Yves here. The geopolitical war of the Titans is having the effect of diverting attention from our true existential crisis, climate change. And the data and analyses on global warming are coming in on the gloomy end of the spectrum.
By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies
Projection for 2090-2099 of the number of weeks per year where maximum daily temperatures exceed 100°F (Katherine Hayhoe, 2010). Say good bye to Arizona. Wheat in Kansas could be in trouble too.
“Everything new is old again.”
—Yours truly, here.
As you can imagine, there’s news on the climate front. And as you can also imagine, it’s both shocking and more of the same. I’ll characterize the latest reports with three snippets and an afterthought.
1. The world of “infinite growth” — which the wealthy call “infinite profit” when speaking privately — has decided that burning “biofuel” (ethanol) and “biomass” (wood pellets) is a route to climate salvation.
First, in what world is burning anything made of carbon a route to falling CO2? In case you’ve forgotten, this is what a fire looks like:
Note the wood. The chemical formula is this:
Wood plus oxygen yields ash, CO2 and water. Note the CO2.
Yet there’s a world of wealth-friendly science people to tell you it’s OK to burn this stuff. Some of those people work for Biden’s EPA:
A new EPA proposal is reigniting a debate about what counts as ‘renewable’
The agency wants more ethanol, biogas, and wood pellet power in the nation’s fuel mix. But is that actually a good thing?
The EPA is being pretty aggressive about this push:
The EPA’s recent proposal aims for nearly double the amount of the use of these fuels [ethanol, biogas, wood pellets, biomass diesel] by 2024. Then a 50 percent increase the year after, equivalent to 2 billion gallons.
That’s money in the bank if you own forests and corn fields. If you want to know who’s behind this push, look no further than this fellow:
“We are pretty pleased with what the EPA proposed for 2023 through 2025,” Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuel Association, an industry group whose members primarily include ethanol producers, but also represent biogas and biomass producers, told Grist.
2. This madness, of course, is making the problem worse. James Hansen and colleagues have released another stiffening study, this time about the rate of climate change and why it’s accelerating. The paper is titled “Global warming in the pipeline” and it’s a good read. I recommend looking at it if you’re the least bit scientifically inclined.
But to boil it down: The concept of global warming “in the pipeline,” as Hansen explains, is a result of the “climate’s delayed response and the need for anticipatory action to alter the course of fossil fuel development.” What he means is, when you pull the meat out of the oven, it’s not done cooking.
In the Abstract, the authors state the problem succinctly:
Global warming in the pipeline is greater than prior estimates.
At this moment, humanity is taking its first steps into the period of consequences. Earth’s paleoclimate history helps us assess potential outcomes.
The piece contains two stunning graphs. Here’s the first:
Fig. 6. Observed global mean surface temperature (black line) and expected warming from observed GHG changes with two alternative choices for ECS [climate sensitivity]. The difference (blue area) is an estimate of the cooling effect of the (unmeasured) aerosol forcing.
The red lines represent global temperature change from the 1850 baseline if our air contained no aerosol pollution — sulfides, particles, and all the other poison that industrial life throws into it. The black line is the global warming we see. If the air were clean, we’d already see +2°C global warming. The pollution, which we’re rightly getting rid of, is keeping the planet cooler than it otherwise would be, perhaps by a full degree.
A second chart in the paper is even worse:
The dotted green line is the projected “best linear fit” for the measured data so far. The yellow cone, however, shows where we’re headed. Global warming is accelerating faster than what our best minds are planning for, if indeed they’re planning at all.
We could see two degrees warming “on the ground” by 2040. If I’m not mistaken (carry the 2) most of us will still be living in 2040. We can’t kick this can down the road, passed to the next generation. There’s no road left.
3. But wait, there’s hope; the current system may yet produce a solution. Or so the UN believes:
UN Secretary-General to Convene “Climate Ambition Summit” in 2023
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced he will convene a Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023, to generate “new, tangible and credible climate action” to “accelerate action at the mid-way point” of the SDGs. Going forward, he said he will push for a Climate Solidarity Pact, for all big emitters to “make an extra effort” to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the 1.5°C goal and provide support for those who need it.
Of course the industry lobbyist in my first point above will listen to the polite UN leader asking for help. But only when the rich are rich enough. Till then we’ll have to wait.
4. Which brings me, snippets done, to point number four, my afterthought. You should be able to draw these conclusions for yourself:
- Asking won’t get this job done. The people in charge need telling.
- Someone not seventy or eighty will figure that out, that only telling will work.
- Maybe a bunch of someones will figure it out together. And maybe they’ll act.
- What “no longer asking” could look like, when a whole lot of people all do it, is messier than anyone I know is willing to contemplate.
We may someday pray for the day, soon to be long in the past, when contemplation was something we could have done, when action wasn’t forced on all of us because others are acting with force and won’t be stopped.
We may pray to return to the day when our choices weren’t bound by chaos on the ground, when a sun that will never re-rise hadn’t already set.
The time to forestall that day is to act strongly now, before the madness begins. That’s a heavy lift; I recognize that. But I fear it’s all we have left.
To the last point; all we have left is to plan for the collapse. Survivalist enclaves should look a lot like Late Roman to Early Dark Ages feudal manors. Consider it as yet another bottleneck for our species to squeeze through. Think the Toba eruption 74,000 years ago, or a Super Plague, like the Plague of Justinian, on steroids.
On the bright side, “Always look on the sunny side of life! [Everybody sing along!]” The climate records show that the Earth has moved through periods of high average temperatures before, and lived to tell the tale. This technological civilization might not. Oh well.
mother earth is running a fever hoping it will kill off the virus?
My first thought when looking at the temperature projection map was that our neighbors to the south appear to be in a world of hurt, literally. I’m off to see if there is a global map.
Merely stating the “burning wood is bad” is a bit oversimplified, in my opinion. One needs to look at the carbon inputs and outputs involved in the energy source. Burning stuff for fuel is not going away anytime soon. For example, transporting wood over large distances or producing wood pellets is generally not a great idea because there is considerable fossil fuel input involved in transport, and in the case of wood pellets, manufacture, that eliminates any carbon neutrality in using this biomass. Wood also has a relatively low heat value (about 1/3 that of coal) so transporting it over large distances makes absolutely no sense as the energy cost of moving the wood will exceed its productive energy contribution. Likewise, ethanol or biodiesel, despite their higher heat values than wood, produced using standard industrial agricultural methods (from maize or soybeans, for example) is just plain ludicrous. The fossil fuel inputs (Haber process nitrogen, harvesting, processing & transport, etc.) again remove any benefit of carbon neutrality. (Aside from the fact that there are serious ethical concerns about using food crops to produce fuels).
Locally produced biofuels from locally sourced wood or agricultural waste products, using biomass energy to produce and transport is a possibility, but certainly on a limited scale. It will not likely furnish the unlimited conventional groaf beloved of economists, though. However, these fuel sources may make it possible to sustain local communities as part of a stable circular economy. Just my brief thoughts on this complex subject.
Agreed: if you mitigate the local forest and burn the wood for fire, you reduce the dead wood that would burn in a wildfire making it worse, and you produce CO2 out of the wood that would otherwise rot producing methane (80x worse than CO2). You also help the trees since wood eating insects are attracted by dead wood. The CO2 produced was originally taken out of the atmosphere by the tree, and therefore does not add to the system. You can put the (diluted) ashes back on the land to fertilize new growth.
What we need to worry about is the carbon added to the atmosphere by digging up fossil fuels which were safely buried. Using fossil fuels to fertilize and produce ethanol plants is what does not make any sense.
What we really need to do is invest in fusion energy. For some reason, the only real progress in this field seems to be made by small startups like Helion Energy. If we mastered that, large scale carbon capture would become feasible. (IIRC, it involves high temperature processing of lime to release the CO2 to reuse the lime).
But instead, we’re creating enemies (Russia and China) whose participation in fixing the climate will be essential. We seem to prefer fighting each other than fighting for our own survival. We’re not a very bright species.
The green EU imports entire shiploads of wood pellets from the Mississippi Valley to burn in coal plants to off set CO2. Can you imagine the massive carbon footprint of that nonsense?
Here in upstate New York, 7% of all trees are ash (90% on my 23 acres), being decimated by the emerald ash borer. Within a decade we have gone from healthy forests to death. There is no “program” to salvage ash for pellets, which surely is possible. State and local governments and utilities are spending tens of millions to remove hazardous trees.
I’ll have ash to burn in my wood stove for maybe 5 years, then nothing to look at besides dead rotting snags.
That sucks. Are you going to plant something else? Your state might provide free seedlings.
And yes, the EU seems to be intent on proving its competence at implementing the most stupid ideas one could imagine.
Do the ash borers do their damage to ash trees at or over a certain height above ground? If they do, what would happen if one cut down the ash trees just below the physical point of that damage ( presence of the ash borer larvae)? Would the roots survive and send up new sprouts, the way American chestnut roots have kept doing for decades?
If ash tree root systems would in fact work this way, does it make ecological sense to manage ash stumpenroot systems as ash coppice stools? Letting the new sprouts grow for several years ( long enough to keep the roots supplied with stored food) and then cutting them down before the borers find them and lay eggs in them? Would enough post-borer ash stumpenroot coppice stools over a wide enough area deny the borers the size limbs they prefer to the point of starving the borers all the way out of existence while keeping the ash biologically and genetically alive as coppice stools?
If it would, then why not do that? That would keep alive the ash coppice stools against the day that the borer might be so deprived of the size ash limbs it likes to where it would go re-extinct here.
It would also preserve all the root-symbiotic bacteria and mycorrhizae for re-application to new generations of mature ash trees, if such become possible.
Just an offered thought . . . .
A neighbor is a retired forest pathologist from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He says it is hopeless in out ligetimes. The only hope is that introduced wasps from Asia can provide control. This has been under study for 2 decades and the first releases are taking place in the Champlain and St Lawrence valleys. Introduced insects have more-or-less controlled the gypsy moth (a leaf eater, not host specific). The Ash Borer concentrates on the tree trunk and girdles the tree, killing it within a year or two.
There will be sprouts around for many years. Ash borers don’t attack smaller diameter trees (up to 3 inches). There are scattered elms that grow to 6-8 inches before succumbing, 75 years after the mass death of Dutch elm disease.
There are no formal programs for reforestation. Strictly at the landowner expense.
If indeed the ash borer does not attack ash trunks that are 3 inches or less diameter in height, and new such mini-trunks can keep sprouting up from the living roots, then there is realistic hope of keeping the native ash gene pool alive by growing ever-fresh rounds of thin pole-trunks from the root-stump systems. That will keep the obligate bacteria and mycorrhizea alive as well.
If the introduced Asian wasps end up working, then the ash gene-pool and the root-bacteria and mycorrhizae gene pool will still be alive among us for use in restoring eco-viable new ash trees from.
As the climate changes, bamboo might be a good choice for planting to replace dead trees. Some hardy bamboo grow large and quickly — several times faster than trees.
In Northern BC there are sawmills bought up by a UK company that are producing pellets for export to the UK. Crazy..
I too think there is a little room for biofuels in a livable future but it is far smaller than what is needed to keep wealthy people’s life(death)style intact let alone prop up global capitalism.
If there is more soil left at the end of your agricultural process or a forest is less likely to suffer catastrophic fire and contains more fixed Carbon then there is room for some energy export. I still hope for a world where Hemp is used in rotations for 2 years as a weed reducing crop. 1st year producing seeds for animal and biofuel use. Second year densely planted and harvested young for more weed control, especially for volunteer Hemp. The stalks (minus the outer fibers of the second year ones if they are used for fiber to replace plastics) can be turned into charcoal to turn back into the soil and a bit of ‘town gas’ to be used as natural gas (though with less energy density). Of course we would need to be producing pyrolysis units instead of missiles as well as every sunny roof having solar panels but there is hope. Of course, the rich would need to live like poor normies so…
We are already out of time because there’s over a trillion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere ( yes a trillion ). The last time there was over 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 4 million years ago which was before human life. Oceans were 20 to 80 feet higher, temperatures were 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher and trees were growing above the Arctic circle. It’s just physics, greenhouse gases regulate the earth’s temperatures.
In Dr. James Hansen’s latest update on his paper : “Global Warming in the Pipeline” he states “ Eventual global warming due to today’s greenhouse gases forcing alone – after slow feedbacks operate – is about 10°C.”
That’s 18 degrees Fahrenheit of added heat.
The other Greenhouse Gases add further warming.
Most of the warming occurs within a century, 2/3 within 60 years.
That’s game over, we need to plan for survival of the human species.
“…we need to plan for survival of the human species.” My latest thinking is, no we do NOT need a plan for the survival of the human species.
First, Do No Harm,
go gently and quietly into the night,
do little, with less, locally, but
Goodbye and good luck, and Good Riddance!
Plan? Don’t be ridiculous! The Market will solve all problems /s
Quite a depressing affirmation of what we know in our gut if we are paying attention when we are outside.
Interesting to see only the very highest high country in the west will see no meaningful change, and a lot of high country is not showing ‘white’. > 8,000′ ASL?
Conclusion #4… not sure (pretty sure) it won’t work. The January 6 group got the wheels spinning about the illegitimacy of any organized group to protest, regardless of whom or how’m.
“They” are prepared to reinforce the present system, and bar the rabble from participating or creating a new direction.
I personally think waiting for leadership is delusional cognitive dissonance, and not worth it.
I personally believe we each need to do what we can in our own lives. We control so little out of our circle of influence.
But if everyone acted right/proper, especially in concert and synch, we might get somewhere.
I mean, can you imagine a concerted boycott of car use three days a week? No shopping black days three days a week?
Cooking for a neighbor, shoveling their walk, sharing your produce and good will each and every day?
EVERYONE, anywhere in the world, with money ‘invested’ in wall street that owns a home or building selling $20K of stocks or bonds and putting in a PV system? Insulating and weather stripping and replacing heat and cooling systems with the latest and most efficient?
Walking or riding a bike? Staying put? Growing and putting by one’s own foodstuffs?
I look at our state, federal ‘representative’ delegations, I look at DC, the lobbyists, the administration captured by industry, and think, all one can do is hold out.
If every individual did this with their Labor, money. Simply Boycott. Quiet Quit. Even a 20% reduction per American individual, the needle would move significantly.
I look at my community, speculate and judge as I see folks bustle about, and think there is NO WAY 3% would make any effort at meaningful change, and maybe only 5% believe it is their own personal responsibility to effectuate and be the change, or that there is a problem, or especially here in Bumphuc flyover radical wingnut right, “… eff you, My Freedumb! ” Disheartening.
My two alloy laden non-copper bearing pennies- mind you: no one is as virtuous as me! /;)-
I’m following your lead. Every day, my to-do list takes me another small, gradual and highly satisfying step forward.
I don’t depend upon or expect anyone else to do anything different; all the stuff I’m doing is do-able by me, with what I have or will shortly create for myself.
And it’s working!
Today I installed the first minimal-build version of the lettuce farmette I built for my basement. Its footprint is 3′ x 6′, and I expect it’ll produce two heads of lettuce (or bok choi, or parsley, etc. equivalent per day).
Took me about 2 months to conceive, design, order-in components / materials, build, clear space for it, etc. and that thing will last for decades. It’s well-built, and it’s designed so that every part is cheap, modular, easy to maintain, and upgrade as necessary. It embodies the build-once use-forever principle.
And I think it’ll actually work. Won’t know for sure till I run it for a few years and get thru several crop cycles, maintenance sessions, design upgrades, etc. but it’s looking pretty good right now.
So I say you’re on the right track, and I’m backing up my assessment with effort and capital.
Lastly, I’ll note that I’m seeing a significant up-tick in interest and awareness about the econ principles you espouse, and it’s coming from quarters I’d not expected it from.
Hi Tom. Great idea. However I’ve farmed and gardened for coming on 60 years and there is, essentially, no way to get 2 decent heads of lettuce out of a 3′ X 6′ space of any material in one day, days on end. Of course, maybe I’m wrong. If you can share your method we’d love to hear about, and try it. If a small head of lettuce, even iceburg, is 6″ across, your lettuce would be growing 2X faster than Kudzo. Not to sound rude, but please share your idea.
Bsn and Samuel:
I’ll share pix of the facility in a few days. Watch the WaterCooler – I’ll post links in there, if Lambert will tolerate self-referential links.
To allay your suspicions of legerdemain momentarily, please consider these attributes of the facility:
a. It’s vertical. There are 3 vertical “spindles”, each contains 21 plants
b. Lettuce is germinated and grown to 3-4″ tall in a germination tank before getting inserted into one of the 21 sockets contained in a spindle. The germination and grow to 3-4″ takes a good 6 weeks (using current slap-dash tech; that might improve some)
c. The nutrients are highly adapted to lettuce, and they apparently work quite well. I’m using 50% concentration in the germination tank, and they’re looking like some really strong seedlings (lotta good-looking growth, and light’s nowhere near optimal in germ-tank (yet)
d. Lights for the production side (not germ-tank, but production on the farmette) are two “curtains” of light, vertical light bars, spaced at 6″ away from max leaf-extension and every 12″ longitudinally. The plants will have highly optimized light quantity and quality, plus ventilation, plus oxygenated nutrient solution, plus optimized nutrient content and delivery frequency
This thing has the potential to really do well. It’s not in the clear yet, lotta issues to work out (like algae supression, succession planting, maintenance regimen, etc) but it’s got the architecture to deal with that stuff, and the design anticipated a lot of the probs. Is it performant? That’s what I’ll be finding out. Like I said, it’s designed for adaptation and evolution, so we’ve got a decent shot at it.
Here’s hoping I survive your review, and thanks for asking the questions!
Looking forward to it! I think that Lambert appreciates garden projects, and this one sounds really interesting.
Just a thought — if your setup is adapted, or the nutrient mix can be adapted, to growing deeply colored leaf lettuce, consider incorporating that in your plant mix. I have the impression that the antioxidant content of the dark red lettuces is high and that these are among the more beneficial of the leafy veggies.
May I be a bit of a Cassandra. Your grow involves complex nutrients possibly pumps and certainly electricity. And living in or near a neighborhood that would probably want your lettuce. I fear too much tech and too many pillagers.
Ana in Sacramento
All valid points, Ana. My design has all those limitations – energy and external nutrients being principal, also the materials I use and the design itself requires a certain technical acumen to build the system and maintain it.
There are lots of ways to address those faults, and a major design overhaul may be indicated in order to meet the (very demanding) requirements you posit.
For me and for now, I’m going to prosecute the design as-is, get it to functional in the target environment (power and nutrients provided), and do some learning.
Then somebody, maybe us, will set out a new set of requirements along the lines you stated, and a new design will get formulated and built.
I have decided it’s time to publish a “product development guide” which sets out the product development process (which I used for this product). When it’s done, I’ll provide a link to it.
Why write and promulgate a product development guide?
Because there’s a whole lot – a galaxy of it – of product development necessary for we humans to navigate from Economy 1.0 (trash the environment as we make our living) to Economy 2.0 (fix the environment as we make our living). Thousands of new products are required, and each of those products constitutes a stepping stone on the path from E1.0 to E2.0.
Said product development guide may help a lot more people to jump into the product development game. More players = more products, and faster evolution.
Your stated design requirements get us closer to an E2.0 product. Kudos to you.
One wonders whether the proven and currently existing concept of the “strawberry tower” could be adapted to growing lettuce in a “lettuce tower” as a lower-tech way of doing the same thing, for experimental performance comparison purposes to high tech ways of doing it.
Here is an article about ” building a strawberry tower”.
Here is a company called ” Mr. Stacky” which sells components for a tower-of-plants concept. I gather some of it at least is hydroponic, but I wonder if some of it or versions of it could also be based on nutrient-rich potting mixes which the plants grow in and needing only plain water for moisture maintainance.
In one of my books I have a recipe for ” Cornell Mix” for high-nutrition potting mixture to grow plants in. Unfortunately , every “source” I find on the internet has to drown and dilute any information about it in floods of extraneous detail, perhaps because every “source” has to show off how smart it is. Here is a “source” which I think allows some actual information on making your own grow-mix to be found with enough tedious effort digging it out from all the show-off verbiage. https://www.planetnatural.com/forums/topic/cornell-soil-mix/
Could this be used without artificial light all through the winter? If one had south facing windows, perhaps it could. One could put a version of this in the window, and put a curved reflecto-mirror behind it to bounce harvested light back onto the shaded side for equal light-exposure and growth on all sides. There are affordable sources of aluminzed mylar film, like this . . . https://www.mcmaster.com/aluminized-film/ . . . for supporting in light focusing shapes. And while this product is advertised as intended to reflect ” heat” ( meaning infra-red light), I think it would reflect visible light as well.
I echo bsn’s interest in the details of your setup.
Since mid-Autumn I’ve been fiddling with indoor growing (in a very small space — 45cm x 120cm baker’s rack, 4 shelves, heat mats, cheap LED lights that probably provide no more than 10% equivalent of natural light, and have been getting surprisingly nice leaf lettuce (variety: Merlot, but it doesn’t get very dark under the indoor lights). It’s been a side curiosity as the main effort has been starting cold-hardy perennials that can be moved outside while it is still cold, making room for the late Winter annuals starts. But the idea beckons of year-round red lettuce grown from indoors, and I expect to pursue this and welcome ideas and improvements.
If you could provide details, the home growers among the readership may take inspiration.
Just a thought — you might want to grow potatoes and some kind of beans — maybe soy beans — in place of your lettuce.
While potatoes are not cheap anymore they are probably a large scale crop. Bushy plants (beans) may not work in his set-up.
I have the impression that calorie-dense crops are not ideal for growing under electric illumination — the energy conversion from the artificial power source to calories of protein or carb is very inefficient. I think this is why current commercial “indoor controlled environment artificially lit” ag setups focus on low-calorie content but high consumer value plants like Basil. I think that leaf lettuce would work well too — the leaves of my starts that accidentally dessicate are paper thin, practically nothing — very little embodied energy in them.
Potatoes are a great home growing option, but I think one has to use natural sunlight to grow them at a cost that is not a significant multiple of the price of store-bought.
The main prob with high-top-story crops like potatoes or tomatoes seems to be “how to support the top-story”, not whether or not you can deliver enough / proper light.
Also cycle-time from seedling to harvest plays a big role in economics of production, as does the space requirement for the plant. High-sugar/starch products require a lot of leaf-space to generate the sugars resident in a tomato or the starch (complex sugars) in a potato. That means big leaf area, and high light requirements.
So this is another of those “do we need some new designs to economically produce high-nutrient-content products” questions. The answer, I think, is “yes indeed we do”.
But product devel is an iterative process, and we’re not going to get to the moon till we develop good rockets and great navigational sw etc. Each product we build adds new capabilities to the team, and those new capabilities will get used (at least to some degree) in the subsequently devel’d products.
Please keep the ideas, objections, concerns, etc. coming. We’re all listening.
Interesting! One of my oldest life -time friends is a very seasoned permaculturalist.
We speak often, the last conversation one of his gems that I am still rolling around is, ‘we are energy’ .
My first thought was on your basement project was, Power/electricity.
My second thought was nutrition/inputs/chemicals.
My third thought was vertical gardens, and the facility in the deep cold hole they call Jackson, WY where the ‘economists’ go to decide our future.
My fourth thought was the commercial venture out of the Bitterroot valley in MT, started by eastern MT guy who has high plains farming and main stream corporate background.
Links, perhaps fodder for Lambert, who I know ‘digs’ this like a french style 2X deep- tilled bed!
Bitterrot based localbounti… coming soon to the truck-garden distance near a city near you!
https://verticalharvestfarms.com/ started by a former NYC “Rock Jock”
What about growing fungi like mushrooms or growing yeasts like Asimov describes in his Foundation books? We already know a lot of dead trees will be available and that eliminates light as one of the energy inputs.
_that_ is a great idea.
Mushrooms are nutritious, too.
And a lot of the technique to manage temp and humidity and airflow you’d use for hydroponics would be directly applicable to mushrooms, and also for preparing the growing medium (sterilization, drying, etc.).
I’ve always wanted to grow mushrooms. Also, mushrooms can be dried and stored for months.
A mycologist named Paul Stamets has written books about various aspects of using and growing fungi for food, medicine, bio-myco-remediation projects, etc.
Here are some of the books Paul Stamets has written about fungi.
He has a company with a website with some links to interesting material and concepts even if one doesn’t want to buy any of the mushroom-focused products.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat(fish).
Everyone won’t act all right and proper at first, but if some people do it then other people who see them do it may join in.
And if some people can’t do a particular thing to achieve a right and proper result, perhaps they can do a different thing to get the same result.
For example, people who have to drive to work and back 5 days a week will not be able to “boycott car use three days a week”. But they may be able to drive more efficiently enough to where they will end up using as little gas as if they boycotted driving 3 days a week. There is a website article on this called . . .
“The age of speed: how to reduce global fuel consumption by 75 per cent”. It lays out the logic of how that works / could work in the body of the article itself. So if the individual car driver reduced his own speed to below the speed where air resistance against the car starts rapidly increasing, would he be reducing his own gas use by 75%? I don’t know. But his gas use reduction would surely be measurable.
The problem would be in finding out what that speed of rapidly rising air resistance is for every different shape and type of car. Anyway, here is the link. https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/09/speed-energy.html
And what if individual drivers also used other approaches to more efficient driving as subsumed under the concept of “hypermiling”?
There was a car-expert author who wrote books on how to extend your car’s lifespan, drive more gas-savingly, etc. His name was Bob Sikorsky. Some of his approaches may still be relevant to the overdigitized cars of today.
A caveat for highly efficient drivers: one needs to apply the brakes firmly every week or two (even though it costs milage) to remove the rust film, or risk failing the safety inspection due to the relatively new, unused brakes rusting out…
I’m trying to think of an analogous point in history to help me envision what deniers responses will look like when the begin to grok the fact that they’ve been horribly mistaken all along.
What kind of psychological rationalization methods they employ to assuage the cognitive dissonance.
The timetable is very fast by geological time but still slow on human time. Most people now alive will see degradation but it’s not obvious that it’s really collapse
I believe you are mistaken in thinking the timetable for Climate Chaos is very fast by geological time but still slow on human time. I believe you may change your mind after watching even a ten minutes of Dr. James White’s 2014 AGU Nye Lecture “ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE: THE VIEW FROM THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRs4kIthJ9k
I have recommended this video many times before. I find it both informative and entertaining.
Climate change is something I have always disagreed with my populist right parents. they believe that the climate has historically changed anyway and that the crisis is manufactured to strip our rights, or worse, destroy us. The Earth has a climate because it has an atmosphere and the atmosphere is just a mixture of gases, so obviously, when you cut down 90% of the planet’s trees and burn billions of years of fossilized plankton in just a couple of centuries, it’s going to change the composition of those gases. So the fact that human activity is causing climate change is basically a truism.
However, as with COVID and the western government responses, I find myself increasingly aligning with them, not because climate change isn’t happening but because the cure risks being worse than the disease. We have an unelected oligarchy defending their class interests by creating the solutions via the WEF and an increasingly open [western] world government doing their bidding. There is no longer any meaningful difference between the European, Canadian, or American governments, the policies are so aligned. I do believe they realise there is a problem but that their proposed solution is not to limit their decadence but to get rid off a large part of the population and to destroy the middle classes. When you have no democratic control over policies that will affect you and everyone on earth, the results cannot be good.
The problem is that the cure the oligarchs are touting isn’t actually a cure. Developing fusion would help us on the way to curing the situation. But simply impoverishing everyone in the West isn’t a cure because we are only 10% of the planet, and everyone else (the 90%) also want a better life, and won’t simply give up because they are told to by a bunch of entitled hypocritical rich people.
It’s obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together that those in power don’t care one whit for the environment. If they did, they wouldn’t have released 300,000 metric tons of methane by blowing up Nordstream. That was a climate catastrophe in its own right, but let’s hide that under the carpet. So their proposals are mostly about gaining more power to themselves. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…
I recall reading that considerations of world government were an adjunct to the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” — although I do not remember where I read that. Your suggestion that little meaningful difference remains between the European, Canadian, or American governments, coupled with the world’s ongoing split into two zones of global power driven by the Ukrainian adventure will make for an interesting attempt at world governance. I doubt the WEF’s sphere of influence could extend much past Europe, Canada, and the u.s. but within that sphere I believe there will indeed be great efforts to profit from schemes to slather Green paint over dubious ‘enterprise’. I worry most about efforts at geoengineering. When water and food are severely impacted by the impacts of Climate Chaos the destruction of the middle classes and the large scale death of human populations will occur without specific efforts toward those ends by the Power Elite. This post’s point number four encompasses that as part of its “messier than anyone I know is willing to contemplate”. I believe “no longer asking” includes some similar impacts to the numbers of Power Elite.
geoengineering is indeed scary, and oligarchs such as bill gates are very enthusiastic about it. it hasn’t been in the news much lately, i think plan A is possibly eugenics
Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom. -Richard Heinberg. Fossil fuels have allowed humans as a species to live far above our ecological means in both population size and per capita consumption for those lucky enough to live in the Global North. Besides climate change, we have other symptoms of overshoot including but not limited to: Peak oil, biodiversity loss, deforestation, topsoil erosion, water scarcity and depletion of fisheries.
I don’t think that the W.E.F. has “Solutions” to this situation because they largely have the same mindset that created the predicament in the first place.
yes, fossil fuels have allowed for a population overshoot that would have been impossible otherwise. the long-term carrying capacity of the planet was historically around 1 billion humans. At some point, a correction will come and population overshoot corrections are always overcorrections. it will arrive as a combination of lack of energy for food production and distribution, eugenics, biosphere collapse (including climate), and war. because when scarcity comes, you can bet that those with the means will try to take the remaining resources by force. it is happening already. it’s terrifying to think about, but out of the 8b alive today, maybe around 0.5b will make it.
Thought I’d quickly mention the “green power house” idea of creation a closed loop that burns biomass and funels the co2 into an algae pond, which supposedly uses much of it to make algae (how much leaks out I don’t know). The algae is then used to make biofuels, which are burned and as best I can tell the carbon is similarly recycled into more algae. I think as a money making side thing they use some of the heat to make biochar, which seemingly helps microbiota and thus nutrient levels (including the all-important nitrogen that now mostly get from petrochemicals) of depleted soils. So it sounds like that helps with carbon sequestration as well.
The main output, though, is electricity.
The idea at this point seems to be to use waste wood from sawmills, though with wood pellets competing for that product that may no longer be the cheap fuel source they had hoped for. But if we wanted to make electricity from biomass on an industrial scale without belching TOO much carbon back into the air per Wh this seems interesting to my inexpert eyes.
The documentary that sort of covers this (they don’t explain how it works very well) is The Need To Grow.
I imagine there are folks here more versed in the ins and outs of this kind of thing than I am. I’m curious what folks think, and whether there is a catch or obvious reason this hasn’t taken off like the movie makes it seem like it should have.
A horse emits as much CO2 as a ferrari, but it doesn’t cause warming. It depends what the source of the carbon is.
Clark, your assertion that a horse emits as much CO2 as a ferrari (or any other auto-class ICE) seems a bit of a stretch. Can you provide some links to back that up?
That was pretty clearly a literary device – you know, something to make a conversational point. The *claim* is the horse doesn’t cause warming, vs the ICE.
If you were actually trying to engage with the original post, a more interesting comparison would be ‘do 400 horses emit as much CO2 over a year vs a Ferrari over a couple hours?’. But that’s not so easy to dismiss out of hand, is it?
Which is why the focus should be on keeping the stuff in the ground.
Oil, gas and coal that is kept in the ground doesn’t end up in the athmosphere. Fire wood from sustainable managed forests (in effect forests that are not shrinking) is sustainable if it isn’t subsidised by oil, gas and coal. Which it won’t be if oil, gas and coal stays in the ground.
It is heartening to finally see some reference to the most recent research paper from Hansen et al. I am still waiting for the promised follow on paper from Hansen et al. that examines sea level rise. I believe the impacts of sea level rise are much more immediately obvious than the impacts of temperature increases.
What particularly disturbs me about this post is the time frame on the initial diagram “Weeks per Year > 100 degrees” — 2090-2099. “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” ? Samuel Johnson. Terry Pratchet honed this to “…prospect of being hanged in the morning…” Somehow 2090-2099 seems a far weaker inducement to ‘concentration’ than either of these formulas. And somehow it is left unsaid that Climate Chaos events do not suddenly stop at the end of this Century. As we continue to burn fossil fuels and “resilient, renewable” biofuels we add to the global warming in the pipeline for this Century and future Centuries. I believe some bullets from a slide in Dr. James White’s 2014 AGU Nye Lecture “ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE: THE VIEW FROM THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE”, ~05:30 might help concentrate our minds:
“Steady changes in climate and/or environment can trigger abrupt shifts in human systems and natural systems human systems.” You do not need big changes — you can have gradual changes that sneak up to push human systems past a threshold.
This post’s point number four looms much much closer to the present than 2090.
You often hear about climate change in the mainstream media, but almost never about peak oil or limits to growth, which are also important aspects of our predicament.
Why leaders and the public deny peak oil, and limits to growth
Here are some of the reasons: