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

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sat Sep 7 18:52:24 UTC 2013

On Sat, Sep 07, 2013 at 10:03:55AM -0700, Adrian Tymes wrote:

> Actually, there's no boat; you're just telling people to drown.  Like John

Actually, you're literally Hitler. You gassed the Jews. Personally.

> said, how dare those billions of people in eastern China and northern India
> demand three meals a day - by your logic, they should go back to the
> standard of living they had previously been on.
> > Assume I'm wrong, and you're right. Now assume the opposite.
> > See the asymmetry in outcomes? Does that give you pause?
> >
> Nope.  That's like Pascal's Wager: "If God exists, then to believe in Him
> (and not sin) is to gain infinite, while to disbelieve (and commit sin) is
> to lose infinite.  If God does not exist, then to disbelieve (sin) is to
> gain a little, while to believe (not sin) is to lose a little.  Therefore
> you should believe in God."  This ignores the probabilities of both sides,
> and all possibilities other than the two being proposed.  It's a logical
> fallacy.
> The probability of you being right about this, given the evidence, is about
> the same as the probability of the most utopian of visions that say there
> will "soon" (say, before 2030 - or 2040, being generous) be TW available
> for < $0.0001/MW with no carbon output.
> You never put a date on it, so when civilization fails to collapse, you can
> keep saying it's about to.  But summing up the chances of you being right,
> up until (the Singularity/you go into cryo/etc.), the odds come out about
> the same.
> This is a well known problem with predicting collapse.  Logically, you can
> keep claiming it's about to, and so long as you never give an exact date
> you're never "wrong" so reason can't dislodge your conviction.
> Emotionally, it feels SO GOOD to absolve yourself of all responsibility and
> insist everyone else is screwing themselves over - this is addictive just
> like tobacco and alcohol.  So you keep doing it...and yet, despite your
> prophecies, civilization keeps trucking along.
> If it just harmed you, that would be one thing, but this harms other
> people.  Occasionally you convince people not to build a new power plant,
> or some other measure that would actually address the pain.  You feel that
> your convictions are supported as people continue to suffer, believing that
> the fix would surely have been short-lived.  You turn a blind eye to cases
> where people build these "short-lived" fixes and peoples' lives improve:
> just because those fixes haven't collapsed yet, doesn't mean they won't
> tomorrow, or the day after that - no matter if they were built yesterday or
> 50 years ago.
> > > > > 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.
> >
> Civilization hasn't collapsed yet.  Whatever the ominous signs and
> portents, the majority of the world's people are not starving and rioting
> at this second.  Argue all you like about how that will and must happen,
> but any future - no matter how supposedly inevitable - is distinct from the
> present.
> Besides, you missed the question.  If it's a world problem, then how does
> "limiting immigration" help?  Where do people "immigrate" to the world
> from?  (This isn't births: the author addressed that separately.)  My point
> is that this is evidence the original author was, at best, confused.
> > What exactly are you doing to solve the root problem?
> >
> Working on ways to reduce the cost of getting things into orbit, so that
> space-basd solar becomes a lot more practical.  For that matter,
> space-based anything: EROEI becomes less of a factor if you only measure
> initial energy from Earth vs. eventual returns to Earth, with the system
> acquiring more energy in space and using that exclusively to bootstrap its
> capabilities.

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Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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