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Ken Barrows

A related issue (IMO) is an economy where 85% of workers are in service-producing industries claim to be a bunch of wealth creators.

Sam Taylor


There's another decent paper on the global metabolic footprint here:




Thanks for posting!

Monbiot hit a home run with that one: "We can persuade ourselves that we are living on thin air, floating through a weightless economy, as gullible futurologists predicted in the 1990s. But it’s an illusion, created by the irrational accounting of our environmental impacts. This illusion permits an apparent reconciliation of incompatible policies."

Three articles I've seen lately tie into this. First, this was in the NYT a few days ago:

The climate could be addressed just like any company would in dealing with its own budget. We know we can emit so-and-so amount of carbon into the atmosphere and stay under 2 degrees C warming. Take that total, then calculate budgets for each country to emit a set amount and no more. That's a complete non-starter, though. We know we can't do that realistically (and keep our economies growing), and so we kid ourselves with these voluntary measures that will fall far short of what's needed.

Tied with the voluntary approach was this yesterday:

The U.S. is putting pressure on maintaining a voluntary-only approach. There won't be any legally binding commitments, at least regarding carbon emissions. So much for President Obama's "leadership".

And finally, the public:

Which supports a strong deal less now, despite the fact that we're about to break the yearly temperature record, than they did in Copenhagen in 2009. It's interesting that countries already in economic decline are more supportive of a strong deal than the ones that are still growing. The ones still growing are less enthusiastic.

Dave Cohen


Monbiot references some other work supporting the conclusions of the study he talks about, but your reference was not among them. Thanks for that.

-- Dave

James A

Even if the President WERE a "better" leader, I doubt whether he'd get much support. I suspect that the most important players, those who could make a difference, see any sort of "throttling back" (of their activity) as guaranteed to produce lower profits, angry shareholders, and who knows what other unfavorable outcomes for them and their commercial interests. Any leader--good or mediocre--who might hope to meet the challenges ahead could find that his army either refuses to come out of their barracks; or, if they sortie at all, resist forming into cohesive elements to perform the necessary tasks, but instead insist on putting every order from headquarters to a vote.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Mike Cooper

Keep up your fight for clarity Dave. I know it's lonely out here but we few are with you. I did read this Monbiot piece and thought of Flatland at the time too. Cheers Mike.


Ahh, I detect the unmistakable aroma of books being cooked. Monbiot is spot on here. Recently we heard that China was burning more coal than they previously admitted to. We hear that the drought in California has only had a minor affect on the state's GDP (never mind the earth subsiding as much as 2" per month in some areas where ground water is heavily pumped).

We can cook these books all we want and maybe it will make us feel better, until we actually hit some wall or other. I suspect that the aroma of books being cooked will be particularly strong in Paris for the climate talks.

Mike Roberts

I am constantly coming across this belief. Currently reading Tim Flannery's Atmosphere Of Hope and he thinks growth can be decoupled from emissions citing examples but completely missing the big picture mentioned here. I'm always disappointed when I see a scientist unable to think critically.

Another thing that disappoints me is the mis-reporting about the 2C limit. It's not some mystical boundary (we're already seeing catastrophic impacts at 1C, for some people). And there are no reductions guaranteed to meet that limit. The budget mentioned in AR5 have only a 66% chance of being enough.

But I guess flatlanders need hope, however they manufacture it.

Thanks for writing.

Alexander Ac


Following quote from probably another free-luncher is illustrative.

"No one disputes its need for food and economic
development. But these corridors need to be built without creating environmental crises."

So ha wants to have a cake and eat it too. Whole article about destroying Africa is here:



T e cho

Great post Dave...

Kevin Paulsen

Hello Dave,
I check in with DOTE everyday. Keep it up, the realists need you.
Excellent research and insight, you are not alone.
So the saga of Flatland continues.
Thanks for naming it.
Warm regards,

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