From False Progress

(This is a recap of a comment made at a commenter’s blog, one who, claiming to defend the natural world and a human relation to it, argues in favor of nuclear power over what they consider to be the obscene sprawl of wind, solar, water, and storage. They are anti-WWSS in the Jacobson pattern. Indeed, they write and act like a clone of Michael Shellenberger who has made assertions about “climate alarmism”.)

Environmentalists usually decry self-policing, but as long as you don’t call yourself one, I’ll file you with drillers & miners who see nature as a warehouse.

Do so. I called myself that from 1971. But, now, including your ilk, I see you are not up to the challenge of dealing with mitigating climate disruption, for, like many, you want to throw arbitrary constraints on the project, whether they be “climate justice”, “environmental justice”, or “preserving open spaces”. Facts are we no longer have the luxury of those constraints.

I am, along with Stewart Brand and others an ecomodernist and ecopragmatist. This is a problem to be solved, engineered, and managed. The outcome is more important than the means. There was once a choice of means, back in the 1990s, but that was blown. We no longer haven the luxury, per the Stockner curves.

Call me a liar all you want. It no longer matters. The economic forces pushing this solution are way bigger than any little environmental movement, which is too naive to understand that the mysterious donations they are receiving through second and third parties are coming from people like the Koch Brothers.

This is not about Nature or any mystical connection to it. Nature and its inhabitants will adapt, as they always have. There will be species extinction and rotation, but there is always a baseline of that. And rigidities which many so-called naturalists have embraced, like abhoring invasive species, will fall away. Some of these so-called invasives are some of the best adapted to climate disruption that we’ve got.

What will be impacted is humanity and civilization, both because of direct effects, and also because the ecosystem services which were provided under a previous climate will not longer be provided. It’s not like the creatures and flora there will go away — the idea of insects going extinct is considered laughable by most ecologists and entemologists, despite its popularity in some circles — but that they will pursue life paths which won’t include providing those services.

Accordingly, if you actually believe in climate disruption — which I am not really sure you do, as I am not sure those who draw the mantle of “environmentalism” upon themselves do — you understand the urgency, and understand that doing something about it is needed quickly and essentially. And you also understand conditional probability. That says that the probability of achieving a solution to climate disruption given any other constraint is less than the probability of achieving it without additional constraint. Are you a climate denier or luckwarmer? Do you think we can afford these additional constraints? Where’s your calculation that we can? Are you one of the people who thinks we can plant forests anew with fertilizer, changing N2O output (a centennial greenhouse gas) and albedo, and that will fix things? It will help, but only for 60 years.

If you or anyone thinks we can afford the delay to getting this correct, you are wrong. We cannot. A +3C world is a different world, with all kinds of changes everywhere, especially for the ecosystems you claim to want to protect. That’s where we are headed if we don’t get things together. Human energy systems take a long time to transform. We should have started in the noughts. We didn’t.

About ecoquant

See Retired data scientist and statistician. Now working projects in quantitative ecology and, specifically, phenology of Bryophyta and technical methods for their study.
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2 Responses to From False Progress

  1. Pingback: Much ado about explosive methane | 667 per cm

  2. Pingback: … [T]oo detached from my natural origins to see the problem … | 667 per cm

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