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The Logic of the near fuuture is tightening against us
The logic of possible futures is tightening.
Temperature rise cannot be stopped because we can't stop co2 production. Every new project or green imitative adds to the industrial system and uses energy (in the US 17% of electrical energy goes to computing).
The cost of green energy is usually taken "at the pump" but the costs of building and installing are not added in. We look at the cost of running a Tesla but not the cost of building it (including the cost of building the factory)
World wind and solar production is three percent of total current energy. This is a Slippery platform on watch the build successful scenarios of technological solutions.
Even if we could cut all new emissions enough co2 is now in the air to keep temperature rising in the absence of sequestering technologies, which do not yet exist at scale.
Nor do we take into account the loss of species necessary for food production, nor the impact on the oceans.
We do not take into account the weakness of governance.
There is a growing sense that capitalism creates socially destructive inequality and that the society which divides people between owners and non-owners, between labor and capital is part of the problem, but we do not yet have an alternative.
Attempts to replace the current fossil fuel energy system will fail because either there is not enough material
Quality of the mined material is decreasing and it's more expensive to mine.
Limited quantities mean, increase competition and increased prices for the material that is obtained.
The attempt to get these materials in sufficient quantities requires much abuse of the land
And sets up competition with others for those materials.(20 lbs. of lithium requires processing 20 tons of earth.)
There is not enough in the ground to meet the needs of one generation of EVs, much less meet the replacement cycle that will begin soon.
Moreover, there are many competing uses of electrification, all of which are seeking the same materials.
Competition for scarce materials between nations and corporations will be taking place in the context of increasing major climate events.
The war in the Ukraine is a war not within cultures but between them. Both Russia and the US/Eu want their culture to dominate. the US holds out for a market based world. Russia for a czarist world.
There seems to be nothing to stop the war, which will continue with increasing amounts of materials.
We seem to be making a society that is ever more complex and interwoven and difficult to change.
Climate breakdown is inevitable but it is not a single event. It is a process with many emergent possibilities, not just market and commercial opportunities but deep cultural shifts in values and the way we spend our time.
The current senior population, age 50 up, maybe even 40 up, is too set in its ways to be able to adapt to these changes. For example, they will look at emergent opportunities as private property and profit opportunities, and miss participating in the difficult tasks of adapting to new social and physical climate changes. Most people would rather hold onto what they have than risk change.
The emergent, already starting, is going to be characterized by chaos, confusion, and probably violence from mafias to conventional war.
The possible wild cards start with new uses of the Internet, new energy technologies, new spiritual movements.
Global problems probably require global solutions and the central authority to be able to impose regulations. The American New Deal is an example of strong ideas from Roosevelt with very weak implementation of those ideas.
This is our world and our species. Our responsibility is to read widely, conversed widely and organize.
"We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on." — Richard Feynman
Mark Mills: The energy transition delusion: inescapable mineral realities
Martin Wolf the Crisis of Democratic Capitalism