Posts Tagged ‘Paris Accord’

Solution To The Climate and Pollution Crises? Science! If you want peace, prepare for science!

June 28, 2021

The PARIS ACCORD IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. ONLY HARD CORE NEW SCIENCE WILL SOLVE THE ECOLOGICAL CRISES, And Prevent Their Consequences (Wars). New Science has to be invested in, forceful fossil fuel interruption will not work.

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Abstract: “Two degrees is too much” was clear 13 years ago… The Paris Accord pretended to address the problem with self-discipline and a little redistribution of wealth. That strategy is just cosmetic: homilies to self-restraint and electrification all over are not enough. The correct strategy is to do what Homo always did: ”Science the shit out of this”, as The Martian puts it…

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The present civilization is encountering an ecological crisis of the greatest magnitude. The phenomenon is not new. Countless civilizations have encountered such crises in the past, and, as a result, failed. What is new is that the problems we are confronting strongly affect the entire biosphere. And there are several problems, entangled. Some have to do with greenhouse gases: CO2, CH4, NOx, Chlorofluorocarbons; some with agriculture: phosphates, deforestation; some have to do with industry: plastics, heavy metals pollution, etc. Greenhouse gas pollution has made greenhouse forcing revert to what it was twenty million years ago, when Antarctica was covered with forests.  

There is no magical solution out of this situation. Present “solutions”, brandished by self-obsessed politicians, are not really solutions: covering the planet with electric cars, batteries and windmills will not replace fossil fuels, because the fabrication, disposal, and eventual recycling of such cars and batteries and electric engines and generators requires greater pollution and energy than it pretends to solve. At best, nothing much will have happened.

In an act of short termism, and herd behavior, Japan is closing 30 nuclear plants: fossil fuels will replace them, mostly. The nuclear incidents at Fukushima, caused by criminal negligence, killed nobody (although the useless evacuation did). The new fossil plants will kill plenty of people… and biosphere [1].

Asking the entire planet to become much poorer will not work, as governments, let alone We The People, will not agree. The fact is the terrestrial biosphere, given enough time, can handle much higher temperatures. Camels and larches thrived as close to the North Pole as one can, less than three million years ago, with a total CO2 equivalent parts per million significantly lower than today. Homo, the all-powerful species evolved during the most glaciated period.

Thermonuclear Power works. 1952 FILE PHOTO – The mushroom cloud of the first test of a hydrogen bomb, “Ivy Mike”, as photographed on Eniwetok, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, in 1952, by a member of the United States Air Force’s Lookout Mountain 1352d Photographic Squadron. The top secret film studio, then located in Hollywood ,California, produced thousands of classified films for the Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission beginning in 1947. A 50th anniversary tribute to these “Atomic Cinematographers” and their work is planned for October 22 in Hollywood. ATOMIC – RTR7YHQ. The problem is to contain it in a room.

So what to do? We have no global solutions now. Ensure that the future will have them. That means investing in researching, or deploying new energy. An energy immediately deployable is “green” hydrogen (it can be mixed into the natural gas infrastructure). And then there is thermonuclear fusion or other near-clean nuclear energy solutions (Thorium, etc).  

So the mentality has to change. Biden wants to spend 74 billion dollars on car battery chargers. Tesla makes most of its profits by selling credits to polluting companies (a government subsidy program). This is happening at the rate of two billion dollars a year. By comparison, the Energy department budget request for 2022 is around 46 billion dollars, out of which the Department of Energy Office of Science’s budget of exactly $7.4 billion. Thus it is rising by $400 million. Very insufficient (although worse in nearly all other countries, with the exception of China, of course…)  

Expanding the science budget means to expand it in all directions. Because all directions are useful, potentially. Famously, Faraday, a research physicist paid directly by the British monarch, having discovered Faraday law.

Faraday demonstrated some basic science for senior politicians. One of those critters asked: “What is its use?”. Faraday recycled Benjamin Franklin’s observation, a few decades earlier, when he was asked what use could possibly have all these balloon experiments Franklin had witnessed in Paris:”…it may pave the way for some new discoveries in Natural Philosophy at present we have no conception of…” Pushed back by some contradictors, who couldn’t see what new science could be involved, Franklin retorted:”What’s the use of a new-born baby?” 

Faraday’s law of induction (briefly, Faraday’s law) is a basic law of electromagnetism predicting how a magnetic field will interact with an electric circuit to produce an electromotive force (EMF)—a phenomenon known as electromagnetic induction. It is the fundamental operating principle of transformers, inductors, and many types of electrical motors, generators and solenoids. Around 1830, it looked as if electricity was of no use for civilization. Now we have an electric civilization. All of society, all the electricity generation (except Photovoltaics), including all the green energy drive, depends upon the induction law [2]. The photovoltaic effect was discovered at the same time by some obscure Frenchman… That looked like an anecdote, until the physicist Hertz found many peculiarities related to it (and which Einstein elucidated, long after Hertz’s death, with Planck’s quantum).

The USA has 331 million people. Just China plus India have ten times the population of the USA. No matter what “help” the USA can give those two by holding their hands would be not just presumptuous, but ineffective. However, if the USA and the EU invent new energy, that would be very helpful to the rest of the world, especially countries like Niger. When the French administered Niger last, in 1960, there were 3.4 million inhabitants there. Now there are 25 million in this mostly desertic country. Women there have an average of eight babies or so. This is typical of subsaharan Africa.

So we need to accelerate science. It is a matter of saving civilization. Because only science can save the future. 

When a Euro-American probe passed by Enceladus, it took pictures of water plumes. Enceladus, a little moon of Saturn, has a gigantic ocean of water. Said ocean has existed for more than four billion years. A probe equipped to fly through and analyze the plumes for organics should have long been launched. It was not, so we don’t know if life has evolved there and if not, why not.

An occasion was missed.

Those sorts of probes push inspiration, imagination, science and tech to its limits.  An example is thinking about what happened to Venus… thanks in part from information by earlier probes, including a European one which practiced aerobraking… It turns out that Venus probably had life, and an ocean, for three billion years… And then a run-away greenhouse. So Venusian science helps us visualize potential futures… Venusian climate was impacted by the planet’s very slow rotation: an effect we do not have, Earth rotating 200 times faster… 

There is only one solution to the ecological crises we have created: science. And science we do not have, or do not master yet… 

All the rest is smoke and mirrors… 

In particular, the Paris Accord is worthless: countries are supposed to reduce their CO2 emissions… But most countries simply cannot… Absent a scientific miracle… which only wealthy countries can produce. But, instead of producing said miracle, by spending a lot of money on science for new energy, wealthy countries are supposed to give to the poor, as if Mr. Climate Catastrophe could be bought with cash. So the Paris’ Accord entire drive, money as panacea, is grotesque, deeply immoral and strategically tragic [3].

Indeed that offering of money would be better spent doing scientific research.

Strategically tragic also in part because scientific supremacy by the dominant civilization insures peace, and only this supremacy does that (The most advanced Greek city states and Republican Rome understood this).

Some civilizations, confronted to ecological devastation they caused, were able to save themselves by taking scientific action: the Egyptians retreated to the Nile, the Sumerians went up rivers, the entire Middle East introduced hydraulic dictatorships and their water works, Middle Age Europe and Japan took drastic actions to save the forests. In all cases, they analyzed the situation and found solutions. The Roman state did not, thus collapsed.

If you want peace, prepare for science.

If you want sustainability, muster science.

If you want an optimal future,  invent a lot of new hard science.

Wishful thinking is no alternative.

Patrice Ayme

***

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[1] Although Japan is talking about creating a hydrogen economy. That’s great, as I have long advocated. However, Japan rolled out its first hydrogen transportation ship. It is supposed to bring (dirty, not green) hydrogen from Australia; the ship carries as much energy as a briefcase with the appropriate fissile materials (which can be recycled). 

***

[2] Electric tech depends upon magnets, and the higher performing, the better. Thus huge quantities of rare heavy metals are used, say in windmills. Efficient windmills, as big as skyscrapers, kill birds, and are visual and auditory nightmares; even if replaced by windwalls or the like, with smaller mills in a wall (that has been proposed). 

The material in a Tesla battery is worth around $1500 – but the market value is between $10,000 and $15,000,’ due to precision manufacturing. To get those materials, including expensive, toxic cobalt, you have to disassemble the battery (without it catching fire!), you have to crush it, you have to process it in some kind of recycling process. And then you only have a couple hundred dollars left. 

The toxic materials required by all this electric tech are produced in work friendly environments such the Congolese jungle, full of helpful children who don’t go to school for you, eco battery enthusiasts, or in countries colonized by the just as friendly People Republic of China, where thousands of Uyghurs are keen to be recycled as servants of those who love to pose as ecologically correct.

***

[3] Full disclosure: I know personally one of the plutocrats who authored the Paris Accord. He has a PhD in (pseudo) physics from Princeton, but he hates me so much that he got my daughter kicked out of her Franco-American school. At least, she was, and so he told me he would make it so. This is the sort of individual who has a fleet of (Tesla) expensive model electric cars, but he can’t even go between his mansions with them.

Energetically, We Are Still Mostly Neanderthal. We Need More Science, Not More Puritanism

February 27, 2021

Neanderthals used coal 80,000 years ago, as an energy source [1]. Hydrocarbons are still our main energy source, and we did not find an energy technology which can replace it. In energy procurement, we didn’t progress much. Indeed… The Chinese mined and used coal 6,000 years ago, the Ancient Greeks used it for metal work: the Greek scientist and student of Aristotle Theophrastus (c. 371–287 BC):

Among the materials that are dug because they are useful, those known as coals are made of earth, and, once set on fire, they burn like charcoal. They are found in Liguria [Italy]… and in Elis as one approaches Olympia by the mountain road; and they are used by those who work in metals.

In 12th Century China, iron works, fed by coal, produced more pig-iron in just one region than the whole of Britain produced in Britain annually in the 1700s. The Aztecs also used coal for decoration and fuel. Many want to go “green”… evoking pleasantly the color of chlorophyll, soft and tender, soothing salad of soft feelings. Instead, real energy, that from the Sun is white-hot, as seen from space (the Sun’s color mellows down to yellowish after getting through Earth’s thick atmosphere… the equivalent in density to ten meters of water… and 100 kilometers in distance).

The Paris Climate Accord clownish signatories pretend to believe we will solve the climate crisis through abstinence in the most democratic countries, or through copious helpings of wishful thinking. In truth, they were just promoting themselves.
Biden has rejoined Paris like a Crusader rushed to Jerusalem. Left to the old instruments we have to create energy, it will be a bloodbath: when the Crusaders entered Jerusalem, blood came to their knees (they themselves declared).
Right now Brazil is destroying the Amazon, to convert it to agricultural exploitation, China and India, with a combined population of more than three billions, are constructing coal plants at a record pace. All this is Paris chic. COAL PRODUCTION IS AUGMENTING:

Coal production from Paris Accord signatories is augmenting spectacularly, and scheduled to augment much more. Tightening the belt of the West will not change this much, although the coal policies of Poland and Japan are to be deplored, the lack of alternatives is to be deplored even more.

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In the matter of CO2 production, what should progressives push for? Getting out of Neanderthalian technology for good, in the dimension of energy. There is no cause for panic: we, our civilization, can take serious melting of the poles, with an overall augmentation of two to three degrees centigrades above the present. It would be dramatic, sea levels will jump, and so will droughts and floods, but it would be survivable. What we cannot take is to see CO2 emissions keep on climbing because we did not develop replacement energy. 

Keeping on climbing in CO2 production is what the Paris Accord convened implicitly to do, because it did not aim to bring forth an effort towards researching and developing a new energy source, instead pretending viciously that what we have technologically is enough. Instead, it is not. We need more science.

*** 

Dreams of space colonization, or of a “non carbon” future collide with a simple fact: our compact energy source is still hydrocarbons. At best, methane, CH4. So-called “Green Hydrogen”, hydrogen made from “renewable”sources would not be useful in space, because it would have to come from H2O, which is more precious… in space. On the ground, a complex economy around “Green Hydrogen”, storing renewable energy as hydrogen or derivatives thereof, will take many decades to develop, and require huge amounts of hydrocarbons to install. Energetically, we are still Neanderthals.

Reciprocally, though, if we had compact thermonuclear fusion, we could start colonizing space right away, enabling a de-concentration of resources. Mars’ land area is equal to Earth land area. It looks easier to colonize Mars than the bottom of the seas (a question of pressure differences). SpaceX style robotic rockets could land factories on Mars and start to build cities and make habitat and oxygen.

Another nuclear technology, fission, could reduce travel times in the solar system, and augment the payloads carried, by using nuclear fusion heavy duty nuclear tugs which would commute between Earth and various celestial bodies… Including Ceres, which has two drastic advantages on Mars: plenty of easy to access water, and a very low gravity well.

So it all boils down to energy.

Although we do have photovoltaics, they are not very efficient (20%-45%), and they need large surfaces… and also the Sun! So our main energy source is still fully Neanderthalian!

We need ENERGY progress… And create a new powerful, convenient, 24/7 energy source, as the Neanderthals did… when they alighted lignite.

Something which strikes me about proposed space colonies is the waste of space in the proposed concepts. Of course, in the beginnings, we are not going to try to recreate Iowa in space. Agriculture will probably be hydroponic, concentrated… Starting with Moon colonies: the Moon has a lot of solar energy, especially on these tall crater rims by the south pole on which the sun does not set… And the Moon has water, much more than we thought it had… There again, caught in the regolith, so it has to be energetically extracted…

Water on the Moon, or Mars, will all boil down, but we need energy.

Fortunately, NASA is seeing the light again. Perseverance, which just landed on Mars, is NUCLEAR powered. Solar energized probes failed, because they were solar (dust covered the panels, not enough energy anyway). NASA is also realizing that nuclear fission will enable us to get to Mars in 6 weeks, not 8 months.

Of course the anti-science,anti-technology, anti-colonization, anti-reason critters are seriously in the way… Although their ancestors were colonialists… and not necessarily nice colonialists or slave masters… At least Kamala Harris is discrete on that one (Her ancestor Mr. Harris was a wealthy English lawyer cum slave owner)… Not like Michelle Obama… Let me explain: Obama cut down hydrogen research, to the bone, Trump re-established it. Although Biden presents himself as science president, demonstrated by wearing two masks while vaccinated, investors are not clear about whether he is not saying one thing, to cover the fact that he is doing the opposite, as Obama did. 

And the first real hard data indications on Biden’s science drift are not reassuring: whereas under Trump the overall US Congress mandated science budget augmented 17% a year, average, the first Biden budget has only an augmentation of 1% of the science budget, a small fraction of real inflation.  

We would probably already have a functional thermonuclear fusion reactor, if the spending in controlled thermonuclear fusion was open full throttle (ITER was pushed back ten years from lack of funding…). Basically controlled thermonuclear fusion is, at this point, a question of figuring out the details (ITER does not use the best magnets possible, because it does not use High Temperature Magnets; also ITER does not have an energy production system attached, something that will make heat disposal harder to achieve!)

Instead the so-called “Democratic” Congress wants to spend 120 million dollars, in the latest “COVID” stimulus budget, building a tunnel in Silicon Valley below San Jose (several hundreds of millions were already spent on the same system last year… Under Trump). Silicon Valley plutocrats did not want to hear the train anymore, and thus have delayed electrification of railroad lines! The existing train line passes next to Atherton, the wealthiest city in the USA, made of palaces next to downtown Palo Alto (I have two train lines below my windows, I survive… But my wealthy (ex)friends in SV in their leafy ten million dollars homes can’t stand the possible rumble… although they don’t mind the roar of their private jets… to go skiing…)  

Why are the anti-colonization critters so loud? Because, as with animal rights, passion about nothing much diverts from debating the ongoing much more severe real problems, such as the molding and selling of our souls by the tech monopolies, and their financial sponsors, for profit…

Patrice Ayme

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[1] The Mousterian site of Les Canalettes, France (dating to ca. 73,500 years BP) was the first such site discovered in 1996 (more have been found since). It was determined later that there were plenty of trees around at the time, that could have been burned, and that our ancestral Neanderthals burned coal and, or, bone, for technological reasons (the absence of flames enables to heat surfaces such as flint, better; similarly ancient iron production with coal made steel, which is better in several ways than iron)

An English summary of early Neanderthal coal research research (Goldberg and Sherwood 2006:29) concludes as follows:

“Les Canalettes is a shelter in the Causse du Larzac region of France. It contains Mousterian remains dating to the last glacial, about 73.5 ka. Most interesting is the occurrence of what appears to be burned lignite, which was likely used as fuel and was available as close as 5–15 km from the site, well within the acquisition zone of raw materials. Analysis of wood remains in the site suggests that people used coal when wood was in short supply. Furthermore, experiments by Théry-Parisot demonstrated that the occupants were familiar with some of the burning characteristics of the fuel. For example, adding lignite to a fire which no longer exhibited flames added significantly to the burning duration, thus permitting rekindling of the fire at a much later stage and prolonging the ability to heat. In addition, the study found that a hearth mixed with dried wood and lignite, consumed 4 times less wood than a hearth simply using rotted wood. These results provide important insights, suggesting that Neanderthals exhibited a clear knowledge of the combustible properties for diverse fuels.”

USA, Rogue Nation, To Biosphere:”You Are Fired!”

June 1, 2017

Yes, Trump says:”You are fired!” to the biosphere. It is funny to those who have a macabre sense of humor. To this firing, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker replied that Trump didn’t understand things, in particular, the law.

Europe’s duty is to say: it’s not like that,” Juncker said. “The Americans can’t just leave the climate protection agreement. Mr. Trump believes that because he doesn’t know the details.” Juncker also noted the lengths European leaders had gone to in trying to explain the Paris accord to Trump while in Taormina, Italy, at the G7 summit. “We tried to explain that to Mr. Trump in Taormina in clear German sentences,” Juncker said. “It seems that our attempt failed, but the law is the law, and it must be obeyed. Not everything which is law and not everything in international agreements is fake news, and we have to comply with it.

Trump pulls out of the Paris Climate accord to, he said, “to pursue a new deal which preserves our country”. Several times in his speech, Trump fired broadsides at the city of Paris (obviously the youth, and intellectual dominance of French president Macron rubbed him the wrong way, something not improved when Macron invited Putin at Versailles, the next day, 300 years to the day, after the Czar Peter the Great visited (with his harem) . Russia piously announced, as Xi did, that Russia stayed with Paris.

US Secret Service is not amused. US comedian Kathy Griffin this week.
The cut head depicts the quality of the debate in the USA. Instead of advancing constructive solutions, the opposition to Trump is turning to Jihad. I have nothing against smart Jihad for the highest causes. However, this is not what is going-on. Most of the opposition to Trump seems to want to cut off his head, and little else crosses their mind, aside from this burning desire. However the maximal US oil production, and the maximal US fossil fuel burning we are experiencing now, were not caused by Trump, but by previous governance and social behaviors, some generations old. Trump, in more ways than one, depicts the US all too well…

In turn, the preceding comedian’s employer, CNN, chopped her off…

Several times, Trump went on a litany of American cities that “it’s time to put ahead of Paris, France.” Including Pittsburgh, who Trump wants to put ahead of Paris. Pittsburgh voted 80% for Hillary Clinton… Trump’s Paris condemnations were a funny mish mash of French bashing, climate bashing and America First. Actually, I am unfair: Trump was careful not to bash the climate. His argument is, in part, that the Paris accord will make a reduction of temperature corresponding with two weeks of Chinese pollution (besides being false, this is silly, because the Paris Accord was more of a mood than a very precise planning.)

What Trumpists are saying, and there is some validity to it, is that the US reduced its per capita CO2 emissions by 18% from its peak. However, temperature change from Paris according to MIT would be 2/10 of degree Centigrade by 2100, add the exalted Trumpists. Even the Secretary of State, Tillerson, let it be known that he viewed quitting Paris was a mistake, the US would have gotten more by staying inside..

Trump could pull out of the United Nations in ALL environmental matters. In one year. Barring this, pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord will take so long that it will become effective only under the next US President. The Paris Climate Accord was signed by ALL of the planets countries, 197 countries. Except for Syria and Nicaragua. Nicaragua wanted a STRONGER Paris accord, and is expected to sign. Syria had no representation at Paris at the time because of civil war.

All the world’s countries came together on climate. Trump says it does not matter. Tribalism is what counts, and tribalism is pricky. Trump is afraid other countries were going “to laugh” at the USA. Like the average angry domineering chimp, he had to do something crazy to show everybody that nobody laughs at him. (It seems the opposite is happening!)

That seems to be a psychological mistake. All what the US is now saying is that having a rogue nation is a good thing. So does that mean that North Korea is a good thing? The US is also saying it does not mind going rogue. First strike on north Korea?

The USA’s economic and then general dominance has been greatly due to being the world number one user of energy. Why? Because the USA is full of cheap energy, especially oil, and now gas. All these fossil fuels to burn in that good healthy terrestrial air. That made the USA the world’s most powerful nation, literally. That also made the USA the world’s most polluting nation.  

Right now the US oil production is the greatest ever. Ever. And it’s still augmenting. Why? Cheap energy. How? Fracking.

Fracking was not a new technology, but it exploded when the price of oil went up to $150 a barril. How did that happen? The Iraq war.

Now what?

The Paris Accord had two faces. One was PC: it was Politically Correct to transfer 100 billion dollars to poor countries, a sort of hush money. Many countries will disappear under the ocean, though, because the other aspect of the paris Accord came short. Under Paris, CO2 emissions would keep on augmenting, at least short term. The danger being that we reach the point where the warming feeds on itself. And we are very close to it; my most catastrophic predictions made in the distant past are now proffered by a few official scientists.

So what to do?

To mitigate the climate crisis, we need a global carbon tax. Anything else is amusement and PC self-serving make-belief.

The problems Trump instill with his rejection of Paris is that he sets a negative mood. However, they have the interest to point out a general mentality in the governing spheres of the USA, which I have long pointed out…

Because Trump didn’t do this alone. Obama was unable to ratify the Paris Accord and weakened it, because there is a long tradition in the USA of “America First”, Devil may care. This, I have long claimed, led to machinations which made both World War One and World War Two possible: had US opposition to fascist germany been made clear, Germany would not have been crazy enough to engage in war the two countries which gave birth to the USA, namely France (twice, directly and indirectly) and Britain. Instead, mood setting ancestors of Trump maneuvered to make Germany believe they would support its craziest ways.

Now we can see the US the way it really has long been: as a rogue nation, ready to anything to gain a bit of greed, here and there. Pathetic, but revealing.

Hope? Yes. Renegotiate, world against the USA, but this time throw a carbon tax into the mix. Trump threw the gauntlet, knights in shining armor will pick it up…

Patrice Ayme’


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