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Thread: Climate Change Thread

  1. #331
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Furunculus View Post
    I think you'll find that oppositional dynamic is limited in its reach across the conservative group, and nearly equally (non) prevalent in the liberal group too (in spread and intensity).
    You're only saying that to oppose the liberal, admit it!


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  2. #332

    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    I do not think we can "conserve" our way out of this one. Assuming that it is anthropomorphic (and the large bulk of research suggests that it is) we can certainly mitigate things and work for long term improvement, but we are not in a position to reverse a century and a half of impact overnight.
    We could negate it if we mobilized like the Wehrmacht were marching on Moscow (reports that the Germans had crossed the border and beyond were long ignored for some reason...). Continuing as we are is permitting a total overrun. Unfortunately, climate change is much less concrete and discrete than a human threat; our psychology works against us. What do you think the prospects are for the political process to produce responsible and decisive action? If we need to feel more pain to be spurred to action, then that's an admission of defeat IMO. The whole descending into warlordism with the fragmentation of the modern world-system seems likelier than the kind of spontaneous comity convenient to many sci-fi narratives.

    What a waste of human prospects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    The liberal group generally supports the traditional basis of science, ie. evidential research, scientific method, etc. The conservative group generally supports faith-based arguments with a scattering of minority-supporting scientists (which is the opposite of how peer review is supposed to work). The democracy of peers is supposed to be based on a growing consensus of informed opinions that are qualified to pick through evidential-based arguments. Unfortunately, the democracy of nations means most people are not qualified to pick through these arguments, but get an equal vote to those who are, and overwhelm and overrule scientific arguments. Democratic but religious nations such as the US get to see this in the clearest form, but the US right is exporting this to elsewhere as well.
    You would be mistaken to attribute all of it to the genuine skeptical recalcitrance of those conservatives allegiant to faith and religion. Many American Republicans, at least in the elite, understand quite well the trends and their implications - it's just inconvenient to their masters in the business community, except where intervention can be called for to shield their assets.Notice how the latest phase of WSJ-tier messaging has been that climate change is somehow good or tolerable because there are potential business opportunities to be found. This is no argument; some human can find a business opportunity at the bottom of the crater of a thermonuclear blast, or comet impact. The balance of positives is lopsided.

    Useful article on right-wing climate environmentalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Furunculus View Post
    I think you'll find that oppositional dynamic is limited in its reach across the conservative group, and nearly equally (non) prevalent in the liberal group too (in spread and intensity).
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  3. #333
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    @Seamus Fermanagh, I hope you don't mind me asking. If I remember correctly, you were never a fan of the anthropomorphic argument. This last reply suggests that this opinion may have shifted. I am curious to what may have contributed to this.
    There was always a good prima facia case for anthropomorphic climate change. The earlier efforts to computer model to "prove" it were chancy, since the models themselves could not replicate known results when preceding data were fed in. The modeling has gotten better. Moreover, ice cores and tree rings and the like are providing a better "fossil" picture of the temperature shift. I have yet to see an absolute proof of causation, but the correlation is so strong as to make it hard to believe that human agency isn't at least partially responsible. Facts are stubborn things.


    Just because the anti-capitalist/'corporations are always evil crowd' are bandwagon-ing an idea to further their own agendas does NOT mean that the concept being used is necessarily false -- though I doubt you could get the current US administration to agree to that.



    And, Pannonian, I have nothing against reasonable measures to conserve. I do go around my house shutting lights off, setting the thermostat at a level where it does not run 24 hours a day in a vain effort to keep my Florida home at 70 farenheit etc. I am of the belief, however, that draconian conservation is more about anti-capitalism than eco-protectionism. We DO need to shift our power generation and build for a less carbonized future, but I think incentivized R&D is the stronger route choice.
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  4. #334
    Member Member Tuuvi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Just because the anti-capitalist/'corporations are always evil crowd' are bandwagon-ing an idea to further their own agendas does NOT mean that the concept being used is necessarily false -- though I doubt you could get the current US administration to agree to that.
    Anti-capitalists aren't bandwagoning anything. Leftists like Murray Bookchin have been writing about environmental issues since the 60's. There's no point in building a classless worker's utopia if it all gets destroyed by global heating.

    Not to mention global heating is caused by industrialization, which was brought on by capitalism, and just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions. I think there's a strong case to be made that the shift to a de-carbonized economy will require drastic changes to our economic system.
    Last edited by Tuuvi; 07-01-2019 at 02:21.

  5. #335

    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuuvi View Post
    Anti-capitalists aren't bandwagoning anything. Leftists like Murray Bookchin have been writing about environmental issues since the 60's. There's no point in building a classless worker's utopia if it all gets destroyed by global heating.

    Not to mention global heating is caused by industrialization, which was brought on by capitalism, and just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions. I think there's a strong case to be made that the shift to a de-carbonized economy will a require drastic changes to our economic system.
    Correct, but if you look at the names that dominate the list of energy companies that are a root source of our energy pathways, a few countries dominate. The "really existing" socialism of Russia, China, and India, driven as it was by the development imperative, has a bad record for rapid and reckless environmental degradation (and carbonization). If we want a decent scenario for the world, we have to invent structures and practices never before seen. At least on the scale needed.

    But it remains incumbent on Seamus to explain how "incentives" can resolve the contradiction between:

    1. Capitalism incentivizes concentration of wealth and power.
    2. Capitalism empowers the largest private actors to regulate government regulation of its incentives.
    3. The current trend of climate change entails a drastic change in our way of life, certainly not voluntary, not necessarily guided by any particular government plan, not necessarily according to the wishes of eco-primitivists, but simply falling out of future economic and political facts in a warmer world. Our trade and consumption-oriented way of life as we know it WILL vanish on current trends.
    4. Given the distribution of energy consumption and population growth, climate change cannot be checked without unprecedented cooperation between the largest firms and most populous nations.

    Please Seamus, distinguish between "is", "ought", and "will be" here. For our purposes I'm concerned about causality, not morality; fundamentally the question of whether or not capitalism will or has failed us is distinct from whether or not some other purported system is optimal or superior. What happens if the forces and incentives of modern global capitalism are inherently vicious?
    Last edited by Montmorency; 06-30-2019 at 23:06.
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  6. #336
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Correct, but if you look at the names that dominate the list of energy companies that are a root source of our energy pathways, a few countries dominate. The "really existing" socialism of Russia, China, and India, driven as it was by the development imperative, has a bad record for rapid and reckless environmental degradation (and carbonization). If we want a decent scenario for the world, we have to invent structures and practices never before seen. At least on the scale needed.

    But it remains incumbent on Seamus to explain how "incentives" can resolve the contradiction between:

    1. Capitalism incentivizes concentration of wealth and power.
    2. Capitalism empowers the largest private actors to regulate government regulation of its incentives.
    3. The current trend of climate change entails a drastic change in our way of life, certainly not voluntary, not necessarily guided by any particular government plan, not necessarily according to the wishes of eco-primitivists, but simply falling out of future economic and political facts in a warmer world. Our trade and consumption-oriented way of life as we know it WILL vanish on current trends.
    4. Given the distribution of energy consumption and population growth, climate change cannot be checked without unprecedented cooperation between the largest firms and most populous nations.

    Please Seamus, distinguish between "is", "ought", and "will be" here. For our purposes I'm concerned about causality, not morality; fundamentally the question of whether or not capitalism will or has failed us is distinct from whether or not some other purported system is optimal or superior. What happens if the forces and incentives of modern global capitalism are inherently vicious?
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  7. #337
    Member Member Tuuvi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Correct, but if you look at the names that dominate the list of energy companies that are a root source of our energy pathways, a few countries dominate. The "really existing" socialism of Russia, China, and India, driven as it was by the development imperative, has a bad record for rapid and reckless environmental degradation (and carbonization). If we want a decent scenario for the world, we have to invent structures and practices never before seen. At least on the scale needed.
    I'm in the camp that sees China and the USSR as "state capitalism" rather than a real socialist transformation, but ultimately I still agree, socialism as it was conceived of in the past can't serve as a model for the future. Any anti-capitalist political project has to include environmental sustainability as one of its core objectives, along with the abolition of class domination.

  8. #338

    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Sup dudes, so it was topping out at 100* F over here, and I decided to check out what was going on in the rest of the world...

    OH My lord, all next week throughout Western Europe, temps of 100 or even 105 across the board - all week!

    Stay safe.

    No way we can give up A/C :(
    Last edited by Montmorency; 07-21-2019 at 21:22.
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  9. #339
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    No way we can give up A/C :(
    I know, it's sad, but I bought one. I have to work at home and it's almost impossible to concentrate above 27°C...
    A/C wouldn't be that big of an issue if we had continued to go for solar (instead of oil and coal) since WW1, but yeah, well....


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  10. #340
    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    @Seamus Fermanagh, I hope you don't mind me asking. If I remember correctly, you were never a fan of the anthropomorphic argument. This last reply suggests that this opinion may have shifted. I am curious to what may have contributed to this.
    You didn't ask me, but like Seamus, I have in the past (say 8 years back for more) downplayed the percentage of cause attributable to human activity, particularly since the Industrial Revolution.

    Like Seamus, i have continued to read new studies, watch the modeling improve, and see the correlation between predicted behavior and actual behavior converge.

    But speaking for my own case only now, there was a wall to climb of willful ignorance. If I can be allowed to extrapolate from my own motivations for a moment, I think you'll find that a large portion of climate change deniers are laboring under conspiracy theories. The idea that even if global warming exists, the proposed remedies are all a plot by Western Europeans to kneecap the American economy, is pervasive.

    Two things I started noticing back in 2013/2014.. 1) India and China stopped "what-abouting" the US and said they were going to start trying to control emissions and retard temperature growth regardless of what the US does 2) the US intelligence and defense departments started listing global warming as an existential crisis... that would be realized upon the world by famine, dehydration and ever increasingly aggressive wars over natural resources.

    I agree with Seamus that developing technology for cleaner emissions versus trying to artifically constrain demand, is more likely to be successful in the long run. I'm very pro-nuclear power for electricty generation, though I fully concede the way that nuclear fuels are mined and processed and nuclear waste is treated needs to be revisited and heavily regulated.

    But 2 other human activities are things we COULD do something about that for whatever reason, we're just ignoring:

    1) Deforestation. This one is a no brainer. Every sovereign nation in the world should institute a net-zero policy for trees/plants.

    2) Agriculture: We need to rethink the ways we currently perform corporate farming. Just throwing more nitrogen based fertilizers on top-soil is going to run out of runway in roughly 25 years. Unfortunately, corporate agriculture are among some of the most powerful lobbies in Washington D.C., and the Trump administration just broke the back of the Agricultural department by shipping them all off to Kansas City.

    P.S. GROW HEMP!
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  11. #341
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    ... But it remains incumbent on Seamus to explain how "incentives" can resolve the contradiction between:

    1. Capitalism incentivizes concentration of wealth and power.
    2. Capitalism empowers the largest private actors to regulate government regulation of its incentives.
    3. The current trend of climate change entails a drastic change in our way of life, certainly not voluntary, not necessarily guided by any particular government plan, not necessarily according to the wishes of eco-primitivists, but simply falling out of future economic and political facts in a warmer world. Our trade and consumption-oriented way of life as we know it WILL vanish on current trends.
    4. Given the distribution of energy consumption and population growth, climate change cannot be checked without unprecedented cooperation between the largest firms and most populous nations.

    Please Seamus, distinguish between "is", "ought", and "will be" here. For our purposes I'm concerned about causality, not morality; fundamentally the question of whether or not capitalism will or has failed us is distinct from whether or not some other purported system is optimal or superior. What happens if the forces and incentives of modern global capitalism are inherently vicious?
    Regarding:

    1: Human nature incentivizes the concentration of power (of which wealth is the most common form), that is true under capitalism, under corporatism, under any-ism. Barring the adoption of an endless anarcho-choatic 'permanent' revolution wherein every power structure was cast down every generation (and we are all smart enough to see the Hobbesian threat in that), some form of system will develop and institutionalize and some persons will game it to advantage. All systems face this threat -- qui custodiat ipsos custodiens?

    2: This is functionally true albeit not legally sanctioned. This is one of those weaknesses in a capitalist system that requires constant 'gardening' to prune back the weeds (and the effort will never have complete success, see response to #1 above).

    3: The climate is changing and global temperatures are trending upwards (anthropomorphic or not). This will necessitate adjustments to where and how we farm, where and how we will live (and what measures to maintain current geographic locales will be required). I might not use the word "drastic," but they will certainly be profound changes. Trade and consumption will and must change -- but that is not unique to this period of human history. History suggests that periods of climate-begat resource changes also end up engendering conflict (prolonged inundations of modern Denmark leading to the Danish migration ['German' invasion] of the Roman Republic that saw the rise of Marius leading to the destruction of the Republic), the global warming period in the Middle Ages that created a large surplus of Mongols looking for new grazing lands when the temperatures began to cool, the 'Little Ice Age' that made the Eastern Seaboard of North America more accessible to the metal-armored and broadcloth and wool covered Europeans of NW Europe, much to their detriment. Again, I see the inevitability of humanity adapting to changes in condition, many of which will be 'not fun.'

    4. Current energy consumption must continue to grow, to do otherwise will have far more deleterious effects on humanity and the human condition than will attempts to curb that consumption. More power use per person, in practice, correlates reasonably well with the growth of personal freedom and opportunity (even with the 'haves' slicing off the bigger steaks). Those that are energy poor now will NOT accept continuing at their current level -- they will seek more and the amenities and capabilities that are attendant with access to more energy. Those that are using power in abundance now can almost certainly use it a good bit more efficiently (we have appliances to remove heat from a contained space to preserve food while separate appliances positioned a body length away use energy to add head to food in an enclosed space to cook it and nobody has come up with a way to use the one to help the other; better batteries, improved infrastructure for distribution with less loss) -- and SHOULD but cajoled, regulated, incentivized into doing so -- but they will not abide the enforced poverty of substantial diminishment of power usage. Again, absent a change in human nature, conservation will not generate any less dislocation than will climate change's current likely impact. Some might suggest it would even do more.

    So for me, the answer is MORE power using less climatologically impactful means. We under-utilize fission power and have done a piss poor job of addressing waste disposal. We have not tapped geo-thermal sources at anywhere near the level we might. Not enough has been done with hydroelectric power (especially tidal) or ways to generate said power that do not involve damning up rivers and wrecking habitats. Solar power is horribly inefficient -- and we can do much better even AT the bottom of a thick atmosphere (though if we ever get a way to have space mirrors collecting the sunlight and beaming it to collector panels that can get the power down the well without attenuating it so badly then we're golden). Fusion power is finally generating more power than it consumes (albeit briefly and unsustainably). THESE are the things we should incentivize, like the Government did back in the Reagan era to allow Sematech to R&D us into the computer age we now (mostly) enjoy.

    By all means incentivize research into mitigation and reasonable conservation/efficiency efforts as well. I have no beef with that either.

    But the answer that will work is not Draconian reduction, but encouraged Discovery -- and the chance to make a buck off the discovery has and will be part of the incentive.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

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  12. #342
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Global Temperatures over Time

    Yes, we are in a period of global warming.

    Yes, we are substantially warmer and trending warmer than an any point in the Common Era of human history (CE, formerly AD).

    Yes, the degree of warming being experienced can have a notable, even profound, impact on our daily existence and not all that far in the future.

    No, it is not the hottest it has ever been. We have yet to reach the temperature spike experienced 110 thousand years ago by our prehistoric ancestors.

    Our global temperature is substantially lower than it was 5+ million years past. (To be fair, the sediment records on this have huge variance swings in any short term segment, and it should be acknowledged that global cooling appears to have stopped and/or slightly reversed in the past 500k years).

    We have MUCH better and more complete data of the last 50 years than of the preceding 100, than of the preceding 1000. These shorter time-frame tools do correlate strongly with an anthropomorphic explanation of the current warming trend, but we lack near equivalent data from the deep past that could establish anthropomorphic causality without demur by explaining how this warming is different than preceding ones as to cause. This is the source, ultimately, of those arguing rationally that the anthropomorphic explanation is flawed. It does not, of course, explain the larger number of climate-change detractors who are shouting 'anti-capitalist-conspiracy-theory' from the depths of their own ignorance.

    Sadly, we can only drag the mid-point of the intelligence bell curve upwards, not eliminate the negative standard deviation side of the curve.
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  13. #343

    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Seamus, I would have you note a couple of things about consumption:

    1. The main source of energy consumption, driving production, is industry (agriculture, transportation, what have you), so this will be the locus of government intervention to reduce emissions.
    2. The structure of emissions-producing production structures our mass consumption in turn.
    3. Heavy reduction in emissions of industry necessarily translates to changes in the availability of goods and services on the consumer side, even without any direct legal or social intervention into consumer behavior.
    4. Just in my lifetime consumption has changed dramatically. The proliferation and availability of goods and services in urban America compared to what was available even in the 1990s is astonishing when you stop to think about it.

    Democracy requires wealth I would contend (otherwise one's 'best' incentive is to seize government and thereby enrich yourself/faction/tribe), so there is no question that the rest of the world must converge on a certain target for development - but this can't happen without America and Europe, if not scaling back to a certain degree, then kind of doing a lateral step in their lifestyles. As a planned reform I mean to say, since in the cataclysmic scenario all bets are off and we're in a Hobbesian state anyway, and almost everyone's living standards collapse by default. Remember that. If solidarity is a prisoner's dilemma then we have to cooperate or else the outcome is much less desirable by your own metric (and mine).

    It is simply unavoidable that in any effective controlled program of emissions reduction on a medium-term timescale, we will have fewer of our enjoyments available as a natural consequence of changes to macroeconomic incentives and activity. Whether this affects us in a more or less optimal way depending on policy is unknowable, but it has to be acknowledged and factored in. If we're serious about realistic timescales and prospects for when sufficient station action commences, our lifestyles will change "drastically" even if it's not something like the government limiting our automobile hours or something along those lines.

    Any major reform is almost certainly not going to have a videogame-level of efficiency in allocation of resources or policies, but this can't be a barrier to implementation because - AGAIN - the alternatives include the erasure of almost all progress in modern living standards. Five hundred years of modernity, almost washed away. When the stakes are this high, arbitrary difficulties and inefficiences have to be taken in stride in service of the greater objective.

    However I lack the domain knowledge to really specify what an appropriate or expected derived reduction of lifestyle might entail, in this or that scenario. Maybe in a favorable scenario it means the biggest hit we take is we have to wait a week for our Amazon deliveries again, IDK. If we have to do much more biking and air travel becomes more limited and expensive (like the 60s), how severe a reduction is that? What if electronic consumer goods become more precious and valuable like in the 70s, even as their power and functionality continues to soar? And crucially, how much of it will be counterbalanced by innovation and technological growth of the kind you reference throughout your post? It may be helpful conceptually not to think about what I'm saying as a commitment to "across the board" downgrades, or a callback to the whole ecoprimitivism-post-postindustrialism dichotomy; the reality of a Green New Deal or whatever you want to call it would be much more nuanced. What's indisputable is the sooner and more decisive the intervention, the less we will have to suffer either in this regard or in that of the myriad effects of warmer and more volatile climate. If we have to revisit this subthread in a decade, maybe we'll be reduced to selecting between government beet rations or radish rations for July 4th.

    In brighter news, renewable-sourced energy market prices are almost to the point of decisively beating out coal-generated power.


    We have MUCH better and more complete data of the last 50 years than of the preceding 100, than of the preceding 1000. These shorter time-frame tools do correlate strongly with an anthropomorphic explanation of the current warming trend, but we lack near equivalent data from the deep past that could establish anthropomorphic causality without demur by explaining how this warming is different than preceding ones as to cause. This is the source, ultimately, of those arguing rationally that the anthropomorphic explanation is flawed. It does not, of course, explain the larger number of climate-change detractors who are shouting 'anti-capitalist-conspiracy-theory' from the depths of their own ignorance.


    Sadly, we can only drag the mid-point of the intelligence bell curve upwards, not eliminate the negative standard deviation side of the curve.
    Going forward, we do also need to hold to account the primary ideological and economic motivations toward denial. The rationality such as it was was overwhelmingly neo-classical, and the original detractors tended to consciously understand it that way.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 07-22-2019 at 22:24.
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  14. #344
    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    I think we need to look at the real issue here which is overpopulation.

    That cuts across everything, from our consumption to our building on flood plains because we've run out of space on higher ground. Around 1927 the world population was about 2 Billion, by 1960 3 Billion, despite the World War, by 1974 4 Billion.

    We hit 7 Billion in 2012 and are projected to hit 8 Billion in 2027.

    I'd say we need to reduce the World population by half - in the short term that means introducing policies to penalise large families (which means penalising the poor) and in the medium term it means a global implementation of China's One Child Policy. We also need to "roll back" the expansion of Urbanisation.

    All of this means at least two generations of people, many childless and never married, who will be employed for their entire lives demolishing unused houses and factories as the population falls and more marginal areas are abandoned. That is, objectively, a miserable existence and not one anyone is going to vote for willingly.

    When the current Conservative Government in the UK tried to restrict child tax benefit to the first two children people screamed about women who were raped getting no support. When the Government said it would introduce a dispensation people screamed about women having to prove they were raped.

    I think we're going to screw this up, we already have, and we should be focusing on pollution and hardening our infrastructure against climate change rather than trying to slow the temperature rise directly. By reducing pollution, including things like sun screen that kills coral, we can give ourselves and the other species still clinging onto this rock a better chance of weathering the coming storm.
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  15. #345
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    I think we need to look at the real issue here which is overpopulation.

    That cuts across everything, from our consumption to our building on flood plains because we've run out of space on higher ground. Around 1927 the world population was about 2 Billion, by 1960 3 Billion, despite the World War, by 1974 4 Billion.

    We hit 7 Billion in 2012 and are projected to hit 8 Billion in 2027.

    I'd say we need to reduce the World population by half - in the short term that means introducing policies to penalise large families (which means penalising the poor) and in the medium term it means a global implementation of China's One Child Policy. We also need to "roll back" the expansion of Urbanisation.

    All of this means at least two generations of people, many childless and never married, who will be employed for their entire lives demolishing unused houses and factories as the population falls and more marginal areas are abandoned. That is, objectively, a miserable existence and not one anyone is going to vote for willingly.

    When the current Conservative Government in the UK tried to restrict child tax benefit to the first two children people screamed about women who were raped getting no support. When the Government said it would introduce a dispensation people screamed about women having to prove they were raped.

    I think we're going to screw this up, we already have, and we should be focusing on pollution and hardening our infrastructure against climate change rather than trying to slow the temperature rise directly. By reducing pollution, including things like sun screen that kills coral, we can give ourselves and the other species still clinging onto this rock a better chance of weathering the coming storm.
    We can aim for depopulation as one possible and eventual measure. But there are other measures we can take too. Localising economies and reducing waste is something we can do right now and be popular. Capitalism and the assumption of rights is damaging to the environment somewhere along the line. They're nice, but we can draw them down a tad with state regulation. All of this would be much easier and with greater effect with international cooperation, but hey, what do I know.

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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Population is already projected to top out at just under 11 billion by end of the century. This projection has only been revised downward every few years or so.
    https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs...ic/POP/TOT/900

    It's a bit of a red herring because the population growth is:
    A. Almost entirely localized in Africa.
    B. Impacting populations which do not yet have access to the level of health care and education which precedes population decline.
    C. Sustainable with proper management.

    Japan, SK are still experiencing a decline in population growth. Several European nations are below 2.1 children per woman as well. By mid century, most of Europe will be declining, China and India as well.

    Without pulling out tons of links no one will read, we have the capability to feed 11 billion, it's a matter of politics that we struggle to feed those that are hungry today.
    Carbon neutral transportation and industry can scale up as far as you want without increase in anthropocentric climate change, that's the beauty of zero. Developed and developing nations are creating and implementing this technology and processes right now.

    In the end, climate change is a political issue. People call my state crazy for mandating by law that new housing must have solar panels as of 2019. I think they are crazy for not doing so. Fast forward 10 years and they are still burning carbon, complaining about the worsening heat waves and my state will continue to be in the top 10 largest economies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    By reducing pollution, including things like sun screen that kills coral, we can give ourselves and the other species still clinging onto this rock a better chance of weathering the coming storm.
    Right idea, but wrong reason. I have a suspicion that our "clean air" is really still considerably toxic relative to pre-industrial levels. When we electrify our transportation and various industries go green/carbon neutral, our baseline levels of illness across the board will show a noticeable drop.
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a completely inoffensive name View Post
    Right idea, but wrong reason. I have a suspicion that our "clean air" is really still considerably toxic relative to pre-industrial levels. When we electrify our transportation and various industries go green/carbon neutral, our baseline levels of illness across the board will show a noticeable drop.
    You know, we used to think there was a "natural background level" of lead in the air - there isn't.

    If you need to be worried about "Climate Change" to want to clean up the planet then you are the one with the wrong reason.

    Even if we had not managed to turn up the heating we would still be living in toxic sludge and everybody needs to see that as a problem in itself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh
    There was always a good prima facia case for anthropomorphic climate change. The earlier efforts to computer model to "prove" it were chancy, since the models themselves could not replicate known results when preceding data were fed in. The modeling has gotten better. Moreover, ice cores and tree rings and the like are providing a better "fossil" picture of the temperature shift. I have yet to see an absolute proof of causation, but the correlation is so strong as to make it hard to believe that human agency isn't at least partially responsible. Facts are stubborn things.
    To defend your point and to give more informations.

    Analysis: How well have climate models projected global warming?
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis...global-warming

    Analysis: Why scientists think 100% of global warming is due to humans
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis...-due-to-humans

    About causation, there are direct observation of the enhanced greenhouse effect from CO2:
    https://phys.org/news/2015-02-carbon...se-effect.html

    Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14240

    Here an excerpt:

    Here we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing that is directly attributable to the increase, between 2000 and 2010, of 22 parts per million atmospheric CO2. The time series of this forcing at the two locations—the Southern Great Plains and the North Slope of Alaska—are derived from Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer spectra together with ancillary measurements and thoroughly corroborated radiative transfer calculations. The time series both show statistically significant trends of 0.2 W m−2 per decade (with respective uncertainties of ±0.06 W m−2 per decade and ±0.07 W m−2 per decade) and have seasonal ranges of 0.1–0.2 W m−2. This is approximately ten per cent of the trend in downwelling longwave radiation. These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance.

    The measured spectrum in Fig. 1a shows Planck function behaviour near the centre of the fundamental (ν2) CO2 band and exhibits a departure from a Planck curve in the P- and R-branches of this feature, indicating that the emission in these branches is sub-saturated and could increase with increasing CO2. Water-vapour features, continuum emission, and O3 emission are seen in the infrared window between 800 cm−1 and 1,200 cm−1, and lesser features from CH4 are seen around 1,300 cm−1. Calculated transmission and the change in transmission with a 22 ppm CO2 increase are also shown, indicating that weak vibration-rotation features in the far wings of the fundamental and in the infrared window dominate surface radiative forcing from rising CO2.

    We can exclude alternative explanations for the change in these measurements, such as instrument calibration or the temperature, water vapour, or condensate structure of the atmosphere because they would produce significant (P < 0.003) trends in other spectral regions outside the CO2 absorption bands—see Fig. 2b and e. Moreover, the spectral forcing from CO2 is a strong function of changes in the CO2 column concentration, and nonlinear interactions between temperature and water vapour were weak, as indicated by the lack of statistically significant differences in the seasonal and annual spectral trends in the CO2 P- and R-branches. Therefore, the atmospheric structure of temperature and water vapour does not strongly affect CO2 surface forcing, which is consistent with the findings of others.
    About the origins of the consensus here an article from 1956 by Gilbert Norman Plass, a physicist.
    https://www.americanscientist.org/ar...nd-the-climate

    Here an excerpt:
    The fact that water vapor absorbs to some extent in the same spectral interval as carbon dioxide is the basis for the usual objection to the carbon dioxide theory. According to this argument the water vapor absorption is so large that there would be virtually no change in the outgoing radiation if the carbon dioxide concentration should change. However, this conclusion was based on early, very approximate treatments of the very complex problem of the calculation of the infrared flux in the atmosphere. Recent and more accurate calculations that take into account the detailed structure of the spectra of these two gases show that they are relatively independent of one another in their influence on the infrared absorption. There are two main reasons for this result: (1) there is no correlation between the frequencies of the spectral lines for carbon dioxide and water vapor and so the lines do not often overlap because of nearly coincident positions for the spectral lines; (2) the fractional concentration of water vapor falls off very rapidly with height whereas carbon dioxide is nearly uniformly distributed. Because of this last fact, even if the water vapor absorption were larger than that of carbon dioxide in a certain spectral interval at the surface of the Earth, at only a short distance above the ground the carbon dioxide absorption would be considerably larger than that of the water vapor. Careful estimates show that the temperature changes given above for carbon dioxide would not be reduced by more than 20 per cent because of water vapor absorption.

    One further objection has been raised to the carbon dioxide theory: the atmosphere is completely opaque at the center of the carbon dioxide band and therefore there is no change in the absorption as the carbon dioxide amount varies. This is entirely true for a spectral interval about one micron wide on either side of the center of the carbon dioxide band. However, the argument neglects the hundreds of spectral lines from carbon dioxide that are outside this interval of complete absorption. The change in absorption for a given variation in carbon dioxide amount is greatest for a spectral interval that is only partially opaque; the temperature variation at the surface of the Earth is determined by the change in absorption of such intervals.
    The physical basis for the consensus is explained by the American Chemical Society here:
    https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/c...g-started.html

    And the support for the consensus is nicely described here by The Geological Society of America:
    https://www.geosociety.org/gsa/posit...osition10.aspx

    Taken from here:
    https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

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    Quote Originally Posted by a completely inoffensive name View Post
    Population is already projected to top out at just under 11 billion by end of the century. This projection has only been revised downward every few years or so.
    https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs...ic/POP/TOT/900

    [...]
    Well, some thoughts. It should be easier to deliver a good life to fewer people than to more (after a certain minimum threshold). With more people there is more usage of all things, and the whole resource chain from land to water to atmosphere is implicated. And a theoretical present capacity to feed 11 billion people is not relevant, because (1) it says nothing about potential drops in agricultural capacity or production in the future; (2) there is no such thing as a perfect distribution of resources and no one should ever plan or project around such a thing, for example we could theoretically distribute wealth today to give every human the lifestyle of a middle-class American - but it won't happen, even if we were to suddenly transition to socialism successful beyond all expectations; (3) we should aspire to more than sustaining the masses at the level above starvation, unless in the projection where climate change fucks the planet and the best we can hope for is 1940s Soviet living standards by 2100.

    Fortunately, there are projections taking into account a rapid decrease in African fertility rates predicated on increasing urbanization and education of women. If other developing countries can drop from a rate of 6 to a rate of 2 in less than a generation, so can African ones if we facilitate the conditions. See also the case that the UN forecasts for African fertility are hilariously overblown. What was that relevant xkcd comic again?

    But, as I will reiterate below, this demands gigantic wealth transfers on our part. At the very minimum, it calls for investments in the low hundreds of billions to set countries awash with knowledge and availability of contraception (which tends to work where it is tried, though we need to scale it way up from the current hundreds of millions or low billions). But we can't even do that until we neutralize the conservatives and repeal the Global Gag Rule (on abortion and contraceptive services). Or if you believe that fertility rates will drop even faster if child mortality drops, then -- do something about African child mortality!

    African child mortality is 10 to 20 times higher than ours. Let's stop the racist handwringing over too many African babies and do something! With money! And by something, I mean establish networks of hundreds of modern hospitals and thousands of clinics and ship thousands of nurses and medical students from surplus areas in rich countries to do a few years work in African countries. Train hundreds of thousands more of local citizens in medicine per decade, and incentivize them against going abroad by paying them handsomely and investing elsewhere to improve the physical and social security of African citizens.

    You know what? Go ahead and make it a comprehensive multi-trillion dollar transformation of the continent, alongside the multi-trillion dollar transformations of the other continents. Or we can hope billionaires will innovate away our problems lol.

    There's just no getting around those wealth transfers, we're all in this together so mutual prosperity (or at least aversion to mutual destruction) must inspire us to pay for others.


    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    I think we need to look at the real issue here which is overpopulation.
    There are three ways to address world population, we having created this climate: betray all the brown people by genociding them; betray all the brown people by quarantining them and hoping they die of climate disaster or famine or disease or war before they can get to Europe or America (contract genocide to Nature); engage in unprecedented wealth transfer to the Global South to rapidly equalize world development, reducing absolute Western wealth in the medium-term. Which do you prefer?

    I'd say we need to reduce the World population by half - in the short term that means introducing policies to penalise large families (which means penalising the poor) and in the medium term it means a global implementation of China's One Child Policy. We also need to "roll back" the expansion of Urbanisation.
    If you think overpopulation is a problem then more urbanization is exactly what you want, not less. Density is more efficient in use of land and resources and delivery of services. Urban life also directly depresses fertility rates, and enables higher penetration of complete public education which in turn also depresses fertility rates. Urban women also tend to work more outside the home, which in turn depresses fertility rates. The third factor underlying fertility rates (others just mentioned being urbanization and women's education/work), as demonstrated in my link above, are child mortality rates. I've already begun to describe what it will take to reduce those.

    I'd say we need to reduce the World population by half - in the short term that means introducing policies to penalise large families (which means penalising the poor) and in the medium term it means a global implementation of China's One Child Policy. We also need to "roll back" the expansion of Urbanisation.
    [...]
    When the current Conservative Government in the UK tried to restrict child tax benefit to the first two children people screamed about women who were raped getting no support. When the Government said it would introduce a dispensation people screamed about women having to prove they were raped.
    I suspect the primary complaint would have been against penalizing the poorest families who rely most on benefits. Let the affluent go first. No tax inducements will actually reduce fertility rates anyway; no one, especially not low-income people, plans children around the tax code. So as I'm sure the critics pointed out, all it does is contribute to misery and poverty to suggest such adjustments to taxation. Sad that you didn't stop to think of it.

    On to a global One Child policy: Who's going to enforce it, and how? Is it going to be like in China too? Indeed, if we can forcibly abort fetuses or incarcerate over-quota women, I would have to ask why we can't just go ahead and expropriate all the property of the wealthy first. Liquidate the bourgeoisie.

    I think we're going to screw this up, we already have, and we should be focusing on pollution and hardening our infrastructure against climate change rather than trying to slow the temperature rise directly. By reducing pollution, including things like sun screen that kills coral, we can give ourselves and the other species still clinging onto this rock a better chance of weathering the coming storm.
    What state do you think can absorb hundreds of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons? How are we going to harden against the disintegration of the international trade regime and the loss of supply chains?

    I at least agree in principle that in a certain range it is more difficult to deliver a good life to more total humans than to fewer, but that duck won't hunt. As long as we're making sweeping proposals no government could ever form a coalition around, the ethical option is solidarity - and yes, that means sacrifice. Developed countries will nevertheless always be sacrificing less, so it's not an unreasonable burden in the grand scheme.

    Anyone who is serious about preserving world civilization needs to accept that the only way to mitigate conflagration is to spend many trillions of dollars reeling back and redesigning the American, European, and Asian economies, bottom-up and top-down.

    Anyone who isn't a racist, or else someone who doesn't devalue human life in a Stalinist manner, needs to accept that preventing the deaths of hundreds of millions of Africans and privation of more, or preventing the birth of hundreds of millions more into such conditions over time, will require us to spend many trillions of dollars on a continental forced march of development.

    We can talk about long-term population reduction once we have a world state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    We can aim for depopulation as one possible and eventual measure. But there are other measures we can take too. Localising economies and reducing waste is something we can do right now and be popular. Capitalism and the assumption of rights is damaging to the environment somewhere along the line. They're nice, but we can draw them down a tad with state regulation. All of this would be much easier and with greater effect with international cooperation, but hey, what do I know.
    Quite right, but anything is something we can do right now, for all the difference it makes when monied interests set the limits of acceptable action so tight.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 07-24-2019 at 23:20.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Quite right, but anything is something we can do right now, for all the difference it makes when monied interests set the limits of acceptable action so tight.
    In the UK, we're reducing the use of plastic bags through government action, and through David Attenborough publicising the effects they have on wildlife. The current attitude towards such waste would have been almost unimaginable 10 years ago. There is much more scope for more small changes allied to a bigger narrative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Let's stop the racist handwringing over too many African babies and do something!
    That's one angle to take, but with the huge amounts spent in Europe on non-Western immigration; you could quickly rake up vast sums money for the kind of purpose you describe here by turning the European migration policy on its head.

    As a specific example, Norway had a budget of 18.9 billion NOK in 2017 (non-English source) for "integration and diversity", or roughly $2.19 billion with today's conversion rate. Five years worth of similar-sized budgets, and you are up to roughly $10 billion, and that's all from a country of 5 million inhabitants.

    With agreements with African governments, all non-legal migrants into Europe could be given the offer to be sent either to their home country, or to locations in Africa (potentially newly established migrant cities). It is much cheaper to provide for migrants in Africa, the labour market there is much, much more open to people with lower education than it is in Europe, and treating almost all asylum applicants and illegal migrants the same should free up a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on handling the individual cases, appeal processes, and other general benefits that can be expected by managing things in bulk. The flow of migrants would also be reduced to those who consider themselves to be in serious danger where they come from, unless the African migrant locations turn out to be success stories, which should be a good thing.
    Last edited by Viking; 07-25-2019 at 17:44.
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    Monty, you're not getting it.

    Where is over-population the worst?

    It's not Africa - it's Europe and Asia. In the UK we are at about four times what might be considered a "healthy" population for the land to actually support. We are roughly thirty times what a pre-industrial economy can support (Something like 2-3 million).

    The populations of Europe and Asia also drive consumption - especially of things like read meat and electronics. In Africa there is over-population but this is in large part being driven by the needs of advanced economies, strip-mining resources, over-production of cash crops...

    In the event of the collapse of the global economy who starves? Europe or Africa.

    If you want to get serious about "saving the planet" you need to recognise the real problem is over-population leading to over-consumption. Everything else, including climate change, comes from that. If you don't address the population issue you are just kicking the can down the road. All the modelling that has been done assumes that once a certain income-threshold is reached and a certain level of infant mortality is achieved then people will stop having so many children and the population will stabilise.

    This is rather like the fallacy ten years ago that Islam "just needed a reformation" and Muslims would stop being so zealous as they mellowed out.

    European scientists with a Euro-centric worldview will be the literal death of us.
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    Monty, you're not getting it.

    Where is over-population the worst?

    It's not Africa - it's Europe and Asia. In the UK we are at about four times what might be considered a "healthy" population for the land to actually support. We are roughly thirty times what a pre-industrial economy can support (Something like 2-3 million).

    The populations of Europe and Asia also drive consumption - especially of things like read meat and electronics. In Africa there is over-population but this is in large part being driven by the needs of advanced economies, strip-mining resources, over-production of cash crops...

    In the event of the collapse of the global economy who starves? Europe or Africa.

    If you want to get serious about "saving the planet" you need to recognise the real problem is over-population leading to over-consumption. Everything else, including climate change, comes from that. If you don't address the population issue you are just kicking the can down the road.

    European scientists with a Euro-centric worldview will be the literal death of us.
    So you're a primitivist? My takeaway is that you believe only a pre-modern carrying capacity (where population of settled areas hovered around an upper limit for up to millennia) is sustainable in the long-term, which is extreme even for a Malthusian. I invite ACIN to take Thanos here to task on his premises, a prospect I'm sure he relishes, but I'll also address a few points. I told you that in principle I agree it's easier to deal with fewer humans to an extent, but I think you're wildly underestimating the durable carrying capacity of our civilization (unless you're taking for granted that the very worst apocalyptic scenarios are inevitable??).

    How did you determine a "healthy" population level for the UK? Are you citing some source? Are you just referring to the Victorian era as your ideal?

    Why do you think developed economies can't be concertively redesigned (as a near-medium program given time pressure) to significantly lower consumption (in terms of raw inputs) as well as to neutralize positive-emissions industry (which again is the immediate source of the vast majority of emissions and pollution)? I mean this question in a more material sense than a political one.

    What do you think it would take to enforce a global One Child policy, with respect to non-compliant individuals as well as to non-compliant states? What concrete persons would participate in enforcing it, and what sociological implications does it have? If this kind of derogation of liberties is possible and permissible, what other derogation would you allow for - or reject out of hand?

    All the modelling that has been done assumes that once a certain income-threshold is reached and a certain level of infant mortality is achieved then people will stop having so many children and the population will stabilise.

    This is rather like the fallacy ten years ago that Islam "just needed a reformation" and Muslims would stop being so zealous as they mellowed out.
    Why? What's the connection? Isn't the modeling too conservative as it is given real performance? Unlimited growth in all forms is constrained, including (falling out of) socially.

    European scientists with a Euro-centric worldview will be the literal death of us.
    The scientists, but not the plutocrats? Hmmm...


    By the way, I urge you to read my link above on African fertility rates, and the embedded reference to another look at American/European fertility vis-a-vis a "fertility gap" (women having fewer children than they desire or intend, and also lowering their intentions/expectations in line with the pressures of a modern economy). You shouldn't find much objectionable there, the articles are under a conservative, pro-family, pro-marriage think tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    That's one angle to take, but with the huge amounts spent in Europe on non-Western immigration; you could quickly rake up vast sums money for the kind of purpose you describe here by turning the European migration policy on its head.

    As a specific example, Norway had a budget of 18.9 billion NOK in 2017 (non-English source) for "integration and diversity", or roughly $2.19 billion with today's conversion rate. Five years worth of similar-sized budgets, and you are up to roughly $10 billion, and that's all from a country of 5 million inhabitants.

    With agreements with African governments, all non-legal migrants into Europe could be given the offer to be sent either to their home country, or to locations in Africa (potentially newly established migrant cities). It is much cheaper to provide for migrants in Africa, the labour market there is much, much more open to people with lower education than it is in Europe, and treating almost all asylum applicants and illegal migrants the same should free up a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on handling the individual cases, appeal processes, and other general benefits that can be expected by managing things in bulk. The flow of migrants would also be reduced to those who consider themselves to be in serious danger where they come from, unless the African migrant locations turn out to be success stories, which should be a good thing.
    Sure, I encourage massive European investment, but it can't come in the form of haphazard and piecemeal state aid or charity, it has to be a comprehensive program engaging the whole of Europe with the bureaucracies and civil societies of most African countries, at once. Or the process will be too diffuse and small-scale to deliver sweeping results, and a relatively large proportion will be vulnerable to fraud, waste, and corruption (especially when it's just direct money transfers sight unseen).

    I've also long supported massive FDI to support refugees regionally, along with investment to ameliorate the conditions driving their refugee status. Maybe if the EU had been active in this regard it wouldn't have been subject to a refugee emergency that all the Eastern Mediterranean countries were already having to struggle under. Human groups of all kinds find acting with foresight a threshold too high.

    However, the above can't be used as a pretext to keep Africans out of Europe. In transformational programs there should be extensive population rotations in both directions, including with the aim of training up African professionals and leaders en masse. Churn it up.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 07-26-2019 at 06:33.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    So you're a primitivist? My takeaway is that you believe only a pre-modern carrying capacity (where population of settled areas hovered around an upper limit for up to millennia) is sustainable in the long-term, which is extreme even for a Malthusian. I invite ACIN to take Thanos here to task on his premises, a prospect I'm sure he relishes, but I'll also address a few points. I told you that in principle I agree it's easier to deal with fewer humans to an extent, but I think you're wildly underestimating the durable carrying capacity of our civilization (unless you're taking for granted that the very worst apocalyptic scenarios are inevitable??).

    How did you determine a "healthy" population level for the UK? Are you citing some source? Are you just referring to the Victorian era as your ideal?

    Why do you think developed economies can't be concertively redesigned (as a near-medium program given time pressure) to significantly lower consumption (in terms of raw inputs) as well as to neutralize positive-emissions industry (which again is the immediate source of the vast majority of emissions and pollution)? I mean this question in a more material sense than a political one.

    What do you think it would take to enforce a global One Child policy, with respect to non-compliant individuals as well as to non-compliant states? What concrete persons would participate in enforcing it, and what sociological implications does it have? If this kind of derogation of liberties is possible and permissible, what other derogation would you allow for - or reject out of hand?

    Why? What's the connection? Isn't the modeling too conservative as it is given real performance? Unlimited growth in all forms is constrained, including (falling out of) socially.

    The scientists, but not the plutocrats? Hmmm...

    By the way, I urge you to read my link above on African fertility rates, and the embedded reference to another look at American/European fertility vis-a-vis a "fertility gap" (women having fewer children than they desire or intend, and also lowering their intentions/expectations in line with the pressures of a modern economy). You shouldn't find much objectionable there, the articles are under a conservative, pro-family, pro-marriage think tank.

    Sure, I encourage massive European investment, but it can't come in the form of haphazard and piecemeal state aid or charity, it has to be a comprehensive program engaging the whole of Europe with the bureaucracies and civil societies of most African countries, at once. Or the process will be too diffuse and small-scale to deliver sweeping results, and a relatively large proportion will be vulnerable to fraud, waste, and corruption (especially when it's just direct money transfers sight unseen).

    I've also long supported massive FDI to support refugees regionally, along with investment to ameliorate the conditions driving their refugee status. Maybe if the EU had been active in this regard it wouldn't have been subject to a refugee emergency that all the Eastern Mediterranean countries were already having to struggle under. Human groups of all kinds find acting with foresight a threshold too high.

    However, the above can't be used as a pretext to keep Africans out of Europe. In transformational programs there should be extensive population rotations in both directions, including with the aim of training up African professionals and leaders en masse. Churn it up.
    Demography of the UK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demogr...ange_over_time

    I'm suggesting the population of the UK should be around 16-20 million, so well below Victorian levels (but still much higher than population density in our former "white" Dominions).

    To be clear, I'm not suggesting such transformation is achievable in my lifetime, I'm simply pointing out that Europe is horribly over anything that could be considered a reasonable population. Above those sorts of levels you need to engage in mass-import of food, without which your economy and hence society collapses. This is not a new problem, the disruption of shipping between Egypt and Rome alongside reduced soil fertility due to mono-cropping and climate change caused a catastrophic population drop in Italy in the late 4th-early 5th Century, essentially hollowing out the economic and administrative heart of the Western Empire.

    So, let's get real.

    We're not hitting that 1.5C target - we all stay up too late and spend too much time on the Internet for starters, and we use cars and public buses instead of walking.

    In view of that you need to assume there's going to be increased climate change and a corresponding drop in food variety, nutrition etc. We're not going to starve here because we have all the ships and guns (need bigger Royal Navy btw) but our standard of living IS going to decline in an appreciable way.

    Now, on top of that you have large, consumption orientated economies without enough arable land to feed their population. We should, at present, be discouraging reproduction and preparing for the consequent economic hit, as opposed to importing people from poorer countries to increase not only our young population but also our birth rate.

    To be clear, I'm in favour of immigration in general but I'm against it being used to prop up fertility rates we actually need to start falling. Think about that for a second - in the developed world we have governments gearing their immigration policy in a way to offset declining fertility rates that are, in part, the result of an environment that discourages procreation.

    You expect those same governments to engage in "transformative" programs to prepare us for what;s coming.



    These are the guys who did 'Saturday Night Special'. Think about that.
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  26. #356

    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Peeves, the only way I see your overall point is if you take for granted a scenario of severe warming (4-5+* C) as well as near-total failure of constructive cooperation among the international community in that scenario and in the progression into that scenario. So - it's quite possible that things transpire the way you fear, but why moan about a duty of states to proactively cull the herd? As long as we're aiming at something implausible why not aim at producing an actual good result? "I can only offer blood, sweat, tears, and toil" is one thing to say to the public, but "I have a vision of the future for you: a jackboot stamping on a human face, forever, or at least until we all die..." why would anyone even humor that as a veneer of wisdom? They might as well just violently revolt.

    Demography of the UK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demogr...ange_over_time

    I'm suggesting the population of the UK should be around 16-20 million, so well below Victorian levels (but still much higher than population density in our former "white" Dominions).
    I figured excluding Ireland, but it appears your peg does indeed hark back to the time of Malthus himself.

    But why "should" it be around 16-20 million? What do you base this range on? Obviously agricultural practices have changed, and will continue to change. The baseline carrying capacity is much higher - again, unless you think industrial-scale agriculture as we practice it will somehow not be possible because even the major states themselves will have dissolved and can no longer guarantee the conditions necessary for it on a "national" scale. As long as this doesn't happen the state will certainly act to mobilize its resources and reorganize agricultural production and distribution in a more suitable way, as well as introduce new techniques and methods that were not previously economical under the crowding effect of entrenched capitalist industry.

    In the former case of state failure, I suppose we can envision a world like a technobarbarian cyberdystopia - fortunately well-represented in contemporary speculative fiction - marked by a constellation of more or less militarized city states with variable holdings of hinterland. The wealthy and powerful ones will have the best infrastructure, a concentrated skilled workforce to maintain it and develop new technology, and some variant of efficient high-yield hypercapitalized agriculture like in the Netherlands, allowing them produce a surplus toward a limited trade of comparable sophistication to existing networks and to hold down the slums and country peasants from which they draw members of the security forces.

    ...

    But it hardly has to be that way. While we draw breath we should fight for a more optimistic (read: not totally pessimistic) vision of the world. And it's still unclear where your range comes from, if it's based on a projection of future conditional carrying capacity or a subjective opinion for what constitutes an "ideal" population size. Whichever it is, why not 10 million, 5 million in Neo-London and the rest distributed across the island? As far as I can tell you're giving an arbitrary number.

    To be clear, I'm not suggesting such transformation is achievable in my lifetime, I'm simply pointing out that Europe is horribly over anything that could be considered a reasonable population. Above those sorts of levels you need to engage in mass-import of food, without which your economy and hence society collapses. This is not a new problem, the disruption of shipping between Egypt and Rome alongside reduced soil fertility due to mono-cropping and climate change caused a catastrophic population drop in Italy in the late 4th-early 5th Century, essentially hollowing out the economic and administrative heart of the Western Empire.
    As I'm repeatedly emphasizing, the course of our history very much could go this way - hence my determination that neoliberal capitalism is totally inadequate, if not opposite, to the task of saving the world - but it doesn't have to be. We have huge advantages of skilled and educated manpower, a generative common weltgeist, and an enormously complex world economy and world society undergirded by our acknowledged and constantly-expanding technological prowess. Complexity in the past has meant "the bigger they are, the harder they fall", but perhaps with even a modicum of adjustment in the modern day this becomes a system of redundant failsafes. Though it's a terrible prospect and one we should strive to avert, much of the modern order could arguably remain intact under even a billion refugees and tens of millions of deaths if you believe transnational solidarity (or even naked self-interested multilateralism as with the WW2 Allies) is a reasonable expectation.

    Since it's somewhat analogous, how do you engage with zombie fiction? Are you the kind of guy who expects society to rapidly come undone due to the flagrant mistakes, negligence, and selfishness of the elites, followed by the dumb fear and blind panic of the masses - or is it more of a tragic and costly emergency that is ultimately overcome once the stakeholder blockades are battered aside and a collective sense of responsibility is empowered?

    In view of that you need to assume there's going to be increased climate change and a corresponding drop in food variety, nutrition etc. We're not going to starve here because we have all the ships and guns (need bigger Royal Navy btw) but our standard of living IS going to decline in an appreciable way.
    Lol your military at its peak potential would not be in a state to overcome countless thousands of desperate civilians+, let alone imperialize them as a tributary food source. But it's a moot point because if the UK - or enough of the rest of the world - can't maintain enough agricultural production for subsistence and trade, you certainly aren't going to be able to maintain the supply chains to maintain and operate any kind of modern military. No bullets, no bombs, no fuel, no replacing equipment (outfit the infantry with fresh Sten guns perhaps?), forget about it - would you even have a national state left to employ the manpower? Are provisional militias going to airlift raiders to Norway and Normandy to loot as much as the troops can load? Never mind, I imagine you like the sound of that.

    Since it's relevant to the general topic, I should note that I'm aware Norway has a contingency doctrine of being able to sustain almost the entire population on an adequate diet even if it were to lose access to food imports. (Unfortunately, I can't find a link on short notice! @Viking) Governments think about these things. I believe we can commit more resources and coherence behind thinking.

    Now, on top of that you have large, consumption orientated economies without enough arable land to feed their population.
    Self-sufficiency is often bunk. Agrarian societies have always relied on trade to fill the gaps in, or even replace, domestic production. (First thing that comes to mind is classical Athens, their wheat preferences, and the human cost of being finicky about local produce during wartime.) We know it doesn't have to be fatal because we know how to adapt, if we would take adaptation seriously. Speaking of ancient Athens, while ancient societies were characterized by collapse they were also characterized by continuity and resilience. Polities like Athens could endure breathtaking apocalyptic losses of life as a proportion of population and still not lose their fundamental integrity. Same thing held for the various major epidemics across Eurasia, up to and including the Black Death. Even the periodic titanic tumbles of the Chinese empires - with concomitant population declines measured in tens of millions - rebounded almost immediately, even if into competition between smaller fragments.

    Though I remind you a country like America absolutely has the arable land to sustain its population and more, if the country can hold itself together. And how often do I have to harp on "cooperation?" As new arable land becomes available for development its fruits can be shared as necessary.

    Think about that for a second - in the developed world we have governments gearing their immigration policy in a way to offset declining fertility rates that are, in part, the result of an environment that discourages procreation.
    The logical conclusion as I see it would be freedom of movement within a world state, but you don't even need a single jurisdiction to facilitate mutual population transfers as merited.

    These are the guys who did 'Saturday Night Special'. Think about that.
    I don't know what this means.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 07-27-2019 at 05:14.
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  27. #357
    Hǫrðar Member Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Since it's relevant to the general topic, I should note that I'm aware Norway has a contingency doctrine of being able to sustain almost the entire population on an adequate diet even if it were to lose access to food imports. (Unfortunately, I can't find a link on short notice! @Viking) Governments think about these things. I believe we can commit more resources and coherence behind thinking.
    The only thing that springs to mind is the Svalbard doomsday seed vault, which is something rather different. Maybe you are thinking about a different country.
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  28. #358
    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread



    Honestly, what self-respecting American doesn't know classic Lynard Skynard?

    "Saturday Night Special" is a song from... 1976 I think. It's all about the pointlessness of handguns, especially cheap "Saturday night Specials" and how we should dump them all £to the bottom of the sea". Fast forward 35 years and the same band are singing about how you have to lock your door at night and put your faith in your "peacemaker".

    Basically, this is the degeneration of American society as demonstrated through music.

    You're leaning on "increased carrying capacity" and technology to allow for continued population expansion in developed societies without considering the full implications. This increased carry capacity is achieved through the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers spread over vast fields, often separated by electric fences as opposed to hedges to achieve high yields of the same crop year after year.

    The pesticides lower biodiversity whilst the fast-growing crops and chemical fertilisers leach nutrients from the soil and starve bacteria that allows it to regenerate. Runoff from the fields pollutes rivers, killing fish and small mammals, the lack of hedges further harms insect and bird populations whilst mono-cropping ultimately destroys the topsoil.

    This phenomenon is what causes dust bowls in the US and mass "colony collapse" among bees, among other ecological disasters.

    This is not just a problem in the US, of course, but also in the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/environm...s-michael-gove

    https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/art...l-degradation/

    So, no, we cannot keep increasing "carrying capacity", we are vastly over capacity and are essentially leaching from the land to sustain ourselves. Modern farms are doing the same damage to the environment as Roman Latifundia two millennia ago.

    As regards a Zombie apocalypse - I think this discussion demonstrates that people would spend far too long pretending we could "fix" the problem before confronting it. For example, we would insist on trying to develop a vaccine or even a cure instead of shooting all infected at the moment of infection and burning all corpses.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."

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  29. #359
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus;20537
    You're leaning on "increased carrying capacity" and technology to allow for continued population expansion in developed societies without considering the full implications. This increased carry capacity is achieved through the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers spread over vast fields, often separated by electric fences as opposed to hedges to achieve high yields of the same crop year after year.

    The pesticides lower biodiversity whilst the fast-growing crops and chemical fertilisers leach nutrients from the soil and starve bacteria that allows it to regenerate. Runoff from the fields pollutes rivers, killing fish and small mammals, the lack of hedges further harms insect and bird populations whilst mono-cropping ultimately destroys the topsoil.

    This phenomenon is what causes dust bowls in the US and mass "colony collapse" among bees, among other ecological disasters.

    This is not just a problem in the US, of course, but also in the UK: [URL
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/24/uk-30-40-years-away-eradication-soil-fertility-warns-michael-gove[/URL]

    https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/art...l-degradation/

    So, no, we cannot keep increasing "carrying capacity", we are vastly over capacity and are essentially leaching from the land to sustain ourselves. Modern farms are doing the same damage to the environment as Roman Latifundia two millennia ago.
    The blind spot in your argument PVC is that our economic model and our government policies incentives tend towards the reduction of cost, not sustainability.
    Key example here, Americans share of budget towards food has dropped since the 1960s: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-produc...?chartId=76967
    In particular the drop occurred in the 1970s when we implemented policies to heavily subsidize farmers who overproduced crops: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricu...d_States#1970s
    IF we direct policies towards rewarding sustainable practices, we have the technology to produce products and processes that achieve the same purposes but there will be an added cost associated with it. However, it is a cost we can bear since we have bared (sp?) it before.

    Next time you go shopping, take a trip to the expensive grocery store that all the upper middle class families go to. Look for the plant derived cleaners, the oat/almond milk, these are marketed for a richer clientele because right now it costs more to produce those products than the standard heavily petro-chemical based products. But if you look into why it costs more it has nothing to do with the key ingredients/inputs.

    For example, oat milk takes less space, less water, less energy than dairy: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46654042
    Is there any reason why it shouldn't be cheaper other than policy?

    Also keep in mind some things we do are more sustainable than in the Roman times. Crop rotation is understood to a better degree to minimize the effects of mono-cultures. Our genetic engineering has produces plants which are physically more sustainable than their ancient counterparts. GPS allows farmers to plant crops closer together and minimize land use.

    Your main concern comes from industrially produced fertilizers and pesticides. And this is a concern, but again it is a process that is not inherently wasteful. If we wanted to accommodate the cost of it, we could do anyway with pesticides altogether for a lot of rooted crops by growing them inside buildings in hydroponic baths, with UV lights from LED's. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_tvJtUHnmU

    God gave us free will for a reason...if there is an apocalypse coming it won't be because of His will, but our own...
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  30. #360

    Default Re: Climate Change Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    Honestly, what self-respecting American doesn't know classic Lynard Skynard?
    You're leaning on "increased carrying capacity" and technology to allow for continued population expansion in developed societies without considering the full implications. This increased carry capacity is achieved through the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers spread over vast fields, often separated by electric fences as opposed to hedges to achieve high yields of the same crop year after year.

    The pesticides lower biodiversity whilst the fast-growing crops and chemical fertilisers leach nutrients from the soil and starve bacteria that allows it to regenerate. Runoff from the fields pollutes rivers, killing fish and small mammals, the lack of hedges further harms insect and bird populations whilst mono-cropping ultimately destroys the topsoil.

    This phenomenon is what causes dust bowls in the US and mass "colony collapse" among bees, among other ecological disasters.

    This is not just a problem in the US, of course, but also in the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/environm...s-michael-gove

    https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/art...l-degradation/

    So, no, we cannot keep increasing "carrying capacity", we are vastly over capacity and are essentially leaching from the land to sustain ourselves. Modern farms are doing the same damage to the environment as Roman Latifundia two millennia ago.
    I'm not intimately familiar with their discography. There are literally thousands of famous songs, and famous films, and ouvres. I can't be intimately familiar with all of them (though I thank the Internet for allowing me so much osmotic consciousness). Here's some more carefully-curated (for the lyrics) songs to set the mood:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    When you say "technology", you should understand I'm referring to existing technology, not some figurative wonder weapon down the pike. I'm far from an expert on agronomy, but I've read articles about people confronting the very issues you raise and discussing techniques that could resolve them, including some that are in action or could be put into widespread action today without appreciably affecting food diversity or calorie load available to consumers. And if it comes to it there's always government management and rationing. So no, we are not doomed to a plummeting carrying capacity in this regard. Societies adapt. Ancient societies had no stock of institutional measures to draw from in response to sudden profound shocks other than to let a lot of people die and hope* the survivors pick up the pieces; we do.

    *They probably weren't many who could think in grand strategic scope, so they probably didn't conceive hopes for future generations, h/t to Hong Kong thread.

    You could have brought up "microbial antibiotic resistance", which if permitted to continue accelerating could easily precipitate global collapse by pandemic in conjunction with climate and political crises within a generation. However, scientists can always identify new biochemical targets if given the opportunity (hint: our private pharmaceuticals don't incentivize this), and humans are good about meeting collective hazards once they're immediately urgent. If bacteria become resistant to protein-synthesis targeting, we'll just target lipids.

    All I'm saying, if the Soviet Union could mobilize to defeat the Nazis, we can mobilize to survive climate change. Even if it's very costly.

    As regards a Zombie apocalypse - I think this discussion demonstrates that people would spend far too long pretending we could "fix" the problem before confronting it. For example, we would insist on trying to develop a vaccine or even a cure instead of shooting all infected at the moment of infection and burning all corpses.
    Is this a cheeky pass at Seamus?


    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    The only thing that springs to mind is the Svalbard doomsday seed vault, which is something rather different. Maybe you are thinking about a different country.
    Here is an essay on the Norwegian doctrines of self-sufficiency and food security, notably:

    In 1992, the Government stated that the degree of food self-sufficiency was not a good enough measure of food security (Ministry of Agriculture, 1992). Self-sufficiency does not include the possibility of readjustments in a crisis situation. Readjustments are possible, both at the supply and demand side, through the use of a crisis menu, storage of food and inputs etc. The preferred concept - ‘ability to be self-sufficient’ encompassed possibilities of readjustments. The concept is measured (in energy content) as: Access to food by adjusting human consumption and food production and utilising stocks of food and agricultural inputs in a crisis divided by total food consumption in a crisis.
    While the essay is a little old and doesn't more than list climate change as a potential cause of crisis, I'm certain I've read something a couple years ago detailing the Norwegian government's food security contingency planning with respect to climate crisis scenarios specifically. At any rate, governments absolutely do do contingency planning, such as we see with British rationing plans for the event of a hard Brexit.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 07-29-2019 at 05:02.
    Vitiate Man.

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    The glib replies, the same defeats


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