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Climate Minimizers Don't Deny Climate Change—But Find Endless Reasons to Reject Sanders' Plan to Stop It

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/07/climate-minimizers-dont-deny-climate-change-find-endless-reasons-reject-sanders

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The problem is pretty obvious. To address global warming seriously we must first admit that, at the very least, our religion, Capitalism, will need to be altered or abandoned.
And therein lies the problem(s) (calling it “climate change” instead of “global warming” was proof that we really have no clue what to do, and will ultimately be unwilling to make the necessary changes anyway) But I digress. The religion of Capitalism, and it’s college of cardinals, Big Oil, are dependent upon each other for survival. Oil makes Capitalism go. That is why we can not abandon one without abandoning both. And to abandon both, especially in a nation like the USA that truly believes in the divinity of the marketplace, is next to impossible. If told that we would have to give up Capitalism in order to save ourselves from the coming greenhouse earth, Americans would simply fill up their SUVs, drive to the store and buy sunscreen and box fans.
Bernie, and many other people, see the problem. They even know what needs done. But in the end they will fail. They will fail because Capitalism is woven into our society. It is in our bones. Most believe that, to do without it, would be to do without oxygen. The irony being that, if we don’t give up on capitalism, we will indeed have to do without oxygen.

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The US spends $ 1 trillion per year buying fossil fuels. That alone pays for Bernie’s plan.

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After all of the drama of the 2016 election you would think that the polls would be treating Bernie as aire apparent. He deserves what Biden is enjoying.

They also reject the plan because the MIC and SS funds will have to be dramatically reduced to reach the goals we need to reach.

From Krishnaswamy’s conclusion:

one must first consider the best scientific data, and measure the actions proposed against the requirements to avoid climate disaster. Reality cannot be retrofitted

How would reality’s intrusion affect Krishnaswamy’s strategy, were there to be no “avoid climate disaster” in reality?

Aside from the climate deniers, Diogenes will search long and hard to find anyone on Earth who is not a climate minimizer. Even the “avoid climate disaster” game they play is nothing but elaborate minimization. For one thing, “climate disaster” is rarely defined so clearly that something obvious like a terminally frayed icecap would qualify. In fact, the IPCC has managed to nearly ignore the cryosphere (ice on Earth) for decades – while Antarctica, Greenland, and the icecap are Earth’s weakest vital organs, the icecap probably damaged beyond repair this melting season.

The capper is the fifty-fifty chance they allow us. The “climate disaster” is not seriously confronted at all. Rather, the amount of further warming the world can budget is supposed to be enough to leave us with a fifty-fifty chance of “climate disaster.” Can you imagine allowing your children to attend camp if there were a fifty-fifty chance of them returning? It sounds incredible, but that really is how the calculus of the PTB-IPCC works; that’s how they arrive at +1.5 or +2.0 C: with our children’s future on the craps table.

What ol uncle Joe is enjoying is the same blind support that all but gift wrapped the nomination for Hillary in 2016. Party insiders, super delegates, the big donors like Haim Saban, and for some inexplicable reason, African Americans that still seem to believe that someone, some democrat, like Joe, is going to walk across the Potomac and sign a new emancipation proclamation.

The other candidates are just whistling past the graveyard on climate.

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Bernie is big on Twitter. I spend a lot of time retweeting him. Thanks to Trump’s frequent use, Twitter could be Bernie’s best publicity. Maybe enough to overcome at least some of the negative MSM propaganda he’s up against.

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Sanders supporters should take a second and do some real math and research - instead of just taking everything his says as gospel…

" The logistics of achieving carbon-neutrality by 2030 are actually not so complicated. Currently, the power generation sector emits 1.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, or nearly 33% of our emissions. According to experts, it takes approximately six years to construct a large-scale solar plant, while utility-scale wind operations can be installed within a year."

  1. Im not quite sure what the intent of including emissions data with an argument about logisitics and generation is about, but Sander’s plan targets more industries than just fossil fuels. His plan calls for a elimination of nuclear renewals, and 100% renewable by 2030 (even though some nuclear renewals won’t expire til after 2030, which makes this argument make zero sense). The point is his plan isn’t targeting 67% of electricity generation - its targeting at least 87% generation.

  2. Ok lets do some math. 6 years for a large scale solar plan (As a side note a projection graphic with no explanation is not an expert opinion) and 1 year for a utility scale wind plant.

  • The largest solar farm by capacity in the USA is Solar Star 1 and 2 with 747 MW and 1,685 GWh of generation

  • The largest wind farm by capacity in the USA is Alta Wind Energy Center with 1,547 MW and 3,179 GWh of generation

    Lets assume using your timeframes for solar and wind installations that all new utility scale farms are of equivalent generation to these facilities.

    To date the USA generates 4,177,810 GWh, with renewables already supplying 791,563 GWh (the majority coming from hydro). 4,177,810 - 791,563 = 3,458,247 GWh. Using the generation figures for solar and wind above per utility scale farm here is how many farms you would need:

Solar: 3,458,247/ 1,685 = 2,053 Solar Star facilities

  • Solar Star panels: 1.7 million x 2,053 = 3,490,100,000 solar panels

Wind: 3,458,247/ 3,179 = 1,087 Alta Wind Energy Centers

  • Alta turbines: 600 x 1,087 = 652,200 Wind Turbines

Since you’re only allotting 10 years for completion this means that you would need to install:

  • Solar: 349 million solar panels per year, or 9.56 million panels per day
  • Wind: 65,220 turbines per year or 179 wind turbines per day

Does this really sound plausible to you?

No, but is it because Im not calculating how this scenario would actually play out? Well yes, because your argument is not applied in real context. In the real world you can’t just replace generation for generation, due to differences in consumption/demand throughout different periods of the day or year, and variations of use depending on area.

In reality your comparison should include data regarding demand and waste, as well as variations over time, projected increase in consumption over time, energy efficiency, intermittency and a whole slew of other factors.

Your electricity comparison doesn’t even account for additional and required electrical infrastructure such as high voltage transmission, substation, distribution, grid load distribution, or energy storage.


“Transmission Challenges and Best Practices for Cost-Effective Renewable Energy Delivery across State and Provincial Boundaries”

"A critical review of global decarbonization scenarios: what do they tell us about feasibility?"

"Buffering volatility: A study on the limits of Germany’s energy revolution"
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292117300995

Argonne Outloud: The Solar Energy Challenge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?

OMG, please don’t call them climate minimizers, don’t let that catch on. They are climate deniers, through and through. That’s their name now, that should be their name always. Because they started by denying climate change, and we should never let them forget that. They now only minimize it because the science is so overwhelming and has filtered down to the masses. As climate change impacts mount, we should ALWAYS remind them that they denied the science even when it was abundantly clear - and with it the opportunity to act - when there was a chance to avert catastrophes, and lives, and loss of future livelihoods. We should always remind them that they lied, they denied reality, they callously rejected the biggest threat to humanity and human lives and ecosystems and future generations ever. Their names and quotes denying climate change, and the year they said it, should be made into plaques and erected everywhere, they should be made to live the rest of their lives in shame. We should never forget…they were and are climate deniers, no matter what they say now.

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Additional major problems with this article include:

" According to estimates by multiple organizations, if we reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the temperature of the earth will likely warm to 3°C, which could be a civilization-ending event"

The studies that you cite in this article do not make the arguments you are stating. That is incredibly disingenuous. Here is what the study you just cited states:

“2020–2030: Policy-makers fail to act on evidence that the current ​Paris Agreement path — in which global human-caused greenhouse emissions do not peak until 2030 — will lock in at least 3°C of warming.”

This study does not say that if we have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 that the planet will lock in at least 3 degrees of warming. It states that if ACTION IS NOT TAKEN and emissions peak at 2030, then we would be on track to increase warming by 3 degrees.

There are many plans that forecast net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but also begin with immediate action now. Examples of studies include: NREL: Exploration of High Penetration Renewable Futures, GEA World Outlook, MIT Utility of the Future, Reducing US GHG Emissions by 80% by 2050, WWS 100% Renewable, LUT & EWG 100% Renewable, Technical & Economic Analysis of 100% Renewable

You even cite one of them - IPCC Special Report Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

“In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range).”

The 2018 IPCC Study projects net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which at one point you say you agree with this study, but then turn around and say that 3 degrees of warming will occur if net zero emissions are reached in 2050. That’s not what these studies are saying…

" While the Journal and the Post 's editorial team seem to have an inherent bias against trains, high-speed rails are significantly more energy-efficient than cars or planes. Compared to planes or cars, high-speed rails can reduce carbon emissions by 80%."

Yes high speed rails have less emissions than planes and cars, but how do you imagine this being completed in 10 years? There are several massive challenges for building high speed rail in the USA:

  • US major cities are significantly further from each other when compared with other major countries in Europe and Asia.
  • US Major cities are typically polycentric in urban development and US suburbs take up significantly more land than any country on earth.
  • Due to the distances between major cities, land permits for construction must include hundreds to thousands of miles
  • Environmental permitting in the USA is extremely time-consuming.
  • If youre going to build a high speed rail line from Houston to Dallas (240) miles, youre going to require federal permits for NEPA, ESA, EPCRA, CERLA, and CWA - these are required for areas of land that youre going to be in during construction.
  • Additionally you will require permits for actual construction under CAA, OSHA, PPA, CSTA, and RCRA.
  • Now you need permits for working within the state, and you need to apply for state environmental permits (for example California has additional regulations for the materials used in construction in relation to carcinogens and electrical pollution).
  • Then you need additional permits per each municipality. From Dallas to Houston you would pass through 9 counties and 12 cities. Each of these requires permits.
  • You could argue emmient domain and this would additionally be required if you were going over private land, but A. you could find yourself in a courtroom arguing about litigation for years, and B. these also require permits.
  • Lastly government constantly changes. If your project is not approved, and the federal, state, municipal or local government changes its laws you have to redo your permits.
  • Very rarely are all of these permits approved, which means you either have to change the route of high speed rail or go to court, which itself can and historically has taken decades to resolve for major heavy civil and infrastructure projects.

The idea that you can miraculously just start building something in this country wherever you want is pure ignorance of the construction industry and the regulations it faces!

"When the UN-IPCC released the climate report cited here, only 22 of the 50 biggest newspapers in the United States covered it. North America had the least amount of media coverage on this issue. If corporate media were serious in their coverage of climate change, and perhaps if they didn’t platform avid climate-change deniers, voters could make more informed choices about whom they want to represent them in Congress."

Im not sure how this supports your argument for Bernie… The IPCC Report doesn’t agree with his plan. Bernie Sanders calls for 100% renewable in the electrical sector by 2030, that’s not at all what the IPCC calls for:
"In 1.5°C pathways with no or limited overshoot, renewables are projected to supply 70–85% (interquartile range) of electricity in 2050 ( high confidence ). In electricity generation, shares of nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) are modelled to increase in most 1.5°C pathways with no or limited overshoot:

How did you miss this if you truly read this report? Not only does the IPCC report NOT call for 100% renewable at any time, but it projects increases in industries that Sander’s calls for the elimination of particularly labeling nuclear and CCS “false solutions”.

Where, in this feast of red herring, is there any mention of the endless ongoing wars? War is the most polluting, most environment-damaging human activity ever devised.

Ending all the wars, and drastically reducing the US military budget, should be Item No. 1 on any serious environmental agenda. And it’s simply a matter of policy, not of forcibly steering hundreds of millions of people to conform to a theory, which is far more complicated. Commit to peace first, and then we can talk about altering our behavior en masse.

“Renewable energy” and “renewable resources” have been portmanteau words for a couple of decades already. The politicians mouth them to appear concerned and “progressive”, then carry on with the most noxious environmental policies and don’t dare touch the businesses and wars that have the most deleterious effects.

I’m all for a “Green New Deal,” but it really must be that, rather than simply an attempt to create “new markets” for all the green capitalists, such as those behind the little Greta publicity stunt. The rest is just cant. Green capitalism is still capitalism, and as such it will, in keeping with its “free market” orthodoxy, meekly stand by as the anti-environmental activists carry on with their business as usual.

I will vote for Bernie if the Dems let him anywhere near the ticket (he should have stayed an independent), but I too am skeptical of many of these hypotheses. If he were somehow to sneak into the White House anyway, he would have to take on the Establishment full-on, effectively risking his life.

Unfortunately I think we’ll have to see some kind of total or partial collapse of the system before any of this will become feasible. Even the original New Deal would not have been possible without the Great Depression and the widespread support of socialism among the American working class at the time. There is nothing similar, on any organized or coherent level, in the atomized present-day society. The treat of transgender bathrooms is not going to scare the ruling class into a more equitable distribution of power and wealth.

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Maybe “in our bones” but the author makes a great point re. the deliberate unwillingness of the media to properly inform American opinion re. climate change. If that would change maybe we have a chance.

The idea that high speed rail is made impractical by the vast distances between US cities comapred to Europe or Japan (what about China?) is bullshit.

New York to Chicago is only a little further than Madrid to Paris or Paris to Vienna - but over vastly friendlier terrain. Jacksonville to Boston is the same as Hiroshima to Sapporo and 150 miles shorter than Shenzhen to Beijing. Yet all those places except the US cities are connected by high speed rail - often directly with limited stop trains.

The main point involving distances between major cities applies to regulations in the USA. The EPA and BLM do not grant 1,000 mile permits. You have to split these projects up into segments and develop them over time, which will take decades. Its honestly embarrassing that people in government don’t seem to understand this.

Bernie’s talking about redeveloping the entire electrical energy industry in 10 years, when there is currently electrical energy infrastructure projects still ongoing, whose preconstruction started over 10 years ago.

Why is it that none of these progressive candidates or organizations have talked to the actual industries they planning to change. Based on history, data, projection modeling and scientific studies these transition timeframes are 100% BS…

Bernie’s the only candidate who has what it takes to take 'em on. If climate activists are truly serious about time running out, they’d be serious about getting behind Bernie Sanders.

2020 Candidates On Fossil Fuels

It’s another form of denial, isn’t it. Though denial it certainly is.