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I'm sitting here in Calgary on a hotel roof deck. The air is clearer today but the table that I cleaned off when I sat with my timmies is becoming covered with a fine ash. And yet the locals just complain about Trudeau's carbon tax ... and ignore their house literally burning down around them.

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ashes to ashes....

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Our board continues to get smaller, indeed. Please Bill, while I understand the past justifications for flying - meetings with others on pipelines, conferences on climate, etc- we cannot continue to be flying. Zoom meetings can help us stop dumping carbon. Stay put!

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fair point, though i'm glad they've got planes to get people out of yellowknife today!

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There are legit reasons to fly - it's a personal decision. Seeing family/friends occasionally who live far away, or if you are a high profile activist and appearing at certain places in person is valuable, then you do it. There's no one thing to obsess over. Let's not become personal behavior Nazis. Don't start giving people eating meat the evil eye, or pillory people living in frigid climates or torrid climates for running their vehicles to stop from freezing or sweating. Lighten up! Draw people in with good vibes, put castigation away. Let's hyper-focus on the areas where we have the most leverage - legislation, politicians, pension divestment, mass demonstrations, research and electric and non-motorized mobility innovation. Travel is an important human need - it really helps us expand our perspectives! We must urge our politicians to support doubling down on electrified trains in North America, and expand routes and subsidize travel costs, Europe has excellent trains, but they've been recently exposed for the ridiculous subsidies they give to air travelers.

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Sorry, I have to disagree. The U.S. has long legitimized these 'personal decisions' of driving huge vehicles, bucket list travel, 7500 sf homes for empty nest couples, etc. The personal choices of our affluent nation has brought this climate to the brink. Of course we need to lean on corporations, we need to pull our money from the big banks supporting oil companies, we need to push for legislation to protect our environment. BUT it is on all of us to rein in our appetites, whether it be beef or leisure travel. Of course, go see the loved ones across the globe, but my need to see the Galapagos takes a back seat to protecting the future planet.

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I agree, Gail. I commented to someone recently how I choose not to fly to go on a holiday and the reply was, "but we have to see the world". She meant it in a genuine way, and I acknowledge that travel has opened our hearts and minds to other people and cultures. However, we don't actually have to 'see the world' and given our current crises this privileged expectation that we have has to change.

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Incidentally, Bill, here in Lexington we're trying to stop an expansion of Hanscom Field, the impetus for which is that owners of private jets want easier access. Their emissions--as you probably know better than I--are many times the per person emissions of people flying commercial.

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This needs to end. Ban private jets and tax the carbon from commercial airtravel

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I agree completely. I'd also require people driving pickup trucks more than 5000 lbs to have commercial licenses. (The electric ones can weigh more than 10,000 lbs.) The average car from a decade ago weighted around 3,500 lbs.

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Who has expectations for COP 28 in Dubai? Outcomes? Attendance? Should not use jet fuel when Zoom available. IPCC has already announced no more science, correct? Hardly needed as we watch our beautiful planet burn. 🌎🔥

Thank you for your continued hard work. While we stay glued to the Trump debacle, attention to what might be done to assuage climate crises disappears. If, God forbid, GOP take election 2024 they have promised to tear it all down with the GOP PLAN 2025. I sense that rational people can see what’s happening without benefit of non-profit media, so I must retain HOPE because no other approach will produce results. But the cult of the GOP are not rational. So here we are supporting each other. There is that. And sharing far and wide. And ANGER directed positively can produce results in my experience.

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As a reporter on the U.S. side of the Okanogan back in the late 80s - we spelled it with an O rather than the A in the Canadian Okanagan - I used to get up to Kelowna. Indeed, a beautiful place now deeply threatened. I do think we now need to center on the places we have, focusing actions that reduce the trajectory toward catastrophe while making them stronger in the face of what’s coming. That is why we focused housing as a climate solution at 350 Seattle some years back, seeing how the rapidly ascending housing costs were driving people most likely to use transit to areas they were forced to use cars. I will be writing more about building strong places in my The Raven substack which you recommend in your page. It’s really a key answer to the range of crises we face, ecological, social and political.

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thank you for keeping up the housing drumbeat!

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Aug 19, 2023·edited Aug 19, 2023

Bill, would you please consider recommending a HUD regulation revision on Manufactured homes? I wrote this recently (see below). Please ponder it. Affordable solutions for both low income persons and the homeless are available, right here in Vermont, if only the HUD regs would allow it. The revision in HUD regs would help millions of low income people in the US to be able to buy a home (i.e. Manufactured homes stripped of unneeded things like a furnace, underfloor HVAC system and a stack.):

August 11, 2023 By RMI How To Upgrade & Electrify Millions Of US Homes & Buildings

https://cleantechnica.com/2023/08/11/how-to-upgrade-electrify-millions-of-us-homes-buildings/

AGelbert Comment: Excellent article.

I just want to add this about, "1. Prioritize investments to low-income households and disadvantaged communities AND 2. Slash upfront costs by stacking incentives":

Upfront costs can also be slashed on Manufactured Homes by eliminating hydrocarbon fuel based furnaces ( furnaces add about $10,000 to the base price) AND all the ducting and vents and roof stack ( another ~ $15,000!).

I have heated my single wide 70' by 14' Manufactured home with small, inexpensive Vornado electric heaters (total cost of 4 or five units less than $300, units last well over 5 years each and NEVER any annual furnace "maintenance" costs) for over a decade. I have no risk of CO poisoning. The increase in electricity use cost is a pittance compared with the money saved by not having to pay for kerosene fuel AND furnace maintenace.

An all electric Manufactured Home WITHOUT a furnace, furnace exhaust stack, under floor ducting and vents or even factory electric space heaters, for that matter, would need HUD approval, but a home like this, when you figure how much easier it can be built, including much less labor, could easily slash over $20,000 off the cost of a home that would otherwise be over $75,000 minimum.

With some Government incentives, the cost could be brought down easily to less than $50,000 for a 1,000 sq.' home. THAT really WOULD constitute "Prioritizing investments to low-income households and disadvantaged communities."

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I'm not sure if my whole comment printed. so I am posting the last part just in case:

An all electric Manufactured Home WITHOUT a furnace, furnace exhaust stack, under floor ducting and vents or even factory electric space heaters, for that matter, would need HUD approval, but a home like this, when you figure how much easier it can be built, including much less labor, could easily slash over $20,000 off the cost of a home that would otherwise be over $75,000 minimum.

With some Government incentives, the cost could be brought down easily to less than $50,000 for a 1,000 sq.' home. THAT really WOULD constitute "Prioritizing investments to low-income households and disadvantaged communities."

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I don’t have many, but Bill McKibben is a hero to me. My children are in their twenties and I fear, yes, fear, for their future, a future I am not likely to see. Looking at our feeble, selfish and contradictory response to the climate crisis we made, I have little faith in our species. The good in us seems overwhelmed by the greedy and complaisant.

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Migration has always been a survival strategy for Earth's species, but I highly doubt that more than a tiny percentage of humans recognize the explosion of that phenomenon that is going to become apparent quite soon. We, as societies, have become used to an idea that humans should not be able to move across the fictional lines on maps called borders. As we see pressure on the American southern border by migrants from the south, we see an ever louder drumbeat for tighter "border control." But, at some point, that concept is simply going to be unworkable. We'd be better off starting now to reinvigorate international agreements relating to refugee flows, because I suspect the annual numbers worldwide will reach hundreds of millions by mid-century. And they'll generally be heading north, where temperatures in the warming world will be a little bit milder in all likelihood. So we also face the urgency of getting past the sort of race- and ethnicity-based hostility that has long been so common in economically developed societies. I know that none of this is a particularly new insight, or even especially unique, but I raise it because I wonder whether political and social influencers will really even notice much that the growing range of wildfire incidence is simply making the urgency of this issue ever more apparent.

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I was into Ice Pilots a few years ago. And I have a friend in Spokane, Wash. this weekend. I can't but think of your words in "The End of Nature," "Eaarth," and "Oil and Honey," whenever I look on the brown, exposed rock on Mt. Rainier, or hear of our burning world. It's scary.

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"Job one, of course, is to limit the rise in temperature..." and it is assumed & widely advertised by advocates that new solar, wind & battery storage together provide a major solution; that this tech reduces emissions and is environmentally friendly. But these are projections made from whole cloth, not presented with hard, justifying evidence. I have come to believe, on mounting evidence, that the claims are not true, are misleading, and that all concerned need to reconsider what is & is not possible with "renewables.

[Lest anyone here presumes I am a pro FF troll for opposing the promise of renewables, nothing is further from the truth. I was an organizer for Earth Day/Week 1970 & have been an enviro/climate activist for 50 years. Most of that time I was a staunch advocate for "appropriate technology" including solar, wind & advanced geothermal.]

As a baseline for discussion, consider U.S. EIA statistics: "In 2022, about 4,243 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) (or about 4.24 trillion kWh) of electricity were generated at utility-scale electricity generation facilities in the United States.1 About 60% of this electricity generation was from fossil fuels—coal, natural gas, petroleum, and other gases. About 18% was from nuclear energy, and about 22% was from renewable energy sources.". And of those renewable sources, wind contributed ~10.2% of power generated and solar ~3.4%. [https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3]

Now consider that even though renewables are growing fast as an industry, they are not expected to have a 50% share of the power sector until 2035 or later. In our closing-window time frame this not a knockout punch against power sector FF generation, and certainly not a dent in total energy production & use. Globally, renewables now account for ~0.03% of total energy. That's a lot of catching up to do.

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But even if renewables produced 100% of electricity, which is very unlikely as demand increases, we are up against the reality that the power sector itself is only ~20% of total energy, and the other ~80% from FFs that industrial society depends on for heavy lifting, shipping, manufacturing, metals mining, high heat steel & cement production and 100s of other deliverables that can't significantly be made with electricity. This 80/20 ratio should give renewables advocates pause when making claims.

And yet the meme pushed by governments, the renewables industry, the MSM and many influential climate/enviro NGOs including 350.org is that renewables will "replace fossil fuels" and can give us a bright "100% clean energy future". Given the limits of renewables to affect even the power sector in a timely fashion, much less the total energy use balance, these are false promises giving false hope that renewables can play a major role in reducing global emissions and help stabilize rising temperatures. Much as I/we wish that were true, it is demonstrably not true. 100% "clean" electricity, even if we had it, offers no hope in the face of inexorable climate & Earth System breakdown now underway in spades.

Where that leaves us, and what the truthful message about renewables should be – are connected questions not being addressed by advocates. Personally, I believe there is no stopping a 4C rise and beyond. We are headed for collapse on all fronts. Do I think therefore we can do nothing? No, but I think where we land is adapting for survival and protecting the rest of Nature as best we can. Not a message that philanthropic climate/enviro funders want to hear from grant seekers.

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Hey Bill, the link you put in for the below bit of your piece doesn't work! Can you make it work?

"Thanks to Jacqui Patterson for alerting me to a new report on the particular dangers faced by Black women organizers on social justice issues including the environment."

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You get more bees with honey then with vinegar. If you were studying for a PhD in evolutionary biology you might make a different decision about visiting the Galapogos.

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Aug 19, 2023·edited Aug 19, 2023

" Infill, densification, community—these are going to need to be our watchwords." Guess what the big local kerfuffle is where I live: re-zoning. In a small neighborhood originally built for the soldiers returning from the Korean War, the current residents are throwing a fit at the idea of allowing multi-family housing. Sheesh. Wonder if their outlook will be different when they're the refugees...

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Sooner or later we must: Introduce world-wide rationing of all greenhouse-gas-producing products, services and activities. Equal share for everyone. An individual who does not use his share may sell it.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/31/wwii-lessons-for-the-climate-emergency/

It also might be a good idea to:

Terminate ALL armed conflicts.

Terminate ALL funding and manufacture of weapons and cease all shipments of existing weapons to foreign nations

Close ALL foreign military bases

Bring home all military personnel and put them to work on the restoration of infrastructure including renewable energy projects and projects aimed at decreasing energy consumption.

Immediately begin an international program to rapidly eliminate all nuclear weapons.

Is Climate the Worst Casualty of War?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/07/31/climate-worst-casualty-war

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Unfortunately, war and international conflict does not just stop and it certainly won't be any easier to stop it or limit it in a world where climate change is dramatically increasing economic, health, and other pressures on societies. If anything, climate change is going to make it far more likely that global conflict will occur and almost certainly cause more regional conflicts. So it's not realistic to expect that any nation, especially the world's most powerful countries, will "terminate all funding and manufacture of weapons" or otherwise reduce military readiness.

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“one key thing is: the number of places humans can safely live is now shrinking. Fast.”

We are embarked upon a dangerous experiment with geoengineering the future habitats on earth with near-scientific certainty that future us will not be able to inhabit these geoengineered habitats.

So, we face these choice.

Do we continue this experiment, and hey, let’s see what happens?

Or, do we cancel the experiment to avoid catastrophic consequences?

Which choice do you think is prudent?

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