IPCC Report

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
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daylen
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by daylen » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:52 pm

On the up side.. chaos is a ladder (couldn't resist).. chaos is a great time to be a micro-hero.. or a stoic that acts like a dam holding back a forceful current.

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vexed87
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by vexed87 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:43 am

@J+G, it's not a problem that can be solved, as we all need reminding from time to time, it's a predicament without an easy solution. We can choose to continue energy intensive lifestyles as a collective and accept our fate, or use our agency as individuals to stray from the well trodden route.

If one feels morally compelled not to be part of the 'problem', there is a simple 'solution'. Simply aim for a massive reduction in emissions. If you are looking for inspiration, look at medieval society or Greer's Ecotechnic future for examples of how individuals might live. You don't have to go to extremes if that not your thing, but adopting 1.0 jacob or ERE Wheaton level 7-8 (chop wood, carry water) spending gets you there and you still have some trapping of modern existence. But so long as you are a consumer of industrial society's goods, you will always remain part of the problem to some extent. Few of us meet this criteria, but if you're interested in the extreme end, see Mark Boyle for example. Civilisation's self-destruct, its what they do, but this is not a predicament for the individual to worry about.

It just so happens that less energy intensive lifestyles happen to marry well with the simple living/stoic philosophy of living, and when disruptions to the market economy come, you'll be in a better place to weather the storm. So if one is looking to improve their quality of life whilst simultaneously reducing the amount of energy one consumes but is struggling to escape the sense of doom, depression or despair, I recommend reading Paul Kingsnorth's Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. It is one of many books (incl. ERE) to help me align my perspective with a coherent and accepting personal response to the madness of our predicament.
Last edited by vexed87 on Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:16 am

@J-G:

Although I believe Murphy was throwing some misleading statements into his argument, this does not dismiss the possibility of a quick fix. "The Tortoise and the Hare" moral doesn't always hold. IOW, as I tried to express with my initial confusing analogy, if you are looking at a simple graph of homeotelic vs. heterotelic approach to two goals, you are likely favoring reduction of waste vs. time. Since "we" already wasted a lot of time and resources, it's like we already made the decision to make like the Hare rather than the Tortoise, so the only solution at this point is a Hare-brained solution.

I am now thinking Bamboo Planet!

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by tonyedgecombe » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:16 am

vexed87 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:43 am
If one feels morally compelled not to be part of the 'problem', there is a simple 'solution'. Simply sim for a massive reduction in emissions. If you are looking for inspiration, look at medieval society or Greer's Ecotechnic future for examples of how individuals might live. You don't have to go to extremes if that not your thing, but adopting 1.0 jacob or ERE Wheaton level 7-8 (chop wood, carry water) spending gets you there and you still have some trapping of modern existance. But so long as you are a consumer of industrial society's goods, you will always remain part of the problem to some extent. Few of us meet this criteria, but if you're interested in the extreme end, see Mark Boyle for example. Civilisation's self-destruct, its what they do, but this is not a predicament for the individual to worry about.
I do wonder if just being below the median for your country is a reasonable position from a moral perspective. You have to exist within the society around you, if that society decides to hinder the adoption of a low carbon lifestyle that's hardly your fault. I suspect everybody here is well below that level because it does happen to coincide with the ERE lifestyle.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by chenda » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:25 am

A mass programme of afforestation seems political doable. Hypothetically how much more land would likely be needed to be afforestated to stabilise the climate ? Presumably a key constraint is the need to use suitable land for agriculture.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by jacob » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:43 am

@J+G - Reducing spending below ~$11,000/year/person (2018 dollars) is theoretically enough to be sustainable (for 7.7B humans) while rendering yourself ethically clear in that your standard of living is not forcing people in other places or in the future to either die or have less than you. If you're looking for some practical solutions at the consumer level, UNEP suggested some:
jacob wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:28 pm
  • There's material technical potential in a wide-scale shift to wind/solar, energy efficient appliances and cars, and afforestation (planting more trees) and reducing deforestation. This alone will not be enough but it's more effective than the current approach.
If you want to quantity it (can't decide whether to plant a tree or buy a prius?) there's been some work which was discussed previously in another thread last year. It is this: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-effective ... ussed.html
Original: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.10 ... 326/aa7541

It has been noted (IPCC1.5) that putting this in moral terms might be a bad idea because some might think they've already done their part insofar they've done more than others even if its not enough (see tonyedgecombe's question above). For example, I sometimes find myself thinking that "if other people are okay with having another baby because they think large families are fantastic, I'll allow myself to take a few transatlantic flights in turn"(*). Of course this attitude is not helping anyone. This problem also exists on the nation scale. Some countries will refuse to curb their emissions insofar other countries are seen to emit more---they'll pick the metric (total co2e or co2e/capita) according to what wins their point.

(*) Just like there's a tragedy of the commons, this problem is the "tragedy of the dirty kitchen counter" familiar to anyone who has ever lived with other people---if other people are leaving a giant mess already, why should I put so much effort into keeping it clean? A rotten apple spoils the barrel.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by vexed87 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:50 am

Those with deeper understanding of the predicament have different sized moral yardsticks to those with only superficial insight. Ignorance is bliss after all, and in this sense, knowledge can be a curse, depending on perspective. The moral case is deeply flawed, just as humans morals are subjective and prone to the 'good enough response' jacob mentions.

@tonyedgecombe, if it's an internally driven moral obligation, one cannot rationally blame others for obstacles on a path to righteousness, but it certainly doesn't help with the feelings of futility toward the crusade, it is one of the many reasons people throw their hands in the air in frustration and choose to 'party on'. If it's imposed externally, doing better than the average should be enough to help most sleep at night.
Last edited by vexed87 on Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by jacob » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:09 am

@chenda - http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/sres/lan ... hp?idp=151 (IPCC special report on landuse 3.5.4.2)
IPCC SR2000 wrote: The maximum amount of carbon that might be sequestered by global afforestation and reforestation activities for the 55-year period 1995-2050 was estimated at 60-87 Gt C, with about 70 percent in tropical forests, 25 percent in temperate forests, and 5 percent in boreal forests (Brown et al., 1996). Hence, an average maximum potential carbon sequestration rate would be 1.1-1.6 Gt yr-1 above and below ground (Brown et al., 1996).
Carbon weighs 12 and Oxygen weighs 16, so to convert those numbers to CO2, we have to multiply with (12+2*16)/12 = 3.666 so maximum effort gives 4.0-5.9 Gt CO2 / yr.

In comparison the current annual emission rate is ~50 Gt CO2e / yr, so we'd need about 10 planet Earths to plant enough forest to reach net-zero emissions.

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vexed87
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by vexed87 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:32 am

@jacob, combining biochar sequestration with afforestation on lands with depleted soils may have the potential to decrease the amount of land required whilst increasing the potential growth rate of those same trees. Biochar can also improve crop yields on agricultural land, hopefully freeing up more land for afforestation, but... yeah, nowhere near enough to offset existing emissions on one planet. This is putting unintended consequences for ecosystems liberally sprinkled with carbon aside as usual.

There is no way around it. We really need to reduce emissions yesterday.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:06 pm

@ vexed87

What is the advantage of burning the wood before burying it? I know this has a basis in slash and burn rainforest "farming". And that some folks figured out that just burying the charcoal was a more effective fertilizer.

But burying charcoal, verses burying wood, biochar vs hugelkulture. What's the biochar advantage? There must be one, or there would be no reason to burn it first. All I could think of was biochar uses up some oxygen and moves some energy from the soil to the atmosphere, but that makes zero sense, from a CO2 remediation perspective.

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daylen
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by daylen » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:20 pm

Burning skips the lengthy process of fungal decomposition. The surface area increases allowing quicker dispersal/absorption of nutrients.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by jacob » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:41 pm

It also renders the carbon more inert. Anaerobic composting (burial) emits significant amounts of methane and NOx. Unless this is captured (like biogas producers do deliberately and some landfills do as a side-business if they don't flare it off) this is actually pretty bad for the atmosphere (compared to incinerating which is net neutral since it re-emits the CO2 that was pulled out of the atmosphere to grow the tree) due to the much higher global warming potential of these gasses.

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vexed87
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by vexed87 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:04 pm

Indeed, adding biochar to soil has also been shown to reduce NOx and methane emissions from soils in some conditions too, reducing naturally occurring emissions from decaying plant material. There's potential for biofuels burnt for heat on small scale to be net neutral emissions. As soon as you introduce collection and distribution of biochar using fossil fuels that goes out of the window. So it has to be localised. The really cool thing with biochar is you don't have to burn just wood. Any organic waste will do. Think food unfit for composting, human waste, animal carcasses etc. Wood will do in a pinch. Soil becomes more effective carbon sink and wood grows back to replace what was burnt.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:09 pm

Lignin is not easily digested anaerobically, so methane release from hugelkultur is not at anything like the level of buried take out food sludge.

Also, there are a literal shit ton of earthworms living in an acre of fertile soil.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ate-change

This is why the meat vs vegetarian diet dilemma isn't quite as simple as corn in/methane out calculations. One way or another you have to put something like poop or dead meat back into the soil to cycle enough nitrogen to feed billions of humans.
Processes that are important stages in the cycle of nitrogen in soils are nitrogen fixation, ammonification, nitrification, and denitrification. Nitrogen fixation is the absorption of elemental nitrogen from the atmosphere (N2) and its incorporation in organic compounds of living organisms. Ammonification is the formation of ammonium (NH3 and the ion NH4+) from nitrogen-containing organic compounds such as amines (−NH2). Nitrification is the oxidation of ammonium to nitrite (NO2−) and nitrate (NO3−). Denitrification is the reduction of nitrogen oxides back to the elemental form. These processes can be regarded as stages in a single continuous reciprocal process, namely the nitrogen cycle in soils. Each stage of the overall process is carried out by a specialized group of microorganisms, and is greatly influenced by the condition of the soil; i.e., whether it is dry, moist, or saturated, aerobic or anaerobic, cold or warm, with an abundance or a paucity of organic matter, etc.

The cycle of nitrogen in the soil and its exchange between the soil and the atmosphere can have a bearing on atmospheric processes as well. For example, partial denitrification in the soil releases nitrous oxide, which is a powerful greenhouse gas implicated in global warming. Other greenhouse gases that are released from the soil in certain circumstances are carbon dioxide and methane.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/ag ... -organisms
Here is what I think is way better than biochar: planting polyculture trees.

And what is better than compost: planting polyculture trees.

And better than protesting any ickiness: planting polyculture trees.

Here is what I think is better than planting a garden: planting polyculture trees.

I can think of at least one thing that is better than buying fluorescent light bulbs: planting polyculture trees.

Something that is better than riding your bike instead of driving a car: planting polyculture trees.

-Paul Wheaton
What is known as territorial behavior, or the territorial imperative, in which individuals or families to not tolerate close neighbors, is another mechanism we may observe in nature that keeps a population below saturation level.

As a general principle, we can say that in terms of the well-being of the individual, the optimum density is less than the maximum. Or, to put
it more bluntly, the world can support more warm bodies, like cows in a feedlot, than it can support quality human lives. - Eugene Odum- "Ecological Vignettes- Ecological Approaches to Dealing with Human Predicaments"
Odum's group working in Georgia in the 1970s calculated maximum density for quality human life at 1 human per 5 acres, excluding most barren areas.

IOW, ultimately some form of asshole (territorial imperative) behavior will likely prove necessary. So, it might come down to trying to determine what constitutes the most benign form of ass-holery. It seems like transferring economic power to females(allowing them more share of imperative) is likely candidate. Therefore, I vote for teaching basic math skills to low income girls as second best activity next to planting polyculture trees.

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Riggerjack
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:48 pm

Odum's group working in Georgia in the 1970s calculated maximum density for quality human life at 1 human per 5 acres, excluding most barren areas.
I wouldn't go that high. There's lots of land that's not barren, but still doesn't provide much sustenance. I live on 10 acres with my wife in some of the lushest Temporal forest on the planet. If we squeezed a living out of this land, there wouldn't be much left for nonhuman use.
IOW, ultimately some form of asshole (territorial imperative) behavior will likely prove necessary. So, it might come down to trying to determine what constitutes the most benign form of ass-holery.
This. I believe this will be the solution, and it's where I am placing my bet. My goal in retirement is to help people with too much money, trapped in cities, and pissed off at the world for not farming/ranching/logging right, come out and show us dumb rednecks how to do it properly.

And let the hilarity ensue. :twisted:

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:11 am

Riggerjack wrote:I wouldn't go that high. There's lots of land that's not barren, but still doesn't provide much sustenance. I live on 10 acres with my wife in some of the lushest Temporal forest on the planet. If we squeezed a living out of this land, there wouldn't be much left for nonhuman use.
Simplistic breakdown, which applies equally to both imaginary self-sufficient homestead, and imaginary large city ringed with market farms and green space, would be 2 acres wilderness/recreational, 1.5 acres food production, 1 acre fiber/raw resource, .5 acres urban/roads/technology/buildings. Obviously, will vary greatly depending on how you define "quality living" and how much you value or promote efficiency vs. resilience in your design. Generally, the more you design towards "cash crop" to sell on the market, the less resilient and sustainable your design will be within its boundaries.

Obviously, this is directly analogous to the ERE design in financial terms. That's why it amuses me to calculate how much territorial imperative the average member of this forum is exerting through capital accumulation. Safe withdrawal rate = sustainable harvest rate. $11,000= SWR $367,000 = approximately 75 semi-raw acres and a pretty big pile of NO TRESPASSING! signs :lol:

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by jennypenny » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:04 am

This seems OT from the OP, but since we've ventured into discussing sustainable acreage ...


I wonder how accurate any studies of sustainable people/acre are because they are based on acreage immersed in a functioning ecosystem. Obviously, increased flooding or temperature changes from rising CO2 would have an effect, but there's a larger degradation happening that I think might undercut those estimates even before factoring in projections from the IPCC.

See NYT Magazine The Insect Apocalypse Is Here

We've crushed our environment in so many ways that (IMO) are ignored when we focus solely on climate change. Those all-but-invisible losses might sneak up to bite us on the ass long before climate change gets the chance.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by jacob » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:16 am

jennypenny wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:04 am
We've crushed our environment in so many ways that (IMO) are ignored when we focus solely on climate change. Those all-but-invisible losses might sneak up to bite us on the ass long before climate change gets the chance.
See, e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Climate-New-Stor ... 623172489/ for more on that.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:12 am

@jacob:
IPCC SR2000 wrote:
The maximum amount of carbon that might be sequestered by global afforestation and reforestation activities for the 55-year period 1995-2050 was estimated at 60-87 Gt C, with about 70 percent in tropical forests, 25 percent in temperate forests, and 5 percent in boreal forests (Brown et al., 1996). Hence, an average maximum potential carbon sequestration rate would be 1.1-1.6 Gt yr-1 above and below ground (Brown et al., 1996).
The table is ridiculously difficult to read, so it took me a minute, but this "maximum" seems to be quite low, amounting to a small fraction of an acre per capita in the temperate region*. IOW, it is likely based on a large basket full of givens.

In fact, it is so low that it might conceivably be achieved in the U.S simply by planting trees rather than grass in every suburban backyard. I knew it had to be a very low estimate because it doesn't make sense when compared to micro-models I have made for my perma-culture projects.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Jean » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:58 am

Plant for the planet, an aforestation dedicated ngo, says we could offset a third of out emmisions by planting trees everywhere possible.

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