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Author Topic: The Degrowth Imperative  (Read 42149 times)

S.Pansa

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #100 on: September 24, 2014, 02:24:32 PM »
Well, I think sometimes it is very helpful to run a few basic numbers. And then we realize that a lot of taking is merely wishful thinking.

In 2011 total electricity production of the world (from http://wdi.worldbank.org/table/3.7) was 22,160 TWh, 3,344 came from hydropower, 900 from new renewables like wind and solar. That leaves a gap to for renewables close of about 18.000 TWh.


Let's make a few assumptions based on the BP Energy Outlook 2014 (http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/press/press-releases/energy-outlook-2035.html):

1) hydro elec. prod.  grows with 2% per year (BP says 1,8, but let's be generous)
2) electricity demand will grow by 1,5% per year (That's what BP assumes for total energy demand)
3) new renewables BP estimates to grow with 6,8% per year until 2035

What would the gap,  that  renewables have to close, look like in 2030 based on these assumptions?

Well the gap would have grown out (if my math is right, which is very doubtful  :P) to 24,500 TWh
If new renewables grow 10% a year the gap would be 19.000 TWh, less but still 1.000 more than today.

So how do we want to replace the fossil fuel powerplants when the gap is growing out further? With horsshit? Or by stopping to grow our demands any furher?




SATire

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #101 on: September 24, 2014, 04:23:02 PM »
History told us several times: Adding a new energy to the mix does not result in less use of older energies - that adding results in more demand.

So by adding renewables to the mix we can not assume that fossils are vanishing "by itself". No - that must be done by brute force: The use of fossils must be punished. In the beginning only by cost / added taxes and such. Later by prison and war - because those criminals burning coal are playing with the lives of others, similar to using a machine gun on a bus...

But until the most powerfull poeple / countries are not in the boat, that force is ludicrous and ignored by most poeple. Only a few "man on the hill" are exercising today what will be common law in the (not so far) future... 

ccgwebmaster

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #102 on: September 24, 2014, 07:33:41 PM »
So how do we want to replace the fossil fuel powerplants when the gap is growing out further? With horsshit? Or by stopping to grow our demands any furher?

Which is why Bob's "good news" is bogus - a dangerous distracting illusion painted from a non reality. Market forces alone are not going to solve this, I think that's pretty clear. Even if you did scale up renewables and they became cost competitive - and drop in demand for the fossil fuels will tend to lower the price, enabling everyone else to keep burning them cost competitively.

About the only win would be that the extraction of the more technically demanding fuels would likely not be viable, but there's still far too much carbon out there that isn't hard to extract.

It is an absolutely lethal set of flaws with the modern system in my view that neither human life nor the future have any inherent value at all. The true price of burning all those fossil fuels is far higher - just deferred to the future. So the market is broken, flawed, ridiculously enabling us to destroy the future and then run around patting people on the head with the implausible claim it will all magically fix itself.

While the direct and immediate problem is carbon dioxide - the system itself is fundamentally flawed. We need to change it.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #103 on: September 24, 2014, 10:02:40 PM »
" I'm saying let's take away the root cause (exponential growth, as currently defined) so that the symptoms have a chance at getting solved at all."

The problem is not growth.  The problem is the part of growth which is unsustainable.

We can provide every person in the world a wooden chair to sit on if we cut trees at a sustainable rate.


Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #104 on: September 24, 2014, 10:13:11 PM »
"So how do we want to replace the fossil fuel powerplants when the gap is growing out further? With horsshit? Or by stopping to grow our demands any furher? "

Don't overlook what we are achieving with efficiency.  In the US, for example, demand has been roughly flat since 2005.  4,042,602 million kWh in 2005 vs. 4,045,855 million kWh in 2013.

The same efficiencies are spreading throughout the world as the products we buy use less and less electricity.  That makes the target easier to hit.

Now, your date of 2030.  Is it imperative to get all fossil fuels off our grids in the next 15 years?  Or do we need to get them off by 2050?

If it's 2050, 35 years from now, basically all we have to do is to replace worn out coal plants with renewables and develop storage to push NG into a deep backup role.

2030 or 2050, the important news is that renewables are now affordable replacements for fossil fuel generation.  We don't have to ask people to spend more in order to save the planet.  That's a very major accomplishment.

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #105 on: September 24, 2014, 10:16:34 PM »
We can provide every person in the world a wooden chair to sit on if we cut trees at a sustainable rate.

Actually, that is not automatically true. Wood rots, breaks, is eaten, etc. and you need space and ecosystem inputs for the trees so you can only produce a finite quantity of wooden chairs at any given time and if the number of people exceeds that, not everyone can have a wooden chair to sit on. Additionally as the number of people increases, there is less space for trees to be sustained, reducing your capacity to produce wooden chairs.

We live in a finite world, even when one is talking about renewable resources that are used sustainably (many of them of course being depleted today by being consumed far above sustainable levels, wood arguably included).

The number of wooden chairs is limited and can at best approach equilibrium. Mismanage things grossly as today, and the equilibrium number plummets to a much lower value and then there are far fewer wooden chairs to sit upon than there might have been.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #106 on: September 24, 2014, 10:20:52 PM »
" Market forces alone are not going to solve this, I think that's pretty clear. Even if you did scale up renewables and they became cost competitive - and drop in demand for the fossil fuels will tend to lower the price, enabling everyone else to keep burning them cost competitively."

No, you need to look at the economics.

We will have to replace worn out coal plants at some point.  They generally last about 40 years.

The median overnight cost of coal is $2.95/W (http://en.openei.org/apps/TCDB/). Financing costs during construction will add somewhere between 50% and 100% more to the finished cost. Then add in fuel costs. 

The average overnight cost of onshore wind it $1.63/W (DOE 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report).  There are no fuel costs.

The installed price of utility scale solar in the US has fallen to $1.81/W (Greentech Media  2nd Qtr 2014 Executive Summary).  There are no fuel costs.

You cannot lower the cost of building a coal plant.  You cannot run a coal plant without purchasing fuel.  Even if the mine gave away the coal for free there is still a significant cost in shipping between mine and plant.               

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #107 on: September 24, 2014, 10:28:04 PM »
" Market forces alone are not going to solve this, I think that's pretty clear. Even if you did scale up renewables and they became cost competitive - and drop in demand for the fossil fuels will tend to lower the price, enabling everyone else to keep burning them cost competitively."

No, you need to look at the economics.

We will have to replace worn out coal plants at some point.  They generally last about 40 years.

You know that globally there is still plenty of them being built, right? So demand is committed for multiple decades by definition, and that's an awful long tail and far more carbon dioxide than we can afford to emit. Even if they cost more to run than wind and solar they still provide valuable baseload power, and it could be even more expensive to build them and then prematurely cease to operate them.

You cannot lower the cost of building a coal plant.  You cannot run a coal plant without purchasing fuel.  Even if the mine gave away the coal for free there is still a significant cost in shipping between mine and plant.

But worse, just because coal loses value as a power source in combustion fuelled power stations does not mean it won't get dug up and used for other things. Are you familiar with coal to liquid processes? Can't you see the economic value of coal to make up the deficit in fossil transport fuels? (and we're smoking something pretty good if we think global transport requirements are going to be met with lithium ion batteries)

As the price of liquid transport fuels rises as oil supply is increasingly constrained, more polluting and costly alternatives start to make sense. Thus coal is still a fossil resource that will be extracted, because the market says it's still worth something (and potentially quite a bit).

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #108 on: September 24, 2014, 10:36:07 PM »

I state that we can provide everyone with a wooden chair if we cut our forests at a sustainable rate.

You state that we cannon provide everyone with a wooden chair if we cut our forests at a non-sustainable rate.

I've never argued that resources are unlimited.  I simply argue against the opinions that we have to massively "degrow" and/or that we're headed to a crash of civilizations and back to hunting rats with chipped points.

We have to move to sustainable practices.  It looks like we might have solved the energy problem and solved it at a very affordable price.

We need to work harder on our unsustainable practices.  We need to implement sustainable agriculture and firm up our food storage/delivery practices.  We need to replace limited feedstocks in our manufacturing processes with sustainable ones. 

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #109 on: September 24, 2014, 10:39:25 PM »
You state that we cannon provide everyone with a wooden chair if we cut our forests at a non-sustainable rate.

Incorrect. I state that it may not be possible to provide everyone with a wooden chair even if we cut the forests at a sustainable rate. Wooden chairs have a finite lifespan and will disappear from the world as surely as they are created, meaning there is a maximum number that can be in circulation at once even if you cut the wood sustainably.

If population exceeds that maximum number, it is quite simple - you cannot provide everyone with a wooden chair.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #110 on: September 24, 2014, 10:48:50 PM »
Yes, I do know that there are many coal plants being built around the world.

I also know that most of those plants were started before renewables became affordable.  I get the feeling you don't realize how rapidly the cost of renewables has fallen and how it takes a little time for markets and industry to adjust to massive price changes.

And I also know that the most advanced countries have either stopped or are in the process of stopping new coal plant construction.  And some of the countries still constructing coal plants are building replacement plants for old inefficient plants, not adding new capacity.

The cost of building a coal plant is sunk.  Fuel costs.  Since wind is now cheaper than coal less coal will be burned.  We already see coal plants shut down for months when demand is down and wind/hydro are up.

Yes, I know we can make liquid fuel from coal.  But not as cheaply as we can make electricity to power our transportation. 

Actually I'm not at all concerned about conversion of coal to liquid fuel.  Some will be done, simply because there are a few knuckleheads with deep pockets who let their opinions lead them rather than math.  Murray is buying more coal production as the bottom is dropping out of the coal market.

As we move to more efficient ICEVs and EVs start to eat into demand the price of oil will drop.  We've got a very wide range of production cost from under $5/barrel in the Middle East to ~$15/barrel in Nigeria to ~$60/barrel in the Canadian tar sludge industry.  As demand drops the least expensive producers will drop price in order to maintain market share.  New production at $100/barrel will stop.  Production over $50/barrel will go next.  The price of oil will drop to the point at which it won't be economical to extract liquid fuel from coal.


Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #111 on: September 24, 2014, 10:52:38 PM »
Yes, if our population soared to 20 billion then we may not have enough trees.  Or if people start destroying their chairs after only a year.

But how about we limit our discussion to reasonable limits and not stretch into the improbable in an attempt to win a point?

Neven

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #112 on: September 24, 2014, 11:06:46 PM »
Yes, if our population soared to 20 billion then we may not have enough trees.  Or if people start destroying their chairs after only a year.

Or if the chair is produced in such a way that it breaks after one year (planned obsolescence), or because advertising makes people think that they need a new, improved  model every year (perceived obsolescence), because shareholders demand that the company maximizes profits, because that's the best thing for GDP growth as currently defined. The system demands this, and it will keep on demanding it, whatever the source of energy is.

So, what's the next step? Printing trees with a 3D printer?

Just like you I believe it's important to stay positive and work at solutions, but Green BAU just doesn't do it for me.

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We don't have to ask people to spend more in order to save the planet.

The planet is fine. Don't worry about the planet.  8)
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Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #113 on: September 24, 2014, 11:18:48 PM »
I talk about sustainable growth and you talk about unsustainable growth.

Do you not see the disconnect?  Of course we can continue along unsustainable pathways and crash.  The issue at hand is find a sustainable route.

The sustainable route has multiple components.  Energy is one of them.  It looks like we have pretty much solved the sustainable energy part.  There are other parts yet unsolved.

What I see are two routes.  We can 1) "degrow", shrink our productivity/lifestyles down to levels which allow us to continue along in unsustainable ways for a significant amount of time or 2) move to sustainable solutions that allow us to continue growing and improving our quality of life.

I think the probability of people agreeing to the degrowth solution is about zero.  If we wish to avoid a civilization crash then we need to solve the remaining problems of creating a sustainable lifestyle.

Neven

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #114 on: September 24, 2014, 11:50:53 PM »

What I see are two routes.  We can 1) "degrow", shrink our productivity/lifestyles down to levels which allow us to continue along in unsustainable ways for a significant amount of time or 2) move to sustainable solutions that allow us to continue growing and improving our quality of life.

How about we do both routes at the same time? For that, of course, we need to re-define growth.

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I think the probability of people agreeing to the degrowth solution is about zero.  If we wish to avoid a civilization crash then we need to solve the remaining problems of creating a sustainable lifestyle.

A truly sustainable lifestyle is an impossibility according to the current economic definitions, as it will crash the economy. We can't just stop consuming things we don't need. We can't just start growing our own food and be healthier. We can't just get rid of our addictions to drugs, foods and entertainment. All of that is bad for the economy.

Rather than trying to greenify all those unneeded things we consume, or making our addictions sustainable, so that GDP can continue growing exponentially, wouldn't it be much smarter to re-define growth, so that we can relieve ourselves of this neurosis?
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Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #115 on: September 25, 2014, 12:23:32 AM »
I'm 100% behind moving to a sustainable economy.  Not doing so would be foolish.

"Growth" has a specific meaning in economics.  We can't redefine the meaning.  But can change the ways we grow our economies.

We need, for example, to stop producing growth by extracting and burning fossil fuels.  We can continue to expand our energy supply by switching to renewable sources.

A solar panel repays its energy input in less than two years and then produces electricity for 20, 30, 40 or more years.  A wind turbine repays its energy input in 3 to 8 months and then produces electricity for 20 or more years.

We can build solar panels and wind turbines sustainably and, each year, generate more electricity.  That's sustainable growth.

wili

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #116 on: September 25, 2014, 12:45:26 AM »
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8155

"The purpose of this exploration is to point out the absurdity that results from the assumption that we can continue growing our use of energy—even if doing so more modestly than the last 350 years have seen."


Quote
Figure 3. Earth surface temperature given steady 2.3% energy growth, assuming some source other than sunlight is employed to provide our energy needs and that its use transpires on the surface of the planet. Even a dream source like fusion makes for unbearable conditions in a few hundred years if growth continues. Note that the vertical scale is logarithmic.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #117 on: September 25, 2014, 12:54:58 AM »
What's your point, wili?

If we use solar energy (wind is simply one version), use it for work, and the work turns the energy back into heat where do we go wrong?

We do need to reduce the GHG blanket and let heat escape, but that's the point of moving to renewables.

wili

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #118 on: September 25, 2014, 02:17:08 AM »
Hmmm. I'm not sure how to explain it much more plainly than the graphic and its caption.

No matter what kind of energy source we use, growth at what is considered to be acceptable if not stellar rates, cannot continue beyond about 400 years or the planet just becomes too hot, even without added global warming. (But I'd be happy to be corrected if I'm missing something here.)

You just can't grow anything, including an economy, for ever on a finite planet.

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

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #119 on: September 25, 2014, 03:52:55 AM »
If we limit our energy use to only what is coming in from the Sun plus what is coming up from the core and we return our atmosphere to a state where it isn't capturing too much heat then how is it that we heat the planet?


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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #120 on: September 25, 2014, 05:09:17 AM »
Yes, if our population soared to 20 billion then we may not have enough trees.  Or if people start destroying their chairs after only a year.

But how about we limit our discussion to reasonable limits and not stretch into the improbable in an attempt to win a point?

I'm not stretching into the improbable because in the real world people need an awful lot more than just chairs - the metaphor may seem stretched to you, but only because you aren't thinking about the countless other things people need (or think they do).

The bottom line remains very simple - growth has a limit, beyond which you can not sustainably expand (and another limit beyond that where you cannot expand unsustainably either).

Worse, some resources are renewed over geological timescales (or possibly not at all) and there is no precisely sustainable rate to draw them down at (modern civilisation is absolutely harming future people in this way by squandering so many finite resources).

Any sustained growth at all and you will ultimately run out of chairs. It is that simple. The terms sustainable and growth are contradictory, growth cannot be sustainable - it must end, preferably at a steady equilibrium - or in the modern world most likely with an almighty crash because we're eroding our limits and using even renewable resources in a non renewable fashion (and yes, even wind and solar power are subject to limits!).

Given we are already beyond sustainable parameters on even renewable resources in many cases, degrowth is the only way to put the system back into a safe state in a controlled fashion with a minimum of human suffering. I am under no illusions myself about this happening. We will fight instead, competing for a dwindling resource pool to the end.

I realise this notion may not sit well with affluent populations composed largely of members behaving in this dreadful manner, but it's OK - the crash will fix it in the end either way. The laws of physics cannot be bent by hopium and dogma. We act as though we have all the time we want to solve these problems, presumably because we created them and somehow think we therefore control them.

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #121 on: September 25, 2014, 05:10:49 AM »
If we limit our energy use to only what is coming in from the Sun plus what is coming up from the core and we return our atmosphere to a state where it isn't capturing too much heat then how is it that we heat the planet?

You just used the word limit. Do you therefore agree growth cannot be sustained indefinitely at least?

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #122 on: September 25, 2014, 05:49:29 AM »
I don't know what the limit to growth might be as long as we stick to sustainable inputs.

But since it seems to damned important to you to believe that there's some limit out there I'll say 'yes' just so you can go back to enjoying your fantasies of a crash of civilization and you sitting around wearing animal skins and chipping flint.

(I had my fingers crossed when I typed 'yes'.  Hard to do when one is a touch typist.)   ;D

wili

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #123 on: October 01, 2014, 02:44:29 AM »
Unless we change direction, the world will warm 3.3-5.6 degrees Celsius this century
(at least)

http://phys.org/news/2014-09-world-degrees-celsius.html

Quote
Global temperature is likely to rise 3.3-5.6 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, unless international climate negotiations in Paris next year are more effective than expected, according to a report released Monday by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The predicted temperature increase surpasses the threshold identified by the United Nations as necessary to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change, altering precipitation patterns and heightening the pressures of population and economic growth....

The outlook report extends the existing measures after they end to evaluate global changes under possible post-2020 climate action. It uses UN population data and projects economic growth to explore the connections between socioeconomic factors and changing climate, land use, and water.

"Population and economic growth are key drivers of change," Reilly says.

We have to slay the dragon of economic growth before it slays us. Then, or better at the same time, do all we can to get to negative population growth.

Elsewhere: http://www.feasta.org/2014/09/26/fourth-international-degrowth-conference-report-by-sean-conlan/

Fourth International Degrowth Conference

Quote
...Overall Conclusions

Degrowth firmly challenges all the economic paradigms of not just growth, but austerity and many of the basic assumptions of capitalism itself. It was truly refreshing therefore, to assist in a creative, experimental event based on living and practising the principles the organisers preach.

Of the many interventions, one of the most notable was the call from Sunita Narain (CSE India) who highlighted the immense challenges of India in addressing the growing needs of the poor while still remaining within planetary boundaries. In highlighting a range of issues from climate change – ‘the Monsoon is the Finance Minister’ – to energy provision for all, she appealed for new transformational trajectories of economic development for the poor and the rich.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 03:24:57 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."

wili

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #124 on: October 01, 2014, 05:04:47 AM »
http://phys.org/news/2014-09-world-greenhouse-emissions-threaten-goal.html



Note the accompanying text: "Manmade CO2 emissions must be cut by 7% a year to stop the Earth's temperature rising by over 2 degrees C."
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 05:22:52 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."

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #125 on: October 01, 2014, 06:03:41 AM »
http://phys.org/news/2014-09-world-greenhouse-emissions-threaten-goal.html



Note the accompanying text: "Manmade CO2 emissions must be cut by 7% a year to stop the Earth's temperature rising by over 2 degrees C."

And that graphic says the US rose 2.9% in 2013 - so where is the reduction after 2005 that a certain poster has been banging on about...? Not much of a reduction, eh? Maybe the claimed reduction is a cherry picked ghost in the machine or a temporary blip following the onset of the great recession, but nothing about this graphic above suggests the US is cutting emissions, notwithstanding that most reporting fails to account for the massive amount of imported carbon (which would considerably worsen the US figure).

Furthermore, the accompanying text is missing another important note - that the models used to make those predictions almost certainly do not include multiple significant feedbacks that may release carbon from natural resources, or otherwise alter the temperature balance of the planet (eg albedo shifts).

2C is a fantasy now. As we well know, more is likely catastrophic, even if 2C were safe - which it assuredly is not.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #126 on: October 01, 2014, 07:10:28 AM »
Due to rising NG prices there was a small movement back to coal consumption.  Coal produces roughly 2x as much CO2 per MWh.  That is almost certain not to last with the 189 (to 400?) coal plants closing by 2016. 

In 2013 the US got 1.7% (market share) more of its electricity from coal while NG dropped 2.8%.

Of that 1.1% loss for fossil fuels renewables picked up 0.7% and nuclear 0.4%.  In the first half of 2014 renewables grabbed another 0.5% market share and should end up with more than a 1% additional share by year's end.  That's not as fast as we need to see thing to move, but rates are accelerating.

The loss of cheap coal capacity along with the higher price of NG will help drive wind and solar faster.  Wind is now <4c/kWh (without subsidies) and solar is closing on 6c/kWh (also without).

There was also, I think, a small increase in miles driven.  But that should be offset with rising fuel efficiency.

Just like melting out the Arctic sea ice, things do not progress in a smooth line fashion but bounce around a bit.

Laurent

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wili

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #128 on: October 05, 2014, 06:56:34 PM »
http://theconversation.com/life-in-a-degrowth-economy-and-why-you-might-actually-enjoy-it-32224

Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it


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What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever....

We used to live on a planet that was relatively empty of humans; today it is full to overflowing, with more people consuming more resources. We would need one and a half Earths to sustain the existing economy into the future. Every year this ecological overshoot continues, the foundations of our existence, and that of other species, are undermined.

At the same time, there are great multitudes around the world who are, by any humane standard, under-consuming, and the humanitarian challenge of eliminating global poverty is likely to increase the burden on ecosystems still further.

Meanwhile the population is set to hit 11 billion this century. Despite this, the richest nations still seek to grow their economies without apparent limit...
"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."

Laurent

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #129 on: October 08, 2014, 10:54:06 AM »
Is US economic growth over? Faltering
innovation confronts the six headwinds
http://www.cepr.org/sites/default/files/policy_insights/PolicyInsight63.pdf

wili

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Re: The Degrowth Imperative
« Reply #130 on: October 13, 2014, 04:13:21 PM »
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-10-10/paul-krugman-and-the-limits-of-hubris

Quote
... According to a study Krugman himself cited in his previous op-ed, [ http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2014/wp14174.pdf ] the first 10 percent of emissions cuts can be achieved without much pain. But beyond that, they’re all at a net cost to the economy.

By acknowledging that climate change is a serious threat to humanity’s future, Mr. Krugman is in effect acknowledging the existence of environmental limits to economic expansion. He would probably object that climate change is merely a limit to a fossil-fueled economy, and that a renewably-energized economy could happily expand forever. But once we open the limits box and peer inside, a long series of other critical boundaries quickly comes to light.

Let’s get real. The Earth is a bounded sphere, and the human economy is an engine that extracts raw materials and produces waste. If we keep that engine’s operation within the bounds of what our planet can absorb or replenish through its normal ecosystem functions, all is well. But if the economy continues to grow year after year, at some point the planet’s systems will be overwhelmed—even if we’re using renewable energy to extract and transform raw materials. Our uses of energy and materials can be made somewhat more efficient, but only up to a point. If the Earth itself were expanding at an ever-increasing rate, perpetual economic growth would pose no problem. Yet last time I checked, the planet hadn’t gotten any bigger—while our demands upon it continue to increase....
"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."