Jean-Noel, as I have said I am not advocating for the upcoming changes that
I listed. I am well aware of the irrationality of the agenda. We could've
started redesigning the rural-urban relation twenty years ago and we would
have been living much better lives right now, with CO2 levels already under
control. We could also start doing this redesign today. I advocate for
immediately practicable changes in the way food is grown, transportation is
used, and industrial production is carried out, as well as changes in the
consumption norms and cultural orientations underlying all that. Such
changes are necessary and possible, as people come to realize the wrong
turn taken by our civilization. The degrowth path can be carried out in
parallel to the pseudo-green state capitalist one, and from the presently
marginal political-cultural space that the degrowth perspective occupies,
it can hopefully develop into a shared cosmovision.

However, society is a tough master. You do not just get what you want, and
you can waste time dreaming about it.

What I have listed in the previous post is about to happen, if we are lucky
- because otherwise, fossil-fuel consumption will simply grow in an
anarchic and increasingly bellicose world, as it has grown over the last
decade. It is better to be conscious of the major trends and try to guide
them, stopping the worst. Certain large infrastructures can definitely be
stopped by protests and legislation - like the big, German-funded hydrodams
for hydrogen fuel-cell production that a Chilean friend was describing to
me. Those are imperialist schemes that are extremely destructive of
biodiversity. And they are just one example.

Imperialism - exemplified by the oil industry but not limited to it -
enables all the worst aspects of capitalist civilization. In the US where I
live, the most important struggle is against the oil industry and the
corporate/military culture it supports. However, only a small part of this
struggle is carried on by people like myself who go out to protest the
installation of new pipelines (which is not to say that shouldn't be
done!). The decisive struggle is between the imperialist fossil-fuel bloc,
and the green-capitalist energy transition bloc (Texas vs California, in
the US). This is a battle over the future shape of state power, over the
degree of socialism which can be attained, and therefore, over the future
capacity of civil society to reshape itself politically and culturally. It
is urgent to engage with that battle, rather than being simply and
bootlessly anti-statist and anti-capitalist.

Nuclear power is a lot better as a baseline energy source than either coal
or natural gas, and baseload power is necessary for using renewables as
things stand today. Plus in many countries, the nuclear fleet is already
built and just needs to be maintained. Sure I am aware of the problems. I
protested against nuclear power all my life, especially in the Eighties.
But that was a mistake, because instead of developing thorium reactors
which was the next step, industrial societies continued to burn coal.
Meanwhile, environmentalists recycled their paper cups. By withdrawing from
the modernization process, the left became irrelevant and we ended up with
neoliberalism and the current crisis.

Geoengineering is terrifying. But as soon as there is a climate disaster at
urban scale, it will be attempted. Those who know nothing about it, won't
know how to monitor its development, criticize it, and press for better
outcomes. Now is the time to study geoengineering, before it is used, in
view of making its use better.

OK, that's enough political realism for this thread. I'm totally curious to
hear other outlooks. Thanks to JNM and everyone.

On Thu, Sep 1, 2022 at 7:49 AM Jean-Noël Montagné <> wrote:

> Le 31/08/2022 à 20:22, Brian Holmes a écrit :
> Dear Brian,
> This is a very important debate. Geoengineering is polluting the
> political debate about the responsability of capitalism in the climate
> change.
> > CO2 levels are already so high (far higher than those of the End
> > Permian mass-extinction event, for example) that degrowth, while
> > ultimately necessary, can do nothing in the short run.
> The COvid-19 has proven that CO2 emission levels were falling during the
> first containments. It was a very short term ungrowth, only few month,
> but it was successful to stop over-cunsumption.
> >
> > The energy transition is underway and there is a big bet on nuclear
> > energy in addition to renewables.
> The bet on nuclear energy is irrational. I am aware of the market
> through  but some facts totally escape to
> investors: climate, nuclear fuel ressources, metal ressources,
> geo-strategic-politic stability for such special industry, and finance:
> Climate
> -Uranium-way plants use a lot of water. Sea-side plants are OK, but most
> of the river plants have had huge problems during hot periods worlwide:
> in France, for example, a dozen nuclear plants were closed during the
> very hot summer of 2003, and 5 of them had to run at only 30% capacity
> this summer 2022, because of the high temperature of the rejected water
> into the river and because of the low level of the river. Climate models
> predict very low water levels, or total drought, even in major rivers,
> within one to two decades.
> -Nuclear plants are closed during high air temperatures, because workers
> cannot work during a long time in technical suits in the reactor rooms,
> which are extremely hot (and which cannot be cooled if the outside air
> is hot). ==> Temperatures above 40°, then 50°, are expected in the
> coming decades...
> Resources
> Kazakhstan (under Russian control), Canada, Australia are the biggest
> uranium producers, and there are some other resources for 40 to 60
> years. But Energy Watch Group estimate the Peak Uranium to 2035... The
> problem is not sourcing uranium (yet) but its enrichment: Russia is the
> first enricher, and supply is at risk if the conflict goes on
> Nuclear industry
> Nuclear industry uses semi-conductors, sensors, rare metals, high tech
> metallurgy, cement and sand, all this is affected by resource or climate
> problems. Other problem: EPR reactors have a lot of structural problems.
> Only MSR could show reliability, but they are still experimental.
> Geo-politic stability
> The problems in Zaporizha plant shows how a nuclear facility is a target.
> Economy
> renewables electricity is now cheaper (and safer) than nuclear.
> > Hydrogen fuel cells too.
> No, producing hydrogen is highly costly in terms of fossil energy, and
> then generates a lot of CO2. Even produced with renewable electricity,
> the efficiency is so bad...
> > Geoengineering is a comparable issue. I am convinced it will take the
> > form of sulfur particles dispersed into the stratosphere at global
> > scale, undoubtedly with unwanted differential side effects. Three
> > factors have convinced me about the inevitability of geoengineering:
> >
> I don't agree.
> Cost: Any geo-engineering solution requires the political and financial
> contribution of all (big) countries in the same project => good luck...
> Leadership: as USA would not accept the technical or financial
> leadership of the process by China, China would not accept the
> leadership of the process by USA. Don't dream to a common cause on this
> subject !!!!
> Ecology: Stratopheric sulphur particles means more rain acidity and
> around 30% loose of agriculture worldwide (starvations), and would
> increase the acidity of the oceans (starvations), wich is a also a huge
> CO2 sequestration problem...  More, billions of people and animals
> working/living outside would suffer blindness and skin cancers, because
> of UV increase. The biodiversity, actually endangered, would plunge to
> near extinction.
> Climate: sulphur would make the monsoons more crazy (look at Pakistan
> last 3 month...) and would totaly change the atmospheric equilibrium:
> nobody knows what could happen.
> Energy: any spatial or stratospheric geo-engineering solution (= put
> millions of tons of material into the atmosphere) would cost a huge
> amount of carbonated energy and would accelerate climate change !!!
> Temporality: as CO2 has several centuries of presence in the atmosphere,
> until its biological absorption (if natural soils, forests and oceans
> bio-diversities survive and increase instead of decreasing year after
> year), any geo-engineering solution would need constant (technical,
> financial and "political) efforts during 500 to 800 years... good luck !
> Efficiency: geo-engineering would not stop fossil fuels extraction, CO2
> emissions and paradigm change. Business as usual would not stop. The
> greenhouse effect due to CO2 would be stronger and would necessitate to
> provide more geo-engineering !!
> There are dozen reports and simulations about such solutions. Other
> solutions are also irrealistic, including CO2 capture machines.
> It is important to know that the propaganda for geo-engineering is
> financed and mediatized by the big political and industrial groups that
> do not want to change their paradigm in the face of climate change.
> The only geo-engineering system with a high efficiency to store CO2 is
> biomass: planting trees worldwide, protecting soils, oceans and algae.
> It's almost free. Another action: stopping Bolsonaro from transforming
> Amazon forest into the next Sahara is a priority.
> JN
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