Limits to the feasibility of technological solutions to climate change

Many people want to believe, without adequately reflecting on it, in technological solutions to the problem of climate change. I believe that these solutions will not be forthcoming, and pose risks. I discuss nine hurdles that any technological solution for climate change must address and overcome. I see the possibility of doing this as vanishingly small, and the possibility for severe negative, toxic side effects as non-trivial. I don’t think there is a technological fix to climate change in our future. . . . → Read More: Limits to the feasibility of technological solutions to climate change

The Four Horsemen of Near Term Extinction

We expect Near Term Human Extinction due to global climate and habitat destruction at some point within a short period (20-40 years). This implies large scale human die-off – gigadeaths, billions of humans; potentially all 7-plus billions of us will die. The proximate causes of death I name the Four Horsemen. In this essay we look at the current climate NOT as an EFFECT of human activity but as a CAUSE of large scale deaths. . . . → Read More: The Four Horsemen of Near Term Extinction

Integral pipe dream

I was wondering as we see the devolution of so much of the modern period’s industrial capacity, would we see a devolution in major modes of thinking. It takes some historical perspective to see the modern thought, capitalist modes of production were actually an ADVANCE over tribal and feudal/aristocratic/autocratic modes of thinking and organizing. Future historians may note that there was one brief . . . → Read More: Integral pipe dream

Close your eyes, hold hands

News from #Fukushima is a slow drip of terror. Recently there have been several releases concerning the failure of TEPCO to create and sustain the ice-wall. A big failure that has very little coverage. And this week the report that the ground water will be filtered then dumped into the Pacific. #FAIL #ChrisBohjalian . . . → Read More: Close your eyes, hold hands

Arms in the decline and fall

I have recently been reading a lot about the potential for rapid collapse of idustrial society. As an exercise in compare and contrast I decided to read the classic Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon.

Gibbon is of course a man of his times. His prejudices, in favor of monarchy over republican forms of government, against people of color (Arabs, . . . → Read More: Arms in the decline and fall

Nuclear power as the solution to global warming

There are serious arguments that Nuclear power is the answer to global warming. In December 2013 Scientific American noted:

The low-carbon electricity produced by such reactors provides 20 percent of the nation’s power and, by the estimates of climate scientist James Hansen of Columbia University, avoided 64 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution. They also avoided spewing soot and . . . → Read More: Nuclear power as the solution to global warming

So long and thanks for all the fish

With so many slow motion disasters coming at us sometimes it is hard not to despair. And then someone will say the most absurd thing and I have to laugh, ruefully, sadly at the profound depths of human folly. TEPCO, that fount of acumen and honesty has come out with a press release in which they thank the fishing industr . . . → Read More: So long and thanks for all the fish

Burning the midnight oil

It is well known (everywhere but in the Climate Denier’s Homeland) that burning fossil fuels causes atmospheric CO² to increase, causes man-made global climate change. It is also clear that the carbon industry has a interest in burning more fuel, each company seeks to maxmise it’s own return by increasing its revenue and reserves. They also fund lavishly the climate deniers and skeptics as well as corrupting the governments that might putatively seek to limit their earth destroying short term profits. . . . → Read More: Burning the midnight oil

Nuclear Decommissioning True Costs

That bastion of eco-terrorism the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has updated it’s thinking on the true costs of nuclear decommissioning:

The Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, Massachusetts, took 15 years to decommission—or five times longer than was needed to build it. And decommissioning the plant—constructed early in the 1960s for $39 million—cost $608 million. The plant’s spent fuel rods are still stored . . . → Read More: Nuclear Decommissioning True Costs

Dealing with Near Term Extinction

This has been a difficult post to write. I write mainly for my friends and my children, so I don’t have many pretensions. I try to make things clear, and get to the root of things. In that sense I am radical. My children cut me some slack, so if you, reader, are neither my friend or my child, please read this and . . . → Read More: Dealing with Near Term Extinction