Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: The Manhattan Project concept  (Read 22741 times)

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
The Manhattan Project concept
« on: April 19, 2014, 06:36:35 PM »
Why the Manhattan Project model is not executable in today's world.


A very common suggestion is seen often in posts describing what we need to do to deal with AGW.  That is the Manhattan Project model of actions as executed by the US in WWII.

I have always shied away from this model for several reasons.  I do not think most posters actually understand what the US did in WWII nor do I think that it can be extrapolated to a global level in today's world.

Let's see what we can figure out.


Now most people think of the Manhattan Project as being a hugely massive undertaking which consumed the entire wealth and productive capacity of the US during the war - with the exception of the wealth and resources used to actually field the armies and do the fighting.  One might note that there is a serious discrepancy already creeping into the 'real story' here as the US military had 10 million men under arms and was making hundred of planes every day, dozens of ships, hundreds of tanks, etc.  So how big was the Manhattan Project?

Quote
The Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada....The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2014[1] dollars). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissile materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons. Research and production took place at more than 30 sites across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project

Pretty interesting isn't it?  $26 billion in today's dollars spent over 6 years.  The Project was not even a small part of the US war effort.  Not in terms of wealth, resources or manpower. Let alone a global effort.

A key component to how the US fought the war is very relevant here as well as it has great implications in the needs for fighting AGW,   President Roosevelt  essentially tossed out the US constitution for the duration of the war and the US was run as a command economy.  Essentially as a fascist state.  In other words to execute a 'total war' strategy required a suspension of democracy in any meaningful sense. 

This, of course, is one of the prime requirements facing us in dealing with AGW in that most (all?) proposed solutions which could actually have a substantial effect require a command economy and decision making and enforcement on a gloal scale.  A single world government.  There is no greater single item in all of global human relations more fraught with trouble than this suggestion.  Virtually everyone would be opposed to such a creation and many would fight to the death to keep it from happening.  Especially here in the United States.  I joke frequently that a One World Government is ok with us Americans as long as we are the ones running it.  But, as with all jokes, there is a grain of truth in what I say.  There will be no such government unless we the Americans are in charge of it.  And any group of nations which went their own way on this and attempted such a creation we would crush without a second thought.  I am not exaggerating here.  So unless all of you are willing to agree to such a solution it is best that you take this off the table as a suggestion.

Resources are another big issue with this idea.  In 1940 the US was still awash with vast amounts of resources.  We had lots of capacity and could burn through it as was needed.  We were beyond sustainability of course, but no one would have cared as we were in close too total war and victory was essential.  In today's world there is not a wealth of untapped resources and there are a host of competing critical needs after those same resources.  Simply maintaining living standards for the additional 30% growth in the population by 2050 will suck up most of the spare resources, or resources we could redirect, that we have available today.  This is a huge issue that is completely ignored by those advocating huge buildouts of various technologies.   Rising population and rising affluence take all the slack and then some out of the global system thus not leaving the resources to execute global full commitment projects.  Additionally, many of the technology buildouts seem to require more strategic minerals than are known to be obtainable.

A significant number of the global systems which make up our complex civilization are in meaningful decline or under serious stress, and all indications are that they are going to get worse fast. Global growth is a paradigm which will not soon be relinquished.  This drive to growth is held and executed by every government on earth and the wealth of the global rich is intrinsically tied up in it.  Global finances are under severe strain and the system is very fragile.  Should it undergo significant contraction, as is very possible in the near-term and likely in the mid-term, it will constrain the ability to execute any new technology buildouts. Absent global growth it will not be possible under our current financial system to fund infrastructure as we do now.   As the system is currently run you cannot use someone's wealth to build it unless you guarantee them a big profit.  This is exactly what was done in the US during WWII. the wealthy owners of the infrastructure needed to conduct the war were guaranteed huge profits for commanding them to shift production to what the government wanted made. But there is no profit to be made in the situation generated by AGW because we are in the position that we have to spend our savings to do the buildout (for instance, all fossil fuel infrastructure value and the value of the untapped resources has to be written off - wiped out- with NO compensation to the owners).  This is not a situation designed to guarantee cooperation.  Food production is going to be stressed and will eventually end up in a shortage situation.  Water supplies are going to be short.  Sea level is going to rise.  Countries are going to collapse.  You have to be able to execute your plan in this environment or it is not a viable plan. 

The effects of AGW are cumulative and incessantly degrading.  What we could do today if we started today we will not be able to do tomorrow as the global system is degrading all the time.  Resources are degrading all the time and the Earth's carrying capacity is degrading all the time.  Solutions proposed need to take into account how long it would take us to create the global situation which is required BEFORE we begin to execute said solution.  This is not being done by anyone yet.  Not the IPCC folks, not the renewable energy folks, not the nuclear power advocates.  No one.  If it is going to take you 20 years to overhaul the global political and financial system before you can create the situation where you could start to execute your plan then the plan must assume from the start what wealth and resources will be available to execute the plan in 20 years.  Not from today as that gives you the wrong answer.  We see this problem all the time in statements like "If we start today....".  Well that is just bull crap as everyone knows that it is not possible to start today.  This type of language is manipulation of opinion only.  And let us not forget time.  We do NOT have all that much time left before AGW degrades the global systems sufficiently that conditions will stop progress on many suggested plans.  If your plan requires 40 years to execute then it is not a plan that is valid as we do not have that much time.

The suggested plans to completely replace our power and energy infrastructure with renewables, or a combination of renewables and nuclear, fail to pass the above time test.  If one reviews the actual text of these plans (not the posts of those advocating them but the actual academic level work) one sees that all of them indicate that the buildouts will take until somewhere in the neighborhood of 2050 or longer to complete.  All of the plans assume continued economic growth, assume availability of all resources needed, assume global governance, ignore population growth and its demand on resources, ignore the degrading effects of AGW, completely ignore the norms of human behavior in times of stress - perhaps the single most important point of all, ignore national and global strategic interests, and so on.  In other words the plans ignore the real world.
 
Everything should be evaluated in terms of what can be executed in the real world not from a faith based perspective.  If your plan depends on the world accomplishing something which has never been done before then you must have a solid argument as to how it can be done for the first time.  If you are just assuming that it will happen you are basing your opinion on faith not reason.  The current versions of replacing our power and energy systems with renewables, or a combination of renewables and nuclear, are not taking real world considerations into account and are thus based upon faith not reason. 

About this time, or long before it, many people reading such a post as this will have thrown up their hands and will be complaining about my being a defeatist.  That we have to have optimism or we will not succeed.  I am going to be blunt here.  Such a complaint is just stupid.  I am not saying there is no fix to our problems and that we should do nothing.  What I am saying is that we need to stop listening to fools who are unable to evaluate the problem, who lack the ability to see the problem at all, who are incapable of seeing that what we need to do is to ensure survival first and foremost, who are bought and sold by some unknown interest, who are blind for some other reason.  This is a hard, a very hard extremely hard, problem and simple solutions are not passing the test.  We need to man up and discard them and dig down and figure out what can actually be accomplished and when and with what we will have available.  This is the only location from which a solution can come from.  The answer may well be an unpalatable one but that is reality and we go from there to any solution.
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

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 06:39:54 PM »
I thought people usually meant the Manhattan project in the vein of technological optimism/hubris rather than on account of the large effort required?

A lot of people seem to find comparisons with the second world war helpful when they're underlining the amount of effort required.

I have a feeling if one looked closely at the numbers, that comparison would also fall flat - an effort much bigger for much longer would be needed than in either world war. In any event both world wars consumed substantial resources - which are now increasingly constrained in many cases.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 387
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2014, 07:30:40 PM »
Good points, well stated, Jim. Another problem I have with people rushing to specifically the Manhattan Project is that the end result was the vaporizing of two cities.

Vaporizing cities, besides being inherently morally repugnant, is relatively easy compared to halting and reversing a global death spiral.

I do think your points tend to bring us back to the question of early collapse. Few seem to think that Holgren's strategy on this has any chance of working. I think, if it happens (which it surely will eventually), such collapse will not be the result of any plan (or of any plan that anyone will admit) but simply the result of the deep dysfunction of the system, and perhaps also from fewer and fewer people seeing the system as worth supporting.

I also certainly agree that a person does not have to be in firm possession of the one 'true' answer to point out problems in other people's "one true answers."

When I think about what any kind of remotely believable remotely potentially effective approach might be, it seems as though they break down into bottom-up or top-down approaches. In the latter case, essentially Obama (or whoever is the POTUS at the time) declares Martial Law domestically as FDR did, takes over the ff industries, and proceeds to systematically dismantle them. Of course, this is not quite top-down enough. At least three or four of the other international players would need to be willing to go along--the best candidates perhaps being EU and China. Other would have to be pressured or directly forced to go along...which could get...messy. Especially wrt Russia.

Anyway, it doesn't take much imagination to come up with lots of problems that such a (mostly) top-down approach might face, domestically and globally.

But it has the advantage that there is historical precedent for strong leaders to take radical, rapid action, and also for nations and regions joining together in alliances to achieve difficult goals (but most such precedents involve hot or cold wars).

Most historical precedents for bottom-up action seem to me to be much slower, perhaps too slow to be very promising? (I suppose the collapse of the Soviet Empire may be an example, but that certainly also had a lot of top-down direction. )

The various 'Rights' movements (Civil, Women's, Gay...) all took many years to decades to see significant legislative victories and changes of national attitudes (and of course they are all far from 'won').

Doubtless it will take large portions of both top-down and bottom-up dramatic action. But there is not much evidence of either anywhere in sight.

One thing we have on our side is that we know the future, kind of. We know that there will be ever more and ever more severe climate catastrophes coming down the road. We need to be both loudly prophecying that these are on the way, and loudly pointing out when they do occur. Catastrophic events can change people's attitudes and their willingness to go in radically new directions, but only if the explanations are already widely known and the programs ready to be implemented.

What I have been thinking of starting is a 10% movement--of individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities...that are willing to set the immediate goal of reducing their greenhouse emissions immediately by 10% this year and every year thereafter. This would obviously start (if it ever does) with a 'coalition of the willing.' But as the predictable catastrophes start piling up, more and more people and institutions...will want to be seen as not on the side that is guaranteeing the utter destruction of the future, but on those trying to minimize the damage to that future.

You can say that I'm...well, you know...

"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."

Vergent

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 573
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2014, 07:50:11 PM »
The Manhattan project is the wrong analogy. If you look at the world at 1935, at the height of the great depression when the world was struggling to feed itself, you would say that someone was insane to think that in the next 10 years would see the manufacture of 10,000 ships 100,000 aircraft countless tanks, all containing new technologies(including the Manhattan project). We not only Did that we fought a global war that waisted 100,000,000 lives.

Just imagine the total effort of WWII(all sides) plus the effort of all those wasted lives. Now multiply that by 3(population growth), and add in the third world if we bring them education. That is the effort mankind is capable of. What we lack is motivation. The primary motivation of WWII was greed, the secondary was self preservation. In WWII the self preservation triumphed over greed. The greed motivated are fighting to maintain BAU. When we are facing the reality of planetary death, we may not succeed in saving it, but expect a massive effort.

This effort will not happen until nature gives us its Pearl Harbor. Until then we are wasting our breath. The right wing controls the purse strings in the US and else where, they are unconvincable on this subject. They are greedily sucking on the tit of big oil, gas, and coal.

BTW nature has a back up air conditioner, things may not be as bleak as they seem. There is a reason why, in the last 800,000 years the planet never overheated.

Verg

Edit: How will we pay for it? Raise the top tax rates up to 90% like we did to pay for WWII.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 08:30:12 PM by Vergent »

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 09:06:46 PM »
Vergent

Quote
Edit: How will we pay for it? Raise the top tax rates up to 90% like we did to pay for WWII.

I think it will take much more than that.  It would have to be an order along the lines of send us 50% of your net wealth and put the rest on standby for confiscation as well.  Taxing income will be insufficient as incomes are very likely to rapidly decrease over time.

Another note.  WWII, contrary to what most Americans and Europeans seem to think, was not a global war all in war.   A significant percentage of the world were spectators.

You make a good point about the 'theoretical' capability of all of the globe working together.  I agree that this exists.  Just like a lot of the technical proposals are 'technically' possible.  However, many of the technical proposals are not possible to execute in the real world.  I think the global all in effort you speak of is not possible in today's world.  Perhaps there will be events in the future which bring about conditions which would make it possible then.  But it is also possible, and I think more likely, that extreme events would result in the opposite effect as indicated by past human behavior.   Unfortunately we appear to be on the road to running this experiment.
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

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 09:38:12 PM »
I think the Marshall Plan is a better analogy.

In 4 years, beginning in 1948, the U.S. spent $30 billion per year (11% of GDP) to rebuild war ravaged Europe.

If the U.S. were to approach AGW and fossil fuel use in a similar manner, we could spend $1.8 trillion or 11% of our $16.8 trillion GDP. If we were to do such a thing, I imagine we could convert away from fossil fuels completely.

The real resistance would not come from the affordability of such an action. Surely we could spend such a sum. The resistance would come from the fossil fuel industry which would fight the complete destruction of their industry.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 10:22:09 PM by Shared Humanity »

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 387
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2014, 09:43:06 PM »
Here's one person who is putting more faith in a top-down than a bottom-up approach:

Quote
On Monday, Robert Stavins, director of Harvard’s Environmental Economics Program and a co-author of the IPCC WG 3 report, said this on the OnPoint radio program:

“This bottom up demand which normally we always want to have and rely on in a representative democracy, is in my view unlikely to work in the case of climate change policy as it has for other environmental problems…. It’s going to take enlightened leadership, leaders that take the lead.”

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/a-risk-analyst-explains-why-climate-change-risk-misperception-doesnt-necessarily-matter/?_php=true&_type=blogs&module=BlogPost-ReadMore&version=Blog%20Main&action=Click&contentCollection=psychology&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body&_r=0#more-52057

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/04/14/climate-change-countdown

But totally leaving it up to the big guys always seems like a bit of a cop out, to me.

This struck me as one of the better counter-positions:

Quote
Ganhdi said, "When the people lead, the leaders will follow."

The "leaders" in today's capitalist societies are tools of the one percent. And the one percent, in the words of one of their "leaders," are "addicted to oil" and the money and control it confers upon them. This is why they own media outlets and hire minions to deny or make light of the global warming threat.

I think that is far more likely there will be great awakening of the populace to the reality of global warming than that the 1% will take any action to inconvenience itself. Such awakenings can happen quite quickly, especially in our well-connected world.

And the awakening, if it comes (and comes in time) will not depend on the main stream media, which is at best cautious and ambivalent about climate change realities, and for the most part promulgates denial. For better or worse, climate change is writing its own story, which more and more people can read despite all the counter propaganda. To end with another quote: "You don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows."


<<Philip S. Wenz, Corvallis, Oregon 2 days ago
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 10:00:52 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 10:54:48 PM »
wili

Quote
Here's one person who is putting more faith in a top-down than a bottom-up approach:

Quote

On Monday, Robert Stavins, director of Harvard’s Environmental Economics Program and a co-author of the IPCC WG 3 report, said this on the OnPoint radio program:

“This bottom up demand which normally we always want to have and rely on in a representative democracy, is in my view unlikely to work in the case of climate change policy as it has for other environmental problems…. It’s going to take enlightened leadership, leaders that take the lead.”

Yes.  This was what I pointed out earlier.  The IPCC assumes a global governance is required to control execution to make this work.  A 'technically' possible event but one that is impossible in today's world.

Imagine what the deniers in the US are going to do with language like that found in a document which can easily be sold as virtually a UN report.   People will be cleaning their assault rifles an extra time or two.
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

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 02:49:43 AM »
If only the U.S. duplicated the WWII mobilization effort and produced renewable, nuclear and transportation electrification on that scale for 10 years, it would force a shift in the price curves globally so that developing countries would find renewable technologies more cost effective than fossil fuels.

What your analysis is missing is the fact that it wasn't "massive profits" that drove the war effort.  In fact one of the first things that was passed was a windfall profits tax on the war effort so that excessive, unpatriotic absorption of monies set toward the war effort were confiscated.

At its peak, the U.S. government spent 45% of the Gross National Product on the war effort



This would approach 9 trillion dollars of spending per year.  Most of this money going into the pockets of the vastly under utilized U.S. workforce with a  record low labor force participation rate.

Couple this with efforts to promote "victory gardens" and providing resources for household food preservation (in WWII the U.S. government provided equipment for home canning) as well as rations (carbon tax) and we would seen a domestic transformation of our economy and resource.

now, I know what you are thinking, impossible given today's political economy. . .well, you are right, given the facts on the ground today.  It will take a massive awakening of the population to the fact that U.S. economic disparity, oligopoly and the threat of climate change need to be addressed. 

These forces are growing and when it reaches a peak, we will see a transformation unlike any that you have yet imagined.

------
We do have the resources available to make the transformation.
We need to start right away.



Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

icefest

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 03:33:48 AM »
Edit: How will we pay for it? Raise the top tax rates up to 90% like we did to pay for WWII.

Sounds very familiar, you might enjoy reading this book: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/12/capitalism-isnt-working-thomas-piketty

Whatever the analogy, be it Manhattan Project or WWII, I feel that the majority of the members posting do not think that a concerted effort will be possible.
Open other end.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 04:36:24 AM »
Jai

Once again you exhibit troll behavior with your language.  Try harder and read for comprehension.  You seem to have missed about 97% of the entire post.

Quote
What your analysis is missing is the fact that it wasn't "massive profits" that drove the war effort.  In fact one of the first things that was passed was a windfall profits tax on the war effort so that excessive, unpatriotic absorption of monies set toward the war effort were confiscated.

At its peak, the U.S. government spent 45% of the Gross National Product on the war effort

My analysis as you call it did not say in any way that "massive profits" drove the war effort. In fact your use of quote marks counts as a lie on your part as I never used those words.  This is what I actually said...

Quote
As the system is currently run you cannot use someone's wealth to build it unless you guarantee them a big profit.  This is exactly what was done in the US during WWII. the wealthy owners of the infrastructure needed to conduct the war were guaranteed huge profits for commanding them to shift production to what the government wanted made. But there is no profit to be made in the situation generated by AGW because we are in the position that we have to spend our savings to do the buildout (for instance, all fossil fuel infrastructure value and the value of the untapped resources has to be written off - wiped out- with NO compensation to the owners).  This is not a situation designed to guarantee cooperation.


This is an absolute fact.  The rich got much richer during the war. This is how the tax was worded.  And by the way it was not called a Windfall Profits Tax it was called an Excess Profits Tax.  Windfall Profit Taxes were a later development.

Quote
The crisis of World War II led Congress to pass four excess profits statutes between 1940 and 1943. The 1940 rates ranged from 25 to 50 percent and the 1941 ones from 35 to 60 percent. In 1942 a flat rate of 90 percent was adopted, with a postwar refund of 10 percent; in 1943 the rate was increased to 95 percent, with a 10 percent refund. Congress gave corporations two alternative excess profits tax credit choices: either 95 percent of average earnings for 1936–1939 or an invested capital credit, initially 8 percent of capital but later graduated from 5 to 8 percent. In 1945 Congress repealed the tax, effective 1 January 1946. The Korean War induced Congress to reimpose an excess profits tax, effective from 1 July 1950 to 31 December 1953. The tax rate was 30 percent of excess profits with the top corporate tax rate rising from 45% to 47%, a 70 percent ceiling for the combined corporation and excess profits taxes.

Note the bolded.  This tax kicked in when profits exceeded the above limits.  Guaranteed profits to a limit and then the 'excess' profits taxed at 80 or 85 percent (counting the refund) on the rest.  The 'rest' was HUGE.  They got rich.  Or I should say richer.  This was the beginning of the great military industrial complex of the US.  It really took off then and never looked back.  By the time of President Eisenhower it was so powerful that he warned the American people about it - to no avail.

Now to the biggest flaw in your post.  When the US redirected so much of its GDP to the war effort it had to direct that money away from other uses and also to resort to extreme deficit spending.  Most would argue that we have sort of maxed the idea of deficit spending already at this point - but we could certainly keep it up I suppose.  Spending of the actual revenues which are just being redirected result in the starving of that part of the economy losing the spending.  It is a zero sum game so to speak.  One does not create employment this way one just changes the jobs.  Only deficit spending adds money and jobs to the economy as redirecting just moves the money and jobs around.

As SH pointed out we could make the decision to do this as long as we can overcome the entrenched interests.  Or we could guarantee the profits from this redirection to those who would lose out on the redirection from their old industries I suppose.

Quote
now, I know what you are thinking, impossible given today's political economy. . .well, you are right, given the facts on the ground today.  It will take a massive awakening of the population to the fact that U.S. economic disparity, oligopoly and the threat of climate change need to be addressed. 

These forces are growing and when it reaches a peak, we will see a transformation unlike any that you have yet imagined.

This I agree with.  Except for the dig about my lack of imagination.  I was there many years before you were.  I just decided to deal in reality not fantasy.  But it may happen one cannot deny.  But other things may be more likely to happen so what actually does happen we will have to wait and see.  And we should expect to wait for some time yet - one of my other main points - and time is what we do not have.
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

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2014, 04:58:40 AM »
JimD

I am glad you reread the post that I made to see that I wasn't trying to criticize you but was trying to adjust the statement that "HUGE" profits is what drove the war effort.

In a nearly identical process, if we are going to do this right we will provide a guaranteed rate of return, a kind of price controls and a socialist control of the domestic economy.  Like the one that you described so clearly with a 5-8% return on capital.  To do this right we must enact national usury laws, increase the top tier and corporate tax rate, return monies stashed in offshore tax havens and re-regulate the banking industry to remove the hedge fund control over commodities and the excesses that contributed to the 2008 global economic collapse.

This, as I see it, is the only way to overcome this challenge and greatly explains why there has been so much pushback against the science of climate change from the free-market crowd.



Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2014, 05:39:38 AM »
jai

Once again I did not say this.

Quote
I am glad you reread the post that I made to see that I wasn't trying to criticize you but was trying to adjust the statement that "HUGE" profits is what drove the war effort.

I never made any such statement about that driving the war effort.  You misunderstood what I was trying to say.  But the point is not worth any more text as it is not relevant any longer.

Quote
In a nearly identical process, if we are going to do this right we will provide a guaranteed rate of return, a kind of price controls and a socialist control of the domestic economy.  Like the one that you described so clearly with a 5-8% return on capital.  To do this right we must enact national usury laws, increase the top tier and corporate tax rate, return monies stashed in offshore tax havens and re-regulate the banking industry to remove the hedge fund control over commodities and the excesses that contributed to the 2008 global economic collapse.
This, as I see it, is the only way to overcome this challenge and greatly explains why there has been so much pushback against the science of climate change from the free-market crowd.

I am obviously not opposed to any such effort.  But I really have questions about capitalist approaches to solving the AGW problem.  It goes back to Einstein's famous quote about repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.  Guaranteeing a rate of return is putting all the chips on growth once again. I do not believe growth in capital and the global economy is in our best interests any longer.  It is the opposite of sustainability goals.  But it may indeed be the only way to get movement from those who own the capital.

Quote
To do this right we must enact national usury laws, increase the top tier and corporate tax rate, return monies stashed in offshore tax havens and re-regulate the banking industry to remove the hedge fund control over commodities and the excesses that contributed to the 2008 global economic collapse.


Well here in the US those who would be adversely impacted by those types of actions control the ability of the system to execute any such actions.  That is a big problem to overcome.  And your phrase about socialist control of the domestic economy is absolute poison here.  Using it would guarantee failure.

And the above approaches will take lots of time to try and execute.  That time thing again.  It is realistic to expect that no meaningful progress will be made on a global basis for some time yet.  There are just too many impediments in the way for quick change. 

Thus I return to my point about planning.  We must start working on solutions which assume it will be quite some time before the system is ready to make a large effort.  No plan which requires we move immediately has any chance of success. So we move on from them and think up something else.   
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

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2014, 02:34:23 PM »
JimD

I am glad you reread the post that I made to see that I wasn't trying to criticize you but was trying to adjust the statement that "HUGE" profits is what drove the war effort.

In a nearly identical process, if we are going to do this right we will provide a guaranteed rate of return, a kind of price controls and a socialist control of the domestic economy.  Like the one that you described so clearly with a 5-8% return on capital.  To do this right we must enact national usury laws, increase the top tier and corporate tax rate, return monies stashed in offshore tax havens and re-regulate the banking industry to remove the hedge fund control over commodities and the excesses that contributed to the 2008 global economic collapse.

This, as I see it, is the only way to overcome this challenge and greatly explains why there has been so much pushback against the science of climate change from the free-market crowd.

And this has been my point all along. The system of industrial capitalism (a growth system that has been in place for 300 years) is the root cause of our problem. The "Invisible Hand" (the idea that the pure pursuit of self interest will result in the common good) is patently false. This idea is the philosophical foundation of capitalism. In order to solve the "tragedy of the commons" problem and AGW is a devastating example of this problem, we need to discard this growth system and embrace a new method of organizing human civilization. I don't care what we call it. Call it socialism. Call it "Commonism" ( the letter substitution is deliberate) but it will not be capitalism.

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2014, 02:39:41 PM »
As Western Europe began the transformation from a feudalistic society to what ultimately became the modern system of global industrial capitalism, brilliant philosophers worked to understand and define the nature of economic man. Five of the most influential were Descartes, Mandeville, Locke, Hume and Adam Smith. Together, with contributions from others, they created the foundation, the very paradigm that guides the system, its behavior.

This philosophical concept is that of the "Invisible Hand".  Mandeville proposed that "private ethics did not matter; anything that happens, be it moral or amoral, contributes to the general welfare." As others explored this idea, ethics became seemingly irrelevant. The originally universal notion of the relationship between ethics and economics, which we encounter in the Old Testament, was turned on its head. It was proposed that the more vices there were, the more material well-being there could be. "Greed is good" was not a bug but a desired feature of the emerging system. Adam Smith refined this and argued that the individual pursuit of pure self interest would logically (quite mysteriously actually) result in the common good. This paradigm forms the foundation and continues to guide the system of capitalism today. It can be found in our public discourse everywhere and serves to justify the pursuit of wealth. All of us, as rational actors within our culture, make economic choices guided by this paradigm. We seek to improve our standing in society, to improve our own lives and the lives of our families.

While a very useful construct to build a philosophical foundation for the creation of the modern economy, this concept or paradigm is patently false. Any student of economics is well acquainted with the ‘tragedy of the commons’.  Absent penalties, a business will choose to maximize profit by dumping waste into the river, thus polluting the drinking water of communities that are downstream. A fisherman will work to maximize his catch from the sea, disregarding the destruction of the fishery on which his livelihood depends. When all fishermen behave in such a manner, a fishery can quickly be depleted. 

The individual pursuit of pure self interest is the root cause of many ills present in modern human civilization. It rarely and only coincidentally contributes to the common good. Pollution and poverty, any form of waste, are all logical results of the pursuit of pure self interest. Because the guiding paradigm is false, all manner of institutions have arisen (e.g. prisons to incarcerate the desperately poor) to mitigate the effects of or limit the destruction that results from the pure pursuit of self interest. Despite this, the paradigm continues to form the very foundation of our society, of capitalism. We continue to act as rational actors, pursuing our own self interest while railing against the logical results of such a pursuit, the destruction of the environment, rampant poverty and injustice and now the existential threat that is anthropogenic global warming.





Sigmetnow

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 18191
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 827
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2014, 03:45:16 PM »
...
The individual pursuit of pure self interest is the root cause of many ills present in modern human civilization. It rarely and only coincidentally contributes to the common good. ...

"'Let me help.' A hundred years or so from now, I believe, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He'll recommend those three words even over 'I love you'."

 ;)   http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever_(episode)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 09:31:26 PM by Sigmetnow »
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2014, 07:51:15 PM »
JimD

This is going to be a bit rushed.  I appreciate your work.  I think you are making some very incomplete assumptions.

such as:

Quote
Thus I return to my point about planning.  We must start working on solutions which assume it will be quite some time before the system is ready to make a large effort.  No plan which requires we move immediately has any chance of success. So we move on from them and think up something else.

1.  Why must we assume that it will be "some time" before the system is ready to make a large effort?  Can't we prepare for the large effort needed now and when a significant climate catastrophe hits, be ready to move to do what is necessary to wrestle control of our government from the oligarchs and implement the changes necessary to ensure the future blessings of liberty to our posterity?

2.  Why does no immediate plan have any chance of success?  this is a sweeping statement that is not based on any reality.  Other than a gloomy expectation of collapse.  There are plans that could have a way to change our trajectory.   They will be implemented if we work on preparing for them today.  Future climate realities (many will happen in the very near future) will convince the majority of the population that we need to act.  When this happens we will act.

Ok, here we go:

Here is a short list of the things in your writing that I think are incomplete or unclear assumptions. . .

Quote
President Roosevelt  essentially tossed out the US constitution for the duration of the war and the US was run as a command economy.

This is not true, the war powers act and the establishment of the Office of Price Administrations was empowered through a vote in congress, according to the constitution.  Contrary to right-wing ideology, the U.S. constitution does not ensure the operation of free-market capitalism.

Quote
Essentially as a fascist state.

This is so outrageous and above the tilt mark that is throws into question your ability to understand these terms.  We were no where near a "fascist state" at the time.  In fact, the "plot to overthrow FDR" was an attempt by REAL fascists to repeal the socialist efforts prior to WWII. 

We are actually much closer to a fascist state today than we were during WWII as chris hedges has clearly described. 

Quote
one of the prime requirements facing us in dealing with AGW . . .
Quote
A single world government
.

This is what is termed as a "straw man argument"  which means that you are describing the "problem" incorrectly and then rail against the solution to the problem.  No reasonable solution being proposed asserts that a "one world government" would be necessary.

at this point I want to make the comment that it is very clear that you draw much of your information and thought from extreme right-wing sources:  The conflation of free-market principles with democracy, the concept of and fear of a one-world government.  these are all rallying points for the U.S. extreme right wing.  The one world-government schtik comes from the John Birch Society rallying against the United Nations and is founded on prophecies in the bible's book of revelation. . .this is pretty sick stuff you are coming up with.

Quote
Simply maintaining living standards for the additional 30% growth in the population by 2050 will suck up most of the spare resources, or resources we could redirect, that we have available today.

birth rates are actually falling much more quickly than projections that were made over 5 years ago.  The u.s. population growth will likely be 20% more by 2050 but the decrease in per-capita energy density will ensure that the amount of additional energy resources will be held steady state. (i.e. efficiency gains will mean no additional energy needs will be required) 

This is a big misstep in your analysis.  You are assuming that per capita energy and resource use will continue at 1970's era pace.  Take a look at per capita gasoline consumption in the U.S.



Quote
Rising population and rising affluence take all the slack and then some out of the global system thus not leaving the resources to execute global full commitment projects.

Rising affluence in China and Southeast Asia is our biggest hurdle to be sure.  I absolutely agree with you here.  This is why I propose that the U.S. lead with a total societal mobilization that will create price pressures on these economies to move away from fossil fuels. 

There is some indication that China is beginning to do this now.  They have a much better chance in implementing real CO2 emission reductions than the U.S. does because of their state-capitalist economy.

Quote
A significant number of the global systems which make up our complex civilization are in meaningful decline or under serious stress, and all indications are that they are going to get worse fast. Global growth is a paradigm which will not soon be relinquished.  This drive to growth is held and executed by every government on earth and the wealth of the global rich is intrinsically tied up in it.  Global finances are under severe strain and the system is very fragile.

I absolutely agree!  Except that the Global finances are under severe strain only because we allowed the foxes to guard the henhouse and massive deregulation destroyed the utility of the banking sector, turning it into a commodification of economies, enslaving the global economy to the oligarchs.

Quote
As the system is currently run you cannot use someone's wealth to build it unless you guarantee them a big profit.  This is exactly what was done in the US during WWII.

That is why we must regulate the profits, as we discussed earlier!

Quote
But there is no profit to be made in the situation generated by AGW because we are in the position that we have to spend our savings to do the buildout

This is nonsensical, we don't have a savings to begin with, the ability for the government to put massive amounts of deficit spending to fight global warming will be a massive boon to the economy.  Much as it did in the run-up and mobilization of WWII.

Quote
Food production is going to be stressed and will eventually end up in a shortage situation.  Water supplies are going to be short.

decentralized victory gardens, household food preservation equipment and sustainable agriculture practices as a means of carbon sequestration (additional revenues) will ensure that the transition to sustainable food production will happen, once these policies are engaged.

Quote
The effects of AGW are cumulative and incessantly degrading.  What we could do today if we started today we will not be able to do tomorrow as the global system is degrading all the time. 

absolutely correct!  We must start immediately, which again makes one ask, if this is true then why do you later say,

Quote
Quote
No plan which requires we move immediately has any chance of success. So we move on from them and think up something else.   

aren't these two statements contradictory?

Quote
If it is going to take you 20 years to overhaul the global political and financial system before you can create the situation where you could start to execute your plan then the plan must assume from the start what wealth and resources will be available to execute the plan in 20 years.

If you start with a presupposition (it will take 20 years to get ready to implement policy) then you are once again setting up a "straw man" argument.  It won't take 20 years to "overhaul" global political structures. 

Just like it didn't take 20 years to overhaul global political structures to allow the U.S. to engage in total societal mobilization during the runup to WWII.

Quote
We do NOT have all that much time left before AGW degrades the global systems sufficiently that conditions will stop progress on many suggested plans.  If your plan requires 40 years to execute then it is not a plan that is valid as we do not have that much time.

This is the natural result of the straw man argument that you set up above.  It is a false statement based on the assumption that it will take 20 years before we are able to move forward on combatting AGW.

At this point I would like to comment that the argument that we will/should/must wait 20 years before we take action and in doing so will be too late, is an argument made by the fossil fuel industry, it is the "it is too late to do anything anyways. . ." argument that comes after "ok global warming IS happening but it isn't too bad" argument.   The implementation of Straw-man arguments is a common tactic of the right wing, so, once again it looks like you draw a lot of your information from right-wing/conservative/corporatist sources.

Quote
If your plan depends on the world accomplishing something which has never been done before then you must have a solid argument as to how it can be done for the first time.

My plan involves America only (for now) and it is based on WWII mobilization.  So it HAS been done before.

.

Quote
I am not saying there is no fix to our problems and that we should do nothing.  What I am saying is that we need to stop listening to fools who are unable to evaluate the problem

you ARE saying there is no fix to our problems.  You have NOT offered any solution, other than letting modern society collapse into feudal enclaves, a right-wing survivalist's dream. . .You discount effective mitigation strategies using straw-man arguments and sweeping generalizations.

you do not show any real analysis potential, you make incorrect assertions and sweeping generalizations about the metrics associated with future energy use, renewable resource implementation, food production and population growth. 


To summarize:

you claim that
1.  To solve AGW will take a one-world government - but this is politically impossible.
2.  There are not enough resources to make the transition to a non-fossil fuel economy and maintain a modern economy.
3.  Under the stress of climate change, absent of the possibility of maintaining modern society, collapse will (and should) occur.  When it does, individuals will act to destroy the fabric of society.

These statements remind me of conversations I have had with Idaho gun-nut survivalist types.  Extreme rightwing militia anti-government and extremely racist people.  While you probably don't fit the description of these types.  The rhetoric is basically the same.

These basic assumptions that you are making are false.  They are straw-man arguments and show that you are simply not offering any real solutions to the problem.



Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 06:24:38 AM »
Reading with interest the back and forth.  I would like to comment that no single nation taking action independently can dramatically impact CO2 emissions. The U.S. and  Western  Europe could work aggressively to reduce CO2 emissions but unless all nations do this, little progress will be made.

As for China showing evidence they are beginning to work on this, nothing could be further from the truth.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 07:15:04 AM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 06:43:03 AM »

Rising affluence in China and Southeast Asia is our biggest hurdle to be sure.  I absolutely agree with you here.  This is why I propose that the U.S. lead with a total societal mobilization that will create price pressures on these economies to move away from fossil fuels. 

There is some indication that China is beginning to do this now.  They have a much better chance in implementing real CO2 emission reductions than the U.S. does because of their state-capitalist economy.

What does "U.S. lead with a total societal mobilization" mean and how would this create price pressures on China to move away from fossil fuels?

icefest

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 10:54:19 AM »
As for China showing evidence they are beginning to work on this, nothing could be further from the truth.

I'd like to think that the following graph is a sign of the decreasing coal expansion. Incidentally did you see that they planning massive coal mining shutdowns.

[img]http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/China-Coal-638x479.jpg[\img]
Open other end.

John_The_Elder

  • New ice
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 12
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 02:34:32 PM »
As for China showing evidence they are beginning to work on this, nothing could be further from the truth.

I'd like to think that the following graph is a sign of the decreasing coal expansion. Incidentally did you see that they planning massive coal mining shutdowns.

[img]http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/China-Coal-638x479.jpg[\img]

You are indulging in some wishful thinking. At 3% growth rate for 2014, if we extrapolate this rate over the next 23 years China will have doubled their coal consumption ( if they can find it).
A 3% growth rate is not sustainable! Take a look at the presentation by Dr. Albert Bartlett @
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY.


John
John

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 04:42:31 PM »
As for China showing evidence they are beginning to work on this, nothing could be further from the truth.

I'd like to think that the following graph is a sign of the decreasing coal expansion. Incidentally did you see that they planning massive coal mining shutdowns.

[img]http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/China-Coal-638x479.jpg[\img]

I have not read of coal mining shutdowns but, if they are planned, it could be related to a  dramatic slowdown in construction and the need for steel. China has overbuilt everywhere. Most of this excess building is in the form of office and residential towers.

China is the largest importer of coal and iron ore. They imported an astounding 300 million metric tons of coal in 2013, mostly from Australia. As large as this is, it is less than 10% of the coal consumed in China. They can do this because they have the 3rd largest recoverable reserves of coal in the world, currently estimated at over 60 billion metric tons of the stuff. They currently consume 3.2 billion metric tons so they do have a problem. At the current rate of consumption, they will run out in 20 years.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 05:42:00 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2014, 06:06:37 PM »
Jai......if you're around, I'm still interested in what you think a "full societal mobilization" in the U.S. would look like?

I do believe that such a mobilization could be what is needed for the world to finally address CO2 emissions and I believe the U.S. should take a leadership role in this effort. We assumed this leadership role at the end of WWII and I see no reason for us to give it up now.

The U.S. is the most powerful and wealthiest nation in the world. We also happen to have one of the highest per capita CO2 emissions rates. The U.S., as of 2009, emitted 17.2 metric tons of CO2 annually per resident. While there are 11 nations with higher per capita emissions, only one, Australia, would be considered an industrial nation. Our CO2 emissions are 36% higher than Russia, 45% higher than Germany, 47% higher than the European Union as a whole and 69% higher than China.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita

In my opinion, a full societal mobilization would look like a national program to become carbon free. As this government driven program would be outside of the normal market process, you could make a strong argument for and justify this as an effort to rapidly build a green energy industry in the U.S. We certainly would not want all of the spending to be domestic as we should want to stimulate a similar growth of these businesses overseas, particularly China.

As we reduce our per capita CO2 emissions and approach the levels of other nations, we could begin to exercise a moral authority over these nations. If we can do it, why can't you?

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2014, 06:32:21 PM »
Shared Humanity,

China is starting to understand the economic and political cost of their pollution just last year, a chart that goes to 2010 won't show the data.  In the last 12 months, China went from almost zero solar to installing almost double what the U.S. has installed (cumulative) in the last 20 years.

A combination of U.S. isolationism using carbon tax and carbon-based trade tariffs will drive the Chinese to adapt, the increase in U.S. production of these resources (along with germmany and others) will drive the domestic price of solar below fossil fuels in china and india).

-------------
regarding what it would look like:

Ever heard of the Kaiser Shipyards?

now imagine that duplicated in industrial centers 10 fold and distributed all over the united states.

employing over 12 million people.

building energy conservation, renewable and energy storage technologies.

These centers are government contracted.  The installers of efficiency and generation and storage are also on government contract.  There is a new federal power authority that has built 20 new nuclear power plants over the last 15 years and that power is largely what has been used to build out the infrastructure for decarbonization.

teams of contracted installers are installing, for extremely low cost (free actually if energy savings are taken into account) efficiency and home insulation projects. 

They are blowing hundreds of tons of cellulose into peoples attic spaces to conserve energy and to sequester carbon (1/2 of the carbon in cellulose comes from CO2).

At the same time, a massive push of supplies and organic farming for home-garden and food storage has been implemented with low cost financing.  There are regional composting centers with people who are paid by government contract to produce carbon-rich soil as a carbon sequester and sustainable food production system.

couple this with international trade tariffs that penalize high CO2 emitters like china and india.  And we will find that the increased U.S. production of renewables will drive the global price down.   That the tariffs and carbon tax will drive the price of fossil fuels up.  That household incomes will go up and expenditures will go down.

The economy will thrive and more money will be able to be spent on sustainable economy, education and local activities.  This is a 40 year plan.

In the end we will have democracy, sustainable economy and increased interdependence and education.  There will be a much more equitable society, largely socialist.

This is the only solution that I see as a potentially workable one.  It will take about 400,000 people camped out in Washington D.C. for about 1 year before it might actually happen.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 07:20:04 PM by jai mitchell »
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2014, 07:21:41 PM »
Shared Humanity,

China is starting to understand the economic and political cost of their pollution just last year, a chart that goes to 2010 won't show the data.  They went from almost zero solar to installing more than the U.S. has installed in 20 years in only 12 months.

A combination of U.S. isolationism using carbon tax and carbon-based trade tariffs will drive the Chinese to adapt, the increase in U.S. production of these resources (along with germmany and others) will drive the domestic price of solar below fossil fuels in china and india).

-------------
regarding what it would look like:

Ever heard of the Kaiser Shipyards?

now imagine that duplicated in industrial centers 10 fold and distributed all over the united states.

employing over 12 million people.

building energy conservation, renewable and energy storage technologies.

These centers are government contracted.  The installers of efficiency and generation and storage are also on government contract.  There is a new federal power authority that has built 20 new nuclear power plants over the last 15 years and that power is largely what has been used to build out the infrastructure for decarbonization.

teams of contracted installers are installing, for extremely low cost (free actually if energy savings are taken into account) efficiency and home insulation projects. 

They are blowing hundreds of tons of cellulose into peoples attic spaces to conserve energy and to sequester carbon (1/2 of the carbon in cellulose comes from CO2).

At the same time, a massive push of supplies and organic farming for home-garden and food storage has been implemented with low cost financing.  There are regional composting centers with people who are paid by government contract to produce carbon-rich soil as a carbon sequester and sustainable food production system.

couple this with international trade tariffs that penalize high CO2 emitters like china and india.  And we will find that the increased U.S. production of renewables will drive the global price down.   That the tariffs and carbon tax will drive the price of fossil fuels up.  That household incomes will go up and expenditures will go down.

The economy will thrive and more money will be able to be spent on sustainable economy, education and local activities.  This is a 40 year plan.

In the end we will have democracy, sustainable economy and increased interdependence and education.  There will be a much more equitable society, largely socialist.

This is the only solution that I see as a potentially workable one.  It will take about 400,000 people camped out in Washington D.C. for about 1 year before it might actually happen.

So we agree in part. You see a nation wide effort to reduce CO2 emissions as a major part of this mobilization. I believe this is crucial, not only because we have one of the highest per capita emission rates but because we have the wealth needed to make this transition.

You are correct in that China is recognizing the costs of pollution and I realize they are installing wind turbines at a phenomenal rate. The leveling out of coal consumption could very well be evidence of this. (See most recent chart) Given the installed base of coal fired plants, we should not expect further dramatic reductions in coal use, anytime soon. And despite this rapid growth in renewables, the chart below (I attached it above as well.) shows that renewables hardly register. Please don't point out that the chart only goes to 2011. I know this but 2 more years would not alter the facts regarding China's reliance on fossil fuels to run their economy.

I disagree with your characterization of China as a high CO2 emitter. As shown above, in 2009, China had per capita emissions that were 31% of the U.S. While the U.S. is 12th highest, China is tied for 55th. This ratio has changed since (I don't have more recent data.) but U.S. per capita emissions continue to dwarf China's emissions.

I also take exception with the approach with regards to China. You are suggesting that we use coercive power, penalties, actions that can only serve to hurt China and their efforts to improve the lives of their 1.3 billion citizens. I really don't believe that a projection of imperial power (The neoliberals and neoconservatives would certainly like this however.) is the way to develop the kind of international cooperation needed to address AGW.

China, India as well, are merely doing exactly what the western world did during the early stages of their industrial revolutions. They are relying on energy sources that are cheap and readily available. This is coal. The U.S. depended on coal for at least 100 years to fuel our development. We can hardly fault them for duplicating the same successful strategy that we employed. You also cannot fault them for working to pull their populations out of poverty.

If we hope to get China to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, the U.S. will have to provide the capital and technology to do so, a kind of Marshall Plan for Asia if you will.

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2014, 08:04:25 PM »
JimD

This is going to be a bit rushed.  I appreciate your work.  I think you are making some very incomplete assumptions.

Here is a short list of the things in your writing that I think are incomplete or unclear assumptions. . .

This is so outrageous and above the tilt mark that is throws into question your ability to understand these terms......

......This is what is termed as a "straw man argument"  which means that you are describing the "problem" incorrectly and then rail against the solution to the problem......

......at this point I want to make the comment that it is very clear that you draw much of your information and thought from extreme right-wing sources:  The conflation of free-market principles with democracy, the concept of and fear of a one-world government.  these are all rallying points for the U.S. extreme right wing.  The one world-government schtik comes from the John Birch Society rallying against the United Nations and is founded on prophecies in the bible's book of revelation. . .this is pretty sick stuff you are coming up with......

.....This is the natural result of the straw man argument that you set up above.  It is a false statement based on the assumption that it will take 20 years before we are able to move forward on combatting AGW.......

.....At this point I would like to comment that the argument that we will/should/must wait 20 years before we take action and in doing so will be too late, is an argument made by the fossil fuel industry, it is the "it is too late to do anything anyways. . ." argument that comes after "ok global warming IS happening but it isn't too bad" argument.   The implementation of Straw-man arguments is a common tactic of the right wing, so, once again it looks like you draw a lot of your information from right-wing/conservative/corporatist sources.......

.....you ARE saying there is no fix to our problems.  You have NOT offered any solution, other than letting modern society collapse into feudal enclaves, a right-wing survivalist's dream. . .You discount effective mitigation strategies using straw-man arguments and sweeping generalizations.....

......you do not show any real analysis potential, you make incorrect assertions and sweeping generalizations about the metrics associated with future energy use, renewable resource implementation, food production and population growth.....

.....These statements remind me of conversations I have had with Idaho gun-nut survivalist types.  Extreme rightwing militia anti-government and extremely racist people.  While you probably don't fit the description of these types.  The rhetoric is basically the same.....

.....These basic assumptions that you are making are false.  They are straw-man arguments and show that you are simply not offering any real solutions to the problem......

I come here for the stimulating discussions. I thoroughly enjoy hearing opinions different than my own and, over the past two years, have learned a great deal from people who comment here. I've learned a great deal from JimD in that time.

I have to admit that when people post like the above, I begin to question why I come here. When someone feels compelled to label others, I tend to discount whatever they say. I am particularly bothered when a commenter tries to say what the other person is saying instead of writing what they think and believe.

I am not a moderator here, just a frequent visitor. I will certainly never treat you with the disrespect that you have shown JimD but you will have to excuse me if I choose to ignore your comments from now on.

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2014, 10:39:17 PM »
Shared, JimD

When I see faulty logic and assumptions that are self-defeating I will point it out.   I am sorry if that hurt either of your feelings.

you will notice that I said,

Quote
These statements remind me of conversations I have had with Idaho gun-nut survivalist types.  Extreme rightwing militia anti-government and extremely racist people.  While you probably don't fit the description of these types.  The rhetoric is basically the same.

This is where I hope that you learn to change how you look at things so that you can understand the solution more clearly.

like when you said,

Quote
I disagree with your characterization of China as a high CO2 emitter.

well, per capita emissions reductions isn't the goal, overall emissions and more clearly, embedded emissions in goods and services (for tariff purposes) is what is necessary. 

it isn't a penalty on China for trying to grow.  It is a matter of global human survival.

or when you say,

Quote
Given the installed base of coal fired plants, we should not expect further dramatic reductions in coal use, anytime soon.

while that is reasonable, it supposes that the simple presence of oil and coal industry is enough to ensure that that industry will be maintained.  It doesn't take into consideration other future impacts, like efforts to decarbonize, carbon tax and trade tariffs, and future price point reductions in renewable sources that push them to be cheaper than coal and oil.

simply stating that "because there are coal-fired power plants" they won't stop burning coal is an adherence to status quo without regard to future changes that are already being set into motion.

by the way,

the term "straw-man argument" is not intended to be insulting it is an attempt to bring in the discussion to more intellectually honest boundaries.  These ARE right-wing talking points, how ever cleverly they are dressed up.







Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

Neven

  • Administrator
  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 7756
    • View Profile
    • Arctic Sea Ice Blog
  • Liked: 1133
  • Likes Given: 521
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2014, 11:19:09 PM »
I am not a moderator here, just a frequent visitor. I will certainly never treat you with the disrespect that you have shown JimD but you will have to excuse me if I choose to ignore your comments from now on.

Well, I am the moderator here, and I will let this one pass because Jai has been around for a while on the ASIB and here, but just this once.

I don't disagree that much with what you say - although it is somewhat overoptimistic - but you could work on your style a bit more, for instance by not immediately putting what someone says in a little labelled box. And also realize that you don't have a monopoly on truth.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

Csnavywx

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 548
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2014, 12:14:36 AM »
Shared Humanity,

China is starting to understand the economic and political cost of their pollution just last year, a chart that goes to 2010 won't show the data.  In the last 12 months, China went from almost zero solar to installing almost double what the U.S. has installed (cumulative) in the last 20 years.

A combination of U.S. isolationism using carbon tax and carbon-based trade tariffs will drive the Chinese to adapt, the increase in U.S. production of these resources (along with germmany and others) will drive the domestic price of solar below fossil fuels in china and india).

-------------
regarding what it would look like:

Ever heard of the Kaiser Shipyards?

now imagine that duplicated in industrial centers 10 fold and distributed all over the united states.

employing over 12 million people.

building energy conservation, renewable and energy storage technologies.

These centers are government contracted.  The installers of efficiency and generation and storage are also on government contract.  There is a new federal power authority that has built 20 new nuclear power plants over the last 15 years and that power is largely what has been used to build out the infrastructure for decarbonization.

teams of contracted installers are installing, for extremely low cost (free actually if energy savings are taken into account) efficiency and home insulation projects. 

They are blowing hundreds of tons of cellulose into peoples attic spaces to conserve energy and to sequester carbon (1/2 of the carbon in cellulose comes from CO2).

At the same time, a massive push of supplies and organic farming for home-garden and food storage has been implemented with low cost financing.  There are regional composting centers with people who are paid by government contract to produce carbon-rich soil as a carbon sequester and sustainable food production system.

couple this with international trade tariffs that penalize high CO2 emitters like china and india.  And we will find that the increased U.S. production of renewables will drive the global price down.   That the tariffs and carbon tax will drive the price of fossil fuels up.  That household incomes will go up and expenditures will go down.

The economy will thrive and more money will be able to be spent on sustainable economy, education and local activities.  This is a 40 year plan.

In the end we will have democracy, sustainable economy and increased interdependence and education.  There will be a much more equitable society, largely socialist.

This is the only solution that I see as a potentially workable one.  It will take about 400,000 people camped out in Washington D.C. for about 1 year before it might actually happen.

The capitalist system is far too ingrained in our culture for this to happen in a timely manner. For it to be workable in a timely manner, the solution would need to be within the free market system, or at least a hybrid of governmental programs and the free market. I suspect this is the only way to make it politically palatable. Add in the issue that past socialist societies haven't exactly been the most environmentally friendly (something detractors would be quick to jump on)... and well... you might get why I would be skeptical.

I do agree that China may be the best poised to do something about it. However, I'm not yet convinced that the new installation of renewables and cutbacks on coal burning near cities are anything but a reactionary response to an upset populace. In fact, they're building a significant number of gasification (syngas) plants to convert coal to gas to help solve the pollution problem. This actually worsens the CO2 problem, but it's completely consistent with their behavior over the past 15 years of being rather obstructionist at climate conferences.

Csnavywx

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 548
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2014, 12:32:40 AM »
I don't want to come into the thread and then leave without offering at least part of the solution. In the vein of my last post, I favor Hansen's fee-and-dividend system. This is much more likely to take root in the USA in a timely fashion and could provide a significant positive incentive to reduce emissions.

Coal is going to be the big killer, so that's where we really need to focus. It has a ridiculously good energy return on investment and is tough to beat price-wise.

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2014, 02:24:47 AM »
If anyone here has a better idea, I would love to hear it.

so far I have heard

1.  It won't ever be fixed
2.  we can't wait for some magic technology
3.  why can't we just let economies collapse?
4.  why can't we just let people accept a lower living standard

and

5.  we need to have a one world government first but it will take too long for that to happen so we are all going to die.

if ANYONE has a better solution than the one I have posted, please. . .say so. . .
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2014, 02:52:43 AM »
Csnavywx

Quote
the solution would need to be within the free market system, or at least a hybrid of governmental programs and the free market. I suspect this is the only way to make it politically palatable. Add in the issue that past socialist societies haven't exactly been the most environmentally friendly (something detractors would be quick to jump on)...

I meant socialist democracies, like the northern European states.  These states have the highest standard of living and the best environmental record in recent history.  Much better than the state/coporatist capitalist systems of U.S. and China, and of course, much better than the state communist of the USSR.

you offer a good point that the Hansen carbon tax solution is an important part of it but my reading of the current status is that we have now locked an additional .8C of warming with a possibility of much more if Aerosols are more cooling than the average value currently used.  This puts us at 1.6C above pre-industrial.  Include rainforest destruction and permafrost emissions/boreal forest depletion and we are already looking to soar above 2C by 2100.

That is with current emissions. 

So, any delay, any waiting for free-market solutions that attempt to reduce CO2 emissions according to the RCP 4.5 Pathway will still lead to widescale climate catastrophe in the next 65 years.

we must all realize that the IPCC estimates currently model arctic ice cover through 2065.

Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

Csnavywx

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 548
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2014, 04:09:39 AM »
Ah, I gotcha. Yes, the northern European states have done quite well. The advantage they have is that they have smaller populations, less aversion to governmental intervention and cultures which foster the welfare of the general population. This gives them the nimble flexibility to adapt quickly as a society to climate change, something the big superpowers generally lack. Change is typically brought incrementally, unless there's a large trigger to provoke sudden change (Pearl Harbor, 9/11, etc.). As a couple of examples, take a look at the civil rights and LGBT movements.

From a practical standpoint, I think there's little chance of not blowing through the 2C guardrail. We're not in Rio anymore, and 22 years have been horribly wasted since. If we had constructively used that time to foster change, even incremental, we'd be in a much better position today.

But, having said that... a 2-4C world, while pretty bad, is still much better than a 5C+ world. I advocate throwing the brakes on whenever possible. Better late than never. Above all else, I stand with Hansen when I say that coal needs to die a quick death. That, more than anything, can put some measure of control back into our hands in the future.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 387
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2014, 04:10:40 AM »
"I meant socialist democracies, like the northern European states.  These states have the highest standard of living and the best environmental record in recent history.  Much better than the state/coporatist capitalist systems of U.S. and China, and of course, much better than the state communist of the USSR."

But not better than Cuba.

http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/living_planet_report.pdf

"In 2003, Asia-Pacific and Africa were
using less than world average per person
biocapacity, while the EU and North America
had crossed the threshold for high human
development. No region, nor the world as
a whole, met both criteria for sustainable
development. Cuba alone did, based on the
data it reports to the United Nations. "

p. 21

"I advocate throwing the brakes on whenever possible. Better late than never. Above all else, I stand with Hansen when I say that coal needs to die a quick death. That, more than anything, can put some measure of control back into our hands in the future."

Yes, but the other top priority is to not expand into even dirtier sources such as tar sands.

SA wrote: "I am particularly bothered when a commenter tries to say what the other person is saying instead of writing what they think and believe."

Me too. 
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 04:18:45 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

icefest

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2014, 06:55:33 AM »
Interestingly, the WWF counts a country as sustainable as long as human development index is higher than 0.8 and the ecological footprint is lower than 1.8 global hectares per person.

Even Cuba is higher than 1.
Open other end.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 387
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2014, 07:38:28 AM »
"ecological footprint is lower than 1.8 global hectares per person"

And note the definition of that level of consumption:

"World average biocapacity available per person, ignoring the needs of wild species"
"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."

icefest

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2014, 08:13:50 AM »
The data is also from 2003; it would be interesting to see how things have changed.
Open other end.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 387
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #37 on: April 22, 2014, 08:42:10 AM »
I believe that is the only year that any nation was in the 'sweet spot' with both a high human development index and a low ecological footprint. It certainly suggests that it isn't an easy standard to achieve and maintain. Not that many countries have really made it a very high priority to even try.
"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."

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2014, 01:24:08 PM »

I do agree that China may be the best poised to do something about it. However, I'm not yet convinced that the new installation of renewables and cutbacks on coal burning near cities are anything but a reactionary response to an upset populace. In fact, they're building a significant number of gasification (syngas) plants to convert coal to gas to help solve the pollution problem. This actually worsens the CO2 problem, but it's completely consistent with their behavior over the past 15 years of being rather obstructionist at climate conferences.

Of the largest contributors of CO2, China is the least able to move away from their reliance on coal. This is due to the relative lack of wealth in their nation. They simply do not have the resources to transition away from coal and not impoverish their citizens in a manner that western nations would consider unacceptable. It is essential that the western nations that have much higher per capita emissions take the lead on this.

We could simultaneously assist the developing nations with transfers of technology and financing.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 01:34:34 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2014, 01:27:32 PM »
Interestingly, the WWF counts a country as sustainable as long as human development index is higher than 0.8 and the ecological footprint is lower than 1.8 global hectares per person.

Even Cuba is higher than 1.

How are these values calculated?
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 01:53:14 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2014, 01:51:09 PM »
In 1948, faced with a Europe that had been destroyed during WWII, the U.S. embarked on the single largest "outside the market" capital investment program" in its history. Relatively unscathed by the war, we were the only nation wealthy enough to embark on such an effort. From 1948 to 1952, the U.S. committed 11% of its total GDP to the redevelopment of Europe. These investments were made to replace the shattered infrastructure.

I would argue that just such an effort is needed today to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. I would also argue that nothing less than this has any hope of delivering us from the devastating  effects of a 6C warmer world. Just as in the 1940's, the wealthiest nations are most able to embark on such an effort. The advantage today is that it is not just the U.S. with the ability to do this but most of the developed world is in this position.

If the U.S. committed 11% of GDP over the next 4 years, this would be $1.8 trillion per year! How effective would this kind of investment be in transitioning the U.S. away from fossil fuels? I do not have the knowledge base to understand the costs associated with this effort. If the European Union contributed as well, this would be an additional $1.4 trillion. If a similar effort was expected of all nations, then China would be expected to invest $900 billion, Russia $200 billion, Canada about the same.

The U.S. embarked on this effort because they saw a devastated Europe as an existential threat. The fear was that the Soviet Union would quickly occupy all of Europe. AGW is a far greater existential threat.

When do we get started?
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 01:56:44 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2014, 02:11:50 PM »
Thought I would do a little research on costs. I cannot vouch for the numbers. Here is an estimate for installing  a nationwide smart grid in the U.S.

http://www.livescience.com/41936-smart-grid-energy-benefits.html

Can such a grid only cost $500 billion?

Here is the cost per watt for  the installation of a photovoltaic system.

http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/08/12/installed-price-of-solar-photovoltaic-systems-in-the-u-s-continues-to-decline-at-a-rapid-pace/

At $.30 to$.90 per watt, what would be the cost to quickly transition to photovoltaic?

The cost of a commercial wind turbine is about $2 million per MW of capacity. How  many of these would we need to switch wind power?

http://www.windustry.org/resources/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost

In other words, is $1.8 trillion a year enough for the  U.S. to transition away from fossil fuels?

icefest

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2014, 04:52:01 PM »
Open other end.

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2014, 06:01:56 PM »

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2078
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 116
  • Likes Given: 24
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #44 on: April 22, 2014, 07:25:49 PM »
S.H.

It should be noted that a significant portion of those costs are already being shouldered by the private consumer.  Since residential solar installations basically pay for themselves with net metering in about 10 years under most residential rates.

The continuing decrease in solar power costs, coupled with the availability of ultra-low interest payments would free up a significant amount of capital, basically the money that would be going to the utility company would go instead to the finance company that paid for the solar installation.

In many places, Utility-scale solar PV projects are already equal in cost as new combined-cycle natural gas systems.  Any move toward carbon-tax would make a private-sector shift much more rapid.

Finally, when the government does put 1.8 trillion dollars per year into infrastructure, specifically building low-cost domestic solar and providing massive subsidies for renewable energy and energy storage, it will produce the changes you are talking about.

For many very effective efficiency products offered through utility efficiency programs, the cost-effectiveness, using standard discounting mechanisms, allows for a 50% subsidy on the total installed cost of the equipment (i.e. high efficiency chillers, and commercial air conditioners).  No utility in the country actually does this but rather offers a small portion of that amount. 

This means that there is significant cost-effective energy savings available on the market, if an outside agency would provide the necessary incentive.
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #45 on: April 23, 2014, 05:59:50 PM »

.....A very common suggestion is seen often in posts describing what we need to do to deal with AGW.  That is the Manhattan Project model of actions as executed by the US in WWII.

Let's see what we can figure out.....

.....Resources are another big issue with this idea.  In 1940 the US was still awash with vast amounts of resources.  We had lots of capacity and could burn through it as was needed......In today's world..........there are a host of competing critical needs after those same resources.  Simply maintaining living standards for the additional 30% growth in the population by 2050 will suck up most of the spare resources, or resources we could redirect, that we have available today.  This is a huge issue that is completely ignored by those advocating huge buildouts of various technologies.   Rising population and rising affluence take all the slack and then some out of the global system thus not leaving the resources to execute global full commitment projects......

.....A significant number of the global systems which make up our complex civilization are in meaningful decline or under serious stress, and all indications are that they are going to get worse fast. Global growth is a paradigm which will not soon be relinquished.  This drive to growth is held and executed by every government on earth and the wealth of the global rich is intrinsically tied up in it.  Global finances are under severe strain and the system is very fragile.  Should it undergo significant contraction, as is very possible in the near-term and likely in the mid-term, it will constrain the ability to execute any new technology buildouts. Absent global growth it will not be possible under our current financial system to fund infrastructure as we do now......... But there is no profit to be made in the situation generated by AGW because we are in the position that we have to spend our savings to do the buildout (for instance, all fossil fuel infrastructure value and the value of the untapped resources has to be written off - wiped out- with NO compensation to the owners).  This is not a situation designed to guarantee cooperation........ 

.......The effects of AGW are cumulative and incessantly degrading.  What we could do today if we started today we will not be able to do tomorrow as the global system is degrading all the time.  Resources are degrading all the time and the Earth's carrying capacity is degrading all the time.  Solutions proposed need to take into account how long it would take us to create the global situation which is required BEFORE we begin to execute said solution.  This is not being done by anyone yet.  Not the IPCC folks, not the renewable energy folks, not the nuclear power advocates.  No one.........."If we start today....".  Well that is just bull crap.....

......The suggested plans to completely replace our power and energy infrastructure with renewables, or a combination of renewables and nuclear, fail to pass the above time test.  If one reviews the actual text of these plans (not the posts of those advocating them but the actual academic level work) one sees that all of them indicate that the buildouts will take until somewhere in the neighborhood of 2050 or longer to complete.  All of the plans assume continued economic growth.....

......If your plan depends on the world accomplishing something which has never been done before then you must have a solid argument as to how it can be done for the first time......
 
.....I am not saying there is no fix to our problems and that we should do nothing.  What I am saying is that we need to stop listening to fools who are unable to evaluate the problem, who lack the ability to see the problem at all, who are incapable of seeing that what we need to do is to ensure survival first and foremost, who are bought and sold by some unknown interest, who are blind for some other reason.  This is a hard, a very hard extremely hard, problem and simple solutions are not passing the test.  We need to man up and discard them and dig down and figure out what can actually be accomplished and when and with what we will have available.  This is the only location from which a solution can come from.  The answer may well be an unpalatable one but that is reality and we go from there to any solution.

Jim.....I've edited out a large part of your post and have tried to indicate this by placing a string of periods where things have been removed. In large part, I share your pessimism and this is due to the fact that any real concerted effort to address the problem is contrary to very powerful interests within the system of capitalism today. It seems you are making this argument throughout your post.

These interests are very public in their arguments against taking any radical action. They work to minimize the seriousness of the problem while simultaneously playing to the fears of ordinary people (I consider myself to be one of these.) by emphasizing the damage it will do to the world's economy. Their arguments all spring from the assumption of the absolute necessity of sustaining the existing growth system which supplies the material wealth that most humans on the planet seek. This conflict between our need to immediately take massive and quite disruptive action while simultaneously sustaining the system mirrors the conflict that each of us displays in our respective posts. We want to address the problem of AGW while still achieving the growth needed for us to accumulate wealth. I consider this conflict unresolvable, this dual purpose unachievable.

The problem, for all of us, rests with the simple fact that the current growth system, the modern industrial economy which spans the globe, is the root of our problem, certainly AGW but also a myriad of environmental issues that are present in communities across the planet. We have been destroying and continue to destroy ecosystems across the planet. This has been going on at an accelerated pace for hundreds of years. We all know this. We all work within the existing political structures to minimize this environmental damage in our own backyards but we are unwilling to accept that the problem is systemic.

The solution is also systemic in nature. We need to jettison the existing growth system. We have the necessary technology to overcome this existential crisis. I believe we also have the necessary resources if we immediately bring to bear all of the resources required to address the problem. What is lacking is the political will. Our failure is one of imagination. None of us are able to imagine a method of interacting with others which does not assume the continuation of the very system which will guarantee our destruction.

I am not certain we will be able to overcome the fear that paralyzes us all. In effect we must all agree to take action that is, in the short term, not in our best personal interests. The revolution must occur in our minds, our concepts of self and community.



« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 06:49:12 PM by Shared Humanity »

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 387
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #46 on: April 23, 2014, 08:05:20 PM »
SH, your whole post here is amazingly insightful and articulate, but particularly this last bit:

Quote
Our failure is one of imagination. None of us are able to imagine a method of interacting with others which does not assume the continuation of the very system which will guarantee our destruction.

I am not certain we will be able to overcome the fear that paralyzes us all. In effect we must all agree to take action that is, in the short term, not in our best personal interests. The revolution must occur in our minds, our concepts of self and community.

Any thoughts or plans on how to imagine ourselves into a method of interacting with others that in some way aligns with the physical realities of our situation? Or to prompt or encourage the revolution that must occur in our minds?
"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."

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #47 on: April 23, 2014, 08:56:38 PM »
SH, your whole post here is amazingly insightful and articulate, but particularly this last bit:

Quote
Our failure is one of imagination. None of us are able to imagine a method of interacting with others which does not assume the continuation of the very system which will guarantee our destruction.

I am not certain we will be able to overcome the fear that paralyzes us all. In effect we must all agree to take action that is, in the short term, not in our best personal interests. The revolution must occur in our minds, our concepts of self and community.


Any thoughts or plans on how to imagine ourselves into a method of interacting with others that in some way aligns with the physical realities of our situation? Or to prompt or encourage the revolution that must occur in our minds?

I wish I had an answer but I believe the first step is to simply recognize the true nature of the problem. If we can get there, then we would be able to have an honest discussion about possible actions.

I am, however, working to identify individuals and groups who are interested in working on this, staying active in Chicago. I even consider my visits here as part of  this effort. I once raised the question whether this blog could develop an advocacy branch, a targeted focus with rigorous rules for discussion  and policy development, additional  tools that would allow a more interactive work group and messaging to the larger world  community.

I have no idea what this would take, the resources it would require and even if this  is the right direction. Perhaps it would be better to link up with groups that are already doing this kind of work.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 09:17:36 PM by Shared Humanity »

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 387
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #48 on: April 23, 2014, 09:16:35 PM »
"I am, however, working to identify individuals and groups who are interested in working on this, staying active in Chicago. I even consider my visits here as part of  this effort. I once raised the question whether this blog could develop an advocacy branch, a targeted focus with rigorous rules for discussion  and policy development, additional  tools that would allow a more interactive work group and messaging to the larger world community"

Let us know what kinds of headway you make in these efforts. I, for one, would be eager to pitch in. And let me know if you're ever up Minneapolis way!
"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."

Neven

  • Administrator
  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 7756
    • View Profile
    • Arctic Sea Ice Blog
  • Liked: 1133
  • Likes Given: 521
Re: The Manhattan Project concept
« Reply #49 on: April 23, 2014, 10:53:04 PM »
Nice vid, SH, thanks. Somehow, I've always liked Rifkin. He was one of the first people who set me on the path of thinking about sustainability, about 10-12 years ago when he was promoting the hydrogen economy/energy internet.

Empathy will flourish once we recognize inherent limits and start to respect them.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin