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Green New Deal, Part III: How?

In Part I, I showed how most people have little understanding of the complex issues of global power transition from fossil fuels to renewables, and may jump to false and dangerous conclusions colored green by ignorance.  In Part II, I demonstrated that if humans continue to outdo rabbits in procreation, no energy transition strategy will ever succeed and the entire planet will become a miserable, Mordor-like dump with most nature extinct.


Here I will sketch the gargantuan scale of nonrenewable resources necessary to make the "Green New Deal" plausible.  Some of these resources are already depleted or miners cannot produce them fast enough to keep you happy.  Thus, you will not be pleased with what you read, but I am not alone. And by the depleted resources I mean not only the rich ores, easy oil and natural gas, but also the tropical and boreal forests, tundra, the Midwestern soil disappearing fast into the Gulf of Mexico in exchange for the "renewable" (not!) corn…
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Green New Deal - Part II

In Part I of this blog, I explained difficulties with comprehending the astronomical scale of change that is awaiting us, the rich people in the developed countries, in our journey to a more sustainable, greener future of humankind.  I have also pointed out a few of the many ways people escape responsibility for the crimes against the Earth we  - you and I - have committed.  And, please, let's not blame the poor people in Honduras or Gabon for our sins, plastic in the oceans and greenhouse gas emissions.


Exponential growth.  Remember a lonely lily pad floating on an empty pond?  She multiplied daily, so after day one, there were two lilies; after two days, four lilies; then eight; and so on.  After 20 days, there were 1,048,576 lilies. After 21 days, there were  2,097,152 lilies that covered the pond, exhausted nutrients and died. Question: After which day was the pond half-filled?  You already know the answer, it was day 20.  On that fateful day, 95% of the time allotted to our li…

The New Green Revolution, a.k.a. The Grand Transition to... ?? - Part I

Jeff Bezos,Elon Musk and others have been touting the multitudinous advantages of colonizing the Moon and Mars. The scientific idiocies of these proclamations are so outlandish that I will not bother commenting on them. But, at the same time, Stephen Hawking's name has come up in the context of Mars colonization.

Dr. Nate Hagens uses Hawking's ideas about Mars colonization in his Reality 101 course at the University of Minnesota to illustrate the point that human society is composed of tiny islands of high competence floating in a vast sea of narratives.

Let me start from quoting a recent email by JDW on the subject of human escape to outer space:

"Without a synthesis which shows how different narratives relate to one another, people are free to use “verbal logic” to create properly-constructed sentences which don’t correspond to possible realities. “Verbal logic” is nearly an oxymoron, because there’s not much in the way of error-correction built into it. Anything that …

Notes to the New Improved 1984

The subjects of the previous blog are complex and warrant further explanation. A friend of mine and I have had a lively discussion on several issues I brought up in that blog.  With his permission, I have decided to publish some of his comments with slight edits.

Let us start from this comment:

"You lumped Internet, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple (FAGMA) into one lot. This is not entirely accurate. These companies have different business models and different degrees of abuse. You also did not include Twitter, Netflix, eBay, and a myriad of companies that probably are more intrusive than, say, Apple or Microsoft."

Here is my reasoning. I have used annual revenues of the FAGMA oligopoly and other companies to compare their relative sizes. FAGMA dominates their respective markets so much so that all other runners up simply do not compare. Twitter is tiny (2018 revenue of $3 billion); and Netflix (2018 revenue of $14 billion) only deals in movies, however bad th…

The New Improved 1984

Many people ask me how can I be happy writing and thinking about so many sad and desperate things? Well, let me explain. Happiness is the fleeting rush of dopamine I feel seeing my little grandson, my wife or children.  As good as it might feel, it comes and goes. Think, please, about the happiness you purchase by sharing with your "friends" on Facebook a picture of a new pair of pink sneakers. Or think of the happiness you bring to your partner by giving her/him a bouquet of roses on the Valentine day.

You probably never pay attention to over a billion roses which are imported that day for your bouquet.  They are flown refrigerated on transport flights from Columbia, Ecuador and Mexico.  Once these cold roses land in Miami, they are rushed to other refrigerated planes and trucks, so that you can get them from a store refrigerator anywhere in the US.  The energy cost of your bouquet is absolutely ginormous, but it is worth another minute or two of dopamine rush. Or is it?

Yo…

Crazy

Here is what David Attenborough, the most trusted person in the U.K. and a great naturalist, told the space aliens that descended in 1500 private jets on Davos:

"I am quite literally from another age, I was born during the Holocene - the 12,000 [year] period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm, and create civilisations. That led to trade in ideas and goods, and made us the globally connected species we are today.

In the space of my lifetime, all that has changed. The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age: the Anthropocene, the age of humans."
He added:
"[The economic] growth is going to come to an end, either suddenly or in a controlled way. Anyone who thinks you can have infinite growth in finite circumstances is either a madman or an economist." (The Guardian, 01/21/2019)

This is precisely what I have been saying, writing and teaching for the la…