Author Topic: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "  (Read 21164 times)

Davnasty

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #250 on: October 08, 2019, 12:46:55 PM »
I'd be interested to know where the rest of the money would have gone but it certainly sounds like they could have directed more of it towards alternative transportation. I don't know enough to say whether Mr. Picard's position is a reasonable one but even if 100% of revenue went toward alternative transportation, would that have stopped the protests?

From what I've read, it is being used to reduce the budget deficit. This is an indirect return of the money to the people, in the form of reducing future taxes. (Of course, it might all be a shell game, similar to lottery revenues going to the schools but tax revenues to the schools decreasing by similar amounts.)

That seems like a reasonable use of the money but for the sake of public opinion it probably would have been better to allocate a larger portion to alternative transportation or clean energy. And yes, it may just be a shell game anyway. Or perhaps compromise was needed to get the tax through at all? So many details like this get left out of the main stream conversation. For example, I wasn't even aware that the gas tax passed before Macron was elected until I read that article. Haven't I heard it referred to as "Macron's gas tax"?

Looking at the bigger picture I think it's going to be impossible to pass serious environmental reform without impacting the price of common goods and in turn increasing the price of common goods is going to pinch lower income folks the worst. So regardless of whether Mr. Picard specifically is a hypocrite, I think the political left who typically want to protect both the environment and the lower class is going to need to come to terms with the fact that compromise will be necessary. In my ideal world, most of the sacrifice would be born by the wealthy, especially considering they tend to be the worst polluters, but it becomes quite difficult to pick and choose who pays when using the blunt tools of tax and regulation, especially when the wealthy have outsized say in the decisions.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 12:49:59 PM by Dabnasty »

GuitarStv

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #251 on: October 08, 2019, 12:58:04 PM »
Public transit and walking are really not an option at all due to the time that you would lose each day.  Just in Canada, we spend fifteen and a half billion dollars a year on road work - more twice as much as every other type of transportation combined http://thecostofsprawl.com/report/the-costs-of-roads-and-highways.pdf.  Our public transit sucks because we aren't willing to spend the money to both build the transit that is necessary . . . and to pay to operate it.  This is a failure of the officials we have elected to government.

My only quibble: How is this a failure of the elected officials? Did they promise to divert some of the road infrastructure budget toward making better bike lanes and bus routes? Is there an effective electoral voice pushing for these options?

In my opinion, the only solution is to make it prohibitively expensive to drive 10,000 miles per year (the miles I would drive in a year commuting by car, and I'm guessing not too far from the average annual commuting mileage in the U.S.). If we doubled the price of gas through taxation, and it caused people to live an average of only 10 miles from work instead of 20, then the net overall cost would be essentially zero while halving carbon emissions (and reducing wear and tear on roadways). Once driving becomes prohibitively expensive (so that alternative transport or moving closer to work is seen as being less costly than driving), only then will a sizeable amount of people begin demanding legitimate alternatives to driving.

It's very much a chicken and egg thing.  Without good alternatives, people will continue driving.  But while people continue driving, it's hard to drum up support for good alternatives.  That's where the failure of leadership comes in.  The job and responsibility of elected officials is to lead the people of a country to make good decisions for the future.

The Conservatives in Ontario drafted legislation making it a legal requirement that all gas stations post anti-carbon tax stickers (if they don't there's a daily fine of 150$) on their gas pumps . . . and then spent taxpayer money printing up these stickers.  The taxes collected from the program were designed to go directly to the provinces (for use on things like public transportation), but our provincial government rejected this money.  So the federal government just gave the tax proceeds back to each citizen of Ontario as a rebate.

Best part about the stickers is, the Conservatives sourced the cheapest stickers possible . . . which aren't designed for exterior use.  So they're all peeling off.  Effectively, they spent tax payer money to fight a government program designed to reduce carbon emissions, and did it in an ineffectual and wasteful manner (which also triggered several lawsuits they have had to fight).

Failure of leadership.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 01:03:47 PM by GuitarStv »

Davnasty

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #252 on: October 08, 2019, 01:18:02 PM »
The Conservatives in Ontario drafted legislation making it a legal requirement that all gas stations post anti-carbon tax stickers (if they don't there's a daily fine of 150$) on their gas pumps . . .

So the government can require businesses to advertise their political propaganda?

Quote
(which also triggered several lawsuits they have had to fight).

As it should, but still... wtf?

Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #253 on: October 08, 2019, 01:21:51 PM »
I'd be interested to know where the rest of the money would have gone but it certainly sounds like they could have directed more of it towards alternative transportation. I don't know enough to say whether Mr. Picard's position is a reasonable one but even if 100% of revenue went toward alternative transportation, would that have stopped the protests?

From what I've read, it is being used to reduce the budget deficit. This is an indirect return of the money to the people, in the form of reducing future taxes. (Of course, it might all be a shell game, similar to lottery revenues going to the schools but tax revenues to the schools decreasing by similar amounts.)

That seems like a reasonable use of the money but for the sake of public opinion it probably would have been better to allocate a larger portion to alternative transportation or clean energy. And yes, it may just be a shell game anyway. Or perhaps compromise was needed to get the tax through at all? So many details like this get left out of the main stream conversation. For example, I wasn't even aware that the gas tax passed before Macron was elected until I read that article. Haven't I heard it referred to as "Macron's gas tax"?

Looking at the bigger picture I think it's going to be impossible to pass serious environmental reform without impacting the price of common goods and in turn increasing the price of common goods is going to pinch lower income folks the worst. So regardless of whether Mr. Picard specifically is a hypocrite, I think the political left who typically want to protect both the environment and the lower class is going to need to come to terms with the fact that compromise will be necessary. In my ideal world, most of the sacrifice would be born by the wealthy, especially considering they tend to be the worst polluters, but it becomes quite difficult to pick and choose who pays when using the blunt tools of tax and regulation, especially when the wealthy have outsized say in the decisions.

I agree with the bolded, though I don't think this is all that difficult to do with taxation (politics aside). The difficult part is changing people's perceptions of car culture. To use an example, take my city. Shittiest fucking traffic (at least relative to other places I've lived). Great bus system. Guess who uses that bus system? Mostly the dirt poor, and a few people like myself who don't particularly like driving and would much rather relax and read a book (and save a few bucks). I am convinced that a whole lot of people could use the bus regularly to save a significant portion of their income, but the thought does not even enter into their minds. What would happen if gas became significantly more expensive? I think bus ridership would increase to the point where it would no longer look like a deviant activity, at which time there could be a massive transfer in mode of transportation.

If we could decrease the average driving distance simply by half (through increases in alternative transportation and choices of living location and activities, both brought about by a significant carbon tax), I am convinced that most people would be significantly happier and wealthier (not to mention that driving when one needs to would be considerably less stressful due to the reduction in traffic).

The downside to the carbon tax, of course, is that most carbon is essentially internationally fungible, so we have the classic case of the tragedy of the commons. If I make my carbon on the demand side more expensive, it floods the market and makes everybody else's carbon cheaper; this spills over into the costs of goods, putting domestic goods at a disadvantage on the international market.

Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #254 on: October 08, 2019, 01:43:56 PM »
It's very much a chicken and egg thing.  Without good alternatives, people will continue driving.
True. Not sure why I just thought of this little anecdote: A couple years ago, my non-Mustachian brother (still working on him) decided to have his bachelor party in Toronto. Flying out there wasn't the Mustachian thing to do, but gave me a chance to hang out with him, plus see some cousins who live out that way. That being said, when it came time to travel from the airport to our rental, a simple search online showed a fast train traveling directly from the airport to within blocks of where we were staying, all for a fraction of an Uber. I shared this little tidbit, but guess who was the only person who didn't rent their own Uber?

Quote
Failure of leadership.
I don't disagree.... But the leaders are elected by the citizens of Ontario, are they not?

Needless to say, we have many of the same issues in the U.S. My only hope is that the younger generation will internalize the threat of climate change, and a demographic wave will elect leaders who will make meaningful reforms toward carbon reduction.

GuitarStv

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #255 on: October 08, 2019, 02:08:03 PM »
It's very much a chicken and egg thing.  Without good alternatives, people will continue driving.
True. Not sure why I just thought of this little anecdote: A couple years ago, my non-Mustachian brother (still working on him) decided to have his bachelor party in Toronto. Flying out there wasn't the Mustachian thing to do, but gave me a chance to hang out with him, plus see some cousins who live out that way. That being said, when it came time to travel from the airport to our rental, a simple search online showed a fast train traveling directly from the airport to within blocks of where we were staying, all for a fraction of an Uber. I shared this little tidbit, but guess who was the only person who didn't rent their own Uber?

Yeah, the UPX.

It was originally going to be private only, but then started losing money hand over fist.  So the government wanted to get in on that action, snapped it up, and then tried charging stupid high prices per ride . . . as an attempt to make it an exclusive private airport/downtown connection and reduce crowding.  But then that lost even more money, so they cut the fares on it and tried to make it into a commuter train as well as an airport connection.  So now we've got an expensive high-class taxpayer funded tiny slice of public transit, that is expected to lose money every year it's in operation with two stops between the airport and union station.  Ugh.  :P

I'm glad you got some use out of it at least!




Quote
Failure of leadership.

I don't disagree.... But the leaders are elected by the citizens of Ontario, are they not?

Needless to say, we have many of the same issues in the U.S. My only hope is that the younger generation will internalize the threat of climate change, and a demographic wave will elect leaders who will make meaningful reforms toward carbon reduction.

Yes and no.  We use first past the post.  They won 60% of the seats to form a majority government with 40% of the votes.  If we had proportional representation then every vote would matter, and there would be less ability for a single party to push through stupid policy because they'd be held in check by the others.

RetiredAt63

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #256 on: October 08, 2019, 02:19:44 PM »

Yes and no.  We use first past the post.  They won 60% of the seats to form a majority government with 40% of the votes.  If we had proportional representation then every vote would matter, and there would be less ability for a single party to push through stupid policy because they'd be held in check by the others.

Which is something I am still mad at Trudeau about for the federal election.  I am guessing though that the provinces get to do their own choice?  Or would the federal change have made the provinces change too?  Hmm, must google. 

ETA - up to Ontario to change that for the province.  Last tried in 2007.  One of the few times I am sorry we don't have a bunch of referenda tied in to elections, like I read about  in the US.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 02:22:41 PM by RetiredAt63 »

Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #257 on: October 08, 2019, 03:10:23 PM »
Yes and no.  We use first past the post.  They won 60% of the seats to form a majority government with 40% of the votes.  If we had proportional representation then every vote would matter, and there would be less ability for a single party to push through stupid policy because they'd be held in check by the others.

Had to look up first-past-the-post, hadn't heard the term before (but certainly familiar with the concept). Wikipedia shows as an example the Liberal Party of Canada winning 54% of the seats from 40% of the vote during the 2015 national election (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting#Unrepresentative). So it cuts both ways, does it not?

RetiredAt63

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #258 on: October 08, 2019, 03:46:01 PM »
Yes and no.  We use first past the post.  They won 60% of the seats to form a majority government with 40% of the votes.  If we had proportional representation then every vote would matter, and there would be less ability for a single party to push through stupid policy because they'd be held in check by the others.

Had to look up first-past-the-post, hadn't heard the term before (but certainly familiar with the concept). Wikipedia shows as an example the Liberal Party of Canada winning 54% of the seats from 40% of the vote during the 2015 national election (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting#Unrepresentative). So it cuts both ways, does it not?

Yes it does.  And hurts both ways, because the smaller parties get cut out, even though they have support.

Montecarlo

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #259 on: October 08, 2019, 04:05:23 PM »
Climate change aside, cars are basically stupid*.

We spend hundreds of billions of dollars paving interstates to turn into parking lots twice a day, five days a week while trillions of dollars of human labor sits idle, sucking in fumes, only to then park 300 billion dollars worth of depreciating assets for 40 hours a week in the sun, hail, and rain.

It's cray cray!  I'm generally a small government libertarian type, but I'm all for major municipalities raising taxes or bonds and building competitive mass transit options, and paying for operating costs out of taxes, not fares.

*sweeping generalization alert!!

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #260 on: October 08, 2019, 05:56:23 PM »
Well, Montecarlo, this is why electric or whatever cars won't solve our issues. In the end, you are using 1,000kg of metal and plastic to move 70kg of person, and you require a very expensive pathway for it - in some cases up to $1 billion a km - that's right, a million bucks a metre. [https://www.smh.com.au/business/if-you-thought-using-a-toll-road-was-costly-try-building-one-20140810-102i5o.html].

You can't really make this efficient in energy, pollution or finance, whatever you do.

GuitarStv

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #261 on: October 08, 2019, 07:26:25 PM »
Yes and no.  We use first past the post.  They won 60% of the seats to form a majority government with 40% of the votes.  If we had proportional representation then every vote would matter, and there would be less ability for a single party to push through stupid policy because they'd be held in check by the others.

Had to look up first-past-the-post, hadn't heard the term before (but certainly familiar with the concept). Wikipedia shows as an example the Liberal Party of Canada winning 54% of the seats from 40% of the vote during the 2015 national election (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting#Unrepresentative). So it cuts both ways, does it not?

Yes it does.  And hurts both ways, because the smaller parties get cut out, even though they have support.

Yep.  I'm very pissed that Trudeau broke his promise to implement rep by pop.  I get why he did it (it's expected to help the Liberal party in the next election) but it's bullshit and hurts our country.  I'd be very happy to see more green party representation in government, which will never happen the way the system is currently setup.

Just Joe

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #262 on: October 09, 2019, 10:31:56 AM »

Vincent Picard describes himself as a “militant ecologist.”  But when protesters took to the streets to express their rage over a planned increase in France’s fuel tax, Mr. Picard joined their ranks.
He acknowledges that the tax might encourage the conservation considered critical for a healthy planet. But with the nearest train station 35 minutes away, he has to drive to work every day....


Ha ha! Hypocriticism for the win!!

You can call it hypocrisy I suppose.  To me, it kinda highlights the problem with attempting to solve a huge issue like climate change on a personal level.

Most governments have built transportation infrastructure with all of our money . . . but the majority of that infrastructure is automobile based.  It mentions in the article that he wants to take the train, but it doesn't go where he needs it to and it's not accessible without an automobile.  Give people cheap, fast, efficient ways to get around that aren't cars and they'll use 'em.  Make it so that it's incredibly difficult, dangerous, or painful to use other modes of transportation . . . and the majority of people will always choose the option that the government has made easiest for them.

You can't just tax gas and then not give people an alternative to drive.  The gas tax needs to be built into transit plans that will work together to reduce fuel consumption.  We need to stop throwing the huge amount of money that we do every year into building and repairing roads, and throw that giant surplus into transit programs.  We need leadership from our governments on climate issues to dig out of the hole that this poor planning has dug for us.

Sell that man an ebike. Might not be the right transportation device 365 days a year (for the average person) but it would help get him out of the car. Of course I have no idea if his route is conducive to bicycling.

I took a couple of coworkers for a ride in my employer's EV. The EV conversation was not about the cost - these folks were complaining about having to plug it in a few nights per week. Both drive about ten miles to work. In a new Nissan Leaf with the big battery. They might need to charge but once a week. However apparently visiting the gas station is not an inconvenience. Same people think I'm nuts riding an ebike around town so not surprising.

Lots of inertia in people's minds and habits right now. 
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 10:55:53 AM by Just Joe »

Aelias

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #263 on: October 09, 2019, 11:25:48 AM »

I took a couple of coworkers for a ride in my employer's EV. The EV conversation was not about the cost - these folks were complaining about having to plug it in a few nights per week. Both drive about ten miles to work. In a new Nissan Leaf with the big battery. They might need to charge but once a week. However apparently visiting the gas station is not an inconvenience. Same people think I'm nuts riding an ebike around town so not surprising.

Lots of inertia in people's minds and habits right now.

OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!

Plugging in your EV at home and NOT having to go to the gas station (or get your oil changed, for that matter) is one of the BEST things about owning an EV! Who is really dying to go to the gas station? Best case scenario, it's 10 minutes out of your life, $$ out of your pocket, and it smells like gas.  That's the best possible experience you can have at a gas station.  Remembering to plug in my car when I get home is so stupid easy I let my 4 year old do it!  He thinks it fun that the car beeps "thank you!" when it gets a "drink"!

If you don't have a lot of variation in your daily routine and you're not a capable cyclist ::raises hand::, a 10 mile commute is IDEAL for a Leaf. 

All I am saying is give Leafs a chance!

(I'll show myself out after that last one :) )



Boofinator

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #264 on: October 09, 2019, 11:43:17 AM »
All I am saying is give Leafs a chance!

Everybody's talkin bout
Yellow vests, bellow lefts, mellow west, hello next,
E-bikes and E-trikes and E-hikes and E-likes,
All we are saying is give Leafs a chance!

BicycleB

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #265 on: October 09, 2019, 11:47:38 AM »
Some humor in this thread! Ah, what a re-Leaf..
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 11:49:27 AM by BicycleB »

Bloop Bloop

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #266 on: October 09, 2019, 04:30:42 PM »
There are lots of great things about owning an internal combustion engine car, like the feeling of hitting redline, the increased mechanical connection between you and the car, the sound and the fury of the engine, etc. Whether that makes up for the pollution, the expense and the hassle (when not driving it) of owning a car is a question for each person. My car sits in the garage 99% of the time and I only take it out occasionally for a hoon. As I get older I will probably sell it as Uber is much cheaper than the costs of owning and maintaining a depreciating asset.

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #267 on: October 09, 2019, 06:09:31 PM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging?  Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

middo

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #268 on: October 09, 2019, 06:33:56 PM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging? Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

Individual transport is a huge issue, but the other "hobbies" you mentioned could easily be powered by ICE engines that run on ethanol or biodiesel.  The amount of fuel used is really small compared to everyday transport and these people tend to already pay more for their fuel compared to the average person, as drag cars run better on special blends (or nitromethane...)

Jets, private or public, are also a huge and growing issue.  There is some sort of international agreement that fuel for jets should not be taxed.  That will obviously have to go if we are going to reduce emissions in the longer term.

palebluedot

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #269 on: October 09, 2019, 08:27:49 PM »
I've been fortunate to join a few Sunrise Movement events since they formed including one at Pelosi's office in DC last December. These young kids are doing hard work right now. Here's a brief history of the group.

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/9/10/20847401/sunrise-movement-climate-change-activist-millennials-global-warming

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #270 on: October 09, 2019, 09:13:48 PM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging? Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

Individual transport is a huge issue, but the other "hobbies" you mentioned could easily be powered by ICE engines that run on ethanol or biodiesel.  The amount of fuel used is really small compared to everyday transport and these people tend to already pay more for their fuel compared to the average person, as drag cars run better on special blends (or nitromethane...)

Jets, private or public, are also a huge and growing issue.  There is some sort of international agreement that fuel for jets should not be taxed.  That will obviously have to go if we are going to reduce emissions in the longer term.

Fair enough, I was just thinking about how at some point, our desire for economy-of-scale and its benefits regarding our environment will conflict with our individualistic interests.  I'm sure there are better examples, but jet travel is a good one.

former player

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #271 on: October 10, 2019, 03:22:29 AM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging? Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

Individual transport is a huge issue, but the other "hobbies" you mentioned could easily be powered by ICE engines that run on ethanol or biodiesel.  The amount of fuel used is really small compared to everyday transport and these people tend to already pay more for their fuel compared to the average person, as drag cars run better on special blends (or nitromethane...)

Jets, private or public, are also a huge and growing issue.  There is some sort of international agreement that fuel for jets should not be taxed.  That will obviously have to go if we are going to reduce emissions in the longer term.

Fair enough, I was just thinking about how at some point, our desire for economy-of-scale and its benefits regarding our environment will conflict with our individualistic interests.  I'm sure there are better examples, but jet travel is a good one.
I made a poll at the start of the year on jet travel.  Two thirds of the mustachians who answered said that they would fly as often and as far as they liked and damn the climate, and most of the rest said they would fly for specific purposes as and when it suited them.

And that's mustachians, who are supposed to be about rational thought and not trashing the environment.   We are truly fucked, and most people talking about the need to do something about climate change and worrying about their children's future, even those on this forum, are selfish, hypocritical asswipes.

(To counter the inevitable whining, I've flown for just over one hour (a family emergency, trains and roads blocked by flooding) in the last 18 years.  I drive less than 4,000 miles a year in a small economy car (I live very rurally) and all other fuel use is renewables.  I buy almost nothing new other than food and eat seasonal local vegetarian produce.  My unpaid FIRE day job is to campaign locally for sustainable development and environmental protection, with some success.  I'm as far from hypocritical as I can get, I know it can be done and everything else is excuses.)

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #272 on: October 10, 2019, 05:14:43 AM »
Well, mustachians tend to be well-off, or working on it, and it's well-established that increasing wealth means decreasing empathy. So that's no surprise.

former player

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #273 on: October 10, 2019, 05:20:31 AM »
Well, mustachians tend to be well-off, or working on it, and it's well-established that increasing wealth means decreasing empathy. So that's no surprise.
You are right, of course, but it doesn't make the blatant hypocrisy any less enraging.

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #274 on: October 10, 2019, 06:57:27 AM »
Well, mustachians tend to be well-off, or working on it, and it's well-established that increasing wealth means decreasing empathy. So that's no surprise.
You are right, of course, but it doesn't make the blatant hypocrisy any less enraging.
I'm not sure that saving the environment is central to Mustachianism.  There's also the pragmatic element that says that people will still want to/need to travel for business or for pleasure.  In the same way that people want to own houses and have children, despite the carbon footprint there.  So hopefully we can come up with answers to those questions that don't include "don't travel, or buy stuff, or have kids".

Early retirement itself could be questioned as bad for the environment, unless you're spending your retirement planting trees.  Even then, it's likely your job will have a smaller carbon footprint in the future so perhaps it could be argued that we should all keep working as long as possible.  Or maybe working has less carbon output than generating an investment return.  This stuff gets really complicated really quickly.  So I'm skeptical of our ability to control it.

former player

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #275 on: October 10, 2019, 07:19:28 AM »
Well, mustachians tend to be well-off, or working on it, and it's well-established that increasing wealth means decreasing empathy. So that's no surprise.
You are right, of course, but it doesn't make the blatant hypocrisy any less enraging.
I'm not sure that saving the environment is central to Mustachianism.
What is central to Mustachianism is maximising "lifetime wealth", where "wealth" is not defined solely as "money".   People who knowingly, deliberately and wantonly spend down the resources of the planet on jet travel are destroying their "wealth" and that of their children.  They are buying something they and their children can't afford.

  There's also the pragmatic element that says that people will still want to/need to travel for business or for pleasure.  In the same way that people want to own houses and have children, despite the carbon footprint there.  So hopefully we can come up with answers to those questions that don't include "don't travel, or buy stuff, or have kids".
Mustachianism is all about retraining your "wants" and "needs".  And when valid wants and needs have been established, to meet those wants and needs in ways which align with the central tenets of the creed.  There are almost always ways of dealing with things by excluding jet travel.  Yes, even for families split across continents, or people doing business with other people far away.

Early retirement itself could be questioned as bad for the environment, unless you're spending your retirement planting trees.  Even then, it's likely your job will have a smaller carbon footprint in the future so perhaps it could be argued that we should all keep working as long as possible.  Or maybe working has less carbon output than generating an investment return.  This stuff gets really complicated really quickly.  So I'm skeptical of our ability to control it.
Early retirement is I think neutral at worst as regards a carbon footprint.  What living off investments in retirement really means is that X number of people are working in return for X+Y number of people having an income, with the difference being the capital benefits of investment in plant and process.  The more people who invest capital into plant and process then the bigger the ratio of Y to X.  Is that bad for the environment, overall? A nice job for an economist to think about.

There is definitely an issue with index investing including a large number of businesses that are unquestionably bad for the environment.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #276 on: October 10, 2019, 08:39:59 AM »
I think it is possible to care about the environment and also occasionally fly. My family is spread out on both coasts of Canada, and some are in Europe. If it's a choice of never seeing them or taking 5 days to drive or train to the ones on the west coast or flying in 5 hours, I'm going to fly. I don't have the luxury of enough time not to fly and not seeing them is not an option, although it's not like I go every year.
If anything, frequent flyers and those who take flights for sub 6 hour drives are the ones that cause the vast majority of emissions. If we established a North American high speed electric rail system, I bet we could eliminate 50% of flights while adding less than 50% more time to most short trips. That's the low hanging fruit that should be tackled first. Also, stop giving so many rewards to people who travel weekly or more, it just incentivises that behavior. Make each subsequent flight more expensive, and watch how quickly people learn to skype.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #277 on: October 10, 2019, 08:49:33 AM »
Well, mustachians tend to be well-off, or working on it, and it's well-established that increasing wealth means decreasing empathy. So that's no surprise.
You are right, of course, but it doesn't make the blatant hypocrisy any less enraging.
I'm not sure that saving the environment is central to Mustachianism.  There's also the pragmatic element that says that people will still want to/need to travel for business or for pleasure.  In the same way that people want to own houses and have children, despite the carbon footprint there.  So hopefully we can come up with answers to those questions that don't include "don't travel, or buy stuff, or have kids".

Early retirement itself could be questioned as bad for the environment, unless you're spending your retirement planting trees.  Even then, it's likely your job will have a smaller carbon footprint in the future so perhaps it could be argued that we should all keep working as long as possible.  Or maybe working has less carbon output than generating an investment return.  This stuff gets really complicated really quickly.  So I'm skeptical of our ability to control it.

I disagree with you on that. MMM talked specifically about the caring about the environment and its connection to mustachianism in like his fifth or sixth blog post, and has mentioned it a fair amount over the years. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/11/getting-started-2-the-higher-cause/

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #278 on: October 10, 2019, 08:53:25 AM »
Well, mustachians tend to be well-off, or working on it, and it's well-established that increasing wealth means decreasing empathy. So that's no surprise.
You are right, of course, but it doesn't make the blatant hypocrisy any less enraging.
I'm not sure that saving the environment is central to Mustachianism.  There's also the pragmatic element that says that people will still want to/need to travel for business or for pleasure.  In the same way that people want to own houses and have children, despite the carbon footprint there.  So hopefully we can come up with answers to those questions that don't include "don't travel, or buy stuff, or have kids".

Early retirement itself could be questioned as bad for the environment, unless you're spending your retirement planting trees.  Even then, it's likely your job will have a smaller carbon footprint in the future so perhaps it could be argued that we should all keep working as long as possible.  Or maybe working has less carbon output than generating an investment return.  This stuff gets really complicated really quickly.  So I'm skeptical of our ability to control it.

I disagree with you on that. MMM talked specifically about the caring about the environment and its connection to mustachianism in like his fifth or sixth blog post, and has mentioned it a fair amount over the years. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/11/getting-started-2-the-higher-cause/
Fair enough, I was wrong. 

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #279 on: October 10, 2019, 09:28:28 AM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging?  Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

As long as the fleet average gets cleaner and more efficient then who cares how dirty a 1953 Chevy is? The old car will likely not be driven much anyhow unless it is in Cuba...

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #280 on: October 10, 2019, 09:42:38 AM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging?  Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

As long as the fleet average gets cleaner and more efficient then who cares how dirty a 1953 Chevy is? The old car will likely not be driven much anyhow unless it is in Cuba...

Isn't this an argument against individual responsibility in the context of environmentalism?  Many people in Canada don't see the relevance of trying to reduce Canadian emissions when they're only 1.6% of global emissions, but this argument is generally rejected.

Huge swaths of industrializing societies in India and China are working hard to improve their lives and therefore ramping up their carbon output.  That's where most of the carbon increase is coming from but no one expects that average to get cleaner, as you put it.  At least, it's not a sizeable part of the conversation.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #281 on: October 10, 2019, 10:06:18 AM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging?  Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

As long as the fleet average gets cleaner and more efficient then who cares how dirty a 1953 Chevy is? The old car will likely not be driven much anyhow unless it is in Cuba...

Isn't this an argument against individual responsibility in the context of environmentalism?  Many people in Canada don't see the relevance of trying to reduce Canadian emissions when they're only 1.6% of global emissions, but this argument is generally rejected.

Huge swaths of industrializing societies in India and China are working hard to improve their lives and therefore ramping up their carbon output.  That's where most of the carbon increase is coming from but no one expects that average to get cleaner, as you put it.  At least, it's not a sizeable part of the conversation.

Can you provide evidence that the ramping up of carbon is coming from 'working hard to improve their lives' rather than 'working hard to produce cheaper shit for North Americans'?  Just because we shipped all of our dirty jobs to other countries doesn't mean we've reduced our demand for the things that cause pollution.

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #282 on: October 10, 2019, 01:22:09 PM »
I can't wait to see what electric cars do for large Asian cities.  I think they will be transformed.  Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, cities in China, India, etc.  The reduction of noise and air pollution will be incredible.  (There will still be horn-honking, though).

Might not save the environment though.  One of the real challenges of our new environmental paradigm will be the conflict between individual sovereignty and environmental compromises, like will ICE cars be banned?  How about individual transport generally?  Dragstrips?  Burnouts?  Private jets?  Off-roading and mud-bogging?  Climbing Everest?

That's where the innovation needs to be made, I think.  Hopefully we can keep our somewhat individualistic lives efficient enough.

As long as the fleet average gets cleaner and more efficient then who cares how dirty a 1953 Chevy is? The old car will likely not be driven much anyhow unless it is in Cuba...

Isn't this an argument against individual responsibility in the context of environmentalism?  Many people in Canada don't see the relevance of trying to reduce Canadian emissions when they're only 1.6% of global emissions, but this argument is generally rejected.

Huge swaths of industrializing societies in India and China are working hard to improve their lives and therefore ramping up their carbon output.  That's where most of the carbon increase is coming from but no one expects that average to get cleaner, as you put it.  At least, it's not a sizeable part of the conversation.

Can you provide evidence that the ramping up of carbon is coming from 'working hard to improve their lives' rather than 'working hard to produce cheaper shit for North Americans'?  Just because we shipped all of our dirty jobs to other countries doesn't mean we've reduced our demand for the things that cause pollution.
I won't argue against that, it's probably where a lot of demand is coming from.  But it's hard to suggest that the developing world should slow their development.  Most people everywhere in the world that work are simply trying to improve their proximal lives.  They're trying to get a decent paycheck for their family, probably not concerning themselves much with the greater implications, environmental or otherwise.

scottish

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #283 on: October 10, 2019, 05:08:41 PM »
It seems pretty tough to tell developing countries that they cannot work to achieve our standard of living...

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #284 on: October 10, 2019, 06:10:27 PM »
It seems pretty tough to tell developing countries that they cannot work to achieve our standard of living...
I dunno, I feel like we could improve our standard of living. For example, among the new threads today is "Hour each way commute, or 5 minutes each way commute with $12,000 pay cut?" Spending about 500 hours a year commuting... this is an actual question, apparently.

By walking and cycling more, having work and home closer, we'd have improved physical and mental health, more time with family and friends and on hobbies, and so on. By not buying every new piece of junk that comes along we'd feel less anxious at keeping up with the Joneses, and suffer less of the paradox of choice. By eating less meat and processed food, we'd improve our health. And so on.

If you look at a listing of the world's happiest countries, GDP per capita is in there which correlates moderately with emissions, but the other factors don't. The top countries include a few high emitters like Canada, but also some low emitters like Costa Rica - which ranks higher than the US. And some very high emitters, very "well-developed" countries like UAE are lower.

So there isn't a simple equation of more emissions = happier people.

Maybe we in the West should improve our lifestyles.

In any case, resource constraints will mean that we're simply not going to see a world of cars and freeways and everyone zipping about on 747s. There's just not enough fossil fuels. Even if burning coal gave us vitamin C, the stuff is limited. We used it up first, the Third World misses out. Sorry. They were late to the party and the binge drinkers finished off all the booze.

nereo

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #285 on: October 10, 2019, 06:18:08 PM »
It seems pretty tough to tell developing countries that they cannot work to achieve our standard of living...
I dunno, I feel like we could improve our standard of living. For example, among the new threads today is "Hour each way commute, or 5 minutes each way commute with $12,000 pay cut?" Spending about 500 hours a year commuting... this is an actual question, apparently.

By walking and cycling more, having work and home closer, we'd have improved physical and mental health, more time with family and friends and on hobbies, and so on. By not buying every new piece of junk that comes along we'd feel less anxious at keeping up with the Joneses, and suffer less of the paradox of choice. By eating less meat and processed food, we'd improve our health. And so on.

If you look at a listing of the world's happiest countries, GDP per capita is in there which correlates moderately with emissions, but the other factors don't. The top countries include a few high emitters like Canada, but also some low emitters like Costa Rica - which ranks higher than the US. And some very high emitters, very "well-developed" countries like UAE are lower.

So there isn't a simple equation of more emissions = happier people.

Maybe we in the West should improve our lifestyles.

In any case, resource constraints will mean that we're simply not going to see a world of cars and freeways and everyone zipping about on 747s. There's just not enough fossil fuels. Even if burning coal gave us vitamin C, the stuff is limited. We used it up first, the Third World misses out. Sorry. They were late to the party and the binge drinkers finished off all the booze.
Kyle brings up some great points.
To say that developing countries somehow **need** to emit more carbon-per-capita in order to raise their standard of living is simply false.  One of the systemic challenges we face in the US is that we’ve got too much infrastructure built around cars and car ownership, and too much stigma associated with things like public transport and sharing spaces.  We’ve also wholeheartedly bought into the notion that spending generates happiness, despite all the studies which prove otherwise.

Some developing nations don’t have these obstacles. Designing from the ground up is often easier that accommodating inefficient, legacy systems.

pecunia

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #286 on: October 10, 2019, 06:55:10 PM »
What do those people in these "developing" countries think?

How are they "developing?"  Seems like a lot of these countries have been around as long as the US.  Why haven't they "developed?"  Seems like a lot of them like in South America have a few rich folks and a lot of people just scrambling to stay alive.  People build factories there and pay them peanuts.

Maybe they won't be using too many resources real soon because there are forces to keep them down.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #287 on: October 10, 2019, 09:03:29 PM »
What do those people in these "developing" countries think?

How are they "developing?"  Seems like a lot of these countries have been around as long as the US.  Why haven't they "developed?"  Seems like a lot of them like in South America have a few rich folks and a lot of people just scrambling to stay alive.  People build factories there and pay them peanuts.

Maybe they won't be using too many resources real soon because there are forces to keep them down.

^Not sure if sarcasm or not...

LonerMatt

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #288 on: October 10, 2019, 09:08:13 PM »
A friend of mine completed her Masters in Sustainable Development writing about how countries like Malawi (her home) are places that lack resources to develop (specifically intermittent electricity, blackouts, etc) and the most viable option given their needs is nuclear. I can't explain her points well (I don't remember them well) but she was trying to answer that complex question raised above: if some aspects of development (access to electricity and electricity providing things like cleaner water, etc) are important than Africa will need more power - how do they get it without creating more of the problems we have.

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.

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #289 on: October 10, 2019, 09:10:29 PM »
It seems pretty tough to tell developing countries that they cannot work to achieve our standard of living...
I dunno, I feel like we could improve our standard of living. For example, among the new threads today is "Hour each way commute, or 5 minutes each way commute with $12,000 pay cut?" Spending about 500 hours a year commuting... this is an actual question, apparently.

By walking and cycling more, having work and home closer, we'd have improved physical and mental health, more time with family and friends and on hobbies, and so on. By not buying every new piece of junk that comes along we'd feel less anxious at keeping up with the Joneses, and suffer less of the paradox of choice. By eating less meat and processed food, we'd improve our health. And so on.

If you look at a listing of the world's happiest countries, GDP per capita is in there which correlates moderately with emissions, but the other factors don't. The top countries include a few high emitters like Canada, but also some low emitters like Costa Rica - which ranks higher than the US. And some very high emitters, very "well-developed" countries like UAE are lower.

So there isn't a simple equation of more emissions = happier people.

Maybe we in the West should improve our lifestyles.

In any case, resource constraints will mean that we're simply not going to see a world of cars and freeways and everyone zipping about on 747s. There's just not enough fossil fuels. Even if burning coal gave us vitamin C, the stuff is limited. We used it up first, the Third World misses out. Sorry. They were late to the party and the binge drinkers finished off all the booze.

Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities?  Seems like NIMBYism is really holding us back here.

I do think many Asian cities are eventually going to steamroll places like LA in terms of innovation simply due to better transit.  It also allows for greater functional economies despite wealth inequality, since--for instance--laborers in central Bangkok can easily take a train in from the "suburbs" and add value in the HCOL area, something that is becoming a real problem in Silicon Valley, Vancouver, etc.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #290 on: October 11, 2019, 01:13:23 AM »
Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities? 

That'd definitely help significantly.

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.

Once you hit that point it becomes self reinforcing, as more people taking public transit lets you provide ever more frequent service on ever more routes, making public transit more convenient, which makes even more people take it, and so on.

How to 1) get people to want to live at high density given alternative options and 2) get through the crazy zoning/planning hurdles in the USA that prevent this stuff getting build most places, and make it way more expensive when it actually does happen is left as an exercise to the reader.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 09:42:52 AM by maizeman »

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #291 on: October 11, 2019, 05:25:51 AM »
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.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #292 on: October 11, 2019, 11:04:44 AM »
It seems pretty tough to tell developing countries that they cannot work to achieve our standard of living...
...

In any case, resource constraints will mean that we're simply not going to see a world of cars and freeways and everyone zipping about on 747s. There's just not enough fossil fuels. Even if burning coal gave us vitamin C, the stuff is limited. We used it up first, the Third World misses out. Sorry. They were late to the party and the binge drinkers finished off all the booze.

Not willing to take that approach. Pretty sure it's inaccurate, definitely unwilling to sit in my cozy home and ask poor people halfway across the world to stay poor.

I can hear the wailing already. Sorry, but there's plenty of renewable energy and human ingenuity. The poor are going to keep rising. We humans will find a way. The sooner we focus on how to do it, instead of just accepting that others are poor, the sooner our wealthy societies will start reducing our own inherent risks.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #293 on: October 11, 2019, 11:28:24 AM »
Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities? 

That'd definitely help significantly.

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.

Once you hit that point it becomes self reinforcing, as more people taking public transit lets you provide ever more frequent service on ever more routes, making public transit more convenient, which makes even more people take it, and so on.

How to 1) get people to want to live at high density given alternative options and 2) get through the crazy zoning/planning hurdles in the USA that prevent this stuff getting build most places, and make it way more expensive when it actually does happen is left as an exercise to the reader.

As a long time tenant, improving airflow and vastly improving  sound deadening would make condos and apartments FAR more liveable.

RetiredAt63

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #294 on: October 11, 2019, 04:35:33 PM »
Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities? 

That'd definitely help significantly.

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.

Once you hit that point it becomes self reinforcing, as more people taking public transit lets you provide ever more frequent service on ever more routes, making public transit more convenient, which makes even more people take it, and so on.

How to 1) get people to want to live at high density given alternative options and 2) get through the crazy zoning/planning hurdles in the USA that prevent this stuff getting build most places, and make it way more expensive when it actually does happen is left as an exercise to the reader.

As a long time tenant, improving airflow and vastly improving  sound deadening would make condos and apartments FAR more liveable.

I am not sure of the wisdom of having apartment towers on major streets.  Sounds barriers work for houses and town houses, but not towers.  I was temporarily in an apartment on a main street, and my balcony was basically unusable.  The building soundproofing was good, I barely heard the street noise with the doors and windows shut.  Of course, in nice weather we want our windows open!

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #295 on: October 11, 2019, 04:55:57 PM »
Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities? 

That'd definitely help significantly.

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.

Once you hit that point it becomes self reinforcing, as more people taking public transit lets you provide ever more frequent service on ever more routes, making public transit more convenient, which makes even more people take it, and so on.

How to 1) get people to want to live at high density given alternative options and 2) get through the crazy zoning/planning hurdles in the USA that prevent this stuff getting build most places, and make it way more expensive when it actually does happen is left as an exercise to the reader.

As a long time tenant, improving airflow and vastly improving  sound deadening would make condos and apartments FAR more liveable.

I am not sure of the wisdom of having apartment towers on major streets.  Sounds barriers work for houses and town houses, but not towers.  I was temporarily in an apartment on a main street, and my balcony was basically unusable.  The building soundproofing was good, I barely heard the street noise with the doors and windows shut.  Of course, in nice weather we want our windows open!

That's true, but major streets shouldn't be anywhere near high rises ideally.  And with less ICE cars, it wouldn't be as bad.  Plus, if high rises had nice courtyards they could be more hospitable.  What I mean to say is, if value is added in the right place, high rises could be much more liveable.  Fancy counters and lights and things are not the right place for developers to be investing.

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #296 on: October 11, 2019, 05:07:53 PM »
Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities? 

That'd definitely help significantly.

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.

Once you hit that point it becomes self reinforcing, as more people taking public transit lets you provide ever more frequent service on ever more routes, making public transit more convenient, which makes even more people take it, and so on.

How to 1) get people to want to live at high density given alternative options and 2) get through the crazy zoning/planning hurdles in the USA that prevent this stuff getting build most places, and make it way more expensive when it actually does happen is left as an exercise to the reader.

As a long time tenant, improving airflow and vastly improving  sound deadening would make condos and apartments FAR more liveable.

I am not sure of the wisdom of having apartment towers on major streets.  Sounds barriers work for houses and town houses, but not towers.  I was temporarily in an apartment on a main street, and my balcony was basically unusable.  The building soundproofing was good, I barely heard the street noise with the doors and windows shut.  Of course, in nice weather we want our windows open!

That's true, but major streets shouldn't be anywhere near high rises ideally.  And with less ICE cars, it wouldn't be as bad.  Plus, if high rises had nice courtyards they could be more hospitable.  What I mean to say is, if value is added in the right place, high rises could be much more liveable.  Fancy counters and lights and things are not the right place for developers to be investing.

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.

Wrenchturner

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #297 on: October 11, 2019, 05:24:52 PM »
Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities? 

That'd definitely help significantly.

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.

Once you hit that point it becomes self reinforcing, as more people taking public transit lets you provide ever more frequent service on ever more routes, making public transit more convenient, which makes even more people take it, and so on.

How to 1) get people to want to live at high density given alternative options and 2) get through the crazy zoning/planning hurdles in the USA that prevent this stuff getting build most places, and make it way more expensive when it actually does happen is left as an exercise to the reader.

As a long time tenant, improving airflow and vastly improving  sound deadening would make condos and apartments FAR more liveable.

I am not sure of the wisdom of having apartment towers on major streets.  Sounds barriers work for houses and town houses, but not towers.  I was temporarily in an apartment on a main street, and my balcony was basically unusable.  The building soundproofing was good, I barely heard the street noise with the doors and windows shut.  Of course, in nice weather we want our windows open!

That's true, but major streets shouldn't be anywhere near high rises ideally.  And with less ICE cars, it wouldn't be as bad.  Plus, if high rises had nice courtyards they could be more hospitable.  What I mean to say is, if value is added in the right place, high rises could be much more liveable.  Fancy counters and lights and things are not the right place for developers to be investing.

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.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #298 on: October 11, 2019, 05:50:36 PM »
Is it fair to say, then, that what we really need in the West is greater population density in cities?  Seems like NIMBYism is really holding us back here.

That's one approach. But another approach is lower population density, like in places like Nepal with many small villages. Or ordinary old Western suburban life - as it was in the 1950s.

One issue in Western cities is quite simply zoning, with no mixed-use areas. Many city planners seem to think they're playing a game of SimCity where you hold the mouse down and zone many square miles as purely residential, purely commercial, and so on. This makes it certain that people will have to travel a long way between work and home. But it wasn't always so.

Many older suburbs in the Western world will have older strip shops. Australia had the corner "milk bar", which was actually a small grocery store. There was typically also a butcher, a hardware store, a newsagent, a barber's. And there was a strip of shops like this on every fourth block or so, so that there were shops for day-to-day needs at most 1km walk away. Each suburb had a town centre with shops for less frequent needs like clothing, and the civic services like the town council and police, and this town centre was generally at most 5-10km from any housing. There'd be a block of factories somewhere in that suburb, and a school or two.

European cities did it a little differently, with urban centres with shops on the ground floor and housing on the floors above them.

Nowadays instead we'll have this massive development of housing in one area with no shops or factories, all the factories are off somewhere in a big block together next to a massive freeway, and all the shops are in a huge shopping mall.

Cars are both a cause and effect of all this. They're a cause in that if you are on foot, you simply must go to the shops or work close-by, whereas if you have a car, you can drive up to 50km to the shops or work, sometimes even further if there are freeways, etc. Because you go to the massive shopping mall or big box store, you don't go to that place two blocks away, so it closes, and now you have to go to that place far away, and of course you have to own a car; so now cars become an effect. Ten years later when the council is opening up new land for development, they look around at all the strip shops with boarded-up windows, so then they designate this massive area just for housing, and another massive area for commerce - and of course, they bring in regulations about how much car parking there must be.

But it need not be so. Higher density cities are one approach, but another is simply mixed-use areas, whether mixed horizontally like US/Oz suburbs used to be, or mixed vertically like many European cities still are.

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.

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! If resources are limited, then at some point economic growth stops, and then the only way for the poor to get a larger slice of the pie is to take some from the wealthy. To prevent civil conflict it is necessary to convince the poor that endless growth is possible, and likewise to preserve the psychological health of the wealthy - which is us on this forum, for the most part. 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.


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.

It is important to separate church and state, and this includes religions with no official recognition, like the trinity of Science!, Progress! and Growth!

In the face of resource constraints and climate change, it is certain that our lives will change. Our days of happy motoring and the 3,000-mile caesar salad are passing. It is not certain that our lives will change for the worse or better, that is up to us as a society.

I would suggest that since it's certain we must use less, there are many ways to do that. A town of mixed-use neighbourhoods uses less, and a slum made of packing crates uses less, too. I think it's better for us to plan things so we use less but still have decent lives.

RetiredAt63

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Re: "The climate apocalypse is coming ... "
« Reply #299 on: October 11, 2019, 05:58:49 PM »
Kyle has a point.  In my experience this is also true of small towns that got surrounded by suburbs - there are areas that are mixed, where you can go to the grocery story and hardware store on foot or by bike.  They also had small lot size, or at least narrow lots, so the housing density was enough that there were enough customers who could get to those sores easily.  Modern suburbs are so sprawled out that even if there were shops, most people would still be far away.

@Kyle Schuant, you would have enjoyed our discussion of a car unfriendly public transportation/bike friendly development at CM*TO.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 06:00:45 PM by RetiredAt63 »