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Today’s Contemplation CLXXI–A ‘Solution’ to Our Predicaments: More Mass-Produced, Industrial Technologies.

Today’s Contemplation CLXXI

Chichen Itza, Mexico (1986). Photo by author.

A ‘Solution’ to Our Predicaments: More Mass-Produced, Industrial Technologies.

Got into one of those social media discussions with someone yesterday morning. The post I was commenting upon is, unfortunately, no longer available and I failed to take a screenshot of it when I originally commented. However, it was from the Globe Content Studio, a content marketing group of the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. It was advertising content on the importance of new technologies to address climate change and global carbon emissions.

These two images, I believe, are relevant to the conversation that evolved after my original comment:

I have to admit that I’m not sure what this other person thought I was advocating besides wanting to curtail our pursuit of industrial technologies to address atmospheric overloading (and other symptom predicaments of ecological overshoot) but perhaps some readers can discern something I am unable to see.

Keep in mind that I share this dialogue as I have previously to provide a glimpse into the variety of opinions, perceptions, and stories that are being circulated over social media and elsewhere regarding our predicaments and how they might, or might not, be addressed.

Without further ado, here is the conversation and please note that I have copied verbatim and not corrected typos/grammar/etc.).

Me: Complex, industrial technology is what has helped to create our ecological overshoot predicament. More of it only exacerbates the dilemma. Stop marketing the illusion that it can ‘solve’ anything.

WS: Steve Bull the world is not out to “solve”. That is why the Global Energy Transition is called…a transition. What part of that is so difficult yet to grasp. Are you interested in the problem or just dismissing it?

Me: WS, Perhaps you don’t understand the difference between a predicament and a problem. Ecological overshoot is an example of the former — there is no ‘solution’ apart from a correction via Mother Nature.

WS: Steve Bull unless we slow the rate of acceleration by reducing and restricting burning. Exactly what the world has agreed to do. The run away acceleration of warming of the planet and the oceans is a PROBLEM no matter how articulate you try to spin it. So spare me your Bull.

Me: WS, Please peer behind the greenwashed curtains of said energy ‘transition’ being pushed by the mainstream media and politicians. Look at the work of Dr Bill Rees, Dr Simon Michaux, Derrick Jensen, Alice Friedemann, Dr Nate Hagens, Max Wilbert, Erik Michaels, and many others. Attempts to scale up non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies and their associated products will exacerbate the symptoms of overshoot including atmospheric sink overloading through hydrocarbon use (all of such technologies rely heavily upon them, and they have simply been additive to human energy use over the decades — they have not reduced hydrocarbon use in the least). To say little about the continued destruction of ecological systems through their production, maintenance, and end-of-life reclamation/disposal. There is nothing green, clean, or sustainable about them.

WS: Steve Bull Good grief. More deflective nonsense. So what do you suggest is to be done. Think I will stick with the 250+ scientists from 60+ countries and their collective 3 year study that aligns with NASA and the WHO and MIT reports on the troposphere where 75% of ghg gases reside elevating the ceiling and trapping earth radiated and human induced heat in the lowest level of the atmosphere causing escalation in record heat events…record fires and fire seasons that are full month longer than 100 years ago. Record advancing drought and record hurricanes in frequency and intensity to the extent of “rapid intensification” one day intensity increases. Record hottest years ever recorded and record warming of the oceans. Plain English talk about about the escalation of extreme weather records which 2010–2019 saw the most records broken of any decade in recorded history which was also the hottest decade ever re order and likely both the records and the heat will be broken this decade and the next. Over 580 months without a single below average month for the planet for global mega surface temperatures. All is easily verifiable. I will check the work of the names you mentioned if their names are not on my list of debunked contrarians. Your opinion is very well articulated but still reads as just opinion. You value it..I don’t. I prefer facts.

Me: WS, I don’t disagree with the predicament created by hydrocarbon burning and subsequent atmospheric sink overloading. But I return to my general thesis: it is our technology (that has been supercharged by the leveraging of hydrocarbons) that has led us to our overshoot predicament. Yes, reduce hydrocarbon use but this necessarily includes almost all modern, mass industrial processes including all those required to produce non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies and their associated products. More technology (that requires industrial processes) is no ‘solution’.

WS: Steve Bull As it is not solvable stating something is not a solution is redundant al…”I don’t disagree but” is just more selection no matter how articulate. Reduction and restriction of emissions across all modes of transportation and burning for energy is the only practical direction which is the agree upon global direction. The rest of you commentary is just dismissive deflection and I believe you know that. You can baffle people with BS but it is little more than a veiled vested interest in the status quo. Necessity fuels innovation and the debate is really over so I will take your point but don’t really see the point of it other than dismissive deflection.

Me: WS, We will have to agree to disagree then. The laws of thermodynamics (especially pertaining to entropy) and the biological principles of ecological overshoot trump what us naked, story-telling apes wish or hope for, especially as it pertains to supposed human ingenuity and our technological prowess. Here’s a recent paper by Dr Bill Rees that might help inform you on these issues: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353488669_Through_the_Eye_of_a_Needle_An_Eco-Heterodox_Perspective_on_the_Renewable_Energy_Transition

WS: Steve Bull I do t need to be informed so don’t be condescending . Theory is irrelevant in terms of the facts the drive the global direction that is necessary to attempt to slow down the rate of accelerating warming or planet and oceans leading to exponential decadal increase in disaster costs and economic loss and the potential tipping point collapses of multiple feedback loops. You ever been in a disaster Steve? Theory is rather irrelevant

Me: WS, So, you’re interested in just the facts but refuse to read more widely the researchers who have a different story to tell than those who support your perspective? You accuse me of supporting more of a status quo path when I am suggesting a significant reduction in technology but you are arguing for replacing that technology with other industrial technology — which is much more a status quo path. And all the while you are saying that I am deflecting…sounds more like you’re projecting your behaviour onto me. Again, we must agree to disagree on this. Enjoy the remainder of your day, I have better things to do than continue to engage in what is increasingly a pointless debate.

WS: Steve Bull at least I am debating facts and not theory and perspective. We definitely disagree as the debate is really over and actions have been agreed upon. I don’t have a perspective Steve. I have only a decade of research and following of weather records and climate altering extreme weather events. While you ponder your perspective your children if you have them and their children will have to live through devastating life threatening extreme events the likes that have never been seen other than cataclysmic events. You break an ice cube into smaller pieces and the melting pendulum cannot be stopped. So either it continues to get to hot to live in some places with wet bulb temperature potentials …or…the unstoppable melting slows or stops the currents that regulate climate. We simply waited too long debating the warnings and now action is needed to try and slow it down..not stop it or reverse it. Theory and perspective are at this point completely irrelevant. So drop out of this pointless debate in your opinion. I am happy to have the last word.

Me: WS, In reading through our discussion I believe that we may be speaking past one another. I am and believe that I stated that I agree with the predicament of atmospheric sink overloading, which seems to be your position. Correct me if I am wrong. My initial comment was a challenge of the approach being pushed to address this predicament: more mass-produced, industrial technology. It was not to deny nor deflect a concern for emissions. In fact, my point is that to reduce this consequence of human impacts upon our planet as well as the other planetary boundaries we have broached (such as biodiversity loss, land system changes, biogeochemical flows, etc.), we need to be reducing our industrial technologies, significantly — especially because they all require the continued use of hydrocarbons (and exponentially increasing use if we attempt to replace much or most of our current technologies). This perspective is not theoretical in nature as you suggest. It is factual. Modern, industrial processes cannot continue or expand without hydrocarbons, except perhaps on the margins in very limited ways. Want to mitigate atmospheric sink overloading (and the other boundaries)? We cannot do it via massive expansion of technologies as is being marketed (by those who stand to profit from this, not surprisingly), we need to reduce human population, consumption, and complex technologies.

WS: Steve Bull well we seem to have been cut of for some reason as I cannot load the post of see your comments where you suggested I did know the difference between predicament and problem. Predicament is soften terminology to what is a problem and life threatening one at that. You still are theorizing and discussing philosophy of perspective. I think that is deflection even if it is a predicament. It is not practical to stop technology or production at this point in time as action to drastically reduce burning is a practical action for the situation. Truthfully do you how a way to reduce population in any kilns of significant manner and do you know anyone that will voluntarily sacrifice their lifestyle. Humanity is addicted to comfort and convenience and your they is not applicable for a large enough scale. So talking about is not changing what needs to change now to even slow down the rate of extreme weather. Or just for lost lives and homes and entire towns but for the unsustainable quadrupling of extreme weather related disaster costs and economic loss. Politicians have to protect employment levels and that requires feeding the machine. We just have to do so without burning. Period. So you keep theorizing and I will debate facts and current events. I have been doing this for a very long time and have seen the extent of regurgitated deflection sponsored by organized and funded misinformation campaigns with what about isms and cherry picked data and you tube contrarians. While you may be 100% right of what is needed it still is deflection of the action necessary right now. It simply is not practical to stop the prosecution. Only innovate that so it better and and in the meantime we must agree to reduce and restrict emissions whenever and however possible. You are clearly more educated than me but education does not always equate to acquired knowledge. Happy holidays. I don’t know whether I May internet is sketchy or once again I have been sensores which has happens many times as my views that may be considered wrong by many are disliked but many as well. Especially if I bring up what the militaries are doin got prepare for the inevitable while the debate is allowed to be perpetuated. Which is what your entire dialog feels like to me.

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