• ssu
    4k
    The technologies I refer to are those necessary to sustainability; starting with massive heat energy from magma, limitless clean electricity, carbon capture and storage, desalination and irrigation, hydrogen fuel, and recycling technologies.counterpunch
    And that would be the truly important discussion.

    But have you noticed the absence of a down-to-Earth and realistic debate about long term energy policy? Can you define the actual US energy policy since the 70's to the present?

    It might be discussed somewhere, but not much about it is heard in the media or the public discourse.

    As a signal of your virtue, that's very helpful. Thank you! As a means to secure a sustainable future, worse than useless, but at least we know that you are morally superior!counterpunch
    Isn't that what the new culture is about?
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    When pre-woke, woke, and post-woke? groups speak, they are not speaking truth to power. They (or we) are mostly talking to ourselves. Deep down the elites don't give a rat's ass about liberation, identity, fairness, equality, and so forth among the masses. From the POV of the wealthy and powerful, gay liberation, for instance, was not worth the bad PR of tangoing with a not well liked sexual minority. From that same POV, corporations have to deal with far worse things than "woke" fokes being employed in their firms (like government regulation, taxation, unions, hostile takeovers, business failure...)

    The audience of liberatory, activist groups (like gays et al) are mostly themselves--and politicians. It's gays and all the other minority groups who benefit most from their up-lift, liberatory messaging. General Motors doesn't need up-lift. What the hell would they do with it?
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    Can you define the actual US energy policy since the 70's to the present?ssu

    You didn't ask me, but... Here's the policy. Float the economy on a deep pool of cheap oil.

    Available, plentiful, cheap energy to fuel industry and drive the economy. Drill, baby drill. Oil and gas have been our preeminent fuel (with coal for electricity generation plus some heavy industries; by the 70s coal was no longer used much for domestic heating or not at all for rail transportation. Gas is replacing coal for generation). In addition to fueling the economy, oil and gas are the primary feed-stock for plastics, chemicals, and fertilizers.

    That coal, oil, and gas -- and many of the associated industries (like cars, chemicals, plastics, etc.--have significant and serious downsides (methane, CO2, acid rain, disease, negative effects on soils, etc) was simply not an issue that was or is brought to the fore in any sustained way.

    It has always stood to reason that oil and gas were not--and could not be--inexhaustible. Peak Oil is a concept that's been around for a while. The oil industry knows about peak oil and exhaustibility, of course. Wells run dry. In the mean time, keep sucking it up.

    While wind and solar have made some progress, and while there are a few electric vehicles on the road, the future of clean, renewable energy is pretty far off, as far as I can tell.

    And electric vehicles are not an answer. There are 1.4 billion cars in the world, 99.9% internal combustion. In what universe does it make sense to replace 1.4 billion gas powered vehicles with another 1.4 billion electric vehicles? Only in the auto industry universe! God forbid that people should use electric trains, trolleys, street cars, light rail, and busses to get around.

    Granted, per @counterpunch, geo, wind, and solar energy are all pretty green. I don't see a wholesale commitment to green energy outside of groups like Interfaith Power and Light (a faith-based renewable advocacy group) and smart people like Counterpunch.
  • gikehef947
    20

    There are three ways of being. Real being is the idealistic, typical of young people. Next is practical and effective being, for adults. The third and least effective way of being belongs to the old people, dirty and corrupt.
    Reality suggests that older people are like vampires: ogres, selfish, interconnected, and willing to hate. Young people are generous and open to love and friendship.

    In other words: War is a place where young people, who do not know each other and do not hate each other, kill each other by decision of the dirty old men, who know and hate each other, but do not kill each other. Erich Hartman.
  • counterpunch
    1.1k
    And that would be the truly important discussion. But have you noticed the absence of a down-to-Earth and realistic debate about long term energy policy? Can you define the actual US energy policy since the 70's to the present?ssu

    I don't believe wind and solar will ever be sufficient to meet our needs; and it's only a policy of diversification of energy sources since 1973, that's allowed wind and solar to even be considered worth building. Wind can take the edge off carbon emissions, produce some energy, but it's inefficient, insufficient to our current needs; and all thought of sequestering atmospheric carbon, desalinating water to irrigate land, hydrogen fuel and total recycling - is out of the question without sufficient clean energy to power them.

    Granted, per counterpunch, geo, wind, and solar energy are all pretty green. I don't see a wholesale commitment to green energy outside of groups like Interfaith Power and Light (a faith-based renewable advocacy group) and smart people like Counterpunch.Bitter Crank

    Depends what you mean by pretty green. There's no such thing as "more sustainable." There's sustainable, and there's not sustainable. I want sustainable by design. Not more sustainable, because what 'more sustainable' actually means is, not actually sustainable, but not quite as unsustainable as it might be...you should have seen what we were doing before! lol!
  • synthesis
    915
    I think that’s true of my favorite pop composers. But the issue isn’t just how much more you know now that 30 years ago, it’s how much younger generations have leapfrogged over your knowledge.Joshs

    Younger people ALWAYS believe they are living through the most prescient times in the history of mankind, but consider the following...

    Look at the breakthroughs that took place in the 19th century and compare them to (y)our own times. Imagine how the triumvirate of electricity (the greatest discovery since fire), the locomotive/automobile, and the telegraph/telephone changed life in that time period. All three discoveries were life-altering.

    In the modern period (say the last 75 years), we have radio/television, computers, and perhaps medical science (antibiotics, etc.), but none of these can compare in the least with what happened in the 19th century.

    And exactly what do you believe you know that we don't (how to maximally exploit your iphone)?
  • James Riley
    765
    Younger people ALWAYS believe they are living through the most prescient times in the history of mankind,synthesis

    Off topic, but this reminds me of so many Christians who think the second coming will be during their generation. Everyone thinks they're so damn special. And everything is a sign they are right. :grin:
  • synthesis
    915
    Reality suggests that older people are like vampires: ogres, selfish, interconnected, and willing to hate. Young people are generous and open to love and friendship.gikehef947

    You've got to be kidding. You went to school, right? The stuff that kids say and do to others kids in and out of school is absolutely brutal.

    As anecdotal evidence (other than my entire life experience), I happen to live in a college town that also has a nice mix of young families and older folks. I am out all the time doing yard work and whatnot and have always been a friendly person so I say hello to just about everybody who comes by my house (I live on a street that a lot of people walk). BY FAR, the most friendly people are the older people, followed by moms and dads with younger kids. The college-age kids are 50/50, the high school kids are 25 nice/75 ignore, and the younger kids are oblivious as they obviously have been taught any manners what-so-ever..
  • synthesis
    915
    What has to happen for things to be "dire" for you? And we have been seeing for decades now.
    — synthesis

    Dire? There were people who lived through World War I, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, World War II, Smallpox (300 million dead), Korean War, polio epidemics, Vietnam War, Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis and other bull shit. People talk about how tough it was under certain governments, but war just sucks. I can't imagine what it would be like to be a non-combatant with war raging all around you. Our trials today are a cake walk.
    James Riley

    There's "dire" and then there's "world war dire."

    If you look at what's happened to the majority of people in the U.S. over the past 50 years, I would call it dire. If you had three or four kids and your $20./job was outsourced to China and all you could find to replace it was a $10./hour job (as happened to millions of Americans), you would probably think it was dire.

    If you could no longer afford to provide decent health care for you family nor have any chance of sending your kids to college (without incurring life-destroying debt) nor have any retirement savings, you might consider it dire.

    My life is a cake-walk (and maybe yours is too) but there are a lot of people whose lives are quite difficult.
  • James Riley
    765
    f you look at what's happened to the majority of people in the U.S. over the past 50 years, I would call it dire. If you had three or four kids and your $20./job was outsourced to China and all you could find to replace it was a $10./hour job (as happened to millions of Americans), you would probably think it was dire.

    If you could no longer afford to provide decent health care for you family nor have any chance of sending your kids to college (without incurring life-destroying debt) nor have any retirement savings, you might consider it dire.

    My life is a cake-walk (and maybe yours is too) but there are a lot of people whose lives are quite difficult.
    synthesis

    Dire is subjective. Some folks would call all that "first world problems." But yeah, if a subjective feeling of dissatisfaction with what is will drive us to be better, then the fight is on over how best to go about achieving that. I say beat some enlightenment back into self-interest. The top likes to throw out "class warfare" as a boogey man. But that war has been on and they are the instigators. They are just running counter-insurgency ops on half the underclass, and it's been working. So far. They best be careful.
  • praxis
    3.5k
    What do you mean by the elite giving room for wokeness?
    — praxis

    I mean that the elite is totally OK with the "woke" agenda and discourse being on the center stage of the public discourse. That corporations and organizations are keen embrace it and not dismiss it and especially not to be against it is what I had in mind when talking about "giving room". The reason is that the woke agenda doesn't actually threaten the corporations or the power elite.
    ssu

    Not a good idea for corporations and organizations to be against equal justice and the like, unless they're branding to backwater rednecks, so secret meetings of the elite class in their hidden volcano lairs to reach agreement on methods to distract the poor folk is probably unnecessary.

    I get your general meaning though.
  • James Riley
    765
    unless they're branding to backwater rednecks,praxis

    Pillows, anyone?
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    There's no such thing as "more sustainable." There's sustainable, and there's not sustainable.counterpunch

    You are so strict! But "sustainable" is not an all or nothing term. As for wind, back in the '90s the small town of Worthington (pop. 10,000 with two agricultural - industrial plants, one an alfalfa dryer and pelletizer) was able to meet its power needs with 6 windmills. The southwestern edge of Minnesota happens to be a prime wind region (flat and windy).

    I agree, wind can't / won't power the world. Solar comes closer (so I have read). Geothermal - yes.

    But @SSU's point is that there has not been, and there is no sufficient / minimally adequate policy planning for future energy production. If there were, we would see radically different government, industry, and consumer behavior. Once one acknowledges the severity of our situation, one can see the world's elites (economic, political, social, etc.) busy doing pretty much nothing.

    Go Geo!
  • counterpunch
    1.1k
    You are so strict! But "sustainable" is not an all or nothing term.Bitter Crank

    Wind will keep the lights on, maybe - but cannot produce enough energy to extract carbon, produce hydrogen fuel, desalinate water to irrigate land, and recycle. We cannot have a truly sustainable future without those technologies, and cannot power them without magma energy.

    A small town becoming energy independent is no bad thing of itself, but it's like me at home, washing out my yoghurt pots for recycling, when elsewhere, lorryloads of trash are being dumped in the ocean. We have the wrong approach. There is no way that a million "more sustainable" but in themselves insufficient measures will ever add up to sustainability. Instead, those million measures will make us poor, and unable to tackle the big picture issues.

    Carbon pollution is an externality of capitalist economics - and should be tackled as such; internalised by application of magma energy and carbon sequestration technologies; rather than internalised to the economy.

    Go Geo!Bitter Crank

    Thanks for the support, but do you see it? Do you see a world in which sustainability is a one, and not a zero. Not "more one"... but one by design; and achieved by intelligently directing the heat energy of mother earth to sustain life upon its surface. There's something spiritual about that... that completely passes me by because its the consequence of a scientific worldview!
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    I was discussing this with a friend over lunch. He asked, "What does anyone mean by "sustainable"? Does it mean 8 billion (and more) people living like Europeans, North Americans, and the Chinese middle class? Does it mean 3 billion electric cars powered by geothermal generation? Is 'sustainable" the same as "survivable" or something better?

    Even with all the electricity the world can use, are 8, 10, or 12 billion or more of us sustainable? Is a non-polluting supply of electricity a magic solution to all of the problems of feeding, housing, clothing, educating, and caring for us, our built and natural environment, the natural systems that provide vital services to us? With all the electricity we could want, does it matter if the rain forests are cut down to grow food?

    These are rhetorical issue for me, personally. I won't be around to see whatever denouement develops (unless it happens in the next few years). For the younger and or future populations, the answers to these questions are critical.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    but do you see it?counterpunch

    I can imagine it; I do not see any significant moves in the direction of geothermal electrical generation. That isn't your fault, of course.
  • counterpunch
    1.1k
    Were we to accept a scientific understanding of reality and act accordingly, we would harness the heat energy of the earth to address the climate crisis positively, from the supply side, and in my view that's the correct approach. With four technologies we could set global civilisation on a sustainable footing. It's a crystal clear rationale that would be to everyone's good to harness magma energy to produce electricity to sequester carbon, desalinate and irrigate and recycle. I have suggested it would be possible to restrict use of that energy initially, and that it would cushion a longer term transition.

    With regard to the forests, I would argue that the ability to desalinate and irrigate would allow cultivation of land previously uninhabitable, land that would suffer less environmental damage - and indeed, benefit from cultivation. We need magma energy to resist desertification through agriculture fed by desalinated water, so that natural water sources and ecological treasures can be conserved.

    With all the electricity we could want, does it matter if the rain forests are cut down to grow food?Bitter Crank

    I think it might be more economically rational and environmentally beneficial to develop wasteland with magma energy and desalinated sea water, to grow crops in future. Hydroponics, aquaponics, there are many possibilities other than burning and clearing forests; which FYI - becomes marginal land after only 3 years fertility. The ability to irrigate land would create value in the land and allow for the cultivation of existing clearances - rather than moving on, burning forest and leaving dustbowl behind. Stay.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    There is a downside to desalinization -- even on a fairly small scale: The product of desalinization is very strong brine, which dumped back into the ocean can cause high salinity problems for sea animals, Massive desalinization would produce huge amounts of brine which would have to be pumped away from the shallower coastal waters, and diluted before it was released. This can be done, of course, but I cite it because it is an additional cost, and reckless operators (humans) might well decide that it was just too much trouble.

    Have you thought about just how much water one would need to irrigate the border region between the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and the wetter regions of sub-Saharan Africa (to stabilize and roll back some desertification)? Hearing Carl Sagan intoning "Billions and billions of gallons".

    The thing about the Amazon forest ... Even IF (very big IF) one could replace the surface area of the Amazon forest with forest some place else, there would still be the huge species loss (already in progress, as a result of steady on-going slash and burn practices).

    "Sustainable" must include the environments and habitats on which other species depend. The world isn't ours alone.
  • Janus
    10.1k
    Thanks for the support, but do you see it? Do you see a world in which sustainability is a one, and not a zero. Not "more one"... but one by design; and achieved by intelligently directing the heat energy of mother earth to sustain life upon its surface. There's something spiritual about that... that completely passes me by because its the consequence of a scientific worldview!counterpunch

    Geothermal power, to be viable, will rely on storage and transportation of energy on an unprecedented scale. You say hydrogen can meet that need; you might be right, but it is as yet unproven, and so remains in the realm of faith or hope. Also if hydrogen proves viable. then a combination of wind, solar, geothermal and perhaps other technologies (wave power, for one example) can be envisaged.

    On the other hand, I also agree with @Bitter Crank when he suggests that global warming is only one of a suite of difficult to solve problems; perhaps the greatest being that industrial farming methods are destroying soils, habitats, extinguishing species, draining the aquifers, and polluting the streams, rivers and oceans. The fisheries are polluted with micro-plastics, and by aquatic fish-farming, and are also way over-fished. Countless millions of people have no access to safe water, are under-nourished or downright starving and have nowhere to live.
  • counterpunch
    1.1k
    The thing about the Amazon forest ... Even IF (very big IF) one could replace the surface area of the Amazon forest with forest some place else, there would still be the huge species loss (already in progress, as a result of steady on-going slash and burn practices).Bitter Crank

    How did you get the idea I intend to move the Amazon rainforest? I said - that if we have the energy to produce water, we can farm land other than forests. Just in general terms, it would be possible to irrigate, fertilise, cultivate and improve land already cleared, rather than burning forest, and moving on every three years.

    Read this:
    https://www.retailsoygroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Letter-from-Business-on-Amazon_2021.pdf

    This is what few people understand. The soil of the Amazon is actually very poor. All the nutrients are in the forest canopy. After burning the forest, the land is fertilized with potash, and produces crops for two or three years, then farmers have to move on. It's that which is driving continued deforestation. With the energy to produce fresh water, and water to irrigate, land could be improved and burning reduced.

    Have you thought about just how much water one would need to irrigate the border region between the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and the wetter regions of sub-Saharan Africa (to stabilize and roll back some desertification)? Hearing Carl Sagan intoning "Billions and billions of gallons".Bitter Crank

    Not me personally, but it's been considered:

    "Mackenzie believed this vast region was up to 61 metres (200 ft) below sea level and that flooding it would create an inland sea of 155,400 square kilometres (60,000 sq mi) suited to commercial navigation and even agriculture."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara_Sea
  • ssu
    4k
    Deep down the elites don't give a rat's ass about liberation, identity, fairness, equality, and so forth among the masses.Bitter Crank
    That's exactly so.

    Yet they do give far more than a rat's ass if their wealth and power would be challenged. And hence when the focus is on tiny minorities like the transsexuals, it's perfect! Who wouldn't be against racism? That's easy. But to address the income inequality, that's different.
  • counterpunch
    1.1k
    Geothermal power, to be viable, will rely on storage and transportation of energy on an unprecedented scale. You say hydrogen can meet that need; you might be right, but it is as yet unproven, and so remains in the realm of faith or hope.Janus

    You're right that geothermal would require storing and transporting energy. The scale is not unprecedented when you consider all the tanker ships moving coal, oil and gas around the world. Hydrogen is not unproven.

    Also if hydrogen proves viable. then a combination of wind, solar, geothermal and perhaps other technologies (wave power, for one example) can be envisaged.Janus

    Hydrogen is viable. Hydrogen is already produced and used for these purposes. Geothermal energy, developed in the particular way, and on the scale I suggest, is unprecedented. But converting heat to electricity, and electricity into hydrogen is a well known process, and with precautions, hydrogen is safe and easy to transport. It can be piped as a gas, or liquified, contains 2.5 times the energy value of petroleum. That being so, I don't see the need for wind and solar. The ability to produce and deliver clean energy as conveniently, and on the same scale as fossil fuel energy, will make wind and solar redundant.
  • ssu
    4k
    But SSU's point is that there has not been, and there is no sufficient / minimally adequate policy planning for future energy production. If there were, we would see radically different government, industry, and consumer behavior. Once one acknowledges the severity of our situation, one can see the world's elites (economic, political, social, etc.) busy doing pretty much nothing.Bitter Crank
    The libertarian might be perhaps happy about this. Let's take the example of how suddenly US became again a major producer of oil.

    Was the shale oil & horizontal drilling revolution truly a part of US energy policy?

    Was this increase something that happened because of the government?

    main.svg

    I think not. It happened from industry itself. And this is where the market-oriented person would be happy, because the US industry can create things new things without any (or very late) government involvement. And basically US production has only replaced falling production in other places. Yet we shouldn't be content with this as

    Let's look at US electricity production and how it has developed:

    440px-USA_electricity_production.svg.png

    Then compare it with Chinese electricity production:

    Electricity_Production_in_China.png

    The US electricity production has leveled and the real change has been the transformation from coal to natural gas, wind and solar. Yet the Chinese production has rapidly grown. Such growth does need a real government policy, it won't happen just with market forces. The current problems with blackouts doesn't show that the electricity production is just fine and especially when we assume how much electricity demand will increase in the future.
  • ssu
    4k
    I don't believe wind and solar will ever be sufficient to meet our needs; and it's only a policy of diversification of energy sources since 1973, that's allowed wind and solar to even be considered worth building. Wind can take the edge off carbon emissions, produce some energy, but it's inefficient, insufficient to our current needs; and all thought of sequestering atmospheric carbon, desalinating water to irrigate land, hydrogen fuel and total recycling - is out of the question without sufficient clean energy to power them.counterpunch
    The basic fact is that if technological advancement will, as it has in history done, solve the problems of today, that won't happen in a World with less energy production. And that doesn't have to come from fossil fuels, but it has to come from somewhere.

    How many, and for how long, have we needed "Manhattan Projects" to do this?

    4f49ec6220a345541d74df6ee1bc87a8
  • gikehef947
    20

    Dale Carnegie wrote a book to make friends. It is a manual of "tactical sociability", of manipulation, which is what you seem to regard as a virtue.
    Poets, visual artists and musicians agreed that love and friendship is a thing of youth. Shakespeare did not write "Romeo and Juliet at 80's". Praxiteles did not sculpt old women. Chuck Berry didn't write "Sweet Little Eighty." Aristotle believed that the old men in government were a problem. Their reason is no a entelechy. Greeks and Romans considered that the truth was in the opinion of the drunkards, the madmen... and the children. Nietzsche exalts the condition of the child in front of the lion, the camel and the dragon. Every old man has a big hump of prejudices and spits fire...
    Love, friendship and brotherhood are found in youth. If you did not love, have no friends, or experience the feeling of human brotherhood then, you never will. It will be just an old sociopath, someone who will promptly salute others for "tactical sociability."
    Humanity will improve the day a virus kills everyone who turns 50. Until then, an amendment could greatly improve the country's government.
  • counterpunch
    1.1k
    The basic fact is that if technological advancement will, as it has in history done, solve the problems of today, that won't happen in a World with less energy production. And that doesn't have to come from fossil fuels, but it has to come from somewhere. How many, and for how long, have we needed "Manhattan Projects" to do this?ssu

    I agree. We need more energy - not less. But magma is the only sufficiently large, concentrated source of clean energy available. Consider, that it would take a square of solar panels, covering 225,000 sq miles, to meet current global energy demand. They last 25 years. Before construction was complete, you'd need to replace the first ones you'd installed - and they are very difficult to recycle.

    If my estimations are anywhere near accurate, magma could meet global energy demand in 15 years, and double or triple capacity thereafter, to sequester carbon, desalinate, irrigate, recycle. In order to "mitigate and adapt" to the climate crisis successfully, such a quantity, and quality of energy is necessary. We need lots of high grade clean energy, and magma energy is there.

    Wary as one may be of the hyperloop salesman - selling white elephants for blank cheques, in face of the projected costs of ignoring climate change, this might be the exception that proves the rule. I certainly think it's worth looking at, and apparently, so does this guy from NZ.

    The search widens for hot rocks that provide power
    By David Silverberg

    "Drilling holes into an extinct volcano might sound like an unusual start to an energy project. But that's what J Michael Palin, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand, is planning to do. His project involves drilling two boreholes to a depth of 500m (1,600ft) and monitoring the rock to see if it is suitable to provide geothermal energy."

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55885086

    Tentative start, but it's a step in the right direction, IMO.
  • synthesis
    915
    Humanity will improve the day a virus kills everyone who turns 50. Until then, an amendment could greatly improve the country's government.gikehef947

    Back in the 60's, we thought everybody over 30 was worthless. At least you have extended it to 50.

    When you do turn 50, get back to me and let's see if your ideas have changed a bit.

    And isn't against your generation's code of honor to be age-ist?
  • gikehef947
    20

    I am sixty-three years old and I know what old men are capable of. I am one of them. We must give way to the new generations.
  • synthesis
    915
    I am sixty-three years old and I know what old men are capable of. I am one of them. We must give way to the new generations.gikehef947

    Well, I am 66 and plan on working for 20 more years if I am able. I am in excellent health and superb physical condition and do everything I did when I was 30 (only better).

    After accumulating all of this experience and knowledge, why should I step aside when i still have a great deal to offer?

    You know what old men are capable of? What does that mean?
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