Extinction rebellion

In the UK, there has been quite a lot of coverage of a new group called Extinction Rebellion, not all of it positive.

I really don’t know what to think about it. In (my) ideal world experts would provide information to the public and to policy makers, who would accept this information and take it seriously. We could then discuss if we should do something, given this information, and – if so – what we should do. I, of course, realise that this is naive and that this is nowhere close to how we go from information to action. There are many factors that influence how we might, or might not, respond to information. If people really think we are doing way too little to address a very important issue, then some kind of peaceful protest could be reasonable.

I certainly think we are doing far too little, but I’m not sure of this is either the right way to encourage action, or if it’s going to be effective. Also, even though the impacts could be extremely serious, this is very unlikely to be an extinction event (for us, at least). My intention had actually been to suggest that we have an open thread about this, so I’ll leave it at that and would be interested in what others think about all of this.

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151 Responses to Extinction rebellion

  1. Katy Duke says:

    My husband and daughter helped block traffic in London. This was a positive joyful gathering of people sick to death of the lack of progress, procrastination, watering down of funding and weak policies. Knowing what we know and yet constantly stalling is leading to ordinary people being willing to be arrested to bring attention to this mega problem. The beeb were useless in their reporting. Read some of the intelligent arguments of the campaigners. Inspiring!

  2. John says:

    The scientists are telling us that we have a decade to stop catastrophic climate change. The politicians have not been listening.

    Urgent action is required now.

    The extinction rebellion is people power trying to protect their children.

    A global #GreenNewDeal is needed.

    California is already experiencing catastrophic climate change.

  3. you say: “Also, even though the impacts could be extremely serious, this is very unlikely to be an extinction event (for us, at least).”

    That’s a very mainstream sentiment/opinion that perhaps inadvertently supports a lot of BAU thinking and action. Are you going to stand by your assertion that this is very unlikely to be an extinction event?

    Wouldn’t it be a lot wiser to acknowledge that this is quite likely an extinction event and that extinction events are pretty bad news?

    Here is just one link to consider:


  4. verytallguy says:

    Civil disobedience has a long and noble tradition. As long as people are prepared to face the consequences of their actions under due process, it’s absolutely legitimate.

    Most (many, all?) significant changes in society were catalysed or aided by such action. Personally I’m ambivalent about the effectiveness of this right now.

    From my skim of their website I don’t think they’re claiming a human extinction event. A mass extinction event? My understanding is that’s very likely if not already underway, but I could be mistaken.

    As an aside my son was going to join this protest but decided he didn’t fancy getting arrested.

  5. As I understood it, the extinction being referred to by the organisers relates to the WWF report of 60% reduction in species since the 1970s. [ https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/living-planet-report-2018 ]

    That some of the protesters have decided to extend the extinction threat to humans is understandable, even if scientifically inaccurate. But a significant loss of human life certainly lies within the bounds of possibility later in this century if we carry on using fossil fuels unabated.

    I admit to admiring those who wish to protest in arguably the only way that might make politicians sit up and listen. I guess the protesters are hoping others will join them. I haven’t taken part yet, due to the travel distance to London; but I’m certainly considering it, subject to the protests remaining non-violent.

  6. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    Civil Disobedience works… Has worked in Australia many times. Most famously the Gordon below Franklin Dam in 1983?

  7. Robert says:

    Agree with the above. Civil disobedience is a legitimate tactic. It does not necessarily immediately force action or win converts, but it may nevertheless succeed in bringing attention to the issue and in shifting the terms of the debate. Abolitionism, for example, was pretty unpopular in mid-19thc America, but the movement was still very important.

    While humans are unlikely to go extinct, the distinction between that and billions of deaths, societal breakdown, technological and social regression — all of which are real possibilities — may not be worth fighting over. For “extinction” read “the fall of modern human civilization as we know it.”

  8. John Hartz says:

    Civil disobedience on our side of the pond…

    I watched much of this sit-in live and was extremely moved by it — reminded me of the peace movement of the Viet Nam War era which I participated in.

  9. dpy6629 says:

    A lot of this is about habitat preservation. The wealthier countries such as Canada and the US have done a pretty good job here. Poorer countries generally give it little priority. Historically Europe did a terrible job. I assume its improved in the last few decades.

    So disrupting British transport would seem to be a poor strategy. Of course going to India and standing in front of poor farmers encroaching on a national park gets a lot fewer headlines and virtue signaling points and could be dangerous. In Western countries protesters get dropped charges and kid glove treatment. A first question is do they actually have any specific proposals?

  10. jacksmith4tx says:

    Inspiring to see all the people united in a noble cause.
    But If you want to get the attention of the ruling class then have a complete labor strike.
    If we could pull that off then there is more than just climate change that needs to be on the table.

    First we need a leader…
    End of Human Epoch –“An AI God Will Emerge to Rule the Human Species”
    “The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else. —Eliezer Yudkowsky, research fellow, Machine Intelligence Research Institute”

    Within the next 50 or 100 years, an AI might know more than the entire population of the planet. At that point, will control almost every connected device on the planet — will somehow rise in status to become more like a god, according to the leading experts on the future of artificial intelligence.

    What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life. The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful – possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.

    Science is a thought process, technology will change reality.

  11. angech says:

    We have the right to good jobs!
    Weep. What is a bad job?
    Being a policeman, an ICE agent, a McDonalds worker, a cleaner, a fruit picker, an abattoir worker, gas pump attendant or working in a cafe selling coffee.
    If we have good jobs who are the poor people without the right to good jobs?
    Just another example of a general malaise that ignores what got us here and keeps us here.
    As an aside watched the Al Gore movie, Al Gore 2.
    At the U3A, with 15 other people, all the committed marching types.
    Kept my head down, my mouth closed but it was not a patch on the first movie, was it?

  12. Arjun says:

    The question of how to encourage political action on climate change is key here. I think on the moral/ethical level, it would be justifiable to engage in much more than just peaceful civil disobedience (i.e. consider the recent case in the US of some people manually shutting off oil pipelines) as a form of self-defense, or as a form of rebellion against a political system so obviously captured/sabotaged by the fossil fuel industry. But of course this is a separate question of what would be most strategic.

    I have a sense that most average people do believe in climate change and pin the blame largely on a stagnant/corrupt political order, and so would generally support people engaging in civil disobedience (or more) to disrupt and protest politicians and fossil fuel executives and whatnot. I’m not so sure that people would generally support the blockading of average people’s commutes or whatever (although this particular action seems to have gotten mostly positive reactions), especially if they actually manage to block up traffic for an extended period of time. It’d probably be more strategic to blockade big institutions (fossil fuel companies, climate denier politician offices, pro-fossil fuel banks, etc.) — that way you are directly attacking corrupt institutions, without making average people feel attacked.

  13. Willard says:

    > In Western countries protesters get dropped charges and kid glove treatment.

    Back in my days, we punched em.

    But who will replace Gavin:

  14. Peter says:

    To give another perspective, this kind action by protest can help in shifting public opinion. Take, for example, nuclear power in Germany. After the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl a movement against nuclear power started, which often embraced drastic action (famously stopping trains transporting nuclear waste by activists chaining themselves to the tracks). This created the political environment that made Merkel (after previously embracing nuclear power) to force an end to it after the Fukushima reactor meltdown.

    A couple of things are instructive about this example:
    The protests were always controversial, but the underlying problems (nuclear waste management, danger of nuclear accidents) became widely reported on, discussed and accepted by large parts of society. Finally it was a decidedly pro-nuclear government that ended it, which IMO is the only way to achieve change sustainably, because otherwise the political discussion is never settled.

  15. Thanks for all the comments. I agree that civil disobedience is a legitimate way to protest and that and that it can indeed have a positive impact and can change public opinion. I do have a lot of respect for those willing to make a stand for what they believe in. These kind of actions can sometimes backfire, but I do hope that this does indeed shift public opinion towards recognising the need to start reducing emissions.

  16. dikranmarsupial says:

    I dislike the hyperbole/soundbite aspect.

    “We have the right to good jobs!”

    with rights go responsibilities, the real problem is we want the rights but shirk the responsibilities (e.g. to have a high standard of living, but not pay the full societal/environmental costs of the fossil fuels on which that lifestyle is based). We only have a right to a job if we vote for a government that aims for full employment.

  17. BBD says:

    What else are people supposed to do at this point but protest in the streets?

    At least they are being responsible about it (emergency vehicles allowed to pass, water-soluble paint etc). Which, given the circumstances, is admirably restrained of them.

  18. Phil says:

    Two contrasting responses from Extinction Rebellions instagram feed

    Policeman’s response

    expand comments to see “David_oddie’s comments e.g. “Middle class pricks with dyed hair.”

    Interesting questions;

    1. Is the policeman’s response more prevalent than Oddie’s (assuming both are genuine) ?
    2. Does it do any more than re-inforce peoples pre-established views ? Can such action change minds, or at least cause people to re-assess their priorities
    3. Does any change in viewpoint amongst the wider, less engaged population last or fade with time ?
    4. Will it translate into personal action ? – Home insulation, boycotting de-forestation products etc. Boycotts are about the only way individuals can affect corporate action, I think. Shareholders can influence such behaviour, but it seems to me they will only do so on the basis of threats to the companies “bottom line”.
    5. Will it translate into governmental action ?

    The answers to all these questions is … I hope so

  19. Phil says:

    [Mod: Fixed them. You had an extra set of inverted commas.]

  20. Phil says:

    Argh, sorry. Some piece of software somewhere is inserting a trailing double quote character in the above URLs. If you can be bothered just remove it in your browser navigation bar. I’ll shut up now …

    [Mod: should work now.]

  21. Physics [still] defines
    – regardless of thoughtful words –
    Knowledge as action

    And so what is known
    Is that there is no physics
    …and then, then there is

  22. Pingback: Un aereo a ioni azoto - Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it

  23. Michael E Fayette says:

    The agenda of this group clearly has little to do with Climate Change, and like most Leftist/Socialist/Communist organizations, it tries to use the Global Warming argument to frighten people into doing things that they would not otherwise be willing to do.

    The Rebellion.Earth website you link to says this quick clearly at the bottom of their Home Page:

    “We aim to promote a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm.”

    That “fundamental change” is the end of Capitalism and the weakening of constitutional protections against a dictatorial government.

    No thank you……

  24. ATTP wrote: “Also, even though the impacts could be extremely serious, this is very unlikely to be an extinction event (for us, at least).”


    Another thought provoking ATTP article and comments stream. I did some web surfing to look at a few articles and noticed that reassuring articles are consistently filled with cute personal anecdotes that remind me of New Age misuse of quantum theory to explain macro events, more than any serious assessment of Earth and what science has to teach us. (for instance, “Climate Change: We’re Not Literally Doomed, but…” by Kate Marvel on July 30, 2018 – https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hot-planet/climate-change-were-not-literally-doomed-but/)

    In contrast Peter Brannen’s September 9, 2017, “This is how your world could end” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/09/this-is-how-your-world-could-end-climate-change-global-warming) – focuses on various aspects of the science, and some actual events, and it paints a much darker picture. Unfortunately too dark for anyone with a hint of empathy to sit down and really contemplate – since that’s a direct route to mental breakdown. As the man in the movies says, “The truth!? You want the Truth!? You can’t handle the truth!”

    I do notice we love focusing on “human” extinction, but not so much on global societal/economic breakdown, er, the extinction of “our modern society”. The poor will die first, then the smug rich will start finding out how much they depend on the rest of the world’s society for their comfort. When there aren’t peons to feed and care for the rich, they go hungry just like the rest of us.

    So where does that leave us? Seriously anyone have thoughts? Where do we go from here? What should we be thinking moving forward in a world who environmental systems are breaking down and that is increasingly controlled by literal sociopaths who think of nothing but power, profits and ignoring the Externalities we depend on? So far, I can’t think of anything beyond whistling while walking through the cemetery – but I am open to better options. 🙂

  25. Willard says:

    > The agenda of this group clearly has little to do with Climate Change, and like most Leftist/Socialist/Communist organizations

    Red baiting might survive us all.


  26. jacksmith4tx: “Inspiring to see all the people united in a noble cause. But If you want to get the attention of the ruling class then have a complete labor strike. If we could pull that off then there is more than just climate change that needs to be on the table.

    Is being worked on:
    September 27, 2019 – Earth Strike!


    Maybe the extinction rebellion should open a branch in France. Then it becomes hard to distinguish between the people complaining about gas prices and those that would like a cleaner Earth. Would be nice to see the different treatment by the establishment media of the identical forms of protest. Would expect they again pander to the right and are upset by climate protests, the so-called left-wing media.

    What I learned via this weird US culture war is that WUWT & Co. and the US far right think that communism is still a thing. (Or pretend to think, I a never sure.)

  27. Steven Mosher says:

    So far, I can’t think of anything beyond whistling while walking through the cemetery – but I am open to better options.”


  28. Willard says:

    What do we want? To dance!

    Where do we want it? In a party!

  29. jacksmith4tx says:

    Thanks for that info on Earth-Strike. I’m ready to support radical action for radical change. I hope the movement inspires some creative ways to poor sand in the gears.
    On a related tangent, maybe we can fuse these two movements together?

    “We’re starting a new country.
    A country defined not by borders but by values. A country made up of hundreds of millions of people around the world, all motivated by a shared desire to make the world work better. A country with the power to bring about real change in the international community. The Good Country exists to prove that if countries learn to work together, then we will start to make real progress against the grand challenges of poverty and inequality, climate change and conflict, migration and
    pandemics. But it doesn’t end there: by collaborating more, countries can achieve more growth, peace and stability than by constantly competing against each other.
    This means a big change in the way that countries are run. International agencies, charities and campaigning organizations that don’t have the influence to achieve such a change on their own: it’s going to take a new nation, with millions of citizens, and the economic power that brings.
    The Good Country’s population already exists. Research shows that at least ten percent of the world’s population shares the Good Country’s values and its world-view. That’s 760 million people, the third most populous nation on earth, and nobody even knew it was there. Until now.”

    “Good Country will use the AI software platform, Remesh, to better understand which global challenges citizens want to tackle. There will be a series of ‘big conversations’ in which citizens respond to a series of questions and prompts, and then rate which of their peers’ responses they agree with most. Unlike traditional opinion polls, Remesh lets participants answer each question or prompt in any way they choose, rather than selecting from a multiple-choice list. Normally, this approach is only possible in small focus groups, but the AI technology behind Remesh makes it possible to “take the temperature” of the Good Country’s entire population simultaneously – doing away with traditional binary voting systems and removing the need for a government bureaucracy.
    In Stages Three and Four, the Good Country’s Civil Service will produce a brief for each selected issue, describing the types of solution needed. For example, a brief may describe the need to draft an international agreement on cybercrime, create a new migration agency, or invest in alternative energy technology. This brief will be sent out to a network of think-tanks, research organizations, expert groups and all other interested parties so that they can develop detailed action proposals. Citizens will also be encouraged to form teams and draft intervention proposals.
    In Stages Three and Four, the Good Country’s Civil Service will produce a brief for each selected issue, describing the types of solution needed. For example, a brief may describe the need to draft an international agreement on cybercrime, create a new migration agency, or invest in alternative energy technology. This brief will be sent out to a network of think-tanks, research organizations, expert groups and all other interested parties so that they can develop detailed action proposals. Citizens will also be encouraged to form teams and draft intervention proposals.
    In Stage Five, citizens will use the online voting platform Sovereign, developed by the Democracy Earth Foundation, to select two citizen representatives to sit on an evaluation panel. Each issue will have its own panel, composed of equal numbers of citizens, experts, and the Good Country’s Foreign Service, and will determine the intervention, or combination of interventions, that the Good Country will pursue.
    In Stage Six, the Good Country’s Civil Service, which draws on the knowledge, experience and creativity of a unique network of world-class experts, and its own Diplomatic Corps, will then execute its policies worldwide.”

  30. Steven Mosher says:

    You dont need a party to dance

  31. elmwood says:

    Civil disobedience or not, I don’t see anything meaningful happening, the bureaucracies and industries in place will definitely make any significant change difficult or impossible. I work in the oil industry in Alaska and it’s pretty much the farthest thing people care about that I work with–unsurprising. People put their career and incomes way ahead of something abstract like climate change. Simply put, the USA has too much invested in fossil fuels to allow a renewable revolution to happen; our dollar’s value is held up by Saudi oil.

    Few people would seriously consider not flying to reduce their carbon footprint in the us–again the airline industry and all the industry that supports it would oppose such a thing.

  32. Steven Mosher says:

    “People put their career and incomes way ahead of something abstract like climate change.”
    and the price of gas.

  33. dikranmarsupial says:

    “People put their career and incomes way ahead of something abstract like climate change.”

    human beings incapable of rationally balancing short and long term needs and objectives. Next up, obesity levels rising in the developed countires – what is causing it? news at 11!

  34. People put their career and incomes way ahead of something abstract like climate change.

    First of all: it something very real like climate change.

    American right-wingers seem to put their incomes and even life way ahead of something as abstract as capitalism when they reject Medicare for all. The US system costs 6-8% of GDP more than the universal health systems of other OECD countres.

    American right-wingers seem to put their incomes and even life way ahead of something as abstract as global empire. There is no way to defend such an excessive military budget with just national defence.

    German right-wingers put their career and incomes way ahead of something as abstract as a global Jewish conspiracy. For some years it may still have been Germany first as the damages elsewhere were bigger, in the end the abstract idea costed millions of lives and economic hardship.

    Trump voters are willing to pay billions to build a border wall with Mexico. The incompetent fool in the White House has given up on the ludicrous notion that Mexico will pay for it. It is purely for the abstract idea of being saver from those brown people, normal border protections do the job.

    My income as scientist would likely be higher if the border were not open for scientific labor. Way too little people study STEM fields and are willing to become scientist, without foreign scientists we would have much less science and I would likely have a higher salary. That is fine. The abstract idea of scientific progress makes up for it.

    People only caring about their incomes is a cartoonish world view of the US libertarians. It is an idea that is marginal elsewhere.

  35. VV says: “People only caring about their incomes is a cartoonish world view of the US libertarians.”

    I think this is a cartoonish sentiment, but deep concern about financial security is also a political reality. I watched two carbon tax initiatives lose in WA State in succession and these are defeated by one or two arguments:

    1. This is going to cost you a lot of money
    2. Someone else is going to benefit because the tax pain is not being shared fairly.

    These are very effective political arguments that prevent a state with a pretty high level of support for carbon tax from actually imposing a carbon tax.

    It may be an exaggeration to say that folks only care about their jobs and income, but it is a political reality that many folks are deeply concerned about their jobs, income and security and this concern is easily exploited in ways that limit our ability to respond to AGW in the way that reflects our collective will and commitment.


  36. izen says:

    Meanwhile, this just out ;-


    At a first skim it is stylistically good.
    The text is clear, explicit and unambiguous, and it splits the issue into coherent sections.

    It is bad already and it will get a lot worse without substantial and sustained global mitigation and local adaption.

    Demos can shift the Overton window. An issue that is relegated can get rapid promotion if thousands care enough to show complacency is not the consensus.
    They also benefit the individual, conferring inspiration and meaning by involvement with collective action. Especially when your action is AGAINST something we all agree is bad.
    Is there an end state they are marching for, rather than just against extinction and the capitalist-imperialist hegemony? FOR substantial and sustained global mitigation and local adaption perhaps.

    It is obvious that an effective response to climate change involving significant global mitigation and local adaption will also require a radical re-structuring of the capitalist system. It will change more between now and 2100 than it did since 1900 and now.
    I would expect those changes to be evolutionary and largely reactive. Historical examples indicate structural social change is most often driven by catastrophe and sub-optimal.
    To think we can intelligently design the future is Utopian hubris.

  37. Joshua says:

    angech –

    From Lucia’s…

    Countless revisions, sometimes daily are mandated by systems put in place by people like Zeke.

    Could you explain what “people like Zeke” means?

    Does it mean something general, like people who breathe… or is there some more specific descriptor that you had in mind?

  38. Mircea Dochia says:

    “To think we can intelligently design the future is Utopian hubris”

    I cannot agree more and I cannot emphasis this enough. Indeed Izen,indeed…

    Do the Paris demonstrations change any opinions here about the possibility of a meaningful carbon tax?
    For God sake, people… the increase in price was under 50 cents/litre…. At 1 euro increase Marie is next President of France. These are the hard facts of life… like it or not.

  39. BBD says:

    Do the Paris demonstrations change any opinions here about the possibility of a meaningful carbon tax?

    Not really, no. It’s coming, like it or not, rioting in Paris notwithstanding. And the people of Paris have short memories if they’ve forgotten August 2003. Never mind the summer we’ve just had.

  40. Willard says:

    > At 1 euro increase Marie is next President of France.

    In a world where the King of France is bald, perhaps. Then his name might even be Michel.

    The constant increase of the real cost of gazoil that began during the center-right domination of the 70s has not prevented two left-wing parties to be elected:

  41. Willard says:

    Jean-Luc’s solution is quite simple: cut the gas hike, get back the wealth tax:

    Solving the climate crisis might be easier if we tackle inequality first.

  42. E. Swanson says:

    Actually making the changes required to achieve the drastic reduction in fossil fuel burning won’t be as easy as the Extinction Rebellion protesters and Ocasio-Cortez assume. Stopping the burning of all fossil fuels by 2025? Not likely absent a complete collapse of the world economic system.

    As was pointed out decades ago, the flow of money thru the economic system controls the energy flow, but those flows occur in opposite directions, thus the relationship isn’t apparent to the casual observer. For each dollar earned/spent, ultimately the result is energy consumption. For people living in a city, which includes most people in developed countries, it’s impossible to provide all one’s needs by one’s own hand, thus each of us must trade with others to obtain that which we need. Your food, clothing, shelter, transport, etc, is the result of many other people working together in their own self interest. Finding a “good job” means being able to enjoy a greater share of all that which is produced and that production represents the result of increments of energy consumption at each step along the path from the Earth to the final products found on store shelves. All those products are the result of the destruction of some piece of the natural world, from mining and agriculture to building roads and structures to packaging food in frozen form for storage and flying from one continent to another. The changes required aren’t simply replacing coal burning power plants with wind and solar and adding insulation to buildings, but also changing ALL the equipment within the economy which also burns fossil fuels, such as for making steel and heating your living space in winter. In sum, the necessary rapid transition would likely result in many people losing their jobs and falling out of the economic system and on to the streets. Homelessness is already a big problem in cities of the US and Britain and that may be the new norm for many left out in the cold.

    The political system in the US (and in the other OEDC countries as well) is heavily weighted toward continuing the economic system which benefits a few over the rest of us. I find it difficult to conceive the members of the upper income levels quietly giving up their wealth and power for the good of humanity many decades hence or in order to save a few species of plants or animals they will never see except on TV. It may take 5 to 10 years just to push the political system into starting on the Transition.

  43. BBD says:

    Actually making the changes required to achieve the drastic reduction in fossil fuel burning won’t be as easy as the Extinction Rebellion protesters and Ocasio-Cortez assume. Stopping the burning of all fossil fuels by 2025? Not likely absent a complete collapse of the world economic system.

    I’m not sure that ER thinks it will be easy, or even feasible in the stated timescale, but rather that it is necessary now to goad the powers that be a little harder than has been done to date (at least here in the UK).

    I agree with you that decarbonising not just electricity supply but total primary energy will be a massive and challenging process and there will be hardships along the way. But it has to be done or worse hardships will result. I also agree with you that narratives proclaiming that all we lack is political will and that energy transition is essentially straightforward once embraced by the political class are naive and likely to backfire once rhetoric meets reality. And that there is and will be considerable resistance from the current beneficiaries of the status quo.

  44. Actually making the changes required to achieve the drastic reduction in fossil fuel burning won’t be as easy as the Extinction Rebellion protesters and Ocasio-Cortez assume. Stopping the burning of all fossil fuels by 2025?

    The Green New Deal proposed by should transform the power system to 100% renewable power ten years after it is passed. That would be 2030 to 2032, not 2025. The Green House Gas emissions of the USA would drop by 50% in 2030, according to The Hill.

    There are now about 40 non-corrupt(Democratic) politicians in Congress. In 2020, this will hopefully be half of the Democratic House Caucus and the presidency. After which Democrats could disallow their members to take bribes from the oligarchs and corporations to stop the unilateral disarmament by being forced to advocate the policies of the donor class, which are highly unpopular with the voters. That should then also make it possible to pass legislation like a Green New Deal after 2022.

    (I am curious whether Republican politicians will try this strategy now that some Democrats showed it can work. A Republican running as a real conservative, who does not want to kill its constituents with chronic deceases, just like European conservatives, would be interesting.)

    The Hill states that the plan cannot be costed yet, as part of the proposal is a process to jointly detail the plan, but:
    A back-of-the-envelope calculation by Christopher Clack, a physicist who has studied rapid deployments of renewables, estimated that building out the generating capacity alone would cost at least $2 trillion.

    That is the same amount that the Republicans gave to the 1% in their last tax cut for the rich. An amount they found to be so small that they just debt financed it. It would be a fraction of the costs of the gratuitous and illegal war of George W. Bush against Iraq, destabilizing the region, letting in ISIS and strengthening Iran. Did anyone remember the press insistently asking Bush who would pay for his war?

    So doing something useful with that money should be doable as well. It is a matter of political will, which will only be there if money no longer dominates Washington politics.

  45. BBD, do you think this gravity based power storage could work on an island that is determined not to trade electrical energy with its neighbours?

  46. Sounds promising. Great design allowing for many cheap blocks per expensive crane/cable. That makes long term storage more attractive, while also being able to respond quickly.

    Energy Vault claim 90% energy efficiency & at least 50% lower costs as alternatives.

  47. BBD says:

    Victor, I’ve been following this for a while and it’s a great idea and I hope full-scale prototypes can demonstrate that it will really work. I do wonder a bit about wind causing the suspended blocks to oscillate and confuzzle the control software while it is trying to stack them, but we’ll see.

  48. BBD says:

    Also, wrt the Green New Deal, IMHO this is the minimum necessary to have a realistic chance of decarbonising the electricity sector. Alone.

    TPE is a much bigger mountain to climb, so our bumbling about in the foothills of decarbonising the electricity sector is not encouraging.

    Ass, as our American friends would say, needs kicking.

  49. Steven Mosher says:

    Do the Paris demonstrations change any opinions here about the possibility of a meaningful carbon tax?

    iron law

  50. Willard says:

    Frenchies had more than one jacquerie since 1358. The current one is not a trial on taxing carbon. Here’s an official video where the Gilets Jaunes suggest that the footprint of one big tanker equals the one of 50 million fossil-fuel-based cars:

  51. I would suggest that there are many more than 40 Democrats who are on the job and entirely ethical – most of them, in fact, including the ones that people who don’t know their work love to condemn. The idea that these protesting newcomers are the only game in town is pure nonsense. Some of you might like to look up Ed Markey, who has fought the good fight for over 30 years. The idea that old is equal to corrupt is unhelpful at best.

    Interesting discussion. I recommend for your attention (along with the many articles on the new climate report) two more: The World Needs to Quit Coal https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/24/climate/coal-global-warming.html

    And one of my long-time heroes, ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten, whose reporting is wondrously great: Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/magazine/palm-oil-borneo-climate-catastrophe.html

    So much is going on. One tidbit: the new Brazilian premier is planning to burn down the rainforest not only for profit but to remove his enemies. Removing enemies is newly fashionable in the Age of Trump (and others, like your conservatives who are stealing everything not bolted down, my opinion).

  52. Steven Mosher says:

    peasants revolting. elitist much.

  53. The palm oil article is a classic tl;dr, but it is so shocking it’s hard not to read it. Here are a couple of early extracts:

    NASA researchers say the accelerated destruction of Borneo’s forests contributed to the largest single-year global increase in carbon emissions in two millenniums, an explosion that transformed Indonesia into the world’s fourth-largest source of such emissions. Instead of creating a clever technocratic fix to reduce American’s carbon footprint, lawmakers had lit the fuse on a powerful carbon bomb that, as the forests were cleared and burned, produced more carbon than the entire continent of Europe. The unprecedented palm-oil boom, meanwhile, has enriched and emboldened many of the region’s largest corporations, which have begun using their newfound power and wealth to suppress critics, abuse workers and acquire more land to produce oil.

    It was, in a way, an astounding achievement, the ruthless culmination of mankind’s long effort to extract every last remaining bit of the earth’s seemingly boundless natural wealth. But it was also frightening. This was what an American effort to save the planet looked like. It was startlingly efficient, extremely profitable and utterly disastrous.

    Trouble is, we don’t think to protest until the case is desperate. And it is indeed desperate, if you already know or have the time to check even these two stories of a much broader picture. What else can we do? It is only life itself!

  54. I can think of other cases that resemble this. The saga of looting and despoiling is one we should face squarely. None of us are immune in the long run:

    This apocalyptic landscape stretched as far as they could see, punctuated by only the rare tuft of scorched but otherwise healthy juvenile palm. They traced what they describe as telltale signs that the fires had been started by the palm companies — which is illegal and which all the palm-oil companies strongly deny doing, but which is also the fastest, cheapest way to raze the land.

    The process is simple and devastating. First, workers bring in excavators to cut deep trenches across the swampland. These quickly fill with water that drains from the adjacent forest, thereby creating canals that serve as near-instant inroads on which to transport heavy machinery by boat or barge. With the machinery, the forests are cut down, their timber efficiently removed, and the swampy peatland they sit on is left to drain and dry. Once it’s dried, it’s burned.

    In most of the places the Walhi crew visited, the fires appeared to have been extinguished, but the earth remained hot, smoldering underground. And this — more than the landscape destruction itself — was what concerned the group most. The dried and decaying peatland soil in this part of Borneo would almost certainly continue to burn for many more months, even years, releasing volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that far exceeded those from the rain-forest deforestation itself.

    Think we’re innocent of palm oil? Read some labels. It is past time to protest our obfuscating “superiors” and their supine minions. I’m not sure any of us is truly capable of sacrificing all our mod cons, but we should at least know what we are doing.

  55. Willard says:

    Things are changing: It’s important to remind people that they are:

    [W]e believe that unless people are persuaded that there has already been success and progress, they are hugely sceptical about making the investments in the future.


    Instead of saying “we should do something,” perhaps we’d need to consider saying “we should keep going and speed things up.”

  56. Fergus Brown says:

    ER is part of the Rising Up network. This is their draft manifesto:

    “An inclusive world, where individuals are supported to express their unique gift and where we work together to support our community, to create beautiful things and to tackle the major problems of our age. Our lives will have the meaning we long for; we will uphold the best in our humanity for the greater purpose.

    This implies:

    A functioning democracy, where people have real agency in decision making. Devolution of power to the lowest level, with structures to facilitate decision making locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, where appropriate.
    An economy designed to maximise well-being for all people and minimise harm to each other, our fellow creatures and our home planet. Policies and law focused on greater equality, localising production, reducing consumption, zero carbon and zero waste, are urgently needed.
    And this needs:

    A revolution, meaning a rapid change in wealth distribution and power structures, preventing rich elite from perpetuating a self-serving ideology. Our democracy, our media, our academia, our think tanks and businesses (organisations whose purpose should be to meet our needs) must serve all people and a healthy ecology.
    For examples of policies that can enable this new way see examples from a Draft Manifesto for Economic Justice and for examples of the capture of our world to serve an unsustainable, corrupt and unhappy purpose see here.

    But this isn’t about defining exactly what a new world would look like. Who knows how we might best function, if we were less stressed, had better information; if we were more confident and trusting?

    And it isn’t necessary for us to agree on all points. Our energies are best directed where we feel passionate and where our gifts and skills are used; where we feel happiest. We know the initial steps we need to take to move in a better direction. We can move forwards with a shared, open vision, working together, to bring more people into active, hopeful engagement and to collectively resist the domination of a shadow (in our own hearts and manifest in public life). We can determinedly build together the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.”

    Thoughts: This doesn’t sound very Communistic, but it is evidently not Libertarian. IMO that’s a good thing. There isn’t much for me to disagree with, including the idea that determination requires action – if not by me, then whom?

    Finally, civil disobedience: March against a salt tax. Don’t travel by bus in ‘bama. Publicly demonstrate that you do not approve of what is happening. If they won’t listen when you speak, SHOUT. Yes, it works.

    Izen gets a tick. Susan is right about palm oil, its another example of us being shat on.

    Energy supply. That’ll be another post…

  57. Susan Anderson says: “I would suggest that there are many more than 40 Democrats who are on the job and entirely ethical – most of them, in fact, including the ones that people who don’t know their work love to condemn. The idea that these protesting newcomers are the only game in town is pure nonsense. Some of you might like to look up Ed Markey, who has fought the good fight for over 30 years. The idea that old is equal to corrupt is unhelpful at best.

    I was hoping you would read my comment given your past support for politicians being investment objects of the rich and corporations. Corporations are not charities, they invest and expect a return on investment.

    There are likely more than 40 Democrats who are good people and hate the system. If only because they hate spending most of their working week on the telephone begging oligarchs and corporations for money from the first to the last day they are in office. Many likely started in politics because they wanted to make positive changes. Initially the additional money also helped the campaigns and you need to have power to make positive change. However, over time the money nudged politics into positions that are deeply unpopular, the price of being an investment object became larger. (There are still Democratic politicians who are against Medicare for all, although it is highly popular, even half of Republicans support it.) Over time people noticed that money had an influence on their politicians and parties. The benefit of openly rejecting Big Money has increased.

    As a consequence not being corrupt is now at least a competitive option and certainly not unilateral disarmament as the corrupt elite of the party likes to call it. You get the votes for high positions in the party by giving money to your colleagues aka helping them campaign. There was a lot of resistance to giving Bernie Sanders a place in the leadership; the most popular politician in America and among Democrats. Some even explicitly said he did not deserve this because he had not paid up.

    The politicians at the top are thus the most corrupt ones (and unfortunately large determine how a party is seen). Nancy Pelosi prides herself on being the biggest fund-raiser. That is how you buy the chair of the House, but the price is that she is against Medicare for all, a highly popular policy proposal, while Americans are dying or being bankrupted by Pelosi’s donors. Maybe she is a good person, but what counts is what she does.

    I have good hope that part of the politicians who took bribes in the past will change their business model or at least feel less tied to their donors as they have another option. That will be necessary to get to more than half of all Democrats rejecting Big Money; politics is a learned trade and experienced people are highly valuable.

    The Democrats could not even bring themselves to agreeing to at least not take money from oil and coal companies. When they take that money they will apologize that they will have to say in public that they accept climate change is real and that something needs to be done, but that the donor should not worry, there will always be enough Democrats together with the Republicans to prevent meaningful action on climate change. It is bad theatre and will only stop when politicians are no longer investment objects. Again corporations are not charities, they expect a return on investment. That they keep on investing means they got value for money.

  58. Victor Venema (@VariabilityBlog) says:
    November 24, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Victor’s power tower make one wonder why civilization’s heaviest munuments have not been retrofitted with cranes or force reflecting hydraulic lifts.

    The higher munuments to national heroes are raised on their pedistals, the more power ther can store.

    Is it too late to repurpose widely memorialized heavyweights like Sardar Patel, Chairman Mao, George Washngton and Buddha as patrons of gravity storage?


  59. The Mueller investigation on Trump is helping to decarbonize by bringing a criminal case against Dr. Jerome Corsi.
    In fossil fuel energy circles, Corsi is well known for pushing the theory of essentially limitless crude oil supplies. If it actually was cheap and limitless, we wouldn’t be harvesting palm oil for fuel.

  60. Victor’s power tower make one wonder why civilization’s heaviest munuments have not been retrofitted with cranes or force reflecting hydraulic lifts.

    Depending on how much you are into conservation of world heritage, my guess would be the size of the cables or the unwillingness of people to cut up the monuments in small pieces.

  61. Willard says:

    We Are Science:

  62. BBD says:

    Social change is accelerated when we see others changing

    Seems to be working for LGBT, which puts in the hours on the street, just as ER is now doing. Creating visibility can move the needle, albeit painfully slowly.

  63. VV
    Monumental statues can be as decorously lifted by their bases as hanged by their necks, and in-gournd hydryaulic elevator cylinders could raise the Washington Monument of the Crysler Building to admirable new hights as tourist attractions.

    Too bad Nature canned the Daedalus column- this one is a natural

  64. Victor Venema: I wrote a response promising to read your comments when I have time, but the computer ate it. Unfortunately, my time is not always my own to spend and it will be a couple of days before I can do that.

    Briefly, I don’t disagree with your ideals. But I think it dangerous to attack those who are capable of listening and acting for good, while ignoring those who are the source of the evil that is abroad in my country. I’m not a fan of circular firing squads. Demanding perfection from Democrats helps Republicans win, the way things are. As a lifetime Democrat/liberal/progressive, I think those who are willing to burn everything down in the service of idealism and won’t look at the obstacles are naive. They are getting a lot of encouragement from various trolling efforts to divide and conquer. I get too much of this from Europe. I don’t blame you for being disgusted, but we can only affect our own worlds.

    As a Massachusetts resident, I am represented by Ed Markey, whom I still suggest you check out, and Elizabeth Warren, who is the best of the best. My House rep is not so good, but he started out with good intentions. He’s a good example of the problem you describe, too ready to compromise.

  65. Dave_Geologist says:

    The constant increase of the real cost of gazoil that began during the center-right domination of the 70s has not prevented two left-wing parties to be elected

    Well, it was only a 20% rise over 15 years Willard. Like the frog in the saucepan, slow enough not to be noticed. Didn’t we have a thread along those lines recently? That the sooner we start climate action, the less drastic the changes will have to be? And of course the fall in 1986 was driven by the oil price crash to $6/bbl, not government policy. I remember it well, 70% redundancies.

    Solving the climate crisis might be easier if we tackle inequality first.

    We’ve been failing to tackle inequality since at least the time of Gilgamesh. It’s a worthy cause, and one I support, but I don’t think climate action can wait.

  66. Dave_Geologist says:

    Here’s an official video where the Gilets Jaunes suggest that the footprint of one big tanker equals the one of 50 million fossil-fuel-based cars

    Hmmm… Sounds fishy. I bet they’re counting the CO2 from the tanker’s cargo when it’s burned by end users, like those 50 million car drivers, not the tanker’s own fuel use. Those are the car-drivers’ emissions, not the tanker’s.

    Quick sense-check (just from Wiki, EU and Statista). 1.2 billion cars in the world = 24 times 50 million. All shipping, including giant container ships, contributes 3.5-4% of climate-change emissions. Road transport and aviation about 10-11%. There are about 7,000 oil tankers in the world. They’re not all supertankers, but there are other ships too, so lets assume that cancels out and divide 3.5% by 7,000: 0.0005% per tanker. But one tanker only equals 50 million cars, so multiply by 24: 0.01%. In the EU, transport accounts for 26% of emissions, of which shipping is 5% (higher than global, which makes sense if it’s properly accounted for, ignoring whose flag the ship is under, as it’s a big importer and exporter). Private cars emit about half of EU road transport, so say 10%. So in the EU, private cars emit two or three times as much as all shipping. Globally it looks like private cars are lower, more-or-less equal to shipping, which makes sense as car ownership is higher in rich countries. I could knock it down to 0.005% for European private cars, but since the claim is already out by four orders of magnitude, there’s no need for that level of detail.

    Nope, the numbers don’t add up. Not even close.

  67. Whether fresh faces, or newly unlurked lurkers, Thx for the more objectively subjective comments! 😉 A breath of fresh air … but then isn’t the post’s subject subjective: focuses more on physics-as-action than physicists’ knowledge? 😉

    The US’ Fourth National Assessment shared in these comments by Izen was an interesting read [of its summary]. The text of the Green New Deal, which Victor linked to, is far more comprehensive than 100% renewables. The draft text for an addendum to the House Rules regarding a select committee is stunningly fresh:

    “The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan … for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”

    Susan’s last dismissive comment rather misses the point that physics-as-action defines: Idealism is the as-good-as-it gets regarding hopium. Or:

    the chaos cometh
    into the breach rides our meme
    welcome its collapse

    but graybeards gathered
    ’round fears: ‘security’LOST
    an unwelcome vote

    and employed parents
    debt slavery to service
    sedition will shun

    the chaos cometh
    into the breach slides our meme
    unwelcomed collapse

    Is it only our damned youth who have the psychological acumen [like Greta’s autism] to grasp that physics [& the economic meme] defines this last idealist choice as a damned if you do/damned if you don’t one?

  68. Dave_Geologist says:

    Are we growing palm oil for fuel because we’ve run out of diesel Paul, or are we growing it for carbon credits? Which may or may not have been abused or improperly accounted for (surely the forest clearance should count as an opening debit).

  69. Dave_Geologist says:

    Instead of saying “we should do something,” perhaps we’d need to consider saying “we should keep going and speed things up.”

    Indeed Willard, “it’s too difficult, it’s too late, it’s not working, it’s costing too much” is the new “it’s not happening, it’s not our fault, it will be OK anyway”.

  70. Willard says:

    > So in the EU, private cars emit two or three times as much as all shipping.

    Thanks, Dave. I’ll ask around.

  71. Dave_Geologist says:

    If you Google it and pick the EU page, you’ll find it Willard. I didn’t go into the weeds of how they account for shipping, but given that even European-based companies usually fly a flag of convenience, I’d have thought they made a serious attempt to track ship movements. If the EU was a fraction of the global total I’d have thought “it’s all assigned to Bermuda and Panama”. But the EU is a larger %age than the global average, so it looks about right. Same with cars

    Sometimes something is so obviously wrong though, the details don’t matter. What does matter, assuming they’ve accounted for burning the cargo, not what’s in the fuel tanks, is that it’s more of the have-your-cake-and-eat-it myth, which doesn’t help people face up to the consequences of their own choices.

    My carbon footprint is zero. Heating? Nope, gas utility. Electricity? Nope, electric utility. Driving? Nope, filling-station owner. Meat-eating? Nope, farmers. Foreign holiday? Nope, airline. Etc.

  72. Dave said:

    “Are we growing palm oil for fuel because we’ve run out of diesel Paul, or are we growing it for carbon credits?”

    There’s something wrong here when you guys in the UK need to import wood pellets from North Carolina. This isn’t as much a means of reducing carbon emissions, but of struggling to transform to alternative energy sources as the UK’s coal and oil reserves deplete.

  73. verytallguy says:

    Here’s an official video where the Gilets Jaunes suggest that the footprint of one big tanker equals the one of 50 million fossil-fuel-based cars

    I’ve not watched the video, so may be mistaken, but there was a myth along these lines doing the rounds recently. When i looked into it it turned out the footprint in question was sulphate aerosols, not CO2, as the oil burned in ships isn’t low sulphur.

    There’s a helpful graphic here, though it only claims one million rather than 50 million cars


    Could be recycling of the same.

  74. Dave_Geologist says:

    It’s a boondoggle Paul. Google Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. It even has a Wiki page. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t have carbon offsets and grow biofuel. Just that it has to use sensibly planned, scientifically valid schemes, with the carbon and cash accounting properly thought through and implemented.

  75. BBD says:

    It’s Drax.

  76. E. Swanson says:

    Tom Whipple’s Peak Oil Review for 26 November is available. This month’s edition includes a long discussion at the end in the form of a book review about the history of Peak Oil. Written by Jean Laherrère, with Richard Heinberg, the review gives an alternative view of the future of world oil production, pointing out the possibility of a global peak sooner rather than later as conventional wisdom claims. Many of the projections of future impacts of CO2 emissions assume a continuation or increase in oil production, which may not appear as time passes. Either way, the future will be interesting for those who live it.

    The review is published about once a month and one can receive it via e-mail. One may also make a donation to support the work of the author, which I’m sure would be much appreciated.

  77. Eric, Our book (which just went to press) received a critical review from Laherrere.. Oil production projections are challenging because the majority of the data is proprietary. Laherrere is one of those analysts that is emblematic of the state of the research — he has lots of inside info but very little of his stuff is formally published. If you are going to the AGU like last year, stop by again to discuss.

  78. Steven Mosher says:

    You guys fight amongst yourselves, I have a carbon spewing flight to catch

    when you get your collective shit together send a note and your concerns will be noted.

  79. BBD says:

    when you get your collective shit together send a note and your concerns will be noted.

    Possibly others don’t really care what you think, Steven. Don’t be late for your flight.

  80. Willard says:

    Once upon a time, there were two generals. Both wanted to attack. The first pledged to do so as soon as the second launched his. The second pledged to do so as soon as the first launched his. In epistemic logic, this is called the two generals’ paradox. Less stringent versions help design communication protocols and AI. I suspect the concept of courage was meant to solve that kind of collective pickle, e.g.:

    Sometimes, I wonder why people who won’t suffer for the consequences of the collective decisions they make should control them.

  81. izen says:

    “I have a carbon spewing flight to catch”

    You could always mop up the carbon you spewed by planting a tree (or 11). Or you could pay others to plant it if you don’t like to get your hands dirty.

    In a future rational(?) world any flight ticket, travel service or product would require the cost of offsetting the carbon used in the product or service to be included in the price. With regulatory oversight to ensure there was a real effective process to sequester an equal amount of carbon to that released by the use of the service or product.

    Of course if you have your own means of offsetting any carbon emissions you incur (2 acres of trees?) you would be exempt from the tax (like vat exempt or tariff exemptions for business) and could buy at the discount, non-offset rate.

  82. The only thing that has kept Pea Oil from being the wave of the future for the last 200 years is that they didn’t drill the first well until 1859.

  83. I don’t expect peak peat oil to come along until Peak Typo has passed.

  84. News from the nation of carbon hogs. A call to my Democratic Representative regarding his position on the Green New Deal addendum to the house rules to be voted on tomorrow revealed: 1. No position taken. 2. I was the first phone call about this.

    …Or doing “too little” concerning abrupt climate change, and regarding what seems to pass for political expediency in the US: a laughable understatement. It’s WAY past time for the UK to work toward imposing economic sanctions on the US (a [non-seditious] extinction rebellion action with teeth; communication spoken in the language of GREED-as-go[]d?).

    With a hat tip to Hypergeometric’s most recent blog entry, Carl Sagan & 1990: https://youtu.be/9Xz3ZjOSMRU. Regarding communication challenges and science: think Cassandra.

  85. Victor Venema & Greg Robie: I’ve now had time (not having time is not “dismissive” and working for good while taking account of both idealism and pragmatism is not buying into corruption). I’m not sure how to make myself any clearer. I’m fully aware of the compromises Democrats have made and I’m on the side of the fully progressive. But in the face of real cheating, enmity, and the continuous degradation of my hospitable planet, I’m on the side of those who do the job, not those on the sidelines who complain that we’re not good enough (including myself, all too often, on the sidelines, that is).

    I respect and admire you both, but from here I can say without any doubt that the encouragement of division by good people is all too often enhanced by trolls (from everywhere) who are only interested in dividing to conquer. I’m on the side of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and our own Ayanna Pressley, Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren. Please not the former has endorsed Nancy Pelosi, who has been attacked as a matter of tactics by opposition work. There’s way too much sexism and ageism there. There is no world in which Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have been better presidents than Bush II and Trump, and going further back, any of Reagan’s opponents, and even further back, my family brought me up on Adlai Stevenson. Many of the more ideal opponents have lost in landslides to Republicans. That is not OK.

    I repeat, I like and admire you from this distance, and learn from you. I do what I can, mostly (as we all do, to survive we make compromises, like buying new computers and phones and driving cars and even – god forbid – shopping at Amazon).

    Note: in the palm oil article, there is a bit about Nancy Pelosi that exactly illustrates both your and my points. And I have a collection of items that show how wholly in the pocket of fracking Hillary Clinton once was. I don’t excuse this. But I have more trust in their ability to grow and progress than anyone to their right. Pelosi’s biggest opposition comes not from the left but from the right of the Democratic party.

  86. @Paul Pukite: About pellets, this is very informative, a horror storyPulp Fiction
    1. The European Accounting Error That’s Warming the Planet
    2. European Energy, Grown in America
    3. The Tiny Oversight With a Climate Hangover
    4. The Loophole That Won’t Shut


    On that big tower, for waste energy, hydrogen generation can be set up to function in a similar way. It would work particularly well if it were tied in with trains or other centralized installations.

  87. Hey Susan,
    you say “I have a collection of items that show how wholly in the pocket of fracking Hillary Clinton once was. I don’t excuse this. But I have more trust in their ability to grow and progress than anyone to their right.”

    I normally agree with a lot of your opinions and sentiments on climate change, but I think you are naive in this case to think that a politician who is in “the pocket” of the fossil fuel industry will grow and progress away from their position in any timeframe that is meaningful to us. You use the pocket metaphor, but I think pigs at the trough is more appropriate metaphor to understand what it means when a politician is owned by an industry. I believe politicians who are reaping personal benefit from an industry at the expense of their constituents and public policy are simply not trustworthy. The best you can hope for from this compromised lawmakers is half measures full of loopholes that will benefit the industries who own them with a reliable expectation of rewards for services rendered to the industry. Honararia in the hundred of thousands of dollars for speeches to industry leaders after the fact is a very effective workaround to the pitfalls of bribery which requires payment before a service is rendered or clear proof of a quid pro quo related to the benefits to the party. Industries and legislators/policy makers have worked this out quite nicely for themselves. This is our system. I think it may be the best government that money can buy.



  88. SmallBlueMike: It changes my meaning to ignore the bit about not trusting “anyone to their right” (a poor locution, I admit). We’re stuck with an impossible bargain. And it’s not just the people at the top; we are mostly all too self-satisfied and self-indulgent to truly investigate what we need to give up to survive the coming decades. You and I will disagree about Hillary’s motives and possibilities – and Nancy Pelosi’s – from here to forever, but I know enough about them to believe they are capable of thought and progress (for a good summary, here The election of Hillary Clinton is an event that we would welcome for its historical importance, and greet with indescribable relief. I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole today, because I think she’s radioactive. But that’s not her doing, it’s a quarter century of propaganda and trolling, both Republican and Putinesque, and her clueless husband who never admitted that he blew it big time, for her and for Al Gore. How different history could have been! I cannot believe any of you are such saints that you’ve never grown out of some bad opinions or failures of understanding; I’ve done some dodgy things in my life, but I’m clearer now about what has value.

    I am now seeing Elizabeth Warren being tarred with the “corporate” brush, and that is as stupid as it gets, and not just from the right. She is wonderful, and I see a lot of her (I never go on a protest or hear about one without running into her, Ed Markey, our mayor Marty Walsh, and/or a good few others; there’s a terrific meeting between her and Piketty on YouTube that discusses both climate and income inequality, etc.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEYAS5U5Wuk

    I don’t trust more than a small handful of Republican legislators (one of whom just happens to be my governor, Charlie Baker, and he’s just rational, not great in a number of ways, but reasonable and of good will). Sure, I’d rather have a meaningful honest conversation about what is really going on. But that’s not on the menu. Since I want to live, and I want my younger friends to have a better world, I have to take what I can get. I’ve talked with my state representative and he’s eager to act, but he needs fodder and support. Boston’s easy, to some extent, because we can see the water rising how, and we are overwhelmingly liberal and high educated, in the main (Harvard, MIT, and several hundred other assorted institutions of higher learning).

  89. Greg Robie says:

    What I know of Adlai Stevenson garners my respect … and disrespect for the United States’ electorate (in the sense that we get the government we deserve). To my ear there is no significant difference between the sureties* that frame your replies and those of 45’s MAGA (* unintentional falsehoods). This lack of significant difference, and the sureties themselves, are due to motivated reasoning.

    Since the unconstitutional 1913 Federal Reserve Act, Congress is without its power under Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution “to coin money and establish the value thereof … and establish the value of foreign coin.” Systemically this means, that within our globalized economic meme of limited liability law enabled CapitalismFail, our Federal Government lacks the sovereignty to affect what we wish for (& mostly ‘good’ people all!).

    As long as all we do is wish for what we talk about as our ‘hopes’, don’t we passively “fiddle about” in our parallel red/blue Orwellian worlds? Don’t we, if differently, piously conspire to project fault regarding shared homeostases; addictions to hopium? We can – and don’t we – do this projection onto whatever convent “other” a “we” can imagine? Doesn’t our economically captured political institutions prove this? Whether one’s moral psychology is oriented to socially accesses progressive pragmatism for rationalization of such a lack of integrity concerning our “We the [Sheeple]”, or we engage the feelings of duty and honor as a moral psychological prop to socially shun responsibility under the guise of this being a pursuit of freedom, don’t we effectively conspire – and together [in our economic meme and self- governance], as our “We the People” – to assure the trusted effect of business as usual? Isn’t such an oxymoron?

    My experience suggests that if we really want to see the enemy, we need to see through the eyes of Pogo. The now globalized meme that runs on the reserve ‘coin’ of our unconstitutional debt-based federal reserve note reveals, for those using Pogo’s eyes, that, motivated reasoning withstanding, debt slaves and slavers are US.

    As a matter of honor and oaths, this condition could be redressed – with great deal of social confusion and chaos (i.e., a[nother?] psychological death-of-go[]d experience) – at any moment. But to choose to psychologically grasp that physics defines knowledge as action, and to socially live out such an awareness, appears to be something our species is ‘evolved’ (thanks to neurological dynamics of motivated reasoning) to avoid. Physics ignores feelings. We are not evolved to deal well with this.

    Rather, as was noted in the ’50s, Go[]d’s death was embraced . . . . . . . with a UK-like BTW: long live GREED-as-go[]d (in large part, with ‘thanks’ owed to Abraham Maslow’s justifying pop-‘theology’ of a hierarchical structure to need.)? Religious motivated reasoning did not disappear it simple [completed] a morphing into an economic iteration of itself.

    Since I can find nothing in the news about any Green New Deal addendum being voted on yesterday (& lots about Pelosi being nominated by the Democrats as Speaker), hasn’t the ‘justified go[]d’and lived pragmatism, which I suggest frames your reply, been implemented politically by this Nation’s Democrats? Isn’t a generational divide in the Democratic and non-enrolled polity of our nation more clearly demarked concerning what constitutes progressive? As a result, isn’t 45’s re-selection in 2020 a more probable future?

    … “and all for the loss of a nail[NOT!]”: sovereignty.

    And isn’t it this sovereigntyLOST that, to the degree physics defines knowledge as action, reveals all of us in the US as our enemy: pious respect-demanding practitioners of treason?

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself


    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart


  90. @Greg Robie

    Thanks for your (mostly) thoughtful reply. What you are ignoring is that the Republicans in the majority are not listening to any Democrats, that they don’t allow anything to get to the floor of Congress unless it’s from the “majority of the majority”. They hold the whip hand. If you can only criticize and dislike and exclude Democrats who are ineffective because they are in the minority, you are part of the circular firing squad. That is blaming the victims.

    If you are unable to make a distinction between me and them, our discussion is at a standstill. However, I will continue to advocate for what we (you and I and others in between) want but deplore your absolutism as inapplicable to the case at hand. I live here and I’m working with what I can to make change. That is all anyone can do.

    I’m for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The more I see of her, the more I respect her intelligence and ability to get things done: her and Ed Markey (have you looked him up yet?) and Elizabeth Warren and our allies here in the US. I don’t have a choice; I’m not on the outside and it’s my country that is going to hell in a handbasket. I’m not sure you fully understand the nature of our system. The solidly red middle of the country just elected a senator who is not only an overt racist (because of her racism) but is dumb as well.

    Our problems are not caused by Democrats/liberals/progressives. It is because of lies and cheating and kleptocracy as practiced by the likes of the Kochtopus, Mercers, and their allies the GWPF etc. etc., and a bought and paid for Republican party that is not even true to its roots or heedful of integrity or even Christianity, which after all is based on the life of a socialist radical (see the Gospels).

  91. It is tempting to embrace the political arguments, but I think that US progress is essentially at a standstill until the Republican party is willing to address the problem. The Dems can’t fix it without the Rs. The Dems can only do halfhearted measures, pass resolutions, etc. at best. The Rs will step up and agree that we have a problem eventually and it may be, that when they do, the US will get in gear and make significant progress and reduce the disastrous consequences of AGW, or maybe not. Maybe the US will insist on feeble half measures as the sixth extinction proceeds and we experience the great unraveling. This is not a Dem problem, or a Republican problem, or a US problem. It is a human problem and our species is really struggling to make significant changes in the way we function on the planet. People can say, oh, neoliberalism… or oh, capitalism… any of the isms, but the problem and solution is way beyond party or national identity, the isms. My own take is that we will have to embrace degrowth somehow, so… degrowthism… but I don’t think too hard about that, except to mention it occasionally, because I see no strong signal yet in the consciousness of our species about the predicament we are in. I have embraced degrowth in my personal life to the greatest degree I can. I don’t think my efforts make a difference, but they seem graceful to me. For me, this is simple eight fold path behavior as best I can manage it mired in US culture. First noble truth: all beings seek happiness and want to avoid suffering. Fourth noble truth: the eight fold path. I don’t need to invade the North Sentinel Islands and inflict these ideas on no-believers, I just work on eight fold path stuff as much as I can and it is how I seek happiness and avoidance of suffering. Also, cortisone shots when the suffering gets too acute.

  92. @SmallBlueMike: Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! on all points, thank you. And it does make a difference when people embrace their own integrity, because it shines a light on all of us. Believe it!

    I have so many thoughts, but you have cut through the fog to the simple truth. I found some words about Andaman that I saved yesterday in the Boston Globe:

    Like centuries of self-aggrandizing missionaries before him, Chau saw himself as a humble servant of God. He sought to use his waterproof Bible to compel those he viewed as savages from their perceived godlessness. Their worth extended only as far as his ability to coerce them into accepting his beliefs. This is piety weaponized into a tool of domination and supremacy, meant to crush nonconforming cultures. It’s what white Europeans did to indigenous people and enslaved people to tame and control them.
    Some Christian compatriots have already anointed Chau as “a martyr.” He’s not. He did not die in defense of his religion. Instead he made a fatal miscalculation in deciding that his way and his God were the only acceptable path. He cared more for his flawed ideas about saving souls than about respecting lives.

    I’ve mentioned aspects of degrowth in posts above, but only in a negative way, suggesting that we all could do better. Today I recycled some potting soil, and found it encased in a windowpot “Made in China” – how characteristic and how wrong!

    I remember the beginning of a life change for me, in 1989. It was an insight that the only person I can change is myself. Of course we must do our best in community as well, that’s why we strive so earnestly here at aTTP and elsewhere. The 249 A Street Cooperative Corporation that houses me and my fellow artists is one such effort, human and therefore flawed. My mother’s caregivers provide insights into the troubles of the underclass. We “elites” have too little exposure to the everyday rigors of a life spent “living while Black” and I’m glad my father and I are able to help. These little daily things are what makes it real.

  93. And slightly, but not altogether irrelevant, as it refers to the human experience:

  94. Greg Robie says:

    It has been observed, and I feel astutely, Susan, that the faults we see in others are the ones… 😉

    To my ear this reply exploits the same framing you have previously been faithful to. If so, you are correct about effecting a standstill regarding conversation [about motivated reasoning that is shared among Democrats, Republicans, et al.; about our unconstitutional currency which, like Tolkien’s Ring of Sauron, binds us all in a darkness of debt slavery and makes us debt slavers; about the feelings of duty and honor; about unintentional falsehoods; about hopium; about projection and moral psychology; about freedom [and wealth] being the right to be responsible; about a significant (and therefore strategic) cohort who have obligated themselves with an oath to protect and defend the Constitution; about physics defining knowledge as action; about Maslow’s insight being self-justification concerning its converse; about the nature of sovereignity]. So, yes, this reply effect a stop … &/or a reframing that such is so until I acknowledge this reframing as something it most clearly is not: reasoned and rational. So thanks for letting me off the hook for discussing any or all of the above with you (and not here) by asserting the standstill is my affect. And I am challenged to imagine that the organizing efforts extinction rebellion mobilization involves does complex conversation well either. A self-described activistst’s trusted homeostasis and it’s enabling motivated reasoning tends to trump self-examination and humbly owning unredressed irresponsible behavior.

    FYI regarding an impressive person, and from the Q&A of Rep. Ocasio-Cortz’s Green New Deal page at her campaign website:

    “However, this approach (Pelosi’s select committee that specifically was without a legislative mandate) did not make a big impact relative to the scale of the problem we face. The one piece of legislation that eventually came out of the old select committtees work – the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/legislation/index.html) was a cap-and-trade bill that was wholly insufficent for the scale of the problem.”

    That ~2000 page tomb, crafted by and for the corporate citizens who otherwise require regulation, is contrasted by Scotland’s 45 page legislation that actually became law. (I tried to read the former, but I’m not sure I even made it through the summary before it was clear that science was not informing the legislation … which was abundantly clear when reading the latter). The Representative of the Congressional District I live in, Susan, was, at that time, the former drummer of the band Orleans, the composer of the song “Warm Power of the Sun” (search on the title and you’ll find a video of Rep. John Hall and Pete Seeger playing it during his campaign for Congress in 2008). He was a member of Ed’s committee in 2009 that produced ACES. So, yes, I know of Ed and his [unconscious?!?] falsehoods. For example, and small falsehoods, ACEC would only cost the American pubic the price of a postage stamp a day (Joe Romm qualified this as pertaining the time period before 2020 – after which the real constraints and costs kicked in!); purporting that the tabling in methane emission at the time was a consequence of policies based on speculation that such was so in a 2006 BBC article. For an example of large falsehoods: physics v. the framing of the bill! Regardless, is it worth noting, given some of your assertions, that 44 expended zero political capital on either ACES or CEJAP (Senate) in 2009? Also, that same year, 44, with Clinton as Secretary of State, threw a gamed but binding treated under the bus at COP15. My read of the Paris Agreement is that the only thing these two politicos preserved – and ported into Paris from Kyoto – is its gamed Cap & Trade mechanism. The voluntary Paris Agreement endured a two hour delay in its approval on that last day of COP21 as a word that implied something that could be read as binding (other than the “mechanism”) was changed at the US’ insistence. By my read/memory, the sole clause in the Paris Agreement for which there is agreement relates to cap and trade with offsets in everything but name. In addition, science’s role is dictated in the Agreement as being limited to vetting the veracity of such offsets. What can be reverse engineered from the 2° C promise, considering that negative emission technologies (& I am rather fond of Kevin Anderson’s phrase for this: a carbon sucking fairy godmother) are integral to most models by which 2° is theoretically effected, is rather limited and toothless, ie; there is no cap.

    I reason that the only potential (and very short term) winner to come out of the destruction of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and the six year delay 44 & Clinton set in motion in 2009 at COP15 is Wall Street (& other Western financial centers). I speculate that doing this was the promise 44 made for it being his and not Hillary’s Whitehouse. If saying so is wrong because it’s judge that such constitutes a circular firing squad … [insert a Charlie Brown exclamation]! And regarding Democrats, to the degree the minority assertion applies, isn’t such a fact due to voting behaviors?

    Anyway, Susan mentioned a few comments back that I was respected. My inner male is still waiting to occupy that feeling. 😉 But no worries, I’m familiar with the rules the man must live with. They start with the one that asserts that the woman is always right. I’m riddled with the bullet holes as proof of this. And, for the readers on the other side of the pond, my apology for how self-absorbed my nation’s citizenry of all genders and orientations tend to be with our limited imagination of what can be done. With twice your average per capita carbon footprint, humility – other than the false kind – seems yet to be inconceivable.

    I feel this is likely because, and discounting our extermination of 500 nations, we only demonstrated our lack of wisdom and intelligence once … on our soil. But what do I know … probably what you cannot not remember?

    But listen!
    The beat is synchronized
    multiple times daily
    & to the millionth of a second

    A rhythm pounding in our brains.
    Beating the earth deeper into extinction’s modality.
    Frenetic, it echoes globally.
    Interference sounded: subsuming all.

    Silencing sentience.

    Hides our enemy in plain sight.
    Dances us away from any encounter
    with this truth: it is us/US!/?

  95. @ Greg Robie:
    Thanks for the specifics in your 4th paragraph. No thanks for the idea that I am somehow “right” because I am a woman. I am not part of your wounds, and I do not demand to be regarded as right because of my sex.

    I am a great admirer of Scotland’s stalwart and wise efforts.

    “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” Just like the IPCC, Acts of Congress have to accommodate all parties. I’m sorry that you think Markey is too accommodating. He’s been fighting the good fight for decades, and no doubt his understanding could/should be better. But I suspect it is other people who have dragged him back from doing the best.

    I recommend this for my favorite favorite, though I have high hopes that the beautiful in mind, body, and spirit Alexandria will do great things. Note AO-C’s support for Nancy Pelosi … who has not reached the finest heights in efforts to arrive at solutions on climate. We are going in the wrong direction, and getting the least worst does not even begin to undo the damage we need undone.

    I am convinced that we agree as to what is necessary. Kevin Anderson says it well. I refuse to give in to apathy or despair, which I believe are laziness in disguise. But this is not good enough, I totally agree with you there; Scotland leads the way, among others. I support the Green New Deal, but 50 is not enough to dominate 538. The effort is worthwhile, as Occupy was for bring “the 99%” into common currency.

    Here’s another guy at the level of Kevin Anderson (28 minutes in 2007 but I prefer it to his shorter Ted talk from 2014). I was raised on Rachel Carson and ecology, thanks for my mother:

  96. Jeremy Jackson, that was.

  97. Susan, I do not think my analysis of the political problem is so black and white. In my view it even has more shades of grey than yours. I do not only distinguish between Republican and Democratic politicians, but also between those that are investment objects and those that represent the people.

    If the establishment in Massachusetts do not like the most prominent representatives of the movement of politicians who represent their voters (Justice Democrats and Our Revolution) because they are seen as extreme left in Washington and the establishment media (while they would be centre in Europe and most of their policies have majority support in the polls), they also have moderate politicians using this model to chose from.

    Beto O’Rourke campaigned using small donations from the people; he is even against Medicare for all (that is something even European conservatives support, so rejecting that should make him a moderate in Washington & on CNN). He already is called the new Obama. I hope that now they see it is possible to campaign this way even some Republicans will try this.

    The corrupt political system from Bush/Trump to Clinton/Obama has produced the feeling that politics does not fight for the people, but for the elite. This has resulted in the decline of trust in institutions and the establishment. This has produced Trump and has helped authoritarians all over the world. Just going back to Democratic majorities in Washington will only bring back the situation that produced Trump. We need to fix the system as well.

  98. Fergus Brown says:

    A small thought. As I understand it, the way the US system works is this: you stand for office, possibly on high principles: You get elected: before you have even stepped into your new position, lobbyists, interest groups, shills, flakes and corporates are on you like a ton of bricks; you work your way through that minefield as you try to get done what you were elected to get done: somewhere along the line there have to be compromises.

    This model applies to any and every representative, regardless of where they stand at first. On top of which, as it stands, the system requires substantial income to sustain one’s position, since advertising campaigns are the principal medium of promoting election. So the pressure is on.

    One might see this as the start of the corrupting process, or as the means by which endemic fundraising comes to dominate politics; on the other hand, it is how things work, and that is not going to change much for a while.

    Change the system? Of course that would be the best thing, but really, is it even ‘plausible’? Meantime, you can elect someone who is broadly coming from the right direction, or one who is broadly coming from the wrong direction, but it is clear; there is no untouchable, untouched politician in the US system, and the GOP understands its Sun Tzu way better than their opponents; divide and rule, subvert, distract.

    If I was an American I would vote for anyone who wasn’t a Republican, regardless of whether I though they were imperfect, on the grounds that anything is better than the mess there is now, and that will persist if the election/democracy process is further undermined by a GOP majority.

    Criticising Clinton, Pelosi, or any Democrat, when your underlying political ideology is democratic and not republican, simply means you are doing the GOP’s work for them. Silly.

  99. VV, I’m sorry you feel I’m just saying the same thing, trying to find illustrations and exemplars of what I’m talking about: you’re probably right. I feel you are doing the same thing, and from abroad, so you don’t have the granular experience of local and national politics I do. At the moment, I am sad that Elizabeth Warren, whose work is entirely admirable, is now being labeled “corporate” and “too old” and being dismissed. In my lifetime I’ve never seen a better advocate for the 99% and for climate action. Ed Markey, despite his participation in the political gallimaufry of Congress in the 1990s, and the failed cap and trade, has never stopped fighting the good fight.

    Next after Warren, I have very high hopes for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. My father and I sent the maximum we could to Beto O’Rourke, who is another shining light. So is Stacey Abrams, who was unable to overcome the corrupt system in Georgia. And it is tragic that Florida has gone, both Senate and Governor, to climate deniers and Trump supporters. Mississippi has gone to a flat out racist instead of Espy, who is both intelligent and capable, while Cindy Hyde-Smith lacks intelligence as well as humanity. In Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley who defeated the excellent Mike Capuano, with whom she agrees 100% on the issues, also has my support.

    The Democratic party as adopted the Green New Deal. Good!

    For suitable objects of disgust and opprobrium, I recommend to you two Democrats. (1) Joe Manchin from coal country, who is pro-coal and voted for Kavanaugh, who I am appalled to learn is up for ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Manchin is in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry. I’m due to call Schumer’s office which is why I have this info on hand.

    (2) my own House Representative, Stephen Lynch, whom I used to trust implicitly; he was helping to my arts coop when we were getting our zoning variance (’80s); his wife is an artist. He has veered ever rightward and ran virtually unopposed, garnering a large majority. He’s not as bad as Manchin, but veering that way, and I’ve been letting that go. I’m hoping somebody like Capuano will challenge him next time around.

    My primary objection to Bernie is the black and white way he has of undermining good people and the oversimplifications he offers, along with the conspiracy ideation he encouraged that helped get us in the fix we’re in. Ocasio-Cortez is better than that, along with being easy on the eyes (not that that should matter, but elegance in person and speech is a definite asset).

    Clinton/Obama are not by-and-large corrupt. That’s opposition work from Republicans and the Putintrollosphere. Clinton should butt out, she’s radioactive, but I suggest you look up the Clinton Foundation. Here’s an example of what the Clinton Foundation does right. There’s lots else (trees in Africa, health care around the world). https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/opinion/hurricane-puerto-rico-electricity.html

    “Our organization, the Rocky Mountain Institute, works with the Clinton Foundation, international and regional partners, governments and utilities to help Caribbean island nations switch to modern and regionally abundant solar and wind power. Those efforts were going well before the latest hurricanes. Solar arrays in the Turks and Caicos Islands and on Cooper Island in the British Virgin Islands, among others, survived the hurricanes without damage and were able to provide electricity to nearby communities.”

    Otherwise, what Fergus said.

  100. Fergus says: “Criticising Clinton, Pelosi, or any Democrat, when your underlying political ideology is democratic and not republican, simply means you are doing the GOP’s work for them. Silly.”

    Is it ok to criticize Clinton, Pelosi, et al when a person’s underlying political ideology is Green/WFP, etc. rather than Democratic? I can pass as a D in a lot of circumstances, but I cannot pass for an R, because my underlying political ideology is Green not D or R.

    I think this is a political identity Chicken or Egg question. Can we make the Dems a better party by staying with them or by leaving them? I straddle the fence on that by voting D in any close election (my US rep is that election generally) and voting Green in every safe race.

    In any event, my criticism of a Clinton would generally be along the lines that Sanders would be better than Clinton as POTUS and Trump is complete unqualified and unsuited to be president and of course, Clinton did my receive my State’s electoral votes, so there is that also.

    It might be smart for Pelosi to step aside, but there is no one with her skills in the Dem party at this moment, so as a pragmatic matter, I am completely supportive of Pelosi as SOTH. I hope she can do amazing things with a tough situation. She certainly has the political skills needed by that position.

    Our species’ inability to come to grips with the sixth extinction and its causes may make all these kind of arguments moot in the not-too-distant future. At least, if you believe the David Attenborough types, right?



  101. One might see this as the start of the corrupting process

    It is a corruption process. It undermines democracy. It leads to inequality. Thus more corruption and in the end Trump or worse.

    Change the system? Of course that would be the best thing, but really, is it even ‘plausible’?

    That is how the discussion started. There are now 40 representatives in the House who have shown that you can run a political campaign without corruption. It allows a politician to take positions which are popular with the population, rather than the unpopular positions the donor class pays for.

    So yes it is plausible. It may even already be unilateral disarmament to take the deeply unpopular positions of the corrupt donor class.

    it is how things work, and that is not going to change much for a while.

    Especially if you do not fight nothing will change. The economic elite will fight for more power, change to make the situation worse and make America into an oligarchy.

    Meantime, you can elect someone who is broadly coming from the right direction, or one who is broadly coming from the wrong direction,

    That is very course and weak influence in a two party system with two bad candidates in the general election. If you do not engage in the primaries to have a politician who is on your side, you will get nearly nothing.

    Naturally, if that is the final choice you have, you vote for the best option left. Until it gets to that you work to make sure it does not come to such a terrible situation and there is a non-corrupted candidate that supports popular positions.

    Criticising Clinton, Pelosi, or any Democrat, when your underlying political ideology is democratic and not republican, simply means you are doing the GOP’s work for them. Silly.

    It is easy to do both. Not changing the system has worked so well over the last decades, hasn’t it? It is silly tribalism to be uncritical and cheer for everyone in your tribe no matter what they do. I understand why the establishment does not like for an honest discussion on what is wrong with the electoral system and how that leads to all parties drifting off to lala land and policies which only benefit the ultra rich. I do not understand why anyone else would just like to watch and see America decline.

  102. Is it ok to criticize Clinton, Pelosi, et al when a person’s underlying political ideology is Green/WFP, etc. rather than Democratic?

    No need to be Green. 80% of Democrats support Medicare for all. Healthcare is one of the most important topic for voters. It should also be okay for Democratic voters to criticize Pelosi who is against it.

    For the coming vote in the House speaker Pelosi may be the best option left, as OAC pragmatically realises, but next time there should be a better option, next time the leader of the Democratic party should be someone who fights for policies supported by Democrats.

  103. My earlier response to VV is stuck in moderation …

  104. Susan, maybe your last comment is not stuck in moderation, but I did not reference it that much, as it went into quite some detail. I focussed on your earlier bigger-picture comments in my last comment.

    I have no problems with Elizabeth Warren and did not write anything about her; it is not a good idea to assign people opinions based upon the group you put them in. For any group you can find some extremists, which the (establishment) media will portrait as typical people of the group. The establishment Democrats fights progressives much stronger than they fight Republicans, with smears of being sexist, bigoted, anti-Semitic and unreasonable.

    As far as I know the Democrats do not support a Green New Deal. Only 15 House Democrats supported it 4 days ago.

    The corporate Democrats also reversed a measure that Democrats should not accept funding from fossil fuel companies. I do not think that it is spreading conspiracies to think that these companies want a return on investment. They are not charities. They expect that they will get less climate action in return for their generous “donations”.

    I feel that Bernie has a more nuanced view of the world. He goes beyond the black and white R = bad, D = good and tries to fix the systemic problems, rather then emotionalize and personalize the situation.

    I think that when Saudi Arabia gives money to the Clinton Foundation and not directly to trees in Africa or health care around the world, they do so expecting benefits. The Clintons raised three billion for their campaigns and the Foundation. Just like Pelosi can use her campaign funds and give them to colleagues to buy votes for her as speaker, Clinton can chose who to give the charity money to and in that way buy the support/endorsement of civic leaders for her campaigns. I am sure the Clintons did a lot to help the black community. They got support of black leaders in return and the Clintons were less critical about Saudi Arabia in return for their money. (Alternatively SA are suckers, who do not know how to spend their charity money themselves directly and get the goodwill themselves.)

    That does not make Pelosi or Clinton bad persons. They are doing what they have to do in the current bad system. The system needs to change. Fortunately we have arrived at a point where taking Big Money has become unilateral disarmament and we can change the corrupt system. Hopefully in time before fascism takes over.

  105. Susan: wrt to Hillary: you say, you don’t think her honoraria payments of hundreds of thousands of dollar for speeches from industries do not pass the smell test for me. Can you review these linked stories and tell me that you think her speech payments pass the smell test for you? This smells like corruption to me. Does it pass muster for you?


    I worked on many Dem campaigns this past cycle through the Democratic AG Association and I was in contact with voters in TX, NC, GA, FL, AZ MI and I think a few more states. The MAGA folks often referred to the corruption of the Dem party as they cussed me out for asking them to vote for a Dem candidate. I had to step back and think about what they were talking about. I think this looks like corruption to many American voters.



  106. Sorry, lost something in cut and paste: your quote that got lost was: “Clinton/Obama are not by-and-large corrupt.”

  107. VV, yes, I know. I just wanted my reply to come up in real time. In general, I think I’ve said my say. I need to do what I can here in the US rather than continuing to respond to absolutist condemnations of Democrats (I mentioned Manchin and Lynch; those matter). The news about the Dems adopting the Green New Deal came out within the last day or so. Good idea. Things are developing rapidly. Pelosi just assigned Ayanna Pressley to an effort to deal with guns, for example: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/11/30/ayanna-pressley-quickly-finds-footing-washington/6LL2g8wS1mC28NxkF9jjZP/story.html

    <i<Pressley has shown an unusual savvy and cut a remarkably high profile for a lawmaker who has yet to be sworn in. While many freshmen were quite literally getting their bearings, she finagled the gun-bill promise from Nancy Pelosi in the Capitol and flew down to Mississippi as one of the few out-of-state Democrats asked to stump for Senate candidate Mike Espy. And she has built alliances with other high-profile members of the younger, historically diverse House freshman class, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar, who call themselves a #squad on Instagram.

    Drawing on more than two decades of political experience as a Capitol Hill aide and a Boston city councilor, Pressley is fashioning herself as an ambitious new member of a chamber where change usually comes slowly. And she is emerging as an early player in the bigger group of hungry new members who may eventually clash with the seniority-driven leadership structure of the House.

    “I think the job description for a member of Congress has changed and that’s why I ran,” Pressley said in an interview. “We can be even more innovative now, even more bold, even more aspirational.”

    Pressley broke into Congress as an outsider, toppling a powerful Democratic incumbent and becoming the first black woman to serve Massachusetts in Washington — and the first black person from the state, period, to serve in the House. She quickly charmed members of the delegation who endorsed her opponent, Michael Capuano, during her race.
    “You find yourself in a position where you’ve just landed and you’re immediately being lobbied for support and you’ve not even had the opportunity to meet with people,” Pressley said. “I wanted to sit down with her.”

    Pressley had heard the calls by Pelosi for the newly empowered Democrats to open the next Congress with a bill on campaign finance and ethics reform, and she was not convinced. Her district, which stretches through such Boston neighborhoods as Mattapan where gun violence is a familiar worry, had recently seen eight gun deaths over 11 days.
    During a meeting in Pelosi’s office and in phone calls afterward, the women hashed out an agreement. Pelosi committed to Pressley that she would make a bill addressing gun violence a priority in Congress and she assigned Pressley to the Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to help develop ideas for the legislation. It was enough to secure Pressley’s vote.

    Both are relatively small concessions. Pelosi had already mentioned gun reform in a long Democratic wish list for the new session, and task forces are not known as hotbeds of power and deal-making. But Pressley showed a level of sophistication in extracting something for her vote that bodes well for her future in the often transactional House.

    That is long, but the atmospherics are at a level that makes one of the points I hope to press. Both Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez worked for Kennedy/John Kerrey. Treating people in a lump iand making blanket condemnations ignores facts and history. I’ve had a bellyful of wholesale condemnations of Democrats doing what they can in the face of wholesale Republican obstruction, kleptocracy, etc. I realize it’s easier to talk about and to people who might listen to you, but if you want us to get moving, condemning allies and ignoring real enemies is not helping.

    I’ll see tomorrow if I can find anything else to which I should or could respond without repeating myself.

  108. I meant to put the quote in italics; blew the html, sorry. Most of that is from The Boston Globe, winding up with “the often transactional House”. When you responded earlier my comment was in moderation, as is the one I just wrote (it’s after midnight in the UK now), I only mentioned it as the context was rapidly disappearing. I’m not sure what you all wish to accomplish by telling me how wrong you think I am. The only thing I lack is more purposive action here in the US, which is affected by age (70), exhaustion, laziness, timidity, and caregiving duties.

  109. The political struggle is exhausting. As progressives, we should treat each other gently. Ask questions politely. This is a platform that lacks nuance, so polite questions and statements can be read as confrontational. I think it’s obvious that almost everyone here would like to see change. The small denialist crowd here is hard to take seriously, they don’t bring much to the table. For the rest of you, I wish you well. I hope you find meaning in the work you do to create change. I respect that work, even when I don’t agree with some of the premises. Cheers, Mike

  110. Greg Robie says:

    Since physics responds to our actions, not our knowledge, all action is purposive. Motivated reasoning rationalizes and/or hides the truth of this. Such constitutes a facing this truth: freedom is – simply – the right to be more and more responsible as ‘wealth’ (also the right to be responsible). If faced, and as ‘wealth’ is acquired/aged into as ‘freedom’, such is processed, thanks to the amygdala, as being stressful. Unmitigated, this can plausibly hasten death.

    Oxytocin, one of two stress mitigating neuropeptides we can self-generate, can be effected through “tend & befriend” behavior (caregiving). This dynamic is more true the lower the testosterone, and the more the behavior is socially/culturally reinforced. The gender that this tends to be the case for also experiences the neurological influences of about three decades of psychologically tidal hormonal oscillations. Isn’t “timidity” a plausibly pejorative descriptor of an otherwise well considered psychological adaptation to hormonal-driven shifts in perception; an irrational deference to the complimentary psychological adaption of males to stress: the “fight or flight” response born of testosterone?

    In the short term, avoiding responsible living can create a perception of privilege. Such privilege tend to evolve to effect a positive feedback concerning an almost oxymoronic ‘purposive irresponsibility’. I say “almost” because, in the framing dictated by physics and climate change, and as we are increasingly, albeit reluctantly, accepting as observable, it is no longer plausibly possible to see otherwise concerning the privileged homeostases of CapitalismFail. In truth, our walk talks our knowledge. Physics is, thereby, purposive. Isn’t it only irresponsibly privileged motivated reasoning that has precluded the stress of this unhinging us? Is not this irresponsibly/[unconstitutionally] privileged nation becoming unhinged?

    The physiological efforts required for maintaining a trusted motivated reasoning, regarding such ‘privilege, is energy consuming. With aging, a diminishing sense of energy feels exhausting … and such is processed by the body for what it is: a killer. Whether the megaphone of ones living is pragmatically muffled, or that pragmatism is amped, and as justification for the affects of age – and within opposing psychological strategies – the effect is the same: our history repeats itself.

    The import of this concerning the Extinction Rebellion strategy is that it seems to me to be systemically misdirected toward symptoms rather than causes. But to the degree our species is hard wired and ‘evolved’ to be a backward-looking consciously unconscious species, and such is the cause, the sooner we are backed out of here the more plausible the possibility of life for less self-deluding species in our economic meme’s sixth planetary great extinction event.

  111. I’ve had a bellyful of wholesale condemnations of Democrats

    Me too. There is a tiny group of such extremists, I am certainly not a member of them.

    I was pointing out the wonderful development that we now have 40 Democrats who are not funded by Big Money and many of the presidential candidates will likely be people funded. My impression is that that has already produced great advances in the policies proposed, such as HR1 on reducing corruption. If Pelosi is allowed to talk about the problem of political corruption, I hope that I am also allowed to explain how that works and is system where even good people would produce bad outcomes. It has completely destroyed the Republican party, and I am sorry to have to say is also present in the Democrat party. Such an honest analysis of the situation, it something else as a “wholesale condemnation”.

    I’m not sure what you all wish to accomplish by telling me how wrong you think I am.

    If I remember correctly you once wrote that not taking Big Money would be unilateral disarmament. As you are an influential well-informed person who is typically right on the issues I was hoping to be able to convince you that this is no longer true and that there is a case that maybe taking Big Money is the new unilateral disarmament.

  112. It’s appropriate that we see this comment in the thread:

    Steven Mosher says:
    November 27, 2018 at 11:08 am
    You guys fight amongst yourselves, I have a carbon spewing flight to catch

    when you get your collective shit together send a note and your concerns will be noted.

    and then a week later this

    Steven Mosher says:
    December 4, 2018 at 4:02 pm
    tax rebellion

    Not quite.

    The protests were initially conceived in response to rising fuel prices. The cost of diesel has surged 16% this year from an average 1.24 euros ($1.41) per liter to 1.48 euros ($1.69), even hitting 1.53 euros in October, according to UFIP, France’s oil industry federation.
    The price hike is largely caused by a leap in the wholesale price of oil, with Brent crude oil — a benchmark for worldwide oil purchases — increasing by more than 20% in the first half of 2018 from around $60 a barrel to a peak of $86.07 in early October.

    Price volatility is a fingerprint of peak oil. The fighting is amongst themselves with lots of finger-pointing.

  113. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    I’m assuming there is a specific (rhetorical?) point that you’re making re the riots in Paris?

    What is your point?

    Or perhaps you’re merely enjoying some form of tribal shaudenfraude?

  114. Willard says:

    Those who’d suggest the Gilets Jaunes movement is about taxes should be willing to reconsider the Boston Tea Party. Here’s an author suggesting that the wordology is changing and that we hear more about injustices than taxes:

    If there’s one thing that could justify their cause, it’s the fact that BHL may move out from France if they continue, wink wink:


  115. I understand that Gilets Jaunes translates as yellow vests, but I read an article about the movement in the Guardian this morning and I think we might as well translate GJ into Drain the Swamp. It sounds like a big part of the discontent is about inequality, the race to the bottom that is neoliberalism. Yes, green fuel taxes are being cited as a problem, but I think the context for that tax problem is yoked to Macron’s tax break to the wealthy. Does this sound familiar?


  116. Susan: you say “The news about the Dems adopting the Green New Deal came out within the last day or so.”
    Can you provide a news link that reports that the Dems have adopted the Green New Deal? I can’t find such.
    the most recent thing I find is:

  117. Poverty and fuel/energy poverty are related. Macron is suspending a gasoline tax increase to try to appease the protesters. This is typical of the lowest decile of a population, showing where most of their income is spent — 40% !

  118. Joshua says:

    WHT –

    Why is the number for the lowest decile close to 3x the next lowest?

  119. Joshua,
    216/71 ~ 3
    Everyone spends about the same amount on fuel (except for jet-setters at the top) but their incomes differ.

  120. Joshua says:

    I mean I get the idea that a minimum fuel expense is a necessary expense, and thus likely to be a higher % of total expenses for those who earn less, but that seems to me to not quite explain that degree of discrepancy?

  121. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven –

    I’m assuming there is a specific (rhetorical?) point that you’re making re the riots in Paris?

    What is your point?

    Or perhaps you’re merely enjoying some form of tribal shaudenfraude?”

    I make observations, probably biased

    1. ya’ll seem to have a hard time agreeing with each other.
    2. At some point ya’ll may come to agreement, and perhaps come up with a tax of some sort
    or some other policy.
    3. It is plausible that you won’t have much success convincing the other tribe of your grand
    4. You include them in your planning at your peril ( cause they will disagree with you), and
    you exclude them at your peril. Cause they have pitchforks
    5. Note that other groups with grievences joined the riots.
    6. Note that even though the tax was smallish, other factors, like increased prices can conspire
    7. Now they are saying they want more than just lower taxes, they want the issue Willard raised
    addressed– wealth inequality. Interesting.

    Conclusion? I don’t know. In some cases taking actions ( like fixing Ozone) worked with
    no protests ect. In some cases we ended up with Palm Oil disasters. In some cases, British
    Columbia, carbon taxes worked. In France? well round 1 didnt turn out as planned. This does not mean take no action because some mob with pitchforks might get out of hand.

    weirdly I come back to that strange meeting in Lisbon. Ravetz invited skeptics and AGWers.
    with the exception of a couple of us, only skeptics showed. Ravetz decided to change the discussion to a course on how to talk to your enemies. I thought he was nuts. Philosopher.
    Not so sure now.

    In any case continue to talk amongst yourselves. Try the new green deal. Sure winner that.

  122. Joshua says:

    Thx. We crossed. But still, it seems kinda implausible to me.

    Are those number country-specidic?

  123. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    . At some point ya’ll may come to agreement, and perhaps come up with a tax of some sort
    or some other policy.

    Is a tax something that we-all get to come up with?

  124. Steven Mosher says:


    ““No tax is worth threatening the unity of the nation,” Mr. Philippe said.

    The protests have become a test of Mr. Macron’s resolve to forge ahead with his broader agenda, particularly his pro-business overhaul of the French economy. Tuesday’s concession marked the first time the Macron government has blinked since the former investment banker took office in the spring of 2017.

    The French leader has eschewed the consensus-building approach of his predecessors. Instead he wielded his executive powers and his large majority in Parliament to defy the political opposition, unions and other groups as he stripped away job protections and wealth taxes that help underpin France’s social model.”

    It’s France however, nothing learned here can be transferred.

  125. Joshua says:

    I come back to that strange meeting in Lisbon

    Do you have particular reason to think that a specific (unusual) experience with a group of (by definition) outliers might be particularly instructive?

    (btw, I liked the rest of that comment. I have similar thoughts).

  126. There’s not much to argue about with Peak Oil. Once the oil is depleted in a region, it’s not coming back. France never had much to begin with so they need to import

    I don’t see anybody disagreeing with this picture.

  127. I had hoped that my extended quote from the Globe about Ayanna Pressley (Ocasio-Cortez’s new sister in politics) would provide a real-world picture of how things actually are, not how we’d like them to be.

    Mike: You’re right, it’s not the whole party yet, as far as I can see. I found some references, but they are not the equivalent of a party platform. I do think the idea is growing.

    VV: I am not influential. And you are cherry-picking and leaving out context when you quote my comment about unilateral disarmament.

    Greg Robie: imnsho “Hopium” is a terrible sloganeering word. Please tell me its antonym. If there is one statement I would stick by, it is this, hard earned and hard fought: Despair and apathy are laziness in disguise. Here we all are, and what are we going to do about it?

    All: As long as people attack Democrats and ignore their opponents and realpolitik, they are helping those opponents.

    Here are some more good reads from my side of the pond, about current events:

    As long as the minority (of the people; majority in office ) holds us in total thrall, Democrats are without an adequate voice. I share your ideals, but I’m interested in progress, not grandstanding and demanding purity.

    I have some thoughts about the GIlets Jaunes and might put them in a separate post at some point. In brief: nothing makes a lot of people angrier than gas prices; they still don’t get it about the problems we obsess over. Sad and tragic. We are wholly owned subsidiaries of marketing and headed in the wrong direction.

  128. Susan, like with wealth, there are always people who are richer. There are always people with more influence, but what you say matters, people listen to you because they respect you and see you are well informed. That is clearly visible in how people respond to you both here and at the NYT.

    My apologies if I misremember your position. What is important is our current positions. I think that campaigning with popular political positions is a winning strategy. Spreading that message is helping the Democrats, not attacking them. The stronger the Democrats are the easier it is to defeat the Republicans and move America towards a more rational politics. That is not just important for America, but also for the rest of the world. It thus matters what the Democrats stand for.

    Paul, could you give a source for that table? I do not know of any OECD country were the lower decile has a household income of only 71€ per month and the medium is only 500€. So I am highly sceptical.

  129. Steven Mosher says:


    Is a tax something that we-all get to come up with?

    “some sort
    or some other policy.”

    But go ahead and suggest no tax.

  130. Willard says:

    We have a winner:

  131. Steven Mosher says:

    “Do you have particular reason to think that a specific (unusual) experience with a group of (by definition) outliers might be particularly instructive?”

    outliers are always instructive. take RCP 8.5.

    on second thought. groups in a war of words should never look for lessons of conflict

  132. “weirdly I come back to that strange meeting in Lisbon… “

    Wouldn’t be in the novel otherwise, Forrest!

  133. Greg Robie says:

    To the degree physics defines knowledge as action, hope, as a synonym for wish, is already the antonym of hope (as it is linked to faith-as-action by Paul in the often quoted passage in First Corinthians 13, which, BTW, was borrowed from the Greeks.) Paul explicitly expands of the linkage between faith-as-action and hope as the substance of faith in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. As hope-as-wishing is now an antonym of its earlier meaning, faith is similarly its antonym: belief.

    Hence, hopium, far from being a slogan, is possibly helpfully descriptive; even a partial etymological reboot. Does’t hope-as-a-wish justify pragmatism as an believed as-good-as-it-gets … to the degree sticking infers stuck? And, as is often the case, the faults we see in others … but then hasn’t any conversation been previously precluded, as this command’s framing [again] communicates?

    As a FWIW and conversational dynamics (i.e., Deborah Tannen), I do feel that critiques relative to gender differentiated conversational styles are in play in any failure to communicate; restrictions on what constitutes acceptable discourse. And isn’t “despair”, as ‘down from’ ‘to hope’, and apathy, as ‘without’ ‘suffering’, descriptive of privilege, as ‘private’ ‘law’?

  134. Susan: It is important that you speak accurately. I encourage you to get the facts right. I have no interest in proving you wrong, but I think it is important to speak up if you state things that simply are not true. There is a really large difference between the news reports in top story in the link you provided:

    “Just three Democrats in the Congressional Progressive Caucus have pledged this week to support Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bid for a so-called Green New Deal, the only policy proposal scientists say is ambitious enough to avert catastrophic climate change in the coming decades.”

    and your statement:

    “The news about the Dems adopting the Green New Deal came out within the last day or so.”


    “The Democratic party as adopted the Green New Deal. Good!” (I think you intended “has adopted”)

    from your posts above.

    It’s really important that we face the facts and not project our wishes on the various political parties.
    I think at some earlier point (can’t find it at this moment) you stated a concern about why some of us find it so important to prove you wrong (it’s probably a paraphrase), but I think what I want is that you post things that are demonstrably true and verifiable. I have generally agreed with your posts and viewpoints, but I think it’s clear that with the case of the Green New Deal, you have engaged in wishful thinking wrt to the position of the Dem party. I would love to be wrong about that, but I think the facts show that your statements regarding the Dems and the Green New Deal are quite inaccurate.

    That is not to say that the Dems might not eventually come around to adopting the Green New Deal. I would love to see that happen, but it has clearly not happened at this time. Is it Dem-bashing to insist that the party’s positions be discussed accurately? I think not. I am a Green. I think the Green New Deal was seriously embraced and presented by Green POTUS candidate Jill Stein. I will be very happy on the day when the Dem party adopts the Green New Deal. That day is not upon us. I think it’s important that we recognize what the true position of the Dem party is. There is no current Dem embrace or adoption of the Green New Deal. I am not dedicated to proving anyone wrong, I am interested in presenting and considering accurate information.

    I wish you the best, Susan. I continue to appreciate your posts and positions. I encourage you to be careful to represent things carefully and accurately so that we consider our situation based on existing facts rather than our hopes and dreams.



  135. John Hartz says:

    Two recent well-written and factual articles about the Green New Deal —

    Explainer: Why some US Democrats want a ‘Green New Deal’ to tackle climate change by Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief, Dec 3, 2018

    Progressive lawmakers call for climate change revolution by Emily Holden, Environment, Guardian, Dec 4, 2018

  136. Greg Robie says:

    The following four sets of seven haiku each, have, as their muse, the interaction – and lack thereof – I experienced while engaged in past three blog posts comment streams, so Thx! I do wish that a reply might have appeared re the TL;DR word play comment concerning the possibility/plausibility dance. That comment also had a physics/climate model question embedded in it. Simply, would an annual additional 7.3094644e+10 kW be significant relative to the parameters of these models. Relative to the solar screening array fantasy, it seems to indicates that over 200,000 additional square miles of shading/year would be required … if my rough quantifying of the Inuit elders’ observations of the Arctic day’s shifting sunset location near the Arctic Circle, and the extra two hours of illumination regarding hunting is well considered.

    Now the haiku:

    As purpose and our pleasure
    Pragmatic negates

    Realism’s reason
    The mud of muddling through
    Mostly in circles

    The vision of youth
    When adults, life have bolloxed

    Cheer idealism
    That purely pleasing purpose

    Repeat & repeat
    Hope is not ephemeral
    Faith is substantial

    Neuropeptides mask
    The law that there is physics
    Metabolized truth

    Purity is not
    When seen from another side
    A pejorative

    Metanoia means
    A changing of everything
    That’s inside the head

    This death is rebirth
    But not of what is trusted
    But a true do-over

    For this we’re evolved
    In truth, never to go there
    Why even bother

    The answer’s simple
    When bothering together
    Nothing is the same

    Be still and listen
    Even death holds no power
    When honor is loved

    But honor ‘s neutral
    And backsliding is likely
    Fear fights forever

    And ever this fight
    ‘Tis physics that defines might
    About what is right

    What to certain do
    When ‘private’ ‘law’ has power
    Unplug the power

    Plebiscites’ efforts
    Motivated reasoning
    Or hopium’s haze

    It’s Carville’s ~message
    the stupid economy
    Cleaves Cave of Shadows

    Something is ending
    Its what constitutes stupid
    As physics defines

    That touchstone taken
    It is Federal Reserve law
    That’s casting shadows

    Change, therefor, easy
    It’s unconstitutional
    And honor ‘s duty

    With debt slavery gone
    Responsibilities gained
    Enough to die for

    So choose how death comes
    By what is worth living for
    Be quick … Whoops! … choice made

    What is: religious
    As such, a long time coming
    Ours: REALLY stupid!

    So certain do’s start
    Is an everything ending

    The beginner’s mind
    And too dark to contemplate
    Holds physics’ bright light

    This black hole perceived
    Is not revealed by shadow
    And yet can be seen

    Or such is a hope
    That different living leads toward
    When followed by faith

    Death reveals answers
    While Extinction Rebels* yell
    What’s evil must die

    * or Club of Rome publishes: https://www.clubofrome.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/COR_Climate-Emergency-Plan-final-pages.pdf

  137. Useful quote, not in reply to any of the above, but as a general reflection of what we are suffering under, not only in the US, but elsewhere where power elites are exploiting fear and frustration:

    “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/garry-kasparov-says-we-are-living-in-chaos-but-remains-an-incorrigible-optimist Garry Kasparov Says We Are Living in Chaos, But Remains an Incorrigible Optimist: The chess grandmaster and political activist on Putin, Trump, and how we are living again through the eighteen-fifties.

    VV, I did say it, more than once. My complaint was and is about context. But I’ve repeated myself enough about what I call the purity monster and the way it handicaps allies and enables real enemies.

    SBMike: yes, I often disadvantage my points by being sloppy. I did read something like what I said somewhere, but when pressed I shared my search to indicate that I couldn’t find it, and was probably wrong. Sincere apologies.

    All: I had hoped that the range of thought I quoted and linked to would give a more real-world picture of the highs and lows of progress. Ayanna Pressley’s new journey is, I thought, a good illustration of how a dedicated progressive can navigate things as they are and begin to assert for progress.

    The Gilets Jaunes highlight the problem with progress. Many more people get fired up – especially when their day-to-day survival is made more difficult on behalf of the future, which they don’t understand or care about (those “elites”) – by rising fuel prices than by the rising dangers of the endgame of looting, exploiting, and expanding appetites and waste on a finite planet.

    Greg Robie, I can only appreciate your writing at a distance (I do appreciate it), as it is fraught with a sophistication (word?) that makes it heavy reading for me. Unfortunately, I had a lot of contact with the word hopium a few years back and came to hate it as characteristic of a certain kind of dismissal of those who try to act in the real world and deal with real opposition from bad actors, not allies. I stopped keeping silence about it and you reaped the result of my thought about that. I stand by my bolded statement.

    Although “we can because we must” is being proven wrong, I have to stick with it. I am alive and that’s that. I have found that rigid opposition to moderation while ignoring extremists is all too common, and imnsho it is not helping. But people in that camp seem to have more time on their hands to tell me how wrong I am than I do to keep on trying to make my point.

  138. I am not a purist. You will have a hard time finding any in continental Europe. We have multi-party systems were your power and your ability to improve society depends on being able to build coalitions with other parties. You could see the American (and UK) system as building such coalitions before the election rather than after the election. That may be why I am more comfortable about also talking about policy differences within the coalitions while finding it perfectly normal to collaborate to achieve common goals.

  139. The youth climate movement, the Sunrise Movement, is organising actions next week in Washington DC. Monday they will visit Congress people to ask them to institute a committee to write a Green New Deal. According to them currently 18 Democratic Congresspeople (less than 10%) are on board.

    They would like scientists to join. As an individual I would be happy to join, I feel we need more climate action, but not in my role as scientist. Showing up in lab coats suggests this is the one plan that is supported by scientists & science, while the Green New Deal is politics.

    They also ask that members of this select committee do not take money from the fossil fuel industry. A very reasonable demand.

    We are making history and permanently changing the politics of climate change. 18 Democratic Congresspeople and nearly 100 of the most powerful community, environmental, and economic justice organizations in the country have endorsed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal.

  140. Sapoty Brook says:

    If you don’t think it can be an Extinction event please inform me how you propose how you and your descendents, and your food growing system, will survive for at least ten thousand years with say twenty days per year exceeding 55 degrees C?
    I am assuming that seemingly minor tipping points, such as summer loss of arctic sea ice cover, are likely to trigger a cascade of tipping points eventually resulting in average global temperature increase of 5 to 10 degrees.

  141. Sapoty,
    Firstly, I’m not suggesting it won’t be bad. I’m simply pointing out that this is very unlikely to be an extinction level event. Secondly, even though the loss of things like the summer Arctic sea ice will probably amplify some warming, it’s unlikely (unless we really emit a great deal more CO2 than seems likely) that we could see warming close to 10C. If we did, then what I’ve said about this not being an extinction level event may well be wrong, but such extreme warming seems very unlikely.

  142. Greg Robie says:

    Where this permaculture homestead is located in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York, the immediate face of abrupt climate change is not so much heat waves as multiple springs in the midst of winter. For example, next Monday night a low of 3°F is forecasted. The Arctic air mass that chilled the flora here in early December has been followed by a series of warm air masses that have buds swelling. Part of the reason I do maple sugaring is to force myself to be attentive to changes that would otherwise tend to be glossed over by me. Like Sapoty, I used to considered heat waves as the primary threat to agriculture, though I also speculated that a late spring, early summer hard freeze might be the wake up call of how things would fall apart/collapse for feeding this privileged urbanized society. Then the polar jet went wavey.

    Heat waves cometh, and even though the Arctic is warming extremely fast, I wouldn’t rule out a fold in the jet delivering a crop destroying killing frost late in the planting season as the weather gets weirder, but is the current multiple springs in winter that is causing some species to re-bud in multiple consecutive years, which is both happening now, and the stress of this is weakening plants and opening them up to disease, infection, and death.

    Or, ATTP, isn’t it far more ‘bad’ already … and this bad is the result of changes locked in (within the range defined by 90% certainty*) 36 – 60 years ago. Add to what is already in the climate change pipeline, the existing known unknowns that are not likely to make our current condition any less extinction/civil collapse/chaos invoking, and your very British way of explaining things appears like a bad joke from this side of the pond.

    * https://mobile.twitter.com/OpenToInfo/status/1083118126181638150

    And my condolences on the Brexit drama and [undignified] chaos. Tomorrow will bring more of the same. … differently!

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself


    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart


  143. Pingback: Existential threat? | …and Then There's Physics

  144. Pingback: Extinction rebellion | …and Then There's Physics

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