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Copenhagen: Life in the Slow Lane

Colin Todhunter

Indian cities are in crisis. Spend any length of time in a large city there and you will notice the overcrowding, the power and water shortages and, during monsoon, the streets that transform into stinking, litter-strewn rivers. At times, these cities can be almost unbearable to live in.

And, not least of course, there is the horrendous traffic chaos and congestion, the choking pollution and the increasing number of massive concrete flyovers: monstrosities that have taken their place among numerous other planning disasters that blight so many Indian cities.

A few years back, Delhi introduced an ‘odd-even’ traffic policy whereby vehicles with certain registration numbers were allowed on the road only on designated days to try to cut down on traffic congestion and pollution. But this failed to solve the underlying problem that stems from a model of ‘development’ that associates a (wholly unnecessary) push for urbanisation (and depopulation of the countryside) and car ownership with progress.

Despite the problems, the greater the urban sprawl and the more road building that takes place, the happier are the real estate, construction and car manufacturing sectors. That’s not idle speculation: the documentary ‘How Big Oil Conquered the World’ describes how the car and oil industry criminally conspired to undermine public transport systems in US cities to get the population and urban planners hooked on the car.

As long as urban planners prioritise the car and wrong-headed notions of ‘development’ governed by powerful players continue, Indian cities will not only sprawl ever outwards and be defined by traffic congestion and air and noise pollution, but residents will experience an ever-worsening decline in their quality of life and increasing dependency on motorized transport.

Indian planners might wish to take note of a recent New York Times; article which highlighted that Los Angeles has decided against adding lanes to a freeway.

Although Andre Gorz noted this back in 1973, policy makers are waking up to the fact that building extra lanes merely means more cars, more pollution and journey times increasing.

As soon as you build a highway or add lanes to a freeway, cars show up to fill the available capacity (known as induced traffic demand).

Gridlocked traffic on the streets of Delhi

Just as some countries are now realising the folly of widening and building ever more roads and jamming cities with cars, Indian planners carry on regardless by blighting the urban landscape with ever more huge concrete flyovers and expressways snaking across cities and dividing and destroying communities.

A day before Delhi implemented the second phase of its ‘odd-even’ vehicle policy, the city announced it wanted to support the construction of more roads to solve congestion by enhancing road capacity via new roads, road widening, elevated corridors, flyovers and underpasses.

In Delhi, it seems the problem is being offered as the solution. The issues outlined above are of course not unique to Delhi or India.

If there is one city that seems to be on the right track, it is Copenhagen. The city believes that cycling should be the foundation for sustainable transport strategies and is key to making cities clean, green and liveable. Copenhagen’s urban transport solution gives space to cars but more importantly to bicycles, pedestrians and public transport.

Back in the early 1970s, Copenhagen was just as traffic clogged as anywhere. Now it has around 400 km of cycle paths. The city’s 2017 Annual Bicycle Report confirms that cycling is the preferred mode of transport for the city’s inhabitants. Each day, some 62% of Copenhageners use their bikes to go to work or school/college.

Copenhagen has in recent years been voted the ‘best city for cyclists’ (it tops the list again in 2019) and the ‘world’s most liveable city’.

Throughout the world, there is now a desire to improve public health and combat climate change. As a result, Copenhagen’s renowned cycle-friendly policies are serving as a template for some of the world’s most congested cities.

Aside from health and environmental considerations, an effective urban transport policy should be democratic. Unlike cars, even the poorest segments of society can gain access to a bicycle.

The bicycle is indeed democratic, not just for those who cycle but also for the rest of the population who are too often impacted by planning blight, pollution and the colonisation of urban space as a result of planning that privileges car users ahead of everyone else.

However, the bicycle is only truly democratic when spatial segregation is limited and bike lanes and appropriate cycle-friendly infrastructure exist to properly connect all areas. Inspired by Copenhagen, Mexico City’s bicycle strategy is attempting to address this issue through a comprehensive cycle path network, which aims to create mobility through areas that have been closed off due to previous planning strategies.

The arrogance of space

For cities to fully embrace the bicycle, city planners must stop thinking like motorists or capitulating to powerful lobby groups and plan for the needs of cyclists. In Denmark, for example, the Copenhagen-Albertslund route is the first of a planned network that will comprise 26 Cycle Super Highways, covering a total of 300 km. The network is predicted to reduce public expenditure by €40.3 million annually thanks to improved health.

Consider that in Europe 50% of most city land is dedicated to streets and roads, parking, service stations, driveways, signals and traffic signs. And yet the average European car is parked for 92% of the time. Of the other 8% of time, 1.5% is spent looking for a parking space, 1% in congestion and just 5% is spent driving.

There are 30,000 deaths per year on European roads and four times as many disabling injuries. Consider too that an average European car has five seats but carries 1.5 persons per journey.

In Copenhagen, city planners tend to give an adequate proportion of road space to cyclists: proper cycle lanes with curbs that separate cycling space from car space; cycle lanes that are usually also sufficiently wide. After all, why should cars hog so much road space when the majority of road users are cyclists?

In the article ‘The Arrogance of Space’, it says:

We have a tendency to give cities human character traits when we describe them. It’s a friendly city. A dynamic city. A boring city. Perhaps then a city can be arrogant. Arrogant, for example, with its distribution of space.”

For too long the arrogance of car-obsessed urban planners has degraded our health and our quality of life. But when you have good-quality public transport and the opportunity to cycle thanks to appropriate infrastructure, there is no need to hand over excess space to cars and produce endless concrete sprawl for car parks.

Walk (or cycle) around Copenhagen and you will immediately appreciate there is much less traffic noise and pollution compared with other cities. It is indeed a spatially friendly and a compact city – and a less “arrogant city”. It is also less hectic and more tranquil than many other cities and – taking things even further – arguably more community oriented.

Slow living

Of course, community-oriented living isn’t just due to transport strategies, although Andre Gorz said that to love your place or space, it must first of all be made liveable, not trafficable. He went on to state that the neighbourhood or community should be shaped by and for all human activities, “where people can work, live, relax, learn, communicate, and knock about, and which they manage together as the place of their life in common.”

In Copenhagen, the municipality encourages outdoor living by offering open-access communal table tennis tables, basketball facilities, well thought out kids’ parks, landscaped parkland and lakes. Even during cold weather, Copenhageners congregate on the streets and in the parks to socialise and embrace the concept of ‘hygge’, probably best defined as: a conscious appreciation, a certain slowness, and the ability to recognise and enjoy the present. Get to know the city and you will soon realise that hygge isn’t just a cliché.

The key word in that definition is ‘slowness’ because from there we arrive at the concept of ‘slow living’.

Writing in 1973, activist and writer Ivan Illich stated:

The use of the bicycle… allows people to create a new relationship between their life-space and their life-time, between their territory and the pulse of their being, without destroying their inherited balance… In contrast, the accelerating individual capsule [the car] enabled societies to engage in a ritual of progressively paralyzing speed.”

Modern culture is an advocate of speed, epitomised by car worship. Cars, speed and high-energy living have become essential facts of life. In the process, our communities have become disjointed and dispersed. We have sacrificed ‘slow living’ – in terms of intimacy, friendship and neighbourliness – for a more impersonal way of accelerated living.

Where would be the need for the car when work, school or healthcare facilities are close by? Less need for ugly flyovers or six lane highways that rip up communities in their path. Getting from A to B would not require a race against the clock on the highway that cuts through a series of localities that are never to be visited, never to be regarded as anything but an inconvenience to be passed through.

Instead, how about an enjoyable walk or cycle ride through an urban environment defined by community and intimacy? An environment free from traffic pollution or noise and where ‘neighbourhood’ has not been deadened and stripped of its neighbourliness, local stores and facilities.

Clearly, many of the problems associated with modern cities are not just due to cars or transport systems. Urban planning and the colonisation of space mirrors capitalism and the needs of powerful corporations.

By focusing on capitalism and how culture reflects the division of labour, Andre Gorz said:

It cuts a person into slices, it cuts our time, our life, into separate slices so that in each one you are a passive consumer at the mercy of the merchants, so that it never occurs to you that work, culture, communication, pleasure, satisfaction of needs, and personal life can and should be one and the same thing: a unified life, sustained by the social fabric of the community.”

Although it would be naïve and misguided to think that the bicycle (and cultural change) could transform the social relations of capitalism, it is at least emblematic of a different form of urban planning and ‘development’.

In writing this article, the author draws on his own personal experiences. He has spent a decade in India and is a regular visitor to Copenhagen.

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eddie
eddie
Oct 13, 2019 7:38 PM

A car-tastrophe?

BigB
BigB
Oct 13, 2019 3:28 PM

What about cities after oil? Chains of bike caravans bringing global resources to urban centres?

This is not nearly as distant a problem as the consensus reality likes to pretend. Ten years ago we had roughly forty years of oil. Burning old tar to 200 degrees has done less to impact that than the consensus imagination likes to pretend. We have little time to reconsider our direction of travel. Given how long a transition to local systems and infrastructures may take. And that we may only have the resources to do one or the other – local or global …not both? Which has the best affordance and evolutionary reward value?

What about cities after financialisation? Which may be our most proximal problem of all. There is no way to determine the outcome: but built land = dead land …lost to production. Which means the city needs to be assessed on its ‘ghost acreage’ – its ecological footprint. Beyond financialisation – which is in crisis as we speak; and may collapse at any time – the affordances of net-importation are lost. The city has to produce for itself: which I have already shown to be impossible. We need a landmass greater than Germany and Denmark to feed just one city. We have 69.

Greatest of all: why is there such an explanatory gap between the real and the perceived? Why are people who sort of infuriatingly rely on reality being ignored? Every new tower block; every new cycle way; every new urban infrastructure plan needs to be costed in equivalent years of survival those resources could be profitably put to. And the lives that will be lost – human and biodiverse – that it will cost to have these monuments to our gross stupidity.

Maybe the collapse of shadow banking and the derivatives market – if that is what is underway – will cause enough of a shock to bring people to their senses? And their Senseis!

Cities are monuments to voluntary self-extermination. Each floor of each tower is probably a decade of a more gentle Way …one we may never know. Thanks to cities.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 4:03 PM
Reply to  BigB

Peak Oil is another Big Oil scam to justify treating their product as s scarce and therefore more valuable resource.

No one knows how much oil we have left. No one.

If the abiotic throry is correct (no conclusive data either way) then oil may actually and ironically be a renewable.

This is real science. Sick of the word being bandied by non-science bigots. Used that way it’s about as meaningful as High Priests citing the word of God to prove their point.

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 12:30 AM
Reply to  MLS

Abiotic oil and negentropy are real science? I think science may take a different view.

So, do you actually have a valid criticism of entropy? Because if you do not: then the comment stands on the solid bedrock of science – no matter what you might think or say. Put up or shut up. Put forward a valid counterargument and we can cite principles and facts. I’ve given them before: and you ignored them. Charles Hall’s concept of EROI is a second law derived statement: as valid as the second law. It is cited daily in 1,000s of peer reviewed papers. It is the basis of a whole new biophysical approach to economics.

Refute entropy and refute EROI. Or accept that negentropic projections of eternal faith-based anti-scientific anti-realism are nothing more than imaginary. If you have the science to back them up: provide it. But it will have to be negentropic. So please start with the MLS parallel universe Laws of Thermodynamics.

MLS
MLS
Oct 14, 2019 2:42 AM
Reply to  BigB

1. Abiotic oil theory is real science, yes. It’s a valid theory with supporting data. It’s suppressed and derided because if correct it threatens the entire capitalist economic base, but surely you’re not simply taking the mainstream word on that are you?

2. negentropy or ‘negative entropy’ is real science, yes. If not then Schrodinger was wasting his time! I haven’t brought it up in this context – you have. Not sure why. But it’s definitely real. In fact your existence and mine and all living organisms can be argued as an example of it. As indeed, ironically, can the biotic theory of oil production. Which is one reason for doubting it since it’s a situation – the breakdown of life into death – in which entropy ought to be expected.

The fact you are so uninformed about basic science you actually think negentropy is pseudo science and try to make this ridiculous misconception the basis for mocking someone who knows a lot more about it than you is a nice illustration of why I have come to find you so unbearably irritating and – frankly – rather less than intellectually honest in your dealings here.

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 7:13 PM
Reply to  MLS

Abiotic oil: we did this before. I quoted Richard Heinberg and Ugo Bardi – both who are professors. There are two abiotic oil theories. The strong can be discarded because we are not swimming in oil. The weak states that oil may reform over the same geological timescales that it formed in. Which is of absolutely no use to us. For the record: the circumstantial evidence of dry wells partially refilling due to migration is NOT proof of abiotic oil. It is biotic oil: percolating from somewhere else. Unless you can point me to new information: all the oil I know of has been biotic in origin containing biomarkers. That these are contaminants is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary justification.

Limitless pools of hydrocarbons – existing 20 miles beneath the mantle – which would prove impossible to recover …is a political theory: not a scientific one. Suppose they exist: so what? Second law compliance applies to all materials – not just bio-energetic ones. A limitless energy source would strip the world of sustainable and non-sustainable resources in a decade and we would be just as extinct (from our current civilisational form. I have no proof of absolute extinction. No one has. But scenarios remain where that may indeed be the case).

Negentropy: Negentropy? Schrodinger reformulated his original statement to ‘free energy’ due to the very criticisms I could mount here. That negentropy implies the absolute rupture of entropy that would render organisms immortal. Which is my critique of your philosophy. Organisms can operate at a steady-state, far from equilibrium – by exchanging energy, matter, and information with the environment. Even Schrodinger accepted this is not negentropic. Overall, entropy is maintained and not violated by life.

So, to cut to the chase: the argument is that the economy is a bio-physical system; inter-causal with the environment; from only which weak decoupling can be exhibited – by exporting ones mess to someone else – and charging some sort of surcharge for it; that bio-physical systems are subject to depletion in both quantative and qualitative terms; that they are thus limited: not limitless; that neither sources (standing resources) or sinks are plastic to the point of infinity; that man-made economic activity has consequences; that every waste – including untested novel entities – has to go somewhere …and may accumulate or bio-accumulate; etc etc etc. To which a personal stance of bow to your superior.

I suggest that you learn some ecology – and some dynamic systems theory – and take a very long, hard, look at why you are defending BAU extinctionism. For the record: I admit to using science, psychology, ecology, and philosophy colloquially. Guilty as charged. But it was a conscious decision because terminology such as ‘autopoiesis’ and ’embodiment’ were rejected. As was precisification of context and terms. I cannot express my arguments as I would like. More subtle arguments can be developed only from applying principles of ‘exergy’. It’s really fucking boring trying to explain what you mean when it lies outside the consensus window. I’m damned if I do. I’m damned if I don’t.

Every principle I have cited is based on solid science. Read the text I cite below. You keep telling me I’m wrong, dishonest, whatever …this does no one any good. The primordial axiom is that we cannot grow infinitely in a finite system. Why do you not understand this? It is irrefutable.

Bodhran Player
Bodhran Player
Oct 14, 2019 10:07 AM
Reply to  BigB

Charles Hall’s ‘observational tool’ (as he terms it) ‘energy returned on energy invested’ is not a 2nd law derived observation at all. It’s a simple model he devised for calculating the efficiency of an energy system by comparing energy expended to achieve it with energy gained by achieving it.

It is most often used to examine the efficiency of alternative and renewable fuels – all of which to date have sadly low ‘eroi’ compared with fossil fuels

That’s all it is. I don’t know where you got the idea it was something more or involved observations on entropy or laws of diminishing returns.

I think you are confusing Hall’s simple, even arguably simplistic, tool with the various ways it has been used as part of larger analyses or agendas that might discuss ‘eroi’ but also deal with other questions far beyond its remit.

For example it’s often referred to in the anti-human Malthusian doctrines of people-haters such as Bill Gates as a quasi-scientific argument for radical population reduction, by adding claims of ‘entropy’ to Hall’s original model.

Of course entropy may play a part in any energy system, for example if resources become harder to find and require more effort to harvest the ‘eroi’ ratio will fall. But there is nothing in Hall’s model that states this is inevitable!

So I think you are misunderstanding and misapplying it.

Incidentally the ‘eroi’ of all fossil fuels worldwide remains well above the required 7:1 (oil is around 30:1 worldwide) and will remain so for the foreseeable future. So if we ignore questions of carbon the ‘eroi’ of our current system simply is not a problem and won’t be for many generations.

Your claim that we have only forty years of oil left is not true. There are masses of currently untapped sources in the world and more being found all the time. So scarcity won’t alter the ‘eroi’ for the foreseeable future. The only reason Hall’s model is employed in this context is because AGW theory demands a shift away from efficient fossil fuel consumption to inefficient renewables with very poor eroi. Which is you will find the term discussed in many environmental studies.

So in sum your comments are squishing together two entirely separate issues (‘eroi’ and the Carbon question) and completely misunderstanding the former.

I’m not sure if this is MLS’s contention or if his/her annoyance with you is more general. You do tend to create grab bags of jargon and misapplied scientific or analytical concepts that simply make no sense to those who work with such terms or at least understand them, but might seem superficially impressive to those who don’t. I’m sure you can imagine this might annoy a self-professed ‘professional scientist.’ His/ rudeness is inappropriate however.

Incidentally ‘negentropy’ is emphatically real! Wherever did you get the idea it was pseudoscience? I would like to see any such source! It should be called as pure nonsense. Negative entropy is the basis of any ordered system. Life being its most unavoidable example!

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 7:55 PM
Reply to  Bodhran Player

I can only give the same answer I just gave MLS: you are right. I am vastly oversimplifying. I could recast my argument in terms of exergy dynamics and make myself even more unintelligible. I tried years ago to define terms and bring in the new lexis of ’embodiment’; ‘exergy’ and ‘dynamics systems theory’. It went down like a lead balloon. So I just say what I want to say.

FYI: we are no longer looking for oil – for economic reasons. CAPEX and exploration budgets are being cannibalised by debt repayments. The oil industry is kicking a multi-trillion dollar can down the road …due mainly to the ‘shale boom’ myth.

There was a concerted effort to find more oil in the late ’90s. Mike Ruppert always maintained that this resulted in the Iraq War in 2003 …Operation Iraqi Liberation or OIL! The idea there are limitless pools of hydrocarbons has already been covered. The question is: would it even be desirable to find them?

Actual negentropy was reformulated to free energy – as explained above. The sense I use it against MLS is to critique his ideas of limitless growth. In this sense: negentropy is fictional. As applied to open dissipative systems – negentropy implies immortality. Biologists now talk of Gibbs Free Energy; Variational Free Energy; etc to avoid implied negentropy.

Overall: entropy has to be maintained. To re-cast my colloquial usage embedded within Marx and Minsky – the following video makes most of the relevant context available. Around 28:00 minutes in: Keen gets to C P Snow’s joke version of thermodynamics:

You cannot win;
You cannot break even;
You cannot quit the game.

We are in an entropic system using an outmoded model of physics to pretend that we are not in an entropic system. Hall’s model of a perpetual motion economy – in ‘Energy and the Wealth of Nations’ – is much the same. I simply do not know what part of Hall’s model allows us to ‘quit the game’. None that I know. We can cheat the game – by stealing Iraqi oil – but we cannot ever quit. It is a zero sum question of energy imperialism and re-distribution from now on.

The results are inevitable: so long as we cling to materialism. Timescales are moot. The outcome is not.

MLS
MLS
Oct 14, 2019 10:34 PM
Reply to  BigB

Where did you get the idea I believe in limitless growth?

I have literally not said one single fucking word about limitless growth.

What is your problem with simple comprehension?

I don’t advocate limitless consumption. I support rational research on renewables. I deplore planned obsolescence.

My problem with you is not that I’m a Big Oil baddie and you’re a Green Hero. It’s not that I disagree with you basic premise. I don’t.

My problem with you is that you have ONE purpose in everything you say, which is convincing people you are cleverer and more knowledgable than you really are. My problem with you is that you are a science illiterate posing as someone with a grasp. My problem with you is that in pursuance of this empty egotism you skim read studies and grab cool-sounding concepts and regurgitate them ad hoc and jumbled without understanding. That you post screeds of veritable science gibberish made up of half understood concepts you proceed to grossly misapply.

Do you get it now?

It’s you and your posing I have a problem with, not your general advocacy of sustainability, with which I broadly agree.

Quit with pretending you understand science concepts you clearly don’t. Quit with always having to know best and be right.

Just be honest.

There’s nothing wrong with not knowing science, but there’s a lot wrong with pretending you do and using that pretence to dominate and pontificate on subjects you don’t really grasp.

You don’t have any grounding of basic science. You are not science trained or science literate. To a scientist this is painfully obvious! And you don’t have the honesty to just admit it.

This is my problem with you.

BigB
BigB
Oct 15, 2019 10:51 PM
Reply to  MLS

MLS

I literally do not know what your problem is: but I know it is not me.

For the future: why do you not just respond to my comments with reasoned criticism. If I made a mistake: point it out. I’m not the person you think I am. If I have misinterpreted something: I am willing to admit it and learn from the experience.

However: this is never what you have done. I am sure we could have a fair exchange about entropy. My perspective has always been ecological and economic. Where, I can assure you, the term ‘negentropy’ is never used. Not even by Schrodinger – as pointed out. Free energy and in ecological papers – Gibbs Free Energy – are the preferred terms …for precisely the reasons stated. Nothing is immortal. Energy is lost with every transformation. Everything dies. For that reason: the term is not used. This does not in anyway imply that ‘negative entropy’ does not exist. It is just not applicable to economies or ecologies.

A point I have tried to clarify – to the point of posting Keens video: with the very meaning I have been using is specified – on more than one occasion. If we cannot even meet to agree terms: I feel there is little more I can do to stop us arguing at cross purposes. Modern mainstream macro-economics is negentropic – because they do not – and will not – account for thermodynamics.

This is serious problem – with serious and sinister consequences for humanity as a whole. It is to this I write – to raise awareness – not for personal gain. To name a few: Warr; Ayres; Hall; Klitgaard; Lambert; Tverberg; Morgan; Spash et al …have been arguing for an exergy economics for decades. If nothing else: treating the economy as an equilibrium model – based on the so-called ‘cost/share’ dynamics of capital and labour – which is self-correcting and needs no external regulation is just simply insane. So why do we not both share knowledge and agree that the cost of leaving energy (actually exergy) out of the political economic decisions that affect the life of everyone on the planet is actually unconscionable?

The consequences for the actual economy – as I have tried to point out – are actually more proximal than those for the biosphere. There is an interaction between exergy and debt deflation that is absolutely toxic for everyone alive. The coming GFC 2.0 – already 12 years of the Epic Recession in the making – will devastate communities everywhere. While we were talking at cross purposes here: Dr Tim Morgan posted a blog piece explaining why:

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

I literally have no time for arguing with anyone. We are in a very serious situation: and arguing will not resolve anything. If you broadly agree with me that macroeconomics is a negentropic perpetual motion fallacy – which is a fact – why do you attack everything I write?

For the record: my main comment drew information and data from the then GLC’s ‘City Limits Survey’ …now nearly 20 years old. If London was unsustainable then: how unsustainable is it now. The projected 35% reduction in ecological footprint never happened. The 80% reduction is imaginary. All facts and science were sourced within. I did not even interpolate: I used the reports own data to highlight the deficiency of Colin’s article. Riding bikes changes nothing. I deliberately chose London because it already has good transport infrastructure.

There have been further reports that use the concept of ‘decoupling’ to reduce ecological footprints (which London has claimed to have done. To 5.58 gha per capita. However, they left out tourism that the GLC did not. So no real change.)

I criticised the idea of decoupling for the bourgeois lie it is. If you refer to Dr Morgan’s blog – you will find a link to a recent European Environmental Bureau report that describes decoupling as “a haystack without a needle”.

So, I fail to see what I am getting wrong if even the EU agree with what I said? Nor if I cite an actual report and literally quote, without even interpreting, the fact contained therein. Or work on surplus energy principles that are almost identical to Dr Morgan’s. He is using his own database and my more intuitive approach is coming up with near identical conclusions.

I am not, and have never claimed to be a scientist. So there is no nothing to confirm or deny. I make no claims to absolute fact. In fact, I would claim there is none. Everything is context sensitive.

That said: everything I have written herein was cogent, to the point of the article, and factual – as of 2000. So, perhaps moreso now – given that decoupling is exposed as a lie.

Which brings us to the real problem latterly. 55% of the worlds population lives in unsustainable and un-future proof cities – rising to 68% by 2050. Based on imaginary econometrics that are not energy or thermodynamically compliant. This is a collapse model. Which is my entire point. The minimum requirement is that we embed the economy in the biosphere and account for biophysical source to sink flows to counteract this urbanisation trend. Based on prosperity projections from nothing but cost/share dynamics of capital and labour (with added technological efficiencies of up to 100% – which are 2nd Law violations). Which is insane.

I literally have no idea why you want to shoot the messenger when I literally do not matter. I won’t be around for long after 2050. But neither will much of humanity either. The message is the key. If I offend you in the way I convey the message: I apologise. But having reviewed what I wrote originally: I really cannot see much to fault. It is going to take a lot more than riding bikes and eating a bit less meat to avoid some pretty nasty near term (in geological timescales) consequences for humanity. Nothing short of radical and deep transformation and rapid expedited transition can change course now.

Humanity needs its best minds – minds like yours – present here and now to lobby for real change. Not the insidious corporate led change. We do not need a ‘climate economy’: we need an ‘exergy economy’ …or exergy ecology would be better. I invite you to examine the literature I am drawing from. If nothing else, to actually critique me.

Ad hom spats beneath the line do no one any good. I apologise for my part. I thought I made a perfectly decent comment. But here is always room for improvement. To which you could provide constructive criticism: not destructive. That does neither of us any good.

MLS
MLS
Oct 14, 2019 10:50 PM
Reply to  BigB

Your nonsensical contradictions about negentropy is typical of what I can’t stand about you.

You skim read something about it and got the bonkers impression negentropy doesn’t exist. If you had even a basic high school grounding in physics you would know this is nonsense. But you have no such grounding so you don’t.

But when your noob error is pointed out you don’t even admit your mistake. You just go on a fresh pompous rant trying to cover your tracks. You Google and find something about Schrodinger which – again – you don’t understand – and just keep trying to blag it.

You don’t understand the science of entropy and negentropy! You know it and I know it. Have the fucking basic honesty to admit it.

This is my problem with you!

Antonym
Antonym
Oct 14, 2019 4:52 AM
Reply to  BigB

Why bundle everything from a small town to a mega-conglomeration under the label “city”? The latter is pretty unsustainable while the former might be better than any village.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 3:01 PM

For God’s sake. We now have absolute proof the ‘climate emergency’ is being promoted by corporate fascists who want to use it to leverage massive exploitation on many levels. OffG has got flak for tweeting extensively about this fact.

When are you going to take the next obvious step and take another look at the physical evidence for AGW that underpins this agenda?

Right now you’re like those people who accuse the US of exploiting 9/11 to launch the WOT but refuse to question the ‘catalysing event’ itself.

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 2:46 PM

I’ve only ever lived in small cities or towns, so my knowledge of transport is mainly based on public transport when living in an area that has good road/rail communications – that said, and looking at South East wales and the M4 corridor, there is much the Welsh Assembly can do, but like others, it seems addicted to motorway expansion, despite a reasonable canal infrastructure via the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal and what remains of our rail network after the Beeching disaster of the 60s.

So, where my folks reside, we have an explosion of housing, which locals can’t afford to purchase, and an expanded commuter belt all the way to Swansea in Wales & Cheltenham in England, the Severn Bridge has now stopped taking tolls, meaning many from the South West can actually reside inside of Wales, whilst working in Bristol, Swindon or Cheltenham, meaning we have more cars and more pollution.

On the cycling-side, both the canal and closed rail network was used as cycle paths, however, much of this has now been broken up as new road systems were put in place to deal with traffic bottlenecks, so, despite heavy de-industrialisation, we still have high pollution levels associated with cars and trucks – had Beeching not destroyed the rail network, it would have been no hassle to use either trams or railways to journey all the way down to Fishguard. Indeed, our local railway station was removed completely stone by stone as it was historically important, ASLEF being founded in our small town.

Suffice to say, with some imagination, most of Wales could be ‘greened’ and our economy become really ‘sustainable’ given we still have a small population of just over 3 million and one of the largest tidal estuaries in the World, namely that of the Severn. Don’t mention lagoons or barrages though it would seem, despite the fact that ‘real’ localisation would work in Wales, instead, TBTB would prefer a population that is zombified, rather than learning from our recent past prior to the outbreak of WW1!

vexarb
vexarb
Oct 13, 2019 5:02 PM
Reply to  Chris Rogers

Chris, what are your thoughts about a Severn barrage? Idle curiosity; I am a gee whizz! type, and admire the French barrage. Wikipedia:

Assessments

Return on Investment
In spite of the high development cost of the 1966 project, the costs have now been recovered, and electricity production costs are lower than that of nuclear power generation (1.8 ¢/kWh versus 2.5 ¢/kWh for nuclear).[4] However, the capacity factor of the plant is 28%, lower than 85-90% for nuclear power.

Environmental impact
The barrage has caused progressive silting of the Rance ecosystem. Sand-eels and plaice have disappeared, though sea bass and cuttlefish have returned to the river. By definition, tides still flow in the estuary and the operator, EDF, endeavours to adjust their level to minimize the biological impact.

Tourist attraction
The facility attracted approximately 40,000 visitors in 2011. A lock for navigation at the west end of the dam allows the passage of 1,600-tonne vessels between the English Channel and the Rance. Departmental road 168 crosses the dam and allows vehicles to travel between Dinard and Saint-Malo. There is a drawbridge where the road crosses the lock which is raised to allow larger vessels to pass. The Rance estuary is the first part of the inland waterway from the English Channel to the Bay of Biscay via the Canal d’Ille-et-Rance and the river Vilaine.

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 5:36 PM
Reply to  vexarb

Whilst I’m certainly a ‘headbanger Leftist’, I must state that a Severn Barrage would be a must if we were serious about tackling pollution and moving our economies to more local, environmentally friendly ones – a cost offset analysis could be undertaken to map out the actual ecological damage the building of a Barrage would produce, and other environmental concerns could mostly be engineered out at a cost, the reality is we’d lose the actual Severn Bore, but wetlands could be preserved, or engineered in.

Once we know the actual ecological cost of building, we can then stretch that over a minimum 100 years, if not longer, given, that unlike nuclear, the barrage could be prepared frequently – my only concern would be the silting up of the estuary behind the barrage.

As for the actual construction of the barrage, the latest proposals envisage a both way flow system, meaning it would generate electricity far longer each 24 hr cycle than was originally envisaged, further, blade technology for turbines has also come a long way in the past decade, so, theoretically the Barrage could produce 8% of the UK’s present electricity requirement, but this could be improved upon greatly if wasteful electricity usage was cut dramatically.

At a guess, I don’t think you’d have any change out of £50 Billion if all environmental impact concerns were engineered out – obviously, cement, steel and other building materials have their own environmental footprint, but, this would be a big one off project that would produce more electricity than two PWR Nuclear power stations, would last far longer than these nuclear power stations and could kickstart moves in Wales and the South West to a more sustainable way of living – we don’t need to return to the stone age, but we do need to reduce our overall energy consumption and abandon consumerism, which localisation would assist with.

So, yep, I’d build the bugger as an engineering marvel and build a real sustainable local economy around it, which is why I’m so sad that much of the transportation infrastructure we had was effectively destroyed when petrol engines were fully embraced – its now awful parking-wise where my folks live, but when i grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s most families around had no personal car, indeed, much work was within walking and cycling distance – all gone I’m afraid. I also remember Hill Framers who had no electricity, they were off-grid, much as they were in the late Nineteenth century.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 6:09 PM
Reply to  Chris Rogers

How could ‘wetlands be preserved or engineered in’? That sounds like the kind of thing easy to put in promotional material, hard to actually achieve.

And wave power is desperately inefficient. Really not sure about cost/benefit there

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 6:33 PM
Reply to  MLS

The debate in Wales at least was one that looked at the benefits of lagoons as opposed to a Barrage, however, when the expected energy output of the barrage was re-visited, utilising latest blade technology and ensuring the barrage operated in both directions, the lagoons would need to be far larger, thus leaving an ecological footprint bigger than the actual barrage.

As for wetlands, these of course can be preserved, or, be man made with the correct engineering, obviously, addressing such concerns costs money, which is why I not only doubled the last costing of the Barrage, but added an additional £10 Billion for good measure, and, quite strangely enough, that cost is now lower than the anticipated cost of the two PWR Nuclear Stations the Tories have signed us up with the French and Chinese to build.

Bang in another £10 Billion, and we could look at Thorium Reactors, which India and China are presently looking at and these could be built on two existing nuclear sites in Wales, both of which also still have the electricity line infrastructure in place.

Of course, we can also look at wind, but these solutions have large environmental concerns, or we could look at actual wave power generation, but the fact remains, looking at Wales and the South West only, that a barrage makes economic sense and ecological sense if only we’d have the imagination to embrace them.

And, if you think I’m dreaming, we have many engineering marvels my neck of the woods courtesy of canal engineers and railway pioneers like IKB, the Severn Tunnel being a classic example of this, and, its still used daily.

vexarb
vexarb
Oct 13, 2019 7:25 PM
Reply to  Chris Rogers

@Chris Rogers: “And, if you think I’m dreaming,..”

…then look up Rance Barrage (France) or Sihwa Barrage (Korea). Thanks, Chris, for a thoughtful answer to an idle question.

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 7:35 PM
Reply to  vexarb

vexarb,

No issue at all, its something i consider quite often when I consider if Wales can be an economically viable entity on its own, this being rather different to looking at Independence, as so many folk do. Indeed, with some imagination Wales could be an excellent place to live, it would never be rich, but, it could be a pleasant place for those with no interest in get rich quick schemes, but rather, living life a bit simpler and getting our hands dirty.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 9:09 PM
Reply to  Chris Rogers

Thorium reactors are often sold as a cleaner or safer type of reactor, but that’s not really the case. They still present most of the problems associated with nuclear reactors. Most of them still need uranium as a fissile material. How are they greener than uranium or plutonium reactors?

Tidal barrages are massively expensive, only intermittently productive and potentially ecologically devastating. Not commercially viable without massive subsidies.

Wave power is a less destructive but even less commercially viable option.

Neither tidal, wave, wind or solar are truly ecologically neutral. This is a lie being sold us. They are cash cows for Big Oil and others busy diversifying, soaking up subsidies. Tidal barrages in particular cost billions and can destroy local economy systems more completely than an oil spill.

We’re being scammed as we have never been scammed before

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 9:58 PM
Reply to  MLS

Tell you what MLS, why don’t we just build oil burning power stations and fuel them with everlasting oil.

Far from promoting one kind of energy production and then claiming it to be Green, I personally promote none – I was asked to comment on the Severn Barrage and did so.

Now, a wealth of detailed information exists on total power generation, much of it concerned with the Severn Barrage, further, the pro’s and con’s are well known, which is why engineers and ecologists could address them, it only takes money, which funnily enough, given its largely present, is actually limitless.

As for Thorium, the amount of uranium required to power them is actually small, a few kilo’s I believe, but issues with separating salt exists – still largely theoretical, hence, my suggestion we bung £10 Billion at it, which is a figure suggested by its proponents.

Oil is a finite substance, as is coal, and until I read millions of pages of scientific research suggesting otherwise, we are in for a bit of a shock and rude awakening shortly unless we change our ways, and guess what, when honest suggestions are made to change our ways, up pop posters like you to pour cold water on them, so no change then in other words!!!!!

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 13, 2019 2:20 PM

…how the car and oil industry criminally conspired to undermine public transport systems in US cities to get the population and urban planners hooked on the car.

The conspiracy is ongoing. As I like to point out, those who are responsible for illegal wars, environmental degradation and decline of living standards are also preventing a change of transportation modi, away from one person – one car, towards sophisticated public transportation.

The assault is systemic. Here is an article about the intentional wrecking of the German ‘Bundesbahn’ (in German), that was converted into a corporation for the sole purpose to wreck it. Shareholders include car manufacturers. Railway stations are left to rot, rails are destroyed, switches removed and whole parts of the network sold to private investors that remove valuable stretches of public transportation and convert it into commercial business centers.

In regard to the bicycle traffic, I never experienced anything as enjoyable as the Dutch bicycle network again after my visits to Amsterdam. Here in Uruguay, there are no bicycle lanes at all. Instead there is a constant grave danger of getting run over by trucks and cars. Car drivers hate bicycles and they will cut you and drive by way to close, as if to want that you get off the road and crash. It is very disturbing, especially because there are a larger number of bicyclists here due to poverty. Many people simply cannot afford a car, or even moped. Those who can’t afford a car will have a moped, those who can’t afford a moped use a bicycle. There are buses, but since winter here is like nine month – at least for the bus schedule – buses only exceed three times a day in summer. For some reason I am under the impression it should be the other way around, since winter time here is nasty and bad bicycle weather.

All this is another indicator that all the movements to change the sick ways of the status quo are lip service, or distraction paid or organized by the owner class that profits enormously from the way things are deteriorating. Why are there no laws that give preference to bicyclists? Where are the bicycle lanes with priority over motorized vehicles? Change starts at a small level and any movements that demand major changes are doomed. It will not happen. However, if thousands of people go on the street to demand bicycle lanes – wouldn’t that be a good start to change the way things are right now?

Kopenhagen was once even more calm and tranquil. When Christiania was still a counter culture subject and influenced the Danish society. It has been converted into an alternative business park of sorts the last time I saw a documentary about it. The revolutionary spirit has left the scene though. Like in many other places – like Berlin – the revolutionaries of old that once countered the bourgeousie, have joined it. As for India, I have no idea what the people are going to do about their descend into a mindless consumer society. The whole country like a Bollywood movie?

mark
mark
Oct 13, 2019 3:52 PM
Reply to  nottheonly1

I remember when I was living in Hamburg in 1988, 30 years ago.
There was an exhibition comparing life in the city with life 50 years previously, in 1938.
One of the main differences was that in 1938 there were 10,000 cars in the Hamburg area.
In 1988 there were over half a million, and obviously there are more today.

For a time I lived in a small town of about 4,000 in southern England.
Older people recounted that just before the war only one person in the town had a car, the local doctor.

Electric bicycles are good, though they aren’t cheap. Electric skateboards could be quite useful, but they aren’t street legal at present. Mopeds like the old Puch, Honda 50, or French Solex were masterpieces in their own way, and ideal local transport. Maybe private cars will become obsolete if and when driverless vehicles arrive. Though the price of that will be having your brain fried by 5G radiation.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 13, 2019 6:29 PM
Reply to  mark

Older people recounted that just before the war only one person in the town had a car, the local doctor.

This is one of the most important assessments in regard to so many issues. It would burst the format to get realy into it. The main point however is, that you can easily convince the masses that there is a need and that need must be satisfied.

At the time the only person in town to have a car was the doctor, people lived in multigenerational settings. When children came of age for their own family, an addition was built. Many applications could still be shared. One washer, one dryer (if), one TV and one car. Next thing is that the kids need their own washer, their own fridge and their own car. Next thing is they want their own house. Now they need one of everything for themselves. Leading to everyone in the house needing their own car. When I lived in Nevada, everyone needed a vehicle as big as possible.

When you look at it closely, and I know you do, than you find out that society in its entirety has been thoroughly rigged for maximum consumption. Add to that something that is never really addressed – especially not by people who demand ‘big’ changes to save the world: Planned Obscolescence.

Planned Obsolescence is a crime against humanity and the planet. I did have an NSU Quickly and a Zündapp moped. With great joy do I recognize some of them still driving around here. Or Yamahas from 1966. Probably one of the positive side effects of ‘poverty’ – people keep what they have for much longer, since they cannot afford to buy something new.

On the Big Island, I played with small motors for bikes – add ons – and even considered steam for inclines. But I lost it all in the process of getting out. Here, I just ride my bicycle and dream of new ways to propel them in addition to muscle power.

For a long time I have pondered about what could be done to avoid the notorious fallacy of only one person driving a car that fits five. Here, it may be due to the fear that people will get mugged when they stop to pick up a hitch hiker/pedestrian. I concluded that an incentive given by the tax collector might work. Participants are given a ID card and if someone gives someone else a ride, he receives the member’s number and for that he will receive tax credit.

It really irks me to see just the driver in a vehicle and just like in Hawai’i: the bigger, or more expensive the vehicle, the fewer passengers. Here, too it is the old Opel Record from 1964 that is loaded with seven people.

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 7:00 PM
Reply to  mark

If memory serves me right, there was one moped in the late 70s that returned more than 100 miles to a gallon, and that was two-stroke, the Honda c50 was very economical, and with the leaps made in engine efficiency since the 70s, we could probably squeeze 150 miles out of a single gallon – however, if most folk needing transport relied on two wheels, life would be dandy, regrettably, we have far too many cars used for short journeys with a single occupant

Strangely, where I reside, a small island in the South China Sea, cars are banned, so you have to walk or bicycle – you can walk around the island in a day or two quite easily, the only problem being, we have a ugly Electricity Power Station sharing the Island with us – we could be 100% wind reliant, we have a single wind turbine, but Hong Kong seems in no rush to go ‘Green’.

mark
mark
Oct 14, 2019 5:24 PM
Reply to  Chris Rogers

The Honda 50 has actually turned in genuine figures of 221 mpg.

Herr Ringbone
Herr Ringbone
Oct 15, 2019 5:37 AM
Reply to  Chris Rogers

To be fair, where you live (the description makes it clear but I won’t say it as you haven’t ) is nothing like the rest of Hong Kong. It’s true that smaller islands lend themselves well to banning cars, though. Cars are mostly banned on the island where l live, too.

Plenty of bicycles in parts of the New Territories, due to things being a bit more spread out and lower traffic density. People insist on riding them on the footpaths even though that is (a) illegal and (b) the roads are safe enough in those places (like the village around Kam Shuen Road MTR).

The ‘real’ HK – the whole urban, Blade Runner-set thing – is a different world to these places.

BigB
BigB
Oct 13, 2019 1:14 PM

Colin is a pretty cool dude: but he is way off the mark here. Even cool, radical, progressive, and ecologically concerned people seem to have no real idea how to cope with the enormity of the task humanity faces just to survive. There is an enormous perception gap between real solutions and sticking plaster illusions. A gap so large – and necessarily exponentially widening – that the daunting will probably instill inertia, rather than spur action. The action required for us to survive is now so radical, few are even willing to contemplate it. Policy makers are only concerned with growth. Policy based on radical – and voluntary – wealth reduction are chimeric. Cognitive blindness is getting deeper and darker by the day. Just as our accumulated problems increase. The inverse proportional cognitive dissonance and lack of awareness compared to the exponentially mounting problems creates a cognitive and enactive praxis gap that switching to bikes does not even register in.

Ecologically speaking: cities are centres of centralised collapse. This is well known and well studied [not least by Tainter and Diamond]: only the data-sets are not presented in that way. I’ll get to that.

For instance: ‘Red Ken’ produced the City Limits Survey report in 2000. Energy footprints and resource through-flows are converted to area and expressed as ‘global hectares’ (gha) on a per capita basis. Londoners were found to have a resource footprint of 6.63 gha. The global average for sustainability – the ‘earthshare’ median – was 2.18 gha. Compared to the bio-capacity of 1.90 gha – which should be expected to fall. The recommendations for London to remain sustainable – and thus habitable – were a 35% reduction in economic footprint by 2020: as part of an overall strategy for an 80% reduction by 2050. Is there any need to labour my point?

Perhaps I should: due to the knowledge deficit and cognitive dissonance we have. Because of its large population: London has an overall ecological footprint of 48,868,000 gha – greater than the landmass of Germany and Denmark combined. If everyone globally were to enjoy – if that is the right word – the living standards of an average Londoner – we would require 3.1 planets of resources. Unsurprisingly: the UK’s ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ – the day by which we consume the equivalent of our sustainable maximum: our ‘biocapacity’ – is May 17th. From the 18th onward: we are in overconsumption and overshoot.

London is not one of the worst cities: not even in the UK. One of its positive factors is its low relative footprint due to transport. London already has good transport infrastrucure: the second lowest in the UK. In other words: riding bikes and urban planning make a difference. Only: they do not make enough of a difference.

Another factor to consider is the myth of de-coupling resource throughput and wealth increase – when de-coupled from reality. In other research: this is termed ‘Factor 4 decoupling’. Factor 4 – and the even more mythological ‘Factor 10’ decoupling – posit wealth doubling and resource throughflows halving. But this is entirely based on tertiary service economies. In effect: exporting their environmental responsibility elsewhere whilst remaining in expectation of doubling the surplus-value extraction. There are words for that. Not very nice words.

This is where ‘environmental services’ (ESS) come in. By extending private property rights over all natural capital – service economies can generate new income streams whilst exporting their wastes and degradation elsewhere. Doubling their income streams by halving someone else’s. Plus giving them a mound of shit to shovel for their share. There are words for this. Even worse words than in the previous paragraph.

Service economies need to become net-importers in order to survive. But globally, not all communities can be net-importers: it is a zero-sum game. Factor 4 wealth doubling and resource decoupling are bourgeois delusions invented to cover the fact that we do not actually give a flying fuck about anything other than ourselves. We just like to extend the pretense that we do. To make our gang rape of humanity and environment seem personally livable. There are words for this …

There is only one policy that can make urbanisation sustainable. It is not riding bikes. It is abandoning the whole ethos of urbanisation. We cannot sustain the ecological footprint of even London within the UK. Urban strategy means living off other peoples resources. Other people who either have to do without: or consume other peoples resources. This drawing of resources into centres of depletion creates increasing demands on the environment that eventually outstrip the ability – or carrying-capacity – of the land to supply. This has led every previous civilisation to collapse. We will not learn our lesson. Something to think about whilst riding a bike to oblivion, perhaps?

Philip Roddis
Philip Roddis
Oct 13, 2019 1:56 PM
Reply to  BigB

Excellent comment, BigB. But I’ll say it again (then hold my tongue forever). You should be writing above the line.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 2:55 PM
Reply to  Philip Roddis

BigB will never offer a piece ATL b/c he knows he would have to provide sources and his certitudes would be shredded by people with actual understanding of the issues he pontificates about with 2nd hand sound bites.

He is good at giving a superficial impression to lay people that he knows what he’s talking about – but he has absolutely no clue, and this is clear once you scratch the surface.

He knows very little about climate science, or science in general. Or economics. Or anthropology. All he does is offer semi-understood commonplace doom-sayer eco stuff picked up from Greenpeace etc. And he post solely to boost his ego.

He’s a somewhat dishonest blowhard who doesn’t want his limitations revealed. He’ll never dare try to get published. Don’t waste your time on him.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 13, 2019 8:44 PM
Reply to  MLS

Hey Admin, I thought ad-hominem attacks were not allowed here?

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 9:35 PM
Reply to  Frank Speaker

Fuck off Frank. You insult people left right and center if they dare to disagree with you. BigB is a blowhard and know-nothing who dodges away when challenged by anyone with the genuine knowledge he pretends to have.

Look. Listen. Crickets from him since his bluff was called. As usual.

He’ll come back soon, pontificating pompous contradictory pseudo-eco bullshit on some other thread until his bluff is called again

Admin can censor me if they want, it’s still true. BigB is the worst kind of pseudo Left.

Or maybe that’s you.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 17, 2019 11:46 AM
Reply to  MLS

With comments like yours, it’s made it clear to me that during my 3 years reading OffG the lowlife from the far reaches of the internet have crawled to infect this place, a once great site with respectful debate. It’s especially accelerated in the past year.

BigB
BigB
Oct 13, 2019 9:31 PM
Reply to  MLS

Touche: I appear to have touched a raw nerve. You claim to be Mr Science: then immediately deny entropy as part of the material system …and claim that abiotic oil may be a property of geology. Which makes determining the pseudo-scientist difficult, does it not?

I’ve explained EROI – and all its relevant concepts – ’till the cows come home. To say I have not is just malicious. Not only that: I have linked to many papers and proof of concept. For which: Hall and Klitgaard’s ‘Energy and the Wealth of Nations’ is the bible. Have you read it yet? Will you ever read it? No, because you would have to take it seriously. Then, you would have to take not just the concept: but the consequences for humanity seriously. Instead you blowhard for the BAU of the corporatocracy: whilst turning on those who would like to survive. If there is any sort of consensus to survive. Which, it appears, there is not.

Can you refute entropy? No, then it has to be taken into the realms of cognition and policy. Did you actually engage with any of the report I cited? Because there have been several follow up reports that come to the same conclusion. Not abandoning London: but making it ‘sustainable’ by decoupling – which I refute the moral legitimacy of.

If entropy is real – which only a fool would refute – then it has to be included into our cognition. Otherwise, we are not cognisant of the world – but of some idealised parallel imaginary belief-based reality. Which is exactly my POV. Economics without entropy is a maths based theology of extinctionism. We simply cannot grow exponentially eternally. It’s fucking insane.

Rather play the ad hom game: why not refute entropy …or its part in physical systems like economies? Or back up your claims of negentropic resources, frictionless perpetual motion engines of infinite expansion, limitless sinks, etc ? Expose the faith-based assumptiveness of your BAU worldview to scrutiny. You’ll find that entropy constrains imagination. Real world systems have to be thermodynamically compliant: no ifs, buts, or maybes. If so – and am I really having to argue entropy is real – then the City Limits Survey, and my comment stand? On the solid bedrock of irrefutable science.

In which case: we have all the problems I have highlighted over the years. Which is that reality and the perception of it are two different things. This has nothing to do with POVs. Fact and faith-based opinions have no common ground. You cannot accept fact without abandoning negentropic reality-hypothesis opinions. Which is the human condition in a nutshell. Cities – and the civilisations they sustain – are unsustainable …to the point of near term collapse. Try making that known and you will see why.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 11:03 PM
Reply to  BigB

You’re twice confused. No one here has ‘denied’ entropy, and the person who questioned your usage of the word (which is not at all the same thing) was not me.

I am a professional scientist. We don’t tend to go around denying the 2nd law of thermodynamics. So no worries there.

Your comments make it clear you have no understanding of what entropy means while at the same time pontificating as if you do and excoriating people who ask you to support your bald statements with some data.

Ditto every other scientific subject you insist on discoursing upon at length.

This is annoying. And the reason why my patience with you has been exhausted.

Your treatment of abiotic oil is typical. The same high handed bigoted pompous condescension from a position of ignorance that characterises everything you say on matters of science.

Abiotic oil is a subject I have studied extensively. It may indeed be a reality. Much empirical and other data supports the possibility. The theory of hydrocarbon accretion by geological pressure on defunct organisms has always violated certain physical laws. Other potential explanations should be investigated and may hold more credibility.

But even acknowledging this would be so destructive to the current beneficiaries of our economic system it will likely never get a fair hearing.

The rest of your comment is just your usual lengthy, factless, pompous verbal farting. For example –

If entropy is real – which only a fool would refute – then it has to be included into our cognition

Thanks for the heads up, but you’ll be amazed to know entropy is routinely ‘included into(sic) our cognition’ without the need for your intervention. Some of us even know what it means.

There’s a lot more of the same flatulence, all based on your bizarre notion I’m denying entropy. Since I’m obviously doing no such fucking thing you’ll forgive me if I don’t bother to wade through it.

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 11:07 PM
Reply to  MLS

Mate: if I were a ‘professional scientist’ who forcibly maintains we are entering a mini ice age; and we will soon be farming the arctic – I’d keep my head low. Your whole philosophy is in entropy denial!

I’m talking about the lack of thermodynamic awareness in economics: not the fucking physics. Stop bloveating. I’m talking about a very specific definition applied to biophysical flows. The proof of concept is in the literature I cited. I am not, and never was talking about the broad appliance of the science. I am taking a specific defintion: one you will not check ..so you keep moving the topic to slagging me off. Watch Keen’s video. Or read Hall’s book. The very specific details to which I constantly refer are in there.

The way Keen puts it is that we are using an out of date physical model to validate a negentropric economic model that has no biophysical source to sink throughputs. I have explained my terms of reference many, many times.

We have not, and never have been, talking about the same thing. You are critiquing something other than what is being stated. With ad homs instead of counterarguments. The fault is entirely your own. You will not acquaint yourself within the frame of reference of exergy economics.

There can be no valid critique until you assimilate the references. Calling me names for your own deficiencies and cognitive bias is hilarious. It is a valid scientific frame of reference outside your comfort zone. The entire point Hall, Klitgaard, Keen, et al are making is that economics does not take entropy into account. Which means it is a perpetual motion engine based on capital and labour hours worked. Which is just about as insane as it gets.

Stop imposing a model you know nothing about and is fucking insane. I know you know about entropy: it is the economists, politicians – and thus the public – who do not. And you agree. Without knowing what you are agreeing to. Wise up.

And: as always – you never even referenced the comment I made. Cities are ecological centres of collapse. 55% of the global population live in centres of collapse: projected to rise to 68% by 2050 [UN]. Do I need to draw diagrams?

MLS
MLS
Oct 15, 2019 12:54 AM
Reply to  BigB

Mate: if I were a ‘professional scientist’ who forcibly maintains we are entering a mini ice age; and we will soon be farming the arctic – I’d keep my head low. Your whole philosophy is in entropy denial!

What are you talking about? I have literally never made either of these statements.

Why do you keep blowing smoke like this by just making up stuff I’m supposed to have said and then being fucking pointlessly sarcastic about it?

And you’re still just pouring out pompous gibberish designed to sound authoritative, but signifying nothing.

I know you know about entropy

Well gee that’s weird, since in the previous paragraph you were telling me I am ‘denying’ it. This is a perfect exemplar of my issue with your lack of intellectual honesty and ad hoc assuming of often totally contradictory opinions or ‘facts’.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 17, 2019 11:51 AM
Reply to  MLS

Get some anger therapy sunshine.

lundiel
lundiel
Oct 13, 2019 3:03 PM
Reply to  BigB

Whereas in many of your comments I don’t have a clue what you’re saying, this one is so clear, you can immediately understand and agree.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 3:20 PM
Reply to  BigB

What the absolute FUCK is ‘earth Overshoot Day’?

Who came up with it? How is it calculated? How COULD it be calculated?

How many actual scientists actually endorse this pseudo scientific baloney?

Do you have no memory of how many other ‘tipping points’ and other bullshit have already been announced and proved bogus? Yet you just buy this one? Even now it’s clearly and obviously part of an agenda?

You have proof positive the same machinery that brought us the War on Terror and ISIS panic and all the other fear narratives are actively promoting this story, actively WANTING to maximise fear to get approval for the brutal agenda they’re already rolling out and yet you just buy these obvious dumbed-down headlines designed to scare?

Why is climate change this automatic exemption from scepticism even now? Even when it puts up dumb crap like that?

It’s scary and dangerous to see OffG playing along with this deluded and destructive selectivity.

The PTB have already tried to make people self-censor their doubts by weaponising the word ‘denier’, just as they did with ‘conspiracy theory’. But this time apparentlay it’s working!

Fucking insane.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 17, 2019 11:52 AM
Reply to  MLS

Fucking insane

Indeed it appears that you are. Swearing and ranting all over the place. Get some therapy sunshine.

Abigail Winstanley
Abigail Winstanley
Oct 13, 2019 3:53 PM
Reply to  BigB

Can you illustrate which previous civilizations fell by the means of needing to provide for a depleted center? I’ve seen it presented in regard to modern urbanisation but very few comparable examples of such concentration exist in earlier times. None that we know of.

In terms of farming. The whole purpose of non-subsistence farming is to produce surplus therefore the claim of deprivation in the margins in order to provide for the center is counter evidential. A farming surplus is current worldwide. There is no shortage of food, only a crisis of distribution.

If the world cared about hunger we could easily feed the current population and a population much larger than current.

I believe much of this nihilism is actually bred by those benefitting from the current inequalities and concerned with making the ‘problem’ (they don’t see it as such) as insoluble.

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 12:13 AM

Abigail:

I cited Dr Joseph Tainter and Jared Diamond who, inter alia, have researched the ecology of collapse. Tainter’s study of the Western Roman Empire is perhaps the most apposite. The centre is not depleted: it is the base that is depleted by the superstructures of complexity it supports. Investment in complexity is a Law of Diminishing Return. Which means that the ecological base cannot sustain the city or city state: and conquering new territory becomes impossible. Collapse becomes inevitable.

It is not just London. There are 69 cities in the UK. And nearly 1,000 cities of more than a million worldwide [Demographia]. Supported by a vast network of globalised supply and value chains; communication networks (the Net; etc); trans-national financialisation; self-organised networked economies; etc. It is a massive network of complexity; with a beyond planetary biocapacity to support it.

No, no one is in control. No one decided to do it this way. It is a result of cumulative subjective choice and habituated behaviour patterns that had no real start point …but have been running since the ‘long 16th century’. They particularly intensified immediately post-war: when the exponential inflexion point was. After that: things went runaway.

Yes, we could distribute the wealth and end world hunger tomorrow. But we don’t. Ask just about anyone if they will take a voluntary reduction in living standard to achieve global equality – and you will see why. The rest is just stories we tell ourselves to distract from the presentational immediacy of the horror and the bliss.

Abigail Winstanley
Abigail Winstanley
Oct 14, 2019 3:07 AM
Reply to  BigB

The vast majority of ordinary people would not need to see any reduction in living standards in order to achieve fairer food distribution. Industrial waste and induced shortages through disposal are the major culprits. The food industries throw away enough food annually worldwide to adequately feed every man woman and child.

Can you explain this to me?

Investment in complexity is a Law of Diminishing Return. Which means that the ecological base cannot sustain the city or city state: and conquering new territory becomes impossible. Collapse becomes inevitable.

Where is the diminishing return in a system of supply and demand? I would appreciate specifics if possible. What is the definition of ecological base and why can it not be sustained?

I am very suspicious of Malthusian claims such as these that very much dovetail with elitist Gatesian policies of depopulation and enforced feudalism. In particular I believe they create the idea in the public mind of allegedly hopeless problems in order to normalise ideas of collapse and depopulation even de-civilisation, but the analyses are always non specific and lacking detail.

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 9:38 PM

So its a long time ago and I have to move stuff around. I cut four rounds from trees and invent the wheel. It is not round and not very efficient. So I learn to make perfectly round wheels from parts: solid wheels then spoked hubs with rims. Each improvement is the result of low tech and low invested energy: resulting in huge gains in performance. And not just for my back. We can all achieve so much more.

Now think of a racing slick. How much energy do we have to invest in getting a 0.2% increase in efficiency in the rain? Now think of the internet and the huge advance (relatively) from dial-up modems to fibre optics. Or 14 nanometre chip technology.

There are limits and breaking those limits is hugely costly the more technologically and socially complex things become. Energy that could be invested elsewhere – in education or boring developments like childcare, or welfare for aging populations. Stuff that would greatly matter: if people – not capital accumulation – mattered.

That’s the Law of Diminishing Return. And it is humanity that is depleted and diminished every time. Whatever anyone else says: we have a limited pot of energy and resources. If it were distributed among those – on basis of need not greed – that needed it …those supplies would eke out in unimaginable ways. When we decide to weave communities – and not the Massive Internet Of Things – which benefit us nought …we have more than enough to survive. Not survive: grow and prosper in imaginative ways we never knew where possible.

If you want specifics – based on supply and demand – then we have to turn to the Green Revolution in agriculture. Colin Todhunter covers this: so I refer you to his articles. There are 10 hydrocarbon calories in every food calorie: just to grow. To process and refine and distribute – add another five or so. When you add fertility to dead, poisoned ground – you go from farming to strip mining. Water for irrigation; biodiversity loss; farmers health; our health; our cognitive impairment; toxic runoffs; hypoxic deadzones; algal blooms …are just some of the problems. Then there is the chemical warfare against nature; GMOs; biotechnology. All of these have a huge bio-accumulative effect compared to organic agroecology. Those costs are born by society in our welfare; health; reproductive health; quality of life. Their subsidy is our ill health and mental welfare crisis: for which faulty genetics put the onus of blame on us too. All that could be improved by doing things more cheaply with heritage seeds and safety for the whole planets welfare. Including inter-generational welfare: which is always totally discounted by capitalism.

Supply and demand: the population boom, the Green Revolution, and the abundance of cheap hydrocarbons are inter-causal. Not just oil: fertilisers come from natural gas (Haber-Bosch process) …which is a waste of good gas. So population maximums are oil dependent. My claim of 40 years of reserves came from SRI International: and were made in 2005. Given the global transition to agroecological farming – which is an idea I just came up with: not an actual thing – what happens to supply and demand as the oil runs down?

More sophisticated analysis requires that we make energy trade-offs. Will the military be rationed fuel? Will debt-laden TNCs write off biogen R&D and let farmers save their seeds? These are the sort of amoral reasoning we are trapped in due to the Law of Diminishing Returns.

We have huge hierarchies of power and organisation – the superstructure – that require huge investments of energy just to maintain. We all know where every cent of efficiency improvement goes – to the top. And it never trickles back down. So we have 7.7bn in the base – and around 2,000 billionaires at the top …sucking the base dry. We cannot afford that superstructure – so whether it is ethical or not is a moot point. The survival model is called the ‘transversalisation of the base’. Fancy words for equitable distribution on a needs basis. Quite clearly: this will never be voluntarily entered into.

Whether this will be any sort of self-organisational model for future communities is highly speculative. Unfortunately: we are stuck with the dynamics we have got. Our options are diminishing with our humanity and we do not even get to decide where to prioritise where the resources go. It is decided for us. Something has got to give, I’m afraid. Something has got to give.

Abigail Winstanley
Abigail Winstanley
Oct 15, 2019 12:25 AM
Reply to  BigB

I’m sorry I don’t understand how this is an answer to my question. I asked for simple specifics about how diminishing returns affect supply and demand. I don’t see how this very long post about industrial farming and all the rest of it is relevant. And I don’t see anywhere in all that an answer to my actual question.

BigB
BigB
Oct 15, 2019 11:19 PM

Gail Tverberg’s recent blog post might have the supply/demand answers you seek. Supply is demand constrained. Without investment or real returns: all commodity prices drop. Which is bad for producers. And the entire networked global economy.

https://ourfiniteworld.com/2019/09/12/our-energy-and-debt-predicament-in-2019/#more-44049

I’m sorry: I thought that you might get that the only real resource – absent cheap hydrocarbons – that can produce a surplus is the land.

If, in the ultimate supply/demand dynamics, in our actual fantasy race to burn all the hydrocarbons we can, as soon as we can – we degrade the only surplus producing asset we will have left …to the point that it may be unusable …there will be neither much supply or demand post-capitalism.

Which is Colin’s main concern: when he’s not talking about bikes.

Antonym
Antonym
Oct 13, 2019 12:43 PM

Denmark’s population: 5.8 million. Copenhagen city: 0.8 million.
Delhi city: 11 million.

Antonym
Antonym
Oct 13, 2019 12:31 PM

Denmark sets up temporary border control with Sweden after attacks
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-denmark-border-sweden/denmark-sets-up-temporary-border-control-with-sweden-after-attacks-idUKKBN1WP0V2?

Those damn Vikings at it again…

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 13, 2019 12:54 PM
Reply to  Antonym

Those damn invaders from the East again, they’ve been at it for centuries.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
Oct 13, 2019 12:01 PM

This is a good discussion but it may not be suitable for all cities. I lived in Glasgow as a young man and did cycle to work some of the time, but when Atlantic storms blew in and wind was 40mph or higher, cycling becomes extremely unpleasant, not to mention occasionally dangerous.

The other discussion concerns distance of commute. In smaller cities the commute is usually cycle friendly, but 15-20 miles each way becomes beyond the desire of a majority of would-be cyclists. So cities like London, Paris, Moscow, LA, NYC etc need to think about housing strategies joined up with cycling strategies, setting targets of 80% of people able to live within 5 miles of work (in cost terms, obviously if people wish to live in suburbia they should not be denied that choice).

As for climate change, there really has to be a rejection of propaganda and a focus on hard science. Carbon dioxide is not the warming driver people claim it to be and extreme weather events can be due to altered jet streams, not to mention HAARP technology used unethically by unaccountable private/military actors. The warming the past 150 years has been entirely desirable making organic agriculture far more productive.

Climate is primarily cyclical and plenty of publications cover the basics of weather cycles, from the QBO through to Milankovitch cycles and beyond.

Until politicans are properly educated they will continue to submit to charlatans on a wheeze providing billions.

Chopping down forests, destroying topsoil, polluting the soil, oceans and rivers with pesticides and mining pollution are all issues needing to be addressed as a matter of priority.

Huge TNC interests try to ensure that carbon dioxide scams divert attention from the priority issues of concern.

Yes we must manage cold, heat, drought, floods with resilience.

No we must not become climate bedwetters screaming Armageddon like ignorant cretins…..

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 13, 2019 12:53 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

Good post, apart from this scientifically incorrect statement:

Carbon dioxide is not the warming driver people claim it to be

Plain citizen
Plain citizen
Oct 13, 2019 12:56 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

Excellent piece. Needs train/tram/bike co ordination. The unrealistic ‘back to the stone age’ solutions of extinction rebellion and their fellow travellers are based on and made up science and statistics.

BigB
BigB
Oct 13, 2019 2:42 PM
Reply to  Plain citizen

Plain Citizen; Rhys Jaggar:

I invite either of you to put the case for negentropic economic expansion. Or even just to review the literature on entropy and collapse: very little of which is contingent on climate science.

There is a problem you will encounter. In order to continue even sustainable growth – you have to refute entropy and the Arrow of Time. In order for it to be reversible: which can only be achieved by prodigious feats of imagination.

Entropy is measurable in a physical system. It will always tend to increase. Exergy – which is the measure of energy available for work …including all economic activity – MUST decrease globally with time. Which means that economies will shrink – not grow – exponentially across time. Having first become energy imperialists: in order to maintain the illusion of growth. Anything else is imagination.

Recent research from Leeds AC found that the national level EROI was 6.2:1 …a 23% decrease over the 12 year study period (2000-2012). That level is set to decrease: unless we become a net-importer of resources (and exporter of pollution – see above). It is well below the 11:1 ratio required for productive growth. And also below the 14:1 ratio required for a fully functional society – with arts and healthcare, education: etc. (You’ll get used to the lingo when you do your review).

It seems to me people base their opinions on climate: so they can refute the science. Please try to refute entropy. I need cheering up!

The bottom line is the same: our civilisational lifestyle is in danger of collapse. Not because of those who may at least acknowledge the possibility – XR and such – but those who steadfastly will not. Economic collapse is already under way. The UK has been in decline since 2000. Pretending it is not will lead to Armageddon: not proclaiming it to those who do not want to listen. I look forward to your thesis on the ‘made up’ science and statistics of entropy. When imagination meets sound thermodynamically grounded science and statistics: only one will survive. I wish I could say the same for civilisation. Which we are compelled by our imaginative beliefs to endanger …whilst blaming someone else.

Plain Citizen
Plain Citizen
Oct 13, 2019 4:21 PM
Reply to  BigB

First what is EROI? and who are Leeds AC? How do you know the relevant figures for this are 6.2:1, 11:1 14:1 etc etc! Any evidence or sources?
I would say in all courtesy if you want your propositions or arguments to respected please let them be intelligible. There is more jargon here than in online gamers slang.
If economic collapse is already underway because we cannot convert 100% of a systems thermal energy into useful mechanical work (entropy) how is it that the human population has grown for the last few hundred thousand years as has the energy produced by human activity. And there is loads of potential energy left. Don’t forget in nuclear fission less than one third of an ounce of matter was converted into energy in the first atomic explosion, and if you try pushing your car for 40 miles you will see how much energy is in a gallon of petrol. The earth has got billions of tons of the stuff still underground as with loads of other resources. Which resources we use is a matter of debate.

MLS
MLS
Oct 13, 2019 4:31 PM
Reply to  Plain Citizen

Prediction: BigB will either avoid you because he knows you know more than he does, or he’ll try and bluff through with more meaningless waffle to impress his non-aware fans

Plain Citizen
Plain Citizen
Oct 13, 2019 5:21 PM
Reply to  MLS

Thank you.

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 6:46 PM
Reply to  Plain Citizen

Plain Citizen,
You can always pop over to John Michael Greer’s Blog and see him discussing EROI, fully explained, or, visit James Howard Kunstler’s Blog, and a plethora of other Blogs too, which many on these boards visit regularly, indeed, why not swing by WrongKindofGreen, or, do I need to give links to each Blog mentioned as utilising DuckDuckGo or Google is a tough task?

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 1:29 AM
Reply to  Plain Citizen

Plain Citizen:

I’m sorry: but you are a bit late to the party. If I cite everything I have ever cited before: all I would ever be able to do is set the context for what I want to say. Everything has been cited previously, though – and linked to. I did a whole series of comments on the Leeds AC stuff. Unfortunately, it is behind a paywall: but here is the link:

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/10/4/534

From the abstract:

“We obtain initial results for the UK for the period 1997–2012, which show that the country’s EROI has been declining since the beginning of the 21st Century.”

Your assessment of the energy situation is common: and completely misinformed. If you truly want to understand why: I recommend Hall and Klitgaard’s ‘Energy and the Wealth of Nations’. Absolute amounts – quantities – of resources do not matter. It is quality that counts. And all the cheap, easily harvested, extracted or refined stuff has gone. Which means we need to invest more in extraction and getting stuff to where we can use it. The measure of this is EROI.

MLS is a bluffer. He will not accept entropy. He is not alone in this: but he is currently the one who is making a big noise about me being wrong. Check out EROI. I am not wrong. Our days of cheap energy profligacy have gone: whether anyone will admit it or not makes no difference. Well, it might …if we want to survive.

MLS bluffs about oil. Another Leeds AC paper puts the current level of oil – after refinery – at 6:1. Here is a ‘net energy cliff’. Locate 6:1. See what comes next: and ask …why is some random bloke on the internet the only one using science based fact – when everyone else is using faith-based opinion to create global policy? Surely everyone in the world has it right and the random bloke is wrong? Now you know why we are in freefall off the net energy cliff …and no one is screaming. Not yet.

http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2008/09/net-energy-cliff.html

5:1 may be the point of societal breakdown. Recent research puts our master resource puts our master resource at 6:1. Draw your own conclusions.

I get nothing out of this. I’m just as vulnerable as everyone else. There is no prize for being right. I lose too. What pisses me off after forty years is that I am making the same points now as I was then. The EROI is whistles and bells I picked up along the way of trying to convince my fellow travelers we cannot grow forever on a lonely rock, fourth from the sun. It was always impossible. It was always going to get us here. Here we are, still arguing that we can grow forever.

No we cannot. Not on some random blokes say so. On entropy’s say so. Now we have to face the music for our folly of imagination. Which people like MLS still coercively assert is real.

Really? We are going to ride bikes in cities and all will be well? You might want to consider your reply.

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 9:59 PM
Reply to  Editor

Editor

I’ll tell you why I do not link anymore. When I link: that’s when I have trouble posting. Your new editor software seems to strip out tags too; or maybe it is just me. Many a time I’ve set up blockquotes: only to see the comment without them. On the old site: I could drop the ‘http’ and post multiple links for readers to reconstitute. Now the whole comment goes into your spam folder or is shredded in cyberspace.

In the current instance: the research I have been using is paywalled. I have not been able to find open access copies. Nafeez Ahmed used the same research to draw similar conclusions. It seems people want to shoot the messenger rather than admit that things are getting really, really, bad.

Anyone can search for terms if they really want. If they wanted: they would probably know the terminology anyway. The proof will be in the predictive nature of the theory. The predictive collapse of the global economy due to a dollar illiquidity crisis is well under way. We shall see who has the better grip on matters of reality: but there will be no winners. We all lose. Maybe at some point in the future we can reconvene and agree to do something about it?

Bodhran Player
Bodhran Player
Oct 14, 2019 10:37 AM
Reply to  BigB

The Leeds AC study is a good example of how certain environmentalists et al apply Hall’s original and simple ratio observation in unscientific but politically charged ways.

They apply new and poorly defined criteria, such as energy prices, in order to manufacture a declining ‘eroi’.

Energy pricing is not a legitimate factor in assessing eroi!

In pure input output terms, as originally defined, the eroi of fossil fuels remains consistently high, reflecting the consistent energy output currently required to obtain it and the consistent energy it produces.

Artificially lowering this eroi is part of the pseudo-green exploitation currently being exposed. One aim is to on paper justify more massive expenditure on so called renewables with eroi so low they have no future other than as scams to enrich the already wealthy at our expense

BigB
BigB
Oct 14, 2019 10:33 PM
Reply to  Bodhran Player

You’re right: the Leeds analysis is bullshit. They say the low EROI of oil is an opportunity to switch to renewables – with EROIs of 2-3:1 – without any disruption. Which is almost criminal in its negligence.

They are a policy unit. They say what the paymaster wants to hear. That’s academia. What’s wrong with taking their data-sets and doing our own analysis? Their forecasts and conclusions are delusions. As Hall already said: at 3:1 – you can take resources out of the ground and drive them to where you want to look at them. Not carry on a fully functional society capable of sustainable growth.

And then you make you’re own unsubstantiated claim about EROI. If we are going to be more precise: it’s exergy economics we need to talk about. Tim Morgan is the go to source here. Fossil fuels have never produced constant input/output ratios. Exergy tends to decline across whole systems in time: and is not time constant or time symmetric. The global system can engage in energy/exergy imperialism to maintain dwindling national input/output ratios. Hopes of a new Ghawar field are fading fast.

You are isolating only one economic factor. Economic factors are intercausal. The interplay of dynamics of decreasing exergy and exponential debt deflation is significant. Exergy is only one background factor. It does not have to decrease much in absolute terms to negatively impact debt deflation in slowing global economies and contracting markets worldwide. There are many iterrelated factors that are leading to a ‘Minsky Moment’ – when the ability to maintain debt servicing becomes inevitable. Our little chats have to be set against an already collapsing global economy – and the unofficial onset of QE4.

To which Leeds policy hopium is a laughable side show.

MLS
MLS
Oct 14, 2019 10:44 AM
Reply to  BigB

we cannot grow forever on a lonely rock, fourth from the sun.

Ah, so you’re living on Mars, BigB! So much is now explained!

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Oct 13, 2019 5:22 PM
Reply to  BigB

Compression and expansion are part of Life at all levels – but in terms of human consciousness and society, compression is a qualitative shift to do more with less – where more is a qualitative relaes of quantitative tax-burdens – and I use the term for ‘overheads’.
If your problems are fundamentally relational – no amount of manufactured junk is going to resolve them – but it can be marketed (overhead) and consumed (overhead) as a means of keeping the relational issues hidde, out of sight and out of mind.
However all of you (and others) relational issues are still active – regardless they are pushed from awareness and responsibility, and are now reflecting back as the realm of marketed ‘solutions’ that of course seem to be new problems that attract ‘socio-political’ solutions that lock in the problems as being out there in the world.

During a period of expansion, much that is dissonant finds expression by being divided or compartmentalised in time and space – but under compression these can no longer persist. Contraction is the attempt to maintain control by limitation or forced austerity and cut backs. But Compression is a willingness to open and live from a higher perspective. Most of our physics is derived from processes of expansion in realms of density and force that accounts for a minute percent of physical matter.
None of our physics understands the translation of qualities to quantitative expression and vice versa.

So it isn’t growth that is limited in an open Creation – but the expressions of force that generate density that inevitably baffle or limit further growth. This requires addressing conflict within our consciousness so as to uncover the other 99% or so of who and what we are.

Growth is an expression of a balancing of diversity. I understand that in current terms it is often used for the metrics of GDP as an ‘economy’ that ‘grows’ by inflations such as to race ahead of its debts. This isn’t growth. No more are destructive elements of GDP – and of course most of which is unquantifiably outsourced as a toxic dump by corporate agenda onto people and our biosphere/living environment – but also as psychic-emotional distress that is then manipulated BY the self-same agenda to ensure the sustainability of a control agenda via contraction of resources and population as the global system of energy control via the 5G+ IoT and narrative incentivisation and control – such as carbon guilting – but the ability to set the parameters for social debit and unpersoning will not be part of any political process involving genuine communication, debate or appeal.

It isn’t growth that is the issue – but persistence in a self-inflation.
The elite fed the ‘limits to growth’ idea. We are being farmed in a matrix until we wake to our own direct connection as our consciousness responsibility or responsibility for and as consciousness itself. Mind capture targets the weak – and social engineering cultivates and feeds our weaknesses.

The idea of entropy is the idea of closed system. The divide of mind and body/matter is the basis of a closed or private agenda dealing with seemingly closed system.
There are limits to growth for a private agenda set over and against its own contextual wholeness – for its is self-defeating and self-depleting – but there is nothing that says such a mind is necessary or true of me – excepting a habit of its persistence.
When a habit is brought into awareness – it is no longer a habit. But a choice.
There’s the rub! Are we each and together willing to release an old choice of a private or secret possession and control – to grow a consciousness from aligned awareness?

wardropper
wardropper
Oct 13, 2019 3:49 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

“Until politicians are properly educated”…?

Today’s politicians are bred to succeed, not to know.
Knowledge impedes their progress, and they find it an annoying distraction.

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Oct 13, 2019 10:31 AM

Oil and coal seemed to be a new power for us to wield – and with it we extended our understanding of mechanical relationships as an extension of capabilities.
This answered some problems while always opening new ones as a result and we became dependent on a progression of problem-shifting in search of answers that are never enough.

But in making technology ‘the answer’, we bring relational issues and conflicts to it as a way to NOT face or own our true individual needs and thus our relational coherence – for we exist in relation, not in and of a self apart and alone.

We thus project onto, and bring into, the realm of science and technology, all of the evils of our personal fears and conflicts, so as to subject ourselves and each other to evils under the deeply invested belief we are aligned in an ‘Answer’ – while re-enacting our core problems in an arena of displacements and dissociation – accepted as reality.

Fear of pain of loss runs deep beneath a sense of possession and control – as if they are two when in fact they are two sides of one coin. Fear of loss of control is the condition of a breakdown of communication in which the mind interjects ‘answer’ onto and over a sense of intolerable or unacceptable and thus denied psychic-emotional conflict.

Even if the ‘answer’ is recognised false, it may persist despite great harms, and under protection against correction by the desperation of a fear that disclosure would result in systemic collapse of a network of false ‘answers’ that have become the world we live and know, the economy we operate under, the systems and services of care without which life cannot be allowed to be imagined.

‘Too big to fail’ is a symptom of a systemic failure of heart and imagination.
The heart – in terms of the discernment and embodiment of the qualities of love – does not have a voice in the top-down elitism of a head-based control – excepting in terms of the manipulation and management of people’s minds – as the framing of narratives of symbolic appeals that present as ‘loving’ – by their setting or framing an identity over and against evils that are themselves manifestations of deeper fears projected into where they cannot be solved.

The problems of life are not fundamentally technological and so the attempt to answer them in such a frame is to subject ourselves to a technological refection of our problems under a sense of reversal – in which tools and systems intended to free us deliver us unto evil – because we defined freedom in terms of tooled-thinking.

Addiction and subjection to a technologically assisted self-evasion has become the farming of problems, and the nurturing and feeding off of conflict, by an invested possession and control – that runs the dispossession and denial of the heart as the loss of the freedom of knowing our own decision as aligned in the true command of the heart – which is never coercive and so is recognisable as distinct from the narrative framing in fear, division and ‘all the king’s horses and all the king’s men’.

Love must extend to know its own nature. The mind is the extension of idea to embodiment in act. Loveless thinking makes a loveless world – no matter how ingeniously marketised or weaponised.
Surely this is a decision and not a subjection – excepting we choose to give power to that which ‘frees us’ from what we do not want to face – to gain such a world at cost of the Soul.

Because this is what we already are, we cannot know except by alignment in and expression of a felt recognition. “It takes one to know one”. A robot can be programmed to ‘say’ that but has not the heart of consciously felt and extended relationship. Giving is (the measure of our) receiving.

Rules and systems operate the exchange of a negotiated reality for man-made rights to robotic dispossession of controls working as mutual agreements. But having and being are two facets of one coin and you can only be what you can share in.

Human beings – are human doings that operate as a means of teaching and learning. We are self-conditioning. We can give power to old conditioning and its set of conditions or we can live the power of our heart’s decision. We are not trained to see, think or operate in such a light and so we have to decide that we want to see – IF that is our true desire -and release investment in the diversionary busyness that has been serving a self-evasion that of course goes back to our primary experience of separation – in our family, our society and our masking self-survival strategies.

Allow the possibility that if the WAY we see or rather frame things – is mistaken – then the answer is not a further manipulation of the frame, but a release and restoration to seeing what is already here in a new or renewed appreciation.

Under a consensual negotiation, many would freely choose a more convivial and connected way of living with less dependence on a top down canopy of controls seeking sustainability for their OWN sake.
There is no need for guilt and fear to leverage a better world set by emotional manipulation of the unwary – excepting to those who deem their agenda of control ‘too big to fail’ and so everyone and everything ELSE must fail, in order to sustain an invested identity in control as a personal hierarchy of dispossession over which to prevail.

Plain citizen
Plain citizen
Oct 13, 2019 1:13 PM
Reply to  Brian Steere

I’ve only got a couple of degrees so this comment is way beyond me intellectually. What is your conclusion re the Todhunter article? Can you summarise what you are saying in 1 sentence for me?

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Oct 13, 2019 4:31 PM
Reply to  Plain citizen

We need to stop identifying in thinking that we know – in order to truly understand ANYTHING.

Stopping may first require a slowing down – yes thats two sentences – one for each degree.

If you cannot understand – either be curious and learn something or follow something that does call forth your curiosity – but you THINK you understand and so act from what you have accepted true in the comment.

There’s a whole world of quick soundbytes in doublethink for you out there – what is it that attracted you to engage with my post?

Why do those who deal in shit never actually engage in any point at all?

Plain Citizen
Plain Citizen
Oct 13, 2019 5:19 PM
Reply to  Brian Steere

Do you think you understand? Or is there an unknown unknown?
I’m struggling to grasp your point.
Often said the sign of a deep and clever thinker is the ability to express ideas clearly and succinctly.
Could be the medication?

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Oct 13, 2019 6:03 PM
Reply to  Plain Citizen

My succinct summary for you was to the article.

I am not seeking to reinforce what you already ‘know’.
What we ‘already know’ recycles itself as the human condition – but there are opportunities to gain perspective instead of losing it for the illusion of definition as a means to control.

You seek to frame this in personalities – as if you know or I think I know.
I have no interest whatsoever in engaging there – excepting perhaps in a spontaneous recognition of shared appreciation.

The ideas, themes and often unconscious and internalised and therefore invisible definitions and beliefs are what I share my perspective in for others to interact with or not as they are moved.
I don’t seek to be a deep and clever thinker so much a willing to ask and to listen and to report what I receive and accept true – which must then translate through the mind and experience of my education and unfolding in life.

Your closing rejoinder is simply dealing shit. I don’t accept any of it – it remains with you. But you also deserve better.

If you ‘don’t get my point’ – then I made many points – but I wrote TO the point that I feel runs underneath our diversionary tactics in personal identity reaction.

Unless you show some willingness for communication instead of put-downs – the points I raised are left unengaged with while you seek to smear the person.
You are making your own point by demonstration. Perhaps I don’t conform to your rules as to how someone else should write?

WHAT runs beneath the invested identity of narrative control?
I observe and feel psychic-emotional patterns that are pervasive – though we all have our own particular configuration.
If you are looking out from such patterns – how can we then discuss them?
I can sketch and point and call – but I cannot make anyone see what they are not ready or willing to see. Nor would I want to. I love to meet in a shared inspiration – not under coercive consensus.

Negotiating our reality – rather than a rule-bound and reactive automaton to a learned past that is never Really Here.

The denial of communion and its expression in communication of act and deed – is a self-subjugation to the right to make offence and indulge its gratification over others. This is the attempt to rule out by force from a basis in deceit. It is pervasive and systemic. Look around – and look within. I’m not picking on you.

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Oct 13, 2019 6:17 PM
Reply to  Brian Steere

You learn from your own willingness to open to what you hadn’t opened before – I am not presuming to teach you anything that you are not already learning in your life already. But I am demonstrating by example an expression that you can use or interact with as your freedom to draw your own insight from.
This is always the case. Personality cults are diversionary cover story for the translation to judgements over life – rather than discernments within life.
You read me perhaps as if I am making inflated claims for my person. If you notice me doing this – let me know.
If you have a real point to engage with me in – I am interested in the point.

John A
John A
Oct 13, 2019 10:03 AM

Copenhagen has also just spent 25 billion or so Danish kroner on a new city ring metro line and is expanding other metro lines to make getting around easier for people who for whatever reasons, cannot walk or cycle.

Antonym
Antonym
Oct 13, 2019 12:37 PM
Reply to  John A

Delhi is also busy with its metro: http://delhimetrorail.com/Corridors.aspx

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Oct 13, 2019 6:24 PM
Reply to  John A

While its is oil under the bridge now – the Oil cartels -Rockefeller et al systematically attacked public transport – trams and trains to induce the dependency on oil via private car ownership. This was touched on in Myths Lies and Oil Ward by Engdahl along with many other points of political development via social engineering, war and mind/market capture.

lundiel
lundiel
Oct 13, 2019 9:15 AM

I walk my dog every day and have to say, I find a certain type of cyclist to be arrogant and dangerous, especially with more and more electric bikes on the pavements/footpaths nowadays. They (cyclists) have also become strident lobbyists for their cause, the cause which seems to me to be middle-aged men donning lycra and riding as fast as possible generating much testosterone for their next sweary, possibly violent encounter with pedestrians. Apart from that bikes are OK.

peugeott
peugeott
Oct 13, 2019 12:32 PM
Reply to  lundiel

I agree , I too walk my two Border Collies in a nature park which cyclists also use, but I’m convinced they don’t understand that when they’re coming behind you, you can’t hear them. if for example you were to bend down to pick up a ball or something, they would be on top of you, you’re not aware of their presence until they’re at the side of you, and very very seldom do you get some kind of audible alarm.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 13, 2019 2:32 PM
Reply to  lundiel

It seems to be fair to book that under ‘egotism’. People that are only full of themselves are inconsiderate towards others. The mode of transportation is secondary. Self-absorbed p****s might still be better with two wheels than with four (or more…). It is society, the collective that needs to change in order to emphasize the fact how misguided these folks are. Right now, might makes right and that includes of course traffic.

wardropper
wardropper
Oct 13, 2019 4:06 PM
Reply to  lundiel

Yep. It’s the usual thing:
Due consideration for cyclists has been transformed into fear that the cyclist lobby will assume all the traffic rights in existence, while mere motorists – not to mention pedestrians – will always be in the wrong.
As you say, “a certain type of cyclist”, i.e. not all cyclists, will plug in his earphones, jam a safety helmet on top of them and turn up the volume to levels which drown out all background noise.
He will then careen at full speed across a busy road, feeling that his support group will protect him against all eventualities, including getting squished by a lorry driving at normal speed, in the right lane, and according to the current traffic signs.
My wife and I were taking a walk recently and a cyclist whooshed past us from behind, narrowly missing my wife. She instinctively shouted at him, “Stop!”, and he was so taken aback that he actually did stop. She then asked him why he hadn’t rung his bell to warn us he was coming up behind us so fast. He answered that he hadn’t wanted to alarm us… (sigh…)
I see this far too frequently, and it does make me angry, because the consequences of a seriously injured cyclist are awful for both cyclist and anyone else involved.
Due consideration works both ways, and it is an immutable fact that the cyclist is the vulnerable one. Therefore it is obviously the cyclists who have to watch what they are doing.

wardropper
wardropper
Oct 13, 2019 4:10 PM
Reply to  wardropper

I should add that I find particularly worrying the now-common spectacle of cyclists who don’t even look right or left when crossing a road, obviously lost in the music they are listening to…

Francis Lee
Francis Lee
Oct 13, 2019 9:08 AM

Cycling is all very well and should be part of an overall transport package, but is not really a solution for the old and very young, disabled and pregnant women. Walking and public transport should be part of a strategic transport system for urban conurbations. And this is wholly feasible. I live on the edge of south London bordering on Surrey and in the last few years a tramlink system has been built carrying passengers from right across southwest to southeast London. The trams are cheap, reliable and clean with plenty of seats, and it is to be extended into other areas of south London with plans are laid down for development in north London. The trams are integrated into a transport system which also includes buses, overground trains, and underground trains. Unfortunately these latter transport systems were privatised during the Thatcher years and, predictably, have become inefficient, overpriced and under-invested. Additionally much of the private ownership has ended up in the hands of overseas buyers as has much else in the capital. But that’s neoliberalism I suppose.

But it goes to demonstrate that old axiom ‘where there’s a will there’s a way.’

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 13, 2019 12:50 PM
Reply to  Francis Lee

It’s enouraging to see a few UK cities have trams now. Manchester probably has the best one and I think now goes all the way to the airport.

mark
mark
Oct 13, 2019 4:01 PM
Reply to  Frank Speaker

This took £1.5 billion and years to build. It was massively behind schedule and over budget.
It was a nightmare for local people and businesses.
The main problem with trams is you have to dig up every inch of the route and remove and relocate every pipe and cable.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 13, 2019 8:41 PM
Reply to  mark

But once it’s in, it’s job done, and offers The massive advantage of mass transportation, just like a railway.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 13, 2019 2:39 PM
Reply to  Francis Lee

but is not really a solution for the old and very young, disabled and pregnant women

That’s because no efforts are made to change that. As you may know, there are Rikshas (sic), where one pedaler can transport two tourists, or goods. This principle could be upgraded with closed compartments for those you mentioned, for any of the members of these groups the transportation is the important part. But it won’t work in a society where the delusion reigns that ‘time is money’. In a more tranquil society, I don’t see why there shouldn’t be transportation powered by muscles. They even have some sophisticated four wheeled, four pedaler vehicles now. Although those are made for the sports fanatics…

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 13, 2019 7:36 PM
Reply to  nottheonly1

Example of Quadricycle (Surrey)

More on their website that I won’t link to since there are prices on it. But they have lots of models that are for four people. Imagine a hull for unfriendly weather. Can it go any more environmentally friendly?

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 13, 2019 7:53 PM
Reply to  nottheonly1

Found this onw, too. It goes to show just how many amazing people are working on solutions.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 13, 2019 9:04 AM

Another excellent, absolutely spot-on article from Colin.

I’m especially interested in this topic, having qualified as an urban planner myself, albeit not practicing it, I found the actuality of UK planning departments to be steeped in negativity and corrupted by the politicians sitting on planning committees, pursuing their own selfish interests and of their corporate paymasters.

I now spend my days trying to re-green the planet. The sooner more countries take these issues seriously, the better it will be for everyone. Unfortunately, the neoliberals are parasites and rapists, we need to fight for The balanced politics and economies as traditionally practiced in Scandinavia and a few other enlightened European countries, their social democratic model, although not perfect, is the best we’ve every come up with.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 13, 2019 12:48 PM
Reply to  Frank Speaker

Admin, PLEASE enable the possibility to edit our posts, at least for 5 minutes, or until someone responds or votes. We were promised this feature before the upgrade, but still to see it, apart from a brief cameo appearance. Thanks in anticipation.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 13, 2019 9:01 PM
Reply to  Frank Speaker

I spent two hours today writing on my blackboard:

I shall proof read before hitting “Post Comment”.
I shall proof read before hitting “Post Comment”.
I shall proof read before hitting “Post Comment”…

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 14, 2019 8:00 PM
Reply to  nottheonly1

Not everyone is anal retentative.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker
Oct 14, 2019 8:01 PM
Reply to  Frank Speaker

Even anal retentive!

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Oct 13, 2019 3:08 PM
Reply to  Frank Speaker

Might be a good idea to come visit the Welsh National Assembly and knock some sense into them – every economic/transport report they produce is dripping with neoliberal ‘buzz’ words and fantasy solutions to some really big socioeconomic issues, which is a great shame as Wales, with a small population and small cities (Cardiff, Newport and Swansea) could actually benefit greatly if ecologically sound sustainability was embraced with enhanced low carbon transport, instead, they are still fixated on cars/trucks, rather than tram, rail and canal transportation.