Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chasms, rifts, divides - the ideological dichotomies that need to be broken

Climate Change is a fact, even though there are still forces that try to convince people that it is in dispute, it's not!

Why am I writing this article? I am an Atheist, Anti-Theist, Social Democrat, ACC-accepting, Avid Tree hugger, Anti Renewable, Pro Nuclear, pro space exploration activist. This literally means that a lot of people hate my guts. Or misunderstand the choices that I make.

Let's have a look at the oppositions in my worldview :
  • Nuclear advocates are very often concentrated in the conservative/republican camp
  • As a social democrat I seem to get in the political camp of people like Bernie Sanders
  • As an ACC-Accepting person I almost always land in the liberal/central/left camp
  • My great scepticism about renewable energy draws the ire of conservationists in particular
  • Being an Atheist and Anti-Theist doesn't sit well with most of the right
  • Being a liberal/progressive/socialist almost always gets me into debates, where I have to account for my support for a central-left worldview, while in that area there aren't a lot of nuclear supporters, as a matter of fact there are a lot of anti-nukes in this ballpark
This is the world of strange dichotomies. I feel like I'm constantly juggling eggs and none of them may fall, otherwise they will break. What I want to break is the narrative! Why? Because this polarisation isn't going to help us forward, as a matter of fact it is deepening chasms and rifts, it is postponing consensus and keeping us from do what is right. Political and ideological idiosyncrasies are really unfathomable to me. Let's look at my ideological worldview, I adhere to the narrative of Bernie Sanders, he's a frontrunner for a Democratic Socialism model, he is also working actively for the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee, a nuclear reactor. Now here's the contradiction, I love the guy for his message, but I have a hard time accepting his views completely because it looks like he is against nuclear energy.

Let's look at the antagonistic nature of the narrative : An article on Powerline
I came across this article because a prominent writer and person for the Molten Salt Reactor sector shared it on his Facebook-wall. Now let's break it down...

"The article went on to describe in some detail what a serious low- or no-carbon energy transformation would require, and it makes for sobering reading for all the folks who believe energy unicorns are behind every tree wind farm and solar panel."

I have no difficulty with this statement except for it being rather strident and there is no substantiation for his own claim. We'll continue and read this :

"By the way, doesn’t anyone else notice that the “Apollo Project” analogy is really stupid? After all, sending people to the moon hasn’t turned out to be a very “sustainable” proposition.

More evidence that the liberal learning curve, like Tom Friedman’s prose, is flat.

P.S. There is one very abundant and scalable energy source that is cheaper than coal right now in the U.S.: Natural gas. Environmentalists used to be for it before they were against it."

The sentence indicated in red is precisely what nerves me to the bone. This kind of "us versus them" speak is exactly what we have to defeat. Now I will be frank, I write polemics about energy matters. I am used to be strident, but I don't do it from an ideological or political viewpoint. I address the issue from a pragmatic standpoint. What needs to be done, regardless of your background, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Liberal, Left, Communist, Marxist, Right Wing, Nazi, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist... We have to do what is necessary, regardless of color, creed, sexual orientation or whatever.

Let's talk necessity...

Anthropogenic Climate Change precipitates a couple of troublesome / unambiguous events :
  • Increased droughts
  • Less but more intense precipitation
  • Rising sea-levels
  • More "Sandy-like" Hurricanes and subsequent floodings
Let's ignore potential exterminations. Here are a couple of things that will be happening if we do not stop the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Diminishing water supplies i.e. Water scarcity
  • Crop Famine i.e. Wheat, Soy, Rice, Vegetables, Fruit
  • Deteriorating meat production
We've  seen this happen in Russia, The US, and Asia already. We may expect these events to become more frequent. Each time the supply of a commodity like wheat diminishes, because of a great drought or other circumstances, we see instability grow in the World. We, the wealthy countries, will experience some lag in this regard because we have the money and can get the commodity because we can pay for it. Other less fortunate communities in poorer countries aren't as fortunate, hunger starts to spread.

Eventually the diminishing availability of wheat and other food commodities is going to destabilize the world. We will see more discontent, upheaval and eventually civil wars. It is quite simple, people who are thirsty and hungry have to take care of themselves. We have to take into consideration that this is going to happen more frequently in the future.

What else are we going to see? Hundreds of thousands of deaths due to heat waves, simply because people die from dehydration, strokes, cardiac arrests, etc.

There are two significant drivers in Anthropogenic Climate Change :
  • The burning of fossil fuels
  • Deforestation
What do we need to do?

The first thing is rather easy, stop deforestation and start a massive scaled reforestation. Something which could easily be done from a democratic socialist viewpoint. This is clearly a service that the government can provide : Clean air, habitat for animals, natural carbon capture and a lot of jobs with decent wages. This will help many people secure a meaningful job and a good way to contribute to the future of humanity.

Secondly I wonder if it Is really worth it to squabble over petty ideological differences, while world stability is at risk, while we face possible wars or even extinction. I don't give a rats ass which side you're on. We have to break the current narrative, we have to do the right things. This means that we have to kill the rat race, change the paradigms. Acknowledge that energy demand is going to grow extremely. Acknowledge that a great burden will shift, the burden on fossil fuels will shift to electrical generation eventually.

Add to this the increased demand for water desalination, these are things that aren't factored in when you're addressing energy from a pure conservationist viewpoint. Now this is not meant as an antagonising remark, this is meant as an eye opener. Out energy problems are HUGE, we are so far gone, we have to start a return to a sustainable future. No one is going to turn of the lights, no one is going to shut down the water. But for this to continue, Quadrillions of BTu's worth of energy are required. Renewables are not capable of delivering these.

Accepting this truth is going to force us look at more ways of electricity generation, other than the traditional renewables for instance. A perfect energy mix would look like this : Nuclear fusion, Nuclear Fission, Hydro power, Geo thermal, Wind, and Solar.

Dispense with the nonsense such as energy storage, hydrogen and especially biomass. Biomass is actually accelerating deforestation and should be stopped immediately.

The left will argue that nuclear energy is too expensive, unsafe and has waste issues. All of these issues will be addressed by the new MSR movement. Renewables on the other hand aren't popular on the right. But I wonder whether this is being fuelled by the fossil fuel corporations or simply because it's antagonistic in nature, in opposition to the left.

I don't care... We are in dire need of nuclear, simply because of it's capacity for kicking fossil fuel out of the picture. I don't take any ideological view on energy, a pragmatic view is what we should employ. I simply want to see the fastest and most effective means to kick fossil fuels out of the picture being implemented. We have to... Whether you are right-wing, centrist or left-wing. We do not have the luxury to make this an ideological issue.


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