Why Not Now?

September 23, 2014

Young people’s question to the UN. Why not now?

From Climate Reality.

53 Responses to “Why Not Now?”

  1. jimbills Says:

    This is one of the best speeches I have ever heard (2011, Anjali Appadurai):

    Notice at the end how empty the room is. Notice also how weak the enthusiasm is in the ‘adults’ in the room.

  2. Replying to Ginger Baker, re-parented for readability:

    That’s absurd. Of course we have trillions available. The government literally can print money.

    Interesting attitude.  So, can government print concrete, or steel, or grain, or expertise in engineering and project management?  Because those (and lots more) are ultimately what’s needed, not heaps of bills.  There were examples in the 20th century of wheelbarrows of money being exchanged for a loaf of bread:  Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe.  How did that work out?

    Why not just print oil?  If you’re printing it and not pumping it out of the ground, it would even be renewable… right?  </sarcasm>

    To spell it out for the irony-impaired:  you cannot print resources, and our efforts are resource-constrained.

    we already spend way more than a trillion dollars per year on fossil fuels

    The most costly single item on the USA’s bill, motor gasoline, is about $4-500 billion per year retail including all taxes; raw petroleum is well under a trillion per year.  Other stuff is much cheaper; 2011 coal consumption was less than 1.1 billion tons at just under $37/ton, or around $40 billion.  So, “way more” is a gross exaggeration (unless you are being deliberately ambiguous and not specifying that you were talking about the globe).

    Money is NOT an issue – every dime we spend will have an enormous ROI.

    The experiences of Denmark, Germany and Spain, with disappointing environmental performance despite sky-high consumer costs, show just how threadbare that lie has become.  Subsidies do not create affordable energy.  Printing huge amount of cash for stuff with poor productivity just wastes the resources diverted into them and creates poverty elsewhere.

    Nuclear energy takes a small fraction of the concrete and steel per kilowatt than wind and solar do.  The biggest problem with nuclear right now is lawyers, who’ve managed to throw up toll booths at every step of the licensing process and even after shutdown (see Vermont).  Put the lawyers out of business and reduce the NRC licensing timeline to 12 months and watch it go.

    If you really wanted to watch it go, get the Fed to lend at a discount rate suitable for multi-decade investments in environmental goods.  I’ve seen 1.4% suggested; at 1.4% interest, nuclear is the cheapest thing out there.

    Renewable energy is succeeding everywhere. You remain delusional.

    Succeeding in doing what?  It has not decarbonized Germany or even Denmark.  Mostly it succeeds in spending huge sums of money.  This is great for the banks, but nobody else.  Are you paid by the banks, or are you working for free?

    • jimbills Says:

      It’s a common misconception that the United States prints money for free. Money is loaned into existence by a conglomeration of private banks, the Fed. The United States is then on tap to pay back that loan and its interest (national debt). As the interest payment on that debt increases, it constricts the social services sector of the national budget. This is one reason why we’re having constant fights over the paltry sums given in food stamps. The U.S. budget has ballooned, and no one questions ‘defense’ spending or the debt interest (and we can’t touch Social Security and Medicare without a revolution), so we fight over the crumbs given to the dispossessed. Those fights will increase as time passes.

      Interest payments now:

      Projected interest costs to 2024:

      What Roger suggests would require four things: 1) national consensus to enact the changes, 2) either debt and/or interest forgiveness on the part of private banks and bondholders, 3) a coordinated, competent, and transparent administration of that money, and 4) the resources, knowledge, and technology to produce a working renewables infrastructure of at least 80% total energy consumption on just the U.S. scale within 20 years.

      I’d say the fourth variable is the most possible, but that requires A LOT of faith. The other three require complete and unjustifiable faith.

      • Gail Tverberg thinks that the debt will never be repaid; there will be massive defaults and forced write-offs, Detroit writ large.

        A renewable infrastructure won’t prevent this, because overspending on other things can easily eat up any savings on energy costs.  But she goes further:  the long time to repay the EROI of renewables makes the debt collapse come quicker the more of them you build.

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