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Climate+solar flyers update

July 25, 2017

Dear friends,

As we wrote on 7/20/17 and in (Bulletin 232: Nuclear power for your home and business), we seek climate and solar "ambassadors" who would like to work with us in reaching out to friends, neighbors, organizations, churches, and networks to galvanize discussions about the climate crisis AND to promote solar energy.

Since then we have realized that we should not be offering free solar consultations in the Taos area, because our solar installation partners aren't economically able to install there. It's just too far a trip for their small staffs and ours!

For everybody else on this list, we now have plenty of handy postcard-size handouts for outreach.

Please let us know by return email how many of these you would like. In Albuquerque you can get them here at our office. In Santa Fe you can get them at Study Group board member Lydia Clark's house at 1210 Vitalia Street (map) where they are in the unlocked front porch. You don't need to call ahead to get them.

Bulletin 233 ("Uninhabitable Earth? Not yet, and not if we can help it.") is coming soon. The title refers to David Wallace-Wells' superb piece in New York magazine (here, with annotations) which is already the most-read article in the magazine's history. Overall (and despite detractions one can find, including some by climate scientists), I see nothing significantly wrong in that article. If Wallace-Wells' piece seems too dire I assure you there are worse, backed up by peer-reviewed science too.

It should be clear to everyone that converting our electricity generation at its present scale to 100% renewable energy (which is not affordable, despite so many Pollyanna claims, as we will discuss in the forthcoming Bulletin) would not by itself solve the climate predicament. Much more radical transformation is required. Much more much more radical transformation is coming, whether we want it or not. This transformation is being driven by the whole suite of converging crises we face, which is already eclipsing business-as-usual (BAU) worldwide, the impact falling most heavily on the most marginal peoples and creatures.

Tariel Morrigan's advice, from his path-breaking and still-unequaled synthesis, Peak Energy, Climate Change, and the Collapse of Global Civilization, is sound: "The sooner people and societies prepare for peak oil and a post-peak oil life, the more they will be able to influence the direction of their opportunities."

In other words, and however much one may criticize Morrigan's timing (which came from the Department of Energy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff among other authorities), there is much more going on in our accelerated history right now than just climate change, as dire as that is. Much is ending. What beginnings there are is partly up to us. There is not a moment to lose.

As we will see in the forthcoming Bulletin, most of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission scenarios are actually impossible because they assume too-great an endowment and rate of extraction of oil, natural gas, and coal. That does not mean we are out of the woods. Wallace-Wells' piece does not need too much revision because of this good news. But it does mean that those who are putting their faith in BAU scenarios will be bitterly disappointed.

By the way, there will be no magic technical fixes that create new, concentrated, useful energy without massive new problems, worse than the ones we have. Sorry. Ingenuity is a great thing, but the laws of nature and especially the Second Law of Thermodynamics win, without exception.

Radical resistance is necessary, as well as radical simplification and a thoroughgoing constructive program. We see all these as mutually-supportive and -qualifying. Ted Trainer has had it right all along.

Please don't think we are pushing solar energy as the be-all and end-all of climate protection. We need full-scale mobilization and with it a new spirituality of work, community, and rootedness that is grounded on a deeper plane than consumerism has produced, or can.

Meanwhile, let's get solar, and in as many ways as possible, "get our house in order." A storm is coming.

Thank you,

Greg, for the Study Group 

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