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Summary

Paul and Jocelyn watched David Attenborough's recent film "Climate Change: The Facts". Paul thinks the solutions presented are either obvious, not the best, or are not a solution at all.

Relevant Threads

The Kickstarter for the Better World Book.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/better-world-book?ref=b817zl
David Attenborough's Climate Change: The Facts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00049b1

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COMMENTS:
 
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I was listening to this podcast, and I had to stop.  I was getting frustrated, not just because of your complaints that a national documentary's best response to offer was "get active", but also because you guys were acting as if that's not the point of the modern environmental movement!.  But of course it is.  I started off my political life as a card carrying member of the Green Party.  My father, a long-time (but not his whole life) member of the Republican Party, found this immensely amusing.  I would make all the arguments to my father, and he would patiently listen, and when I was done (assuming he wasn't in the mood to just mock me and laugh) he would then quite deftly poke holes in all my arguments using logic and science.  He was, quite literally, never wrong; even though I thought I had the science on my side.  My father would point out that, facts are facts, but facts taken individually (or out of context) is not science.  He would also often mention that, "politics is it's own thing and has it's own motivations, you will figure it out eventually Son."  

Again, my father was never wrong.  I mean never.

Eventually, about age 22 or so, I started to catch on.  The Greens would be better called "The Watermelon Party", because they were only green about skin deep, but every solution that they could offer was all Red.  Did you know that one of the founding members of Greenpeace, who was an actual climate scientist, was expelled from the institution that he helped to start because of his lukewarm support for improved nuclear power technologies?  They then tried to "memory hole" his founder status, until he sued them over it.  This is just as true with every other politically active environmental organization that can be found, because organizations that actually do environmental work don't do political actions.

But my greatest objection to the whole "Climate Change" fight, is that nothing that any of us can do, politically or personally, will have any kind of measurable affect on the long term trend.  Even if you are able to reduce your personal carbon footprint to a net negative amount, even if everyone could, it won't stop the climate from changing.  Here are some more climate facts for you to consider...

1)  The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has been both higher and lower than it is today.  The baseline level of CO2 of about 200 parts per million, as recorded a little bit before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, is not only the lowest in geological history, it's the level at which most (type 3 photosynthesis) plants that exist today begin to die for lack of CO2.  The geological record has CO2 as high as 5-7% of the atmosphere, and plants doing great.  This is the top level that greenhouses will "dope" their closed environments with CO2, for human safety reasons, but research suggests that concentrations up to 12% are okay for plants before other consequences really begin to matter.  Keep in mind that before those fossil fuels were in the ground, all that CO2 was in the atmosphere.  Yes, at the same time.  We could burn fossil fuels until we kill ourselves off, the plant kingdom won't care, and the Earth won't become Mars or Venus either.

2) The level of the oceans have been both higher and lower than they are today.  The current #1 hypothesis for the location of Atlantis, if it existed, is the "Eye of the Africa", officially known as the Richat Structure. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richat_Structure)  If you look into that theory, you'll find that it's rather compelling on the matching data; except for one key point.  It's hundreds of feet above sea level, and miles inland from the current coast.

3) While CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the method by which greenhouse gases work is worth understanding as well.  All greenhouse gases are refractive in the long-infra-red spectrum of light, but not in the short-infra-red spectrum of light.  What this means is that very hot objects, such as the sun, produce an IR wavelength that passes though the gas without impedance, but cooler objects, such as the surface of the Earth at any latitude, will bend that light (if it's coming in at the correct angles).  Said another way, IR radiating from the surface of the Earth at night that goes straight up will pass right through, but at an angle, some percentage will be "bent" back down towards the Earth, to strike somewhere else.  The practical effect of this is that greenhouse warming is not even across latitudes, but is much stronger towards the poles.  The reason for this is, while some of the refracted IR will return to the Equator,  the vast majority either leaves for space or returns away from the Equator; with a net migration of radiant heat moving towards the poles.  So while the Equator might warm up by another half of Centigrade, the extreme latitudes might warm up by closer to 7-8 degrees Centigrade.  Half a degree would hardly make any difference at the Equator, but 7 degrees in the Northern Territories of Canada and the Siberian region of Russia would make a huge difference.  It might even make those vast territories livable.

4) The greatest contributor to the climate of the Earth is, of course, the output level of the Sun.  Which is not constant.  It has several overlaying cycles of increasing and decreasing activity across the electromagnetic spectrum.  There's the well known short cycle of about 11 years, and another closer to 300 years, and longer cycles that remain theoretical for many reasons.  In addition to that variable, the relative position of the Sun to the Earth varies over hundreds of years; because (contrary to popular belief) the Sun is NOT the center of the solar system.  Both the Sun and the Earth actually orbit a point in space called the "barycenter", which is usually inside the space of the Sun, but it's never close to the center of the Sun.  Because the Sun is so large, this means that as the Earth "precesses" around it's orbit, the distance from the Lumiere surface of the Sun and the Earth can vary by millions of miles.  Radiation (which light is) is reduced by a cube of distance in open space, so that difference of millions of miles doesn't vary the amount of sunlight that hits Earth as a straight percentage of the overall distance, but as a percentage of that distance to the third power.  Said another way, there's a huge exponential effect.  BTW, we are currently in a long term low of solar output, which completely explains the "pause" of warming recorded since about 2000.  I'm a ham radio operator as well, and tracking "space weather" is something we do, because it gives us a predictive element to how far we can get our radio signals to bounce around the Earth.  The Sun's been sunspot free for weeks as I write this, and the all time record for a sunspot free Sun was just last year, and is months long.  Sunspots are a sign of higher solar output (and solar wind) activity.  No sunspots for long periods of time imply that the Sun is in a down cycle.

So while humans are affecting the climate (of course we are, we're humans; altering our living conditions is what we do, all life does that), it's neither apparent that such warming will even be a net negative result (for humanity) overall, much less some kind of environmental catastrophe.  And as for the rising sea levels, that's predicted to be (at worst) about 100 feet of sea level rise over the next couple hundred years.  Sad for those tiny island nations in the South Pacific, but definitely not Waterworld, and everyone else could get up and walk away.

So the current trend is hotter overall, and even ceasing all carbon based energy use, and sequestering as much as we possibly could; is not likely to prevent or delay that warming trend in any meaningful way.  And even if it could, there's not much evidence that we need to bother; since the vast majority of the warming will be to the benefit of humanity in the extreme latitudes, with minor to moderate negative consequences realized at the equator and coastal cities.  Those who live in coastal cities will have to move, or figure out other strategies like Venice.  Montana's growing season will grow longer, as will Canada's; their winters may be milder.  If that frightens you (more ticks?) then the Northern Territories of Canada are calling.  Of course, that won't happen in any of our lifetimes, or even those of our grandchildren, but it's something to keep in mind for our grandchildren's grandchildren, assuming that TEOTWAWKI hasn't wiped out half of humanity by then.  I participate in Permies in order to improve my own living conditions, and those of my family; not because I think I owe Gaia some kind of tribute.

BTW, Paul.  You mentioned in passing on your WOFATI podcast(s) that you were surprised that preppers didn't do WOFATI (or permatculture generally).  Let me be the first to mention that I found Permies (and you) because I was already a prepper.  More permies are preppers than I think that you are likely to ever know.
 
Creighton Samuels
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More importantly, as is relevant to your new book, the best argument for people to get it and start doing things is to improve their own lives.  The "lower carbon footprint" argument will always fail, because even among those who actually care what their own carbon footprint might be, their motivation is fleeting. Very few humans are swayed by scientific arguments, and those who are swayed by emotional arguments are fickle.  I estimate I changed zero minds with my previous post, humans don't learn or think like that.  We're emotional animals, not rational ones.  We feel first, then rationalize the decisions that result from our feelings.

Both the Wofati & rocket mass heater should win, in the long run, because they save their owner/builder real world resources, and the labor to acquire those resources.  Propane is expensive, you have to work many hours at a job to stay warm in winter.  Cutting firewood isn't free either, you have to spend many hours cutting, bucking, splitting & stacking wood to avoid spending money on propane; or you're paying the local woodcutter to do it all for you.  Using a RMH doesn't just mean one-tenth the wood, it means one-tenth the work.  Less, if you're just walking in the woods picking up deadfall, and don't need to cut or split it.  Likewise, a Wofati just doesn't mean that I have a home/shelter that might not need any fuel for winter comfort (although I find this point unlikely, a 55 degree soil heat sink is great as far as that goes, but I don't consider 55 degrees comfortable, at a minimum a "heat bubble" would be necessary), but that I'm using much less of my personal resources to get it built.  That point you made about the energy and labor time necessary to create even a little bit of Portland cement?  For most of us, those resources of time & energy are directly related to costs; by eliminating cement and getting the vast majority of our building materials from our immediate environment (not shipping them across vast countryside to get them to our construction site) we are also significantly reducing our costs.  Even the cost (and carbon footprint) of the diesel fuel for the backhoe is a drop in the bucket compared to the fuel used just to get milled  construction grade timber to our site from the closest timber mill, whether or not the sequestration of carbon into the structure (via timber as a building material) is considered or not.  So I'm not at all surprised that you couldn't get any traction while discussing sponsorship for your new book from environmentalist groups, your book doesn't forward their core goals.  For some of them, it would actually impede their core goals, because such personal independence and action from their target audiences would undermine their political objectives; political action is not necessary if there's a non-political solution.  You might have more luck getting one of those 'prepper' groups to sponsor your new book, as it would be more in line with their objectives.
 
Creighton Samuels
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And just in time to be relevant, a new post by Gail Tverberg, an actuary that I have followed religiously for years, with a direct connection to the topic at hand here.

https://ourfiniteworld.com/2019/04/30/the-climate-change-story-is-half-true/
 
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