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Messages - Bruce Steele

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Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: June 11, 2019, 05:11:09 AM »
Tim, The choices we make as individuals does affect society at large just as society affects the individual.
 How we communicate our concern for the enviornment based on sound science is I believe far more convincing if it is mirrored in how we live our lives.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: June 11, 2019, 03:20:38 AM »
Re. Social dysfunction. Rather than taking each other at face value or looking for veiled motives it is first important to discuss goals. If we had agreed upon goals then we might judge solutions in their potential for progress.
 I don't think many people are willing to do what is necessary but then I assume we all agree that bringing CO2 levels back into the 350 ppm levels is a priority ( goal )
 We live in an age of excesses , we live beyond our means. Very very few privileged members of society are willing to accept less . We are going to live in our large homes, drive fast cars , fly , and live a life of excess till the system collapses. Yes I believe in collapse. If I saw anything in society that looked like frugality(  ... abstemiousness; asceticism, Spartanism, frugality, parsimony, economy, simple life, plain living, plainness, ... golden mean I Moderation 521 4 calmness, composure, lack of emotion, stoicism, keeping a stiff ...)  was currently considered a virtue I would have a different opinion .
Sorry Sidd and Tom for dragging this back OT . Hurricane season is rather dull right now .
 The goal of saving the planet is simply overridden by our vices, wishes and laziness. The goal requires something like a two ton CO2 emissions per annum limit for every human . The rest is just rationalizing or postponing the inevitable.

This list by ASLR on the Blue Ice thread #7 May 15 , 2016 includes fresh water flushing and the slowdown in the MOC. This results in less carbon sequestration into bottom or deep water.

- Resource extraction (oil, gas, coal, iron etc) will increase.
- Both wave action & Ekman Pump action will increase the bottom water temperatures in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which will increase methane emissions from hydrate decomposition.
- Permafrost decomposition will accelerate; which will increase both CO2 and CH4 emissions.
- Boreal wildfires will increase (like in Fort McMurray only further north and worse).
- The atmospheric thermal gradient will decrease, which will decrease the constraints on the Jetstream, which will increase blocking events which will increase extreme weather events.
- Warming over Greenland will accelerate, which will increase ice mass loss & associated SLR.
- The specific humidity in the Arctic will increase, and as water vapor is a GHG, this will increase Arctic Amplification; which will decrease snow cover that will act as a positive feedback for more warming due to decreasing albedo.
- Shrub growth in the tundra will increase, which will also act as a positive feedback for more warming by decreasing albedo in the tundra.
- Pests will more further north, which will attack boreal forests and tundra shrub growth.
- Ground burrowing animals (like ground squirrels) will more north, which will accelerate permafrost degradation.
- Farmland will more northward, which will decrease albedo and will accelerate permafrost degradation.
- Plankton growth will accelerate in the Arctic; which will be smaller in size than the current average, which will sequester less carbon.
- The thermohaline  circulation (great oceanic conveyor) will both slow and will also convey more warm into the Barents/Kara Sea areas.

There are many other positive feedbacks (like Hansen et al (2016)'s ice-climate feedback), but I need to do my shopping.


Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 05, 2019, 12:47:35 AM »
C-CAN is a group my wife and I both participate in . It brings together scientists , managers, aquaculturists, and fishermen in an effort to address ocean acidification in the California Current.
 We pull together speakers for a  webinar series in an effort to disseminate information without burning fossil fuels to attend meetings. Check out our latest, "The enviornmental cost of dinner" by Ray Hilbourn

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: May 29, 2019, 05:55:58 PM »
Steve, I suppose I have tendencies towards being a catastrophist . The reason we have an abundance of cheap food in the US is cheap Diesel and fossil fuels. The whole monitory easing and super low interest rate finance of the shale play era has kept the economy rolling for the last ten years. All that excess liquidity will come to an end at some point and if the shale play doesn't return profits or rates increase then the effort at borrowing from the future to fuel our economy will run into trouble . Without cheap fuel we won't have cheap food so I suppose the government will step in and buy the equities that support our oil infrastructure when too many shale companies start to go belly up. One more stopgap but direct government intervention in the equity market , nationalized oil, will be the last desperate step before collapse. That will be the end of cheap food and the point where my being a catastrophist comes in. Dealing with concerns about that ultimate downturn leads me to educate myself on how to live without fossil fuels. That is if the world won't deal with resilience then it is the individuals responsibility to do so.

Walking the walk / Re: When was the last flight you took?
« on: April 18, 2019, 05:07:39 PM »
NevB, Thanks for the honesty. Flying because your job demands it is probably the largest driver of CO2 emissions for many members of this forum.
 When I was fishing for a living my boat used about 80 gallons a day or one ton of CO2 emissions.When I finally realized my jobs CO2 contribution was part of what was causing acidification it ruined all the fun of fishing. I changed to farming and cut back my emissions by 90% but still it is my job related CO2 that dominates my carbon budget. Although we can find ways to reduce CO2 in our personal lifestyle choices changing jobs is a very tough decision. Very very few people will change jobs if it means a reduced income . If your job is helping to kill the planet it becomes however a major dose of cognitive dissonance for the cognoscenti . 
 The whole challenge of achieving net zero in our personal lives involves lots of turmoil , achieving zero at work is more difficult and changing other people's fuel use is probably the most difficult of all.

This thread is in part anecdotal stories, that and weird weather.  My stories came with forty years spent as a modern hunter gatherer. I either made good choices or I went broke but the full span of it left me with some good stories as a consolation  prize . I happen to believe stories have value as do long term biological datasets. But the data set without the story that follows it will often fall on deaf ears. A story is designed to transport the listener into another mans experiences. If a good story and a good long term dataset can be turned into a convincing message then the final product is likely more convincing than the data or the story standing alone.

For me it's the anecdotal stories. I think I am probably one of the least ( formally )educated people on this forum but I have, like any other human, stories to tell. Watching as the ocean has changed over my lifetime as a commercial diver and fisherman gives me an opportunity to tell a unique story. I have watched as the abalone resources have , for the most part , collapsed. The starfish and the sea urchins also succumbing to disease brought on by the stress of increased ocean heat. My own guilt in knowing that the fuel I have used to pursue a fishing career has contributed to the death and mayhem now all around me.
 My transition to farming also comes with stories of decline. The 108 F heatwave that last year killed all the fledgling swallows in their nests and this years abandoned nesting  colony that had returned every one of the last twenty years till now. The disappearance of the Phoebes that also shared my farm with me for twenty years, the noticeable declines in insects. The loss of so many pines and oaks during our eight year drought. 
 The struggles against what appear to be irreversible changes. Tragic losses and what passes for my feeble attempts to forestall future horrors yet unseen. My stories, our stories , and the emotional context that might inspire others  to look a little deeper , fight a little harder,  and on occasion shed tears over our shared losses.   

Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: April 02, 2019, 11:52:05 PM »
I don't think a discussion about the time Carbon spends in the various sinks is off topic.
Of the 25% to 30% that goes into the ocean carbon sink  only .2GT goes into the sediment sink where it can remain for millions of years. All the rest of the carbon that goes into the ocean will at some point return to the surface as DIC ( dissolved inorganic carbon ) where it can return to the atmosphere when gas partial pressure differences support ocean to atmosphere transfer.
 Terrestrial soil sinks vary in the amount of time they can sink carbon. Crop lands have lost much of their carbon because tillage and drying allow stored carbon to oxidize. Forests are better but even a hundred years isn't great . Peat formation and tundra offer long term sinks but how much of the terrestrial sink is taken up by peat each year is probably a small portion of the annual sink.
 A thorough understanding of the time Carbon spends in the various sinks is critical to any discussion of how me might engineer our way out of this mess. It is one of the reasons I have for doubting carbon farming plans that don't quantify the amount of time we can expect soil carbon to stay put. If trees are better at storing carbon in some locations but not others then replanting and protecting forests in some areas is more important than a plan to simply grow trees.

"countries manage to cut GHG emissions to the targets outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, winter temperatures in the Arctic will still be 3 to 5°C higher by 2050 and 5 to 9°C higher by 2080, relative to 1986–2005 levels. In fact, even if we stopped all emissions overnight, winter temperatures in the Arctic will still increase by 4 to 5°C compared to the late twentieth century."

Anthropocene commented #756 in the "Places becoming less livable" thread on the misquote in the Guardian re. Preindustrial when the UN paper says 3-5 C higher is relative to 1986-2005 levels.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: February 23, 2019, 10:01:35 PM »
Archimid , We boomers have ridden a one time economic boom that will never be repeated. Although I have been lucky and I have a farm I am not sure most people would settle for the 365 days a year I work or the $30 a day it pays after I write off about everything most people would consider the cost of living expenses like fuel , boots , fences , a solar array,animal feed etc.  I write it off because that's how the US tax code works. 
 If you could please put yourself in a young person shoes who around here needs to pay $1,200 to
$3,000 a month rent, or buy fuel for the commute ,a car and insurance or maybe pay for children. Even if they do make $33,000 a year in wages they are going to be broke, yes the top one percent of income earners are broke, can't save for a house down payment, and can't buy a solar system.
 Now if you think it's silly that I struggle to make my own biodiesel for my tractor or farm or try to maintain some connection to nature because I think those things will be necessary to others as this whole economic system implodes go ahead and think what you will. I will maintain my opinion that servicing the desires of the top .1 percent is a planet suicide pact. I try to avoid being accusatory or angry but when it all comes apart I hope I can somehow show a few people how to feed themselves and their families, probably won't save me.  My chances are likely no better than yours when the rage at the bottom finally bubbles up .

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: February 23, 2019, 05:39:13 PM »
The test of the three SUV electric vehicles showed that even the best of the three used about 25 kWh to travel 120 kilometers ( 75 miles ). So if you devoted something like a daily production of a 5 kWh home solar array to charging your car it wouldn't even get you through a common daily  commute here Southern Calif.  That same solar array is capable of running my small farm for all it's electrical needs both for my home and my water wells. I can feed myself on the food I grow and if hard pressed wouldn't need to travel much at all.
 My point is we are trying to extend current BAU expectations for very large personal vehicles and at the same time ignoring rebuilding our lives in ways that make sense in justifying the purchase of a 5 kWh solar system which costs over $20,000 installed even with rebates. So the frustration exhibited by a number of posters here may be to a degree justified even though I believe it would be more effective if it was delivered constructively . So I am not going to name names but there are long term posters here that are doing damage to the resonable arguement that society should work towards a renewable future by supporting carmakers and technology that isn't anywhere near affordable to a vast swath of society. $ 90,000 cars, $ 40,000 solar arrays, $20,000 power wall arrays and million dollar houses are not answers to solving climate change problems, they will accelerate them. I don't accept an argument that the rich and their purchase of these extremely expensive alternative energy systems are building the technology that will lift the rest of us out of our fossil fuel dependencies. So anger will build and those elitist transportation options will eventually be sabotaged in retaliation. The fact that anger in society is building and has intruded onto our otherwise peaceful blog page should be somehow addressed. Zizek is young and angry, how do we address that anger ?   

Policy and solutions / Re: BAU until they peel my cold dead hands from it
« on: February 18, 2019, 03:51:00 AM »
Archimid, Maybe your response is the very definition of BAU until they take my cold dead hands off it.
No people and the rest of living creatures on the planet can't wait for technology to deliver rich people's  large  single driver transportation preferences before they begrudgingly change their lifestyles.
No people can't put off food preference changes, their 6,000 sq.ft. housing preferences heated by fossil fuels, their plane flying habits, their annual vacations to exotic locales, the electric demands of their comunication addictions. BAU by definition.
 If you don't believe we could currently feed everyone on the planet with beans, grains, pulses, rice and vegetables and some fish , chickens and small amounts of pork while at the same time vastly reducing our carbon footprint you'd be wrong.
 If you don't think we could transition to buses for transport within ten years you'd be wrong. If we just banned air transport of food and all but emergency transport of people the planet and society would still get through. If people just changed their housing expectations or shut off all but 600 sq. ft. to heating or air conditioning most people would still survive.
 Problem is people aren't willing to do what is necessary to save this planet. There are billions of people however that already live lives very similar to the restraints I have grossly outlined above. I am quite certain however you aren't one of them. It is your expectations and mine that will cost those other humans untold pain and hunger as climate change proceeds apace and you want to complain about the inevitable war or deprivations instant change would precipitate?  I am sure those other humans would have choice words for you and me but they simply don't have a voice.
 I would take the leap tomorrow , I would take the chance we could muddle through . I'd do it for the other living things on the planet, I'd do it for the suffering we are willing to inflict on others, I'd do it for the future generations we are throwing under the bus. If it meant a couple million rich fucks passed away uncomfortable I'd be fine with that too. Now I probably have the NSA on my ass , thanks !

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: February 17, 2019, 06:07:27 PM »
The Sunflower star die-off and heat related disease were posted on the Holocene extinction thread Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 posts # 238 & 239.  This is my world and I have been watching for several decades as things degrade. We had a very similar starfish die-in the 82-83 El Niño and the 97-98 event. The starfish did recover but as the oceans continue to warm they will eventually hit thresholds that remove them from the nearshore ecosystem and their losses will cascade in sad and damaging ways. Heat, rapid ecological transitions, disease ,death, and truncated ecosystems.
 There are terrestrial parallels , insects, birds, reptiles , amphibians, either directly threatened by heat resulting in stress and disease or affected by the loss of their primary food supplies because heat change when insects bloomed and when migrations and nesting of birds arrived at their nesting sites.
 This is my world , the oceans, riparian farmland animals that I have known for my entire life .Vanishing before my eyes. I raise farm animals and I deal with them when they are sick. We don't have the knowledge , ability or skill sets to Doctor our wild environs. Most people are so damn removed from nature they never even see what is happening . They have no empathy for those things they haven't lived with, they feel no pain. The vanishing insect populations are a good example. Even those few people who happen to notice that the bug splats on their windshields have disappeared couldn't really give a crap. Dulled by their fancy machines, the glowing computer screens, their myopic politics, or just their stupidity. Nature will repay us for our vanity , heat and changes in hydrological cycles will deliver old vicious opportunistic scourges upon us too as our synthetic monitory utopia transforms into hell on earth.   
 Technology is death my friends because is removes us as active participants in our living world. Those who survive with know again the stars at night, will know again the terrible tolls of childbirth and childhood disease but the planet will again have a chance at healing from a species emotionally unprepared to deal with their strange sad attempts at taking the reins of gods.
 I am angry too Zizek , no swearing, no personal attacks . Rage against  the machine !  Sadly I am guilty too in my comforts , we all are . It defines tragic but your generation Zizek has been captured more than mine by this computer screen , know that too.

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 16, 2019, 10:31:01 AM »
Oren, I see five or six Teslas a day here in Southern Calif. when I hit the freeways. They are beautiful , sexy and so tempting. I am sure they will be as common as Volkswagens Beatles once were ,very soon.
A typical commute can easily exceed 60 miles one way around here so in a five year period a typical commuter will exceed the 135,000 miles the Solon article bases its study upon. That is rather typical but some people commute further.
 I can spend weeks sometimes never leaving the farm but there are literally tens of millions of commuters living within 150 miles . Maybe I should leave but I never will. I hope someone might learn something from my rather extreme attempts at simplicity but honestly there are no solutions here anymore. I too consider myself rather pragmatic but I suppose I am just nuts like everyone else around here.
 Neven, please don't take Zizek out. We can handle a few angry voices around here. Zizek, I don't know how to make you smile but think of my position, an old man with a thousand pounds of acorns in the drying shed and lots of very fat happy pigs on a farm inside a swirling mass of humans. I hope you find that humorous , I do.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 14, 2019, 05:37:46 PM »
Lurk, Hang in there, I enjoy your posts. If I ever get to the complete system of renewable energy, renewable food production , transportation and home heating I would welcome a critical analysis of my efforts.
 I have focused on food first as I believe it is of critical import and largely neglected. Anyone attempting renewables to power their food production requirements will quickly realize they need to change their expectations . We are so dependent upon the food transportation network and enormous numbers of food miles currently built into our diets. Bananas, citrus, tropical fruit on menus thousands of miles separate from their points of production. Even greens and salads available in the Northern parts of the US where we recently saw -35 F.  Renewable and local will require a change in these expectations. Diets should be built around local availability IMO but you don't need to worry about this problem if you don't actually try producing your own renewable energy.
 Renewables are also locally constrained and some currently occupied regions may in fact not support any renewables options that can maintain anything similar to current lifestyle expectations or population densities. Wind works in some areas, solar or hydro in others. Wood as a heat source is in reality not an option in many areas lest we cut down every tree and bush in a vain attempt to heat our ( overly large )homes. 
 Transportation seems to be everyone primary interest because it is critical to maintaining the infrastructure that obviates my first two points. I may be contrary but I believe local should be our primary consideration because any honest assessment of the renewable energy required to maintain the transportation infrastructure will not work in decadal  timeframes . Yes very rich societies that have fossil fuel resources to build out electric trucking and large personal EV vehicles ( Teslas ) may seem at first sustainable but those options will fail as the fossil fuels to create them begin to fail. Self supporting renewable infrastructure requires serious efforts at walking back our expectations of luxury and anyone who try's to put a total support structure together will quickly realize this point. We need to figure out how to live on less energy inputs rather than create an imitation of how we currently live. Yes electric vehicles are part of a renewable future but those vehicles will be small, light and not expected to travel very far.
 Home heating / cooling is also feasible as we move forward but local resources should drive local architecture .
 Lastly we need to figure out how to sink some of the excess carbon we have already emitted which leads me back to food and farming. Farming with renewables and locally sourced energy and biomass needs seems to be a full circle solution but also a very labor intensive one. It requires major changes in current lifestyle expectations. It also can be adapted to further steps down the energy escalator we have become conditioned to expect, the elevators will not always go up. If or when solar, wind, and batteries go through their replacement cycles farming can still go on even if that means we transition back to beasts of burden.
If we put all of our efforts at high expectation transportation networks and fail to maintain our food and farming past/ future the bottleneck will narrow.

Abrupt, Any slowdown on the MOC would also reduce the ocean carbon sink. The North Atlantic down welling area sends vast amounts of organic matter and carbonates into the deep ocean where they remain until upwelling brings DIC ( dissolved inorganic carbon ) back into atmospheric contact , a cycle lasting hundreds of years to more than a thousand years .A slowdown with down welling in the Southern end of the MOC and would also result in a reduction in the ocean carbon sink.

Walking the walk / Re: Terra Preta / Biochar - Theory and Practice
« on: February 05, 2019, 11:51:37 PM »
dbarce, I render lard , convert it to biodiesel , and run my tractors on my homemade fuel.
Technically not totally fossil fuel free yet because I buy barley for the pigs and there is embedded fossil fuel in the purchased feed. I am confident however that I could feed the pigs without purchased food if I only kept a few pigs rather than trying to make a living as a pig farmer. Making money is always a trick without fossil fuel consumption.
 Any carbon I might be able to sink on my farm from feedstocks for compost and cover crops I produce without fossil fuel should be potentially negative carbon. Bio char should contribute to long term soil carbon content furthering potential negative carbon goals.
A question for you dbarce, do you know any examples of anyone sinking more carbon than they consume ?

Jai, Just the opinion of a farmer, the terrestrial carbon sink is dependent upon plants and trees to go through an annual growth cycle. With adequate soil moisture plants grow roots and contribute to soil humus buildup. With drying conditions there is less organic matter and carbon sequestration so the terrestrial carbon sink goes into decline and the carbon in the soil oxidizes and goes back into the atmospheric carbon sink , increasing ECS. Also forest health declines , there is more insect damage and more fires.

Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: February 01, 2019, 05:36:57 PM »
Terry, I used to post on the carbon cycle but I haven't kept up reporting. I agree the deep ocean sink of 2 Gt is the only long term carbon sink. It is dependent upon biological processes that are threatened by ocean acidification however. So all the efforts at soil carbon farming or forestation are only stopgap measures. All the terrestrial carbon , or a vast majority of it, moves back into the atmosphere where the ocean can then absorb ~ 25% of it. Of that current 2.5Gt ocean carbon sink only 2 Gt moves into the deep ocean particulate sink, the rest is labile and will over a thousand year timeframe re-enter the atmosphere . We are emitting about 10Gt carbon annually and most of it will cycle back into the atmosphere over the next thousand years whether it goes into terrestrial or oceans sinks.People just have a very hard time with thousand year timescales. If we keep emitting carbon at the current rate nobody will be here to witness what happens in a thousand years anyhow.
 I agree with Lurk that we need to get somewhere close to 100% reduction in carbon emissions. So electrical production, transportation, food production and land use All need to be included in the zero carbon plans. The Tesla /Glory thread is an indication of how most, even very bright people , can't seem to get their brains around zero.  You , Lurk and I are just misfits.
 Sorry to be such a bummer but I have been hanging around the Holocene Extinction thread too long. I realized I haven't even seen a single butterfly for a very long time . I have started to look into other people's automotive grills at their radiators looking for bugs. Not seeing them.
 I realize this is OT but really what point is there in counting numbers on CO2 if we can't admit we are going over the cliff ?

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: February 01, 2019, 06:24:19 AM »
Chris Martenson usually charges for his posts but here is a sobering one that is free for the reading.
You might want to take a strong drink first. Collapse is upon us

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: February 01, 2019, 05:01:32 AM »
Terry, I am no expert on the life cycle of jellyfish. When I refer to jellyfish blooms that is because where I spent the forty years of my fishing career they always showed up during the spring upwelling season when nutrients are at their maximum. Cnidarians have a complex lifecycle with a hydra stage that is connected to the bottom, it asexually produces polyps that then become free swimming jellyfish that sexually reproduce. After the sexual process is completed the jellies expire. So yes the jellies you saw may have completed their lifecycle, or maybe the wind drove them onshore. By early summer most of the jellyfish are gone but some species live several months around here. This is a generalization but there are undoubtably exemptions I wasn't paying attention to. What happens to jellyfish is an example of a life form that we just don't pay enough attention to to recognize population crashes that climate change might precipitate. 
 Many of the jellies in the spring bloom were very small and being in the bloom was kinda like swimming in a soup of them. I had to change my focus to that which was only inches in front of my eyes to see them , many were very beautiful with spinning rainbow colors along their sides. Some swam like little butterflies ,others pulsed like the larger jellies, and others were cylindrical and rotated with cilia . Paying too much attention to all the various life forms that surrounded you resulted in bottom time that wasn't producing sea urchins so you tend to focus on what was paying the bills but there was enough time swimming back to the boat or decompressing to take in the show on occasion .


Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: January 23, 2019, 05:14:02 AM »
Lurk, I haven't ever bought or owned a new car. I will never buy a new Tesla either but I can't say I wouldn't buy one used . I do have solar and I am in the process of buying a couple Tesla power walls.
If I did buy a used tesla I would have enough range to cover most of my driving needs and charge at home during off peak hours .  I am also into making my own biodiesel and farming without fossil fuels. Solar pays for water pumping and freezer costs and homemade bio fuels the tractor for plowing etc. I can feed my family without fossil fuel although I go to the store when I feel like it unless I'm trying to make a point.
So if some of the component parts aren't exactly minimal ( like a used Tesla ) what's the harm in trying to get off the grid , off fossil fuel ? Like I said it ain't perfect but putting the whole package together has to have some kind of appeal ?  Can't we improve the component parts as we gain technological skill?  As much as solar looks like a no brainier with peak electric rates up to 42 cents a kWh here in parts of Calif. it wasn't always the obvious choice for reduced electric costs. A power wall also doesn't currently pencil out but I am betting electric rates will continue to climb. The power wall also affords the ability to monitor solar , storage and use , real time. 
 Get off fossil fuels
  a. Off the shelf component parts
  b. Verified ( or verifiable ) results
  c. Energy documentation for imbedded costs
  d. Energy production of completed system ( food calories produced )documented
 Goal -
   Try to make d. greater than c. 
    Produced calories greater than imbedded energy costs
I have a long way to go but I think sometimes it's important to agree to a goal .
If I bought a used tesla I can't imagine ever getting the food calories produced on my farm to overtake the energy costs of infrastructure .  The hard truth is even the most minimal use of steel, or aluminum , or battery production will quickly dwarf the food calories a farmer can produce without fossil fuels.
JimD helped me run some of the numbers . You'd enjoy JimD , you might reread some of his old posts.
  To sum, we won't know unless we run the numbers . It would be good to agree on what we were trying to accomplish.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: January 05, 2019, 07:00:27 AM »
Sebastian , GMO open field tests risk unknown unknowns so testing tobacco before you test corn might have a certain wisdom , no?  If we really screwed up tobacco no big loss. 
 Increasing the efficiency of plant growth has a bit of potential upsides if indeed the plant better utilizes CO2 . Worth some more work IMO even if GMO is scary stuff.

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: December 27, 2018, 04:31:01 AM »
Vox, Thanks for the link to the seed source. Also appreciate all of Sidd's experience with farming and oil crops. Wish there was somewhere that would serve as a primer to others interested in small scale bio production and could offer up working examples. Because I approach farming from a micro scale that uses very little equipment I doubt I have much to offer most farmers but I probably could educate someone like a gardener ramping up to feed dozens. Sidd uses oil seed crops and oil presses for bio feedstock to power equipment .I let lard hogs ( they are different than meat hogs ) do what they do best ,eat and get fat. So my bio feedstock is self propelled and biologically motivated to replicate.
 Anyway extinction and all the damage currently taking place should inspire more ideas about how we can individually and collectively move forward. Counterintuitively  it has a tendency to cause people to bury their heads which is just one more tragedy . I have younger relatives who refuse to read up on the subjects that are everyday discussed here on the ASIF. They make it clear they would prefer to Not hear. For me problems are challenges looking for solutions but for others they are threats to their preferred lifestyles. This is where I am conflicted . Yes reality is profoundly sad but that is no reason to give in . I am not a wreaking ball however . I hope to make a farm that works to both feed and educate
people not yet ready to walk back their expectations . If there were multiple examples of others farmers and their working farms I think it might find an audience. Sidd and his efforts are one example , I am another. There must be many others but I couldn't point anyone to a place where our separate but similar experiences and farms can be showcased. A serious media effort isn't my forte but I suppose I need to up my game. Someone needs to search out good examples... for the living things passing.


Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: December 21, 2018, 07:54:08 PM »
SH, I find different agricultural emissions numbers ranging from 9% to 17% for the US. I think we are energy hogs with agriculture contributing less here than other parts of the world only because we fly, and drive and live in big houses with big appliances .
 From the EPA ,agriculture contributes 9% with cattle contributing one third of the total . Even if total agriculture is more like 20% I would think the one third from cattle is probably a fair assessment . I keep saying I agree that reducing meat consumption is a good idea but it is far from enough.
 I have sincere doubts about livestock utilizing 93% of arable land however. Maybe part of the discrepancy of emission figures has to do with assigning an emissions number for the farming emissions from livestock feed production.
 My biggest disagreement is with your premise that meat is low hanging fruit.  No hamburgers, no milkshakes, and abject poverty for vast swaths of middle America.  I think food prices would be a potential disincentive that far exceeds volunteerism . Subsidies cause distortions in food choices and they are intended to do so. Keeping the public fat and happy may be a contributing factor. Again I am proposing a radical shift and telling farmers they need to forego 20 billion in subsidies is radical. Keeping those middle American republican votes requires the subsidies to be maintained and Trump threw an additional 5 billion to farmers yesterday to compensate for his trade war damage. At the same time he is shutting down the government to get a similar 5 billion dollar wall number. So democrats are willing to cooperate on ag subsidies ,not on a wall.
 None of this addresses the damage that subsidized commodity dumping has on artisanal farmers in the third world . Like I said earlier it sucks for vegetable operators also.
Dump the fuel and energy subsidies
Dump the agriculture subsidies
Wait for the chaos that follows to crash the GDP and resulting in meaningful reductions in emissions.

Yes I realize the fact that I can feed myself probably affects my suggestions but more people need to take up the challenge of feeding themselves. That to me is the real low hanging fruit but it is probably necessary to load the scales in people's decision matrix. Pain and hunger are big motivators..

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: December 21, 2018, 06:10:13 AM »
Wili, Thanks . Not sure I deserve it . I have to get more info up as the annual start to my food challenge approaches . I got about three acres worked with the pig bio tractor this summer. There is a nice cover crop growing on it right now.  We have had a little rain and it's nice with everything green.
Squirreled away potatoes , dried corn, acorns, amaranth, dried summer squash, spelt and winter squash. I will put in a winter garden soon with what's left from last years compost pile. Really the only thing different from fifty years ago is the bio and the solar power. Otherwise very retro.
 Cannibus legalization has presented itself as a temptation . I think I will resist the money temptation but there is crazy big money going down around here. On good information over a million per acre in profit. I always thought that pot was for fun and any time it was for something else trouble was near.
Anyway I have my task ahead of me and getting rich isn't necessary to prove what I am trying to prove. What I am doing would easily scale to village scale food production. Cities are just such an incredible food challenge. Although I can't quite rap my brain around feeding the cities I still think feeding millions of small towns is a viable tragectory.
 Sorry if I get all dark sometimes. There is still a lot we can do for our part. I am sure planting my garden is part of what I need . I need to know one man can produce 20,000 lbs. food without fossil emissions . I need to know what I am doing will scale. On those fronts things are rosy . You'd think it would temper my dark inclinations but one day in LA traffic and reality sinks in.

Policy and solutions / Re: Energy Efficiency: The “First Fuel”
« on: September 15, 2018, 04:26:04 AM »
What we desire and what we will settle for are of course two different things. When you can't keep living the life you've lived because resources have dried up and most of the alternatives will leave you cold and hungry you still have to make a choice. Welcome to life . Maybe we are just running out of resources ?
Genocide would imply someone planned
 such a thing.
A population crash isn't usually planned , not for humans or any other living thing, but it will happen when resources dry up.

What the world needs is good examples of how to live with diminishing resources and a changing climate. Successful examples might not include the comforts we think we are entitled to but desire and what we will settle for are two different things.

It would seem the comment I was responding to has already been deleted. Cool

Policy and solutions / Re: Policy & Solutions
« on: August 19, 2018, 08:53:15 AM »
Honestly it's not as physically difficult as it is mentally so.
In the rhythm of it, chores twice a day , my charges waiting . It is not bad , they are happy and they can raise my mood. The life death thing is really tough however , I mean they trust me ,hell they like me.
If the pigs and I can prove we can run a farm without fossil fuels to run equipment well for me that
makes the years efforts worthwhile .
It is squash season and acorns are coming soon.
I am lucky today ,
A family of Oaxacans are going to start farming/gardening with me.
I have been kinda lazy lately and having help, and children around is going to help.

Re. Vegetable Excess  I have tried honor system without much trouble. Money in a bowl, make your own change.
One thing about selling roadside is the people who bother to stop and bother to come back are  generally the neighbors you'd want to meet anyhow.

Land is very expensive, wells, tractors, trucks, solar.  Margins are very tight. You could live pretty well on the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to get started.
My wife and I are challenging ourselves to six months without a grocery store this year. Three months last year were not a problem. The annual challenge starts January first. Volunteers ?

You gotta think years in advance to think of famine reserves. I have enough dried field corn , acorns , pigs and laying hens to get through six months and that is before this years harvest comes in.
Again it isn't that difficult but some company while gardening will be nice.

We don't have hard winters Sidd but it only rained eight inches last year. Eight years into a drought.

The rest / Re: Poetry
« on: August 18, 2018, 03:11:33 AM »
And some of my efforts

Had I the space
And the time
The patience to wait
Had I a hope
And a beautiful smile
Had I the stride
Or stubborn persistence
To accept what is ,Had I every wish

Had I a room
Whether it the best
To live out every dream
Had I a love
With whom I might share it
Or fight the tempest
If choice had I , Had I every wish

The CCC camp has quince and grapes gone wild
Oaks and acorns being sustenance these days
  to the misery of what will be
Barrel staves hand carved , the grapes hand picked
Stars needing worship
Prayers being said
Glow worms , midsummer
And the tusk rasp of distant pigs

Known only ease
Dreamed only of
We did not look
 Or turned away
 From old truths
We didn't listen
 To the winds off the pacific
  Or send our sons there for testing
Trading the cold ocean of old
  For more

We have seen far into our darkness
 mistakenly called comfort
Not this
True, asteroids, volcanism
  the turning of vast scales
But never one life form
  over multitudes
Millions sacrificed , for a little comfort
No return to  innocence ours
As the acid eats away at the shell of life

There through the moving shafts of sunlight
  Move denizens
  Unseen, unheard
The inverted forest harbors our cousins
The seabed crawls with our genes
Cloned tunicates being close to us
From them
 life eventually moved forth, breathed air
 and burned the body mass of the ancients

                   Surface Tension
It is lifting facing a double gale
Leaning into it
The roar

Not something from nothing
 but the spin off the planet
 coming down

The wind takes the ocean
  Spits it, peaks it up
   but unbruised she settles in again
And you'd never know tomorrow
  the   heavens ever had a place here


Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: August 13, 2018, 07:43:41 PM »
Although ITP 108 isn't working as a profiler it is still sending out it's location. It looks like it is going to exit the Beaufort Sea via the Amundsen Gulf. Too bad the profiler is broken , it would be interesting to see how much  fresh water is exiting with it. This is a strange track for a profiler buoy.

Bbr2314  Treating people like they're idiots and suggesting strongarm state government actions will get you more Donald Trump . Do you ever go stand up in public meetings or participate in public forums where you don't get to hide behind anonymity?

The New York Times article timeline perspective on our collective failure to act is a good job of journalism IMO. Makes me think back to when I had  my moment of realization...this is bad, real bad. For me it was 2005 and it came in the form of the first paper about subjecting biological specimens to acidified seawater. Shiryama et al 2005 . My wife got an education along with me because acidification and climate change is a big damn subject .We are both involved with fisheries and fisheries politics and we have struggled together to rise the awareness at least in the political circles we have some affect upon.
 Getting from the moment of realization to making some waves politically has taken long enough that the commensurate lifestyle changes we could personally take have developed as a corrolary. So my wife has struggled along with me , taken the "acorn challenge" , invested in solar and quit almost all air travel.
 Fisheries have only lately begun to look into adaptation . I don't think that is an adequate response so I am pushing for something more like adapting fisheries management to consider mechanisms to favor efficiency. It is where we will end up anyhow so operating fisheries utilizing less fuel for calories produced is where I am focusing.
 Politics is always disappointing but it is part of what I consider necessary pain. And posting here is mostly cathartic. Politics for the authors of the two articles cited above and most of the characters involved has also been painful I am sure . It isn't heroics , it's hard work .

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: August 06, 2018, 08:41:02 PM »
My list might look a little different,
 Don't eat beef, goats , buffalo , or sheep
 Don't fly
 Don't eat food that used air transport
 Install solar panels
 Grow as much of your own food as possible
 Eat foods that are in season and local or bulk dried and transported ideally by rail or ship
 Every 100 gallons of gas is another ton of CO2 - remember that as you fill up the tank
 Very small family ... Or family plans
 Get your children on board with the above list
We in the 10% could change our destructive habits and our lives wouldn't be much different than they are currently until the effects of the last fifty years of accumulated extravagance finally catches up with us.


"My lifestyle has a carbon footprint of about 3 tonnes of CO2 per annum.  I've been living this way for most of the past 6 years.  I am interested in documenting a lifestyle that is "carbon neutral" today, using off the shelf equipment, traveling and living here in the USA."

I need to prove some math.

My question is: what amount of annual CO2 emissions from human activities would be possible without raising global PPM?

Sark, I agree that 3T CO2 per annum is commendable but if your goal is " carbon neutral " then at some level you will need to sink carbon. Same problem IPCC models run into as we approach 2 degree climate goals.
 To achieve " Neutral Carbon " first you must achieve something close to zero ff carbon emissions . This is I believe an achievable goal although I can think of very few examples . Primitivism or Amish agriculturists are two examples.
 Sinking carbon via agricultural practices is very labor intensive without fossil fueled equipment to harvest carbon feedstocks ( fast growing softwoods ) and accumulate nitrogen sources for composting i.e. manure.
 Finding someone who both lives without uses of fossil fuel energy and at the same time composting
hundreds of pounds ( tons ) of compost is going to be quite the search and maybe that's why there hasn't been
any suggestions on where you should look.
 I believe I could get somewhere near the "neutral carbon goal " with biodiesel , pigs , acorns and a serious garden effort. The gardening effort would require carbon feedstock harvest of of riparian softwoods and manure harvest from chickens and pigs.
 The big problem with using mechanical power and internal combustion engines or photovoltaics is the energy embedded in the manufacture of these tools. That is why I think an honest attempt at zero carbon will require tons and tons of compost to break even on the embedded carbon costs of tools.
If photovoltaics manufacture is powered by renewable energy this problem diminishes but you still need to think about energy costs of mining , smelting and transport of metals.
 So if anyone has examples of people living "neutral carbon" I'd be as interested as you are in the numbers involved. Thanks for asking answers to the biggest , difficult problem out there . What Does Zero Carbon Look Like?

Terry, They need a wallow.
I don't know how many other swallows died in the earlier heatwave that killed the ones in my window eaves . I think there is damage we just don't see but I think we would prefer to look away anyhow.
I have looked for the last decade into acidification and it will proceed without notice because it is even more obscure than dead barn swallows or stressed farm livestock.
 You'd think an old pig farmer might be toughened up to such things.
 And yes an old breed like the Mangalitsas I raise are hardier but on hot days I keep a vigil because all pigs are very sensitive to heat. I however get to sneak back into the AC between rounds.
 Maybe it's morbid but we should have reality TV in the slums of Mumbai when temps push human endurance so we can see it . Don't worry it ain't gonna happen but most of us need to open our eyes.
We watch the Barrow Ice Cam but maybe we need a Mumbai wet bulb cam .

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: July 10, 2018, 11:57:06 PM »
The Arctic cyclone last week passed over the only ITP buoy working this year.  It did register a small
.4 degree jump in Sea Surface temperature and a contemporaneous jump in salinity down to ~ 10 meters. The effects are short lived as conditions are currently returning to those before the little GAC.
See ITP T/S contours

Matt Powers , a permaculture teacher and author visited my farm early this spring. We talked about acorns, piggy bio, and living on a small farm. Matt wrote this article about Acorns for Permaculture Magazine. There is a picture of some Holm oak acorns drying in my drying shed.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 13, 2018, 09:23:07 PM »
Using compost to build soil health isn't anything new. Land that has been conventionally farmed will respond quickly to cover cropping and added compost. Worms return and after a few seasons the ground will get softer and retain water better . Farming takes time and effort. Moving tons and tons  of compost has it's own carbon footprint in trucking , or chipping, loaders, and spreaders. The trick is to produce tonnage of organic material close to where it can be used . Utilizing the waste steam of urban yard waste is better than putting yard waste into the landfill but it comes with a big carbon footprint attached.
 So ideally a farm could grow and coppice some trees and chip them with a biodiesel tractor fueled by biodiesel also produced with farm grown vegetable oil and animal fat. Chickens could be raised on the farm and their manure used to compost the wood chips. The resulting compost is used in increasing the carbon content of the land you use to produce fruit and vegetables for humans as well as forage and grains for farm animals.
 I am getting close to the above ideal farm. I rented a chipper for some brush clearing I had to do for fire abatement so that wasn't ideal . I also have many more farm animals than I can feed with farm grown forage and grains but that is because I also need to pay bills. If I only had to feed my wife and I and a much smaller number of farm animals I think I could get to that ideal farm where I didn't use fossil fuel and I increased my farms soil carbon.
 Getting to that ideal farm while at the same time earning a living is truly the brass ring. I don't know that farm or that farmer. Amish I would imagine are farming that farm ... Somewhere.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 05, 2018, 05:59:40 PM »
Oren, I come here to listen, mostly lately. I am getting lazy because i find myself filtering out names ,  I haven't blocked anyone but there are names I just read over. In the longer haul I much value what so many well argued members of this forum have to say. It used to be easy and seemed so cordial .
 I would like to say I value your opinion, it is worth seeking out .
  Just a paranoid thought but if AI was malicious wouldn't it be easy enough to break up a cordial conversation , inject malice and with the tenacity of bots crush civil conversation ?

Policy and solutions / Re: Becoming Vegan.
« on: April 25, 2018, 05:32:36 AM »
Sigmetnow, " But most food is processed "
We choose to eat the way we eat. During this years "acorn challenge " I noticed that we didn't have trash for the weekly trash run. Food packaging is a ridiculous waste . Buying bulk dried foods and cooking at home can reduce carbon footprint and waste output. Takes more effort ,planning ,and time to soak some beans and cook them than using the can opener . So carbon footprint or ease of making dinner? It's not a concious choice for the most part but the cost of fast food adds up.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Ocean 'acidifying rapidly'
« on: May 18, 2013, 04:03:24 AM »
ICK,  I am a fisherman. I also have been very outspoken about the threat of ocean acidification. I have tried to warn of an impending change in ocean pH that will have impacts on the viability of important fisheries worldwide. I try to communicate my concerns with other fishermen, fisheries regulatory agencies, water quality agencies, and the public via a NOAA advisory agency. In over eight years of explaining ocean acidification to the public I have never had problems with the term "acidification." The public gets that part. I get a lot more resistance when I explain that acidification events in the past have resulted in extinction events.   So could I ask a question about whether you think arguing about semantics is more important than trying to present a reasonable explanation to people who are willing to think about the risks involved?   You can take this over to the carbon cycle page if you would like. 

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