Science The Only Way Out Of Fossil Fuels


Abstract: Some fashionable academics advocate violence to get rid of fossil fuels. That’s a category error: fossil fuels are not used from lack of violence, but from lack of alternatives which ecologists have been willing to use. Those alternatives have not been used, in great part because most persons presenting themselves as ecologists are against nuclear, and never heard of hydrogen. Also they are naïve about getting huge quantities of ore out of atrocious regimes, providing batteries, or what’s needed to make them thanks to dictators and human traffickers enslaving children, or abusing millions. Other technologies, such as carbon capture (although used successfully in precise places for special geological reasons) simply cannot be deployed now as a mass solution (although the Chinese energy plan pretends they carbon capture will be deployed on 980 gigawatts… that’s a lie, we don’t have the tech; Chinese planners say this, to keep building one new coal plant a week…). The wind power and battery route seems unsustainable as a world solution from needing too much special toxic elements.

The only sustainable solution is better minds and better science, thus a better educational system producing better youth. Out of it will arise better energy systems and then fossil fuels, which have been used for 80,000 years, will be dropped. violence is not the solution out of our ecological crises, only future science is. 

*** 

The science on climate change due to CO2 increase has been clear for four decades. Yet despite decades of expensive world conferences, mass street protests, petition campaigns, and homilies to world peace, we are still facing a booming fossil fuel industry, rising seas, rising greenhouse gases emission levels, rising temperatures, dying seas and acidifying oceans. With the stakes so high, why haven’t we moved beyond peaceful protest? Could it be that… There is no other solution than keep on keeping on, and that, after all, the stakes are not that high?

The answers are not those US, Canadian, Australian and many other ecologists want to hear. France uses just a quarter of the CO2 emissions as Australia, per person. However, France uses nuclear and carbon pricing massively. Small cars too. And living in some of the densest cities on Earth (Paris in particular is that way). Plus sky high taxes and government spending relative to GDO, highest in the world. This powerful brew has been concocted while French know-how went down… Brute force has its down sides…  

A very close friend of mine, head of drilling at an oil giant (!), conducted, thanks to his technical knowledge, very efficient eco-sabotage against heavy equipment of a massive construction company in the Calanques (it was around 40 years ago!) The authorities never found who did it. This violent action gained time, enforced protection, and enabled the ultimate creation of the Calanques National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site (aside from stunning scenery, it has world famous undersea-access prehistoric sites). So I know and approve of justifiable eco violence… But not the sort Malm is advocating… which is grotesque, counterproductive, indiscriminate, hypocritical, a lie… and constitute mass murder, even genocide, as civilization cannot work without fossil fuels at this point…

***

In the ridiculous manifesto “How to Blow Up A Pipeline”, claimed saboteur of SUV tires and coal mines, Andreas Malm, a Marxist-like climate change opportunist from Lund University in Sweden, makes a call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics into violence in the face of ecological collapse [1].. We need, he claims, to force fossil fuel extraction to stop– by destroying its tools… start blowing up some oil pipelines. Now, as I point out in the note, and millions of words of my writing testify, I am no shrinking violet… And was personally advocating for ecological violence, in specific and extremely justified cases, when Malm was not even born… But “specific and extremely justified” is the important qualifier. Ecological lessons from Sweden, a country who could not help clear the environment from the Nazis, and got wealthy from them, always smack of consummate hypocrisy.

Sweden has lots of forest, lots of hydro power, and is very wealthy (by dealing with, and profiting from, Hitler… and escaping WW2 devastation). 

In his core section, “Breaking the Spell” (p 65-132) Malm argues for direct violence as ethical. Malm accepts the prevailing view that property damage is a form of violence, but distinguishes violence to property and violence to people. He makes the utilitarian argument that given the failure of corporations and governments to act, the climate movement must begin to escalate its tactics to shut down the fossil fuel infrastructure. He does not seem to realize that shutting down energy shuts down civilization, thus lives. Because he misses the point: there is no alternative to fossil fuels, except a cocktail of nuclear, hydrogen and renewables… That most ecologists reject… allowing them to be de facto for fossil fuels while claiming to be against them..

*** 

We cannot blow up all the pipelines, that’s fantasy. Because we cannot get rid of fossil fuels, at this particular juncture.If we did, that would be criminal: think about all the innocents dying from cold or failing machinery.  I do not like fossil fuels, and I have screamed about planetary heating for decades… but things have to be kept in perspective. 

Saying that “nothing else worked” is tantamount to beating one’s head on a wall, because nothing else worked. Other methods to reduce fossil fuel usage exist: France does with one third of US per capita CO2 production than the USA. Europe with less than half, per capita, per year. 

French CO2 is around the world average. But this hides the fact that more than half the world population emits neglectable amounts of CO2. As that half starts to produce more power, be it only for irrigation, desalination, air conditioning, food production from adaptation to a heating planet, or just living better, they will need energy.

A solution is photovoltaics, but they will need storage, thus the infernal cycle of more precious metals, for batteries, which cannot clearly be done… So we need to develop hydrogen massively… and safe nuclear, thermonuclear or fission. So it is an engineering and science problem.

Patrice Ayme

***[1]. If Malm had really committed eco-terrorism, he would be more discrete about it. I have known eco-terrorists. They were extremely efficient, sabotaging heavy equipment to stop a development, the area concerned is now the Calanques National Park in France (I am saying this as the main organizer was the head of drilling at Total, the French oil giant!!!!!!!!!!!! This friend of mine committed suicide later…). Malm is a scholar of human ecology, teaching at Lund University. He is the author of The Progress of this Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World and Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, which won the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize. So Malm is establishment… Need I say more? The establishment is excellent at promoting buffoons who want to destroy it, thus making people believe that only buffoons with idiotic ideas and reprehensible anger want to destroy it…

This undermining the opposition of the plutocratic governance by ridicule it itself promotes is a variant of the classical method of the “agent provocateur”. Malm is there to incite people to cuddle pipelines

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2 Responses to “Science The Only Way Out Of Fossil Fuels”

  1. ianmillerblog Says:

    In my opinion, we can capture some carbon through agriculture. For any soil that is ploughed, add suitable crushed basalt. Helps condition the soil and fixes CO2 up to 60% by weight of the basalt. In my opinion, the current solution is to employ molten salt fission – relatively free of waste products because it burns them to make energy and it cannot “melt down” because everything is in solution. The main reason it is not used is you can’t make bombs from the finished material.

    In New Zealand, the government is encouraging electric vehicles with tax breaks, and to provide the increase in electricity uses it burns more coal. This makes sense to someone?? (Leaving aside the environmental cost of making the batteries.) In my opinion, we can make at least half our transport fuel from biomass, and I don’t mean corn. The problem is, the best technology has only operated on the lab scale, and still needs improving. We need money for engineering. Another option, in my mind is to power electric vehicles with an ammonia-air fuel cell – but unfortunately we don’t have one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The electric car insanity consists in burning more fossil fuels to make more electricity. It’s not just New Zealand doing that. The pseudo-democrat governor of California discreetly authorized burning more fossil fuels. China has coal plants (using Australian coal) written all over its future. No problem: it claimed it would practice carbon capture to the scale of nearly one thousand nuclear reactors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s roughly as plausible as sending all the CO2 to the moon…

      Crushing basalt takes lots of energy. No problem we have lots of electricity, because we have electric cars… Biden said so, and he follows science… Electrifying truths, all over. Shocking, indeed…

      Liked by 1 person

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