Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump's Plans for Fossil Fuels Will Shrink the Economy

Motherboard: "It all comes down to physics: the laws of thermodynamics. Economies need energy to function. And to grow, they need extra energy to fuel that growth in production and consumption. But as more energy is required just to extract new energy from fossil fuels, there is less “energy surplus” available to continue driving economic growth—to ramp up even more production and consumption. And increasingly, more and more energy is being used just to maintain the existing infrastructure of society as it is, leaving less room for further growth."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What really happens when you go all-renewable?

A physicist calculates the costs of switching to electricity powered by renewables. Few people are actually "doing the math" as he does. Scientists have been heroic fighting against the denier/delayers. Now we need them to run the numbers on the "solutions."

A Nation-Sized Battery | Do the Math: "What about cost? At today’s price for lead, $2.50/kg, the national battery would cost $13 trillion in lead alone, and perhaps double this to fashion the raw materials into a battery (today’s deep cycle batteries retail for four times the cost of the lead within them). But I guarantee that if we really want to use more lead than we presently estimate to exist in deposits, we’re not dealing with today’s prices. Leaving this caveat aside, the na├»ve $25 trillion price tag is more than the annual U.S. GDP. Recall that lead-acid is currently the cheapest battery technology. Even if we sacrificed 5% of our GDP to build this battery (would be viewed as a huge sacrifice; nearly a trillion bucks a year), the project would take decades to complete."
When you actually calculate what it takes to switch to renewables, degrowth seems a lot more reasonable.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Says Private Funding Isn't the Answer

Save this quote. This is exactly what is going to happen. A lot of money will be spent by new US administration on infrastructure and things will get worse.

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Says Private Funding Isn't the Answer – Skift: "But Foxx also cautioned that “you could put $5 trillion into America’s transportation system and if the money isn’t directed in the right way, we will still have congestion, still have problems.”"

Wealth and energy are locked together, decoupling is a fraud

Economics: "The core finding is that simply maintaining our current economic wealth requires continual energy sustenance. Like a living organism, civilization requires energy not just to grow but also to maintain its current size or wealth.  All components of civilization, whether human or physical, have no innate value; instead they acquire economic value through mutual connections since these enable the circulations that define humanity. These circulations between and among us and our stuff require a consumption of energy. Viewed very generally, our total civilization wealth is directly tied to this energetic power through a constant. "
So how to explain the cases where claims are being made of rising GDP and falling emissions?
  • more debt has been created to hide recession and pump up GDP numbers
  • recently a lot of coal electricity plants have switched to gas, and gas emissions are not counted as strictly as coal 
  • some places import products and the emissions during manufacture were in some other place
These tricks will lead to crashes to reset and human economics will submit to thermodynamics.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Even emission-free, growth will burn our living space

Solar advocates like to say that the energy from the sun is plentiful and free. That's true. But what should we be doing with it? Is it dangerous? Could we burn ourselves? Is there a lab to test in?

Yes, we are in the lab, and have a big experiment already with concentrated sunlight. We have been burning old sunlight that was concentrated into coal, oil, and gas. We have increased the amount of heat on earth's surface, both land and water.

Fossil fuel has allowed us to become over 7 billion in number.  We have over 350ppm of gases in the air that are trapping more energy every day and will continue for a long time. We have a complex way of living that demands energy use to double about every 30 years. These three things generate heat faster than the earth's infrared radiation can dissipate it into space.

Even if we stop adding heat trapping gases to the air, our activities will turn incoming solar energy to heat, and yes, we will burn ourselves.

Said another way, even if we convert to emission-free energy, we will still cook the biosphere.

What to do? The sunlight coming in must be stored, not used in heat-generating activity. We must reduce our numbers. We must simplify our complexity.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2nd Law of Thermodynamics prevents decoupling

Why economics is just a physics problem: "Stepping back to see the world economy as a simple physical object, one where people are only part of a larger whole, would be a stretch for a traditional economist hung up on the idea that wealth must be restricted to physical capital. But, crucially, unlike traditional models, it is an idea that can be rigorously tested and potentially disproved. It is a hypothesis that is falsifiable. If the above is correct then we should expect to see that summing up the inflation-adjusted of GDP all nations, over the entirety of history, this very general expression of inflation-adjusted global economic wealth is tied to global primary energy consumption through a numerical constant, independent of the year that is considered. "

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Brave candidate calls out false eco "leaders"

The neoliberals are moving heaven and earth to keep the lid on the eco activists who are trying to stop climate change and save the biosphere. They provide "leaders" who misdirect the energy of honest activists. Why do so few eco organizations openly call for free transit? The answer is because they get that phone call from their "funders" re-directing them to a goal that does not threaten growth.

Here a candidate in Scotland openly calls for free public transport and calls out the "green" party to stop misleading.

Natural carbon-capture in peat. 100's of millions of tons of carbon in danger of being released

While we scramble to discover ways to capture and store carbon, development, growth, and climate change are threatening to release billions of tons of naturally stored carbon. Growth and development must stop.
Carbon Brief: "Peat soils are susceptible to climatic changes if they cause the peat to dry out, which starts the decomposition process again, releasing the stored carbon back into the atmosphere. Protecting peat soils – along with other ecosystems that store carbon – is an important part of the global effort to cut carbon emissions. And the first step in peatland protection is knowing where they are."

Friday, January 13, 2017

Here are the numbers on how #autosprawl has bankrupted America

Strong Towns : "The median household income in Lafayette is $41,000. With the wealth that has been created by all this infrastructure investment, a median family living in the median house would need to have their city taxes go from $1,500 per year to $9,200 per year. To just take care of what they now have, one out of every five dollars this family makes would need to go to fixing roads, ditches and pipes. That will never happen.

Thus, Lafayette has a predicament. Infrastructure was supposed to serve them. Now they serve it."

Climate deniers have morphed into "decouplers"

When the term climate "denier" came to be, it would have been better named climate "delayer." Because their purpose was to delay action that might hurt corporate profit. So it should have been expected that as they lost one argument they would morph into something slightly different. They sound like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, making up lies. Here are their stages.

  • there is no global warming
  • ok, there is, but it's not man-made
  • ok, there is, and it's man-made, but it's not a problem
  • ok, it's a problem, but we can decouple!

Decoupling means separating carbon emissions from economics so growth can continue while emissions go down.

Now we will be delayed another 10 years while we expose this canard.