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Comments 451 to 500:

  1. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Just want to clarify that I'm not against a degrowth strategy. I'm largely retired, but I was in the top 10% income / wealth group, but I'm a below average consumer in that group. I'm struggling along with a similar approach to lifestyle and sustainability as Evan but I'm ok with where I'm at. Japan has shown that a society can do well with low rates of economic growth. There are obvious simple changes people can make without incurring personal pain for example just driving a smaller car.

    I'm just pointing out the hard reality that a very rapid and ambitious degrowth strategy / cuts in consumption would almost certainly cause considerable personal pain and cause our entire civilisation to collapse. I've provided plenty of clues why. If anyone doesn't get it I think they are in intellectual denial. Imho there is no point flaggelating ourselves and going back to the stone age levels of consumption.

    Strictly speaking you could argue population is the prime cause of environmental impacts because even a population of just one low consumimg human has environmental impacts and a large population of low consuming humans would have plenty of environmental impacts. Per capita consumption is a multiplier. But for practical purposes Evan is right its a combination of consumption and population.

  2. One Planet Only Forever at 07:32 AM on 9 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan,

    Striving to live less harmfully and more helpfully is admirable, or it should be admired by all.

    I appreciate the point about how hard it would be to get all of the rich people to care to learn to be less harmful and more helpful.

    My way of having hope is recognizing that some of the wealthiest people do strive to learn to set excellent examples of how to be less harmful and more helpful.

    A possible helpful solution is getting 'more of the mice' to notice the difference among the cats, and develop the collective ability to help motivate the harmful cats to change their behaviour ... maybe by declaring as much as they can, like with their votes and purchase choices, that they admire the cats who are being less harmful and more helpful, and detest the other types of cats.

    A lot of helpful and harmful detail can be missed by 'looking at the averages'.

  3. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Moderator (BL)

    I can do that. We ask that you retain the material in confidence as we are not yet ready to publish our work. I will send you, in hard copy, our References which include most of the global literature published as of 2021. This list is 30 pages long, largely peer reviewed and published in credible journals, etc. Please send me your  postal address as we don't wish to transmit the list electronically. My email address is swampfoxh@hotmail.com

    Please add an attachment in your own words agreeing to the matter of confidentiality. 

    Thank you for your interest in this topic.

    Swampfoxh.  

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Email address redacted. I'm sure none of us need more spam, and we have an email address as part of your registration. It is not necessary to display it publicly here.

    You are participating here in a publicly-visible forum. Sending me a reference list as an individual, expecting confidentiality, does not advance public discussion. If you want to promote a particular set of results here, simply asserting the numbers without any form of explanation of their source, methodology behind them, etc. does not provide readers with any way to assess the validity of your claims. As such, your assertions would carry no weight in the discussion.

    If you wish to continue the discussion of agriculture, etc. at this time, there are two possible threads here at Skeptical Science that might be suitable. If you are to comment on those threads, make sure to read the original post, any following comments, and make sure that your comments are on topic.

    https://skepticalscience.com/animal-agriculture-meat-global-warming.htm

    https://skepticalscience.com/veganism.htm

    If you get your own results published, then feel free to find an appropriate thread (use the search tool) where you can make on-topic comments and provide references.

  4. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    OPOF you write, "I applaud your long term efforts regarding the lifestyle example you are trying to set."

    I can't figure out how to live sustainably. Sure, within my family I am considered to have a green conscience, but nothing I do makes my life sustainable. Most of us are not producing "percentages" more GHG emissions than we should, but rather orders of magnitude more GHG emissions than we should. But I keep trying. The best I can come with is that a person should strive to do more good than harm, however they internalize that.

    If we build our house, my goal is to show that we can consume less and live a meaningful, fulfilled life. But it means focusing on fewer activities. We wanted to install solar+geothermal HVAC, but with the high costs now, we can barely afford the house as it is, and so the solar will be delayed. My thought is that it is better to prioritize money on things that reduce energy consumption (such as geothermal HVAC) than things that produce energy.

    I broadly agree with all your wrote OPOF, and would only add that I think we will make inroads if we prioritize items that have a dual purpose of reducing GHG emission while buiding resiliency. EVs are an easy sell today when gas has spiked. Solar panels are an easy sell in terms of energy independence, to some degree. But I am not hopeful messaging to wealthy people to reduce their lifestyle. Wealth is intoxicating, and there is likely a reason these people are wealthy in the first place. I have no desire to pursue wealth. Other people desire wealth, power, status, etc. It will be a hard sell to convince them to change.

    Kind of like teaching a cat to not chase mice. :-)

  5. One Planet Only Forever at 04:16 AM on 9 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan,

    I agree with your statement in your comment @46.

    "So let's agree that the problem is a combination of consumption+population. If wealthy people consumed less and if population stabilized so that global growth stopped, we would likely be much better off."

    I would add that the consumption problem is the impacts of the consumption, including over-consumption and waste. Consumption of beef, or other food, produced in less harmful ways would not require as much reduced consumption. And foods produced in regenerative helpful ways can actually boost the amount of consumption, albeit needing to stay within the practical planet safe limits (the Planetary Boundary concept). 

    I applaud your long term efforts regarding the lifestyle example you are trying to set. And I hope you can maximize your achievement with great input like what wilddouglascounty provided.

    I would add that the book "Rebuilding Earth" by Teresa Coady may contain some additional helpful input regarding your new home and local environment. It appears that you are likely already aware of much, if not all, of what she shares in her book. But some of the considerations may be new to you.

    I also want to reinforce another comment you made @46.

    "What's odd is that when I write that we need to consume less, some argue that we cannot push for degrowth. When I write that it is partly a population problem (each person is a carbon emitter), people argue that it is not a general population problem and that the rich contribute more, and ..."

    Those points and the "and ..." points can be understood to often be variations on the theme of responses from the perspective of people who has developed a preference for harmful misunderstanding and related harmful actions in a socioeconomic-political environment of competition for perceptions of superiority relative to Others.

    Regarding climate science, and the need to reduce harmful climate change impacts, there is an almost endless variety of responses in that broader category of preferred harmful misunderstandings:

    • Consuming less can mean a loss of perceptions of better living status
    • Arguing it is only the rich who need to reduce their consumption is also attempting to defend the harmful unsustainable ways that middle class people live as they aspire to appear to be catching up to the supposedly higher status, the people with the 'newest technological gadgets' or other harmfully promoted desires for "More". I try to be clear that the higher status people need to lead the correction because they can afford to live less harmfully. And if they won't be rich if they have to give up how they benefit from sustained harmful misunderstandings and related harmful actions they obviously did not deserve their perceptions of higher status.

    Responses like that include:

    • resistance to reducing meat consumption, particularly industrial system produced meat, particularly beef produced less sustainably.
    • resistance to reducing powered recreation activity (being harmful just for fun)
    • resistance to reducing flying away for vacation (frequently flying long distances just for fun).
    • resistance to having less powerful, more energy efficient vehicles.
    • resistance to reducing the indoor temperatures during cold weather and increasing indoor temperatures during hot weather.

    All of those arguments resisting those sensible (should be common sense) things have a common root in the 'belief in the Right to the freedom to believe harmful misunderstanding and to act more harmfully excused by the harmful misunderstanding. It can actually be nearly impossible to communicate with someone who has immersed themselves in any version of that Harmful Freedom Belief that they are harmfully incorrect. Their developed perspective can be very far away from potential common sense understanding of how to be less harmful and more helpful that they will simplistically argue that the suggestions being made "Harm Them".

    I have had limited, occasional, success interacting with people I know (people I already have an established relationship with) by trying to find a common sense understanding among the many possible issues covered by the Sustainable Development Goals. I thought that if a person genuinely cares about helping in any of the many ways of helping and being less harmful that that shared common sense could be a basis for delving into the ways that climate change impacts make it harder to be helpful (they do). But those attempts to establish a shared starting point among the SDGs has often not worked. I usually end up facing a version of the 'resistance driven by a preference for harmful misunderstanding', often framed as some version of 'evil wealth redistribution'. That harmful misunderstanding can also rear its ugly head when Carbon Fee and Rebate is being discussed or when the requirement for harm causing richer people to pay to help poorer people harmed by already caused climate changes (along with demands for more certain proof that harm has been done by the people being required to provide the assistance).

    It is indeed hard to help people improve their awareness and understanding regarding the required corrections of what has developed in order to limit harmful climate change impacts. It is harder to do that for the compendium of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Keep up the Good Work. Every person's impacts Add Up.

  6. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    wilddouglascounty, I chuckled when I read your response. Yes, 25 years was needed to push our design ideas through the resistant building market.

    What we bought 25 years ago is an 80-acre wilderness preserve, dominated by wetlands (that's why we could afford it), with prairie knolls and about 15 wooded acres. Our land sits on a divide, so we interact with two watershed districts as well as the state Department of Natural Resources. We had a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to do restoration work on our land.

    We would build our house on a knoll we created, and the water would drain right back into the wetlands. Our land is alredy part of a major green corridor, and we have deer, bear, otter, all manner of birds, etc., in addition to other species. We have Blandings Turtles on our property, and we currently hold the world record for finding the largest Blandings turtle nest (23 eggs).

    So yes, we are trying to do the "right" thing, and we are trying to build a house that blends into the surroundings and compliments it rather than dominates it. If we build, we will use the methods we'll employ as teaching tools to help others understand how to build for the future.

    When most new American homes have 3 or 4 car garages, we designed our house with a 2-car garage, that is a tuckunder design so that the garage is withing the heating envelope of the house. We therefore use geothermal heat to keep the EV warm in the winter, rather than directly heating the car before using it, as we would in an unheated garage, or sitting outside as it does now. The garage also doubles as a workshop/recreational area. The house is not small by international standards (180 m2 footprint), but there is no separate garage footprint. I also work from home, so the house serves as a workplace. Because we will occupy it starting in our 60's, we designed for wheelchair accessibility. That also causes things to get larger.

    I can sit and justify building a new house, but in the end, it pains me to be building something. I wish our current house was more readily fixable, but after 25 years, it is still a knock-down house (by the way, it is 48 m2 not 24 m2 as I incorrectly put in my first comment).

  7. wilddouglascounty at 02:04 AM on 9 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Congratulations!  And by waiting 25 years, you have a clearer picture of what you're going to need now and will be employing people with jobs that are needed to make whatever transition we can muster. If I can suggest some "reconnecting" strategies to your new abode, it would be to follow the slope of your yard to the nearest creek, then introduce yourself to your local watershed basin, creating green corridors whenever possible to link up your land with native habitat, and learn the local cycles and nurture them whenever possible. They are already changing but if you don't know what they are, you won't be able to help nurture them through the inevitable additional changes ahead. And it's a two way street: the life in the land will help those who are listening and helping the land to survive those changes.

    It's not too late to continue the fight, it's not too late to help the planet adapt to the changes ahead, and by doing so, we might learn enough to save ourselves. We humans think with a laser-like focus, but when we start paying attention to the rest of the fabric of life that clothes our planet, our task gets easier. It's easier to light a room by opening the drapes rather than trying to make things out with a laser. 

  8. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    wilddouglascounty "where is the evidence that it is not too late"?

    Nobody will ever say, "It is too late." But does Fig. 2 look like a rational scenario? I cannot bring myself to write that it is too late, so what I do instead is to show what we've done and what we need to do, in broad strokes, to stabilize the climate. Fig. 2 and Table 1 are not even as ambitious as the official Net Zero by 2050 goal, and even they seem implausible.

    And here is where I'm stuck. My wife and I live in a knock-down house that we bought 25 years ago in our youth, with the idea of building a new house "some day". Now we are in our 60's, and this is "some day". Rebuilding our knock-down house (24 m2 foundation) would be challenging and likely would not survive past our lives, due to building codes that could not be met when we pass it on. So we are looking at building a new house. This means carbon expense. If we build, we are paying the extra money to build a strong house so that it will survive future storms. We will pay the extra money for geothermal HVAC and not use fossil-fuel heating at all. Good things. But I know that as good as we're trying to be, it likely represents an unsustainable carbon footprint.

    What do I do? We are genuinely trying to live lives consistent with my writing, but it is really hard. So your message about promoting sustainable lifestyles rings true to me. In our house we designed we built in a root cellar to store fresh food, and we are designing a large garden. The idea is to buy local in bulk and store fruits and veggies, and to grow what we can. I think that part of reducing consumption is people spending more of their liesure time growing what food they can and getting back to cooking from basic ingredients.

    So I like your idea very much of reconnecting our homes to the planet. :-)

  9. wilddouglascounty at 01:07 AM on 9 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    So we get back to this situation: where is the evidence that it is not too late, and what real alternatives exist to the "spilling people's drinks" as the only criteria we are capable of implementing as individuals, as businesses, as governments, as a species?

    I fail to see anything in this discussion that reaches beyond this, which you probably agree with. The primary dynamic driving reduced population grown seems to be by increasing consumption, unfortunately, and knocking off the rich seems pretty unlikely since they are the drivers of misinformation in our global culture, let alone the beneficiaries of consumption, so not sure how that will work.

    Don't get me wrong: I firmly believe that we should do everything we can to implement a degrowth strategy: increase the cost of carbon emissions, get renewables to replace fossil fuels, not just compete with them, reduce consumption patterns, elect politicians committed to implementing policies that will increase the pace of the shift, and so on, but from what I can tell, we will be fortunate to just get better at spilling drinks, not slamming on the breaks.

    I have spent most of my life promoting sustainable lifestyles, and think that one of the best things folks can do is to look at an even bigger picture: learn as much as they can about the local seasons and cycles of life in the ecosystems they are a part of in order to nurture its health and enable it to survive the bottleneck we are all going through. Aware or not, we are dependent at the capillary level of existence to these parts of our landscape, and if we focused on meeting our needs more by nurturing that relationship, we can actually live more fullfilling lives, reduce our consumption patterns, reduce GGE, and be a significant part of something greater than ourselves in a very visceral, non-abstract way. Reconnecting ourselves and our homes to the planet seems like a silly thing to suggest, but nothing will work in the long run if this isn't part of the equation.

  10. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    J4zonian@45 thanks for your comments. If we remove the 10% wealthiest people in the world, we are still left with 50% of the emissions. That, in itself, is still a climate catastrophe. Yes, the rich consume more. But the people below them still live lifestyles that are not sustainable.

    When you say that population growth has been slowing in all groups for 50 years, how do you reconcile that with the numbers that show population growth has been nearly steady at 80,000,000 people/yr for the last 50 years?

    I don't doubt that the IPAT equation can be misleading, and I agree that the problem is more complicated because of the distribution of wealth across different sectors of the economy. But I think it broadly shows the relationships and Fig. 2 in this post suggests that at least for the last 100 years, there is a strong relationship between global population and CO2 accumulation rates. Professionaly I work with distributions, so that I understand the difference between an integrated approach from an approach that analyzes effects group by group. But as an engineer I also respect that there are often overall relationships that hold as long as the characteristics of the underlying distributions remain roughly constant. I don't understand Fig. 2 completely, but I consider it very interesting that for the last 100 years there has been some kind of constancy in modern civilization that has CO2 accumulation rates being proportional to global population. Whatever the details, it is frightening.

    What's odd is that when I write that we need to consume less, some argue that we cannot push for degrowth. When I write that it is partly a population problem (each person is a carbon emitter), people argue that it is not a general population problem and that the rich contribute more, and ...

    So let's agree that the problem is a combination of consumption+population. If wealthy people consumed less and if population stabilized so that global growth stopped, we would likely be much better off.

    For the record, I respect Kevin Anderson's work and follow him closely. I'm familiar with the arguments you make as one's that he champions, and even the title of this post is taken from one of his talks.

  11. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Climate catastrophe & the larger ecological crisis is overwhelmingly a consumption problem (caused by a psychological problem) not a population problem. The only ones causing harm are the rich. The only ones growing in numbers are the poor. Population growth in all groups has been slowing for 50 years. Rational population solutions that will be effective in the time we have (9 years) don't exist, but decline in population itself is virtually inevitable as births keep leveling off and death rates rise from the worsening eco-psychological crisis. 

    Chancel and Piketty note, just 10% of the global population is responsible for around 50% of global emissions.
    Kevin Anderson http://kevinanderson.info/blog/a-succinct-account-of-my-view-on-individual-and-collective-action/

    I make some of the same points with references in this discussion: https://climatecrocks.com/2020/06/11/ayana-elizabeth-johnson-will-the-ocean-run-out-of-fish/comment-page-1/#comment-115823

     

    The Oxfam Shroom

    IPAT is misleading because it assumes every human is an average human. To be accurate & helpful a separate IPAT equation would need to be run on every economic and other group.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Links activated.

    The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

  12. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan @43, yes getting to net zero is hugely challenging whichever way you look at it. Do we have the political will? Doesn't look like it:

    www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/16/down-to-earth-joe-biden-climate

  13. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    nigelj, I agree that 90% degrowth would cause massive disruption. No question about it. And I'm not saying that is what's needed. I don't know. I am only suggesting that a combination of new technology with lowered consumption is needed. But getting to Net Zero is HUGELY challenging.

    What I show in Fig. 2 is not what is referred to as Net Zero in the media. Fig. 2 shows Net Zero Accumulation. What is broadly referred to in the media is Net Zero Emissions, which is more challenging than Net Zero Accumulation, and would result in atmospheric CO2 concentrations decreasing. What I show in Fig. 2 and in Table 1 only shows atmospheric CO2 concentrtions stabilizing.

    And we don't have 30 years to do that, but 28. Time flies.

    At some point 1.5C will be beyond reach. Then at some point 2C will be beyond reach. If either of these are still within reach today, in 2022, they will only be achieved by revolutionary adjustments to how we live and do business.

    Do we have the political will to do that?

  14. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan @41, I broadly agree with your comments and your articles. I'm just interested in the implications of a degrowth agenda (reductions in gdp growth and consumption) . I'm not a particularly high consumer myself and I have already hugely reduce how much I fly.

    I'm looking more at the big picture, and the very ambitious degrowth agendas some people have proposed (eg: 90% cuts in energy use within a decade or two) and I'm pointing out the implications are hugely problematic and much bigger than what these people seem to realise and could be worse than the actual climate problem. Obviously we could get some cuts in consumption without significant problems, but not 90% done at speed or anything remotely like that. 

    To put things in perspective the great depression of the 1930s involved a big degrowth, an economic contraction, (or cuts in consumption if you prefer,) of 50% at the worst point and this lead to 25% unemployment and dire poverty with no end in sight, ie the trend was accelerating into an unstoppable downwards spiral due to a feedback effect. It took The New Deal together to WW2 to fix the problem. This level of economic contraction is more than spilling a few drinks.

    I'm not sure we can risk that again, even if there was a public desire for such levels of degrowth which seems unlikely. Our civilisation is based on high levels of consumption and all our jobs depend on it and unwinding this is going to be very difficult if its even possible.

    I'm also not persuaded we actually need such high levels of degrowth / reductions in consumption. It seems intuitively obvious we could fix the climate problem largely with a programme to develop renewables etc,etc, with absolute cuts to consumption that are fairly moderate. We still have about 30 years to get to net zero. If we delay any longer then yes we will be needing bigger and bigger cuts in consumption to the point it becomes politically untenable, and creating a high risk of economic system collapse and mass unemployment as demand is sucked out of the economy at huge scale. 

     

  15. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    nigelj@40, sorry for not directly dealing with your good question.

    "The point I'm making is rapid and substantial degrowth would likely cause problems as described."

    I don't disagree. But the situation is this. We are racing to a brick wall not just at high speeds, but accelerating towards this brick wall. And we are discussing if we will spill people's drinks in the car if we step on the brakes.

    What I am trying to bring out in these posts is that society is so far out of control, that we need to start putting on the brakes as hard as possible. We will spill many drinks. Nothing short of that will have any chance of achieving Net Zero. What we are essentially saying by what you note (which I don't disagree with) is that because people will only vote for policies that maintain something like the status quo, we must prioritize an orderly slow-down. Which means that we will focus on stabilizing the climate, but not at any particulate level. We will encourage pallatable policies, and just see where it lands us. In other words, we will apply the brakes so as not to spill any drinks, and just see how long the car takes to stop.

    That is really what we're doing and will likely continue to do. But we have to try to do better.

  16. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan @39, I didnt suggest we just wait for economic growth to slow naturally. I suggested the economy could be deliberately made to contract at moderate rates. The point I'm making is rapid and substantial degrowth would likely cause problems as described. Any disagreement?

    There are three main variables: 1)population trends, 2) growth / consumption trends and 3) type of energy being used. I would say its very difficult changing population and consumption trends dramatically for multiple reasons. Its really mostly about a new energy grid, transport and negative emissions technologies. They are going to be hard work but easier than altering population growth rates and consumption levels. 

  17. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    nigelj@37, I get your point when you write "Degrowth is also obviously inevitable to some degree sooner or later." But the problem is that we will blow past any climate-stabilization limits far before we run into material shortages. Unlike a limited food supply that will limit the population of rabbits, there are no limits that I'm aware of that will prevent us from raising Earth's temperature to dangerous levels. Look at Fig. 1. Not only is the Keeling Curve accelerating upwards, but it appears that the acceleration might be increasing (prooving this likely requires more data than is available). The only thing that will avert a crisis is government assistance/intervention. People may fall in line if responsible leaders take the lead, but no amount of messaging will ever be enough, and natural limits are unlikely to save us.

  18. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    swampfoxh, yes, I support switching to vegan/vegetarian diets, and yes, I agree that we should be talking about it. But IMO the top priority should still be electing leaders who will push through climate legislation, because the low-hanging fruit is still switchng from fossil fuels to renewables. So far, nothing we've done has affected the trajectory of the Keeling Curve. So we need to push for leaders who will lead on climate.

    Of course, individuals are always free to construct their diet as they please, so I certainly agree with the messaging that a vegan/vegetarian diet is another way to decarbonize.

  19. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    I have some comments on this "degrowth" idea. Degrowth can be defined in two parts. Firstly a reduction in rates of economic growth to zero growth. And secondly negative growth which is essentially a reduction in consumption levels. But lets just call them both degrowth for simplicity sake.

    Degrowth has multiple consequences. It usefully reduces environmental pressures but it can also cause personal hardship, economic recession / depressions and cause poverty and job losses. This is basic economics. Also refer to the writings of the anthropologist Joseph Tainter. Obviously this depends on how much degrowth and how fast and there is probably a rate of degrowth that the economy can adapt to ( and which I think is desirable) but if you go beyond this the entire economy could collapse quite severely.

    Japan has had very low rates of economic growth for decades ( and is doing ok as a society). It looks like we could live with something like zero economic growth, phased in slowly, although I believe poor countries have to be allowed to grow. More rapid and substantial degrowth could be problematic.

    Degrowth is also obviously inevitable to some degree sooner or later, because the planets resources are finite and there is huge population pressure on them. Rates of economic growth have been falling steadily in developed countries over the last 50 years from about 6% to about 2.5%, driven by resource scarcity and demographics and market saturation (according to the experts). But deliberately engineering degrowth is another matter, and would obviously not be an election winning policy. If degrowth happens at a moderate pace as a consequence or side effect of carbon taxes that would be ideal.

  20. One Planet Only Forever at 08:22 AM on 8 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan,

    Here are some thoughts that I believe are fairly closely aligned with the points made by plincoln24, and builds on points presented in my earlier comments.

    It is likely that what is seen in Figure 2 is the result of the limited success of efforts to identify and increase awareness of harmful developments. And that leads to the awareness and understanding that significant correction of what has been developed is required to limit the climate change harm so that sustainable improvements can be developed. It also leads to understanding that harmful popular and profitable developments can be expected to powerfully resist being corrected and limited.

    I prefer to say something like ‘correction of harmful development’. Degrowth is too generic. I understand that undoing harmful developments at the pace required to limit harm done to future generations could result in reductions of measures used to track economic progress like GDP. But that indicates that the measure of economic progress failed to properly account for harm done because they are ‘externalities to the money math that are hard to precisely monetize’. They would be negatives if they were monetized.

    I have been looking for a specific reference, but have not found ‘the one document’. My perspective and understanding is based on many evidence-based presentations of understanding. The 2020 Human Development Report comes to mind as a comprehensive presentation that supports a lot, but maybe not all, of my current understanding.

    I will start with a positive comment.

    When less harmful ways of doing things are perceived to be more beneficial or desirable the Marketplaces, including the marketplace of public opinion (increased awareness and popularity), can be helpful. Collective and collaborative societies are also marketplaces. But the majority of global marketplaces, including dictatorships and non-capitalist societies, are more competitive than collaborative or cooperative marketplaces.

    There have been instances when the competitive marketplaces developed less harmful replacements for more harmful developments without formal Government Intervention. The marketplace can self-govern by collectively and collaboratively identifying and correcting harmful developments. But the fact that Government Intervention has been required to limit harm done by so many developments indicates that there are Harmful Errors in the major developed Systems, especially as pursuits of profit grow beyond regional family businesses.

    Significant helpful Government Intervention in the marketplace competitions for perceptions of superiority have limited the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Those interventions, like imposing requirements for improved fuel efficiency, have kept the harm done by human developments lower than would otherwise have developed. But the harm continues to add up because there is powerful resistance to those helpful interventions.

    Some people harmfully resist, rather than helpfully support, helpful government intervention that would correct or limit harmful developments. The resistance can be more powerful if the intervention would correct harmful popular beliefs (misunderstandings) and/or restrict or stop harmful activities that are beneficial (profitable) for some people to the detriment of the ability to others to live at least a basic decent life. That resistance has kept the CO2 levels increasing rather than levelling off. And part of that resistance has been the fight against actions like Carbon Fee and Rebate (best if rebated only to the middle income and below).

    Misleading marketing develops and sustains harmful lack of awareness and harmful misunderstanding. Limiting (ideally ending) harmful misunderstandings and related actions that harm future generations and harm less fortunate people today is a massive challenge. It requires:

    • identification of what is harmful
    • increased awareness of the harm done
    • understanding of the need for many higher status people, and those who aspire to be like them, to give up the harmful developments, including harmfully obtained percepti0ons of status, in order to develop what is required.

    A particularly challenging requirement is for all leadership competitors to lead the efforts to not be harmfully misleading. Giving up the potential power and competetive advantage that can be obtained by developing and sustaining harmful misunderstandings is a challenge. It requires many higher status people to accept some loss of unjustified perceptions of status. And that is where misleading marketing is really harmful. Marketing science has developed tremendous understanding about how easily people can be tempted to harmfully misunderstand things when they perceive that they are personally going to benefit or lose. The potential harmfulness of their misunderstanding and related actions will easily become less of a concern for them than their ‘gut-reaction - instinctive’ perception of personal benefit or loss.

    The focus of SkS on raising awareness of harmful misunderstandings and misleading marketing regarding climate change impacts is very helpful. But it is hard work because many people are powerfully motivated to misunderstand climate science because of the identified loses of perceptions of personal benefit that are now needed, more than were needed before, to limit the harm done to 1.5C. The push to continue developing in the harmful direction through the past 30 years, especially by the higher status supposed leaders has made it even harder to achieve that fair limit of harm done to the future of humanity.

    Because of the lack of reduction of harm done by the richest through the past 30 years, and the continued resistance to correction by many of them today, an increasingly dramatic loss of status is required, as indicated in Figure 2.

    Human history is tragically full of examples of massive harm done by sub-sets of the population before a large enough collective collaborates to effectively limit the misunderstandings motivating the incessant harmful pursuits of perceptions of superiority.

  21. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    I should point out that we see very little traffic in scientific literature on the subject of Animal Ariculture's impact on the environment.  I would have thought that knocking off 30% to 50%, perhaps more, of the global greehouse gas emissions currently being pumped into the atmosphere would draw considerable attention.  Please offer me your suspicions on why the narrative about livestock seems not to arrive at the surface of the discourse on Scep/Sci? 

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] You have asserted numbers similar to this more than once recently.When I look at the most recent IPCC report, I see discussions of methane, N2O, CO2 that include agricultural inputs, so I don't know where you get the "little traffic" argument from.

    Perhaps you could start by posting some references/sources for the numbers you are throwing out.

  22. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan, plincoln24

    You have considered reduced consuption as a policy that might positively reduce the GGE problem.  Thus, might you support the elimination of Industrial Animal Agriculture (IAA)?  There is already a suitable, adequate and immediaty available, alternate, food supply that can replace meat.  Plants.  Livestock enterprises contribute only 1.5% to the Global Value of Goods and Services (Gross Global Product). 1.5%  is virtully negligible,  and easily replaced by the growing of plant foods for humans.  IAA emits at least 31% of total global GHG emissions while having an outsized deleterious effect on the environment.  There are only about a million animal farmers in the U.S.  They are, numbers-wise, an unimportant  interest group and are only a small handful of voters.  Current livestock farmers could be persuaded to abandon the livestock business through a buyout program where they agree to abandon this industry in favor of a "Eco-Ranger" (government) subsidy that promotes land re-conversion to non-livestock uses, the regeneration of wild animal species, returning former domestic farm animal acreage into forest and riparian zones, and so forth.   Any interest in this topic being assessed alongside Fossil Fuels? 

  23. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    @ Evan: You wrote "I hope we agree that reduced consumption must be part of the solution if we are to achieve the ambitious goals of stabilizing the climate, whenever that occurs, and at whatever level that occurs." We agree.

    I am interested to see that upcoming post where you write about the non impacts of the renewable energy on the keeling curve.

  24. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    plincoln24, thanks for your detailed responses. I also like the idea of a carbon tax as you described. I could respond to your detailed discussion, but I am basically in agreement with all that you say.

    One of the most natural ways to reduce GHG emissions is to reduce consumption. It is better not to consume than to try to consume using low-carbon methods. There is another angle where this becomes important. In an upcoming post I will show that the rise of renewable energy, to date, has had no effect on the upward acceleration of the Keeling Curve. The reason is simple. Renewable energy on its own does nothing to reduce GHG emissions. Only switching from fossil-fuel energy to renewable energy will reduce emissions. Apparently renewables are growing alongside fossil fuels and not replacing them. Because renewable energy is currently supplementing fossil fuels, and have not replaced them in any significant measure (speaking from a global, total integration perspective), people can hasten the transition from fossil fuels to renewables by consuming less, because presumably any decreased consumption will directly reduce fossil-fuel usage without changing the level of renewables, simply because renewables are currently only supplementing fossil-fuel energy.

    I hope we agree that reduced consumption must be part of the solution if we are to achieve the ambitious goals of stabilizing the climate, whenever that occurs, and at whatever level that occurs.

  25. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    @Evan,

    I don't see that I can edit my post.

    I wrote " I get the since that it is counterproductive for me to try to sell the degrowth concept at the local level, the national level or even at the EU level".

    Since should have been sense. Sorry for the error.

  26. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    @Evan

    This is a response to comment number 11 which you posted in response to my comments about En-ROADS.

    You wrote "Without splitting hairs, what I am trying to show is the challenges that lay ahead. I understand the definitions to which you're referring, but people cannot, on their own, monitor our progress to Net-Zero Emissions. They can monitor our approach to Net-Zero Accumulation by following Table 1. I am trying to help people learn how to monitor our progress."

    I think you are right that simply looking at Table 1.1 is better for members of the public.

    I am not familiar with the IEA report. I don't think that pushing for more consumption is the right way to solve our problem. I wish En-ROADS included a lever that has policy that creates degrowth. It doesn't, and I think that the lack of its inclusion is a sign of bias in the producers of the En-ROADS program. I think it would be a lot easier to achieve our climate obligations if we allowed for degrowth in the global economy. I in fact advocate for integrating degrowth into our climate solutions.  

    You write "Yes, I've read about how we can maintain "robust economic growth" in the IEA report. But that is a study, assuming the entire world follows their roadmap, and that everything works out as planned with the technology (NET systems at scale are still a plan, not reality). Reality is that absolutely nothing we've done, to date, has caused the Keeling Curve to deviate from its upward acceleration. If we keep telling people that we can keep increasing our consumption (i.e., growth) while stabilizing the Keeling Curve, we may miss this final opportunity to deal with climate crisis.

    Where I disagree with you is the use of the words, "in principle" and your reference to "pulling policy levers" I don't necessarily disagree with the models, scientifically and conceptually. I disagree that you can implement the models on 8 billion people spread across almost 200 countries."

    To this I say what we should be telling people is what we would say if we were being as honest as possible. I agree with you that we probably wont solve the climate crisis if we fail to implement degrowth. We should do that. But the reason we need to do it is not because it is physically impossible to have economic growth and solve the climate crisis simultaneously. The reason we should implement degrowth is because growth does not equate with well being and including degrowth in the plan increases the probability of success dramatically. 

    I have met a lot of resistance trying to convince politicians that degrowth should be part of their political platform. I have had more success trying to convince them that a high price on carbon should be. I get the since that it is counterproductive for me to try to sell the degrowth concept at the local level, the national level or even at the EU level. It seems like something that needs to be a global agreement, like a global price on carbon would be. I wrote to James Hansen with regards to my concerns about economic growth needing to be addressed and he wrote back that the size of the global economy could be restrained by placing a fee on energy consumption that rises with time as you approach how large you want the global economy to be and the fees could be paid back out to the public in the form of a dividend (much like the carbon fee in dividend). I like this idea, and if we are going to take such an approach, it makes most sense to introduce a fee on the energy consumption which is the worst (emissions) by introducing Carbon Fee and Dividend, and then when the public is ready for it, sell them on protecting nature from economic growth by taking the existing Carbon Fee and Dividend program and rolling out a generalized fee on all energy sources. In my mind we need to have success with selling the public on a global price on carbon on the order of hundreds of dollars per ton CO2 before moving on to economic growth. I am not sure why you think that the policies cannot be implemented on the 8 billion people of the globle. If you mean it is because it is politically impossible (politicians would never agree on it), then you might be right). I don't otherwise understand why you would say that the policies in En-ROADS cannot be implemented on 8 billion people. In some cases it is clear you could. One policy is a global ban on new coal infrastructure from a year of your choice such as 2025. Another policy is a precentage increase in electrication of transportation per year. This latter policy could be implemnted at different rates for different nations (depending on their situation) where the desired global average is maintained. Anyhow, I view James Hansen's suggestion of applying a fee to energy in general to be a powerful tool which would take care of most of kinks associated with getting a global agreement on limiting economic growth. There would be other details naturally. But that method doesn't make sense without placing a fees on the forms of energy which are worse for the environment first. You are free to respond. 

     

  27. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    I'm curious as to why this discussion revolved, largely, around GGEs from fossil fuels. Industrial Animal Agriculture's direct carbon footprint comes in around 31%. Its indirect footprint is variously estimated between 20% and higher numbers. On top of its footprint, we have to add in the environment damages which include deforestation, desertification, eutrophication and acidification of oceans, habitat loss, wild animal extinction, outsized fresh water use, land use conversions, human disease and disorders, especially cardiovascular...while consuming 85% of global crop tonnage, occupying 45% of arable land, while contributing only 1.5% to the gross global value of goods and services. Should not Industrial Animal Agriculture be targeted for elimination in the same manner as fossil fuels?

  28. michael sweet at 12:51 PM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Reuben Fraser:

    Here is a link to the 2021 Lazard study.

    I note that the cost of unsubsidized onshore wind is $25-50.  The low end is cheaper than all existing coal and nuclear and a portion of combined gas genertaion that has no mortgage.  You take the cost of existing nuclear power with no mortgage and compare it to new renewables with  a mortgage.  If they built out nuclear in Australia they would have to pay the mortgage and nuclear would be the most expensive energy.  I suggest you learn how to read your references.  I note that the price of gas has skyrocketed since the Lazard report was written.  Today renewable energy would be chepaer than gas generators with no mortgage.  The price of renewable energy does not change with the political winds like fossil fuels do.

    New build renewable energy is much cheaper than all other new build electricity sources.  We see that world wide few fossil or nuclear power plants are being started.  The cheapest power is produced from renewable energy. 

    It is possible for renewable energy to provide all the needed energy for the world, you have just not informed yourself.  Connelly et al 2020 describe how to build an all renewable energy system for Europe.  Many other all renewable energy systems have been proposed.

    The abundance of carbon in the universe does not relate to the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    The IAEA increases their projections of how much renewable energy will be built in the future every year.  They overestimate the amount of fossil energy that will be built.

  29. Reuben Fraser at 11:52 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    The goal of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 is impossible, as it violates the most fundamental laws of the universe. For example, Carbon the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Carbon's abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life. It is the second most abundant element in the human body by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon

    The goal of Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 is as impossible, if not more so, than was the Marxist goal to abolish private property.

    I write this not because I am a so-called "Denier" that there is Climate Change, and nor am I opposed to action on Climate Change. But I do believe it is extremely important to be realistic about what can be achieved, in order to develop achievable public policies.

    For example, In 2021 a Lazard study of unsubsidized electricity said that the median cost of fully deprecated existing coal power was $42/MWh, nuclear $29/MWh and gas $24/MWh. The study estimated offshore wind at around $83/MWh and utility-scale solar power was around $36/MWh.

    The International Energy Agency said in 2021 that under its "Net Zero by 2050" scenario solar power would contribute about 20% of worldwide energy consumption, and solar would be the world's largest source of electricity.

    However, both solar and wind are variable (VRE)/intermittent (IRES) energy sources, and therefore are limited in the extent to which they can replace non-renewables due to their fluctuating nature: i.e. at night time solar must be replaced by other power sources; and likewise, wind must be replaced during low wind periods.

    Nuclear $29/MWh has almost zero carbon emissions, and Australia where I am from has an estimated 40% of the world's uranium. However, there is almost zero support in Australia for switching to nuclear, in large part because countries with nuclear power like the U.S., U.K. and France don't want to provide us in Australia with the nuclear technology required, as they are against the spread of nuclear technology.

    If Australia was to invest in sufficient nuclear power to provide not only our present electricity needs, but also enough to power electric cars as well, then it would require a huge amount of money to replace our coal power stations with nuclear power stations, and take about 15 to 20 years to build. But that is the cheapest possible way for us to reduce our carbon emissions, and it would only reduce our carbon emissions by about 50%. It is therefore the wisest thing we can do as a country and gives us the best chance of reducing our emissions.

    Even by doing the above switch to nuclear, we would certainly not get anywhere near Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050, because to reiterate that goal is impossible.

  30. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Michael Sweet @ 24/25 :

    Care to swap brothers-in-law ?

    Electrofuels ~ I will have to remember that term.  It seems the best bet for large scale storage, once the marginal price gets low.

  31. michael sweet at 10:46 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Eclectic:

    ps: My brother installed solar panels on his roof and bought an electric car.  He doesn't care what the price of gas is!!

  32. michael sweet at 10:44 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Eclectic:

    I think we basicly agree on the generalities. 

    The key for the next ten years is to build out wind and solar energy as rapidly as possible.  Convert all cars and most other transportation to battery electric.  80% of electricity can be generated using wind and solar with fossil natural gas as storage using existing gas generators.  Electric storage can be built as needed.  Convert all heating and cooling to heat pumps (cooling is already mostly done with heat pumps).   Connelly et al 2020 suggest that all storage can eventualy be electrofuels made for heavy industry and generating peak power when renewable sources are low.

    It will be interesting to see if Europe (and the USA) decide to build out more renewable energy to get out from their dependance on Russian gas and oil.

  33. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Michael Sweet @20 :   Quite right, the hydrocarbons are a wicked problem.   The FF hydrocarbons have their 84%  of total energy because they are cheap and very convenient (plus legacy low-technology).

    As you say, crops grown specifically for biodiesel/gasoline are unjustifiable.

    Yet there may be room for biological waste material to be fermented and/or hi-tech enzymatically converted into suitable fuels.   I haven't followed the latest developments ~ last I heard, some pilot plants could produce "oil" at $200 per barrel.   Even allowing for initial enthusiastic hype . . . how practical & economic would it be to scale up such processes?    OTOH, hi-tech CO2 capture & conversion may have a place in the middling future, when the world is really awash in superfluous solar (PV) energy.   We can hope !

    As you know, the liquid hydrocarbon fuels are so very useful in many small areas, where their compactness, light weight, easy storage, and overall convenience give them a big tick of approval.   And even in 50 years' time, the hydrocarbons will still be on target for "large niche" areas of aircraft and shipping and heavy machinery.

    The (renewable) hydrocarbons will become a luxury fuel at a luxury price.   At twice or more the current price, they will still be affordable when viewed against the overall costs of ships, jetplanes, etcetera.

    The short-term political problem remains . . . e.g. my brother-in-law almost faints when gasoline goes up 10 cents.   Quite irrational : but it's a widespread emotional response . . . and which affects votes.

  34. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    OPOF, agree with your assessments of what might have been driving early GHG emissions. However you slice it, it is remarkable that we've been on this straight line for about 100 years.

  35. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    nigelj@17, yes, "if people reduce their consumption of fossil fuels" then wonderful things might happen. But so far, fossil fuel use is increasing each year. Figure 2 is based on a sufficiently long time period to pretty solidly suggest that when averaged out, population is a key driver. That is all I'm really trying to say. What we are trying to do is to move off of that fundamental curve. There is lots of talk about how easily we'll be able to do it, but so far we are still solidly on it.

  36. michael sweet at 07:01 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Eclectic at 10:

    The problem with hydrocarbons from renewable energy is that hydrocarbons are a completely wasteful use of energy.  That generally means that making hdrocarbons from renewable  energy will be expensive.  Connelly et al 2020 (summarized at SkS here)  (free similar paper) describe the steps to have a 100% renewble all energy economy.  They use methane for storage and for powering those parts of the economy that cannot be converted to electricity.  Generating the power to make the hydrocarbons needed is one of the most expensive parts of converting the entire economy to renewable energy.  Hydrocarbons are very cheap to store (as much as 1,000 times cheaper than batteries) which offsets their high cost.

    There are two ways to get renewable hydrofuels from renewable electricity.  You can capture CO2 from the air (this uses energy).  Than you use electricity to get hydrogen from water.  Then you convert the hydrogen and CO2 into hydrocarbons.  You lose about 30% or more of the energy during this step.  Burning the hydrocarbons you only get back about 20-40% of the energy stored in the hydrocarbons.  Net you only get about 5-25 joules of useful energy from every 100 joules of input electricity (common uses like cars are nearer to 5%).  If you put the energy into car batteries and than run the car you get about 90 useful joules of energy from inputting 100 joules of energy.  Converting everything possible to electricity saves so much energy that hydrocarbons are ony economic for purposes that cannot be converted into electric power like marine transport (some people propose using ammonia to power marine transport.  Ammonia has the same issues as hydrocarbons.)

    You can also get hydrocarbons by electrolysis of carbon containing materials like forest waste.  That takes less energy than converting CO2 into hydrocarbons.  The supply of plant waste is limited and it is still much more expensive than electricity so using electricity instead of hydrocarbons is more economic.

    Fuels like biodiesel made from plant oils use too much land that is needed to raise food, although every little bit helps.

  37. One Planet Only Forever at 06:46 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan,

    Deforestation and other land use changes may also have been much higher 'per capita' in those earlier years of development.

  38. michael sweet at 06:30 AM on 7 March 2022
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #9 2022

    Recently someone who was questioning climate science claimed that they used to think climate change was a big problem but they learned that the problem was much smaller than scientists had predicted.  They said both sides exaggerate.

    About a week ago the IPCC released a new report about the consequences of climate change.  This Guardian article documents that the changes caused by current climate change are much worse than scientists predicted.  I have noticed several times in the past that posters come to SkS and say they used to think cimate change was bad but they learned that it was not as bad as scientists predicted.  Perhaps that line needs to be added as an argument to the list of skeptics arguments.

    My understanding of the situation is that the changes in temperature are very close to the predictions of climate science.  The changes in weather extremes, wildfire, floods droughts and other weather related disasters have been much worse than scientists predicted.

    I am currently 63.  I have a strong recollection from 2014 when AR5 was released by the IPCC and I read the projected problems.  I wondered if those problems would be obvious to everyone during my lifetime (I expect to live to be about 85).  Many of the problems projected in 2014 are being realized now.  Examples include the wildfires worldwide, massive droughts like the one in the American West, floods like those last week in Australia, worldwide coral bleaching, sunny day flooding from sea level rise.   

    Those claiming that scientists exaggerated the problem are simply repeating the lies of the fossil fuel lobby.

  39. One Planet Only Forever at 06:28 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan,

    Part of the reason for the observed result could be that the intensity of emissions per person may have been very high when inefficient coal burning was driving industrial advancement.

    But, the potentially revolutionary understanding is that this is the first time in history that we are seeing undeniable evidence of the need to shift away from the historic human development behaviour of competition for perceptions of superiority relative to others, with everyone striving to live more like the people who are seen to be higher-status based on measures of material consumption or material possession.

    The higher status people being higher harm producing per person is likely the root of the problem.

  40. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan @14

    Something seems wrong in your analysis. The population versus atmospheric emissions growth trend is dependent on a population using fossil fuels. So if people reduce their consumption of fossil fuels ( and all other things stay equal) emissions must drop, and atmospheric CO2 reduces eventually. Since rich people consume more fossil fuels they are contributing to more of the problem. Isn't all that simple logic?

    Although I'm rather doubtful that rich people will cut their emissions very much by simply reducing their levels of consumption (  eg turning down the heater to low, or giving away all their assets). They will buy things like electric cars and insulate their houses. So the biggest lever we have to mitigate the problem is still probably renewable energy and negative emissions technology, as per your conclusions elsewhere.

  41. Doug Bostrom at 06:00 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    To the above I'll add that yesterday without bothering to consult the general population the US congress ruled out an embargo on Russian fossil fuel imports to the United States, because "higher gas prices." 

    This helps to set our expectations with regard to dealing with climate change. 

  42. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan @7. Thank's. Your explanation is convincing. The facts are sometimes depressing. People just have to deal with that.

  43. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    OPOF@13, points noted. But at the same time, this is why Fig. 2 is so astounding. Something is working itself out in the system to produce CO2 accumulation rates that simply scale with population. I understand what you're saying, but it's not clear to me how much it matters. Even if you neglect the top 10% of emitters, you are still left with a completely unsustainable problem.

    And of course 100 years ago there was also a distribution of emitters: rich, middle class, those aspiring to rise to the middle class. What Fig. 2 is suggesting is that it may work itself out in the averages.

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 04:34 AM on 7 March 2022
    Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Evan,

    In my comment @13 on your earlier post “The problem of growth in a finite world” I point out that the "Emissions = Population x GDP/capita x Energy/GDP x Emissions/Energy” can make it difficult to see the important need for superiority and advancement to be recognized as "reduced energy use per person" and "reduced harm done by the energy that is used" (because any use of technologically produced energy has the potential to produce harmful results).

    I also point out that, since everybody’s actions add up, that presentation is a potentially misleading sub-set of the overall issue of the clearer simpler presentation that: "Total Harmful Impacts = The sum of the harmful impacts attributable to each person".

    That leads to understanding that there will be a diversity of degrees and types of harm that would be hidden by averaging the impacts of a group of people.

    The following series of recent articles in The Guardian point out how important it is to recognize the different levels of impact, and how harmful it is for the people perceived to be superior or more advanced to be more harmful than the average rather than leading the pursuit of sustainable development which requires leadership towards reduction of harmful ways of obtaining personal benefit and enjoyment.

    ‘Carbon footprint gap’ between rich and poor expanding, study finds (Feb 4, 2022)

    This article identifies the key point that 'from 2010 to 2015' the wealthiest have become more harmful.

    “In 2010, the most affluent 10% of households emitted 34% of global CO2, while the 50% of the global population in lower income brackets accounted for just 15%. By 2015, the richest 10% were responsible for 49% of emissions against 7% produced by the poorest half of the world’s population.”

    That means that if everyone alive in 2010 developed to live as harmfully as the top 10% did just under 30% of the 2010 global population (6.922 billion) = 2 billion, would produce the total global impacts of 2010.

    If everyone alive in 2015 developed to live as harmfully as the top 10% did just over 20% of the 2015 global population (7.348 billion) = 1.5 billion, would produce the total global impacts of 2015.

    The article also points out that in 2015 the top 1% contributed 15.3% of global CO2 emissions (and the top 0.1% caused 4.5%). If everybody alive in 2015 developed to live as harmfully as the top 1% did then just over 6.5% of the 2015 global population, 0.065 of 7.348 billion = 480 million people would produce the total global impacts of 2015. And it would be worse if people developed to live like the top 0.1%. That spoils swampfoxh’s hope that a 500 million global population “removes both the GHG emissions problem and the terrestrial damage events fostered by human activity”.

    Also note that global emissions in 2010 were 41.8 Gt CO2 equivalent. The 2015 total was 44.4 Gt. So, to maintain the global total emissions impact at 2010 levels, the number of people living like the top 10% did in 2015 would be 1.4 billion.

    And those evaluations are to maintain the 2010 and 2015 levels of accumulating harm done.

    Since everyone has the right to aspire to live like the ones who are perceived to be the highest status, and it is foolish to pretend that that is not the case, the problem can be seen to be the example set by the way that the top 10% live.

    The way that the top 10% lived in 2010 was already unsustainable. And the top 10% were even worse in 2015. If that “advancement trajectory” is not reversed there will be no sustainable future for humanity.

    This is indeed a very challenging understanding. It leads to recognizing that the higher energy consuming 5G communication technology is a harmful leap further away from sustainable living.

    The richest 10% produce about half of greenhouse gas emissions. They should pay to fix the climate (Dec 7, 2021)

    Includes: “Let’s first look at the facts: 10% of the world’s population are responsible for about half of all greenhouse gas emissions, while the bottom half of the world contributes just 12% of all emissions. This is not simply a rich versus poor countries divide: there are huge emitters in poor countries, and low emitters in rich countries.”

    ‘Luxury carbon consumption’ of top 1% threatens 1.5C global heating limit (Nov 5, 2021)

    Includes: “The carbon dioxide emissions of the richest 1% of humanity are on track to be 30 times greater than what is compatible with keeping global heating below 1.5C, new research warns, as scientists urge governments to “constrain luxury carbon consumption” of private jets, megayachts and space travel.”

    A version of Carbon Fee and Rebate would help solve the problem. But it would need to be based on understanding the need for ‘progressive penalties’ for harmful ways of living. The richer a person is the more they should be penalized per-unit of harmful impact. A crude way to do that is a Carbon Fee and Rebate program that only rebates the total collected to the middle and lower income portion of the population. A more refined method would be progressive rebates of the collected fees that are higher for lower income people. That method would avoid concerns about ‘costing the middle and lower income people’. It would be easy to show that the middle and lower income people actually benefit from the program. A higher Carbon Fee and resulting higher total collected for Refund would be better for them. There would be no need to slowly increase the carbon fee. It could statrt at $200 per tonne. Admittedly, the irresponsible among the middle and lower income portion of the population may only break even. And the grossly irresponsible would lose a little. But those who resist learning to change how they live to be less harmful have to face a consequence. And the richer they are the less excuse they have for being more harmfully irresponsible.

  45. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Eclectic

    I had in mind: The collision between emissions producing a somewhat higher than 3.0C, the terrestrial damage already, and yet to be done, and the size of the global population will winnow itself out in a general catastrophe similar in scope to the very early End Triassic or perhaps the early End Paleocene extinction events. The population is likely to fall back to around 500 million which removes both the GHG emissions problem and the terrestrial damage events fostered by human activity over these past 200 years.

  46. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    plincoln24@8 Regarding what we mean by Net Zero, I wrote a separate article (read here) where I describe the difference between Net-Zero Emissions (what you refer to) and Net-Zero Accumulation (what I refer to in this article). By definition, we must achieve Net-Zero Accumulation before achieving Net-Zero Emissions.

    What I show in Fig. 2 is Net-Zero Accumulation, which means that atmospheric CO2 accumulation hits 0. As wilddouglascounty@1 pointed out, this seems only achievable through "collapse". To achieve Net-Zero Emissions will be even harder.

    Without splitting hairs, what I am trying to show is the challenges that lay ahead. I understand the definitions to which you're referring, but people cannot, on their own, monitor our progress to Net-Zero Emissions. They can monitor our approach to Net-Zero Accumulation by following Table 1. I am trying to help people learn how to monitor our progress.

    Yes, I've read about how we can maintain "robust economic growth" in the IEA report. But that is a study, assuming the entire world follows their roadmap, and that everything works out as planned with the technology (NET systems at scale are still a plan, not reality). Reality is that absolutely nothing we've done, to date, has caused the Keeling Curve to deviate from its upward acceleration. If we keep telling people that we can keep increasing our consumption (i.e., growth) while stabilizing the Keeling Curve, we may miss this final opportunity to deal with climate crisis.

    Where I disagree with you is the use of the words, "in principle" and your reference to "pulling policy levers" I don't necessarily disagree with the models, scientifically and conceptually. I disagree that you can implement the models on 8 billion people spread across almost 200 countries.

    And by the time we are supposed to achieve Net Zero, there will likely be 9-9.5 billion people. Dealing with that kind of population growth is a huge headwind, that likely can only be offset by encouraging people to consume less.

  47. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    Swampfoxh @9 , the social engineering  tool you speak of is Carbon Tax with Dividend  ~ which has a good track record in its very brief/limited career.   Of course, it needs to start small & go slow, to get widespread political acceptance.   Have you other tools in mind?

    Plincoln24 @8 ,

    Our-World-in-Data states a world total energy consumption of just under 200,000 TeraWatt-hours annually.   A lot.   And of this,  84% is fossil fuel [oil 33 ; coal 27 ; gas 24% ]  plus 5%  solar/wind/other  [not including nuclear & hydro ].    These figures not including land-clearing and cement production.

    Obviously it will be a long & slow uphhill climb to get to all 200,000 TWh coming from carbon-free sources.   Presumably this figure will go higher even without much population growth.

    Some sort of "renewable"  liquid hydrocarbon fuel will need production in large quantities in the second half of this current Century.

    Plincoln24 , perhaps if you have time, you could discuss what you (and others) mean by the term economic growth  ~ a term which is often used in a vague undefined way.

  48. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    What would cause the "higher status people", the "affluent" to roll back their emissions so the less fortunate can execute the right to obtain a decent living standard? Since we already know that for every right asserted by a human, there must be a corresponding obligation by some other human, what mechanism would you introduce to persuade or force the obligated to satiate the obliged? What would you do if the obligated resisted shouldering the obligation? We know that the majority of the global population has missed the benefits of material wealth while the last hundred years has showered a comparatively opulent batch of goods and other stuff on the minority. What tool of social engineering would bring to heel the "better offs" to provide the space in their emissions footprint so as to provide this "right" of which you speak?

  49. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    The author wrote "Monitoring our approach to Net-Zero is conceptually easy. Just measure the CO2 concentration each year and see if it stops increasing".

    I disagree. Net-Zero means humanity's emissions are in balance with what humanity removes from the atmosphere themselves. If that were the case, then the biosphere should be removing additional CO2 from the atmosphere so that the concentration would actually drop.

    The author wrote: "If the rollout of renewables in the 2020’s is to have any chance of impressing the Keeling Curve, it needs your full support: in addition to replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, we must consume less."

    I used to believe this too. However, the En-ROADS climate and world economy model shows that you can in principle achieve warming under 2 degrees C with economic growth on the side. Here is the link to En-ROADS

    https://en-roads.climateinteractive.org/scenario.html?v=22.3.0

    En-ROADS does not allow for degrowth. It would have been interesting if they had included it in their model. But it does show that it is still possible to have net economic growth on the global scale while meeting the conditions of the Paris Agreement. You have to play with the program to get a solution by pulling policy levers.

  50. Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    nigelj@6 Thanks for your comments.

    The IPAT equation relates Impact (in this case, the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere) to Population, Affluence, and Technology, which is really a measure of the carbon footprint of producing our goods and services. Expressing affluence as Global GDP per person, and expressing the carbon footprint of producing goods and services as the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere per unit GDP, you can make the case using the IPAT equation that there has been a steady decrease of the carbon footprint per unit GDP over the last 50 years, which has been offset by rising affluence, leaving population as the main driver of the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere (read here if you have a few hours to kill). The upward acceleration of the Keeling Curve therefore appears to be driven by population increase. If global population stopped increasing, the Keeling Curve would increase as a straight line. But population growth causes the Keeling Curve to accelerate upwards.

    And yes, it is surprising that Figure 2 suggests this relationship goes back to at least the early 1900's. Population is one of the main drivers of the Keeling Curve, and while we are deployiing renewable energy systems to try to stabilize the Keeling Curve, population growth will be working against us.

    It's a tough nut to crack. I'm not trying to depress people, but to get people ready for what will be required to tackle the climate crisis.

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