[ExI] Why do political and economic leaders deny Peak Oil and Climate Change?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Sep 6 22:06:07 UTC 2013

On Fri, Sep 06, 2013 at 09:42:16AM -0700, Adrian Tymes wrote:

> Yep.  And the fingers-in-ears denial here is that there are ways technology
> can solve this problem.  They're hard to do, though.  It's so much easier

Technology can solve the problem -- if it's deployed on time, and budget.
We're all out of time, and budget. I'm afraid now this is going to hurt quite a bit.

> to just declare that we're all screwed and everybody else is going to have
> to suck it up.

Ever so subtly and unflaggingly, I try to get people to realize that
the boat has sailed, and we *now* must jump into the cold water, so that
we still have a chance to reach it. The longer we falter, the more
people are going to drown. 
> > > According to the study Wikipedia cites, wind's EROEI is 18 - a net
> >
> > We're missing a TW/year substitution rate, and alternative energy
> > sources (too little, too late) don't produce hydrocarbon gases and
> > liquids.
> >
> Like I said in the very next sentence, wind can't do all the world's energy

I never said a single thing about wind. It's about all renewable, total.

> problems - but the way to get that TW/year substitution rate is to assemble
> it from a variety of sources, and not damn every single one (like wind)
> just because it won't do it all itself.

It doesn't matter what you choose, because we're running two orders
of magnitude short, and the energy debt is cumulative. And as I've been
saying you, the total curve is not an exponential above nontrivial
saturation levels. Sometimes I hate being right, again.  
> As to hydrocarbons, they can be manufactured given enough energy.  The

We're missing two orders of magnitude of that goddamn energy, and I'm
not counting infrastructure work. Look at chemical engineering. 
Look at your average synfuel plant, the budget, the construction, and
realize that We're Having Problems. That we're also having senior moments,
collectively, is not exactly helping. 

> problem is thus having enough energy.

No, the problem is not "just" about having energy. Necessary, but 
> > > solutions, so arguing against each component in turn because it can't do
> > > 100% is the opposite of helpful.
> >
> > In order to begin solving a problem you must first realize that you
> > have a problem.
> >
> Being addicted to disasterbation is a problem, yes.  It often compels

Assume I'm wrong, and you're right. Now assume the opposite.
See the asymmetry in outcomes? Does that give you pause?
Three decades ago the cost would have been negligible. Now it
is no no longer negligible, but that is also not the fault
of people that served you a plan on a silver platter, which
you chose to ridicule and then ignore. Whoops.

Now it seems it's time of the blame game. Yes, I admit it.
9/11 was all my doing. I killed Kennedy, too. 

> people to not only not help solve bigger problems, but to actively get in
> the way of those who are because they're convinced that all efforts to do
> good must inevitably, tragically do more harm than good.

I don't know who you're talking about, but if you look back at a quarter
of century of my posting history, you'll notice that I have been optimistic,
but also capable of learning. If the outcome doesn't match predictions, 
I readjust the outlook. Same applies to unjustly much-maligned Limits
to Growth. The original report assumed adaptive change. Only the more
recent versions factored the Paths Not Taken In. Are we smarter than
yeast? It doesn't seem that we are.

If you don't like the message, don't shoot the messenger. Many of
us can still make it, but no longer all of us. That Troy fell wasn't
exactly Cassandra's fault.
> > > > The best possible solution is de-industrialization, starting with
> > > > Heinberg’s
> > > > 50 million farmers, while also limiting immigration, instituting high
> > taxes
> > > > and other disincentives to encourage people to not have more than one
> > child
> > > > so we can get under the maximum carrying capacity as soon as possible.
> > > >
> > >
> > > So is this a world problem or a US problem?  "Limiting immigration"
> > doesn't
> >
> > It is a world problem.
> Then what's that note about limiting immigration doing there?  That's
> inapplicable in the context of the world.

I don't know what you're talking about, but it's impossible to fabricate
solutions if everything is coming crashing down around you. That assumes
that you're at all trying, if you're just fiddling while Rome burns, the
footnotes don't matter.
> > You're not solving the problem. You're being a part of the problem.
> >
> That you sincerely believe this is the problem with disasterbation: rather
> than try to fix the root problem, you think it better to attack people
> because they are trying to fix the root problem.

What exactly are you doing to solve the root problem?

And why I'm wasting my breath, still giving a shit? Perhaps I do not learn, after all.

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