I think a solar flare will end it first

On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 9:24 AM, Jesse Mazer <laserma...@gmail.com> wrote:

> I think there's a strong chance climate change will end technological
> civilization, but I also think the situation is not hopeless, there are
> reasonably plausible scenarios I can imagine where we would avoid this
> fate. Chris, you mention "disruptive technologies on the energy front" but
> if you are talking about major technological innovations I don't think
> that's actually necessary, if the political will is there to transition
> away from carbon, it's possible to make up the energy with other existing
> technologies like solar, wind, and possibly nuclear (though I think that
> has the problem of a large time to build each plant). The E.U. has a plan
> to get their energy nearly 100% from renewables by 2050, and they're well
> on track to meet their Kyoto goal of 20% of their energy from renewables by
> 2020 (see http://ec.europa.eu/clima/news/articles/news_2013100901_en.htmand
> http://www.wwf.eu/?207523/New-policy-can-put-the-EU-on-track-to-reach-100-renewable-energy).
>  The U.S. could start to follow suit although they're obviously behind--I
> think younger generations are more in favor of taking action to cut carbon,
> and demographic changes are making the U.S. more liberal overall (sad that
> saving the world from climate disaster has become identified as a
> specifically "liberal" cause in the U.S., but that's how it is), so there
> may be the votes to sign on to a similar plan within the next decade.
>
> Even if there's more of a global effort to cut carbon soon there's still
> the issue that temperature lags behind carbon in the atmosphere, and that
> carbon takes a long time to get cycled out...I'm not sure what the latest
> projections are for the temperature increase by 2100 if there is a
> worldwide drop-off soon, it may still be at a civilization-destroying
> level. So my other hope is that technologies to remove carbon from the
> atmosphere artificially will be developed alongside emissions cuts--there
> are already prototype "artificial trees" which remove carbon 1000 times
> faster than real trees, but currently the technology is fairly expensive
> (see
> http://io9.com/5950271/could-artificial-trees-solve-the-global-warming-crisisand
> http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/01/22/reverse-emissions/ for some
> links). As with solar and other technologies it's plausible the cost will
> go down though. I also hope that as automated manufacturing technologies
> develop, we will eventually reach a point where we have something
> approaching a self-replicating robot factory, or perhaps just a
> sophisticated 3D printer, that can build and assemble all the parts needed
> to make another factory/printer, and another etc. At that point I expect
> the cost of all goods that could be manufactured by such a factory/printer
> would tend to drop pretty dramatically, and having them churn out massive
> numbers of carbon-removal devices (along with other helpful things like
> solar panels) might not cost much more than the price of the raw materials
> and energy that they need to be "fed" with. I don't have much of a sense of
> a timescale for how many decades it would take to reach this point of fully
> automated self-replicating machines, but I suspect it could be done before
> 2100 if civilization doesn't fall apart in the meantime.
>
> For those of us who favor the multiverse idea, I suppose the stoic
> attitude would be to accept that some possible futures from this point will
> see civilization being destroyed by climate change, while others will avoid
> it, and all we can do is make whatever little contribution we can towards
> efforts which increase the proportion of survivors...
>
> Jesse
>
>
> On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 2:01 AM, Chris de Morsella 
> <cdemorse...@yahoo.com>wrote:
>
>> Will we be around in 100 years? That is an open question. Some will point
>> to the fact that we did not blow ourselves up during the cold war, and we
>> didn’t, but times change and the planetary resource equations have also
>> changes, and dramatically so in some cases. During the cold war both the
>> Soviet Union and the USA were for the most part resource rich and energy
>> independent. ****
>>
>> The world has become on one hand more unipolar with a twenty year era of
>> American ascendance, but also increasingly multi-polar as well with the
>> rise of powers such as China and India and to a lesser extent Brazil. The
>> other thing that has changed is that both the USA and Russia are not nearly
>> as rich in resources as they once were. No new super mega fields have been
>> discovered in Russia and the eastern Siberian mega fields are in depletion
>> now. The Russians seem to pin their hopes and dreams on global warming
>> melting the polar ice cap and them seizing control of hypothetical super
>> mega fields that some think may exist in that basin. ****
>>
>> The Americans meanwhile are in full blown bubble fever with the shale
>> play – America the new Saudi Arabia and all that glossy PR BS. To see how
>> unsustainable this boom is one only has to look at the depletion rates of
>> drilled wells. Fracking will open up a flow of gas and in shale oil bearing
>> rock an oil like tar that can be made to flow if sweated out of the rock
>> with a witches brew of chemicals and heat. But it is sucking the water
>> tables dry and the wells after only a few years begin to deplete at a rate
>> that is much higher than the typical depletion rates of gas and oil wells
>> that have been assumed in the costing and financial statements that have
>> formed the bases for funding. In order to sustain this boom an ever
>> increasing number of well will need to be sunk and the fever pace of
>> drilling sustained just in order to stay abreast of the depletion rates.*
>> ***
>>
>> This is not just a matter of return on capital invested, which as the
>> impact of rapid depletion on a projects lifetime costing estimates and
>> revenue projections etc. begins to fall back down to earth, will be huge,
>> but also in terms or EROI (or ERoEI) – or energy returned on energy
>> invested. During the 1930s—1960s in the epic supermega fields, such as
>> Gawar the EROI was even above 100X in some cases. Now it is down way down
>> and as the overall energy costs of say developing the Bakken formations
>> becomes apparent as the sector matures it will sink in that the energy
>> payback is getting down towards marginality.****
>>
>> While I certainly hope we can manage our energy and resource availability
>> decline with grace I fear we are more likely to go out instead in some
>> existential desperate energy war – and the US military has a strategy in
>> place since 1973 called Last Man Standing that I think pretty well sums up
>> the kind of strategic thinking (insanity perhaps) going on in these
>> circles. It’s not just the US that is eying the last places on earth that
>> have oil (and other strategic resources as well) – as the downward pressure
>> of depletion begins to really put the squeeze on the world’s industrial and
>> military powers the last remaining places that have oil will become flash
>> points of wars that will become central for the survival or not of large
>> powers.****
>>
>> Look – I am saddened by these thoughts and wish it could be otherwise,
>> perhaps it will. I have hope in our better nature, not much though.****
>>
>> When millions of people in the former well off areas of the world – in
>> the US & Europe & Japan – within decades find their worlds falling down
>> around them as energy starvation leads to chronic contraction of the
>> economy and a massive social dislocation as people get shed en mass and
>> increasingly left to fend for themselves. Imagine the potential for the
>> rise of fascist demagogues who fire up masses of angry confused people with
>> easy answers and easy enemies (internal and foreign) In times of rapidly
>> falling living standards there is upheaval. Now look at the Asian powers…
>> at China & India  – which cling to a social contract premised on an
>> unachievable materialist dream. What happens when hundreds of millions of
>> people in these countries realize they, nor their children will ever climb
>> out from under grinding poverty and that the future that had been promised
>> them will never materialize for them… for the 1% sure, but not for them.*
>> ***
>>
>> I just cannot see happy stable societies thriving in this kind of world.
>> I also do not see any disruptive technologies on the energy front that will
>> allow us to side step the planets looming fossil energy bottleneck. ****
>>
>> I hope our world can transition to a lower energy and more resource
>> frugal life style versus pedal to the metal straight over the cliff, which
>> is our current trajectory, but the momentum of current systems and powerful
>> psychological/behavioral drivers in us such as greed, short term thinking.
>> ****
>>
>> -Chris****
>>
>> ** **
>>
>> ** **
>>
>> *From:* everything-list@googlegroups.com [mailto:
>> everything-list@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *LizR
>> *Sent:* Wednesday, October 30, 2013 4:25 PM
>> *To:* everything-list@googlegroups.com
>> *Subject:* Re: Is Earth F**ked?****
>>
>> ** **
>>
>> On 31 October 2013 12:13, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:****
>>
>> Of course if there are 7 billion people it's more likely there will be
>> survivors than if there are only few million.  But an asteroid strike could
>> easily be big enough to wipe-out all terrestrial life bigger than
>> bacteria.  We have the concept now, but we don't have any ability to do
>> anything about it and we probably still won't fifty years from now.****
>>
>> ** **
>>
>> But we might in 100 years, or 200, if we continue to advance
>> technologically, which still gives us a good chance of averting any
>> impending impacts. Whereas if we revert to, say, a Medieval level of
>> technology, we'll have no chance whatsoever.****
>>
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