The Solutions Are Waiting
This is an cool animated video that lays out the global warming / climate change in an easy presentation. It’s rather cool, worth watching and at the end, you can pick and choose from their solutions.
Please watch, you’ll find it interesting and amusing, I did. Especially the armed fortress.
Now, sticking to the pessimist view, I don’t buy into the solutions presented at all. The proof is always in the pudding, and nobody is making this pudding yet.
Most of these solutions have already been discounted as being sufficient, sustainable or possible permanent replacements. The other solutions, such as hydro power, we already have but it’s insufficient and does not address other issues, such as “electric planes” and such like (we can never become an all-electric society in other words, since this fails to deal with our transportation demands).
We’re certainly not “saved” as it’s alleged in the presentation, hardly. If we were, we’d be there already, but we’re not, not even close. But we are being bamboozled by a slick presentation that implies we can have our cake and eat it too and it won’t be that hard. No big adjustments are necessary.
The hidden assumptions in this message is that we really do not have to change and that we can avoid planetary ecocide and our own extinction by simply modifying our methods of consumption. This is a dangerous lie that is completely ludicrous.
It fails to address the population / resource issues entirely, or the current depletion rates (exponential function), or the declines in the planetary ecosystems or even the critical shortage we have now on absolutely essential elements like phosphorous.
Waving a magic technological wand at the problem and declaring us saved is worse then being simply disingenious, it’s dangerous because it breeds apathy and indifference altogether, and encourages us to place the responsbility upon the wizards to make it all better. Just make it all go away, I’ve got to go shopping.
The other main point of contention I have is we do not have until 2050 to pull this off. I always wonder where these groups get this numbers from, I’ve come to the conclusion that they simply make them up because it has no basis in reality.
If we are already at “critical red” on our carbon emissions now, permitting this to go much, much higher by 2050, and then start the long decline in emissions, really makes no sense at all. In fact, it makes no damned sense at all. Because to take this path would damn the human race for certain.
A paper by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research shows that if we are to give ourselves a roughly even chance of preventing more than two degrees of warming, global emissions from energy must peak by 2015 and decline by between 6% and 8% per year from 2020 to 2040, leading to a complete decarbonisation of the global economy soon after 2050. Even this programme would work only if some optimistic assumptions about the response of the biosphere hold true. Delivering a high chance of preventing two degrees of warming would mean cutting global emissions by more than 8% a year.
Is this possible? Is this acceptable? The Tyndall paper points out that annual emission cuts greater than 1% have “been associated only with economic recession or upheaval”. When the Soviet Union collapsed, emissions fell by some 5% a year. The Planet Is Now So Vandalised That Only Total Energy Renewal Can Save Us
Uh uh. While we’re getting a much better time frame to turn things around, it’s still not enough (but better).
If we are extinguishing species at up to 50,000 extinctions per year now, what would another 42 years make? 2,100,000 extinct species. That might as well include us. The world’s ecosystems would be “acidic” at the very least and toxic to most life forms.
Going up, up and up is suicide, irrespective of the chosen date to begin the declines. We do not know just have fast our collapse might come, it might be as fast as the Larsen Ice Shelf that collapsed in just 35 days.
Discounting the specific technologies presented here as solutions for a moment, just consider the promise of a technological fix the animation (and many believers) embrace without any evidence at all that it will ever happen. All these proponents have to this day is a so-called promise, but no reality.
There are specific reasons for this by the way. Reality is far removed from promises and the cost to see them realized. It is not just monetary costs or scientific knowledge costs (qualified people for example), but environmental costs. For every so-called solution, there are environmental and ecological costs to our efforts to deploy or use these solutions. And this is all too-often, not taken into account. It is the very reasons that bio-fuels as an example, are now receiving negative press (one of the proposed solutions in the presentation). Can you say, it doesn’t work as promised?
I spent a bit of time today studying exactly one of these issues. I read up on the compact fluorescent light bulb (CFC) for example, because I saw Gore on Oprah pitch his presentation again and his so-called solutions. What I learned is that this fix will not save us, nor even come close, yet this is an example of what is being promoted.
If you honestly investigate all of the other technofix solutions being proposed, wind, wave, solar, hydro, hydrogen, coal, whatever it might be, you will uncover the deficits they all have. And even if they don’t seem to be “all that bad”, the presumption behind them is we can just keep right on going like we are today, never mind their costs, their impacts, their environmental demands, their waste, their pollution and their contribution to planetary destruction, all so we can continue to “have it all”.
This approach is challenged by the American thinker Sharon Astyk. In an interesting new essay, she points out that replacing the world’s energy infrastructure involves “an enormous front-load of fossil fuels“, which are required to manufacture wind turbines, electric cars, new grid connections, insulation and all the rest. This could push us past the climate tipping point. Instead, she proposes, we must ask people “to make short term, radical sacrifices”, cutting our energy consumption by 50%, with little technological assistance, in five years.
So when I read or hear about a technofix, I’m quite unwilling to believe its alleged promises as being the salvation of mankind. If not for the reasons above, for the simple reason it has never, ever happened. We just keep digging the hole deeper with every such solution is all, pushing off the inevitable “forcing” of what really needs to be done in regards to human civilization and its demands upon the environment.
The hole by the way, is our grave.
7 thoughts on “The Solutions Are Waiting”
Astyk’s assertion that we would to front end load consumption of fossil fuels to sustain our current energy consumption is good as far as it goes and it is substantially correct. Even with that fatal course, we could sustain our current level of consumption.
Lovelock has pointed out that the engineering cycle is at best 30 years from concept to scale up. How do the fantasy spinners expect to compress it?
As you say, there are a few factual inconveniences along the way. To keep their dreamscapes intact, they have to ignore them all.
For one, at something like a 2 degree temperature increase all the worlds rice crops fail, and those 2 degrees are in the bank from past emissions. But then, we are running out of water anyway. I think it is safe to assume that at some point, China or some other nation state, emulating our model of world citizenship, just unloads in a war, especially with no food and water. It is a part of our mass sensibility as homo sapiens.
It is truly astonishing to talk about solving the global environmental collapse by changing light bulbs. Makes me chunk. That is just bizarre if not psychotic, these folks are our brightest and best?
We will never care about the ecosystem, we don’t give a shit about the undeveloped world, other humans. All these conversations about sustainability conveniently leave out the third world. They don’t factor into our thinking at all.
Sometimes I reverse engineer the prevailing human sensibility by looking at the imprint of what we do, what we care about, and how well we think. It’s like a plaster cast of our footprints. I find nothing in the exercise that give me hope. At some fundamental level, all our problematic footprints lead back to defects in our character and intellect as a species.
Talk of hope is preposterous. We not only don’t know what to do, we don’t understand that it must be done, and we sure don’t care about collateral damage, to other humans or the biosphere. We are a deeply defective species and the validity of our psychological design does not hold up in this new context of our making. We will try things, but our fate is sealed. RIP
Everyone – do NOT read the link above sent in by Lonewolf. Don’t follow the links to the original story. Don’t read that millions will starve.
Forget Famine. Forget food in fact, none of these things are the least bit important, necessary or useful, they’re just distractions to your well-being and peace of mind.
Pay attention to the wonderful SOLUTIONS that we’ve been promised. Critical shortages of wheat, fertilizer and essential minerals are not worth concerning yourself with.
Do not stockpile food, do not plan ahead, do not do anything except WAIT FOR THE SOLUTIONS.
Stand stock still, don’t even move a muscle.
There, that’s better now. You’ll be alright, promise. Everything is A-ok, nothing to worry about, nothing to see here, move along (just don’t stampede, even Wal-Mart wage slaves are worthy of life).
Interesting isn’t it that supposedly thinking, supposedly intelligent creatures as us always want nothing to do with expenditure of energy from within, except maybe a little elbow or wrist action from fondling the remote.