Stepping outside my comfort zone

I noticed that I was getting some flack in the comments on another climate blog (to which I won’t link), with some commenters claiming I’d lost whatever credibility I had. This seemed a little surprising, as I didn’t think I really had any with those who typically commented there. Turns out, it was because I’d signed this petition. I’m often reluctant to sign petitions, because they’re – by their nature – simplistic and rarely say something I completely agree with.

In this case, I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the claim that human-caused changes to the Earth’s land, sea and air are severely threatening the habitability of our planet. I think we are certainly messing with the system that makes this planet habitable, but I don’t think what we’re doing is going to make it un-inhabitable (although we could make some currently habitable regions, uninhabitable).

However, I am trying to step out of my comfort zone, and I do think we need to take immediate and decisive action, I do think that the warnings from the scientific community have – to date – been largely ignored, and I do support those who are campaigning to get governments to act (although, it’s key that this remains peaceful and non-violent). Hence, I wanted to show some support.

On a similar note, I’m actually part of a panel discussion at the flightfree2020 event in Edinburgh. I’ll also be giving a short talk, which will be the first time I’ll have given a public talk on this topic, so I’m somewhat nervous about it and am hoping I’ve pitched it correctly. It does give me a chance to highlight some things that I think are important, but are not always appreciated. I’ll maybe let people know how I think it went (unless it appears to have gone badly, in which case I might ignore it 🙂 ).

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170 Responses to Stepping outside my comfort zone

  1. ecoquant says:

    Why in the world is non-violent direct action a matter of credibility? I’ve not (only) signed petitions … I’ve done and supported it and still support it.

    Good for you, and fossil bränsle skam on them!

  2. jamesannan says:

    No problem at all with the action per se, but as I said on twitter, the message (both in the letter and from XR more generally) sits badly with me.

  3. Joshua says:

    James –

    The reason being?

  4. James,
    Yes, and I would have preferred if they’d added more context to the “habitability” claim (it’s certainly not how I would have expressed it, but there certainly seem to be risks to some species and ecosystems). There are also aspects of XR that I don’t really agree with (claims of billions of deaths, net zero by 2025, etc). However, I do agree with the general claim that we’re not doing enough and that there could be serious consequences if we don’t act soon to reduce our emissions. I do worry that XR may go too far and ultimately lose public support, which would be counter-productive. To date, though, they (and the school strikes) seem to have shifted things so that this is something that is being discussed more seriously.

  5. ecoquant says:

    Words from ClimateAdam:

  6. jamesannan says:

    Joshua, just as ATTP puts it. Specifically, “severely threatening the habitability of our planet” and “catastrophic and irreversible damage to our planetary life-support systems, causing incalculable human suffering and many deaths”

    While the letter doesn’t explicitly have the number, it’s clearly intended as supportive of XR’s claim of many billions of deaths this century which is just bollocks.

  7. James,
    I’m probably less bothered by the latter. The full sentence is

    We further declare that overwhelming evidence shows that if global greenhouse gas emissions are not brought rapidly down to net zero and biodiversity loss is not halted, we risk catastrophic and irreversible damage to our planetary life-support systems, causing incalculable human suffering and many deaths.

    The evidence certainly suggests it’s irreversible. Catastrophic is a judgement, but I do think that if we don’t start reducing emissions soon, there are certainly possible impacts that we might justifiably regard as catastrophic. It seems reasonable that these impacts could lead to human suffering (not sure how you would calculate this) and unavoidable deaths.

    I actually don’t have any good sense of what sort of human suffering has been projected, but I do recall someone highlighting that the billions was certainly wrong, but it could be in the hundreds of millions (which would probably still count as “many”).

    I probably should try to better understand what is projected for human suffering. My general sense, though, is there is probably going to be quite a large difference between what it could be if we actually were to do whatever we could to minimise it, irrespective of who is being impacted, and what it will actually be (i.e., the wealthy will adapt and the poor will suffer).

  8. jamesannan says:

    yeah and rapidly down to net zero means 2025 doesn’t it?

  9. bjchip says:

    Any problem anyone might have with that “habitability of the planet” statement has to do with the fact that they aren’t considering that it has to be inhabitable by humans. We ain’t actually the nice, rational and undemanding critters that scientist types are used to. That’s why you need engineers to turn science into something practical, and engineers need sociologists and economists (the few as are honest) to keep them relevant to human needs. We cooperate or we die. Its worked that way since we had tails and swung from trees.

    We get a bit of drought, flood and heatwave and our agriculture goes in the toilet. Then you have 7 billion people who represent fully the truth that “homo-sapiens” is an oxymoron, who are better armed than fed.

    Any notion that habitable doesn’t include food and water for everyone is simply a non-starter. Any expectation that anything like “Business As Usual” remains possible is doomed. This is our energy use (BP *is* good for something).

    https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-stats-review-2019-full-report.pdf

    We have to replace about half of the 80% wedge of fossil fuels with wind, solar and nuclear.

    In the next decade.

    The effective social cost of carbon is around $200 per tonne – or more.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0282-y

    There isn’t an option that includes any part of “Business As Usual” any more. We can’t afford the underlying dishonesty. So the petition is needed (and I am glad you signed), the street occupations are needed. The disruption is needed and if nothing is done there will be violence. If nothing else Mother Nature will provide it, and has no notion that the idea of “reasonable force” should limit her in the application of her laws.

    Don’t be shy and retiring any more. Someone has to counter the nonsense from the economists.

    https://evonomics.com/steve-keen-nordhaus-climate-change-economics/

    and the politicians – no link appears necessary 😦

  10. James,
    That is explicitly the XR demand for the UK government. I didn’t assume that the “rapidly down to net zero” in the petition was demanding exactly the same; by ~2050 seems pretty rapid to me, given how difficult it is likely to be.

  11. ecoquant says:

    @jamesannan,

    Okay, so it’s not billions dead. Would six million move you?

  12. Jeffh says:

    Writing as a population ecologist, I am afraid that I completely disagree with James’ ‘bollocks’ comment. We most certainly are destroying our ecological life support systems at a remarkable and terrifying rate and no doubt have generated a mass extinction event that has seen more than 50% of genetic diversity of biodiversity lost over the past 50 years across terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems (Dirzo et al., 2014, Science; Ripple et al., 2017, Bioscience). Thanks to a slash-and-burn approach to ecosystems across the biosphere, we are certainly making the planet uninhabitable for a large number of other species that exist on it. What makes James or indeed anyone think that Homo sapiens is somehow exempt from the laws of nature? It takes breathtaking hubris imho to claim somehow that human ingenuity and technology will prevent our own demise. No species utilizes more from nature and is therefore as remotely as dependent on it as we are. Unless we change course, and fast, the future for humanity is dire.

  13. Jeffh says:

    As an addendum, read the statements from the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity (1992, signed by 70% of the living Nobel Laureates at the time) and World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: First Notice (2017, in Ripple et al). The language could not be more stark, or clear.

  14. ecoquant says:

    @Jeffh, and all,

    I am not a population ecologist or biologist, but am an amateur at these fields, although I am a bit adept at stealing some of their excellent maths (thanks!) and repurposing it.

    However, my understanding is that our (human) large body size has serious implications for carrying capacity of niches we occupy about the planet, following the logical implications of metabolic theory and of metabolic scaling. There are also very many of us, and without significant inputs of both energy and resources which inflate the carrying capacity, that number would be significantly smaller than it is.

    Many things can disrupt these inputs, possibly food inputs being the most direct. While the biosphere can and will adapt to severe disruption, it takes time to do so, and the services it provides will also and necessarily be disrupted as well. We do not understand these connections, apart from knowing they are numerous and non-linear, and these insights really don’t help prediction. (We need more.) The net effect of ecosystem disruption as we are is that the carrying capacity for humans of the planet is standing on a knife edge, and ecosystems don’t collapse gradually.

    While this will have horrible consequences for many people, most of who contributed very little to the circumstances we are in, not just due to GHG emissions but also overdevelopment and consumption, what will affect those who didn contribute the most is that there will be an economic collapse, and vast amounts of wealth will be erased. That’ll include me and my kids, of course. But it’s what will happen.

    Frankly, we deserve it. We have an awful lot to which to answer. Call it biological karma.

  15. Steven Mosher says:

    but we are taking immediate and decisive action. every day.

    Its funny. long ago as a lukewarmer I used to call for immediate action and folks would say
    “what action” rightly so. what action? ATTP.

    you are king of the world for 1 day. you get to do 1 thing. irreversible. what is it.

    In short you cant just demand action.

    Congratulations for taking a step out of your comfort zone. no judgement here.

  16. Steven Mosher says:

    ATTP.

    One thing you might consider is how long messaging emergency can last before folks
    get tired of it. I slept through my alarm this morning. Tired of the alarm.

    It might just be me as I grew up on a sunday diet of “you’ll burn in hell if you drink or dance.”
    Turns out drinking and dancing was fun, No fears, carry on.

  17. David B. Benson says:

    The Sixth Mass Extinction
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/711/sixth-mass-extinction
    might well end up including humans with other large mammals. The largest were mostly gone 12,800 years ago, all but the Wrangell Island mammoths. Those continued to a sudden end around 4,000 years ago, well before any evidence of humans on the island.

  18. bjchip says:

    Any of you who do not think we can have billions dead need to consider the consequences of a breakdown of human civilization, governments and trade, of failed states and major wars.

    Seriously. That threat is real.

    Better armed than fed is *not* overstating the case. It is damnably likely by 2030. The climate is already destabilized.

  19. bjchip says:

    @Steve Mosher.

    What to do – “Just one thing” (ignoring that there is no justification for that limitation to one thing).

    The cost of emitting CO2 from burning fossil fuels is $400 per tonne emitted, with the money is returned directly to citizens. Immediate and irreversible.

  20. Willard says:

    > you are king of the world for 1 day.

    Not that again, please.

  21. Steven Mosher says:

    Why not willard.
    Look, in years gone by when I said I agreed that we wanted to take action now,
    Or when I argued that we needed no regrets actions, folks would always ask
    WHAT ACTION?
    I’m perfectly ok with ATTP and ER demanding we act now.
    What fucking action? be specific? Insulate homes? end flying? tax carbon? switch to nukes?
    Now its easy to ask for the result “Cut c02” its hard to be specific, what action.

    I realize this takes people out of their comfort zone. but hey the worlds at stake
    what action? end capitalism? dont eat meat? what exactly?

  22. Steven Mosher says:

    “The cost of emitting CO2 from burning fossil fuels is $400 per tonne emitted, with the money is returned directly to citizens. Immediate and irreversible.”

    good one. Thanks!

  23. Steven,
    I understand why you think people who want action should have some idea of what it is, but I certainly don’t claim any great expertise in that area. I’m simply aware that continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere carries risks and I think we should be aiming to limit how much we emit. There was an interesting Twitter thread yesterday that made the chase that XR not having a clear plan might be a benefit, as others who do can then move into the space that has essentially now been opened up.

  24. dikranmarsupial says:

    Both Greta Thunberg and XR are rather too hyperbolic for my liking, however better a diamond with a flaw than a perfect pebble. Sure, when they say something incorrect, argue against them, but where you agree, it ought to be sensible to do so and to be clear where you agree with them. If you genuinely want action on climate, then focusing on your differences with other groups (or worse still “messaging” strategies) is not helping to achieve your aims.

  25. dikranmarsupial says:

    The problem with “one thing” is that it isn’t that simple. We could, for instance, tax fossil fuel use to match its full economic/environmental costs and spend the revenue ameliorating those factors. However, we also need a fair society – for some that would be taxing their disposable income, which would be fine, but (at or near the poverty line) that would be eating into the money they need to live on, especially in economies that are built on the assumption of cheap fossil fuels. In practice, it isn’t going to be “one thing” that solves the problem but a general “belt tightening” in many areas, and the specific areas need not be the same for every county.

    My flippant choice would still be a tax on (listening) to bullshit. The acceptance of bullshit in politics has a lot to do with the mess we are in, and not just regarding climate.

  26. ecoquant says:

    What action? My favorite is to declare no more fossil fuel extraction will receive any licenses to operate at any level of government beginning in 2030 and effective immediately the total per year in tonnes of Carbon is limited to what it was in 2017 and ramps to zero in 2030 linearly. THAT’ll put a price on Carbon!

  27. David B. Benson says:

    Prohibition seldom works. Innovate ways out of the dilemma. Starters include solar panels and computer controls. Continue.

  28. bjchip says:

    @dikranmarsupial – the money gets returned to the population in general, the people who are burning the carbon are the ones paying the tax. Their incentive is to not burn so much damned carbon. The recipients are not necessarily burning any. This actually does transfer money in ways that achieve better but imperfect fairness. More importantly it causes the invisible hand to feel the burn, the only thing it actually understands.

    @ATTP – if you are not familiar with any other proposition, I suggest this.
    https://citizensclimatelobby.org/basics-carbon-fee-dividend/

    It is not remarkably important to me that fairness is achieved. If civilization is preserved we have time to address the root cause of the problem, which has naught to do with anything that most people imagine but does (remarkably firmly) lock economics to physics.

    “Real Money represents Work Done” and that is the work-done of physics just as much as it is the work a person does. That means that money needs to follow the laws of physics. Something that the debt backed, interest bearing notes in everyone’s wallets and bank accounts has not done since the medieval invention of fractional reserve banking. That difference explains much of our helplessness to fix problems we know how to fix, our 250 Trillion dollar global debt, most of the great fortunes of the world and the ability of those who own stuff to stuff up governments.

    The book has no more than 100 pages. I am in a second edit cycle and hope to finish in another week or so. Mostly trying to work out what happens if your society understands what money really is and implements a form of it that follows those laws.

    Good luck outside your comfort zone. 🙂

  29. jamesannan says:

    I certainly think the govt (all govts) should be putting more support into solar, battery tech, electric vehicles and I could probably think of a few other things besides. But I won’t sign up to extremism in the hope of promoting it.

    6 million deaths? What time scale? With 7 billion on the planet, all of them and many more besides going to die in the next 100 years I don’t think something well under 0.1% of all deaths is really something to turn the world upside down over, especially if many of them are already old and ill and merely having their demise brought forward by a few months. As happens every cold winter in the UK, and to a much lesser extent in summer. XR says 6 billion deaths over the next century, a number which has could ripped apart by any number of competent scientists (if they weren’t too scared of the backlash to put their heads above the parapet).

    Jeffh’s litany of ecodamage is very tragic (really, I’m not being flippant). How much of a role has climate change played in any of this? Pretty much bugger all. Following up the Dirzo ref he provides which cites Sala et al, climate change is *predicted* by them to be the *second* most important cause of extinctions (after land use) *at the end of the century under a high emissions BAU scenario*. So yeah, let’s not go there.

  30. jamesannan says:

    “It is not remarkably important to me that fairness is achieved.”

    That’s remarkably magnanimous of you. Let me take a wild punt, a complete stab in the dark. I’m guessing, based on absolutely no clues whatsoever, that you (like me) might be better off than a large majority of the world’s citizens. Some of them might legitimately take a different view from you as to the remarkable importance (or otherwise) of fairness.

  31. dikranmarsupial says:

    @bjchip “the money gets returned to the population in general, the people who are burning the carbon are the ones paying the tax.”

    Yes, and many of those burning carbon are the poor, who can’t comfortably afford the tax and often don’t have a choice about their use of fossil fuels (e.g. retired people heating their homes in winter, workers that have to travel substantial distances to get work). The point is that it isn’t a simple matter. Personally, I don’t think it is entirely ethical to have handouts for the poor who are in full-time employment, as it indicates that they are not paid the full value of their labour. I don’t have the confidence in governments to get these sorts of things right – they don’t have a great track record.

  32. James,

    at the end of the century under a high emissions BAU scenario*. So yeah, let’s not go there.

    This – to me, at least – is a key thing. A lot of the warnings are based on us avoiding following a pathway that *could* lead to these severe impacts. So, in some sense we’re not expecting a lot of human suffering due to climate change because we’ll ideally do enough to avoid following a pathway that could lead to that.

    It’s possible we’ve already done enough to avoid the worst, but I’m not yet convinced (partly because of political instability, partly because we might be under-estimating the carbon cycle feedbacks, and partly because the impacts could be more severe than we are currently expecting). I’m not saying that it’s likely, just that I’m not as convinced as some seem to be that we’ve already done enough to avoid a high emission/concentration pathway.

  33. dikranmarsupial says:

    “It is not remarkably important to me that fairness is achieved. If civilization is preserved …”

    it isn’t immediately obvious to me that ought not to be a contradiction,

  34. David B. Benson says:

    Do not prohibit. Innovate!

  35. Steven Mosher says:

    “What action? My favorite is to declare no more fossil fuel extraction will receive any licenses to operate at any level of government beginning in 2030 and effective immediately the total per year in tonnes of Carbon is limited to what it was in 2017 and ramps to zero in 2030 linearly. THAT’ll put a price on Carbon!”

    I really like this one. It is pretty high on my list of decisive actions one can take.
    What I like about it is that it is probably pretty easy to monitor. My version of this would be to start
    with ‘no coal exports’ and then follow up with no coal extraction.

  36. Steven Mosher says:

    “The problem with “one thing” is that it isn’t that simple. ”

    That is also my premise. But the purpose of the excercise is more to see how you think
    rather than picking one thing that would solve the problem.
    And some people wont answer cause they think I will attack their ideas.
    Rest assured i wont. if I like one I will say so and maybe explain why.

  37. dikranmarsupial says:

    As I said, the one thing that we could do that would solve the problem (eliminate the bullshit) is impractical/unethical. I really do think that it is the key thing that is preventing us from sorting out the problem. We (as a species) generally don’t actually care enough about the future or people we will never meet to seriously sacrifice our current well-being, but at the same time are delusional in our self-image as generally altruistic (or at least fair), so we can’t admit it. If we could be Vulcans about this, the problem would have been addressed long ago. Education would help, but is too slow to be effective in the required timescale*

    * The suggestion of universal educational opportunity for women is the best suggestion I’ve heard so far, but not for that specific reason.

  38. Dave_Geologist says:

    James, I’m pretty sure the UK more-deaths-in-winter meme has been debunked. I remember digging out the proof, possibly in a similar discussion on here. Once you take into account baseline deaths and look at excess deaths, take out smog deaths before smokeless fuel, and take out decades where not much was happening warming-wise, it falls away. Although of course the time-series is much shorter so the finding is less reliable. Still, if there was a link to temperature, you’d expect to see more excess deaths in cold winters. You don’t (R2 = 0.04 for 1999-2018 data, with a 3.1°C range in average winter temperatures, about what we’ll see IMO because we’ll fail to fully achieve Paris). You can download the data here (Figure 8): Excess winter deaths and average winter temperature.

    Long time-series also include pre and post flu vaccination; and with flu, you also have to take out exceptional years when the strain was to blame not the local winter severity; and to use non-calendar years because the flu season sometimes straddles year-end, sometimes not. In fact you should probably take out flu deaths altogether. And of course those are deaths up till now, with less than a degree of warming. It’s the landing that kills you; things are fine during the fall. Ask the HHGG whale. Or rather, its ghost.

    My personal 21st-century-excess-deaths estimate is lognormal: 10 million, 100 million, a billion. Of course 10 billion will die from other, mostly natural causes. What degree of excess death is acceptable? 0.1%, 1% or 10%?

    The first assumes an increased frequency of events like the European and Russian heatwaves which caused tens of thousands; happening more often as well as more severely. The second assumes a limited nuclear exchange and a series of nasty land wars like Iran-Iraq, plus deaths from crop failure drought, floods etc. The third doesn’t need RCP8.5. Just a nuclear war involving one of the Big Three. The second two being driven by countries becoming effectively unfarmable and uninhabitable, except by the rich. Mother Nature is good at killing us, but we’re so, so much better at it.

    BTW if I’m allowed an advert for the stale exoplanet thread, K2-12b got a mention on The Sky at Night at the weekend. I’ve appended a comment with the link, for those who can access BBC iPlayer, and added a couple of references that might be of interest.

  39. ecoquant says:

    Yeah, @jamesannan but the same pattern of overconsumption and failing to consider in any structural way ecosystem limits is why fossil fuels continue to be burnt. Even people with PV panels on their roofs use it as a justification to consume more

  40. ecoquant says:

    It is not completely people’s unconstrained choice. Like it or not there are natural rules.

  41. Steven Mosher says:

    “Twitter thread yesterday that made the chase that XR not having a clear plan might be a benefit, as others who do can then move into the space that has essentially now been opened up.”

    problem is when do they stop complaining?

  42. Joshua says:

    > As I said, the one thing that we could do that would solve the problem (eliminate the bullshit) is impractical/unethical.

    I don’t really think it’s unethical, but imo it’s useless – except as something like a parlor game where you ask people what they’d buy first if they won the lottery.

    So looking at it with charity, let’s assume it’s an exercise to test ideas and have a discussion about their relative merits. But you don’t need a “one thing” frame to do that. On the other hand, it potentially mirrors exactly the kind of binary thinking that undergirds the stagnation that characterizes mitigation policy development.

    Either way, however, asking the question in blog comments doesn’t have any real world impact – but may help increase blog comments and pass the time.

  43. Jeffh says:

    James, climate change is very much in the mix when it comes to threats to biodiversity and ultimately to mankind. Your mistake is to adopt the ‘so far, so good’ approach. To be honest, this is what climate change deniers and anti-environmentalists do in bucketloads. They try to intimate that without 100% unequivocal proof that a particular anthropogenic stress is harming the environment, then there is no problem. Oreskes and Conway were right in arguing that doubt is themgreatest weapon in their arsenal.

    Numerous studies are showing that climate change is already having significantly harmful effects on biodiversity at different levels of organization. There is considerable evidence that the ‘great dying’, the mass extinction event that occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary, was caused by a rapid warming of the biosphere caused by a sudden period of intense volcanic activity. This extinction event was played out over 10,000 to 20,000 years and involved surface temperature rises that occurred at a more gradual rate than are occurring now. Bear in mind that at that time the planet’s ecosystems were not utterly dominated by a bipedal primate that had already greatly simplified ecosystems across the Earth. This did not prevent the extinction of as many as 95% of marine and 75% of terrestrial species. Plants and animals face numerous human-mediated stresses that have already decimated the genetic constitution of many of them. In order to adapt to future short-term warming they face an array of other biotic and abiotic constraints. Your attempt to dismiss warming as a major threat to biodiversity is therefore both disappointing and wrong. Few qualified ecologists that I know of share your views.

    What society needs to grasp is that arguments based on the so far, so good approach are irrelevant to understanding the longer term impacts of climate warming on biodiversity, ecosystem servives and human well-being. We need to project. The person who jumps off the top of a 100 story building is doomed even as he hurtles past the 50th floor, looks up and shouts “everything is fine!” when is clearly isn’t. So far the planet has warmed just under 1 degree C in around 150 years. This has already harmed biodiversity, but it is still relatively ‘early days’. There are temporal lags in cause-and-effect relationships in ecology. These can take several years to be borne out or several decades and even centuries (the ‘extinction debt’). The effects of the extirpation of wolves from much of the United States over 200 years ago is still rippling through communities and ecosystems via disrupted trophic cascades. If the biosphere warms upwards of 3 degrees or more over the coming century, attendant with an increasing frequency, intensity and duration of extreme climatic events, such as heat waves and droughts, then the prognosis for nature, and for humanity, is extremely grim. I make no bones about it and I am qualified enough to place extreme confidence on this outcome.

    For their part, Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and other movements/individuals recognize this even if their views are far from refined. Certainly, they realize that humanity is clearly headed in the wrong direction and that we need to face up to that. It is high time that we did.

  44. ecoquant says:

    @Steven Mosher,

    XR and plans … I saw a similar complaint scrawled on an XR poster near MIT. I asked a Sunrise/XR associate about this, about what the plan was. His response: “Rebel. Rebel until emissions are zeroed. Rebel until there’s climate justice.”

    Not saying I agree, although whatever’s been done thus far has not worked, and, while there will be overwhelming innovation in energy and transport, whether existing markets believe it or not,

    (a) it won’t happen fast enough to keep us out of big problems, and, so, the need for innovation may outstrip its rate and the availability of free capital to develop it, and

    (b) consumption is a big problem in emissions.

    As integrated as the latter is with economies, the only solution is degrowth and stabilization.

  45. you are king of the world for 1 day. you get to do 1 thing. irreversible. what is it.

    Reduce inequality to a normal level.

    The inequality and corporate concentration are fuelling systemic corruption and undermining democracy. There are already clear majorities for solving climate change in all major countries, but corrupting special interests (mostly old energy companies) block progress. There are majorities for universal background checks of around 90%, but such a bill has no chance in Washington DC.

    The only downside could be that is would spur massive economic growth, but we could decide to simply work less. WUWT & Co as the army of the incumbents will likely call this global communism, it actually preserves the market economy and prevents it from transitioning into neo-feudalism.

  46. ecoquant says:

    @Victor Venema,

    Centralized energy generation also concentrates political power.

  47. Dave_Geologist: “James, I’m pretty sure the UK more-deaths-in-winter meme has been debunked. I remember digging out the proof, possibly in a similar discussion on here. Once you take into account baseline deaths and look at excess deaths, take out smog deaths before smokeless fuel, and take out decades where not much was happening warming-wise, it falls away. Although of course the time-series is much shorter so the finding is less reliable. Still, if there was a link to temperature, you’d expect to see more excess deaths in cold winters.

    Except, James was not referring to the meme. He was not talking about the relationship between morbidity and climate change. He made the case that people dying does not does not automatically lead to the end of civilization and thus mass human extinction:

    James: “I don’t think something well under 0.1% of all deaths is really something to turn the world upside down over, especially if many of them are already old and ill and merely having their demise brought forward by a few months. As happens every cold winter in the UK, and to a much lesser extent in summer.

    That is an argument for isolated or frail people dying over a longer period. Even if it is human caused, like the counter productive austerity policies in the UK and The Netherlands.

    However, if severe weather leads to economic declines and shortages of necessities it may lead to conflict, violent authoritarians coming to power and this if this happens on a large scale may threaten civilization and thus the lives of billions.

    I see no problem with claiming that climate change is a stressor that may lead to billions of people dying as long as you do not claim this is sure to happen.

  48. Jan said:

    “Even people with PV panels on their roofs use it as a justification to consume more”

    That’s Jevon’s Paradox. Jevon was a smart guy who also predicted fossil fuels won’t last, which is what we are seeing now in terms of significant depletion, especially of crude oil and high-grade coal.

    After that, it will be something else. That’s the paradox++

  49. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua “So looking at it with charity,”

    gee, let’s not be too condescending huh?

    Given how our last discussion ended, I’m surprised you take that approach.

  50. dikranmarsupial says:

    Mod, please could you delete my previous comment.

  51. BBD says:

    India, Pakistan, water, climate change and nuclear weapons. What could possibly go wrong in the next few decades? And that is just a single potential flashpoint. I don’t think insouciance is justifiable.

  52. Joshua says:

    dirkan –

    > gee, let’s not be too condescending huh?

    That was a reference to many past discussions when Steven has spoken about the importance of reading with charity. There was absolutely zero intended implications to anything that you said.

  53. dikranmarsupial says:

    Yes, I was confused as it was after a quote from one of my comments, not Steven’s. Apologies for the short fuse.

    > As I said, the one thing that we could do that would solve the problem (eliminate the bullshit) is impractical/unethical.

  54. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    I am not a population ecologist, nor am I a climate scientist – but I concur with Jeffh’s lucid, if depressing, comments above.

    Nowadays, we are almost all happy cornucopians.
    Almost no-one alive today, and even fewer who have time to post comments on the interwebs, has any memory of the deprivations of war, pestilence, and famine.

    One response to that condition is to believe that humanity has become wise and has kindly euthanized such apocalyptic horsemen.

    Another response is to admit the looming possibility that the late 20th and early 21st centuries, notwithstanding all their crises and mega-deaths, could represent the peak of our global civilisation, and that it’s all pretty much downhill from here…

    I am a little over 5 decades old, and in my short time here, I have seen human numbers more than double, while the rest of the biosphere has been divided, conquered, and in many cases, extirpated. Meanwhile the Keeling curve shows NO sign of downward inflection. The status quo cannot continue. And it won’t continue – one way or another.

    The most advanced and wealthy nations on Earth are currently led by denialists and delayists.
    Why? Because most of us are also denialists and delayists.

    There WILL be resource wars in the coming decades, as 8 billion bodies clamour for water, food, and safe shelter.

    Greta and XR see the writing on the wall. They have come of age outside “the comfort zone”.

    People Greta’s age have been betrayed. They are not going to have the same quality of life that most have simply taken for granted. For the first time in centuries, things will be worse-off for our children and grand-children. How much worse is an open question. That they will be worse is not. Many of these young adults have already vowed to not procreate – they want to be the ‘last generation’. I’m not sure that is a bad thing.

    Enjoy yourself.
    Time is short.
    And it’s later than you think.

  55. Joshua says:

    No problem.

  56. bjchip says:

    “…. If civilization is preserved …”

    > “it isn’t immediately obvious to me that ought not to be a contradiction,”

    @dikranmarsupial The contradiction is in the inherent assumption that the inequality we have IS civilized, not in the fact that the solution to not warming the planet too much too fast does not correct the injustice or the overpopulation (we definitely need the education and status of women.addressed to manage the latter).

    The three problems are separate for me.

    I do not settle for the status quo, but the preservation of human knowledge takes precedence over changing it and the potential that climate destabilization has, of making things bad enough that human civilization breaks down entirely is very real.

    7 billion people who are already disagreeable, all better armed than fed. What could possibly go wrong?

    … and @victorvenema – The answer to the inequality is in the with the way money was never defined and what it turned into because nobody knows what it is. Inequality did not cause CO2 to be emitted. The assumption that money can be debt with interest instead of behaving as work done, is directly tied to CO2 emissions and inequality with the resulting corruption in government, housing shortages and a laundry list of others.

    – the global society of humans has only a decade to achieve an immense amount of change in our spending habits. Business As Usual **cannot** continue in any way in any case, any more. It cannot be sustained.

    Among other things @jamesannan, that means that extremism is the only sort of “-ism” that is also realism. The “powers that be” , the “owning class” (they make money from owning things rather than doing work) will not change BAU until change is forced on them.

    Taken altogether that means that the full list of things to do is rather longer than the single one that was permitted by whoever asked for it in the first place. I won’t do a list unless ATTP asks for one. This is long enough.

    I rather like @steven mosher’s suggestion

    “My favorite is to declare no more fossil fuel extraction will receive any licenses to operate at any level of government beginning in 2030 and effective immediately the total per year in tonnes of Carbon is limited to what it was in 2017 and ramps to zero in 2030 linearly.”

    This is even more direct in some ways, than taxing the CO2, but it can’t happen in the current BAU environment, and the companies that are doing the extraction would get a massive windfall of profit until they can’t dig any more. That sort of profit should be taxed at a rate of 100%. As it always should have been.

  57. dikranmarsupial says:

    bjchip I note you omitted the bit of the quote that actually gave rise to the contradiction : “It is not remarkably important to me that fairness is achieved. If civilization is preserved …”

    If fairness is not important, it isn’t civilization, merely order.

  58. ecoquant says:

    @bjchip,

    Doesn’t matter much, since it’s all just us, but in case Steven doesn’t want to be saddled with that suggestion, it was mine, not his.

  59. “Enjoy yourself.
    Time is short.
    And it’s later than you think.”

    That’s from the Specials, who on the 40th anniversary are also trying to send a message to Rudy Giuliani.

    Seriously what people don’t realize is that supply seems plentiful as long as some quantity exists. But for every 6 barrels of oil equivalent consumed, only 1 is discovered. That’s the definition of unsustainable. https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Replacement-Rate-Hits-20-Year-Low-Oil-Industry-Only-Replace-1-In-6-Barrels.html

  60. Steven Mosher says:

    “Doesn’t matter much, since it’s all just us, but in case Steven doesn’t want to be saddled with that suggestion, it was mine, not his.”

    I dont mind the suggestion.
    Here is the thing. If I were king and wanted to do something, an outright ban would be the kind of thing I would lean toward. With a tax ya gotta wonder.. what rate will curb use? and then
    taxes end up going into crooked politicians hands. So. sure I prefer a ban. no more extraction.
    everybody then has a clear picture: I will be mad scramble after than, but the boundaries will
    be clear. hmm same thing with EVs. just give industry a clear picture. No more ICE sales after 2030. Then boom, in industry you have no more uncertainty. 2030 last ICE. get busy on replacing it.

  61. dikranmarsupial says:

    PP “you’ve done to much” might also be metaphorically relevant ;o)

  62. Steven Mosher says:

    “Enjoy yourself.
    Time is short.
    And it’s later than you think.”

    take me back down.

  63. dikranmarsupial says:

    ” If I were king and wanted to do something, an outright ban would be the kind of thing I would lean toward.”

    I think the peasants would be revolting before too long.

  64. ecoquant says:

    This is why the political thinking is you need social and economic reforms as well as emissions restrictions, perhaps even candidate Yang’s GAI on steroids.

  65. bjchip says:

    Fair enough @dikranmarsupial – my point however, is that even if it is only order, it is the “civilization” we have now.

    Making it better can be taken as a problem that is separate from the existential threat of having the climate that whatever it is evolved in, yanked out from under our entire species. We’ve survived that inequality for a thousand years or more now. If we wreck the climate as we seem to be about to do, we could easily be wandering tribes of hunter-gatherers by the end of this century.

    It is not that I do not want to address it, nor that my full list of things to do will not, but that it is a problem that is simply not existential and imminent in the same way.

    I was an engineer far too long to have any desire to try to solve everything all at once. Our first job as a species is to preserve our knowledge and our ability to collect and use energy.

    Perhaps that is order, not civilization, but it will serve until a better approximation is achieved. 🙂

  66. bjchip says:

    That’s why I suggested the Citizen’s Climate Lobby page for ATTP to use. We folks living in democracies and troubled-democracies have to keep the public opinion in mind. Can’t be scaring the horses. China is doing almost everything we could possibly ask, but doesn’t consult its citizens about it. Have you seen this?

    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2016/12/chinas-plans-to-begin-converting-coal.html

  67. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Fair enough @dikranmarsupial – my point however, is that even if it is only order, it is the “civilization” we have now. ”

    No, the civillisation that we have now is more than mere order. It’s not perfect, but it is a big improvement on how the mid 20th century could have worked out. If we want to avoid that again, I’d suggest being interested in fairness is probably a good idea.

    I’ve been an engineer for long enough to realise that most things end up being practical compromises. If you only concentrate on one requirement, you generally end up with something deeply suboptimal.

  68. Dave_Geologist says:

    Triggered response Victor 😦 . I’ve seen too much “warming will be good because fewer people will die in winter” guff over the years.

    I’m not sure people will accept 0.1% as an avoidable increase in deaths. The average annual excess winter death rate in the UK is about 30,000, about 0.05% of the population. It’s generally accepted that the Great Smog of 1952 was directly or indirectly responsible for about 10,000 deaths. About 0.02% of the UK population, 0.1% of Greater London’s population and 0.2% of Inner London’s population. And that was just one year, not year-in, year-out, for decades. And a lot of those were presumably people who had relatively few years left in them. And yet a decade and a half later, half the IPCC’s lifetime to date, the Clean Air Act of 1968 had made it an offence to emit dark smoke from a chimney, making the use of other than smokeless coal (anthracite) illegal in domestic fires. That was a huge societal, economic and domestic upheaval, for something that was roughly equivalent to my low estimate. (It was actually an order of magnitude less because it was a one-off, but people tend to react more strongly to a lot of deaths in one year than to more deaths over a lot of years.)

    I didn’t put numbers on high, mid and low but I’d be thinking P5 or P10, P50, and P90 or P95. Lower than low is possible if we do well in implementing Paris and we have good international relations. Higher than high would probably need a tipping point like permafrost thaw or marine hydrate disassociation, which give a sudden burst of methane-induced warming which devastates crops worldwide for years, so we have mass starvation as well as war and migration. I recall when we discussed this sort of thing some time ago that wheat is a big vulnerability. Only a fraction of world production is traded internationally, most countries grow and eat their own. I expect rice is the same. The UK isn’t thought of as a wheat producer globally because we’re roughly self-sufficient, importing the kind we can’t grow due to climate (about 5-10%, except in a poor-harvest year), and exporting our surplus. Most years we’re a net exporter of one or two million tons. But if our own crop failed, we’d suddenly want to import 20 times as much as normal. And it wouldn’t just be us, it would likely be most of the EU.

  69. Willard says:

    It was just a matter of time:

    The Red Cross and other aid organizations have made an effort to raise awareness among the exhausted community that other cities in Canada do, in fact, exist.

    “I have made so many attempts to flee the city for safer ground,” said local Levi Stutzma. “But I am forced back every time I reach the Perimeter Highway remembering that I have a job, wife, and kids here. Plus, the Bombers are doing good this season.”

    https://www.thebeaverton.com/2019/10/750000-people-trapped-living-in-winnipeg/

  70. bjchip says:

    I’ve been an engineer for long enough to realise that most things end up being practical compromises. If you only concentrate on one requirement, you generally end up with something deeply suboptimal.

    We’d be in good agreement apart from the time and priorities.

    Even if we only reach a solution that preserves something less fair than what we have, it is better than losing the whole thing, going back to spears and bows and arrows. (There is a question in there about how far we’d regress if we managed not to have a big war in the process)

    The root cause of our social problems is at least a thousand years old. It isn’t going anywhere. Naomi Klein should have been right, that “This Changes Everything” but it didn’t. We’ve been trying to solve inequality since we created our “western civilization”, and failing from before we ever discovered the scientific method or the laws of thermodynamics. Stiglitz and Piketty understand that it must be fixed, but as a civilization we haven’t touched it in hundreds of years of trying.

    I would even accept a “deeply suboptimal” global dictatorship with Stalinesque injustice and inequality if it came with a guarantee we would not lose the knowledge we’ve acquired, the art we’ve managed to create and the ability to keep learning. Dictators are mortal and injustice can be corrected over generations. These are social and economic problems. They are not existential over the next 3 decades.

    I want to fix them and will try, that’s why I’m writing a book, but they are quite definitely not as important as the CO2 reduction. All societies have the morality they can afford, and as a planet we are 250 Trillion dollars in debt. What truly scares me is that we may have to get the correct definition of money before we can make progress on the CO2, and there is no time.

    The CO2 is an existential threat to our civilization in the next thirty years.

  71. dikranmarsupial says:

    “We’d be in good agreement apart from the time and priorities. ”

    We’d be in good agreement apart from the thing we just disagreed about? ;o)

  72. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Even if we only reach a solution that preserves something less fair than what we have”

    I think it is more likely that the solution will increase fairness, at least in terms of the sharing of natural resources. It will require the wealthy [i.e. us] to give up some of their comforts [from exploitation of fossil fuels] so that the developing world can better meet their needs.

  73. ecoquant says:

    @bjchip,

    I’ve been disappointed by some of the economists working impacts of climate disruption. They don’t seem to consider economic downturns or “crashes” in their models. Yet, whether it is the sudden realization of risk to real estate, or stranded assets, or regional damage from a series of storms, or a sudden shortfall in food, you would think there would be plenty of possibilities of these. I can’t believe they really think “This time is different and we know how to manage these now.”

    I may just be naive or ignorant, but such a downturn, particularly if very steep, would have an impact upon consumption and emission profiles, even if the 2007-2009 crash did not blip these much. And, so, you’d think these would figure.

    Or maybe economists are just too streetwise to offer the possibility of economic crashes as a way out of excessive emissions.

  74. bjchip: “We’ve been trying to solve inequality since we created our “western civilization”, and failing from before we ever discovered the scientific method or the laws of thermodynamics. Stiglitz and Piketty understand that it must be fixed, but as a civilization we haven’t touched it in hundreds of years of trying.”

    One of the biggest global political movements in world history has taken place over the last 30 years and is the rapid, almost universal, disagreement with your thesis.
    Nobody cares that their household income is unequal to that of the current football or pop music star (or the CEO of the company they work for). They care if their standard of living is adequate and improving.
    Our “western civilization” has addressed that to the point where obesity is now one of the most serious problems among the western poor. Western poverty would be unrecognizable as such to any generation of any land in human history. In developing nations, poverty rates fell faster than at any other time in world history in tandem with their governments’ abandonment of the notions of Stiglitz and Piketty.
    As a result, Europe doesn’t even subscribe to Stiglitz and Picketty anymore- Stiglitz advised the Greek leftists currently imploding into obscurity and the Corbyn Labour Party now wandering in the wilderness. Piketty joined and advised Benoit Hamon and the French Socialist Party right into historic irrelevancy in national politics.
    People want to work and have a better life for their children. An no politician wants to be part of the next Syriza.

  75. Jeffh says:

    Some on here aren’t thinking outside the box enough. Forget what are essentially trivialities like cold- versus heat-related deaths in a warming world. We have to think about the unraveling and collapse of ecosystems and their failure to be able to sustainably generate an array of supporting and regulating services that underpin human civilization. Water purification, breakdown of wastes, stabilization of coastlines and climate, mitigation of floods and droughts, soil fertlity, seed dispersal, pollination, pest control, nutrient cycling etc.These services emerge from biological interactions involving literally billions of individuals of organisms over vastly variable scales and in doing so generate the conditions that maintain life-support and in doing so permit (being the operative word) humans to exist and to persist. In research these services lie at the heart of everything ecologists do in one way or another.

    Some economists, like Geoff Heal, examined the role that nature plays in sustaining the human material econony and came away realizing that the welfare of humanity is utterly dependent on ecosystem services. Perhaps the most important Nature paper ever published imho was Costanza et als. 1997 valuation study.

    In my experience most people really don’t understand about complex adaptive ecological life-support systems and the devastating consequences for mankind if they break down. Clearly they have been resilient to the combined array of human assaults thus far but there is no guarantee that we can continue down the current trajectory without consequences. Climate change may indeed be the last straw that pushes natural systems beyond a point where they are unable to sustain themselves – and us. If we continue along the current trajectory then we are increasing the chances of systemic collapse that will threaten our survival as a species. You can intimate from that what this means in terms of the death toll.

  76. bjchip says:

    There are mainstream economists, from the Chicago school mostly, who are in charge. There are a range of rebels who understand the situation. I linked above to Steve Keen who is one I favor. The problem is serious because the “mainstream” people are the ones who run the show. The 2018 Nobel prize went to two of the most serious offenders. My earlier link is to Keen’s takedown of their “model”.

    Keen and I and a few others did expect and predict the GFC and I am expecting a reprise soon.

    Overall the GFC did affect the CO2 emissions. It didn’t last long enough, but it slowed things down slightly. Very slightly, but more than anything else we’ve managed to do.

    https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions

  77. bjchip says:

    @dikranmarsupial

    I think it is more likely that the solution will increase fairness, at least in terms of the sharing of natural resources. It will require the wealthy [i.e. us] to give up some of their comforts [from exploitation of fossil fuels] so that the developing world can better meet their needs.

    I do actually agree with that. I expect that the solutions required will enforce better “sharing of the wealth”. My difference with you seems to be only that I do not insist on that condition.

  78. ecoquant says:

    @bjchip,

    Where do the behavioral economists sit? And how about Kahneman and Twersky? Or are they micro?

  79. bjchip says:

    @jeffnelsonsails850

    One of the biggest global political movements in world history has taken place over the last 30 years and is the rapid, almost universal, disagreement with your thesis.
    Nobody cares that their household income is unequal to that of the current football or pop music star (or the CEO of the company they work for). They care if their standard of living is adequate and improving.

    You are remarkably devoid of on-topic discussion here. Nor did you correctly understand my “thesis”, which is that “Real money represents work done” and violation of the laws of thermodynamics is what has created both the inequality and debt that plague human civilization.

    What has happened over the last 30 years has been a gradual polarization and disintegration of every nation that has adopted the that economic failure. Neoliberalism is simply not a valid means of coping with human social organization, or prioritizing human consumption of the environment.

    Greece got into trouble because it joined the EU and gave up control of its currency. No independent nation can afford the latter. Systemic corruption in the banking sector is not all that great a help either.

    You make a remarkable claim that

    “Europe doesn’t even subscribe to Stiglitz and Picketty anymore”

    based (apparently) on the fact that the left is disorganized. Yet the left being disorganized is scarcely a new thing.

    The likelihood that the UK may break into smaller pieces however, is new.

    A similar crackup is evident in the USA. People are now indulging in active hatred of one another, along party lines. “Factio Republicana delenda est” is a t-shirt.

    This is a predictable outcome of that broken economic model.

    Homo-Economicus is a lie, and more stupid than Homo-Sapiens is an oxymoron. We survive by cooperation, and we have been doing that since we had tails and swung from trees. Competition and self-interest are a poor glue to bind a nation or a tribe together.

    Our “western civilization” has addressed that to the point where obesity is now one of the most serious problems among the western poor.

    Of course it is, the most empty calories per $ are in the junk food aisles. Your standard of measurement is just wrong, a talking point of the far right.

    People want to work and have a better life for their children.

    Yet relative inequality matters more than you imagine. Among other things it affects the quality of schooling, and the ability to actually reward ability rather than the class into which you were born.

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(17)30029-4/fulltext

    You have in the USA an almost fully stratified society with ever decreasing upward mobility.

    https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/02/14/americans-overestimate-social-mobility-in-their-country

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/aparnamathur/2018/07/16/the-u-s-does-poorly-on-yet-another-metric-of-economic-mobility/#5e113c076a7b

    https://psmag.com/economics/new-research-debunks-the-upward-mobility-myth

    @attp – I apologise for the length of this OT but felt it needful to respond. It might be wiser to delete both posts.

  80. David B. Benson says:

    bjchip, I fear that the Chinese pebble bed nuclear reactor remains unduplicated, suffering the fate of all other pebble bed designs.

  81. bjchip says:

    @ecoquant

    Hi – Sadly I can’t answer your question. I am not anything like a professional economist. I’m just a retired engineer out of JPL, living in NZ with this book I have to finish. The various factions in economics are mostly outside my experience. I discovered Keen and Raworth and a couple of others but my book is simply an explanation of what money is, because no economist has ever properly defined it. They measure wealth and the health of nations with it, but they are utterly clueless as to its correct definition.

    Sort of like thinking about physicists trying to measure things and each of them using a different meterstick, kilogram and temperature scale. That’s economics today, with very few exceptions.

    Closest was Silvio Gesell back at the turn of the last century. Keynes liked him but didn’t understand the truth and Gesell didn’t quite understand why his remarkable insights were true.

    One of them phrased as I put it –
    Money cannot be used as a “store of value” any more than work can be stored without loss.

    I’m going to bail on this for a while and try to finish the editing for the book.

  82. ecoquant says:

    I for one like your comment.

  83. bjchip says:

    @davidbbenson

    Are you sure? I have not seen any reason to doubt that they are proceeding as well as any such major engineering project does.

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00295450.2019.1573619

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

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301827952_The_Shandong_Shidao_Bay_200_MWe_High-Temperature_Gas-Cooled_Reactor_Pebble-Bed_Module_HTR-PM_Demonstration_Power_Plant_An_Engineering_and_Technological_Innovation

    The thing I worry about is the supply of Helium. That’s going to prove really annoying unless we can get the fusion reactors going 🙂

  84. David B. Benson says:

    bjchip — The prototype demonstrator has yet to demonstrate despite being years behind schedule. I’m not confident that it will prove worthy enough to duplicate. So, as I stated, unduplicated.

    By the way, did you ever meet my much younger half-brother, Charles, at JPL?

  85. bjchip says:

    David B Benson –

    Might have. “Charles Benson” sort of resonates – but I would not remember even if I did. I left in 2003 to get to NZ. – 1993-2003 roughly and I have a talent for forgetting names.

    I was mostly on AVIRIS, NSCAT and Mars Rover Calibration things, Depends when and what projects usually, with something like 5000 people working there. Worked with Rob Green and Mike Eastwood and Chuck Sarture.

    I think the Chinese will manage to get it to go. We have to hope they do.

    The fact that they didn’t discuss it at the climate conference however, leads me to think there might be something to your doubts. If they were confident they’d likely have said something.

  86. David B. Benson says:

    Off topic but they know what you are about:
    https://m.techxplore.com/news/2019-10-spy-chip-easy-tough.html

  87. dikranmarsupial says:

    bjchip “My difference with you seems to be only that I do not insist on that condition.”

    There is quite a lot of ground between and “It is not remarkably important to me that fairness is achieved” and “insist on that condition” – it would be nice if occasionally I could have a discussion where positions are not portrayed as maximally extreme.

    I don’t *insist* on fairness, I just think it is a good thing that shouldn’t be downplayed, as history is littered with the consequences of instances of fairness not being remarkably important (e.g. the slave trade, mid 20th century Europe, most parts of the British empire…). To misquote something that Churchill never actually said, “if we cut fairness, what are we fighting for?” ;o)

  88. izen says:

    There is a rather obvious link between ‘fairness’, or the Gini indices of wealth, education, and social mobility within a society and the stability and happiness of that society.
    As already mentioned, it is the inequality within a society that has driven civil wars and internal violence historically as seen with the American civil war, the women’s suffrage movement, civil rights campaigns and anti-colonial independence movements.

    Fairness is a concept within social systems felt deeply by the individual that extends beyond our species.

  89. b1daly says:

    I find the “alarmist” arguments lacking and bizarrely irrational.

    There is no path to radical reductions of ghg that doesn’t require massive intervention by someone (government, terrorists) into the machinery of the global system. That is a recipe for disaster. People forget that the precautionary principle applies to multiple fields of endeavor.

    The machinery of society is not designed, it is emergent, and utopian attempts to construct better societies have a decidedly mixed track record. In the case of CC, the goal would be avoiding dystopias, but the problem is the same.

    Young people like Greta Thunberg seem to have a very poor grasp of recent human history, and the appalling tragedies, man-made and otherwise, that have beset humanity since time untold. The condition of the human race is at a historical high, by any measure.

    But there remain many billions living in poverty, and they are going to get out one way or another, using fossil fuels.

    The idea that human progress has hit a brick wall is not credible. I’m not a biologist but I find it hard to believe that whatever reductions of “biodiversity” have occurred are primarily because of climate change as opposed to humans directly modifying the environment. The estimates I’ve seen for number of extinctions in the last 500 years are less than 1000. Even if that’s many times the background rate of extinction, that’s a far cry from mass extinction.

    Arguments that “millions” or “billions” will die are inane: it’s guaranteed by the year 2100 most people living will be dead. The question is what path of action will minimize death and suffering, and this requires understanding how to predict not only future climate, but future technological, sociological, and economic states. These are vastly harder to model than climate.

    Human society is essentially non-deterministic, because humans are only partially predictable . The understanding of how economies work is pitiful. The potential feedback loops are incomprehensible. The loosely coupled systems of human societies are only understandable in vague terms. There is no way to accurately model the costs of major interventions into fundamental components of the economy, like energy, into the near future, never mind decades.

    Think about the vast societal and technological changes of the past 100 years. Do you think anyone back then could have remotely predicted any of the fantastic (good and bad) developments we’ve experienced?

    FWIW, the one policy proposal for carbon emissions that seems most sensible is a carbon tax, because while it does require estimating the correct value for significant reductions, it’s doesn’t require a Wizard-like dictatorial system to execute.

  90. b1daly says:

    Hey ATTP, I’ve tried leaving a couple comments, they don’t seem to be showing, is this a moderation thing? Since I have a wordpress account, when I give my email address it makes me log in to my own WordPress account which is weird.

  91. bjchip it is entirely on-topic to discuss what the new “system” will be in a topic where advocates want systemic change. The fact is systemic economic change is happening globally now, rapidly, Those who don’t like this systemic change must at least address it and explain why the world is going in a different direction.
    The left is not “disorganized,” it won historic victories in France and Greece based on arguments laid out in great detail after much thought and debate, tested those arguments, discovered them to be unpopular failures and suffered historic losses as a result.
    And it’s not just in Europe. China is working on those pebble-bed reactors and wind and solar because it has already decided it’s economic future- they will use an increasing amount of energy to produce goods for a world that has already decided it will continue to buy them.
    China is attempting to address the actual issue of climate change – how do you power the modern economy that exists without emissions? That question is at least as important as pondering systemic economic change, and much more important IMO because of the current trajectory of economic change.

  92. Willard says:

    > it is entirely on-topic to discuss what the new “system” will be in a topic where advocates want systemic change.

    Not really, JeffN. You’re just peddling your usual stuff. Have you noticed how every post leads to #ButChina? Since our new guest is writing the first draft of his book in this thread, I’ll let it go.

    Please beware, however, that your main point is at best false, e.g.:

    When subjects in laboratory studies are asked to divide resources among unrelated individuals, they tend to divide them equally. If a previous situation has led to a pre-existing inequality, people will divide future resources unequally in order to correct or minimise the inequality between others. This bias is so powerful that subjects sometimes prefer equal outcomes in which everyone gets less overall to unequal outcomes where everyone gets more overall.

    […]

    A recent study by Norton and Ariely received well-deserved media attention as it showed that people both underestimate the amount of inequality in our society, and prefer a more egalitarian society to the one they think they live in.

    The authors describe their studies as examining “disagreements about the optimal level of wealth inequality”, and report the finding of “a surprising level of consensus: all demographic groups – even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution, such as Republicans and the wealthy – desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo”. An article by Ariely was titled: “Americans want to live in a much more equal country (they just don’t realize it)”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/may/04/science-inequality-why-people-prefer-unequal-societies

    While thread after thread you’re doing your best to make sure readers don’t realize how inequal the world is (presumably, because freedom), if you could drop the untruths, that’d be great.

  93. ecoquant says:

    @b1daly,

    I really isn’t a choice between top-down command economy and a more go-slow approach, not any longer. It might have been if we collectively took this seriously, say, around 1995.

    The choice now is going to be between a top-down command economy, and letting the economy come crashing down in an uncontrolled manner. It isn’t the risk of immediate SLR and other impacts which is the pressing one, it’s massive repricing in markets that is. These could come from side effects of climate and biosphere disruption, or they could be due to “economic internal variability”, driving by automation and new technologies like EVs, too-cheap-to-meter solar PV, wind, and battery storage. People pooh-pooh the latter, but that things like Tesla Model 3s are regularly demonstrating 240 mile range is a testimony to how fast LiON has improved. Tony Seba estimated 2022 for the crossover. It’s here now.

    And I emphasize these are new technologies because the standard wags of the energy industry seem to assess and compare them as if they were combined gas generation plants or something. This is replacing horse drawn carriages with internal combustion engines, or film cameras with Internet-connected digital, not plug-compatible generation.

  94. Hi Willard,
    From your same Guardian article (sorry, I’m not clear on how to do block quotes):
    “These summaries are accurate: participants in these studies did prefer more equality than the current situation. But the results also suggest that they were not particularly worried about large inequalities. Instead, these subjects claimed that, in the perfect society, individuals in the top 20% should have more than three times as much money as individuals in the bottom 20%.

    When they were given a forced choice between equal and unequal distributions of wealth, and told to assume that they would be randomly assigned to be anyone from the richest to the poorest person (that is, a “veil of ignorance”), over half of the subjects explicitly rejected the option of an equal distribution of wealth, preferring inequality. Thus, the data suggest that when it comes to real-world distributions of wealth, people have a preference for a certain amount of inequality.”

  95. The Guardian’s discovery in the literature makes sense. The pay difference between the star of Downton Abbey and the lead in the village dinner theater is unequal, but not unfair. The question is whether the star of the dinner theater is happy.

  96. bjchip says:

    I recognize and accept its importance, and it is critically important in the long run but to answer you.

    “if we cut fairness, what are we fighting for?” ;o)

    survival
    😦

    That’s our first job. That’s the short term (30 year) goal.

    Fairness is permitted to be a priority after that and ahead of all the rest.

    but if it is put ahead we achieve only the equality of the dead.

  97. ecoquant says:

    @dikranmarsupial, @bjchip, @b1daly,

    And even if you don’t buy loss of survival, as in “dead”, you must buy suffering, due to food shortages, barely survivable heat waves, survivable heat waves which have high mortality (per Chicago in 1997 or, more recently, France), and economic impacts.

  98. Willard says:

    > The pay difference between the star of Downton Abbey and the lead in the village dinner theater is unequal, but not unfair.

    The result you just quoted and due diligence suggest that you’d need to show that those impersonating the Crawleys are making three times more than the lead in the village dinner theater for the same amount of work. Perhaps you should also count producers Julian Fellowes, Carnival Films, and Masterpiece.

    Here would be a more important lesson from the series, at least according to a CNN listicle. Don’t bet on one single stock. Ask for a raise. Make a will. Beware gold diggers. But my favorite:

    Thomas Barrow is the most devious of Downton’s residents. A servant known for causing trouble, he injures his hand on purpose to get out of World War I. But he could use a basic economics lesson.

    After returning from the war, he tries to make it as a black market salesman. Getting quality goods is hard during the war, especially of the kind Downton is accustomed to for meals.

    Thomas meets a man at a bar who sells him a bunch of supposedly high-end food, but it turns out the stuff is rotten or watered down. Downton won’t buy it, and Thomas has blown his savings.

    If the price is too good to be true, it probably is, especially for items in high demand.

    https://money.cnn.com/2015/01/03/investing/downton-abbey-season-5-great-money-lessons/index.html

    Beware peddlers, folks.

  99. bjchip says:

    @jeffnsails850
    anglebracket blockquote anglebracketclose QUOTE anglebracket /blockquote anglebracketclose
    “em” gets you italics. “strong” gets you bold. I don’t think it does pictures.

    The left is not “disorganized,” it won historic victories in France and Greece based on arguments laid out in great detail after much thought and debate, tested those arguments, discovered them to be unpopular failures and suffered historic losses as a result.

    That’s remarkably incomplete. A coalition of at least 5 different left-wing parties taking over a bankrupt economy. Greece attempting to face down the entire rest of the European Union, with no control to speak of over its banking sector at the start, and with conditions imposed on it from outside by the EU bankers.

    Greece didn’t have any knowledge of what money actually is or how disastrous being part of a monetary union was going to be, though that was predictable by anyone outside of mainstream economics. The disastrous result is directly understandable from knowing what money is.

    Calling Macron “the left” insults the notion that there is a middle. He is an establishment politician and any assertion that he is left, can only come from someone who is themselves someplace much further to the right.. Sort of like calling Hilary Clinton a “leftist” or claiming that −2,868,686 is a majority.

    Finally, to imagine that China’s decision somehow supports neoliberalism is a non-sequitur I cannot encompass.

    And it’s not just in Europe. China is working on those pebble-bed reactors and wind and solar because it has already decided it’s economic future- they will use an increasing amount of energy to produce goods for a world that has already decided it will continue to buy them.

    China has multiple problems with its energy and industrial sector

    https://www.boredpanda.com/pollution-china/?afterlogin=savecommentvote&comment=325467&score=1

    and it is trying desperately to solve them all. China is not really a democracy and that is why it is able to do what it is doing. It’d probably simply disappear someone who advocated the same things you appear to favour.

    how do you power the modern economy that exists without emissions? That question is at least as important as pondering systemic economic change

    From my very first post I there is a very distinct point that “the modern economy” is toast.

    https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-stats-review-2019-full-report.pdf

    We have to replace about half of the 80% wedge of fossil fuels with wind, solar and nuclear.

    In the next decade.

    The effective social cost of carbon is around $200 per tonne – or more.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0282-y

    There isn’t an option that includes any part of “Business As Usual” any more.

    It is, absolutely, toast. The existing system has us 250 Trillion dollars in debt, on top of the environmental damage and the next generation is taking to the streets. Within a decade BAU will have ceased.

  100. bjchip says:

    I probably should be more explicit as when I say “survival” I am talking about “survival of human civilization” as the loss of that and human knowledge is not sufficiently different from the death of our species for me to care.

  101. bjchip says:

    @b1daly

    There is no path to radical reductions of ghg that doesn’t require massive intervention by someone (government, terrorists) into the machinery of the global system. That is a recipe for disaster. People forget that the precautionary principle applies to multiple fields of endeavor.

    You left one out. It is Mother Nature, and she has a massive reality stick which she is swinging at the agricultural sector.

    If you don’t think a stable climate is important, go ask a farmer.

    The fact that there is no path to radical reductions of ghg that doesn’t require intervention simply means that when the reductions are done, one or all of
    government
    terrorists
    Mother Nature
    -will be responsible for it. There isn’t a future in which it does not happen.

  102. izen says:

    The entities, political and economic, that are capable of making significant policy choices are NOT threatened with any existential threat in the next 5 years. Therefore they have no motivation to respond. Even a decade out most energy and agricultural businesses will assume that they can do BAU with just a little adaption, perhaps to a token carbon tax.

    That is why XR are using civil disobedience tactics. That does pose an immediate disruption to the smooth functioning of the social order and can force action in a way that the slow degradation and occasional extreme failure of the agricultural system cannot.

  103. ecoquant says:

    @bjchip, @jeffnsails850,

    I don’t think it does pictures.

    It does and it’s pretty easy. You need the image stored someplace (else) and then you just put the link to the image inline. So doing this:

    https://user.fm/files/v2-d1e48e04a121cf616850b9e4705894ad/ClosingDoor_Stocker_2013_Box1.jpg

    results in this:

  104. Thanks for the links Willard. I’ve been chewing on that “three times” statistic- apart from being a number study participants essentially pulled out of a hat, I don’t think it means what some believe it does.
    I think it goes like this- the star of the village dinner theater thinks it’s obvious that she should make three times the income of the singing waiter at the crossroads rural pub. Fair that the supporting actress in the Manchester dinner theater makes three times her income, and of course the lead of second tier London theater obviously would make three times what the Manchester actress pulls in. The lead in the first tier London theater makes three times that and our Downton Abbey star makes three times the top tier London theater lead. So three times the salary is typical and everyone understands the Downton Abbey star makes far, far more than three times the village player.

    bjchip: “Finally, to imagine that China’s decision somehow supports neoliberalism is a non-sequitur I cannot encompass.”
    China 1995 Trade balance= $199 billion
    China 2017 trade balance = $2.41 Trillion
    Dictionary definition of neoliberalism= “a modified form of liberalism tending to favor free-market capitalism.”

  105. bjchip says:

    @jeffnsails850

    You are basically claiming that a bigger trade surplus is evidence that they are neoliberals.

    I really don’t think anyone can draw that conclusion. That’s like my proof that Murphy is God.

    Time is nature’s way of happening all at once.
    Murphy’s Law often forces bad things to happen all at once.
    Since the only thing more powerful than nature is God
    Murphy is God Q.E.D.

    Logic, or the assumptions going in, have to be a little more rigorous.

  106. bjchip says:

    @izen

    That is why XR are using civil disobedience tactics. That does pose an immediate disruption to the smooth functioning of the social order and can force action in a way that the slow degradation and occasional extreme failure of the agricultural system cannot.

    I think this is correct.- thank you for stating it clearly.

    The agricultural failures will become progressively more frequent over the next decade. BAU will fail as people realize that its purveyors have been lying to themselves and everyone else about the risk, but at that point the change is more violent and damaging than the disruption of XR.

    The failure of BAU is inevitable. It is stupid to attempt to continue it, but homo-sapiens is an oxymoron.

  107. Willard says:

    > apart from being a number study participants essentially pulled out of a hat, I don’t think it means what some believe it does.

    At least that’s their own hats, dear JeffN. Meanwhile, you’re putting ideas into their mind. Please desist.

  108. [#ButChina has ran its course. -W]

  109. izen says:

    @-jeffn
    “So three times the salary is typical and everyone understands the Downton Abbey star makes far, far more than three times the village player.”

    Celebrities, actors and sports stars make far far more because the media can attract large numbers of subscribing eyeballs and also sell that to advertisers. The income of a ‘star’ is related to their ability to to attract a large paying and consuming audience.

    Except as I understand it, in the case of college American Football stars, where the coach and college keep it all.

  110. bjchip says:

    You’ve made your assumptions clear enough but market economics and the extremes of “free trade” (and other things like austerity) espoused by neoliberals, are two very different beasts.

    Using a dictionary definition that omits so much doesn’t do the problems it causes any sort of justice. I don’t see a lot of austerity in China but it was demanded of Greece. The people were punished for the excesses and fraud of the bankers, effectively reduced to the wage slavery that ultra-capitalism demands of anyone not in the “owning class”

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

    is the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism. … These ideas include economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society

    The studies of inequality are clear enough. People expect some because it is fair that the skilled, talented and productive should be rewarded for that. I can (and in the book I do) show you how that works for them. They don’t even know how much there is because the media and the propaganda machines owned by the owning class, are working hard to keep them from understanding what is happening.

    https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/06/study-shows-life-is-a-lot-more-unequal-than-you-probably-think

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

    The collapse of BAU cannot happen soon enough.

  111. bjchip says:

    The pay of the talented performer is not related to the gross inequality in the society. The gross inequality comes from rewarding ownership rather than work.

  112. Steven Mosher says:

    “China has multiple problems with its energy and industrial sector

    https://www.boredpanda.com/pollution-china/?afterlogin=savecommentvote&comment=325467&score=1

    Huh?

    Bj

    you need to up your game as long as this Beijing resident is in the room.

  113. bjchip says:

    China has pollution problems with its energy solutions and seriously needs its nukes and solar and all the rest. Which it has been working hard to build. That is what I have been able to gather from all the news I have found. I reckon it is doing as good a job as it can. Is there something incorrect about those observations?

    I am not in China. Please correct any erroneous impressions.

  114. ecoquant says:

    @bjchip, @StevenMosher,

    It depends where you are and when:

    Los Angeles had horrible pollution problems before the advent of their own measures, California measures, and the Clean Air Act.

  115. Steven Mosher says:

    The article he cited was 4 years old. That’s when we published our first paper on air quality
    in China utilizing the real time hourly measurements all across the nation. From 2015 to now the improvements were dramatic all across the nation, and yes even Shanghai ( your picture). In the last hour Shanghai was moderate AQ at 17ugms PM2.5. You knew that right?

  116. ecoquant says:

    @Steven Mosher,

    Nope, not at all. Just happened to have some relatively recent (June 2010) photos from China around.

  117. Willard says:

    Enough food fight about China.

  118. bjchip says:

    @Steven Mosher

    I am glad to hear that they have succeeded in cleaning things up, and no I would not get that from any of the news media (that I can read) that covers China and its air quality. Which is a bit of metadata that I ought to have considered.

    Not hearing good news is not an indication that nothing good has happened. Just that such things are not regarded as newsworthy.

  119. dikranmarsupial says:

    @ecoquant – indeed, and that is what we should (IMHO) be focussed on, rather than the survival of civilisation.

  120. “Celebrities, actors and sports stars make far far more because the media can attract large numbers of subscribing eyeballs and also sell that to advertisers. The income of a ‘star’ is related to their ability to to attract a large paying and consuming audience.”

    Yes. Your ability to do something that a large number of people want to pay for will result in inequality. I take issue with the suggestion that this doesn’t apply to the folks who invented and manufactured the iPhone.
    That and the notion that a bank’s expectation that loans are repaid is corruption.

  121. jeffnsails850 says:

    “That and the notion that a bank’s expectation that loans are repaid is corruption.”

    I winder who’ll pay back all the leveraged debt that went into fracking shale oil now that the peak has arrived?. This is “corruption” on a grand scale but was required to prevent our oil-based economy from collapsing.
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Has-the-peak-of-the-shale-revolution-come-and-14532327.php

  122. izen says:

    @-jeffn
    ” Your ability to do something that a large number of people want to pay for will result in inequality.”

    It is not that people WANT to pay for these things, it is that organisations arise that want to charge for them.

    @-“That and the notion that a bank’s expectation that loans are repaid is corruption.”

    Biblical ethics regards charging interest – usury – is wrong, and also has automatic cancellation of all debts every Jubilee – 50 years

  123. “Biblical ethics regards charging interest – usury – is wrong, and also has automatic cancellation of all debts every Jubilee – 50 years”

    The Bible also regards lying as wrong- as in “of course I’ll pay you back” and has some interesting commentary on what happens if you don’t pay your creditors back- you could sell yourself or family members into slavery for a period of time to erase the debt. The 4% interest rate and threat of foreclosure sounds better to me.

    I enjoy paying for movies, it causes them to make more. And I stream television shows now, ad free, off of millions of computer servers that have to be cooled 24/7. It doesn’t bother me a bit that movie stars are rich.

    Paul, the Houston Chronicle needs to make up its mind on the peak.
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/As-Texas-oil-production-surges-crude-imports-13952600.php
    Apparently Texas is surging to record production while declining at an alarming rate. Oil prices are down again today and France and Germany are lending the money for Nord Stream 2.

  124. effnsails, It has to, otherwise the economy declines. It’s all being propped up by investors who won’t be getting their money back. See what the bible says about that.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4296916-u-s-shale-productivity-declines-even-ducs-decrease

  125. bjchip says:

    When you regard the definition of money as representing work done and thus requiring that money to conform with the laws of thermodynamics, quite a few things fall out of it. Including a prohibition on charging interest on a loan.

    On the other hand, money has to be subject to demurrage and loses value over time to cope with entropy, can’t be created by banks without some notion of how much work the issuing nation has at its disposal, and can’t be used as a store-of-value.

    Bible, Koran, Thermodynamics and if you regard the interest demand as “rent seeking” , both the father of Capitalism and the father of Communism oppose it, this in addition to it attempting to violate a law of thermodynamics.

    That said, the discussion around the “all debts are erased” bit is hard for me to understand. There is no apparent reason apart from the intergenerational nature of a debt that lasts more than 50 years. One suspects an error of translation.

  126. Willard says:

    > One suspects an error of translation.

    That suspicion would require quite a conspiracy:

    Originally, usury meant the charging of interest of any kind and, in some Christian societies and even today in many Islamic societies, charging any interest at all was considered usury. During the Sutra period in India (7th to 2nd centuries BC) there were laws prohibiting the highest castes from practicing usury. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the term is riba in Arabic and ribbit in Hebrew). At times, many nations from ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire eventually allowed loans with carefully restricted interest rates, the Catholic Church in medieval Europe banned the charging of interest at any rate (as well as charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change). Religious prohibitions on usury are predicated upon the belief that charging interest on a loan is a sin.

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

    How the Church reconciled commercial practices and its creed would deserve due diligence.

  127. bjchip says:

    Ah, but Willard, I was only referring to the every-fifty-years forgiveness of debts. The “Jubilee”
    Per Jefferson (and others) – intergenerational debt is immoral. I agree. I cannot take on a debt that my children must pay.

    That’s actually somewhat rational and understandable.

    I have not constructed an excuse for the Jubilee (in an environement where debts do not carry interest).

    The Usury/Rent-seeking/Interest problem is one in which we are in pretty good agreement. This is why the debt-forgiveness is difficult to fathom.

  128. ecoquant says:

    “Biblical ethics regards charging interest – usury – is wrong, and also has automatic cancellation of all debts every Jubilee – 50 years”

    The Bible also regards lying as wrong- as in “of course I’ll pay you back” and has some interesting commentary on what happens if you don’t pay your creditors back- you could sell yourself or family members into slavery for a period of time to erase the debt. The 4% interest rate and threat of foreclosure sounds better to me.

    Well, the Bible has a lot of things to say, and there are many threads where it is a champion of the everyman, even socialist, apart from the fact that Socialism wasn’t even conceived yet. This is how a label with pejorative connotations can and is used to take down otherwise excellent ideas. I once described the ancient Greek idea of sumptuary taxes and laws to someone, and they opined that it sounded like communism. Never mind that they required the wealhiest of their city-states to not only purchase ships for the defense of their commons out of pocket, but they also needed to reimburse the soldiers participating in compensation for the wages they otherwise would not be able to earn.

    People often get the Bible wrong, partly because most come from Christian backgrounds and use incomplete and heavily glossed translations consistent with the Christian perspective, often a Protestant one. (But the Catholic Duay is a gem, too.) Some examples:

    * Protect the widow and the orphan in your midst.
    * Never hold the wages of a worker to the next day: Pay them the same day they work.
    * Don’t plough the corners of your fields. Leave them for the poor to freely gather. Note this implies they are freely able to trespass.
    * Do not damage trees at any time, especially during conduct of wars.
    * Value life above all. You can break any rule, apart from denying the Deity, to save life. (And even then, it’s open to debate.) This is why the story in the Gospels attributed to Pharisees challenging Jesus about animals fallen into a pit on Shabat is such a slander. The Law says by all means go and rescue. And the supposed Pharisees were supposedly trying to trap Jesus into a paradox or contradiction. Oh, and by the way, use of “Pharisees” is an anachronism. The Pharisees as a group and political party did not come into existence until at least the second century C.E.
    * Rules of kashrut can be interpreted as a means of valuing life and protecting animals from excessive pain.
    * Israelites tend to be more humane than their Deity, and they regularly disobey direct instructions to annihilate men, women, and children, saving women and children, and, when pressed, children under some age. (Some Deity there, I’d say.)

  129. “Debt” is the more important word. No interest allowed means no money loans, but it doesn’t mean no debt. It means poorer people can’t buy the land or goods that would allow them to compete with their betters. So if they want to work, they borrow land or livestock or trade goods from the rich guy and pay him a percentage of their efforts. If they can’t pay up, the rich guy gets their labor for free for the next few years.
    Nice gig if you’re the rich guy. Funny how rich guys wrote a code that prohibits usury but allows them to lend all the time at a very profitable rate.

    Paul- the price of oil is $53/barrel – pump more and the price and profit goes down, pump a little less and the price and profit go up. The fact that Texas rigs aren’t pumping more in a low price environment isn’t the sign of the peak oil apocalypse, it’s evidence that the world has plenty of oil and adding more rigs isn’t the best move. US oil revenue (not counting natural gas, of which the US is one of the world’s largest producers) is $640 million a day +- a few million.

  130. bjchip says:

    For all of you who are obsessing over the amount of money earned by an Elton John or a talented footballer, you’ve missed the point.

    The work done by people needs to be compensated and the compensation needs to reflect the value of their work to the society. We do that just fine. Maybe excessive or short sometimes but it really isn’t a patch on the real problem.

    The real problem is compensating people for owning things instead of working and allowing them to accumulate money as though work can be stored indefinitely (unlike any real commodity). The great fortunes are not built on working but on owning, and the owning class does not have to work. It takes work from others. This is where the problem with interest arises.

    Yet if you eliminate the ownership income you have to do away with the Stock Market and the Hedge Funds and a lot of other imaginary friends we’ve created in the thousand or so years the delusional debt money has persisted.

  131. Willard says:

    > For all of you who are obsessing

    How charming, bj. Writing irrelevant walls of text wasn’t enough for you already?

  132. bjchip says:

    Jeffnsails850

    No interest allowed does not necessarily prohibit money loans. It prohibits profit from them.

    With a money that is subject to demurrage, being paid back in full 6 months from now is beneficial. The loans come from the government or its banks directly with no interest. The profit to government is that the society is healthy. The money is then a fiat currency and the amount in circulation is determined by the net work available to the nation issuing the currency.

    The loans are simply one of the mechanisms by which money gets into the economy.

  133. ecoquant says:

    “♬Things are gettin’ better all the time.♬”

    Myers, et al, “Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition“, correction, 1 October 2019, Nature.

    Actually, it’s not much of a correction. The authors regret failing to cite four additional references, two of which appeared in print after the submission of the first edition of their manuscript. They included

    Fernando, N. et al. Intra-specific variation of wheat grain quality in response to elevated [CO2] at two sowing times under rain-fed and irrigation treatments. J. Cereal Sci. 59, 137–144 (2013).

    The original paper by Myers, et al appeared 7 May 2014. It bore the Abstract:

    Dietary deficiencies of zinc and iron are a substantial global public health problem. An estimated two billion people suffer these deficiencies [1], causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually [2,3]. Most of these people depend on C3 grains and legumes as their primary dietary source of zinc and iron. Here we report that C3 grains and legumes have lower concentrations of zinc and iron when grown under field conditions at the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration predicted for the middle of this century. C3 crops other than legumes also have lower concentrations of protein, whereas C4 crops seem to be less affected. Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health.

    Another area of activism for scientists is pursuit of genetic engineering to improve the Calvin cycle, something which has been talked about a long time, and the public education needed to convince some opponents of GM that it really is in our best interest here.

  134. izen says:

    @-bjchip

    It is my fault for introducing the jubilee cancellation of debt concept, I plead culpable to a … slightly creative interpretation of the original text. It is more about preventing the inter-generational transfer of land ownership and perpetuation of slavery on a family line I think. (YMMV)
    Some later ‘progressive’ theologians did expand it to apply to financial debt by arguing that the underlying principle is that a debt should not incur a transfer of ownership.

    I find your concept of money as a proxy for work done or perhaps entropy increased intriguing, do you have a link that explains it further?

    I have found the idea that money is a state sanctioned ration token in a system in which there is resource scarcity persuasive. (Ian. M. Banks – The Culture books)
    It makes money a symptom of poverty, of inadequate goods and services to meet all needs. How those ration tokens are distributed, whether they are conferred for work done, or ownership of the means of production, or as ‘interest’ payments for a rentier class become secondary to the underlying problem of how to fully meet needs without a method of rationing because of scarcity.

    Climate change then becomes a problem in how to deal with a side effect of trying to meet a need for energy with a method that causes environmental damage.
    The solutions reside in determining how much energy is required to meet actual needs, and how that energy is produced that minimises any damaging consequences.

  135. David B. Benson says:

    According to Wikipedia
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_money
    there are two concepts of money. Further, the concept of money is a research area for some economists.

  136. Steven Mosher says:

    you see willard. all conversations end in bitcoin.

  137. jiffsails says:

    “The fact that Texas rigs aren’t pumping more in a low price environment isn’t the sign of the peak oil apocalypse, it’s evidence that the world has plenty of oil and adding more rigs isn’t the best move. “

    The world doesn’t have “plenty of oil”, yet there won’t be a “peak oil apocalypse” thanks to the effective head fake.provided by the climate change activists. The only concern is coal and low-grade FF deposits.

  138. Steven Mosher says:

    “so long as a man rides his HOBBY-HORSE peaceably and quietly along the king’s highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him,–pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?”

    still the greatest novel ever

  139. ecoquant says:

    @Steven Mosher,

    Although that pattern may be true among denialists, the flip isn’t necessarily true, and there are two excellent counterexamples:

    (1) Guy Stewart Callendar,
    (2) Professor Mark Z Jacobson, who is titled as a Civil Engineer, but has also written one of (if not the) most comprehensive book on atmospheric modeling there is, and is also the principal driver behind The Solutions Project. Jacobson has critics, but I think that’s primarily because they can’t keep up with him.

  140. bjchip says:

    @izen
    Scarcity… yes, but that isn’t actually that big a problem if the money issued has demurrage associated. The velocity of money increases. A lot.

    ” Only money that goes out of date like a newspaper, rots like potatoes, rusts like iron, evaporates like ether, is capable of standing the test as an instrument for the exchange of potatoes, newspapers, iron and ether. For such money is not preferred to goods either by the purchaser or the seller. We then part with our goods for money only because we need the money as a means of exchange, not because we expect an advantage from possession of the money. So we must make money worse as a commodity if we wish to make it better as a medium of exchange.” — Silvio Gesell, “The Natural Economic Order”

    When it is about work done available to the society as a whole, the scarcity is a real thing. There is no more energy available to the society and your society will, if it creates more money than is justified, break something else somewhere else. Analyze a society of one, and ask where does the additional work come from when your wind generator peaks or your ox is tired? When there isn’t any more, you have to stop what you are doing until there is.

    The natural world does not support our obsession with 24/7 availability. In most cases the engineers beat it into temporary submission with some use of energy but ships still sail on the tide.

    The best resource at present is Gesell, but he didn’t realize he was talking about the second law, and he didn’t actually define money. Neither to my knowledge, does any other economist. I have looked, and that is why there is to be a book. One way or another. Before I get much older.

    Best current economics that I know of comes from Steve Keen. Much of his best work is behind a very cheap Patreon at this point, largely because he got tired of the spam and the hackers.
    .

  141. Steven Mosher says:

    if you want to listen to engineers about money, listen to a published one.

    [Snip. Please chill. Money is a complex subject. Again, a food fight would be unwelcome. – W]

  142. Steven Mosher says:

    i have no intention of fighting about money.
    i print it.

  143. bjchip says:

    @Steven Mosher

    Bitcoin is a “store of value” and real money cannot be that. Bitcoin and the rest of the current crypto representations out there are valuable to those who believe that there is value in it, and that belief is based on scarcity, imagination and faith, not the real world.

    My point of view on bitcoin is that it is the moral equivalent of digging holes in your yard, filling them in and selling people the filled in holes, with the understanding that no hole can be re-dug. There is work involved, but it is wasted. People value it, but it is useless. Gold is not significantly different apart from the fact that it does have some minor utility.

    Yet people do value it. This means it cannot be ignored. I don’t ignore it, and crypto has a place in my discussions but money needs to be limited to unified economic entities with far more in common than the current EU. The nations that have done best are those that have kept their currencies apart.

  144. Jan said:

    ” Professor Mark Z Jacobson, who is titled as a Civil Engineer, but has also written one of (if not the) most comprehensive book on atmospheric modeling there is”

    Wasn’t aware of this book but it is an amazing synthesis of every little detail one can imagine. He even has a section on how to program. Looks as if Jacobson’s original research is on aerosols and particles.

    The objective of the book seems to be that after digesting it, one can create a model that could solve any problem in atmospheric circulation. Such a daunting task when you think of how many other disciplines work their way up by solving smaller problems. This was obviously meant for a class, but some of the problems at the end of each chapter are jaw-droppers.

    “Jacobson has critics, but I think that’s primarily because they can’t keep up with him.”

    I can now at least appreciate how Jacobson has become a lightning rod for controversy. I imagine that he has the attitude of climb aboard the Jacobson bullet train and if you can’t keep up then get off.

  145. David B. Benson says:

    I really don’t have time for this:
    Mark Jacobson has no credibility regarding electric grids. His PNAS paper contained major errors. When a following paper in PNAS pointed this out he not only did not retract, he started proceedings to sue the first author of the rebuttal paper. That is not how technical disputes are settled.

    Summarizing, Mark Jacobson is to be ignored regarding anything about so-called renewables.

  146. ecoquant says:

    I saw the rebuttal paper, and, in fact, you and I may have sparred on this before. The rebuttal assumed conditions and constraints on pathways which the Jacobson team did not accept. And it was highly suspicious in that a bunch of people from the established way of thinking of things piled on. Rant warning.

    I’m not saying they are unqualified. I’m saying they are irrelevant. It seems to me, as a watcher of energy prognosticators and organizations like the U.S. EIA and their world counterpart, that these people can only see the future by driving using the rearview mirror.

    There is no consideration in the rebuttal for advanced controls systems, or innovative storage beyond batteries, or Storage As A Service. Sure, the Jacobson, et al plan assumes a new smarter grid as a working assumption, because it needs synoptic scale buildout to work. But that’s not the only way that could be done.

    Let’s consider a radical idea. Suppose the market is freed of state and federal government interference, and electrical power gets radically decentralized. Residences get power from these decentralized consortia, and they make up for shortfalls by sharing with other clusters, and, when necessary, burning natural gas on the odd days, but needing only a tiny fraction of the draw needed now. (Forget the implications of lack of supply supporting a national mining of natural gas, at least for the moment.)

    Now businesses and industries are stranded without energy. Frankly, their costs for supply have been supported in part by consumers who, as a class, have supported more than their fair share. Consider, for example, power quality. Few residences need the quality of power most utilities produce. This is gold plating, and utilities make money from it.

    So, businesses and industries will need to accept the full cost of getting the power they need. This may be too much, and some will fail. No doubt that will happen in any future where greenhouse gas emissions are curtailed or their true costs are paid. There will be job losses as in any disruption.

    The point is Jacobson’s detractors cannot imagine a system where the RTO/ISO do not exist, because their roles are no longer needed. They could be useful if they had strong means of sharing lots of power at regional and sectional scales, but they don’t: They manage their fiefdoms as individual markets. So, to solve the problems ahead, they, if they don’t change, are useless.

    With the current lines of thought, the only way we collectively get to the zero Carbon world we need is by walking away from the markets which are there, and embracing and paying for technologies which make up for the shortcomings of the imperfect wind, solar, and storage plants we have. In other words, present day utilities and their governmental agencies and the ISOs/RTOs need to die.

    I say free the markets, and let’s have some chaos. Let’s get rid of that good ole “TVA spirit”.

    It’s not Jacobson, et al‘s fault people don’t want to give up the certainty and controls companies, utilities, ISOs/RTOs, and governments have. That’s their choice. And that’s not a failing of the Jacobson plan.

    And, yes, I have read it.

    And the rebuttal.

  147. David B. Benson says:

    ecoquant, my understanding is that the Jaconson PNAS paper assumes the ability of the Pacific Northwest to generate 10x the current maximum hydropower. This is pointed out in the rebuttal, I believe. Such an assertion is simply stupidly ignorant.

    But the problem is Jacobson’s failure to address such issues, instead threatening a lawsuit.

    Leave electric grid design to the competent. Ignore Jacobson.

  148. ecoquant says:

    That’s a peculiar sector. And it’s not clear those observations are even relevant any longer with Western coordination pricing. (I forget the official term.)

    My point is that as Extinction Rebellion and GND demand actions in the streets and actions from governments, there are other ways of rebelling, including using market and ideological forces to take down the Stalinist cooperative which we euphemistically call “the grid”.

  149. b1daly says:

    Say, it looks like me response to some responses got flagged as spam…

    [No. – W]

  150. David B. Benson says:

    According to
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/697/power-world?page=3#post-6010
    the UK needs to reduce the so-called carbon intensity in areas other than the often argued over electric grid. I suppose that this applies elsewhere as well.

  151. Chubbs says:

    Soaking on this post for a couple of days. Our comfort zones are set by past experiences, rapid change is uncomfortable, but that is where we are headed: fossil–>non-fossil, holocene–>pliocene, etc.

  152. izen says:

    @-David B
    “But in Texas, natural gas is still often flared:”

    The natural gas is a side product of oil extraction.
    There is insufficient infrastructure to capture, store, and transport the gas to market.
    Building the extra storage and processing infrastructure would be costly and bringing that extra gas to market would depress the price because supply exceeds demand.
    Burning a potential resource is economically logical in this situation, and supports a profitable price.

    So because there is no potential profit in using that gas for some useful purpose it is flared.
    At least it is not just released, burning it reduces the impact of adding methane as a climate forcing agent.

  153. jacksmith4tx says:

    Fascinating visualization of of the planet’s interdependence with it’s human populations:
    http://viz.naturalcapitalproject.org/
    Take a peek at the future (2050)
    http://viz.naturalcapitalproject.org/ipbes/future.html

    Don’t forget, today is the start of Project Drawdown conference.
    “The 2019 Drawdown Learn live stream will feature a selection of content from all three days of the conference. A larger section of presentations will be available on demand immediately after the conference concludes. In all, nearly 20 hours of powerful, illuminating, and inspiring conversations will be available on demand.”
    Live streams will be posted here:
    https://www.eomega.org/online-workshops/2019-drawdown-learn-conference-live-online

  154. an_older_code says:

    @bjchip

    my solution would be to lower tax on “work” and have a 100% inheritance tax

    once you die, your accumulated wealth store dies too

    obviously a few details to iron out!!

  155. “obviously a few details to iron out!!”
    With a 100% inheritance tax, in a few decades the US government would own Microsoft, WalMart and every family-owned farm and small business in the country. And would have nothing in Washington to redistribute.
    But people could sell their businesses and give the proceeds to the government? Not really. Who wants to buy something they can hold temporarily until their children have to go through the hassle of handing it over to the government?

    The drawdown conference. Saturday highlights:
    3:05 p.m.– 3:55 p.m.
    Climate Learning at Scale: Washington State’s Story Applied to Your Reality, including partnership and integration of indigenous knowledge into schools, with Deb Morrison (University of Washington, ECOS), Abby Ruskey (U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, ECOS), Cinnamon Bear Enos (Muckelshoot Tribe), Apolonio Hernandez (Braided Consulting & educational specialist for the Spokane Tribe)

    Cinnamon Bear is an herbalist healer. Should universities spend their time on this instead of focusing on how to power emerging nations rapidly growing appetite for energy? I see these things and think this a horrific waste of urgently needed brainpower.

    Perusing the rest of the agenda and, wow, what happened to Andy Revkin? From the NYT to discussing the “critical importance of equity” at the drawdown conference with the Green New Deal policy advisor who “graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 2011 with majors in African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.”
    Consider for a minute the impact if would have on climate change if Yale had convinced this obviously brilliant young lady to study engineering, with a focus on renewable energy solutions. Yale charges $50,000 a year in tuition to divert our best and brightest away from the research the world desperately needs. Our grandchildren will demand an apology.

  156. Willard says:

    > With a 100% inheritance tax, in a few decades the US government would own Microsoft, WalMart and every family-owned farm and small business in the country.

    Counterpoint:

    https://www.gatesfoundation.org

  157. https://www.charleskochfoundation.org/about-us/
    gets the inheritance tax repealed. Circle of life, or something 🙂

  158. Willard says:

    > Circle of life, or something.

    In our case, that something moved the goalposts. Foundations prove that we already have a vehicle for dead people’s money. Corporations, e.g.:

    The economic foundations for the Nobel Prize were laid in 1895, when Alfred Nobel signed his last will and left much of his wealth to the establishment of a prize and the subsequent Nobel Foundation, which is tasked with a mission to manage his fortune and has ultimate responsibility for fulfilling the intentions of Nobel’s will. In accordance with the instructions Nobel left through his will, various independent prize-awarding institutions have selected Nobel Laureates in each prize category for more than a century.

    https://www.nobelprize.org/about/

    Amazing how freedom fighters forget that one. Less amazing is that we tend to omit the fact that Alfred made a fortune selling dynamite.

  159. Mal Adapted says:

    I want to thank bjchip for his contributions to this thread, which I just got finished skimming. In particular, I appreciate his candid confession that fairness isn’t remarkably important to him. I agree with dikranmarsupial too:

    There is quite a lot of ground between and “It is not remarkably important to me that fairness is achieved” and “insist on that condition”

    Over on RC, a commenter deployed a popular lukewarmer strawman:

    The ideologues are the loud ones and are the public face of things like the “Green New Deal”.

    My response is that it’s the loudmouths who get the public’s attention. That doesn’t mean they speak for anyone but themselves. Talk is cheap. In the US, it’s free! We can’t stop ideologues from talking even if we want to. Climate realists, OTOH, recognize that AGW, as a drama of the Commons, requires collective action to avert globally acute tragedy due to rapidly worsening weather and loss of natural capital. Publicly at least, I’m sure we all agree that would be ‘bad’, even before counting the toll on global biodiversity. How bad can it get? Jeez, how bad do you want it? It’s getting worse as I type! Realists understand there can be no winners in this struggle, merely relative losers, whatever collective action we manage to take. We (or at least I) simply want AGW acknowledged as a collective, existential threat overshadowing more particular human agendas, and progress made on decarbonizing the global economy as swiftly yet humanely as feasible. Not to say it will be all that simple, to be sure!

    I’m not necessarily opposed to certain sweeping changes, mind you. I, for one, fully recognize that large structural changes are required to address the historical erosion of the biosphere comprehensively. I want as much social justice as I can get. At a minimum, that issue underlies more specific causes of global warming, along with the ‘traditional’ impacts of population growth on biodiversity. Yet it’s been with us for much longer than dangerous AGW has, and is demonstrably a hard problem. The warming in particular is IMHO relatively easy to address, by a collective transition specifically to a carbon-neutral global economy. There are good (i.e. effective) and bad (i.e. ineffective or gratuitously unjust) ways to make any collective choice, of course. I’m implicitly assuming we choose good ones 8^}. I’m not giving up on American popular sovereignty yet!

    What is to be done? Whatever it is, it must be done collectively. Marxism-Leninism isn’t our only choice, however. In the US, there are still Republican, ex-Republican and even Libertarian climate realists who aren’t opposed to democratically taken collective action at need. I don’t recall ever voting for either party, but I am convinced current technology is adequate to initiate the rapid buildout of ‘alternative’ supplies and infrastructure by market forces, following appropriate collective intervention to internalize a sufficient fraction of the marginal social cost of carbon emissions directly in the market price of fossil fuels. It need take only a few decades to accomplish, as first smaller government (including self-governing) entities, then nations take steps to drive the transition internally. Nor need it foreclose other direct interventions, from net metering to outright bans.

    What collective intervention do I really hope to see? All of the above! While I’ve made no bones of my support for Carbon Fee and Dividend with Border Adjustment Tariff (see e.g. citizensclimatelobby.org, h/t bjchip again), the important question is how quickly emissions can practically be reduced by decrements before being OBE. I fully expect it to be a race with time, but one we’re more likely to get ahead of than older challenges before global civilization falls below any capacity for dispute resolution without violence. Pardon my privilege, but I feel patience and a sense of proportion are the twin virtues of maturity: the way I see it, there’ll be time to carry out the struggle for social justice, if and only if we fend off this metaphorical world-eating monster that showed up about 30 years ago! Moving Earth’s biosphere, still so rich with diverse life including my own, out of the tragic rush of history before it goes over the waterfall of drastic climate change [block that metaphor! MA] feels to me like the line worth dying on. It may be a rear-guard action at best [sorry, can’t help it. MA], but it buys time! I say to lukewarmers and primary social justice advocates alike, give us something we can (literally) live with. Buy us time!

  160. ecoquant says:

    @Mal_Adapted,

    Can’t really speak for anyone else, but I think it’s okay to lose patience with people who, either historically have manipulated public and political opinion to delay, delay, delay or who, today, tag people alarmist and suggest there’s no need to act quickly. So, groups like the CO2 Coalition and their financial backers ought to be severely condemned because they are why we are collectively in this mess.

    I am also losing patience with some of the radical progressive elements who seem to want us all to become Hobbits and see that as a remedy. I call myself an ecomodernist but I support degrowth, yet I have a hard time finding a home among environmental progressives because I strongly believe in zero Carbon energy and supporting technologies, and I think big banks and big insurance companies have a role to play. Many environmental progressives want to tear what they consider to be capitalism down. There are many kinds of capitalism.

  161. “In our case, that something moved the goalposts. ”

    Did it? Our friend who introduced the concept said it would replace a tax on work- ie a revenue generator for the government. You and I now agree that it won’t. FYI, Nobel and Gates’ kids didn’t and wont be worrying about money. Nor their grandkids nor their grandkids grandkids.
    But this was a universal 100% inheritance tax. Every family farm and small business get’s dumped to the highest bigger in a rush tax sale (to the benefit of only people with big bank accounts). Who could oppose that, I wonder.

    Mal- Don’t forget that this is such an existential threat to all mankind that the first necessary sweeping change to society, per Germany et al, is to turn off all the functional, affordable, zero emissions power plants. And fund a big fat Russian fossil fuel pipeline. Then chat about inequity.

  162. Willard says:

    > Did it?

    Yes it did. You said that with a 100% inheritance tax, in a few decades the US government would own Microsoft, WalMart and every family-owned farm and small business in the country. We both know it’s false. Who do you think you’re kidding?

  163. Mal Adapted says:

    ecoquant:

    Can’t really speak for anyone else, but I think it’s okay to lose patience with people who, either historically have manipulated public and political opinion to delay, delay, delay or who, today, tag people alarmist and suggest there’s no need to act quickly. So, groups like the CO2 Coalition and their financial backers ought to be severely condemned because they are why we are collectively in this mess.

    Thanks Jan. As you know, I easily lose patience with such people, and condemn them with alacrity ;^D. I appreciate your blessing – kidding!

    eq:

    I am also losing patience with some of the radical progressive elements who seem to want us all to become Hobbits and see that as a remedy. I call myself an ecomodernist but I support degrowth, yet I have a hard time finding a home among environmental progressives because I strongly believe in zero Carbon energy and supporting technologies, and I think big banks and big insurance companies have a role to play. Many environmental progressives want to tear what they consider to be capitalism down. There are many kinds of capitalism.

    I couldn’t agree more, although I’m reticent to call myself an ecomodernist. Thinking about, I suppose I’m one by default 8^). Wait: does this make us lukewarmers 8^(? If the foo sh*ts…

    jeffnsail50:

    Mal- Don’t forget that this is such an existential threat to all mankind that the first necessary sweeping change to society, per Germany et al, is to turn off all the functional, affordable, zero emissions power plants. And fund a big fat Russian fossil fuel pipeline. Then chat about inequity.

    I won’t forget that, but it’s not why I want to postpone bad-faith arguments about equity. I’ve got little patience for whataboutery regardless of the brand of denial. Come on, man, let’s talk about what could work, excluding bad collective decisions at the outset! Give us something we can live with, then chat about Germany.

  164. bjchip says:

    my solution would be to lower tax on “work” and have a 100% inheritance tax

    once you die, your accumulated wealth store dies too

    obviously a few details to iron out!!

    Capital Gains (at 100% but the definition of what a Capital Gain is becomes a matter of some complexity.

    The State owns the land and you pay rent (this is effectively a Land Tax) but the inheritance rights and control of use rights remain.

    There are the sin taxes on alcohol consumption and cigarettes and emitting CO2.

    That’s it. There is no (zero) income tax. There is no sales or GST or VAT.
    There is also no minimum wage, but there is a UBI.
    There is no interest on loans to start a business.

    Because the money is issued into the country through loans and UBI and direct government spending on some of the larger projects the key balance has to be in the ratio of these three, but the government is not required to tax anything it isn’t trying to stop.

    That’s it in a nutshell. Do not tax inheritance. Machiavelli had something rather pointed to say about it and I do believe he is correct. It is not necessary if the money is behaving properly (demurrage is applied).

  165. ecoquant says:

    Interesting.

    Regarding

    The State owns the land and you pay rent (this is effectively a Land Tax) but the inheritance rights and control of use rights remain.

    Well, at least in New York State, you may own the surface, but you don’t necessarily own the mineral rights beneath it.

    That’s it. There is no (zero) income tax. There is no sales or GST or VAT.
    There is also no minimum wage, but there is a UBI. There is no interest on loans to start a business.

    Some of the policy thinking surrounding the Green New Deal, and writings about it, includes taxes on emissions, which are more direct and efficient than a Carbon Tax, if more expensive to enforce, ideas about Guaranteed Annual Income, and consumption taxes. Normally that’s a sales tax, but I think a VAT might be closer. Consumption is a big part of emissions causing climate disruption:

  166. Pingback: Flight free talk | …and Then There's Physics

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