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The Real Threat Is Invasive Climate Crisis, and our Shield Is Science


The Real Threat Is Invasive Climate Crisis, and our Shield Is Science

Juan Cole

In his story “The Wall and the Books,” the great Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote,


Invasive climate crisis?!?

Who is the invader?

Doesn’t it look awfully much like WE TWO-LEGGEDS ARE THE INVASIVE SPECIES?

Or, if you prefer, an aggressive, metastatic carcinoma in the body of Mother Earth?

Science will shield us from the consequences of our dis-eased Nature, you say, Mr. Cole.

Please supply some evidence to support this claim.

From over here, it looks like the “triumph of science” has correlated with an intensification of human exploitation, greed, and violence.

Hey, I’m not saying science CAUSED this, o.k.? I’m just noting a definite correlation. Isn’t that what science taught us all to do?

Come on, Mr. Cole! Science is still sitting around wringing its hands, horrified by the floods of its own data “suggesting” that it doesn’t know nearly as much as it thought.

Science is telling us every day that it has no real idea how to solve the problems the modern mode of consciousness—of which science itself is one expression—has created. And it is telling us that we are out of time.

Doesn’t respecting science compel us to receive these pearls of wisdom emerging from its own practitioners?

No, let’s just keep doing what we’ve been doing, even though we can see ever more vividly how it has not been working. (If what we consider “working” is to moving toward progressively more abundant, prosperous, and peaceful Earth, for all our relations, that is!). Let’s just keep on doing what we’ve been doing and expecting different results, shall we?

As long as we’re all insane together, and we agree to pretend that we are sane, surely the consequences of our long-term Self-delusions won’t get us!!

Uh huh. And trickle down economics leads to greater gross domestic happiness. And I have a couple of bridges I’d like to sell you—real cheap!


“The Green New Deal, a Manhattan Project-style moonshot governmental program to abolish coal, oil and gas in 15 years, possible if we all pull together. We’d re-build regional electricity grids,
spend billions to develop better batteries.”

On these specific points the Green New Deal and Mr Cole are wrong. The call to ‘develop better batteries’ implies all-battery EVs like the Tesla will be the standard despite facts clearly showing plug-in hybrids could serve10x as many EV households and form the better match to regional utility grid rebuilding. Combustible hydrogen (hybrid engine) stores and operates at lower pressures than for use in fuel cell EVs. Plug-in Hybrids forcefully influence fuel/energy conservation for both transport and household use.


Why didn’t the Democrats mention this real crisis?

As is usually the case, last night Trump set the battleground for the debate. They complained, but the reality is that Clinton and Obama built parts of the wall and Obama deported more people than all previous presidents combined.

The immigration situation is a mess. Neither party will agree to what really should be done, namely just open the border. There is no other simple solution, so the Democrats have descended to Trump’s mud slinging level. And Trump’s better at it, having had decades of practice.

I think the Demos ought to give Trump his wall, but force him to make a real concession in exchange like supporting policies that address climate change. Now in control of the House, they could write a bill that does this. But I guess Pelosi and other top Dems are having too much fun playing in the mud.


I can think of a lot more concessions in exchange, like ending all the wars…


It may be you are right from a central planning point of view (having x number of BEVs with say 200 miles of range is not as good as having 5x the number of plug-in hybrids with 40 miles of range), but consumer preference isn’t always going to follow. Some people want the simplicity of the BEV. Better batteries (more cycle life, faster charging times, better energy density w.r.t mass and volume) are all going to make both BEVs and PHEVs more marketable. And if it turns out that dedicated grid storage batteries (which could have a completely different design than BEVs - maybe they will run hot, be 1/10 the energy density but 1/4 the cost per kWh). I don’t see your calculations as changing the fact that we can use better batteries (and better recycling methods).


Particularly the War on Drugs (WOD) that causes the drug traffic Trump says we need the wall to combat.


And the Dems take money from big oil the same as the Repugs.

And the Sierra Club will send you to an Israeli kibbutz


Battery technology doesn’t have to improve much as it is now commercially applicable. The Tesla coupe has an 85kwh pack. The Prius/Fusion a small 5kwh pack. Both packs deliver a roughly 100,000 miles of use. The Prius pack can increase its years of utility as stationary low power household use; not so with the Telsa pack which is also more expensive to replace. The cost of rooftop PV solar arrays and electric componentry with PHEVs is less. Many times more households with PHEVs matched to rooftop PV arrays can complement regional utility grids. Both EV types provide households an emergency back up power supply. Both offer a choice to use energy for driving or household use. The shorter all-electric driving range of PHEVs is an incentive to drive less, whereby more trips become possible without having to drive; whereby local economies grow and walking, bicycling and mass transit - all more energy efficient than EVs alone - may serve more travel needs. Consumers should be informed of these benefits rather than assume they’ll prefer the simpler choice. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.


" The emergency is global heating and our climate crisis, which is expected by 13 government agencies to slash 10% of our gross domestic product by the end of the century, to devastate our crops, and to flood and lash our littoral."

Even if the population doubles by the century’s end, Americans will still be able to live very comfortable and satisfying lifestyles then, on 90% of the current GDP, and there is plenty of time for the transition.