New book

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,275
Southeast CT
I wanted to see what people thought of the new book out by Michael Schellenberger. He is an environmental activist and has a number of different TEDTalks online. He has a new book out that describes what he feels is climate “alarmism”. He makes a number of interesting points which is outlined in an online description of the book called on behalf of environmentalists I apologize. If that’s not the exact title then it’s pretty close and should get you there.
I have not read the book but only the description listed above, But it does sound interesting. Also, he is not a fan of wood burning from what I could Tell from the excerpt, he is no fan of wood burning.
Myself, I’m not sure what to think. Iam suspicious of the world of YouTube stardom/notoriety and am a bit leery of some of the big players there. But anyway, I’d be curious to see what people think.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,186
SE PA
Hey, I read the guy's bio and a few descriptions of the book. Seems reasonable and legit to me, if a bit of a tangent.

'Alarmism' is a two-edged sword. It will mobilize some people that hear it, and raise the skepticism of others.

I would LOVE to live in a world where science and fact-driven public policy were well trusted by the population. There would be no NEED for alarmism. Scientists would collect the data, make a case (which would get stronger over time). Leaders making public policy would balance the risks/costs associated with an intervention against the risks/costs of NOT intervening. The costs of intervening/solutions will generally decrease over time, and the certainty of risk of NOT intervening will INCREASE over time.

At some point, the risk will become obvious, and the solutions will become stupid cheap. And then (or a little before) the solutions would be scaled by govt program/incentive or both.

And at no time in that process would 'alarmism' be required. A cadre of trained scientists and public policy experts would be slaving away exchanging data, ideas, and statistical models, out of public view, as people go on about their normal lives. And then get told they are going to be buying EVs over the next decade, or mini-splits, or HPWHs. Or solar farms will be built outside of town, or off-shore wind farms.

No drama llamas required. People would just shrug and keep on keeping on. Bc they would **trust** that the scientists and policy wonks had done the math right.

This is basically what happened with the Ozone hole and CFCs in the 1970s. Score one for trust and sanity! CFCs actually would have resulted in an uninhabitable Earth (by now). Yikes! Scary! Alarm! But we avoided it. We didn't have people up in arms protesting about peeling aerosol cans from their cold dead fingers, of threatening to shoot the govt people when they came to take their AC units away.

Yeah, I miss that. But of course the CFC problem was 'Easy' compared to climate change. And the 'trust' of scientists and policy wonks has been (intentionally) eroded by various politicians since the 80s and 90s.

And so Climate Change is politicized. And progress is two steps forward, one step back. With a lot of yelling and protesting and counter-protesting. And alarmism is the result of that. And I think alarmism doesn't really sway the skeptics, but it does demoralize the believers.

So maybe the book is about that. The real solution is still political. Get rid of politicians that undermine trust in science and fact-based public policy. And then get to work.

I will now resist the temptation to talk about the simple/cheap solution of mask wearing and alarmism/skepticism over COVID. It's really the climate change argument in miniature, on a 1000X shorter timescale (weeks instead of decades), and divided along the exact same political lines. Huh.
 

WinterinWI

Member
Dec 6, 2018
177
Wisconsin
Hey, I read the guy's bio and a few descriptions of the book. Seems reasonable and legit to me, if a bit of a tangent.

'Alarmism' is a two-edged sword. It will mobilize some people that hear it, and raise the skepticism of others.

I would LOVE to live in a world where science and fact-driven public policy were well trusted by the population. There would be no NEED for alarmism. Scientists would collect the data, make a case (which would get stronger over time). Leaders making public policy would balance the risks/costs associated with an intervention against the risks/costs of NOT intervening. The costs of intervening/solutions will generally decrease over time, and the certainty of risk of NOT intervening will INCREASE over time.

At some point, the risk will become obvious, and the solutions will become stupid cheap. And then (or a little before) the solutions would be scaled by govt program/incentive or both.

And at no time in that process would 'alarmism' be required. A cadre of trained scientists and public policy experts would be slaving away exchanging data, ideas, and statistical models, out of public view, as people go on about their normal lives. And then get told they are going to be buying EVs over the next decade, or mini-splits, or HPWHs. Or solar farms will be built outside of town, or off-shore wind farms.

No drama llamas required. People would just shrug and keep on keeping on. Bc they would **trust** that the scientists and policy wonks had done the math right.

This is basically what happened with the Ozone hole and CFCs in the 1970s. Score one for trust and sanity! CFCs actually would have resulted in an uninhabitable Earth (by now). Yikes! Scary! Alarm! But we avoided it. We didn't have people up in arms protesting about peeling aerosol cans from their cold dead fingers, of threatening to shoot the govt people when they came to take their AC units away.

Yeah, I miss that. But of course the CFC problem was 'Easy' compared to climate change. And the 'trust' of scientists and policy wonks has been (intentionally) eroded by various politicians since the 80s and 90s.

And so Climate Change is politicized. And progress is two steps forward, one step back. With a lot of yelling and protesting and counter-protesting. And alarmism is the result of that. And I think alarmism doesn't really sway the skeptics, but it does demoralize the believers.

So maybe the book is about that. The real solution is still political. Get rid of politicians that undermine trust in science and fact-based public policy. And then get to work.
You should look a little further into who is funding the "science" that you are spoon fed by the alarmists/activists/media. Look deep enough at their own connections, history, agenda and where the money is going. Your findings may disappoint you.

I will now resist the temptation to talk about the simple/cheap solution of mask wearing and alarmism/skepticism over COVID. It's really the climate change argument in miniature, on a 1000X shorter timescale (weeks instead of decades), and divided along the exact same political lines. Huh.
Not a very good job resisting talking about it. Last I checked it has been months, not weeks. Many societal consequences and detriment to our youth due to the response to a virus that isn't very dangerous. I suppose our global doom from SARS-CoV-2 must be on the same timeline as global cooling/global warming/climate change. Have fun wearing your mask.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,186
SE PA
Money makes the world go 'round, WiWI, and you would perhaps find me suspicious for taking money from taxpayers for scientific research of unknown value, and lining my own pockets a little at the same time.

You're right on I didn't do a very good job not talking about it. Ha!

I'm sorry to hear that your state shut down unnecessarily. In my county, 1.4% of the population has tested positive for the virus, and 10% of them have already died. And we are not shut down any longer, and we are wearing our masks. Masks don't bother me, and I think their main virtue is to reduce/avoid the need for a repeated shutdown and the terrible (and largely avoidable) damage so-caused. If it turns out that I am incorrect and never needed to wear a mask, I am out $20, I will add it to the list of my other foolish mistakes in life, and manage to go on.
 
Last edited:

WinterinWI

Member
Dec 6, 2018
177
Wisconsin
Money makes the world go 'round, WiWI, and you would perhaps find me suspicious for taking money from taxpayers for scientific research of unknown value, and lining my own pockets a little at the same time.

You're right on I didn't do a very good job not talking about it. Ha!

I'm sorry to hear that your state shut down unnecessarily. In my county, 1.4% of the population has tested positive for the virus, and 10% of them have already died. And we are not shut down any longer, and we are wearing our masks. Masks don't bother me, and I think their main virtue is to reduce/avoid the need for a repeated shutdown and the terrible (and largely avoidable) damage so-caused. If it turns out that I am incorrect and never needed to wear a mask, I am out $20, I will add it to the list of my other foolish mistakes in life, and manage to go on.
Fair enough.

As far as the book goes, I haven't read it, just saw a news article about it and read the description of the book on enviornmentalprogress.com. I did find it odd he seemed to focus on wood burning as a major issue. By reading the description, you'd think the majority were heating with wood. I suppose maybe he is referring to less developed countries where wood heat is more prevalent.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,342
Downeast Maine
Why aren't you equally skeptical about the climate change deniers? There's a much larger bread crumb trail of money on that side of the fence. Renewable energy is much more expensive up front with less future profit. It helps individuals to become more energy independent and it's better for the planet. Maybe we are wrong about climate change, but would it be so bad to have silent and clean energy?
 
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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,275
Southeast CT
Fair enough.

As far as the book goes, I haven't read it, just saw a news article about it and read the description of the book on enviornmentalprogress.com. I did find it odd he seemed to focus on wood burning as a major issue. By reading the description, you'd think the majority were heating with wood. I suppose maybe he is referring to less developed countries where wood heat is more prevalent.
In the book summary, I saw that big emphasis on woodburning being a no-no as well. I’m guessing he’s not talking about dried wood burning in a modern clean burning stove. Hopefully his book talks more about the importance of good burning practices.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,357
Northern NH
Wood burning in the third world is a big issue. There are various NGOs that distribute "rocket" type stoves to villages to substantially reduce emissions and cut down on the wood collection efforts around villages. In many areas the local natives have to travel miles to get wood for cooking and the results are anything that can burn is being stripped from the countryside. One of many issues in Haiti is the mountainsides are stripped and when it rains the hill side erode. Obviously burning the woods down in South America for forming and mining is another major emissions source.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,342
Downeast Maine
Wood burning in the third world is a big issue. There are various NGOs that distribute "rocket" type stoves to villages to substantially reduce emissions and cut down on the wood collection efforts around villages. In many areas the local natives have to travel miles to get wood for cooking and the results are anything that can burn is being stripped from the countryside. One of many issues in Haiti is the mountainsides are stripped and when it rains the hill side erode. Obviously burning the woods down in South America for forming and mining is another major emissions source.
Not to mention the brick and ceramic kilns in India fueled by whatever flammable materials can be found. I think someone posted a link to a study about wood burning in the third world. As I'm sure you know, most homes in the third world have open wood burning fireplaces without flues that just vent smoke into the house.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,357
Northern NH
One of the other third world efforts I have seen is small biogas systems. They only work well in warm climates but relatively easy to build. Put manure and organics in one end and get methane for cooking or lighting out the other end. Methane from agricultural waste is a major greenhouse gas compared to CO. Might as well burn it down to CO instead of sending it up in the air. On a commercial basis, they can work in cold climates. Budweiser uses it to process their brewery waste stream in NH. Of course the big methane producer these days is flare gas from oil and gas drilling.

If someone is interested there is good guide to to home biogas production in "The Complete Biogas Handbook" by David House. Its a easy to read explanation of biogas production on a practical level.
 
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