He moves in darkness as it seems to me, Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
A three part article, you lucky people. We start with IAMs: oh no, not again (time and again I tell myself I'll stay clean tonight). Kevin Anderson - yes, I fear it is him again - rails that IAMs professionalized the analysis of climate-change mitigation by substituting messy and contextual politics with non-contextual mathematical formalism. ZOMG! "professionalised" used an insult. He'll be telling us that we don't need no steenkin' experts next. But there's a clue to his thinking there: he doesn't like the answers from the IAMs, and wants to wish them away. Rather like the Watties, who don't like the answers from the GCMs and want to wish them away. [Update: note that ATTP has an IAMs article; I'm in the comments.]
Nurture's lead in to the "debate" (not a debate; just two different views) is rather useful, if you read it carefully:
global warming... is one of the greatest threats facing humanity today...It is a complex issue that involves many social, technological and physical processes. To describe the intricate relationships between these processes, scientists have devised computer simulations known as integrated assessment models (IAMs). IAMs are used to generate pathways for climate-change mitigation that are consistent with global temperature targets. Some scientists have suggested that IAMs are no longer fit for purpose and that meeting climate targets will require a radical reinvention of industrial society that the models are not equipped to address.The key word in there is consistent which "messy and contextual politics" very much isn't. KA's preferred messy stuff is a way of wishing away problems by preventing a consistent view. This is the epicycles stuff all over again. The IAMs are a way of keeping you honest; you can't ask for inconsistent things. To assert that For more than two decades, IAMs have been part of this accelerating failure [to tackle GW] is drivel; that's about as sensible as blaming GCMs for "failing to solve" the problems they show. Ultimately, none of this matters to KA, because he already knows that what is required is immediate and radical change across all facets of society. And so we're back to GND-ery. I don't think people like KA can talk clearly about "the current economic system". If he means overthrowing capitalism, he can fuck off. If he means replacing the current fossil fuel infrastructure with something that doesn't fill the atmosphere with CO2, then there's a conversation to be had, if he can avoid pre-judging how to do it. Pretending they are the same thing, or failing to clearly distinguish them, is going to lead to confusion.
For part two, Twatter again offers a thing, Vaclav Smil: ‘Growth must end. Our economist friends don’t seem to realise that’. It's a fawning2 interview with a guy with a book to sell. We start with the familiar (and probably wrong; depending on how he is defining things; being a Graun article, things are of course not defined): one crystal clarity: that growth must come to an end. Our economist friends don’t seem to realise that... The economists will tell you we can decouple growth from material consumption, but that is total nonsense. But at least it's nice of him to make it clear that he isn't an economist. Some things I at least half agree with: We could halve our energy and material consumption and this would put us back around the level of the 1960s. We could cut down without losing anything important. Life wasn’t horrible in 1960s or 70s Europe. I don't mean the longing for the goode olde dayes (stuff like We are buried under information. It’s not doing anyone any good. makes me think he does so long); I just mean that we could all live simpler lives and be happier. I certainly can't argue with his We are so fat in terms of material consumption. What's quite absent, though, is any suggestion of how to sell that to the masses. I don't think you can. He has no ideas: in reply to How do we move in that direction before the risks become unmanageable? he offers In some places we have to foster what economists call de-growth. In other places, we have to foster growth. This is not an answer, it is an evasion; neither he not his interviewer nor apparently the Graun;s editor seem to realise this.
And part three (and last, you'll be relieved to know): Stop obsessing over your environmental “sins.” Fight the oil and gas industry instead by Mary Annaise Heglar. In Vox, so probably wrong. People are struggling to work out what they should tell people to "do" about GW. There are two obvious temptations: to tell people to clean up their own act - aha, but then that "guilts" people and that's "bad" - or to blame "someone else" which is stupid and leads to people doing nothing. But seems to be where she's going: We need to let go of the idea that it’s all of our individual faults, then take on the collective responsibility of holding the true culprits accountable. But the point is that the composite of all our individual faults is the "true culprit". We are the people emitting CO2. Not fossil fuel companies; they just supply it. They supply it because we buy it. If we stopped buying it, they'd stop supplying it. Markets work like that (
While I'm on that article, it has more wrongness, for example Once upon a time, perhaps, we needed a strong grasp of science to understand climate change, but now all we have to do is look at the daily headlines — or out our windows. This isn't true. Understanding GW takes just as much science now as it ever did. Perhaps the author means understanding the importance of GW. That, now, is commonplace in headlines. But cannot be seen out of the window, of course.
1. You might reasonably ask what my brilliant plan to save the world it. If anyone is kind enough to actually do this, I'll probably write a post on it. But in brief it is (a) education and (b) impose carbon taxes instead and hope that solar photovoltaic saves us.
2. You doubt me? How about You are the nerd’s nerd. There is perhaps no other academic who paints pictures with numbers like you. You dug up the astonishing statistic that... Your one-man statistical analysis is like the entire output of the World Bank.
3. Struck, because probably wrong. Hard coal was subsidised; it looks like lignite probably wasn't.
* Quiggin Needs a Third Lesson by David Henderson
* People are realizing that degrowth is bad by Noah Smith