[ExI] solution to the world ending

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Tue Mar 5 01:02:20 UTC 2019

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of
Stuart LaForge
Sent: Monday, March 4, 2019 3:53 PM
To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
Subject: Re: [ExI] solution to the world ending

Quoting Spike:

>>... https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=5729035-Green-New-Deal
> -FAQ The exact quote in the Green New Deal document released by Rep.
> Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

>...This is the first details I have gotten on Ocasio-Cortez's plan. I will
give her credit for her ambitiousness, her plan is the closest thing I have
seen to a serious proposal to climate-control the entire planet. Political
sentiment aside, I have some general technical criticisms of her plan...

The kinds of things outlined here would take 50 years at least, never mind
10, and would include slamming nuke plants into the ground as fast as we can
build them.

What I hope the GND accomplishes is to focus peoples' attention on a useful
question: if global warming really is going to end the world in 12 years,
why can't we eliminate fossil fuels?  It causes focus on a big solar project
that is going in near a historically significant area in Virginia: any solar
project requires enormous swaths of land.  If it is built east of the
Mississippi, it requires deforestation and habitat destruction, for
surprisingly little power generation.

You mentioned falling water: from a power generation point of view, most of
the best resources are already being tapped.  There isn't a lot of new
potential, and the lower potential falling water sources have even more
environmental cost than the ones already in place.

At least some of the GreenPeace crowd gets that.  They recognize that if one
is interested in preserving wild places and forests, nuclear is a good deal.
We understand it creates a bunch of hazards in the form of bad guys wanting
to get ahold of nuclear material, but from a strictly environmentalist point
of view, nuclear power might be our best bet.

First, I don't think her goal of eliminating combustion engines is even
remotely possible if nuclear power is taken off the table at the outset.
Electric cars still need to get their energy from somewhere.

Right now, fossil fuels like natural gas and coal supply approximately 60%
of our electricity. Nuclear power and renewable sources supply an additional
20% each. Keeping in mind that renewable sources like hydroelectric are
defined by geographical or climatic features such as mountains, rivers,
volcanic heating, prevailing winds and such, I don't see how renewable
electricity generation can increase by another 300%. While some form of
nuclear energy will be necessary, fusion would be ideal.

> "We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions in 10 
> years because we aren?t sure we'll be able to fully get rid of farting 
> cows and airplanes that fast"
> OK then.  My question for Green New Dealers: if we are shooting for 
> net-zero emissions rather than zero emissions, why would we need to 
> get rid of either farting cows or planes?  If we are shooting for net 
> zero, that shouldn?t be hard to do.  We might be able to do it without 
> any really significant changes in our style really.  We would need to 
> divert a lot, a looooot of fresh water inland.  We would need to stop 
> dumping fresh water into the sea.  We could use that water to support 
> something really bio-massy like kudzu.  This would draw down so much 
> CO2, we could make it to carbon emissions net zero that way.  We could 
> keep our farting cows and planes and still make it.

We can't seem to affordably deliver fresh water to people in Flint,
Michigan, so how do you propose we do that? Especially without completely
screwing the pooch with regards to hydroelectric? I am not being sarcastic,
just wondering if you had an engineering suggestion?


I didn't see anything in the GND that precluded using fast growing plants to
sequester CO2. According to the Guardian, the average American produces
approximately 20 tons of CO2 per year. In order to preserve the American
lifestyle, would have to irrigate and grow 20 tons of new vegetation per
American per year or 6 billion tons total per year. Can we reasonably do so?
How do we protect all that vegetation from wild fires that would completely
foil our efforts?

Furthermore, adding plant biomass will have no impact on cow farts which
will need to be separately dealt with. I do not see nation-wide veganism as
an option for those Americans who are genetically predisposed to carnivory.
Trying to ban livestock and meat-eating will likely lead to cannibalism,
especially as habitual herbivory will render many Americans more palatable
to the more carnivorous Americans.

More practical options would include keeping livestock under transparent
tent-like canopies made to harvest the methane which is lighter than air and
would rise. The methane could then be used to fuel the machinery involved
with the canopied cattle-ranching.  
Assuming we don't go the route of vat grown meat.

Besides, it is ridiculous that we would wring our hands about intentionally
killing off malaria-hosting mosquito species yet so non-chalantly discuss
eradicating cattle as if somehow a disease causing insect has more moral
worth than a domesticated food animal that has been our symbiotic partner
for thousands of years. I mean if society no longer has a use for cattle, we
are certainly not going to tolerate them roaming around our land trampling
our kids and farting all day.

I mean over-all, my impression of the Green New Deal is that it is a bunch
of really cool large-scale environmental engineering projects that would be
a step toward becoming a type-I civilization.  
Unfortunately it is interspersed with a lot of wasteful government run
social programs that look unnecessary if we actually commit to the
engineering and infrastructure aspects which should provide a bunch of new
jobs as is. After all, how can we hope to terraform another planet like Mars
if we can't climate-control the good old Earth?

Maybe we should separate out the Green part from the New Deal part?

Stuart LaForge

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