Climate change and social justice

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) recently released a called Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and responding to climate disinformation at COP26 and beyond. It highlighted a number of people who will be familiar to those who have followed the public climate debate, and used a taxonomy for Discourses of delay presented by Lamb et al. These discourses of delay are various narratives that can be used to argue against and, hence, delay effective cimate action.

There are a number of different climate delaying discourses, but one of them is an appeal to social justice. Essentially, arguing that climate action will have large costs that will pre-dominantly impact the most vulnerable. As highighted in the ISD report, this has led to environmentalism becoming a new front in the culture wars.

This issue is something I have pondered from time to time, but have never quite seemed to express my thoughts as clearly as maybe I should. I also worry that maybe it’s a form of just asking questions, so will acknowledge this in advance. I should also acknowledge that this falls well outside my area of expertise, so some of my terminology may be, un-intentionally, not ideal.

It seems clear that there are social justice issues associated with climate change. Some groups will be more severely impacted than others, and it seems likely that those who’ve contributed least will suffer most. So, it seems that if we want to develop climate policy that is fair, then these kind of social justice issues should be taken into account.

However, the more we focus on these kind of issues, the more we would seem to run the risk of falling into the culture wars and, potentially, validating what are probably disingenuous social justice arguments. For example, those (such as Alex Epstein) who seem to argue that we should expand the use of fossil fuels so as to deal with some of these issues. On the other hand, there probably are perfectly valid arguments for expanded fossil fuel use in some circumstances. Also, I certainly don’t think that those of us who have benefitted from the use of fossil fuels should be telling those who haven’t what they should do.

I’m not sure if I’ve expressed my concern all that clearly. I’m certainly not arguing against highlighting the importance of social justice when thinking about how to deal with climate change. Mostly I’m wondering how you do so without it ending up being counter-productive. Maybe one option is to highlight discourses of delay and identify who is spreading disinformation, and how they’re doing so. Maybe we just should just make the strongest arguments we can and shouldn’t really care about bad-faith actors. On the other hand, being aware can at least help to identify easily avoidable pitfalls.

I should probably stop there, as I’m not really sure what else to say. I’m actually on the train down to Cambridge for a few days, so am going to get out my book and relax for a while. However, if anyone does have any thoughts on this, I would be interested to hear them.

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93 Responses to Climate change and social justice

  1. “Maybe one option is to highlight discourses of delay and identify who is spreading disinformation, and how they’re doing so. Maybe we just should just make the strongest arguments we can and shouldn’t really care about bad-faith actors.”

    I think it makes sense to identify the bad faith actors and dismiss them quickly, then move quickly back to discussions based on good science and the discussions that ensue.

    I find most of the folks who argue against action on the basis that it will create social injustices are folks who are pretty invested in the status quo and seldom express any concern about social justice issues about the status quo. In short, if the position is inconsistent, the person arguing the position is likely a bad faith actor. Call them out, kick them out, move on.

    When I engage with these folks, I usually just say, yeah, your ideas are nonsense and you raise them in bad faith because you have every reason to know the ideas are nonsense.

    A certain failed US presidential candidate is the orange poster boy for bad faith purveyors of nonsense. Does anyone believe you can persuade those kind of actors to respect the truth and act/speak in good faith? I will allow for that possibility, but I think it’s a real long shot.



  2. Willard says:

    Nobody needs to believe one can persuade those kind of actors to respect the truth and act/speak in good faith, Mike. That’s not the point of responding in the first place. This fact is well known since Antiquity at least:

    Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.

    For instance, my response is not meant to convince you. You repeat the same comment in just about every single thread. You are not my audience.

    Climateball is a spectator sport.

  3. This post seems to be attracting attention from a particularly awful “skeptic” site, where I’m being referred to as a “poor girl” in the comments, which I assume is meant to be some kind of insult.

  4. I saw the one pretty crazy comment from a CS, as I recall. Looks like that poster got dispatched to the borehole and the comment got deleted. That’s a good approach with this kind of commenter in my opinion. The culture wars are going strong. I like the block or hush option wherever it is available. It’s nice to be able to slap a filter in place so that we don’t even have to jump over comments by folks who are habitually conflictual, problematic and/or just don’t seem to add anything useful to the discussion. A lot of folks feed on the conflictual back and forth. Don’t feed that energy, that’s my take. Poor girls unite!

  5. Susan Anderson says:

    I’ll try to return and take some proper time to document more later, but it is important to remember that in almost all cases climate injustice falls on the poor and disadvantaged. You mention this by saying “those who contribute least suffer the most,” but it looks to me like you then forget that this has been going on for decades, and is largely caused by climate inaction, not by climate action.

    One clear example is where people live. Those who can afford to live far from the toxic waste of fossil infrastructure, which affects the air people breathe and the water they require. Those who can afford to don’t have primary dwellings in flood zones and other vulnerable areas. A secondary effect of this is that insurance and assistance generally go to those who have facilities to make claims and first world credentials help them get assistance. One example in Florida is the gentrification of inland neighborhoods where those with limited means were forced to live, which are now more desirable because they’re inland. Hurricane Harvey affected a lot of refugees from Hurricane Katrina, because that’s what happens to poor people.

    It’s almost all trickery, basically. Climate organizations I know here focus intensely on helping with jobs and infrastructure to help victims. In almost all cases poverty and ghettoization make climate change and the toxic waste of modern manufacturing (consider plastics and toxic fires, for example, along with refineries and other fossil infrastructure) a threat to life and health for the less fortunate.

    Where modernization leapfrogs past fossil in places like India and Africa, benefits accrue.

  6. Susan Anderson says:

    Being attacked is rather a compliment than otherwise.

    Jeff Goodell’s The Water Will Come might be instructive.

  7. Susan,

    but it looks to me like you then forget that this has been going on for decades, and is largely caused by climate inaction, not by climate action

    Indeed, a good point.

  8. dikranmarsupial says:

    Even within the developed world, if the wealth were distributed more evenly it would be easier to make progress on climate as more of us could do things like get electric cars or buy good quality repairable goods, eat more sustainably produced food etc. If your focus is on avoiding poverty for your own family, worrying about less fortunate parts of the world and future generations is a luxury you may not be able to afford. I don’t think we should assume that the super-rich are going to make up the difference. This isn’t a call for a “Marxist” redistribution of wealth or anything like that, it’s not something I would like to see, just an observation. After a decade of austerity in the U.K. and the current “cost of living crisis” there isn’t much appetite for increasing taxation on fossil fuel. If some ultra-rich chap (or chapess) has a Bugatti Chiron, it doesn’t take that many ordinary commuters to exceed their fossil fuel use.

  9. Dave_Geologist says:

    They probably think you’re Kate Marvel ATTP 🙂 .

    Treat it as a compliment!

  10. Tom Fuller says:

    The poor get it in the neck both coming and going. They are more vulnerable to the hazards caused by fossil fuels, including climate change, but long before that. They are so far the sacrificial lambs to the fight against climate change.

    Not a surprise, but it has led many (including myself) to focus on addressing poverty first, the biblical admonition notwithstanding.

  11. Tom,
    Some of us would argue that it’s possible to find ways to address climate change that also helps to address poverty.

  12. Ben McMillan says:

    I think the idea of appealing to social justice, when arguing for action on climate change, is really targeted at communities in less well-off countries, and at younger people, who feel a sense that they are facing consequences largely not of their making. i.e. about winning allies rather than wrong-footing opponents.

    And it is pretty inevitable that any political fight is going to center around basic principles like justice, prosperity, and freedom so these have to be contested whether or not your opponents have counter-moves. Actually the opponents seem to mostly want to fight on terrain of prosperity/freedom, which tells you something about where they think they have the strongest game.

    More bluntly, Lomborg-style fake-skeptics are going to attack on social justice stuff regardless, so this is a conflict zone already. Trying to find the perfect battle ground and ceding everywhere else seems like a strategic mistake. Although it makes perfect sense for people who want to just talk about science to just talk about science (especially if this is their forte).

  13. Tom Fuller says:

    ATTP, of course it is possible to fight climate change and poverty at the same time. I just don’t see it being done at the wholesale level. My own very ‘retail’ efforts are small and won’t change the world. But I try and fight climate change and poverty as well.

    What irks me no end is the amount of rhetoric I see that says it is possible without talking about mechanisms and specific programs. (There is some, of course. Just not much.)

    I love the Green New Deal. Remember that? Kinda disappeared pretty quickly, didn’t it? The reason I loved it is that they got the balance right. One third of the funds were for fighting climate change. The rest was to help addressing the economic plight of the poorer in America.

    I don’t see the Republicans discussing its disappearance from the political agenda, which does not surprise me. But I don’t see Democrats discussing it either, which just pisses me off.

  14. Fergus Brown says:

    Leaving aside the vexed questions of US politics, What we have here is in my opinion a false dichotomy, initiated in the public domain by Lomborg et al around 2009.
    The argument depends on the assumption that money has to be spent on climate action or poverty reduction, or perhaps on one or the other first.
    Then there’s the point that mitigation action is one banana, and adaptation action a different banana. The poorer nations and their peoples have little impact on mitigation and limited internal consequences, if international policy is managed realistically. But mostly they are asking for adaptation revenues, which they desperately need but don’t have.
    Finally, developing countries are better able to develop along environmental and climate positive pathways if they don’t have to depend on exploiting/exporting resources and have other means to manage the coming crisis. Costa Rica comes to mind.

  15. Susan Anderson says:

    Tom Fuller, good points. The Green New Deal hasn’t disappeared from my part of the universe, but it is frustrating not being able to do much (and why isn’t the former guy being tried for sedition, same problem; in the UK it’s BJ). Politics being what they are, every little development is used to bolster the status quo. Biden, being a traditional type and getting older (we don’t get nicer as we get older, we get more like ourselves) consulted with Larry Summers (who, for heaven’s sake, is promoting crypto, now there’s an environmental crime x100). Back in Obama’s day, they got rid of Van Jones very quickly (and caving on that was a crime, as was letting Al Franken be thrown under the bus in the name of “principle”). The promoters of tax cuts for the rich and deregulation and short-term profits don’t miss a trick; anybody who makes progress gets all the tried and tested arguments with a little extra thrown in to remove them from effective action.

  16. Bob Loblaw says:

    Fergus Brown on Lomborg et al: “The argument depends on the assumption that money has to be spent on climate action or poverty reduction, or perhaps on one or the other first.”

    When I first read some of Lomborg’s stuff, the problem that struck me was that the argument basically went like this:

    1. Fixing climate costs more than fixing [topic of chapter 1] directly, so we should fix [topic of chapter 1] first.
    2. Fixing climate costs more than fixing [topic of chapter 2] directly, so we should fix [topic of chapter 2] first.
    3. Fixing climate costs more than fixing [topic of chapter 3] directly, so we should fix [topic of chapter 3] first.
    4. Fixing climate costs more than fixing [topic of chapter 4] directly, so we should fix [topic of chapter 4] first.

    N-1. Fixing climate costs more than fixing [topic of chapter N-1] directly, so we should fix [topic of chapter N-1] first.
    N. Fixing climate costs more than fixing [topic of chapter N] directly, so we should fix [topic of chapter N] first.

    …and Lomborg never gets around to looking at “Sum(1 to N). Fixing climate costs less than fixing [topics of chapters 1 tp N] directly, so we should fix climate.”

  17. Willard says:

    For what it’s worth:

    With potentially $3 trillion to $10 trillion of earnings before interest and taxes up for grabs, decarbonization could present a material economic and humanitarian opportunity.

    Costs come with benefits.

  18. I often think that this is akin to the whole “stocks and flows” issues. Spending money to deal with some issue isn’t simply money that disappears. The money that is spent drives economic activity aimed at dealing with the issue, but that economic activity can itself have other influences (technology development, job creation, etc). This doesn’t necessarily mean that this was the optimal way to spend the money, but it’s not the case (as I think others are suggesting) that spending money to try and deal with one issue means that there can be no impact on other issues. Things are connected in ways that it is possible to try and do more than one thing at one time. I may not have expressed this all that clearly 🙂

  19. Willard says:

    There is a more obscure way to underline the overall incoherence in the Lomborg Collective’s playbook:

    Here is Ruddiman’s wording of [Bjorn]’s pet argument:

    [Bjorn] asks whether it makes more sense committing a relatively large amount of money to try to reduce future global warming by suppressing carbon emissions or spending a smaller amount to deal with many of the problems that currently afflict humans and the environment.

    In my opinion, this argument sells well because it combines three ingredients. First, it reminds something that is plausible: we must tackle other societal challenges, which are important and less expensive. Second, it provides a dilemma: either we tackle these challenges or suppress carbon emissions. Third, this dilemma implies that if you are for suppressing carbon emissions, you are against tackling other societal challenges.

    There is an obvious problem with this argument. If these important societal challenges are inexpensive, tackling them should not prevent us from suppressing carbon emissions. When trying to put forth a dilemma, one usually tries to argue that doing both prongs is impossible. [Bjorn] can’t do that, since he wants to convey the idea that not trying to solve important societal problems first would be inhumane, as they cost next to nothing compared to cutting carbon emission.

    The simplest way to deal with [the Lomborg Collective’s] arguments is to agree with the most plausible premises and rebut the dilemma. We could also put […] societal matters into perspective: no environmental challenge matters if there is no environment left.


  20. TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    “…I certainly don’t think that those of us who have benefitted from the use of fossil fuels should be telling those who haven’t what they should do.”

    Climate change: Bonn talks end in acrimony over compensation. June 16, 2022
    Two weeks of climate talks in Germany have ended in acrimony between rich and poor countries over cash for climate damage.
    Developing countries say they are reeling from climate change caused by richer countries’ emissions over hundreds of years.
    They hoped to get compensation onto the official agenda for discussions by world leaders in November.
    But here in Bonn they couldn’t get the US and the European Union to agree.
    “The climate emergency is fast becoming a catastrophe,” said Conrod Hunte, lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
    “Yet within these walls the process feels out of step with reality, the pace feels too slow,” he told delegates at the end of the meeting.

  21. izen says:

    “But here in Bonn they couldn’t get the US and the European Union to agree.”

    The US response to a rise in the cost of fossil fuel is to encourage greater production to increase supply and cut fuel tax to drive down prices. The EU response to reduced Russian supply is to re-open coal plants.

    When faced with a possibility of reduced quality of life, both chose to increase CO2 emissions to try and offset it while maintaining the status quo. This is what ‘fair’ means for the US and EU. no change or reduction in quality of life for those that can afford it. At present the social/political system does not allow any consideration of change in the underlying structure of society to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth while reducing CO2 emissions.
    Eventually the realities of climate change will force such a change. Either by enlightened governance or chaotic revolution.
    Take your pick.

  22. Ben McMillan says:

    Climate justice is not really “think of the poors”: the point about a “justice” focus is that it is about what rights and responsibilities we all have, and making and following agreed norms.

    i.e. we don’t have the right to impose climate damages on others just because it makes our lives easier. Actively making other peoples’ lives worse is a different category of harm (treated differently by law) to passively allowing people to suffer when we are not to blame for that suffering. We have zones of responsiblilty and that limited agency and independence is a crucial aspect of human social interaction.

    This is very different to the bland utilitarianism promulgated by economists (or the even hollower version Lomborg is holding out), and more in line with the kinds of ethics people actually adhere to. The focus is very much on who is being harmed, and by whom, and the lack of consent when environmental damage is inflicted.

    In the end, the people being harmed need a seat at the table, and not just a voice, but the power to say no.

    Note that thinking about whether something might be “counterproductive” to some goal is thinking about ends rather than means: it might be the right thing to do regardless, which is what a justice-based approach is about.

  23. Susan Anderson says:

    Just one of vast numbers of examples: Pollution Is Killing Black Americans. This Community Fought Back. African-Americans are 75 percent more likely than others to live near facilities that produce hazardous waste. Can a grass-roots environmental-justice movement make a difference?

  24. The biggest climate social justice issue is denying economic fossil fuels to poor people for a trivial and often perverse trivial negative effect on CO2 concentration. Stupid climate policies result in poor people choking on wood and dung smoke because they can’t have propane. They get stuck doing inefficient, land wasting agricultural drudgery because they are denied tractors. Now in the ultimate climate social injustice we’re likely to see major food shortages due to lack of fertilizers made from demonized natural gas.

    You people need to read the work of people who do real world analysis like Alex Epstein, Mark Mills, Robert Bryce, … Doomberg!

  25. Mike,
    Personally I prefer engaging with those who recognise that there aren’t simple answers to complex problems and understand that there will also be an element of nuance. YMMV, of course.

  26. Ben McMillan says:

    Monbiot on climate justice:

    I think the people that are pushing the climate justice idea see it as a feature, not a bug, that it also tends to pull other justice issues into the frame. The way they confront glib nonsense from the likes of Lomborg is to actually take these issues seriously, and centering the voices of the people who are impacted (rather than what looks like pretty obvious concern trolling).

    The idea that most of the initial effort on mitigation needs to be mostly in more developed countries is exactly because of the other issues faced by less well-off nations.

  27. TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    As Russia tightens “its natural gas squeeze on Europe”, countries including Germany, Austria and the Netherlands “are restarting mothballed coal-fired power stations or raising limits on their output”, says a Financial Times editorial
    Meanwhile, the FT’s Energy Source column warns that “the odour of rich-country hypocrisy is what might be most damaging, making global climate co-operation harder”. It continues: “How can western leaders call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, for example, or seek to halt financing for hydrocarbons projects in poor countries, while the Biden administration and European Commission sign deals for more American [liquefied natural gas], western governments slash fuel taxes and G7 leaders plead for more crude from Opec? Should poor countries without adequate electricity avoid coal while Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, starts burning lignite again? It’s a question that might hang over the debates at this year’s UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. Putin will be delighted.”

  28. dikranmarsupial says:

    and the U.K. may be opening new coal mines,

    a week is a long time in politics, six months is an eternity

    The PM told leaders and delegates that the “anger and the impatience of the world” would be uncontainable “unless we make this COP26 in Glasgow the moment that we get real about climate change”.

  29. dikranmarsupial says:

    It is amusing though that their solution to the “levelling up” (social justice) issues in the U.K. is to send northerners down t’ pit! ;o)

  30. jacksmith4tx says:

    All this backtracking on emissions just re-enforces my view that we will again turn to technology to fix the problems we are knowingly creating in the first place with our technology. It’s either geoengineering or genetic engineering or likely both. Elon Musk will be on Mars.

  31. mrkenfabian says:

    If fixing poverty were a fossil fuel industry priority they would forego their current super-profits to ensure low cost supply. Or pay more taxes towards welfare programs to relieve price pressures on the poor. They will not, because relieving poverty is a side effect (for as long as the immediate benefits exceed the cumulative harms) of expanding fossil fuel use not the intent; profit is the intent and they employ armies of accountants and lawyers to ensure as little trickles down as possible.

    Irrespective of the short term pains and short term responses to sudden and unpredicted reduction of fossil fuel supply the long term solution is building a lot more clean energy that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.

    Renewed and expanded commitment to renewables and other clean energy is going to be better for long term poverty reduction and energy inequality than any protecting and expanding fossil fuel use, especially given the high prices and price volatility of fossil fuels. The “never again” motivation is going to combine with climate concerns to make the current fossil fuel energy crunch a driver for longer term investment in clean energy.

  32. Dave_Geologist says:


    And there was me thinking they couldn’t afford propane or tractors. Ah, of course, because that’s the truth.

    Flat-Earther or Straw-Manner? Can’t make up my mind.

    Ah. I presume Doomberg is the fabulist Lomborg. Got it. Flat-Earther.

  33. Dave_G,

    No, Doomberg is a very popular Substack energy commenter. You people are choosing to be blissfully ignorant of energy reality:

  34. dikranmarsupial says:

    “In an earlier brainstorming session, we fleshed out the concept of a character based on Chicken Little, the paranoid bird that believed the sky was always falling.”

    Yawn, sorry any thing that starts with that sort of caricature is not worth bothering with. I prefer my factual information with minimal rhetoric thanks.

  35. Willard says:

    What an intriguing web our Canman weaves:

    In 1993, Bryce wrote a piece for the Christian Science Monitor about George W. Bush’s jump into the Texas gubernatorial race arguing that Bush would “pose a formidable challenge” to then Democratic Governor Ann Richards. Bryce also referred to Karl Rove a “savvy political consultant.”

    No more peddling, please.

  36. Susan Anderson says:

    re Mars, my all-time favorite comment (though it’s trillions, not billions):
    Two planets. Earth and Mars. One is habitable. One is uninhabitable. We trash the habitable one, while spending billions trying to work out how we can live on the uninhabitable one.
    “Ladies and gentlemen, for your morbid entertainment, I present, human stupidity.”

  37. Bob Loblaw says:

    That’s a quote worth saving, Susan.

  38. Dave_Geologist says:

    Apologies, my mistake. Straw Manner then.

    Unless of course you did Due Diligence before your OP and found a credible climate-change plan from a credible source (IPCC, other UN Agency, major NGO, EU, major donor nation, Green New Deal, etc.) which calls for people burning dung chips in their hearths to continue to do so until they have a green alternative; and no tractors for poor farmers. Or which implies that (flat CO2e for developing countries, no allowance for them not being the cause of the problem and emitting more during catch-up, no money or technology assistance from rich countries to ease a managed transition).

    if you did do Due Diligence, it should be the matter of but a moment to find the quotes and post them (with web address and page number of course). Even if you didn’t save them, your browser will have saved the page in its History, and CTRL-F dung ain’t hard.

    Of course as far as credibility goes, Straw-Manner and Flat-Earther both rate the same: a big fat Zero. Personally I’d rather be the latter, because at least that’s a position of integrity and good faith, albeit an ignorant one. YMMV.

    You people are choosing to be blissfully ignorant of energy reality. Guess that’s why you have to resort to making shit up.

  39. Susan Anderson says:

    To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.

    If we remember those times and places, and there are so many where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act in however smaller way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents. And to live now as we think human beings should live in defiance of all that is bad around us is itself a marvelous victory.

    quote from Howard Zinn, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” cited (near the end) in this Ezra Klein interview of Dahlia Lithwick –

  40. Susan Anderson says:

    Our very own aTTP lives that. Spare your blushes, it’s only the goddam truth!

  41. izen says:

    “No, Doomberg is a very popular Substack energy commenter. ”

    I have been watching some Doomberg over the last few days, I think I see why you find it persuasive.
    The rhetorical appeal to ‘physics’ certainly sounds good. the actual references are somewhat short of substance or accuracy however. The 2nd LoT does say that disorder increases overall, but the interesting bit from the human perspective is the way ordered saystems can be constructed from that disordered flow. It is how we get from spem/egg to adults after all.

    Then there is his/her four point plan.
    Gas production in the US was only profitable when the price reached a certain level. No gas production company made money and many went bust until oil and gas prices rose. It was the oil production that subsidised the gas production at low cost gas. Unless a high price of gas is advocated I see prospect of profitable gas production.
    Nuclear always looks like a good low CO2 source of baseload power. Certainly extending the life of existing plants is a better idea than building new plants. AFAIK there are no new builds that have been completed on time or within budget. They are predominately over both. But extending the old 70s plants has problems. the safety features were more primitive then and the aging of the material infrastructure is making them more dangerous.
    Doomberg favours solar panels over wind turbines which seems a little parochial. The UK is getting between 12% and 50% of its electrical power from wind, with solar averaging less than 10%. The idea of bringing the production of solar panels back to a high wage economy would seem to fly in the face of the Bastiat principle of only making things were it is cheapest to make them.
    Hybrid electric vehicles are a reasonable idea, if the recharging is from low CO2 sources and the fuel is not fossil derived. Although even biofuels are competing with food agriculture which as he/she quite rightly says is at present very dependent on fossil fuel derived fertilisers and pesticides.

    So Doombergs’ 4 point plan looks more like fiddling with edge issues mixed with fantasy. A classic example of appearing to propose solutions while covertly supporting the status quo.
    I may have missed his/her calls for more effective insulation for private dwellings and public buildings, and/or the advocacy for sustainable agricultural practises, if so please feel free to direct me to them.
    But overall it presented a very US centric, status quo advocacy that would do little to reduce CO2 emissions in any timescale compatible with limiting climate change. But perhaps this is a feature and not a flaw for the intended audience.

  42. Willard says:

    FWIW, the biggest wind farms are in Texas and they’re cheaper than gas:

    The 2020 report on energy costs by Lazard found that the unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for onshore wind is 2.6 to 5.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and the median unsubsidized LCOE for offshore wind is 8.6 cents per kWh. In comparison, the analysis finds that the lowest-cost conventional source, Gas Combined Cycle, has a cost range of 4.4 to 7.3 cents per kwh.

    So I’d say that the author being promoted right now ought to be more Texas-centric.

  43. Russell says:

    Why are there no wind farms in the Khyber Pass? Could a Discourse of Delay be responsible:

  44. Dave_Geologist says:

    izen: going to the fringe so the rest of us don’t have to.

    Why is it that people who invoke the laws of thermodynamics to deny evolution, climate science, or whatever, obviously have (a) no grasp of classical thermodynamics, (b) no understanding of how post-mid-19th-century advances like quantum mechanics changed (some) things, and (c) no understanding of the concept of closed vs. open systems?

    Dunning-Kruger I suppose. Plus 99% probably didn’t invent the drivel they spout, but are parroting something they read on a website, didn’t understand, and whose glaring flaws they didn’t spot.

  45. Russell says:

    Dave, pleas don’t go all soft-rock over Izen’s riff.

    If you want to lay into folks who didn’t invent the drivel they spout & are parroting something they read on a website, didn’t understand, and whose glaring flaws they didn’t spot, you can do the Lord’s work over at WUWT & The CO2 Coalition .

  46. izen says:

    “Dave, pleas don’t go all soft-rock over Izen’s riff.”

    I may be misunderstanding you and Dave, but I thought he was heavy metal harmonising with my take.
    I too find the misuse of the 2nd LoT annoying. I would not accuse Doomberg of lack of understanding it, just a glib reference that failed to apply to the case she/he was making.

    I must admit I also got irritated by the vocal processing (it could be overloading a cheap mic) and the green chick animation. While I appreciate the benefits on anonymity, such artifice seems excessive.

    I still think my conclusion is valid. Their analysis is facile, but probably this makes it acceptable for the intended audience.

  47. Bob Loblaw says:

    I basically figured that the “violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics” argument was mostly a cut-and-paste from evolution deniers. It worked to convince the flocks of creation science affectionados, so why would it not work in the climate “debate”?

    Back in the old Usenet days, I remember commenting on an evolution/creation science debate (probably on about a second-law argument. Usenet exposed your email address, so I received an email from some religious nut with a second-law axe to grind, wanting to send me all sort of religious crap. I had some back-and-forth with him – him trying to explain how evolution violated the 2nd law, and me explaining how the 2nd law did not mean what he was claiming it meant. He ended up trying to make some sort of argument that – similar to the 2nd law of thermodynamics – there was a principle in terms of information content/theory that evolution violated. Advanced organisms had “more information content” than simple organisms. and this was impossible in an analagous view of the second law.

    He did not respond to my last email, where I said “so, when you claimed it violated the 2nd law, you were not actually referring to the 2nd law. Why are you lying in the name of the Lord?”

  48. Russell says:

    Izen, soft rock sedimentary geology is the ground state of petroleum exploration geologists.

    Hard rock is where most geophysics and heavy metal comes from, with the exception of Al Gore’s unadvertised lead -zinc-cadmium mine and the rest of the tristate district- cue long and rocky discourse from Dave.

  49. David B Benson says:

    And then there’s the
    big rock candy mountain

  50. Dave_Geologist says:

    Yes izen, I was agreeing with you and thanking you for saving me the effort of visiting drivel-land myself.

  51. Dave_Geologist says:

    Short one Russell 😉 .

    You forget that my ground state is hard rock. Very hard rock. 2By old roots of an accretionary complex and continental arc for my undergraduate mapping. Geophysics and geochemistry final year options (seismic processing and interpretation, and did granite-greenstone belts have plate tectonics?). 1By old metasediments and granites for my PhD. I was only moonlighting in the oil industry.

    And actually, about half my time there was spent with the job title of geophysicist. And about a third on hard, fractured reservoirs which included 3By old TTG basement. Even one of the sediments was very hard rock. Quartz-cemented sandstone often has a higher UCS than granite. And as for the Stotfield Cherty Rock*… although that was never successfully exploited as a reservoir. As the Total Chief Geologist said on a field trip: “If it rings like a bell when you hit it with a hammer, it’s not a reservoir”.

    * How cool and serendipitous is that? 🙂 Stotfield ‘cherty rock’/silcrete – A ‘new’ lithic raw material from Scotland. I’m currently reading about tool use in primates and early hominids/humans! The real thing is apparently too hard to work with, err, stone tools, but there’s a sweet spot on the edge which can be used to make blades. And apparently heating silcrete in a fire makes it more workable. I wondered why I hadn’t come across it, but of course East Africa is too wet so you get calcrete instead, and anyway there’s plenty of easily worked obsidian around. It was apparently the preferred material in South Africa and Botswana. The local volcanic rocks (Karoo) are too old and any obsidian present would have degraded to uselessness. There’s a climate connection: the Karoo LIP is blamed for the Toarcian mass extinction (global impact, although not one of the Big Five).

  52. izen says:

    More rocks….

  53. Dave_Geologist says:

    Rock rocks. And rocks rock. 🙂

  54. Russell says:

    Here’s a refresher course for Izen:
    Petrology for Deconstruction Majors

    The first rock in the Anthropocene geological column
    This violet to green, obsidian-like lithic, is an un-natural glass emplaced in a shallow anticline in the White Sands of southern New Mexico. With a tritium age of 6.1 milli-eons, it is a few weeks older than the Hiroshima District exposure of the Terminal Showa formation in southern Japan.Younger deposits are known to exist in Kazakhstan ,the Lop basin in China, and synclines in India and Pakistan. A calcian variety has been reported from some recently vanished French atolls.
    All are highly enriched in transuranic elements and look far older than their years.

    More mafic than Maccadamite, this high-temperature no pressure metamorphic exists atop the holocene tar sands of Kuwait. Consisting of quartz grains in a matrix of carbon black with fossil impressions of boots, coots and camel tracks, its petrogenesis defies explanation, but high porphyrin levels suggest a marine Cretaceous origin ,but no explanation exists for the infernal thermal fluxes required to pyrolize so much carbon

    Is the only terrestrial rock consisting entirely of condensed air. This paragon of igneous minimalism contains native oxygen and nitrogen, argon snowflakes ,and minute crystals of Freon, neon, and radon. Found as aircicles and frost sills on liquid hydrogen tanks. it is more dangerous than asbestos in the view of Space Shuttle pilots ,and difficult to collect, as geologists picks embrittle severely at frozen air temperatures. Licking field samples to check color is highly inadvisable.

    Phenomenally microcrystalline cold and dark variety of cryabase. A report in Science in 1983 suggested that minute amounts in atmospheric suspension can lower global temperatures below freezing for 40 days and 40 nights, but the type specimen remains unpublished.

    Apocryphite , initially misidentified as Saganite, seems structurally related to Imhofite and the War of the Worlds symplectite near Grovers Mills N.J . Immense deposits reportedly exist beneath the Enron gas dome and the Busang Borneo megagold strike, but none has been offered for sale . The facies distinguishing feature is that while seeming refractory at a distance, its members melt under examination.

    The Ground Zero Gneiss
    Thus far known only from lower Manhattan and the Pentagon basement, this unique migmatite exhibits a portlandite matrix with corrugated layers of galvanized iron , asbestos fibers, heavily mylonized gypsum and blocks of carbonaceous schist with angular markings. Unlike graphic granites, which resemble garbled cuneiform, the GZG graphitites are highly legible, and appear to pertain to world trade.

    The Tora Bora Metapeltites
    Cave entrance exposures near the Waziristan-Pakistan syntaxis have yielded fugitive traces of these rare products of repeated shock and awe.

    It features deformed clasts of lead, depleted uranium, and boron carbide and asbestiform kevlar. Analytical petrologists once hoped to collect the $50 million reward offered for a specimen of the elusive organic phase binladenite in amounts sufficient for positive DNA identification.

  55. Susan Anderson says:

    Please forgive me for not resisting this throwback to my art school days. Sadly, though it’s reacting to a dark time, things are a lot worse now.

  56. russellseitz says:

    Major league ClimateBall scouts have long had their eyes on art school players.

  57. Willard says:

    Beautiful website:

    Geothermal energy could be so big.

    Source: The Geopolitics & Power Podcast

  58. jacksmith4tx says:

    RE: Geothermal energy
    The melted rock “glass” hole liner will be critical. Keeping the km-long drilling wave guide straight to a couple of millimeters is going to be tough.
    In depth explanation.

  59. Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks for the geothermal discussion. Sorry I gave in to my silly in the midst of those wonderful posts on rock/rocks, and thanks Russell for the art response. Meanwhile, back to environmental justice/racism, this makes it clear. I’m told John Oliver unblocks across the pond after a month & this is open there. If you don’t have time, just check around minute 2 for a taste of awful, though I strongly recommend watching the whole thing. JO is very thorough and accurate, and though it might seem a particularly USian problem, I think UK BJ & conservatives aren’t much different, along with the likes of Michael Hintze and Lord Lawson.

  60. russellseitz says:

    Willard though I’m a great fan of Found Energy and high power optics, a 10 km deep optical borehole faces the same problem of kilobar pressures as a conventionally drilled one., and it is hard to transmit millimeter waves through drilling mud or inert gas pressurized to the density of water.

    I hope they find a workaround, because temperatures near the earth’s core are as high as the surface of the sun.

    Were there a Jules Verne workaround, a one meter pipe to the core could deliver a half gigawatt of earthshine to the surface

  61. Willard says:

    They’re using a gyrotron, Russell. Not that gyrotron, but still impressive. The technology is there. The issues seem to be centered around reliability, scalability, profitability, and acceptability.

  62. Susan Anderson says:

    It is well established that the deepest injection wells for fracking were a growing source of earthquakes (or, perhaps, a source of earthquakes that grew in frequency and intensity). 10 km qualifies most definitely for that danger.

  63. russellseitz says:

    Their gyrotron is is in the same league as those used for serious tokomak heating, so scaling the power isn’t problematic, but preventing bore collapse remains a Hard Problem

  64. Willard says:

    Yes, Susan. The interviewee, who’s from from the oil & gas industry, says that the new technology should be less risky than traditionnal drilling techniques.

    As I understand what he said in the interview, Russell, they have gyrotrons, but they have yet to use them around the clock for extended periods of time. In other words, they have technical results, but no serious field tests.

    Nevertheless, the technology would solve many geopolitical problems, and it would offer an economically sound way to repurpose our current infrastructures.

  65. Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks Willard. I’ll spend some time tomorrow reading all the links etc. to become better informed about this.

  66. mrkenfabian says:

    I do wonder if borehole drilling at much shallower depths might be more immediately significant if new technologies can significantly reduce the costs of ground source heat pump installations. District heating (and cooling) with inter-seasonal heat storage is already being done, including with fields of boreholes in rock at (compared to the above) quite shallow depths of tens and up to a few hundred metres; the up front costs, mostly drilling the holes, are the inhibiting factor.

  67. Dave_Geologist says:

    Nope, Susan and Willard, that’s not well established. In fact it’s well established that it’s not. As I’ve pointed out before, with references. Max about a 3, same as an eighteen-wheeler driving past.

    There are issues with various water disposal wells, but that’s a tight-reservoir-production thing, not a fraccing thing. Tight reservoir = high capillary entry pressure = high water saturation and high relative permeability to water = high water cut, however the well was drilled and completed. Rock physics doesn’t care what happened a year earlier. Nor does it care about the depth, although as a generalisation rocks get tighter with depth.

    In most plays 95% of the produced water is aquifer water not fraccing fluid (one, I forget which, is 85% but that must be because the total water production is low, because frac volumes are industry-standard). The water will be there, frac or no frac. And actually the initial frac back-flow is trucked to disposal sites because the wellhead isn’t on yet and it’s not connected to a pipeline. In this example, about half of the total injected frac water is returned over the life of the wells, most in the first few months. And it comprises about 5% of the total produced water (Table 3). The other 95% is natural formation water.

    The role of fracking is in enabling those tight reservoirs to be economically developed at all, but the same would be true of any innovative drilling technology, gyrotrons included. Or just of a 70% cost reduction.

    There’s a reason the big earthquakes happen near the gathering, processing and marketing sites, hundreds or thousands of miles away from the wells, which these days are pretty much all monitored microseismically to assess the quality of the frac. It’s a matter of scale: 5% of the water spread over hundreds or thousands of wells, vs. 95% into a handful of wells. And duration. Most water injectors, whether for waste disposal or production support, are operated above the fracture pressure all or part of the time. Because otherwise the well gets clogged up. You have to fracture past the formation damage to get the water away (as opposed to a fracced producer, where flow is from the formation into the wellbore and junk naturally gets cleaned out).

    Can those wells be managed better? Yes. I’ve seen a published example where they’d obviously been injecting out of zone for a year or two before the earthquake. Are some of them in the wrong place? Yes. Could you do without them entirely by cleaning the water up to offshore disposal standards and running a pipeline out into the Gulf? Yes. Does fraccing or not fraccing impact any of those questions? No.

  68. Dave_Geologist says:

    I’m not against geothermal BTW. Indeed I’ve sat as logging witness on a geothermal well.

    But if you want to talk large, man-made earthquakes talk mines, dams and geothermal. Global review of human-induced earthquakes. I see there actually have been a handful of frac jobs around 4 in the US and Canada, out of tens of thousands of wells (it’s not credible that a 4 would have gone unreported in a well that didn’t have microseismic monitoring – it would have been noticed locally and made the papers, and been picked up by USGS routine monitoring). But even more so, simply oil and gas production. If that sounds counter-intuitive, see Fig. 30. Virtually all of these large induced earthquakes involve shear reactivation of faults, not tensile fracturing which is what is done in a frac job. This isn’t my usual gratuitous engineer grumble, because I’ve spent decades banging my head against that brick wall: most don’t grok shear reactivation of faults, only tensile fracturing. That’s how you get big earthquakes: gravity or tectonic stress is a force multiplier on the stimulus, by several orders of magnitude. Mine collapses are another way, where decades of gravitational potential energy have accumulated due to human action.

    Conventional geothermal is divided into saline-aquifer and Hot Dry Rock. Aquifer geothermal is only really good for things like district heating. Heat pumps don’t get you up to steam-turbine temperatures, at least not efficiently (I can visualise a chain of reactors warming it up a little bit more each time, but that’s in I-wouldn’t-have-started-from-here territory). Most reservoirs are sandstones and once they’ve been above 90°C for geological time, they get quartz-cemented and are hard rocks themselves. Too low-permeability to be useful (uneconomic flow rates per well).

    HDR has the same issue as some of those water disposal wells: low permeability, hard, fractured rocks you want to fracture more. There’s an inherent risk of fault reactivation. Do it, but not blindly. Be aware of the risks and manage them.

    I’ve not had time to read the website russell, but I’m not sure why I’d want to drill to 20km. Wouldn’t two 10km wells or four 5km wells be cheaper? At reachable depths we can treat the earth as two-dimensional, and the heat flow is the same at any of those depths. Actually it’s not, a lot of the heat-producing elements are in the upper crust, so heat flow gets less as you go deeper. And I’m not sure I’d want to case my wells with glass rather than steel.

  69. Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks DaveG. I can see the cases are not parallel, and my tech knowhow is almost nonexistent. You’re the second person who has explained that the potential of the new drilling tech is so great as to be worth abandoning the obvious caveats (impossible dreams? etc.) and giving it a try. I’m well aware of the problems with the injection wells associated with fracking; Rachel Maddow reviewed this in her superb book Blowout (which also explains a lot about Putin and Ukraine); she mentioned that regulations were put in because of the earthquakes, which only occurred with deeper drilling, and have to some extent diminished (their growing frequency, distribution, and intensity are a matter of record; northern Europe also had them). My dislike of the presenter’s fast talking style and repetition of “bro” and “puppy” need not diminish anyone’s respect for the tech’s potential. Nobody need accuse me of knowing what I’m talking about outside of the record on fracking/associated injection well earthquakes.

  70. Susan Anderson says:

    We crossed. Re earthquakes,

    The largest earthquake induced by fluid injection that has been documented in the scientific literature was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on September 23, 2016 in central Oklahoma. Four magnitude 5+ earthquakes have occurred in Oklahoma, three of which occurred in 2016.

    I cannot find the video I watched showing increasing frequency somewhere in northern Europe, not sure if Holland or Belgium. But this might perhaps be useful:

    As I said before, I agree with those paying attention that this technology is quite different and should not be condemned out of hand because injection wells are completely different, though they do demonstrate one example of the unintended consequences and difficulties of deep drilling.

  71. Susan Anderson says:

    I hope those genuinely interested in the new drilling technology will not be diverted into clarifications related to the sloppy language I may have used. The earthquakes are not from fracking itself but associated injection wells, when they went deeper, and to some extent regulation has slowed or stopped this problem. Of course, where care is exerted to avoid known faults, that helps. My apologies.

  72. Dave_Geologist says:

    Thanks for the clarification Susan. We need to face down all myths, pro- and anti-fraccing ones, and manage or prevent real risks not mythical ones. The issue is the produced aquifer water, which has got bigger as the onshore industry has got bigger and as it’s moved to lower-permeability rocks with a higher water cut. How you drill or complete the well doesn’t change that. If you don’t want produced water it’s a devil’s bargain: no produced oil or gas either. Which is fine once we no longer need it, but that’s not today. But “fraccing did it” is too good a hook, and like those non-grokking engineers, the general public understands forcing water into a rock until it breaks, but doesn’t understand a fault being reactivated ten miles from a water disposal well, which itself is 500 miles from the fracced and producing wells. Although, ironically, it does make it more likely the earthquake will be closer to the people burning the fuel. Call it social justice 😉 .

    On depth, a number in Europe and the USA have been where rather than fracturing out of the reservoir sideways or upwards, pressure had seeped into hard, fractured limestone, basement or volcanic rock under the sandstone. That’s the perfect storm: a low-storage, high-permeability system which can transmit pressure to that fault you thought you’d steered clear of. So rather than depth per se, there should be a vertical standoff from basement and the like.

    Since there are already thousands of kilometres of pipelines, I’d clean it up to North Sea disposal standards and dispose to sea – 40 ppm oil and condensate IIRC. It’s perfectly clear and you could safely drink it if it wasn’t so salty. Decades-old tried and tested technology, but more expensive than onshore drilling. But people would complain about polluting the Gulf. Or inject into sands in the shallow offshore.

    The equation flips offshore because of higher well costs, but similar plant costs. One of my last jobs was planning and executing two more waste-water injectors to augment the existing three. Because of the other reason disposal pressures will only grow: water cut generally increases over time as oil or gas rate per well falls faster than water rate, so for the same oil or gas production you need more waste disposal. That was a special case as it was for a group of fields with particularly nasty aquifer water, heavy metals and radioactives, which would have been very expensive to clean up (some sort of chelation I presume).

  73. Dave_Geologist says:

    On Quaise, I didn’t see anything about completion technology. Do they plan to huff’n’puff? Fill the well with water, seal the top, let it heat up until it has, ahem, a head of steam, open the valve and flow back. Flashing some of the water to steam would be a feature not a bug then – you need gas lift to get the water out in a decent quantity.

    Ideally you’d want through flow which needs production tubing: pump cold water down the tubing with return flow of hot water up the annulus?

    And I too would worry about wellbore stability at that depth, even in granite with a vitrified “liner”.

    Hey, maybe this is old tech, and explains the mysterious vitrified forts!

  74. Fergus Brown says:

    There’s a lot of “ifs” in the second part of the presentation, and they do seem to be quite large ones. Of course this is in part the point of the thing: feasibility is only theoretical as of yet and most of the incommensurables can only be answered (or even better understood) through real world tests.
    To me this is one where the ‘if it works’ is worth finding out. I don’t have the skill to assess the technical feasibility but there are enough ambiguities to make me think this is a non-trivial challenge, and therefore that even given initial successes, it could be quite a few years before we see a working output from a well and infrastructure. How many years now matters, since if it takes twenty it may have become irrelevant. Can we get an Elon to fund the thing?

  75. Willard says:

    Ironically enough, actual investors include Chevron, Tecpetrol, and Nabors Industries.

    DavidR had a write-up around 2020 on AltaRockEavor, a competitor but with a different tech and with so much market it is more of a collaborator in spreading the word:

    There are more conventional geothermal projects, like PIF and BEP.UN.

  76. russellseitz says:

    While we’re all nearly equidistant from the center of the Earth, irony is not uniformly distributed.

    Dave’s view of drilling hazards is that ” ironically, it does make it more likely the earthquake will be closer to the people burning the fuel. Call it social justice 😉 ”

    and Willard notes that :”Ironically enough, actual investors include Chevron, Tecpetrol, and Nabors Industries.”

    Nature Food has just observed that despite the high cost of cooking fuel, the Devil is still in the logistics

    Despite their chemical and radiological issue locating geothermal wells is not generally a NIMBY problem, as population growth has madde ten hectare back yards rare.

  77. Susan Anderson says:

    When will energy out exceed energy in? This is a continuing problem with fusion; massive investment is available for ideas that appeal to tech bros (and gals), but as the clock spools out towards dangerous times, will this provide another distraction?

    Russell, that’s a great chart, love having the transport emissions next to production ones.

  78. Dave_Geologist says:

    On food miles, note the high domestic vs. international proportion for cereals and flour. People eat rice where rice has been grown for thousands of years, and wheat where wheat has been grown for thousands of years (former European colonies like the USA and Australia being the exception).

    Only a quarter of world wheat production is exported, mostly to countries on the edge of or in food poverty. The UK is roughly self-sufficient and exports and imports speciality, climate-specific varieties that about balance out. If we can’t get import durum wheat we won’t starve for lack of pasta. Egyptians and Ethiopians will starve for lack of Ukrainian wheat.

    And climate change will make matters worse. Rising temperatures reduce global wheat production finds that wheat is already being adversely affected and “Global wheat production is estimated to fall by 6% for each °C further temperature increase and become more variable over space and time”. Days-to-maturity and grain yield fall – more haste less s(p)eed.

  79. Tom Fuller says:

    Dave, according to the Earth Policy Institute (, During the current warming period since 1950, which I believe shows a 1C temperature increase, wheat production has more than tripled, without bringing new land under the plough.

    Obviously if temperatures rise by 4 or 5C with the concomitant changes in rain patterns, wheat production will be drastically affected. But 1C? Don’t think so.

  80. Dave_Geologist says:

    Google Fertiliser Tom. And Mechanisation. And Green Revolution.

    Also read some of the papers I’ve linked to before. Many of them do show increased yields for the first 1C. Then a decline as heat, water and nutrient stress take over. And some of the experimental plots show that most growth is in woody/stem matter, not seeds. Seeds like wheat.

    And I (or rather the paper) did say further. You surely don’t think it will stop at 1C?

    You might also want to consider how much of that 1C increase happened before (say) 1980.

  81. Willard says:

    If wheat triples each 1C it receives, imagine when it will get 3C… Alas only in the mind things are as linear as that. There are benefits to more temperate weather, but it tends to decrease after the initial jump:

    > these benefits declined after warming reached 2.5 °C.

    This Indian farmer cannot wait for more heat:

    > My wheat harvest this year was 50% less than expected, my crops have shrivelled from this heat. It’s never been this hot in March before,

    Never fear. Next year he will receive Judy’s prognostication on his phone, so he will be ready to switch to indoor production.

  82. Ben McMillan says:

    A good start would be to stop feeding crops to cars:

    That’s in the UK, but it seems like 40% of the corn grown in the US is for ethanol. But that doesn’t actually make up that big a proportion of what you pour into your fuel tank.

  83. Susan Anderson says:

    This is wonderfully (and devastatingly) informative about another area of the world that is suffering from first world injustice, along with satisfying an addiction to geography: Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers and flooding. Towards the end there’s a plug for more nature-based solutions, which I wholeheartedly support.

  84. I read that the SCOTUS ruled to reduce regulation of CO2 emissions by the EPA. Seems like it should be noted in a discussion of climate change and justice of any sort. SCOTUS also did something about reproductive rights. The current SCOTUS seems like it might be bad news on sustainability issues, climate change and social justice. Might not be a big deal, we just have to outlive this current group and then get back to better rulings with a new group at some future point. The US is not the world, but it s a big player on climate change emissions, so the rest of the world is going to need to pick up the slack for now.

  85. Tom Fuller says:

    Dave, I have read and digested the papers you have linked to and many more. I have been writing on this subject for more than a decade.

    Borlaug is a hero of mine. I’m quite familiar with the First Green Revolution. In case you haven’t noticed, the Second is upon us. Genetic engineering has already produced heat resistant crops for many species. GMOs are feeding hundreds of millions without ill effects. Better tillage and irrigation are improving agricultural lands across the world. And despite indignant howls to the contrary, increased CO2 is improving crop efficiency, although not by nearly as much as climate skeptics claim.

    I’m also familiar with mechanization and its beneficial effects on agriculture. When it reaches more than 20% of farmers, yields will grow even faster than they have done to date. Most farmers in the world practice their craft in much the same way they did hundreds of years ago.

    As Ben noted above, crop diversion for fuels colors our picture of yield. The unfortunate tendency of grain producing countries to stockpile in times of lower availability do as well. But perhaps the biggest factor is our success in helping so many out of poverty, allowing them to eat more meat, which requires much more grain.

    The approaching stabilization of the human population, now forecast for the period between 2075 and 2100, will ease a lot of the pressure on the frantic search for TFP increases in agriculture.

    Malthus was dead on correct for his time. But he is dead and times have changed.

  86. Something new about methane:
    but I think methane still clearly a flow, not stock, so no reason to get alarmed. Methane is certainly less important with climate change and social justice than CO2 emissions and stock. Hoping for a cooler summer in the PNW than we got last year with little or no wildfire and smoke. The heat and smoke are unpleasant when they build beyond a certain level.

  87. attp
    “I’m not sure if I’ve expressed my concern all that clearly. I’m certainly not arguing against highlighting the importance of social justice when thinking about how to deal with climate change. Mostly I’m wondering how you do so without it ending up being counter-productive.”

    watching you struggle with asking questions, or raising issues. is tough because i consider you fair minded and rational.

    it seems like the creation of a categories for discourse ” delayism, jaq, is the very essence of bad faith.
    as rising energy prices savage the least able to handle the change, someone has to account for social justice in policy, unless you like pitchforksand unless you want the policy to ultimately fail.
    i imgine policy folks in the netherlands are asking themselves if they anticipated the response to their policy choices.

    getting stakeholders to the policy table would be a good idea, even if they are delayists.

  88. Steven,

    it seems like the creation of a categories for discourse ” delayism, jaq, is the very essence of bad faith.

    Maybe, but on the other hand I’m starting to think that it’s increasingly important that we learn how to identify techniques that are used in these kinds of debates. Maybe we need to be more willing to “forgive” (for want of a better term) those who haven’t always engaged as constructively as they could have, but I’m not convinced that we should ignore the kinds of tactics that are often used.

  89. Willard says:

    If there is any good that can come out of the current military conflict, it should be that we drop any kind of appeal to faith. People are people, and they are not like Dépêche Mode would like them to be. Anyone with any contractual experience should be able to see that trust is maintained by people within institutions, not by opponents on a battlefield.

    I mention people because Bruce Schneier made that point about or rather against crypto:

    His outlook on the blockchain is rather bleak, which he finds wasteful and less safe than the alternatives. His stance resembles mine. I disagree with him that there is no good application for I believe he forgot about science. To be able to store the evolution of theories on a universal and permanent repository sounds like a Good Idea to me, or at least my character, who has a reputation of being a closet platonist. Plato might have been the first guy to came up with the idea of a blockchain. At least that is how I see his idea of a realm of Ideas.

    Where was I going? Ah, right – discursive patterns. If someone acts in a way that affects you, it is important to be able to recognize what it is, how it works, and why it works that way. This helps us deal with it. It is a matter of self-preservation and self-responsibility. The same applies to anyone affected by what we ourselves do. After all, people are people.

    PS: Thanks for the Greek comics, Mosh. You are the best. I missed you.

  90. Maybe, but on the other hand I’m starting to think that it’s increasingly important that we learn how to identify techniques that are used in these kinds of debates.

    what i am implying is that labelling tempts us not to think

    as willard can tell you, we can categorize anything you do trying to convince an audience.
    its a game with limited moves and well known counter moves

  91. His outlook on the blockchain is rather bleak, which he finds wasteful and less safe than the alternatives.

    he views proof of work as a waste of electricity. he’s wrong,
    doesnt understand how mining works.

    i dont want to turn this into crypto discussion.

  92. jacksmith4tx says:

    “There is no golden path possible with crypto. Every future where it succeeds can only lead to one of various anarcho-capitalist or techno-feudalistic hells. A complete rejection of the entirety of the cryptocurrency project is the only intellectually defensible position left.”
    ‘The Complete Argument Against Crypto’

    Way more important -> We need to fix digital privacy and anonymity first.

  93. Joshua says:

    Not all labeling is the same.

    Or I could say, not all labelers are the same.

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