• ssu
    4.9k
    I guess @Xtrix is in the camp that endorses the juxtaposition of either we "solve the climate change" or "we think of economics" where "economics" is the filthy "capitalism" of everything bad in the World for him. :smirk:
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    I guess Xtrix is in the camp that endorses the juxtaposition of either we "solve the climate change" or "we think of economics" where "economics" is the filthy "capitalism" of everything bad in the World for him.ssu

    I actually wanted to know why what I said was stupid. I drew my conclusion from how pollution and environmental degradation go hand in hand with what is passed off as economic success.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    1k
    There is no juxtaposition SSU.

    Without further use of fossil fuels there can be no growth economy as we know it.

    With further use of fossil fuels there can be no livable planet.

    You might think that this is merely an ideological (juxta)position, and that there are other options than those two... but that's because you haven't looked into the specifics of those 'alternatives'. There are no alternatives that work because fossil fuels were a one-time, easy to use energy-dense source of energy.

    Now if there indeed needs to be made a choice between those two, then the choice should be pretty clear, because without a livable planet you can have no economy.

    The whole discussion is moot anyway because fossil fuels (and other resources too) are a limited resource. Even if we would want to keep using them, we can't because we will run out of them soon enough. The economy will have to collapse no matter how you want to look at it.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    1k
    Wake up, the whole idea of economic growth will seem parochial in a couple of decades.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    1k
    1-s2.0-S2214629621003327-gr1.jpg

    Since economic growth tracks energy consumption, it doesn't look to hot for the economy going forward.
  • ssu
    4.9k
    Without further use of fossil fuels there can be no growth economy as we know it.ChatteringMonkey
    Do notice what I said. If alternative energies ARE MORE CHEAPER than fossil fuels, then the transformation will be rapid. And do notice what is happening in the World. Things don't happen in an instant, but they do change in decades.

    There are no alternatives that work because fossil fuels were a one-time, easy to use energy-dense source of energy.ChatteringMonkey
    I disagree. There are alternatives that are totally realistic. Just look at how for instance the price of solar energy has come down. In fact, the situation where non-fossil fuels are cheaper than fossil fuels isn't at all a distant hypothetical anymore. It is starting to be reality.

    g116-cost-solar-dropped-dramatically-EF.png

    Just compare this to then fossil fuels:
    285px-20201019_Levelized_Cost_of_Energy_%28LCOE%2C_Lazard%29_-_renewable_energy.svg.png

    The real hurdle are niche things like aircraft. But here the also there is a lot of investment in hydrogen fueled or electric aircraft. (Hydrogen can be made by electrolysis without causing emissions)

    The real problems happen when don't invest and just ruin our economies. Then there isn't going to be any investment and then we will have to rely on fossil fuels just to keep our present energy consumption. Ruining the global economy will create political instability and at worst widespread war. Not much investment will then go to climate change. And just notice how for example the US energy consumption has leveled off in this millennium. And do note from below how huge the level of fossil fuels are in the US. But in for example France, it's a different matter (as they have opted smartly for nuclear energy).

    main.svg

    So I do disagree in the idea that the global economy cannot grow without fossil fuels. The way things are going now, with little and sporadic investment in technology, with pompous declarations by politically correct politicians (who know people don't remember the promises six months from now), it's going to be a bumpy ride.

    Now things might prevail somehow, but likely that isn't enough for those who are against the how our society works in general. They surely will be as disappointed as now are, even if we do manage along for the next one or two hundred years without any cultural collapse.

    Since economic growth tracks energy consumption, it doesn't look to hot for the economy going forward.ChatteringMonkey

    1-s2.0-S2214629621003327-gr1.jpg
    Hmm, looking at this statistic, comes to my mind a statistic of the consumption of whale oil. The 19th century likely would produce such a graph. Yep, whales were really hunted down to extinction in the 19th Century, but then came an alternate way of producing similar oil.

    The long time question is of course if we need economic growth after we have hit peak human population. More prosperous people have less children, and when the fertility rate is well below 2, do we in the long run need perpetual growth? It's more a like a question for our debt-based monetary system, which needs perpetual growth itself. But otherwise, I don't think so.

    The whole discussion is moot anyway because fossil fuels (and other resources too) are a limited resource. Even if we would want to keep using them, we can't because we will run out of them soon enough. The economy will have to collapse no matter how you want to look at it.ChatteringMonkey
    But just how limited is the question. That's why the economy is far more capable to deal with these changes.

    You see, it's all about the price. Higher the price, more exotic ways to create oil become profitable. With a lower price, those exotic ways are left to the pages of scientific papers in universities and R&D laboratories and never implemented in real life.

    In fact current history of oil production shows this perfectly. Actually "peak conventional oil" happened already years ago (and at the same time when forecasted in the 1970s). But then, what do you know, the US became again a huge producer thanks to technological advances.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    1k
    The long time question is of course if we need economic growth after we have hit peak human population. More prosperous people have less children, and when the fertility rate is well below 2, do we in the long run need perpetual growth? It's more a like a question for our debt-based monetary system, which needs perpetual growth itself. But otherwise, I don't think so.ssu

    I'm going to start here, because I don't know what it is that people just keep believing perpetual growth is even possible in theory. It isn't, resources and energy are finite. If you keep taking a percentage growth of what has previously grown a percentage, you get exponentials and bump against that finitude of resources pretty quick. It's not a serious question, we can't grow perpetually. The only question is how long can we grow before we bump against all sorts of limits?

    Hmm, looking at this statistic, comes to my mind a statistic of the consumption of whale oil. The 19th century likely would produce such a graph. Yep, whales were really hunted down to extinction in the 19th Century, but then came an alternate way of producing similar oil.ssu

    It would be similar except there is no alternative to fossil fuels once used up. You cannot get ease of use, energy density and other byproducts from renewables.

    Do notice what I said. If alternative energies ARE MORE CHEAPER than fossil fuels, then the transformation will be rapid. And do notice what is happening in the World. Things don't happen in an instant, but they do change in decades.ssu

    If they are cheaper than fossil fuels then transformation will be rapid, seem like it would be evidentially true, but I don't think it necessarily is.

    At some point fossil fuels will become so expensive that it costs more energy to extract them than you are getting from the extraction. Let's call that a negative Return On Energy (ROE). If ROE is negative it's not worth is from an energy-point of view to extract them... maybe you'd still do it for other applications like plastics, lubricants etc etc, but not for the energy.

    If alternative energies are only cheaper than fossil fuels when ROE of it becomes negative, than we wouldn't transform rapidly because it wouldn't be worth it, either way.

    I disagree. There are alternatives that are totally realistic. Just look at how for instance the price of solar energy has come down. In fact, the situation where non-fossil fuels are cheaper than fossil fuels isn't at all a distant hypothetical anymore. It is starting to be reality.ssu

    Yeah solar-panels that are produced by a fossil-fueled economy and mass-production process. I'd want to see how that works without fossil-fuels to jump-start the whole process.

    And even if it would be theoretically possible, it surely isn't in practice as we haven't even succeeded to reduce fossils fuels one iota since we started trying to reduce them consciously. Consumption of new energies just get stacked on consumption of previous sources of energy. No way we will succeed in replacing that mountain of fossil fuels with renewables in time:

    global-primary-energy.svg

    The real hurdle are niche things like aircraft. But here the also there is a lot of investment in hydrogen fueled or electric aircraft. (Hydrogen can be made by electrolysis without causing emissions)ssu

    Hydrogen is no source of energy, just a way to store it. It is energy negative to produce and we don't find it on earth. If you want to produce it without emissions then you need to rely on renewables that aren't all that energy-efficient to begin with...

    And let's not forget that aside from the question of cheap energy, oil-byproducts are also used almost everywhere in production-processes. Lubricants, plastics, etc etc... I don't know if you even can have a "production-proces" without oil.

    The real problems happen when don't invest and just ruin our economies. Then there isn't going to be any investment and then we will have to rely on fossil fuels just to keep our present energy consumption. Ruining the global economy will create political instability and at worst widespread war. Not much investment will then go to climate change. And just notice how for example the US energy consumption has leveled off in this millennium. And do note from below how huge the level of fossil fuels are in the US. But in for example France, it's a different matter (as they have opted smartly for nuclear energy).ssu

    The really real problems happen when we run out of cheap energy to keep feeding a growing economy. That may be because of lack of investements, or maybe there just isn't cheap enough energy to be found or invested in anymore to be able to mass-produce a tennisball in china and sell it somewhere in Europe.

    I dunno,I think people just all to easily gloss over the fact that it's not evident (not possible I'd say) to just replace oil and gas, which is solar-energy densely-stored over millennia gushing out of the ground.

    So I do disagree in the idea that the global economy cannot grow without fossil fuels. The way things are going now, with little and sporadic investment in technology, with pompous declarations by politically correct politicians (who know people don't remember the promises six months from now), it's going to be a bumpy ride.

    Now things might prevail somehow, but likely that isn't enough for those who are against the how our society works in general. They surely will be as disappointed as now are, even if we do manage along for the next one or two hundred years without any cultural collapse.
    ssu

    I think aside from the obvious political and moral failings of our societies and leaders, there's also a non-moral, 'fated' side to this tragedy. We were born and raised in the candy-store, never to know anything else, how could we realistically conceive and really feel like it was not to last? Fossil-fuels being such a potent, yet one time source of energy, really threw us a nasty curve-ball there.
  • ssu
    4.9k
    It's not a serious question, we can't grow perpetually. The only question is how long can we grow before we bump against all sorts of limits?ChatteringMonkey
    Market mechanism creates the obvious limits. But if those are disregarded, then simply you will have "official" prices that nobody can get the stuff and then a black market. Perhaps the following remark on what you later note sheds light what I'm trying to say.

    At some point fossil fuels will become so expensive that it costs more energy to extract them then you are getting from the extraction. Let's call that a negative Return On Energy (ROE). If ROE is negative it's not worth is from an energy-point of view to extract them... maybe you'd still do it for other applications like plastics, lubricants etc etc, but not for the energy.ChatteringMonkey
    Glad you take this up. First of all, market mechanism will stop the use far before you get negative ROE. Negative ROE is for research stuff. For example, we are quite capable of making Fusion reactors with very low or negative ROE. Profitability goes negative far before a negative ROE is reached.

    And you are correct that the end product does determine what is used, hence fossil fuels surely will be used for some of the high end stuff now produced from fossil fuels.

    Yeah solar-panels that are produced by a fossil-fueled economy and mass-production process. I'd want to see how that works without fossil-fuels to jump-start the whole process.ChatteringMonkey
    Well, energy policies DO MATTER. The fixation on the US based fossil fuel guzzling economy doesn't tell the truth. Let's compare it with another country.

    Here is the fossil-fuel dominated electricity production in the US:
    440px-USA_electricity_production.svg.png

    As I said, just look how different the electricity production has been in France, which opted for nuclear:
    C1fKcPBC0ILvb4TRmYswfA-H72dSWM1byo7VyhO6yR91rLX667gQNlLqDwyRfOdaFQUHTgr0Sm16WpVsrrCSce4Jt9oHy1IxgtpE59BpIUtA4Ktl6SDCmW2RUA_r1r2NSYFoboeiQrQF

    End result? An actual real difference. Here are the biggest fossil fuel users country by total aggregate use. Do you notice one thing? Yes. The large economy of France is not included:

    9.jpg

    So policies actually matter. But are they truly implemented? That's the real question.

    And even if it would be theoretically possible, it surely isn't in practice as we haven't even succeeded to reduce fossils fuels one iota since we started trying to reduce them consciouslyChatteringMonkey
    Have we really tried? Have we had enormous Manhattan-project like programs on this?
    No. Here is one statistic that shows the effect to be quite puny even on a global scale:

    bnef.jpg?itok=wUCREyVL

    In today's dollars the Manhattan project was about 20 billion dollars (btw the B-29 was more costly). Nothing close to Biden's Reconciliation Bill (or the trillions to pump up the US economy in general) and the amounts that we put into transfer payments and welfare, which is simple spending that doesn't help this issue at all.

    Hydrogen is no source of energy, just a way to store it.ChatteringMonkey
    Yes, but doesn't put carbon into the atmosphere, especially when made by non-fossil fuel energy.

    I don't know if you even can have a "production-proces" without oil.ChatteringMonkey
    Do notice what is important for climate change is the amount of carbon released to the air. Having lubricants or hell, I warming my sauna in the countryside with wood isn't as important as gas engines being the dominant vehicle motor or the coal plants producing energy. It's the aggregates that matter.

    I dunno,I think people just all to easily gloss over the fact that it's not evident (not possible I'd say) to just replace oil and gas, which is solar-energy densely-stored over millennia gushing out of the ground.ChatteringMonkey
    You are totally correct and I agree with you. It isn't at all simple. And likely there isn't the actual political will.

    The worst thing is that people won't understand it when or as the climate change is happening. Because the real outcome of draughts, famines, economic crises is political crises and wars. And those have a different narrative: it was this and that politician, it was these factions that started the conflict. Nowhere do you see an link to some political conflict to truly happened because of climate change. Now every smart facet will understand this (like the US Armed Forces), but it simply won't go down to the level of political narrative on how we explain political developments.

    In the end, people will take the weather as "Gods will", if the link isn't as obvious as the London smog was to how houses were heated back then. This is the real problem.

    We were born and raised in the candy-store, never to know anything else, how could we realistically conceive and really feel like it was not to last. Fossil-fuels being such a potent, yet one time source of energy, really threw us a nasty curve-ball there.ChatteringMonkey
    I still am an optimist and think that we can prevail. We are still standing on the "shoulders of giants" and all that gathered knowledge that science has given us is available for us. The economy hasn't collapsed as it did during antiquity and we haven't gone full backward that we would be going back to the "dark ages part 2". I'm not sure that it will happen. I think it's going to be just a bumpy road. After all, we are living during a global pandemic right now, @ChatteringMonkey. :mask:

    And still, I cannot say that my grandparents or especially their parents lived a far more affluent and easier life than me. For me as a young second grader, I remember the first time I walked into an American Supermarket, a Safeway in Seattle in the early 1980's. I just laughed with my father at how much stuff there was. How many entire rows of cereals. It was something I'd never seen in Finland and no, Finland was not part of the eastern bloc back then. But it was ruled by euro social-democrat type semi-controlled economy and such "gluttony" of the US standard basically landed in the country in the 1990's. Now it's quite similar to the US. Ah, the hated capitalism!

    And many countries around the World are starting to be like Seattle of the 1980's. So yet we haven't seen this slide downward. Not yet, at least.

    A Supermarket in Kenya. Things are changing...
    328d7395f44a1ceeed26d6c5a84a27dc.jpeg
  • ChatteringMonkey
    1k
    Market mechanism creates the obvious limits. But if those are disregarded, then simply you will have "official" prices that nobody can get the stuff and then a black market. Perhaps the following remark on what you later note sheds light what I'm trying to say.ssu

    I think I do get what you are trying to say, oil prices will rise, renewables will get cheaper... and so in the end the idea is that market will sort it out by pricing out fossil fuels in favour of renewables.

    I just don't think you will end up with anything like the same kind of economy because they are not that interchangeable as one might think, i.e. one energy for another type of energy. Renewables are more expensive to begin with, not as reliable (which means you need storage which makes it even more expensive), you need a far more expanded electric net if you want to switch to electricity, you don't have the same usefull byproducts as oil etc etc..

    It not just one thing that needs to be resolved, the entire system is geared around fossil fuels, as I believe are our ideas about economic growth, capitalism and globalization too. Energy out of fossil fuels is I think not just another resource the market can sort, it's the basis on which the entire industrial system was build.

    Well, energy policies DO MATTER. The fixation on the US based fossil fuel guzzling economy doesn't tell the truth. Let's compare it with another country.ssu

    End result? An actual real difference.ssu

    A smaller difference then one might think. The graphs only show electricity production, which is only what, generally about 20% of all energy-usage? Non-electricity energy usage is still predominately fossil fuels in both countries.

    Have we really tried?ssu

    Sure, not that hard probably, but that's part of the problem no? We can't really make abstraction of our social and political systems, as if they don't exist or will magically change.

    You are totally correct and I agree with you. It isn't at all simple. And likely there isn't the actual political will.

    The worst thing is that people won't understand it when or as the climate change is happening. Because the real outcome of draughts, famines, economic crises is political crises and wars. And those have a different narrative: it was this and that politician, it was these factions that started the conflict. Nowhere do you see an link to some political conflict to truly happened because of climate change. Now every smart facet will understand this (like the US Armed Forces), but it simply won't go down to the level of political narrative on how we explain political developments.

    In the end, people will take the weather as "Gods will", if the link isn't as obvious as the London smog was to how houses were heated back then. This is the real problem.
    ssu

    There isn't political will because nobody wants to hear that we have to de-grow, that they probably will have to do with less. No political party can push that program and get elected, which is kind of interesting in its own right... the fact that we apparently have a political system that just can't have de-growth as an end.

    I still am an optimist and think that we can prevail. We are still standing on the "shoulders of giants" and all that gathered knowledge that science has given us is available for us. The economy hasn't collapsed as it did during antiquity and we haven't gone full backward that we would be going back to the "dark ages part 2". I'm not sure that it will happen. I think it's going to be just a bumpy road. After all, we are living during a global pandemic right now, ChatteringMonkey. :mask:ssu

    Maybe... I suppose these things always have to end on a note of hope. Knowledge and technology is the biggest unknown certainly, I wonder how much of it a difference it makes on it's own when you take away the energy.
  • Xtrix
    2.9k


    Yes, keep enabling denialism. You’re doing great work.

    Now if there indeed needs to be made a choice between those two, then the choice should be pretty clear, because without a livable planet you can have no economy.ChatteringMonkey

    But think about all the money we’ll lose in the short term.

    The “choice” is a ridiculous one. First, it’s no where close to true. Second, even if it were, is “economic collapse” worse than literal annihilation?

    The issues people find puzzling…it’s incredible.
  • ssu
    4.9k
    Yes, keep enabling denialism. You’re doing great work.Xtrix
    Yeah, having a debate about the actual issues is enabling denialism.

    Doom is nigh and we have to repent our sins!!! (?)
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    Business as usual, eh?
  • Xtrix
    2.9k


    Strange that you go around resurrecting all my old threads. But thanks!
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    When something pops into my head, I look for a relevant thread, when I find one, I post. No point to duplicating threads imho. Maybe we have similar interests if your threads are the ones I resurrect.
  • frank
    9.6k
    Why China's response to AGW is the most important.

    China produces a quarter of the greenhouse gases that are affecting the climate. China is also ascending among global powers. For those two reasons alone China's approach to global warming is a great importance.

    But there's another reason that China's approach is possibly the most important. We often think of global warming as a problem that we own, as if it's something that we need to fix, and of course we contribute significantly. But but we are only part of a much bigger picture. Ahead of us is a two to three hundred year window during which time the species will make a choice about what to do with the remaining fossil fuel that's available to us, particularly in the form of coal, but also in the form of frackable natural gas and oil. Because this is a problem that will continue to exist for the next few generations, China's approach is significant because of the way that it contrasts with the Western approach which is neoliberal.

    This contrast will provide future generations with empirical data about which approach works best; central planning or free markets.
  • Xtrix
    2.9k
    China's approach is significant because of the way that it contrasts with the Western approach which is neoliberal.

    This contrast will provide future generations with empirical data about which approach works best; central planning or free markets.
    frank

    Neoliberalism is hardly the same as free markets — which don’t exist, anywhere.

    I have no doubt China will handle this better than the US, which is a failed state.
  • frank
    9.6k


    It occurred to me a few minutes after I wrote that why it's wrong:

    Castle%20Bravo.jpg
  • Xtrix
    2.9k


    Why what’s wrong?

    The implication being that China doing more in fighting climate change will result in a nuclear war?
  • frank
    9.6k


    Economic outlooks aren't arrived at via empiricism. It always comes from deeper psychological issues and the winners of wars write the economic textbooks.

    I think there will be war eventually between the United States and China.

    And please spare me whatever insulting bullshit you had planned to say. I'm not interested.
  • Xtrix
    2.9k
    I think there will be war eventually between the United States and China.frank

    Nuclear war?

    Nevermind.
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