - large sections collapse. You can't easily control the demand, it has to fall within the reserve capacity.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/world/asia/power-restored-after-india-blackout.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/blackout.htm

So you make energy more expensive? So that less is consumed? (it will get more expensive as resources shrink anyway)

Trouble is that doesn't work past a point economically - there is an optimum profitability and maximum effective price you can set. Above that price you start to erode your profitability by destroying demand.

How do you maintain the grid at the point at which people aren't prepared (or able) to pay for it? Almost by definition - there is a maximum energy price you can have above which your ability to maintain and repair the grid is actually eroded. If you can't deliver the energy profitably the grid eventually dies, and first you cut back maintenance and investment.

Furthermore, I question how easy it is to significantly shrink or scale back the grid. That may change as the composition of the power producers does - but right now mostly you're dealing in rather large units of power generation. The longer distance you transmit the power the more losses you face. Even an idle facility has costs.

It seems to me that you have an awful lot of faith in the continued smooth operation of the grid? Why are you so sure it will be a priority to operate it? Richer people and businesses can always install generators (and no doubt will as the supply become intermittent and weak). Poorer people? Do you think this sort of society will worry about them?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/05/farm-bill-cuts-food-stamps-wrong

SATire

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2014, 10:59:23 AM »
ccg - it makes absolutely no sense to reduce the grid: Grid is cheaper & more efficient than storage and fits the same needs (see tipping renewables thread). Only if you want to produce collapse you would destroy the grid...In that case you would be left with electricity coming with wind & sun - a bit uncomfortable but it wouldn't kill you to wait for daylight to start your production machines.

crandles

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2014, 04:03:32 PM »
ccg - it makes absolutely no sense to reduce the grid: Grid is cheaper & more efficient than storage and fits the same needs (see tipping renewables thread). Only if you want to produce collapse you would destroy the grid...In that case you would be left with electricity coming with wind & sun - a bit uncomfortable but it wouldn't kill you to wait for daylight to start your production machines.

If a large majority of people have to spend practically all their money on food to survive so that well off are only ones using power in any way other than to earn money. Also as electric is known to be cause of climate problems causing high prices, would this make pylons likely targets for rioting public? Would also be a useful source of scrap metal to sell? Would grid survive such a scenario?

JimD

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2014, 05:45:02 PM »
SATire.  My practice on blogs in responding to people or directing something specifically to them is to address them directly as I am now.  I do this for the express purpose of trying to eliminate the very problem you point out.  So if I mean  to be directly addressing you I will use your name.  Besides it is more polite to do that.

If I do not address anyone I am speaking to the group or in general terms about group attitudes and/or approaches.

And, like anyone, I am not always as articulate as I would like to be and occasionally miss getting my point across entirely

Terry,  I agree with some of what (a lot?) of what you say about North America but I am also trying to keep in mind (and this is difficult when you live here) that there is a big world out there and what transpires here is not the general answer but a more limited one.  There is certainly complex interconnectedness to the global civilization that is without question going to go the way of the Dodo bird.   When that great interconnectedness is gone or very degraded that would fit some versions of what collapse is defined by.  Even though North America might still remain relatively untouched.  This goes to the point that collapse and disaster to the individual are very personal issues.  If the tornado destroyed your neighbors house and left yours' untouched, he suffered a catastrophe, you not anywhere near as much.

I do not expect access to electricity to disappear in select locations - ever.  Will North America have an integrated continental scale grid for the duration - I would say not a chance.  Our grid is not in good shape today and fixing it would cost huge amounts of money so I do not expect that to happen.  Eventually it will not be integrated fully, then at all, eventually (one of my dreams) all coal plants will be shut down willingly or by the rest of us shooting the owners for crimes against humanity.  The military and govt will have power and access to fossil fuels for critical needs (i.e. security and remaining in power) for the duration I expect.

I expect that North America will be a very changed but still functioning place long after most other areas of the world have collapsed and are back to subsistence agriculture and selling what natural resources they have left to the remaining powers.  And I think there is plenty enough awareness of  our situation in the intelligence and military communities that they are planning on executing just such a strategy.  After all their job description is to maintain and/or improve our position in the world and the public expects them to get it done.

Global solutions, which are the only kind that can work in our  situation, require global cooperation.  I don't see such cooperation as a possibility.  In a strategic sense collapse in some locations is desirable for others in better positions.  They can take advantage of it and, since they do not really give a shit about those people, why not do 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

ritter

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2014, 06:32:00 PM »
Terry,

Speaking from a California perspective, I don't think the grid is anywhere near as reliable as you do. Our demand is huge and our investment into maintaining the grid is low. As an example, we had a flex alert (calling for conservation) here in February, a time when demand is typically much lower than in the summer. Why? A natural gas shortage caused by the cold weather in the rest of the US. Our infrastructure, such that it is, is based on continuation of weather as we've come to know it. Mess with that and the system groans in protest. Add to that that the American Society of Civil Engineers has given the power grid a D+ grade, and we've again got problems.
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Cal-ISO-Electricity-Power-Flex-Alert-244044021.html
http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/a/#p/energy/overview

TerryM

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2014, 06:58:34 PM »
It's because of it's vulnerability that I though the grid would be a good marker for when we've kissed civilization goodby. The Fascists in generations past boasted of their ability to keep the trains running on time, even though as Lawrence showed rails were an easy target for sabotage.
As long as TPTB can keep the juice flowing they maintain power - and everyone benefits? When the grid collapses we're back at least to Wild West times without central authority. There may be pockets of civility but the hinterlands will be rough places indeed.
When I began asking myself what could crash the grid I split it into the National Grid, the Regional Grid and the Local Grid. Ccg has added a lower subset of generated power for elite enclaves & this probably should be considered.
I assumed that any number of things could crash local grids without doing too much damage to regional grids & that regional grids could flutter without having much effect on the national grid. Another assumption I made was that local and regional grids would be repairable as long as the national grid remained up.
I don't think economic viability need be given too much weight. Rail lines have been nationalized in the past & the grid at this stage of development is far more important than trains.
If/when Miami sinks beneath the waves the local grid will be gone and the regional grid will be affected, but not beyond repair. The same could be said for New York City or the desertification of the SouthWest.
The intermittent blackouts that do occur will probably be taken as signs that TPTB are losing their grip & therefor will be repaired ASAP even when the costs are prohibitive. We have Cuba during the Special Period surviving as a civilized nation with long periods of blackouts but the knowledge that somehow the energy would return and no one would be left behind. To end civilization as we know it that spark of belief in the future has to be snuffed out.
As a Canadian who lived most of his life in the American SouthWest I've limited knowledge of how robust central control is in other parts of the world & tried to limit my arguments to places that I do have some first hand knowledge of recognizing that this must give me a North American perspective. I welcome all comments but am especially interested in the thoughts of those from regions that I'm only familiar with through newsclips or books.
Terry

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2014, 07:10:02 PM »
Ritter
Sorry, we cross posted. The California & Southern Nevada grid have had unreported brownouts for decades. When your AC blows, the neighbors refrigerator quits and you see repairmen flooding the neighborhood you may have had a brownout[size=78%]
Back before flat screens the picture would darken and in bad cases it would shrink. Rolling blackouts do a lot less damage.
Regional grids are much more vulnerable than the national one & I think they'll have intermittent problems going forward. I recall the whole Las Vegas Valley going down one evening when I happened to have been on a hillside overlooking everything. Wish cell phones that captured video had been available!
Terry[/size]

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2014, 07:20:51 PM »
I don't think economic viability need be given too much weight. Rail lines have been nationalized in the past & the grid at this stage of development is far more important than trains.

Really? Look at the UK - government cutting investment in flood defences even though research shows you save far more than you spend if you do it, and even as floods start to kick into a higher gear for the UK? The prevailing dogma in the west is against nationalisation, hence the gradual running down of the UK grid already.

I think economic viability matters a lot more than you might think in this case - because you need to keep in mind all sorts of things are putting pressures on the economy - the need to obtain resources, to repair and maintain infrastructure of all types against the ravages of climate change, to produce food, likely to fight wars, to police the unhappy population etc.

In this sense I suggest money is best thought of as a proxy for effort. If you have 10 tasks to do and only resources (time/money/whatever) to do 8 - how do you do the other 2? Or do you do them all badly?

ritter

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2014, 08:57:15 PM »
Terry,

Your clarification above makes sense on the local/regional/nation scales. I'm on edge lately. So much in California is going badly right now. Our infrastructure is in very poor shape and, if the last two years are any omen of the future, climate change/drought is going to be kicking our asses! I have little hope that California will be able to maintain a good electricity grid if the drought drags on for a few years. Our $44 billion ag industry will take a huge hit as will our ability to generate hydro-power. All those idiots claiming desalinization will save us have another thing coming!

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2014, 09:20:41 PM »
Terry,

I think you have the grid explanation backwards.  I have a lot of overseas living and working experience in the developing and less developed world.  I am also an electrical engineer by training as well.

One does not get to national level reliable grids until a country is pretty wealthy and developed.  As one moves down the scale towards the less developed world the size, integratedness and reliability of the grids declines or ceases to exist.  It takes a lot of infrastructure and money to create a large reliable grid.  And a lot of power plants which are capable of backing each other up.  All things poorer countries don't have in surplus.   

That being said there are a lot of countries out there which do not have national grids or at least reliable ones that are still operating pretty successfully in todays world.  I used to live in Athens, Greece about 25 years ago and we had anything but a reliable grid.  However the country was actually doing pretty well economically at the time.  They would just schedule rolling blackouts so one normally knew when the power was going to be on or off.  I have experienced similar situations in many countries.  The US could function that way also if it had to.

The US already suffers from a lack of investment in our national grid that is causing us problems.  This problem will be exacerbated as we build more large scale alternative energy plants as many of them will be in locations which the current grid structure was not designed to handle large distributions of power from.  We are showing little inclination to fix that problem as the usual story here is that the utilities want the profits from the power but want the public to pay for the infrastructure.  But one could break all the regional interconnections permanently (as I think will eventually happen) and, after a period of time figuring out how to adapt, life would go on pretty normally.  The biggest requirement for very reliable power is normally for various industrial purposes.  Residential is not very important.  Long before the US, or a great many other countries, had national grids they were integrated functioning countries. 

If people want to be part of a whole it tends to stay that way and if they decide they no longer are part of that whole (in a mass sense, not individually) it is not long before it disintegrates.  It is going to be hard to see the US really breaking up unless we are way down the path of collapse I think.  But we are certainly not as homogenous as we used to be and that breeds divisiveness.  But people often overestimate our political divisions, though they are certainly intense, as almost all of us have close relatives on both sides of the divide.

Fixing regional or local power problems can be daunting (witness the carnage from the big ice storms the last 2 weeks) but effort will be put into that every time until it just can no longer be done.  A national level grid could go down permanently and more than 95% of the time the people in the various regions would never even know it.  One reason the US flails about a bit now is that power supply shortages are so uncommon that we have not bothered to adapt to dealing with it.  It would not take long for that to change should they manifest themselves frequently as that kind of adaptation is what we see all over the world. 



   

   
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

TerryM

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2014, 10:34:55 PM »
Ritter
I have a home in Riverside & my agent tells me the tenant hasn't been watering the lawn. I don't know whether to chide him or congratulate him.
Jim
I may have chosen the wrong marker for TEOCAWKI, but I had seriously been considering getting the grandkids to take up flintknapping. The biggest thing about a national grid that I'm aware of is the consistency of the power. When I was a child here we had 20 cycle running from Niagara Falls. Switching to 60 cycle was a very expensive undertaking with every electric clock in every home needing to be converted (plus a whole lot more!)
If any of the grid levels is up and running it's hard to say IMHO that civilization has crashed.
I'm in the strange position of believing that losses due to Arctic ice melt will be far more damaging to infrastructure than most here believe while at the same time believing that TPYB will remain firmly in charge.
It's not the kind of world I'd wish on my children, but it's not the kind of world where survivalist skills will win out. If I had it to do over I'd probably advise the grandkids to get a law degree, then branch out into some honest way of making a living.
There are many examples of nations without a fully functional grid that remain within the standards set by the west. This may indicate that my bar was set too low and that even when the grid has failed, BAU continues.
I believe you have pointed out on other threads just how robust agriculture becomes if we just quit growing corn for fuel. I agree. Ritter's concerns for California agriculture are valid only as long as California is seen as a breadbasket to feed the nation. Californians will be able to feed themselves for a long time even if the worst drought or flood predictions prove true. When they can't they will move - or not.
My timeline is now somewhere far past 2100 for N America. I don't know enough about other regions to venture a guess. All based on the premise that no one starts throwing Nukes around.
Terry

JackTaylor

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2014, 12:55:47 PM »
Terry,

Your clarification above makes sense on the local/regional/nation scales. I'm on edge lately. So much in California is going badly right now. Our infrastructure is in very poor shape and, if the last two years are any omen of the future, climate change/drought is going to be kicking our asses! I have little hope that California will be able to maintain a good electricity grid if the drought drags on for a few years. Our $44 billion ag industry will take a huge hit as will our ability to generate hydro-power. All those idiots claiming desalinization will save us have another thing coming!

Ritter,

Does California still have a 33% Renewable's Goal by 2020?

Has the drought revived conversation of keeping 33% ?  increasing or decreasing it overtime?

Other than the 10% (maybe) supply of San Diego's needs from the Carlsbad Desalination is there other movement toward desalination by other municipalities - government entities?

With California's water requirement - demand for both human consumption and agriculture it could take a millennium for desalination to be an answer.
But,
will desal keep enough people there until the drought ends? 


JimD

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #39 on: February 15, 2014, 05:47:06 PM »
Terry

You may well be right.  There are plenty of commenters out and about who pick very different dates than I do.  Some much earlier and others post 2100 as you are.

The informative thing in these discussions is not the date which people come up with. But the factors influencing their decisions.  The level of complexity of civilization is astonishing and I am always running across factors in other peoples posts I had missed or not fully taken into account.  Thus we become better informed.

Though some people think I am way to conservative and we will crash much sooner than I think I admit to being biased towards longer dates due to my experience in trying to figure such things out over the last 40 years.  When I was a young and pretty well completely uniformed environmentalist I could not see how we could continue to pollute and consume like we are and have any chance of not having global level problems crop up in 20-30 years.  Well here we are.

We are brutally resilient us humans.  We will eat every fish, cut down every tree, kill every bird, burn every drop of oil, pour chemicals on the fields until we poison ourselves, and a thousand other things to maintain our ravenous and suicidal way of living.  We are reavers and purveyors of death.  All will likely fall before us until there is nothing left to die but us.   
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

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2014, 06:25:31 PM »
Though some people think I am way to conservative and we will crash much sooner than I think I admit to being biased towards longer dates due to my experience in trying to figure such things out over the last 40 years.  When I was a young and pretty well completely uniformed environmentalist I could not see how we could continue to pollute and consume like we are and have any chance of not having global level problems crop up in 20-30 years.  Well here we are.

While past performance is no guarantee of future gains (and we do indeed have global level problems now, just not yet terminal ones) - there are also a lot of uncertainties. My views on the timescale for the collapse of civilisation change will change somewhat if we somehow navigate the effects of moving to a seasonally ice free Arctic regime (assuming methane release is still only chronic and not abrupt at that point).

SATire

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2014, 07:59:58 PM »
If a large majority of people have to spend practically all their money on food to survive so that well off are only ones using power in any way other than to earn money. Also as electric is known to be cause of climate problems causing high prices, would this make pylons likely targets for rioting public? Would also be a useful source of scrap metal to sell? Would grid survive such a scenario?
For an enemy it would make sense to destroy your infrastructure. But to destroy your own grid would make no sense - it consist of not much ressources and is quite cheap in comparision to the facilities producing electricity from fossils. So I would suggest your rioting poeple to go for coal burning plants or even better for the cars - you get more metall, it is way less dangerous (than cutting >100 kV...) and much more easy since the cars are quite accessible. Furthermore it would help the poeple to get faster to 100% renewables ;-)

Theta

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2014, 08:24:55 PM »
Though some people think I am way to conservative and we will crash much sooner than I think I admit to being biased towards longer dates due to my experience in trying to figure such things out over the last 40 years.  When I was a young and pretty well completely uniformed environmentalist I could not see how we could continue to pollute and consume like we are and have any chance of not having global level problems crop up in 20-30 years.  Well here we are.

While past performance is no guarantee of future gains (and we do indeed have global level problems now, just not yet terminal ones) - there are also a lot of uncertainties. My views on the timescale for the collapse of civilisation change will change somewhat if we somehow navigate the effects of moving to a seasonally ice free Arctic regime (assuming methane release is still only chronic and not abrupt at that point).

The Methane Release Scenario is one that concerns me greatly as the Arctic has been quite weak recently and while I have been optimistic because of the volume of the Arctic Ice, the chances of the ice collapsing this summer could be quite high and if they collapse at an early point, a fairly abrupt Methane Release might be on the cards and once we reach that point, it's pretty much game over for civilisation(it would probably last a few days or weeks at most) and perhaps even for the chances of early collapse giving future generations a chance at surviving as rapid methane emissions turn the earth into a hothouse that makes the conditions during the Permian seem rather minor.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 08:33:26 PM by Theta »
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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #43 on: February 15, 2014, 09:17:37 PM »
a fairly abrupt Methane Release might be on the cards and once we reach that point, it's pretty much game over for civilisation(it would probably last a few days or weeks at most) and perhaps even for the chances of early collapse giving future generations a chance at surviving as rapid methane emissions turn the earth into a hothouse that makes the conditions during the Permian seem rather minor.

I beg to differ on a few points.

Firstly, civilisation won't end in days or weeks if there is an abrupt methane release. It takes months to even be mixed into the atmosphere globally (six months come to mind but I'd have to check to be sure). Secondly even once mixed it takes time for the planet to absorb the extra energy that is the consequence of the additional methane (months into years).

In short even with a truly abrupt and massive release of methane (say the 50GT pulse), I have trouble seeing how it finishes civilisation in less than several years - and quite possibly longer.

With respect to the end Permian, I am not convinced you know a lot about if if you think there is a real chance of virtually any event making it seem minor. Anoxic and euxinic oceans? A severely depleted (we would say completely holed) ozone layer and accompanying excess UV radiation? Dead oceans? Hydrogen sulphide releases? Temperatures very considerably higher than current day conditions?

I do not think it is a given that an abrupt 50 GT methane release as postulated represents a move into those conditions. The (contentious because it involved methane) Wadhams paper suggested such a release would bring forwards reaching +2C of warming by 15-35 years if memory serves. In short the largest abrupt pulse postulated is good for accelerating warming and fast forwarding it a bit - but not sufficient to immediately dump the amounts of carbon into the atmosphere necessary to recreate the end Permian in such a short timescale.

It is in my view a question of if you even can recreate the end Permian without invoking deep water clathrates that take much longer to be destabilised. Don't forget it's normal for methane to track temperature and carbon dioxide paleoclimatically - and before you worry about events that happen a couple of times per billion years, you need to account for the glacial variations in methane - ie why does it increase at the end of ice ages? (shallow water clathrates and permafrost seem pretty promising sources to me...)

Theta

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2014, 09:23:52 PM »
a fairly abrupt Methane Release might be on the cards and once we reach that point, it's pretty much game over for civilisation(it would probably last a few days or weeks at most) and perhaps even for the chances of early collapse giving future generations a chance at surviving as rapid methane emissions turn the earth into a hothouse that makes the conditions during the Permian seem rather minor.

I beg to differ on a few points.

Firstly, civilisation won't end in days or weeks if there is an abrupt methane release. It takes months to even be mixed into the atmosphere globally (six months come to mind but I'd have to check to be sure). Secondly even once mixed it takes time for the planet to absorb the extra energy that is the consequence of the additional methane (months into years).

In short even with a truly abrupt and massive release of methane (say the 50GT pulse), I have trouble seeing how it finishes civilisation in less than several years - and quite possibly longer.

With respect to the end Permian, I am not convinced you know a lot about if if you think there is a real chance of virtually any event making it seem minor. Anoxic and euxinic oceans? A severely depleted (we would say completely holed) ozone layer and accompanying excess UV radiation? Dead oceans? Hydrogen sulphide releases? Temperatures very considerably higher than current day conditions?

I do not think it is a given that an abrupt 50 GT methane release as postulated represents a move into those conditions. The (contentious because it involved methane) Wadhams paper suggested such a release would bring forwards reaching +2C of warming by 15-35 years if memory serves. In short the largest abrupt pulse postulated is good for accelerating warming and fast forwarding it a bit - but not sufficient to immediately dump the amounts of carbon into the atmosphere necessary to recreate the end Permian in such a short timescale.

It is in my view a question of if you even can recreate the end Permian without invoking deep water clathrates that take much longer to be destabilised. Don't forget it's normal for methane to track temperature and carbon dioxide paleoclimatically - and before you worry about events that happen a couple of times per billion years, you need to account for the glacial variations in methane - ie why does it increase at the end of ice ages? (shallow water clathrates and permafrost seem pretty promising sources to me...)

Every contribution I make has holes for people to poke at, but oh well, apologies for the misinterpretation and the hyperbole, the way you seemed to address my optimism regarding civilisation surviving in another thread made me think that the rapid melting of the Arctic Ice and the threat of an abrupt methane release would bring civilisation to its knees quite quickly. Oh well, again apologies for the hyperbole.
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TerryM

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #45 on: February 15, 2014, 10:00:07 PM »
I stumbled upon some very well thought out arguments that counter mine at
http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.ca/2014/02/when-top-predator-dies-off.html
While Cassandra & Ugo are discussing financial collapse it may serve as a proxy for what we are discussing & points to a possible timetable for TEOCAWKI.
I'll have to dig a little deeper before I respond but thought readers of this thread might find their points of view interesting.
Terry

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #46 on: February 16, 2014, 12:32:11 AM »
Every contribution I make has holes for people to poke at, but oh well, apologies for the misinterpretation and the hyperbole, the way you seemed to address my optimism regarding civilisation surviving in another thread made me think that the rapid melting of the Arctic Ice and the threat of an abrupt methane release would bring civilisation to its knees quite quickly. Oh well, again apologies for the hyperbole.

Sorry if I came across a bit too confrontational - I do hold the opinion the Arctic sea ice (or methane, or both) have the potential to take down civilisation rather fast - ie within a few years. I just think to say days or weeks requires you to have more mechanisms at work. If people rushed into a world war as a response to the ongoing changes - you might possibly be able to find rational hypothesis for shorter collapse timeframes.

In the sense that the outcome (regardless of timeframe) is basically baked into the cake - it is a somewhat academic question anyway. Does it make any difference exactly how many years it takes? Not really - 2 years might as well be 5 for most purposes (or the reverse).

JackTaylor

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #47 on: February 16, 2014, 02:15:45 AM »
I stumbled upon some very well thought out arguments that counter mine at
http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.ca/2014/02/when-top-predator-dies-off.html
While Cassandra & Ugo are discussing financial collapse it may serve as a proxy for what we are discussing & points to a possible timetable for TEOCAWKI.
I'll have to dig a little deeper before I respond but thought readers of this thread might find their points of view interesting.
Terry
Yea - Terry, have enjoyed the writing of Ugo for a while now.

TEOCAWKI - We may get different definitions (opinions) of what is the end of civilization and what it means to each of us. 

Let me ramble some to you.

I have personal experience in life without the convenience of electricity and it was not in a hippie-commune trying to live off the grid.  Electricity simply was not available in my community.  No power poles - no wires. We had gasoline (ice) automobiles - trucks - tractors (shared) within my extended family.  Grandma did have a battery powered radio, it was "turned on" only on Saturday Evenings and Sunday Mornings.

As with memories some may be diminished and some my be embellished.

I started elementary school (Mill Spring Polk County NC USA 1st Grade) in September of 1949 and just prior to that can remember the crews setting poles and running wires to our house.  For the first few years afterwards there was only a single incandescent light bulb hanging from the ceiling in the center of each room.  No running water - no indoor plumbing.  We heated and cooked with wood - no chain saw - all hand work.  Air conditioning only at the movie theater in town ten miles away.  Nearest telephone was over four miles away at the school house.

We had a "library" full of books in the homes of my extended family.

Did I live in "civilization"?  Things changed very fast in the five years after electricity.

In 1953 a vivid memory is of my dearly departed 4th grade teacher marching us down the street to the house of the local postmaster &  a merchant (her relative) to watch on television the Inauguration of Eisenhower. 

My rambling about experiences of living "in the country" would probably fill a book.  Same applies to numerous people under the age of 80.

So what do does one mean by "civilization?"  Egotistically as we know modern NYC or Montreal/Toronto - Vancouver or Los Angeles.  I like all four places - have visited all, NYC & LA frequently.  Lived in suburbs of Chicago for a few years. 

There are millions or billions of people who may wish to dispute what we may call civilization.

I personally think BC 5th century Greeks were civilized but they were not in CAWKI

TerryM

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #48 on: February 16, 2014, 06:04:14 AM »
Jack
Your memories sound better ordered than my own. My 2 room school was electrified when I first attended in '52, but TV & AC came later.
My mother grew up in wealthy circumstances with cold water constantly running from a nearby spring into the kitchen sink, then out to the river behind the house. Kerosene lanterns provided lighting and a coal fired steam engine provided power at her father's factory across the street. She studied classical piano at The Royal Conservatory & could never have been considered as uncivilized - all without local electricity.
I think civilization can certainly be maintained without "The Grid" and chose it because few would argue that as long as it's maintained collapse certainly hasn't occurred. It's far too high a standard to be defensible which is why I prefered it over standards (standing police force & courts) that might be more realistic, but more difficult to defend.
One of Ugo's links was to a presentation on complexity & my thought was that the speaker omitted the possibility of breakthrough inventions that are not the product of research teams. I've met Mike Lazaridis & smart phones were invented by a couple of friends over lots of beer. The jet engine, internal combustion and the telephone didn't require huge research teams and budgets, but he argues that R&D now requires huge expenditures for little return. When we're talking about refining and perfecting things this is absolutely true, but what I hang my (slim) hopes on is a breakthrough technological fix that will somehow get us out of this mess before the ceiling caves in.
If we agree that as long as the grid is working collapse hasn't yet occurred & that the grid will be kept up for as long as possible by TPTB, even in the face of very destructive climate change, then there is some small glimmer of light at the end of a very long dark tunnel. Without that spark of hope I'd possibly side with those who think bringing things to a head now is preferable.
Terry

JackTaylor

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Re: What particularly causes "The Crash"
« Reply #49 on: February 16, 2014, 02:52:16 PM »
If we agree that as long as the grid is working collapse hasn't yet occurred & that the grid will be kept up for as long as possible by TPTB, even in the face of very destructive climate change, then there is some small glimmer of light at the end of a very long dark tunnel. Without that spark of hope I'd possibly side with those who think bringing things to a head now is preferable.
Terry
Terry,
Yes I totally agree, as long as the "grid" or significant sections of it is/are working in North America collapse has not occurred.

People had better not get in the way of having a grid - it now is us.  Current and future "profit motive and life styles" will spur preservation of the grid.  It might come at what I would considering staggering cost,  but as long as TPTB can find a way to feed others willing to work for them the grid remains.

The other collapse related item, the End of Civilization, will not occur until "knowledge" is lost.
 Worse case scenario beyond fate of the Library of Alexandria.

But, I still believe millions to billions of human are going to suffer due to AGW.