Total War on Climate Change


Content Warning: Apocalyptic Environmental Problems. Really think twice before reading.

Do we give a shit about the world or not? About the human species or any others? About our own lives? Do we want to live in a disgusting hellpit – assuming we’re capable of living at all, when this is done? The latest IPCC report on climate change is a real motherfucker. Forty years until all the coral reefs die, even if we start doing things right this instant. That’s just one aspect of it.

The worst part is that we don’t know what effects that level of environmental devastation will have. Everything is interlinked in ecology. The coral reefs alone dying out (surely there will be more direct damage besides that) could have a knock-on effect that kills almost all non-bacterial life in the ocean. That could happen.

And some of that life helps regulate global temperatures – photosynthetic algae and the like. So what if that stuff dies off and the rate of greenhouse gas build runs away, beyond expectation? We could already be a dead species walking. That’s right. Even if we dropped everything right now and waged total war on climate change? It could already be too late. We could all fucking die over this.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the captains of industry and gold digging political bros for fucking our species to death for money. One love, baby. Capitalism is the only economic system that works with human nature. Human nature is to extinct itself like locusts gone wild, so, like, top marks my dudes.

What I’m here to say is this: We need to declare total war on climate change. In WWII we restructured our economy with fervor to meet the challenge of that time. Well the challenge now is, arguably, a lot more dire. Making “carbon markets” and all that kinda crap? Insufficient funds, man. It’s time to go all out. Now.

It might be too late, but at least if you get on board with this, you can say you died fighting. Any of you captains of industry and pet politicians not on board? You’re pissing on your own graves, fiddling while Rome burns. See how far that gets you.


Comments

  1. lanir says

    I think part of the problem is that the decisions are being made by elderly people who don’t have to deal with it. These people are already selfish, it’s how you make tons of money to begin with. You literally can’t make a mint without shorting someone else at least to some degree on the profit from their efforts. So these people who are remarkable for having been successful at being selfish, they’re going to turn around and make sacrifices to save the world?

    Yeah, right. That’s not happening. Not unless they figure out a way to make even more money out of it. Or in other words, they’ll hold the continued existence of the planet as we currently know it hostage until we give up even more to make them even richer. Watch for this sort of self-serving BS to pop up in the next decade or so as these predictions start to show up in ways even willfully ignorant fools have a hard time ignoring.

    The only real solution will be to force them into it. Or wait until it’s too late and things are visibly falling apart around us all and the crop of selfish old assholes we have at the time has to take measures to try to save themselves. But that’s as likely to be hidden bunkers as anything actually useful.

  2. says

    It’s such a crude piece of psychology but so effective. They tied climate change denialism to conservative identity, so that no one who wants to be a conservative or be seen as a conservative can dare respond to these burgeoning disasters with honesty or decency.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal says

      And they also tied the progressive identity to opposition to the only practical technology to fix the problem, nuclear. It’s a neat trick that the fossil fuel lobby did.

      See:

      Famous climate scientist James Hansen:

      Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

      4 prominent climate scientists, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel, James Hansen, Tom Wigley,
      https://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/index.html

      75 prominent climate scientists with another open letter:
      https://bravenewclimate.com/2014/12/15/an-open-letter-to-environmentalists-on-nuclear-energy/

      And more, including a survey of the broader group of climate scientists, and 65% favor building nuclear:

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2017/08/03/the-real-climate-consensus-nuclear-power/
      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-entine/post_10952_b_9111688.html

      There is no consensus among actual scientists that renewables can do it without nuclear, and there is a preponderance of climate scientists whop believe that we should be doing nuclear. There’s just a few people, liars, probably paid shills by fossil fuels, like Mark Jacobson, who say otherwise.

  3. says

    I’m undecided on the nuclear. Reportedly renewables are doing great in Europe, but I don’t know who to believe on that. And just bc we’ve done a godawful job of managing nuclear waste doesn’t mean that this must always and forever be the case. I’ve seen very reasonable-seeming takes from both sides.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal says

      To Great American Satan
      That is a fine position to hold. I’ll still have to stick to my position fiercely because I believe that I have good strong reasons that it is true, but I cannot fault someone for saying “I do not know”.

  4. Martin Zeichner says

    My two cents:

    I agree about climate change. We did something about chlorofluorocarbons in spray cans and elsewhere damaging the ozone layer and causing cancers. We should be able to do something about anthropogenic climate change.

    I’m not sure that it is any one group of people that is to blame. We are all selfish. We have to be selfish. We evolved to be selfish for some very good reasons. Selfish organisms survive while non-selfish organisms don’t. I’m not saying that selfishness is necessarily a good thing. It just is. ‘…there is nothing that is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.’ We should want to do something about climate change out of our own selfishness.

    Everybody’s goals are to live well and do well by their families and friends. When one group demonizes the other by claiming that the the ‘other’ has an ulterior motive, it is xenophobia writ large.

    Nobody is Ebeneezer Scrooge either before or after the ghosts’ visit. Most people are able to find a balance between one and the other.

    It’s not a question of old people versus young people, or experienced business people versus non-experienced business people or religious people versus non-religious people. If it were, the actual solution would be easy. Life is more complex than that. We are torn between the necessity of judging each argument by it’s own merits and the expediency of jumping to conclusions based on generalizations. If you want to put it in logical terms, Inductive reasoning, versus deductive reasoning.

  5. kenfabian says

    I suspect wealth is seen as the ultimate protection against all external threats including climate consequences – although I suspect it is well functioning societies, with good governance (that treats such great threats – to accumulated wealth as well as the livelihoods of the poor seriously) that matters most.

    I have to agree that it is an emergency of a scale that exceeds past world wars – the greatest ever threat to enduring prosperity and security we are likely to face – but it won’t get fixed if the urge to avoid responsibility is pandered to. That we all bear some responsibility has been used and abused by the institutional shareholders (who bear the lion’s share) by redirecting that all too human urge to avoid it into granting them blanket immunity. Alarmist economic fear has been a powerful weapon against reasoned actions as has the framing of the issue as driven by unreasoning extremist politics so that every element, from the consistent science based expert advice to the choice of policies and technologies, is portrayed as the fault of “green” and “left” extremist political ideologues. Even the early support for wind and solar looked like a combination of appeasing community concerns (expressed most strongly by environmentalists) with reinforcing that framing as fringe and environmental by offering what environmentalists were asking for whilst complaining bitterly about it – I suspect with a significant “give ’em enough rope” under-text; wind and solar would quickly prove to unable to deliver any useful amounts of energy – and the backlash would kill the whole issue and take down Environmentalism and climate science with it.

    As for nuclear – I have my reservations and doubts but like a lot of people who are presumed to be fiercely anti-nuclear, I have no fundamental objection; but I think it’s capability as a superior, cost effective global solution is greatly exaggerated. As is the extent of unreasoning opposition within the climate “movement” – lots of people support it, just not a majority. That movement is tinged green and leans left and anti-nuclear – not because the issues are intrinsically green and left and anti-nuclear but because those who lean right have refused to participate in any constructive manner. And obstructionists benefit by having climate activism perceived as extremist so they seek to reinforce perceptions that taking the issue seriously will turn conservatives into anti-nuclear socialists – not because it will but because it won’t.

    As long as the largest body of potential support for nuclear is locked away behind a conservative right Wall of Denial it will be impotent and nuclear will remain little more than a rhetorical blunt instrument for whacking at environmentalists. Should that Wall of Denial ever break down and the conservative right choose to take the issue seriously and break out the climate movement will not look so green or anti-nuclear. But on the other hand, when climate is taken seriously then assumptions about nuclear as a magic bullet get closer scrutiny – the World Nuclear Association says it could do 25% of global electricity by 2050 with strong climate policies including serious carbon pricing, but wind and solar will do that by 2030 without it. The most important policy needed for nuclear? Strong carbon pricing. Who are the fiercest opponents of strong policies carbon pricing? It sure isn’t the climate movement, even with it’s high representation of green lefties.

    The zero emissions end game may yet involve large use of nuclear but those accompanying assumptions to nuclear being best-and-only is that solar and wind (and storage and demand response and efficiency) are doomed to fail – which seems reminiscent of something we’ve heard before about solar and wind, that turned out wrong. If renewables do face intractable limits I suggest we will see that coming and have opportunity to change course. Nuclear however, requires we plan ahead, intervene in “free” markets strongly, invest heavily and commit to not changing course.

  6. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    the World Nuclear Association says it could do 25% of global electricity by 2050 with strong climate policies including serious carbon pricing, […]

    Cite please.

    Also, even if they said that, it seems like a rather cowardly estimate of a reasonable case if the whole world went into building nuclear. Remember that France converted half their electricity supply to nuclear in about 15 years, and they were not in the same hurry that we should be in now.

    […] but wind and solar will do that by 2030 without it.

    Maybe. However, each additional percent penetration of solar and wind is harder because of their particular intermittent qualities. Reaching 25% shouldn’t be the goal. Reaching near 100% for electricity generation needs to be the goal. And not the final goal, but merely a stepping-stone goal; a necessary but not sufficient intermediary goal. Reaching 25% solar and wind worldwide is plausible. Reaching near 100% is not.

    As long as the largest body of potential support for nuclear is locked away behind a conservative right Wall of Denial it will be impotent and nuclear will remain little more than a rhetorical blunt instrument for whacking at environmentalists.

    Why can’t the left environmentalists become pro nuclear? Nuclear produces very little greenhouse gas emissions – comparable to any renewable. However, there are a lot of other reasons to be pro-nuclear, including: Nuclear is the safest form of electricity production by far in terms of human health impact. It’s also the cleanest form of electricity production by far in terms of impact on the broader environment and biosphere. It also greatly reduces the need for resource wars i.e. wars for oil because there’s more than enough uranium and thorium to go around, and most countries have plenty of it.

    The most important policy needed for nuclear? Strong carbon pricing. Who are the fiercest opponents of strong policies carbon pricing? It sure isn’t the climate movement, even with it’s high representation of green lefties.

    No. Carbon pricing will help, but Greens have changed the regulatory environment and also pursue legal delaying tactics, and have wildly succeeded in pricing nuclear power out of competition. In order for nuclear power to succeed, we need to fix these regulatory problems. There are also several other huge problems that should be addressed. After that, nuclear would benefit from a big greenhouse gas emission tax, but the greenhouse gas emission tax won’t be enough without fixing these other issues.

    Fix the so-called free markets to put nuclear and renewables plus their allies natural gas onto a fair playing field. In many places, there are laws that require buying renewable electricity first. Also, it’s also possible for solar, wind, and/or natural gas to temporarily flood the market to drive electricity prices into the negative, which can produce xenon transients in many conventional nuclear reactors, which can force the nuclear power plants to shut down for a day or two until the xenon decays away, and oftentimes the reactor will be down for much longer because of absolutely needless safety regulations that require inspections, reports, etc., for every shutdown, including a simple xenon transient shutdown. By doing this, solar, wind, and natural gas gain the ability to sell electricity without nuclear competition over the next several days (or longer). This sort of predatory anti-competitive practice needs to be fixed, and the value of reliable generation needs to be better recognized.

    https://atomicinsights.com/why-cant-existing-nuclear-plants-make-money-in-todays-electricity-markets/

    Fix the safety regulations which are needless and excessive, e.g. those based solely on the pseudoscientific linear-no-threshold (LNT) model. This is one of the biggest drivers of cost and construction time both. Instead, pick some conservative number, such as: releases which cause below net 1 mSv / year exposure per person are outside of regulatory concern, aka allowed. Even 0.1 mSv / year could be a marked improvement over what we have now.

    https://atomicinsights.com/evidence-suggesting-lnt-fabricated-purposeful-effort-hamstring-nuclear-technology-development/

    https://atomicinsights.com/petition-stop-wasteful-practice-of-using-lnt-as-basis-for-illogical-regulations/

    https://atomicinsights.com/opportunity-use-science-establish-radiation-standards/

    https://atomicinsights.com/reducing-nuclear-operational-and-capital-costs-by-improved-technology/

    https://atomicinsights.com/cost-increasing-results-of-accepting-the-linear-no-threshold-lnt-assumption-of-radiation-health-effects/

    Reuse the same construction crew. What often happens in the West is each new reactor has a new local crew work on it. The new crew is typically inexperienced and incompetent, and they make mistakes, and that drastically increases build time and build cost. Oftentimes this is done because of political concerns, e.g. “we’ll give you tax breaks to do it here if you use local labor”, or maybe it’s labor union rules – whatever. We want to gain learning curve benefits, and that means we need the same people to be working on it.

    Pick a design or two to make standard, and keep building them. We are inundated in the news right now about nuclear power plants going over cost and over predicted construction times, this is often because they’re first of a kind construction (in addition to the other things that I’ve said). We want to gain learning curve benefits, and that means doing the same design over and over again, instead of a new design every time.

    In terms of the previous two points, some new designs are quite amenable to that – designs which can be built in a factory and shipped to location, such as the ThorCon design.

    Fix the other aspects of the regulatory process to prevent abusive delaying tactics by the Greens. Give the environmentalists and Greens their say at the start, but encourage them to give any site-specific concerns up front in order to reduce the opportunity to file frivolous and abusive motions in the regulatory process for the express purpose of delaying construction and driving up costs.

    https://atomicinsights.com/foes-manipulative-legal-strategy-closing-nuclear-reactors/

    Next-gen designs can also help with other problems. One of the other big drivers of conventional nuclear power plant cost is inherent to the design of a pressurized light water reactor. The incredibly high pressures mean very expensive forgings and safety components. Molten salt reactor designs get away from these incredibly high pressures, which have real promise to drive down costs accordingly. Also, molten salt reactor designs have the real potential to introduce safety through chemistry – it may be that the cesium and strontium would stay in solution in the fluoride salts in basically every accident scenario, even if you dropped a bunker-buster bomb into the reactor core, and if that can be shown true in real tests, that is an incredible safety benefit which can greatly reduce the need of other safety components, and thereby driving down costs even further. Of course, we should start building conventional gen 3 and gen 3+ designs while concurrently pursuing R&D for several gen 4 designs, including some molten salt reactor designs like ThorCon.

    are doomed to fail – which seems reminiscent of something we’ve heard before about solar and wind, that turned out wrong.

    Which exact doom-and-gloom predictions about solar and wind have turned out wrong? As far as I’ve been paying attention to this conversation, it was always said that you could force solar and wind into the market without much disruption up until about 30%, and after that it starts to get much more painful because of their intermittency.

    Excepting the countries that are primarily hydro, there is not a single country that has achieved the practical elimination of CO2 emissions from electricity using renewables. The only industrial countries that have achieved the practical eliminations of CO2 emissions from electricity are France and Sweden, who did so using a lot of nuclear and hydro. Hydro worldwide is pretty close to cap, and so the only way forward for most countries is nuclear, plus utilizing existing hydro and the few scant places where we can build new hydro (assuming we decide it’s worth the environmental impact).

    If renewables do face intractable limits I suggest we will see that coming and have opportunity to change course.

    No. We would have wasted many years and lots of money on near useless infrastructure. The benefits of pre-existing solar and wind installations are near zero if we need to switch to mostly nuclear. Nuclear power plants that are designed to load follow can load follow, but the typical design means throwing away money to load follow. For coal and especially natural gas, the cost of fuel is a huge part in the cost of generation. However, for nuclear, the cost of fuel is quite small, meaning that scaling back production does not save on costs. Therefore, adding solar and wind to a majority nuclear grid doesn’t add any benefit because you still need just as much nuclear as the solution without the solar and wind in order to cover the times when solar and wind are not producing, and the fuel costs avoided by adding solar and wind is much smaller than the cost of the solar and wind and transmission.

    Nuclear however, requires we plan ahead, intervene in “free” markets strongly, invest heavily and commit to not changing course.

    See my notes above. The markets that we have today are not very “free”, and they have been very carefully designed by natural gas and renewable interests in order to favor natural gas and renewables. Remember: natural gas businesses love solar and wind because more solar and wind mean more lock-in of natural gas to cover during the intermittency of solar and wind.

    Otherwise, see my points above – very few if any involve “heavy government investment”.

    As for “heavy commitment to not changing course”, I don’t know how to respond to this. It seems like it’s saying something, but when I look at it closely, I don’t actually know what you are trying to communicate. It might make sense to a renewable advocate who believes a lot of falsehoods, like it’s quicker to build renewables instead of nuclear, but it makes no sense to me. Again, France converted half their electricity to nuclear in 15 years, and Germany is struggling to do anything like that with renewables, which seems like incontrovertible evidence to me that you can build nuclear a lot faster than you can build renewables.

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