Things won't get back to normal

SUBHEAD: I hope we can climb down from our suicidal perch on top of the flagpole.

By Juan Wilson on 10 February 2014 for Island Breath -

Image above: Alvin Shipwreck Kelly does a handstand while eating a donut on a flagpole at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, across from the Chrysler Building in New York in October of 1939. From (

As a civilization we are coming to a realization.
Things are not the way they used to be. 

And the corollary:
Things won't get back to normal.

This is the unavoidable consequence of running up our human numbers while increasing our per capita demand for more industrial stuff. We are simply running out of Mother Earth. When she's gone - so are we.

In the meantime there are actions we could take that will take us down some different path with a gentler grade than the one we are on now, but is seems that we are excited about the cliff ahead and want to see over its edge.

Even some of the most influential councils I have heard in the past few decades are flailing to find a way back to the "good old days". I can understand why techno-optimist Bill Gates - Founder of Microsoft - would be trying to keep all the juice flowing but why would these guys be turning to cranking up the dial on nuclear power?
Stuart Brand - Creator of the Whole Earth Catalog
James Lovelock - The discoverer of the Gaia Principle
James Hansen - NASA scientist who warned of Global Warming 
All have become enthusiastic supporters of replacing fossil fuels by building nukes. They argue (successfully) that we cannot support the lifestyle we have become accustomed to with alternative renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, wave, etc.

What that tells me is that they are not ready to simply live with less. That is what is happening. We are experiencing an impoverishment that is the result of dirtier, more expensive and harder to get energy.

Fighting to maintain our lifestyle will be a situation that can lead to very bad human behavior. Turning to nuclear energy to charge our iPad and Prius is one very bad behavior.

It should be pretty obvious that with dirty, high-cost and attenuating supply of petrochemicals we will have no ability to build, maintain, decommission or mitigate disasters regarding nuclear power plants. You cannot fix the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster by building more nuclear plants.

In fact it would appear that Japan has no way to fix Fukushima even with an highly developed industrial base fueled by peetrochemicals.

Worse yet, we are three years into the ongoing disaster and no effort by the First World club of nuclear powers (including America, France, Britain, Russia and China) have revealed they will bring a solution to the table or have the means of doing so.

They are all just praying that diluting the mess into the Pacific Ocean for the rest of the cenetury (and beyond) is the best we should expect.

All the while Japan's leadership and industrial partners are pushing hard against a resistant public to get its nuclear plants restarted.  They know that the Japanese high-tech economy cannot be operated successfully on expensive imported fossil fuels or renewable energy sources.

As James Kunstler pointed out in late 2012:

Finally, I have one flat-out prediction, one I have made before but deserves repeating: Japan will be the first society to consciously opt out of being an advanced industrial economy.
They have no other apparent choice really, having next-to-zero oil, gas, or coal reserves of their own, and having lost faith in nuclear power. They will be the first country to enter a world made by hand. They were very good at it before about 1850 and had a pre-industrial culture of high artistry and grace - though, granted, all the defects of human psychology.     
I don't think the US can make that transition in an orderly way. We're too stricken with techno-narcissism and grandiosity. What troubles me is how we will greet the epic disappointment that waits for us when we discover that the journey to WalMart is over.
My guess is that being predisposed to superstition and religious fanaticism, the American public will violently reject science and rationality and retreat into a world of shadows. We're already well on our way.
I hope Kunstler is wrong - not about Japan, but about America. I'm just hoping we can climb down from our suicidal perch on top of the flagpole.

Are nukes the cure for climate change?=

By Richard Schippmann on 10 January 2014 for Reuters Blogs - 

James Hansen’s latest press conference was positively scary.

NASA’s former chief climate scientist (he recently left government to pursue a more activist role) met with environmental journalists last month at Columbia University to release a new study with the ominous title, “Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature.”

Hansen and his co-authors contend that the agreed-to goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Farenheit) above pre-Industrial levels prescribed in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is still too high to prevent “long-lasting, irreversible damage” to our planet — including raising sea levels, submerging coastal cities and turning vast tracts of the earth into virtual furnaces.

Hansen departs from environmental orthodoxy, however, in arguing that there is no way to cut greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently by relying solely on green alternatives like solar and wind power.

“Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole” Hansen writes in an essay, “is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

Hansen’s controversial conclusion is that we need to build a new generation of nuclear power plants. Nuclear alone, in Hansen’s view, has the potential to produce “clean” (carbon-free) electricity in the prodigious amounts that we will need it in the decades ahead.

The unavoidable economics of nuclear power

By Mark Cooper on 6 February 2014 for Corporate Knights
( The Company for Clean Capitalism

The Bottom Line (excerpted from article)

If the direct costs of low-carbon alternatives were roughly equal, the systems costs might tip the balance toward nuclear power, but social costs would tip it strongly back toward efficiency and renewables. Given the rapidly falling cost and potential of efficiency and renewables, the speed with which they can be deployed, as well as the availability of gas as a transition and complementary resource, the economically rational path for the next quarter century is crystal clear: New nukes aren’t necessary.

Shifting the debate to focus on an expensive, slow-to-build and inflexible “climate” solution like nuclear power, at least at this point in the game, is counterproductive when so many better alternatives are available to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution.

• Dr. Mark Cooper is a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School. As you may know, Dr. Cooper is the author of an influential 2013 report showing that 38 nuclear reactors in 23 states are at risk of early retirement.   (See 


A poem by Juan Wilson on 10 February 2014 for Island Breath  -
Money = Credit
Credit = Debt
Debt = Capitalism
Capitalism = Industrialism

Industrialism = Growth
Growth = Death

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