What to do about climate change (1): Not too late

by Ingrid Robeyns on July 17, 2022

“The fact of the matter is: we are in the decade of decision. What we do in the Twenties will determine the fate of the Earth for centuries and millenia to come. And there’s a lot we can do – we can speed the transition away from fossil fuels, losen the death grip of the fossil fuel industry on our government and the world’s energy supplies, build the renewables, protect the soil and the forests, and support all the incredible movements that have already done so much so far, and have ambitions to do exactly what we need to do.” (Rebecca Solnit, Start Making Sense Clips, July 14th)

Yesterday, I discussed with some international colleagues chapter 4 of my book-in-progress on the problems with extreme wealth. That chapter looks at the links between wealth concentration and the ecological and environmental crisis, and ends up offering multiple ecological arguments for economic limitarianism. I open the chapter with a few pages that make it clear that climate change is not a future worry but that it has arrived, and that time is of the essence. Given that global emissions are not coming down yet and that the remaining carbon budget (to stay below 1,5 degrees or even 2 degrees) is very limited, we need to act fast and in a drastic manner. There is no time to go slow, and no time to merely fiddle in the margins.

It doesn’t make for joyful reading, yet most of what I describe that made my colleagues gloomy was merely factual. The facts simply show that matters are very bad and the situation urgent. But that is no reason to despair, since there are various feasible plans for curbing the emissions and speeding up the green transition, and various groups and movements that one can join in order to contribute. The main problems are political, and problems of power. Perhaps we should simply talk much more about what can be done, and what we can concretely do, rather than either deny that climate change is happening (thought that group seems to be shrinking), ignore that it is happening, or believe it is beyond our powers to do anything.

Two years ago I was invited to write a short piece for WWF’s Living Planet Report and argued precisely this – when it comes to the climate crisis, we need to see ourselves first of all as citizens and unite and act as such.

In that spirit, I was delighted to come across a new initiative from Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua, called Not Too Late. They want to encourage everyone to join the climate movement, to act as citizens to force politics to establish structural solutions, and to share stories about what climate movements are achieving.

You can check out their website here, and they are also on FB and on Twitter.

Their website has a FAQ, and tells its readers to inform themselves, imagine the future, and get involved – as citizens, not (so much) as consumers. (I have some quibles about completely putting aside our role of consumers, but that’s for another time, another post; as the number 1 in the title of this post already indicated, I’m planning to write more posts on this matter over the next months).

One thing that I hope will be added to their website is some more concrete advice on where and how one can get involved. I suspect that most people don’t have any idea of what they could do, whom they could join, if they became convinced that they should join a group in the climate movement. So I hope that the Not Too Late project will add some sort of database, or set of links (hopefully beyond the USA), of groups and organisations that one could join, or else provide citizens with more specific advice on how to search (you are very welcome to share ideas and resources in the comments section).



Augustino 07.17.22 at 5:05 pm

I have always been for the abolition of the death penalty, until my later years.

For the last twenty or so years, I have been advocating for a law that makes being a billionaire a capital offense. Finding anyone with even one cent over one billion dollars in wealth, assets, etc is to be guilty of a capital crime. No exceptions, no legal arguments, zero tolerance, no mercy–just to make sure they don’t break the law with the same impunity that they presently break the law.


Peter Dorman 07.18.22 at 1:17 am

There’s a gap between the OP and the tenor of the linked Not too Late website. The latter is about hope and positivity, changing your attitude by getting active. I agree in a general way with that approach; activism can’t wait for some sort of collective epiphany. Our best hope is that it’s the other way around.

But the OP is about extreme wealth’s effect on climate policy. What it implies is a political economy of this issue that digs into whose wealth is implicated by which actions. Up to this point a correct but incomplete understanding of fossil fuel wealth has filled this space, but even a cursory look at the role of business interests in climate policy — in the EU, the US and elsewhere — should make it clear that a much wider swath of wealth is at stake.

The way I’ve argued it is through a broader conception of stranded assets, which should include not only fossil fuel reserves, extraction infrastructure and especially carbon-intensive investments, but also all clay-ish (not readily reconfigured) investments for goods whose demand would be vulnerable to serious climate action. I have quite a few pages on this in my climate book (Alligators in the Arctic and How to Avoid Them, which is supposed to hit the streets at the end of this month. I conservatively estimate that total wealth at risk is at least double what we see in the energy sector alone. I also trace specific demand-vulnerable industries to actual lobbying activities. If I’m mistaken about some of this — entirely possible! — I hope it nevertheless stimulates more analysis that draws on a political economy view of the world.

Meanwhile, if there’s an argument based on drastically unequal wealth distribution in a general, not sector-specific, way, I’d be interested in hearing it.


John Quiggin 07.18.22 at 8:42 am

The worse things are, the stronger the case for action. There’s a big difference between 1.5 degrees of warming and 2.0 degrees, but the difference between 2.0 and 2.5 is bigger, and so on. By the time you go from 3.5 to 4.0, the risk of total catastrophe is becoming serious.

That’s a crucial reason not to let despair drive us to inaction. However bad things are, they can get a lot worse if we don’t act.


David in Tokyo 07.18.22 at 11:46 am

I’m beyond despair.

Germany isn’t restarting their nukes, they’re restarting their coal plants. Covid’s been declared over (it’s not, but that’s a minor detail), but no one has said “the worst thing for the climate that an individual can do is fly, we ought to continue not doing that.” (Even academics who ought to know better are gleefully talking about (and doing) in-person conferences.) People think electric cars (lifetime CO2 footprint about 80% of a gas car, if you drive it extensively (and charge it with electricity not produced from coal and use it to actually replace miles that had to have been driven)) are some sort of panacea. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It’s hopeless. It really is.


bingsully 07.18.22 at 8:55 pm

How many billionaires are there in the West? 300? How many cars are there in the west? a billion? Blaming 300 people for the emissions of about a billion consumers is idiotic. But keep blaming Bill Gates and Elon: you can pretend the obvious cognitive dissonance doesn’t destroy your argument as long as you want….


Ingrid Robeyns 07.19.22 at 1:20 am

just to be clear, the OP was not about extreme wealth’s effect on climate, and even less so about blaming Gates and Musk for the climate crisis; I have said nothing in the OP about my arguments except that I have said that this particular chapter starts with a summary of the facts re: climate change, and that this made several of its readers dispair.

I agree with the need to try to be hopeful, and to go for structural solutions – and I agree with the Not Too Late project that the answer must be political, in the sense that we should rise as citizens, in addition to doing whatever we need to do as consumers. We need to vote for parties that understand the climate crisis and prioritise it, and since most politicians have a hard time having success at climate action, we need to increase pressure from below – by taking to the streets, the courts, and other means we have as citizens when we organise.


Omega Centauri 07.19.22 at 2:06 am

Its not wealth that is destroying the planet, but what is done with that wealth. And I’m not talking about just Billionaires, but all the way down the scale to those with only a single million. Too many are using their resources to party-on using fossil fueled means. Flying all over the world frequently. I don’t fault those who go to the occasional business meeting, or professional conference, but those who regularly travel large distances for entertainment. Well some people use their money to help the planet, whilst others use it to party on. Some in the billionaire class fund right-wing political efforts to delay the transition as long as possible.

But even in the middle class, we see that politically short-term pocket book issues totally trump long term climate issues. Have a substantial rise of fuel prices, and drill-drill-drill is the response of the political class. And they are doing for job-protection from the wrath of lower and middle class voters, even more than they are doing it to obtain funding from fossil interests. We also see this in poor nations: cut back on expensive fuel-price subsidies, and you get Yellow-Vest style riots or worse. It seems very daunting, as a species we overwhelmingly prefer our narrow short term interests, over global and long term welfare.

And we have enough transition tech, that we could immediately commit on a decadal timescale to eighty percent emissions reduction. And we would be better off economically. And the other twenty percent will almost certainly fall into place too, even if we can’t prove it at present. But, interests of all sorts spread FUD in order to promote delay delay delay. Obviously fossil interests, both for fuel production, but also those whose livelihoods currently revolve around consumption. Even Nuclear advocates spread FUD about renewables variability. And this contributes to our underwhelming rate of transition. Our species instinct, is have doubt: delay.


David in Tokyo 07.19.22 at 2:25 am

“I agree with the need to try to be hopeful,”

I disagree with this. We need to be mad, angry, irate, incensed, terrified. Crazy, screaming, off-the-wall, insanely angry. Because anything less will be hopelessly inadequate.


Ingrid Robeyns 07.19.22 at 2:38 am

@David in Tokyo – I don’t think being mad, angry and terrified preclude being hopeful. You and I seem to agree that we need massive change, and not merely fiddling in the margins – and if being angry and terrified helps to make us ACT, then that is good. But if we are not hopeful that we can make a meaningful difference, then we will not be motivated to act, and we must act.
I am not a psychologist, but when I read psychologists commenting on the climate crisis on social media, on my understanding they tend to say that the best way to lead to massive change is to show people what they have to gain with the actions that are needed; the challange is that what we have to gain is fewer heatwaves, fewer and less severe floodings, fewer and less destructive wildfires, fewer violent conflicts and displaced people due to climate, and so forth. One of the many climate-related worries I have is that these “gains” aren’t concrete enough for most people, and in addition most people are not willing to educate themselves.


Omega Centauri 07.19.22 at 3:23 am

David in Tokyo. I’ve seen many claims that new cleaner techs, are almost as bad or worse than current systems. Most originate with deliberate misinformation, which greatly exaggerated the environmental effects, -often by amortizing the lifetime of for example the electric vehicle. Also ignored is the fact that manufacturing can material acquisition will become less carbon intensive, as the grid, and the manufacturing/mining/refining with/of metals becomes progressively less carbon intensive. For instance iron smelting can be done with renewable generated hydrogen. And much material will be recycled at the end of life. In any case, without performing a careful audit of such claims, numbers like 80% have to be considered suspect.


J-D 07.19.22 at 3:27 am

I’m beyond despair.

It’s hopeless. It really is.

I hope posting that comment made you feel better. It’s hard to figure any purpose it could serve apart from making you feel better, but if there’s something I’m missing there I hope you’ll let us into the secret.


nastywoman 07.19.22 at 4:32 am

@I’m beyond despair.
…It’s hopeless. It really is.

Well? –
as actually and currently the main interest and purpose of the Whole of Europe is how to really enjoy this summer -(even if it’s far too hot and on the way to the beaches most of the flyers need to go through traveling hell) I’m more optimistic than ever before – as like the Germans who only learn to seriously fight the climate change – if a horrific War Criminal shows them that their old and comfy ways do NOT work anymore – the learning progress in my ‘homeland’ is progressing too –
in such a way –
that even California might become –
visitable –
again –
and otherwise
(as do some ‘old dudes’ actually really have ANY interest in saving this planet?!)


Sean 07.19.22 at 4:54 am

David in Tokyo: my understanding is that most of the German fission plants have been decommissioned and could not be brought back into service within months. Bringing back nuclear power in Germany would likely be good policy, but policy for a timespan of years or decades not months. Just like becoming so dependant on fuel from the country that shot down an airliner full of international students and seized three provinces from one of its neighbours was a bad policy decades in the making.


David in Tokyo 07.19.22 at 5:38 am

OC write:
“In any case, without performing a careful audit of such claims, numbers like 80% have to be considered suspect.”

I’m fine with the 80% figure being suspect. But if you believe that the correct figure is (or will be within the next 10 years) less than 70%, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Sure: I’m grinding an axe here. That the private car is a really stupid idea. But it really is a stupid idea. (That’s an enormous amount of heavily processed materials, and we just don’t have that much green energy to spare, even if there were all-green technologies to do that processing. And lots of carbon footprint calculations are problematic because they leave out extraction and transportation costs.) If we want to reduce our carbon footprint then we need to stop driving and stop flying (where “stop” means “signifcantly reduce”, of course). Now. Look up how many people flew into Australia in 2019. It was seriously insane.

But to get back to steel, the promises of low-carbon steel (the ex-metallurgist in me is amused by the pun) are, for the nonce, promises. Promises that will be fullfilled (I’d guess and hope), but not until long after our current window of possibility is long closed*. It’s the next 10 years that are critical. Right now, and for at least the next 10 years, if you own a car, using it only 1/2 as much will save more carbon than buying an electric car. Using it not at all, even more.

*: This is why I’m a big fan of nuclear power**: even counting in the carbon footprint of building the facilities, it really is roughly about as green as solar and wind, and it’s the only thing we’ve got, other than solar and wind, that’s real. Twenty years from now, we’ll have lots more real options. Right now, we don’t.

**: In the medium term, of course. Nuclear has lots of problems and should be replaced with better technologies when they become available. But that’s a long way away.

IR wrote:
“You and I seem to agree that we need massive change, and not merely fiddling in the margins –”

Exactly. But you left out the “now”. We need massive change, now.


Trader Joe 07.19.22 at 11:20 am

An impactful OP would need to be written in Punjabi or Mandarin since that’s where all of the incremental pollution is coming from. Writing in English mostly preaches to the choir. I don’t dispute the west can do more but in general they at least have the hymnal even if they aren’t all singing the same song.

In my observation its not the wealthy but rather the vast striving upper middle-class that enjoy their air-conditioning, SUVs and trips to Disney that are the biggest part of the problem. Most seem to think separating out their cans and plastic and maybe contemplating but not buying an EV is more than enough after-all, they can afford to keep cool, damn the rest.

By contrast India and China barely have a plan – their response seems to be we didn’t start climate change but we’re happy to finish it.


Ingrid Robeyns 07.19.22 at 2:59 pm

Trader Joe @15 – I hope some Indian or Chinese bloggers write such posts in Hindi or Chinese – but it doesn’t follow from the data that the incremental pollution is coming from there only, or, even less so, that the burden should be on the most-emitting countries that have not been doing their shares for decades.

Here are some data (from http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org) on consumption-based emissions (ton C02-equivalent per person) for some countries, ten years apart (2018 being the latest year for which there are data):

USA: 2000:22; 2010:19; 2018:18
Canada: 2000:19 2010:18 2018:16
Australia: 2000:15 2010:17 2018:15

Germany: 2000:13 2010:12 2018:8.0
UK: 2000:12 2010:11 2018:8.0
France: 2000:8.8 2010:8.1 2018:6.7

China: 2000:2.4 2010:5.3 2018:6.5
India: 2000:0.8 2010:1.3 2018:1.7

So while India and China are indeed increasing their emissions because they still have millions of citizens to lift out of poverty, the USA, Canada, Australia and to a slightly lesser degree European countries have had more than 20 years to bring down their massively higher emissions, but prefer to keep coming up with excuses for “why not now”.

If the countries in the top of this dirty league don’t show climate leadership, they can’t expect the developing countries to restrict theirs. Also, I doubt that China doesn’t have a plan, and would love to hear more about the plans for implementation that the USA, Canada and Australia have. As far as I can tell, the political majority so far hasn’t had a good enough plan that can draw on sufficient support by citizens.

On seperating cans and plastic – I agree.

On the superwealthy: they are indeed much smaller numbers, but their livestyles cannot be copied by others (they emit easily hundreds of tons per person per year) – hence in total they might be less of a problem than the (upper)middle class, but per capita their consumption and investment habits are a much bigger problem. And if we think about what burdens and rights in the climate debate, we must talk about per capita.


David in Tokyo 07.19.22 at 3:03 pm

Sean wrote: “my understanding is that most of the German fission plants have been decommissioned and could not be brought back into service within months. ”

Thanks for the correction. (If you’ve been paying even slight attention to Germany, you know more than I do. Actually decommissioning is hard, and I was hoping the Germans hadn’t actually started on it yet. (Even restarting is hard, though.)) Here in Japan, (most of) the plants were shut down, but not decomissioned (after the 2011 earthquake). The right-wing government here, like a stopped clock being right twice a day, is gung-ho to restart those shut down plants despite popular opinion being vehemently against that (sigh). The number that I heard the other day was that restarting the plants would bring Japan up to 10% nuclear. Energy policy here is a mess. Japan had a big joint venture with Russia developing Siberian natural gas. Russia just nationalized the Japanese half of the project. This spring, Japan went on vacation for a week (multiple national holdays fall in one week in the spring), and there was all sorts of complaining from the solar sector. Huh? I thought. The policy here is basically to have renewables handled by the private sector, and so gobs of small-time operators have small solar installations that generate pittance amounts of money if and only if the grid needs it, and with everyone on vacation, the grid doesn’t need it so they don’t get paid (but the loans still need to be repaid).


Omega Centauri 07.19.22 at 11:28 pm

About now being crucial (actually between now and 2030), we are in 200% agreement. Of course any new Nuclear won’t be operational in that time frame. The PR which pushes on the discredited but emotionally appealing meme (the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow), damages public enthusiasm for rapid nearterm renewables buildout.

Unfortunately given our current economic/employment situation, not having easy access to a car is highly constraining of one’s career advancement -or even holding down an above minimum wage job. Re-aligning current transport capabilities and the work-world will take years -i.e. going without won’t contribute much in the next crucial decade.

Trader Joe,
“its not the wealthy but rather the vast striving upper middle-class that enjoy their air-conditioning, SUVs and trips to Disney that are the biggest part of the problem. Most seem to think separating out their cans and plastic and maybe contemplating but not buying an EV is more than enough after-all, they can afford to keep cool, damn the rest.”
So well put!


SamChevre 07.20.22 at 1:21 am

About now being crucial (actually between now and 2030), we are in 200% agreement. Of course any new Nuclear won’t be operational in that time frame.

This is assuming the problem. France managed to build, from scratch, multiple nuclear plants in the 10 years following 1973: the transition from oil to nuclear was nearly complete within 15 years of it’s beginning. This is known, existing technology–completely decarbonizing all stationary power use by 2040 is an already solved problem except for the political will.


John Quiggin 07.20.22 at 4:35 am

SamChevre @19 It’s not as simple as “political will”. The conditions that made the French nuclear build possible were momentary and have long since gone. As one illustration, the time between the announcement of the plan to go nuclear and the first concrete pour was less than a year. And the economics depended on an implicit cross-subsidy from the military.

I thought in 2014 that China might replicate this, but they haven’t



John Quiggin 07.20.22 at 4:37 am

Still, you are correct that there are no major technical problems to be solved. Solar&wind+storage is sufficient to cover the vast bulk of electricity needs, electric cars are already here, and green steel and cement technologies are getting past the pilot stage


Fake Dave 07.20.22 at 8:09 am

It’s ludicrous to talk about there only being a few hundred super-rich people without mentioning the small armies of dependents, employees, and temporary hangers-on that orbit practically all of these people. All those ordinary working people who choked down any misgivings to crew their superyachts and manage their money and stand next to them in press photos are part of the package. In feudal systems, the size and prestige of your retinue and the style in which you keep them are marks of rank as important as land or title. A great lord has to be a celebrity (the Japanese “daimyo” means “big name”) and their fame enhances the status of their whole clan. Gangster capitalism isn’t so different. Obscene benefits packages, bottomless expense accounts, and private jet rides for top executives aren’t so different from the torques and baubles of the old days. It’s not generosity, but rather a show of power. We shouldn’t assume that wealth is the only kind of power these people covet. Putin is one of these guys, after all.


SamChevre 07.20.22 at 11:37 am

SamChevre @19 It’s not as simple as “political will”. The conditions that made the French nuclear build possible were momentary and have long since gone. As one illustration, the time between the announcement of the plan to go nuclear and the first concrete pour was less than a year. And the economics depended on an implicit cross-subsidy from the military.

Maybe we mean different things by “political will”, but those are exactly the kinds of challenges I’m intending to include in “lack of political will”–it costs too much, permitting takes years, etc. For something that’s an emergency and being treated as such, those obstacles are surmountable.

I’d be fine with solar and wind, but I’ve seen no evidence they can provide power at scale with the stability of coal, at the price of coal: nuclear demonstrably can and has.


Trader Joe 07.20.22 at 11:53 am

@ Ingrid

I’m not trying to be flippant, but the data you provide serve to make my point. My comment was that China and India are the marginal producers – they have added more carbon output than than all of the western nations have been able to subtract and your data show that.

The USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, UK and France each have reduced their per capital emissions by 1-5 units over the last 20 years and in the aggregate have a population of about 600 million. China and India represent 2.5 billion people who have added +5 units and count 4x the population.

Said differently the US would need to have reduced their carbon output to nearly Zero in order to counteract China and India – that doesn’t happen in any scenario even if Bernie Sanders were handed the keys and given unlimited resource to do it with.


Omega Centauri 07.20.22 at 11:47 pm

Part of the issue for the developed world, is the power of example. So the US not doing what it should is taken as an excuse for China and India to also not do what they should. Cheating on commitments is contagious.

Political and beuraucratic constraints not responding to a state of emergency is a big part of it. IMO new Nuclear is bad for the environment because it consumes too many physical and financial resources and takes too long. But IMO, this is because of excessive regulation. Any new components, including stuff like engineering design software has to go through rigorous, and expensive and time consuming certification. I used to work for a maker of mechanical analysis software. We looked at getting certification, and it made absolutely no sense business model wise, we would have spent many times the additional revenue from nuclear and held back adding important features for our other customers. So we simply punted. So excessive and burdensome regulation makes any new nuclear very expensive with very long project pipelines. So you are stuck with being unable to provide something for which you know would be well within the capabilities of the physics/engineering/industrial capacity.

The same thing happens to a lessor extent with renewables. Any large project has to get environmental approval, and public objections whether real or Astroturfing adds expense, time and financial risk. Its even worse for long distance transmission, which is the most cost effective way to deal with renewables generation variability. By the way the many system studies all say you need surprisingly little storage, geographic diversity of supply and overbuilding are cheaper ways to overcome local generation variability.

Again, and even worse manner is extraction of critical resources. Environmental organizations are mostly stuck with tunnel vision. This mine will mess up a couple of square miles of nature, and that Trumps the possibility that it might be critical for meeting the resource needs of a globally important climate project. So they fight nearly everything tooth-and-nail. And if we can’t expand capacity of critical materials (Lithium, Rare Earths, Copper, …) the transition could be seriously delayed.

So yes, making regulatory demands consistent with the scale of the climate emergency would really help matters, but this seems very unlikely to me.


Ingrid Robeyns 07.21.22 at 1:07 am

Trader Joe @24, OK, I see your point, and how the data support your point. SO my point is a different one – namely that if we think about moral rights and obligations, it is those who have the highest emissions per person, and not brought them down signficantly since we know that there is a problem (I always use 1990 as a easy to remember and little disputed year), that should be the first to act and take leadership. So in those 32 years, the countries with the highest emisisons did very, very little. Basically, I think that removes from them any moral authority, and I fear also authority in the geopolitical scene, to lecture others what to do. The countries at the top of those per person emissions tables should take the lead, as well as compensate those countries that did not causally contribute that much to climate change, yet are disproportionally bearing the brunt (we – rightly so- are worried about heatwaves in Europe and the mid-USA, but in India/Pakistan they have suffered from unbearable heat for months now).

the USA, Canada, Australia, the EU, the rich oil states, and some other countries, should get their act together. If our politicans don’t do so out of their own leadership, we must massively increase pressure on them. I don’ tknow what else will work – recycling plastic and cans (which I have been doing as long as I can remember) won’t help – in fact, I suspect this distracts us from doing what is needed, because it makes us feel good about ourselves.


Faustusnotes 07.21.22 at 4:01 am

Just great how within 10 comments of you mentioning limitarianism, a bunch of people from the richest, most profligate countries on earth are demanding India and China consume less.


John Quiggin 07.21.22 at 4:49 am

Sam Chevre, you’re suggesting an emergency nuclear program, regardless of cost, then demanding that solar and wind should able to supply power at the cost of coal.

You then say “nuclear demonstrably can” which is wrong – new nuclear is easily the most expensive source of electricity, which is why there has been so little of it, even where the political regime is highly favorable.

Roughly speaking and ignoring carbon pollution and local health effects of coal, the cost order (average $/MW) is

Existing solar and wind (effectively free)
New solar and wind
Existing nuclear
Existing gas
Existing coal
New gas
New coal
New nuclear

Adding in requirements for storage with solar and wind changes things a bit, with gas becoming more competitive. But there’s no way new nuclear makes it on to the list.


faustusnotes 07.21.22 at 5:19 am

Given the price of electricity at the moment, and the complete unwillingness of any politicians to do anything about lowering it, discussing which intervention is cheapest seems a bit last-millenium. Just restart the moth-balled nukes and build everything.


nastywoman 07.21.22 at 6:29 am

‘Given the price of electricity at the moment, and the complete unwillingness of any politicians to do anything about lowering it, discussing which intervention is cheapest seems a bit last-millenium. Just restart the moth-balled nukes and build everything’.

There always were ‘politicians’ in this World who understood how important the ‘educational aspect’ -(if I may call it like that) of high priced and low available energy are –
as it teaches US to save such energy AND to become good and decent and clean and conscious World Citizens –

AND finally ‘Renewable’ even becomes so much ‘cheaper’ than ALL the Old Stinkers –
that even the Idiots who still bring up some ‘money arguments’ don’t have these arguments NO MORE.

What a relief!!
And WE and especial US have learned a lot more!



David in Tokyo 07.21.22 at 6:35 am

John Quiggin’s ordering of electricity “costs” are seriously dizzy since they don’t include the externalities, the cost of the dammage coal and gas do to the planet. From a long-term economic analysis that takes into account the externalities, new nuclear is far cheaper than anything other than existing or new renewables.

Really, as faustnotes says: “Just restart the moth-balled nukes and build everything.”

In economic terms that take the real, actual, costs into account, not doing that is insanely expensive. Ginza, Koto City, Florida, and NYC are probably already lost*. What else do you want to sacrifice to shortsighted and incorrect economic calculations???

(Thanks to SamChever for doing my homework @19. I should have looked up that history/timeline. Maybe there is hope.)

*: Every time there’s an article on new research on the Greenland ice sheet, it’s always “Wow! This thing’s meling way faster than we calculated last time.” That’s 7 meters of sea rise that’s probably happening even with zero carbon emissions starting tomorrow.


Trader Joe 07.21.22 at 11:00 am

I take your point about setting a good example and in parallel JQ has made the point about why India and China are choosing lower cost sources of energy production rather than more expensive but greener. All of this is logical as each nation and its people will naturally look to optimize.

Ultimately the planet doesn’t really care where the pollution comes from, only that its lower. The West individually and collectively IS reducing. We can all wish it were faster but scolding the speed of progress is a different complaint than not making it. By contrast, China particularly is doing little – they are by far the largest polluter on the planet by practically all metrics. Putting 100% of the burden on the West to improve faster just so China can produce more carbon ultimately still leaves us all baked.


faustusnotes 07.21.22 at 2:57 pm

At the Kyoto protocol negotiations China, backed up by a large number of low-income countries, mapped out a clear path for climate change prevention, in which the rich countries took action first, consistent with their historical contribution to the problem, and the poor countries did it later, when they had developed. The rich countries said no, we won’t have those non-white people telling us what to do, they should stay poor so we can keep polluting because we are the masters of the universe. They went on with that for 30 years and now they’re burning, and their representatives – people like Trader Joe – are still running around saying that China and India should pay the price for western profligacy.

They were right then, and you’re still wrong now. This problem was created by the west, and the west has the power to change but they don’t want to. 40C in the UK on Tuesday, Europe burning, 100 million people in the USA under extreme heat warning, millions of climate refugees in the USA already, the entire white world paying the price for what they did – as they were warned they would 30 years ago – but we still have people running around saying it’s China’s fault.

Get a grip.


Omega Centauri 07.21.22 at 6:05 pm

China’s compliance is actually a very mixed bag. They lead the world in solar and wind buildout. And they are by far the largest manufacturers of solar. Even if the central CCP wants to go greener though, the guys running the provinces look at local economics -and pressure from well connected corps, and go for the cheapest and/or most politically expedient projects.

The US has its own silly roadblocks. Essentially all new utility-scale solar build was until about a month ago stopped for about six months. And this represents more than half of all new build solar. All because someone made a tarrif violations claim, that imports from other producing countries might contain Chinese parts that should have paid tariffs. And worse if they win the case, the tariffs would be retroactive, so projects that were built with not-yet effected panels would be subject to a large bill. So developers, whose per profit gain/loss margins are never very high put everything on hold. Biden finally stepped in, and we now have a two year hold on retroactive tariffs, so at least the project pipeline can be restarted. But a critical climate resource has been significantly delayed due to litigation.

Solar and wind are still climbing down a cheap cost curve. And 2030 new build is likely to be very very cheap per watt. And we need cheap because we need to have avery substantial capacity overbuild to cover periods when nature doesn’t provide favorable conditions for solar/wind generation. But note production for either wind or solar very rarely goes to zero, a typical cloudy day cuts solar output to 20-50% of clear day output. If you overbuild by two to three times little storage is needed.


Trader Joe 07.21.22 at 7:40 pm

@ faustnotes

Looks like its mission accomplished for China then. Their emissions are roughly 2x the US emissions and 4x EU emissions. How much larger would you like them to be before you think they should start trying? The planet doesn’t care where the CO2 comes from.

100% agree the historic problem is owned by the West – but if the goal is avoiding the next 0.5 degrees of temperature rise that has to be on everyone – if the US cuts by X tons and China adds X +1 ton no one wins.

Kyoto was 30 years ago…the world (except maybe you) has moved on.


faustusnotes 07.22.22 at 12:47 am

China is working very hard to contribute to AGW mitigation. They are one of the few countries in the world that is re-greening, they have developed special technology to transfer huge quantities of solar power from the west to the east, a single Chinese city has more electric busses than all of the USA, almost all batteries used in electric cars in the USA come from China or Japan and almost all solar panels come from those countries too. China is also required to dig up almost all of the rare earths in your phones, and to produce almost all of the junk rich white people consume and throw away, and then gets blamed for emissions. What % of China’s emissions are actually out-sourced US consumption? Even without this proper accounting it has 2x US emissions with 5x the population.

To date China, with 20% of the world’s population, has contributed 13% to the global carbon budget, while India, with 20% of the world’s population, has contributed just 3%. With a proper accounting of out-sourced consumption these proportions are likely even less. China is also producing a lot of the historic polluters’ mitigation tools. But still, people from the richest, most profligate countries in the world want to blame China and India and demand they stay poor – but keep producing batteries and panels for the US – so that the countries that refuse to do anything about the problem can keep making it worse and not take even a tiny GDP hit. Then, when this injustice is pointed out to them, representatives of these lazy and profligate countries tell those countries to “get over it” and to “do their part”. This is the behavior of vandals, not responsible citizens.

And even now, when the world is burning, people from those rich countries can’t get the policy right. Producing enough batteries to decarbonize just the US economy with a solar/storage solution would require more lithium than the entire world’s supply, which would take decades to mine. There are other non-nuclear solutions involving flooding the country with cheap solar panels, or using Chinese-developed technology to transfer solar power from the undeveloped interior to the coasts, but if you want a non-nuclear solution to this crisis you’re going to have to think past batteries, and limits on western consumption are going to have to be part of it.

Instead, the US has thrown enough money to solve the problem into a hopeless war in Ukraine, and forced the EU to lean even more heavily on coal and US-produced carbon energy. But sure, blame China. Pointing your finger at the non-white people is surely going to fix this problem, just like it’s fixed every other problem that the west created for itself!


Area Man 07.22.22 at 3:32 am

…but no one has said “the worst thing for the climate that an individual can do is fly, we ought to continue not doing that.”

Air travel accounts for roughly 2% of GHG emissions and is not a major emissions source. On a per-km basis, air travel is typically less GHG intensive than driving a car, though it depends on your assumptions. People driving cars all the time everywhere is vastly more important than the occasional plane ride.

People think electric cars (lifetime CO2 footprint about 80% of a gas car, if you drive it extensively (and charge it with electricity not produced from coal and use it to actually replace miles that had to have been driven)) are some sort of panacea.

I’m not sure where you’re getting that 80% from. Most analyses would put it under 40% or possibly far less, and that’s assuming that the inputs cannot be decarbonized and that battery manufacturing can never be more efficient. Of course these things can and are happening, and that’s a very important point. The one thing you can never decarbonize is the burning of petrol.


Omega Centauri 07.22.22 at 7:35 pm

This article claims with vertically oriented PV on German farms the need for storage would be seriously reduced:


nastywoman 07.23.22 at 7:15 am

Would be… be… ‘pretty Faust’? with one major correction –

‘Instead, the US has thrown enough money to solve the problem into a hopeless war in Ukraine, and forced the EU to lean even more heavily on coal and US-produced carbon energy. But sure, blame China. Pointing your finger at the non-white people is surely going to fix this problem, just like it’s fixed every other problem that the west created for itself!’

Instead, a War Criminal Monster has thrown enough money into a hopeless war in Ukraine, and forced the EU to lean even more heavily on coal and US-produced carbon energy. But sure, blame the US. Pointing your finger at the defenders of democracy and sanity is surely going to fix this problem, just like it’s fixed every other problem that the west created for itself!


nastywoman 07.23.22 at 8:38 am

as I hinted before – the War Criminal Monster has at least forced Germany to
take energy saving and fighting the War against Climate Change seriously –
that Germany –
NEVER again depend on the Destroyers of our Planet
(War-wise and Climate-wise)


faustusnotes 07.24.22 at 5:36 am

“Never again depend on the Destroyers of our Planet”

Yes, they’ve decided to increase imports of carbon-based energy from the world’s greatest climate denier, the country with the single largest responsibility for delaying action on climate change. And nobody “forced” them to do this – they’re not allies of Ukraine and Ukraine isn’t in NATO. They chose to increase their reliance on a nation that is completely under the control of climate deniers and which, need I remind you, invaded a sovereign nation and murdered a million of its citizens so they could improve their position in the global fossil fuel market.

This isn’t taking climate change seriously, is it?


novakant 07.24.22 at 6:50 am

Trader Joe, I’m fascinated by your casual discarding of per capita emission rates and historical context, Trader Joe. You also completely ignore Western consumption of Chinese products without which the resulting emissions wouldn’t exist.

I imagine that that argument being made on a household level – good times if you’re rich and single…

Also, nuclear is unworkable and dangerous. It’s only used to kick the can down the road.


David in Tokyo 07.25.22 at 1:37 am

FYI: The 24 June 2022 issue of Science (AAAS) magazine has an almost 30-page section arguing that it’s not too late (well that’s what the title “Time To Act” could be inferred to imply; your interpretation may vary) on climate change. Worth a look if you are at an institution whose library gets Science…


David in Tokyo 07.25.22 at 2:00 am

If our dear moderator will permit a bit of snark, I was amused that the very first article in that section on what has to be done now, is an article on an issue I was excoriated for claiming was significant: aircraft fuel emissions.


nastywoman 07.25.22 at 7:43 am

This isn’t taking climate change seriously, is it?

It isn’t – trying to divert and changing the subject from the War Criminal Monster who you should have pointed ALL of your fingers at.
As are you aware that the only reason a lot of Germans agreed – getting themselves in such a dependancy t Russian gas – was the wish for they same long lasting peaceful corporation with Russia as Germany has with all it’s other European and Transatlantic Partners –
and –

YES!! –

Now Germany – as the rest of Europe is forced to find other sources of energy if Putin ads to his horrific war another kind of energy war.

And do you know that Goethes Faust would have understood all such… evil plans and would have been able to F….



nastywoman 07.25.22 at 9:12 am

and what is it???! –
if even my friend Paul (Krugman) writes:
‘especially the bad bet that Europe, and Germany in particular, made in relying on the reasonableness of autocrats’
‘especially the bad bet that Europe, and Germany in particular, made in relying on the PEACEFULNESS of autocrats’
‘It’s a bit simplified, but not that far from the truth, to say that over the past couple of decades Europe — especially Germany, the core of the Continent’s economy — has tried to build prosperity on two pillars: cheap natural gas from Russia and, to a lesser extent, exports of manufactured goods to China’.
‘It’s a bit simplified, but not that far from the truth, to say that over the past couple of decades Europe — especially Germany, the core of the Continent’s economy — has tried to build prosperity on ONE major pillar:
The PEACEFUL co-operation with EVERYBODY else –
and as there is this very… let’s say ‘very difficult relationship’ between Germany and Russia
ALL efforts of Germany to come to an everlasting PEACE – also and especially with Russia should have been welcomed by the Whole Wide World?

But then ‘economists’ BE-cause they can’t think about anything else than ‘economics’ bemoan some ‘foolish dependancy’ and worst –
or even more-
hilarious –
some ‘Fausts’
bemoan some contract with the Devil(s)!

And then they have the nerve to write: But NOBODY ‘forced’ such contracts?


nastywoman 07.25.22 at 9:20 am

NOW! –
somebody will come around and pretend that it was mainly economical reasons which made somebody like Merkel work – way beyond ANY economical interests on a peaceful relationship with Russia –
and even with the creep who tried to scare her away with his dog –
I would have some ‘beautiful’ -(as ‘Trump’ would say) – history lessons
for every other –
here –
and so much about taking the war about climate change seriously!


faustusnotes 07.26.22 at 1:41 pm

I’m sorry nastywoman, as usual I can’t understand your comments, so I can’t reply to them directly. But I will point out to you that current US funding priorities are:

41 billion USD to Ukraine so they can fight Russia to the last Ukrainian
37 billion USD for policing, in the most heavily and violently policed country on earth
2.3 billion USD for climate change

I’ll also point out to you that the 41 billion to Ukraine if annualized is the equivalent of the entire Russian defence budget, and just recently there was a huge scandal in which US police stood by for an hour while a madman murdered children with an assault rifle. Meanwhile 100 million AMericans are under extreme heat warnings, the hydrological system of the entire US south west is near collapse, and California is experiencing another year of record fire. As Europe swelters and the UK enters its third drought in 15 years.

In that context, these funding priorities are nothing short of climate denial. They’re not serious about climate change, and if you support their or the EU’s current policy priorities, you aren’t either.


Trader Joe 07.26.22 at 2:12 pm

@42 Novakant
You can frame the problem whatever way you like, but per-capital emissions is one of the biggest red-herrings in the climate debate. If this was 1950 and we were setting out a framework then 100% I’d agree the “right” way to divide global emissions is on a per capita framework. Unfortunately, we’re far past that now and we need to deal with the emissions we have wherever they reside.

The #1 place they reside is China – they can’t be excluded from the discussion just because they have yet to become as awful on a per capita basis as the rest of the industrialized world – that doesn’t make sense.

Draw the line where you choose – 25B tons, 30B tons whatever you like (I’m not clever enough to say where the line should be). The fact is globally we’re at 35B tons which is too much – EVERYONE needs to reduce to get there. Essentially ALL countries could be and should be doing more – I exclude no one.

As I’ve said repeatedly – the goal that the climate community has set is avoiding +2 degrees of average increase, that’s based on the whole Earth – it doesn’t allocate between more and less industrialized countries. If the US and EU cut by X tons only to make room for China to add X+1 tons, we’ve only re-allocated a problem we’ve done nothing to solve it.


Ingrid Robeyns 07.26.22 at 10:12 pm

Trader Joe @49

I strongly disagree that per capita emissions are a red herring. You are totally right that from a planetary boundaries perspective the question is total emissions, but per capita emissions are (1) the morally relevant unit to determine climate duties, and (2) give a reason to legitimately expect some countries (the US, Canada, Australia, and some oil states on top) to massively fund climate adapation projects in the countries where populations suffer most. MOreover, (3) there is the psychological effect, which is also relevant for geopolitical/diplomacy arguments, that you cannot expect others to do something if you haven’t been doing what you demand from them for decades, namely, to bring down/keep down your emissions to a few tons per person at most.

Your point that total emissions matters, and the point that per capita emissions matter, are not mutually exclusive. Both can be true. And I think they are also related in the ways I just outlined.


Ingrid Robeyns 07.27.22 at 1:33 am

incidentally, just read this article on the plans of the DRC to put to auction huge oil and gas fields:


“The auction highlights a double standard that many political leaders across the African continent have called out: How can Western countries, which built their prosperity on fossil fuels that emit poisonous, planet-warming fumes, demand that Africa forgo their reserves of coal, oil and gas in order to protect everyone else?”


Gareth Wilson 07.27.22 at 3:42 am

What if Africans demand it instead?


nastywoman 07.27.22 at 6:58 am

‘In that context, these funding priorities are nothing short of climate denial’.

Nonsense –
as the defence (costs) against a War Criminal Monster can’t be ‘aufgerechnet’ with
‘something completely different’.
And getting forced by such a horrific aggressor to spend all this money which undoubtably would be very helpful to fight Climate Change makes it even worst – with Putins effort NOW to even add an Energy War to his crimes.

And I hope that was clear enough –
and if it wasn’t – let me joke about your use of the words: ‘Funding Priorities’ –
(even if it might be a bit… ‘saaad’)
You are probably aware that I’m posting from Germany and once upon a time Germany’s
‘Funding Priorities’ where – NOT to defend itself against War Criminal Agressor’s – BUT
to kill World Peace and to invade, bomb and kill as many ‘other people’ as Germany could –
and that forced ALL these ‘other people’ to change their ‘Funding Priorities’ too – and by doing that NOBODY came up with the insane idea of ‘aufrechnen’ these forced ‘Funding Priorities’ with –
for example –
the agricultural budget –
even if the Ukraine now proves that it ALL seems to be connected.

And ‘Faust’ for sure – would have even understood: Right? – Winky-Winky!


nastywoman 07.27.22 at 7:12 am

and ‘Faustusnotes’ –
may I add –
if somebody on the Internet picks such a… a… let’s call it:
ambitious (germanic) philosophical handle –
you can’t blame a (half) German
(who HAD to grew up with FAUST)
that somebody –
who calls himself Faust…


nastywoman 07.27.22 at 9:10 am

AND as the following accusation is just – too much:

‘If you support their or the EU’s current policy priorities, you aren’t either’.

Let ME make one thing very clear here:
My FIRST priority –
like the priority of ALL my friends and family is –


and I don’t mind saying it as simple and naive as any average Miss World Contester –
and as a member of Fridays for Future the fight against the Climate Change comes next
and so – if I would have to make the choice about ‘funding priorities’ I (ME – MOI) always would fund PEACE first – as somehow if there is PEACE there also is a lot more money available for taking Climate Change Seriously!


Trader Joe 07.27.22 at 11:12 am

@50 Ingrid

Lets be specific – I’m talking about China, not about developing countries at large.

Lets use your rules. World population = 8 Billion. China = 1.5 billion so 19%

Total CO@ emission approx. 35B tons China emission – about 12B tons = 34%

Is this what you are saying?

China’s emission should be almost 50% lower based on current run-rates, but of course current run-rates are already too high. How much higher do you think they should be allowed to get to before you would advocate a reduction?

The US, Canada, all of Europe are already cutting. To be sure they should do more too. But you undermine the goal and hand deniers a weapon when you provide an exemption for the biggest polluter in the world on ‘per capita’ grounds.


Omega Centauri 07.27.22 at 6:56 pm

I heartily agree with this opinion piece: https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/how-we-will-fight-climate-change?s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
The leftist, degrowth agenda, and the anti-capitalist agenda, has failed miserably. Meanwhile really attractive technologies are being developed. And these can largely compete on their own merits. And we should give them all the help we can.

BTW, in the last year I have gifted approximately twenty induction cooktops in a bid to wean people off of natural gas, and hopefully to become fans/champions of low/no-carbon technologies.


Ingrid Robeyns 07.27.22 at 9:39 pm

@Joe Trader – I see your point, and certainly don’t want to give an weapon to those who think they should be allowed to pollute/emit more. And yes, I also don’t want the emissions anywhere to rise, but you were originally also talking about INdia which still has millions of people living in abject poverty, and as we know the big population growth still to be expected is mainly in Africa – so either we massively transfer compensation to those countries in an agreement in which they keep their fossils in the ground, and we transfer free clean energy technologies, or else we have no ground on which to stand when asking those poor countries to not increase their emissions. China is in a seperate category from India/Africa and from North-America/Australia/EU, since it has addressed (a large part of) extreme poverty, and must now curb its pollution.

@Omega Centauri #57 – thanks for the link. That’s an interesting and thought-provoling piece, but I am surprised at how uncritical most of the commentators are. In my perception, the strongly anti-capitalist degrowth group is only a small fraction of the climate justice movement, and hence I think Noah makes a caricature of them. (also, in the EU the green new deal is going full force ahead, but I within a system that I would qualify as a regulated form of capitalism/mixed econmy). He is also invovled in a lot of framing and retorics in this piece, setting up strawmen and reducing the problems with us transgressing planetary boundaries to only a matter of using clean energy. It’s not that simply, and it is a very big if whether we can let people consume as much as they like, and of the form that they like (e.g. beef rather than plant-based proteins) and still respect the boundaries of the planet. His call for ‘a agenda of abundance’ sounds really nice, but I strongly wonder wheher he is engaging too much in wishful thinking and in having blinders for those ecological problems that cannot be solved by technofixes. Also, Noah thinks inequalities (in this case in emissions, past and present) have no moral and therefore motivational force, wich is a nice thing to believe if one is in the US, but not quite how the rest of the world looks at it, I think.


faustusnotes 07.28.22 at 12:25 am

Once again nastywoman I cannot understand your commments, but since they seem to be pursuing the same theme, the response is obvious. Have you heard of the Yemen civil war? It started in 2014 and one side is supported by Saudi Arabia and the USA. The war was the direct cause of the Yemen famine, which has been ongoing for about 5 years now and has resulted in at least 120,000 deaths. Thousands or tens of thousands of civilians have been murdered by rocket and drone strikes using US and German weapons, and UNICEF estimates up to 80% of the population is experiencing a humanitarian crisis. It is well known that the primary drivers of this mass murder and slaughter are the USA, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Because of this war 2.2 million children under 5 need acute nutrition support.

Germany imported over half a billion dollars of petrochemicals from Saudi Arabia in 2020, and had 7.5 billion dollars in trade with the UAE – with German imports mostly petrochemicals. Over 2 years Germany sold about 5 billion USD of arms to Egypt, KSA, UAE, Algeria and Qatar.

If there is a moral imperative for Germany to cease bilateral trade with a nation on the basis of illegal wars that kill huge numbers of people, the Yemen war is the pitch-perfect example. The UAE and KSA are committing mass murder there, have induced a nation-wide humanitarian crisis and famine, have blockaded ports and bomb cities indiscriminately using western-supplied weapons. Yet Germany has done nothing to interfere with petrochemical trade from these aggressor nations, and there is no movement – in real life or on here – to do anything of the sort. In fact as far as I’m aware Crooked Timber have never posted anything about the Yemen war (though Conor Foley did take the time to write a post in support of the Libya intervention in 2011, so it’s not as if CT is above these kinds of things).

Why do you think no Germans are calling for Germany to stop importing petrochemicals from these war criminals? Why are Germans willing to stand next to Ukrainian Nazi flags and pictures of Nazi-era collaborationists to call for a national boycott of Russian petrochemicals, even at the cost of their climate change targets, during a sweltering summer, but have never been willing to stand up for the children of Yemen in the same way? Why was there a proliferation of Ukrainian flags across social media in March 2022 but no westerner has such a flag for Yemen, nor ever has?

Why is your tolerance of unprovoked invasion so much lower when Russia does it to Ukraine than when the KSA and UAE, backed by the USA, do it to Yemen using German weapons? What is the difference that makes restarting coal power so important and necessary now but not in 2016?

We all know the answer, it’s a rhetorical question. But if you’re willing to throw your climate change targets in the bin on the basis of a superior moral imperative when white kids die, but won’t do it for Yemeni kids, you’re not serious about climate change.

We need to end fossil fuel use by 2050. That means that Russia, KSA, UAE, the USA and eventually Qatar and Australia are going to see their economies trashed. Every single political action they have taken over the past 20 years has been designed to ensure that this does not happen. Russia, Australia and the USA have the economic base to deal with this damage, but KSA and UAE – and eventually, when we turn off gas – Qatar are going down with the carbon ship. They’re spending a lot of money and influencing a lot of politicians to ensure that we don’t turn off the taps. They’re also working very hard to make sure that until we do that they grab the majority of the market share of the oil that is still being used. Every single foreign policy action of the USA in the past 40 years, outside of its antagonism of China, has been about securing its dominance of global energy markets. What is happening now with Germany and Russia is just the next step in that process. They’re making sure that as action on climate change starts to bite they and their cronies are the last to suffer. And while they do that millions are dying in the wars they start and you support.

Don’t make it worse by being a hyprocite.

Omega Centauri, that Noahpinion piece is trash by an ill-informed fool. This is an academic blog, you can surely do better.


TM 07.28.22 at 9:24 am

Interesting article about fracking. Even I am puzzled by how an industry that has been losing money for so many years was kept going by private investors.



TM 07.28.22 at 11:53 am

faustusnotes 36: I commend your righteous indignation, except the last paragraph. Germany’s dependence on Russian energy is really of its own making and needn’t be blamed on the US.

The current high fossil fuel prices might be our last chance to do something serious about the energy transition (both in terms of efficiency and renewables). If not now, then obviously never. The paradox is of course that high prices mean more money is funneled into fossil fuel investment (here’s a particularly depressing example: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/24/world/africa/congo-oil-gas-auction.html). But this needn’t happen if politicians do their f**ing job and take the political action necessary without “leaving it to the market”.


TM 07.28.22 at 12:03 pm

Regarding German nuclear: There are I believe 3 nuclear power plants left in operation and they are scheduled to be shut off December 31, 2022. They account for about 6% of electricity supply. It seems like an obvious step to let them continue running for a few more years, and there is a lot of political discussion to that effect. The problem is that they haven’t undergone a security check in 13 years. Normally they should get one every 10 years, but because they are scheduled to be shut off anyway, the checks, which normally take several months, were waived. The other problem is that they would need to get fresh fuel, and that wasn’t planned for.

I expect a solution will be found to let these plants run a bit longer but really, there is far more to be gained from saving energy and aggressively building up renewables.


TM 07.28.22 at 12:07 pm

Trader Joe: As long as you refuse to even acknowledge that China’s emissions are in large part the result of the rich world’s consumption, I don’t think your claims are even worth debating.


TM 07.28.22 at 12:14 pm

48 “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian”

Have you really gone Greenwald, faustusnotes? I used to have high opinion of you.


TM 07.28.22 at 12:18 pm

“The leftist, degrowth agenda, and the anti-capitalist agenda, has failed miserably.”

The fact that this “agenda” was never even remotely implemented may be called a failure but it’s not a failure of the agenda, it’s a failure of the political system wholly incapable of responding in any meaningful way to the most serious threat our civilization has ever faced.


Ingrid Robeyns 07.28.22 at 5:55 pm

Friends – I probably inadvertedly kept this comments thread open much longer than we regularly do, but will close it now.
I really value the discussions here and learning from all of your comments, but could I please ask everyone to refrain from using insults/ad hominems/throwing stuff to others’ heads. We can make exactly the same substantive points without calling others various bad things, and it will even be more effective since people generally don’t listen to criticism that comes with insults. Thanks and we’ll resume our conversation before too long in another thread.

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