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Why The Climate Change Uncertainty Argument Is Irrelevant

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The main issue with this video is that he has only 4 blocks and assumes a 1 in 4 chance of a disaster from climate change

and also a 1 in 4 chance of an economic disaster if take major steps to reduce CO2 emissions. There are way more outcomes

that this oversimplified matrix. Way more.  

The chances of an all out climate disaster are very small. Conversely if we made major changes to energy infrastructure

its probably not a 1 in 4 chance of an economic disaster, but if this was not done carefully I could see an economic disaster

much more likely vs. a climate disaster.  

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1 hour ago, blizzard1024 said:

The main issue with this video is that he has only 4 blocks and assumes a 1 in 4 chance of a disaster from climate change

and also a 1 in 4 chance of an economic disaster if take major steps to reduce CO2 emissions. There are way more outcomes

that this oversimplified matrix. Way more.  

The chances of an all out climate disaster are very small. Conversely if we made major changes to energy infrastructure

its probably not a 1 in 4 chance of an economic disaster, but if this was not done carefully I could see an economic disaster

much more likely vs. a climate disaster.  

You realize that the entire insurance and finance sector of the economy is based on a similar model of protecting against the worst potential risks which may never happen. Most people don't understand this simple point when they are looking at climate change. But the big corporations like Shell have been using this type of risk management approach to protect their corporation from potential climate change risks.

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/02/windfall_mckenzie_funk_describes_the_business_of_climate_change.html

And then there’s Shell. Multinational businesses have a reputation for either denying or downplaying climate change. In fact, Shell has been preparing for it for decades. The company’s business depends on being able to anticipate and respond quickly to seismic shifts in the energy market. So it employs a team of big-thinking futurists, called scenario planners, to keep it a step ahead.

A second scenario, called “Scramble,” envisioned the world continuing to balk at real action, because “curbing the growth of energy demand—and hence economic growth—is simply too unpopular for politicians to undertake,” as Shell’s scenario planners put it in an interview with Funk. Coal and biofuels would drive the growth of developing countries, choking the air and driving up food prices. While Indonesia and Brazil were mowing down rainforests to grown palm oil and sugarcane, Canada and the United States would turn their attention toward “unconventional oil projects” like Canada’s tar sands.

Climate activists would grow increasingly shrill, but the general public would suffer “alarm fatigue.” Rich and poor nations would deadlock over who should do what as emissions spiraled past 550 parts per million. (In 2013 they reached 400 ppm for the first time—a frightening milestone.) At that point the impacts of climate change would be too great to ignore—but it would be too late to do much about it. In the final stage of the Scramble scenario, the planners wrote, “An increasing fraction of economic activity and innovation is ultimately directed towards preparing for the impact of climate change.”  

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Here's why he's wrong:

Once climate change "regulation" is passed, it will be structured in a way that benefits the world elite and not in a way which mitigates the risk of climate change.

That is simply the nature of the world's geopolitical system.

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On 5/4/2017 at 7:53 AM, blizzard1024 said:

The main issue with this video is that he has only 4 blocks and assumes a 1 in 4 chance of a disaster from climate change

and also a 1 in 4 chance of an economic disaster if take major steps to reduce CO2 emissions. There are way more outcomes

that this oversimplified matrix. Way more.  

The chances of an all out climate disaster are very small. Conversely if we made major changes to energy infrastructure

its probably not a 1 in 4 chance of an economic disaster, but if this was not done carefully I could see an economic disaster

much more likely vs. a climate disaster.  

Agree that use of 4 blocks is oversimplified but disagree on relative odds of the four blocks:

1) There is only 1 row. The evidence for man-made climate change is overwhelming.

2) Addressing climate change will not cause economic catastrophe. The alternatives are not that costly and will improve energy economics in the long-term. A slowly increasing carbon price will quickly lower coal use as low-cost alternatives including gas are readily available. Oil and gas would decrease slowly over 30-50 years. By that time our energy system will be sustainable and low cost. Look at the stock market: coal companies are down sharply over the past 5 years, oil and gas stagnant while the market has gone up sharply. The writing is on the wall.

3) A climate catastrophe hinges on coal use. There isn't enough oil and gas for a complete disaster. If we burned enough coal we could melt all the ice sheets and send the earth to a hothouse eocene climate, but per 2 this is increasingly unlikely as the the need to use coal decreases and the true cost of coal use is becoming more obvious. While a catastrophe is unlikely, future costs of today's fossil fuel use will be significant. We are racking up roughly a trillion dollars per each year of fossil fuel use in future damages ($30 per ton times 35 billion tons of CO2 per year).

 

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Agree that use of 4 blocks is oversimplified but disagree on relative odds of the four blocks:

1) There is only 1 row. The evidence for man-made climate change is overwhelming.

2) Addressing climate change will not cause economic catastrophe. The alternatives are not that costly and will improve energy economics in the long-term. A slowly increasing carbon price will quickly lower coal use as low-cost alternatives including gas are readily available. Oil and gas would decrease slowly over 30-50 years. By that time our energy system will be sustainable and low cost. Look at the stock market: coal companies are down sharply over the past 5 years, oil and gas stagnant while the market has gone up sharply. The writing is on the wall.

3) A climate catastrophe hinges on coal use. There isn't enough oil and gas for a complete disaster. If we burned enough coal we could melt all the ice sheets and send the earth to a hothouse eocene climate, but per 2 this is increasingly unlikely as the the need to use coal decreases and the true cost of coal use is becoming more obvious. While a catastrophe is unlikely, future costs of today's fossil fuel use will be significant. We are racking up roughly a trillion dollars per each year of fossil fuel use in future damages ($30 per ton times 35 billion tons of CO2 per year).

 


You have forgotten that "addressing climate change" will not actually do anything substantive to mitigate any actual climate change risk.

Those with the power in this world support climate change simply because they see it as a means to an end. That end involves further consolidating their power. Look at the global economic system right now and ask if you truly want the fox guarding the henhouse here.

Eventually, climate change will be used to incur all the negatives of taking action without any of the positives. There are many on the environmental left who have already realized the horror of how this will actually work...

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2 hours ago, mempho said:


You have forgotten that "addressing climate change" will not actually do anything substantive to mitigate any actual climate change risk.

Those with the power in this world support climate change simply because they see it as a means to an end. That end involves further consolidating their power. Look at the global economic system right now and ask if you truly want the fox guarding the henhouse here.

Eventually, climate change will be used to incur all the negatives of taking action without any of the positives. There are many on the environmental left who have already realized the horror of how this will actually work...

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I don't buy the conspiracy talk. Plenty of powerful interests oppose action hence the lack of progress. There are conservative and liberal ways to address climate change. Big government or small government. Same as any issue.

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I don't buy the conspiracy talk. Plenty of powerful interests oppose action hence the lack of progress. There are conservative and liberal ways to address climate change. Big government or small government. Same as any issue.


I don't think it's really a conspiracy - just the way it's almost always been.

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15 hours ago, mempho said:


I don't think it's really a conspiracy - just the way it's almost always been.

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Well yes by definition elites have always been in charge. I am not quite sure what your point is though. There are many different groups of elites with different interests and policies. We have had both good and bad government policy in the past. It is certainly possible to have sound climate policy which be much better than the current policy in the long run.

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On 5/6/2017 at 6:32 PM, mempho said:

Here's why he's wrong:

Once climate change "regulation" is passed, it will be structured in a way that benefits the world elite and not in a way which mitigates the risk of climate change.

That is simply the nature of the world's geopolitical system.

Sent from my SM-G900R7 using Tapatalk
 

Please explain how Obama's regs to close coal plants (owned by elites) benefited elites?

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On 5/7/2017 at 10:44 AM, mempho said:


You have forgotten that "addressing climate change" will not actually do anything substantive to mitigate any actual climate change risk.

Those with the power in this world support climate change simply because they see it as a means to an end. That end involves further consolidating their power. Look at the global economic system right now and ask if you truly want the fox guarding the henhouse here.

Eventually, climate change will be used to incur all the negatives of taking action without any of the positives. There are many on the environmental left who have already realized the horror of how this will actually work...

Sent from my SM-G900R7 using Tapatalk
 

Climate change is actually a threat to the status quo and the "elites". Having people fly into a fit about climate change and demand serious action would be counter to their needs, which are to continue with business as usual. The incentives for the elites are to downplay and ignore climate change and squeeze as much money out of the current system as they can until it comes crashing down when the effects of climate change do more than submerge small islands in the Pacific and kill a few crops in California. You see, what mitigation looks like is a decrease in consumption, changes in consumer behavior that are not friendly to big business and globalism. A climate panic now vs 20 years down the road costs the elites a great deal. But I can't honestly see what they'd get from a climate panic. Control over solar plants? Slimmer profit margins for companies? Uhhh, targeted taxes on big polluters? I really fail to see the benefit of using climate change as a means to consolidate power -- for a corporatist elite that values profits and consumerism and material wealth above all else. It just doesn't make sense.

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9 hours ago, WidreMann said:

You see, what mitigation looks like is a decrease in consumption, changes in consumer behavior that are not friendly to big business and globalism.

Unless you're the big global business that just happens to sell the blessed (or even politically-mandated) GREEN!! solution--Solyndra, anyone?--or can finagle a GREEN!! subsidy.  Or you have enough in the bank that you're above having to make those sacrifices. 

 

On the one hand, I think a really big problem is that everyone's trying to approach this as a religious problem--"we have to make people believe!"  But that's the wrong approach.  You don't have to get them to believe.  You just have to take the carrot approach instead of the stick, and appeal to their self-interest.  For example, don't sell an electric car because it's GREEN!! and "it's a sacrifice that's good for the planet"; sell it like Tesla does and make the car badass with cool features, and promote it as not supporting middle east oil production. 

On the other hand, a lot of feasible solutions are being rejected because they're not GREEN!! enough.  We could have almost completely done away with the burning of hydrocarbon fuels for fixed-plant power generation by this point--but too many people simply lose their minds if you mention the N word (nuclear).  Despite having a "death cost" per GW produced that is lower than any other power source (and several orders of magnitude lower than that of coal and petroleum), we refuse to use an extremely low-carbon energy source with excellent base load carrying ability and near immunity to daily weather changes.  And quite frankly, if we want to get people using more electric vehicles instead of burning gas, we're going to need a lot more than wind and solar to prop up the grid.  If we don't want to do it by burning coal, well...

On the gripping hand, there are a lot of social factors that people simply do not want to address, or just hand-wave away.  For one, there are billions of people in the world who want, but do not have, things like air conditioning, electricity, refrigerated food storage, clean water on tap, or reliable transportation beyond where their own two feet can take them.  These people are going to try and get those things, and if that means using the dirty oil-burning means they can afford instead of the shiny GREEN!! thing you want them to use but that they can't afford, well then, they're going to burn oil.  You also have a whole bunch of people who do have these things, and while you can stand there telling them how they need to sacrifice for everyone's good until all the bovines have returned to their domicile, the vast majority simply aren't going to put themselves or their children into a dramatically lower standard of living*.  That's simply human nature, and no solution is going to go anywhere significant without addressing both of these issues. 

 

In the end, too much energy is being expended trying to get people thinking the "right" things and "believing" so that they'll use the approved, blessed, GREEN!! solution that gives everyone warm fuzzy green feelings.  We (in the collective sense) keep casting about looking for the perfect solution and trying to force people to do what we want them to do for the reasons we want them to do it, instead of (a) finding the best bang-for-the-buck solutions and removing the barriers to implementing them, and (b) changing the marketing strategy. 

 

* which is why so many people in coal country don't go along with proposals to end coal use... we've been telling them we're going to put them out of work because they're doing a Bad Thing, and then we leave them hanging high and dry with nowhere else to go while telling them they need to be appreciative of the Good Thing we did for them.

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The capitulation to green lobbyists against nuclear has been one of the biggest disasters we've ever seen for energy production. The irony of it all was how much it would have helped the transition off fossil fuels. Nuclear was actually a favorite of James Hansen...not short of his own alarmist climate change rhetoric, but he saw it as an important stepping stone to a greener energy grid and worth the risks that come with it (which have been overblown by many of those opposed to it).

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17 hours ago, ORH_wxman said:

The capitulation to green lobbyists against nuclear has been one of the biggest disasters we've ever seen for energy production. The irony of it all was how much it would have helped the transition off fossil fuels. Nuclear was actually a favorite of James Hansen...not short of his own alarmist climate change rhetoric, but he saw it as an important stepping stone to a greener energy grid and worth the risks that come with it (which have been overblown by many of those opposed to it).

Its uncompetitive economics that has been holding back nuclear power. If we had adopted a carbon tax when Hanson first advocated for it then nuclear would have been more competitive. As it stands today, given the long-lead time for deploying and improving nuclear power, we will have to rely on other energy sources for the heavy lifting. Note that the company building 4 delayed and over-budget nuclear plants in the US went bankrupt recently and it is unclear if the plants will ever be completed. There are other countries with no "green lobbyists", standardized designs and streamlined permitting that have lower nuclear costs than the US and nuclear is helping at the margin in those countries, but not enough to have a major impact on global CO2 emissions.

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On May 13, 2017 at 7:00 AM, chubbs said:

Its uncompetitive economics that has been holding back nuclear power. If we had adopted a carbon tax when Hanson first advocated for it then nuclear would have been more competitive. As it stands today, given the long-lead time for deploying and improving nuclear power, we will have to rely on other energy sources for the heavy lifting. Note that the company building 4 delayed and over-budget nuclear plants in the US went bankrupt recently and it is unclear if the plants will ever be completed. There are other countries with no "green lobbyists", standardized designs and streamlined permitting that have lower nuclear costs than the US and nuclear is helping at the margin in those countries, but not enough to have a major impact on global CO2 emissions.

Cost of nuclear power plants doubled between 2002 and 2009. There was a time when they were more feasible and quite practical in terms of reducing reliance on fossil fuels when renewables were still in their infancy...but again, the green lobbyists were very powerful. Natural gas plants are the next best thing these days in terms of cost effectiveness/reliability/lower emissions. 

At some point solar will be reliable enough in all areas to put a huge dent in reliance on fossil fuels. 

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On 5/13/2017 at 6:00 AM, chubbs said:

Its uncompetitive economics that has been holding back nuclear power. If we had adopted a carbon tax when Hanson first advocated for it then nuclear would have been more competitive. As it stands today, given the long-lead time for deploying and improving nuclear power, we will have to rely on other energy sources for the heavy lifting. Note that the company building 4 delayed and over-budget nuclear plants in the US went bankrupt recently and it is unclear if the plants will ever be completed. There are other countries with no "green lobbyists", standardized designs and streamlined permitting that have lower nuclear costs than the US and nuclear is helping at the margin in those countries, but not enough to have a major impact on global CO2 emissions.

The nuclear proponents always seem to gloss over the fundamental weaknesses of nuclear plants, or to blame the problems with the industry on supposed "green lobbyists".  But when you look at the problems you see the fundamental flaws in nuclear energy.  Nuclear power plant projects are notorious for running over schedule and over budget.  This happens even though the project planners know how to plan and budget massive projects.  Every day of schedule slip and every dollar of cost overrun is due to unanticipated problems - problems with the site selection, problems with manufacturing the components, problems with construction, problems with inspections and testing, and problems with certifications.  We don't see comparable delays and cost overruns in other energy industries whether fossil fueled or renewable.

The nuclear proponents like to claim that these problems can be solved by 'streamlining' the designing and permitting of future nuclear plants - but the term 'streamlining' is a misnomer.  Streamlining means reducing the drag on a ship, car or airplane -  it has nothing to do with building power plants.  What the nuclear proponents are really advocating is cutting corners - cutting corners on site selection, cutting corners on environmental reviews, cutting corners on component manufacture and inspection, cutting corners on construction and inspections, cutting corners on testing and certification.  They advocate cutting these corners despite the fact that the permitting, reviews, inspections, and testing processes were put in place in response to lessons learned with past nuclear plant projects - lessons learned at great expense and, often, great suffering and tragedy.  

Nuclear proponents also claim that standardized reactor designs will make nuclear power projects faster and cheaper - but they ignore the consequence of standardization that any problem with the design is repeated in every installation of that design, and fixes will have to be done to every single one.  We see this all the time with automobile recalls, and software bug fixes.  Picture the chaos if 1,000 identical nuclear reactors have to shut down simultaneously to fix a serious 'bug'.  Don't say that can't happen - particularly if the design phase for those plants was 'streamlined'.

Keep in mind, too, that every nuclear plant ever built was designed to be failsafe - and that includes Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Hanford.  But everything man-made fails at some point, whether it's a hammer or a Space Shuttle.  That includes power plants of all types, fossil fuel, renewable, and nuclear.  But nuclear is the only power plant technology that can render areas unusable for centuries.  Adopting nuclear instead of renewable energy technologies would be a Faustian bargain.

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On 5/12/2017 at 0:23 PM, gtg947h said:

Unless you're the big global business that just happens to sell the blessed (or even politically-mandated) GREEN!! solution--Solyndra, anyone?--or can finagle a GREEN!! subsidy.  Or you have enough in the bank that you're above having to make those sacrifices. 

 

On the one hand, I think a really big problem is that everyone's trying to approach this as a religious problem--"we have to make people believe!"  But that's the wrong approach.  You don't have to get them to believe.  You just have to take the carrot approach instead of the stick, and appeal to their self-interest.  For example, don't sell an electric car because it's GREEN!! and "it's a sacrifice that's good for the planet"; sell it like Tesla does and make the car badass with cool features, and promote it as not supporting middle east oil production. 

On the other hand, a lot of feasible solutions are being rejected because they're not GREEN!! enough.  We could have almost completely done away with the burning of hydrocarbon fuels for fixed-plant power generation by this point--but too many people simply lose their minds if you mention the N word (nuclear).  Despite having a "death cost" per GW produced that is lower than any other power source (and several orders of magnitude lower than that of coal and petroleum), we refuse to use an extremely low-carbon energy source with excellent base load carrying ability and near immunity to daily weather changes.  And quite frankly, if we want to get people using more electric vehicles instead of burning gas, we're going to need a lot more than wind and solar to prop up the grid.  If we don't want to do it by burning coal, well...

On the gripping hand, there are a lot of social factors that people simply do not want to address, or just hand-wave away.  For one, there are billions of people in the world who want, but do not have, things like air conditioning, electricity, refrigerated food storage, clean water on tap, or reliable transportation beyond where their own two feet can take them.  These people are going to try and get those things, and if that means using the dirty oil-burning means they can afford instead of the shiny GREEN!! thing you want them to use but that they can't afford, well then, they're going to burn oil.  You also have a whole bunch of people who do have these things, and while you can stand there telling them how they need to sacrifice for everyone's good until all the bovines have returned to their domicile, the vast majority simply aren't going to put themselves or their children into a dramatically lower standard of living*.  That's simply human nature, and no solution is going to go anywhere significant without addressing both of these issues. 

 

In the end, too much energy is being expended trying to get people thinking the "right" things and "believing" so that they'll use the approved, blessed, GREEN!! solution that gives everyone warm fuzzy green feelings.  We (in the collective sense) keep casting about looking for the perfect solution and trying to force people to do what we want them to do for the reasons we want them to do it, instead of (a) finding the best bang-for-the-buck solutions and removing the barriers to implementing them, and (b) changing the marketing strategy. 

 

* which is why so many people in coal country don't go along with proposals to end coal use... we've been telling them we're going to put them out of work because they're doing a Bad Thing, and then we leave them hanging high and dry with nowhere else to go while telling them they need to be appreciative of the Good Thing we did for them.

There is no carrot. That's the problem. It's only stick. The carrot is that you don't get the stick, with the stick being the end of our current civilization, which has been in progress for several thousand years now. Not the end of humanity or life, of course. The planet isn't going to explode. But if the more liberal of the IPCC projections come true, it will be disastrous. So taking action is a matter of mitigation and maintaining the civilization and lifestyles that we have and enjoy. You may say that's not a motivator, but you'd be surprised by how much people can be motivated by a fear of losing their way of life. This is how Trump pulled off a win in the midwest, and indeed how Republicans and conservative parties tend to thrive. They are able to capitalize on people's fear of losing their privileged way of life to some unworthy "other", be it secularism, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ+, etc. These reactionary movements can be very powerful and very motivating. For them, the stick is the destruction (perceived or real) of their worldview and way of life, and the carrot is a "restoration" of things as they ought to be, or supposedly once were.

What climate change folks seem to lack is the ability to capitalize on the conservative strategy. In fact, climate change mitigation is in some ways a reactionary, conservative course of action. Climate scientists and their advocates try to use the fear tactic, but are ineffectual. They lack the propaganda network of the right and, more importantly, they lack the ability to tap into people's emotions and deep fears. Where rightwing demagogues can conjure in their supporters' minds an urgency and severity that leads to quick and unified action, the climate change folks at best talk about some places having to deal with higher sea levels in 50 years. Or they just lack the charisma and directness that works for other reactionaries.

As much as I'd like to have a true carrot approach. As much as I'd like to see a movement around educating the general public into taking reasonable action on a reasonable timescale, but with earnestness, I just don't think people work that way. There's too much at stake and it's too big of a problem to leave to levelheadedness.

Also, I'd argue that "going green" as a perk is as close to a carrot as we can get. Nobody's going to give a **** about cool decals on a Tesla, or whatever. They at least have some emotional connection to doing something that supposedly helps the environment, to at least assuage their guilt about being complicit in an economic system that is actively decreasing the hability of our only planet. It's been somewhat effective, so I'd say that we not drop that as a tactic.

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There is no carrot. That's the problem. It's only stick. The carrot is that you don't get the stick, with the stick being the end of our current civilization, which has been in progress for several thousand years now. Not the end of humanity or life, of course. The planet isn't going to explode. But if the more liberal of the IPCC projections come true, it will be disastrous. So taking action is a matter of mitigation and maintaining the civilization and lifestyles that we have and enjoy. You may say that's not a motivator, but you'd be surprised by how much people can be motivated by a fear of losing their way of life. This is how Trump pulled off a win in the midwest, and indeed how Republicans and conservative parties tend to thrive. They are able to capitalize on people's fear of losing their privileged way of life to some unworthy "other", be it secularism, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ+, etc. These reactionary movements can be very powerful and very motivating. For them, the stick is the destruction (perceived or real) of their worldview and way of life, and the carrot is a "restoration" of things as they ought to be, or supposedly once were.

What climate change folks seem to lack is the ability to capitalize on the conservative strategy. In fact, climate change mitigation is in some ways a reactionary, conservative course of action. Climate scientists and their advocates try to use the fear tactic, but are ineffectual. They lack the propaganda network of the right and, more importantly, they lack the ability to tap into people's emotions and deep fears. Where rightwing demagogues can conjure in their supporters' minds an urgency and severity that leads to quick and unified action, the climate change folks at best talk about some places having to deal with higher sea levels in 50 years. Or they just lack the charisma and directness that works for other reactionaries.

As much as I'd like to have a true carrot approach. As much as I'd like to see a movement around educating the general public into taking reasonable action on a reasonable timescale, but with earnestness, I just don't think people work that way. There's too much at stake and it's too big of a problem to leave to levelheadedness.

Also, I'd argue that "going green" as a perk is as close to a carrot as we can get. Nobody's going to give a **** about cool decals on a Tesla, or whatever. They at least have some emotional connection to doing something that supposedly helps the environment, to at least assuage their guilt about being complicit in an economic system that is actively decreasing the hability of our only planet. It's been somewhat effective, so I'd say that we not drop that as a tactic.



Anyone who preaches about climate change and the resulting need to sacrifice and immediately hops on their private jet is going to come across as an artogant, elitist scumbag (to the majority of people).

Maybe if there were more like Biden...but no one's going to volunteer for any sacrifices unless they see true, sacrificial leadership.

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On 5/16/2017 at 10:44 PM, WidreMann said:

There is no carrot. That's the problem. It's only stick. The carrot is that you don't get the stick, with the stick being the end of our current civilization, which has been in progress for several thousand years now. Not the end of humanity or life, of course. The planet isn't going to explode. But if the more liberal of the IPCC projections come true, it will be disastrous. So taking action is a matter of mitigation and maintaining the civilization and lifestyles that we have and enjoy. You may say that's not a motivator, but you'd be surprised by how much people can be motivated by a fear of losing their way of life. This is how Trump pulled off a win in the midwest, and indeed how Republicans and conservative parties tend to thrive. They are able to capitalize on people's fear of losing their privileged way of life to some unworthy "other", be it secularism, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ+, etc. These reactionary movements can be very powerful and very motivating. For them, the stick is the destruction (perceived or real) of their worldview and way of life, and the carrot is a "restoration" of things as they ought to be, or supposedly once were.

What climate change folks seem to lack is the ability to capitalize on the conservative strategy. In fact, climate change mitigation is in some ways a reactionary, conservative course of action. Climate scientists and their advocates try to use the fear tactic, but are ineffectual. They lack the propaganda network of the right and, more importantly, they lack the ability to tap into people's emotions and deep fears. Where rightwing demagogues can conjure in their supporters' minds an urgency and severity that leads to quick and unified action, the climate change folks at best talk about some places having to deal with higher sea levels in 50 years. Or they just lack the charisma and directness that works for other reactionaries.

Reactionary " 'those people' are out to GET YOU!" is universal to American politics today.  Doesn't matter which side you're on--the people with any kind of differing view obviously hold that view because they're Evil and they hate you and have the worst possible motivations in mind.  If you object to any part of Obamacare, for example, it's obviously because you want poor and old people to suffer and die in agony, and want to chain women to the stove to make babies for you--after all, why else would someone object?  There's no disagreement anymore--there's Right, and there's Wrong, and Wrong people Hate.

On 5/16/2017 at 10:44 PM, WidreMann said:

Also, I'd argue that "going green" as a perk is as close to a carrot as we can get. Nobody's going to give a **** about cool decals on a Tesla, or whatever. They at least have some emotional connection to doing something that supposedly helps the environment, to at least assuage their guilt about being complicit in an economic system that is actively decreasing the hability of our only planet. It's been somewhat effective, so I'd say that we not drop that as a tactic.

So you don't care if anyone actually does something to help fix the problem, if they aren't doing it for what you consider to be the right reason?  Unless they feel the pain and sacrifice for the common good?  And oh by the way, unless they follow the economic model you just so happen to desire anyway?

My entire point is that "we have to do this because end of the world!!11!one!" isn't working for everyone, and your response is nothing but "I don't care, we have to do it harder because it's the only Right True Way".

What's more important, here... that people believe the right thing, or do the right thing? 

4 hours ago, mempho said:

Anyone who preaches about climate change and the resulting need to sacrifice and immediately hops on their private jet is going to come across as an artogant, elitist scumbag (to the majority of people).

Maybe if there were more like Biden...but no one's going to volunteer for any sacrifices unless they see true, sacrificial leadership.

Or as an acquaintance put it:  "I'll believe it's a problem when the people who say it's a problem start acting like it's a problem."

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On 5/14/2017 at 0:16 PM, PhillipS said:

 But when you look at the problems you see the fundamental flaws in nuclear energy.  Nuclear power plant projects are notorious for running over schedule and over budget.  This happens even though the project planners know how to plan and budget massive projects.  Every day of schedule slip and every dollar of cost overrun is due to unanticipated problems - problems with the site selection, problems with manufacturing the components, problems with construction, problems with inspections and testing, and problems with certifications.  We don't see comparable delays and cost overruns in other energy industries whether fossil fueled or renewable.

Budget and schedule overruns are routine in major projects in all kinds of industries--I work in aerospace and see this routinely.  Fossil and wind/solar may be less susceptible to some of those things, but that's because so many of their components are standardized and mass-produced.  You don't have to redesign solar panels, wind turbines, gas turbines, or any of that all over again for each installation; you hook them up to well-established guidelines and move on.  The people designing those installations and installing them are well-practiced and do it every day.

 

On 5/14/2017 at 0:16 PM, PhillipS said:

The nuclear proponents like to claim that these problems can be solved by 'streamlining' the designing and permitting of future nuclear plants - but the term 'streamlining' is a misnomer.  Streamlining means reducing the drag on a ship, car or airplane -  it has nothing to do with building power plants.  What the nuclear proponents are really advocating is cutting corners - cutting corners on site selection, cutting corners on environmental reviews, cutting corners on component manufacture and inspection, cutting corners on construction and inspections, cutting corners on testing and certification.  They advocate cutting these corners despite the fact that the permitting, reviews, inspections, and testing processes were put in place in response to lessons learned with past nuclear plant projects - lessons learned at great expense and, often, great suffering and tragedy. 

If nuclear plant construction has anything like the level of government oversight aviation has, there is plenty of fat to be trimmed from the process, just in bureaucratic redundancy.  Again, I do design work in the aerospace industry, and a significant chunk of the time I spend on designs is spent sorting out with FAA representatives what to put in the administrative fields on the approval forms.  And that's not even getting into compliance with all the general government contracting rules and the paperwork that gets generated to show that your accounting paperwork is in order...

On 5/14/2017 at 0:16 PM, PhillipS said:

Nuclear proponents also claim that standardized reactor designs will make nuclear power projects faster and cheaper - but they ignore the consequence of standardization that any problem with the design is repeated in every installation of that design, and fixes will have to be done to every single one.  We see this all the time with automobile recalls, and software bug fixes.  Picture the chaos if 1,000 identical nuclear reactors have to shut down simultaneously to fix a serious 'bug'.  Don't say that can't happen - particularly if the design phase for those plants was 'streamlined'.

A standardized design doesn't mean every single plant is identical.  Aircraft are produced to a "standardized design" yet small fixes are continually incorporated throughout the production run, and retrofitted over the life of the aircraft.  Critical designs like aircraft and nuclear plants also get tested much more thoroughly than consumer electronics and operating systems.

Standardization also brings the benefits of retaining institutional knowledge (for design, operation, safety, etc.) and lower costs.

On 5/14/2017 at 0:16 PM, PhillipS said:

Keep in mind, too, that every nuclear plant ever built was designed to be failsafe - and that includes Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Hanford.  But everything man-made fails at some point, whether it's a hammer or a Space Shuttle.  That includes power plants of all types, fossil fuel, renewable, and nuclear.  But nuclear is the only power plant technology that can render areas unusable for centuries.  Adopting nuclear instead of renewable energy technologies would be a Faustian bargain.

And yet... nuclear power still has, by far, the lowest number of deaths per unit of energy produced and the best safety record in the US for construction and operation.  More people in the US have died installing and maintaining wind turbines than nuclear reactors.

Chernobyl in particular was much more of an act of depraved negligence.  They ignored all the warnings and the big bold red print that said DO NOT DO THIS and did it anyway, on a reactor with a known and uncorrected flaw. 

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19 hours ago, gtg947h said:

Budget and schedule overruns are routine in major projects in all kinds of industries--I work in aerospace and see this routinely.  Fossil and wind/solar may be less susceptible to some of those things, but that's because so many of their components are standardized and mass-produced.  You don't have to redesign solar panels, wind turbines, gas turbines, or any of that all over again for each installation; you hook them up to well-established guidelines and move on.  The people designing those installations and installing them are well-practiced and do it every day.

 

If nuclear plant construction has anything like the level of government oversight aviation has, there is plenty of fat to be trimmed from the process, just in bureaucratic redundancy.  Again, I do design work in the aerospace industry, and a significant chunk of the time I spend on designs is spent sorting out with FAA representatives what to put in the administrative fields on the approval forms.  And that's not even getting into compliance with all the general government contracting rules and the paperwork that gets generated to show that your accounting paperwork is in order...

A standardized design doesn't mean every single plant is identical.  Aircraft are produced to a "standardized design" yet small fixes are continually incorporated throughout the production run, and retrofitted over the life of the aircraft.  Critical designs like aircraft and nuclear plants also get tested much more thoroughly than consumer electronics and operating systems.

Standardization also brings the benefits of retaining institutional knowledge (for design, operation, safety, etc.) and lower costs.

And yet... nuclear power still has, by far, the lowest number of deaths per unit of energy produced and the best safety record in the US for construction and operation.  More people in the US have died installing and maintaining wind turbines than nuclear reactors.

Chernobyl in particular was much more of an act of depraved negligence.  They ignored all the warnings and the big bold red print that said DO NOT DO THIS and did it anyway, on a reactor with a known and uncorrected flaw. 

The French nuclear industry is in decline. Maintaining aging reactors is increasingly costly and building new one is un-economic. A gradual increase in the French renewable share is likely.

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21711087-electricit-de-france-has-had-shut-down-18-its-58-nuclear-reactors-frances-nuclear-energy

http://www.cornellbusinessreview.com/cbr/2016/11/13/frances-nuclear-energy-future

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-election-macron-nuclearpower-e-idUSKBN17Z21B

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Given the success of the nuclear navy, in which hundreds of reactors are operated in very close proximity to staff, maybe their knowledge would allow a better/safer nuclear power supply.  (It's true, of course, that the military is never very forthcoming about its failures.  However, the first nukes went to sea about 60 years ago, and if there were ongoing or latent health/safety issues arising during those decades, I doubt it could be fully covered up, any more than Agent Orange was.)  What we need to do is resurrect Admiral Rickover and put him in charge.  ;) 

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21 hours ago, tamarack said:

Given the success of the nuclear navy, in which hundreds of reactors are operated in very close proximity to staff, maybe their knowledge would allow a better/safer nuclear power supply.  (It's true, of course, that the military is never very forthcoming about its failures.  However, the first nukes went to sea about 60 years ago, and if there were ongoing or latent health/safety issues arising during those decades, I doubt it could be fully covered up, any more than Agent Orange was.)  What we need to do is resurrect Admiral Rickover and put him in charge.  ;) 

My thoughts exactly.

People absolutely lose their minds, along with any sense of rationality, when they hear "nuclear" or "radiation".  They are far more likely to suffer serious health effects from a fall in their bathroom (or any other common accident--vehicle collision, power tool mistake, excessive alcohol consumption, etc.) than they ever would be from a nuclear accident, even if the nation's power grid were 100% fission-powered.  Factory workers at a windmill or solar panel factory are probably far more likely to suffer long-term health effects from industrial chemical and particulate exposure, or an industrial accident, than a nuclear power worker is of suffering any kind of work-related radiation exposure problem (I qualify that because sunburn is technically a radiation-exposure-related health issue that everyone is potentially at risk from, but it has nothing to do with nuclear power plants). 

I suggest reading the book Atomic Awakening by James Mahaffey.  At one point he relates the story of the radiation detectors at Georgia Tech's research reactor going off... not because the reactor had leaked or because of anything related to that reactor at all... but because the building across the street was being demolished and that process was liberating naturally-occurring radioactive trace materials that had been baked into the bricks.  Everyone walking by on the sidewalk was getting far more radiation exposure than anyone ever got from the reactor.

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