Author Topic: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "  (Read 21257 times)

RetiredAt63

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #300 on: October 11, 2019, 06:07:35 PM »

When I was looking for an apartment in Ottawa, a lot of high rises were near major arteries - the streets were there first.  Some have courtyards or other ways to be not right on top of traffic, but lots are right beside the streets.

It's a bit of a chicken-egg situation.  This is the current situation but if density gets high enough in the immediate downtown and the surrounding area, people will naturally switch to mass transit, which will reduce the need and usage of those large roads.


What I am seeing is that often those main arteries are where spaces open up for buildings, or buildings are already there.  I get the impression that residential neighbourhoods don't want the high density, because of increased traffic and need of other resources.   And those main arteries will be popular for mass transit, won't they?

@Le Poisson this isn't your area any more, but do you have experience with where municipalities try to infill with towers or medium rise buildings?  My complex has a tall tower along an arterial road, and the rest is a medium rise (5-6 levels) that gets a lot less noise because the tower blocks it.

BicycleB

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #301 on: October 11, 2019, 10:05:36 PM »

Of course, another issue not much discussed is that the sites of cities usually were chosen because there was fertile land there, and as the cities expand horizontally, more fertile land is concreted over to build housing, car parks and so on. This means less food production in a world where food production will be under threat due to climate change and resource depletion, and it also means less places sequestering carbon, as a well-designed agricultural system will do. To a degree using up fertile land is inevitable as populations grow, but the One Big Residential Suburb and One Big Shopping Mall approach make this worse, as they're a very inefficient use of space.

Agreed!!

We would do very well to preserve, enhance, and wisely cultivate the precious soil in and near our cities.


[/size]
Quote from: BicycleB
We humans will find a way.

This is a statement of faith, not fact. It's a statement of faith from the trinity of Science!, Progress! and Growth!



It appears to be, but I meant it as something else: an interruption to the assumption that progress is only possible in linear ways that we already recognize limits of. It's a fact that humans are creative, that new methods continue to be invented, and that there are inventable methods we haven't thought of yet. Also, methods whose details are not known yet can be recognized and described by class, which means we can reasonably conjecture that such classes can be developed.

If we didn't have so many workable technologies already for renewable energy, renewable energy would be an example of such a class. These technologies have improved, sometimes moving from primitive model to commercial tool, just during the time from when I started activist-ing to today. This progress is visible evidence that harnessing renewable energy is a highly achievable class of technology, even while we continue to devise improved details.

In fact, we are pretty clearly capable of harnessing far more power than we currently use and doing it purely from renewable sources. Not based on faith, based on actual projects that are already happening. So it's not that growth is unavoidably limited by the lack of infinite oil, for example. It's a question of whether we find the wisdom and focus to get off the oil train (and coal train) by building better systems.

Just this week, I assisted (in a small way) in possibly causing a utility scale solar project to actually happen. We’ll know more in a year or two about whether this one will come to pass, but the week’s experiences remind me of projects that feel similar in how they happened. Similar to how, in past experiences, I participated in the development of denser more walkable neighborhoods in my city, and created a still-functioning citizen group that encourages better use of precious soil in my neighborhood, and now am working on getting useful climate legislation passed in my country.

It's not faith if it happens in works.

The greatest fear of every well-off person is that someone poor will come and take their wealth, whether directly in the form of armed robbery or indirectly in the form of excessive taxes.

Every?? Ah... jeez, I'm the only counterexample needed for that one. The poor taking my wealth is far far far from my greatest fear. I am far more afraid of letting down the side by not doing as much as I could to build a better world before I pass from the earth.

That is a side issue compared to questions of this thread; just sharing in case the counterexample opens up possibilities.


Science may not have more breakthroughs, and in any case science can't do anything about conservation of mass and energy; fossil fuels once burned are gone forever. Sorry. Progress may not continue, or it won't be what we traditionally consider progress (more shiny stuff leading to our doing less physical work). Growth won't continue forever.


^Now these are key propositions! (Very invigorating discussion, by the way.)

So...true, science can't do anything about conservation of mass and energy. But there the possibilities are immense that we can improve the human condition, and perhaps the overall biosphere, by getting wiser and more efficient about using the mass and energy that are here on earth - conserving our resources much more efficiently, so speak.

I don't think energy is even the tricky part here. We're in the early to middle stages of handling it, but that one's clearly solvable, and we're likely to solve it. The Saudi oil minister who said the age of oil won't end because we run out of oil is going to be right, at least if oil is understood as an energy source. There will still be oil in the ground when we reach the point that energy is not the primary limit of our global society.

There are lots of other resources that are not renewable (like metals, rare earths, even silica that's in forms easy to use for silicon manufacturing) or not quickly renewable, like healthy soil. These will be limits much more than energy, I think. I suspect that the path forward on the ones like metals is much much better recycling, and more resource-efficient manufacturing. People are working on this stuff but we have a longer way to go. Soil is a trickier deal still. And we need to be careful about water, especially careful not to foul it, and not to waste groundwater. But all of these are achievable to a point where a global economy 10 times greater than today is something we can reasonably imagine building over a period of 80 to 100 years. Which is coincidentally about how long a 10x economic increase would take at the growth rates that have been occurring already.

I'm not expecting an economy that uses 10 times as much material, just one which gets 10 times as much value from efficiently re-using material as our current one does from wasting much of what we touch.

Forever is a long time, I won't argue forever. But it's obvious that improvement far beyond our current system is possible. It seems to me that as the shift to conservation gains momentum, the next stage of forever is something that our grandchildren will be able to figure out...if we have the wisdom to piece together a system that sustains them until that point.


In the face of resource constraints and climate change, it is certain that our lives will change...

It is not certain that our lives will change for the worse or better, that is up to us as a society...

I think it's better for us to plan things so we use less but still have decent lives.


I strongly agree with each of these points.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 07:16:31 AM by BicycleB »

Aelias

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #302 on: October 15, 2019, 08:28:29 AM »
I've gotta roll my eyes a bit at describing a few days of power outage as a "climate dystopia", but this article discussing some of the details of living with P&GE's decision to cut power in Northern California to avoid wildfires is an interesting one.  https://slate.com/business/2019/10/california-blackouts-have-paralyzed-my-lake-county-town.html

This is the kind of thing I suspect will become more common in the next few years.   Not this past summer but the summer before, we had rolling brownouts on the hottest days because all the air conditioners were overtaxing the neglected power grid.  They seem to have fixed it for the moment, but when you have aging infrastructure that no on wants to pay to fix it, what else can you expect?

There may be no reasonable way to prepare for the "climate apocalypse", but you can easily prepare for the "climate inconveniences" that will become inevitable.  It's just good sense to have the supplies and know-how to get by for a few days or weeks without basic utilities like power, gas, and water. 


Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #303 on: October 15, 2019, 10:26:44 AM »
I've gotta roll my eyes a bit at describing a few days of power outage as a "climate dystopia", but this article discussing some of the details of living with P&GE's decision to cut power in Northern California to avoid wildfires is an interesting one.  https://slate.com/business/2019/10/california-blackouts-have-paralyzed-my-lake-county-town.html

This is the kind of thing I suspect will become more common in the next few years.   Not this past summer but the summer before, we had rolling brownouts on the hottest days because all the air conditioners were overtaxing the neglected power grid.  They seem to have fixed it for the moment, but when you have aging infrastructure that no on wants to pay to fix it, what else can you expect?

There may be no reasonable way to prepare for the "climate apocalypse", but you can easily prepare for the "climate inconveniences" that will become inevitable.  It's just good sense to have the supplies and know-how to get by for a few days or weeks without basic utilities like power, gas, and water.

Rolling my eyes with you. The author complained bitterly about PG&E, but somehow neglected to mention who would be fitting the $67 billion worth of upgrades required to prevent having to shut off the power in the future. I also had to laugh at the USA Today article that was linked, and I paraphrase (because the MMM site crashed when I tried posting the quote), "Every state except Connecticut has a county whose median household income is less than the national median household income." Like this is the new measure of poverty, rather than a glowing statistic of equality (except for you, Nutmeggers). The humdinger though was him driving an hour and 40 minutes for wifi. (Note to Evan's future self: you can purchase a battery backup for your modem for a rather lesser amount than it costs to drive an hour and 40 minutes (presuming, of course, that the internet was available during the blackout).)

js82

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #304 on: October 15, 2019, 05:18:50 PM »
As an aside, I notice a lot of people online writing that we need fewer people, but that's not true. In the USA, for example, if the richest 10% had the same consumption as the next richest 10% emissions would drop by 15-20%. Consistently it's not necessarily the bulk of humanity, but a lot of richer people who (admittedly through business choices) end up emitting wayyyyyyyyyyy more than poorer people.

You can't talk about resource consumption/conservation without talking about population.  There are 3 macro-level variables that matter: population, (per-capita) consumption, and efficiency.  All of these factors are highly impactful - their effects are multiplicative.

Any government that doesn't support educating its citizenry about their various contraceptive options and making sure those options are available, is blatantly negligent.  Likewise, failure to invest in technology that has the potential to bend efficiency curves over the long term, is also terribly negligent.

This isn't an "or" problem, it's an "and" problem.  Until the world starts treating it as an "and" problem - one that requires everyone to act, and act in multiple different ways - we're not going to make progress.

LonerMatt

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #305 on: October 15, 2019, 06:40:45 PM »
Sure - I just don't see any discussion of how to curtail consumption of the richer classes in 1st world societies. We could make same huge progress there.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #306 on: October 15, 2019, 07:47:14 PM »
Sure - I just don't see any discussion of how to curtail consumption of the richer classes in 1st world societies. We could make same huge progress there.
Consider who is leading the discussion.

LonerMatt

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #307 on: October 15, 2019, 08:52:48 PM »
Hey Kyle, perhaps I'm a bit slow on the uptake (as is at times the case) are you talking about who is leading the discussion here, who is leading it at a government/policy level or who is leading it globally?

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #308 on: October 16, 2019, 12:49:26 AM »
Globally, the discussion of environmental concerns (nobody seems to have resource constraint concerns) is led by the well-off.

The well-off are not interested in discussing ways to reduce the consumption of the well-off. Instead we get stories of changing the consumption of the well-off - electric cars and all that. For example,

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/14/rise-renewables-oil-firms-decades-earlier-think

Notice the tone of the article. Progress is inevitable, governments must do something (though if progress is inevitable, why do governments need to do anything?), science will save us. Nowhere does it suggest that consuming less is part of it. No action is asked of the reader. The Guardian's audience is not the West's working class, or the world's poor, it's the urban middle class. In other words, the well-off, globally-speaking.


The well-off includes most of the members of this forum. There's an old thread around here somewhere where a person asks about emissions due to flying, and the solution, "don't fly" did not go down well at all.


We all have ways to justify doing things which we feel are wrong. This is not to tell anyone else what is right or wrong. But if you feel that causing large emissions is wrong, then you should not do so. Don't do things you think are wrong. If you say, "all men are created equal," perhaps you should free your slaves? If you are a climate scientist insisting there is a climate emergency, perhaps don't fly to that conference telling the world about it?


The climate change denialists, at least, match actions to words.


But again: resource constraints do exist. Whatever fossil fuels do or don't do to our climate, they are finite. I realise this goes against the religion of Progress! and Science!, but there it is. Conservation of mass and energy, and increasing entropy remain laws of nature. Bummer, eh?

Montecarlo

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #309 on: October 16, 2019, 04:32:37 AM »
I prefer being a climate change denier with an extremely small carbon footprint.  Drives my liberal friends crazy.

EvenSteven

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #310 on: October 16, 2019, 05:56:21 AM »
I would like to meekly and humbly suggest that the earth is not a closed system, so whatever the merits of resource conservation are, the law of conservation of mass and energy is not a particularly compelling argument.

BicycleB

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #311 on: October 16, 2019, 09:48:43 AM »

But again: resource constraints do exist. Whatever fossil fuels do or don't do to our climate, they are finite. I realise this goes against the religion of Progress! and Science!, but there it is. Conservation of mass and energy, and increasing entropy remain laws of nature. Bummer, eh?

As long as you keep the model that your discussion partners are fools whose minds are enslaved by a senseless religion of Progress! and Science!, you will misunderstand them as well as disrespect them. It's possible that instead of being who you think, some of the people discussing this with you are intelligent people who disagree with your views on constraints based on events they have personally observed. It's also possible for reasonable people to have come to different viewpionts on these matters.

I think it's even possible for people of different views on these matters to consider and engage with the logic of the opposite side thoughtfully. I suppose we've each been engaging with the other's logic with arguments that we think are compelling, but the other person does not.

Certainly my evidence presented so far is not compelling to you. I don't know what evidence would be persuasive, so I'm going to try to stop advocating for my belief that energy is not the limiting factor on our society's long term economy. It doesn't feel good on my end to be thought of as a mindless religious adherent, but I can't change someone's attribution error. In the meantime, it is obvious to me that your personal conservation efforts are helpful and admirable.

On the human respect front, which I think is important, I also respect that based on the assumptions you have, your conclusions would naturally follow. I also respect the existence the conservation of mass and energy, and that you are a discussion participant of goodwill. You are obviously a superintelligent person who follows his logic with impressive inegrity.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 09:54:13 AM by BicycleB »

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #312 on: October 16, 2019, 05:08:22 PM »
It's not stupidity, it's self-interest.

Greer lays it out nicely.

https://www.ecosophia.net/heating-up-the-political-climate/

This isn't to expect that people should suddenly stop being self-interested. It's simply saying that we must consider that if we want to effect useful change. We must address people's self-interest rather than their moral sense.

scottish

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #313 on: October 16, 2019, 08:02:08 PM »
There's a lot to unpack in that article.

Ironically, he seems to have gotten the little ice age wrong.   The accepted cause is volcanic emissions, not a smallpox plague wiping out indigenous farms in NA.

Despite the conspiracy theories about progressive elites, I agree with much of his thesis about addressing climate change.    People are unwilling to reduce their lifestyle, and people in the developing world are in fact aspiring to our lifestyle.

bacchi

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #314 on: October 17, 2019, 10:06:51 AM »
Despite the conspiracy theories about progressive elites, I agree with much of his thesis about addressing climate change.    People are unwilling to reduce their lifestyle, and people in the developing world are in fact aspiring to our lifestyle.

Solution: Fewer people.

Population control propaganda campaigns have been successful and work quite rapidly too. One of the eastern bloc countries had one in the 60s. It worked so well that they had to reverse course to promote children.


Laws, like a carbon tax, will happen when the well-off starts to feel the pain. We're a decade away from that. Even those who acknowledge that it's happening still aren't in danger. Maybe when Miami and Houston and Sydney have climate refugees?

BicycleB

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #315 on: October 17, 2019, 10:21:19 AM »
Interesting mashup of an article. The intro and body appear to say that climate change activists are hysterical and overly apocalyptic, yet it also says something needs to be done and the rich (who are also the climate change activists) should be the ones to do it, essentially by spending less. Then it gives up on that actually happening and appears to conclude that we can solve the problem if we do the following instead:

Feed seaweed to cows so they fart less
Use hemp instead wood for things like making paper
Plant trees
Use "other appropriate technologies"
Eliminate extravagances like private jets

Closing quote: "That requires, of course, a sharply different attitude toward relations between humanity and nature than the one that's guided environmentalism for the last forty years or so."

I'm a little bit baffled, because nearly everything the author suggests appear to be suggestions that nearly every environmentalist I've ever known or read is in favor of. It kind of feels like the author is new to the environmental party but steeped in anti-wealth grievance, and knows about the super-rich Leo DiCaprios but is unfamiliar with the millions of ordinary climate activists and already-changing-behavior people (I count typical Mustachians among that last group - spending less, using bikes, etc). The vast majority of climate change activists don't fly in private jets.

On the bright side - it adds an article to the Clmate Apocalypse thread that says we shouldn't treat it like an apocalypse!   :)

Just Joe

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #316 on: October 17, 2019, 03:29:52 PM »
The population density of a bunch of sky scrapers makes it a lot easier to build out good public transit and have it run frequently enough that people can get where they're going as fast or faster than in individual cars than if you're trying to provide the same quality of service to a bunch of single family homes.


Thats my dream too - reasonably dense population with fully electrified public transportation - trains, streetcars, busses etc.

Bicycles and ebikes and skateboards and boosted boards and...

My hope would be cities emulating the Dutch. Five story buildings that can be walked up. Lots of outside space to enjoy. Mixed use neighborhoods. Canals or light rail perhaps for moving heavy things in and out of the city.

My fear is cities that emulate the largest Indian or Asian cities where there is simply a massive number of vehicles of all types moving back and forth going - somewhere b/c it sells more cars/trucks/fuel/tires. I have little interest in the driving constantly to get things done model.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 03:53:18 PM by Just Joe »

former player

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #317 on: October 18, 2019, 03:55:01 AM »
Here's an article in Scientific American which should scare anyone expecting to be alive, or to have children or grandchildren expecting to be alive, in 60 years' time -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/

Actually, not too cheery either for any of us hoping to be alive in 30 years' time.

EvenSteven

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #318 on: October 18, 2019, 07:44:04 AM »
Here's an article in Scientific American which should scare anyone expecting to be alive, or to have children or grandchildren expecting to be alive, in 60 years' time -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/

Actually, not too cheery either for any of us hoping to be alive in 30 years' time.

Sounds like a bunch of BS. From only the first part that is readable for me, they quote a UN official, and an organic industry activist, but no actual scientists or published scientific studies. Do they do so in the rest of it?

former player

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #319 on: October 18, 2019, 08:23:08 AM »
Here's an article in Scientific American which should scare anyone expecting to be alive, or to have children or grandchildren expecting to be alive, in 60 years' time -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/

Actually, not too cheery either for any of us hoping to be alive in 30 years' time.

Sounds like a bunch of BS. From only the first part that is readable for me, they quote a UN official, and an organic industry activist, but no actual scientists or published scientific studies. Do they do so in the rest of it?
That seems to be a very reflexive hate on UN officials: the ones I've met have been serious people doing difficult jobs knowing that they need to be able to back up their public statements. Maria Helena Semedo made her statement about soil erosion in 2014 and it hasn't been challenged, as far as I am aware.

If you want to dig into the specifics, as a starting point for a synthesis of the scientific work you might try -

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5199e.pdf

and

http://www.fao.org/3/ca5697en/ca5697en.pdf


Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #320 on: October 18, 2019, 08:31:23 AM »
The global economy seems to function at odds with climate change goals.  Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable in a climate-prioritized framework.

GuitarStv

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #321 on: October 18, 2019, 08:33:05 AM »
The global economy seems to function at odds with climate change goals.  Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable in a climate-prioritized framework.

Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable.  Period.

Kris

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #322 on: October 18, 2019, 08:46:47 AM »
The global economy seems to function at odds with climate change goals.  Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable in a climate-prioritized framework.

Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable.  Period.

Right? Which I realized sometime in high school or early college. I definitely remember it was during the Reagan years.

It's odd to me that this isn't obvious to most thinking adults.

Malkynn

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #323 on: October 18, 2019, 08:52:37 AM »
The global economy seems to function at odds with climate change goals.  Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable in a climate-prioritized framework.

Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable.  Period.

Right? Which I realized sometime in high school or early college. I definitely remember it was during the Reagan years.

It's odd to me that this isn't obvious to most thinking adults.

I think it is, I just think that it's human nature to tune out uncomfortable information.

Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #324 on: October 18, 2019, 08:59:48 AM »
The global economy seems to function at odds with climate change goals.  Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable in a climate-prioritized framework.

Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable.  Period.

Population growth is not sustainable, I will agree with you there (though I don't think anybody has a crystal ball that can peg the moment of maximum population). But consumption growth shouldn't be an inherently bad concept, in my opinion, as long as the consumption aligns with our values. Look at all of the extremely wealthy people in this world (including MMM) who have pledged to spend down their fortune on charitable causes: that is consumption. And as long as that consumption makes life easier for us overall, then we have economic growth.

Davnasty

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #325 on: October 18, 2019, 09:08:45 AM »
The global economy seems to function at odds with climate change goals.  Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable in a climate-prioritized framework.

Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable.  Period.

Population growth is not sustainable, I will agree with you there (though I don't think anybody has a crystal ball that can peg the moment of maximum population). But consumption growth shouldn't be an inherently bad concept, in my opinion, as long as the consumption aligns with our values. Look at all of the extremely wealthy people in this world (including MMM) who have pledged to spend down their fortune on charitable causes: that is consumption. And as long as that consumption makes life easier for us overall, then we have economic growth.

In what way is charitable giving consumption?

I think they meant material consumption more specifically if that changes anything. If you're referring to the consumption of services, then there may be some truth in that.

EvenSteven

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #326 on: October 18, 2019, 09:09:39 AM »
Here's an article in Scientific American which should scare anyone expecting to be alive, or to have children or grandchildren expecting to be alive, in 60 years' time -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/

Actually, not too cheery either for any of us hoping to be alive in 30 years' time.

Sounds like a bunch of BS. From only the first part that is readable for me, they quote a UN official, and an organic industry activist, but no actual scientists or published scientific studies. Do they do so in the rest of it?
That seems to be a very reflexive hate on UN officials: the ones I've met have been serious people doing difficult jobs knowing that they need to be able to back up their public statements. Maria Helena Semedo made her statement about soil erosion in 2014 and it hasn't been challenged, as far as I am aware.

If you want to dig into the specifics, as a starting point for a synthesis of the scientific work you might try -

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5199e.pdf

and

http://www.fao.org/3/ca5697en/ca5697en.pdf

It was actually a reflexive hate on for Scientific American, not the UN. Calling an economist and an organic industry activist "not a scientist" isn't really an insult.

I'm 59 pages into the first link (then skipped ahead and read the section: Global soil status, processes and trends), with about 450 left to go. So far no assertions or supporting data that we will be out of soil and farming will end in 2074. Can you direct me a little?

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #327 on: October 18, 2019, 09:11:46 AM »
The difference is in trying to take responsibility for it.  Increasing population and consumption works in the short term, and regionally.  Companies can move or disappear as the math(or environment) starts to break down in a given area.  But to try to approach this globally is a completely different and unprecedented animal.  And our monetary system is a part of that.  Inflationary economies need constant growth!

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #328 on: October 18, 2019, 09:16:57 AM »
Here's an article in Scientific American which should scare anyone expecting to be alive, or to have children or grandchildren expecting to be alive, in 60 years' time -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/

Actually, not too cheery either for any of us hoping to be alive in 30 years' time.

Sounds like a bunch of BS. From only the first part that is readable for me, they quote a UN official, and an organic industry activist, but no actual scientists or published scientific studies. Do they do so in the rest of it?
That seems to be a very reflexive hate on UN officials: the ones I've met have been serious people doing difficult jobs knowing that they need to be able to back up their public statements. Maria Helena Semedo made her statement about soil erosion in 2014 and it hasn't been challenged, as far as I am aware.

If you want to dig into the specifics, as a starting point for a synthesis of the scientific work you might try -

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5199e.pdf

and

http://www.fao.org/3/ca5697en/ca5697en.pdf

It was actually a reflexive hate on for Scientific American, not the UN. Calling an economist and an organic industry activist "not a scientist" isn't really an insult.

I'm 59 pages into the first link (then skipped ahead and read the section: Global soil status, processes and trends), with about 450 left to go. So far no assertions or supporting data that we will be out of soil and farming will end in 2074. Can you direct me a little?
Section 7.2.1

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #329 on: October 18, 2019, 09:32:54 AM »
In what way is charitable giving consumption?

I think they meant material consumption more specifically if that changes anything. If you're referring to the consumption of services, then there may be some truth in that.

I'll quote Wikipedia here: "Consumption, defined as spending for acquisition of utility...." Charity is spent, most of us hope, in the acquisition of utility.

Material consumption does not necessarily need to be an altogether bad thing. When we purchase a car that replaces a 15 mpg jalopy with a 100 mpg equivalent, I think most of us can agree that this consumption is a net positive for the world. When someone tears down an old, very inefficient home and rebuilds with a new, very efficient one, again, the consumption is probably a positive.

In my opinion, we should heavily tax consumption when it doesn't align with our values. We do this with things like cigarettes and excess electricity (when electric companies have tiered usage rates). The currently missing link (again, in my opinion) is the election of politicians whose values align with our own. I can only hope that the values of the populace will hit a critical mass that aligns with what I feel are the important values of our time.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #330 on: October 18, 2019, 09:41:26 AM »
In what way is charitable giving consumption?

I think they meant material consumption more specifically if that changes anything. If you're referring to the consumption of services, then there may be some truth in that.

I'll quote Wikipedia here: "Consumption, defined as spending for acquisition of utility...." Charity is spent, most of us hope, in the acquisition of utility.

So spending done by charities is consumption, the act of giving to charities is not.

Quote
Material consumption does not necessarily need to be an altogether bad thing. When we purchase a car that replaces a 15 mpg jalopy with a 100 mpg equivalent, I think most of us can agree that this consumption is a net positive for the world. When someone tears down an old, very inefficient home and rebuilds with a new, very efficient one, again, the consumption is probably a positive.

In my opinion, we should heavily tax consumption when it doesn't align with our values. We do this with things like cigarettes and excess electricity (when electric companies have tiered usage rates). The currently missing link (again, in my opinion) is the election of politicians whose values align with our own. I can only hope that the values of the populace will hit a critical mass that aligns with what I feel are the important values of our time.

I don't think the point being made is that all consumption is bad, it's that our economic model is based on ever increasing consumption levels which is unsustainable. The only way I can maybe see this working out indefinitely is if most of that consumption becomes consumption of services rather than material goods.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #331 on: October 18, 2019, 09:42:49 AM »
Here's an article in Scientific American which should scare anyone expecting to be alive, or to have children or grandchildren expecting to be alive, in 60 years' time -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/

Actually, not too cheery either for any of us hoping to be alive in 30 years' time.

Sounds like a bunch of BS. From only the first part that is readable for me, they quote a UN official, and an organic industry activist, but no actual scientists or published scientific studies. Do they do so in the rest of it?
That seems to be a very reflexive hate on UN officials: the ones I've met have been serious people doing difficult jobs knowing that they need to be able to back up their public statements. Maria Helena Semedo made her statement about soil erosion in 2014 and it hasn't been challenged, as far as I am aware.

If you want to dig into the specifics, as a starting point for a synthesis of the scientific work you might try -

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5199e.pdf

and

http://www.fao.org/3/ca5697en/ca5697en.pdf

It was actually a reflexive hate on for Scientific American, not the UN. Calling an economist and an organic industry activist "not a scientist" isn't really an insult.

I'm 59 pages into the first link (then skipped ahead and read the section: Global soil status, processes and trends), with about 450 left to go. So far no assertions or supporting data that we will be out of soil and farming will end in 2074. Can you direct me a little?
Section 7.2.1

The projections in this section are -0.3% crop yield per year out to 2050, for a total reduction of 10%. Is that what the article was referring to as the end of farming?

And what do we see when we look at yields in the years since this has been published? Do we actually see a reduction of 0.3% yield per year? It's hard to find a single world wide number, but yield in the US has been on a steady upward trend.

I'm not saying that soils aren't important, because they are very important. I agree that erosion is a problem and that climate change and agriculture contribute to it. But to assert that farming will end in 60 years seems to have no supporting evidence, and so hyperbolic that I'll dismiss it out of hand until I see some data for it other than an assertion in some pop-sci magazine.

Further, to suggest that a solution for erosion in agriculture is to switch to a farming system (organic) that needs more acreage, burns more diesel, and uses more tillage, is so counter intuitive that I would also need to see a lot of data to accept.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #332 on: October 18, 2019, 10:09:22 AM »
So spending done by charities is consumption, the act of giving to charities is not.

Let me get this straight. You are interested in the eradication of malaria, so you donate your fortune to an anti-malaria campaign. They purchase gobs of mosquito nets and distribute them to Sub-Saharan Africans. Did you or did you not acquire utility out of that transaction (your dream of a malaria-free world, or at least a few more healthy people)? Would that utility have been acquired without your transaction?

Or are you suggesting that the use of a middleman negates consumption? Take the general contractor who's working on your house, who hires a subcontractor to install a toilet for you (to hop on the theme of a different thread). Surely that's not consumption, because ?

former player

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #333 on: October 18, 2019, 10:12:09 AM »
[…]

The projections in this section are -0.3% crop yield per year out to 2050, for a total reduction of 10%. Is that what the article was referring to as the end of farming?

And what do we see when we look at yields in the years since this has been published? Do we actually see a reduction of 0.3% yield per year? It's hard to find a single world wide number, but yield in the US has been on a steady upward trend.

I'm not saying that soils aren't important, because they are very important. I agree that erosion is a problem and that climate change and agriculture contribute to it. But to assert that farming will end in 60 years seems to have no supporting evidence, and so hyperbolic that I'll dismiss it out of hand until I see some data for it other than an assertion in some pop-sci magazine.

Further, to suggest that a solution for erosion in agriculture is to switch to a farming system (organic) that needs more acreage, burns more diesel, and uses more tillage, is so counter intuitive that I would also need to see a lot of data to accept.
I'm supposing that extrapolation of existing trends accumulating to 2080, set against projected population increases, would get to the gaps between production and demand stated.  But as the report makes clear, there are a lot of unknowns because the science is still pretty patchy on the world-wide scale.

I agree with you on organics: sadly the definition of "organic" seems to have been developed from a notional past state of pastoral bliss rather than being based on science, hasn't changed since first being developed, and has developed into a niche fetish that is getting in the way of developing widespread practices of sustainable agricultural development.

Agricultural yields in developed countries are of course highly reliant on fossil fuels both for fertilisers and for equipment, which is another problem.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 10:19:56 AM by former player »

GuitarStv

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #334 on: October 18, 2019, 10:18:51 AM »
So spending done by charities is consumption, the act of giving to charities is not.

Let me get this straight. You are interested in the eradication of malaria, so you donate your fortune to an anti-malaria campaign. They purchase gobs of mosquito nets and distribute them to Sub-Saharan Africans. Did you or did you not acquire utility out of that transaction (your dream of a malaria-free world, or at least a few more healthy people)? Would that utility have been acquired without your transaction?

Or are you suggesting that the use of a middleman negates consumption? Take the general contractor who's working on your house, who hires a subcontractor to install a toilet for you (to hop on the theme of a different thread). Surely that's not consumption, because ?


Charity is not like hiring a contractor.  When you hire a contractor, you decide upon an outcome (your house extension will be built and will be 50' by 60' when completed).  There's a hard and measurable outcome that is guaranteed by the contractor.  If the contractor doesn't do that work, you can sue him.

When you give money to a charity to 'fight malaria' there is no guaranteed outcome.  You're handing them money and hoping that something happens.  If malaria becomes worse afterwards, you have no legal recourse to sue them.

The former is consumption because you are personally enriched from the service.  The latter is not consumption because you give money with no expectation of personal enrichment (which is of course, the definition of charity).

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #335 on: October 18, 2019, 10:28:36 AM »
The global economy seems to function at odds with climate change goals.  Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable in a climate-prioritized framework.

Economic growth from consumption and population growth are not sustainable.  Period.

Right? Which I realized sometime in high school or early college. I definitely remember it was during the Reagan years.

It's odd to me that this isn't obvious to most thinking adults.


I suspect that I am a thinking adult. Depending on the definition of "consumption", it's not obvious to me. I may be odd, but at least consider the thought process.

If we are as inefficient in future as today, clearly continued consumption at present rates will someday exhaust our non-renewable resources. Growth of consumption through any method (population or mere per capita spending growth) will reach that exhaustion point even faster. So yes in that case economic growth through consumption is obviously unsustainable. So is continuing on exactly as we are. Can't do it.

But why should we remain inefficient? There's no reason to assume our current society is the most efficient of all possible societies. If consumption is defined as "using or receiving economic value", then we can increase the value without increasing the use of resources. That's what I mean by increasing efficiency. A simple example would be to produce things less wastefully. Another example would be to provide valuable services that prevent waste of non-renewable materials. In the long term, whether or not we are able to sustain increased economic value depends on whether we learn to create economic value based on reuse of resources, or use of renewable resources. We can do that. We don't know yet how much value we can create in this all-renewable, all-reuse economy, this sustainable economy, but it's possible that the ceiling is higher than today's total economy, which implies that we may be able to grow sustainably with increasing consumption. Obviously in that case, increasing population may be possible too. So the primary limit isn't population, it's failure to renew renewables and re-use nonrenewables. We haven't made the pivot from extraction economy to sustainable economy yet, but we can.

The soil issue is a good example. The UN report seems to say soil productivity will decline with current practices but can sustainably increase with better practices. It doesn't say we are unable to increase productivity. It says we must make changes and act wisely in order to increase productivity.

The IPCC reports on climate take similar positions. They don't say we're doomed, or that we must accept the end of economic growth. They say that climate-optimized paths are better than ones that are not climate optimized, partly because climate-optimized is safer and produces less human suffering, but also because paths that are not climate optimized eventually produce conditions that weaken the global economy broadly. The IPCC's analyses imply that the long term path of maximum economic growth isn't outside of the set of "climate optimized" set of paths; it's within the set of "climate optimized" paths.

Implicit in the paragraph above is that if we pursue climate heating prevention and mitigation ASAP, we preserve the ability to have considerable economic growth.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 11:32:47 AM by BicycleB »

Davnasty

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #336 on: October 18, 2019, 10:44:57 AM »
So spending done by charities is consumption, the act of giving to charities is not.

Let me get this straight. You are interested in the eradication of malaria, so you donate your fortune to an anti-malaria campaign. They purchase gobs of mosquito nets and distribute them to Sub-Saharan Africans. Did you or did you not acquire utility out of that transaction (your dream of a malaria-free world, or at least a few more healthy people)? Would that utility have been acquired without your transaction?

Or are you suggesting that the use of a middleman negates consumption? Take the general contractor who's working on your house, who hires a subcontractor to install a toilet for you (to hop on the theme of a different thread). Surely that's not consumption, because ?

Let's take a step back. I think other posters were using the literal definition of consumption-the using up of a resource, not the economic definition. Currently our economic growth is dependent on literal consumption.

I should have said that as soon as you quoted the economic definition of consumption.

Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #337 on: October 18, 2019, 11:16:03 AM »
So spending done by charities is consumption, the act of giving to charities is not.

Let me get this straight. You are interested in the eradication of malaria, so you donate your fortune to an anti-malaria campaign. They purchase gobs of mosquito nets and distribute them to Sub-Saharan Africans. Did you or did you not acquire utility out of that transaction (your dream of a malaria-free world, or at least a few more healthy people)? Would that utility have been acquired without your transaction?

Or are you suggesting that the use of a middleman negates consumption? Take the general contractor who's working on your house, who hires a subcontractor to install a toilet for you (to hop on the theme of a different thread). Surely that's not consumption, because ?


Charity is not like hiring a contractor.  When you hire a contractor, you decide upon an outcome (your house extension will be built and will be 50' by 60' when completed).  There's a hard and measurable outcome that is guaranteed by the contractor.  If the contractor doesn't do that work, you can sue him.

When you give money to a charity to 'fight malaria' there is no guaranteed outcome.  You're handing them money and hoping that something happens.  If malaria becomes worse afterwards, you have no legal recourse to sue them.

The former is consumption because you are personally enriched from the service.  The latter is not consumption because you give money with no expectation of personal enrichment (which is of course, the definition of charity).

If I give $20 to the homeless person on the side of the road, I've increased consumption, because presumably that homeless person will spend that money on something. It doesn't matter whether the personal benefit to me is tangible or ethereal (in the sense that I feel good about helping somebody else), just as it doesn't matter whether I've personally consumed the resources that the money was spent on (if I buy a thousand hamburgers and give them away on the street, is this not consumption?).

I'd argue that just about every monetary transaction goes toward consumption (including taxes but excluding theft). Some transactions provide much more economic utility than others, but we as Mustachians know that already. Additionally, some transactions provide us personally with more utility, whereas others are community-oriented (such as charity).

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #338 on: October 18, 2019, 11:31:01 AM »
So then, a good step in the right direction would be to sell products and services that are whole: that is, they outline the entire impact of the product from raw materials to returning to raw materials, so that the entire impact of the product can be assessed and priced.  I don't see how we can even attempt to correct climate change without addressing consumption, whether economic consumption or environmental consumption.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #339 on: October 18, 2019, 11:35:05 AM »
So spending done by charities is consumption, the act of giving to charities is not.

Let me get this straight. You are interested in the eradication of malaria, so you donate your fortune to an anti-malaria campaign. They purchase gobs of mosquito nets and distribute them to Sub-Saharan Africans. Did you or did you not acquire utility out of that transaction (your dream of a malaria-free world, or at least a few more healthy people)? Would that utility have been acquired without your transaction?

Or are you suggesting that the use of a middleman negates consumption? Take the general contractor who's working on your house, who hires a subcontractor to install a toilet for you (to hop on the theme of a different thread). Surely that's not consumption, because ?


Charity is not like hiring a contractor.  When you hire a contractor, you decide upon an outcome (your house extension will be built and will be 50' by 60' when completed).  There's a hard and measurable outcome that is guaranteed by the contractor.  If the contractor doesn't do that work, you can sue him.

When you give money to a charity to 'fight malaria' there is no guaranteed outcome.  You're handing them money and hoping that something happens.  If malaria becomes worse afterwards, you have no legal recourse to sue them.

The former is consumption because you are personally enriched from the service.  The latter is not consumption because you give money with no expectation of personal enrichment (which is of course, the definition of charity).

If I give $20 to the homeless person on the side of the road, I've increased consumption, because presumably that homeless person will spend that money on something. It doesn't matter whether the personal benefit to me is tangible or ethereal (in the sense that I feel good about helping somebody else), just as it doesn't matter whether I've personally consumed the resources that the money was spent on (if I buy a thousand hamburgers and give them away on the street, is this not consumption?).

Well now I'm confused as to what you're trying to say again.

The original point was that economic stability dependent on ever growing consumption(literal) is not sustainable. Whether that consumption is for a noble cause or is wasteful is beside the point.

The middleman question and who the consumer is when money is given to charity is an interesting thought exercise but it really doesn't matter for the discussion at hand. By the economic definition someone who gives money to charity and receives happiness in return is a consumer, I think you're right about that, but then again so is someone who buys land to create a nature preserve. Obviously that's not the type of consumption that was being discussed.

Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #340 on: October 18, 2019, 12:06:51 PM »
Well now I'm confused as to what you're trying to say again.

The original point was that economic stability dependent on ever growing consumption(literal) is not sustainable. Whether that consumption is for a noble cause or is wasteful is beside the point.

The middleman question and who the consumer is when money is given to charity is an interesting thought exercise but it really doesn't matter for the discussion at hand. By the economic definition someone who gives money to charity and receives happiness in return is a consumer, I think you're right about that, but then again so is someone who buys land to create a nature preserve. Obviously that's not the type of consumption that was being discussed.

I think perhaps we may be thinking about two different things when discussing consumption. Perhaps you're using the term 'consumption growth' in the same sense that I would use the term 'resource extraction growth'. I agree that resource extraction rates have a finite limit (as do pollution limits).

As a side note: I don't believe that economic stability requires consumption growth (at least in real terms); modern Japan might make a good example here where consumption growth has essentially stalled for decades. Some people may desire consumption growth for personal enrichment (including those who want to see the price of equities increase at higher rates), but as far as I'm aware it is in no way a requirement for economic stability.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #341 on: October 18, 2019, 12:41:31 PM »
Well now I'm confused as to what you're trying to say again.

The original point was that economic stability dependent on ever growing consumption(literal) is not sustainable. Whether that consumption is for a noble cause or is wasteful is beside the point.

The middleman question and who the consumer is when money is given to charity is an interesting thought exercise but it really doesn't matter for the discussion at hand. By the economic definition someone who gives money to charity and receives happiness in return is a consumer, I think you're right about that, but then again so is someone who buys land to create a nature preserve. Obviously that's not the type of consumption that was being discussed.

I think perhaps we may be thinking about two different things when discussing consumption. Perhaps you're using the term 'consumption growth' in the same sense that I would use the term 'resource extraction growth'. I agree that resource extraction rates have a finite limit (as do pollution limits).

As a side note: I don't believe that economic stability requires consumption growth (at least in real terms); modern Japan might make a good example here where consumption growth has essentially stalled for decades. Some people may desire consumption growth for personal enrichment (including those who want to see the price of equities increase at higher rates), but as far as I'm aware it is in no way a requirement for economic stability.

Almost. I think consumption is a bit more broad than extraction because it includes things like environmental damage. Pollution consumes the environment without extracting it. Also extraction doesn't necessarily mean that the resource is used up (even though they usually go hand in hand).

Quote
As a side note: I don't believe that economic stability requires consumption growth (at least in real terms); modern Japan might make a good example here where consumption growth has essentially stalled for decades. Some people may desire consumption growth for personal enrichment (including those who want to see the price of equities increase at higher rates), but as far as I'm aware it is in no way a requirement for economic stability.

I agree that stability does not require consumption growth, however I do believe our current economic system is highly dependent on it.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #342 on: October 18, 2019, 01:45:24 PM »
Well this thread took a turn into the esoteric.

I don’t get the $20-to-a-bum analogy at all.  You have $20; presumably that’s going to be used for something, whether it’s to buy yourself a shrub at the local nursery or if it pays for some homeless person to buy a couple of cheeseburgers.  If you invest it, that money will still be used by a corporation or a government to do something.
Bottom line - the spending of capital (“consumption”) isn’t equal regardless of what’s purchased.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #343 on: October 19, 2019, 12:02:42 AM »
So then, a good step in the right direction would be to sell products and services that are whole: that is, they outline the entire impact of the product from raw materials to returning to raw materials, so that the entire impact of the product can be assessed and priced.  I don't see how we can even attempt to correct climate change without addressing consumption, whether economic consumption or environmental consumption.
Well, we have rather a lot of nutrition information on food packaging and yet we have more overweight and obese people than ever, so I'm not sure that yet more information is the answer for consumers.

Following deregulation and free trade, we in the West have found our manufacturing industry disappear and go to China, with lower wages and even lower workplace safety and environmental regulation. Why? Because the stuff ends up cheaper.

Thus, information is not a very strong changer of market behaviour, but price is. So if you're looking for market solutions, then changing the price is most effective. Now, obviously there are all kinds of environmental impacts, but fossil fuel consumption is a pretty good proxy for most of them. You can't really mine, refine and enrich uranium without using fossil fuels, for example. Thus, changing the price of fossil fuels would be a strong market signal encouraging changes in consumption.

A sudden change would simply cause recessions, since many people have no options. Fossil fuels differ from tobacco and alcohol - undesireable consumption - in that while people can do entirely without tobacco and alcohol, they can't do without some form of lighting, heating/cooling and transport, and the various goods and services requiring energy inputs. In this respect, we would need a carbon tax to act like a sugar or junk food tax - encouraging people to choose something else instead.

But we must have the something else actually available. I can't shift from car to train if there are no trains running. So we'd have to introduce the tax at a low, essentially nominal level, and use the revenue to build alternatives, and gradually increase the price.

The issues are whether the revenue would actually be used for that, and whether the rate would be increased as planned, kept the same, decreased or whatever - as a political football like other forms of tax are. As well, many punitive taxes government become addicted to, and since they use the punitive tax to reduce other taxes, become reluctant to actually try to abolish the thing they're supposedly punishing. See for example alcohol, tobacco and gambling.

Of course, any consumption tax is inherently regressive, in that the poor have more of their spending as non-discretionary. Thinking of here in Australia, household on $150,000 can choose whether or not to take that overseas flight, but a household on $20,000 can't choose whether to travel to that part-time minimum wage job.

One solution to this could be a UBI of carbon. Let's say for example a country has 10t of emissions per person, everyone could be issued 10,000 carbons (equivalent to a kg of carbon dioxide). No company would be permitted to sell, import or export fossil fuels without the requisite number of carbon permits accompanying the stuff. People could sell their carbon vouchers, or hold onto them. Rio Tinto's CEO would get his 10,000 vouchers, but so would Jenny the single mum in the crappy part of town, and he'd have to buy them from her somehow if he wanted his company to keep being able to get oil out of the ground.

If we really wanted to address pollution, then rather than calculating the CO2 equivalent emissions, we'd just go by the weight of actual carbon in the fossil fuel. Suddenly coal would be much, much less attractive than natural gas.

In either case we could then reduce the amount of carbon vouchers each year, logically we would do this in a way that kept the price about the same. If for example they traded at $1 each with 10,000 per person, after 5 years we might find so much other stuff put in that people didn't need as many carbon vouchers, they were now trading at $0.50 - well, okay, drop it to 9,000 and see what happens. I'd err on the side of issuing too many to begin with, just to minimise the chances of it all causing a recession.

Tradeable carbon vouchers as a UBI would be a less regressive carbon tax than a simple 10% or whatever, and simply attaching it to fossil fuels would let the pricing effects just flow through naturally to the rest of the economy.

The vouchers would never decline to zero, because there are non-burning uses of fossil fuels such as plastics and other chemicals, and there are some areas where there are no real substitutes, like coking coal for steel manufacture. But it's reasonable to expect they could drop 90% in 50 years.

Obviously, things like land-clearing and other poor agricultural practices would still cause emissions, but those are harder to quantify, and currently are connected to fossil fuel use anyway - land-clearing isn't being done by guys with shovels and axes, after all, and taxing natural gas would flow on to nitrate fertiliser costs, and so on. That a solution is not a complete solution doesn't mean it's useless or shouldn't be tried. Start with something, see how you go.

I'm not holding my breath, though. A very limited carbon trading scheme was brought in a decade ago in Australia and quickly abolished. Governments, especially federal governments, tend to be followers rather than leaders. We need our own behaviour to be something governments can follow. For a start, climate scientists need to stop flying to international climate change conferences. "But it's urgent!" If it's so urgent, we don't need to know the details precisely, we just need to start causing less emissions right now. Teleconference or write a letter.

But I'm not waiting for them. Because I work from home, my only necessary travel is taking the kids to school (3.5km) and going to the shops (1-4km); my wife works a place she can take the train to. I've used my car once this week, less than 10km total. We pay an extra 5.5c/kWh for wind-generated electricity, but use less than we did before so the net cost is the same. And we buy whatever's seasonal at the grocery stores - the cheaper stuff tends to be whatever's in season somewhere in the state, minimising the food miles.

And so on. We've taken some years to arrange our lives so we can do this. It's not a life of miserable deprivation any more than the frugality necessary for FIRE is. You begin by reducing outright wastefulness. Our society is a wasteful industrial society - this means that we produce so much stuff we actually waste it. If you don't believe me, visit a landfill some day, as well as all the useful materials tossed away, there is working machinery, intact clothing and furniture tossed away, all of which had an energy cost, and thus a carbon cost.

Anyone pursuing FIRE understands it's not good to be wasteful. I find it a bit strange that an environmental conscience isn't more common in this community. But then, I'm a camo green at heart.

scottish

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #344 on: October 19, 2019, 11:41:23 AM »
Of course, any consumption tax is inherently regressive, in that the poor have more of their spending as non-discretionary. Thinking of here in Australia, household on $150,000 can choose whether or not to take that overseas flight, but a household on $20,000 can't choose whether to travel to that part-time minimum wage job.

In Canada we have a consumption tax called the goods and services tax.   In order to (try to) keep it from being regressive, it doesn't apply to certain essentials like food.

LonerMatt

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Montecarlo

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #346 on: October 19, 2019, 01:50:22 PM »
people can do entirely without tobacco and alcohol,


How dare you!

BicycleB

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #347 on: October 19, 2019, 02:14:51 PM »
Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks a capitalist economy can grow while using less resources. Turns out somebody just wrote a book about it.

https://marker.medium.com/capitalism-is-helping-us-use-less-stuff-no-really-45cfa27b12b8

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #348 on: October 19, 2019, 02:27:33 PM »
I like the idea of a carbon UBI/ration.

bacchi

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #349 on: October 19, 2019, 04:08:18 PM »
I like the idea of a carbon UBI/ration.

It sounds difficult to administer.

I can also see a situation where someone sells their excess credits and then doesn't have enough for fuel in the winter. Or are they only usable by companies?

A straight up tax with a low-income tax credit seems much easier. Or much stricter standards for cars and trucks and machinery.