• counterpunch
    1.6k
    "Ever since Theresa May's government pushed through legislation committing the UK to be net zero by 2050, questions have been asked about the monumental cost likely to be involved, something few politicians are as eager to discuss as the targets themselves.

    On Tuesday, though, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility had a go at answering that question. The answer is pretty sobering. The cost of the transition to government, as the OBR points out, depends on which of the costs involved the state choses to take on.

    The OBR assumes the government will pick up about a quarter of the cost to the economy - and puts this cost at around £350bn over 30 years.

    The implication is that the total cost of the transition will be £1.4trn - three-quarters of which will be borne by households and businesses rather than the government itself, for example, meeting the cost of replacing existing household gas boilers with costly zero carbon alternatives such as solar powered electric heating, ground source heat pumps or electric boilers."

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/the-obr-has-put-a-price-on-the-government-s-net-zero-ambitions-and-it-will-make-you-shiver/ar-AALQbzH?ocid=msedgntp

    From my perspective, this is entirely the wrong approach. Looking at the problem in scientific and technological terms first, for half that price, I think it would be possible produce limitless clean energy from magma, convert it to hydrogen, and ship it all around the world to be burnt in traditional power stations, and distributed at petrol stations, to power hydrogen internal combustion engine, and hydrogen fuel cell driven vehicles!

    Attacking this as the global problem that is it, and from the supply side, it is scientifically and technologically possible that we could meet and exceed global energy demand, from clean magma energy for half the price the UK alone plans to spend getting to net zero by 2050, and we wouldn't need to stomp on businesses, tax payers and consumers for decades to come to do it, because the cost of applying the technology would be shared many ways.

    I cannot but point out the opportunity forgone by, quite understandably, addressing this problem within the bounds, and via the mechanisms available, but the cost is such, and the threat is such that it would be remiss not point out that the energy available is potentially so massive that we could transcend the limits to resources equation forcing us into a bottleneck, if we could look beyond our ideologically described selves but for a moment, and apply this one key technology, it would save us a fortune!
  • RoadWarrior9
    12
    As I said, science is a tool. It's neither bad not good. — Frank
    Nuh. Knowing stuff is good. Science is about knowing stuff. — Banno

    To the op, I know you believe science/knowledge can be assinged an attribute of good or bad but I guess we are going to just have to dissagree on this as I have not seen any argument that would force me to believe otherwise. It may be out there but I have not seen it.
    ------------------------------------------

    Science, like intelligence, is just a tool used to gather knowledge. If you imagine a set of all knowledge, there is a subset that can be defined as all knowledge known by humans. Science is one of the tools used to increase the size of the set of human knowledge.

    I don't think knowledge can be assigned a moral attribute. With respect to knowledge, assigning the attribute of good or bad can only be used for the application of knowledge, which I define as wisdom. Like this quote in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade “He chose... poorly”. He chose (application of knowledge)… poorly (unwisely). The knowledge wasn’t bad or good but the application was subjectively defined as bad.

    To those who believe that science/knowledge can't be assigned moral attributes then perhaps another way to ask the question would be: Can humanity handle (used in a way subjectively defined as good) the application of knowledge acquired by science?

    Here is a thought experiment which I call "the black box of doom(BBD)": Imaging a group of people that are adult members in good standing in their civilization. For each of those people simultaneously put a black box in their hand with a red button on it. Tell them that If you press the button the entire universe would be destroyed. Estimate how long it would take before the universe was destroyed if at all.

    I am guessing that there is a 50% chance that someone would press the button in less than one second. Does this mean that knowledge of the black box of doom is bad? No. Does this mean that the science that discovered the technology for the black box of doom is bad? No. Does this mean that humans are not mature enough to use this knowledge? Yes.

    To your original post: I believe science/knowledge has had a tremendous impact and benefit for humanity as a whole UP TO NOW. There may be a time in the future where we may want to avoid technology classified as BBD technology until we evolve to the point where we can handle the application of this type of technology. You could define this as bad if you are referring to how humanity would use it.
  • counterpunch
    1.6k
    Science, like intelligence, is just a tool used to gather knowledge.RoadWarrior9

    To maintain science is just a tool is very wrong. It's so much more than that; and that in essence is the whole argument, because there's a functionality to a scientifically valid understanding of the world that we could harness to our benefit - if we could just look beyond our ideological identities and interests.

    There's a relation between the validity of the knowledge bases of our actions, causality, and the consequences. It's apparent in everyday life that knowing what's true, and then doing what's right is necessary to the success of our actions.

    If we recognised that in principle, a scientific understanding of reality should regulate the application of technology, and applied the right technologies for the right reasons - we could overcome climate change and secure a prosperous sustainable future, by harnessing limitless clean energy from the molten interior of the earth, to produce massive base load electrical power, used to produce hydrogen fuel, capture carbon, desalinate and irrigate and recycle - and so secure a prosperous sustainable future, and live well long term.

    Does this mean that humans are not mature enough to use this knowledge? Yes.RoadWarrior9

    That's not the problem. The problem is that our ideological conceptions of ourselves, and each other; our religious, national, political and socio-economic identities and purposes - exclude a scientific conception of reality. I do not expect that to change; however, recognising in principle, that the application of technology should be regulated with regard to a scientific understanding of reality, could justify application of the one key technology we need to have any chance at all of a decent future - that is, limitless clean energy from magma.

    So rather than a black box of doom we see that, if science is not just a tool, but is recognised an important understanding of reality, there is hope, and I would push that button instead.
  • Banno
    14.2k
    Meh; if you think being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable, then I'll not argue with you.

    There would be no point.
  • RoadWarrior9
    12
    if you think being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable, then I'll not argue with you. — Banno

    I never said being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable. It appears you are making an assumption to avoid the work of a logical reply, which is reasonable as there is too much info even in just this one thread to keep up with. But rather than posting remarks like that you might try either not posting if it is too much effort or making an effort and contributing to your discussion.
  • Banno
    14.2k
    But I did present a reply. You said:
    I don't think knowledge can be assigned a moral attribute.RoadWarrior9
    Which I showed is false by assigning a moral value to science; by doing exactly what you said could not be done.

    I don't see a point to your thought experiment since it simply expresses your guess.

    You seem to think that despite science/knowledge having had a tremendous impact and benefit for humanity as a whole, that we don't need it to fix our present and future situation. That just looks confused.
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