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US and global oil production and forecasts

Greenland's ice is melting 5-6 times faster than recently thought and Siberia's permafrost is belching giant quantities of methane into the atmosphere, see Figure 1. Perhaps then, it is time to consider seriously how we can alleviate the crushing impacts of the uncontrollable geologic forces we have unleashed by sheer greed and lack of imagination. For fun, please read my Paris OECD dinner speech I gave twelve years ago to the distinguished EU ministers of environment and transportation. This speech was (a) ignored despite presenting the most popular paper of the conference, and (b) got me blacklisted by OECD ever since. Myopia is our middle name.

Since global fossil fuel production makes for a long complex story, I'll split it into a few posts. My goal is to show you how we can lower the CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels from the current 36 billion tons per year to 10-12 billion tons per year in the next 10-20 years. My approach to decomposing into Gaussians product…
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Green New Deal VII - Ideas Matter

This post has been precipitated by the following question Christoph Becker asked rhetorically in a comment to Part VI:

"Is education in our situation still of any use or is it just depressing, unwanted or even dangerous?"

My short answer to Christoph was that good education would always be necessary for a functioning democracy. We see great examples of this requirement in Denmark, Finland, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Germany, for example. Education is the necessary condition for a thriving democracy, but it alone is woefully insufficient. Democracy must also be antifragile in the sense of Nassim Taleb. That is, any perturbation that attempts to blow up an antifragile democracy, will only make it stronger. Churchill knew it well, as I told you in Part VI.

Good education can only do good when it exists inside of a democracy that is stable to large perturbations. The democracies I listed above still appear to be stable to large perturbations, but the UK and USA certainly no longer…

Green New Deal VI - Urgency and oil production constraint

Amid an ongoing Arctic heat wave, the Greenland ice sheet is in the middle of its biggest melt season in recorded history. It’s the latest worrying signal climate change is accelerating far beyond the worst fears of even climate scientists. This is how the RollingStone put it, following an unspoken rule of never discouraging too much the clueless and faint at heart.  The reason is clear, we don't want 299 million Americans to freeze like deer in headlights, and exclaim: "Let's have an insanely rich farewell party before it all ends!".

My take on this 100-year ice melt on Greenland that just happened for the second time in seven years is summarized by the cartoon below. And if this cartoon leaves you cold, get yourself launched to Mars by Elon Musk and Other Terminal Fools.

My Spanish friend, Pedro Prieto, reminded me in turn about this Churchill quote:

 “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its clos…

Green New Deal V - Constraints & Delusions

The Arctic is burning across Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. The satellite image below shows smoke enveloping millions of square kilometers in Russia. You are witnessing a giant positive feedback to global warming. All hell is breaking loose, while most Americans are either asleep or in active denial. Four more years of Trump, and this hell will be decades closer to your bedrooms, my dear fellow Americans.

Let me be clear.  The future is in solar energy, as in solar PV modules, passive solar heaters and wind turbines. The sun will last a lot longer than all fossil fuels. Of course, we will have to learn how to reproduce these sun machines with fewer fossil fuel inputs. We will also have to reduce the intakes of water, food, power, copper, lithium, cement, plastics, and pretty much everything else. The solar future will be much slower, and we need to learn fast how to let go of all the unnecessary activities, objects, needs and wants we take for granted today. We will have to learn how …

Green New Deal IV - Any Other Paths?

Recently, I gave in Polish an opening lecture, “Can we salvage our global civilization?”, at a one-day conference of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (PAU). The conference took place in the Isabela Lanckoronska Auditorium at the historic PAU building on Slawkowska 17 Street in Krak√≥w. This conference, “Civic organizations and local communities faced with climate change disasters,” was organized by the Committee on Threats to Civilization of PAU. The last lecture was given by a young activist from a well-known non-profit, who manifestly misled the audience with his proposed implementation of the Green New Deal that would immediately shut down all coal-fired electric power plants in Poland, and replace them with wind turbines, PV arrays and geothermal wells. I pointed out to the nice young man that his radical solution would cause immediate power blackouts in Poland, and asked if he shouldn't have mentioned some of the problems with the transition? His answer was that the o…