In this week’s show:
* Norwegian eco-psychologist Per Espen Stoknes tells us why public concern about climate may be falling, even as the science becomes more certain. How to avoid thinking about climate change.
* Alternative energy expert Robert A. Stayton says “yes we can power the world with solar” and tells us how.
* Dr. Alan Rozich tells us “Other Inconvenient Truths Beyond Global Warming.”
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PER ESPEN STOKNES: TRYING NOT TO THINK ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING
How is it possible that as the science becomes more clear about climate change, polls show people are less concerned about it, compared to other problems, like the economy?
Why has the campaign to get the public onboard with climate action failed? On Radio Ecoshock, we’ve paid attention to the pyschology, the way we think about energy and global warming. There’s a new approach out, from the Norwegian eco-psychologist, Per Espen Stoknes. His book is called “What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming“.
There’s a different kind of climate denial we’ll have to try to overcome before we can get very far into your work. I have plenty of listeners who believe civilization will have to crash before we can really cut emissions enough. A few think humans will go extinct before 2050, and that will solve the problem. I’ll get some angry emails and blog posts just for letting Per say there are some ways out of this.
Per Stoknes answers that the idea of doom is exactly one of the defenses against thinking about (and acting on) climate change, that he writes about in his book. His view is fascinating and revealing.
WHAT ABOUT GRIEF?
Thinking of beloved species now threatened with extinction, including lions, elephants, and most recently announced, many large wild herbivores – grief does seem like the appropriate emotional response. Per Stoknes agrees. Climate grief workshops are springing up. Psychologists are getting patients upset or overly worried about climate change, and they counsel accepting that grief, and working through it.
The scientists I talk with are blunt and bleak about the path we are on, and the need for gigantic changes to avert very dangerous climate change. From all corners of the Earth, pole to pole, those are the facts. Are the experts wrong to spread that message, or should they just keep their concerns within scientific circles?
The prospects seem so dire, and we’ve been sold so many false promises as green-washing by industry and politicians, that the global villagers are almost hostile to any solutions. Is there a psychological way to get out of that strange problem?
Give this interview a listen. Stoknes may bring you almost to (gasp!) hope.
More articles by or about Per Stoknes new work.
More info on Per’s new book: https://stoknesdotcom.wordpress.com/book/
Find a 1 hour video of Per Espen Stoknes talking about his new book at Transition United States on May 15, 2015 here.
ROBERT STAYTON – SOLAR YES WE CAN
If we stopped using fossil fuels today, the climate would still heat up, and civilization would crash. That’s the nasty problem, and we need a roadmap out. Robert Stayton says solar is the path forward. He’s been teaching about energy and solar power for decades at California colleges and the University of California in Santa Cruz. Those years of expertise are drawn together in his new book “Power Shift, from Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power“.
Given the warnings of scientists, there are really only four possible routes to slashing emissions, or even reducing carbon in the atmosphere.
In this book, Robert Stayton lays out four stark choices we all need to make, if we must phase out fossil fuels.
1. Go backwards in technology to pre-fossil lifestyles. Various pundits, like James Howard Kunstler, suggest humans willy nilly will return to an age made by hand.
Do you think we can go back to the technologies humans used before coal power? A few people can do this, but not our whole population, at current levels.
2. The second suggested step is to capture and store the carbon from fossil fuel burning. Is it a rational plan?
Not really. Since the carbon dioxide is about ten times the volume of the original fossil fuels, there isn’t enough space to put it. Even the space we have are likely to leak CO2 back into the atmosphere, sooner or later, defeating the purpose. Plus we would have to build a whole new industrial landscape for carbon capture and storage – which will require even more fossil fuels. It doesn’t seem very workable, which explains why it isn’t being done. Even so, the United Nations IPCC assumes we will capture and store CO2,
to reach the “safe” 2 degree level of global temperature change.
Plus carbon capture and storage only works on large power plants, leaving no solution for emissions from cars, trucks, planes, and ships. That’s a huge hole.
3. Some scientists, from James Lovelock to James Hansen, say we need massive amounts of nuclear energy to get off fossil fuels. Again, Stayton looks at the huge costs of building that power, in dollars and in more carbon emitted. Then he considers the huge risks, including studies showing nuclear plants will melt down on average every ten years.
As a long-time researcher and teacher of solar power, Stayton says it’s going to work. He knows we have doubts about that, and addresses those doubts. And yes, solar can replace itself, run heavy industry, and all that. As you can read in this article, Stayton says the whole world could be solar powered by 2060.
In the late 1990’s, Robert installed solar on his house in Santa Cruz County, California. A lot of people have toured his set-up, and then gone on to install solar power.
Probably because of his long experience teaching all things solar, I found this book accessible and useful right away. It’s not written as a general policy book for planners and politicians, although it can be used that way. The book is really written for the rest of us.
DR. ALAN ROZICH – IT’S MUCH MORE THAN GLOBAL WARMING
We like things to be simple. For example, we know society is emitting too much carbon dioxide, endangering us all with rapid climate change. Dr. Alan Rozich is knocking at the door to make this all more difficult. His first new book is called “Other Inconvenient Truths Beyond Global Warming.”
Rozich says humans are heading into a new and dangerous situation, which you call the “Super Nexis”. It’s a combination of factors, including global warming, but more based on our unsustainable use of resources in total, and our failure to understand and cope with the waste stream of civilization.
The resources vector incluses the developing shortage of many metals we depend on, not to mention the increasing cost of fossil fuels, as we reach into heavy oils and scour hostile places like the Arctic. Rozich doesn’t buy the current story that we have plenty of fossil fuels.
“The most important take away, is that resolving the Super Nexus needs to be our focus and not CO2. Resource security is pivotal for societal functionality. If society gets most of its resources from renewables, then CO2 emissions will drop. Transitioning to a renewable economy also means that many of our resources which heretofore are emitted into the environment as waste are now recovered which will attenuate emissions and pollution of the environment.”
I asked Dr. Rozich to come on the show, because he is not just another voice in the chorus. I think his book has some different sources and directions, that need serious consideration. The book is “Other Inconvenient Truths Beyond Global Warming” and it’s available in all the usual places. You can find a bit more on Alan’s Facebook page, called “otherinconvenienttruths“.
Download or listen to Alan Rozich in CD quality only.
I’m Alex. Thank you for listening, and caring about our world.