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Old 04-26-2020, 10:08 PM
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"The takeover of the environmental movement by capitalism is now complete."


"It's not the carbon dioxide molecule destroying the planet; it's us." That's one of many provocative claims from a new documentary, Planet of the Humans, which claims, with vivid and compelling imagery, that green energy is an illusion. The film is deliberately sensationalist and provocative; but much of it is factual. I post in GD as a challenge to Dopers to confirm or refute some of the film's allegations.

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Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It's too little, too late.

Removed from the debate is the only thing that MIGHT save us: getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption. Why is this not THE issue? Because that would be bad for profits, bad for business. Have we environmentalists fallen for illusions, “green” illusions, that are anything but green, because we’re scared that this is the end—and we’ve pinned all our hopes on biomass, wind turbines, and electric cars?

No amount of batteries are going to save us, warns director Jeff Gibbs (lifelong environmentalist and co-producer of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine"). This urgent, must-see movie, a full-frontal assault on our sacred cows, is guaranteed to generate anger, debate, and, hopefully, a willingness to see our survival in a new way—before it’s too late.
Biomass and biofuel are singled out for special attention in the documentary. (They aren't as renewable as claimed; polluting tire chips or other trash are sometimes added to wood chips to enhance burning.) Huge swathes of the Amazon jungle have been replaced with sugarcane plantations for biofuel. Alligator fat and seaweed are new types of biofuel! But the documentary also claims that wind and solar power are not as benign as commonly thought. Wind and solar arrays need to be replaced every 20 years; production of the needed materials is itself energy-intensive.

Many environmentalists, including myself, still believe that high human population is "the elephant in the room," or as someone in the film says, "the herd of elephants in the room."

The documentary points fingers at the Koch Brothers (who are probably the largest recipients of biomass subsidies in the U.S.!) , Richard Branson, Al Gore, and others who are making money via supposedly green programs. Toward the end of the film is the claim: "The takeover of the environmental movement by capitalism is now complete."
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Old 04-26-2020, 11:07 PM
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I post in GD as a challenge to Dopers to confirm or refute some of the film's allegations.
That's not how Great Debates is supposed to work. If you make the assertion, you confirm it.

Last edited by D'Anconia; 04-26-2020 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 04-26-2020, 11:17 PM
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Right away I noticed many arguments that are flawed or that lead us to some very unsavory places; as Brian Kahn, writer of climate science and policy and faculty member with Columbia's MA in Climate and Society program, reports:

https://earther.gizmodo.com/planet-o...tti-1843024329
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There are a few issues at play. One is that much of the issues the film takes with solar and wind are based on anachronistic viewpoints. PV Magazine, a solar trade publication, notes that it’s “difficult to take the film seriously on any topic when it botches the solar portion so thoroughly. Although the film was released in 2020, the solar industry it examines, whether through incompetence or venality, is from somewhere back in 2009.”

The film also goes through great lengths to throw solar and wind in the same boat as burning biomass for power. The latter relies on serious carbon accounting bullshittery to be carbon neutral. A critique of biomass is fair and something I would honestly have watched a whole film about. And ditto for the film’s critique of large environmental organizations, which rely on large funders that may provide money with strings attached (though Bill McKibben, one of the film’s targets and founder of 350.org, came out strongly critiquing how he and the organization were portrayed).

The film, for example, highlights the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which has helped shutter more than 300 coal plants around the U.S. The program’s biggest donor is Mike Bloomberg, who sees natural gas—which has replaced much of that coal capacity—as a bridge fuel (which it is decidedly not).

And this is where the narrative Gibbs tells and the one we need to be telling diverges. Gibbs is happy to trash the unholy alliance between big green groups and big dollar funders who have, in some cases, made their fortunes on extractive industries and the system that relies on their existence. That can lead to conflicts—real or perceived—about how green groups spend their time. And frankly, I’m there with him.

Gibbs’ uses this situation to take the leap to population control as the only solution. Yes, renewables are bad and so are billionaires and the corporate-philanthropic industrial complex so, Gibbs concludes, we should probably get rid of some humans ASAP. Over the course of the movie, he interviews a cast of mostly white experts who are mostly men to make that case. It’s got a bit more than a whiff of eugenics and ecofascism, which is a completely bonkers takeaway from everything presented. If renewables are so bad, then what does a few million less people on the planet going to do? Oh, and who are we going to knock off or control for? Who decides? How does population control even solve the problem of corporate influence on nonprofits and politics?

Those questions lead to a dark place. We’ve already had a glimpse of what that ideology looks like in the hands of individuals. The alleged manifesto penned by last year’s El Paso shooting suspect sounds an awful lot like Gibbs’ movie, arguing that extractive companies “are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources” and that we to “get rid of enough people” to get things back in balance. Which is a whole lot of nope.
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Old 04-26-2020, 11:31 PM
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"The takeover of the environmental movement by capitalism is now complete."
First of all, I always thought the whole "The environmentalists are all really trying to promote their secret agenda of...SOCIALISM!" (DUN DUN DUUUUN!!!) was just a silly right-wing meme.

More substantively, I'm not wildly overfond of trying to settle philosophical or political debates by citing the dictionary, but I do think we need to define our terms here:

"Environmentalism: advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment."

"Capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market."

"Socialism: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods."

Lord knows, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had a pretty terrible track record of "preserving the natural environment"; in addition to Chernobyl, the U.S.S.R. wound up creating one hell of a lot of (in American terms) "Superfund sites", as did places like Czechoslovakia. Alternatively, I don't see why you can't have private or corporate ownership of the "means of production" and private, for-profit "determination of the prices, production, and distribution of goods", and not also have policies aimed at "the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment". I'm not arguing for the glorious "invisible hand of the market" to do everything here; I think we need laws and government regulations, but I don't think "laws and government regulations" equate to"state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production".

Even if you just want to focus on the population issue; to some extent, some kind of "invisible hand" does actually work there: People in wealthier societies actually very often have fewer children than people in poorer societies. A huge factor in getting birthrates down is educating girls and giving women more control over their own lives (which all seems perfectly compatible with "capitalism"). Moving away from "invisible hand" remedies, "welfare state" programs--but still not socialism--like "old age pensions" (Social Security) tend to make people want (or need) to have fewer babies, since they don't have to "have enough kids to make sure at least one is still around and able and willing to take care of me in my old age".

Even in terms of more coercive population policies (or at least policies involving state intervention), "lower population" and "socialism" have nothing much to do with each other. Communist China had its (in)famous "one child" policy; but the Socialist Republic of Romania under Ceaușescu was sort of equally infamous for its pro-natalist policies restricting access to birth control (contraception and abortion); Ceaușescu wanted more workers and soldiers to build socialism!

So, all in all, the quotation in the thread title seems like a total non sequitur to me.
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Old 04-26-2020, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Michael Moore
I've seen enough.
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Old 04-27-2020, 01:07 AM
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This shouldn't be an issue of capitalism vs socialism. Neither side should be hijacking the environment to promote its economic ideology.

I have no problem with capitalists taking over the environmental movement and making billions of dollars by doing so - as long as they are providing real solutions to the problems.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:15 AM
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Biomass and biofuel are singled out for special attention in the documentary. (They aren't as renewable as claimed; polluting tire chips or other trash are sometimes added to wood chips to enhance burning.) Huge swathes of the Amazon jungle have been replaced with sugarcane plantations for biofuel. Alligator fat and seaweed are new types of biofuel! But the documentary also claims that wind and solar power are not as benign as commonly thought. Wind and solar arrays need to be replaced every 20 years; production of the needed materials is itself energy-intensive.
Any decent well-to-wheels lifecycle analysis accounts for production and replacement. Nobody who knows anything is surprised or concerned about replacing a windmill or solar panel.
Re: biofuel, the impact varies by source. Seaweed? We're not talking about mowing down kelp forests; it's aquaculture. Animal fats only make sense if they're a waste product from another industry. Wood chips? That's a tight carbon loop. Tires? Or, not mentioned, plastics? Those carbons get used twice, and it keeps long-lived materials out of landfills and oceans. Municipal solid waste was also not mentioned. Burning that reduces net GHG emissions. Plant-based ethanol has plenty of problems. Sugarcane based on land use. Corn based on energy and emissions of inputs. Etc. The latter can be mitigated by using electrolysis-based fertilizer, something people are working on.

What did I miss?

No, we aren't headed toward some mystical green fairyland future. Nor do we have a grim green future buried in old wind blades. We don't have a magic bullet; we have an arsenal.

If we're worried about population, the best way to control that, per the late Hans Rosling, is to improve the economic condition of people in countries with high birth rates.

Last edited by Ruken; 04-27-2020 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:17 AM
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That's not how Great Debates is supposed to work. If you make the assertion, you confirm it.
Meh I'm cool with people hearing about something they're ignorant about, figuring some of us might be interested, and posting in hopes to learn something.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:26 AM
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I'll need to see if I can find a transcript. Like hell I'm spending 100 min listening to that idiot's work (using that noun loosely.)

Or maybe I should make bingo cards. E.g. "won't anyone think of the bats," "carbon fiber composite blades aren't recyclable." Etc.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:27 AM
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I watched this yesterday, and was curious about doper reactions. Thanks to OP for starting this.

My take was that a lot of cool "green sounding" phraseology was being used to hide business-as-usual energy production. Apparently, biomass is a fancy new word for logging.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:36 AM
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There's logging and then there's logging. It's typically not harvesting ancient redwoods to help push electrons.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:43 AM
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That's not how Great Debates is supposed to work. If you make the assertion, you confirm it.
Let’s leave the moderating to the moderators, please.
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Old 04-27-2020, 07:04 AM
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Sure, some "green technologies" are scams, but that doesn't mean they all are. Just because bioethanol doesn't work well, doesn't negate the fact that windmills work great.
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Old 04-27-2020, 07:57 AM
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I've seen enough.
This for me as well.

I end up agreeing with Moore and I find his films provocative and entertaining. They're good for starting a loud, angry rant over a few drinks, but not much else. He's not a good primary source of information.

I do agree that modern economic systems must fundamentally change in our lifetimes and probably within the next 10-20 years or humanity and life on earth are screwed.

I've been reading more and more about wealth-equality or wealth-distribution economists like Thomas Piketty and thinking that maybe something like the Green New Deal could go hand in hand with redistributing wealth.

But one area where I'd nevertheless (I assume) agree with people like Moore is that popular sentiment has to massive enough to pry the oligarchs from the political system, and it starts with stripping them not of their wealth but from their disproportionate levels of it.

At the same time, protection of the environment must be incentivized through capitalism's inherent systems of rewards, which can be done efficiently insofar as those rewards aren't of obscene proportions.
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Old 04-27-2020, 08:00 AM
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Re: Sugarcane and the Amazon, total sugarcane acreage in Brazil has remained constant over the past decade and actually has been decreasing over the last few years. Hardly any of the cleared land is being used for permanent agriculture. Yes, there are issues with ethanol, and specifically, sugarcane ethanol. But replacing "huge swathes of the Amazon jungle" is not a huge one.
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Old 04-27-2020, 08:02 AM
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This shouldn't be an issue of capitalism vs socialism. Neither side should be hijacking the environment to promote its economic ideology.

I have no problem with capitalists taking over the environmental movement and making billions of dollars by doing so - as long as they are providing real solutions to the problems.
Capitalists won't do this on their own. They need the government to do the outlays in terms of investment and infrastructure first. The problem is that for those capitalists who've already built their empires on fossil fuels and their related industries, change is a threat to their wealth, so their investments go not toward the environment and different types of energy but on rigging the political system to protect their wealth. And not only do they seek to protect it but also to strip more people of their wealth. More wealth means more access to the political system, and less of it means greater financial insecurity at the individual household level and less time devoted to politics and more time worrying about basic survival. And the poor are still motivated to vote, then just move the voting precinct 40 miles away.
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Old 04-27-2020, 09:38 AM
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The message that environmental solutions are Bad if they enrich certain people, and that only massive population reduction will solve the problem (viable methods for achieving that goal not mentioned) does not resonate with me.

If a startup company or even a giant corporation has a useful product that helps get the job done, I don't object to their profiting from it, as long as they're not using insider influence to get huge government subsidies for a boondoggle.

note: I also have an allergy to "prove him/them wrong!, something I often hear in connection with dubious scientific claims.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:04 AM
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The profit motive is one of the most reliable tools for stimulating innovation and increasing efficiency. No problem as gigantic as climate change can be realistically solved without capitalism and the profit motive. Obviously you also need government action through a carbon tax, funding for R&D etc.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:03 PM
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Well, I don't know for sure if it is the only solution, but reducing the human population is something that's well within our capability of doing if we put our minds to it, and it almost certainly will be beneficial in the fight against climate change. However, I'll echo the "Michael Moore" comment and say that this is obviously another piece of sensationalist garbage meant to stir people up, filled with arguments only loosely tied to reality, even if what is being argued for is something I am basically in favor of. Michael Moore does progressives no favors by showing off all the worst arguments available.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:21 PM
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Ars Technica has a good piece on the film:
Michael Moore’s green energy takedown—worse than Netflix’s Goop series?

I think maybe you can guess the author's opinion on the work. Though as noted, one doesn't have to look any farther than "Michael Moore" to realize it's complete claptrap.
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Old 04-29-2020, 07:28 AM
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"It's not the carbon dioxide molecule destroying the planet; it's us." That's one of many provocative claims from a new documentary, Planet of the Humans, which claims, with vivid and compelling imagery, that green energy is an illusion. The film is deliberately sensationalist and provocative; but much of it is factual. I post in GD as a challenge to Dopers to confirm or refute some of the film's allegations.



Biomass and biofuel are singled out for special attention in the documentary. (They aren't as renewable as claimed; polluting tire chips or other trash are sometimes added to wood chips to enhance burning.) Huge swathes of the Amazon jungle have been replaced with sugarcane plantations for biofuel. Alligator fat and seaweed are new types of biofuel! But the documentary also claims that wind and solar power are not as benign as commonly thought. Wind and solar arrays need to be replaced every 20 years; production of the needed materials is itself energy-intensive.

Many environmentalists, including myself, still believe that high human population is "the elephant in the room," or as someone in the film says, "the herd of elephants in the room."

The documentary points fingers at the Koch Brothers (who are probably the largest recipients of biomass subsidies in the U.S.!) , Richard Branson, Al Gore, and others who are making money via supposedly green programs. Toward the end of the film is the claim: "The takeover of the environmental movement by capitalism is now complete."
The Koch brothers* and the leader of Brazil are not environmentalists who let themselves get taken over by capitalists. They ARE the capitalists on the other side who don't give a crap about the environment. Certainly people like Richard Branson and Al Gore haven't sold out to them.

This is basically another aspect of the far left mistakenly believing that they've been sold out by mainstream left leaders, and no matter how hard I try to understand I don't get where they're coming from. I'll stick to the US since that's the scene I'm most familiar with, but I bet this scenario I'm going to outline is the same in representative governments worldwide. Let's set the starting point as a period of time when the mainstream left is in power, such as just after the election of Obama here in the US. Obviously he didn't singlehandedly turn around the problem of global warming, because that's going to take time. Unfortunately those on the far left expected instant results, and when they didn't get them they threw a hissy fit that resulted in the right wing taking over the legislature in 2010, the effects of which we are still dealing with today. Not only that, but to then turn around and point at the leaders on the mainstream left and say they sold out is beyond ridiculous. Obama, Pelosi, and Schumer (and their equivalents in other countries) didn't sell out. They lost power to the right wing and thus were unable to further enact the environmentalist agenda. Hillary Clinton most definitely didn't sell out, and didn't even have the opportunity to do so. But these people on the far left really want to continue to blame mainstream liberals for selling out? It pisses me off that even now they continue down that path . If these people are going to blame Al Gore (and presumably Obama) for things that the Koch Brothers* and Jair Bolsonaro (the Brazilian president who allows and even encourages the aforementioned rainforest to be burned, mainly for cattle farming rather than growing sugarcane) are doing to ruin the environment, as if they are all on the same team, how can one even have a reasonable conversation with them ?

To make a long story short, this is just another example of the far left blaming the mainstream left for the actions of the far right.

*Yes, I'm aware that one of the Koch brothers has passed.

Last edited by FlikTheBlue; 04-29-2020 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:06 AM
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Capitalists won't do this on their own. They need the government to do the outlays in terms of investment and infrastructure first. The problem is that for those capitalists who've already built their empires on fossil fuels and their related industries, change is a threat to their wealth, so their investments go not toward the environment and different types of energy but on rigging the political system to protect their wealth. And not only do they seek to protect it but also to strip more people of their wealth. More wealth means more access to the political system, and less of it means greater financial insecurity at the individual household level and less time devoted to politics and more time worrying about basic survival. And the poor are still motivated to vote, then just move the voting precinct 40 miles away.
If we have capitalists who are making a profit by helping the environment and capitalists who are making a profit by harming the environment, we shouldn't be opposing all capitalists. We should distinguish between the two groups and only oppose those who are harming the environment.

The same argument applies to socialists and anarchists and any other group of ideologues. The environmental movement should be focused on protecting the environment, not on advancing some political or economic ideology.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:19 AM
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The profit motive is one of the most reliable tools for stimulating innovation and increasing efficiency. No problem as gigantic as climate change can be realistically solved without capitalism and the profit motive. Obviously you also need government action through a carbon tax, funding for R&D etc.
I have a friend who's gay and transgendered and pretty far to the left of the political spectrum. She complained one time about corporate appropriation of the LBGTQ movement. I told her she should accept it as a sign of the movement's success; LBGTQ people were now part of the mainstream and corporations therefore wanted to make a profit off them just like they did everyone else.

The only way a movement can avoid capitalism is to fail. Any movement that succeeds will grow big enough for capitalists to want to join in so they can sell t-shirts. The movement shouldn't try to fight this. They should accept the capitalists into their ranks, take their money, and use it to further the cause. The only time capitalism becomes a problem is if the movement begins to cater to the capitalists and starts making decisions based on increasing profits rather than advancing the cause.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:31 PM
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Ars Technica has a good piece on the film:
Michael Moore’s green energy takedown—worse than Netflix’s Goop series?

I think maybe you can guess the author's opinion on the work. Though as noted, one doesn't have to look any farther than "Michael Moore" to realize it's complete claptrap.
Wrote it better than I did:
Quote:
There is an entire field of science dedicated to what is called “Life Cycle Analysis”—estimating the cradle-to-grave impacts of mining for, manufacturing, using, and disposing of things like solar panels or electric vehicles. That science makes exactly zero appearances in Planet of the Humans. Instead, we are treated to a series of “revelations” that most people should be well aware of. Fossil fuels are still used to manufacture and bring us wind turbines! Raw materials are mined to make electric vehicle batteries! Solar panels don’t last forever and are eventually replaced! Although Tesla says its Gigafactory is generating renewable electricity to cover 100 percent of usage, it’s connected to the grid by power lines!

Who are these statements surprising to?
Who indeed.
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Old 04-30-2020, 07:09 PM
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I police-up litter, generate minimal trash, and otherwise fulfill my Green Party membership all on my own. No corporation bribes me. Am I missing out?

If I were a long-term pragmatist I would encourage despoliation of Terra's biosphere. More smog! More plastic! More carcinogens! Because unless the environment goes to shit we won't be impelled to escape the planet before the next extinction-event asteroid whacks us. We can't conquer the universe then.

But if extinction doesn't put us out of our misery, maybe we'd better clean up. Deniers must hate their grandkids.
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Old 04-30-2020, 07:21 PM
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The environment going to shit would have zero value as an incentive to escape the planet. No matter how bad the Earth gets, making Earth habitable again is always going to be easier than making Mars habitable. Any planet other than Mars, even harder yet.
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Old 05-01-2020, 07:39 AM
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I have worked on bioenergy on and off since the early 2000. Mostly worked on feasibility analysis, return on investment analysis, etc. Have done work with many large corporations and many many other research institutions / universities.

In my experience, corporations were always hesitant to go ahead with these projects because the numbers never added up. It was the Scientists and the Professors that were most gung-ho on selling this technology, getting grants from the government and generally “green washing” these technologies.

Most major universities setup multiple labs, research institutions.... some even started making and selling biofuels. Some would argue that that’s what research / Scientists are supposed to do, but I personally know of many instances where voices of dissent among scientists were ruthlessly crushed.

So just blaming capitalists for this is sheer stupidity, the Scientists / Researchers / Academics are equally to blame and I wish they have the moral courage to stand up and admit that they were wrong.

Even now as we speak, people all over the US are “recycling” household plastics and paper. All environmentalists fully know that these are not getting recycled but are headed to landfills for the last 2 years. But the environmentalists won’t tell the ordinary folks to stop paying for recycling services. And ordinary folks will keep wasting water cleaning up recycling plastic, trucks will run around collecting recyclables making more CO2 .... you know the drill.

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Old 05-01-2020, 08:54 AM
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In my experience, corporations were always hesitant to go ahead with these projects because the numbers never added up.
And without a price on carbon emissions, I expect that to almost always be the case.

And even with one, moving destributed biomass is inherently size-limiting.
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:17 AM
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And without a price on carbon emissions, I expect that to almost always be the case.

And even with one, moving destributed biomass is inherently size-limiting.
Agree fully - but then there was the scientists lobbying the government to give subsidies / incentivize “green technologies” . They even made up fancy terms like “woody biomass” and “non-cellulosic biomass” and even incentivized people to plant Jatropha and what not.

Meanwhile my small gas operated blower kept choking up on ethanol added gasoline (another story of sheer scientific faulty foresight and Unpragmatic environmentalism).
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Old 05-01-2020, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by am77494 View Post
Even now as we speak, people all over the US are “recycling” household plastics and paper. All environmentalists fully know that these are not getting recycled but are headed to landfills for the last 2 years. But the environmentalists won’t tell the ordinary folks to stop paying for recycling services. And ordinary folks will keep wasting water cleaning up recycling plastic, trucks will run around collecting recyclables making more CO2 .... you know the drill.
This might be true in some regions, but to claim that this is true across the US is false, and becoming falser by the day as supply chains figure out how to recover from the shocks of China simply turning off the receiving spigot. There was an article about the local adjustments that have been taken on in northwest around recycling just a week or so ago.
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Old 05-01-2020, 11:49 AM
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The only time capitalism becomes a problem is if the movement begins to cater to the capitalists and starts making decisions based on increasing profits rather than advancing the cause.
I would take this even further, it's only a problem if catering to the capitalists is antithetical to the cause. If market demand and government regulations make the pro-environment decision the same as the most profitable decision, capitalism will do all the work for you.
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Old 05-01-2020, 01:11 PM
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I watched this yesterday, and was curious about doper reactions. Thanks to OP for starting this.

My take was that a lot of cool "green sounding" phraseology was being used to hide business-as-usual energy production. Apparently, biomass is a fancy new word for logging.
Logging for biomass is a good way to go broke.

In my area sawlogs are going for $400 per thousand board feet (mbf) scribner. If I convert the pulp price of $35 a ton to mbf I get $245 per mbf. Biomass is the shit they can't make pulp out of. Rot, bark, hog fuel.

Last edited by sitchensis; 05-01-2020 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 05-01-2020, 01:11 PM
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This might be true in some regions, but to claim that this is true across the US is false,......
There was an article about the local adjustments that have been taken on in northwest around recycling just a week or so ago.....
Wow - that article gave me a glimmer of hope. It mentions the company doing their paper recycling (Norpac), glass recycling but not plastic recycling.

Anyways - I went on to read about NORPAC. Then I read this article.

Summary : NORPAC is owned by a NY Hedge fund company and they lobbied to get tariffs placed on Canadian paper to make themselves profitable. Meanwhile, Newspapers which were already on thin ice have to pay extra for paper.

Another example of the capitalist "green washing" the OP is talking about.

I lost my appetite to further check on the glass recycling company
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Old 05-04-2020, 12:22 PM
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I also found many gaping gaps in the Michael Moore "documentary"'s narrative.

This TEDx Talk may be more intelligent. Formerly an environmentalist favoring solar and wind power, Michael Shellenberger deplores their environmental costs and has come around to embrace nuclear power. He even makes an (outrageous?) claim that oil companies encourage solar and wind power because they know countries that adopt them, unlike countries with nuclear, will need carbon-powered plants to keep the grid up.
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Old 05-04-2020, 01:35 PM
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I also found many gaping gaps in the Michael Moore "documentary"'s narrative.

This TEDx Talk may be more intelligent. Formerly an environmentalist favoring solar and wind power, Michael Shellenberger deplores their environmental costs and has come around to embrace nuclear power. He even makes an (outrageous?) claim that oil companies encourage solar and wind power because they know countries that adopt them, unlike countries with nuclear, will need carbon-powered plants to keep the grid up.
Outrageous it is, and not more intelligent:

I think in another thread I noticed that Mr Shellenberger is an unreliable narrator.

https://www.theguardian.com/environm...d-solar-panels
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The first salvo came via a Forbes article written by Michael Shellenberger, who’s running a doomed campaign for California governor and really loves nuclear power. Shellenberger’s critique focused on the problem of potential waste at the end of a solar panel lifespan when the modules must be disposed or recycled. It’s a somewhat ironic concern from a proponent of nuclear power, which has a rather bigger toxic waste problem.

About 80% of a solar panel module can be recycled, but some portions cannot, and create potentially hazardous waste due to the presence of metals like cadmium and lead. The Electric Power Research Institute notes that long-term storage of used panels until recycling technologies become available may be the best option for dealing with this waste stream. Ultimately, it’s an issue that will need to be addressed as solar panels become more widespread and reach the end of their 25-plus year lifespan, much like the issue of nuclear waste. But it’s an issue that we should be able to resolve with smart policies and technologies.
In the past I noticed how he was a founder of the Breakthrough Institute, and scientists that deal with the environment are not impressed by it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakt...e#cite_note-56
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Climate scientist Michael E. Mann questions the motives of the Breakthrough Institute. According to Mann the self-declared mission of the BTI is to look for a breakthrough to solve the climate problem. However Mann states that basically the BTI "appears to be opposed to anything - be it a price on carbon or incentives for renewable energy - that would have a meaningful impact." He notes that the BTI "remains curiously preoccupied with opposing advocates for meaningful climate action and is coincidentally linked to natural gas interests" and criticises the BTI for advocating "continued exploitation of fossil fuels". Mann also questions that the BTI on the one hand seems to be "very pessimistic" about renewable energy, while on the other hand "they are extreme techno-optimists" regarding geoengineering.[56]
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Old 05-04-2020, 03:49 PM
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There are certain situations where it's possible for the marginal unit of renewable generating capacity can result in positive marginal emissions due to use of inefficient peakers, but I don't find that argument persuasive. It's easier to deal with if emissions are disincentivized, as opposed to incentivizing individual technologies.

As someone who is personally sanguine about fission, I find the use of waste to criticize any other technology highly suspect.

But yes, there is a delayed waste stream from solar power. It's important that we don't ignore the costs. There is no energy technology where the only waste stream is rainbows and laughter. But there are plenty that are better than the incumbents.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by am77494 View Post
Wow - that article gave me a glimmer of hope. It mentions the company doing their paper recycling (Norpac), glass recycling but not plastic recycling.

Anyways - I went on to read about NORPAC. Then I read this article.

Summary : NORPAC is owned by a NY Hedge fund company and they lobbied to get tariffs placed on Canadian paper to make themselves profitable. Meanwhile, Newspapers which were already on thin ice have to pay extra for paper.

Another example of the capitalist "green washing" the OP is talking about.

I lost my appetite to further check on the glass recycling company
I meant to reply on this sooner, but it got lost in a stack of stuff to do. Just got around to reading the apnews article you linked.

I'm not going to defend NORPAC here. It's obvious that they're slimy. But it's also obvious that after the jolt from China no longer importing recyclables, the domestic supply chain is starting to handle the flow. It's just false that it's all being landfilled.

But one thing you're certainly right about is that this is similar to what the OP is talking about! Like the movie, it's falsely applying a standard of purity when the questions should be is it (recycling/green energy) better than the alternatives, and does it provide a path forward for further improvement. And the answers to both appear to be yes.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:43 PM
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This shouldn't be an issue of capitalism vs socialism. Neither side should be hijacking the environment to promote its economic ideology.

I have no problem with capitalists taking over the environmental movement and making billions of dollars by doing so - as long as they are providing real solutions to the problems.
I agree with you on this. I think that it won't happens as fast we we might like but as we are speaking technology is developing and will continue. When it becomes viable we will all happily make the switch.
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Old 05-07-2020, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt
Like the movie, it's falsely applying a standard of purity when the questions should be is it (recycling/green energy) better than the alternatives, and does it provide a path forward for further improvement. And the answers to both appear to be yes.
Agree - that’s what I was driving towards. I am an immigrant and see people divided into two rigid camps of liberals and conservatives BOTH quite oblivious to the ground realities of environmentalism. Recently I was looking at a feasibility project to incinerate (burn) plastic waste. It got cancelled after a protest from one camp. The reason cited was dioxane emissions. Meanwhile, the Aluminum recycling plant, a few blocks away is happily emitting dioxanes. Both facilities were going to use similar controls BTW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBadgerDC
I agree with you on this. I think that it won't happens as fast we we might like but as we are speaking technology is developing and will continue...
There is actually pretty good technology out there. You can make clean power from coal, from natural gas, from oil with 0% CO2 emissions. You can also do nuclear like others have pointed out. Since Coal or Natural gas has inherent domestic security assurance, a small number of such fossil fuel plants maybe of strategic interest.

One of the major problem with many of these projects are the same as above : Liberals versus Conservatives politics. Big projects like these take 3-5 years to get permits, and another 5 years or so to begin production. For nuclear it takes 10-15 years.

For Capitalism to work In the energy sector, you need long term predictability of the market. If you go for something incentivized by Government A, it will most likely get reversed by the next government. You can’t have investors when you are uncertain on the rate of return.

This is the reason why many power companies go for plants that can be quickly constructed and brought online. (Within the time frame of any single Government). Most often it is gas or oil that wins.


The broader point is that the capitalism framework coexists with social and political framework. Capitalism produces “a local optimum solution” taking into account the other pressures. Capitalism by itself is no messiah that will drive societies towards well being.

And despite the Ayn Rand idealism readily embraced by me in college years, I’ve found real life to be quite different.
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