Can we change the world? I doubt it, and it probably isn't even our role. Perhaps this thought is just the other side of the technology coin, this assumption of power that our overdeveloped brains have imposed on our limited bodies. Can we change ourselves, influence those we have contact with? Of course we can and hope that similar efforts elsewhere will link up with ours and spread outwards.

Meanwhile we have to deal with the existential angst. This can make us opinionated and fractious, preferring confrontation to cooperation and mess up the opportunities to experience what is good in this world. For these ills I prescribe a diet of less blame and a moderate intake of responsibility with a side of humility! Love and intelligence. Not quite how Iain McGilchrist would express it but it does owe something to his ideas. Keep trying, Rachel!

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Going from living in small communities to living in big ones is what did us in as a species, because it resulted in us losing contact with the group, losing sight of the group, and then losing concern for it as well. When you live in a community you can see all at once, you don’t start developing big ideas to get everyone hooked on endless growth and consumption in order to build your empire with, which is what we’ve done. That’s why we are so careless and, as Berman says, so infantile.

We may be able to get off fossils and have abundant renewable energy (Michaux seems to have been wrong on the materials constraint argument by the way) but that is certainly not the answer. This drive for overconsumption has got to go, because as we know, we’ve unleashed a set of dominoes called climate change that are running on their own steam now, maybe without any end in sight. We’ve got to finally become responsible and appreciate simpler things and do everything we can to reverse this charge over the edge of the cliff. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Maybe we won’t succeed, but we have to try. We aren’t the smartest animals, despite our arrogant claims. We’re somehow unnatural, because although Earth has gone through many transformations, they have never been because of the shortsightedness of intelligence. So for those who say this is part of nature, that it’s inevitable, I say no. Maybe life on Earth will go through another, natural decline and total transformation, but do we really want to preempt that by offing our species and most of the rest of them because we’re so bloody infantile? Come on. If you don’t think that’s what’s coming, you have probably been listening too much to the mainstream. Climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem destruction is not something we will just “adjust to” any more than the dinosaurs did.

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"Steel, concrete, plastic, and fertilizer are fundamental to modern civilization yet we have no idea how to make any of them at scale without fossil fuels."

So asserts Art Berman on his blog. A 40 year oil man. What a surprise!


Oh boy. Here we go again. It's amazing how a few untrue assertions would take about 20 pages to thoroughly disprove. I'm just going to throw out a grab bag of terms that if people google them themselves, they will KNOW that not only is a world without fossil fuels possible - it will be more attractive, cheaper, cleaner, and healthier. Then at the end I'll include a few links just for fun.

Google: Electric Mining vehicles, Electric trucks, Green Steel, hydrogen replacing coking coal, Electrowinning steel, Solar Thermal (1000 C), Electric Resistance, Electric Furnaces, Induction, Industrial Microwaves, Plasma heating, Green concrete, concrete substitutes, hempcrete, Cross-Laminated Timber Skyscrapers, CLT bridges, bioplastics, less-plastics, alternatives to plastic, seaweed to save the world, seaweed protein powder, seaweed fertiliser, seaweed protein powder to feed 12 billion people on 2% of the oceans, seaweed concrete, renewables to run Haber-Bosch process, Precision Fermentation, Sodium Batteries, Lithium Batteries without critical minerals, Super-grids, How super-grids reduce storage requirements, renewables running industrial heat, rondo heat blocks, New Urbanism, Ecocities, energy efficiency, passive solar, biomining, Electrify Everything, OFF-river pumped hydro, HVDC efficiency at 1.6% per 1000 km, Substitution game replacing critical minerals with super-abundant minerals.

Just for fun: watch a 240 tonne electric mining truck do TWICE the speed of an older diesel truck. While going UP hill. Charging on CLEAN overhead hydro power cables. Also - does going TWICE the speed mean electric mining will use half the trucks? 1 min here: https://youtu.be/6TxMeHRq1mk?t=213

"All life systems including human civilization follow the Maximum Power Principle. A transition to a civilization that runs on renewable energy means departing from this fundamental principal. No successful species has ever attempted to move away from optimizing power output before. Let that sink in."

Berman is confusing biological systems with what can be continent wide electricity systems efficiently CONCENTRATING the electricity from where it is produced to where it is used. Your problem is in thinking about energy dense oil - which when burned only produces a pathetic 12% forward motion. Electric vehicles charge from solar on the roof and get 80% forward motion! Think about supply - it's got to be mined from the other side of the planet and shipped across the world and refined and then driven down the highway once a week. An off-grid solar powered EV charging station only has to be installed once a DECADE!

OIL DEMAND TO PEAK: The IEA tracks EV sales over the last few years: 2020: 5% 2021: 9% 2022: 14%


OIL GLUT BY 2028! https://www.iea.org/news/growth-in-global-oil-demand-is-set-to-slow-significantly-by-2028

Renewables are 1/4 the cost of nuclear (LCOE - Lazard). They are doubling every 4 years - TWICE the exponential growth of oil in the 20th century which doubled every decade. They are starting to race ahead of the IPCC Paris goals. EG: They wanted 615 GW solar annually by 2030 - but that could happen in the next year or so and it's still doubling. This article wonders if we're going to see 3 TERAWATTS annually by 2030! That’s 2 to 3 times the Paris goals. https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2023/12/25/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-one-terawatt-of-solar-deployed-annually/

IEA: World FOSSIL FUEL demand will peak by 2030 and then begin to decline! That's as a whole!


China is about to open 455 GW of renewables - and their emissions could peak in the next few years! The world’s biggest industrial factory - peaking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX_PeNzz-Lw

A modern all-electric civilisation will run on 40% of today's thermal systems like oil and coal and gas. Now that will be a LOT more electricity and electric infrastructure. But don't fall for the argument that we currently mine 5 cubic km of oil, and need to replace the THERMAL value of all that energy with an equal or greater amount of wind and solar. That's false accounting. What we want is an equal amount of forward motion in vehicles - and solar panels on an Australian rooftop or wind towers off a UK shore straight into EV's is vastly more efficient than burning oil in a car and only having 12% of it turn into forward motion. https://www.sustainabilitybynumbers.com/p/electrification-energy-efficiency

Australia’s electricity grid will probably be 82% clean by 2030.https://theconversation.com/how-could-australia-actually-get-to-net-zero-heres-how-217778

Australian industrial giants worth a THIRD of our stock-market figured out it’s cheaper to Electrify Everything and run it on renewables. They’re going to build 3 TIMES our 2020 electricity grid capacity in renewables to Electrify their industrial heating with Rondo heat-bricks and electric mining trucks etc. Page 45 here. https://energytransitionsinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Pathways-to-Industrial-Decarbonisation-report-Updated-August-2023-Australian-Industry-ETI.pdf

People are going to be shocked as global demand for oil peaks in a few years - then all fossil fuels peak in 2030 and start their gradual and accelerating decline.

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It's fine to dream, but resources, or lack of, to achieve your dreams, are the reality.

Said by a metals geologist.

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Yeah right - you been reading Simon Michaux? You know EVERY Critical Mineral or rare earth to every major tech in the energy transition has an alternative, right? There are plainer minerals and metals we can use in different configurations of solar and wind and battery and energy storage. I'm not even technical - but from a social sciences point of view - and just spent a few nights a week for a few months playing the substitution game. "Can you make x without y?" You should try it one day. I'm convinced we can. Go on - run a resource by me

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How will people charge their EVs at night (which is the preferred time, obvs), when the sun is down and the wind normally dies down as well? What is the substitute for solar and wind power at night? (Please don't say nuclear!)

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I would prefer to charge my EV during the day, when prices due to all the solar PV are actually cheapest (sometimes even negative!) once you get enough solar on the grid. Imagine companies offering workers free charging at the office (while the company actually gets paid to soak up the sun's energy). And batteries (all types) keep getting cheaper, which will help provide your lighting and other after dark energy requirements.

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Remarkably prescient of Art to speak about how international shipping costs have gone up ten per cent in recent times. (He mentions this in passing about mid-way through the interview: I wish I could get the quote.)

You published this on the same day as the Royal Air Force struck Houthi military facilities in Yemen, which must be to protect the poor British public from having to pay more for their Chinese imported consumer goods.

See www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-on-air-strikes-against-houthi-military-targets-in-yemen-30-may-2024

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What recently caught this retired physician's eye was the C3S assertion that 1.2 trillion tons of global ice is melting annually, 3.3 billion tons per day, and all in service to cooling the planet: one pound of ice absorbs 144 BTUs of heat energy as it melts, ending in the 321 million cubic miles of oceans absorbing 90% of our excess heat generated by burning fossil fuels/trapped by GHGs and heated to 70 degF on the surface at mid-latitudes, only carry another 2265 kJ/kg into the atmosphere as water vapor, which condenses in 10 d. to fall back to the surface as rain, snow, hail. So, it occurred to me that we were producing/trapping a helluva lot of heat energy and only being saved from ourselves by all of these H2O heat absorbing mechanisms. As for energy generation from fossil fuel burning (8 B tons of coal/yr., and 100 M barrels of oil/d.), we have used this fossil fuel extraction and burning energy for one ultimate purpose: to make 3,000 times as many of us as previously lived in an ecologically sustainable manner in our primordial Hunter-Gatherer clans/bands. Progress? Endless growth? End times? The Devil has come calling for His Due? Thanks for this opportunity and God bless us one and all!

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If, as Art asserts, we should stop thinking of solutions until we've understood the problem, how will we know that we've understood the problem sufficiently to start thinking about solutions. I agree that "problem" and "solution" are probably the wrong terminologies but is there a protocol, notation or art form that can help us articulate sufficiently a complete and complex enough picture of the human predicament to even conceptualise a pathway to something better?

What would be a platform where humans of all types and persuasions could contribute? Would it be possible to hold a distributed interaction between many citizens' assemblies? An international assembly of assemblies.

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