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View Diary: Will climate change saints save the Earth? (151 comments)

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  •  Activism... (0+ / 0-)

    No, conservation is not activism.

    Just curious, if the electrofuels sector makes a serious run at big oil, are you petty enough to cheer for big oil because I'm cheering for electrofuels?

    Your activism is your writing. And your writing is just a colorful pastime you pursue while others try to fix things.

    Enjoy your pastime.

    •  I have no problem with "alternative energy." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      My problem is with your idea that alternative energy entrepreneurship under conditions of capitalist competition within the current, predatory capitalist world system will solve our problems with energy and with climate change.  What more do I have to say before you understand that?

      "We could run the grid on unicorn farts, but if consumption levels remain the same, Gaia will still lose the ability to support many species, including hominids." --Michael Donnelly

      by Cassiodorus on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 05:00:39 PM PST

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      •  What part? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        limpidglass

        I am not a "fan" of capitalism, especially as practiced; I support it because it can introduce and disseminate revolutionary technology faster than any other system, because it is so robust (note, not good for everybody, robust.)

        Why do you think a new, cheaper technology with a smaller carbon footprint cannot supplant what exists, within the economy as it exists? I will love the new lower-carbon products because they are lower carbon, unlike the corporation that makes them (not a person regardless of what they say...) which will love them because, and only because they are cheaper and guarantee market share.

        Steam replaced the sail because it was faster and cheaper; the system of economics did not care. Capitalism will not mind that ascendant companies with novel tech advance while fossil companies not willing to accept that their reserves are becoming worthless will  die.

        I assume new, superior technology would win out in a socialist system, but I can see how to get there in capitalism.

        •  Capitalism is not robust now. (0+ / 0-)

          New technical improvements do not make the system more robust because they do not open up a new era of cheap resources at a rate fast enough to satisfy capital's demand for profit.  Please see the essays of Jason W. Moore on this matter.

          I support it because it can introduce and disseminate revolutionary technology faster than any other system, because it is so robust (note, not good for everybody, robust.)
          A socialist "system" (we are actually talking about a gift economy, which won't be a system) would distribute beneficial technologies much more rapidly than under capital, because the requirements of value and profit won't have to be met before the exchanges can take place.  Marx discusses the limitations of capitalist production as such in chapter 15 of Volume 3 of Capital.  Capitalist distribution means distribution only to those with the ability to pay.
          Why do you think a new, cheaper technology with a smaller carbon footprint cannot supplant what exists, within the economy as it exists?
          Do I need to repeat what I have said about "the economy as it exists" in the past few diaries just for you?  Capitalism is incredibly wasteful, and more energy just means that it will be easier for the system to expand its wasteful propensities.  See e.g. the discussion in the Monthly Review of Jevons' Paradox.
          Steam replaced the sail because it was faster and cheaper
          But steam and sails are not energy sources -- they are, rather, means for the conveyance of energy.  A more apt comparison would be petroleum and coal.  Petroleum was more versatile than coal, but petroleum and coal today cause a nearly-equal addition to Earth's carbon dioxide accumulation.

          "We could run the grid on unicorn farts, but if consumption levels remain the same, Gaia will still lose the ability to support many species, including hominids." --Michael Donnelly

          by Cassiodorus on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 06:06:56 PM PST

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          •  "Do I need to repeat what I have said" (0+ / 0-)

            ...no, please, spare me...

            You don't like capitalism, I get that.

            But, just once, (no repeat requested) tell me why, in a capitalist economy, a cheaper product cannot replace the more expensive item that came before? The new industry will produce the product, and customers who formerly bought it from the fossil fuel industry will buy the new version from the new industry because it is cheaper. The former supplier has  a sad...Which part of this does not work in your world?

            As for capitalism not being "robust" now... Do we have different dictionaries or do we live on different planets? Damn near everyone I know with capital, from Goldman Sachs to local drug dealers are doing fine. I am far more worried about capitalism's excesses than I am about its health.

            I referred to steam and sail as competing technologies that transported goods. My comparison works fine. If you want to compare within energy choices, lets try coal and natural gas. Coal is going under because natural gas is cheaper. Electrofuels will beat natural gas because it will be cheaper.

            •  Think. (0+ / 0-)
              The new industry will produce the product, and customers who formerly bought it from the fossil fuel industry will buy the new version from the new industry because it is cheaper.
              And the old product will simply adapt to the new market conditions, which will themselves expand because capitalism is so wasteful.  It's silly to suppose that an expanding capitalist system is going to produce a static clientele for energy needs.
              Damn near everyone I know with capital, from Goldman Sachs to local drug dealers are doing fine. I am far more worried about capitalism's excesses than I am about its health.
              The means of profit, by which Goldman Sachs and the local drug dealers make their money, are based on bubble economies which aren't sustainable.  Goldman Sachs has the government print money for it, and the drug dealers need a war on drugs to keep prices high.  "Robust" would mean something other than bubble economies and Ponzi schemes amidst a four-decades-long decline in the global growth rate.  Once again, Jason W. Moore's essays explain all this in greater detail -- or if you want the simpler version, try David Harvey.
              Coal is going under because natural gas is cheaper.
              Coal is not going under.

              "We could run the grid on unicorn farts, but if consumption levels remain the same, Gaia will still lose the ability to support many species, including hominids." --Michael Donnelly

              by Cassiodorus on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 07:14:51 PM PST

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              •  Think (0+ / 0-)
                And the old product will simply adapt to the new market conditions
                The "new market condition" is "you are too expensive for the market." The old producers go out of business.
                The means of profit, by which Goldman Sachs and the local drug dealers make their money, are based on bubble economies which aren't sustainable.
                I agree. I would still refer to capitalism as robust due to the tendency of people with capital to enthusiastically engage in capitalism.
                Coal is not going under.
                From the US Energy Information Agency, via Forbes:
                EIA analyzed the horse race between gas and coal under five scenarios reflecting variations in cost and supply of the two fuels. While coal is recovering ground in the short term, EIA found, coal loses in the long term as coal plants retire.

                “In all five cases, coal-fired generating capacity in 2025 is below the 2011 total and remains lower through 2040, as retirements outpace new additions of coal-fired capacity,” according to “Competition between coal and natural gas in the electric power sector,” a newly released section of EIA’s 2013 Energy Outlook, which the agency releases in parts.

                Coal is losing now to natural gas, and improvements in collection of renewables will only hasten coal's demise.
                •  Think again. (0+ / 0-)
                  The "new market condition" is "you are too expensive for the market." The old producers go out of business.
                  How do you know?  You've started out from a presupposition that has yet to be proved, and probably won't be proved.  The capitalist system's energy needs are voracious, and there will be new oil fields as the Arctic ice melts.
                  I would still refer to capitalism as robust due to the tendency of people with capital to enthusiastically engage in capitalism.
                  Never mind the profit or growth rates.
                  Coal is losing now to natural gas
                  This is in all likelihood a temporary setback.  

                  "We could run the grid on unicorn farts, but if consumption levels remain the same, Gaia will still lose the ability to support many species, including hominids." --Michael Donnelly

                  by Cassiodorus on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 09:04:38 PM PST

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                  •  How do I know? (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't know.

                    I hope. I have what I consider pretty good reason to hope - what I was told by a bunch of world-class scientists and engineers in extensive conversations.

                    The Forbes quote agrees with what I have seen from a variety of sources about coal v. natural gas. Do you have information suggesting this is a "temporary setback," or merely an overwhelming urge to contradict me?

                    •  You have offered information about coal (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW

                      in ONE country.  Are the mines being shut down permanently, or just until the boom in shale gas and tar sands subsides?  Has China stopped using coal?  The Chinese economy runs on the basis of 70% coal, and they open new coal-fueled energy plants there every day.

                      "We could run the grid on unicorn farts, but if consumption levels remain the same, Gaia will still lose the ability to support many species, including hominids." --Michael Donnelly

                      by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 05:21:00 AM PST

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                •  That's why the fight is on to build coal (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cassiodorus

                  export facilities on the West Coast of the US.

                  Coal is losing to Natural Gas because frackers are being allowed, with few restrictions, to destroy our aquifers.  That's nothing to cheer about.

                  "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                  by JesseCW on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:12:42 AM PST

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