Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekend Links

  • Sober Look makes a really important point about Greece here that I hadn't realized: although Greece's debt is really high and will be for a long time, that is really not their problem in the short to medium term as the agencies holding the debt have reduced the terms to the point that Greece's interest payments as a fraction of GDP are very modest and bearable.
  • The bullish case on Tesla Motors.
  • Where ARPA-E is spending our tax dollars on energy research.
  • Homebuilders are starting to produce multigenerational housing.
  • I've not always been a big fan of Dianne Feinstein but I like her amendment making it clear that the government may not detain citizens and permanent residents without charge or trial.  Apparently the Obama administration would prefer to have police state powers, which is appalling.
  • Solar panels being sold like Tupperware?  Hey, whatever works.  This was particularly amusing:
I’ve had at least 10 people say, ‘I have the biggest solar system in the community,’ ” he said. “They don’t say, ‘I have the lowest electric bill.
That's human nature for you*, and we have to get it working for the climate, instead of against it.

*At least as expressed in civilizations.

1 comment:

Jeffrey Crunk said...

"we have to get it [human nature] working for the climate, instead of against it."

Emphatic yes. Like an old friend in college once advised me, follow the water-course way, the path of least resistance.

I've been trying to say this to my most liberal, aspirational, anti-capitalist friends (a crowd I'm happy to associate with) much of my adult life. Numbers like 7 billion, 400 parts per million, might put a crimp in otherwise laudable visions for social progress that I might otherwise share without reservation. I've had a hard time reconciling those messages over the years even to myself, between Desmond Morris and Jeremy Grantham on the one hand, William James, FDR, John Lennon, on the other. Climate change has tipped the balance for me. The notion that we might have 15 years or less to get a handle on emissions! Sobering.

So your remark, Stuart, resonates. To me it means that it's best to assess the obdurate historical and biological facts on the ground that might impede progress to climate stability. We will continuously run into them if we don't know how to sidestep them. Human nature and historic path-determinacy are not to be argued with. Put another way, save the world in all it's imperfections first, and then I'm back on with the revolution.

P. S. There's a tie-in here with David Robert's criticism of American environmentalism as a flawed vehicle for tackling climate change that I wanted to take on, but then decided not too because the comment then would be way too long. Thanks for your blog!