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View Diary: About those Other Low-hanging Greenhouse Contributors (28 comments)

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  •  Feh! (1+ / 0-)
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    lehman scott

    Energy efficiency won't do anything to mitigate climate change or "greenhouse gas emissions."  Energy efficiency just provides a pretext for the expansion of business operations, which ends up accelerating climate change.

    http://monthlyreview.org/...

    An economic system devoted to profits, accumulation, and economic expansion without end will tend to use any efficiency gains or cost reductions to expand the overall scale of production. Technological innovation will therefore be heavily geared to these same expansive ends.

    "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

    by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:45:45 AM PDT

    •  are you suggesting then (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldSoldier99, elwior

      we go energy-less?


      Hmmm, even campers, use camp-fires.

    •  Ahh yes... the good old (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess

      Jevon's Paradox:

      In economics, the Jevons paradox (sometimes Jevons effect) is the proposition that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource.[1] In 1865, the English economist William Stanley Jevons observed that technological improvements that increased the efficiency of coal use led to increased consumption of coal in a wide range of industries. He argued that, contrary to common intuition, technological improvements could not be relied upon to reduce fuel consumption.[2]

      The issue has been re-examined by modern economists studying consumption rebound effects from improved energy efficiency. In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource, which tends to increase the quantity of the resource demanded, potentially counteracting any savings from increased efficiency. Additionally, increased efficiency accelerates economic growth, further increasing the demand for resources. The Jevons paradox occurs when the effect from increased demand predominates, causing resource use to increase.[2]

      The Jevons paradox has been used to argue that energy conservation may be futile, as increased efficiency may increase fuel use. Nevertheless, increased efficiency can improve material living standards. Further, fuel use declines if increased efficiency is coupled with a green tax or other conservation policies that keep the cost of use the same (or higher).[3] As the Jevons paradox applies only to technological improvements that increase fuel efficiency, policies that impose conservation standards and increase costs do not display the paradox.

      Although a very valid and observed effect, I tend to agree that implementation of aggressive External Cost Internalization would theoretically lessen its worst effects, although not entirely eliminate them.

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:21:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  our world (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott

        is full of paradoxes.

        Untangling them is our perennial problem.


        Especially when so few of our elected leaders,
        explicitly stop to attempt the endeavor.


        After all Management by Crisis,
        demands of them, no less.

      •  Nobody's going to "internalize external costs" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott

        under our current system.

        "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

        by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:40:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I concur (depending on exactly what you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess

          include in "the system").  But then, I rather suspect that similar statements were made about the possibility of substantive environmental regulatory initiatives prior to April 22, 1970.

          Sorry, Cassiodurus, I just can't seem to help myself sometimes.  I am by nature a hopeful and optimistic person.  :)

          Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

          by lehman scott on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:56:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see nothing "optimistic" about jamess's faith (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lehman scott

            that the capitalist system will last indefinitely.

            Witness, for instance, declining growth rates around the globe, the decreasing room for actual growth, and the increasing specter of global economic crisis.  How long does the Euro have left before the people of the whole of Europe figure out how thoroughly they're being ripped off by regimes controlled by bankrupt banks?

            Obama has "revived profit" by opening up new avenues for theft by the super-rich, without granting said profit an actual material basis.  How else are we to interpret vast no-interest loans to banks, who then turn around and invest the money in Treasury bills?

            Real optimism would place its faith in something other than capitalism.  "Efficiency" under capitalism is just another attempt to increase the rate at which the working class is exploited.  It does nothing to keep the grease in the ground.

            "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

            by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:12:46 PM PDT

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            •  it's not faith (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lehman scott

              it's just history.

              lots of history.

              "Golden rule" and all that.


              the 0.01 Percenters are NOT just going to re-distribute all their wealth.

              yeah right.


              Meanwhile us grunt workers will be forced into "serfdom on steroids,"
              while we wait for that magic transformation of a world without "private ownership" to somehow happen.


              The world is what is it.  The sooner we try to work with that reality, the sooner we might effectively change it.

              Advocate for Democratic Socialism (like Sanders), but don't expect Market Forces to disappear overnight.

              "Black Markets" amidst chaos, is hardly better than what we have now.  Which is what societal breakdown would most likely lead to.

              imo.

              •  And nothing ever changes? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lehman scott

                If it didn't happen in history, it will never happen?

                Seriously.

                Advocate for Democratic Socialism (like Sanders), but don't expect Market Forces to disappear overnight.
                And who said anything about "overnight"?  Market forces" haven't produced an adequate economic growth rate to sustain a capitalist world-system for forty years now -- what the elites have relied upon to keep profits up is a tricky combination of Ponzi schemes and government-aided theft.  And those schemes won't last forever, as the economic crises keep multiplying and dividing.

                Oh, sure, there will be last-ditch, increasingly authoritarian measures to keep capitalism in place, like what you see in Greece now.  Their half-lives will be short.  Eventually knowledge that capitalism is a fraud will spread, and then we will see a long, conflict-filled, and painful debate about what is to replace capitalism, as Wallerstein predicted:

                In a structural crisis, the only certainty is that the existing system—the capitalist world-economy—cannot survive. What is impossible to know is what the successor system will be.
                Capitalism is not really going to last all that long.  What replaces it is of course up for grabs -- it could be some form of transitory neofeudalism on the way to something worse, or it could be a network of emergency organizations.  One thing is for sure, however -- writing diaries about how efficiency is going to save us is NOT an intervention into what will count as "postcapitalism."

                "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

                by Cassiodorus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:49:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •   I don't disagree that the primary common forms of (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus

              capitalism are not going to be able to exist in a society that is structured around steady-state economics and physical limits to growth on a finite planet.  Can hybrid forms of capitalism be created that will replace the dominant existing growth-based forms and survive in such circumstances?  I am not entirely sure, myself, but some folks seem to think it is theoretically possible.  The feasibility of such institutions is a matter of ongoing debate and research and I think the answer to these questions is not yet clear or certain.  The rules of the game under which they would have to operate would have to be substantially changed, of course, beginning with the ECI reforms I mentioned above, as well as replacing the ridiculous GDP metric with something more representative of reality, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator. And many more after those two.

              One thing is certain, however, the growing interest in worker-owned and -managed cooperative business ventures is evidence that folks are actively wanting to reject standard capitalism and experiment with these alternative economic systems that are more inherently suited to operate along steady-state principles, so I suppose only time will tell.  One thing that I do not see, however, is some revolutionary overthrow of the entire Capitalistic System in some foreseeable and short time frame.

              But perhaps I'm being overly-optimistic and naive in my hopes that our existing systems can be reformed and transformed into forms that put people and the planet before profit.  I know that steady-state capitalism can operate in certain circumstances, having conceptualized and designed one myself for my MSE in Environmental Engineering.  It was subsequently built exactly where and how I designed it and now twenty years on, it is still a thriving business that prides itself on not making any profits.  Whether such an approach can be scaled up in size in larger sectors of the economy is another matter entirely, however.  But I am hopeful that it can and am actively researching how that might be possible.

              Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

              by lehman scott on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 03:08:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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