Paul Hawken’s Drawdown a ‘must read’

Much of the talk about climate action focusses on renewable energy and electric cars. The latest National Greenhouse inventory gives the following pie chart by sector:

Few have addressed the entire problem, not even the IPCC, until Paul Hawken, of Natural Capitalism fame, set to work.

Back in June John D sent me the link to the Vox article A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising with an exhortation Definitely a must read for anyone interested in doing something about climate change. Late, but here it is. Hawken says that if we carry on as we are in a realistically vigorous manner, we will fail. We can succeed, he says, if we adopt and optimise all the solutions available to us, with technology that already exists.

His top solution is educating girls and family planning. I combination they would see 1.1 billion fewer people on the planet come 2050, and will save more emissions than on- and offshore wind power combined. Together educating girls and family planning could reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by 2050 — on- and offshore wind power combined would come in at 99 GT.

Here are the plausible solutions by rank. And here are the top 10:

It is important to note here that Hawken has created three scenarios:

    Plausible Scenario: the case in which solutions on the Drawdown list are adopted at a realistically vigorous rate over the time period under investigation, adjusting for estimated economic and population growth.

    Drawdown Scenario: the case in which the adoption of solutions is optimized to achieve drawdown by 2050.

    Optimum Scenario: the case in which solutions achieve their maximum potential, fully replacing conventional technologies and practices within a limited, competitive market.

Plausible Scenario is where we carry on as we are in a realistically vigorous manner, which, he says, will lead to failure, so clearly we should head for the other two, preferably the Optimum Scenario, where onshore wind becomes the top solution. Nevertheless educating girls and family planning combined would still come in second.

An alphabetical list of solutions has been developed, which can then be sorted into the categories Electricity generation, Food, Women and girls, Buildings and cities, Land use, Transport, Materials, and finally Coming attractions, that is, technologies which show promise but have not yet been fully developed.

Near the top of all three lists is refrigeration management, where Brad Plummer has a detailed article.

A website Drawdown has been established, which I’ve been linking to above. The important thing to note is that Hawken used a team of 70 research fellows from 22 countries who set out to “map, measure, and model” the 100 most substantive solutions to climate change, using only peer-reviewed research. And the project is current – another book is planned on the future attractions.

Meanwhile our own Ozzie government has completed what the Climate Council called a “data dump: Carbon pollution and climate review”. Josh Frydenberg had an article in the AFR making out he’d done a Hawken, but the Climate Council is not impressed:

  • Australia’s carbon pollution levels have increased for a third consecutive year.
  • The Australian government has proposed no new credible policies to help cut Australia’s pollution levels.
  • We are in the critical window of opportunity to act on climate change, yet the Federal Government’s climate policy is failing.

Sounds like business as usual.

Hawken believes that the Trump government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has little import. He believes states and cities have led on climate change. Unfortunately our government does tend to get in the way.

I commend to you my 2013 post Climate change: reconnecting politics with reality.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s the image that graced the AFR report yesterday about where this country is heading:

I have heard muttering about buying cheap overseas carbon credits and a continuation of the strange Emissions Reduction Fund, which seems to find savings we never suspected were there, giving money to people to do what they were going to do anyway, or not to do what they were not going to do. The same may be said about offshore credits. Worth a look, because clearly there is magic at work.

209 thoughts on “Paul Hawken’s Drawdown a ‘must read’”

  1. This may prove to be one of your most important posts, Brian.

    Congratulations and thank you.

    Ambi
    of the Overflow

  2. I’ll second that, if you don’t mind, Ambigulous.

    What is so striking is that most of the solutions presented are so obvious, practical and affordable.

    Sadly, irrational opposition to these solutions will be almost impossible to overcome. Religious hostility to birth control, for instance. Or, reducing food waste, which will be seen as reducing profitability for the food industry.

    Still, this post gives me hope.

  3. Cheers, Graham.

    Demographers and geographers have long been aware of the “demographic transition” where countries move from high birth and mortality rates, to low birth and death rates.

    The rates are linked, correlated.

    The transition occurs with general prosperity, public hygiene, medical services. The trick is, I suppose, to bring the prosperity at much lower per capita C emissions.

  4. Brian,

    Congrats on an excellent post.

    How are we going to get politicians to stop their promotion of endless growth? Can Jobson Grothe continue?

  5. Somebody did the numbers on 3% annual growth for 2000 years and it was astronomical.

    Growth can be separated from emissions, of course, and the amount of energy, and water, if for example harvested directly from the air, is virtually unlimited.

    So, no, I have no realistic view where the growth story will end, but I do think if the one per cent keep grabbing a major chunk of it, society will change, and not for the better.

  6. Brian,

    Somebody did the numbers on 3% annual growth for 2000 years and it was astronomical.

    I think most people don’t appreciate what 3% annual growth means if stated in percentage terms.

    7% growth means roughly a doubling every 10 years. 3.5% represents roughly a doubling every 20 years. If growth is presented in those terms, people have a better grasp of what growth really means. See the YouTube video “Arithmetic, Population & Energy – Oil, Peak Oil“, presented by Professor Emeritus Dr. Albert Bartlett. The equation for the doubling time is given at time interval 0:01:48.

    Growth can be separated from emissions, of course, and the amount of energy, and water, if for example harvested directly from the air, is virtually unlimited.

    I’m disappointed that you used the words “virtually unlimited“. We live on a finite planet – everything on this planet is finite – therefore it is not “unlimited” or “virtually unlimited” – it is limited.

    So, no, I have no realistic view where the growth story will end, but I do think if the one per cent keep grabbing a major chunk of it, society will change, and not for the better.

    The CSIRO revisited the seminal Club of Rome report Limits to Growth, and found it still stands up to scrutiny. The Conversation article says:

    Vilified by countless critics, including Morgan, this innovative study provides a credible example of complex system modelling. Its scenarios highlight the intricate interdependencies between the economy and Earth’s resources.

    Perhaps Limits to Growth is worth revisiting?

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Keep safe.

  7. Geoff M, the rule of thumb, as you would know, on geometric growth is the Rule of 72. 3% doubles in 24 years, 6% in 12, 8% in 9, and so on.

    I believe not strictly accurate, but good enough for the back of an envelope calc.

  8. Yes, Brian.

    Convenient to call it 72.

    Also referred to as “the Rule of 70”, not quite as convenient for 3% or 6%, 🙂
    but more accurate.

    Mathematically, I think it’s possibly even closer to pure accuracy to call it “the Rule of 69” but the social consequences of that could be confusion and having people’s attention diverted to a quite different topic.
    😉

    Of course it doesn’t matter: the rule is invoked for back of the envelope estimates or even, for folk of our vintage, mental arithmetic.*

    There is a case to be made that every Year 12 student should be aware of the Rule of 72.**

    Cheers,

    Ambi
    Incurable Pedant
    Amateur student of exponential functions
    Purveyor of Festive Season smut

    * growth would only very rarely maintain a steady rate over 24 or 36 years, for one thing

    ** but a word of caution: the simplest proof I’m aware of, uses the first term of the Maclaurin series for ln(1 +X) , where ln is the natural logarithm, and X is a real number, which must be between -1 and 1; but for the rule to be accurate, is best close to 0 ( or “small”). For instance with 3% growth, X = 0.03, for 6% growth, X= 0.06. Both of these are “small enough” for the Rule to yield reasonable estimates. So if the students are the type who demand proof of every assertion, it could be tricky.

    OTOH, numerical EV – ID – ENCE is straightforward to supply.

    🙂

    Here endeth our reading from The Epistle to the Unending Growth Merchants.

    Hallelujah!!
    apologies to the late Leonard Cohen, he of blessed memory

    O Tannenbaum

  9. I remember hearing somewhere that if Native Americans had invested the $24 they allegedly received for Manhattan Island at 3% compound interest, by the mid twentieth century they would have had enough to buy the island back.

  10. In recent years, there has been much talk about Terrorist Death Cults and their destructive effects. Perhaps the unholy adoration of Money and the obsessive worship of Growth should be treated in the same way as Terrorist Death Cults.

    Anyway, Paul Hawken and his ilk do give us some hope of survival.

  11. Happy New Year to all.

    Brian (Re: DECEMBER 23, 2017 AT 12:34 PM):

    Geoff M, the rule of thumb, as you would know, on geometric growth is the Rule of 72. 3% doubles in 24 years, 6% in 12, 8% in 9, and so on.

    It is not geometric growth – it is exponential growth.

    Ambigulous (Re: DECEMBER 23, 2017 AT 2:15 PM):

    Also referred to as “the Rule of 70”, not quite as convenient for 3% or 6%,

    The 70 figure is an approximation to 100 * ln(2) which is 69.3.

    The 70 figure is easier to calculate than using the more accurate (but still not exact) 69.3 figure.

    I think it is well worth viewing this YouTube video:


  12. Geoff M

    “geometric” and “exponential” are terms used interchangeably, with respect to growth (or indeed decay; for instance radioactive decay. That follows an exponential decay curve, until the number of nuclides is so low that a discrete statistical model better represents the phenomenon.)

    Brian was correct.

    Happy New Year!

  13. PS

    I was aware of ln (2) but was trying to truncate a contribution that was already far too long….

    Eschew Obfuscation!!!

  14. I looked in the dictionary, and neither fits all that well. The Rule of 72 is a quick way of working out how long it takes to double your money, or any other quantity, using compound interest.

  15. Brian and Ambigulous,

    The “rule of 72” has an error of 3.8%. Using the “rule of 70” has an error of less than 1%.

    For a given constant percentage growth rate per annum, the doubling time in years (rounded to the nearest 3 significant figures) is as follows:
    0.4% _ _ 173
    0.5% _ _ 139
    0.6% _ _ 116
    0.7% _ _ _99.0
    0.8% _ _ _86.6
    0.9% _ _ _77.0
    1.0% _ _ _69.3
    1.1% _ _ _63.0
    1.2% _ _ _57.8
    1.3% _ _ _53.3
    1.4% _ _ _49.5
    1.5% _ _ _46.2
    1.6% _ _ _43.3
    1.7% _ _ _40.8
    1.8% _ _ _38.5
    2.0% _ _ _34.7
    2.2% _ _ _31.5
    2.4% _ _ _28.9
    2.5% _ _ _27.7
    2.6% _ _ _26.6
    2.8% _ _ _24.8
    3.0% _ _ _23.1
    3.2% _ _ _21.7
    3.5% _ _ _19.8
    4.0% _ _ _17.3
    4.5% _ _ _15.4
    5.0% _ _ _13.9
    5.5% _ _ _12.6
    6.0% _ _ _11.6
    6.5% _ _ _10.7
    7.0% _ _ _ _9.90
    8.0% _ _ _ _8.66
    9.0% _ _ _ _7.70
    10.0% _ _ _ 6.93
    12.5% _ _ _ 5.55
    15.0% _ _ _ 4.62
    20.0% _ _ _ 3.47
    25.0% _ _ _ 2.77
    30.0% _ _ _ 2.31
    35.0% _ _ _ 1.98
    40.0% _ _ _ 1.73

    I note that the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Government, operate to try to keep the Australian economy’s growth rate to between 2.5% and 3.5% per annum. This means that within a person’s expected lifetime (roughly 80 years), the economy would be expected/targeted to grow between almost triple to more than quadruple. Unfortunately, it seems economists don’t acknowledge that we live on a finite planet – they seem to assume the resource supply is endless/unlimited.

    We already seem to be beyond Earth’s carrying capacity – see Slide #2 from Ian Dunlop’s UN briefing on 16 Apr 2013.

  16. GM:

    I note that the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Government, operate to try to keep the Australian economy’s growth rate to between 2.5% and 3.5% per annum.

    That includes inflation and is not per capita growth. Real growth would be much less than the 3 to 4 multiple over over a lifetime.
    The real problem is that we haven’t learned to share the work fairly. I spent most of my working life wanting to reduce annual hours worked in return for a matching drop in income. Hard to do without reducing job security or excluding myself from doing the sort of work i wanted to do.

  17. Brian: There are herds of elephants thundering around that should be considered if we are serious about saving the planet. A few that come to mind include:
    Inequality: Far too many people in the world have a standard of living that is completely unacceptable. I guess, in theory, we could save the planet by reducing everyone’s standard of living down to that “enjoyed” by the bottom 10% of the world’s population but I can’t see it getting popular support.
    Free market multinational capitalism: What this has done is weakened the ability of countries to control what crosses their borders and what happens within their countries. A country that cleans up their production methods can be swamped by the products of countries that are less responsible.
    Corporate capitalism: The responsibility of boards and CEO’s is “adding shareholder value.” Sometimes this can fit in with saving the planet and yes, there are companies that won’t invest in questionable activities. However,………
    Kids provide long term welfare: Increasing country income and education of women leads to a reduction in birth rates: to a point where the more affluent parts of the world would have reducing populations if it wasn’t for immigration and business support for growing populations to help grow their business.
    I am sure there are more elephants than this that need to be dealt with if we are to save the planet.

  18. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 3, 2018 AT 10:22 AM):

    From the RBA website:

    The Governor and the Treasurer have agreed that the appropriate target for monetary policy in Australia is to achieve an inflation rate of 2–3 per cent, on average, over time. This is a rate of inflation sufficiently low that it does not materially distort economic decisions in the community. Seeking to achieve this rate, on average, provides discipline for monetary policy decision-making, and serves as an anchor for private-sector inflation expectations.

    I was wrong – it pays to look at the evidence, rather than rely on memory, to avoid embarrassment.

    The RBA inflation rate target is 2-3% (not 2.5-3.5% according to my faulty memory).

    Inflation is tied to CPI, which is a measure of economic growth.

    2.0% steady growth means an economy grown 2.3 times over 80 years; 3.0% steady growth means an economy grown 3.5 times over 80 years.

    My point is endless growth is impossible in a finite world.

    John D (Re: JANUARY 3, 2018 AT 10:53 AM):

    I think your list has missed the biggest elephant in the room – population growth.

  19. If I wanted other folks opinions I would have asked them, I didn’t.

    Do you have an opinion as to why interest rates shouldn’t be targeted at zero ?
    Do you think a -0.5% rate of inflation is better or worse than a +0.5% rate of inflation, and why ?

    You can parrot other folks opinions if you agree with them, that’s fine, but what do you believe?

  20. Do you have an opinion as to why interest rates shouldn’t be targeted at zero ?

    No.

    Do you think a -0.5% rate of inflation is better or worse than a +0.5% rate of inflation, and why ?

    A question I can’t answer since I don’t have an opinion on the matter.

    Now it’s your turn.
    Jumpy, do you have an opinion as to why interest rates shouldn’t be targeted at zero ?
    Do you think a -0.5% rate of inflation is better or worse than a +0.5% rate of inflation, and why ?
    Please don’t parrot other folks opinions; tell us what you truly believe.

  21. So you don’t have an opinion but stuck your beak in anyway. Strange but ok, that is what it is.

    I would also be interested in your questions but I’ll respond to parroting of mine if you’re unable to formulate any of your own.

    Inflation is measured according to CPI ( basket of goods and services), Capitalism functions to keep those down. Artificially making inflation above zero is devaluing savings and increasing prices.
    To keep wages in line with inflation, they must rise, creating increased input costs and raising prices.

    Economic growth need only keep up to population growth if inflation is zero. Wages remain adequate if prices don’t rise ( for those in the lower middle class ) and folks like Enrico and Rico will be under way less pressure.

  22. Geoff M

    If you check, I fhink you’ll find that the CPI is a measure of prices rather than economic growth.

    Consider this “thought experiment”: if production remained steady but all prices were to double overnight and then stay at those levels for a year, CPI would double and evonomic growth would be zero since production hadn’t altered.

    Yes, it couldn’t occur. That’s always a feature of “thought experiments”.

    Cheers
    Ambigedanken

  23. So you don’t have an opinion but stuck your beak in anyway.

    I was engaging in conventional discourse.
    You asked a question. I supplied a link to one possible answer.
    In those circumstances whether I have an opinion or not is irrelevant – since you did not ask for an opinion.
    Your combative response would indicate that you didn’t pose the question in good faith.

  24. Mr A.
    No need to call it a thought experiment, its reality in Venezuela in their centralised wisdom of fixing prices artificially low.

    There the production capacity is the same, the consumer capacity is down a bit ( outward immigration) but inflated prices are the result of kicking Capitalism in the balls, so it ( what’s remaining of it ) is off the books black market.

  25. I’m happy to call it a thought experiment,
    sobre Venezuela yo se nada
    (of thees carntry I know nartheeng).

    Geoff M called CPI a measure of economic growth. I believe it is not. That’s all.

    Cheerio
    !’ta luego!
    see you soon, Meester Jarmpee

  26. Geoff M at 10.03 am*,

    If I may advocate the power and brevity of algebra here,

    PY = 69.3

    where P = percentage growth rate, Y = doubling time in years.
    This saves space, and is more flexible than a table of values.

    Salaam,

    Amb’ al Jebr’

    * ante meridianum

  27. I don’t believe Geoff M when he said that CPI / inflation is a measure of economic growth .
    Economic growth is measured in enhanced production rather than prices.
    If he was correct, Bitcoin is hugely productive.

  28. Here a concise multidisciplinary review on decoupling CO2 emissions and economic growth. In its summary it says

    The decoupling delusion simply props up GDP growth as an outdated measure of well-being. Instead, we need to recouple the goals of human progress and a healthy environment for a sustainable future.

    Another summary says while carbon intensity of high-income countries has more than halved since 1970

    “Set against the small and rapidly dwindling carbon [emissions] budgets associated with the Paris Agreement”¦ the tentative signs of decoupling are of little relevance,” says Anderson, of Manchester University, an avowed pessimist. “The concept of green growth is very misleading.”

    Others are more optimistic. Even if decoupling cannot limit warming to two degrees, it could deliver three or four degrees, after which the world might find ways to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere. But all agree the bottom line is that, as le Quere puts it, “we need to bring emissions down to zero. The faster we decrease the emissions, the less risk we take.”

  29. Jumpy at 8.30pm.

    I agree with you on that, although some of the production will be services, rather than physical production as in “bricks and mortar”, or meat pies.

  30. Ambigulous (Re: JANUARY 3, 2018 AT 6:09 PM):

    If you check, I fhink you’ll find that the CPI is a measure of prices rather than economic growth.

    True, but politicians and business leaders are continually promoting good old Mr Jobson Grothe. Current Australian GDP growth rate is here.

    Continual growth is not possible in a finite world. Eventually, and it seems to me inevitably, we will reach resource supply limits.

    But try to engage our leaders on that topic.

    Population growth is the biggest elephant in the room that few people will engage with. More people means:
    More housing;
    More clean water;
    More nutritious food production;
    More transport infrastructure;
    More energy generation;
    And the list goes on…

    And as I stated in my comment above, it appears we have already exceeded planet Earth’s carrying capacity. A correction is due soon – look out!

  31. Ambigulous (Re: JANUARY 3, 2018 AT 8:09 PM):

    If I may advocate the power and brevity of algebra here

    But would you have bothered to do the calculations?

    The purpose of the table was to show at a glance how small percentage annual growth rates equate to having a relatively short doubling time. I was saving you the mental effort, and it appears I get no thanks for it! *sigh* Such is life.

  32. Geoff M

    If you are arguing that total C emissions must be decreased, you’ll find many agree.

    Please note what Ootz wrote about.

    1. GDP may not necessarily be proportional to C emissions
    1.a GDP figures don’t tell the C story; they are a different measure, though clearly there are some correlations of parts of the GDP total with parts of the emission total.

    2. “C intensity” (C per industry, C per capita) is one measure of success in reducing overall C emissions.

    Of course, if population keeps rising, any achieved reductions (as in 2.) would be diluted, or indeed reversed if population increased markedly.

    I would add:

    i) CPI is not GDP, nor is Producer Price Index, etc.

    ii) I agree population growth must be checked or reduced

    iii) I agree that some resources are limited

    iv) it is quite likely the planet (like any farm) has an inherent “carrying capacity”

    v) did you notice the comment that at a certain level of prosperity the human death and birth rates both plummet? [demographic transition]

    vi) CO2 equivalent must be the measure, not total C {used as shorthand above} since different C molecules such as methane (e.g.) have different GHG properties to CO2

    If humans can ‘decouple’ as much economic activity as possible from C emission, all the better.

    None of us underestimates the enormity of the task ahead.
    And for substantial emission reductions, the sooner the better! Instead of “many hands make light work”, “quick permanent reductions ASAP”.

    ***

    A Note on Etiquette:

    you recounted a distressing moment at a NSW Parlt. Inquiry.
    Please note: no-one here demanded that you should have followed that up with letters or phone calls or going to see MPs or Ministers.

    No-one told you that your time had been wasted by making a submission or attending.

    *It would be pleasant if you could extend a similar courtesy to those who blog or post here*.

    Thank you.

  33. If population is a problem should Australia reduce incoming migration?
    It’s very high in per capita terms now.

  34. If population is a problem should Australia reduce incoming migration?

    Restricting migration to Australia (or anywhere) will make no difference to the total number of humans populating the planet (the point that Geoff raised), so the answer to your question is no.
    Whether or not Australia can support the population envisaged by people like Kevin Rudd is a different question.

  35. Geoff M, I don’t think Treasury, the Reserve Bank etc are happy with 2%. I think the long-run average was supposed to be 3% or a little higher.

    The reason I mentioned the Rule of 72 is that 3% will see doubling every 24 years or so. In the course of a century at that rate the economy would grow to be roughly 16 times as large, say in terms of per capita GDP.

    Meanwhile people should take a look at Paul Mason on ‘postcapitalism. Phillip Adams talked to him the other night.

    David Runciman says:

    Something has got to give. Mason builds a wholly plausible case that the present situation is unsustainable. But what will give, and how, is not something he can tell us.

    In this respect, he has bitten off more than he can chew. But that is a big part of the appeal of this deeply engaging book. Mason doesn’t have the answers – he is not even close –, but he is asking the most interesting questions, unafraid of where they might lead. What’s more, he writes with freshness and insight on almost every page.

  36. Good question Jumpy, but it is not a straight forward question and I can see what you are up to.

    First, it is not just about population, but the state of development of a nation. For example as pointed out in my links above and put simply, developed or post-industrial nations such as Australia usually have a lower or declining co2 per capita emission rate, as well as often declining birth rates. While developing nations often have growing birth rates and growing emissions, partly because they ‘inherit’ high emission industry from developed nations and conventional economic development programs require lots of energy and resources. Related to that is what Brian above and my two links above summarised on, is that we can’t simply continue on the current economic path or thinking.

    Related to that, you could equally argue that it is not population but mindless consumption and inefficient or non sustainable energy use of a population being the problem. At the moment our rationalisation of the economic endeavour and growth thereof does not take into account externalities nor long term sustainability. Very rare do we consider triple bottom lines while it is still too easy to rape and pillage for a quid in the short term, to put it simply. Read up on ‘Tragedy of the Commons’.

    Also, you’ll find the outdated fear of foreigners invading fortress Australia may cloud the issue even more and will not produce tangible long term and effective outcomes. For example building a wall around Australia and policing it is a very inefficient in terms of cost and co2 emission.

    Lastly, there are also pressing moral issues as well as realistic long term scenarios to consider.

  37. Ootz, as a Libertarian leaning individual I’m all for open migration ( in the absence of the welfare magnet )
    I simply ask because, as Geoff M states, that the planet has exceeded its carrying capacity.
    It probably isn’t wise if Australia does the same ( if Australia is still under its capacity, I don’t know )
    Australia takeing a lead in the fight against overpopulation would be a good thing right?
    We, after all are one of the Worlds highest populations growers ( per capita)

    We shouldn’t let overpopulation deniers prevent us from acting in our own back yard first, even if the worlds biggest populators ( in total amount terms ) don’t act.

  38. Fair enough Mr J.

    Consider this excerpt from Human carrying capacity and our need for a parachute

    The concept of human carrying capacity is contested. Many academics reject it altogether, but not all. I think of it as emerging from the interaction of five forms of “capital”:

    human (knowledge, skill, health, ingenuity)
    natural (fossil fuels, uranium, metals, climate, soil, phosphate, food, forests, fish)( and water, my edit )
    social (inequality, inter-and intra-group rivalry, including based on ethnicity, language, religion, class, caste and “claste”)
    physical (technology, infrastructure)
    financial (tradeable currency).

    So again it is complex, as humans as a species are enormously adaptive and Australia as a place is a not a homogenous habitat and has highly variable conditions, thus it is rather difficult to establish a definite number on this. The OECD for example deals with it by focusing on ecological footprint (the land and water area of the planet or particular area required for the support either of humankind’s current lifestyle or the consumption pattern of a particular population. It is the inverse of the carrying capacity of a territory.

    Several studies and reports have been conducted on Carrying Capacity of Australia though. Here is a good summary

    In late 1994 The Australian Parliament House of Representatives Standing Committee on Long Term Strategies delivered a report entitled Australia’s Population ‘Carrying Capacity’. One Nation—Two Ecologies. This report argued that Australia should adopt a population policy.

    In 1994, Australian Academy of Sciences held the Symposium, “Population 2040: Australia’s choice”. The joint statement said:
    “the quality of all aspects of our children’s lives will be maximised if the population of Australia by the mid-21st Century is kept to the low, stable end of the achievable range, i.e. to approximately 23 million. ”
    According to the Treasury 2010 Intergenerational Report, the best way to respond to the economic and fiscal pressures of an ageing population is to support strong, sustainable economic growth. Economic growth will be supported by sound policies that support productivity, participation and population — the ‘3Ps’.

    They assume that if Australia’s productivity growth could be increased above the long-run average, the economy would be bigger, living standards would be higher and fiscal pressure from the ageing of the population would be reduced. If, for example, annual productivity growth was to average 2 per cent over the next 40 years, then:

    annual real GDP growth would average over 3 per cent over the next 40 years and the economy would be $570 billion bigger in 2049?50; and
    real GDP per capita in 2049?50 would be 15 per cent (or around $16,000) higher.
    It assumes that the main purpose of the economy is to GROW, even to our own detriment. Costs of economic growth include increased pressure on social relationships and environmental degradation, whilst non-welfare issues include distribution, poverty and intergenerational equity. Also, GDP per capita is a better measure of the economic well-being of a country than total GDP, as it takes into account population size – very populous countries may have very large overall GDP, but when divided by population size the resultant GDP per capita figure will give a much clearer indication of the country’s comparable wealth.

    Again the writer concludes with the similar summary as my two links above “”it is the economy stupid”” and how do we create sustainable growth in wealth, how do we reconfigure our expectation and value system within a new economic system which allows us to survive and prosper as a species. Perhaps enabling women and address overall population growth, is not such a bad idea but it is obvious we need to reduce our ecological footprint and mindless consumption by adopting triple bottom-lines. Who knows it might improve our health and well being.

    sorry Brian for the long comment, but I hope it clarifies some issues.

  39. Nice try Jumpy, but the only way Australia can contribute to reducing the world population is by reducing the number of Australians.
    To do the job properly (and lead the world) we’ve got to start culling the people who are already here.
    Soylent Green anybody?

  40. Zoot
    Australian birth rates are below replacement rates.
    In the absence of incoming migration we need not kill anyone, gosh!
    In fact we could stop killing the unborn babies and hover at about the same level.

    Again, I’m not against migration in principle, instead just teasing out a thought experiment with the group.

  41. In the 1930s several European nations experienced consistent population decline for several years. It wasn’t just because persecuted people were fleeing N Germany.

    Factors? Privation, starvation, poverty etc in the Depression. Some commentators at the time thought it was mostly due to a sense of pessimism about the future. Have no children, or delay having them, because times were bad.

    Most advanced nations have low birth rates now. Heard of “contraception” Mr J?

    I’m inclined to think Mr Rudd’s enthusiasm for a much higher Aust population was foolish in the extreme.

    If population steadies, builders who make a crust from construction of new dwellings can move across to renovation, cosmetic alteration, and installation of energy saving and energy generating devices, eh Jumpy?

    We will all have to think long and hard about frugality, re-use of household goods, re-cycling, manufacturing goods that are more durable, etc. of course big strides in these areas have been made in affluent countries since the 1970s.

  42. Ha Zoot, that was one of the most remarkable movies I ever saw and it’s ethical implications are still keep me puzzling.

    Often science fiction is way ahead of contemporary issues and thinking, ‘playing’ with fundamental and foreseeable issues to weave a plausible story. As such Soylent Green has several different interesting aspects that crept into my thinking more than once when pondering the climate change conundrum. As there are other SF writers who are relevant to the topic, but need time to expand this. But I say this, the future does not have to be as dystopian as it is fashionable nowadays to paint it. Surely we should be capable to dream up something as dramatic and heroic such as Joseph Campbell has compiled in The Hero of a Thousand Faces. We surely need a Hero to bring in a new economy and evolve it, as we have since we invented Cuneiform script to take stock of assets and collect taxes 🙂

  43. eBay and Gumtree are allowing willing buyers to be in touch with sellers of secondhand goods they could never have contacted, in the past.

    Classified ads in print newspapers have shrunk, as have the papers themselves.

    Opp shops are thriving.
    Some “home handy persons” still have the skills to repair things.

    Not everything is growing exponentially.

    Against that, the “throwaway mentality” has taken hold in many minds….. But it’s not universal. And certainly it’s not global.

    Not while poverty persists.

  44. Jumpy stop “teasing” and start dreaming up new innovations, it is the future. Why do you think that the startup community gets considerable backing by the state Government and Turnbull would like to see himself as the innovation PM. And as it happens Immigrants are excellent innovators contributing and building the new economy from the bottom up.

    Thriving entrepreneurship is critical to economic prosperity. Recent research has demonstrated that new businesses, or “start-ups,” are disproportionately responsible for the innovations that drive economic growth, and account for an outsized share of new job creation.
    ..
    Foreign-born entrepreneurs have been a prominent feature of America’s economic landscape for decades. Iconic American companies founded or co-founded by immigrants include Dow, AT&T, DuPont, Levi Strauss, Anheuser-Busch, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, Sun Microsystems, Google, Yahoo, eBay, YouTube, PayPal, Tesla, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

  45. I missed a couple of comments earlier, so a couple of my comments may not have acknowledged earlier information.

    I’d like to go back to Ootz’s comment of late last night.

    Both links are valuable, but in the first the IEA should not delude itself about stable emissions going on reported national emissions data. The growth of emissions in the atmosphere shows no signs slowing.

    The second link is really quite thorough, so it is a shame at the end that he portrays Manchester University’s Kevin Anderson as a pessimist. Anderson, like James Hansen and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, is one of the few with a grasp across the whole range of the climate issue who is actually realistic in his assessment. The notion that we can contemplate this with equanimity is madness:

    Even if decoupling cannot limit warming to two degrees, it could deliver three or four degrees, after which the world might find ways to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere.

  46. I hear your lament Brian, and I admit that at first glance my reaction was similar to yours. As you said though, the author did a thorough job and he batted pretty straight . So too his other output looked very pragmatic and concise. Which made me think, what other option did he have to project his summary into?

    Considering that some research has shown that there really are only seven basic plots of how we tell a story. 1. Overcoming the Monster 2. Rags to Riches 3. The Quest 4. Voyage and Return 5. Comedy 6. Tragedy 7. Rebirth. should give us some clues.

    Our intellectual forebears, the Ancient Greeks took their entertainment very seriously and used drama as a way of investigating the world they lived in, and what it meant to be human. The three genres of drama were comedy, satyr plays, and most important of all, tragedy. We seem to have been wired for tragedy when an event we are exposed to, shows some element of moral failure, some flaw in character, or some extraordinary combination of elements. Tragic pathos in ancient Greece was achieved when the spectators identified themselves with the tragic action and more importantly felt fearful and pity. Fear and pity are still powerful hooks to hang our emotions on and they play an important role in our evolutionary tool box. Such an emotional state, hardwired into our reptilian brain to trigger fight flight responses, maybe beneficial in certain situations or events, just as laughing it off is in others is. Yet it would not suit in all events, sometimes plain determination and cool headedness are needed to overcome the monster. Others need creativity and innovation to transform from rags to riches. So too can mindfulness or meditation help to come to terms with a hopeless situation as in ‘it is what it is’ to morph or rebirth into a fearless state without anxiety to face the inevitable.

    So it occurs to me that the author rationalised the situation by choosing to resolve the problem or story as a quest, which is fair enough.

  47. Brian (Re: JANUARY 4, 2018 AT 1:02 PM):

    Geoff M, I don’t think Treasury, the Reserve Bank etc are happy with 2%. I think the long-run average was supposed to be 3% or a little higher.

    Do you mean: Inflation, or GDP growth, or both indicators?

    I suspect they want growth higher. But 3% per annum growth means a doubling every 23.1 years – that’s not sustainable in the long-term.

  48. Jumpy (Re: JANUARY 4, 2018 AT 11:34 AM):

    If population is a problem should Australia reduce incoming migration?

    Dick Smith is arguing that Australia should reduce its immigration intake. See his manifesto. It includes:

    Reduce Australia’s unsustainable world-record population growth
    • Every major political party to have a population plan to base policies and planning on.
    • Stabilise the Australian population below 30 million.
    • Return immigration to the long-term average of 70,000 per annum (it is now 200,000) and increase our humanitarian program to 20,000 per annum (from an average of about 14,800 over the last 10 years).
    • Our Foreign Aid to focus on population stabilisation – including family planning, education, and empowering women.

    In a finite world, I think he puts some compelling arguments forward. What do you think? Being a self-described libertarian, do you have any arguments forthcoming for a “Big Australia”?

  49. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 4, 2018 AT 3:38 PM):

    Many thanks for your good contribution.

    People have been talking about population growth and the consequences, but the population keeps growing and we get closer to the cliff.

  50. GeoffM, you might take some comfort on population growth from Hans Rosling’s “mind the gap” TED talk of some 10 years ago. The main message? population growth is in fact slowing for the very reasons that Hawken lists.

  51. My life is a bit in a whirl at present, so I’ll just go back to Ootz’s comment, which is very rich and I will only partly deal with.

    Fred Pearce goes back to the mainstream scientific view in classifying Kevin Anderson as pessimistic. This may be fair enough as a journalist, but it is part of the problem which prevents policy makers from taking climate science seriously. It implies that the problem is with Kevin Anderson’s views, not with the planet and the mainstream scientific view.

    Anderson does not write a lot, but I don’t see anyone taking him on and showing him to be wrong.

    Anyway have a read of his thoughts after the last UNFCCC COP conference in Bonn and decide whether he is pessimist, realist or optimist, or maybe all three.

    Other than that I’d like to mention that I have bits and pieces towards a post on ‘mindfulness’, in part to clarify my own thoughts, but partly because the term has come to mean so many things it has almost lost its usefulness IMHO.

    If you have some clarifying links I would welcome them.

  52. The answer to that, Brian, might be to float a new term …mindiness… which is easier to say and should draw much of colloquial term use away,….. to leave, again, mindfulness casually alone in the field of contemplation for the betterment of all.

  53. GM at 11.24am

    The RBA has had an inflation “target band” of (I think) 2% to 3% for many years now.

    Economic orthodoxy says it is preferable to have an independent body setting base interest rates, and attempting to control inflation.

    Not bringing inflation to zero. Not fiddling with the exchange rates…..

    Of course the Aust Govt appoints members to the RBA board, but the Governor has a longish term and should act independently of political whims.

    GM, inflation is not the same as GDP growth. Please look up “price indices”.

    Not all consumption is wasteful/greedy/ostentatious/carbon intensive.

    As othe contributors pointed out earlier, building some types of infrastructure can be C intensive, but once established tends to reduce inefficiencies (and hence reduce energy intensity). Prosperity need not entail higher C emissions.

    As advanced technologies develop, they are likely to rapidly spread to high population nations such as India*, China, Indonesia, Brazil….

    That’s where the largest “markets” will be.

    Cheerio

    * one small example: a large Indian company is developing an electric car priced for the Indian market; this is underway, not my wishful thinking.

  54. Brian

    We understand that your life is in a whirl just now.

    Please feel at ease in taking your time…

    ….. honouring the memory of your brother-in-law should take priority, IMO.

  55. Ambi, just after I made that comment another storm blew up. Thankfully by nightfall things have settled down.

    BilB, my problem with “mindfulness” is that it has come to mean no more than “meditation” because there so many versions and understandings that communication is not assisted.

    It’s either that or I’m plain missing something.

  56. Peter sent me an interesting article On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit Haven’t read it all but I suspect “mindfulness” might easily qualify as PPB.
    However, I think we need to be careful about dismissing PPB as PPB. Starting with a word like “mindfulness” can lead to a journey through lateral space that ends up with something that is quite useful or truly profound. (No – I haven’t gone on this journey for mindfulness yet.)

  57. John, your link failed, but I googled and found the paper here and an article about it:

    In a fairly damning passage from the paper, it says that those who were more receptive to the bulls*** statements and who tended to rate them higher were “less reflective, lower in cognitive ability(i.e verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy,) and are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation.”

    Bullshit has a very specific meaning in their paper. Not sure how far that gets us.

    I’ve just found an article I set aside in March by the AFR men’s health writer (they have one!) Jill Margo, who said that ‘mindfulness’ has been turned into a multi-billion dollar business, so there is bound to be a fair bit of bullshit amongst it all.

  58. Re mindfulness Brian, I must apologise for having derailed the thread by bringing that word up in the first place and for being very brief.

    I’d point to Wikipedia as it gives you a reasonable good overview of its history from ancient buddhist understanding and practices to contemporary psychological therapy applications based on research and to the contemporary’mindfulness movement’. It is probably the latter which contains a fair bit of BS you refer to above. However, there are benefits by toning ones mind, just as there are by toning the body. The buddhist actually say, that they should be exercised together, such as in breathing exercises. Where as formal psychological studies and therapies have established some proven efficacy, the ‘mindfulness movement’ is an industry based largely on pop psychology and new ageism.

    So again it is complex, many people engage with ‘mindfulness’ for many needs or wants, learning many types of practices from countless different proponents adding to the flavours on offer. Really it is horses for courses, depending on why anyone wants to engage with mindfulness. Those needs should be matched up with a suitable form of therapy available. Do your research, start with traditional and established forms. Pick an instructor that is both sympathetic, a good communicator that one feels comfortable with. In the end though mindfulness or meditation is a practice which requires discipline and dedication. Give it some time and do small tweaks to tune for max benefit. If one approach does not work, then carefully reassess why so and what other suitable practice could be tried.

    I have done decades of hatha yoga, learned several meditation techniques and practice a few on and off depending on needs, including some types mindfulness. I came about this mainly because of my long term chronic health issues and associated pain, cramps, stress, depression. Why do I persist with it and what does it give me? Yoga keeps my ageing body flexible and toned as well as gives me good posture. It provides me with a sense of where I am at with my body, an enhanced proprioperception. In many ways, yoga has become an integral part of my life. For example, doing simple but repetitive task, such as weeding are great opportunities to do stretching and breathing exercises. That way I do not tend to stress certain parts of my body continuously and get a healthy work out. It also conditions one for meditation, to be more ‘mindful’ of ones. mental state. Just think of it as the mental equivalent of body proprioperception. Other ‘mindfulness’ techniques I use at certain times are full body scans <this one is on my smart phone and regularly used> several breathing exercises and an tweaked form of transcendental meditation depending on situation.

  59. Good on you Ootz.

    Many thanks for your detailed and realistic account of mindfulness. You’ve saved many of us hours of reading and searching.

    Ambi

  60. Thanks Ootz. As a student I used yoga to help prepare for the tensions of exams and currently use a very simple meditation technique to reduce blood pressure and to help get back to sleep.
    Doesn’t mean that I don’t think that there is alot of BS flating around on the subject.

  61. Ambigulous (Re: JANUARY 4, 2018 AT 11:17 AM):

    There are many aspects contained in your comments that require considered responses. I was intending to respond on Saturday morning, but I was thwarted by a very poor wifi connection that kept dropping out, and I’ve had no internet access until now.

    you recounted a distressing moment at a NSW Parlt. Inquiry.

    Do you mean my comments on the Climate clippings 119 thread at JANUARY 3, 2018 AT 11:40 AM? You use the words “distressing moment”. I would use the words “astounding and revealing moment”. Astounding, because it appears to me someone was willing to deliberately deceive under oath, and it seems to me this person has avoided any negative repercussions. Revealing, because it seems to me some of our politicians we place our trust in to serve our society’s best interests (and effectively their own long-term best interests) failed to serve it. And the media reporting on this process seems to me to have failed to do any critical analysis.

    Please note: no-one here demanded that you should have followed that up with letters or phone calls or going to see MPs or Ministers.
    No-one told you that your time had been wasted by making a submission or attending.

    What prompted you to make these statements? Show me where you think I had expressed the view that anyone was demanding I wrote letters, or phoned, or saw MPs or Ministers, or was wasting my time making submissions, etc? Before you start accusing anyone of doing something, be certain of your facts. I remind you that you have accused me before of doing something, that transpired was fallacious (see thread Turning old mine pits to electricity gold with my comment at DECEMBER 20, 2017 AT 10:50 AM). Your response at DECEMBER 20, 2017 AT 4:42 PM included these words:

    In future I won’t allege an error unless I can cite it directly.

    It seems to me you have a short memory. I reiterate Jumpy’s words (at DECEMBER 19, 2017 AT 6:33 PM): “It may be more productive to point out where Geoff M is wrong rather than focus on hurty feelings.” Keep that in mind, and we may have a productive discussion. Wasting my time (or others’ times) with fallacious accusations, in my opinion, is very poor etiquette.

    If you are arguing that total C emissions must be decreased, you’ll find many agree.

    Until now, in this thread, I made no mention of carbon emissions – I was commenting about population (and jobs) growth, percentage growth per annum and doubling times, Earth’s carrying capacity, monetary inflation rates, CPI, and GDP growth rates. Ootz (at JANUARY 3, 2018 AT 11:36 PM) introduced the subject of the decoupling of CO2 emissions and economic growth, not me. On this subject, I would say the critical question is whether carbon emissions will reduce fast enough? I fear it won’t. I hope I’m wrong. Hoping and talking about it is not enough – doing (and doing it effectively) is what is required by humanity.

    i) CPI is not GDP, nor is Producer Price Index, etc.

    I already agreed with you that CPI is not GDP, in my comment at JANUARY 4, 2018 AT 10:22 AM when I stated “True…

    ii) I agree population growth must be checked or reduced

    Population growth must reduce quickly to ZERO (and I think ideally slightly negative). I reiterate (see my earlier comments above) that it appears planet Earth’s carrying capacity has already been exceeded. See further discussion below.

    iii) I agree that some resources are limited

    I infer from your statement that you think some resources are unlimited – which ones? I put to you that your statement is undeniably false. I reiterate: We live on a finite planetALL resources on planet Earth are finite – ALL resources on planet Earth are thus limited, some much scarcer than others (see the thread Climate change: The end of civilisation as we know it, with my comments at DECEMBER 8, 2017 AT 4:11 PM and at DECEMBER 9, 2017 AT 8:25 AM concerning resource scarcity and depletion). Tidal energy – finite. Geothermal energy – finite. Even the sun’s total solar irradiation (TSI) at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere is finite, at 1367 W/m2 with a variance about 0.1% peak-to-peak. And if you then consider our moon’s resources, then it too is also finite/limited, but we haven’t started to exploit the moon’s resources yet, and that will require enormous quantities of energy and resources sourced from Earth to get there, or anywhere else (e.g. Mars, or asteroids, etc.).

    iv) it is quite likely the planet (like any farm) has an inherent “carrying capacity”

    Quite likely”? Earth, being a finite planet, means it will unequivocally have an inherent carrying capacity, like every farm does. Think of Earth as a great big farm. We seem to have already exceeded Earth’s carrying capacity.

    v) did you notice the comment that at a certain level of prosperity the human death and birth rates both plummet? [demographic transition]

    Not especially, but a “certain level of prosperity” likely means higher rates of energy and material resource consumption. A large human population, all with a “certain level of prosperity” that results in low death and birth rates, is likely to put an even greater stress on planet Earth’s biophysical capacity. I refer you also to Ian Dunlop’s presentation to the UN – see Slide #2. The current global requirement is 1.5x Earths. If everyone on Earth reached a level of prosperity like Western Europe it would require 3x Earths; Central and Eastern Europe means 2x Earths. Australia is around 3.5-4x Earths (see also YouTube.com video Engineers Australia Big Conversation at around time interval 0:40:48). North America is 5x Earths. To be at or below 1x Earth carrying capacity we would all need to be like Africa and Asia-Pacific regions (although that may be out of date now – India & China with increasing consumption). What minimum “level of prosperity” did you have in mind for Earth’s entire human population? What would you personally be willing to accept? Something to think about.

    None of us underestimates the enormity of the task ahead.

    That’s a bold statement. I would not presume to have a full understanding, and I would suggest (or rather I would not be at all surprised that) no one else has the full picture. So, I’m skeptical that you would appear to imply to have a full understanding of “the enormity of the task ahead”.

    I’m disappointed that no one else in this forum challenged your statement: “I agree that some resources are limited”. This suggests to me you all appear to have a common (but false) mindset on this issue. I hope that is not the case. Does anyone wish to confirm and argue your position?

  62. Thank you JD. Re ” … there is alot of BS flating around …”

    As an universal agnostic I could not agree more.
    BS is omnipotent.

    Here an interesting exchange between Hawken and Eric Utne. Link to Utne’s critique on my link available. My initial reflex on this let me straight to check the veracity of Hawkens methodology, as valuable social modelling is complicated, difficult and often notoriously unreliable. Good social science is much under valued and often misguided when looking for solutions on CC. Here a good overview on The Social and Psychological Foundations of Climate Change

  63. BilB (Re: JANUARY 5, 2018 AT 12:01 PM):

    GeoffM, you might take some comfort on population growth from Hans Rosling’s “mind the gap” TED talk of some 10 years ago. The main message? population growth is in fact slowing for the very reasons that Hawken lists.

    I’ve heard similar arguments (it may even be the person you mention – I can’t recall).

    I suggest you look at my responses to Ambigulous at JANUARY 8, 2018 AT 12:37 PM, particularly on the Earth’s carrying capacity. Waiting around for the population growth to slow to zero, when the Earth’s carrying capacity appears to have already been exceeded, is a fraught proposition.

    If you wish to argue that there’s still some of Earth’s carrying capacity reserve not yet utilized, and there is still time to halt further population growth, then please reveal your data/evidence.

  64. Hmm my response to JohnD is in moderation.

    GeoffM, you seem to simplify the issue. Earth’s capacity to support people is determined both by natural constraints and by human choices concerning economics, environment, culture (including values and politics), and demography. Human carrying capacity is therefore dynamic and uncertain. Human choice is not captured by ecological notions of carrying capacity which is appropriate for nonhuman populations. Thus, others such as the OECD use the concept of footprints as I mentioned before. Even that can be locally distorted, for example, take the issue with import and export. The Malthusian worldview you have adopted is somewhat dated and too simplistic to apply wholesomely in CC problem definition. Even contentious Population Bomb authors Paul and Anne Ehrlich said in a 1994 conference, arriving at a “optimal population” figure comes with “innumerable complexities,” ones which “involve social decisions about the lifestyles to be lived and the distribution of those lifestyles among individuals in the population.” As an universal agnostic I suggest you read this primer on the Malthusian vs Cornucopian debate.

    In my moderated comment. there is a link on how social science can help understand the problem and provide useful modelling. Without understanding and taking into account complexity of the problem, particularly on the social science side, any modelling on solutions is not likely to be relevant.

  65. Yet again GeofM, you did not look at the information, you made an assumption and carried on with your original thinking.

    Here is Hans Rosling’s world acclaimed presentation

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w

    This is the UN data made visible. This is not someone’s interpretation or some other person’s pet ideas, this is actually what is happening in the world over time. This is entirely factual.

    Give it a try.

  66. Geoff M

    I will make only three briefish comments at present. The matters you refer to are substantial.

    In that quote you extracted from my post, beginning “No-one here demanded that you….” I was not suggesting that anyone had demanded or should have demanded….

    I was asking you to notice how other posters had responded to your comments and suggestions.

    The point I was attempting to make ….. was to draw attention to the way you yourself had behaved, soon after first posting here. I seem to recall your scorning the efforts and actions of several others here. Please note: you haven’t been treated in that style by others. Perhaps you might apply the Golden Rule? (Only a suggestion.)

    Second, “a certain level of prosperity ” is very likely in the future not to involve levels of energy and resource use matching today’s levels. See Ootz above. See also innumerable contributions by BilB, John D, Jumpy, Brian et al on this blog site reporting
    a) technical advances in energy conservation, renewable generation, home insulation, improved transport, battery storage, etc.
    b) installation of promising devices and infrastructure.
    c) notice also the concept of “decoupling” economic growth from energy consumption growth; an important concept.

    Third, the task is enormous. Any serious observer understands that it is enormous. I did not claim to know the full extent of the task; neither should any human.

    Cheerio.

  67. Hello again, Geoff M

    from your post of 12.37pm today

    You use the words “distressing moment”. I would use the words “astounding and revealing moment”.

    Are you aggrieved? I used an inaccurate term, did I?

    Well, “astounding and revealing” would also be apt, IMO.

    Cheerio

  68. Thanks heaps Mr A, Hans Rosling, I’m going to use the shit out of his stuff !

    FWIW I think Geoff M has copped far more personal negativity than he’s dished out. The way with which he rights is as blog rule compliant as I’ve seen.

    ( little heads up to Geoff M from a long termer .If you state a simple fact, someone will say it’s too complex to be sure.. If you state something is too complex to be sure, someone will link to a ” trusted academic ” that says it’s a simple fact. Those someones only do this to those not in the ” blog tribe “. Just sayin. )

  69. Whoa, delete that Mr A thanks and give a thanks to BilB.

    Thanks for pointing out that injustice Mr A.

  70. Ootz, thanks for the links on mindfulness. My wife and I went to yoga classes in the 1980s with a form of yoga that was adapted to western bodies. They had different male and female classes on the basis that males and females have different bodies.

    Also when I was doing a university assignment on ‘stress’ in 1986 I read a boof on meditation techniques.

    It was basically hatha yoga, with exercises and postures, plus a variety of meditation and breathing techniques. I remember being told that if you were driving and late for a meeting you were better off practicing breathing techniques at a traffic light, rather than stressing out.

    Then we had a child and our lives changed.

    In 2000 recovering from heart surgery I attended a 2 hrs x 8 weeks course as an introduction to yoga. Learnt some interesting techniques and remember chanting “Ommm” in a group!

    In recent times I have been doing a ‘quietening of the mind” practice we learnt, and talking to Mark under a tree out near a motel in Chinchilla last night, it is similar to what he understands as ‘mindfulness’.

    Jill Margo says that research done at Griffiths Uni showed that mindfulness does not work. The research was on men suffering from advanced prostate cancer and it appears ‘working’ was meant to impede the progress of the cancer.

    This expectation may be not just be dopey, but dangerous.

    Thanks for the links, which I’ll need to take time to absorb. After that I may or may not do a post.

  71. Brian, mindfulness for me is an unexplored concept. I don’t suffer from stress, though for the few times when I might imagine that I was stressed I can see how meditation techniques would work to unload the brain an allow it to clear out the toxins left by excessive strain. I would have thought though that sleep does much the same thing all be it in a different conscious state.

  72. Brian I was wondering if you could fish out my moderated comment posted after John Davidson’s on JANUARY 7, 9:29 PM.
    It was definitely on topic not on mindfulness, but may contained three links. There were three good links in it with regards to critique of Hawkens’ modelling and his respond to it as well as how difficult it is to do modelling in social science and how social science can contribute to our understanding of CC and implementing. It would address some economic issues raised on here and refocus on the OP
    Thanks Ootz

  73. Ootz, your comment of 12.39pm on 8/1 is now there, also the one you sent four minutes later, presumably written from memory with two links instead of three.

    The current setting is that comments are held up if there are 4 or more links, so there should never have been a problem.

    Curiously, though, both comments ended up in the spam bucket, not the moderation queue, where I would have been alerted of its presence by email.

    Askimet spam software is a strange beast, quite unaccountable. I can’t see any reason why it grabbed those two comments and let subsequent comments through. It may have been a word or a combination of words.

    There is no way I can tell Askimet you are OK. The only option is to keep approving your comments whereby it will probably learn.

    Perhaps, if you don’t already, keep a copy of your comment in a Word file and contact me through the “Contact” page, as I don’t always remember to look in ‘Spam”.

    Cheers.

  74. BilB, when I was doing a fair bit of meditation I felt more ‘centred’ and calm in a default sense.

    This is particularly true when some external challenge comes with a high emotional charge. I find I can pretty much avoid an emotional reaction, and calmly plot the best way forward.

    Not sure that it is associated with meditation, but a Quaker once told me about the merit of being “present where you are”, of fully being in the moment.

    When I’m eating, reading and listening to the radio at the same time it’s an example of what not to do.

    Sometimes sports people, especially cricketers and tennis players, talk about “being in the zone”. It may be something similar.

  75. BilB (Re: JANUARY 8, 2018 AT 4:00 PM):

    Thanks for the link. I’ve converted the file to mp4 to watch later (not now).

    But have you considered my statements:

    I suggest you look at my responses to Ambigulous at JANUARY 8, 2018 AT 12:37 PM, particularly on the Earth’s carrying capacity. Waiting around for the population growth to slow to zero, when the Earth’s carrying capacity appears to have already been exceeded, is a fraught proposition.

    You want me to consider your views but reject mine?

    Yet again GeofM, you did not look at the information, you made an assumption and carried on with your original thinking.

    You didn’t provide a specific link – how do you expect me find it – I’m not a mind-reader – You have now – so I will look at it, as there may be something useful/informative.

    It appears to me you have not bothered to consider my point of view – so, who is the one not willing to reassess their thinking? I reiterate the challenge:

    If you wish to argue that there’s still some of Earth’s carrying capacity reserve not yet utilized, and there is still time to halt further population growth, then please reveal your data/evidence.

  76. Jumpy (Re: JANUARY 8, 2018 AT 7:20 PM):

    ( little heads up to Geoff M from a long termer .If you state a simple fact, someone will say it’s too complex to be sure.. If you state something is too complex to be sure, someone will link to a ” trusted academic ” that says it’s a simple fact. Those someones only do this to those not in the ” blog tribe “. Just sayin. )

    Thanks for the confirmation.

    It seems to me I’m shaking up some people’s thinking, and when challenged they can’t provide a reason argument or credible data to defend their positions, so they resort to name calling and personal attacks. I think it’s unfortunately a representation of the wider community. And that’s why I think we are in such a mess – denial of facts and reasoned arguments.

    I’d like my evidence to be wrong. But where’s the compelling counter-arguments and data?

  77. GeofM,

    You again failed to look at the information, preferring to convert it to an mpeg file to watch later. Watching the video would have taken no longer than it took you to write the comment.

    However had you watched the video you would have seen that the Earth’s human population is slowing to a halt with a very predictable zero growth apex time.

    As to the link, you had all of the information that you required to find it. I do a google search with those words to find the video every time I refer it to other’s attention.

    In relation to points that you were hyperventilating to Ambigulous, yes the earth does have a sustainable carrying capacity which in the past has been suggested as being around 3 billion humans, the population as it was in 1960.

    This however, is a huge subject. The longer we over consume, the lower the sustainable population will be. But then there are so many levels of existence from how we live (but fewer of us) now down to a cave dwelling existence consuming zero non renewable resources.

    Your point seems to be that some one has got to do something about IT, to which I think that every one here will agree. But what??

    The answer to that I suspect will be along the lines of Hawkens rationale, ie not the obvious direct path but a carefully analysed path which might for instance be something like enfranchising women to have two votes each.

    Whatever the optimal solution I believe the best method to find that golden path is most rapidly to be found utilising Hans Rosling’s “mind the gap” software, and using it in many ways.

  78. Graham, Gamble in the book I’ve been quoting from does a lot of what you suggest. There is a lot for political thinkers of all stripes to be gleaned from those guys in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

    Mark has been spending a lot of time looking east and says that if you go back to 1800 many people in the east had a comparable or at times better standard of living than the west, and interesting ways of relating to each other in state building also.

    The west leveraged the advantage gained from coal into military power, and now the West is deemed to be best, but not necessarily so for a decent future.

    Anyway I’m not automatically equipped to sort all that out, but if we find interesting authors we’ll certainly talk about them.

    Geoff M, not everyone challenges everything they disagree with. You can be reasonably certain, however, that everyone will disagree with Jumpy’s view of what the form was before you came whether they can be stuffed saying so or not.

  79. Thanks Brian, I don’t know what happened it was very peculiar. Good to know that I can post 4 links, I saw BilB doing 3 links the other day and thought I’ll try that. I don’t often save comments before posting but will try to remember.

    Anyway, just to summarise the major critique of Hawken by Utne is

    Drawdown is heavy on the techno fix, and does little to challenge the logic of the market economy and the compulsion for growth that drives it. Nor does it question techno-industrialism, or consumerism, or the myth of “progress,” or the centrality of human beings over nature. And it doesn’t ask the reader to do much at all.

    To which Hawken replies

    Drawdown does not tackle the market economy. That was not our purpose. Nor did we tackle his list of other concerns. The questions he raises about market economies, growth, consumerism, etc. are tackled head on by Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything

    Which is a bit of a cop out or at least misleading, as one would assume, as most commentators on here did, that addressing market economy would be essential when one sets out

    to map, measure, and model 100 substantive solutions to global warming based on their carbon impact, either through avoided/reduced emissions or their capacity to sequester carbon.

    However, it is Hawken’s methodology and ‘modelling’ that really deflates his arguments and solutions.

    The reader is told several times that the Drawdown project is based on measurement, mathematics, and rigorous modeling by scientists and researchers, but this is a case that remains to be made. The photo in the section called “Numbers” illustrates the dilemma. It is a visually intriguing collage of 20 tables of figures and their graphical display. However, it is only symbolic. It is too small to allow the reader to examine the content.

    The Drawdown team multiplies a handful of numbers by a scale factor for each action and scenario; then the results for all 80 actions are (essentially) added together to represent the scenario. However, this approach to scaling up ignores the profound differences among regions.
    The all-important physical and economic interdependencies among the 80 actions also require attention. These include competition over access to up-front capital to fund new infrastructure and over potentially scarce resources that will be in growing demand.

  80. BilB and others, I can recall hearing arguments that the carrying capacity of the earth for homo sapiens is about 100,000, and I’ve heard of multiple along the way by adding zeroes up to about 100 million.

    After that or around there there will always be an argument that we are taking up too much space as one species, and interrupting the free development of the rest.

    Most of the argument, however, is on how we can go on hogging most of the room and resources without wiping ourselves out.

    So any argument needs to start with the whole ecosystem and how we see our species in relation to others.

  81. Ootz, gotta go out now, but 4 links land you in moderation. It’s set to catch 4 or more.

    So 3 should be good.

  82. It is perhaps because of Hawken’s selective choice of variables and vague definitions thereof that we get bogged down with issues such as population and carrying capacity. I don’t know how many times I have to mention and how many links I have to post but carrying capacity in this context is not useful if not applicable at all. As a last resort I’ll point to wikipedia and as I said, reputable research, such as that done by OECD do prefer to use ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT and even that, as a parameter, does not come without problems. Human carrying capacity maybe ok to do basic back of envelop calculations but certainly not useful at all when feeding it into social modelling and expecting tangible solutions.

    That is the problem with Hawken’s work, his methodology and problem definitions are not tight enough to call his model and solutions applicable. However, it is a good idea and a start on which to improve. So while ‘population’ is an important parameter in finding solutions to CC, variable to this regard need to be much better factored in than what carrying capacity does.

    GeoffM, please also revisit my ‘evidence’ on carrying capacity here

  83. Brian,

    The carrying capacity is a moot point until we can learn to give up greed.

    My CGRPT thought experiment demonstrated that people of all stripes will not give up their position in the Howard property value Ponzi scheme to give their offspring a chance at a good life. We are determined to ride our property value right up to the time of our death, at which point there is no point other than the minor windfall for our then late middle aged children. Think about the irony of that.

    The whole thing is driven on by stories by a handful of people who speculate and profit creating the illusion in the minds of the majority that this is all somehow good for everyone.

    I am prepared to draw down and am in the process of handing opportunity over to younger people with more energy and drive. I have put a huge amount of thought and effort in to finding the minimum footprint that maintains a comfortable and improved life.

    The real problem we face is that the failed order is enshrined in government regulation (opportunity for Jumpy to say I told you so) and making the changes to a reduced footprint is almost against the law, not to mention against the national McMansion/ATRV infected psyche.

  84. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 8, 2018 AT 2:23 PM):

    GeoffM, you seem to simplify the issue.

    Jumpy has warned me someone would use the “that’s too simplistic” argument. And there it is.

    Earth’s capacity to support people is determined both by natural constraints and by human choices concerning economics, environment, culture (including values and politics), and demography.

    Earth’s capacity to support people is determined by Earth’s biophysical capacity. We as a species are constrained by the availability (and affordability in an energetic sense, i.e. EROI) of energy – unaffordable energy means life becomes unaffordable. Insufficient, sustainable clean water supplies mean people will get thirsty. Insufficient, sustainable arable land to grow and produce food means people will get hungry. People who are thirsty and hungry are more susceptible to disease. If we as a society continue to ignore that, in part by assuming we can continue to grow the human population and continue to extract more resources (and damage the environment that supports us) indefinitely, then we will be the ones who lose out. There have been mass extinctions before in the history of the Earth’s existence – if we are not too careful, the human species may be another casualty.

    Human carrying capacity is therefore dynamic and uncertain.

    What do you base that on? It’s a simple matching of supply and demand, and determining where the limits of sustainable supply are for the individual resources, and whether we have reached or exceeded them. It looks to me like your statement is an obfuscation.

    Human choice is not captured by ecological notions of carrying capacity which is appropriate for nonhuman populations.

    That seems to me like a faith-based religious construct. Are you saying humanity is a special case, outside the normal biophysical constraints? I put it to you that human populations are constrained by the availability (and affordability in energetic sense) of resources supporting it, just the same as non-human populations. We live on a finite planet, with finite energy resources, finite land, finite water resources, a finite atmosphere, and finite mineral resources. No ifs, no buts, no exceptional cases. Good planets are difficult to come by, so we should avoid wrecking this one we live on. There are at least a few indicators suggesting we are in the process of wrecking spaceship Earth for humanity’s needs – anthropogenic climate change is one.

    Without understanding and taking into account complexity of the problem, particularly on the social science side, any modelling on solutions is not likely to be relevant.

    I’ve highlighted in a comment above that at least one study suggests we have exceeded planet Earth’s biophysical carrying capacity for the human population. Here’s my challenge to you: Do you think this study’s conclusions are correct, or incorrect? If you think they are incorrect, what evidence and arguments do you have to support your position? Or, is this all faith-based for you – you believe in some position/notion – so it must be? Perhaps it’s the thought that we may have already exceeded Earth’s carrying capacity that’s too frightening a proposition for you, and you reject the proposition without consideration of the evidence?

    I ask you to argue your case/position. Can you do that?

  85. BilB (Re: JANUARY 9, 2018 AT 1:14 PM):

    You again failed to look at the information, preferring to convert it to an mpeg file to watch later. Watching the video would have taken no longer than it took you to write the comment.

    As I have said before: I don’t have unlimited internet access. Time use is critical for me.

    Where exactly in the YouTube video does it talk about the carrying capacity of Earth? Please provide a time interval? I’ve seen up to around time interval 12:30 (until the mp4 file failed) and there is no relevance to the Earth’s carrying capacity. You are BS’ing me with irrelevancies pertaining to the argument about the Earth’s carrying capacity, and whether we have already exceeded it or not. Population growth is perhaps slowing, but it is still growing – it has not stopped growing.

    I reiterate for the last time:

    If you wish to argue that there’s still some of Earth’s carrying capacity reserve not yet utilized, and there is still time to halt further population growth, then please reveal your data/evidence.

  86. We didn’t run out of horses for transportation nor salt for food preservation nor gold for currency, we used other things.
    Rosling thinks 11 billion is the terminal velocity of population. Best the central planning thinkers prepare for that.

    Come to think of it, has the World ever run out of anything?
    Isolated pockets had shortages at different stages but we sorted it.

  87. I don’t understand how the market economy gets smeared in the CC debate.
    The seeds of every coal fire electricity production system in the World I can think of ( please share if you know of exceptions) has been commissioned or built by a government. Some still do.

    That said, the market economy, for the ” Keynesian demand siders “, must logically blame the consumers for CC not the producers.

  88. Ermm Geoff …. I am speechless … If you think my definition of carrying capacity is “like a faith-based religious construct.”, then I have to inform you that my definition, based on the text you backquote to me, is the one used generally for modelling in social sciences. I very rarely make a comment I can’t backup. In fact the wikipedia (to which i linked to above to simplify things) in the third line

    Changes in habitat quality or human behavior at any time might increase or reduce carrying capacity.

    That is my point, the whole Hawken thing (analysis, model, solutions) is on shaky grounds (PLEASE see the two critiques of it I linked to above). However, Hawken needs to be lauded to undertake such a project and there needs to be improvement on his methodology and some endeavour to include market economics.

  89. To the Salon please
    ( ” I very rarely make a comment I can’t back up ”
    Like the Wild West Gun Bloodbath pre Howard gun laws ? )

  90. The seeds of every coal fire electricity production system in the World I can think of ( please share if you know of exceptions) has been commissioned or built by a government

    Consider it shared:

    In 1882 the world’s first coal-fired public power station, the Edison Electric Light Station, was built in London, a project of Thomas Edison organized by Edward Johnson.

    In September 1882 in New York, the Pearl Street Station was established by Edison to provide electric lighting in the lower Manhattan Island area.

  91. Zoot
    Edison won a contract to do that from local government
    Your link tells you his initial customers, government.
    Consider that reinforcement of my comment.
    Thanks.

  92. GeoffM Re carrying capacityI hope you’ll take it from the Australian Academy of Science

    Many people worry that population growth will eventually cause an environmental catastrophe. However, the problem is bigger and more complex (oh, there is that word again) than just counting bodies.

    Scientists are yet to conclusively determine the human ‘carrying capacity’ of Earth.

    However, while population size is part of the problem, the issue is bigger and more complex (sorry but there is that word again) than just counting bodies.

    There are many factors at play. Essentially, it is what is happening within those populations—their distribution (density, migration patterns and urbanisation), their composition (age, sex and income levels) and, most importantly, their consumption patterns—that are of equal, if not more importance, than just numbers. (I rest my case)

    But how many people is too many? How many of us can Earth realistically support?

    Influenced by the work of Thomas Malthus, ‘ carrying capacity ‘ can be defined as the maximum population size an environment can sustain indefinitely.

    Debate about the actual human carrying capacity of Earth dates back hundreds of years. The range of estimates is enormous, fluctuating from 500 million people to more than one trillion. Scientists disagree not only on the final number, but more importantly about the best and most accurate way of determining that number—hence the huge variability.

  93. If we are going to talk about 11 billion people as the carrying capacity of the earth it is worth bandying around a few figures:
    For example, if the 11b all lived in Aus, we are talking about a population density of 1430 people per km2 or a bit higher than the current density for Bangladesh ( 1113).
    1430 people per km2 allows 699 m2 per person.
    Tried to find out how much land it takes to support a person but the answers were all over the place, ranging upwards from 8 m2 per person . However, it seems more likely that, given the shortage of land and the need to seriously conserve water, fertilizers etc. the answer is likley to be some form of mini factory farming with the farm and accommodation close together to allow intense recycling of water and nutrients.
    In this context this article on how NASA-inspired “speed breeding” boosted wheat production threefold.

    Developed by scientists at the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland (UQ) and the John Innes Centre, the technique builds on research trialled by NASA more than a decade ago as a way of producing food during space missions. It sees the crops raised here on Earth inside a glasshouse, under continuous low-cost LEDs that emit light at specific wavelengths to boost photosynthesis.

    “The far-red spectrum is important for triggering the reproductive growth and also light intensity for healthy robust plants,” study co-author and UQ Senior Research Fellow Lee Hickey tells New Atlas.

    Our planet is expected to host an extra two billion people by 2050, but the amount…
    Using its carefully crafted lighting setup, the team was able to grow six generations of wheat, chickpea and barley plants and four of canola plants in a single year, as opposed to two or three in the glasshouse or a single generation in the field. It says it also works for peanuts, amaranth and lentils, and expects it to work for sunflower, pepper and radish.

    “In the glasshouse we currently use high pressure sodium vapor lamps and these are quite expensive in terms of the electricity demand,” says Hickey. “In our paper we demonstrate that wheat and barley populations can be grown at a density of about 900 plants per square meter, thus in combination with LED light systems, this presents an exciting opportunity to scale up the operation for industry use.”

    There is a vision involving other types of plants and vertical farms to further boost production per m2. Then there are recycling systems that incorporate fish tanks, edible insect farms etc. 11 billion people in Aus sounds a bit conservative unless you share my love for wild places and plenty of room for people and the environment to thrive together.

  94. Just to remind ourselves, Hawken started with examples like:

    educating girls and family planning could reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by 2050 — on- and offshore wind power combined would come in at 99 GT

    He is essentially saying that how we populate and how we live will be as important in resolving the climate change issue as more direct actions like building solar panels and wind towers.

    He says he started with 100% peer reviewed science literature, which is fair enough but not a 100% gold standard. However, he and his team have done calculations as to how much carbon and GHG will be saved by particular policies and therein lies a problem. However, the notion that policy makers should broaden their focus has merit, I think.

    In looking forward, I don’t think it is possible to forecast how life is going to be lived and how people will spend their time in 2118.

    I do think that Geoff M is excessively intimidated by notions of the limits on energy available. I suspect people (not me I’ll be gone) are going to live in a world that has energy available that we have not dreamed of. I’m often coming across articles in the New Scientist talking about unusual energy sources. I’ll post them in future.

    If you open up the limits on energy, then the limits of clean water open up, as does movement, food and making things, if that is what we want to do.

    Finally, I’d like to illustrate just what could happen in a population where fertility rates are low. In Italy the fertility rate for women is 1.35 on average, against a replacement rate of 2.1. That is about 64.28% of the replacement rate.

    If you multiply a population of 60 million by 64.28% four times you are left with around 10 million. Four generations in 100 years or a little more.

    One of the most significant inventions of the 20th century was the pill which allowed women, other things equal, to control their own fertility.

  95. Edison won a contract to do that from local government
    Your link tells you his initial customers, government.

    Nowhere does the linked article mention or imply a contract for the London power station. What is the source of your information?
    The link does say that among his London customers were the City Temple, the Old Bailey and the GPO. A church, a court and the post office, but nowhere does it say or imply any of them “commissioned or built” the power station (the condition you set).
    If you had read my comment properly you would have seen that my second example, the New York facility was “established by Edison”. No government contract, not commissioned by any level of government, not even a mention of of a government customer.
    Surely you can do better.

  96. My comment above is about what may be possible . It is relevant to reducing human footprint as well as supporting larger populations if we are silly and arrogant enough to want it.

  97. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 9, 2018 AT 9:22 PM):

    Thanks very much for your link to the Australian Academy of Science. If you scroll down to below the sub-heading Population consumption, you should find a quote from the Global Footprint Network that states:

    “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.”

    That’s the same study I was referring to in my earlier comments. The question remains: Is the statement attributed to the Global Footprint Network correct in reality, or not? That’s what I’m asking.

    The fact that the Australian Academy of Science has referred to it suggests to me they have considered it as a distinct possibility, otherwise why would they refer to it? Now, I accept that more information is probably required to provide a greater level of confidence to the proposition that the human population may have exceeded the Earth’s long-term sustainable carrying capacity, but it is still a major worry.

    Further below (in the link you have provided) at the Conclusion it states:

    Population is an issue that cannot be ignored. While we can all do our bit to reduce our own global footprint, the combined impact of billions of other footprints will continue to add up. There are many who believe that if we do not find ways of limiting the numbers of people on Earth ourselves, then Earth itself will eventually find ways of doing it for us.

    And yet many politicians and business leaders still talk about continual growth (including population growth) as a good thing.

  98. zoot
    JANUARY 9, 2018 AT 11:41 PM
    Simple deduction, or did Edison supply electricity for 3000 street lights for free ?
    This was its initial use, to provide public lighting.
    The City of London Corporation is the local government.

    Or maybe Edison just built a coal fired electricity station for the fun of it and the CLC, coincidentally said ” Hey Tom, mind if we plug them lights of yours into that and stick em all up and down the streets please ? “

  99. Simple deduction

    So no E…Vid…Ence
    Hence your pants self combust according to your rules.
    BTW you still haven’t attempted a “rebuttal” to my second example.

  100. Although you may have me with America, well spotted.
    What an amazingly successful place America is from private enterprise.

    Ok, I’ll give you one, any others ?

  101. I realise it’s difficult when someone challenges the tenets of your faith, but a knowledge of history would benefit you.
    As a rough generalisation, during the Victorian era when construction of power plants commenced, the attitude of government was laissez faire. In other words, they were loath to initiate anything that they believed could be handled by private enterprise (a bit like libertarians today).
    My historian friend tells me that “Life in the Cities”, volume 3 of Michael Cannon’s history of Australia, demonstrates very clearly the shortcomings of this approach (particularly with regard to sewage removal). Maybe you could exercise your library card.

  102. Cheers Geoff Miell, now we are talking 🙂 Look you’ll find we have more to agree on than not. In essence, my argument is with regards to CO2 emission reduction:

    – Yes population is a major factor as are environmental constraints I absolutely agree with you on that and as such ‘scare’ me too.

    – Where I do differ, it seems, that is that these two entities are not static but dynamic. They also interact and are related in many ways.

    – I argue that an analysis of such dynamic systems requires well defined and nuanced parameters in order to produce valid and reliable predictions as well as intervention models.

    Hawken is a genius for conceptualising ‘Drawdown’, we urgently need that kind of thinking. Full credit to him and his team to meta analyse the massive amount of previous research, also for the pioneering work to model these is a break through. However, if I would be a policy maker I’d be asking serious question before I would take his ‘solutions’ as credible.

    What I would be doing though, is invest into further research on this, because we do need valid and reliable solutions. To me the real scary thing is how little we actually know actually.

  103. Ootz, me old cobber!

    I think a first step in planning research is an understanding (or outline) of what is both
    i) unknown, and
    ii) worth knowing.

    We as a species now have several hundreds of years experience with ‘the scientific method’, industrial scale engineering, and dozens of relevant scientific disciplines.

    We are beginning to understand the social sphere, including organisations and individuals.

    Then in addition we humans have had logic, mathematics, law, philosophy, religion and literature for several thousand years.

    How could we go wrong??
    🙂

    **********
    It’s good that you and others are considering the “difficulties of knowing”, which are fundamental to intelligent discussion, and to our human predicament. It seems we are (as a species) somewhat prone to being misled by
    * our strong beliefs
    * our recent experiences
    * the subtleties of language
    * simplistic ideologies
    * unscrupulous leaders
    * and bl&&dy ridiculous rumours….

    Apart from that, we’re just fine 😉

    Three cheers for the epistemologists!

  104. Blog phenomenon No. 382634
    If a generalisation is used, someone will use specifics.
    When that someone’s specifics are challenged, that someone will revert to generalisation.
    These someone’s only employ this to those outside the ” blog tribe “

  105. the cricket oval, wednesday evening

    dear mr zoot,

    you and i have occasionally suggested to mr jumpy that he should exercise his library card. he told us that he had got a card last year. can i ask you, just privately and sotto voce:

    has he exercised it? (the card, i mean)

    not that i demand he should, and i know it’s holidays and he went fishing with his son, but still….. a curious public awaits news …..

    yours sincerely,
    mr ambigulous

    ps: do you think he realises he has a fan base beyond his dear family?

    pps: does the library card make him “card-carrying” at all? a bit worried, i heard that those folk are notorious

  106. Specific/general is one of the oldest problems in rhetoric, education and philosophy, Mr J.

    For “rhetoric”, see Ancient Athens.
    Libraries await; or Wiki.

    ***
    If you like your leaders to be military, see Julius Caesar* reporting on Gaul [conquering of]

    Veni, vidi, Wiki!

    “I came, I saw, I Googled!”

    * Julius scores italics because he was Italian, IMO.
    All right Geoff M, Roman.

    Italy didn’t exist.
    Only an ignoramus australianus could write such an absurd statement.

    You win.

  107. Zoot
    So there are about 200 countries in the World , and maybe 1- .5% of those could be so far considered not to have Government initiated coal fired electricity generation.

    What of the other 99 -99.5% ?

  108. These someone’s only employ this to those outside the ” blog tribe “

    Do I detect the faint aroma of burning martyr?

  109. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 10, 2018 AT 8:08 PM):

    – Yes population is a major factor as are environmental constraints I absolutely agree with you on that and as such ‘scare’ me too.

    I would ague that population growth is a major driver of most of our other problems – CO2 emissions driving climate change, resource depletion, degradation of Earth’s environment, extinction of species, and the list goes on…

    – I argue that an analysis of such dynamic systems requires well defined and nuanced parameters in order to produce valid and reliable predictions as well as intervention models.

    The Australian Academy of Science is warning about the dire consequences rising CO2 emissions driving climate change, and governments do little about it.

    Thanks to your link, I see the Australian Academy of Science is also warning about the dire risks of increasing population growth, and politicians and business leaders continue to promote population growth as a good thing.

    Do you see the parallels here?

    We don’t have the time to be absolutely certain what climate change will do in 10 years time, 20 years time, etc. We need to act now and pull our CO2 emissions down substantially in quick time. The IPCC reports are years behind the latest scientific thinking and are conservative.

    Likewise, we cannot sit around and wait for absolute confirmation whether the human population has exceeded planet Earth’s carrying capacity, or not. The Global Footprint Network is already warning we have already exceeded it – they may be right, and they may be wrong. But can we afford to wait and take the risk that they are wrong? The human population on Earth is approaching 7.6 billion, and continuing to grow.

    What I would be doing though, is invest into further research on this, because we do need valid and reliable solutions. To me the real scary thing is how little we actually know actually.

    Further research is fine, but this is a risk management problem. We cannot afford the risk to wait for absolute confirmation. I think we know enough to act. We need to reduce CO2 emissions. We need to stop the human population growing further. We need to stop squandering our resources.

    We as a society are not being honest about the risks and consequences.

  110. Brian (Re: JANUARY 9, 2018 AT 11:16 PM):

    I do think that Geoff M is excessively intimidated by notions of the limits on energy available.

    I’d like to agree with you, but I suspect your statement is based on an underestimation of the issues. I think you are dismissing my concerns about our looming energy security/affordability/availability in the same fashion as a climate change ‘sceptic’ dismisses concerns about those threats.

    Firstly, looking at the present threat to our energy security, I refer you to last week’s The Australian article headlined US forces too weak to defend Australia, says Jim Molan, that includes:

    “But still we need to defend our national interests independently. In particular, we need to address our critical vulnerabilities around fuel security and high-end weapons holding. Without doing so, we could be reduced to impotence in less than a week.”

    Senator Molan said the fuel threat had been assessed by former air force vice-marshal John Blackburn, who reported in 2015 that any disruption to Australia’s sea lines through an act of terrorism or conflict in the South China Sea would deplete supplies within weeks, grounding the military and bringing essential services to a halt. Separately, the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics estimated that industry stocks were 19 days of petrol, 17 days of aviation fuel and 12 of diesel oil. Australia was virtually alone among developed countries in not having a government-mandated strategic reserve of fuel.

    Do you think that warnings from a former major-general and a former air vice-marshal in the ADF, about our nation’s apparently inadequate liquid fuel security should be ignored? I’ve witnessed first-hand how a nation can be substantially disrupted within days without liquid fuels, but that was a situation where the solutions could be resolved relatively quickly before real damage occurred. What Blackburn and Molan are warning about can’t easily be fixed quickly. And our Australian Government has no will to even try to fix it – the “she’ll be right” attitude, that has persisted for many years.

    Secondly, looking at the looming threats to our energy security, there’s the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2016 that showed for the first time in Figure 3.16 that a global oil supply-demand gap may emerge before 2020. There are other examples with similar warnings. Why did the IEA put this figure in their WEO-2016? Are they wrong? What’s the evidence? Or do we just ignore it because it’s too inconvenient (and too difficult) to accept? A head in the sand, “she’ll be right” approach?

    Our civilisation is currently heavily dependent on abundant, affordable petroleum-based liquid fuels, and there’s little sign of this critical dependency changing substantially for years. I’ve said these things before but it seems this has not lodged into your consciousness. I ask you how you would go about your business without (or with steadily decreasing supplies of) liquid fuels? Where does your food come from – is it dependent on petroleum fuels to reach you? I think you are taking a supreme optimist’s, ‘fingers crossed’ approach to our energy security – the same attitude that our governments are taking. I think a “she’ll be right” attitude is exposing us to an increasing risk of dire consequences – consequences that can potentially kill many people. I suppose that is one way to fix the population growth problem, but I don’t recommend it.

    I suspect people (not me I’ll be gone) are going to live in a world that has energy available that we have not dreamed of.

    Thirdly, you’re assuming the “not dreamed of” energy systems will, like a miracle, inevitably appear to save us all. You’re betting on a dream that you say you won’t be around to see. If there are not already proven solutions available now, they are no good to those you say you’ll be leaving behind. We need zero-carbon emission systems deployed right now and at a large-scale to mitigate dangerous climate change and mitigate a looming post- ‘peak oil and gas’ situation. There are some solutions available, and strong will with a sense of urgency, is now required to deploy them. The problem I see is finding affordable, abundant replacements for liquid fuels – biofuels are unlikely to solve this problem because of fatal petroleum-dependency and poor EROI.

    I’m often coming across articles in the New Scientist talking about unusual energy sources. I’ll post them in future.

    There’s no harm in showcasing unusual energy sources, but are they proven technologies, or just prototypes requiring further development, or just theories? Technical competency is required to evaluate whether these energy sources are worthwhile propositions for large-scale, fast deployment now or soon, or of limited benefit, or remaining as curiosities. Do you have the competency to tell the difference and pass judgement?

    If you open up the limits on energy, then the limits of clean water open up, as does movement, food and making things, if that is what we want to do.

    The limits on energy are constrained by the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, and the finite resources that are available to us here on planet Earth. No ifs, no buts. The limits/constraints are not optional, whether we like it or not. This is not like a computer game where you change a few parameters and reset the game to win – we have one chance at this with the rules and resources already fixed and the clock ticking. So, the availability of clean water, transport, food and making things, etc. will inevitably depend on how much affordable, abundant energy is available in the future.

  111. Geoff Miell, reading through your response to me I tend to agree with Brian on you being “excessively intimidated”. For example you put twice the word ‘dire’ into the mouth of the Australian Academy of Science, a word you won’t find in their report. You use emotive but very general expressions such, “we don’t have time” and “we cannot sit around”.

    Look no one here, except perhaps jumpy, would argue with you that business as usual is not sustainable. We even agree with you that it is a risk management issue of enormous scale. However, we are not running around like headless chooks, shouting the sky is going to fall! To fall into reflexive flight – fight mode, it is what jumpy would call ‘climate doomsayers’ do. Look at your general statement “we don’t have the time” and “we cannot sit around”. Well do we not have time and resources to examine the problem and solutions more accurately? Is anyone of us suggesting to sit on our arses on this? No,I suggest we calmly are looking at validity and reliability of Hawken’s new research, nothing more nothing less. You urge us to act. Who says we are not acting as individuals and in social entities? Act what? You say, “we need to stop the human population growing further”. Well Geoff, these is an incredibly difficult and complex task if you want to do that ethically or are you suggesting we use Hitler’s final solution. He too was suggesting that the situation was “dire” with the urgency to “acting now”.

    Besides that I am encouraged that you have moved from simplistic carrying capacity models and started to quote the Global Footprint Network. However, I disagree with your “” – they may be right, and they may be wrong. But can we afford to wait and take the risk that they are wrong?”” I hate to inform you, but by their accounting system we rapidly have to depopulate cities as a priority perhaps by emulating Mao’s great leap forward ( that would also help to reduce population by about 45 mio, depending who you talk to). The Global Footprint Network methodology has many flaws. For example too, it would disadvantage biological agricultural methods over industrial methods, as it emphasises in its accounting bioproductivity and not biodiversity and so forth.

    There is this tendency in ‘dire’ situations to hurry looking for solutions, grab the next best thing and run with it, because it make you feel good doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING. It is easy to outsource thinking and jump on bandwagons. I rather, while chipping away doing what I can do, look for obvious and effective solutions as well as build on and refine existing ones.

  112. Oh come now, Ootz.

    The world champions in “depopulating cities” were the Angka regime in Cambodia (Kampuchea) in April 1975, who emptied Phnomh Penh in about a week at gunpoint, putting patients in hospital beds onto the roads, such was their exemplary thoroughness. Rulers known to the outside world as Khmer Rouge.

    Absolute world champions in modern times!! Decided the townies needed to go out and grow rice. Had very unrealistic production targets for rice. Provided insufficient rations to the townies.

    A bit like N Korea: starvation and murders ensued.

    Mao’s Great Leap Backwards, where people were expected to produce steel in backyard smelters (for example) was a picnic. Easy-peasy. Starvation and murders thrown in as a bonus.

    It’s because of examples like that, within living memory, that every citizen has good reason (and every right) to question the proposed remedy for a purported “emergency”.

    We should learn from history, both man-made disasters and human triumphs.

  113. Indeed, but there’s no warnings on the box Jumpy.

    Instead it says “Workers’ Paradise”, or “People’s Democracy”.

  114. Ahem, Mr Jumpy

    I was referring to the Communists, not the socialists.

    (But please let’s not go over once again that socialist/social democrat/democratic socialist/anarcho-socialist/Fabian/Union ground.)

  115. Indeed, but there’s no warnings on the box Jumpy.

    Seems to be a systemic fault. There’s no warnings on the “Empire” or “Christianity” boxes either.
    We need tougher labeling laws!

  116. Geoff Miell, you sound like I feel – you keep saying the same thing, but no one is listening. So think about this – what if we both feel the same way but we are saying almost opposite things – where does that leave us?

    Anyway I will say my thing again, and back it up with boring statistics later if I have to – population growth is important but it is also something of a diversion, a way for people in wealthy countries to avoid taking responsibility. Most population growth is taking place in poor countries with low emission rates. Look at the figures for Afghanistan for example.

    It is people in wealthy countries, and the way of life we present for others to emulate, that is the most pressing problem. Countries like Australia have very high per capita emission rates, 10 or more times higher than countries like Afghanistan. We need to reduce our emission levels before telling poor countries what they should do, and we need to do it urgently.

    Much of the way of life associated with our high emission levels isn’t even good for us – motorised transport, diets high in meat, fat, and processed food, sedentary lifestyles enabled by technology – they are associated with the rise of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes (and some forms of cancer) which are the biggest health problems in both high and middle income countries, in fact globally.

    Finally you don’t suggest how to reduce population growth. Education and empowerment of women is the best approach, but have you talked about that? I haven’t seen you doing so here, I think.

  117. Yes Val, we should focus on the Countries with the lowest Female education and empowerment.

    Have you got a list the worst offending Countries ?
    We could try to brain storm why they are that way and suggest solutions.
    Perhaps a list of best example Countries to nut out what they’re doing right too.
    I’m all for that.
    ( probably off topic so best to continue on the SS )

  118. GM: I have noted previous comments of yours re fuel reserves for Aus in general. I had already read in New Scientist that the average big city has about three days worth of food in the city and a crisis would occur if flu knocked out the truck drivers. The developed world is not well prepared for war, disease or other major disasters. If nothing else cities need stores of key foods etc. Just in time just ain’t good enough in real crisis.
    It is all very nice to talk about strategic fuel reserves but you wonder how many hours they would last if we were attacked by a modern army and air force.
    In terms of energy resilience our best protection would be rooftop solar, homes, businesses and vehicles.
    I would point out that most of the radical forms of transportable energy I talk about are based on commercially available tech. You really need to do your homework before going in on the attack.

  119. I’ve just had time to skim the comments, but would recommend the latest summer replay of ABC RN’s The Money Flooring it: the economics of cars to Geoff M and all..

    They reckon the electric (self driving) car is a genuinely disruptive technology. By 2030, they reckon, 95 per cent of trips will be done by calling up a driverless car service. Doing that will be about a 10th of the cost of owning a car.

    They are predicting peak oil usage in about 2020. Then, they say, the bottom will fall out of the market. Anyone who can’t produce oil at $25 per barrel will go broke.

  120. Cheers Val, you are a breath of fresh air and a ray of light in this stuffy mens domain. Yes a focus on the simplistic interpretation of a ‘population explosion’ is a diversion and an invitation for vested interests to take opportunity of. However, it is still an integral part of CO2 emissions together with consumption rates and as you pointed out that relationship varies from region to region.

    I also agree with you about the physical and economic health cost related to unchecked consumerism in developed nations. Like with CO2 emission, the consequences of such consumption also will play out in the long term, so implementing interventions to that regard will face very likely the same difficulties. Just watch the current state of the sugar tax debate.

    You will find John Davidson brought up the point much earlier on about “education of women leads to a reduction in birth rates: to a point where the more affluent parts of the world would have reducing populations if it wasn’t for immigration and business support for growing populations to help grow their business”. So it would appear that supporting women has different meanings and needs different approaches across nations. I wonder with your background, where do you see opportunities for empowering women here in Australia and how would that contribute to lessening CO2 emissions? Also what can men do to support womens empowerment generally?

  121. Cheers Ootz – I have read the whole thread and Brian’s post (haven’t read Drawdown yet though), but not all in one go. Education and empowerment of women is certainly discussed in Drawdown and reiterated by John D as you point out, but I hadn’t noticed Geoff M engaging with it. Some methods of population control have been very draconian (eg in China and India). I read an interesting piece once, I think it was by Peter Christoff, talking about the risk of ‘green fascism’ (my phrase, I don’t think he used it), and I think we should be aware of that risk.

    I will try to answer your questions later, but just staying with the population/emissions issue at present, I have a question for Geoff M. If we look at two countries comparable in population, like Australia and Cote D’Ivoire:

    – Both have a population of about 25m.
    – Australia’s per capita emissions rate is about 18CO2e.
    – Cote D’Ivoire’s per capita emissions rate is about 0.8CO2e.

    If the population of Cote D’Ivoire is growing by 2.5% per annum, how long before it makes the same contribution to global emissions as Australia, if emission rates in both countries stay stable?
    (I started working this out myself, but thought maybe better if Geoff did it! Short answer is a helluva long time)

    Of course this is ignoring immigration, so it’s not ‘real world’ but it’s an interesting example that shows why focusing on population growth can be a diversionary tactic. Course Geoff has also been focusing on resource constraints, but emission rates are probably a reasonable proxy for that anyway.

  122. Hi Val

    And thanks from me too.

    Not wanting to intrude on your private chat with Geoff M, but here’s a quick ‘back of the envelope’ estimate.

    The ratio of emissions is about 22.5
    (Three figure accuracy not justified because 0.8 has only one figure, but we’re going to drop that precision soon.)

    Let’s use the Rule of 72, or 70, or 69.3. See above.

    With an annual increase of 2.5%, one doubling should take
    70/2.5 years, which is 28 years.

    How many ‘doublings’ are involved in the growth factor 22.5?

    Well, four doublings would give a growth factor of 16; five doublings would give 32. Let’s say the growth is equivalent to about 4.4 doublings. (This we want because the Rule of 70 gives us the time needed for one doubling.)

    So we multiply 28 years by 4.4 and get about 123 years.
    Call it 120 years.

    Your “helluva long time” is absolutely correct, down to eight decimal place accuracy!

    🙂

    Having just illustrated Ootz’s observation that this is a stuffy men’s domain, I will slink away.

    [But I join the others in welcoming your crisp and pertinent comments.]

    Cheerio

  123. Thanks Ambi! Not stuffy at all. I enjoyed maths at school but the only maths I’ve done since then is biostatistics, which I don’t even use much since my work is mainly qualitative. (I keep thinking I should know more about Bayesian statistics but don’t have time). Anyway I’ll take your word for it rather than trying to analyse all your workings, because the point is made. Population growth is an important issue and education and empowerment of women is key, but in terms of the ecological crisis the first priority is for people like us is to get our emissions down. (I’m not saying it’s all about individual action, but collectively as a society)

    I also think the emphasis on technology to fix the problem for us is another diversion – not that technology can’t be useful, but the way the promise of technology is used to avoid looking at what can be done now.

  124. Good on you Val

    One of my aims these days is to re-awaken that love of maths, hidden away deep in people’s minds.
    🙂

    Damn useful, as your Cote d’Ivoire example illustrates.

    It’s sad: the warning signs have been there to see. Thomas Malthus circa 1800 AD, Arrhenius, development studies, famine relief, refugee movements…..
    About 40 years ago, Vance Packard’s book “The Waste Makers” decrying wasteful packaging, production, etc. A big hit, that book.

    But serious recycling not until the 1990s, in Australia at least AFAIR.

    (Plaudits to the re-useable milk bottle circa 1950s to 1970s. Average lifetime about 40 uses. Yes, Virginia. The milk person collected the empties which got washed, sterilised and re-filled.)

    Sterilised so they wouldn’t breed.
    🙂

    Other warnings:
    Ehrlichs “Population Bomb”
    Mrs Thatcher “global warming by GHG”
    UN reports “north vs south, poverty ”
    1950s to 1990s “Ban the Bomb”

    so many wise words. …

    Cheerio

  125. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 11, 2018 AT 2:49 PM):

    Geoff Miell, reading through your response to me I tend to agree with Brian on you being “excessively intimidated”. For example you put twice the word ‘dire’ into the mouth of the Australian Academy of Science, a word you won’t find in their report. You use emotive but very general expressions such, “we don’t have time” and “we cannot sit around”.

    Your using the same arguments that climate change ‘skeptics’ use in downplaying the need to do something about climate change.

    This is what the Australian Academy of Science is stating (not me):

    Population is an issue that cannot be ignored. While we can all do our bit to reduce our own global footprint, the combined impact of billions of other footprints will continue to add up. There are many who believe that if we do not find ways of limiting the numbers of people on Earth ourselves, then Earth itself will eventually find ways of doing it for us.

    So you think the bit highlighted in bold is too alarmist for you? Should we ignore this warning, because it’s not definitive enough, and we need to get more data?

    These are the same arguments that climate change ‘skeptics’ and deniers use for delaying action on climate change, are they not?

    Well do we not have time and resources to examine the problem and solutions more accurately?

    While we wait around to “examine the problem” the human population continues to grow – approaching 7.6 billion, and no sign of stopping. Demographers are talking about a world population growing to 9 or 10 billion. When do we say enough is enough?

    You state:

    I hate to inform you, but by their accounting system we rapidly have to depopulate cities as a priority…

    Well, that’s because the Global Footprint Network say:

    “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.”

    If the Global Footprint Network is correct in their statement above, then it is logical to reduce the population, because the Earth’s resources cannot sustain us at current population levels.

    I asked you before: What evidence do you have that indicates that the Global Footprint Network is wrong? And I’ll now add: What evidence is there to indicate the Earth’s carrying capacity? Have we exceeded it, or is there still time to halt further population growth before we exceed it? Or are we already stuffed (per Global Footprint Network)?

    These are some big questions that I suspect you don’t have answers to. We should be talking about effective solutions – solutions that can halt further population growth. But when you have many leaders saying growth is a good thing, I think there’s an uphill battle.

  126. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 11, 2018 AT 9:26 PM):

    The developed world is not well prepared for war, disease or other major disasters. If nothing else cities need stores of key foods etc. Just in time just ain’t good enough in real crisis.

    No argument from me. Just-in-time relies on availability of energy resources (especially liquid fuels) to move goods from one place to another just in time. Stop the fuel supply and it all collapses.

    No liquid fuel means no food very soon after, and all the other things we take for granted. And then the dying starts.

  127. BTW no nation is well-prepared for a nuclear attack.

    The premise of Peter Watkins’ famous film The War Game, made for the BBC but not broadcast for decades, was that simple arithmetic showed that medical and hospital services in Britain would not cope after an atomic attack.

    this is germane, if the focus here is preparedness

    We are also ill-prepared for a terrestrial meteorite collision of huge magnitude (in human terms), or for a nuclear winter.

    Floods, cyclones, earthquakes, famines, droughts, long strikes, oil shortages: small beer! No bl**dy worries mate!!

    I don’t see these as red herrings.
    Risks.

  128. Hi Geoff, I see you haven’t engaged with my questions yet, and you are still saying that population growth is the most important problem.

    So I will try another way. Let’s say we have two villages, A and B, and they have a limited supply of a resource they rely on. It’s not clear how much there is exactly but best estimates are they shouldn’t use more than 1000 units per year.

    Both villages have 50 people. People in Village A use on average 20 units of the scarce resource per year each (ie 1000 total). People in Village B use on average 1 unit each (ie 50 total).

    However people in Village B generally have more children than those inVillage A, and in 100 years or so they may well be using as much or more of the scarce resource than Village A (if there’s any left by then).

    There’s debate over what should be done, although some people don’t believe the resource is going to run out or believe that they’ll find a solution before it does. The debates are normally conducted in Village A and people from Village B don’t get much chance to speak.

    Somebody, let’s call him Geoff, gets up in one of these debates and says ‘the problem is people are having too many children’. He doesn’t actually say ‘people in Village B are having too many children’ but it’s pretty obvious. Geoff says ‘We’ve got to stop people having so many children, that’s the real problem here’.

    Do you agree with Geoff? Or do you think Village A people should reduce their consumption? Relevant to this is that reducing their consumption somewhat wouldn’t do them any harm and would probably be good for them.

  129. Ha Val, what an elegant way to explain the deeper level analysis required than with a instructive comparison. Complexity rulz!

    Humans have evolved with a tremendous bags of tricks in their brain. These tricks can demand a lot of effort and skills to perform and in the rough and tumble everyday world not many of them are usually required anyway. Thus we have also evolved to be cognitive misers to preserve energy and sanity. It is more convenient and effective to solve the everyday problems with a small tool bag. That is all good and well, until one arrives at a non -everyday problem. First one has to have the specific tool in the bag to be able to check wether it is an ordinary or extraordinary problem. In other words one has to have the capacity to differentiate about specificity and magnitude between ordinary problems and extra ordinary problems. The next trick then one has to have in the toolbox is to be able to analyse the problem to the degree one can establish what sort of a toolbox one needs to fix this particular problem.

    With that in mind, complexity, there is that word again, is actually very simple, because if we can establish a conditional probability or choice for a different outcome to problem fixed we can then go back to the problem prepared. If we still have not the appropriate toolbox, off we go again through the same process a bit like in Bayesian data analysis. So I am not surprised that we often get stuck with a extraordinary problem because we just want to do what we usually do and don’t recognise we are going in circles or worse spiral out of control 🙂 There is much to be said about calm reflection and systematic approaches when the going gets tough. If worst comes to worse, then one can still fall back to the just do something or indulge in emotional excesses and existential angst.

  130. In fact, Geoff, if the ‘footprint’ calculation that we are using 1.5 x times the available ecological resources is correct, then the recommended limit in my story above should be more like 700 units per year.

    But the calculation that Village A (eg Australians) use 20 x more than Village B (eg Côte d’Ivoire) would still be right.

  131. Though I think Ootz if you’re suggesting that we need careful thought on this, I agree, but also that we (the Village A people) should reduce our consumption seems a pretty obvious first step, especially given that we can do it in ways that will make us healthier and probably happier.

  132. Val (Re: JANUARY 11, 2018 AT 8:36 PM):

    Geoff Miell, you sound like I feel – you keep saying the same thing, but no one is listening.

    You noticed. Welcome, Val.

    So think about this – what if we both feel the same way but we are saying almost opposite things – where does that leave us?

    I don’t know about you, but I think your question is illogical. How could “we both feel the same way but we are saying almost opposite things”? That makes no sense to me. If we both felt the same way we would say the same or similar things, not the opposite, or “almost opposite”. I find communication is better if you just state your case, rather than try to use seemingly cryptic analogies.

    Anyway I will say my thing again, and back it up with boring statistics later if I have to – population growth is important but it is also something of a diversion, a way for people in wealthy countries to avoid taking responsibility.

    How is population growth both “important” and “something of a diversion”? Perhaps it’s an important diversion for “wealthy countries”? I’d go along with wealthy countries using it as an excuse not to act. But I argue that everyone needs to do their bit – just like with action on climate change. I would use the analogy of the ship on the water (representing the carrying capacity of Earth) with many people on board, who continue to produce children. As the birth rate exceeds the death rate, the numbers on the ship steadily increase, until the ship starts to take on water and becomes unstable, rolls over and sinks, resulting in a great loss of life. The question I ask is how close are we now, to the point when the analogous ship can no longer accept more people and we destroy or catastrophically damage our support system?

    It is people in wealthy countries, and the way of life we present for others to emulate, that is the most pressing problem.

    Agreed, but that doesn’t let the other, less wealthy countries off the hook. We are all on the same ship – spaceship Earth.

    Finally you don’t suggest how to reduce population growth. Education and empowerment of women is the best approach, but have you talked about that? I haven’t seen you doing so here, I think.

    Well, it seems to me you don’t want to accept that population growth is a critical problem – you call it “something of a diversion”. So, I think you aren’t ready for more radical solutions, and you probably wouldn’t like them either. You say you think education and empowerment of women is the best approach. The real question is whether this method can bring the population to zero growth soon enough, before we exceed the Earth’s carrying capacity. But the Global Footprint Network suggests we are already too late, meaning other more urgent methods are required. I suspect education and empowerment of women won’t be sufficiently effective, and either we utilise more radical methods, or planet Earth does it for us. I may be wrong, but I think most people (and it seems that it includes you) don’t see population growth as something that needs to be urgently attended to, so little effective action will continue to happen.

    And that’s the same deal with climate change – little effective action. And as the clock continues to tick on, we get closer to tipping points we may not be able to recover from. For those who say “I’ll be dead before that happens”, that is no comfort for the living left to deal with it.

  133. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 11, 2018 AT 9:26 PM):

    I would point out that most of the radical forms of transportable energy I talk about are based on commercially available tech. You really need to do your homework before going in on the attack.

    And how much of this “radical forms of transportable energy” have been deployed, John? And if the answer is not much (I know that is the case), how quickly can the rest be deployed to replace/displace the currently dominant petroleum-based liquid fuel energies before the consequences of disrupted liquid fuel supplies are diminished to something much more manageable? Years? Decades? A few decades? It’s likely much more than a decade.

    How are these limited deployments of these “radical forms of transportable energy” going to help Australian society currently heavily dependent on petroleum-based liquid fuels, now or even in a few years’ time? I don’t think you understand at all how vulnerable Australia is right now as far as liquid fuel security is concerned. I think it is you that fails to understand the risks and consequences. She’ll be right, until it isn’t?

    Per NRMA’s Fuel Security Report published in 2013, (here’s ABC RN report on it) by Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn (retired):

    Limited retail stockholdings would impact all Australians: at an individual level, in our businesses and in Government services such as our Defence Forces. No one would be immune from the impact of fuel shortages.

    Chilled/frozen goods: _ _ _ _ _ _7 days’ supply;
    Dry goods: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _9 days’ supply;
    Hospital pharmacy supplies: _ 3 days’ supplies;
    Retail pharmacy supplies: _ _ _7 days’ supplies;
    Petrol stations: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _3 days’ supplies.

    In terms of energy resilience our best protection would be rooftop solar, homes, businesses and vehicles.

    How is rooftop solar going to help us without liquid fuel supplies (even if you are off the electricity grid)? And even if you have an electric vehicle, most of the people and businesses around you don’t. You are not thinking about what energy systems Australia has deployed presently. You appear to be thinking about some far-off utopia, where these so called “radical forms of transportable energy” are in abundance. You need to do your homework and think strategically over a broad time scale that includes the here and now.

  134. Geoff M

    Here’s a possibility to consider
    Geoff Miell, you sound like I feel …. but no one is listening.

    What if Val meant by that statement, that SHE keeps saying the same thing, but no-one is listening TO HER?

    Not that she is saying the same as you,
    but that she is feeling the same as you (not listened to, not agreed with, casting pearls before swine; how can I express this, let me count the ways).

    Of course, I am not Val.
    I can’t be sure that I understood her meaning correctly.
    But that was my interpretation….

    … and if I’m even 50% or (goddess forbid) 60% right, then I’d say it was intemperate of you to call her question “illogical”. Rude, actually.

    You wrote:

    I find communication is better if you just state your case, rather than try to use seemingly cryptic analogies.

    Be that as it may, Geoff M, at least two readers here found that Val had stated her case clearly, and her illustration was neat and germane.

    Cheerio

    PS without wishing to “gang up on you”, I think it helps (it surely helps me) to have one’s mistakes or inconsistencies pointed out. Don’t you agree?

  135. GM

    There you go again….

    And how much of this “radical forms of transportable energy” have been deployed, John? And if the answer is not much (I know that is the case), …..[portion omitted by person quoting the above; full text appears above]

    You pretend to ask John D a question, but forestall a reply by saying you already know the answer.

    I respectfully submit, m’Lud, that perhaps you don’t.

  136. Thank you Ambi you understood exactly what I meant – we both feel as if no-one is listening but we are saying different and in some ways opposing things! So feeling strongly about something doesn’t in itself mean you are ‘right’ – which I think in some ways is similar to what Ootz is saying.

    Geoff, you haven’t engaged with my Village A and B example, which I think does set out the issues quite clearly.

  137. Val, totally agree with you on taking the obvious steps. With regards to careful systemic thinking I was hinting at Geoff being stuck on the illogical relationship between population and consumption, how population can be important (as part of a whole equation) yet at the same time a diversion (when solely taken into consideration).

    Not sure if me being compared to climate change deniers by Geoff will give me some credibility amongst them. It will be interesting how jumpy interpretes this debate, being in unison with Geoff about ‘ganging up’ and yet they could not be further apart in terms of the topic with Geoff being a doomer.

  138. However, it is even more complicated than that, because as soon as a population drastically reduces consumption it will effect their economic system and a different ball game again. This was underlying the previous discussions above in relation to growth and GDP. Hence, one of my major critique of Hawken is that his modelling did not adress economic issues. I ask is it possible to model and implement effective changes to reduce CO2 emission without considering economic realities or circumstances. That is not to say that some of Hawkins solutions, like educating women, can not fit into all three variables and be very effective in reducing emissions.

  139. Exactly Ootz, this is the issue we must consider. I know that the kinds of proposals I am making will lead to a decline in ‘growth’. Yet they could potentially increase our wellbeing.

    The current economic indicators such as GDP measure the amount of exchange of goods and services in a society, but not the well-being of society or the planet. It’s so important that we speak out about this.

    I read an article on ‘Pearls and Irritations’ that discussed this well – will try to post the link.

  140. I’m not sure the boat analogy with population is any good.
    Once the boat is overloaded and capsizes it bobs back up, a few good swimmers survive and start the process over.
    Let’s face it, the good ship Earth has faced worse than humans and floats like new.

    What is the primary thing on it we want to save ?
    Humanity I guess but not the present ones, the unborn ones right ?
    Our primary concern, above ourselves, is future humans. Am I reading the mood in the room correctly?

  141. Sorry again I’ve just had time to skim. How many people saw my comment linking to The Money program where people with a serious eye on the future were saying that by 2030 95% of trips around town would be by dial-up autonomous electric cars? And that peak oil would be reached in 2020, after which the price would tank.

    The details may be wrong, but the guy reckoned he’d looked at every genuinely disruptive technology since 1454 and we have one staring us in the face with autonomous electric cars.

    I saw an article today where they reckon they’ll be updating maps on a world basis within hours by rigging cameras on cars to automatically feed in when a road is closed for whatever reason.

    No doubt whatever happens will be different from the predictions, but I don’t think these blokes are full of sh*t and they are saying that moving people by dialup autonomous electric car will cost a tenth of what it would by car ownership. They are saying that people will still own cars, but perhaps families will only own one and not use it all that often.

    Now Phillip Adams in his best from 2017 has just repeated a program where he interviewed Charles Massy, author of Call of the Reed Warbler, which is really about what Massy calls regenerative farming. Its about techniques which regenerate the land, return at least 20% to the wild as well as improve agricultural productivity, while sequestering enough carbon to take everything the fossil fuel age has put in the atmosphere.

    Mind bending, is what it is.

  142. The article I was thinking of in my previous comment was by Ian McAuley on economy and society https://johnmenadue.com/ian-mcauley-reframing-public-ideas-part-3-economy-and-society/

    It is one of a series on reframing public ideas. In it he talks about how policy makers make a false distinction between “economy” and “society” and assume that economy has priority. He discusses alternative measures to GDP. I was surprised to find that the ABS’ work on measures of genuine progress was stopped by the Abbott government, because I hadn’t known that – guess it wasn’t considered newsworthy, or got lost in the mass of bad things Abbott was doing. Abbott’s ability to find and destroy anything good was like a villainous superpower (possibly I’m spending too much time with 4 year olds).

    McAuley has also written one on economy and society https://johnmenadue.com/ian-mcauley-reframing-public-ideas-part-4-economy-and-environment/. In it he talks about the environment as scarce resource/s, but doesn’t mention population growth – rather the key risk he mentions is short term profit making, which of course is the other side of the excessive consumption that I talked about above.

  143. Brian, re the Call of the Reed Wharbler, it’s on my list of ‘to read’ books – I read some of it for my thesis, but haven’t read it all yet. I went to a conference a few years back where Massey and a few like minded farmers spoke – what they are doing is fascinating.

  144. Thanks Brian

    Some months ago we heard a bloke on RN making similar claims about autonomous electric vehicles. He predicted the switch by (??) 2026…. said he could be out by a decade or so, but it would happen.

    He studies changes (disruptions) in technologies.
    A striking quote: “The Stone Age didn’t finish because we ran out of rocks.”

    Coal Age, anyone?
    Oil Age?

    [I should try to find him, but we’re shortly off to the local, monthly Saturday Market. There is a Food Swap stall where gardeners swap their excess fruit or veg. No money changes hands; co-operative and pleasant.]

  145. Val

    Thanks for those links.
    Just quickly, Ian McAuley is very good value.

    IIRC the first work of his I saw was on the electricity system in Indonesia in the 1970s, article around 1979. He reported brown outs, theft by intrepid amateurs clambering up to connect their houses, and no meters for houses! No wonder they had brown outs.

  146. Ambigulous (Re: JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 4:42 PM):

    Here’s a possibility to consider
    Geoff Miell, you sound like I feel …. but no one is listening.

    What if Val meant by that statement, that SHE keeps saying the same thing, but no-one is listening TO HER?

    Before you tap-away on the keyboard, perhaps you should read my comments carefully? This is the reference I used in my comment at JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 4:24 PM:

    Geoff Miell, you sound like I feel – you keep saying the same thing, but no one is listening.

    Note that the words “but no one is listening” were highlighted in bold. I then stated:

    You noticed.

    Meaning, it appears to me that Val has noticed no one is listening to me. Do you have a problem with comprehension? Too eager to try to shoot me down with an apparently distorted, wacky logic based on your apparent misreading of my comments, and you have ended up appearing foolish? You state that:

    Of course, I am not Val.
    I can’t be sure that I understood her meaning correctly.
    But that was my interpretation….

    And then this contradiction (to the text highlighted in bold above):

    Be that as it may, Geoff M, at least two readers here found that Val had stated her case clearly, and her illustration was neat and germane.

    So, which is it? You can’t be sure that you “understood her meaning“, OR she “stated her case clearly“? You can’t have both – they are mutually exclusive propositions.

    … and if I’m even 50% or (goddess forbid) 60% right, then I’d say it was intemperate of you to call her question “illogical”. Rude, actually.

    What? So, you are saying I’m not allowed to state what I think, and highlight apparently illogical statements? Joe Stalin would have been proud, comrade!

    PS without wishing to “gang up on you”, I think it helps (it surely helps me) to have one’s mistakes or inconsistencies pointed out. Don’t you agree?

    You, not wishing to gang up on me, eh? Is that what you call it? Yeah, right! And why do you feel the need to respond on Val’s behalf? Don’t you think Val is capable to argue Val’s case? I don’t think you are helpful to her case.

    Ambigulous, you keep making gaffes and I keep pointing them out. I think it would be much more productive that perhaps you should think much more before tapping away on the keyboard and clicking the “Post Comment” button? Stop wasting my time with petty, irrelevant things – that’s rude, actually. And perhaps if you paid more attention to the actual comments presented, and provided some useful, relevant and informative responses, you might gain some respect.

  147. Geoff I don’t think anyone is trying to rude to you but you don’t seem to be listening to what others are saying. I’m saying that population growth is a relevant issue, but, in general, the countries with high rates of natural population growth (high birth rates) are not those with high rates of emissions and resource consumption.

    Therefore, for a person from a country with very high rates of emissions and resource consumption, to focus primarily on population growth, seems like a way of avoiding responsibility. I suggest that Australians should strongly focus on reducing our high rates of emissions and resource consumption. We can also support other countries to reduce their birth rates through providing aid and assistance, particularly directed towards the education and empowerment of women.

  148. I must apologise for calling Geoff Miell a doomster yesterday.

    Look Geoff, your contributions are generally very informative and welcomed for their topical content and your specific knowledge. But your unnecessary emotive language does detract from the content. Your urgency to ‘do something’, without much elaboration ‘what and how’ can look a bit hollow, as does your prickliness. You yourself don’t seem to adhere to what you are expecting from us, as with ‘listening’, meanwhile getting hot under the collar when several of us point that out to you.

    Most of us on here have been at it, with CO2 emission and climate change related topics, on Brian’s C+ blog since its inception several years ago as well as on the preceeding blog Larvatus Prodeo, in my case more than 10 years. Some of us also follow and participate on various other similar topical blogs, such as the John Quiggins, I would argue that the quality and accessibility of information on these blogs have been outstanding. In my case I have seriously looked at the topics since Earth Summit in Rio and renewable energy since 1980. Me, and most of us here are fully aware of the magnitude and the complexity of the risk. Please understand you will not gain anything by insinuating that we don’t care or have no understanding of the risk and it’s appropriate management. I have been involved in research on Cyclone warnings and very well aware of the difficulties and nuances required to communicate an awareness and preparedness without unduly scaring people. Also unproductive emotionality and emphasis around such warnings create the opposite of the desired effect state the next time around, when the outcome of the cyclone does not correspond with the perceived urgency and experienced emotions . Remember the be alert but not alarmed

    Most of commenters here also have a very diverse background and thus also have differences. There is no problem with not agreeing with each other, except when it detracts from the topic and it’s rational. As several of us have mentioned, you’ll find we have more in common than you may think, please build on that and not on where we differ if not relevant, it would be very appreciated and will create much more time and space to focus on more pressing issues. For example, it was completely unnecessary to lecture Val and me about the importance of population control, while ignoring and not acknowledging the relevant factors moderating impact of population on CO2 emission which are very pertinent to ‘how to reduce’ population growth and CO2 emissions.

    Best regards Ootz

  149. To quote Val on 12th Jan at 5.08pm

    “Thank you Ambi you understood exactly what I meant…..”

    Geoff M, Val and Ootz have made some valuable observations, IMO, at 12.33pm and 12.54pm.

    BTW, I have also “defended” John D and Brian from your attacks stern criticism. Not only Val. You should not assume that your latest epistle at 10.32am has me scurrying away, never to enter here on behalf of another poster. Bullying words like that deserve only scorn. Consider them scorned.

    You ask me to “stop wasting your time”. Easy enough: never read my posts. I’m writing for others too; not only for you, Geoff M.

    With all good wishes,
    Ambi

  150. Geoff M

    My only other response to your post of 10.32am today 13th is to repeat the first two lines of my reply above at 1.12pm.

    As far as I’m concerned, that ends the matter.

    I look forward to fruitful contributions from you on various topics of interest, in the future.

    Cheerio.

  151. News from The Danielski Demokratisches Republik [Vicoria] with capital Andrusgrad [Melbourne]:

    the changes that the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC) is currently investigating.

    The ESC has proposed setting two different solar feed-in tariffs (FiTs) from 1st July 2018, which retailers can offer:

    a single rate feed-in tariff of 9.9c/kWh at all times, and/or
    a time-varying feed-in tariff, see table below:

    Time-varying minimum feed-in tariff – draft tariff rates:
    Period Weekday // Weekend Minimum rate (c/kWh)
    Off peak 10pm – 7am // 10pm – 7am 7.2
    Shoulder 7am-3pm, 9pm-10pm// 7am – 10pm 10.3
    Peak 3pm – 9pm // n/a 29.0

    {I have inserted “//” to indicate weekday or weekend.
    For example, “peak” is n/a at the weekend. Numbers in BOLD are the suggested tariffs: 7.2 cents, 10.3 cents, and 29.0 cents.}

    Information sent out in an email from “Solar Citizens”.

    At present, DDR has a minimum feed-in tariff of 11.0 c/kWh.

    So the proposal would lower the feed-in tariff at off-peak by quite a bit, and lower it marginally in the “shoulder” but significantly increase it during that “peak” of 3pm to 9pm.

    Where we live, solar output is strong from 3 – 5pm, but reduces markedly after that.

    If you had battery storage, I suppose you could feed some (excess) stored energy into the grid at a time suiting you financially.

    Anyway, it’s just a proposal.
    In the DDR, we get the chance to make a submission.

    What do you think?

  152. Ambigulous (Re: JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 4:46 PM):

    And there you go again. You can’t seem to help yourself.

    You pretend to ask John D a question, but forestall a reply by saying you already know the answer.

    Pretend: (verb): give oneself out (to be or do), make believe; profess or allege falsely; presume (to), lay claim. [Sourced from The Little Oxford Dictionary, fourth edition 1969]

    There’s no pretend in my comment – I asked John D a question and included my own answer. John D has every opportunity to refute my answer in reply, backed-up by evidence/data.

    I note that so far, John D has not refuted my reply, I suggest perhaps because he is unable to do so.

    I respectfully submit, m’Lud, that perhaps you don’t.

    Then I challenge you to back-up your statement by presenting evidence/data to support your position/opinion. I’d doubt you could, and that’s why I think your opinion (in my opinion) is baseless/hollow. Prove me wrong.

    In Saturday’s paper edition of The Sydney Morning Herald was published an op-ed by Minister Josh Frydenberg, who stated:

    But in Australia, the emergence of electric vehicles is a different story. Currently, there are 4000 such vehicles on the road, making up just 0.1 per cent of new vehicle sales. Indeed, New Zealand, which is one-fifth of the population of Australia, has already similar number of electric vehicles on its roads.

    I doubt whether currently around 4000 electric vehicles in Australia would be a sufficient and effective substitute for the millions of inoperable petroleum-fuelled vehicles impacted by a potential severe fuel shortage.

    And your comment implies to me you have ignored my reference to the 2013 warnings by Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn (retired):

    No one would be immune from the impact of fuel shortages.

    Again, I think it’s another example of you being too eager to try and shoot me down, and failing to read my comments carefully.

    And I deduce from your comments at JANUARY 13, 2018 AT 1:12 PM and at JANUARY 13, 2018 AT 5:12 PM that you are unlikely to change your ways – you’re still attempting to excuse your poor behaviour.

    If I think you are wrong, and choose to express it, I give you the curtesy of giving you at least a reason why. But it seems to me you haven’t done so for me.

  153. Val (Re: JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 3:42 PM):

    Sorry for the delay, but I like to consider my responses.

    Hi Geoff, I see you haven’t engaged with my questions yet, and you are still saying that population growth is the most important problem.

    Your questions re village A versus village B are too simplistic (there’s that word). The world is made up of more than 100 countries, with resources not evenly spread among countries. Your analogy does not consider the effects of extreme weather events that could wipe out both village A and B’s support systems – the real world straddles several continents, and multiple environments and climate zones. Countries can have multiple trade agreements. Most countries are dependent on tradable goods and services from other countries. Your simplistic analogy is nowhere near representative of the much more complex (there’s the antonym to the word, simple) real world, so I think it’s a rather meaningless, over-simplistic exercise that would have little, if any, connection to reality. I think your exercise reflects the dictum: GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).

    Did I say population growth is the most important problem? I did state in my comment at JANUARY 11, 2018 AT 11:48 AM that:

    I would ague that population growth is a major driver of most of our other problems – CO2 emissions driving climate change, resource depletion, degradation of Earth’s environment, extinction of species, and the list goes on…

    I state, “a major driver” does not have the same meaning as “the most important problem”. I think you have misrepresented my view. And I stated later in my comment at JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 4:24 PM that:

    Well, it seems to me you don’t want to accept that population growth is a critical problem – you call it “something of a diversion”.

    I also state, “a critical problem” does not have the same meaning as “the most important problem”. A critical problem implies (and that’s my intent) it is one of at least a few critical problems.

  154. Val (Re: JANUARY 13, 2018 AT 12:33 PM):

    Geoff I don’t think anyone is trying to rude to you but you don’t seem to be listening to what others are saying.

    Well, it sure seems like a few (not all) comments are offensive to me, particularly the name calling and questioning of my professional experience. That’s not trying to be rude – that IS rude.

    I read comments posted carefully. If I disagree with them, and I choose to respond (Note to Brian: if I responded to everything I disagreed with here there’d be a lot more comments – life’s too short) with a rebuttal I also include at least a reason why I disagree, preferably with data/evidence in support. If I make an error, I will admit to it, and follow-up with a correction. I don’t make stuff up and I take care to avoid misrepresenting other people’s comments. If people on this forum can’t explain their opinions expressed (particularly if I think they are wrong) with reasoned arguments and evidence/data, then I don’t give them credibility. Perhaps that’s why you perceive me to be not “listening”? Provide some reasoning and evidence/data to back-up your opinions and I may take more notice.

    I’m saying that population growth is a relevant issue, but, in general, the countries with high rates of natural population growth (high birth rates) are not those with high rates of emissions and resource consumption.

    I’m saying that population growth is a critical problem – we seem to disagree on the level of severity of the problem – you call it “a relevant issue“. Australia has high resource consumption per capita, high emissions per capita and high population growth aided by elevated levels of immigration – a trifecta of critical problems.

    I suggest that Australians should strongly focus on reducing our high rates of emissions and resource consumption.

    I agree with you, but I add that Australia needs to reduce its population growth to zero as well – I think Australia is approaching full carrying capacity.

    We can also support other countries to reduce their birth rates through providing aid and assistance, particularly directed towards the education and empowerment of women.

    I don’t disagree with you, but I think it is hypocritical for Australia to urge other countries to reduce birth rates to reduce population growth when Australia’s population continues to grow.

  155. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 5:21 PM):

    With regards to careful systemic thinking I was hinting at Geoff being stuck on the illogical relationship between population and consumption, how population can be important (as part of a whole equation) yet at the same time a diversion (when solely taken into consideration).

    How is the relationship between population and consumption illogical? There’s a direct logical relationship – increase the population and consumption increases – decrease the population and consumption decreases. And how can population “be important” yet at the same time be “a diversion”? What are you saying? Can population growth be an issue that can be ignored because it’s “a diversion”? I think not.

    Not sure if me being compared to climate change deniers by Geoff will give me some credibility amongst them.

    I think your above statement is an attempt to misrepresent the intent of my comments and deflect my question at JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 12:51 PM when I stated:

    So you think the bit highlighted in bold is too alarmist for you? Should we ignore this warning, because it’s not definitive enough, and we need to get more data?

    These are the same arguments that climate change ‘skeptics’ and deniers use for delaying action on climate change, are they not?

    It seems to me, when my questions get too uncomfortable and inconvenient for you, you try to avoid them.

  156. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 13, 2018 AT 12:54 PM):

    I must apologise for calling Geoff Miell a doomster yesterday.

    I thank you for your apology, but I note your original “doomer” label was posted at JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 5:21 PM – more than 20 hours earlier, with 2 subsequent comments by you before mine to Ambigulous. I had a different response prepared to your earlier “doomer” label, but this is a revision.

    Look at the subject matter presented by Brian in his post: Climate change: The end of civilisation as we know it – I think there are bleak messages contained there. For the record, I don’t label Brian “a doomer” or “a doomster” – I think Brian is providing credible evidence/data there. But I ask why do my messages and evidence (about population growth, energy security, EROI and resource depletion) get dismissed as doom and gloom without justification? Where’s the difference?

    Show me where you think my arguments are wrong and the evidence I’ve presented is wrong. That’s what I ask of you. But so far you don’t seem to be able to effectively counter-argue.

    But your unnecessary emotive language does detract from the content. Your urgency to ‘do something’, without much elaboration ‘what and how’ can look a bit hollow, as does your prickliness.

    You are saying my message looks “a bit hollow”, but I think you really mean empty, because I don’t have all the answers – that’s BilB’s tack – what a cop-out – with attitudes like that it’s no wonder humanity has problems. And like BilB, you conveniently forget my repeated promotion of BZE’s solutions for solving some of our energy security and climate change problems. I see multiple threats to my existence, so I think I’m justified in expressing an urgency to do something – people like Ian Dunlop are calling for emergency action – others have signed the Climate Emergency Declaration calling for action on climate change. Are Dunlop and the signatories to the Climate Emergency Declaration “hollow”, “emotive”, “running around like headless chooks” people? I think they appreciate the looming existential threats, and are willing to express their concerns and call for emergency action. But you and BilB pour scorn on me for doing the same.

    I suspect your attitude is “I’ll be dead before it happens”, so I suspect the issues for you are perhaps more of an academic curiosity, because there’s seems to be no apparent sense of urgency from you (see my response at JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 12:51 PM on “examine the problem”). The problems have been examined ad nauseam with some solutions available to act upon. It suggests to me a degree of callousness from you towards the wellbeing of people you leave behind to deal with the looming threats – all talk, talk, talk, and little on action.

    And my so called “prickliness” is derived from name calling, slurs on my professional experience, deflections and irrelevancies, blatant misrepresentations of my comments, and a failure to respond to valid questions why various commenters have opinions that I think are wrong. Intellectual honesty seems to be a rare feature for some commenters here on this forum.

    You yourself don’t seem to adhere to what you are expecting from us, as with ‘listening’, meanwhile getting hot under the collar when several of us point that out to you.

    I read comments posted carefully. If I disagree with them, and I choose to respond with a rebuttal I also include at least a reason why I disagree, preferably with data/evidence in support. If I make an error, I will admit to it, and follow-up with a correction. I take care to avoid misrepresenting other people’s views – that’s dishonest. If people on this forum can’t explain their opinions expressed (particularly if I think they are wrong) with reasoned arguments and evidence/data, then I don’t give them credibility. Perhaps that’s why you perceive me to be not “listening”? Provide some reasoning and evidence/data to back-up your opinions and I may take more notice.

    For example, it was completely unnecessary to lecture Val and me about the importance of population control, while ignoring and not acknowledging the relevant factors moderating impact of population on CO2 emission which are very pertinent to ‘how to reduce’ population growth and CO2 emissions.

    It’s no wonder I get a bit “prickly” when I see blatant misrepresentations of my comments, with comments like the one directly above by you (and Val, see my comment to Val above). I suggest you too review my comments and read them carefully, but that takes time and effort. It’s far easier to misrepresent, but only if no one notices. As an example, here’s a comment at JANUARY 11, 2018 AT 11:48 AM, where I state:

    I would ague that population growth is a major driver of most of our other problems – CO2 emissions driving climate change, resource depletion, degradation of Earth’s environment, extinction of species, and the list goes on…

    How is my statement above, and others, “ignoring and not acknowledging the relevant factors moderating impact of population on CO2 emission”? I think it is you that is not “listening”. I think you make statements you can’t back-up.

    I think I’ve been treated a lot worse (by some, not all) than I’ve treated others on this forum. The problem I see is you (and some others, not all) don’t seem to be able to produce convincing arguments to defend your viewpoints. As soon as you (and some others) are challenged you see it as a personal slight and lash out, or go away in a huff. I’ve challenged aspects of some apparently tightly held views and this clearly upsets some people. Get over it, and defend your positions with logical arguments and data/evidence, or reassess your positions and change them accordingly, or you are simply not being intellectually honest. And if you can’t be intellectually honest, what are you here for? Is this a mutual admiration society, where you don’t challenge each other’s opinions (except perhaps Jumpy’s and mine)? If you can’t be intellectually honest, I think you are just like some politicians and business leaders trying to defend the indefensible!

  157. I have a feeling that Geoff M is not the type to reward such behaviour but I eagerly await his reply in the very impressive and polite fashion he uses.

    ( I have no data/ evidence to prove those emotions, ya gunna have to rely on my unblemished reputation for honesty)

  158. Tata Motors in India produced its first Tigor electric vehicles last December. It has a govt contract for 10,000 vehicles.

    Two other Tata EV models are in development. The Indian govt wants to phase out diesel and petrol cars by 2030.

  159. Unedited extract from Geoff Miell at JANUARY 16, 2018 AT 11:43 AM.

    (quoted from Ootz)For example, it was completely unnecessary to lecture Val and me about the importance of population control, while ignoring and not acknowledging the relevant factors moderating impact of population on CO2 emission, which are very pertinent to ‘how to reduce’ population growth and CO2 emissions.

    ( GM) It’s no wonder I get a bit “prickly” when I see blatant misrepresentations of my comments, with comments like the one directly above by you (and Val, see my comment to Val above). I suggest you too review my comments and read them carefully, but that takes time and effort. It’s far easier to misrepresent, but only if no one notices. As an example, here’s a comment at JANUARY 11, 2018 AT 11:48 AM, where I state:

    (quote from GM) I would ague that population growth is a major driver of most of our other problems – CO2 emissions driving climate change, resource depletion, degradation of Earth’s environment, extinction of species, and the list goes on…

    __________
    Geoff Miell, your example does make reference to moderating factors in relation to population and emission nor could I find anywhere an knowledge to it by you. Please kindly point out to me where you are considering consumption rates or emission rate per capita.

    I also would like you to take notice of the table on page two of your link to Ian Dunlop’s UN briefing on 16 Apr 2013. Could you kindly explain to me why the Asia Pacific (incl China & India) column are below or on 1 numbers of Earth despite having a total of population 3407 millions, while North America column is at 5 Earths with a total population of 319 millions?

    I would appreciate if you could contain your response to a paragraph or two for readability and avoiding any misunderstanding, thank you.

    Sincerely Ootz

  160. Geoff the reason I provided a simplified example was that you didn’t seem to be getting the issue. Calling my example ‘garbage in, garbage out’, especially when you don’t appear to understand it, is completely rude and unecessary.

    You’re not getting this issue and it seems that no-one can explain it to you. Your ethical position is extremely confused -you appear to think that stopping immigration is more important than reducing our existing levels of consumption and emissions. It’s them furrin immigrants that are the problem, right? Not us Aussies.

    Anyway Geoff I think you’re just going to have to persist in your misunderstanding, because trying to discuss it with you seems pointless. But please think about the possibility that you might be wrong, rather than that people are ganging up on you.

  161. I always find it hard to accept that sometimes people just don’t, or won’t, get things – so here’s another try.

    Geoff in 2015-16 there were 24 million people in Australia, emitting at the rate of18 CO2e per head. Net migration was about 182,000. Now sure those immigrants are probably going to adopt Australian lifestyles and start emitting at the same rate. And yes they will increase the total amount of consumption and emissions.

    But surely you can see that the extra 182,000 is not the big problem here? It is the 18CO2e per head (and the related consumption levels) that is the big problem.

  162. Sorry correction, I am not having a good day with quite a lot of pain, so my sentence in the second last paragraph above is garbled. It should read:

    Geoff Miell, your example does not make reference to moderating factors in relation to population and emission nor could I find anywhere an acknowledgement to it by you. Please kindly point out to me where you are considering consumption rates or emission rate per capita.

  163. Thanks Val

    You just won’t give up, eh?

    Here’s an analogy. It’s not about countries; there are hundreds of them. It’s about two towns. So it is completely unrealistic, absurd, but not illogical.

    Town A has 100 residents, who emit on average 18. The total emitted is 1800. Last year one extra person moved to A. Emission rose to 1818.

    Town CdI has 100 residents with average emission 0.8. Total is 80.

    As far as the jolly atmosphere goes, 1800 or 1818 is actually larger than 80.

    Considerably larger. Per capita means “per head”. Latin is by no means a dead language.

  164. Zoot (Re: JANUARY 16, 2018 AT 4:04 PM):

    Jeez Geoff, if you’ve been treated so badly why do you persevere posting here?

    Because the information presented by Brian, and generally by most commenters is mostly very informative.

    But there are some opinions expressed by some commenters that I think need to be challenged, and when I do, it seems to me the opinions can’t be backed-up by compelling reasoning or credible data. In other words, some opinions expressed appear to me to be hollow and unjustified, and not reflective of the conclusions I draw from the evidence/data I see.

    Despite the blues, I still learn new things.

    Zoot, you’ve been sitting on the sidelines observing, presumably? Do you think the comments, that I challenge, are compellingly counter-argued and backed-up by evidence/data by the people making those comments? Or you won’t enter the debate – just enjoying the show?

  165. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 16, 2018 AT 7:32 PM and JANUARY 16, 2018 AT 9:12 PM):

    Geoff Miell, your example does not make reference to moderating factors in relation to population and emission nor could I find anywhere an acknowledgement to it by you. Please kindly point out to me where you are considering consumption rates or emission rate per capita.

    In my comment at JANUARY 16, 2018 AT 11:43 AM I stated:

    How is my statement above, and others, “ignoring and not acknowledging the relevant factors moderating impact of population on CO2 emission”?

    Note the words “and others”, highlighted in bold – meaning there are other comments I’ve provided in this thread, and other threads. In my comment in this thread to Ambigulous at JANUARY 8, 2018 AT 12:37 PM, I included this:

    Not especially, but a “certain level of prosperity” likely means higher rates of energy and material resource consumption. A large human population, all with a “certain level of prosperity” that results in low death and birth rates, is likely to put an even greater stress on planet Earth’s biophysical capacity. I refer you also to Ian Dunlop’s presentation to the UN – see Slide #2. The current global requirement is 1.5x Earths. If everyone on Earth reached a level of prosperity like Western Europe it would require 3x Earths; Central and Eastern Europe means 2x Earths. Australia is around 3.5-4x Earths (see also YouTube.com video Engineers Australia Big Conversation at around time interval 0:40:48). North America is 5x Earths. To be at or below 1x Earth carrying capacity we would all need to be like Africa and Asia-Pacific regions (although that may be out of date now – India & China with increasing consumption). What minimum “level of prosperity” did you have in mind for Earth’s entire human population? What would you personally be willing to accept? Something to think about.

    I’m referring to a “certain level of prosperity” having an influence on consumption rates for energy and material resources – whether that be in terms of absolute rates or per capita rates, I wasn’t specific. You clearly aren’t looking diligently enough – how convenient for you?

    Furthermore, my reference to Ian Dunlop’s presentation (see YouTube.com video Engineers Australia Big Conversation) infers that I’m acknowledging/endorsing his content, and it also appears Engineers Australia is supporting his content. I recommend you take the time to view it. This informs/influences some of my thinking.

    And I see you have moved the ‘goal posts’ by adding in the words “per capita” and reframed your latest comment that diverges away from the original. Your previous (original) comment was this:

    For example, it was completely unnecessary to lecture Val and me about the importance of population control, while ignoring and not acknowledging the relevant factors moderating impact of population on CO2 emission which are very pertinent to ‘how to reduce’ population growth and CO2 emissions.

    There’s no mention of “per capita” in your original comment. I think you are attempting to compound the misrepresentation – I think this is further dishonesty.

    I refer you to the thread Saturday Salon 28/10 at my comment at NOVEMBER 11, 2017 AT 10:39 AM where I stated:

    Climate change has had plenty of commentary, and I’m sure there are others that cover this area much more extensively and with more authority than I can. It’s hugely important, but I’m not concentrating on that. My emphasis has been on resource depletion, especially non-renewable energy resource depletion, that I think is not being highlighted with sufficient emphasis. In my view, resource depletion is as important an issue as climate change is, but it gets a whole lot less attention in the public eye.

    I think you have the wrong end of the stick when it comes to your understanding of me. I’m not dismissing/ignoring climate change, or carbon emission rates. I’m focussing more on other critical issues – energy security, resource depletion, EROI, and population growth – that don’t get similar attention.

    Put it another way: Ootz, is there any comment that you can find anywhere attributed to me, that states I’m ignoring relevant factors moderating impact of population on CO2 emissions?

    I note you pick on one thing and completely ignore the other things, which suggests you are again avoiding/deflecting the inconvenient points I’ve made in my previous comment – further evidence you don’t “listen” to me unless it’s convenient for you.

  166. Val (Re: JANUARY 16, 2018 AT 7:48 PM):

    Geoff the reason I provided a simplified example was that you didn’t seem to be getting the issue.

    It’s too simplified to have any real-world relationship – which makes it meaningless – it proves nothing. When you model real-world systems, there are some assumptions that need to be made. What are your assumptions?

    Calling my example ‘garbage in, garbage out’, especially when you don’t appear to understand it, is completely rude and unecessary.

    GIGO (aka Garbage In, Garbage Out) is an expression used in computer code writing, data processing, and computer modelling. If computer programmes, datasets, or modelling assumptions are wrong, then the output result will most likely be wrong – GIGO. I apologise to you for assuming you were aware of this – I meant no disrespect to you – I meant your “simplified example”, in my opinion, won’t tell us anything meaningful.

    Your ethical position is extremely confused -you appear to think that stopping immigration is more important than reducing our existing levels of consumption and emissions. It’s them furrin immigrants that are the problem, right? Not us Aussies.

    I understand you’ve been busy doing your thesis until recently, and so perhaps you’ve missed my comments in other threads? You misconstrue/misunderstand my comments – I don’t say stopping immigration to Australia is more important than reducing Australia’s existing levels of consumption and emissions. I suggest you read my most recent comment to Ootz above, and go to the Australian Senate inquiry into the “governance and operation of the NAIF” here, click on the “Correspondence” link and download my correspondence, and read it. Perhaps that may assist you in gaining a better understanding of what my concerns are.

  167. Zoot, you’ve been sitting on the sidelines observing, presumably? . . . Or you won’t enter the debate – just enjoying the show?

    You’re right, I’ve been sitting on the sidelines, a decision I made the first time you whinged about being mistreated. Enjoying the show? Not really. When your comments are TL, this little black duck DR.
    You seem to suffer from the same comprehension problems as the erstwhile Jumpy, but instead of changing the subject (Jumpy’s specialty) you go on at alarming length, insisting that everybody is out of step except you. It’s tedious Geoff, so there’s very little chance I will even attempt to engage with you. I have a life.

  168. Hi Val

    GM apparently believes you were saying he didn’t understand the term “GIGO”.

    To quote Lewis Carroll, “curiouser and curiouser”.

    Cheerio.

  169. He clearly said ” by some not all ” zoot.
    Learning to read is a step you have to master before your attempts at comprehension.

    And must folk have cheap stabs at me in there squabbling with other ? It’s poor form.

  170. Dear Geoff Miell,
    in my last correspondence with you on here I did ask you three simple questions within three simple paragraphs.

    1. Geoff Miell, your example does not make reference to moderating factors in relation to population and emission nor could I find anywhere an acknowledgement to it by you. Please kindly point out to me where you are considering consumption rates or emission rate per capita.

    I like to point out that it is convention to use per capita for comparison of emissions between countries. Emissions per person – The level of emissions per person-historical, current and projected-arguably provides a more useful measure of responsibility for comparisons across countries, because it controls for differences in population and population growth rates.. And as such it was implied and indeed I have applied it in previous comments in that context. Moreover, you still have not actually answered this simple question.

    2. I also would like you to take notice of the table on page two of your link to Ian Dunlop’s UN briefing on 16 Apr 2013. Could you kindly explain to me why the Asia Pacific (incl China & India) column are below or on 1 numbers of Earth despite having a total of population 3407 millions, while North America column is at 5 Earths with a total population of 319 millions?

    This was a straight forward question regarding a link you provided above here. Could I ask you please where you address in your last comment this question?

    3. I would appreciate if you could contain your response to a paragraph or two for readability and avoiding any misunderstanding, thank you.

    I note that you graced my simple questions with more than that.

    Sincerely Ootz

  171. He clearly said ” by some not all ” zoot.

    What has that got to do with it. I clearly didn’t write “by all”.
    Why are you attempting a cheap stab with a straw man?

  172. ” ….., insisting that everybody is out of step except you. ”
    That’s close enough to ” all ” for me.

    But nowhere near ” not all

    Anyway, where is Geoff M wrong ?, in your words .

  173. Jumpy, since you apparently don’t understand the vernacular used by English speakers of a certain age there’s probably no point in pandering to your pedantic inclinations, but I’ll try.
    “Everybody is out of step except you” refers to an old (extremely old) joke where some mother’s beloved soldier son is out of step whilst on parade. It is usually used (as it was in this case) to indicate an attitude (i.e. of the mother) rather than an actual situation (i.e. the son’s being out of step).
    Obviously you are not familiar with the joke.
    Where is Geoff M wrong? Let me count the ways.
    No. Let me not. Just one example.
    Ambigulous suggested an alternative interpretation of something Val wrote and at which Geoff had taken umbrage. Geoff knew that Ambigulous was wrong, even though Val commented to Ambigulous that he was correct. The only conclusion to be drawn is that Geoff (thinks he) knows better than Val what Val is thinking. Tedium in the extreme.

  174. GM: What I am interested in is new ideas and new data that challenges current ideas. I become more interested when long comments start with brief summaries or key points that tell me whether it might be worth continuing to read. I understand it when you get annoyed when some of us clearly haven’t read your long comments but you might think about ways of encouraging us to to do more than saying “probably not worth reading” and going on to do something else.

  175. Geoff, I’m going to ask you two things: can you stop patronising me, and can you stop saying my input is garbage?
    (I am aware of what ‘gigo’ means so don’t head off down that or any other burrows. Just answer the questions.)

  176. Geoff the comparison I was making, by simplified analogy, was between countries like Australia and countries like Cote d’Ivoire. Given the context, and the previous conversation, I don’t think that was hard to understand. The A and B villages were a simplified version of real life data – simplified to make the point clearer. I tried to simplify it because you didn’t seem to understand it, and that is not meant to be rude. The possibility that someone knows more about an issue than you is not an insult, especially if they have spent years studying it.

  177. Interesting, I went on to the the Drawdown home page and it featured a prominent Search solutions by name and rank field. So I typed in ‘population’ and it came up with “There are no matches for your search”. Please try again.”. When I clicked on the message it conveniently came up with 100 solutions under the headings of Electricity Generation, Food, Women and Girls, Buildings and Cities, Land use, Transport as well as Materials. Well it looks like they are not focusing on problems but emphasise on solutions. Is this wise?

    Meanwhile intrigued about the ‘elephant in the room’ of human population size I did a bit of searching. While there is much hand waving around on that topic, very little I found which did look at dynamics of human population and population ‘drawdown’ models. But one notable exception headed with REDUCING POPULATION IS NO ENVIRONMENTAL ‘QUICK FIX’.

    Published today (28, Oct,2014) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, ecologists Professor Corey Bradshaw and Professor Barry Brook from the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute say that the “virtually locked-in” population growth means the world must focus on policies and technologies that reverse rising consumption of natural resources and enhance recycling, for more immediate sustainability gains.

    They base their findings on nine different scenarios for continuing population ranging from “business as usual” through various fertility reductions, to highly unlikely broad-scale catastrophes resulting in billions of deaths. The conclusion reads

    Often when I give public lectures about policies to address global change, someone will claim that we are ignoring the ‘elephant in the room’ of human population size. Yet, as our models show clearly, while there needs to be more policy discussion on this issue, the current inexorable momentum of the global human population precludes any demographic ‘quick fixes’ to our sustainability problems.

    Our work reveals that effective family planning and reproduction education worldwide have great potential to constrain the size of the human population and alleviate pressure on resource availability over the longer term. Our great-great-great-great grandchildren might ultimately benefit from such planning, but people alive today will not.

    The corollary of these findings is that society’s efforts towards sustainability would be directed more productively towards reducing our impact as much as possible through technological and social innovation, says Professor Bradshaw.

  178. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 17, 2018 AT 9:10 PM):

    I become more interested when long comments start with brief summaries or key points that tell me whether it might be worth continuing to read.

    Thank you for your suggestion. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

    I usually skim through first to see if the subject is interesting, and then re-read in detail if it appears to be. Your comment suggests you have a different process.

  179. Ootz (Re: JANUARY 18, 2018 AT 10:07 AM):

    Thanks for your contribution, especially the link to Adelaide Uni research REDUCING POPULATION IS NO ENVIRONMENTAL ‘QUICK FIX’, dated 24 October 2014. The first paragraph states:

    New multi-scenario modelling of world human population has concluded that even stringent fertility restrictions or a catastrophic mass mortality would not bring about large enough change this century to solve issues of global sustainability.

    I’m not at all surprised by the analysis. Here’s another link you may find interesting.

    The third paragraph states:

    Fertility reduction efforts, however, through increased family-planning assistance and education, should still be pursued, as this will lead to hundreds of millions fewer people to feed by mid-century.

    In an earlier comment I think I did say I thought family planning was probably not enough (I don’t have time to find the particular reference right now – I think it was either to you or Val).

    So it seems from your search efforts, little research into population growth is being conducted. The research you have found (at least one instance) suggests global population growth is “locked-in” no matter what we do.

    So I come back to the Global Footprint Network research which suggests we are already exceeding the Earth’s carrying capacity. If they are correct, humanity is in a real pickle. If they are wrong, the question is how close is humanity to the Earth’s carrying capacity?

    And, as I have said before, many politicians and business leaders say that population growth is still a good thing.

    What are your thoughts?

  180. And I acknowledge this also:

    The corollary of these findings is that society’s efforts towards sustainability would be directed more productively towards reducing our impact as much as possible through technological and social innovation, says Professor Bradshaw.

    Everything counts – is required. A multi-solution approach is required.

    But are we currently doing enough? I don’t think so.

    Do you think we are?

  181. Ootz

    You are a champion!
    And if I may extract a tiny kernel from the last paragraph you quoted :

    would be directed more productively towards reducing our impact as much as possible

    which Geoff M has acknowledged.

    Here’s an excellent basis to continue our discussion…..
    How can individuals, organisations, companies, governments do a reasonably effective job of reducing our impact as much as possible

    I think this should include resources that Geoff M has highlighted, e.g. oil, natural gas, other fuels; I would add food crops, forest products, pasture eating beasts and ocean fish.

    Some of this overlaps with reducing GHG emissions, e.g. research to reduce methane contributions from flatulent bovines.

    The famous “Oil Shock” of late 1970s supposedly made small cars more popular… then what happened???

  182. sorry to go on, but I think we can agree that it must be:

    reducing our (per capita) impact as much as possible

    as Val, Ootz and many others have mentioned….

  183. Geoff M

    I believe you are correct to say that the paper Ootz found says pop growth is “locked-in” for the time being. In these senses:
    a) pop is growing now
    b) pop will continue growing, albeit at lower growth rates (percentage growth rates)
    c) no conceivable (!!) policies or catastrophes can/will stop a) and b).

    Likely that is what those researchers meant by “momentum”.

    “The ship is moving along steadily, it has a huge mass; it cannot be stopped in its tracks, nor can it be turned around, easily”.

    Doesn’t mean you can’t ask the captain right now to stop the ship.

    In pop terms, it doesn’t mean we cease with efforts on contraception, family planning, empowerment of young women, etc. Just that we can’t expect quick impacts!!

    Geoff M: I strongly endorse your urging that
    A multi-solution approach is required .

  184. Further on Val’s comparison between Ivory Coast and Australia, it would appear that CO2 emissions of a nation is not only predictable by its wealth (GDP) but more so by a countries level of urbanisation. Now that is interesting.

    Analyzing data from more than 200 countries over five decades shows some astounding results. Although carbon emissions are heavily correlated to its wealth (in terms of gross domestic product per capita), the data analyses suggest that a country’s level of urbanization correlates more with carbon emissions than its wealth. As countries urbanize, their cities’ contributions of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases start to become disproportionately high in comparison to their population and wealth.

    But it is more complex than that (sorry there is that word again).

    The rural-urban divide is likely to precipitate into a more local yet complex governance to mediate carbon disparities between urban and rural areas. This will be particularly relevant to the developing world, which faces the triple challenge of rapid urbanization, social justice and environmental sustainability. As global emissions disparities move from North-South to rural-urban, there is a greater need to address these local and sub-national inequalities at a national level. Cities in urbanized middle-income countries emit comparable levels of carbon dioxide per capita to those in richer countries, while some rural areas in these low and middle-income countries have low or even negative carbon emissions per capita.

    I tried to find any comparable research on emission rate of rural and urban Australia. Would you have anything like that at hand Val?

  185. Just on a research note, Ootz… once again you raise a very important question.

    1. Carbon accounting in Australia used to ignore native forests. (This was circa 2009, Fed Govt C accounting office). This would make sense only if forests were in “steady state”. If hotter, windier summers occur in future, the forests won’t remain in steady state.

    2. Accounting for current agricultural C is subject to huge uncertainties.

    3. If agricultural practices were to change markedly, with more emphasis on soil C and fungi, microrizomes etc then the relationships could shift again??

    Urbanisation is key.

    Sometimes I think urban city councils could do well to “twin” with a rural council in their State, rather than a city in China.

    And about time them cities switched over to solar powered transport. Perhaps reduce urbanite ignorance of actual farming practices, while cleaning up their own urban acts somewhat???

  186. Various projects funded by Dairy Australia seek to reduce cow herd emissions of methane. Have been running at least during the last ten years.

    There is a dairy research centre at Ellinbank near Warragul, West Gippsland, Vic.

  187. their cities’ contributions of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases become disproportionately high in comparison to their poulation and wealth”.

    Oh dear.
    Australia is said to be one of the most urbanised nations….
    China is urbanising rapidly (smog, anyone?)

    Val: your “two towns” story could be recast as City A and rural district B.

  188. It would be interesting to know why urbanization leads to an increase in per capita emissions. How important are:
    1. Increased transport distances between farm and consumer?
    2. Reduced recycling of food and biological waste to agricultural land or things like pig farming?
    3. Increased use of inorganic fertilizers compared with organic fertilizers?
    4. Increased per capita energy use in urban areas?
    5. And/or?

  189. No I don’t know much about this rural urban issue you have found Ootz, I haven’t read any research on that. Most of what I’ve seen focuses on how to make cities more sustainable and it appears to be a general assumption (observation) that more compact cities are better than sprawling ones. That sounds logical but I also wonder how it interacts with the findings you’ve highlighted.

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