What happened next? 10:10

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at gn.apc.org
Sat Jan 8 01:27:17 GMT 2011

On Friday, January 07, 2011 06:57:02 pm Max Wallis wrote:
> There is probably a "NOT" missing, but the premise is is not real

Yep! I really must try and slow down and co-ordinate my fingers with my brain! 
(yesterday wasn't a good day email wise -- too much to do, too little time).

> Secondly this hoary old "thermodynamic principles" uswed to mystify is a
> green-urban myth.  The Earth is far from closed as a thermodynamic
> system, receiving immense inputs of solar energy each day, and reradiating
> 90 or 99.9% unused.  

It's not "closed" (that is, it has finite energy), or "open" (infinite energy), 
it's "isolated" -- we have a near constant supply of solar energy to overcome 
entropy within natural systems. Trouble is, we're using energy and resources 
at such a rate that this flow of energy can't possibly be supported from this 
natural flux. As you say, most ways we can fix that energy flow have a very low 
yield -- but (from my point of view) the idea that there's a huge solar 
resource is an anrthropocentric myth because we have to share that with all 
other life-forms on the planet.

> The Club-of-Rome postulated physical
> limits 30 yeara ago (or was it 40yrs?)  but today's would be
> different, as would those in future decades.

Patience! We're talking about trends that are intergenerational, not fast 
acting. E.g. it's taken 150 years to go from next to zero oil extraction to 
peak production, so the idea that it's all going to go away in the next decade 
is a little unreal.

Re: Limits to Growth -- the hypothesis hasn't gone away, and in fact has been 
confirmed by a recent CSIRO review. See:

"A Comparison of the Limits to Growth with Thirty Years of Reality", Graham
Turner, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO),
June 2008. http://www.fraw.org.uk/files/peakoil/csiro_2008.pdf

The conclusion is something I've quoted in various articles recently (e.g. see 
http://www.fraw.org.uk/redirect.html?ecologist ):

"The observed historical data for 1970-2000 most closely matches the simulated 
results of the LtG 'standard run' for almost all outputs reported; this 
scenario results in a global collapse before the middle of this century... 
contemporary issues such as peak oil, climate change and food and water 
security resonate strongly with the feedback dynamics of 'overshoot and 
collapse' displayed in the LtG standard scenario."

> unsustainable consumption that are likely to get us - but with no way of
> predicting, why not try to escape?

Exactly -- and I covered that in the first email when I said:

"If celebs want to flash their eco-cred. then, like 19th Century 
philanthropists (inc. collectively, the ragged trousered variety), they should 
work towards getting people access to the land, training and legal framework 
to establish the various truly low-impact alternatives to 
intensive/industrialised society. There's many people who'd jump at the chance 
of a lower impact lifestyle but are prevented from change by the prohibitive 
price of land, and a planning/regulatory system that's designed around 
energy/resource intensive patterns of development. People should, en masse, 
just get on and make the change -- and by facilitating that, creating spaces 
for people to live those lifestyles (much as the Chartists did in the 19th 
Century when they created small cottages and self-sufficient hamlets for people 
to live-out the sustainable alternative to industrialisation), the 'great and 
the good' who wanted to tackle the world's ills would make a far greater 
difference. Funding land purchase, preferable starting in some of the poorest 
state where their assets could make the greatest difference, they could give a 
fair few thousand people a far more meaningful change than being talked at by 
an aching-conscience in hemp clothing (and would make a meaningful start on 
developing "adaptation" approaches to address the inevitable rise in 
temperature rather then "technofixes")."



"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see http://www.fraw.org.uk/ebo/

Read my 'essay' weblog, "Ecolonomics", at:

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at gn.apc.org
website - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/index.shtml
public key - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/mobbsey-2011.asc

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